5 Non-Basic Dates You Need To Have With Your S.O. This Fall

Fall is finally upon us! Autumn means falling leaves, crisp and cool air, apple picking, sweaters, and cuddling up with bae. All you want to do when it gets cool out is go on leisurely walks, stay in bed all day, and snuggle up with some blankets on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea. Unfortunately, that sometimes means that your relationship can get a little slow – gone are the summer days of sitting outside drinking wine late at night, going to warm summer concerts, and having picnics in the park. To make sure you don’t get bored with your SO this fall, check out some of these adorable autumn date ideas:

1. Go for a hike.

Lose the UGG boots and invest in hiking boots. Even if you’re not an outdoorsy person, going on a hike can be a great way to appreciate autumn’s natural fall beauty. Since the heat of the summer is finally gone, you can get some fresh air without sweating up a storm – and if your hands get chilly, that’s what your SO is for, right? So go get a look at those gorgeous leaves as they change color; there’s really nothing like it.

 

To read the rest of this article, click on over to Unwritten!

What It’s Like To Find Your People

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In the summer of 2012, I fell blissfully in love. It was the first time I had ever been so overwhelmingly happy that I had to share it with the world. I felt like sunlight radiated from my pores. It was the only thing I could talk about, the only thing I could think about. 

It was my first (and only) year as a counselor at SEP. I wasn’t in love with an individual, I was in love with a feeling. I was in love with the group of people who gave me that feeling. And like any first love, I didn’t realize what I had until it was almost over. 

Standing on a porch that was drowning in early morning sunlight, I felt something new in the pit of my stomach (and not just the pancakes my friend had made). Like I was a character in a magical realism novel, I began to feel a fire within my body – in the space where my ribs meet, a few inches above my belly button, I felt a warmth that spread through my body to my fingertips and beyond. It was a feeling so fulfilling that I have searched for it everyday since. It has become my goal to find happiness that infects my body the way it did that August morning. 

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Six weeks earlier, I filled a suitcase with summer clothes, towels and toiletries, and other essentials. Just minutes from my house, I was ready to go on the adventure of a lifetime. I thought I knew what to expect – accepting people, a fun time, a learning experience – I had no idea I would find my people.

Up to that point, I thought I already found my people – friends who knew me and understood me, teammates who cheered me on, and family who always had my back. But you can’t know what it’s like to find your people until you’ve truly found them. So in addition to gaining the things I expected to at camp that summer, I finally found my people. And they were nothing like what I expected; they ranged from a frat bro with an extensive shoe collection to a heavily-pierced camp newbie to a pair of sisters who had lived all over the world. They were people who initially intimidated me, people who were interesting and cool and intensely intelligent. But the way I just described those few people doesn’t do them justice; they were so much more than one description. Because the frat bro? He is also an incredible artist, a fiercely loyal friend, and a ridiculously funny storyteller with a talent for funny faces. And the heavily-pierced newbie? She is one of the most adaptable, supportive people I have ever met, who gave us all sentimental necklaces after only a week of knowing us. And the sisters? They are reliable and dependable and always willing to stand up for a friend. They are amazingly independent and perfectly unique and they taught me that love for a sibling can be the strongest kind. These people I just described are only 4 of the 13 people I fell in love with that summer. Some of the others became irreplaceable pillars of confidence in my life. One gave me the strength to push for what is right, no matter the consequences. Another taught me to love my body in all of its uniqueness. One showed me that redheads always have the most fun. And they all taught me to believe in myself, to fight for myself, and to love myself. 

This may all seem overly-emotional and corny, it may feel repetitive, or it may seem out of the blue. But there is method to my madness. Two nights ago, I learned that this summer, SEP will not take place. And while this shouldn’t (and logistically doesn’t) affect me, my heart broke. I thought about all the campers, counselors, and other staff members who, with one email, just lost the chance to find their people. SEP fosters friendships, relationships, and people-finding.

But if I know the children of SEP, the passionate, talented, and caring young adults I’ve come to know over the years, this won’t be the end. Camp will come back, stronger than ever, with people who have a renewed zest for connection. The SEP legacy is forever and I have no doubt that this is not the end. And to all my SEP babies, my junior counselors who are now leaders and my campers who are college-bound superheroes: don’t worry, you’ll find your people. You already have.

Never forget, “someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers, and me.”

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Looking Back: The Time I Was “The Other Girl”

As promised, here is a follow-up post about my thoughts now on my week with Chris.

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After our week together in Florida and our few weeks of chatting about how things were going with his girlfriend, Chris and I texted on an almost daily basis, and I grew way more emotionally attached than he probably realized. We Skyped each other and talked about our families and our life goals. After a year of this, I truly thought I knew his soul. I was basically waiting around for him to break up with his girlfriend, which is when we would finally be able to pick up where we left off. Which was where? A few thousand miles apart and a year after one night of kissing. We were nowhere. My pseudo-relationship with Chris made me completely uninterested in everyone else; in our one week together, I fell head over heels for a guy I had no chance with.

Eventually, I realized that I was getting the short end of the stick in our “relationship”: he and his girlfriend were still in a happy relationship, and I had fallen for someone who was emotionally and physically unavailable. I cried in my best friend’s car on a vacation to visit her in her new city, and I finally knew I was wasting my time. So I broke up with him. I know that seems ridiculous – how can you break up with someone you’re not dating? Well, I did. I told him I needed a break from him – from texting, from SnapChatting, from sharing our life stories and our daily nonsense.

A few months later, when I thought I was fully over him, I began talking to him again. But before I knew it, I was back in the same hole I had been in before – hoping that he’d realize how compatible we were, how we were supposed to be together, and every other thought hopeless romantics have. Once again, I ended things.

I’m not sure if that was the last time I talked to Chris, or if we talked again casually after that, but eventually it truly ended. I can’t remember the last time I spoke to him, but I’m glad I finally got myself out of it. I remember being brokenhearted over Chris more than once, but that was my own fault, not his. I had made our relationship out to be so much more than it was. In the end, we were just flirty friends who made out one time. 

Now, three years later, I still think about Chris once in a while, when he shows up on my Facebook feed or someone talks about Florida or spring break, but I’m happy to say I did eventually get over him. In the past year, I’ve considered reaching out to Chris a few times, but ultimately decided against it. Even though we had a truly wonderful friendship, it wasn’t worth the pain I caused myself crushing on him over and over again. Chris was a really flirty guy and for all I knew, he had the same relationship with me as he had with a million other girls. For a while, he meant the world to me, but I could have just been a blip on his radar.

Despite everything – the tears, the classes I didn’t pay attention in because I was texting Chris, and the missed chances I had with other guys – I still don’t regret any of it.

The Time I Was “The Other Girl”

(I wrote this post almost three years ago, before I even had a blog, and I wasn’t ready to share it with people until now. For the most part, I haven’t updated anything I wrote, aside from a few grammatical and syntactical errors. I hope you enjoy this peek back into my life – and my writing – three years ago. I’ll be writing a follow-up piece soon about my take on this pseudo-relationship now, so stay tuned for some “everything is clearer in hindsight” shit coming your way soon.)

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Original Title: I Should Probably Feel Worse Than I Do

Let me just preface this by saying that I do actually have morals, I promise. But I went on vacation for a week, and apparently so did my morals. The story begins spring break  my sophomore year of college. I had been planning a Habitat for Humanity trip for almost an entire year with another girl, and we were finally on our way to Florida. There were seven kids from my school and eight kids from another school staying in the same house.

Upon entering the house, I locked eyes with Chris (*name has been changed). I immediately thought he was cute, in a rugged kind of tall, dark, and handsome way. We flirted for a few days,  cuddling and watching movies all squished on the couch with our new friends, but I knew something was up. He was a total flirt, but for some reason he was holding back. Everyone could tell there was something going on between us, but for some reason Chris wasn’t making a move. Half way through the week I was totally invested in making something happen between us – I knew we were both attracted to one another, and it felt comfortable (for the first time ever). He didn’t make me feel awkward or self-conscious, and I could look into his eyes when we talked without feeling out of place. It just felt right, and it was the first time ever that something felt like that for me. Of course, once I had fully committed myself to the idea of putting myself out there, the truth came out.

He had a girlfriend at home. I was disappointed, but it didn’t make me want him any less. I decided at that point, all morals aside, that if I couldn’t have him, I would just tease him – after all, he had waited until we were in way too deep to tell me he was otherwise engaged. So, I dressed nicely, I flirted up a storm, and, needless to say, it didn’t make me feel any better. Teasing him didn’t help me feel any less teased to begin with. Shocker. The night after he told me about his girlfriend, we watched a movie with everyone. We cuddled, per usual, and if the sexual tension was butter-knife-ready before, it now could have been cut with a shoe, or something equally as dull. I had a hard time sitting next to him without jumping him. This was when I decided to pull the “is this as hard for you as it is for me?” card, figuring I was still just teasing him. His aggressive kiss on the cheek told me my teasing had gone a bit too far. We were screwed. It was all down-hill from there. Later that night we decided it was time to talk, and after admitting that he wanted to kiss me, we chose not to do anything – neither of us wanted to mess up his relationship with his girlfriend. I told him I thought we made the right decision; he told me he didn’t. I knew we were in over our heads.

Fast forward 24 hours to us making out on the couch. Clearly we lost our resolve. It wasn’t very strong to begin with. Our morals, along with our decision to “just be friends” went out the window. You’re probably thinking I’m a terrible person, or that he’s a terrible person. We are both better than our actions that week, and yet we still did what we did. Do I feel bad? Without a doubt. Do I think it was the wrong thing to do? Absolutely. Do I regret it? Not even a little bit.

Before you judge me too harshly, give me a chance to explain myself. Actually, feel free to judge me all you want, I deserve it, just don’t hold it against me, and don’t let it define your opinion of me. If you had asked me before that vacation if I would ever do something like this, my answer would have been no. Ask me now if I’d ever do it again, my answer is still no. Here’s the thing, though, when you’re a lonely college sophomore who has never been told you’re beautiful by a boy, and has never kissed someone you actually want to kiss, your morality line might become a bit blurry when these options present themselves to you. Chris made me feel wanted, and special, and important. He made me feel like I mattered. For someone who has never been told they’re wanted before, that feeling is intoxicating. Chris was charming and sweet and he cared about me. I needed that. I don’t regret doing what I did because it was an experience I’ll never forget. I don’t regret it because both Chris and I can learn from it. I don’t regret it because I won’t ever forgive myself for hurting not only his girlfriend, but also the two of us. And I don’t regret it because I learned a lot about myself.

(Follow-up: In case you’re wondering, Chris and I kept in contact after our time in Florida, and talked a lot about what to do in the following days. My friends disapproved of me talking to him, and they had a point – we couldn’t really keep the flirting to a minimum as we should have been able to. He decided to tell his girlfriend what happened. She forgave him. So while it might be easy to say, “well, I dodged that bullet” to becoming a home-wrecker, finding out her reaction really didn’t change my opinion of the event. It was still wrong what we did. I don’t know her motivation for letting Chris get away with cheating on her, but it doesn’t really make a difference. Whatever her reason, it doesn’t just let us off the hook – Chris and I have both agreed to never do this again. Hopefully we’ll both stick to our decision this time.)

How Living With My Boyfriend Changed Me, But Not In The Way I Expected

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It seems counterintuitive that living with my boyfriend would make me a more independent person, but that’s exactly what it has done. Last year, when I was considering what it would be like to live together, I assumed that cohabitation would make my boyfriend and I codependent. And honestly, I’m so thankful that it hasn’t.

I moved in with my boyfriend immediately after I graduated from Skidmore College. We had three weeks to turn his parents’ basement apartment in Brooklyn into our new home before I left to spend six weeks studying publishing at Columbia University. We packed all my belongings into an excessively large U-Haul and trekked the four hours to NYC. Our first stop? IKEA.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Dear Eugene: An Open Letter To My Hometown

Eugene Cityscape at Dusk by Jeff Green

Dear Eugene, Oregon,

I always knew that growing up meant leaving home, but I didn’t know it would be like this.

Ten years ago, I sat in the back seat of a rental car as my family drove slowly away from my best friend’s house. I looked out the window and felt like I should probably feel sad, but I didn’t. I was excited. Moving was an adventure. Everyone thought I’d be a dramatic preteen and freak out about moving – get rebellious and distant, argue with my family – but that’s not how I reacted. Looking back, that’s probably how I should have felt, though. I knew basically nothing about the place I would be calling home for the next ten years. All the information I had about “Ore-eh-gone” was contained in a few photos of my “cow house” with the huge stone fireplace and shag carpet, my Roosevelt Middle School schedule (I was just glad I wasn’t going to “Spencer’s Butt”), and some pictures of my mom standing around pretty flowers at the new university she was going to be working at. Honestly, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Looking back at the past ten years of my life, I couldn’t have been luckier to end up in Eugene, Oregon. I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t always loved you – you’re a weird, slow, outdoorsy, hippie place – I’m much more of a city girl. I don’t really fit in with the type of people who choose to live in you; I like the fast-paced atmosphere of city life, I hate nature, I like when there are actually four seasons (not just “rain” and “construction”), and I never once wore Birkenstocks with socks (I swore when I moved there that I would never do it and I stayed true to that commitment). And yet, despite all that, now that I’m gone and my family is leaving, I find myself feeling kind of home-less.

Because here’s the thing, Eugene: without you, I would be an entirely different person.

Eugene, you taught me how to be a person and how to take on the world with optimism.

You taught me to be more accepting of people who are “different.”

I learned what it meant to appreciate nature, even if I never fully appreciated it myself.

You taught me that rain will come whether you’re prepared for it or not and that sunlight will always burn the fog away.

I learned to love college sports in a way I never thought I could – I learned to find a sense of community with strangers.

You gave me friends who deserved my friendship and friends who didn’t; I learned to be forgiving and to stand up for myself.

Even when I was desperate to get as far from you as I could to go to college, you still welcomed me home with open arms every winter and summer.

You taught me that being nice can get you farther than being smart or ambitious or “perfect.”

You gave me gymnastics and every bruise, tear, trophy, and friendship that came with it.

You introduced me to the most influential, important summers of my life – summers that taught me to accept myself, that taught me how to love, that there truly are people out there who will love me for exactly who I am.

I learned to get in touch with Judaism and gave me a beautiful community of friends.

You taught me how to mourn for people who are taken from the world too early.

You brought in the crowds for the latke party every year, the tradition I will have the hardest time saying goodbye to.

You gave me the most incredible high school experience with classmates who will take the world by storm.

You bonded me with my family. You showed me that family is the most important thing, no matter how far apart you are.

You showed me the most incredible farmer’s and craft markets.

You gave me a friendship that pushed me to grow every day, a friendship that has sustained four years of separation, countless arguments, late-night emergencies, and too many “I told you so”s to count.

You taught me to love writing.

I don’t think I can ever thank you enough for everything you’ve taught me. I haven’t seen you in almost a year, and next June, when my brother graduates from high school, may be our final goodbye. But you’ll always be part of me and I will always feel at home in my memories of you. So, my dearest Eugene, thank you. I love you, 541.

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Virginity Doesn’t Define You

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Tonight I was walking home from work, texting my friend Lisa,* and I realized I didn’t know whether or not she was a virgin. Until about 3 years ago, I had tabs on all my friends’ sexual activity – I knew that Kate had been only ever had sex with her boyfriend, that Caroline lost her virginity at sixteen, but hadn’t slept with anyone in a while, and that Rebecca liked sleeping with anyone who made her feel special. I kept tabs because I truly thought it mattered. Somehow, virginity and sexual experience seemed to define people. Which meant that I was naive, inexperienced, and unknowledgeable.

What I realized today was that none of it matters. I don’t know whether Lisa is still a virgin or not, and I don’t care. She might be, she might not be, but who gives a damn? Virginity does not define you – it doesn’t make you a good or bad person, it doesn’t make you smart or stupid, it doesn’t make you beautiful or ugly. Your participation in a specific sexual encounter says nothing about who you are. Nothing.

For a long time I thought losing my virginity would be a big deal – that it would somehow change me. News flash: it didn’t. I woke up the next day feeling exactly the same as I had the day before (maybe just a tiny bit more sore). The world didn’t stop spinning, I didn’t get invited to join some special club, and I didn’t feel “mature” all of a sudden. Want to know why? Because I was already the person that I am, with or without the intangible concept of “virginity.” Sex is a big step for a couple and you need to trust, respect, and be comfortable with the people you sleep with – but sex doesn’t need to be a big deal. It’s just another step in a sexual relationship. And it doesn’t need to involve anyone outside of the people who are participating in it. Because honestly? It’s just sex.

*All names have been changed.

“You Are Beautiful”

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As some of you may know, I was 19 before anyone outside my family and close friends told me I was beautiful. People had told me I was pretty or that I looked hot, but nobody had ever called me beautiful. The word gained so much power for me because it was so underused in my life. All I wanted for a long time was for a guy to tell me I was beautiful.

But this isn’t about my lack of love life or the concept of beauty, it’s about three simple words: You are beautiful. Those three words take less than a second to say, but people don’t say them. And for anyone out there suffering from insecurity (aka all of us), those words can mean the world.*

Today, tell someone they’re beautiful. Think about all the people in your life who you consider beautiful human beings, and ask yourself how many times you have actually told them they’re beautiful. My guess is that number is pretty low. It is for me. And think about how you would feel if someone unexpected told you that you’re beautiful. So now tell them. You can explain it, you can confess your love, or you can just say the three words: You are beautiful. It’s that simple. I dare you. You have no idea how much they’ll appreciate it.

And you, reading this right now, you are part of the reason I have more confidence in myself, and that makes you absolutely beautiful.

 

* For the record, when I talk about beauty and the word “beautiful,” I am not solely talking about physical attractiveness. To me, “hot” and “pretty” describe someone’s physical appearance; “intelligent,” “kind,” and “interesting” describe someone’s internal being; the word “beautiful” encompasses both internal and external amazingness. Beautiful is a powerful word that is one-of-a-kind. I hope that by understanding my definition of beauty, you can understand the kind of impact it can have on people.

Why I Love Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and “Blank Space”

I love Taylor Swift. In ninth grade, my friend and I sat in the back of her minivan watching videos on her portable DVD player. She popped in TSwift’s “Our Song” music video and thus began my following of Queen Tay. In 2008, I listened to the wonderful songs of Fearless on my walk to school, imagining scenes of kissing in the rain and the amazing music video that is “You Belong With Me.” Last week my boyfriend bought me 1989, adding to my collection, for a total of 52 Taylor Swift songs. It seems only fair that with the release of this newest album, I dedicate a blog post to the lovely Taylor.

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So let’s talk about the most popular of the songs on 1989, “Shake It Off” and “Blank Space” and their music videos. The “Shake It Off” music video may be my favorite TSwizzle music video, which is saying a lot considering the “You Belong With Me” and “22” videos. Agh, actually that’s a really big claim to make. I don’t know which one is my favorite. I love all three of them. Anyways, not the point. The “Shake It Off” video is amazing; if you haven’t seen it, you need to watch it now. It features Taylor Swift accepting and loving the fact that she can’t dance for her life. The video shows a ton of amazing dancers doing their thing, and Taylor looking like a giant goofball in the best way possible.

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The best thing about this video is that we’ve all been there – in a place where we totally don’t belong, where it’s clear that we don’t fit in, and where we just aren’t as good at something as our peers. But Taylor doesn’t care. She rocks it. The whole point of the song is that she doesn’t care what her haters may think or say about her; she’s going to keep being herself and just shake it off. TSwift encourages weirdness and silliness and I love that about her. Check out this music video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfWlot6h_JM

Okay, now onto “Blank Space.” This video was only released today and already has over 4 million views. While this video is evidence of Taylor Swift’s sub-par acting skills, it also highlights some AMAZING fashion. I could barely pay attention to the story of the wealthy cheating lover and Taylor’s seeming insanity because I was so caught up with Taylor’s amazing clothing. Below are some screen grabs of the video featuring the styles Taylor puts on. (And check out the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-ORhEE9VVg.)

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Hold on, let’s get a close-up on this.

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Next we see Taylor in this beautiful ensemble:

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Woah there, let’s zoom in on this.

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Then there’s this gorgeous outfit:

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And then even on a horse she’s stylin’.

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Even without a good look at this one, we know it’s amazing:

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Then she rocks this high-waisted shorts outfit:

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And finally, she kills it with this leopard-print masterpiece:

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And let’s not forget about her incredible makeup throughout the video (and always):

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My First Kiss Went A Little Like This…

 First kisses are some of the best, weirdest, most awkward moments of our lives – and they happen at all different points during the process of growing up. Think you had a ridiculous first kiss? Check out this collection of first kiss stories: 

“My first kiss was with an awkward high school boyfriend when I was 15. We had just taken a “romantic” walk together in the woods, and were standing under a canopy of trees by a very busy road. I remember closing my eyes and puckering, hoping that I would find his mouth without being able to see. The kiss was perfect. It was the grossest, wettest, slimiest, loudest experience I had ever had. I remember letting his saliva dry on my face (gross… I know) because it made me feel adult (which doesn’t make any sense… I blame hormones). I called my best friend immediately afterwards to celebrate.”

"It was the grossest, wettest, slimiest, loudest experience I had ever had."

“It was the grossest, wettest, slimiest, loudest experience I had ever had.”

“My first boyfriend and I started going out in 7th grade. We didn’t go to the same school, and we only really ever saw each other at bar/bat mitzvahs since we were too shy to ever really go out on dates. It has been at least a few months and we had never kissed since there was no way I was going to make the first move, and he was just too shy. So, during one of the bar mitzvahs we were both at, we were dancing when my best friend who was also great friends with my boyfriend came up to us and rammed our faces together. It was super funny, and we turned bright red. I was surprised our braces didn’t link together….. It was the epitome of middle school puppy romance, and I laugh every time someone asks me about it!”

"It was the epitome of middle school puppy romance..."

“It was the epitome of middle school puppy romance…”

“Ugh, it was gross. Wet and drunk and I didn’t even know his name first. I was 19.”

“Miami beach boardwalk. 1996. I was 12, so was she. Long walk, sit down on wood bench overlooking beach and ocean. She looks into my eyes, smiles, and I lean in. Our lips meet… and stay there. “No tongue that’s gross” she tells me. So it’s this weird, kinda prolonged no-tongue-face-sucking awkward French kiss. I’m reminded of that Jim Carrey Dumb and Dumber fantasy scene where he’s practically sucking Lauren Holly’s face off and I start laughing. She pulls her head back and tells me I “have no etiquette.” Gets up off of me and we continue our walk. She’s a lesbian now. True story.”

"She pulls her head back and tells me I 'have no etiquette.'"

“She pulls her head back and tells me I ‘have no etiquette.'”

“He walked me home. We stood outside the door to my floor. I didn’t like him, but I felt like we should probably kiss. So I kissed him.” (Age: 18)

“I’m 19 now. My first kiss was when I was 15. It was in high school, on school grounds, after dismissal. I had just started going out with a guy that day or the previous day, and when we said bye he leaned in for a kiss. I kind of missed his mouth and it was a half cheek-half mouth kind of kiss; a short one too. I had been so worried leading up to that moment that I freaked out when it happened and awkwardly walked away immediately after. It took some practice for me to get the hang of kissing. Needless to say, terrible first kiss and definitely not the environment I expected it to be in!”

“So I was 14 and my house is only a few blocks from my high school and my boyfriend and I decided to go my place during lunch. We were hanging out on my bed with my dog, I was lying perpendicular to him with my head on his chest and then all of a sudden it just happened. Our lips touched. I don’t remember all that much besides that there was a lot of unnecessary tongue action. They were just flailing about because we knew tongues were supposed to be involved in the equation just didn’t really know how at that particular inexperienced moment. And then my dog started scratching me for attention and that was it. My first kiss.”

"I don't remember all that much besides that there was a lot of unnecessary tongue action."

“I don’t remember all that much besides that there was a lot of unnecessary tongue action.”

“My first kiss was with my long distance girlfriend during the summer after my junior year of high school. I was sixteen. I had told all of my friends that I had kissed exactly one girl before that, but that wasn’t true. I felt the incredible need to lie to all of those friends, as a part of me wasn’t exactly sure I’d actually ever kiss someone. But I digress. It was a hot July day in Manhattan, and I asked to leave work early so I could meet my then girlfriend before we went to dinner. I hadn’t seen her in a few months, and we decided to start dating while we were apart (a decision I don’t necessarily regret, but one I see as inherently stupid), so the excitement had been building up inside of me for a few weeks and all of the waiting was finally going to come to an end. We met up on the lower east side and took a walk so awkward that could have only come from our collective inability to communicate with one another about anything of any real importance. At some point, our aimless walk landed us in one of Manhattan’s many parks. We sat down on a bench, in plain view for the world to see, and quickly silenced ourselves. I then looked at her and said: “Can you kiss me?” I didn’t think I’d have had enough courage to initiate the actual movement myself, so I guess words were the next best thing. She nodded and leaned in close. Thus began a relatively aggressive high school make out session in the middle of the afternoon in a fairly crowded Manhattan park on the lower east side. Am I proud of it? To be honest, a little. I didn’t have to lie anymore, at least not in the same way. And I’ll always have that park bench, and I’ll always remember my short-lived relationship with the first girl I kissed.”

"At some point, our aimless walk landed us in one of Manhattan’s many parks."

“At some point, our aimless walk landed us in one of Manhattan’s many parks.”

“His name was Josh. We were in eighth grade. He invited me to go to the fireworks with him and his family. We spent a majority of the night lying on a blanket in the grass on our backs, hands entwined, staring up at the stars and fireworks. His parents and brother were on the blanket next to us, but I failed to notice. Once the fireworks were over, we walked back to the car, hand-in-hand, and climbed in. He was on the left side, I was in the middle, and his younger brother was on the right. He leaned in, but would not kiss me. I called him a chicken, smiling at him in the dark. I gathered up the courage, leaned in, and planted one on his lips. It would have been perfect if I hadn’t gone “mwahhh” as I did it…”

“It was February of my sophomore year of high school, and my self confidence was at an all-time low. I had just been rejected by a freshman that I asked to go on a date with me. At the time, I was in the band for a musical we were putting on, and my friend told me that one of the girls in the dance crew had a crush on me. So I asked her to go see a movie with me. I couldn’t tell y0u what movie it was, I was so nervous from just holding her hand. I was so conscious of how sweaty my hands were, and I wasn’t sure if she really liked me, so I just held her hand the whole movie. Afterward, I walked her to the train, and finally got up the nerve to kiss her right before she headed down into the station. It was clumsy, but uplifting. That night, she texted me and said that she thought I didn’t like her, because I didn’t kiss her the whole time. I confessed my nerves, which she thought was adorable. And then she became my girlfriend for the next two years.”

"I walked her to the train, and finally got up the nerve to kiss her right before she headed down into the station. It was clumsy, but uplifting."

“I walked her to the train, and finally got up the nerve to kiss her right before she headed down into the station. It was clumsy, but uplifting.”

Blogiversary!

It’s my one year blogiversary! One year ago today I created Sometimes I Wear Tiaras and found my calling. Thank you all for the support, love, shares, and happiness. And now, to show my love for all my avid readers, here are some photos of me in tiaras (and a nice one of my baby brother when I forced him into one as a kid):

5 Life Lessons From Miley Cyrus

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At this point, most people know that I am a huge supporter of Miley Cyrus. My love of Miley is not unwarranted. She is an amazing, spunky, weird young woman, and I love almost everything about her. Miley has stirred up a ton of controversy by just being herself, but she is a role model for Generation Y-ers everywhere. Miley Cyrus’s decisions and life choices have been scrutinized all over the media, but she has taught me a ton of things about how to live my life.

1. Go after what you want. Miley Cyrus never stands in the background waiting for her life to happen. When she didn’t get the role of Hannah Montana the first time she tried out, she auditioned again, not taking no for an answer. Chase your dreams – they won’t come find you.

2. It’s okay to grow up. People are upset that Miley didn’t maintain her “wholesome Disney image,” but blaming her for growing up is not fair. She grew up, cut her hair, changed her style, and became even more beautiful than she ever was before.

3. Don’t be afraid to be you. Obviously a fan like myself follows Miley on Instagram, but what I’ve noticed about Miley through her social media is that she is never afraid to embrace her weirdness. She wears silly clothes, takes makeup-free selfies, and shares pictures that are important to her. Never hide your personality – be you.

4. Don’t judge others; be open to differences. Miley has a tattoo of an equals sign on her ring finger, symbolizing her belief in marriage equality. Beyond that, though, she brought a young homeless man from Salem, Oregon to the MTV Video Music Awards with her this year. Miley doesn’t discriminate against people who are different and stigmatized by the rest of society – we should all learn from Miley’s openness and acceptance.

5. Embrace your sexuality. Miley’s clothing and dancing are a harmless public show of sexuality. She has a beautiful body, a vivacious spirit, and a fun attitude – expressing that in her physical appearance is just her way to share that with the world.

In case you didn’t pick this up by now, Miley is my idol. I think a lot of people are intrigued and captivated by Miley Cyrus but are afraid to approve of her. Miley fans, come out of the woodwork – no shame in loving Miley. She rocks.

Skidmore Crushes: An Interview With the Creator

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We all remember two years ago when college crush and compliment Facebook pages were all the rage. They were the best way to anonymously send a love letter, compliment a friend who had a bad day, or make a shout out to someone sexy on campus. I recently had the opportunity to discuss the brief but beloved Facebook page, Skidmore Crushes, with one of the creators and asked her some questions about the experience.

How did you decide to start the Skidmore Crushes page?

A friend of mine approached me on Valentine’s Day and said she really wanted to do it. I thought it sounded like a great idea, so together we decided we’d run the page. While we watched Love Actually with friends, we crafted our plan on our phones. Afterwards, we set up the page and started friending everyone we knew.

Was running the page what you expected it to be?

I don’t think I really had any expectations, but there were some surprises. For example, did you know that when you friend a ton of people in one day, Facebook starts asking you if you actually know them? That slowed us down a lot, we had to tell Facebook that yes, we did actually know the person every time. When the page started getting really popular, we had to set up an Excel document to keep track of all the crushes coming in to make sure we posted them all in a timely manner.

Did anyone ever catch on?

I don’t think so. There were a few times where we struggled to keep our cool, especially when our friends were talking about it or when people submitted crushes about people we knew well, but for the most part I think we did an okay job playing dumb.

What were some of the best crush posts you remember getting?

Uhhhhhh, that’s tough. I don’t really remember specific posts that much, but I remember that one person who didn’t understand how the page worked just posted on it as himself, writing about a crush, and that was really funny. Probably awkward for him, but the comments that followed were great too.

The page got shut down really quickly and seemingly out-of-the-blue. What happened?

Someone from Skidmore’s communications department (or something like that) emailed us and told us we couldn’t have it up anymore since it said Skidmore’s name in it. I’m still not really sure of the reason or why Skidmore Compliments has been up and running again for the past year, but we didn’t want to get in trouble, so we shut it down.

Did you ever think about starting up the page again?

It came up a few times, but we never really got around to it. We were thinking about re-opening it for a single day, Valentine’s Day, this year, but that never really came to fruition. It would be fun, but it was SO time consuming that I don’t think we’d be able to do it successfully anymore.

So there you have it, friends, straight from one of the creators of Skidmore Crushes.  Who knows, maybe we’ll see a return of Skidmore Crushes at some point this year (we’ll be extra sure to watch for it on February 14th). Until then, Compliment away, we’ll be reading.