Miss Musings

A modern miss provides commentary on sociological and psychological issues concerning politics, the media, literature, and everyday observances.

10 things I learned from ‘Mean Girls’

In honor of the inception of ‘Mean Girls’ ten years ago today, I thought I would list ten things I learned from the legendary film. Brace yourself for my shameless MG references.

1. On Wednesdays, we wear pink. At first I thought this was kind of a dumb rule, particularly because so many twelve-year-olds took it seriously (really, you’re 12 and watching ‘Mean Girls’? No worries, I’m a cooool mom). However, I am wearing pink pants and a pink top today because it is a Wednesday and I have to throw it back to one of my favorite chick flicks. Because seriously, you don’t question The Plastics.

 

pink

Source: http://www.statepress.com/2014/04/16/this-month-brings-the-most-fetch-anniversary-ever-mean-girls/

 

2. Fetch is never going to happen. Ten years later it still hasn’t happened. So Gretchen, stop trying to make fetch happen!!! 

3. If Regina George wants to punch you in the face, let her. It is going to be awesome.

4. Don’t just assume people are from Africa. Ever.

 

michigan

Source: http://www.crushable.com/2012/10/03/entertainment/mean-girls-quotes-day-october-3-minor-characters-then-and-now-crying-girl-glenn-coco-414/

 

5. If some girl starts talking about sunshine and rainbows and cake, don’t worry about it – she doesn’t even go here.

 

feelings

Source: http://allthingslinguistic.com/post/32078985397/more-on-reaction-gifs-and-feels

 

 

6. STAY. AWAY. FROM. AARON. SAMUELS. It’s for your own good. Got that, Cady?

 

grool

Source: http://s424.photobucket.com/user/louisdesattides/media/GROOL.gif.html

 

7. Look for the ears. She’s probably dressed as a mouse… I hope.

 

duh

Source: http://wifflegif.com/gifs/216567-mean-girls-quote-im-a-mouse-duh-gif

 

8. Ex-boyfriends are off limits to friends.

 

feminism

Source: http://pandawhale.com/post/31900/it-was-so-sad-gretchen-wieners-gif

 

9. Your worth is measured in candy canes. Oh, and Glen Coco is everything.

 

fourforyou

Source: http://weheartit.com/entry/group/17308827

 

 

10. The limit does not exist.

 

limit

Source: http://twisted.wikia.com/wiki/File:The_limit_does_not_exist.gif

 

What have you learned from ‘Mean Girls’? Are you wearing pink? No sweatpants or ponytails, right? You already did that this week.

Listen to my rantings on Twitter and Facebook. They’re sooo fetch. 

Your brand isn’t going to build itself

Ever heard of something called your “brand?” What does that even mean anyway?

Having a brand, or a digital aura future employers can associate you with, is critical. Jobs are getting harder to access as young professionals, but having a trustworthy brand in which all of your media links together may help you create your own work or be noticed by employers.

 

disney

Source: https://www.etsy.com/listing/154386179/disney-monorail-bumper-sticker-my-other

 

Think of the Disney brand. When you see the Mickey mouse ear labels, the “A P” (annual passholder) bumper stickers, or the “Walt Disney” signature, you know what company you are dealing with. Immediately you think of the “happiest place on earth” and trust the products that you are purchasing because they are associated with a trustworthy company. The same way you recognize Disney products, people need to recognize your work. Building a memorable brand can be done in the following ways:

  • Have a (professional) presence on social networks. If you are constantly glued to your laptop or phone, you are in luck. In today’s world everyone has a Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, so you need these tools too. Pick an image that resembles you and use it as your logo on all public social networks. Also, it is important to keep your username consistent, so be sure to check your chosen username’s availability on all platforms you are interested in using.
  • Create an online portfolio or website. Thankfully, there are plenty of web hosts that allow you to make websites for free. These sites usually put up advertisements and have funky URLs, but what is important is that the part of the URL you can control reflects your name on social networks. My favorite web host is Wix, because it does not require you to know HTML and you can make a professional-looking site in a matter of hours. Others that my colleagues have used include WordPress and Webs.com.
  • Hint: When you sync up your site to social networks, turn the URL into a tinyurl link using tinyurl.com. This way people won’t be thrown off by your lack of a purchased domain name, and the link will use up fewer characters in your bio.
  • When you’re ready, invest. Domain names, a.k.a. customized URLs, can be pricey. By the same token, you may think your homemade blog logo is the epitome of creativity and excellence. Yet sometimes investing in your own brand is necessary for you to be taken seriously as a professional. Caution: Do not purchase domain names or hiring Photoshop geniuses right away. Instead, play around with your online image and see if your brand is a. effective, and b. a digital reflection of you. Once it is, start doling out the dollar bills.
  • Shamelessly. self. promote. If you see an opportunity to network with someone, jump on it. Call people. Email people. Make yourself known and tweet companies who are doing what you want to do. In the words of branding king Steve Johnson (a.k.a. @journo2go): think about what you want to do, not where you want to work. So tweet small companies: they will lap it up. This advice can be applied to journalism or any other field: just make yourself known and make a positive impression. Social networking can always hurt you, but when used appropriately, it will inevitably help you.

 

Do you have a brand yet? If not, remember to PLAN one first, then start signing up for social networks and promoting your work. It’s a tough world out there, but we know the art of branding. Now get going – your brand isn’t going to build itself.

Want more professional advice? Are you enjoying #yourfuture week? Leave me a comment below (I always answer) and follow me on Twitter for more. You can also like Miss Musings on Facebook and be the first to know when new articles are out. 

Monday’s #yourfuture post: Want a job? Make your own  

 

Want a job? Make your own

As I watched my fellow future-driven high school students seek out summer jobs and internships, I felt a bit left in the dust. However, I realized that I was not in dire need of money, and I do not really need a job. What I really wanted was work experience; so I made my own opportunity to learn the ropes of business and be my own boss.

 

mmlogo

 

Going into blogging for hypeorlando, I was unsure of how much of a time commitment it would be. I assumed that the main portion of the work would revolve around reporting relevant content frequently and in a timely manner. While this is true, I quickly realized that blogging is a business. At this point I have been blogging for less than a month, but I have learned the ins-and-outs of WordPress, how to read Google Analytics, how to edit quickly, how to queue posts, how to use hashtags effectively, and how to “build my brand” as the elusive Miss Musings. Social networks have become much easier for me to navigate, and I have even picked up some HTML skills. I am aware that participating in marketing and social media internships would have warranted me similar skillsets, but I did not need to fill out an application to learn how to make a name for myself in the ever-competitive world of journalism.

Let’s recap: in less than a month at hypeorlando, I have gained skills in marketing, social media, networking, branding, blogging, writing, editing, and general “audience pleasing.” I already knew I was a great writer, but blogging consistently and building my own “internship” allowed me to play with journalism and technology and pick up new strategies I know will be valuable to any company I may encounter after college.

So if you are like me and do not “need” a job financially, but want to learn something over the summer or get an edge in college/job applications, just create your own job. You could blog for hypeorlando, build your own blog, or seek out a different entrepreneurial venture that is suited to your tastes. I came from an extensive background in technology and journalism, so blogging fit in perfectly with my skills and interests. Not everyone needs to intern for Apple or even have a paying job at McDonald’s to learn new things.

It’s “your future” theme week! I will be posting Mon. Wed. and Fri. on how to succeed as a young professional. This is just post number one – tune in Wed. for another post like this! Be the first to know everything: follow me on Twitter and like Miss Musings on Facebook

Congrats Lupita – but must we rank beauty?

I’ve always been a bit of a downer when it comes to beauty pageants and contests. Not because they are driven by popularity, but because the message they all send is the same upsetting one: there is a standard of beauty we must all “rise up to.”

 

People magazine cover.

People magazine cover.

 

Lupita Nyong’o was named People magazine’s “Most Beautiful” person as a part of their annual list. This has been received quite well, and I think she is a fine choice for the cover. However, People has worked to prove that they aren’t all about traditional aesthetic beauty: for example, they did a feature on how women who are 34 are most confident about their bodies, trying to emphasize the importance of body positivity.

Here is my problem: the existence of the list sends a bad message. Regardless of the race of the cover girl or the “love yourself” mentality People is trying to advocate, we are still ranking humans – no, only celebrities – based on their looks. Everyone is attracted to different types, this is why there is someone for everyone. So what is the value in telling the world that they can never be considered the “most beautiful person ever,” which is entirely subjective, by shoving this fact into the faces of readers nationally?

Let’s not forget that while Lupita’s Academy Award was mentioned by Peopleher degree from Yale University was not.

Some may call Lupita’s appearance on the cover of People magazine a “social movement” for African-American women. Yet, I think the more important social movement would be in eradicating lists that judge mere humans on their looks.

I know these lists will not go away for a while. Proportionally, judging people about anything from their looks to their politics to their ethnic backgrounds will not. In the meantime, I believe Lupita is quite beautiful in my frame of mind, and I am sure others agree. Not just because she looks “beautiful” but because she is a kind person with a great message: that everyone has some unique beauty inside of them. Perhaps instead of ranking men and women, People should just share this message in a meaningful way.

“What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul…” – Lupita Nyong’o

 

 

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When you give a girl a cup of Java…

To me, writing computer programs is practically like eating candy; it’s an addictive treat I allow myself to indulge in after a long day’s work and each language is a platform of new, exciting flavor. Sometimes, I sneak in a quick program-writing session when no one is watching and get hooked eliminating the inevitable bugs, partaking in the endless cat-and-mouse game that leaves me mentally tired, yet oddly satisfied. I cast the wrappers, or binary numbers, aside and cosset myself with a cup of Java; I could see myself kicking back and programming every night hereafter.

 

proposal

Source: http://www.geeksugar.com/Geeky-Wedding-Vows-22722529#photo-30952714

 

 

Admittedly, when I first took a computer programming class at age fifteen, I had no idea where to write code. But my inexperience was not what initially frustrated me about computer science: it was the fact that I did not understand the potential at my fingertips. It took a few re-watching periods of the movie War Games and several documentaries on artificial intelligence for me to figure out that the more coding knowledge I acquired, the more power I would have over the most dominant machine on earth. Hence, the quest for control progressed quickly, and I almost did not even take the time to realize that I was head-over-heels with typing lines of code, or as I liked to call them, blocks of supremacy.

To put it simply, I want to be a superhero… of computer science. My AP Computer Science A course made me well aware of the ability computers have, and the skill of the programmer. In the future, I would like to make my home-made programs grand scale: I want to re-create the Enigma machine, analyze risk within seconds, and cure disease with computers by writing programs. My curiosity has led me to writing rudimentary programs similar to these projects, but I know that given access to more software and research mentors, I can let my imagination run wildly along the lines. To prepare for a life of code, I attended an engineering camp, and at the end of the computer science class a list of electives to take at the university appeared on the screen. I thought only two things: I want to take them all, and I want to take them now. I am hoping that my analytical skills will lead me to a successful career in CS, and I could eventually become a hallmark woman who develops her own programming language and owns a software development company, and perhaps inspire girls to pursue CS along the way.

My goals in computer science can easily be summarized as follows: research in college, learn the ropes, and become a professional business woman who has developed her own programming language that can be used for anything from artificial intelligence to healing the world. Is it an ambitious aspiration? Perhaps so, but I have every intent to attain it. Later on, more will unfold: will I become a start-up consultant? Will I get hooked on research and become a director at some prestigious (or not, but soon to be) college? Will I have a TED talk, my life’s aspiration?

Whatever I do, I’ll do in a superhero cape and a pioneer hat.

Why Grimmie is destined to win ‘The Voice’

"The Voice" promotional photo.

“The Voice” promotional photo. Source: http://www.wetpaint.com/the-voice/gallery/2014-04-16-season-6-top-12-artists/photo/2014-04-16-josh-kaufman

 

With the Top 10 revealed and the fate in the audience’s hands, there is not much speculation as to who will be crowned “The Voice” this round.

Christina Grimmie, a YouTube star, auditioned for “The Voice” this season with a controlled, yet powerful take on Miley’s hit song “Wrecking Ball.” Her performance caught the attention of all four judges, but despite Usher’s shouts of encouragement, Grimmie chose Adam Levine as her coach. It was her first great step towards winning it all this season. Here is why my money is on Grimmie.

1. She chose Adam Levine (a.k.a. pop superstar and winner extraordinaire) as her coach.

Adam practically mass produces competition winners. He won two of the five competitions, while Blake Shelton won the other three. The odds are good that Grimmie will take the sixth spot.

2. Two and a half million people would buy tickets to see Grimmie in concert.

 

Still from Grimmie's YouTube video.

Still from Grimmie’s YouTube video.

 

That’s right: the girl has two and a half million subscribers to her YouTube channel, to which she has uploaded cover videos for several years. That said, the majority of her performances on “The Voice” top two million views, so her fan base is quite consistent. She has already amassed a committed and huge following over the years, just through YouTube and not commercial success.

3. Everything would work for her.

 

Album cover.

Album cover. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Find_Me_(Christina_Grimmie_EP)

 

Grimmie released an indie album entitled Find Me in 2011 which debuted at number 35 on the Billboard 200 chart nationally. It ranked significantly higher on the Independent Album list, as it had less competition. She has made music videos, created a following, opened for fellow teen star Selena Gomez on tour, has a second album that debuted last summer, and already has an image that is completely marketable – punky, zesty, girly and powerful. Finding a “persona” has been consistently difficult for now-independent contestants on “The Voice,” but Grimmie already possesses the look she would need to sell albums and does not have to change to suit the needs of a label. Literally all “The Voice” is is a few weeks of voting by her loyal fans, a chance to perform on television and gain even more exposure, and a guaranteed record deal at the end of it all. If she wants the record deal and is already “perfect” in regards to commercial management, winning would be well-suited for her.

4. This note. Or you could just watch the full performance from Monday night below.

 

Although I am an avid “The Voice” fan, since the Blake Shelton “three-peat” I have not been keeping my eyes on the show. Even still, I know who is going to win. Now it’s your turn to answer: is Grimmie destined to win “The Voice?” Comment below with your thoughts.

Watch “The Voice” on NBC Monday and Tuesday nights! 

Learning to love being ‘quirk-tastic’

If you commented on my thick eyebrows a few years ago, I would probably have clammed up right in front of you. I would react the same way if you mentioned my size 10 feet, my super-pale-vampire skin, and that one zit on my nose that won’t go away. Truthfully, the list of “flaws” goes on a lot longer… but I only remember this list because I absolutely love most of these qualities now.

 

Just do it - you're going to have to eventually!

Just do it – you’re going to have to eventually! Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wwwchorboogiecom/13973577183/

 

Accepting quirks I once had problems with did not happen overnight. I plucked my eyebrows, stared at the omnipresent zit, and even bought self-tanner (which only made me look like my mom’s carrot juice bottle). In fact, I did not really have any breakthroughs until my mom put a quilt over my mirror, banning me from looking at it except to make sure my hair was brushed in the morning. I was thirteen at the time.

Surprisingly, this act was all my transformation needed to get rolling. I didn’t have to belt out one more lyric of “Let It Go” or “Skyscraper,” nor did I have to read a self-help book for teenagers. Instead, I started seeing myself through my own eyes, not through a mirror.

Later I learned that my feet resembled not only my father’s, but my grandfather’s, a WWII veteran. Now I take a lot of pride in their shape, and yes, even their size. My pale skin is near iridescent at the beach, but after I heard about the skin cancer outbreaks among my family and teachers, I felt great about using sunscreen obsessively. And my eyebrows? I don’t even notice their bushiness anymore. Frankly, I don’t even care.

The most notable landmark on my journey to self acceptance is realizing how many people have issues with themselves. The very people I might have envied a few years ago for their slim figures or non-frizzy hair are the ones who wish they were curvier or had curly hair. We all want what we can’t have, which is why desiring a quality that makes someone else who they are is pretty illogical.

My advice would be to hold onto your flaws. Cherish them. Love them up. Don’t even call them flaws – call them differentiation devices or special quirks. You can even cover up your mirror and start seeing yourself for who you are, not what you look like. Finally, if you do change yourself by plucking your eyebrows or trying to tan, realize that you are not at your final destination on the road to loving yourself. Eventually you will return to your roots, just as I did, and you might even grow fond of the traits you currently detest.

Memoirs of a quiet kid

“Come out of your shell, Samantha.” – Every teacher I have ever had

But I don’t wanna! I would respond indignantly in my head. First, I do not have a literal shell. Second, no humans do. Third, if we did have shells, why would we want to leave a protective and warm casing that is so perfectly designed for us?

As a blooming young introvert plenty of elements in my life were different from those of other kids. I preferred to read books than talk and have my one TRUE friend instead of several acquaintances. I would get really attached to a single concept, whether it was a person or a culture or the TV series Kim Possible. In school and extracurricular activities I often fit in with a group of extroverts as the trustworthy “secret-keeper;” but I would be dumped aside shortly after the entire burden was spilt. Herein you see the drawbacks of liking silence – it leads to a recycled bond of friendship, tried and false.

 

shy

Source: http://www.aboutourkids.org/articles/helping_shy_kids_get_most_out_their_school_experience

 

However, there were plenty of benefits to being a quiet girl. I constantly found ways to entertain myself. In my cozy, metaphorical shell I would dream up outrageous stories, role play with my Barbies for hours, design business plans for fake Parisian bakeries and dance studios and choreograph to the new Radio Disney CD. Some of my fondest memories were formed during blissful “me-time.” But more importantly, I can now visualize these memories instantly since my time spent dreaming sharpened my ability to remember thoughts and generate ideas. I feel my budding intellect was nurtured during the time I spent alone; I read voraciously when I was bored and honed my interests through research and discovery. Sure, I was a quiet child, stuck in a social shell, but I was also quite interesting.

Yet even as I got older the social stigma against introversion loomed over me; I remember sitting down for breakfast on the first day of a summer camp and being asked by a counselor why I wasn’t sitting with anyone. “Because I like to spend time by myself,” I responded confidently. He still sat next to me, too concerned with his own definition of normal social behavior to realize he was ignoring my preference. Naturally, I was annoyed and only wanted to pull the “shell” tighter – especially if it meant having some time alone with my thoughts.

Some people need their quiet time; I certainly know I do.

Is introversion seen as social anxiety by today’s standards? 

How to write like a published author – or better

A lot of people ask me how I write how I do; so I figured, why not just write a guide for blooming young writers?

  • First, read a lot. I don’t mean John Green books and Twilight – those are rather juvenile in my opinion; in fact the last time I read a Young Adult novel I was humored by the immature language and uninspiring sentence structure. Instead, read something brilliant that speaks to you: for example, I like to fixate myself on specific time periods and read little-known memoirs. I also frequently read medical papers and acclaimed poetry. While reading these types of literature is time-consuming and difficult, the act exercises your brain and teaches you how to write descriptively and persuasively.
  • Read different things. Variety truly is KEY: read poems, memoirs, short stories, novellas, creative writing, non-fiction… the only way to write uniquely is to synthesize styles; the only way to do this is to read literature of different styles. For example, I utilize myriad creative writing techniques in my journalistic pieces. Feel free to mix it up and explore.
  • Fake it until you make it. I often idolize certain authors, some being Poe, Austen, Rowling, and Plath. Once you find a writer you like, try to mimic his or her style. Don’t rewrite what he or she has; try to analyze the tones of pieces and how they are conveyed, and then write your own masterpiece.
  • Write every day. You heard me. If you want to be a great writer, you really need to be prolific. I write anywhere from 500 to 2000 words per day, on top of taking AP classes, participating in extracurricular activities, volunteering, editing, reading, and studying. It may seem like homework at first, but once you start getting jolts of creativity, you are going to crave the catharsis provided by writing every day.
  • Edit your own writing. While it is great to receive feedback from teachers and friends, you need to learn how to improve your own pieces. Thus, you should actually read what you write. Do you repeat certain words a lot? Are your transitional phrases lacking? Is the overall style kind of “meh” and lackluster? Be your own harshest critic so you can be aware of problems before they emerge.

 

Finally, always, ALWAYS try to figure out a new way to describe an old idea. Look, a lot of people write about the same topics: love, vampires, crushes, empowerment, society, teenage crises, loving yourself… they are all overdone. This is not just because these topics are frequently written about, but because they are written about in the same way, and from the same angle. Provide a new perspective on a tried-and-true concept. Voice your story, not the story you just read. Trust me, clichéd writing is something I have had to fight for years – no hyperbole intended – but if I can beat it, you can beat it. It is a process worth going through because you will gain amazing results.

 

 

Your bumper stickers say a lot about you

Your bumper stickers say a lot about you

Image courtesy of ahundredmonkeys.com

Image courtesy of ahundredmonkeys.com

 

When I walk through a parking lot, I tend to look at the backs of all the parked cars. Sometimes this behavior warrants an amused chuckle: perhaps a Seminole fan is parked right next to a Gator fan or all the cars are from different states. But for the most part, after glancing at the cars I feel like I have befriended the unknown drivers; after all, I now know how many kids you have and that little Bobby is an honor roll student. You might as well invite me over for coffee so we can discuss your stance on free healthcare, since I am fully aware that you were pro-Obama not just in 2008, but 2012 as well.

Image courtesy of cafepress.com

Image courtesy of cafepress.com

 

People please – don’t look at me like I am crazy for knowing your political views, supposed Salt Life, Apple product preference, and alma mater. If you have an issue with broadcasting these facts and using your car as a second Facebook page, take off the stickers. I would love to get to know you through actual conversation.

Like this bright? Comment below if you want more.