Buying gifts on a budget can be tough, but it's even tougher to show up without a gift. Leave the gift giving to Santa and reach for one of these stocking stuffers that will leave Santa himself in shock because they're all that good!
Subscribe to our
Always remember to look at life through your optimistic lens.
Recently I have done a lot of reflecting on my life and the things that I have happened. Some of them very good, some alright, and others not so good. I have found that in life it can be very hard to deal with the not so good things that have happened. You can tend to feel defeated and discouraged. At the beginning of the school year I was struggling a lot because a lot of changes had happened, some of them good and others challenging. The biggest challenge I had was not working due to an injury that I had that kept me from doing my job. I was also trying to adapt to a new school, sorority life, and rugby. I ended up not doing as well as I could have academically. All these events made it hard for me to see that things will be just okay. So when the second semester came around I had to fight my way to better my outcomes and to basically get right back up on the horse. This didn’t come so easily.
The hardest task was finding a new job. I applied to a few places, had an interview or two, but nothing got me anywhere. It was this point that I really had to push myself to stay optimistic about finding a job and to just succeed in general. Which in time worked, I was able to find a job and to get back to my “natural flow” of things. It’s important for all of us to recognize that being an optimistic person can get us wherever we need to be. Allowing for all the negative energy to overpower any amount of positiveness. But the most important thing to remember is that everything will be okay. Everything will work out. Call it faith or fate, but these things happen for a reason. Even if that reason is unclear. It’s important to maintain an optimistic mindset. This is something that I try my hardest to do so. But let me tell you it’s not the easiest, nor should it be. In the recent school year I struggled with this a lot. Dealing with a lot of changes and challenges. There were countless times when I wanted to just give up and throw in the towel. But I have found by not giving up, I really was able to appreciate the good things as they came. Such as when I would interview for a job and didn’t get. It never feels good thinking that you aren’t a qualified person. But I had to remind myself that I am, and that I have so many amazing attributes about myself. I had to believe that I would find the right job. And I did. I couldn’t be more grateful that I did. I’ve found that I truly appreciate this win more than I would have if I didn’t persevere and stay optimistic through it all.
A zombie game with many surprises.
"The Last of Us" is a video game that is made by Naughty Dogs. Now Naughty Dogs is a game developer that I am familiar with because of the "Jack and Daxter" series of games. So I have played some of their games, not many, but some. In this game there is a lot of detail, which makes it quite fun. Now like with any review, it will have some spoilers.
Ish is fun detail that is in a part of the game. He is a character that you never meet, but with notes that he lives behind or the ones that he lives with. The thing that makes it better is the fact that he is a reference to the main character to "Moby Dick," and to the protagonist in "Earth Abides." Yes, I did some research on this because it is truly a vast game. The reason for the two is in the game he was a sailor and so was Ishmael and to Isherwood Williams who started a group of survivors.
Now to the story of the game. It has a bit before the zombie outbreak. You start playing as Sarah, Joel’s daughter. Now it begins with her waking up to bombs going off, so you search the house for her dad. He rushes into the kitchen with the neighbors that have turned behind. He than kills them and the uncle was there to take you away to a safe spot. The way is blocked and a few zombies attack so you guys run into the nearby woods. Where Sarah breaks her leg and you switch over to play as Joel.
You carry her as you run from the car. You run into a restaurant and one breaks in, the uncle, Tommy, stays to kill it as you take the back door. You run into a solder and they get ordered to kill them. He starts to shoot and you drop Sarah. The two of you roll down a hill where the soldier goes to Joel, but before he kills him, Tommy kills him. Then Joel runs to to Sarah as she bleeds out. This is a game that makes you feel a lot of emotional attachment to it's characters
The game then jumps twenty years after that, you work with Tess as a smuggler. You live in a military control that has an iron fist rule. They go to pick up weapons from your dealer who sold it to the Fireflies, who are somewhat seen as the bad guys. When you do meet up with him, Tess kills him and you meet the Leader of the Fireflies, Marlene, who takes you to her base of operations. Because she wants to give you weapons if you smuggle something out of the city. What it is a girl named Ellie, who is immune to the infection, to a another group of Fireflies. The only reason she is having you do this because she was shot.
So the three of you head to the location however you run into a problem on your way to it. Tess gets bitten and you run into soldiers in the area that follow you into the building. Tess gives up her life to save Joel and Ellie. Then after some time you get to the city before the meet point and you get jumped. You escape with two others, one gets infected and the other kills himself. You get there and the Fireflies are no longer there, but leave where they are going. However Joel gets stabbed in the side and Ellie saves him. She stays with Joel in a house in the city.
You play as Ellie for a bit you run into the leader of a group in which you killed a lot of the members. He tracks her back to the house and kidnaps Ellie. At this point, you go back and forth playing as Ellie and Joel. Joel saves Ellie and stops her from hacking away at a dead body. They then head to meet Tommy and they find him.
Ellie runs from Joel because he was going to hand her over to Tommy. They find her and Joel and her head to find the place that the Fireflies. They find the place and Marline is there and she greets you. She tells you that how they are going to find the cure was going to kill Ellie. So Joel kills her and saves Ellie from them. He also lies to Ellie about what happened as they head to Tommy’s.The game had it’s flaws, but it is one that you should play. It has a good story to it and I made sure to leave some things out of it so I don't give away too much. There are surprises to it. Now it has many layers to it some you have to look for them.
Admit it, these gross you out too.
I'll admit it. I'm a germaphobe.
If you got sick as often as I did you'd be one too. Not to sound like a wacko, but going out in public can be gross sometimes. If you're a germaphobe like me these thoughts probably go through your head on a daily basis.
1. Door handles
Truthfully, if I'm about to enter a building at school and there's someone walking in front of me, I'll pick up the pace to make it in the door behind them so I don't have to touch the door handle that thousands of other sick, non-handwashing, nasty college kids have touched today.
2. People coughing and sneezing
I feel like this should be a given and is just respectful, common knowledge that you should sneeze into your arm and not cough on everyone around you. Unfortunately, I'm reminded that I'm wrong when the person next to me coughs a tornado my way, or sneezes into their hands, then asks to borrow my pencil with their mucus-covered paws.
3. Dressing room floors
This one I really don't understand. I could shop, and I mean shop all day. But dirty dressing rooms that haven't been cleaned since the store first opened screams unsanitary and is not a pleasurable shopping experience. It's not very hard to sweep the 3x3 dressing room stall a couple times a week or throw a Lysol wipe around.
4. Really any floor, actually
Speaking of dressing room floors, I'm such a germaphobe I won't put my purse down on the dressing room floor, public bathroom floor, and even in classrooms. Call it snobby, but it grosses me out when people leave their purse around everywhere, then throw it on their bed when they get home.
5. Public toilet seats
This is a huge one. Good thing I was a catcher for 8 years because lord knows I'm not sitting on any toilet seat that's not my own. Squatting has become my best friend, and I'll leave it at that.
6. Unwrapped straws at restaurants
As a server, I'm guilty of contributing to this, but hear me out for a minute. Bartenders and servers run around all shift like a chicken with their head cut off. Most are lucky if they wash their hands 2-3 times a night (except me, as I am hand sanitizing every other second). They are touching money, dirty plates, pens that everyone and their mother has been handling, and so on. Then when it comes time to make your drink they grab an unwrapped straw and place it into the drink that you'll directly drink out of... eww!
7. Wearing shoes in a bedroom
Maybe this one gets to me because my mom always taught us to take our shoes off as soon as we enter someone's house, but I don't understand the reasoning behind wanting to keep shoes on inside a house when you could be comfy?? Remember all those gross floors, and areas I previously mentioned — yup, your shoes are tracking all those heebyjeebies and more into your house and bedroom when you walk around with shoes on inside. And don't get me started with people that sit on couches or beds with shoes on.
I hope this article could relate to my fellow germaphobes, and for those of you who could care less, maybe you'll at least wash your hands more often now?
There's a lot of wisdom shared here.
"Never regret a day of your life: The good days give you happiness, the bad days give you experience, the worst days give you lessons, and the best days give you memories."
1. Have a firm handshake
2. Look people in the eye.
3. Sing in the shower.
4. Own a great stereo system.
5. If in a fight, hit hard and hit first.
6. Keep secrets.
7. Never give up on anybody.
8. Always accept an outstretched hand.
9. Be brave. Even if you're not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.
11. Avoid sarcastic remarks.
12. Choose your life's significant other carefully. From this one decision will come 90 percent of all your happiness or misery.
13. Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.
14. Lend only those books that you never tend to send again.
15. Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have.
16. When playing games with children, let them win.
17. Give people a second chance, but not a third.
18. Be romantic.
19. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
20. Loosen up, Relax. Except for rare life-and-death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems.
21. Don't allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It's there for our convenience, not the caller's.
22. Be a good loser.
23. Be a good winner.
24. Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.
25. When someone hugs you, let them be the first to let go.
26. Be modest. A lot was accomplished before you were born.
27. Keep it simple.
28. Beware of the person who has nothing to lose.
29. Don't burn bridges. You'll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
30. Live your life so that your obituary can read, No regrets.
31. Be bold and courageous. When you look back on life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did.
32. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
33. Remember no one makes it alone. Have a grateful heart and be quick to acknowledge those who helped you.
34. Take charge of your attitude. Don't let someone else choose it for you.
35. Visit friends and relatives when they are in the hospital; even if it is just for a few minutes
36. Begin each day with some of your favorite music.
37. Once in awhile, take the scenic route.
38. Send a lot of Valentine cards. Sign them, "Someone who thinks you're terrific."
39. Answer the phone with enthusiasm and energy in your voice.
40. Keep a notepad and pencil on your bed-side table. Million-dollar ideas sometimes strike at 3 a.m.
41. Show respect for everyone who works for a living, regardless of how trivial their job.
42. Send your loved ones flowers. Think of a reason later.
43. Make someone's day by paying the toll for the person in the car behind you.
44. Become someone's hero.
45. Marry only for love.
46. Count your blessings.
47. Compliment the meal when you're a guest in someone's home.
48. Wave at the children on a school bus.
49. Remember that 80 percent of the success in any job is based on your ability to deal with people.
50. Don't expect life to be fair.
Are you at one of the ages mentioned in Taylor Swift's songs?
Before Taylor Swift's transition from a country/pop sweetheart to a crazed vengeful victim, I was a huge fan of hers. I've been listening to her music for as long as I can remember.
Over the years, as an observant T Swift fan, I've noticed her penchant for mentioning ages in her songs. Maybe she does this so she can look back on these songs and remember how old she was when she had these experiences. Or maybe she does it so her fans have another level to relate to her on. For at least my past seven birthdays, I've checked to see if Taylor Swift mentioned my new age in one of her songs.
Not only does it make me feel closer to her, but it also gives me a song to cling to for a while. By my count, Taylor Swift mentions 13 different ages in her songs.
This is the youngest age mentioned in a Taylor Swift song, which means you probably didn't listen to this song on your third birthday. This age comes from the song The Best Day off of her second album, Fearless. The song chronicles Swift's life at multiple ages and is above all a love letter to her family.
"There is a video I found from back when I was three. You set up a paint set in the kitchen and you're talking to me. It's the age of princesses and pirate ships and the seven dwarfs."
This is another age mentioned in The Best Day. It is part of the song's opening line. Unlike age three, where Swift is seeing something and not actually remembering it, this appears to be a memory from age five with her mother sometime in October.
"I'm five years old, it's getting cold. I've got my big coat on. I hear your laugh, and look up smiling at you. I run and run past the pumpkin patch and the tractor rides. Look now, the sky is gold. I hug your legs and fall asleep on the way home."
This is one of five ages mentioned in Mary's Song (Oh My My My) from Swift's self-titled debut album. This song tells the story of a guy and a girl going from young friends to an old couple, from the perspective of the girl. Swift was inspired to write this song by an elderly couple that lived next door.
"She said, I was 7 and you were 9. I looked at you like the stars that shined in the sky. The pretty lights. And our daddies used to joke about the two of us, growing up and falling in love. And our mommas smiled, and rolled their eyes, and said 'Oh, my my my.'"
This is the second of five ages in Mary's Song. It is mentioned directly after age 7 since it is the age of the guy in the song, who is two years older than the girl.
"She said, I was 7 and you were 9. I looked at you like the stars that shined in the sky. The pretty lights."
This goes back to The Best Day. Swift is no longer five, and she has new problems to deal with. Thankfully, her mom is by her side, like always. I was always able to relate to this part of the song, even before and since I turned 13.
"I'm 13 now and don't know how my friends could be so mean. I come home crying, and you hold me tight, and grab the keys. And we drive and drive until we've found a town far enough away. And we talk and window shop 'til I've forgot all their names."
You don't have to look hard to find this one. In fact, it's the name of the song. This song is also on Swift's Fearless album. It's about her beginning high school. She talks about friendship, love, and dreams. She even mentions the name of her real life best friend at the time, who she is still friends with now. Since it's the name of the song, 15 is mentioned multiple times.
"'Cause when you're fifteen and somebody tells you they love you, you're gonna believe them. And when you're fifteen, feeling like there's nothing to figure out. Well, count to ten, take it in. This is life before you know who you're gonna be. Fifteen."
"When you're fifteen and your first kiss makes your head spin 'round. But in your life you'll do things greater than dating the boy on the football team. But I didn't know it at fifteen."
"When you're fifteen, don't forget to look before you fall. I've found time can heal most anything, and you just might find who you're supposed to be. I didn't who I was supposed to be at fifteen."
We return to Mary's Song for this one. After the two young kids have grown up a little, their perspective on both life and each other changes. This is a turning point in their relationship. Remember, the song is told from the girl's perspective, so she's talking about her age.
"Well, I was sixteen when, suddenly, I wasn't that little girl you used to see. But your eyes still shined like pretty lights. And our daddies used to joke about the two of us. They never believed we'd really fall in love. And our mommas smiled, and rolled their eyes, and said 'Oh, my my my.'"
We jump forward a few albums for this one. The song Starlight on Swift's Red album tells the story of young Ethel and Bobby Kennedy. She saw a picture of Ethel and Bobby as teenagers, which inspired her to write a song about it. She actually played it for Ethel, who enjoyed it.
"I met Bobby on the boardwalk, summer of '45. Picked me up late one night out the window. We were seventeen and crazy, running wild, wild. Can't remember what song it was playing when we walked in. The night we snuck into a yacht club party pretending to be a duchess and a prince."
We skip over age 18 because apparently that's been done too many times for Taylor Swift to bother with it. 19, which happens to be the age of yours truly, is mentioned in Dear John, off of Swift's third album, Speak Now. This song is allegedly about Swift's relationship with John Mayer, which fits the timeline since she was 19 when they dated. I have always loved this song but felt a deeper connection to it when I turned 19.
"Dear John, I see it all now, it was wrong. Don't you think nineteen's too young to be played by your dark, twisted games when I loved you so? I should've known."
Certainly, everyone is familiar with this one. It is Swift's second song titled with an age and a popular anthem for people who are proud to be 22 and aren't afraid to dance like it. This is a song from the Red album, which came out shortly before Swift's 23 birthday.
"I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 22. Everything will be alright if you keep me next to you. You don't know about me, but I'll bet you want to. Everything will be alright if we just keep dancing like we're 22."
This age is mentioned in a song off Swift's most recent album, Reputation. As I subtly mentioned at the beginning, I'm not a fan of Taylor Swift's new music. For the sake of being thorough, though, I scanned Reputation for ages. I found 25 mentioned in the song Dancing With Our Hands Tied.
"I, I loved you in secret. First sight, yeah, we love without reason. Oh, twenty-five years old. Oh, how were you to know?"
We jump ahead quite a bit for this one! Obviously Taylor Swift isn't 87 yet, so she's not speaking from experience. At this point, you can probably guess which song this is from. If you thought Mary's Song, you're correct! This is at the end of the song, where the young friends are finally an old couple. The future tense implies that the couple this song is based on aren't quite that old. However, they intend on staying together until they are.
"I'll be 87, you'll be 89. I'll still look at you like the stars that shine in the sky. Oh my, my, my."
I could have combined 7 and 9, and 87 and 89 since they're so close together, but I wanted to make a point. If you've been paying attention to the numbers before the ages, you'll notice that this is the 13th age mentioned in a Taylor Swift song. If you're a Taylor Swift fan, you probably already know what that means. If not, let me enlighten you. 13 is Swift's lucky number. She was born on December 13 and turned 13 on Friday the 13. The number 13 is also connected to her music. Some of her songs have 13-second intros. Some of her albums have 13 songs. Some songs peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100.
That makes 13 ages referenced in all. Could that fact that Taylor Swift mentions 13 different ages in her music be a coincidence? It could, but it seems unlikely. When it comes to Taylor Swift, there are hardly any coincidences. Since she has been using ages in songs since her first album, it is likely she will mention more on subsequent albums. However, she has never gone less than four years in-between albums, so this 13 reference will stick around for quite some time.
1. Brittany Morgan, National Writer's Society
2. Radhi, SUNY Stony Brook
3. Kristen Haddox, Penn State University
4. Jennifer Kustanovich, SUNY Stony Brook
5. Clare Regelbrugge, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign