WHAT HBO’S “INSECURE” TAUGHT ME ABOUT FRIENDSHIP

May I be honest with my vinas? I could seriously write a whole listicle about what “Insecure” has taught me about friendship. Mainly, I could discuss how overjoyed I was to watch Issa Rae on television after watching her on YouTube for years.

This show was necessary because it tells the story of young, progressive African-American women and men. People of other cultures and backgrounds can relate to Issa because we have all been the awkward friend. We’ve also been in tough relationships- long or short.

However, what I learned most about friendship from this show is that friendship gets ugly. Yes, friends can be an outlet and a shoulder to lean on during rough times.

We all tell our vinas what they don’t want to hear sometimes. How many times has your vina rolled her eyes at the guys you’ve hooked up with on Tinder? Or maybe she suggested you skip a party to finish your dissertation that’s due in two weeks. Whatever the situation, no matter how deep it gets, no friendship is peachy keen.

Remember the last episode, “Broken as F*ck”? Molly lets her guard down and gives Issa a ride back to Los Angeles in hopes that she can salvage her relationship. Even though they had gotten into the biggest argument of their friendship, she let love be the reason to stand up for her friend.

When Issa came home to Lawrence’s absence, Molly was right there to catch her when she was at her lowest. That is the moment they both realized that although their disagreement was harsh, they were both right about each other. We are comfortable being vulnerable with our friends because they remind us who we are during the times we forget.

It’s healthy to release your thoughts and emotions with friends so that you never have to wonder how they feel. You can argue, get to the root of the problem, and agree to never act that way again. It’s a process that should be practiced in all relationships in order to heal and thrive.

I’m glad “Insecure” is on the big screen to ensure to me that my vinas and I aren’t the only ones who sit on the couch, pig out, and wonder when we’ll get the passionate, dope love that our hearts desire. I am Issa, and she is me.

If you haven’t gotten the chance to watch “Insecure” yet, it can be streamed on HBOGo and Amazon.

What lessons did you learn from the show? Let us know in the comments below!

(Feature image via @insecurehbo)

TABOO TOPIC TUESDAY: LET’S TALK ABOUT RACE

An important lesson I’ve learned this year is that a friendship should have boundaries. I’ve noticed there are certain strategies for discussing topics with those of different views. We want to support and inform our vinas, not offend them.

One of those topics is race. I frequently address social justice in my statuses to show where I stand with my views. If you stumble along a vina who is just as vocal, don’t panic! When the time is right, these two steps will ease the process.

DON’T USE WORDS LIKE ‘SENSITIVE’ OR ‘WHINY’

If your vina is a woman of color, she faces other challenges beside just being a woman in today’s patriarchal society. Listen actively and speak up for her when possible. Your support is always appreciated and welcomed.

RESEARCH WHAT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND

Race won’t always be a voluntary conversation piece. After this year’s election, it plays a large part in how we view the people around us at work, school, etc. If you find the discussions around you starting to heat up, diffuse the situation by encouraging others to research on their own. A more ‘in-depth’ understanding can take the heat off, while shining light on one’s perspectives.

I used to cringe whenever I was called a ‘social justice warrior.’ Now, I embrace it. I’m proud to be able to fight for what I believe in while embracing my culture.

Have you had one of these talks with a vina yet? Tweet us, or comment below, and check out Hey! VINA on the app store. 

(Feature image via @wonga.ca)

HOW TO SET UP YOUR SPACE TO BE PERFECT FOR YOUR STUDY GROUP

A popular study technique is to find a group of people to meet with every week or two to review material. Take the initiative, and invite your vinas over for a cram sesh. But remember, your study buddy vinas are guests too, so make sure your space is clean, welcoming, and rid of distractions before they arrive. Because, after all, you are there to get down to business!

Disinfect tables and writing utensils.

The easiest way to get sick is sharing a confined area with a group of people. Wipe down your table with some disinfectant prior to your vinas’ arrival. Germs can also be spread between pens, highlighters, and books, so make sure hand sanitizer is near. You can’t ace your test if you have to take a sick day!

Remove distractions.

Have your vinas leave their phones in the room over, and only use your laptop if you must. Outside distractions can prevent you and your study pals from reaching your full processing potential. To drown out unavoidable sounds, try playing soft music, preferably classical, at a low volume.

Buy a large, comfy rug.

It’s hard for everyone to gather and engage without having to play a game of musical chairs beforehand. Instead, try a rug, which can maximize your space, allow you to spread out your study materials, and chat easily. Plus, chairs can eventually get uncomfortable.  Rugs such as this fuzzy beauty will enhance (and liven up) your space without breaking the bank.

Set the mood.

Soft, aromatic scents can ease tension and create a relaxing vibe. Ideally, pick a room with mainly natural lighting. Fluorescent lights are hard on the eyes and can harsh your study mellow. Light a candle, or plug in an oil diffuser, and let the study vibes flow.

What other techniques have you used to set the study scene? Let us know!

(Featured image via instagram.com

 

BLACK WOMEN IN HISTORY WE ❤️

One of my favorite Solange lyrics is, “Don’t let anybody steal your magic. I got so much y’all!” Solange was singing about #blackgirlmagic. These four women have the kind of magic we admire:

1966-l-06717.jpeg

via NASA

KATHERINE JOHNSON

Johnson was one of the first black women to work for NASA. She is also a member of the first African-American sorority to be incorporated in America, Alpha Kappa Alpha. More of Johnson’s story can be seen in the new film Hidden Figures, starring Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer.

Shirley_Chisholm.jpgSHIRLEY CHISHOLM

Shirley Chisholm is known for being the first African-American woman to be elected to the United States Congress. She was also the first African-American presidential candidate, along with being the first woman to ever run for the Democratic Party. Astonishing, right? Outside of politics, she was a part of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the second African-American sorority to be chartered in America.

b2e49b9837462203467153f2f7ffb2b7.jpgRUBY BRIDGES

Ruby Bridges is an icon for every little black girl to admire. The movie, Ruby Bridges (1998), highlights the sacrifices that the Bridges family made in order for Ruby to attend an all-white school. Her bravery at William Frantz Elementary sparked a new strategy of resistance that is still practiced today.

Fannie-Lou-Hamer.pngFANNIE LOU HAMER

Hamer is known to be one of the most influential and vocal black women in history. She was never to be silenced. Fannie Lou Hamer fought for the right for black women to vote. She also criticized and challenged the dangers of voter suppression in America. To learn more, listen to this clip of her speech at the 1964 Democratic National Convention.

Happy Black History Month! This month, I encourage you to learn more about black women and their influence on the world.

Are there any black women that you admire? Tweet us about it or tell us below!

BREAKING UP WITH A FRIEND vs. BREAKING UP WITH YOUR S.O. – WHAT’S WORSE?

You’re swiping through the app or taking an entertaining Hey! VINA quiz, and you remember that you haven’t talked to one of your good friends in a while. Yes, you both are busy. However, a hectic schedule has never stopped you two before. You notice that her Snapchat stories are filled with movie and dinner outings and you get a sinking sensation in your chest, “Why wasn’t I invited?” 

The truth is, friendships are sort of like trees. Some friendships bloom seasonally and only stick around for a little while, and some friends plant their roots deep and last a lifetime. But when a good friendship fizzles out and ends, it can feel worse than any romantic break-up for a few reasons.

1. Your vina is who you run to when things get rough. If you don’t have your best friend, who else can you vent to?

2. She knows everything about you, and you look forward to sharing more accomplishments, hardships, etc., with her.

3. The awkwardness is REAL. It can be rough to navigate mutual friendships or social media.

4. There are endless memories that you will never forget. It’s deeper than just deleting your ex from your Instagram photos, you’ve shared so much with each other.

If you find yourself not being able to handle the fade of your vina-ship, reach out to her! Everyone deserves a second chance. Communication is one of the most important aspects of any type of relationship. Learn what’s bothering your vina, or ask her what is the best way to connect to her when things start to feel distant. Life is too short to lose the people who make it easier.

Have you tried reconnecting with a lost vina lately? Comment below or tweet us about it!

MUSIC BESTIES WE LOVE TO ENVY

There are so many women in the music biz to celebrate. It’s even more fun to watch celebrities fan girl over each other! Watching fellow vinas stick together in their fields is encouraging. It shows that there is no competition, and there is enough sun for everyone to shine! These vinas set the tone for true friendship:

KELLY ROWLAND & BEYONCÉ

Everyone deserves a friendship that can stand the test of time. Amongst adolescence, motherhood, weddings, and more milestones, Kelly and Bey never miss a beat on and off the stage. They’ve got so much magic: Southern Belle black girl magic!

RIHANNA & KATY PERRY

These two risk-takers bond with fashion alongside music. When they aren’t changing their hair, they’re collaborating with beauty brands that inspire vinas all over the world. They make hits, collect their awards, and celebrate all over the world with their other besties. Goals.

FIFTH HARMONY

This girl-group made the best of their talents on The X Factor by going from solo to a quintet. As they mature, so does their music, which keeps an appropriate balance between their teen and adult audiences. Bonus Fun Fact: Normani, Lauren, Camila, Dinah Jane, and Ally also have spectacular twerking skills.

What other music industry BFFs do you admire? Let us know in the comments!

(Feature image via @fifthharmony)

TV BESTIES WE ALL WISH WE HAD

We’ve all taken one of those “Which TV character are you?” quizzes (maybe that’s a quiz we’ll see in the app soon??). We often see bits of ourselves and our friends in a lot of TV characters, and sometimes a character’s friendships resemble our own.

There are a lot of fictional characters we wish were our BFFs, but these vinas in particular are top notch friends:

DONNA PAULSON IN SUITS

Donna may be an assistant on the show, but she’s a boss in the office. Associates and partners come to her when they need advice, especially when seeking some tough love. She’s also the right-hand woman to paralegal Rachel Zane. Rachel can always count on Donna when she needs a stiff drink and a quick therapy session.

greysCRISTINA YANG IN GREY’S ANATOMY

Her famous, “He is not the sun, you are,” line is just one of the many reasons why Cristina is the most supportive TV bestie you can find on Netflix. She lets Meredith embrace her dark stages, but she doesn’t let her dwell in them. That’s a quality we all need in a vina.

blanche.jpgBLANCHE DEVERAUX IN GOLDEN GIRLS

There weren’t many older women embracing their sexuality on television in the ’80s, but Blanche was a progressive character who allowed herself to be vulnerable to her partners, and encouraged her friends to do so as well. She also was never afraid to make a fool of herself in order to get Dorothy, Sophia, or Rose out of a jam.

fiona-veronica-friendship.jpgVERONICA FISHER IN SHAMELESS

Let’s face it, the characters on this show are the epitome of dysfunctional. But it’s real. They depict real people with common issues that can happen to anyone in front of the television screen. Veronica is Fiona’s saving grace. She’s a shoulder to cry on and the bodyguard to defend her if necessary. Vinas like Veronica make life easier.

Which TV characters do your vinas remind you of? Tweet us, or comment below!

HOW TO SURVIVE LONG-DISTANCE FRIENDSHIPS

When my two best friends showed up for my college graduation from far away, I was the most grateful for them than I had ever been. Relationships, whether platonic or romantic, will always test you. Maintaining a long-distance friendship is one of those tests. When you and your friends survive the tests, it’s a wonderful feeling knowing you were all there for each other no matter how hard it got. My friends and I have been long distance for five whole years! Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

LET YOUR VINAS KNOW WHEN YOU’RE NOT OKAY

A common mistake in relationships is that both parties assume each other is a mind reader. Also, even if your friend doesn’t believe you when you say “I’m fine!”, she may not want to force you to vent your frustrations. If you don’t want to reveal too much, try saying: “I’m not ok right now, things are rough, but I appreciate you asking!” This shows your gratitude while giving your friend an opportunity to share her feelings. You are never alone in your struggle. Let your friends help you. You are not a burden!

8b2749be5def9480668301f1e066e28d.jpg

📸:: Julia Noni for Teen Vogue

PICK A YEARLY (OR MONTHLY) HOLIDAY TO LINK UP AND BOND

Birthdays are holidays, too! Surprise your best friend for her birthday to wish her well as she enters a new year of her life. New Year’s Eve and Memorial Day Weekend in the US are also memorable holidays to spend with friends! They won’t keep you away from family for long, and those days are automatic off-days for schools and jobs. Part of maintaining a friendship is learning what works for the both of you.

MAKE FACETIME/PHONE APPOINTMENTS

Life can get so hectic. Sometimes our schedules can overpower our intentions, and days will pass by before you remember that you wanted to text or call a friend to see how she was doing. Find one day out of the week that works, and have a long venting session with your friends. Being updated on your vinas’ lives helps to forget about the distance.

CREATE A MEMORY/MOMENTS JAR

Grab a small jar, tin, or box, write down happy or funny moments on a piece of paper, and save it. We often have the best stories to tell our friends, but by the time we’re able to talk to them, we forget! Save yourself the headache of trying to remember, and keep these moments written down. It makes for great conversation, and can uplift a friend when they need a laugh.

How do you maintain your relationships with far-away vinas? We want to hear your stories in the comments! (Feature image via Luxurious Spots)

10 UPLIFTING QUOTES TO HELP YOUR FRIENDS OUT OF A RUT

Part of the healing process for my depression and anxiety involves repeating affirmations that remind me I’m worthy. Reading quotes from my favorite vinas inspires me to be optimistic and determined. Send these quotes to your vina the next time she’s not feeling her best (or just as a way to say hello):

dope, fly, amazing quote.png

“I would tell my 20-year-old self, ‘You were fly, dope and amazing from birth. From the second you took your first breath you were worthwhile and valid and you have to find other ways to feel good about yourself that have nothing to do with being chosen by a man.'”
-Gabrielle Union

“I want to be awake. I want to choose kindness, live and let live. I want joy, gratitude, and peace today.”
-Tracee Ellis Ross

do-you-best-quote

“Give the world your best, and it may never be enough. Do your best anyway.”
-Mother Teresa

“Sometimes life has to get really ugly before it gets pretty.”
-Shay Mitchell

create-nurture-transform-quote

“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.”
-Diane Mariechild

“In the morning, instead of saying to yourself, ‘I HAVE to wake up,’ say, ‘I GET to wake up!'”
-Erykah Badu

consent-quote

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

“Put blinders on to those things that conspire to hold you back, especially the ones in your own head.”
-Meryl Streep

make-a-differenc-quote

“Put forth the effort to improve and create things that will make a difference.” -Kate Hudson

“He’s very dreamy. But he is not the Sun. YOU ARE.” -Cristina Yang

What are some quotes that you and your vinas love to share? Tell us below! (All images by Emma Olswing)

3 TV SHOWS ABOUT SISTERHOOD TO BINGE WATCH WITH YOUR VINAS

When you don’t feel like heading to the club, movies, or bar with your vinas, a TV binge is the perfect thing to do. If you’re having trouble convincing them to skip the club, remind them a Girl’s Night In will save them money on over-priced drinks, they can can their comfy sweatpants on, and you’ll get some QT together 👯. So invite your vinas over to your place and pull out the snacks and blankets!

There are plenty of shows that can empower you and embody the sisterhood we consistently need in the world. We chose these three in particular because we know they will have you and your vinas laughing, crying, and bonding. Count how many times you think SAME while watching:

image1.GIF

JANE THE VIRGIN

Gina Rodriguez, the lead actress in Jane the Virgin, won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series Comedy shortly after the first season aired, because she’s just THAT good. In the show, Jane and her mom Xo are close in age, so their relationship mirrors a sisterhood more than it does a standard mother-daughter connection. Xo is always there to get Jane out of trouble (just as quickly as she gets her into it). If you and your vinas are looking for something sweet and funny, this is the show for you!

200 (2)

NEW GIRL

New Girl has a dominant male cast, but we also get a dose of some awesome vina love. Jess and CiCi are two loving, intelligent, hilarious characters that constantly balance out the goofiness and ‘man-splaining’ that Winston, Nick, Schmidt, and Coach have to offer. These vinas support each other while holding their own, and that’s type of friendship we should all strive for.

image3.GIFORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK

Vinas, we needed a show like OITNB, and I’m so happy we have it. It’s about struggle, perseverance, and most importantly, sisterhood. It helps us look into the perspectives of vinas from all backgrounds and shows us that everything won’t always be easy, but there will always be vinas to boost your confidence, offer a shoulder to lean on…or help you hide contraband (just kidding!).

What are your favorite TV shows with powerful messages of sisterhood? Tell us in the comments!

(Featured image via channelguidemag.com)