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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Summer isn't alway just fun in the sun.
Summer is a time for fun in the sun, hanging out with friends, and living it up, but for some people, that's not the case. Summer is a nightmare for idle minds. Let me explain what I mean by that. For people with mental illness having the extra time to think and relax can be devastating for their mental health. Now, this isn't a problem for everyone but for some people who suffer from mental illness, this is a reality.
Unfortunately, I am one of those people who keeps my schedule busy enough that I don't have time to think, let alone deal with my mental illnesses. I know this is unhealthy and I am working on it, but this summer especially has been an extremely tough situation for me and I know that I'm not the only one going through this. When this summer started I decided that I would allow myself a "dead" week. Basically, I was giving myself a week to relax, indulge in self-love and take care of myself and not doing anything outwardly productive. 3 weeks later I find myself still stuck in that cycle. I keep telling myself tomorrow will be the day where I'll jumpstart all my summer plans. Meanwhile, tomorrow comes, passes, and the list of things I have to do this summer never shrinks and the days I have to do them dwindle.
An important thought to remember is that just because you aren't doing the best mentally doesn't mean that you can't change that at any given time. Changing your mental habits are the hardest task I have ever set out to do. Every day is a constant struggle to remind myself that I am worth it, that I do belong here on earth, that I'm not a freak, that I am allowed to be who I am without being "perfect". The process of recovery isn't an overnight accomplishment, it takes months, years, sometimes even decades, to get to a point where a thing that was bothering you doesn't bother you anymore. You shouldn't let that discourage you though. With each day that you were towards your mental health goals, you are making yourself a better person and you should be incredibly proud of yourself.
With the summer months in front of us, I want to take this time to remind everyone that's struggling that not every day is going to go as you hope, you're going to have good and bad mental health days. There may be days when you feel nothing, there may be days you don't feel you have a purpose, but you do. Give yourself small tasks if you're having a bad day, they can be as simple as getting out of bed and open a curtain, or drinking a glass of water. The best advice I have ever gotten is to just be kind to yourself. You're not a bad person for needing extra time to heal and process things. You are worth it and you will get through the summer. You are never alone.
"The Rise of Skywalker" really got me thinking...
Here we go...
Aries: Leia OrganaGiphy
Aries is headstrong, confrontational, and sharp witted. Being guided by Mars, the planet of war, they crave to light a fire and get things going. When Finn knew he had to leave the First Order, he immediately confronted Poe and they were off Starkiller Base the same day. They are the warriors of the zodiac, as Finn becomes a warrior for the Resistance. But a weakness of Aries is that they can often find themselves caught in situations without seeing it coming. Countless times throughout the trilogy, Finn (and the rest of the gang for that matter) find themselves in situations they didn't quite see coming. A great example of this is Finn fighting Kylo Ren with the lightsaber. Very unexpected, but it happened.
Taurus is more traditional and emits an approachable, yet honorable, vibe - which is very characteristic of Rey. Earth signs, like Taurus, care deeply about family and keeping things intact. We all witness Rey's family leaving her, and how deeply bothered and scarred she was from it. We see her reach out to Han Solo to be the father figure she never had. Also, by being an earth sign, Taurus is grounded and level-headed. They always have a plan or a sense of a goal they are trying to reach. Rey, being somewhat the leader of the gang, has to have this "plan" in order to defeat the First Order.
Gemini: Kylo Ren/Ben SoloGiphy
Geminis often get caught in their own duality, like Kylo does with his old life, and old self for that matter. On the outside, you will see a Gemini as a well-defined person, but once you dig deeper in their character, you realize they are putting up an entire façade to hide who they really are, and you can see how much they fight to reject their true nature. This couldn't be more Ben Solo. He is, as they all say, a kid in a mask. He doesn't know who he is, and he let the Sith infiltrate his mind, turning him to the dark side. Thankfully, we see him redeemed at the end of the trilogy, but that does negate all the suffering he went through along the way. Geminis are known to mimic what they see (Kylo with Darth Vader, just saying). Geminis are known to be so complicated they tend to isolate and be too hard on themselves , which can cause stress and panic attacks. Do I even have to verbally make the comparison?
TBD. Any suggestions?
Leo: Poe DameronGiphy
Leo is basically a charisma overload, they have a strong sense of who they are, and a strong calling to be a leader. They are loyal and protective of what they have. They are known to be feisty and brimming with energy. Poe is one of the best Resistance pilots there is. He is charismatic and headstrong, and he is extremely loyal to the Resistance and to his friends. At the end of TROS, when all hope seemed to be lost, Poe still ordered for them to keep fighting, they were gonna make it, and they did, they won. Leos are also known to have a great sense of humor and to be extremely flirtatious, which is undeniably traits we see in Poe in all three movies.
Virgo: Obi Wan KenobiGiphy
Obi Wan, like Virgo, is exacting, a manager of tasks. He is grounded, like the Earth sign, and focuses more on the traditional than anything. Obi Wan is the best example of a good, loyal Jedi. He is a good friend and teacher to Anakin and is mature and wise, like a Virgo is. Virgos are praised for their intelligence and cunning personality. Obi Wan is probably one of the smartest characters we see in the saga, especially in the prequels.
Libra: Padmé AmidalaGiphy
Libra is the sign of romance, how could I put Padmé as anything else? But also Libra's are deeply rooted in balance, being represented by the scale, they crave justice. As a politician, Padmé strives to be the fairest she can be, and believes in doing the right thing. But she is also flirtatious and charming, enjoys complex things (cough, cough, Anakin). They are romantic and fall in love very quickly, as does Padmé with Anakin. Libras enjoy the aesthetics of things, hence Padmé's elaborate outfits.
Scorpio: Anakin SkywalkerGiphy
Not to be cliché, but Anakin is totally a Scorpio. Intense and passionate, Scorpio is driven by success, which can be a good and bad trait. Anakin is driven by the success of his Jedi training. I mean, he basically has people constantly telling him he's the Chosen One. But when he realizes he doesn't have the power to successfully save the love of his life, he goes rouge, trying to find a solution with the Sith. Scorpios' weaknesses include self destruction, being haunted by their past, and being drawn to their vices. I mean, "Revenge of the Sith" anyone?
Sagittarius: Han SoloGiphy
Sagittarius beats to their own drum. Rules don't apply to them, and they don't apply to Han Solo either. They are laid back in their nature, extremely witty and sarcastic, and have a flare for the unordinary; all traits we see in Han Solo. But Sagittarius usually aren't able to recognize their feelings until the worst times, but luckily, things worked out with the Princess. Sagittarius balances both a youthful demeanor and a more mature, headstrong one, just as Han Solo does. Most Sagittarius think they're the best, as does Han (difference is he actually is the best), and Sagittarius needs constant change, they can't stay in one place for too long. Thank god we have a whole universe full of planets for him to explore.
The GOAT? Who's the goat
Aquarius: Luke SkywalkerGiphy
The Cannabis landscape has changed, and so have what schools experience
But teens exploring and experimenting with marijuana is not a novel occurrence. For decades, adolescents have been known to test boundaries and societal norms, often leading to instances of drug use, including marijuana. However, the landscape around the legality and availability of marijuana has transformed dramatically in recent years, leading to new challenges and concerns.
One small Manhattan high school said students caught getting high during the school day to attend peer-led restorative circles. Another is mandating three sessions with a staffer who has a background in substance abuse counseling. Officials at Manhattan’s highly selective Beacon High School told parents this fall that students caught vaping in school will be suspended, while offering information sessions for parents about substance use
In many parts of the world, particularly in the United States, the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana have led to the establishment of regulated markets for the drug. This shift has inadvertently made it easier for adolescents to gain access to cannabis products. The commercialization of marijuana has also led to the development of products with increased potency compared to the less potent forms commonly available in previous decades. Products such as THC concentrates, edibles, and vaping cartridges are not only more powerful but can also be consumed more discreetly. This can make it challenging for school authorities to detect usage, making it possible for teens to use these products before or even during school hours.
Parallel to this issue, a youth mental health crisis has been gaining momentum, heightened by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Isolation, uncertainty, and disruption of regular social and educational structures have left many young people grappling with increased stress, anxiety, and depression. This situation may be leading to an increase in self-medication behaviors, with marijuana being a substance of choice for some. The drug is often perceived as natural and less harmful than other substances, which can mislead young people into believing that it's a safe method to cope with their psychological distress.Unfortunately, this perception might be far from reality. The use of marijuana during adolescence, particularly heavy and frequent use, has been linked to an array of negative health outcomes, including potential harm to cognitive development, increased risk for mental health disorders, and poorer educational outcomes. Hence, this nexus of increased availability of more potent marijuana products and a rising mental health crisis among the youth creates a complex problem requiring thoughtful and comprehensive solutions. It necessitates a robust response involving educational interventions, mental health support, and possibly regulatory measures to shield this vulnerable demographic.
Additionally, several studies have linked marijuana use to decreased academic performance and increased school dropout rates. This is believed to be because marijuana use in adolescence, when the brain is still developing, can negatively impact cognitive function and memory. So what are your thoughts? How can we use this legally and in a balanced fashion? Or can we?
It's easy to overlook some of these, even just one - don't.
Why think locally? Think big and consider traveling to the best capitals in the world.
What makes a capital "the best" – culture, sights, history & things to do, to say the least.
Here's a ranking from 1-10:
#1) Rome, Italy
This is a destination you can't pass up. With its rich history dating back to BC times, there are multiple historical sites you can't miss and there's a modern side to Rome too for the tourist in you.
#2) Cairo, Egypt
This sprawling capital on the Nile River is another can't-miss. Royal mummies, all kinds of artifacts and the nearby iconic pyramids all make Cairo an attractive destination.
#3) Cape Town, South Africa
Surrounded by mountains and oceans, it's the ultimate getaway destination. Some of the scenery is truly out-of-this-world.
#4) Paris, France
This list wouldn't be complete without Paris. Highlighted by the Eiffel Tower, you'll enjoy charming cafés and extraordinary pastries, as well other fantastic sights and history.
#5) Bangkok, Thailand
A large city with a vibrant street life, Bangkok boasts a boat-filled river and network of canals, as well as sacred temples and an enormous Buddha. Worth a visit!
#6) Buenos Aires, Argentina
For a great time in South America, you have to go to Buenos Aires, rich culturally with modern art and an all-around vibrant capital city that has a touch of Europe to it.
#7) Athens, Greece
With BC-era landmarks, the capital of Greece has excellent museums that are well worth your time if you have any interest in history.
#8) Washington, D.C. USA
Washington, D.C. has a rich history, and its national monuments and museums are well worth a visit.
#9) New Delhi, IndiaHumayun's Tomb (New Delhi) | Humayun's tomb is a complex of … | Flickrwww.flickr.com
Well known for its architectural wonders and tourist attractions, New Delhi also boasts excellent Indian cuisine and culture.
#10) Canberra, Australia
For a unique experience down under, Canberra boasts all kinds of culture, arts & museums, as well as national attractions as the capital of Australia. Package it with a trip to Sydney which is about a 3 hours drive.
"It's 75% drinking, 20% Candy Land, and the floor is molten lava."
I think it's fair to say that anyone who watches "New Girl" knows about True American. This crazy, nonsense drinking game which pops up every so often throughout the seasons and first introduced in season one, episode 20.
The game, as described by "New Girl" character and fan-favorite Schmidt, is 75% drinking game and 20% Candy Land with a floor of molten lava.
The point of the game is for players to navigate through the Candy Land-like spaces to the "castle," which is a table in the center of the room that holds beer "pawns" and the "king" bottle. The first person to reach and sip from the bottle wins.
SEE ALSO:15 Things "New Girl" Fans Know to Be True
Here's how to play:
Step #1: Prepare the "castle"
First, set up your "castle." The castle is made up of beer "pawns" and the "king," a bottle filled with the alcohol of your choice.
The bottle should be in the middle of the table, surrounded by four lines of beer pawns. There is no exact number of beers necessary for each line of beer pawns. Choose any amount of beers that seems appropriate for the amount of players.
Step #2: Set up spaces
Set up spaces using pillows, chairs or any other objects players will be able to stand on. Place an equal amount of spaces around the table. You'll want about 5-8 spaces on each side, depending on the size of the room you're playing in.
Only four of these spaces should reach the castle, lining up with the parade of beer "pawns" and allowing players to take a beer pawn from the castle. For example, in the photo above, each of the chairs touch a corner of the table at the end of the line of beer pawns. Therefore, these are two of the four special spaces that allow players to take a beer. Unlike the pillows pictured, which are just regular spaces that the players can use to move around.
Step #3: Pick teams
Teams are optional. To pick teams, all of the players will place a certain number (1 to 5) of fingers against their forehead on the count of three.
Any players who hold up the same number are a team. Unmatched players can team up as needed or simply pair up with the person standing closest to them.
Step #4: Begin
Begin with a shotgun "tip-off" to determine which player goes first.
The winner of this shotgunning contest will yell, "One, two, three...JFK!" to announce the official beginning of the game. All players will enthusiastically respond, "FDR!" then quickly grab a beer pawn from the castle and run to any space they wish to start at, excluding for the four special spaces that reach the castle.
Step #5: Make moves
The winner of the shotgunning contest has earned the first turn. From then on, the order of turns will move in a clockwise rotation. During each turn, the player will move one space toward the castle and choose to play one of the following mini-games.
Mini-game No. 1: The player whose turn it is will count to three then all players will place a certain number (1-5) of fingers on their forehead. Any player who selects a number no one else selected can move ONE space.
Mini-game No. 2: The player whose turn it is will recite the beginning of a famous American quote. The first player to complete the quote can move TWO spaces.
Mini-game No. 3: The player whose turn it is will name two famous American people, places, or things. The first player to identify what the two have in common can move THREE spaces.
For example, say it's your turn. You will move one space then choose one of the three mini-games. You and all of the players will participate in that game, and the winner will move accordingly. After this, your turn is over and it's the next player's turn (in the original clockwise rotation).
Step #6: "Play on, playa."
Continue playing by these rules until one lucky winner reaches the bottle and sips from its royal glass.
The bottle cannot be opened until every last pawn is removed from the castle. Any players who fail to keep at least one beer in hand, who accidentally end up with more than three beers in hand, or who touch the lava are immediately disqualified. Disqualified players can rejoin the game by shotgunning a beer.
You are now able to impress all of your "New Girl"-loving friends with knowledge of the workings of the epic True American drinking game. Know your limits, drink responsibly, and enjoy!
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