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!
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If it doesn't take you a full hour, you're doing it wrong.
Everyone from California to Maine says goodbye, but only us Center State people truly know that goodbye means nothing unless it's a true Midwestern adios. Whether its Thanksgiving at Grandma's house or just a chit chat with a long time friend, goodbye's are a special tradition here and they require several sections to properly portray your exit.
So, folks, without further ado, here are the nine stages of the true Midwestern Goodbye.
1. The "welp"Giphy
The beginning of every good ol' Midwestern goodbye starts with the stand and welp. This means you know you have to leave, but you're not getting out of there anytime soon. The welp only functions as a signal for others that you must begin the process of leaving.
2. The hugsGiphy
The next step in saying goodbye is the hugs. Everyone gets one, be it grandma, grandpa, your weird uncle, all the babies, even the dog gets a goodbye hug. This is by far the lengthy step, because a Midwestern hug is a whole different breed of long drawn out hug.
3. The walk to the doorGiphy
Once everyone has gotten a goodbye squeeze, the walk begins. Every Midwesterner knows that no matter how many steps away the door is, it will take no less than 20 minutes to get there during the stages of a goodbye. You have to talk about how good the food was or when you plan to see each other next, no matter the subject, the walk to the door always takes a hot minute.
4. The doorway chatGiphy
Getting to the door is hard, but don't even get me started on the mid-doorway chat. This conversation has literally nothing to do with anything and most of the time involves a lot of belly laughs. This conversation can range anywhere from five minutes to 45 minutes. We really hope you went to the bathroom before you tried to leave because if not, you start the goodbye process from square one all over again.
5. The "we really should be going"Giphy
This simple statement signals that you must end the doorway conversation and begin the descent to the car.
6. The second round of hugsGiphy
Once the first hour has elapsed and the sun is setting, the second round of hugs begins. This time, there is less talking but significantly more back patting and side swaying. This time, the goal is solely to get out the door and you really have your eye on the prize... the doorknob.
7. The hand on the doorknobGiphy
Almost there, the knob is in hand, BUT WAIT, there's another conversation to go still, you can't leave until someone says "goodbye" in a weird voice and sparks more laughter or your dad and uncle starting doing that thing where they quote movies until they laugh so hard they cry. At this point, at least an hour has passed and you've moved 10 feet.
8. The slow open conversationSeason 6 GIF by Paramount+Giphy
As you make your way down to the driveway, there is yet another conversation about whatever may arise. Who knows what time it is at this point, all you know is that it's been at least long enough to digest the huge Midwestern meal you just ate, and it's time for a snack.
9. The window waveGiphy
Once you've FINALLY made it out of the house and into your car, you can fully expect that Midwestern hospitality window wave as you pull away. The only correct response to your grandma's porch light flickering wave is a series of honks to let them know that you truly care about the traditional goodbye.
The clearest of messages are the ones hidden in broad daylight.
I never loved classic, psychedelic rock. Whenever I heard the likes of The Doors, Pink Floyd or AC/DC, I rarely found myself connecting with the lyrics. Vis-à-vis the image of a confused teenager trying to figure out what the hell the artist smoked before putting pen-to-paper, I grappled with this confusion every time I hit the “play” button. After many years holding steadfast onto this belief, the classic 180 occurred.
My own disenchantment with the singers and songwriters of present left me following the definition of insanity; I sought out the classics yet again, expecting a different result. From The Eagles to W.A.S.P, my preconceived views held firm. From Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” to Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” my mind failed to uncover any meaning behind a patchwork of random verses. After rediscovering the 27 Club poster child herself, Janis Joplin, the smallest of tracks drew me in.
"Mercedes Benz" commences with a sweeping statement of its political relevance – followed by an eye roll -- and continues on a cappella. Without hesitation, Janis belts out a tune leaving me inebriated. I’m absorbed by the acidity of her voice; it permeates the air and elucidates the power of her words. Janis Joplin, the notorious drug addict and rebel of her time, made a war cry out of whims.
Raised in small town America, Janis Joplin found herself an outcast amongst her peers. In a piece titled “She Dares to be Different,” written by the campus newspaper of UT Austin – her alma mater – the author characterized a woman with an ere of freedom. She walked around barefoot with an autoharp in tow, embraced the misfits amongst them all, and outwardly expressed her disinterest with the rigidity of society at the time. In her own way, she embodied a heroine in a sea of grim prospects for women.
After a failed move to Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, Janis returned to the backward town of her youth. Losing the levis and donning a beehive, she attempted to repress her own individuality for the sake of fitting in. This experiment failed, and she became the timeless icon known today. However, being such an unlikely figure to peg for assimilation, my mind reverted back to the seemingly straightforward verses of "Mercedes Benz." Soaking in her calls to God, an unlikely attempt to fulfill her consumerist wishes, I began to concentrate on the time period surrounding that 1 minute and 49-second track. Is this a call to shame those trying to fill their emptiness with goods, or analogous to how Janis herself filled the emptiness of her own existence with nice cars and “a night on the town?” Frankly, the answer to that died with her.
From the chords of "Mercedes Benz" to the tragedy of Janis, I never expected to feel any oneness with her. Regarding the imminent threats looming before us women today, I cannot help but wonder if Janis and the war cries of her lyrics emulate the never ending struggle of defining womanhood. Standing between an administration of firsts, to the inevitability of digression, will the women of today be forced to ditch their levis and pray to God for fulfillment? Will the right to individuality we fought so hard for die in the face of primordial thought? Once again, the answer to that remains unknown.
Whether a heroine, a tragedy, or both, the woman behind the lyrics put forth a legend that supersedes her. She stands amongst innumerable male icons of her time and held firm when women ultimately found themselves fighting for a workplace not involving a stovetop or rattle. Yet even the strongest of resolves find themselves under the shadow of doubt. Standing precariously on the eve of a new ruling power, my only desire lies in not allowing the hollowness and superficiality expressed in "Mercedes Benz" to define the life of women once again.
It's mandatory to have these conversations.
Whether you met your new love interest online, through mutual friends, or another way entirely, you'll definitely want to know what you're getting into. I mean, really, what's the point in entering a relationship with someone if you don't know whether or not you're compatible on a very basic level?
Consider these 21 questions to ask in the talking stage when getting to know that new guy or girl you just started talking to:
all stars lol GIF by LifetimeGiphy
1. What do you do for a living?
What someone does for a living can tell a lot about who they are and what they're interested in! Their career reveals a lot more about them than just where they spend their time to make some money.
2. What's your favorite color?
OK, I get it, this seems like something you would ask a Kindergarten class, but I feel like it's always good to know someone's favorite color. You could always send them that Snapchat featuring you in that cute shirt you have that just so happens to be in their favorite color!
3. Do you have any siblings?
This one is actually super important because it's totally true that people grow up with different roles and responsibilities based on where they fall in the order. You can tell a lot about someone just based on this seemingly simple question.
4. What's your favorite television show?
OK, maybe this isn't a super important question, but you have to know ASAP if you can quote Michael Scott or not. If not, he probably isn't the one. Sorry, girl.
5. When is your birthday?
You can then proceed to do the thing that every girl does without admitting it and see how compatible your zodiacs are.
6. What's your biggest goal in life?
If you're like me, you have big goals that you want to reach someday, and you want a man behind you who also has big goals and understands what it's like to chase after a dream. If his biggest goal is to see how quickly he can binge-watch "Grey's Anatomy" on Netflix, you may want to move on.
7. If you had three wishes granted to you by a genie, what would they be?
This is a go-to for an insight into their personality. Based on how they answer, you can tell if they're goofy, serious, or somewhere in between.
8. What's your favorite childhood memory?
For some, this may be a hard question if it involves a family member or friend who has since passed away. For others, it may revolve around a tradition that no longer happens. The answers to this question are almost endless!
9. If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
We all have parts of our lives and stories that we wish we could change. It's human nature to make mistakes. This question is a little bit more personal but can really build up the trust level.
10. Are you a cat or a dog person?shallow focus photography of dog and catPhoto by Anusha Barwa on Unsplash
I mean, duh! If you're a dog person, and he is a cat person, it's not going to work out.
11. Do you believe in a religion or any sort of spiritual power?
Personally, I am a Christian, and as a result, I want to be with someone who shares those same values. I know some people will argue that this question is too much in the talking stage, but why go beyond the talking stage if your personal values will never line up?
12. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Even homebodies have a must visit place on their bucket list!
13. What is your ideal date night?
Hey, if you're going to go for it... go for it!
14. Who was/is your celebrity crush?
For me, it was hands-down Nick Jonas. This is always a fun question to ask!
15. What's a good way to cheer you up if you're having a bad day?
Let's be real, if you put a label on it, you're not going to see your significant other at their best 24/7.
16. Do you have any tattoos?
This can lead to some really good conversations, especially if they have a tattoo that has a lot of meaning to them!
17. Can you describe yourself in three words?
It's always interesting to see if how the person you're talking to views their personal traits lines ups with the vibes you're getting.
18. What makes you the most nervous in life?
This question can go multiple different directions, and it could also be a launching pad for other conversations.
19. What's the best gift you have ever received?
Admittedly, I have asked this question to friends as well, but it's neat to see what people value.
20. What do you do to relax/have fun?
Work hard, play hard, right?
21. What are your priorities at this phase of your life?a scrabbled wooden block spelling the word prizePhoto by Brett Jordan on Unsplash
This is always interesting because no matter how compatible your personalities may be, if one of you wants to be serious and the other is looking for something casual, it's just not going to work.
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Everyone has a dream. Run with it, get it in the air, and hold tight.
The term "dream" has many definitions. The one we're focusing on here is, "a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal." We all have dreams. Whether it's completing a difficult task, traveling somewhere, or becoming something, we're determined to accomplish it.
Surely, most of us are familiar with the classic Peanuts scenario by Charles M. Schulz: the beloved, wishy-washy Charlie Brown trying to get his kite in the air to no avail. He gets a good start, then it either gets tangled in the branches of the "stupid, kite-eating tree" or the wind sends it crashing to the ground-- not to mention the discouragement he constantly battles from the other kids.
In life, we can all relate to good ol' Chuck. Maintaining a dream is just like flying a kite-- some will have more luck than others, but we've all experienced obstacles while trying to get them in the air.
Each part in the art of kite-flying is symbolic: the kite itself represents your dream, the string is your faith, which connects you to your dream, and the wind represents opportunity. Once you have your kite, all you have to do is run with it. Of course, not every day will maintain a good atmosphere, which includes a wide open space and a moderate breeze. When that day comes, just give the string a little distance, and take off. Eventually, the wind will begin to pick up, and it'll start to float along.
As you keep letting your string go farther out, the wind will get stronger and it will push against the kite, lifting it higher into the air. Things may go pretty well at first, and once it's at a good height, all you have to do is keep a tight grip on the string as the wind supports it.
Unfortunately, the wind won't always be in your favor. It can either change direction and get your kite tangled into a "stupid, kite-eating tree" or stop completely and send it crashing to the ground. There might be some damage done to the kite if the destruction is great enough. However, that doesn't mean you're supposed to give up. Although Charlie Brown may have some pretty rotten luck, he is admirable for his perseverance-- no matter how many times he fails, he takes his kite, goes right back outside and tries again.
In addition to these obstacles, there's going to be a vast amount of discouragement. Charlie Brown was practically the laughing stock of the kids around him, but he always had one friend to offer some encouraging words and good advice: Linus Van Pelt. Linus, so young and yet so wise, reminds us that there will always be someone there to render support and good advice.
We all have a dream of some sort. If it seems possible to you, then go for it. Become what you want, go wherever your heart desires, and do what you want. Start off by running with it, and when opportunity knocks, get that kite in the air.
Even as the wind blows, hold on tight to that string.
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