A GUIDE TO SURVIVE: NOT GOING HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

There’s a reason so many songs revolve around going home for the holidays. For most of us, as we grow, holidays at home become less about the gifts and food and more about the quality time we get with our friends and family. During the year we long for those moments when we can be slightly oblivious to what’s going on in the world, and just enjoy our own little carved out space in life.

As we grow up though, another sense of reality sets in, and that is you can’t always be Home for the Holidays, and frankly, it sucks. Sometimes we can’t get time off from work, travel plans fall through or don’t happen because – lets face it – its expensive AF to fly, or too time consuming to drive. A million and one things can keep us from being where we really want to be during the holiday season, so how do we “muddle through”?

  1. Do your best not to stress over it – I know, I know, much easier said then done, but if it just isn’t going to happen this year, it isn’t going to happen and worrying about it can ultimately ruin the holiday altogether.
  2. Take part in your usual holiday rituals – making a family recipe, decorating the tree while blasting holiday tunes, watching 24 hours of A Christmas Story, or all of the above. Whatever holiday you celebrate, chances are there is something that is unique to you and your family and you look forward to it every year. While it will be different from the way you’re used to doing it, in the end it will help to bring a little bit of the magic from home to you.
  3. Make your own tradition – Just as important as keeping the old ways alive and well, perhaps you are unable to get home because you have started a family of your own and now isn’t the time to travel. So try bringing a new tradition into your family. Do something you haven’t done before like volunteering your time with those who are less fortunate, trying your hand at a new recipe ( there are a million out there that all look amazing) or taking a trip to a tree farm and picking out your own fresh tree. Perhaps next year going home will be in the cards and you can share your new endeavor with your loved ones.
  4. Call or Facetime –  I think a lot of people forget how convenient these features are. Stop the texting back and forth and just give someone a FaceTime call. It will put you right there in the heart of things so you can see what’s going on. If you have to work, you can set the time to connect during your lunch break.  Even just a call to hear everyone’s voices and be able to share a laugh can do wonders.
  5. Find some vinas – Remember that there are lots of other people who aren’t going home for the holidays either, and swipe through on Hey! VINA to discover who’s going to be around! Bond over hot toddies and telling each other your favorite holiday memories.

You are going to see and remember things that will trigger your emotions and make you long for the good old days, but just know you aren’t alone in this. People all over are experiencing the same things as you, it’s just an unfortunate part of growing up. Do your best to make the most of what you have and hope that “next year all [your] troubles will be miles away”.

Happy Holidays!

YOUR BEST BESTIE WINTER PHOTOSHOOT STARTS HERE

There is nothing better to cure the winter blues then getting dolled up with your vinas and making some gorgeous memories. I’ve been an amateur photographer for years and have coordinated several photoshoots. Through trial and error I have managed to learn what helps make the shoot easier and more exciting. So, if it’s your first time putting together a photoshoot or you just want to take your photos to the next level, try following some of these simple steps to make your photos as magical as the season!

CAMERA IS KEY!

There is certainly nothing wrong with just using a cell phone and cheap tripod (two books can even be propped into an L shape to rest your phone against) but we all know the clearest and highest quality photos are taken on digital cameras. If you don’t have one, hopefully one of your friends will. Should you need a tripod, ask if the group wouldn’t mind pitching in to get one. It allows you to step back and go from selfie to photograph.

MAP IT OUT

It can be hard to coordinate plans with everyone in a short amount of time. For example, maybe you have to plan this shoot when everyone’s home from college or visiting home for the holidays. You won’t have a ton of time to think of what background is best when you’re all together. Instead try figuring where to go before hand. Whenever I plan a shoot, I start exploring localities to see what will look best. Take a drive, look around the city, see what works and what won’t so when everyone’s together, it’s just get up and go.

LOOK GOOD, FEEL GOOD

Most of us put a lot of effort into the way we look because it ultimately helps us feel better on the inside. With that being said though, it is winter. If you want to ditch the coat for a couple photos, I understand, but don’t get sick because your outfit under the coat was so cute you couldn’t cover it up. Try putting a killer ensemble together around your winter coat. Scarves, boots, gloves and flawless hair and makeup can do wonders even if we can’t see your new sweater.

Extra pro tip: Create a color story. Choose a color palette for your outfits, so you’re not matching but you look like you go together.

SNEAK PREVIEWS REQUIRED!

Whoever has the photos, be sure that before posting them you give a midnight preview to your mates. It sucks when someone posts a picture of you and you immediately have to untag it because you think it’s horrifying. You and your friends should look through and make sure everyone is on board with them before posting. It’s just considerate and is usually quite fun looking back and seeing the results of your efforts.

MAKE IT TRADITION

It’s not always possible, but if the first one is a success, make it into a tradition! Try it in different seasons, or every couple of years to showcase your solid friendship. Maybe down the road incorporate S/O, children or even pets into it. Bottom line is, its a great way to make beautiful and often hilarious memories while catching up with some of the people who mean the most to you.

So there ya have it! Post your photos on instagram and tag us @ilikevina or #heyvina

 

WHY GIVING A S*** IS ACTUALLY COOL

I was never one of those kids who went around acting like I was “too good” for something. I have always had a tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve.

If something interests me, I can’t contain my excitement. I’m like a little kid getting all hyped up because tomorrow is Lunchables Day! That uncontrollable giddyness that is so closely associated with kids – yeah, well, I still have that.

If something doesn’t interest me, try as I might to muster up enthusiasm,  I can’t do it. Thankfully, it goes relatively unnoticed to anyone around me, but deep inside I can’t shake the feeling that it is tough lying through my teeth.

Throughout time the lines seem to have been blurred between what is acceptable behavior for young adults when it comes to showing excitement, and what is lame.

We have all seen movies where somebody asks their crush out on a date and for a split second their unabashed enthusiasm is bared, only to be caught a second later and smoothed back down like a bad combover. They realized they sounded excited and immediately had to try to reverse things because apparently excited = uncool.

Now, I’m not sure when this mentality really took over, or why it did, but I can tell you, it isn’t how I’ve gotten through my 24 years on Earth. Nor would I recommend it for anyone else living their life.

I always though it seemed like a miserable way to exist. We as humans already have to train ourselves to surpress so many emotions. Even if our world is crumbling, we still have to wake up, head to school or work, put on a brave face and make it through the day. We have to mask our pain, sorrow, anger, distain and even our genuine happiness. All the work that goes into hiding something that should be expressed, is exhausting.

Not only is it tiring to always seal out your emotions, but it can also affect your relationships with people. You can only spend so much time acting like your not interested in others and casually doing your own thing, before it catches up to you. Folks will eventually learn not to rely on you, and not care to talk to you. This can put you at a huge disadvantage in the job market and in the overall life market. I mean honestly, who wants to be around someone who always acts like they just don’t care about what’s going on?

Acting uninterested in things can just be a phase, and for most teenagers and young adults, that’s the case. Growing out of it, is vital though. I can’t stress enough how important it is to let your loved ones know how much they mean to you. It’s absolutely critical that those who you care about see it reflected in their interactions with you.

Remember, ” A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.”- L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

(Feature image via @uonewyork)

TABOO TOPIC TUESDAY: WAIST TRAINERS

As I sit here typing this, I am strapped into my third waist trainer. For three years I have been wearing one of these puppies to work and the gym. You may be waist training yourself, or you’re thinking about it, or you think it’s hella weird and have some questions. Whatever your position is, there’s a lot of information out there on the subject. I have tried to condense some of the history of this craze, along with my own personal experience.

A few years ago this fad swept the nation. It was endorsed and made popular by fitness models and celebrities. So naturally, everyone else was soon talking about it, either saying they were way cool or way dangerous. Many people likened them to their predecessors; the corset. People thought waist trainers were too constricting and would harm internal organs, along with the bone structure that protects those organs.

While ancient corsets might have had negative long term effects on a person’s body, waist trainers have been re-designed to possibly circumvent those harmful affects.

The corsets most of us are familiar with are the ones we’ve seen in film. Who else remembers that iconic scene in the Titanic in which Rose’s mother keeps cinching the corset tighter and tighter until you fear for Rose’s breathing capabilities. It looked mad painful right?

Corsets have been around for centuries. Many cultures around the world utilized them as a beauty enhancer. With the ever-changing world of fashion and fad, corsets were not immune. Some focused on enhancing the fullness of the breasts, while others focused on accentuating the hips. Corsets of those days were obviously problematic. The materials used to create this cavelike structure ranged from wood and metal, to whalebone and ivory. Not exactly materials that are known for their flexibility. While the fabric was beautiful, it too was extremely tight. Corsets were made to give women a strict posture and a tiny waist. Beauty standards that we don’t have to subscribe to anymore. Even when they began marketing themselves as more flexible, for the modern woman (in the late 19th century) they were still pretty unforgiving.

So what makes a waist trainer different? Well I can promise you that none of today’s trainers are made with whalebone or wood. In fact the waist trainer’s purpose is altogether very different from corsets. Waist trainers are marketed and designed to improve posture and help enhance natural curves. Despite the hype, they aren’t actually meant to help you lose weight or change the natural shape of your body in any permanent way. They are now made from plastics and elastics. Materials that can be worn to the gym and are fine at work.

Since I began a few years ago, I have noticed how much better my posture has become and how much stronger and higher my core feels. I am happier now with the way my curves look both in and out of my trainer. I know other vinas who love it as much as I do; and I have friends who have zero interest in the product. It’s truly not everyones cup of tea. Plus, you have to use your waist trainer correctly in order to steer clear from any harmless side effects, so be careful!

Maybe your beauty standards are the polar opposite of mine, maybe you like your curves free and unrepressed. To each her own right? I don’t see myself tossing my waist trainer out anytime soon, but I totally get it isn’t for everyone. The real lesson is, don’t believe everything you read. Are waist trainers as bad as old-fashioned corsets? No. Should everyone use them? Of course not! Do your own research and find out what’s best for you.

Comment below if you have tried one or at least thought about it. Download the Hey! VINA app to meet other fitness oriented vinas in your area.

(Feature image via @kyliejenner)

SO. YOU’VE GOT AN EMBARRASSING FRIEND.

Okay so you have this friend, who, to put it simply, was born without a filter. Everything that pops into their head is automatically expelled from of their mouth, no second thoughts necessary. Now, if you are anything like me, watching these people can be fascinating because it is literally the polar opposite who of you are. I know that I analyze every situation before speaking. I even get anxiety because my mind runs wild over every possible outcome, even down to the stupidest detail. I cannot not imagine living a life that is so open and candid. Yet, this is exactly the type of world that so many live in.

Having a friend who is loud and flamboyant can often help you branch out and meet new people. If you’re as introverted as I am, you wouldn’t talk to that stranger on your own. However, if your friend is being gregarious and/or actin a little extra, then it’s easy to laugh along with the stranger; thus giving you easy entry into a conversation with said stranger.

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via @brooklyn_mullen

There are certain situations where this can be great, like a bar or party. Then there are those places where it’s best to keep your conversations more PG. Let’s say, busy restaurants, movie theaters, markets/festivals, are probably the places to act a little more mature and reserved. Anyplace where the crowd ranges in age, race, religion etc., it is best to lower the volume and be aware of your surroundings.

It’s tricky, to say the least. You want so badly for them to have fun and to continue to be their crazy self (whom you love). You too, would love to just cut loose, gossip and laugh about everything under the sun. But you also know that there are just some conversations best left for a more private setting, or at least conversations to be had on a lower volume. Well let me put some of your concerns to rest. You aren’t being too judgy.

What you view as crossing the line, may not be the same for your friend. We were all raised differently, and therefore have different standards, on all fronts of life. They live a very outward life. Maybe they grew up in a family of loud people and in order to have their demands met, they had to speak up. Or maybe they learned thorught their life experiences that they enjoy life most when they are open and honest about everything that they feel. If the conversation turns too negative, too personal, or too divisive. Don’t stay quiet until you reach your boiling point; don’t suffer silently.

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via GIPHY

It’s alright to be the Grandma of the group. It is possible to love your friends unconditionally, while telling them to shut the heck up. It’s really not a matter of judging as much as it is, not wanting to get into unnecessary trouble or be looked at negatively by others. You may not want the outside world to associate you with their actions, not because you dislike their actions, but because they are not actions that you would take yourself. And you can tell them this. So just say, “Dude, I love you and everything… but you gotta to stop dropping the F bomb at IHOP!”

Do you have an anecdote about your embarrassing vina? Comment below and tell us! Download the Hey! VINA app to meet other non-embarrassing vinas in your neighborhood.

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HOW TO RESPOND TO A CONDESCENDING COMMENT WITHOUT LOSING YOUR COOL

“Ah I just love being condescended to, especially at work or other social settings where it’s in front of bystanders,”  said No One Ever.

Never have I ever heard someone say they like being humiliated or called out for something they did wrong. Sometimes it’s necessary, but still, no one likes it. There are also right and wrong ways to correct someone, especially if it’s in a professional setting.

There is a very fine line between constructive criticism and just plain criticism, and between correcting someone and being patronizing. Once these lines are crossed, things can get ugly. Friends are supposed to be chill, helpful, and not snobby! Let’s face it; work is already stressful enough without someone acting better then you.

The next time you find someone is acting that type of way towards you, I would suggest taking these steps. Naturally the situation will change depending on if it’s a friend vs. co-worker, but these steps are pretty similar across the board.

  1. Assert yourself and ask to speak to them privately. As I said before, no one likes being publicly humiliated, it’s much better to find a private place to talk. Sometimes this gesture alone shows that you mean business. If you can start by dictating where the conversation is going to take place, phase 1 is complete.
  2. Once you are someplace more comfortable lay it on them and ask them what their problem is. Sometimes it’s you, sometimes it’s just them. Either way getting it out in the open is better than walking around with it bottled up. If it’s something you can change, let them know you will do your best to correct things. If it’s something beyond your control, let them know that too.
  3. Take a breath and reflect on your behavior. Have you been annoying, rude, condescending yourself? Sometimes people are acting that way towards us because we gave off that vibe too. It doesn’t always happen that way, but it’s good to atone for your mistakes and be self-critical. It isn’t fair to snap at someone who is being condescending if you yourself dished it out in the past. If you can honestly not think of anything, maybe ask straight up, “Did I do something to offend you?” See what their answer is first before you enter the last step.
  4. Finally, if neither of you can come up with anything that would warrant these actions, make sure they are aware that you don’t appreciate their tone. If they say you did something that frustrated them, apologize and let them know it won’t happen again. Once you have made your peace offering, be sure to receive one in return. Don’t walk away until you get confirmation that they too will change.

Always remember to stand up for yourself, even when it seems difficult. It’s a weird situation to be in—don’t get me wrong, but life is full of those. All we can do is try and make the best of them.

Let us know if you dealt with a condescending friend or coworker in the comments below!

(Featured Image via ShopStyle)

 

ADULT PEER PRESSURE IS REAL. HERE’S HOW TO DEAL

Peer pressure, remember that?  It seems like the kind of thing that was supposed to go away once we graduated high school. Everyone warned you about it when you were a kid, but who is there to offer you their words of wisdom as they tuck you into bed now?

Now that you have left the friends you grew up with and are meeting new people in college and/or entering the workforce, how can you tell who is a good apple and a bad egg?

Peer pressure, although sometimes good, is based around the feeling of trying to fit in and please those around you. It used to be people trying to get you to skip class; steal a lipstick from the mall; or lie to your parents about where you were going. Now it can take the form of being asked to drive others home, even though you know you have had one too many drinks. Or people trying to get you to go home with someone when you just aren’t feeling it. Oh, and don’t get me started on narcotics, because adults play with drugs way more than teenagers do.

See the beautiful thing about being an adult is that, you made it! You probably have a job, so you can buy those cute clothes you see at the mall (or if you surf the internet from the comfort of your home like me). Even if you do live with your parents, it’s not like they are going to ground you if you come home too late. So much of those things you used to be pressured into doing, have run their course because you are finally “adulting“. Most of the stuff our peers tried to pressure us to do when we were younger was because we all wanted to seem more grown up. And now we are.

So now that we are grown, we expect others to show the same signs of maturity. But some people never grow up, or some people have another idea about what being grown up looks like. Pay attention to yourself and try to be the best that you can be. Don’t worry about what other people think, when it comes down to it is only your opinion that matters (you should still try to make your parents proud too, if possible).

Although you will always care what others think of you, you don’t need to alter yourself to join the “it” crowd. Unlike school, where our options of who we hung out with was rather limited, adulthood has freedoms.  You’re not tethered to age and gender quite the way you were growing up.

Sadly, even I know that there is a world out there that goes beyond just the normal peer pressuring. Saying “yes” or “no” to these people can mean the difference between life and death. It’s situations like that that I wish I could be more help on. If possible it’s best to avoid any kind of group that prides themselves on illegal activities. However, I do know in this day and age that seems to be getting more difficult.

Hopefully any peer pressuring situation you might face in your adult life won’t be as high risk. Most of us have the total freedom to shoot down a request without there being any threat to our safety. The older you get, the more wisdom you gain about yourself and others. As you learn to trust in yourself and your convictions, the opinions of others will begin to matter less and less.

Don’t hang around with bad influences, find some new friends using the Hey! VINA app. Tell us in the comments below if you have experienced adult peer pressure.

(Feature image via Marie Behrens)

FINDING HUMOR IN THE SHITTY THINGS

Personal story time!

When I lived in New York City, I had a job interview in Lower Manhattan. I lived in the Bronx so just getting there was challenging. On top of that, it was late winter, which we all know is just flat out gross. The snow was melting so there were huge puddles of dirty water everywhere. The weather was getting warm but not enough so you could go without a coat and boots.

I took the subway to the interview, following the directions the interviewer had given me. Then for some reason, I changed from boots to flats in the subway car. I had a bag big enough to hold my snow boots, a coat, a wallet, a crisp resume, and the other 10,000 things a vina carries with her at all time. But only thing was I didn’t bring bandaids which would have come in handy seeing that the flats I was wearing were new and ate into my ankles with every step.

I walked back and forth, block after block looking for the building my phone said I arrived at but it was nowhere to be found. My shoes quickly filled with blood. I was now hobbling, running late to my interview. A stranger actually pointed out to me how badly I was bleeding and kindly gave two mega bandaids which I bled through in no time. My shoes were literally blood sponges at this point.

I was feeling 100 emotions at once and yet instead of letting myself panic, I thought: “I hope there is life on other planets and I hope they are filming right now because my life would make a great sitcom.”

Life isn’t going to stop hurling curveballs your way so you just need to learn the best ways to combat them. I’m sure we have all been alone before and to our horror, we tripped and maybe even fell on our face.

In this situation we have two options:

  1. Stay super quiet and pretend like nothing even happened.
  2. Call attention to it. Make anyone who may be around laughing at you know that you are laughing with them.

I always choose the latter simply because it helps me not get as upset, and I think it makes everyone feel more comfortable.

Picture it like this. The situation you are in is like trash. It stinks, no one likes it,  but we all have to deal with it eventually. You can get mad or discouraged but if you’re facing an already irksome scenario, chances are those emotions will only make things worse. So try to remember the fun and funny times in your life.

Sometimes thinking about past annoying situations will help because while most of the time they seem absolutely hellish when they are happening, later you can look back and say, well at least I got through it.

Trust me, even as my shoes were gnawing into my ankles and people were beginning to question my sanity, I was able to laugh and say,  “well at least this isn’t as bad as the time I was too out of shape to climb a 4 foot fence.”

(Featured Image via Sherry’s Life)

 

WHY SAYING “I TOLD YOU SO” IS TOTALLY NOT WORTH IT

michael-scott-office-how-do-you-tell-someone-that-you-care-about-deeply-i-told-you-so-gently-with-a-“How do you tell somebody that you care about deeply, ‘I told you so’? Gently with a rose? In a funny way, like it’s a hilarious joke? Or do you just let it go, because saying it would just make things worse? … Probably the funny way.” –Michael Scott, The Office.

We all experience it, that nagging little urge to say “I told you so,” when a friend doesn’t heed our advice. Sometimes it passes quietly and quickly while other times it’s nearly impossible to keep in. Now most people won’t write you off for bragging about being right. Like if you tell someone the milk they are going to drink is expired but they drink it anyways or your friend is lost and you’re trying to tell them you know where to go. While that other person might not want to hear you goading them at that particular point in time, it’s highly unlikely you will lose your friends and family over it.

There are times in your life though, when bigger issues affect you and those around you. Stressful, painful, heartbreaking moments when the last thing anyone wants to hear is, “I told you so.”

Remember the last time you did something that you ended up really regretting? Maybe you got involved in a relationship that ended horribly. Maybe you didn’t visit your grandparents enough and now they are gone. These situations can already be ones that bring about really painful memories. Now imagine your friends and family saying that they told you not to get involved romantically with that person, or you should have seen your grandparents more often. How much worse would that make you feel?

giphy (6).gifThe bottom line is that no one likes to hear “I told you so,” because of the implication it carries. It comes across as condescending and quite often ruder than we intend it to be. Most of the time we don’t mean it to hurt. We just like the satisfaction of being right. However, there can be times when we do mean in it in a menacing way. It’s not that we don’t care about others, but maybe we too felt hurt because they didn’t listen to our warnings. We feel a little betrayed because contrary to our best attempts, our voices fell on deaf ears. This is our chance to feel our voices are heard, but it usually carries more damage with it than good.

Sometimes hearing “I told you so” can be the last straw. It can be the difference between a friend and enemy or make you lose ties with family members. Of course, these are extreme cases but they do happen. When issues like this arise and you feel that little urge deep down, think about what good saying something will do. Are you saying something that will make them feel better or just yourself? Don’t let yourself put pride over others’ feelings because the feeling of satisfaction pales in comparison to the feeling of being loved.

If you’ve ever resisted the urge to say those satisfying four words, you should be proud of yourself! Tell us about it in the comments!

Featured image via sistacafe.com

HOW TO REALIZE IF YOU’RE THE TOXIC FRIEND

Would you consider yourself a “toxic” friend?

Of course not, none of us would. But, it can be extremely difficult to evaluate ourselves anyway, so how would we even know if we were toxic?

Let’s try something. Read the questions below and give yourself some honest answers. It’s not a test and I certainly am not qualified to judge, but it could help to distinguish what a toxic friendship might look like.

  1. Your friend finds out they got accepted into college in another state while you didn’t because you sent in your applications too late. What will your response be? Are you excited for them? Or do you instead spend the entire time talking about how your life is going to suck because all your friends are going off to school and you aren’t?
  2. You invite your friends out to dinner to celebrate a job promotion. When a friend buys you a drink it makes you feel good. After that drink, do you spend the rest of the night buying your own drinks or do you insist that your friends continue to congratulate you with free alcohol?
  3.  A friend tells you something in confidence. It’s a secret that has been eating them alive for some time, but they didn’t know who to tell. They finally feel confident enough to let someone know and that someone is you. What do you do with that secret? Do you take it all in and never breathe a word of it? Or, unable to believe what you heard, do you run to someone else to give them the scoop?

I think you can figure out what a toxic friend would have done in these situations. The question is: what would you have done?

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via @giphy

Don’t use the questions above to condemn yourself. If you admit you have done something similar or you have your own personal story about something you aren’t proud of, it’s OK. The bottom line is that coming clean is good.

Every single one of us at some point is going to do something we aren’t proud of. Sometimes we royally screw up and continually end up making the same mistakes over and over again. There usually comes a time when we have to face the repercussions of our actions.

Part of growing is learning from our mistakes and making behavioral changes that would prevent similar mistakes. No one wants a friend who mooches off of them or is constantly being a drag. They don’t want someone who lies or can’t keep their secrets private. They wouldn’t want to be around someone who makes them feel inadequate when they share their accomplishments or hurts their feelings to make them feel better.

So it’s time to flush out all that toxicity. Just let it go, so you can become the best friend you can possibly be!

How have you dealt if you’ve been the toxic friend? Leave your tips below!