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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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.
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.
“I've always believed in savoring the moments. In the end, they are the only things we'll have.”
We go around day by day not paying attention to the moments that have passed us by. We take time for granted, never realizing just how precious it is. Until we have that moment when we understand just how much time is slipping away. It's in that moment, where we realize we need to spend time with loved ones, friends, and even our pets.
Rainy days are perfect for staying at home, watching Netflix and cuddling up in blankets with your pet. For me, I was cuddled up with my cat, her paws laying gently on the couch as I was petting her. It was at this moment where I realized we were sharing a moment that was unbreakable. No one else in the house, raining falling on the roof and many thoughts going through my mind. I would have never thought such a precious creature could give me such an eye opening moment.
My first thought was this, we don't spend quality, heartfelt time with the people we love. There may be the occasional sit down at dinner or watching a movie together in the family room but we are never in the moment. I was sitting on the couch with my cat and I just looked at her and I noticed I have never stayed in one place with her. I thought about how life will be different when she's not around. The house will be quieter than usual, there will be no occasional sprinting in the house and there will be no purrs for food. It made me cherish that moment more because who knows what's going to happen in the next few years, let alone in a day.
Just as I was sitting there, I thought about how we are given this life that is unimaginable and we take it for granted. We meet strangers at a coffee shop, we hold conversations that seem so inviting. However, we never hold those conversations with our friends or family. We all share different relationships and talk about different things to one another but we only share the deep conversations when the moment feels right.
My final thought is this, everything in life needs to be cherished. We need to tell our friends, family and loved ones just how much they mean to us. We need to live in the moment we are currently in and realize that it could slip away in just a few seconds. Just spending a few moments with my very loved cat, made me feel blessed to have such an amazing life. Life is a powerful thing that we are all given, it's up to us to make the best out of it and make it our own. I encourage everyone, even myself, to take in every moment that is given to us, even the bad ones. By taking these moments in, we learn how to overcome fears, build strong relationships with people, understand ourselves, but most importantly love the world we are placed in.
The longest-running male character in a live-action television series, ICE T's Fin Tutuola has seen it all.
Originally set to be a recurring character a the beginning of season 2 to replace Monique Jeffries, Ice T was later signed on to play Fin Tutuola as the main character and the rest is history.
He has become the longest-running male character in television history in a live-action primetime series.
20. "No Surrender" (Season 18, Episode 12)
Fin is taken back to his army roots when he must visit his former military precinct when an army ranger is sexually assaulted. We learn more about Fin's time with the military and his perspective on it.
19. "At Midnight In Manhattan" (Season 21, Episode 5)
In an episode where SVU handled three different cases at the same time, Fin connects to a mother and son who are being physically abused by her boyfriend.
The mother, Joelle initially refused to work with Fin and SVU, unwilling to have her boyfriend, Leon, imprisoned for attacking her. Fin later convinces her to cooperate for the sake of her son, Andre, in which she agrees to take Leon to trial.
18. "Denial" (Season 3, Episode 21)
Fin takes a special interest in a case involving a junkie rape victim with more demons than most and connects with her. We see a side of Fin where he empathizes with the rape victim, only for her to spin up lie after lie.
17. "Undercover" (Season 9, Episode 15)
Although this episode is a big one for Benson, who shines undercover, let's not forget Fin was also undercover with her as a prison guard and comes to Benson's rescue when she is almost raped by the corrupt guard who was suspected of raping female inmates.
16. "Intimidation Game" (Season 16, Episode 14)
In this wild episode, a video game enthusiast who kidnapped a woman is up on a rooftop with Carisi and Rollins. Fin rushes out to the rooftop and as the criminal turns at him with the gun, he shoots him dead to the ground.
He was put on unpaid administrative leave, but Benson told him it was a good shoot and to keep his gun and badge.
15. "Outsider" (Season 8, Episode 12)
Fin teams up with Brooklyn SVU detective Chester Lake in the investigation involving the brutal rape of a friend of Ken, Fin's son.
This episode is a strong one for Fin and shows his good partnership win Lake before they eventually become partners in season 9.
14. "Screwed" (Season 8, Episode 22)
Tensions between Fin and his family when his ex-wife's son goes on trial for rape and murder and digs into the past of the SVU detectives to use in his defense in this interesting season finale.
13. "Guardian" (Season 19, Episode 21)
When a brother claims his sister was gang raped, Fin takes a personal interest in the case, seeing the family comes from the projects, rooting to his own history.
12. "Manhunt" (Season 2, Episode 18)
One of the best qualities of Fin from the early seasons was his great chemistry and partnership with Detective John Munch. In this episode, Fin and Munch go on a manhunt together through upstate New York to catch a serial rapist/murderer before he crosses the border into Canada.
11. "Learning Curve" (Season 13, Episode 21)
Fin's son returns when his fiancé is brutally assaulted by a street gang which proves to be the latest crime in a series of hate crimes against gay men. Once again, Fin must work with his son to help solve a crime, as well as come to terms with who his son is and learn to be ok with that.
10. "Gone Fishin" (Season 19, Episode 1)
After tracking down a rape suspect from six years prior all the way to Cuba, Fin basically kidnaps Byron Marks in Havana and brings him to New York City, causing a political tug-of-war for Benson and Barba. Seeing how far Fin will go to ensure justice is served, offers a new perspective to his character we hadn't seen before.
9. "The Things We Have To Lose" (Season 21, Episode 20)
When the abusive boyfriend of a former victim is released from prison, Fin makes it his biggest mission to watch after Leon Fuller, and protect his family from him. He even goes to the extent to give the young boy Andre a phone.
When he is called by Andre to the apartment, tensions arise between Leon and his family where Fin is forced to shoot him dead to the ground. He later tells Benson that no kid should ever have to see a parent die.
It takes an even more emotional toll on Fin, when he is surprised to realize that Leon's former girlfriend is suing him for wrongful death.
8. "Brothel" (Season 20, Episode 15)
The death of a prostitute at a brothel leads SVU to team up with the Vice Unit, as Fin reunites with Sergeant Phoebe Baker, his former partner from narcotics in which they shared a romantic relationship together.
When suspicions arise that Baker could be a mole, Fin defends his former partner. He later asks her out on a date, but she declines, saying she's seeing someone else now. This episode shows us a part of Fin's love life and past we hadn't seen before.
7. "Presumed Guilty" (Season 14, Episode 10)
After his ex-brother-in-law is arrested for the brutal attack of a priest, Fin works with SVU to clear his name despite his past criminal record, because he believes he's innocent.
This leads the squad to uncover a church scandal where we see Fin work greatly with Rollins, where he even invites her to a family dinner at the end of the episode.
6. "Venom" (Season 7, Episode 18)
Fin's son, Ken, becomes the prime suspect in a homicide investigation, which leads to a rollercoaster ride into Fin's family issues, where it is revealed his ex-wife was raped by her own father and had a child, Darius.
Darius who hates Fin, was the true culprit of the crime and confessed it to his half-brother, Ken, who protected him.
5. "Diss" (Season 20, Episode 22)
Fin's ties to a suspect take him off the case, leading to the reveal that his mother was killed right in front of him when he was a young boy. This was something unknown about Fin's history in an episode featuring a real-life friend of Ice T: Snoop Dog.
Fin eventually covers up for his past friend and walks away at the end as if nothing ever happened, showing his personal loyalties might sometimes overshadow those to the police department.
4. "Poisoned Motive" (Season 14, Episode 22)
When Detective Rollins is shot with a sniper while exiting the precinct, Fin's past as a narcotics officer emerge when the daughter of his former partner, who took a bullet for him, seeks revenge on him and his new partner, Rollins.
This leads to a hostage situation with Fin and his ex-partner's daughter in which he is forced to defuse, feeling everything is his fault.
3. "Strain" (Season 7, Episode 5)
While working a case with Benson involving the murder of two gay men at a circus party, Fin learns that his son Ken is gay and has difficulty accepting it. He must later come to accept him as he assists him and Benson in the investigation.
At the end of the case, where Fin is shocked to see the killer's father plead for reduced sentencing, he calls Ken on the phone in efforts to reconcile his relationship with him.
2. "Anchor" (Season 11, Episode 10)
Fin takes the lead on a case to find a racist targeting the children of local immigrants, even clashing with a local celebrity over the matter. Fin's son, Ken, then gets involved in the case when he defends the local celebrity, once again causing tensions between the two.
We see Fin struggle with himself when he is unable to find the killer early on in the episode, but then we see him in full force with passion and what makes him a great detective. This case drives him because of the racism that still exists out there in society, from all shapes and forms.
1. "Haunted" (Season 6, Episode 10)
In what might be the biggest episode of the series for Fin, he gets caught off-duty in a convenience store robbery where he is forced to shoot and kill two teenage boys becoming wounded himself.
Fin becomes reunited with his son, Ken after Manu years, but is later accused of being a dirty cop for not helping the daughter of a woman he knew from his undercover days in narcotics.
Fin later finds her murdered after trying to find her daughter. Exonerated from the convenience store shooting when the robber's gun is found by video camera footage, Fin was hailed a hero, but the fact that he killed two teenagers haunted him to his core.
Tattoos with meaning you can't deny.
It's tough to find perfect tattoos with meaning.
You probably want something permanent on your body to mean something deeply, but how do you choose a tattoo that will still be significant in 5, 10, 15, or 50 years? Over time, tattoos have lost much of their stigma and many people consider them a form of art, but it's still possible to get a tattoo you regret.
So here are 20 tattoos you can't go wrong with. Each tattoo has its own unique meaning, but don't blame me if you still have to deal with questions that everyone with a tattoo is tired of hearing!
SEE RELATED: "Please Stop Asking What My Tattoos Mean"
A semicolon indicates a pause in a sentence but does not end. Sometimes it seems like you may have stopped, but you choose to continue on.
Unclosed Delta, Strategy Symbols
Top symbol: unclosed delta symbol which represents open to change. Bottom symbol: strategy.
Psalm 18:33 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights."
Represents 4 different states of consciousness and a world of illusion: waking (jagrat), dreaming (swapna), deep sleep (sushupti), transcendental state (turiya) and world of illusion (maya).
Symbolizes copper, means love, balance, feminine beauty, and artistic creativity.
The Greek word “Meraki"
To do something with soul, passion, love, and creativity or to put yourself into whatever you do.
Malin (Skövde, Sweden)
You have to face setbacks to be able to go forward.
Symbol meaning "thief" from "The Hobbit"
It was the rune Gandalf etched into Bilbo's door so the dwarves could find his house.
“Lux in tenebris"
Means "light in darkness."
Symbolizing strength and stability, something (or someone) who holds you in place, and provides you the strength to hold on no matter how rough things get.
Translated literally as "Towards greater things." It is a formula of greeting used to wish more success in life, career or love.
Means "explore." It was meant as a reminder for me to never stop exploring.
"Aut inveniam viam aut faciam"
Means roughly, "Either I shall find a way, or I will make one."
It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower's first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.
The zen (or ensō) circle
Represents enlightenment, the universe and the strength we all have inside of us.
The moon affirms life.
It looks as if it is constantly changing. Can remind us of the inconsistency of life. It also symbolizes the continuous circular nature of time and even karma.
Because going to the dentist beats going to the beach, any day.
A fun, warm season filled with trips to the beach, hangouts with friends, and those dreadful doctors' appointments you simply couldn’t fit in during the school year.
And yes, I know, procrastination is a strong skill for most college students, but everyone has to face their fears at some point - especially, the dentist.
These stages are for you bravesouls, and your pearly whites...
The Small Talk with the Hygienist Stage
*Inserts 95 tools in my mouth* Yes, now is the time for you to ask me how school is going, how my family is, if I have any pets, andwhat my social security number is. You know, the basics.
The "Do you floss?" Stage
Why yes, I do, but we all know you are going to scrape my gums until they bleed, and not believe me.
The "The dentist will see you now" Stage
Oh boy. Will I have a cavity? Will I not? This is the moment of truth.
The "Oh my god, I don't want to come back again next week" Stage
Please no cavities. Please no cavities. Please. No. Cavities.
The Self Diagnose and Reassure Myself Stage
Okay, so both the hygienist and the dentist haven’t said the 'C' word... cavity. Someone throw me my new toothbrush and start the car already, because that must mean I’m cavity free, right?
The "Thank God it's over!" Stage
See you in six months? More like see you never!
The Time To Look in the Mirror a Little Too Long Stage
Those little cracks, in between my teeth? I can see them?! And those ridges of my teeth? I can feel them?! I am the image of good oral hygiene.
The "Reward Me, Peasant!" Stage
Did you go to the dentist today? No, you didn’t?! Well I did, and I’ll have a chocolate milkshake and a large fry with that too, thank you.
The "Oh no, where did time go?!" Stage
I am never coming back here. I am never coming ba - wait, it’s been six months already?! How am I back here so soon?!
So, to all of you brave souls going to the dentist this summer, as dreadful it may be, you now know the drill (Pun intended, you're welcome). Your smile is worth it, and when in doubt, just think about that delicious milkshake. I know you can do it.
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