Three Missed Calls Away

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hi friends
Having friends who live all over the country can be very difficult. I opted out of the schools I got into and chose to complete two years of community college in hopes of getting into a better school. Unfortunately this has meant two years of being home while my dear friends are off in the world.

But, for all college students, we know what its like to have friends that are states or even countries away. At first, I hated the idea of having my closest friends spread out and not a drive away. But, it is now my favorite kind of friendship and here is why:

You realize who your real friends are. Sometimes you are friends with people just because they are around. But, when they are not it is a a good way of finding out who is there.

Also, the best friends are the ones that you do not have to talk to/ or see all the time but when you are together it is as though no time has passed. You will become busy and so will your friends. You will not have as much time as you hope you would to pick up the phone, and most of the time you just get wrapped up in what you are doing and forget.

You learn to text each other about the best and most exciting things, skype when you are available, and always see each other when you are both home!

Some people see it as being very difficult, but it is actually great. I was even able to spend my spring break in New York and Boston with two of my favorite people!

Going away and growing apart is inevitable, but it should be embraced and excepted instead of hidden from.

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Anything But A Cat

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Hi Friends

Halloween is among us, and therefore it is time to discuss what we are going to wear. There are plenty of DIY options. All of these can be done without a partner/friend. But for this sake let’s say you do have a Kevin (that’s what we will call your friend). Also, say you are like me, Amali, and are very controlling and over-bearing. Then you need a Kevin, someone who is easy-going and will entertain your crazy costume ideas and not get in the way while you create magic.

So here we go,

7 Easy and Not So Easy DIY Halloween costumes

1. Sheep

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All this costume needs is 4 to 5 bags of cotton balls, a white t-shirt, and a dream. Gluing on the cotton balls with a hot glue gun was quickest for me, but if you have fabric glue, your outfit will probably be less uncomfortable. I made the ears using white printer paper, a black marker, and more cotton balls for the back. And a touch of black eyeliner for the nose can’t hurt. Estimated cost: $10, Time: one hour for both

2. Mariachi Band

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This is a personal favorite, and probably cost the least. For the perfect mariachi costume you need: black pants, a vest, jacket, or cardigan, a white button down, a red scarf (or red fabric), sombrero hats, and silver duct tape (optional!). We happened to have everything already, and if you have a suit vest and pant of a different color that would also work! We borrowed ukuleles from co-workers and they were a hit! Estimated cost : $5 if you need a sombrero, and time: 35 seconds

3. Jellyfish

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Undersea creatures are not your typical Halloween costume which is why you need to be jellyfish for Halloween this year. I took two clear umbrellas. You really can use any color you want but I had a vision and am very stubborn. So I found these at Walmart for $10 each, and then purchased a few reels of streamers in various pink colors and a roll of bubble wrap. We cut them up in different sizes and stuck them to the inside with clear tape and voila! Estimated cost: $30 for both, Time: 20 minutes

4. Giraffes

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This costume is by far the biggest pain in the ass, and if you are not looking for that then continue on. But if you want to be cool and get showered with compliments stick with me. Once we had decided to embark on this journey there was no turning back. It starts out with construction paper, then paper mache, spray paint if you want to be more yellow, brown dots, hodge-podge, and letting the final masterpiece dry. This is totally worth it if you plan on saving them and using them for everything. The tutorial here has better instructions! Estimated time: 6 hours, give or take three days. Price: $15 total

5. Sushi

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All you need to be a delicious piece of salmon sushi is, two pieces of cardboard, paint, and some seaweed colored fabric. The boards take about 3 minutes to put together, and I added white stripes with puffy paint for effect. Then to top it off I purchased $1 visors, and put play-doh wasabi and chopsticks to make us look extra tasty. Seriously, so easy to do, Estimated cost: $7, Time :10 minutes

6. Senior Citizens

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The best part about this one is it’s free! We simply raided our parents/grandparents closets, picked the best old lady/old man things we could find and threw them out. If you have parents who are hip and dress with the trends you can always go to a thrift shop and find plenty of good options. I googled makeup tutorials on how to make your face age and using the makeup I had around the house, and some baby powder in my hair, instantly became old!

7. Jelly Beans

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Lastly, more people disguised as tasty treats. This one is also quite simple. Kevin had a hard time finding clear trash bags (walmart), but once we did it was smooth sailing. We blew up about 15 balloons, (try and find colored ones to match actual jelly beans) for the front and back of our costume and then attached the ends of the bags together with clear tape so our head could fit through. We chose (I forced him) to wear clothing in all one color, preferably bright like a jelly bean. I printed the jelly bean sign, and a list of ingredients for the back, and voila!

So now my dear friends, there is no excuse to be a bunny, cat, sailor, or minion this Halloween.

Note to reader: My friend and I work at a summer camp with theme days every week. We don’t just wear matching costumes all the time (though that is something I would thoroughly enjoy).

Best and Worst of Cohabitation

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Four of my beautiful, amazing suitemates this semester (and the missing one is, of course, beautiful and amazing as well).

College is a time for many firsts. For almost everyone out there it is the first time living in the same room as someone else. As you can probably guess, there are many highs and lows of having a roommate. Last year I lived in a double with one other person, sharing a bathroom with the entire floor. This year I live in a double within a six person suite containing a bathroom and kitchen. Let me tell you, I have become an expert in this department in the past year and two months.

Worsts

Little to no privacy

It is really hard to get a moment alone when you share a bedroom, desk space and bathroom with multiple people. And while it’s nice to have company, there can be times when you realize what you really need is a moment alone. My usual remedy for this is taking a walk or running errands by myself. More importantly, you have to get used to changing and eating habits and things of that nature. But that will become no problem in time.

Sharing

Maybe I’m still in the mindset of a five year old, but sharing sometimes just makes me mad. I, personally, have all of my possessions a specific way and I would be really frustrated if someone messed with it, or took the liberty of using my things or wearing my clothes without asking. Luckily for me, my current roommate has known me since the ripe age of four so she knows these things and is polite enough (or perhaps afraid) to mess with the order of it all. The good news is we still share within reason but understand there is a boundary. Boundaries are important.

Communication

Living with someone means you have to communicate constantly about how you’re feeling. What makes this thing a “worst” is that sometimes you have to talk about uncomfortable things or bring up something that might make your roommate mad. More than that, it can be extremely hard to communicate if you’re not that comfortable with the person you’re living with. Communication is something that right off the bat has to be an open system.

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Company

Having a roommate means no matter what, you will always have company. Whether you had a really bad day or want to share exciting news, there is going to be someone there to either console you or embarrassingly prance around the room with joy. It means you never have to watch Lion King alone or submit your blog post without them proofreading it (thanks Alyssa). They see you at your worst, and compliment you at your best.

If you don’t have it, they will

Whatever you are lacking, your roommate can probably make up for it. If you need something savory to cleanse your palette, they probably have pretzels they’ll let you eat. If you have a really terrible headache and aspirin isn’t working, they probably have extra strength Motrin waiting for you. One of the best things about having a roommate is having access (if they are willing to grant it) to anything you might need.

Pillow talk

I’m not even kidding. I have decided my favorite part about having a roommate is talking about the day as we fall asleep (if we happen to be going to bed at the same time). I have probably (definitely) said the worst, best, most embarrassing and funniest things while falling asleep across the room from my roommate. By far the best thing about having a roommate is being able to say anything and have it met with little to no judgement.

The main point I want you to take away from this all is when it’s bad, it’s awful, but when it’s good, it’s great. But living with someone is something everyone should have to experience. And if you haven’t had this experience, you will soon realize how bad the bad parts can be, but how amazing the good parts can be.

-Zoe

Photo on 9-22-14 at 10.38 PM #2

My roommate and I literally having the time of our lives on photobooth

5 TV Comedies You Need in Your Life

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Why hello there! After a very busy and VERY tiring weekend, I only desire two things in this life: Netflix and sleep. Unfortunately, I cannot share with you the amazing 7 hour slumber I will have tonight, but I can share some must-see (according to me) TV shows you can find on and, if you’re sneaky and willing to pirate, off Netflix.

1. Gilmore Girls

A true classic, Gilmore Girls was released on Netflix October 1st. Embarrassingly enough, I have already made it to season two. Embarrassing because if you factor in the amount of time I spend in class, meetings, rehearsals and other obligations, a majority of the remaining time is spent watching Lorelai and Rory. The show has 7 seasons and if I were you I would stick through all of them. Although not all 7 are a constant source of excitement, it would be cruel to jump around the story line.

Gilmore Girls is categorized as a comedy-drama, but I wouldn’t let the word “drama” scare you off. It’s more comedy than it seems, with a lot of witty banter and clever references, but there is still some crying and fighting between the jokes. The show is set in the fictional town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut. The setting is charming and as a California native I can’t help but become giddy over the changing seasons in the series.

Gilmore Girls is truly a charming little (yet, seven season) show. I recommend to those that are looking to watch something funny, endearing and heart-warming.

2. Scrubs

I really truly believe if you like Gilmore Girls you have to like Scrubs. They were airing around the same time (Gilmore Girls 2000-2007 and Scrubs 2001-2009), so the structure of the show is pretty similar. The first couple seasons are great, a few in the middle get slow and the last seasons are good, but the stories can get a bit overdone at times. Don’t get me wrong though, Scrubs is an excellent TV show.

Scrubs is a “doctor show”. But it’s not House or Grey’s Anatomy, as the whole show is poking fun at people working and interacting in a hospital. Of course, there are times in the show where sickness and death take precedent to the funny of it all. But for the most part, Scrubs is completely lighthearted and warm.

If you’re looking for an easy show to watch that doesn’t take much thinking but keeps you immensely entertained, Scrubs is for you.

3. Aziz Ansari

Aziz Ansari’s three most recent comedy shows are posted on Netflix. I know this is not exactly a TV show and won’t last you very long, but it is definitely worth a watch. His three comedy specials, “Intimate Moments” (2009), “Dangerously Delicious” (2012), and “Buried Alive” (2013), don’t have to be watched in order. However, I suggest you do because he does get funnier as time goes on. My theory is that his growing fame as the hilarious dude from Parks and Rec helped him tap into his comedy genius.

Don’t watch these with children, but I would wager that you’re safer watching this with your parents than you would be if it was Dane Cook (god forbid).  It’s best to watch one full show rather than stop it in the middle. I tried to do that once and did not find it as funny when I picked up where I left off.

Aziz’s humor is not for everyone, I get that. But if you have an open mind and enjoy comedy to its fullest, you’ve probably already seen all three of these; but to those who haven’t, give it a go.

4. Bob’s Burgers

I don’t know why you haven’t watched it already, some of you weirdos, but you have to watch Bob’s Burgers. I’m not a huge fan of adult cartoons. Frankly, I find it creepy and it ruins the childlike nature of cartoons in the first place. But Bob’s Burgers is the exception. It is a hilarious show about a family, running a burger restaurant in what is assumed to be New Jersey.

What makes Bob’s Burgers a true exception for me is its dry humor. Bob, the father, is the straight man with his monotone voice and dull expression. Meanwhile, there’s Linda, his loud wife paralleling the classic stereotype of a Jewish mother, Tina, his oldest daughter who loves butts and zombies, Gene, his son who records and plays back sounds on a keyboard, and Louise, his youngest daughter who creates and attempts to execute revenge plots and wreaks general havoc.

Each family member, as you can see from their descriptions, bring a different facet of comedy to the table. So this show really can be for anyone and everyone.

5. Portlandia

I happened upon Portlandia after realizing how very funny Fred Armisen is. Of course I knew he was funny from his days on SNL, but his appearances outside of the series are what intrigued me. Portlandia itself is a series of comedy sketches set in Portland, Oregon (what some consider the Hipster Capital of America). Naturally, there are an endless amount of funny and weird things that happen in Armisen’s and, his partner in creating the show, Carrie Brownstein’s Portland.

On top of all that greatness, there are a ton of celebrity guests on the show. Some of my favorites are Steve Buscemi and Aubrey Plaza. Although the show does have a script, a lot of it is improvised so it is great to see well-known actors and musicians improvising on the show.

Even if sketch comedy isn’t your thing, I would give Portlandia a shot. It’s not like SNL in that there is a bit of a story line. But it is funny, and if you’ve learned one thing from this post its that I appreciate a good comedy, so you have to trust me now.

Happy watching!

-Zoe

 

A Minion Army o’ Cupcakes

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Hi Friends

Lets talk about birthday parties! Over this past weekend I had the honor of making cupcakes for a 2nd birthday party, I could not have been more flattered to have been asked and took the task at hand very seriously.
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The theme was Minions, nope not Despicable Me, just Gru’s yellow sidekick friends. I started out with two dozen funfetti cupcakes , so white cake with sprinkles essentially. I would trust any cake/ cookie/ food that How Sweet It Is makes, I’ve tried easily over 10 of her recipes and they always turn out wonderfully. This is actually my favorite funfetti cupcake recipe which is why i trusted it for this event!

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Next, I took 12 twinkies and cut them in half (I am sure you have seen these on pinterest before!) I purchased the candy eyes online through wilton , but these can be made using smarties and putting a black frosting dot on top. Then I began decorating, the best part is since every minion is different, you can get very creative. Some with one eye, or a surprised face, whatever you like! Just be careful because the black frosting is hard to remove from the twinkie if a mistake is made, so a toothpick or 6 on the side is very helpful.

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Then I made a classic buttercream, and dyed it blue! I placed a small amount in the middle for the twinkie to stick on too and seen above!

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To ensure the twinkies would stay still and upright I circled around them with frosting creating somewhat of a barrier. If you are going to use this buttercream recipe as your frosting make sure the cupcakes stay in a cook area, it is mostly butter after all and will melt away!

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Lastly, I whipped up two layer sheet cake for the adults at the party, using the funfetti and buttercream, I purchase this edible image from Whimsical Practicality which was a hit amongst the kids, and is a great deal and comes in the mail within a week!

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Fall, Where Art Thou?

Hi Friends

 I am having serious issues with California and the weather here. It is October 2nd, Fall officially began on September 21st. I should have enjoyed approximately 10 days of fall weather, snuggly sweaters, and a warm psl respectively. But no, instead I am sweating away in my summer dresses and cursing at the sun. I am not happy with this and here is why,

First, I have purchased three new sweaters and two pairs of chinos, and at the current rate they will never see the world outside my bedroom. How is that fair not only to me, but to my bank account and credit card balance. I also want to wallow in self pity and cannot do that if I am unable to wear the dark clothes I have designated for cold weather. But mostly, because I do not want to see another boy/teen/young man in a bro tank, please. Why don’t they have to shave their armpits? and why do I have to look at them?

Secondly, as many of you californians and others know we are in a serious drought. The amount of moisturizer I have had to invest in this summer is ridiculous, my skin needs a break, here me out sun. With a little bit of rain and a few clouds, the trees will get what they need and so will I.

Thirdly, it is not right to have a warm bowl of pumpkin soup when it is 80 degrees outside. You know what happens when you have soup and its over 80? You sweat, on the inside and on the outside. Its gross and horrible. I cannot watch Halloweentown because it does not get dark until 8pm, WHAT IS SPOOKY ABOUT THAT SUN?! The heat has to go.

Lastly, it is time. I have been quiet for long enough. Just because I live in California does not mean I do not deserve the fall everyone is raving about already. I have come to terms with the fact that I will never see the leaves change colors here, and the chances of it snowing in the San Fernando Valley are slim to none. But I am not asking for a lot here, maybe some fog, a day where I don’t sweat from walking from class to the parking lot.  Sun, you have done your time here, and deserve a break. My fuzzy socks and hot cocoa mix are waiting for me, unloved and unused

If I have to drink another iced pumpkin spice latte I may self combust, so be a pal and help a sister out.

Your Bitter Friend,

Amali

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A Toast to the Fighters and Survivors

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The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston glowing pink for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

October marks the beginning of National Breast Cancer Month, and in a sense, another surge of awareness and support for all types of cancer. In honor of this month, I determined that the topic of cancer is worth a blog post.

What they say is true: we have all been touched by cancer. Whether it be someone we personally know, a friend of a friend, or ourselves, cancer has affected us all.

I used to wonder if I was cursed, having to see my loved ones battle and cope with cancer. I have seen cancer in many different ways, in many different people, and at many different stages in my life.

As a child, it was hard for me to know what it was. I also hadn’t been around too long to make any deep connections with the people I interacted with. I just didn’t understand.

As a teenager it was worse. For the sake of this post, when I say teenager I mean ages 13-17. Being a teenager in the first place is a difficult feat. Emotions and angst run rampant. I couldn’t cope at all. I was struggling with my self esteem and sense of self, as all teens do, and worrying about someone else almost got to be too much. For me, it was two consecutive years of cancer in the two closest people to me. Not until I passed the age of 17 did I realize the emotional toll it took on me. Not until then did I fully accept what had happened. Luckily, those two troopers won their battles and are healthier and sprier than ever.

Now, at 19, in a horrible way, I have become desensitized to it. Though I am always horrified when I hear of another case, I have accepted that cancer affects us frequently. There is sometimes nothing to do but offer support in the best way possible. If that means remaining positive and smiling often, so be it.

Terrible things happen in our lives and happen everyday. What’s important is to recognize the even more abundant beauty and happiness that we are privileged to experience. We are lucky to be here. I am certainly lucky to be able to write this post for you today.

So this month, let us appreciate life and all its opportunities. More importantly, let us celebrate the survivors and bring positivity to the fighters.

-Zoe

To learn more about Breast Cancer/donate: http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/

To learn more about cancer/donate: http://www.cancer.org/

The Best and Worst of Living in a City

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As many of you must already know, and if I haven’t said it enough times, I currently reside in Boston. Downtown Boston to be exact. I could not be happier with the location of my school; I am quite literally in the middle of one of the most booming cities in the U.S. To top it off, my dorm room this year has a million dollar view (pictured below- I had to brag).

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However, living in a city comes with its ups and downs. I will now attempt to share with you what I think are the best and worst parts of living in a city from my experiences in Boston.

Best

Everything is close: Whether its on the next block, or two stops away on the T, everything is more or less easy to get to. I often forget how condensed a city like Boston is when I’m in it, but when I go home to Los Angeles and realize I work 10 miles away from where I live, it becomes clear that Boston is small. Tiny even. A mile radius around where I am currently living encompasses everything I will ever need from Trader Joe’s groceries, to the nearest hospital, to the two Chipotle locations in Boston (which is necessary).

There is always something to do: I get bored very easily, but even I never get tired of all the things my city has to offer. If you’re feeling cultured, there are multiple museums and the city is rich with historic landmarks and tours. It is often just enough to walk around a new neighborhood. On the more exciting side of things, there is always a party to go to on the weekends, a game playing at Fenway or TD Garden, or a concert/tour in town.

Small, but mighty: Boston is fairly small geographically. But what it is, is very loud. I’d like to think that is because of all the college students that live in the city. My college is in no way one of the big names in Boston. There’s Boston University, Berklee College of Music, Northeastern, and right across the river in Cambridge, Harvard and MIT. There are over 30 colleges and universities in the city of Boston alone, not to mention at least another 30 in neighboring cities and towns. The city is never boring with all these young people running around. It’s actually quite nice to be in a place for school that inhabits so many different and diverse people in similar situations.

Worst

No driving: Like I said, everything is close. So it’s really not that important to be able to drive in a city like Boston. But I do wish at times that I could drive, especially in the middle of winter when going outside to walk to the nearest T stop is just painful. The traffic looks as unbearable as it probably is to be in. And to top it all off, there is barely any parking in Boston. It’s actually an issue that the city is facing currently.

Being Cautious: In any city, it is extremely important to be aware of your surroundings at all times. I won’t lie that I have witnessed and heard about seriously frightening and dangerous situations happening in the city. It sucks to always be on watch for yourself and your friends, but its something that comes with the price of choosing to live in an urban setting.

It’s expensive: There’s not much explanation to this fact. Cities are expensive to live in. Dining is expensive, living is expensive, spending money on taxis or tickets for public transportation becomes expensive. Cities are expensive.

I do love living here, despite my few complaints. And I encourage everyone who hasn’t, to plant themselves in the middle of a bustling city for at least a full week and try to enjoy the experience.

-Zoe

Boylston Street in Boston

Boylston Street in Boston

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

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Hi Friends

As you all are forced to know, it is pumpkin season (or fall as some cave dwellers call it). That means there is pumpkin flavored everything, everywhere and you cannot escape it. The best thing to do is embrace it, because it is delicious and it is so important.  I personally, enjoy pumpkin products all year long. They sell canned pumpkin all year long, so why only enjoy in this divine flavor for three months out of the year? I want to talk about the best pumpkin recipes!

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First we have a pumpkin cranberry scone with white chocolate drizzle, unfortunately this is a secret family recipe I cannot share with you.  Bobbly Flay makes an amazing pumpkin scone that even has a whipped maple butter, honestly how could you resist?

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Pumpkin does not always have to be sweet (though it is preferred), This pumpkin ravioli changed my life, seriously. This is amazing, and if you are in the mood for comfort food you have to give this a chance. Mine does not look even close to as pretty as the original!

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The next two are Trader Joe’s products, the above is the Trader Joe’s pumpkin bread mix, it made about 16 muffins. I filled the muffins with cream cheese frosting before baking, and topped with a simple streusel of butter, flour, and all spice. It was so easy and everyone loves them! I was inspired because Starbucks makes a very similar one but with pumpkin seeds on top and I wanted to try and re-create it.

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These bad boys are pumpkin- chocolate chip blondies, also from Trader Joe’s, and you cannot beat them! Im normally against pre-made cakes/ cookie batters but the pumpkin selection around this time of year is phenomenal. Especially when you are not feeling up to roasting a whole pumpkin and cutting it but still want that great home made taste! Give these a try and please let me know what you think!

Another Post About Gender Equality

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Let’s talk feminism.

This is a subject that is very relevant right now. I know some of you readers have probably exhausted your minds on the subject. But in light of Emma Watson’s beautifully crafted speech to the UN, I feel like I need to offer my input. Pardon me for the shorter post, but I was quite literally left speechless after watching Watson’s speech.

Please please watch Watson’s speech before you read any further, if you have not already seen it:

So let’s get into it.

One thing that Watson says that really stuck with me was the fact that the word “feminism” gets a bad wrap. This is too true. Feminism has this image, and who knows where it came from, of being about women obnoxiously sticking up to man and being anti-men (as Watson puts it). I myself dislike the word feminism. Because it’s about everyone. That can be hard to understand with a term like feminism. What this whole movement is all about, what all this noise is all about, is gender equality. It’s about sharing the same rights, whether it be getting paid the same amount for equal work or being able to do whatever you want without being criticized by society for being less of a man or less of a woman.

Watson stretched her speech beyond the scope of gender equality. She inspired. She inspired us to appreciate the freedoms we are afforded and the privileges we are granted. Moreover, she inspired us to reach for more freedoms and privileges, not just for us, but for others. She instilled in our minds, “If not me, who? If not now, when?”

What made this speech so important to me and many others was the fact that it applied to every single one of us. Not one person can watch that video and say “that has nothing to do with me.” I would be quite surprised to hear someone say they did not feel motivated to do something after watching it. Just the fact that she stood up in front of hundreds of men and women from different countries and belief systems is truly inspiring.

So if we take anything away from this video, it’s that we all deserve the same things, and we all should do something to make that happen. Think of how awesome Emma Watson, our real life Hermione, is when she says, “If not me, who? If not now, when?”

-Zoe

If you would like to learn more about the HeforShe movement, go to http://www.heforshe.org/