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Archive for December, 2010

Oh that familiar old question… “What are YOU doing for New Year’s Eve?” I’m guilty of asking it myself. But in the past, I remember it feeling more like a mad dash of what I should be doing. My mind would race – is there something better to do? Cheaper options? But god forbid I considered just spending it home on my couch, alone.

I think I started feeling a bit self-conscious about being single on New Years, because unlike Valentine’s Day, it’s not explicitly a “couples” holiday. But we all know better.

It was a lot like this.

 

One of the worst New Year’s Eves I ever spent was a last-minute decision to tag along with a couple to a house party (and a house full of people I didn’t know save for that one couple). I quickly surmised after being at the party for about 2.6 seconds that this entire house was couples. I was the absolutely only person there without a date. Not being a person who usually bothers to feel sorry for herself for being single – I was amazed at how pitiful and sad I started to feel.

At the stroke of midnight, I had to do the very best I could not to cry, run away or just punch someone in the face when everyone started making out around me. It was like being in a gay club at last call. But not nearly as fun.

This stupid holiday, if you let it, can break you. And, I’ve totally been there.

But I have had some freaking incredible New Year’s Eves too. Last year was pretty amazing. I made an absolute huge feast with two of my besties at my place and had a champagne-fueled dance party. We were all asleep by about 1:30am. It was perfect.

I think the best approach is to really know what you should stay away from, and get real comfortable with idea of “no plans.” Honestly, I would rather hang on my couch with my dog and watch Andy Cohen’s wig drop alone, than end up at a sneak attack couples-only-makeoutfest again.

It could be because I am getting older, but I much prefer quiet dinners, or house parties, to the craziness of an open bar club scene. What I try to remember, is that it’s just another night.

The moral of this story? How ever you are choosing to spend your New Years, make sure you enjoy yourself!

Happy New Year from all of us broads at Broadly Speaking!

Cheers!

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Smoke, Mirrors, and Jiggly Thighs!

The kazillion dollar beauty, fashion, and luxury industries are nothing but an eternal Sigfried and Roy illusion, and we all know how that ended up (poor Roy!!)  Lemme tell ya honey, behind the scenes, it’s all nothing but a great big, jiggly, dimply, fatty lie!  And that makes this tiger verrrry annngry!!  RAAAR!  I’m pointing an unmanicured finger at these bastards and their twisted little magic eraser tool. 
 
In print, women are digitally manipulated by evil photoshop into mythical like creatures (bulimic unicorns??)  I was having a major fatty day when this reeeeally clicked.  While eating a jar of nutella with a spoon, I googled pretty much every beauty icon ever and the word cellulite.  Don’t get me twisted, Beyoncé, Charlize (gotta scroll through for that one), and Scarlett J, are all major foxxxes in my mind, and in real people land, they all have dimply parts.

We’re all being spoon fed this fantasy of smooth slender thighs, and I wanna spit up! My most troubling moment was showing my boo all of the before and after Photoshop pics, and cellulite ridden celebs… he had no idea!  The unrealistic image most often portrayed and considered “most desirable” isn’t fair, healthy, right, etc.  But at the end of the day, these industries are just trying to make a dolla and sell, sell, sell.  It all comes down to the cheddah!  So if you’re having a super lardo day, remember that.  Don’t compare, remember you’re a hottie, and Kate Moss has fat days too! (esp after her coke binges)

And now… Photoshopped celebs, that did not need to be photoshopped….

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Cartoon by John Fewings

A while ago, I was watching Michael Moore’s movie, “Sicko,” about the mounting cost of health care in this country – and got particularly worked up about another issue that hasn’t received nearly enough attention: student loans.

Speaking from personal (and painful) experience – I feel like I am literally buried by my student loan debt. When I graduated from my undergraduate state school, I had nearly $40,000 in loan debt. Then I foolishly decided to get my master’s degree a few years later (at yet another state institution), and racked up an additional $20,000. In the end, my education left me with a bill of about $60,000. Think about how bad it might have been if I had gone to out-of-state or private schools. I shudder to think.

Check out this passage from a recent Forbes article:

 A record high of one out of every 10 students who graduated from four-year colleges and universities in 2008 (the most recent year for which data is available) owed $40,000 or more in loans, according to the Institute for College Access and Success. Overall more than two-thirds (67%) of students earning degrees from those institutions carried loan debt, owing an average $23,200. That’s nearly double the debt of the class of 1996, an average $13,200 per student. Nationwide, the institute says, average student debt is growing at about 6% a year.

While it doesn’t make me feel any better, it looks like my experience is pretty similar to the thousands of other people crippled by their debt from college and post-graduate education. 
 
I like to believe I am a relatively financially responsible person – having avoided the thousands of dollars in additional credit card debt many college students have when they graduate. But perhaps that’s the thing that most troubles me.

I come from a pretty average middle-class family, but my parents couldn’t afford to help me with my undergraduate degree beyond the first semester. So, I chose to go to a state school that would be less-costly than my first choice, a private out-of-state university. I also worked full-time, and did all I could do to get any assistance I could get my hands on to help with tuition. I even graduated a semester early because I couldn’t afford to pay for the last semester. Same story for graduate school (god forbid I lose my mind and decide to try for a Ph.D).
 
I like to think I make a decent amount of money for someone of my age, and I have perhaps achieved a great deal for my age. Now, after happily leaving my archnemisis Sallie Mae behind for a government-owned loan, I am expected to pay nearly $250 a month for the next 25 YEARS. That’s right, if I don’t end up qualifying for the 10 year public service loan forgiveness and stick to this payment plan, I could end up paying these loans until I am 53 years old and thinking about retirement.
 
I have been thinking about all the arguments that have been waged for health care reform, and I believe that education costs can cripple a person just as tragically. It’s time for a real public conversation about the cost of higher education in this country, and folks need to start thinking about real solutions. It just doesn’t make sense in a country that routinely tells its youth a college education is imperative to their success, but makes it nearly impossible to achieve if your parents make less than $100,000 a year.

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