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  • Book Review, Celebrities, GirlSpring.com, Shero, Woman's History

    Review: Becoming by Michelle Obama

    Book Review Michelle Obama

    Review: Becoming by Michelle Obama

    Although Becoming was released in November of 2018, it wasn’t until recently that I finally had the opportunity to read it. A memoir by former First Lady Michelle Obama, Becoming is organized into three sections, “Becoming Me,” “Becoming Us,” and “Becoming More,” that bring readers on Mrs. Obama’s journey through several key elements of her life, including her childhood on the South Side of Chicago, her marriage and life with Barack Obama and their daughters, and her experience as the First Lady of the United States of America. I have always loved hearing Michelle Obama speak, and that same strong, intelligent, and elegant voice is portrayed in her writing. I found Becoming to be a very engaging memoir, and there were many important takeaways I had from reading it.

    1. Be aware of your surroundings and any changes that may be occurring: Michelle Obama discusses how she was always a very observant and opinionated individual. Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, Mrs. Obama discusses that the area wasn’t always as Black-populated as it is now. When she was in elementary school, her class at Bryn Mawr Elementary School had a fair number of white students as well, but the number of non-black students dwindled significantly as the years passed because more and more white families were moving to the suburbs. Through her observations and awareness of the concept of race from a young age, Mrs. Obama was able to become a more thoughtful and societally-competent individual. She would take these experiences and ideas into the future as a law student and woman of great power.

    2. People with authority may not always be correct: When Michelle Obama was in her senior year of high school and applying to colleges, her school guidance counselor told her that she wasn’t “Princeton material.” Instead of taking this as a set-back, Mrs. Obama stayed confident and reached out to other individuals in her school and community to help support her through the process. She successfully gained admission to Princeton University, the school of her choice, proving to herself (and to her guidance counselor) that she was, in fact, Princeton material. Big takeaway: it’s important to always believe in yourself and not let one’s title intimidate you.

    3. Don’t underestimate yourself just because the people around you seem smarter. At Princeton, Michelle Obama found herself to be a definite minority, both as an African American student and as a woman. Princeton, primarily white and male, was intimidating at first and Mrs. Obama felt that she may not belong. However, as she immersed herself in her classes and participated in the discussions, she realized that although the other students may have had a stronger educational foundation than she did, that didn’t make them smarter than her. Michelle Obama realized that she was a valuable member of the classroom, and this helped her succeed as a student at Princeton.

    4. Do what makes you happy. Life may be shorter than you think. One of Michelle Obama’s closest friends at Princeton was a woman named Suzanne Alele. Joining college as a pre-med student to satisfy her parents’ wishes, Suzanne soon realized that it wasn’t the path for her. She was lighthearted and loved parties, and she did what made her happy. Suzanne decided to travel after her years at Princeton, and Michelle Obama initially thought Suzanne wasn’t making the best use of her Princeton education. However, when Suzanne lost her fight to cancer and died at a very young age, Mrs. Obama felt that it was good that Suzanne had spent her life being free-spirited and doing the things she loved. Life may be shorter than we think, so we should always work to live each day the way we want.

    5. It’s okay to not always have a plan: Michelle Obama discusses how she was always very keen on organization and having a plan. Describing her journey from Princeton to Harvard Law School to her job as a lawyer at the firm Sidley Austin, she tells readers that she compared her accomplishments to checking off boxes on big list of plans for her life. However, this changed after she met Barack Obama, who was spontaneous and chose to pursue his interests and take life as it came. Mrs. Obama realized that life didn’t always have to be so planned out, and sometimes success could be achieved by taking advantage of opportunities that came one’s way and through hard work.

    6. It’s okay to ask for help. The transition to the White House was understandably difficult. Through words of encouragement and support from her brother Craig, Michelle Obama made the decision to move to the White House with her husband and family. She requested her mother to help her take care of Malia and Sasha during this process, allowing her to ultimately take control of and adjust to the situation without feeling extremely overwhelmed and burned out. Receiving help can allow an individual sort out their life and can actually help them be more productive.

    Both an interesting and informative read, I learned many important life lessons from Becoming. This is a very empowering book, especially for young women. Becoming is definitely a must-read, and is a great book for the summer if you haven’t already read it!

    Find it here, https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Michelle-Obama/dp/1524763136

    Looking for more good books? Check out our other book reviews, like this one by @bella_the_book_fairy, https://www.girlspring.com/?s=book+thief

    Or, check out your local library where everything is free!

  • 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.

  • Body Image, Celebrities, Confidence, Fashion, Makeup

    How To GLOW UP This Summer

    So, it’s finally the summer. You’re looking forward to laying out in the sun, hanging with your besties, and taking some time to yourself. But the summer is good for something else too, and we all know what it is…. glowing up. No, I don’t mean playing with glow sticks. I mean glow up. Urban Dictionary defines glow up as “when someone becomes really attractive after they hit puberty.” Now maybe you’re thinking to yourself “I’m past puberty! I missed my glow up time!” No need to fret, my friend! It is NEVER too late to glow up. And the summer is the perfect time! You have a couple months off from seeing everyone at school, so you can come back looking completely different. Without further ado, I present to you, how to glo up this summer.

    Visit a hairstylist

    Visiting a hairstylist is one of the easiest (and most fun!) ways to change your whole look in a single day. A new haircut can completely change your appearance and face shape, so a good hairstyle is a must. It’s important to visit a hairstylist so that you can ask a professionals opinion on what hair color and cut will look best with your look! Make sure if you set an appointment to bring photos of the hair you want, so your stylist will know exactly what you’re going for.

    Experiment with make up

    If you’re a girl and you’ve never experimented with make up before, it can really change your appearance! One of the best ways to get exposure to make up and how to learn some tips is by the magical and wonderful world of no other than Youtube. You can simply search “Make up tutorial” on Youtube, and millions of videos will pop up. The good news with the summer is that you have plenty of time to practice and perfect your look! That way, if a makeup tutorial goes wrong, you can just wash it right off and nobody even saw! And if you decide you don’t like wearing make up, then it makes your life even easier!

    Get healthy

    Something good for your body, skin, and mental health is deciding to get healthy! Getting healthy can be as easy as deciding to work out a few days a week, or limiting the amount of junk food you eat. The healthier you become, the better you will feel! Plus being healthy helps you live your best life, so this one should be near the top of your list.

    Take care of your body

    Whether it be through skin care, working out or taking time to yourself, taking care of your own body can make a huge difference. From treating yourself to a mani pedi, finding a toothpaste that whitens your teeth, or even finding the perfect shade of self-tanner, taking care of your body has a huge impact on the way you look. This means going to the doctor, dentist, dermatologist- you name it! Your body is all you’ve got- so treat it with some respect!

    Become confident with who you are

    If you have any sort of transformation this summer before coming back to school, let it be this- learn to be confident in your own skin! You don’t have to look any specific way to “glo up” because glowing up should be the way you feel about yourself. If you learn to love the reflection in the mirror, it will translate into the way other people see you!

  • Body Image, Celebrities, Fashion, TRENDING

    Tim Gunn blasts designers: They don’t make clothes that fit American women

    The “body positivity” movement may not be a new phenomenon, but after Tim Gunn’s recent Washington Post essay, it’s seen such a boost in relevance that it may as well be.

    The average American woman now wears between a size 16 and a size 18, according to new research from Washington State University,” the 63-year-old fashion consultant and TV personality wrote in an essay that slammed fashion designers for their role in dismissing the bodies of larger women.

    “There is money to be made here ($20.4 billion, up 17 percent from 2013),” Gunn continues. “But many designers — dripping with disdain, lacking imagination or simply too cowardly to take a risk — still refuse to make clothes for them. This is a design failure and not a customer issue.”

    Women who are larger than a size 12 shouldn’t be cast aside simply because designers don’t believe they can make clothes that will look good on them, he says.

    “There is no reason larger women can’t look just as fabulous as all other women,” he writes. “The key is the harmonious balance of silhouette, proportion and fit, regardless of size or shape. Designs need to be reconceived, not just sized up; it’s a matter of adjusting proportions.”

    He’s also quick to point out that moves to include plus-size women in fashion campaigns are generally “the exception, not the rule.” And even when they’re not done in poor taste, they often feel like “tokenism,” as he believed to be the case when designer Ashley Nell Tipton won this past season of Project Runway with her plus-size collection.

    To Gunn, her win felt less like an achievement and more like a forced milestone.

    “I’ve never seen such hideous clothes in my life,” he explains. “… One judge told me that she was ‘voting for the symbol’ and that these were clothes for a ‘certain population.’ I said they should be clothes all women want to wear.

    “I wouldn’t dream of letting any woman, whether she’s a size 6 or a 16, wear them. Simply making a nod toward inclusiveness is not enough.”

    #bodypositivity

    Article From: Today

  • Celebrities, Music

    Justin Timberlake’s New Song for the Summer!

    If Friday had a sound, it would be Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling.”

    So it makes sense that the singer would drop his new song and video on that day. Already it’s being bandied about as the possible song of the summer.

    “Can’t Stop the Feeling” mixes business with Timberlake’s business pleasure as it’s not only his new single, but also featured on the soundtrack of the animated movie “Trolls,” in which he voices the character Branch.

    So it made sense for the singer to get a little help from his costars James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Gwen Stefani, Kunal Nayyar, Ron Funches — as well as Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo of Icona Pop for the music video.

    In it, the group can be seen getting a first listen to the song in various locations as they dance and sing along.

    #CantStopTheFeeling

    From: CNN

  • Body Image, Celebrities, TRENDING

    Jennifer Lawrence Opens Up About Being Called “Plus-Size”

    Jennifer Lawrence sat down with Extra at the premiere of her newest feature, the IMAX movie, A Beautiful Planet, and she talked about more than just saving the Earth.

    She opened up about her friendship with Amy Schumer, saying the two love to stuff their adorable faces together and then joke about how it’s ridiculous they’re sometimes referred to as plus-sized. “There’s so many different ways to be beautiful; Amy and I are always laughing about it. Everyone always talks about us like, ‘Look, plus-size actresses!’ Our idea of what is curvy is, like, so bizarre.”

    She also shared that she and Amy are searching for a director for their movie, as well as the time to make it happen. “We’re done. We’re trying to find a director and time to do it, ’cause every time we get a spot slotted, one of us does something.”

    From: Seventeen

  • Articles, Celebrities, STEM

    the Dakota Access Pipeline: the Latest

    It only felt like yesterday when I logged onto Facebook to see reports of Shailene Woodley getting arrested at Standing Rock along with 26 other protesters, fighting for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s right to clean drinking water at the construction site of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Her passion for the environment was awe-inspiring and I only felt even more empowered when she took the stage at the 2016 Environmental Media Awards to call even more attention to the #noDAPL movement (no Dakota Access Pipeline). But, all of that happened in October of last year. Now, halfway into 2017, I find my newsfeed, usually inundated with news about protests at Standing Rock, eerily void of all news about the pipeline. What has happened in the last eight months?

    Let’s first go over what the Dakota Pipeline is and why it’s newsworthy. The Dakota Access Pipeline is a project that has been well into the making for several years. According to the Smithsonian, the Dakota Access Pipeline will span over 1200 miles, connecting oil production fields in North Dakota to a river port in Patoka, Illinois. Developers state that the pipeline would transport well over “470,000 barrels of crude oil every single day.” The Standing Rock Sioux, a Native American tribe, opposes the construction of the pipeline because the tribe believes that it endangers the health and safety of its people with the threat of possible water contamination. The Pipeline would also be built on Sioux burial grounds, desecrating the tribe’s sacred history.


    According to the Washington Post, in February of 2017, the Trump administration approved the final permit of the Dakota Access Pipeline. In act of brazen indifference to the Sioux culture, tradition, and basic right to unpolluted drinking water, the administration went again environmentalist concerns and gave the green light for the pipeline’s construction. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised halfway into writing this article to notice a new headline in my inbox, a headline that was positive for the Sioux concerns and a major blow to the administration. The article, released by NPR, stated that the administration failed to “follow proper environmental procedures when it granted approval to the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline project.” Though the judge’s ruling does not halt construction of the Pipeline, it does open up a door to this possibility.

    In our history classes, we often read about the several injustices done to the first Americans. Yet, it’s tragic how we only talk about the Natives at the Thanksgiving dinner table. The reality is that not all interactions between the first Americans and the Europeans were like that between Squanto and the early settlers. The story continued on, and the ending was happier for the European colonizers than it was for the Native Americans. Hopefully, with increased attention to this cause, we can give the Natives the respect they deserve by protesting the development of this disastrous pipeline. Yes, it may be beneficial to our economy to have this pipeline built, but we cannot turn a blind eye to the environmental havoc this Pipeline can cause if the proper environmental risks are not as heavily weighed. As in the words of a Cree Indian prophecy, “Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.”

    Bibliography

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/understanding-controversy-behind-dakota-access-pipeline-180960450/

    http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/15/533057862/judge-delivers-blow-to-trump-administration-in-dakota-access-fight)

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/02/07/trump-administration-to-approve-final-permit-for-dakota-access-pipeline/