Lifestyle

10 Holiday Gifts For Boyfriends Who ~Surprisingly~ Wait Until Last Minute

Let’s start off with this… no, this post is not for my boyfriend. We’ve already picked our gifts, so this is for the boys and girls out there who haven’t gotten their stuff together yet. Just wanted to fill you all in!

~

With many holidays unfolding right in front of us, it’s beginning to be too late to order too many things online or be put on a waiting list for the sold out items. Because of this, I’m here to save the day. I spend hours per day on Pinterest and Instagram, especially on sites where any 20-something year old woman would genuinely appreciate. Trust me, I’ve been a woman all my life. I know this shit.

  1. Literally any Lush product, especially the bath bombs. Have you ever walked into Lush and literally spent an hour smelling everything in the store? It makes the experience extremely satisfying but the checking out process way too overwhelming. Some items that any girl would like would be the Mask of Magnaminty face and body cleanser ($28.95, 11.1 oz.) because it’s built for so many skin types and can be used anywhere on your body. I would definitely recommend that or the Star Light Star Bright bath bomb ($8.95, 3.5 oz.), but only if the person you’re shopping for has a tub.
  2. The extra long Apple IPhone charger. This is easily a no-brainer because who wouldn’t want to enjoy a nice, long charger? Say goodbye to tugging on your footlong charging cord which rips off of your wall in seconds. You can find it on the Apple store here, and they hardly ever run out.
  3. Any Glam Glow face mask, ever. Hardly ever do I run into a female who disagrees with the statement, Face masks are the best thing in the world. After trying countless masks for a countless number of facial problems, GlamGlow takes the Top 3 in terms of best face masks. You can find them at your local Sephora or even order it off of their main site.
  4. One of those glass Starbucks tumblers that are WAY too overpriced but look AMAZING. Have you ever stared at the tumblers in line to get your Starbucks drink and thought to yourself, Man, I wish I had one of those and still the same amount of money in my pocket. Me too, hun. Me too. In case someone wants to get one for you **cough cough**, feel free to check out some amazing designs here.
  5. Checkered Vans. Enough said. Just get them. If you don’t believe me, check any college-aged woman’s Instagram in America and ask me again what they like these days. You’re welcome.
  6. Brandy Melville sweaters! One thing that is great about Brandy Melville is how simple their clothing is. The person who you’re shopping for doesn’t need to have a particular style, because everything they sell conforms to the already-existing style. Check out items like this Joy Division Band Tee ($28) or the Anne Bodysuit ($24).
  7. Brush sets from Sephora. Nothing says “I have my life together like you wouldn’t believe” like a fully stocked brush set. You can find pretty ones here for a higher budget or lower budget ones here!
  8. A gift card to a restaurant that sells pizza. Lots of pizza. Why wouldn’t you? If you’re in Connecticut, consider places like Savoy Pizzeria or even Cheesecake Factory. (Have you tried their flatbreads?!)
  9. Get her a monthly makeup subscription box! If you don’t know about this already, it’s like getting a subscription for wine or steak. But, this time around, it’s makeup. Companies like Birchbox or Ipsy are built to give you several samplers of high-end brands every month for you to try!
  10. Or just get her the damn puppy already. Consider Pet Finder your best friend, folks.

 

If you have any other suggestions for what you should get a 20-something year old woman for the holiday season, make sure to comment below! Lastly, make sure to follow me on Instagram at @CassidyKotyla. Until then, xoxo.

 

— Cass

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Lifestyle

I Decided To Leave College… Let Me Explain.

While stitting at my hometown Starbucks, it occurred to me that I’ll literally never take a full class at my old university again. I’ll never have another late-night dining hall date where I eat Chinese food at an uncontrollable rate, trying to scarf down food while talking to friends. I will never be able to say that I went to a full sorority chapter meeting (okay, that one doesn’t sound as painful as the others to part ways with). I will never swipe into Berkshire Dining Hall in order to get unlimited soup and grilled cheese (however, I might still do this when I come to visit). Needless to say, it’s official--I’m no longer a “normal college student.” 

The title of this post is quite literal–let me explain. So many people have been coming up and asking why I did what I did and honestly, I’m not entirely sure I could give you a definite answer. College, in its totality, was never really for me and I truly loved my experience, but it was time that I moved onto bigger and better things. This isn’t to say that I didn’t meet amazing people there, because I did. But at some point, the negatives of staying outweighed the positives, and I couldn’t bare another minute of it. I was sick of sitting in a classroom where teachers would preach things I already knew, test me on pointless material, and question my own life goals when I knew them before I even enrolled in the course.

Growing up, it wasn’t unusual to see the other kids who were interested in a profession that required you to travel elect to go to community college, or even online school. That route was never an option for me as I was labeled as a first generation student, and the profession I wanted to go into at the time, psychology, was not something I could just pursue online (lol at that major, #journalism all the way). In essence, I chose UMass Amherst, the holy grail of random house parties miles away from your dorm, fraternities who struggle to stay afloat because of the most stupid reasons, professors who are ~way~ too eccentric to be in a major city so they instead live in Northampton, Massachusetts, and an expectation to succeed until your hair literally begins to fall out (**cough cough personal experiences**). Welcome to Western Massachusetts, everybody.

College began as it usually does for many–you begin drinking until the sun comes up, you nearly fail a class, and then you realize that your priorities are all out of whack. Suddenly your world is spinning so fast you can’t catch up, and you start to lose sight of the true reason why you ended up there in the first place. My time in college was bombarded with incredible times where friends would make my entire month with just one funny joke or old story time, but it was also clouded with unneeded stress, drama between friends, and the burning desire to make money while I was stuck in my residence hall solving pointless calculus problems.

So, I left.

To preface, I am not dropping out of college. My mentality would never lie with dropping out a semester before I was on track to graduate. In all honesty, that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Instead, I elected to finish the few classes I had online, and focus on the things that truly mattered to me–making long-lasting connections, friendships that are worth well past college years, and a strong focus on my career. All in all, I found myself happier, mentally capable to take on the world, and a stronger sense of self.

~

So, why am I pouring out my heart to all of you? First off, I want to encourage you to look deep within yourself to see if what you’re doing is worth while. Do you feel yourself getting anywhere in life? Do you find yourself studying something that you know you don’t want to do? I always considered the worst fear in life to spend it doing something incredibly pointless.

I would like to leave you with this: If the thing that you’re doing doesn’t make you happy, don’t feel as if you’re tied down. Life is full of surprises, and even if you don’t like the thought of changing up your existing lifestyle to pursue your dreams, it might be the best decision you made. I will go into much more detail on this in a YouTube video one day, but I just wanted to touch on a few points to clear the air. Until then, xoxo.

 

–Cass

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Lifestyle, Photography, Video

Six YouTubers Who Will Give You A Different Outlook on Vlogging

It’s no surprise that YouTube vloggers are essentially taking up the entirety of the internet these days. YouTube, known as the main video sharing platform in the world, holds more than one billion users per month as well as generates more than 300 hours of uploads per minute. However, while it’s amazing to see bloggers advancing to YouTube to create video content, it becomes extremely hard to filter through what you might find appealing and what others might find “viral” or “worthy” of your time. It’s important to find users or bloggers who do not have millions of subscribers, but rather focus on bloggers who hone in on important and viral topics without being so famous already, and join their following as you watch them gain more experience in content creation. Being that I spend hours a day on my laptop, I fortunately have the luxury to peruse through users’ profiles and find what appeals to me. Though I have dozens of favorites, I compiled a list of six people that I really thought would be the “‘best” users out there, without listing those who have millions of followers already.

  1. Peter Mckinnon – Photography/Tutorials

Based out of Canada, McKinnon has more than 900,000 subscribers on YouTube (which, in retrospect, is not that much for a decently good YouTuber these days). He attributes most to all of his videos to building up one’s photography skills, editing skills, and what equipment to consider buying. I would definitely check this guy out if you’re considering purchasing a camera, even if you’re just starting within the realm of photography. In addition, his Instagram account is filled to the brim with amazing pictures, all of which he has taken.

2.  Chris Klemens – Comedy, Daily Vlogging

Klemens has not only followed in the footsteps of major YouTube celebrities such as David Dobrik and Elijah & Christine, but he has also added a sarcastic twist to his content, making it incredibly funny and witty. His website in which he constantly advertises, sells merchandise that sends its profit to organizations like Planned Parenthood, the Human Rights Campaign, and more, making it all that more enjoyable to partake in. Known primarily for recording a video hating on famous YouTuber Jake Paul, Klemens enjoys poking fun at some of the biggest failures of YouTube’s history.

3.  Justin Escalona – Short Films, Daily Vlogging

Originally from the outskirts of Chicago but a student at the University of Southern California Film School, Escalona built up his reputation as a filmmaker while still studying in college. His channel, which features his “Daily Docs” (daily episodes that feature his friends, surroundings, and everyday struggles as a teenager in the heart of Los Angeles), has attracted more than 250,000 followers on YouTube alone. Most recently, Escalona began directing and producing short films, mainly since he earned his title as a filmmaker and a founder of the clothing brand ‘1340 Collective Co.’. Escalona is very active on his Instagram story and is constantly reaching out to his fans for inspiration on videos, selling equipment, or inviting them to his apartment in Los Angeles or meet ups or the chance to hang out.

4.  Shannon Beveridge – Relationships/LGBTQ Community

Most widely known for her presence on Tumblr, Shannon, also known as ‘NowThisIsLiving’, has been featured as one of the most prominent members of the LGBTQ community on YouTube. From most recently breaking up with her girlfriend, who also happened to be a YouTube star, Shannon has devoted several vlog posts to helping individuals overcome struggles as a member of the LGBTQ community. Shannon also hangs out with Chris Klemens (See #2), especially in videos which were dedicated to making sarcastic comments about Jake Paul and his behavior in the media.

5.  Monica Church – Daily Vlogging/Travel

Most commonly known as one of the ‘Church Twins’, Monica’s channel is dedicated to her life of travel, mostly on the West Coast between her home in Washington and Los Angeles. Being friends with other YouTuber’s like Justin Escalona, you can see Church featured in other people’s videos from time to time. I would suggest watching a few of Church’s videos if you’re looking for some travel inspiration or if you enjoy binge-watching some daily vloggers in their everyday lives.

6.  Lucie Fink – Tips/Tricks/Life-Hacks

I first met Lucie during the HerCampus HerConference 2017 in New York City. After learning about how she’s a producer at Refinery 29, I decided to give her videos a try and watch them….all. Wow. Originally known for making stop-motion videos on her Instagram, Fink had curated the ‘Living With Lucie’ series on the Refinery 29 channel. With this channel, Fink posts mainly “I Tried…” posts which are suggested by fans, in which she’ll try something that fans are curious or skeptical about. Definitely take a look at her posts about healthy eating, no social media for a week, or going on a cleanse!

 

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Lifestyle

Everybody Deserves Respect

For those who have been keeping up with my blogs, sorry for the delay of sorts. Summer has caught up to me, and I’ve been swarmed with work for other companies. The good news is school is back in session soon, and we can resume in seeing the people we haven’t seen all summer.

I’ve been wanting to talk about something on this blog for a VERY long time, and I feel like it finally needs to be said. Whether you’re in high school, college, or beyond this, it’s something everybody can relate to.

Recently, I’ve discovered that people I used to trust had been talking behind my back and saying some pretty awful things. They were people extremely close to me at one point and broke my trust by spreading some pretty awful opinions about me, all of which led to some really false statements about my personality, my life at school, and my life in general.

Now I know this really shouldn’t be said in a blog post, but to tell you the truth, it needs to be said. What words that you might write in a group message about anyone, just someone that you pretend to be friends with, is not okay. Words might seem like they don’t hurt in person, but it took a long time for me to come to terms with this. They hurt more than you ever know. Words, in fact, were one of the couple reasons why I considered dropping out of my college all together within the first year of enrolling. Words are why I had major anxiety and a lower GPA than expected the first year. Words are why I took to blogging, because certain issues just need social media attention.

A pro tip to everybody that has done that in the past, regardless if it was to me, or to another individual–think about if you were on the flip side of the conversation. Think about the nightmare it is to open your computer and see random messages, to see people you considered near and dear to you to leave your side and never talk to you again, to know that you’re no longer welcome in your supposed home. To those who have had the pleasure of never needing to experience this, congratulations. You’re one of the luckiest people in the world. You never need to know the feeling of wanting to curl up in a ball and disappear.

 

With that being said, I hope you enjoy your weekend, as I plan to enjoy mine. Remember to come to terms with your past and relish in your future plans with others. Always be kind even when your thoughts aren’t.

As always, xoxo.

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Lifestyle

Life and Love Is Better When You’re Part of the NFL

I’ve always wondered how people with extremely busy lives manage to a) stay away from constant mental breakdowns, and b) manage to maintain a healthy relationship. From past experiences, being busy 24/7 is never healthy for any relationship, romantic or not. You always need some breathing room. So, I wondered, who’s an individual that probably has a ridiculous schedule and needs to risk it all for the fame, glamour, and endless opportunity to have it all? A member of an NFL cheerleading team.

I sat down with Hannah Lebeau, 22, current cheerleader for the New England Patriots, to discuss how life, and more importantly, love, has been affected by her glamorous career. Growing up in Auburn, Massachusetts, Lebeau never thought her dream would come true as everybody’s favorite cheerleader.

Cassidy: What is it like being an NFL Cheerleader? What are some of the positives/negatives with having this position?

Hannah: Being an NFL cheerleader is the most rewarding job I could ever ask for. I have gained so much knowledge in the past four years about myself and feel as I have grown a lot as a person in my time with the organization. Though it gets busy at times, and standing on the sidelines in the winter may be a little bit colder than I would like, I wouldn’t trade the experiences for anything! I have the opportunity to act in the community, travel, and meet new people all the time. My teammates are my forever best friends and I couldn’t be more thankful to share these experiences with them.

C: Describe what an average day looks like for you.

H: My week varies because I get to make my own hours at work. So, if I am working, I will usually go to the gym really early in the morning and then come back and prep my food for the day and drive out to Boston to work. If it’s a Tuesday, I will have practice for three hours from 7-10pm and usually go right from work to the stadium. Some days out of the week, I have promotional appearances and the down time that I rarely have, I’m taking care of my new puppy, running errands, and practicing my sideline routines. I do the typical stuff and average person would do, I guess!

C: Have you found that you have a hard time maintaining a relationship? 

H: I am currently in a relationship and he is so supportive and loving towards everything that I do. I am a lucky girl for sure! I have found that the people who understand the job and the sacrifices I have to make sometimes are the ones that are easy to maintain a relationship with. So, the people I have in my life who support me with that are incredible and I’m so thankful to have them by my side!

C: Are there certain things you can and cannot do while on the team that applies to the “average college lifestyle”?

H: I was still able to enjoy myself in college with my friends the whole time I was there, which was great. College is a chapter in life that you don’t want to miss out on anything, so I’m lucky to have been able to go through that journey. But, I was always cautious about my location and possible pictures that could potentially jeopardize my job. I am more of a “binge watch Netflix on a Friday night” person in general, so I didn’t have to worry much about that!

C: A lot of NFL Cheerleading stereotypes are that the people who belong to the team are doing it just for the fame. How do you respond to that?

H: Stereotypes will always be there, so we don’t let that get to us! The amount of hours and hard work that we put into this job everyday is a lot more than someone would think, so it’s definitely for the love and the journey of the job rather than the fame.

C: What do you see yourself doing in five years? 

H: Hopefully, I would have found a full-time job in my field that I love and being able to support myself comfortably. I just want to love what I’m doing with my life and wake up happy every day!

C: What are your life aspirations?

H: My passion in life has always been leadership and putting others before myself. So, if I can do that and make others smile, I will have reached my goal.

C: Has being an NFL Cheerleader helped in the job world at all? What about in terms of networking?

H: I cannot even begin to describe the amount of people I have met through the four years I have been on this team. My networking circle has grown so much and I feel that I know at least one person in every job field that I could potentially take part in, which is awesome.

C: Tell me about one of the most rewarding times and one of the worst times you’ve gotten out of being an NFL Cheerleader. 

H: I had the opportunity to travel to Arizona for Super Bowl XLIX and dance on the sidelines of the entire game. We slept minimal hours, traveled to a bunch of appearances all week, but it was the most surreal experience I could have ever been a part of. One time that stands out to me was on a game day against the Denver Broncos which was during my rookie year. I had food poisoning all night the night before and the morning of. I didn’t get any sleep and the wind chill was in the negatives for the game. It even went into overtime. I was cold, sick, and tired. But, I sucked it up and stood out there for the whole game. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

C: Do you get to miss out on a lot while being an NFL Cheerleader? 

H: There are definitely sacrifices I have to make, such as things like going out on weekends with my friends because I have practice, an appearance, or a game the next day, even the small stuff like going out to eat because I’m watching my nutrition and health to look great in that uniform. But, I only get to do this for four years, so the sacrifices are worth it to me.

C: What kind of advice would you give to an aspiring member of the team? 

H: My number one piece of advice is to trust the process. Some ladies audition four or five times before they make the team. So, if anyone wants to be on the team, don’t give up if you fail. Keep trying because you never know what year could be your lucky one!

Thank you so much, Hannah, for the wonderful interview. It’s truly inspiring to hear about such an amazing experience!

Stay tuned for next time!

As always, xoxo.

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Lifestyle

The Phases of Missing Someone

For the past two weeks, I’ve had what’s known as major writers block. It’s a horrible disease that causes your readers to get aggravated with the fact that you’re not posting anything on your blog. I apologize, and I just finished getting over it. I’m back in business, baby.

Everybody in their lifetime experiences this type of heartbreak. It could be when someone you really like goes abroad, when they get an internship halfway across the country, or when you live thousands of miles apart from them during the summer. Needless to say, the pain you feel in your heart is literally gut-wrenching, and everybody experiences the same process during the situation.

1. At first, the goodbye comes, but you’re in denial that it’s actually going to be for that long of a time. Trust me, you ignore the “it’ll only be 4 months, babe” and think that the time will pass much faster than that. Trust me, it doesn’t.

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2. Then, you’re suddenly going through the change in the “normal”, and you’re freaking out, to put it plain and simple. Remember, this is only temporary, you’ll calm down after a little bit.

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3. After you’re done with your emotional breakdown, you start to realize that the time alone that you have might be a good thing, and that you can concentrate on yourself more than you ever thought possible.

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4. Guess what? That shit doesn’t last, either. You start to feel as if life is a sandwich and you’re that lonely piece of ham in the middle. You don’t want to concentrate on yourself, you miss the person you spent a bunch of time with. If you haven’t contacted the person by this time, it’s time to give them a call.

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5. Suddenly, a wave of relief comes upon you when you begin to start the countdown. It’s only a mere x amount of days left, and you can finally count the days until you see them.

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6. The day before you see the person is about the equivalent to the amount of stress that you get from the entire time you’ve been without them, but crammed into one day. You’re dying to see this person, and you’ve talked this day out what seems like a million times.

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7. It’s the day. This day, all of your stress melts away and you finally get to see the person you’ve wanted to be around since Day 1.

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As always, xoxo.

This blog post was dedicated to the one person that I miss an incredible amount and cannot wait to see in the near future.

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Lifestyle

How To Maintain Those Relationships Past College

Last night commenced the night that I pay my final respects to one of the biggest role models that I’ve had during my first year living at UMass. Everybody has the one or two people in their lives that when they graduate, it’s almost like your world comes to a grinding halt. You don’t believe it, that they’re a full-fledged adult yet, until they receive that new title as a graduate. Now, you’re left to cope with the fact that you’ve honestly had a piece of your heart stolen, and you’re wondering if you’ll ever get it back. Well, news flash, it was never stolen in the first place.

Part of growing up is that you’re going to part ways with the people you love. It’s actually a test to see how good of a friendship you really have with one another. As the saying goes, if you find your way to each other again, it was meant to be. That’s how I feel about a lot of things, not just about people. If you find yourself ever sad and lonely about someone that recently graduated, you broke up with, even, don’t be sad. Instead, cherish the times that you did spend with them. Rejoice in the fact that you’ll be able to see them again, and that if you do reconnect and/or maintain that relationship that you had before, you truly are meant to be together.

I decided to compile a list of ways on how to tackle maintaining a relationship with anybody–sister, boyfriend, girlfriend, brother, big, little, friend, frenemie, I don’t know–after they up and graduate.

  1. Text or call at least once a week to check up on them. When I’m at my lowest, there’s nothing I love more than to hear from someone that I care about more than anything. Not only does it brighten my day, but it makes me hope to see them soon.
  2. Remember that it’s not the end. Most people think that it’s the end of a friendship when another person moves away. Believe it or not, it could just mean the beginning to an amazingly new chapter. I didn’t anticipate becoming such amazing friends with Irune, my old Spanish exchange student, but hey, things happen.
  3. Reflect on how your friendship has made you a better person. Someone recently told me that I cannot go on with the next couple of years stuck on the fact that they’re not going to always be by my side. Not only is it unhealthy to think that way, but it creates a false sense of hope down the road with pretty much any relationship you form. It’s important to learn from the people you love not to cling to something, but to always look forward.

If you’re ever feeling down about this kind of situation, don’t be. In fact, be happy. You’re beginning a fresh, new page. Now it’s your turn to write down new memories.

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As always, xoxo.

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