What Brand Is Your Easter?

What Brand Is Your Easter?

Materialism has more than taken over.
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So it's currently Easter Sunday evening; I'm sitting in my bed slowly eating a handful of Easter jellybeans as I type, a floppy pair of bunny ears lying next to me. And suddenly I pause from within my sugar-induced trance and realize - since when did Jesus dying have to do with the Easter bunny and candy?

And yeah, okay there is an entire story behind it, but since when did it take over? People thinking of the Easter bunny over Jesus, or Santa over Jesus at Christmas, or the general overtaking of Thanksgiving by Black Friday? Sales for every single holiday (like Washington would have wanted a sale on Ford cars for his birthday...)? But that's just a broad, holiday-focused list of examples. How about the fact that people are inherently judged on the clothes that they wear, specifically the brands? Even more so with cars, to the point that broad, sweeping assumptions are granted to people based on the brands they portray?

I would attribute this effect to capitalism -- and I think it is definitely safe to do so -- but also to our culture of materialism, a factor that is related yet not the same as capitalism. One can be capitalist yet less materialistic (philanthropy being an example) and one can be materialistic yet not capitalist (hoarding things not meant to eventually be sold for money). And it is more the materialism within our society that drives us to find a physical gain for spiritual holidays and to decide that a person's worth is reflected in who made their clothes.

Okay, party pooper, and...? It's a hard lesson to teach your kids, especially when focus on material value such as brand or expense is a large part of their daily lives. Yet ultimately the value is immensely worth the long, hard process of helping your kids see nonmaterial value in life -- understanding that clothes are just as fine if they aren't Nike brand, and Christmas is still magical if they do not receive that xBox that they were wanting.

And don't misread me -- I love my material objects as much as the next person. I absolutely love my car, I probably couldn't live without my phone and I am definitely one of the people to stay up all night shopping on Black Friday. I totally recognize that living in our world today would be almost impossible without some level of materalistic appreciation.

But please, guys, there is a meaning to everything beyond the monetary value of it (and I don't mean one that is necessarily religious). Look deeper into people than what they're wearing. Harbor peace of the holidays in your heart. And as you unwrap your presents and devour the candy that you found in your hidden eggs, remember that life is more than a price tag. You cannot improve your life by buying more expensive things... so appreciate what you have right now, no matter how much that phrase makes you think of the letter posters they sell at Hobby Lobby. It is worth it.

Cover Image Credit: Pascal Terjan

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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A College Student's Guide To Self-Care 101

A trend on the rise, self-care is becoming more and more prevalent.

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My social media sites have been exploding with mentions of self-care. Tweets about the concept are ever on the rise and I think it is important to explore the concept. Self-care practices have become increasingly common because people are ever interested in tending to their emotional and physical wellbeing.

Unfortunately, with the popularization of the concept comes misconceptions. Self-care is not strictly about "treating yourself" and face masks. Additionally, it encompasses growth, reflection, and change. So, without further adieu, here are my top ten self-care tips!

1. Learn to be by yourself

This one is harder than people would think at first. Everyone's personality is different and, therefore, their affinity to being alone will differ as well. However, as I mentioned before, self-care is not only about physical practices. It is about eliminating toxicity from your life. This means eliminating bad habits, which is achieved through reflection and acknowledgment of the problematic habituation. Being by yourself allows you to set your own goals for yourself without any influence from outside factors. Additionally, the ability to be by yourself aids in establishing good self-esteem and ensures that the relationships you allow in your life are true and special rather than just to pass time.

2. Accept compliments

I don't know how this became normalized or why, but I despise the fact that girls have been taught to downplay their confidence. If someone offers a compliment, smile and accept it. Positive feelings towards yourself should be integral parts of your thought processes. Additionally, pay yourself compliments. They don't have to be said out loud but appreciate the beauty that is your body. It does so much for you, the least you could do is appreciate it every now and then.

3. Hold yourself accountable

Like I said earlier, part of self-care is eliminating bad habits. The tendency to attribute one's own failures and shortcomings to external forces is self-serving bias and those with good self-esteem are guilty of it. It may be difficult to balance attribution and self-esteem but in order to achieve growth, you have to acknowledge your own faults. This will allow for clarity and for you to work towards achieving better habits.

4. Don't bottle up your feelings

I am especially guilty of not following this tip. Keeping to yourself may seem like the easier thing to do and, if you are like anything like me, you may hate being seen as an inconvenience. However, I know that if I bottle up for too long, I tend to shut down and then I won't be able to achieve anything. Expressing your feelings is okay. Crying is okay. Anger is okay. Emotion is okay.

5. Try new things

Take a yoga class. Volunteer. Go to a new restaurant. Anything that pushes you out of your comfort zone incubates growth. You don't even have to enjoy everything you do, you just have to try. However, you may also find a new passion because of it.

6. Get some sleep

Don't spend all your time sleeping and lose all motivation to do anything, but make a conscious effort to get sufficient sleep so that all of your days can be as efficient as possible. You will be more energized and your immune system, as well as your physical appearance, will thank you.

7. Don't force yourself to do things you don't like

I know I said to try new things. However, if your best friend loves running and you go with her one day and find out you HATE it, don't force yourself. Find what works for you through trial and error. You will be much happier with your own flow and it keeps you from developing resentment.

8. Learn to say no

All the women in my life are especially guilty of this. We spread ourselves too thin because we can't say no. This goes hand in hand with not forcing yourself to do things that you don't want to do. Saying no doesn't make you a bitch, it makes you strong and lets people know that you know what you want.

9. Say what you mean

Don't sugarcoat things. It will leave you feeling unfulfilled and, quite frankly, it's exhausting trying to tiptoe around what you really mean. Don't be rude or aggressive, rather assertive and straight forward. It will make you a better communicator and will take pressure off of you as well.

10. Finally, treat yourself

I said self care wasn't entirely about that. I didn't say it wasn't necessary.

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