MEET OUR VINAS: PARKER

A couple weeks ago, we had our first ever photoshoot in Los Angeles! We enlisted the help of Amy Gray, an amazing local photographer, and six real Hey! VINA users to make our ideas come to life, and they did an amazing job! We wanted to give you a sneak peek into the lives of these users: who they are, what they do, and how Hey! VINA fits into the picture.
Let’s meet our first feature, Parker!

Hey Parker, can you tell us how old you are? 

22! I’ll be 23 on May 2nd!

Happy birthday!!

How long have you lived in Los Angeles and where’d you move here from?

I’ve been here since September 2015! I moved to LA from Memphis, Tennessee, and went to college in Nashville, Tennessee.

Our social media manager, Caleigh, is from Tennessee too! Ok, so what fills your days? 

Work work work! Ha! I am a content manager at a wonderful online video company called Defy Media that works primarily in YouTube production! I love YouTube with all my heart and soul. When I’m not at work, I spend most of my time with my sweet great dane/lab puppy Ryder and make YouTube videos on my own channel ‘storiesinthedust.’

Why do you use Hey! VINA?

LA is such a big city, and it’s hard to meet people. It’s hard to get out and around after long days/weeks at work, so it’s nice to have a place you can meet people without actually having to go somewhere! The app is like a mutual friend that introduces you, only better! ha!

Tell us about someone you’ve connected with on Hey! VINA.

I’ve been talking to one girl named Ash for a few days and she seems awesome! We haven’t met up in person yet, but I hope we will soon!

Which 5 emojis are on your Hey! VINA profile?

🐶💃🏽💄🍫📷

Seems pretty accurate! haha

What was your favorite part of the Hey! VINA photoshoot?

As cheesy as it may sound, being around really kind women. When I said something about recently getting a raise at work, everyone cheered and got so excited! It was so kind. Like, I didn’t really know these girls, but they were so genuinely excited for me! We all seemed to just click because we had the same thing in mind: this might be a little awkward, but we’re all girls looking for genuine friendship, so why not just let loose and be goofy. It was just a bunch of laughs and being excited to meet new people. I loved every second of it! (other than my totally-knew-they-would-be-uncomfortable-but-still-look-fabulous shoes! haha)

Thanks for being part of our shoot, Parker!

You can follow Parker on InstagramTwitter, and Youtube!

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS HEY! VINA?

We’ve just passed our 3 month mark of the Hey! VINA app being live in the App Store, and we couldn’t be more excited to say that there are vinas making new friends in 9 metropolitan areas! That’s a total of 195 cities!

As of today, you if you live in or are visiting the following places, you can use Hey! VINA:

  1. San Francisco Bay Area
  2. New York City Metro Area
  3. Los Angeles County
  4. Boston, Massachusetts 
  5. Washington D.C.
  6. Chicago Metro Area
  7. Austin, Texas
  8. Toronto, Canada
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    Photo: amygrayphoto.com of LA vinas Linda & Christina

    London, England

If you’re currently in one of these cities and still getting an “You’re on the list!” screen, try going to your location settings, and toggling between your Facebook location and “Use my current location,” to make sure we have your current location up to date!

For those of you who are patiently waiting in other places around the world, know that we’re coming for you very soon! 

xx Olivia

WHY TOAST IS OUR OTHER BEST FRIEND

pic from Dolly & Oatmeal

There are times in your life when even we don’t really need the company of human or animal best friends, and it’s best to cozy up with your favorite food. We’re totally okay with it, and we hope you are, too.

It’s been an ongoing debate around the office, what exactly is the most versatile food, and what could we not possibly live without? So, I’m just going to lay the conversation to rest and let everyone know that in my humble opinion coming in first place, and just above burritos, is toast. Toast is my best friend.

It might seem like a slightly boring choice, but it’s just the best… and toast is really just a metaphor for all the kinds of friends that you really need in your life… read on, my vina.

  1. It’s fast. It’s easy. It’s available. So, if you’re really busy, your dishes are dirty, and your life is kind of a mess, guess what, toast doesn’t care. Not to mention, it’s a quick fix when your vina stops by and has low blood sugar and needs your help. Easy.
  2. It’s not going to break the bank. Well, not always but you can keep it cheap. There were entire stretches of grad school where I lived on tea and gluten free toast with butter, and hey, I’m still alive.
  3. It can please anyone. Toast is the most versatile meal. It can be sweet or savory or both. It can be big or small, short or tall. It can be hot or cold. It can be anything you want it to be. You just let that toast know what you want, and it can be that for you.
  4. Avocado toast. It’s your super super best friend. It always does the trick. It’s so good it’s hard to believe it’s even real.
  5. It will make you feel like you’re a kid again. At least for me, when I stayed home sick from school my mother made me cinnamon sugar toast all day while I watched TV. Or you can throw some peanut butter and jelly on for an instant time machine.
  6. It’s got a built in community. So good some of our favorite spots in SF have dedicated entire portions of their menu to toast. Whether you’re visiting Trouble Coffee, Red Door Cafe, Jane, The Mill, or Acre Coffee (actually in Petaluma but so exceptional it’s worth the drive). There’s an undeniable community centered around and upon toast.
  7. Avocado Toast.
  8. It likes to party. There’s a new best way to throw a brunch. Bagels are so over, we’re currently swapping them out for a toast bar. Dress up your toast with jams and chutneys, fresh fruit or heirloom sliced tomatoes, pickled onions and lox, goat cheese and lemon peppers, and definitely some really damn good salts. We could go on forever about this… but don’t forget to grab a variety of breads and include gluten free choice!
  9. It’s the new sandwich. While we think most things are better done in pairs, sometimes the job of two can be done with one. What we’re saying here is that essentially everything I’ve said is argument for an open faced sandwich, but hey doesn’t that only make it ten times better?
  10. It will save your life. I cannot even begin to count how many times I have been hungover, late for work, having a glycemic meltdown, or simply out of food, and toast has come to the rescue and literally saved my life. Thanks friend.

Toast and besties go hand in hand… But hey, don’t take my word for it. Find a new vina and a good loaf, go wild with the toppings, and just wait. You’ll have a new best friend or two in no time.

HEY VINA SUMMER PLAYLIST

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via @monichang

It’s basically (almost) summer now and the best way to celebrate is a spot-on playlist. How many times have you been dancing, driving, laughing with your vina and thought, this is the soundtrack to my life?!

How does music even do that? How does it cut through all the chatter and play with your heartstrings?

I mean, Bob Marley has said a lot of wise words, but he really cuts to it with this one: “One good things about music, when it hits you feel no pain.” Right Bob, we totally agree.

So, in the spirit of summer we’ve complied a list of our favorite songs for rolling the windows down and singing at the top of your pretty little lungs. Grab your nearest vina or take a drive to the one farthest away. These songs are as random as life and just as much fun.

Enjoy! Let life be your dance party.

 

 

 

WHY TRAVELING SOLO IS SERIOUSLY AWESOME

Traveling solo is a woman’s right of passage. Born from the classic euro-rail backpack trip your parents took post grad with their roommates. This choice in journeying looks a little different, one major factor–you’re braving it alone.

For starters, it’s ok to be a little bit afraid of this idea. That fear keeps you motivated, city-woman-view-blue-skyvigilant, capable, and proud. All important things. It’s a big world out there and without your usual tribe to help, you will have to rely on your own skill set to navigate those planes, trains, and automobiles–all day every day. It’s exhausting and incredibly rewarding. There is something inherently satisfying about lying down at night and knowing not only are you surviving, but you are thriving. You will only find out what is out in the world, and inside yourself, when you go out looking for it. Be surprised.

There are some things to keep in mind when striking out solo:

  1. You are on your own.alone-girl-sitting This means you need to be careful, be smart, be insanely self aware. It’s easy to be sightseeing or walking to a bar and be so caught up in the magic of a new city that you ignore the need to watch your back. Be aware, be very aware. But also capitalize on this space to think, breathe, and simply do literally whatever the hell you want whenever you want. How often do we get that privilege?! 
  2. Just because you’re alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. When the day is long and you want to share it with someone, you still can. Make friends. Make a ton of new friends every step along the way. Traveling alone forces you out of your comfort zone and puts you in the way of people you might otherwise pass by. Talk to them, or grab your phone and swipe right to say “Hey!” to a new vina.
  3. New people will show you new things. There is a blessing in meeting new people, you are also expanding your likelihood of unexpected adventures. The girl sharing a hostel room with you that you might have never talked to if you were bunking with your roommate, actually knows a killer secret trail to some ancient temple. Go on now, go with her.
  4. You will get to know you. If you’re like me this is the very reason you are taking this trip. And is pretty much a guarantee that you fill face some massive introspection. It will happen. Allow it to happen. There are depths of you that will scare you, and surprise you, and delight you. Invite them all in.writing
  5. Write. This might not be your cup of tea, but try. Traveling is a whirlwind and it sweeps you up and leaves you an entirely new person. It is incredible to be able to revisit that process once you are home again, and it helps to remember the person you were while on the road.

 

While you’re out there, have a drink for us. We raise our glasses to such a badass decision.

We could on forever about the highs and lows of traveling alone. But the truth is, the only way to get it is to go out there and get it. See you on the other side. xoxo

GIRLS WHO SWEAT TOGETHER

As times change, our habits evolve. Don’t get us wrong, we love happy hour. We really love it. And we will never forego it, but life is about balance. For every two dollar taco we chow o-FRIENDS-EXERCISING-570down there is a Pilates class looming in the distance. There are usually two camps of people when it comes to working out: love it and can’t live with out it, or bear it and have to live with it. Wherever your allegiance lies to getting your heart rate up, we all know it’s inevitable. But there is good news.

There is strength in numbers, joy in numbers, and a certain camaraderie between friends who sweat together that cannot be duplicated elsewhere. We’ve been brainstorming the three best reasons to grab a gal next time you want to sweat it out.

1. ACCOUNTABILITY  

The hardest part about working out isn’t actually the workout. It’s getting up and into those yoga pants and out the door. There are some days where it will seem seriously impossible that anyone ever has done a yoga class. But, then she calls and your favorite teacher is on at two, and she’s going. So, damn you have to get up and get there. Because there is something undeniable in the accountability of someone else waiting for you. There is motivation to be gained and classes to be tackled.

2. TALK IT OUT

Working out is a great space to get your feelings moving as well. It releases endorphins and mitigates stressed. So whether tour boyfriend or your boss is driving you crazy. Or maybe you’ve just got a straight up case of classic melancholy because life is hard and the world it turning. Having a workout partner in tow allows you a space not only to alleviate these feelings but talk them out. There is no greater therapy than speaking the truth, and there is something about suffering side by side treadmills that will naturally bring it out.

3. GET TO KNOW SOMEONE

Working out with someone is a great activity whether you’ve known them for years or just recently met. It’s something different and can expose you to new places. And it’s not drinking, which can be a default setting all too often.

Plus, there are a plethora of ways to go about it. You will never tire of options: go hiking, running, or walking. Take a yoga class, barre class, Pilates class… we could keep going. Try something unexpected. Join a water aerobics class or a rock climbing gym. Pick up a racket and put on some goggles and try racket ball. TRX, standup paddle boarding, kiteboarding, cross fit… Whatever! There are ending options.

 

And last but not least one of the great wonders of working out is earning that treat afterwards. Once you and your gal pal finishing those squats and stairs, take yourself to a juice bar, out for some fro yo, or if you’re like me a well deserved happy hour. There is grace in moderation and a blessing in that balance. Go find it.

5 BEST BESTIES OF ALL TME

In the spirit of our love of BFFs, we’ve compiled a list of the best besties of all time. Every single one of these duo’s has something special to teach us. Great friendships thrive because both halves bring something viable and unique to the table. They are partners in crime, complete opposites, a fountain of truth, and a damn good time.

BLAIR WALDORF & SERENA VAN DER WOODSON

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Our favorite gossip girls. This pair had their fair share of trials and scandal but in the end they would always meet in the middle, push through, and show us there is nothing that can truly destroy the bond of real friendship. Plus, they never look anything less than fabulous. A good friend pushes you to your best.

CC & HILLARY

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One of the best 80s BFF classics, Beaches. It teaches us that at the hardest of times a bestie serves as close as a sister, sometimes more so. When you go through life with a true friend will by your side. They are there until they very bitter end. They know leaving isn’t an option.

THELMA & LOUISE

Title: THELMA AND LOUISE ¥ Pers: DAVIS, GEENA / SARANDON, SUSAN ¥ Year: 1991 ¥ Dir: SCOTT, RIDLEY ¥ Ref: THE079BE ¥ Credit: [ MGM/PATHE / THE KOBAL COLLECTION ]

Who needs men? The greatest partner in crime is your bestie riding shotgun. Fewer duo’s have ever taught us the real meaning or ‘ride or die’ like these badass ladies.

DARIA & JANE LANE

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Frank honesty makes for the strongest bond. And a true best friend will embrace your most particular tendencies and offer their help, support, and services, no matter what you need.

LUCY RICARDO & ETHEL MERTZ

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These ladies were the some of the first female leads on television, their relationship a focal point of this classic sitcom. Despite their age gap and Lucy’s insane schemes they are always there for one another in trouble, joy, and chaos. As friends should be.

Who are your favorite BFF duos? Share in the comments!

Find the Ethel to your Lucy, the Daria to your Jane, or the Blair to your Serena on Hey! VINA.

 

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!

In case you didn’t know, March is Women’s History Month and today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day!

Today, we celebrate the social, economic, artistic, technological, and political accomplishments of women around the wold. Take a moment today to reflect on where we came from and to refocus on where we’re going! Let’s use this year to continue helping women make history… make some new friends… and make some big #ladybrags together! 

💖Jen + Olivia xx

P.S. If you’re interested in supporting grassroots global women’s organizations, we endorse making donations to SparkSF.org they do an amazing job finding, vetting, and and managing donations to emerging global women’s empowerment non-profits around the world.

GALENTINE’S DAY IS COMING!

Galentine’s Day. Made famous by Parks and Recreation and if you haven’t celebrated it yet, it’s about time you started.

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With the Hallmark official Valentine’s Day around the corner, it looks like cupid has thrown up all over the place. Chances are you are having one of two reactions: yay I love chocolate, or you’re debating how long you can hide in your apartment before your super thinks you’re dead.

Set all preconceived notions aside, date or no date, we have a foolproof way to enjoy this weekend in all its pink and red glory.

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We want to remind you that Valentines Day is celebrating the love you have. And we mean LOVE in the big sense of the word: self love, neighbor love, sister love, and best of all, the unconditional love of your lady friends, who let’s be honest have seen you at your worst, and still love you. Galentine’s Day is officially the day before Valentine’s day, so there’s no excuse to bail on the girls – it’s time to make some brunch plans, babes.

“And we mean LOVE in the big sense of the word: self love, neighbor love, sister love, and best of all, the unconditional love of your lady friends…”

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Here are a few ideas for great ways to spend the weekend being the one that gives love all weekend this year. It feels just as good, maybe even better that way – trust. Celebrate the women who literally have picked you up off the floor. Remind them life is better because of them.

MAKE VALENTINES.

Yes like the ones you made when you wee a kid. Get some construction paper, a pen, look up some Fitzgerald or Chelsea Handler quotes and getting to crafting. Tape them to your roommate’s door so she finds it when she wakes up. Slip one to our favorite barista. Be proactive and send one in the mail to that girlfriend who knew you when you had braces.

WINE AND PIZZA AND ROM COMS.

I mean, do we need a holiday for any of these? Probably not. In fact, they deserve their own celebration altogether. But, it’s a great excuse to spring to drop some extra cash on the nice bottle and supreme toppings. Ladies get hungry. Some of our favorite picks: 500 days of summer, 10 Things I Hate About You, Roman Holiday, Ghost, Leap Year, Crazy Stupid Love. I could go on forever.

ROLLER SKATE, SERIOUSLY.

Hopefully wherever you live you still have the pleasure of having a roller rink somewhere near the edges of town. It is arguably the most juvenile fun we are allowed to still have. I’ll bet you haven’t been in a decade or two. Guess what, it’s still incredible. Lace up those skates, request some Janet Jackson, and bust out those moves. We know you still got them.

PUT ON YOUR FANCY PANTS.

Why not? A Valentine’s day without a romantic date doesn’t make you any less deserving of a bottle of champagne and a fifty-dollar steak. Invite one of those boss ass vinas of yours, and make several toasts about how lucky you both are to not only be friends but to be you. Get all dressed up, because you’re worth it, and because this day is set aside to remind you of that.

DO GOOD FOR OTHERS.

Grab a vina and spend the day doing good for other people, volunteer with the elderly and ask them about their first love. Make valentines with ask risk youth in after school program. Deliver sack lunches to the homeless with sweet notes inside encouraging strong self worth. The world can always use more love.

Share pix of you and your galentine on Twitter and Instagram with #heyvina for a chance to have you and your (new) bestie featured on the VINA blog! 

(Photo via pintrest)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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We hope you had some fun last night! As we reflect on 2015 and look forward to 2016, we want to give thanks to you for being part of our VINA journey. It’s been an amazing year full of dreaming big and making things happen. From the spark of a simple idea of making it as easy to find a new friend as it is to find a date, we made landing pages and websites,launched a blog, hired some great people, designed and researched and iterated again and again, and personally introduced nearly a hundred women to new friends. And now for news on that thing you’ve all been waiting for… we submitted the Hey! VINA app to the App Store! So any day now, you’ll be able to download and start making new friends. Keep an eye out for the official launch announcement. 🙂

As much as a new year is about reflecting on the past and looking to the future, it’s a time of making concrete plans for self-betterment. Resolutions. We’re making ours to lady brag more, and we’re challenging you to do the same. Whether you’re bragging on the LadyBrag.com website, or you’re doing it in your journal, or in the workplace, we want you to spend some time every day to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and share your achievements with others. Right now, will you share the achievement that you’re most proud of from the past year?
We can’t wait to read and celebrate all of your achievements, and we wish you an amazing new year full of friends, adventures, and celebrations!

Cheers!
Olivia & Jen
VINA Co-Founders