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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I know that age is just a number, but with that comes a number of things you need to know.
1. Water is your best friend.
This may seem so obvious, but those who are still not consuming enough water on a daily basis, like myself, clearly need a refresher. Life can get so crazy with everything that is going on that not only may you forget, but caffeine may seem like your best friend instead. Which coffee may be a close second I am not going to lie, but there is only so much coffee can do for you while water can do a million others. Putting your obvious health aside, water can also keep your skin looking fresh with age and keep your energy longer.
2. You need to stop caring what people think of your outfit
To be entirely honest, nobody probably cares, and if they are taking the time to judge you for yours, they probably have enough insecurities of their own. Besides, who's to tell you that shirt isn't your color or you shouldn't wear yoga pants outside of your house, last time I checked they weren't your mom and you aren't a child anymore. You wear what you are comfortable in, or feel hot in, or just plain want to wear because you can, life is too short to actually give a damn about that stuff. Also, isn't the greatest thing about individuality and fashion, to have a voice and closet of your own without worrying about the judgment of others. You just do you.
3. Never turn down an opportunity to travel
You may think you can't afford it, or have the time, but I promise you...it will all work itself out. Just go. If there is an opportunity presenting itself and you turn it down, you will later resent yourself for that. Now this can be however you want to take it; world travel or even simply driving to the next city over...whatever it is, you can learn or try something new from it. There is no time like the present and there is so much to learn about the world around you, it's never ending, so your travels shouldn't either.
4. It's OK to love your pet more than people.
Guilty. No seriously, humans can be straight up annoying. Now don't take this as cut yourself off from the world and all interaction...just know that there is nothing wrong with the want to go home and cuddle your pup. You would rather show your animals how much you love them when you get off work than constantly grabbing drinks with that girl who just wants to talk drama about co-workers every week, I don't blame you.
5. Say yes to sunscreen.
If you live anywhere remotely close to the Florida sun like I do or even where I lived before in the hot Las Vegas and Arizona desert, this is imperative. I know the desire to be tan is real, trust me, I use to be a solid five to six shades darker than I am now. However, this can get highly dangerous. A little bit of natural glow from the sun is one thing, but being burnt to a crisp because you didn't reapply is another. Plus, if you don't want vast amounts of wrinkles setting in before 30, I advise you take this advice.
6. Don't be scared to follow a dream you may think is lost
Whatever it may be; to move to a big city, to pursue a career in something you may not actually have education in, to advance in a talent...none of that is gone. Life isn't a rock pinning you to one spot on the ground, nobody said you had to stay with what you are currently doing. Do it now, before you change your mind. Go after that dream you have had since you were little, take the jump, quit your job, move, and figure it out. You have to struggle to get to success. I didn't say it was going to easy, but you'll be incredibly happier in the end.
7. Yes you can have the last piece of pizza
Seriously, just don't do it every day, but there is nothing wrong with indulging every so often. It tasted delicious, right? Then nobody cares, I'm not going to tell the diet police on you, so just eat the freaking pizza.
8. Age is just that, age
It doesn't define you in any way. Yeah sure you should probably have your life in some way together, but we as collective world create this image of what "should be" at this age, and I can tell you right now, it's not realistic. If you find joy in going to Disneyland on your day off to ride the teacups, take a picture with Mickey Mouse, and eat a churro. Then by all means, your 12-year-old heart trapped in a 25-year-old body will thank you for feeding happiness to your soul and not society.
9. Habits do follow you
It's something unfortunately that has to be mentioned even though it's a dark area for many, so here is your opportunity to change and break those habits. Find a better alternative. If it's something you turn to from stress, find a creative outlet to let that free instead.
10. Find a hobby.
We often let go of things we love to do as we get older, and I am a firm believer in the need for that to stop. If you use to actively enjoy something like dancing or painting, don't let the constant of your job and life picking up everywhere stop you from doing those things. They often act as a stress reliever and can have many benefits in the long run, like keeping you active or calming your mind to have a happier lifestyle.
11. Binge watch.
Yes, I am condoning the one thing we often joke about on social media constantly. If there is a show you really want to get into, but your life just won't allow you to sit down at 7 p.m. every Wednesday night to do so, then yeah...go for it. Take one Saturday and just binge through the whole dang season, it seems like a big waste of time to many people, but you'll be happy you finally caught up and nobody will have to listen to you complain at the office about how you missed last week's episode anymore.
12. Having a budget is important.
Your bank account will thank you, and you won't be constantly stressed what happened to what money. Now not everything will go according to plan, you won't always know when something comes up, and sometimes you really do deserve to treat yourself. However, having a general outline of when bills are due and how much of each paycheck needs to go to so and so, will make your financial life so much easier.
Say it with me, go grocery shopping. Having the essentials really can go a long way. You could be completely broke from rent and not get paid for another week, and I promise you as annoying and repetitive as grilled cheese and apples can get, they keep you from starving, enjoy.
14. Learn to cook.
With the exception of the last point, it is highly important to learn to cook, so when you aren't living off of grilled cheese, you can eat well. Also, having the skill of being able to cook meals even if it is as simple as making some chicken and pasta for the week, you may not necessarily have to resort to sandwiches every day until payday. There are so many benefits of knowing how to cook in your own home; healthier options, you save money not going through the drive through as much each week, and just knowing that you can actually give those Pinterest recipes a shot feels really good.
15. You are not too old to rock.
When you attend concerts nowadays, it seems like 90 percent of the crowd is screaming fan girl teenagers, and your first thought is normally... do you even know who they are? But something I have realized, even if you are the oldest person in this general standing room area at House of Blues for a pop punk show with a beer in hand when half the room isn't even old enough to order one, who cares. You rock out to those songs you grew up with and make an absolute fool of yourself, you only live once, make it worth it. And if any of those little teenage twits have a problem with it, they can deal, it's not their fault that their parents aren't as cool as you will be one day. I know I will constantly be reminding my children to fall in love with the music and never let that feeling die no matter the age, and no matter what others think.
16. Evolve your knowledge.
Please never stop taking the opportunity to learn, I know the idea of reading anything or taking the time to write something after grad may seem tiresome, but continuing to look for an opportunity to grow is what will make you a more well-rounded person.
17. Don't get too buckled into a routine.
Wake up, take out the dog, shower, breakfast, go to work, take the dog for a walk, dinner, clean the house, bed. We eventually all becomes robots in some way rather we like it or not. Just try not to let that cement you in. There is always a way to break up a routine, rather it be something simple like instead of going to the gym after class one day, you hit up the batting cages with a friend. Don't do the same routine on your days off either, yes get your errands done, but look for an opportunity to maybe try a new place for dinner, take a day trip to a new city or beach, go for a bike ride instead of walking to the park, whatever it may be, just try to allow change more often into your daily life. You don't want to get to 35-40 and think to yourself you have done the same thing every single day for the last 10 years. That is not why we were put on this earth.
18. You don't have to stop your subscription to Cosmo.
No matter how ridiculous it may seem to get monthly fashion, sex, beauty, and lifestyle advice from a magazine, if you enjoy reading that thing from cover to cover and taking those back of issue quizzes. Then don't stop. I am only going to ask you to seize living your life from it like the bible.
19. Make your bed.
Each and every day. Your entire room could look like a bomb went off, although I hope that isn't the case as well, I should make a #19 part B called "keep it clean", but nonetheless if you simply take the five seconds to make your bed before you leave every day...I promise you will walk into the room at the end of the day less stressed. Your eye is trained to look there first anyways so you will feel better among whatever other messes, and now you won't have to scramble when you go to sleep just to get back under the tangled sheets.
20. The most important relationship is the one with yourself.
I advise making any relationship you want to keep in your life stronger, but maintaining that with yourself is crucial. Make sure you always make time for yourself to be happy. We always are constantly pleasing those around us, our family and friends or our coworkers, we often forget our own needs in the process. Just take a few moments each week to do whatever you need to do to make sure your needs are constantly met as well. Get that check list done you have been stressing about, take a bath, go for a quick run...whatever it is, make sure you are taken care of.
21. No, your body is never going to be the same.
You start to notice that your body is changing as you get older, and no I'm not talking about puberty. Welcome hips, you didn't exist before. I guess this is what happens as you actually become a woman. And if you think the changes now are crazy, just wait till you have kids. Stay healthy, exercise, do whatever you normally would, but know that some of these changes aren't easily or if at all changeable. Your body just won't be as perky as it used to be is all.
22. Cliches aren't defining.
According to everyone else you know, you should already be married, or starting a family, or set in your career. Well no offense to cliches, everyone's life is different, and so is yours, so stop beating yourself up about it. Maybe you just don't know what you want to do yet, no harm no foul.
23. Never listen to the weather man.
This should be self-explanatory, mostly because he is never right anyways. But as you get older, you start to understand the idea of preparedness more. Carry an umbrella in your car or bag and always have a jacket just in case. It's the smallest tip ever, but honestly, if you learn this now, you'll have a huge appreciation for it one day. And so will your health and your outfit.
24. Don't be afraid to voice your opinion.
We live in such a judgmental society we often are too scared to voice things important to us. Know now that not everyone is going to agree with you in life, but don't let that stop you from voicing your own, it's just as important. I can't explain enough how much it sucks to get older and realize you are living a life for others and not for you, and there is no better time than now to make that leap.
25. Finally. Yeah, you are five years from 30.
For some, that is scary, for others, it may seem like an eternity away. I know for me, I have had a lot happen in five years, but I can also blink and remember that like it was yesterday. But that only means one thing, you have five more years of stupid drunken moments, random unexplainable actions, adrenaline filled whatever, endless travels, and plenty of time to realize that as long as you don't let it, none of that has to change at 30, or 40, or even 50. Age isn't anything in the seamless picture of life. Don't let it change who you are or what you're doing. Go out there and live.
Take a deep breath, step out on stage, and live.
The sun is barely awake but the shrill sound of my alarm is assaulting my slumber. My eyes are tired, but my heart is inundated. My world is suddenly filled with a wispy morning holding on to the promise of magic. My makeup brushes transform me into a being that can be seen from the back of any auditorium. Everything comes together; seeing team mates, playing your music over and over, stretching in cramped hallways and having team heart to hearts in secluded stairwells. All the nuances of a life art: the smell of hairspray engulfing a dressing room, the heat radiating off the metal lighting stands backstage, the littlest things give me the shivers because they just let me know that I’m home. It is bliss and adrenaline and the closest thing to pure magic I will ever get.
The one thing in this world that can pick me up and take me so far away, and that can pull me right back down to earth in an instant, is also the one thing that can make me forget about everything, can make me realize exactly why I’m alive. Moreover, this one thing that seems so small is absolutely monumental. It is not something I do. It is something I am. It is a part of me, woven into my identity like it has been there forever. It shines bright amidst all the challenges I have put in front of myself. It’s the one thing that makes me think, “This life thing? Yeah, maybe it isn’t going to be so tough.” I am not a religious or spiritual person, by any means; however, if there’s one thing I believe completely, utterly, and without a shadow of a doubt, it’s that I was put on this earth to dance.
Nothing can touch me when I’m in my element, creating art. I was made to tell stories with movement. Human beings thrive on emotion and my consciousness of existence as a human being is painfully obvious. I need creative expression to survive. Nothing else in the world can compare to the way my soul feels art. One single movement can say more than an entire book. Evoking emotion through dance is such an addictive and electrifying experience. Looking out after a piece and seeing one person wiping a tear from their cheek or one person with the ghost of a smile still on their face, lets me know I’ve done something right. That split second before the applause when you have everyone in the room silent after a performance, is sublime.
There’s the calming, intoxicating mindset that I effortlessly slip into whenever I’m dancing. Nothing will ever make me feel the way dance makes me feel. It’s my raison d'être. It’s gotten me through horrible times, and deaths, and moments of crippling self-hatred and doubt. Comparatively, I’ve danced through happy times and amazing days with a huge smile on my face. It’s always there. It is forever. It’s always been forever. Before I realized it was forever, it was thriving in my heart, waiting to be the driving force behind everything in my life, every single day, for the rest of my existence. Dance is so deeply rooted within me; in my blood and my tears and my skin and my bones. Dance is my backbone.
The perfect end to a summer day.
One of my favorite things to do during the summer is to drive down to the beach at dusk and wait for the sun to set. The sunset never fails to be absolutely stunning. Whether you've spent all day at the beach or want to go somewhere for a mini road trip, these are some of my favorite spots to get the perfect summer sunset view on Long Island.
1. Robert Moses State Park
Robert Moses is the ocean beach I visit the most and is always a popular beach for Suffolk residents. The drive over the bridge is also stunning.
2. Long Beach
Located in Nassau County, this beach is known for its long boardwalk and has some of the best sunsets on LI.
3. Centerport Beach
A smaller North shore beach, Centerport beach has beautiful views of the sound.
4. Gilgo Beach
This is one of my favorite beaches, not only for the amazing views, but the cool graffiti decorating the tunnel to walk in.
5. Ditch Plains, Montauk
One of the most famous beaches on LI, this is a must visit during a summer trip in Montauk.
6. Caumsett State Park
Although it's a little bit of a hike to get to the beach in this park, the sunset is always very pretty. Just have a flashlight for your hike back to the car!
7. Fire Island
If you can time your ferry to the sunset, you'll have an amazing view back to the mainland. However if not, Fire Island has hundreds of gorgeous sunset spots from just about anywhere.
8. Sunken Meadow State Park
A huge beach with beautiful views of Connecticut and lots of hiking trails as well to do during the day. There's also a large boardwalk to walk along the beach.
9. West Neck Beach
My summer job. I've seen too many sunsets to count at this cute little North shore beach.
10. Captree State Park
This state park not only has a huge marina but the beach also has gorgeous views of the bridge to Robert Moses.
Johnny Depp quotes.
1. "One day the people that didn't believe in you will tell everyone how they met you"
2. "You can close your eyes to the things you don't want to see, but you can't close your heart to the things you don't want to feel."
3. "If you love two people at the same time, choose the second. Because if you really loved the first you wouldn't have fallen for the second."
4. "The problem is not the problem; the problem is your attitude about the problem."
5. "Being a good person doesn't depend on your religion, your race or your skin color or your culture. It depends on how good is your heart and how good you treat others."
6. "I think the thing to do is to enjoy the ride while you are on it."
7. "I am doing things that are true to me. The only thing I have a problem with is being labeled."
8. "I was always fascinated by people who are considered completely normal, because I find them the weirdest of all."
9."Love is not blind; it simply enables one to see things that others fail to see."
10. "People cry, not because they are weak. It's because they've been strong for too long."
11. "We're all damaged in our own way. Nobody's perfect. I think we are all somewhat screwy, every single one of us."
12. "I pretty much try to stay in a constant state of confusion just because of the expression it leaves on my face."
13. "I'm having too much fun today to worry about tomorrow."
14. "Music touches us emotionally, where words alone can't."
15. "Laugh as much as you breathe, love as long as you live."
I'm sure many of us have a peaceful place, for me I go to church to find peace and comfort. The only two places where I feel safe, at ease and comfortable are my house and my local church. During the rough times in my life, I just pray and meditate, knowing that my prayers will be answered. But even when I'm happy, or in just about any mood, I try my best to go to church as often as I can.
Surrounding myself with peaceful thoughts, positive vibes and people who care and love me are all very important to me. I feel incredibly blessed and humbled that I have an incredible amount of people, family, friends and mentors that I can trust. It is a great feeling and also assuring too!
Often when I am in church alone, I go inside and just sit down in a pew and just pray for minutes and sometimes hours at a time, if time allows me. There is just something that makes a place of worship so haramonious, vibrant and elaborate. The atmosphere is just so peaceful and relaxing.
I hope one day I get the opportunity to go to St. Patrick's Cathederal, in New York City. It is one of the largest cathederals in the nation and the world. I enjoy going to mass every Sunday and gathering with the church community! I am blessed to be a catholic! I feel amazing, happy and healthy!
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