Saturday, December 24, 2016

The most vocal election

All of the election talk is calming down, minus the recount mumblings, but I’m here to bing up more. Come on, what did you think we were going to talk about after the election? More election topics, of course. 

Though the discussion I’m offering today is nonpartisan, it is a reflection on what it means about our society today. Many people have observed that this past election has been the most wacky, for lack of a better word. The heightened political tensions and options were reinforced through open letters from The Odyssey and Bernie Sanders’s Dank Meme Stash.  


My theory is that this election, although it definitely had some of the most notable scandals and stories an election has been in U.S. history, wasn’t the most “wacky”, it was the most audibly commentated on the internet. Two potent ingredients: many millennials being of voting age and the internet, came together to create a concoction of free speech, thought leadership and attempts to sway public opinion.

 


During each presidential debate, millennial on either side were quickly microblogging, blogging, vlogging, meme-making - you name it about their opinions on the debate. While we were all scrolling through Facebook or Twitter on our phones during lunch, we probably came across tens or hundreds of election memes that either made us laugh or enraged us. Millennials, thanks to their urge to voice their opinion and the internet, became built-in ambassadors for their candidate. Every day, their respective candidate were on the campaign trail. Every minute of everyday, millennials were on the internet fighting for their candidates. 


So, what does the nature of this election say about our society?

The power of groups: Social media let us grow more of a mob mentality. We are all connected through the 0’s and 1’s that the internet runs on. When someone said something bad about one candidate, the opposition defended in groups, and vice versa. 

We are smarter consumers: We have all been burned by a fake news article or two. Because of this, we have grown to be skeptical media consumers. We now check our sources for bias and falsehoods. 

Community journalism turned organizing: A few years ago, community journalism was the trend on microblog and regular blogging sites. Community journalism was definitely a huge part of this election, however, community activism was even more of a theme.  People were able to take their causes and run with it. People started charities, movements, petitions, and more. 

Social media empowered consumers to take matters into their own hands this election. An empowered consumer is a dangerous consumer to the system, and the system was challenged this election.




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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Phantom Gourment Food Festival 2016

September 24, 2016 was a jam packed day for the Fenway area. On Landsdowne and Ipswich street was the Phantom Gourmet Food Festival, and inside the Fenway Park Concourse was "college fest". Both events yielded a LOT of free stuff. It's almost like you start off going to college fest to check out the free promotions from the vendors, and then once you're a pompous young professional in Boston, you pay the $30 entrance fee to stuff yourself with free samples and listen to throwback jams with your old college friends at the bars on Landsdowne St.

The set up of the food festival was as follows: booths local restaurants and food retailers lined both Landsdowne and Ipswich St. Beer tents were sprinkled along the route. All of the bars - Bill's Bar, Tequila Rain, the House of Blues and more - were all open. There was a costume/dance contest happening at Tequila Rain while I was at Bill's Bar. I'm pretty sure they were playing the same songs for the dance contest in Bill's Bar because there was a stream of 1980's  - 2000s songs being played and faded into each other, and not in an ironic way.

At the end of the day, I had a great time tasting DELICIOUS local food. I went there having eaten nothing for the day, and I came out super full just from samples. Here's a list of the places I visited, and some pictures!
KINGS pulled pork slider
Foundry Lobster roll slider
Hush Puppies corn and chorizo food festival
Boston Burger Company Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Potato Fries
Comella's Pasta
All Star Sandwich Bar BBQ Chicken Salad
Cakes by Erin "drunken pumpkin" cupcake


I was expecting a bit of a burger but their glazed sweet potato fries were delicious. I'd give my first born child for regular sweet potato fries so who knows what I would do for regular ones.



Beer tastes better in aluminum cans


"Drunken Pumpkin" cupcake. I think there was a pumpkin liquor in the frosting. The makes of these cupcakes are going to be on the next episode of "Halloween Wars"!



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Monday, November 14, 2016

How "Stranger Things" tapped perfectly into the millennial market

After premiering this summer, the Netflix Original series "Stranger Things" rose to the top of the charts immediately.  In eight short episodes, it found its way to steal both the Emmy's red carpets and our hearts. As a communications major, I naturally ponder: Why? What is it about the show that makes it so lovable?


image credit: Popsugar

As I started watching the series, I started realizing that the show developers must have just trolled on Tumblr for things that internet-addicted teens and twenty-somethings loved. Each character, theme, music, actor, and story arc reminded me of things that my friends and I (college-aged millennials) love. Here are my top picks for my millennials go nuts for Stranger Things:



 1. The 80s music

image credit

We love 80's music. So much that we make music that sounds similar to it. All of the 80's throwbacks make this show relatable and enjoyable. 

2. Paranormal Activity

image credit

For some reason, we love getting the life scared out of us. 

3. 80s High School Movie Themes
image credit

We also love throwing it back to the 80's and the teen heartthrobs. It takes us away from the failing current political, social, economic climate of our country :)

4.  Little Kids
image credit
None of us want to have them, but we love watching them try to solve mysteries!

5. Mystery

We love mystery for the same reason we love throwing it back to the 80s. It makes us forget about our significant cheating others, student loans, homework, and tear-stained pillows.

6. The Character Dynamics

image credit

We love rooting for an unsuspecting character to come out as better than we thought they were.

7. The Binge-ability
Eight. Short. Episodes.

8. The Easy Halloween Costume
image credit
Who didn't wear these costumes?

9. The Originality


This series is downright original. It's not another comic book hero, vampire, or zombie.

9. The Friendship
Image Source

Because above all, we love our friends.





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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Turning 21 - Expectations vs Reality

In the states, 21 years is the "golden age". Yes - the golden age where you can legally purchase alcohol if you drink. Many minors participate in underage drinking by begging those of age to purchase it for them, or getting using IDs to get into bars and purchase alcohol at stores. 


Me? Oh, never! How could I participate in such behavior?

Regardless of my past, the day in which my driver's license turns into a golden ticket to adulthood is fast-approaching. Naturally, I have many fantasy-like expectations of the night. I expect a delicious meal by the ocean in Marblehead, maybe lobster paired with a Cape Codder as my first legal drink, with my mother and a few close friends. Then, I buy a bottle of something easy to take shots of, maybe Fireball, to pregame, and bar hop around Salem with the girls trying local IPAs and getting in good with the bartenders. We'll be laughing all the way home in the Uber reliving the awesome night, and I'll go to work the next morning gabbing about all the fun I had.

I know it all won't go as planned like that, though. This is real life, not a glorified Sex and the City highlight reel.  

Group of friends expectation


Group of friends reality


Dinner expectation


Dinner reality


Pre-gaming expectation


Pre-gaming reality

Ubering downtown expectation

Ubering downtown reality


Ordering a drink for the first time expectation


Ordering a drink for the first time reality


Making drunk friends expectation


Making drunk friends reality


Getting back safely expectation


Getting back safely reality
Work the next day expectation

via GIPHY

Work the next day reality

via GIPHY



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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Love your routine, and yourself

The number one response I have for people when they ask me how my year has been so far is "Good!... Busy...." I usually flash through all of the meetings and stress I've already had to deal with this school year after I say that. I don't want to put all of that on this person who is nice enough to initiate small talk with me. If you're in college, or just graduated, or are a young professional, you probably know this feeling. You may also know the feeling of being so busy that you lose track of yourself. Looks in the mirror getting ready start becoming a scene from Mulan. Who is that girl I see?

It's important, however, to not lose yourself amid the stress. I know this sounds like a generalized piece of advice that will go in one ear, and out the other. Instead of giving you some cliche advice, I'm going to give you some tangible ways to actually relieve stress. These have worked for me, at least!

1. Spend some time on your hobbies/passions
One of the main reasons I decide to relaunch my blog is so that I could have a hobby to go back to when life gets stressful. Just a little bit of anything you're interested in - writing, singing, designing, drawing, sports - can remind you why you're here in the first place.

2. Watch some trashy reality TV
There's nothing that mades me feel better than reminding myself that my biggest concern isn't whether Bethany said something about my fiance or if Kim ordered grape soda for dinner instead of raspberry. If I feel like my life is a senseless pit of stress and obligations, I like to vicariously live through entitled trust fund adults spending their money on bottle service and manicures.



3. Look back at pictures of memories with your friends
This also works if you're feeling down. Remembering old times really makes you realize that whatever you're stressed about is temporary, and time passes.


4. Look back at old, embarrassing 8th grade pictures
This is the same logic as watching reality TV. Comparing yourself now to where you were reminds
you of how much you've grown.

 


5. Treat yo self
Treat yo self to something you've been craving foodwise. Buy yourself those shoes you've been eyeing, or those concert tickets you really want. It's something to look forward to.

6. Nap!
I mean, is there anything better than SLEEPING DURING THE DAY? Sleeping at night is already amazing. It's like getting a medium coffee when you ordered a small. Score!

7. Indulge in your favorite media
Are you a huge Netflix original junkie? Do you follow YouTube series? Do you love podcasts? Do you feverishly stress-read fan fiction? Are you a total nerd and love all of these things like me? Indulge in something you love to let loose and read/watch. It gets your mind off of the stress and simultaneously stimulates it.
8. Do the easiest, quickest things on your to-do list first
It may sound weird, telling you to do things on your to-do list to stress you out less, but if you just get the quickest things done now, there will be less to stress about. More time for crying in the shower!

9. Have a heart to heart with your friend
If something is bothering you, ask a close friend who will offer a fresh perspective on it what their opinion is. Someone else can tell yout the things you're too afraid to say about yourself.

10. Catch up with someone you haven't seen in a while
It's good to keep updated with an old friend to deliver some nostalgia to distract you from your current peril.

11. Go somewhere spontaneous
Take a random trip somewhere with minimal planning. Worrying about plans working out in order for a trip to work is too stressful.

12. Daydream
I often like to daydream about the future, and what all of my hard work could lead to, to keep me motivated.

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Sunday, October 9, 2016

12 Times I've Been Human Garbage

In today's society, we focus on being perfect too much. We build ourselves up through the veil of Instagram feeds and Facebook statuses of achievements. It's important, however, to remind ourselves of the times we were literal human trash. Being human trash - I'm sure many of you are familiar with the concept - can consist of many things. It can consist of not getting out of bed until 5 PM only to answer the Thai delivery guy at the door. It can consist of taking an illegal U-Turn in the middle of rush hour. Sometimes we can't help but be literal garbage. Sometimes, you have to be at your boyfriend's soccer game at 2 PM and you forgot your condoms and teeth whitening strips at home. So, you naturally decide to haphazardly bang a U-Turn and drive exactly 9 miles above the speed limit, weaving through traffic of course, to get home. Why did you need condoms and teeth whitening strips? Because you're literal garbage.


1. Today, I walked out the "in" door at Stop-N-Shop and confused an old man just looking for some overpriced groceries.
2. This week, I stole a girl's sheet music in class and sent her into FULL crisis mode
3. This weekend, I heavily drank three nights in a row, and didn't get out of bed until 1 on both Saturday and Sunday
4. On Friday, I skipped chorus half because I was too hungover, and half because I was too embarrassed to face the girl who I stole music from 
5. The fact that I can name 4 times in the past 4 days, off the top of my head, shows that I'm literal garbage
6. Whenever I'm bored from doing homework or something productive, I find myself looking at my own Facebook page. This happens at least three times a day
7. I always pull out halfway in the road when taking a left turn. My boyfriend calls this the "typical Masshole move"
8.  Speaking of a "masshole move", not to mention all the times I've shifted lanes without really checking if there was a car behind me.
9. My friend was being chased by a scary clown, she tripped and fell out of her shoes and I laughed before I even knew that she was okay. 
10. Even though I worked in retail for years, I still don't put back all of the things I move in stores.
11. I'm almost banned at a local liquor store for bringing an underage person in.
12. Speaking of being almost banned, I used my broken student ID card at the gym for six months, and made the workers type in my number by hand every time, because I was too lazy to get a new one. I finally got a new one after they said I wasn't going to be allowed back if I didn't get a new one. Icing on the cake? I actually ended up losing the card at a bar the night before I got a new one. 


See? Deep down, we're all just literal garbage.


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Sunday, October 2, 2016

My first tattoo experience

My pure skin has been tainted - it is not longer untouched. 

That's how my father would put this experience. Not me or my mother, however. While I was vacationing in Miami, my mother and I decided to get paw print tattoos in honor of our four-legged friend, Jackie.


Wouldn't you want her tattooed on you too? Isn't be the CYYOOOOOOOTEST?

We were planning on going another night, but the moment struck us. We googled, Yelped, and Foursqaured local Tattoo places until we decided on Empire Ink Tattoo.


 When we walked in, it was a slow Monday night. Thankfully, no one else was on the studio but us. The very friendly customer service representative got our information, helped us pick what style of paw print we want, and got our backstory. We told her all about Jackie, and how close we are as mother and daughter. She raved about the tattoo artist. I figured anyone with any mild knowledge of drawing and use of a tattoo gun could give me a simple paw print tattoo. I sure couldn't do it.

My mother went first, so I just sat and waited during hers since these tattoos probably took less than five minutes to do. The customer service representative and I bonded over her amazing lipstick and she shared with me that it's actually only available in two Urban Outfitters, one of them being in Miami. She invited me to try it. 

Now began my only trying time of this tattoo experience. I didn't really have a mirror, so I put on the lipstick, which is more like a lip stain because it is SO long-lasting. I got a little outside of my lip, so I asked to go to the bathroom. Turns out the bathroom was out of the shop and in a little hallway - shared by all of the businesses in the strip mall. There I was - trying to wash the semi-permanent lip stain off of my face in a muggy Miami bathroom with no soap and crappy paper towels. That experience was more painful than my tattoo.

The tattoo itself was sort and virtually painless. It only really tickled, I didn't feel much pain. It was more of an annoying pain that I only really felt when the needle was on my neck, This was because I got a small tattoo with no color, however. If I got a bigger one with color, it would have been a different story.
 

Since it was my first tattoo, and it was very small at that, I'm very happy with the experience. I would love to get another one soon!


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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

5 Fun Times to Have an Existential Crisis your Senior Year of College


Senior year of college is a time for many big steps in your life. Maybe you land an internship at a huge company you've been eyeing. Maybe you move in with your significant other or friends that you've been trying to move in with for a while. You could make a professional connection that will lead to a huge opportunity after graduation. Or, maybe you have five existential crises a week! 

The first three weeks if the semester, which has felt like three months, is basically a mix of the paragraph above. The scary part about being a senior in high school is that you have to answer the question: "What do I wanna do with the rest of my life?" For those who have a broad major, narrowing down to the exact answer to that question can be crisis-ensuing.

The thing about these existential crises is that they can happen anywhere. Out on a date? Crisis! In class? Crisis! Trying to finally get some peace and quiet? Or SLEEP maybe? CRISIS! Here's a list of fun places to have an existential crisis your senior year of college.


1. Walking to class
Imagine it. Its a beautiful day - sunny, even. You're listening to your favorite podcast in your headphones and cracking up. Then, someone on the podcasts says the word "future" and your sunny day turns to a sponge gar meme as thoughts of mortgages, apartment decorations, and meetings in conference rooms run through your head.

2. Swiping through Tinder
Think about it. You're swiping through tinder for a self esteem-boosting game, and all of a sudden you see a dude with a sick neck beard and Titleist snapback. In his bio, he says "Hakuna Matata, bro", and you think "God, when are guys these days going to GROW UP?" Next think you know, you're beating yourself up for saying that while binge-watching spongebob in Breaking Bad pajama bottoms. How fast is growing up too fast?

3. Presenting in class
Imagine you're up there presenting the project that you've worked SO HARD all semester on. The project includes and interview with your boss, and you start thinking about if you'll ever be a boss one day, and if you'll be a good one. You'll start wondering if your employees will respect you. Then you ask yourself when did you start wanting to be a boss that is respected and stop hating your bosses? What happened to the days of being carefree, full of attitude and sneaking a red bull and quick BuzzFeed article in between terrible customers at the cash register?
4. Ordering a burrito
You're at chipotle, which is usually somewhere you go for comfort. The employee asks you if you want white or brown rice and you habitually say brown. You start to think, however, will you ever splurge on white? When do you have to start caring about how you eat? When will your metabolism catch up with you?

5. In the middle of the night
You usually have no trouble with your roommate. You're not too noisy when if you come in late or if you have to wake up early. The only trouble you've ever had is when you woke up in the middle of the night screaming about what you're going to do with the rest of your life.

In all seriousness, self-care and mental health is important, especially at such a stressful time in your life. If you haven't already, please don't be afraid to reach out to the resources available to you on campus!



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Thursday, August 4, 2016

I think I realized why Instagram has "stories"

On August 2nd, 2016, an earthquake of confusion shook from all Instagram users. When I opened the photo-sharing app, the top was scattered with little circles with glowing usernames of people I follow under them. I figured that this was the not-so-long anticipated "Instagram story" I had heard about yesterday.


Paxton Mittleman, friend, student, social media marketer extraordinaire 

Basically every story followed the same script, give or take a few words:

What am I supposed to do with this?
Hi Snapchat, uh, I mean Instagram
What IS THISSS?

Some people periled in the idea of another form of social media, questioning whether they have to do two stories now.  Most people, ended up going the self-promo route and plugged everyone to follow their snapchats.

But really... follow n_vergak on snapchat for self-deprecating humor


Some celebrities and brands are welcoming this with open arms, and I actually enjoyed their content. Some brands were even transparent with their dumbfounded-ness, and asked us what content we want to see on there. How interactive!



Instagram has become a feeder for jealousy, while Snapchat has become a feeder for intimacy. 

Snapchat and instagram obviously have their differences. Although Instagram technically did come first, it's been trying to be more and more like snapchat. Instagram added a "direct message" feature, where you can send images and text. Unlike Snapchat, however, it doesn't disappear immediately. 

Snapchat does miss the whole "uploading a picture to a feed and it staying there for forever - or at least until deleted", and the whole hashtag thing, but it does have its own benefits: temporariness, face-misshaping filters, and geofilters.

Te big difference between Instagram and Snapchat is the level of intimacy. Snapchat is where you can post unedited, raw content that not only takes minimal time to create (unless you're Shonduras, but you can reveal personal stories and antidotes that happen to you every day. Instagram has become known to pique people's jealousy, users scroll through questioning why their lives aren't as full of Brandy Melville dresses on Newport Beach, hikes at Yosemite, parties in SoHo, and so on like the people they follow. Instagram has become a feeder for jealousy, while Snapchat has become a feeder for intimacy. Maybe Instagram is onto something trying to be more intimate.

What team are you on? Snapchat - or Instagram? While you decide, here are my six takeaways from "Instagram stories".

1. Think about the dog accounts
Harlow and Sage and Marnie the dog are adorable in pictures. Imagine them in video now! You actually don't have to imagine anymore - the dream is a reality, and the still-life is now live action. It's basically like the account coming to life, and the second closest thing to actually holding the puppy in your hands.

 


2. You just gained 50 new Snapchat followers
Yes, everyone was using this to advertise their snapchats. Either that, or they resolved to just stick to the original 24-hour story app: Snapchat. If you're like any other social media user, however, you love getting new followers. Use this as an opportunity to grow your brand. Just what our egos need - more people following our every move on social media.


3. Another outlet for brands
I know that some people don't trust brands no matter how much they love their products or how transparent the brand is on social media. As a student of communications, however, I happen to always appreciate a brand's effort to explore social media territory. I can see how some are forced (I love a good  "Brands Saying Bae" Example), but I really appreciate it when it's done well. Social media is kinda my job, so I'm an optimist when it comes to new forms of social media. I'm excited to see how brands approach this.

4. You can reach an untapped audience in a more intimate way
I was scrolling through my "stories" feed, and I was seeing people I forgot I had even followed on Instagram (even some I'd like to forget).  Now, a whole other audience can see your daily life, and maybe bring them over to your snapchat for more. As a user, you can untap the intimate lives of people you forgot about on instagram.

5. Shaking the jealousy problem by tearing down the curtain
As stated before, this may be Instagram's way of being notorious for harvesting jealousy over filters and sushiritos. Now, we can see unfiltered, un-curated content from users that usually don't upload a picture unless the color follows a certain "instagram theme"



6. This could be fun
Think of how cross-platform this could be. Imagine a story that starts in snapchat and ends in instagram. You can drive followers to both accounts, and tell a multi-platform story.


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Monday, June 6, 2016

The Last Hurrah (In Many Respects), and #GOMO with Eventbrite

This weekend was my last before I start my full-time summer internship. It was my last weekend, my last hurrah. It wasn't quite an all-out bender, but I sure did have a lot of fun! I always say that my best plans are made last-minute, or on a whim. This couldn't be any truer about this weekend. 

When my friend texted me "wanna go to all three days of Boston Calling?", it seemed like a no-brainer to me. I was very willing to spend the money to have a mini vacation with a good friend before my new journey began.


I don't know if it's me, but when someone asks me to do anything that involves tickets, money, public transportation, and intense planning - I get discouraged at first. However, I didn't let myself have that discouragement this time. Eventbrite is getting everyone out of their anxious shells and into concert halls, hiking trails, airplanes, movie theaters, and more. They say that "GOMO" is the new "FOMO". They say, instead of having the much-feared "fear of missing out", they want to nurture people "going out more often". You can even host your own event if you want and ticket it right online

FOMO is even in the Oxford dictionary, defined as “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.” Perhaps we can add a new word to the dictionary - "GOMO" defined as people spending their hard-earned cash on experiences instead of material things.

An avid concert-goer myself, I usually spend between $15-$45 on concert tickets and I go to shows once or twice a month. During my time at Boston Calling, I saw Sia, The Front Bottoms, The Vaccines, HAIM, Elle King, and Disclosure. Sia tickets would've gone for $80 alone, so seeing all of those acts would've been way over $180 separately. 

Due to the insane crowds, I couldn't really see the stage for Sia. Just like a fellow concert-goer said, every song was so fire, it didn't matter that I was so far away. I also got to see Maddie from Dance Moms and Kristen Wiig dance for Sia on stage. If I didn't go out, I wouldn't be able to say that I shared air with Kristen Wiig.


After all, it was a great weekend to reconnect with friends and great music on the last weekend of summer. In the end, I'm glad I went out more often. 



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Friday, March 4, 2016

GUEST POST: Outfit of the Day; Looking Cute this Winter!

This is a guest post by China Barbie of My Peace and Love Blog!



I don't like wearing jeans; to me they're just boring, and you end up looking like everybody else. I prefer to wear shorts, skirts, and dresses. In the harsh and snowy winters of Ohio however, this can sometimes cause a dilemma! You fashionable dames out there living in cold climates can totally attest to this! 


So I am here to show you, a cute winter outfit, and prove once and for all, that you can still
look cute, even in the winter!

What to wear:



- An adorable Tee
This is my Bob Marley quarter sleeve length tee by Zion Rootswear.

-An adorable skirt
I wear mine high-waisted. I got this cute denim skirt for only $.25 at a thrift store!
It's by Pins and Needles.


-Leggings
These are the most important part of any cute winter outfit. It allows you to wear a
skirt, dress, or shorts, while keeping your legs from becoming popsicles! I got these
adorable galaxy leggings from Rue 21 for only $2!

-A sweater

I absolutely adore sweaters. The more old lady looking the better! I get all my sweaters
from thrift stores-they always have plenty, and in any color you need! Wearing a sweater
over your t-shirt makes certain your outfit won't be lost in an oversized hoody.

-Boots and fur leg warmers

Gotta have warm fuzzy boots to complete your warm and adorable winter outfit!
If your boots aren't long enough, never fear! Get yourself a pair of
fuzzy leg warmers, and place them over your boots. You can find any color and
length on Etsy. 


-Gloves
I got these great tiger gloves from Kohl's for under $4.00!
Thank you so much for reading, I am so happy to be guest blogging on this great blog!
Now go on out there and create your adorable winter outfit!

Jessica LaPinta (China Barbie) is the author of My Peace Love Life Blog (www.mypeacelovelife.com). She is a part time model, housewife, and crafter. Obsessed with goal writing, list making, and crossing things of her bucket list, she is always busy with one adventure or another. China Barbie is a globe-trotting flower child, with a pension for healthy living, changing the world, and making her own fashion statement.




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