WHAT TO DO IF YOUR FRIEND SAYS SHE’S NOT A FEMINIST

Take a deep breath.

I took an Introduction to Feminism course my sophomore year of college, and let me tell you, it rocked my world. I knew vaguely of the women’s rights movement and would probably have told people that I was a feminist, but I was not enlightened to the extent of which I realized that prejudice based on gender affects nearly every aspect of our lives. I am very vocal in advocating for feminism, but I have noticed since taking the class that many of my friends shy away from or directly reject identifying themselves as a feminist. Now I totally understand that not all of us have the opportunity to take an introductory course, but it is something that should be discussed openly and we as women (but also everyone) should be educated about. If you have a similar situation or simply want to know more about the topic (hell yeah), here’s my way of introducing and talking about it:

Firstly, don’t get annoyed with your friend. She has a different set of experiences and backgrounds (and probably has not been given a complete history in gender studies), so do not judge. First ask your friend, “Do you believe in equality?” or even just “Do you want to own your own body?” If they answer yes to either of these questions, surprise! That’s what a feminist believes in. Now you can get to specifics.

Feminism is defined as “the theory of political, economic, and social equality of the sexes” by Merriam-Webster. That’s literally what it is: equality between genders. Since the movement’s public emergence in the 60’s, opponents have been quick to jump on and point out the most radical version of it. Stereotypes of feminists are often portrayed as men-hating “feminazis.” The negative portrayal of feminists in our society has most likely contributed to your friend’s idea of what feminism means. (Like, for example, if we all judged the Bachelorette solely based on her giving the rose to the WhaBoom! guy, we probably would not have such high opinions of Rachel.) Remind them of this, this is the reason it is so important to reclaim feminism for yourself and all women, to show them its more than okay to do so and you’re not going to stand by idly.

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via @here_emily.t

Then, give her an example of how it is used. The feminist movement is the reason why women can be in the professional field (and be successful in their jobs!). It is also used to call into question why women are not being paid as much as men or why female bodies are continually objectified in media and advertising. Sexism is still alive and well today. Feminism is not a tool for wining or complaining about prejudice, its bringing up legitimate questions on how society is unfairly treating a group of people. Most importantly, its existence is necessary for progress and change. (Check out some dope TED talks on modern feminism here.)

End with this; there is no right or wrong way to advocate for equality (but keep it intersectional, find out what that is here). The most important part is that you are doing so, and knowing that it doesn’t have to be done in an obnoxious way. Simply by beginning to notice and address that guys are usually not the ones being catcalled or that it shouldn’t be normal to not feel safe when walking alone is recognizing the disparity in gender equality. We can all be feminists (hey men! even you!) and we should all be feminists.

Meet other like-minded vinas using the Hey! VINA app, here!

SORORITY LIFE: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY

As the school year looms ahead, so does sorority recruitment for a lot of us. There are plenty of articles on why you should join a sorority, how to make the best impression during rush, and even what to wear. But these just sort of scratch the surface of what its really like to be in srat life. So here we have it – I’ve consolidated experiences and advice from friends in Greek life so you can get the REAL inside scoop. So whether you know you’re going to rush, or still on the fence, I present to you: the good, the bad, and the ugly of being in a sorority.

THE GOOD

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via @uscadpi

Friends! Duh, this is the whole point of joining a sorority. As much as you and I do not want to admit it, college is intimidating. For me, I didn’t know a single person in my freshman class, so going through rush and getting into a sorority with 60 other girls was an awesome bonding experience and a huge relief. Your pledge class usually consists of women with similar characteristics and values as you, which makes getting to know them easy and fun. And this isn’t just me – everyone else I asked came to the same conclusion. Everyone’s best friends in college came from their sorority. (That being said, you can obviously make friends other ways and in different places, being in Greek life just makes it a little easier).

Social life. Along with meeting some amazing people, you get to do everything with them. From mixers with fraternities to fro-yo runs, the sorority promotes bonding by planning most of your social calendar. It’s stress-free, you meet more people, make connections, network, and have a dope time while doing so.

 

Food. So this is not the same at every college, but in some sororities, meals might be provided. For me, this is hand’s down best reason to join a sorority (besides friends, obviously). It’s usually of much better quality than dining hall food (😷), and way easier than cooking meals for yourself.

 

 

 

THE BAD (AND SOMETIMES, THE UGLY)

Cost. Again, this depends on the specific sorority, but we all have to pay our dues. These can get pretty pricey, especially if you have to pay for food. We’re talking upwards of thousands of dollars…on top of tuition and sometimes even housing. But most people say that the benefits outweigh the costs for the srat experience, and I have to agree. I work to pay for my sorority, but honestly the food, friends, and fun make it totally worth it. Of course, it depends on you or your family’s financial sitch – so it’s definitely something to consider.

Isolation. When you’re doing everything with one group of people and the objective is to create bonds between them, naturally people not included in that will be neglected. Many sororities claim that it’s easy to make friends with girls in other houses and outside of Greek life. But, unless you’re deliberately making time to meet and hang out with outside people, that’s exactly what they will become: outsiders. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible! One of my best friends is in our so-called “rival” sorority, and its so refreshing to have someone to laugh with about the frivolities of Greek life and do things without the same people all the time. But, we did have to work to maintain our friendship during college and not to grow apart.

Stereotypes. Being in a sorority comes with having the labels of your typical sorority girl. Some people will think you’re superficial, dumb, materialistic, vapid, promiscuous, self-absorbed, anti-feminist, cult members… the list of negative stereotypes goes on. Obviously sorority members aren’t always like this, in fact I’d say it’s pretty rare for any of these stereotypes to be true.  Look, if someone is judging you solely based on this one institution you are apart of without considering you as a multi-faceted, unique individual, that is unfair and that person is an a**hole. Don’t waste your precious time on them.

Hierarchy. As in, individually in your sorority and in your school’s Greek system as a whole. Executive committees exist to install and implement order so that the sorority can actually run effectively and doesn’t turn into Neighbors 2. But, those in executive positions can let this go to their head and become dictator-like, and its hard to oppose these people or make your opinion heard. Luckily, the whole sorority votes on these positions once a year, so there is opportunity for new (better) leadership.

Headed to college? Download the Hey! VINA app here, to make some new friends (who are not just in your sorority)!

WHY RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE IS THE BEST SHOW ON TV

Charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent. That is what is being served weekly on this superior reality show competition. The legendary RuPaul (who basically popularized the world of drag for millions of people) hosts this amazing showcase of performance artistry. It’s the most entertaining talent competition I have ever watched. If you want singing, dancing, acting, fashion design, makeup, and the very best drag queens, you’ve come to the right place. Get your life, hunty!

ICONIC SAYINGS

Soooo many of the phrases we use on social media originate from this show. “Throwing shade” (casting of aspersions)? “Come through” (an exciting exclamation)? “Busted” (ugly)? All from RPDG. These queens are just as original as they are sassy, and I wouldn’t change a single TV minute of it.

via Tumblr

READING

The library is open! Reading is a staple component of RPDG, which consists of the girls pointing out each others’ flaws, either directly or indirectly. Vinas, some of the best moments from the show come from the queens critiquing each other. The drama and tensions run high, but so does the creativity, which results from trying to be the best to beat the opponent.

 

 

 

 

 

HERSTORY

Not only is this show entertaining, it serves facts on drag and LGBT culture and history. Drag is a pillar of the LGBT movement; I’ve learned a lot about drag icons and their challenges, as well as the queens themselves. They challenge gender norms and incorporate the culture into their outfits and makeup; it’s amazing and educational!

DRAG FAMILY

RuPaul says, “As drag queens, we get to choose our family.” Each queen that competes on the show is amazing in her own right, but the support between the girls is one of the primary reasons I watch. Even though it mostly seems like love/hate relationships between the contestants, as a viewer, you can feel the love and respect the contestants have for each other. RuPaul’s Drag Race still bringing families together!

 

Download Hey! VINA on the App Store and find a vina to have viewing parties with. And remember vinas, if you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gon’ love somebody else!

(Featured image via Huffington Post)

HOW TO FIND A DIET THAT WORKS FOR YOU

As someone whose weight fluctuates up and down about 15 pounds, I have tried many tactics to get it to stay at the low end of that spectrum. I am a big supporter of exercise, and have worked hard to get the best routine for myself over the past five years (another article!). But the thing that loomed over me like a giant (cotton candy) cloud that I could not get a grasp on is what I ate.

I have done many things to try to lose weight and gain control over what I eat including going days only drinking juice, and months not eating dairy. I have only recently started the ketogenic diet, which has had the best results for my body and is very easy for me to maintain (I can eat cheese!!!). I have a LOT of experience in this subject, so I would like to provide the vina community with my advice on finding the right diet.

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via @lunch_with

Okay, first of all, before you even start, don’t think of it as a diet. The second you label the way you are eating as a diet, the stigma and stereotypes of one start. You’ve probably heard this term before, but I much prefer to think of it as a*lifestyle choice*. Other people may not see it that way, so if they judge you for eating differently, think to yourself, “It’s not a diet, it’s just a change in the way I am living my life!” (key word here is my). Also, if they do judge you for it, f*** them. (Check out our article on letting your friends know you’re changing your eating habits here).

Second, figure out your goals. And not just any goals, but practical, specific, non-superficial ones. If you start eating differently only to lose weight, then you will punish yourself internally for going off track, and the last thing you want is a contentious relationship with food. Eating carbs is not a sin (its actually necessary!) so do not hate yourself for it! Keep eating things you love, just in smaller amounts (Also, you absolutely do not have to eat anything you despise, just find a tastier substitute). Set goals such as, “I want to feel better after I eat and not bloated” or “I want to stay satisfied after meals for longer.” These are personally tailored to you, easy to track, and will remind you that you’re doing this for good, health-oriented reasons.

Next, do your research. I found the way I eat now by reading Fat for Fuel by Joseph Mercola. His book goes over how exactly food is processed in your body on a cellular level, and how that affects your health and functioning. He taught me that everything you eat has an impact on how your body works, so it’s immensely important to give it what it needs to perform at its best, regardless of weight. Read articles on nutrition and learn about macronutrients and intermittent fasting (for example) and assess if the benefits of the lifestyle outweigh the costs in your life. Biology is so important, and is the best subject to learn about in order to find out what you should eat for your body and goals. Pick your eating choices off of science, not trendiness.

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via giphy

Remember, your body needs food! You have to have nutrients and energy to survive, so think of this as finding the ones that best fit your body and goals. “Healthy” food is often delicious and easy to come by, so do not build it up as some big thing in your head. Most important of all, be nice to yourselves, vinas, because the most important part of living a healthy lifestyle is self-love. Here are some more tips to successful eating!

Get the Hey! VINA app here and find some vinas to embark on your healthy lifestyle journey with you.

(Featured Image via topsy one).

WHY IT PAYS BE FRIENDS WITH YOUR COWORKERS

A study recently printed in Organization Science, as cited by Science Daily, has just published findings on gender differences, specifically in social networks, in the workplace. Using data from two firms which were mostly male-dominated (eye roll🙄), Organization Science reported that women are more likely to declare another woman a “difficult coworker” than are men. However, the rate was lower in women who had a better support and social network groups with female coworkers.

In plain English, this basically means that it’s good to be friends with your female coworkers! There is so much to be gained from solidifying strong, reliable female friendships in the office. There’s nothing better than having a collaborator to bounce ideas off of, especially when that person is a dear friend. Look no further than Tina Fey and Amy Poehler for the literal meaning of the words “girl power.” Together, they are unstoppable.

via Giphy

The study goes to show that women tend towards both ends of the spectrum; being against each other and supporting each other. Clearly, the first option is the healthier, more beneficial, and most fun way to go. Why not make friends with your female coworkers? Women’s empowerment, vinas! 👩‍❤️‍👩

Remember, less conflict = less distraction = more leaning in. Make Sheryl Sandberg proud and check out our article on how to make a work BFF. You’ll be so happy to have someone to ease the pain of those Monday mornings, pick you up when the stress of your workload is getting you down, and be there to cheer you on whenever you need it. It can undoubtedly be intimidating at first to take the plunge, but completely rewarding when accomplished.

Tell us about your friendships with female coworkers! If you’re looking for some new ones, don’t forget to download the Hey! VINA app!

(Featured image via @meganmmichele)

HOW TO DO WINE TASTING THE RIGHT WAY

I have been wine tasting four times and live an hour away from Napa, so obviously I am now a wine expert and qualified to share my insight with my vinas! Wine tasting is one of the most fun activities you can do with your friends, significant others, and parents (yes, my mom is my best friend; see photo on the right). It’s the best of both worlds (education and alcohol), and it’s the perfect excuse to drink: you’re learning about viticulture! Without further ado, here are my tips for getting the most out of your wine tasting adventure (without overdoing it):

STAY REPLENISHED

This should be obvious, but it can get really hot in wine country, so make sure you are drinking enough water! It also protects from a horrible hangover later on. I can personally attest to the fact that the combination of delicious wine and strong AF sun is not your friend.

HAVE A DD

Most people at wine tasting do want to try the wine, so if one of your friends is driving, make sure that they do not drink more than one glass, or that they are spitting it out (which is totally normal; wineries actually encourage this). Otherwise, rent a party bus/limo and keep the fun going in-between stops!

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

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via @dounbug

Aim for 2, possibly 3, wineries per day. Check out the reviews beforehand, and pick out your favorite places. Most wineries let you taste six or so wines starting from fifteen dollars. The staff sometimes pours large amounts, and in the U.S., our wines are typically higher in alcohol content than in Europe. You don’t need to go to a bunch of different wineries to get the authentic wine tasting experience. You can feel classy and go to high-quality wineries, but don’t get in over your head!

 

MAKE RESERVATIONS

The food at wineries is essentially as delicious as is the wine, and it’s just as important when you are day-drinking. I recommend eating a big lunch beforehand, so you have some nutrients in you during your tasting. Remember to book a reservation ahead of time, as highly rated restaurants near wineries fill up on the weekends during the wine tasting season.

 

 

VACAY FROM THE VACAY

Give yourself a day after wine tasting to recover (you’re going to need it). Hang out by the pool, or book some spa treatments to complete the trip.

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via Kylogue

Have fun wine tasting vinas! Join the Happy Hour community on our app to find some vino lovers to go with you, here.

(Featured image via Tonight We Are Young)

4 AWESOME WORKOUTS YOU CAN DO WITH YOUR VINAS ALL SUMMER LONG

The best way to get and stay in shape this summer is by doing it with friends! Exercising with someone else keeps you accountable because skipping one gym day can lead to two, then three… (you know how it goes). You can check out more reasons to work out with your friends here. Without further ado, here are some different workouts to keep you and your vinas committed to your exercise goals that are much more exciting than the old, lonely elliptical:

FITNESS PROGRAMS

There are many workout guides that provide a set week-by-week plan to become stronger and healthier. One of my favorites, Bikini Body Guide, gives you a twelve-week program with 30 minute sessions focused on resistance training, so it’s over fast (you’re welcome) but is a kick-ass workout. The creator’s Instagram, @kayla_itsines, is full of inspiring transformations and yummy, nutritious food. By committing to this program with another vina, you keep each other accountable for sticking with it (and you can split the cost)!

INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS

The best kind of workouts are free! Fitness programs can be expensive, so save that money by checking out these awesome partner workouts on Instagram. Best friends Josephine Shriver and Jasmine Tookes share their gym workouts through their Insta @joja. You can get exercise ideas from them and others, like @twicethehealth and @katieaustin, for fitness inspo and healthy lifestyle habits.

 

 

CLASSES

Grab your vinas and head to a high-intensity interval training class (HIIT)! This means intense short periods of hard work followed by steady cardio, which kicks your metabolism into gear and can continue burning calories for up to 24 hours afterwards. I recommend SoulCycle (I know, I’m basic) or Barry’s Bootcamp to get the most efficient workouts. These classes say that you can burn between 400 to 1000 calories in a single session so if someone asks you what you accomplished today, you can tell them you worked off two Happy Meals. Also, when you pay for a class, you feel doubly inclined to go, plus it’s always more fun and motivating to feel the good kind of burn with friends.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Ah, nothing better than the sounds of the forest, wildlife, and heavy breathing. On those days that I don’t want to drop $30 to feel like I am dying (but in a good way!), I head outside with my fellow vinas.  You can check out pet-friendly hikes and running trails in your area at alltrails.com, and find natural parks and beaches to explore this summer. Adventure (and exercise) is out there, vinas!

 

 

Find other vinas to get your sweat on with this summer using our app! Download it from the App Store here. What are your fave workouts to do with your friends? Tell us in the comments below!

3 INSTAGRAM HEALTHY LIFESTYLE GURUS WHO KEEP IT REAL

Instagram is full of #fitso and fitness models who seems like they have perfect bodies and perfect lives. I prefer to get my workout motivation from women who are up front about the stress and superficiality of maintaining that image. Here are some empowering healthy lifestyle gurus who I encourage you to follow on Insta right away:

@JULIEALEDBETTER

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via @juliealedbetter

Julie reminds her followers that in this day and age, lighting and angles can make a photo look 100x better (and usually unrealistic). She is also super real about her struggle with fitness and dieting, and how unmanageable her previous ideas of exercise were. She shows you just how important it is to not look at the superficial side of working out, but really to maintain a program that works for you and makes you feel good.

 

 

@ALLYSTONE

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via @allystone

An ex-bikini competitor, Ally now uses her Instagram to promote her healthier choices in diet and exercise. She implements her experience with weight-lifting, cardio, and food to give awesome (and attainable!) advice on getting better results. Not only that, but she has recently started her own bikini line because she couldn’t find any that fit her the way wanted. So, she made her own and geared it towards like-minded women. That is dope.

 

 

 

@ANY.BODY_CO

 

So this is technically a two-for-one, but that’s even better!

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via @any.body_co

Australian models and real-life BFF’s Kate Wasley and Georgia Gibbs share this Instagram account that’s all about loving yourself no matter what size your genetics predetermined you would be (because that’s all is it; biology)! They post motivational (and realistic) quotes, body positivity inspiration, and lifestyle tips to remind yourself that you are worthy! Can you say #bestfriendgoals? 😍 (Go get yourself a bestie like this using our app, Hey! VINA)

 

 

Vinas, I ask you to be kind to yourselves on your fitness and health journeys. Being healthy is great, but only if you keep it balanced. If you ever need some motivation/reassurance, head over to these awesome vinas’ Instagrams. 💕

(Feature image via @any.body_co)

YOUR FAVE NEW SUMMER ACTIVITY: CHECKING YOUR FRIENDS FOR MOLES!

The sun is shining this summer, vinas, and so are the UV rays! As awesome as being tan may seem, the cost for this wayyy outweighs the benefits. UV rays can leave excessive damage on your skin and can accumulate to turn into cancer cells.

People with a lot of moles (like me, I have over 50, woohoo!) have an increased risk of developing melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer. However, no need to fear because you can help yourself and your other vinas out by looking for your ABC’s to identify bad moles:

A: ASYMMETRY

Be cautious if one half of your mole does not match the other (they should look like circles or ovals).

B: BORDERS

Bad moles have uneven or blurred edges.

C: COLOR

Having a variety of colors within the mole (black, brown, blue, red, or white) can indicate melanoma.

D: DIAMETER

Benign moles are usually smaller in width than cancerous moles.

E: EVOLVING

Any change in the previously mentioned signs can point to a mole turning bad, so its important to get that one checked out.

If your moles demonstrate any of these signs, please go to a dermatologist to get them looked at. If you are unsure, you should monitor them over time. Have one of your vinas take pictures of your moles every month to track their progress.

Stay safe this summer, Vinas! Always wear sunscreen with at least SPF 15 (I know I sound like a mom, but this is necessary) and help your other vinas out by keeping an eye on their moles too. Remember, melanoma can be malignant and pale is pretty!

You can find fellow mole-y vinas to join the #molestruggle with you by downloading our Hey! VINA app in the App Store here.

WHAT I WISH I KNEW BEFORE I STUDIED ABROAD

First things first; IT WAS THE BEST! I lived in London for five months and traveled to 8 different European countries. If you have a chance to go abroad during college or literally whenever, please do it. You will experience so many new and amazing things in a foreign country. Regardless of where you go, you’ll return to the states (as you will end up calling them) with a plethora of knowledge about other cultures (and the best food and drinks).

So, to make your study abroad trip the best it can possibly be, I would like to provide you vinas with some things I wish I had known before I left the USA:

DON’T BE AFRAID TO DO THINGS BY YOURSELF 🤗

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via me

When you arrive in another country, you likely will not know anyone and this will be scary. But do not panic! All you have to do is find some wifi and download the Hey! VINA app. And while you wait for a ditto (VINA lingo for a match), familiarize yourself with the area. It will take probably about a week but orienting yourself is a much less intimidating task than it seems. You will be a local in no time and you’ll know all the fun spots.

 

IF YOU’RE IN A RELATIONSHIP, PUT YOURSELF AND YOUR EXPERIENCE FIRST 🙋🏼

In my experience, long-distance relationships can be rough (mine have always ended in someone dumping me, yay!). So if you are on the rocks about how to deal with your LDR when abroad, I say prioritize yourself. As hard as it might be to put your relationship on hold and divert your attention elsewhere, it will allow you to be as in the moment as possible to fully enjoy your time abroad. I really wish someone would have been real with me about this before I left.

On the other hand, if you get into a relationship abroad, go you! (People who are foreign to us are very attractive). Just keep in mind what you want out of your experience and make sure that person will be supportive of it. I don’t recommend spending your entire time in Europe Netflix and chillin’.

MAKE SOME LOCAL FRIENDS

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via me

When I was preparing to leave for London, my British study abroad counselor told me that I would likely not be making any British friends. Apparently, since I lived a freshman dorm, they were not interested in adopting an older American girl into their cliques, and the older students went home straight away after class. Luckily, I was able to make some quality local friends who showed me the ropes of London life. If not for them, my abroad trip would have been much less cultured and diverse.

Had I had the Hey! VINA app, I could have made new British friends so much easier and faster. So, again, download it!

READ, READ, READ! 📚

Rick Steves is your best friend. Seriously. My boy Rick will save you from hunger, homelessness, and boredom. Rick Steves has guides for nearly every country and will give you the deets on food, hotel, and things to see. If you do not want to spend money (say, spend it on a $20 RyanAir flight to Italy), just check out his website, TripAdvisor, or TimeOut. Even though spontaneity in a foreign country may seem like a good idea, its always better to be prepared.

TAKE PICTURES AND MEMORIES FOR YOURSELF, NOT JUST FOR OTHERS 📸

This is the time to seize the day, vinas! So get off your phone and don’t worry if your Instagram is bomb af (which I am sure it is). Take pictures of monuments, buildings, friends, and anything that you find intriguing and beautiful. You don’t have to post them all, but take tons so you have something to look back on and reminisce over for years to come. Good luck!

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via @ravishah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Feature image via @emeasterlin)

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