Monthly Archives

August 2018

  • Portfolio

    Top 25 Netflix Movies To Watch For A Girl’s Night In

    Top 25 Netflix Movies To Watch For A Girl’s Night In

    Everyone loves to go out and have fun from time to time; a girl’s night out is especially fun on the weekends. You can go out to eat, go bowling, go to the movies, or even take a short over-night road trip. Sometimes a girl’s night in can be just as fun as a girl’s night out. Good food, good company, and just relaxing can be what any girl needs after a hard week of school and/or work. The best thing to do when having a girl’s night in is to watch a good movie with the girls, though sometimes it can be hard for all of you to decide exactly what you want to watch.

    To make it easier for you and your friends to decide what the best “girl’s night in” movie is to watch, I have listed my top 25 favorite movies to watch with friends. Some are cheesy, some are empowering, and others are super emotional. You can watch whatever you may choose depending on what you and your friends are in the mood for. Nonetheless, these movies are sure to entertain and capture your attention even if it is your first time watching it or your 100th time watching it. Most of them are classics that are loved by most and can be enjoyed even if you are watching it by yourself.

    1. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
    2. 50 First Dates
    3. Beauty and the Beast
    4. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
    5. High School Musical
    6. Nancy Drew
    7. Queen of Katwe
    8. 13 Going on 30
    9. Any of the “Bring It On” Movies
    10. So Undercover
    11. Lemonade Mouth
    12. Geek Charming
    13. Joyful Noise
    14. Dismissed (because Dylan Sprouse is everything)
    15. The Great Gatsby (the original one)
    16. Expelled
    17. Princess Protection Program
    18. Charlie St. Cloud
    19. High Strung
    20. Beauty and the Briefcase
    21. Catwoman
    22. Can’t Buy Me Love
    23. Keith
    24. Romeo and Juliet
    25. Camp Rock

  • Articles, Technology, Woman's History

    Hedy Lamarr: An Unknown Genius

    Hedy Lamarr: An Unknown Genius

    Hedy Lamarr. She was one of the most beautiful Hollywood stars in the 1940’s. She was well recognized for the roles she played in Hollywood hits Algiers and Sampson and Delilah. The fairy tale character Snow White was modeled after her in the 1937 cartoon. Hedy Lamarr was also the inspiration for the comic book character Catwoman. Lamarr’s beauty and glamour definitely did not go unnoticed in the film industry. However, her creative and intelligent mind was hidden from society. Not only was she a talented actress, she held a patent for frequency-hopping technology. This technology is now used for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Hedy Lamarr, was born as Hedy Kiesler in Austria in late 1910’s . In the documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, Lamarr’s son tells of how Hedy took apart her toy music box and then put it back together at a young age. It was obvious she had a knack for inventing. Hedy’s father had helped her find that passion. He was in finance, but was very interested in technology. Furthermore, Hedy lived in a very cultured part of Austria. She would go to the opera, the theater, and she attended a prestigious school.

    Hedy had somewhat of an acting career, acting in small Viennese films. However, when she was on the boat the U.S. Normandie, she encountered Louis B. Mayer. He owned Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which was the company producing the big Hollywood movies. He offered her to be a Hollywood actress and she complied. In order to ensure a movie-star persona, Mayer gave her the name: Hedy Lamarr. Lamarr did have some trouble finding a movie to star in, when, one night at a party, she met a man named Charles Boyer. Boyer found her captivating and asked her to be in his movie, Algiers. After starring in that movie, she instantly became one of the most popular stars in Hollywood. However, her career did dwindle a little, but she gained success when she starred in Boom Town (1940). After that movie, she was constantly starring in well-known and well-written movies. The 40’s were when Hedy Lamarr’s acting career peaked. She was constantly working and in her free time, she would work on her inventions. She had a relationship with Howard Hughes, who was a famous expert on building planes. She had come up with ideas to help him improve planes he was building. Despite the exciting events that Hedy was a part of, the 40’s were a time of anxiety and turmoil since World War II was going on.

    After a shipload of 293 people sank due to German U-boats, Hedy decided she had to do something. She thought of a solution to combat Nazi submarines and decided a radio-controlled torpedo could solve the problem. This was where her idea of frequency-hopping technology came in. The torpedoes the US used had one transmit frequency communicating, making it easy for the signal to be jammed. Frequency-hopping technology would be able to prevent the jamming of radio signals. With the help of George Antheil, a renowned musician, Hedy come up with an outline to build radio-controlled torpedoes that used frequency-hopping technology. They showed their idea to the National Council of Inventors. One of the inventors, Charles Kettering, transferred them to Professor Sam S. Mackeown, who was a physicist at Caltech. Mackeown. He was responsible for designing the electronics of George and Hedy’s project. When the patent was issued, it was issued to George and Hedy. However, since the Navy was against using the device, George and Hedy did not get money at first. Hedy’s invention was not used until the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. However, at the time Hedy did not get paid. Finally, Hedy got some recognition through Forbes in 1990. By then, her technology was already being used in GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi technology, military satellites, and more. Hedy Lamarr died in 2000, leaving a legacy that will forever be remembered.

    To learn more about Hedy Lamarr’s story, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story is a great documentary to watch. It is available on Netflix.

    Sources used: Field, Shivaune. “Hedy Lamarr: The Incredible Mind Behind Secure WiFi, GPS And Bluetooth.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 8 Mar. 2018, www.forbes.com/sites/shivaunefield/2018/02/28/hedy-lamarr-the-incredible-mind-behind-secure-wi-fi-gps-bluetooth/#197f105541b7.
    Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story. Dir. Alexandra Dean. Perf. Hedy Lamarr. Zeitgeist Films and Kino Lorber, 2017. Netflix. https://www.netflix.com/title/80189827
    Picture credits: “Hedy Lamarr.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Aug. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedy_Lamarr.

  • Body Image, College, School

    Three Rules for the New School Year

    Three Rules for the New School Year

    guest post by Martha Underwood, CEO of Executive Estrogen

    This year, how will you navigate making new friends, encountering new teachers, growing physically and emotionally all while staying cool. It can seem overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. You are unique and beautiful in your own right. Here are a few tips to navigating the school year.

    Get a Mentor & Meet a New Friend

    Approach new teachers and new people with the intention to learn about them and yourself. Find a good teacher that can serve as a mentor to you. Also, you may be able to use them as a confidant or tutor should you need one. Be open to meeting a new friend and seek out friends that may differ from you, doing so will help expand your perspective of people and  in the end you may find that you are more alike than you may have thought.

     

    Embrace Physical Change and Growth

    Your body and emotions will change. It’s natural. I was so skinny, I used to get teased that I walked on stilts. Instead of staying indoors looking at all the photoshopped bodies in magazines, I made it a point to ride my bike and enjoy the outdoors. Being outside reminded me that everything is always evolving and my body and emotions weren’t any different. So instead of staring at Instagram all day,  go for a walk.  Enjoy the outdoors, it offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new environment which will help balance all of the physical and emotional ups and downs you will experience.

     

    Be You

     

    Most importantly, be you! Even if you feel like you look silly doing the floss, do it anyway. Even if you feel like people will pick at you because you still love Harry Potter, love it anyway. Someone will always have an opinion about how you look, what you say or how you dress, in the end the only thing that matters the most is how you feel about it. Take note of how you feel when you are experiencing new people and new things. If it makes you happy, keep doing them, if it makes you uncomfortable or sad, remove it from your life.

    Here’s to an awesome 2018-2019 school year!

    Keep Shining,

    Martha

  • Articles, Depression

    Depression and Suicide. Know the Signs. Help A Friend.

    Have you ever been so frustrated or overwhelmed to the point where you sob uncontrollably or even lose consciousness of your physical movements? Maybe you became upset because the winged-tip of your eyeliner on your left eye doesn’t match the winged-tip on your right eye even though you spent 30 minutes carefully applying each stroke of the black liquid to your eyelids. Or maybe that cow lick refuses to cooperate no matter how much hair product you apply to that one spot. Because these things are such a big deal at that moment in time, you overreact and become so worked up you forget that these things really aren’t “that deep”. There are individuals in other places battling their inner selves on a daily basis and their battles involve much more than winged eyeliner and a cow lick. You may be wondering what things could be more serious than not having the perfectly “beat” face or the most “laid” hairstyle, so I’m here to tell you…suicide. We may know what this term means, but do we really understand the factors that lead up to this mental illness that overtakes both youth and adult people? Are we aware of the signs or even ways to prevent suicide? If not, we are here to learn together.

    As celebrities are pushed to the forefront in everyday news, you may be aware of the recent suicide of fashion icon, Kate Spade. Reports have shared the possible reason Spade chose to take her own life in early June, which seems to have been confirmed in a suicide note she left her daughter, Frances. Sources have also shared that Spade’s last moments were spent joyfully, which made it seem as if everything was fine. Little did her family know, she’d finally made the decision to succumb to the worries of the world.

    Unfortunately, we fail to notice, or even to acknowledge, the signs of suicide until it is too late. Young people have become comfortable with sayings such as, “kill yourself” or “kill me now” in reference to an overwhelming situation. However, these phrases should never be used, not even jokingly. We never know what’s going on in someone’s life; especially not in their heads. As human beings, we neglect to pay attention to the actions and words of our friends and acquaintances and fail to take them seriously. It’s a negative characteristic we all carry that can be fixed with simply listening and becoming aware of the signs.

    Is My Age Group Affected by this Crisis?

    YES. People of all age groups struggle with this mental illness everywhere. However, statistics show youth struggle and give in to this illness each day. Risk factors that contribute to teen suicide include:

    • A recent or serious loss (family, friend, or pet)
    • Depression, trauma, stress
    • Alcohol and other substance use and/or abuse
    • Struggles with sexual orientation
    • A family history of suicide
    • Lack of social support
    • Bullying
    • Difficulties receiving mental help or restriction from receiving such help

    Some youth also send indirect cries for help through social media usernames as well as through the context of the messages they send through statuses, tweets, or snaps. We must become aware of the warning signs as well as prevent contributing to risk factors of this detrimental illness in order to prevent the rise in suicides.

    How Can I Help?

    • Remember that you never know what someone is going through; even if they seem to be the happiest person on the planet.
    • Pay attention to negative comments about oneself or the value of life itself
    • Brighten someone’s day by saying something nice! (You never know, they may have fought with their eyeliner that morning)
    • Pay attention to the words one uses on social media accounts.
    • BE AWARE OF WARNING SIGNS!!
  • Articles, College, Confidence, Money, School, Writing

    How to Write College Essays

    How to Write College Essays

    guest post by Rick Wedell, RFG Chief Investment Officer

     

    College application deadlines are approaching, and with that there comes the stress of the application process. Some schools do not ask for essays, while others may ask you for several different pieces of writing. With that in mind, we thought we would share with you a good approach to writing college essays beyond the simple “make sure you proof- read carefully”.1

     

     

    Step 1: The Personal Narrative

    Ideally, a college application should tell a compelling story about who you are, why you want to go to school in general, and why this institution in particular. We’ll call this your personal narrative – the twenty second elevator speech youwould give to the admissions of cer if you were fortunate enough to be able to trap them in an enclosed space for thatlength of time.

    This is a story that you should construct on paper prior to even looking at the application, and it’s crucial that it weaves itself together into a compelling and coherent story line. Consider two narratives –

    1. I’m Rick, I’m a natural leader, I ran track and focused on Model UN in High School, I want to go to college so that I can become a marine biologist, and I’m interested in the University of Miami because of your amazing overseas exchange student program
    2. I’m Samantha, I’m inquisitive, I was active in the debate team and student government in High School, I’m looking to go to college so that I can one day go to law school, and I’m interested in the University of Virginia because of your excellent pre-law curriculum track 2

    To a college admissions counselor, Rick sounds like he has no sense of what he is doing with his life, while Samantha sounds like she has been organized around a single purpose since the day she could walk. Each aspect of her narrative is complementary and additive to the others, and as a result, Samantha is a far more compelling candidate. More importantly, her story is a heck of a lot more memorable because it all hangs together – inquisitive, debate, law school, pre-law.

    As a guideline, your narrative should include two to four characteristics that describe who you are (or who you want the admissions department to think of you as). These can be interests, achievements, activities, or descriptors.
    The most important thing about your narrative is that it needs to be believable! If you say you want to help impoverished children, then you had better be able to point to something concrete that demonstrates this desire.

    That said, saying it needs to be believable is not the same thing as saying that it needs to be 100% accurate, particularly when you discuss why you want to go to college and why this school in particular. In your heart of hearts, you may want go to the University of Wherever because that’s where your friends are going, or because you love their sports teams, or because your parents went to their arch-rival and you are trying to rebel. These are all valid reasons for going to the school and horrible reasons to put on your application. You shouldn’t lie about grades, an activity, a leadership role or accolade or anything like that, however stretching the possible on your motivations or what attracts you to the school is fair game so long as it is believable. In our examples above, Rick could make his story more compelling if he tied his experience in Model UN to an interest in a government degree and Miami’s fantastic public policy program. He can always switch to marine biology once he enrolls.3

    So now we’ve got our personal narrative, which is a well-constructed, believable story about who you are, why you want to go to college, and why you want to go to this college in particular. The next step is to actually look at the application itself.

     

    Step 2 – The Grid

    Every college application is different. Some applications ask for a single essay, others ask for multiple short answers, others ask for multiple essays, and some ask for no written samples at all. If the application asks for a single essay – no problem – just take your personal narrative and start writing. If multiple written responses are required, that’s when we come to the concept of the grid.

    The grid is pretty simple – put your narrative in boxes across the top row and the list of writing requirements down the page. At the far right should be a column called “topic”. To illustrate, we’ll use Samantha’s narrative and some essay questions I made up:

    Inquisitive

    Debate

    Student Gov.

    Law School

    Pre-law track

    Topic

    Talk about a time you struggled?

    What are you most proud of?

    Why would our campus be a better place with you on it?

    Now, all we need to do is decide which situations or experiences we are going to address in each essay, making
    sure that we touch on all of the elements of our narrative at least once in the entire application. We don’t want every response to check every box, but we do want to check 2 or 3 boxes with each answer and make sure that nothing in ourpersonal narrative gets left out when the admissions of cer nishes reading the application as a whole.

    page2image47944page2image48104

    What the grid forces you to do is focus your writing on your message and avoid the cardinal sin of application writing – DO NOT simply answer the questions in a laundry list fashion. Samantha may be very proud of the time she won the spelling bee in Junior High. If the application asks what she’s proud of, she might be tempted to write about it. After all, who wouldn’t be proud of that? At the same time, that response is off message. It’s impressive, and it might make for a good essay topic for some applicants, but it doesn’t really fit into Samantha’s story. She certainly should list that achievement when asked about extra curriculars, awards, and accolades, but she shouldn’t spend essay time writing about it. Instead, she should pick an experience or situation to write about that helps to tell her story.

    Keep in mind that the questions are just prompts to get you talking about yourself, and no admissions officer is going to penalize you for being a little off topic with your answers so long as you make an effort to frame it within the question. The best overall candidates get into school, not the people who have the best examples to fit into the application questions.

    If Samantha wants to talk about a debate tournament she won for the “struggled” question, she can spend a little time describing the struggle she had with preparation for the tournament as she crafts the response. If she’d rather talk about the tournament in the next question, then she can be “most proud of” the fact that she worked together with her team and coaches to get to the victory. You get the idea.

    When Sam is finished with her grid, it might look something like this:

    Inquisitive

    Debate

    Student Gov.

    Law School

    Pre-law track

    Topic

    Talk about a time you struggled?

    XXX

    XXX

    Debate Win

    What are you most proud of?

    XXX

    XXX

    Class Senator

    Why would our campus be a better place with you on it?

    XXX

    XXX

    XXX

    Legal Intern

    She’s chosen topics to write about for each of these three essays that highlight the qualities checked on the grid. Once again, she’s not talking about everything in every response, but when she’s finished her narrative should flow through the application. Now that she has her topics, it’s off to write!

     

    Step 3 – The Writing

    Steps 1 and 2 are about figuring out what to write about for each question, and now we get to the point of actually putting words on paper. A couple of tips:

    • Make every word count. You have a limited number of words, and most of us are prolific with our prose. You want to cram as much content into as few words as possible. Start by writing with no filter, and then go back and delete / rephrase until you hit the target word count. Intro phrases like “for example” and “in other words” are great candidates to slash and burn.
    • Show, don’t tell. Wherever possible, use examples / stories / anecdotes (like the Samantha and Rick storylines above) to illustrate your points versus just stating them – it makes the work more engaging to the reader.
    • Customize your answers for each school. You may be tempted to copy essays from one application to the
      next. Resist the temptation unless the questions are the same. You can talk about the same situations on every application by reframing the experience (e.g. Samantha’s debate tournament win), but the copy / paste function on your word processor should be avoided like the plague.
    • If a question asks you about your personality or “who you are”, be brutally honest. These questions are probing not only for who you are, but for how well you know yourself, and should be treated with an appropriate level of introspection. They aren’t necessarily asking you to talk about the time you were elected president of the student government or some other mind-blowing achievement or skill. You can still fit these into the grid, but be careful – you want these responses to show that you are aware of your weaknesses as well as your strengths.4 Be honest with yourself. A good rule of thumb is that you will know that this type of essay is ready to submit when you hesitate to print a copy for fear that one of your friends might someday find it.
    • Find someone you trust to edit and proofread. You do not need 50 different editors, because they will give you conflicting advice. Find 1 or 2 people who will read all of the essays together and make sure that they present a compelling storyline, and who are willing to suggest changes to things that are a little off – an editor is worthless if they simply tell you the essays look great.

    Step 4 – The Recommendations

    You might think that we are all done once we’ve done the writing, but we still have letters of recommendation to consider! After all, we did all the work to come up with our personal narrative, and there is no reason not to share that with whoever is writing your letters of recommendation.

    page4image33496

    Indeed, you should probably think about your personal narrative when you think about WHO you ask. Ideally, we want the recommender to discuss something additive to your story, but not repetitive. If Samantha has her softball coach write a letter, it’s nice, but it doesn’t really build her story. Her Social Studies teacher might be a better option, as that is consistent with and adds to Samantha’s narrative. Having her Debate coach write the letter would be more in the repetitive camp.

    Once you’ve identified who you want to write the letter, you should ask them. Give them an out, so that if they do not want to write the letter they have a pre-built excuse. Something like “Mr. Johnson, I’m applying to the University of Wherever, and I was wondering if you have the time to write a good letter of recommendation for me?” Asking if they have the time gives them an out without hurting your feelings – you don’t want someone writing a rec who doesn’t want to do it.

    If they agree – great! Most people who write letters of recommendation want to see you succeed – they wouldn’t write it if they didn’t care. By telling your recommender how you are positioning your application, you let them know what
    to highlight in their letter. At the very least, it helps ensure that they won’t directly contradict you! Share your personal narrative with them, and if you feel comfortable enough, suggest what you think they might be able to add to the conversation.

    Sam might say: “Mr. Johnson, thank you for agreeing to write a recommendation for me. Elsewhere in my application, I’ve talked about how I’m inquisitive, loved student government and debate, and am interested in law as a career. I was hoping that you might be able to highlight my work in your class for the admissions office?” This is innocuous enough to not be pushy, but gives the letter writer enough information to compliment her story.5

    Last, but not least –

    I hope that this has been helpful as you approach your college applications. While the process may seem daunting, in a sense you are really just being asked to tell a couple of stories about yourself. These stories should be chosen and written carefully so that they are both interesting and present the best picture possible, but try to approach the process with a sense of humor. After all, no one is more qualified or better positioned to write about your life than you are.

    Good luck!

    page5image28448

    1 Which you should 100% do.
    2 The “why this particular school” portion requires you to do some homework on that school and what they offer you in that particular field. Spend the time and craft a custom answer – it shows you aren’t cutting and pasting.
    3 As an aside, MOST schools want a nice mix of math geeks, jocks, and poets. For schools that have a particularly dominant bent towards one type of major, saying you are interested in something OTHER than that might be helpful (so long as you can make it believable). Case in point – I applied under the guise of pursuing an engineering degree at a school more known for finance, then switched once I got there.
    4 I’m not talking about weaknesses like “I like to steal things” or “I have a crippling addiction” which will get you kicked out of the process immediately. We all have things we are great at and places where we could improve. Show that you know about both aspects of yourself.
    5 You should send this to your recommender in an email, or otherwise write it down so that they can refer to it later – most letter writers are doing a lot of them this time of year, and simply saying it risks they will forget it.
    Investment advice offered through RFG Advisory Group, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor.
  • Articles, Celebrities, Sheroes

    Celebrities and Politics: How the Rich and Famous Wield Their Influence

    When we choose our role models, it is ideal that they possess qualities we ourselves possess or wish to possess in the future. These role models could be family members, teachers, mentors, or even peers who inspire us to improve ourselves. Most times, these role models are celebrities who are in the public eye through social media and the news. Often times we are aware of their successes and the steps they took to reach their goals because of news articles, magazine interviews, and social media blogs. But how often is it that we actually take time to research their contributions to the community and to political causes? We may overlook these actions by our role models because of what the media pushes to the forefront, but some celebrity role models are influencing politicians in a positive way.

    What Are Some Roles Celebrities Have Played in the Political World?

    Celebrities are role models especially for young people, therefore they are spokespeople for many political figures when they want to persuade youth to align with their values. What better way to send this message than through a teenager’s idol such as an actor, performer, or famous athlete?

    In 1960, President John F. Kennedy received support from public figures such as Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin of the group Rat Pack. In the 2008 presidential election, Senator John McCain was supported, aka endorsed, by Clint Eastwood. Eastwood also endorsed President Donald Trump in more recent elections. You may be wondering, what makes this person so special that they can endorse presidential candidates? Well, Eastwood is a well-renowned actor, producer, and director. A person of this stature is connected with many sources who can also contribute to the candidate’s cause.

    Furthermore, in the 2008 election, household names like Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, wiil.i.am, Brad Pitt, and Samuel L. Jackson supported President Barack Obama. Oprah Winfrey is a highly respected entrepreneur who is a role model to young African American women. Other actors and athletes supported Hillary Clinton during the 2008. Some of these role models include LeBron James, Amy Schumer, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga.

    What Are Celebrities Doing Today in the Political World?

    Recently, celebrity entrepreneur Kim Kardashian influenced President Donald Trump to pardon 63-year-old Alice Johnson. The great grandmother was serving a life sentence for drug trafficking. According to Vox, the pardon “goes against the broader policy that Trump has been pushing for drug dealers and traffickers.” Trump has said the government should impose consequences on drug dealers and traffickers. However, Kim Kardashian found the punishment excessive for the 63-year-old great grandmother who is serving a life sentence for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense. Kardashian first came across the case through social media- of course. She then reached out to her lawyer to help deal with the case.

    Johnson had been serving her sentence since 1996, when she was financially strained and needed to support her family. Although Johnson understands her actions were wrong, she questions if she deserved a life sentence.

    Despite these past 20 years, Alice Johnson is now a free woman and her fight for criminal justice reform has just begun thanks to Kim Kardashian West.

    This goes to show that there is more to learn about our role models, and this includes their politics.