Sometimes I Feel Guilty for Not Being a Female Scientist

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I feel guilty for pursuing a career in communications. I know that sounds totally crazy, right? Communications seems like a perfectly nice line of work for the casual extrovert. Really, it’s not that I feel guilty about choosing to work in communications. It’s that I feel guilty not choosing to work in science.

BBT-the-big-bang-theory-32386276-500-281

Just let me explain. Unless you live under a rock (I’m looking at you, Patrick Star), you’ve probably noticed the push to enhance science education for girls and young women. Which, might I add, is great! But at the end of the day, what is the aim of this social movement? All-around enlightenment? Enhanced quality of life? The bottom line is about boosting female representation in science-orientated degrees and consequently professions. Of course, you don’t always notice this upfront. Let’s look at the newest Verizon commercial.

While campaigns like this certainly inspire me, they also stir up self-doubt. Have I let down society by going into a female-dominated profession? Am I somehow disappointing my future daughters? Will my career be as taboo as the 50s housewife persona someday? If the Amy Farrah Fowlers are the social pioneers of our time, then I – at the prime age of 22 years old – am suddenly old-fashioned.

Unlike the girl in the Verizon commercial, my upbringing was ripe with science exposure. I dirtied my dresses while fishing for worms. I handled power tools and learned to check the oil on a John Deer. I even won a medal in my middle school science fair. With remarkable teachers and a computer programmer for a mother, the “empowered female role model” box never went unchecked. On top of that, I worked my way through advanced math and science courses in high school. But is it enough?

I did not pursue a career in science, because nothing gave me a thrill like writing. So I left calculus for a life of press releases and feature stories – not because I felt discouraged as a woman, or some crap like that. Now, I work for a natural history museum, where science-savvy women are as plentiful as Dugger children. And  although I am not an ichthyologist or a paleontologist, I love being immersed in natural history. Every day I am reminded that a woman can be interested in science without being a scientist.

 And that’s the most important message.

We should pursue science because it satisfies our curiosity and encourages us to discover. If that curiosity fuels a lifelong quest by way of a career, great. You go, girl! But if it doesn’t? This goes back to my previous post about Claire Underwood from House of Cards. Whether a woman chooses to run a country or a home, become a biologist or a kindergarten teacher, she deserves to be supported.

Science education is a great thing, and I do believe that women should be exposed to and encouraged to explore disciplines like math and engineering. Now I can neither confirm nor deny that our social environment encourages or discourages women in science because, well, that’s not my area of expertise. But I do know one thing as a woman who works with – but not in – science. As we encourage girls and young women to open their mind to fields like engineering and zoology, we must always be sure that the focus remains on their passions – not percentages.

Why We Hate to Love and Love to Hate Claire Underwood

Smart, savvy, and impeccably dressed – rain or shine, day or night. On the exterior, Claire is precisely what you’d expect a first lady to be: polished, polite, pretty. But this House of Cards character also knows how to play her best hand – the seductive allure of a winner. This modern Lady Macbeth tramples the weaknesses staining the Underwood name, and she’ll pay any price. Some would say her ruthless, Machiavellian attitude is her downfall – others, her greatest strength. But one thing is certain.

For better or worse, Claire Underwood is an icon – and that’s why we hate to love and love to hate her.

Somewhere deep within ourselves – in a place we are afraid to expose – we are Claire Underwood. We understand her unquenchable longing to be significant. We relate to the hunger pains of powerlessness that keep her moving up. We get her thirst for independence. We recognize her merciless ambition because the same parasite infects us too. It is why we secretly hate to love her. But are we not afraid, too? Don’t we all fear the possibility of losing ourselves inside the games – of falling from the highest rung of the ladder of success? Or worse, never reaching it at all.

While Claire paints an nontraditional portrait of women in power, there is a danger here – a danger of typecasting. Of pitting our own accomplishments against those of the former CWI director. In her latest column with Glamour magazine, Girls actress Zosia Mamet brings light to a pressing yet unseen issue. Many of us – including Claire – define success in terms of the long-standing male standards of power and money. But isn’t there an alternative? What about women who don’t want to become industry moguls and CEOs? Mamet writes:

I hate that we look at women who choose not to run a country as having given up. I get angry that, when a woman decides to hold off on gunning for a promotion because she wants to have a baby, other women whisper that she’s throwing away her potential. That is when we’re not supporting our own. Who are we to put such a limited definition on success?

As women, we are caught in a tricky game of limbo between becoming the next Claire Underwood and the future Debra Barone. Kids or career? Fame or love?  Even Claire admits that sacrifices must be made, but who is to say that children are less successful than a career? Likewise, who could say that fame is less worthwhile pursuit than love? To each their own. But whether you hate to love or love to hate her, we can all learn something from Claire Underwood. We can translate her inextinguishable drive into our own lives – whether that leads to a seat in the White House, a minivan for five or a cafe in Vermont. Because significance is not measured by the sum of success, only you can know the answer to the million-dollar question.

What does winning mean to you?

 

Nail Polish Horoscope

Think you nail polish has nothing to do with the outcome of your day?

Think again.

1. Ruby Red

Ruby RedSimple and timeless. This is the Jennifer Aniston of finger nails, meaning you can literally do no wrong. Like Rachel Green, your charm and beauty will carry you far this week – but beware! Your shallow vanity will blind you today and cause you to miss your lobster. Forever. Sucks to suck.

2. Full French

Full FrenchWhoa, Kate Middleton – cool your jets! We know you’re basically the pinnacle of high class, but this isn’t the high school prom. A flawless combination of power and poise, you take what you want like the honey badger. But honey badger don’t care, and your apathy is going to get the best of you today. Do you care? Nope. You’ve got plenty of cobra to last all week.

3. Colored French Tip

Colored French TipYou are everything the honey badger French tip is not – like Kate Middleton’s booty-short wearing, loud-mouthed little sister. Somehow, men will find your wild side confusing yet compelling, so be sure to shave your legs in the morning. After exchanging cross words with a loved one today, you will impulsively pay for a barbed wired tattoo. The crazy part? You won’t even regret it.

4. Odd Man Out

Odd Man OutWelcome, Millenials! How was that Cosmo guide to nail couture? Good? Good. Today you’re going to totally LOL at your BFFs snapchat right before skipping your digital marketing class. You’re also going to blow your last $4 on one tiny little bottle of polish to use exclusively on your ring finger. Enjoy your chicken-flavored Ramen. YOLO.

5. Texturized

TexturizedGlitter, fuzzy, magnetized…no texture is off limits. If you’re not nine years old, then you’re probably going through a “phase” – somewhere between bangs and colored eyeliner. Odds are, you’ll be dying a small strip of hair to a Mandy Moore soundtrack this evening, so get the bleach ready. There’s a fine line between playful and pitiful – let someone else worry about finding it.

6. Back to Black

Back to Black

Your nails are as dark as your soul, and today, not a care will be given. You will ask yourself, what would King Jeoffrey do? And then you will do it. There’s a good chance you’re going to make out with a total stranger mid-afternoon, so be sure to toss some Lifesavers in your Steve Madden studded satchel. Oh, and please call your mom. She’s worried about you.

7. Pinteresting

PinterestingAmbitious is a good word for you. Although it took you two and half hours to paint all the Winnie the Pooh characters on each nubby little nail, you didn’t give up. No, sir. Sure, Pooh actually looks like his namesake – the mustard-stained contents of an infant’s diaper. But you’ll bounce back. Also, looks like you’ll be creating a DIY boho chandelier from old T-shirts this afternoon. Good luck.

8. Naked

NakedYesterday you peeled off every last bit of shellac because you’re sassy and cannot be tamed. In an effort to hide those Freddy Kreuger claws, you thought you’d just casually slap six layers of nude on your flaky digs. Nice try. Your piss-poor nails will cause you to get into a fight with your significant other today because – again – sassy and can’t be tamed.

9. Diamond in the Rough

Diamond in the RoughYou want a Lamborghini. Sip martinis. Look hot in a bikini. Yeah…unfortunately you’re not Britney Spears. Sorry ’bout that. If you’ve got more than one rhinestone per nail, you best drive yourself back to XPress Nails and cozy up with a bottle of acetone.  Watch out! If you don’t, your coworker will go blind today – probably because your nails are brighter than Rhianna’s “Diamonds”.

10. Metallic

MetallicYou’ve never seen a diamond in the flesh, and you have no idea what it means to cut your teeth on wedding rings in the movie. But – oh – you know you want to. Started at the bottom now we (still) here. That bad-a attitude will take you places, so listen to Journey and don’t stop believing. Like Gwen Stefani, you too will be a rich girl. Soon.

For more poorly-based predictions, check out the follow underwear horoscope by Jenna Marbles.

Being a Modern Woman As Told by New Girl

Being a woman in the 2000s can be really tough. Sometimes,we cry over the smallest things. Like running out of Fritos, or cute puppies in little teacups.

It’s probably because we’re just so decisive about our emotions. Yeah, that’s it…

Aaaaaaaand because we may be a tad boy crazy at times. 1998 Britney Spears is to blame.

But that’s only because we know exactly what we want in a man. And that’s a good thing, right? Cosmo said it was.

Ultimately, we want to be taken just as seriously as men. The modern woman wants the equality of feminism minus the armpit hair because gross.

Which is why we pour our hearts into our school and careers and family and friends and pets and ferns and basically everything we ever come into contact with. Is it overwhelming at times?

Yes, it’s overwhelming – hence the need for a daily carb binge. No matter what you see at date night, we’re fatties at heart. That’s why we womenfolk love J. Law so much.

But even when we are feeling totally insecure and spazz-tastic and hopeless and scared…

We’re still perfectly happy just being our crazy, socially awkward selves.

P.S. If you’re a boy and you didn’t understand a thing I said…

The $20 or Less Etsy Gift Guide

Instead of tossing elbows with the masses on Black Friday, why not opt for something simpler? Etsy is a fabulous place to get unique, cutomized and affordable gifts, but I’m sure you already know that. With millions of options, though, it can be just as overwhelming and treacherous as a doorbuster deal gone bad. Solution? Check out my Etsy Christmas survival guide below, featuring nine gifts as original as your friends – for just $20 or less.

For the artistic one:

Fox Watercolor Print - $20

Fox Watercolor Print – $20

What does the fox say? Buy me. Amber Alexander has over 374 quirky but outstanding watercolor paintings and prints. Going postal? Be sure to check out her Christmas cards, too.

For the Disney-lover:

Framed Peter Pan Glitter Silhouette

Framed Peter Pan Glitter Silhouette – $10

Never grow up? Sounds like a plan to me. Poppies and posies features mostly framed and matted Disney-themed silhouettes. Each picture is 100% customizable, so the possibilities are as endless as Tink’s supply of pixie dust.

For the wandering soul:

Travel Journal Notebook - $16

Travel Journal Notebook – $16

Lost with wanderlust? Set them free with one of several travel-themed journals from Istria Design. Be sure to write your address on the inside cover so they can thank you with postcards from their globetrotting journey.

For the phone junkie:

Color Palette iPhone 4 Case

Color Palette iPhone 4 Case – $10.99

From Disney to Dr. Who, Captain America to Hepburn, iPhone Case 001 has a little bit of everything. Personal yet functional. With 309 cases to choose from, there really is something for everyone.

For the Harry Potter freak:

Rose

Harry Potter Book Rose – $2.50

Book-lovers are bound to go crazy for these precious HP roses by Wednesday Thursby. Get it? Bound? Oh, okay. You got it the first time.

For the dude:

Bacon Soap

Bacon Soap – $6

Fact: Guys use soap. Fact: Guys love bacon. Conclusion: Get him bacon soap. If he isn’t a stereotypical bacon fanatic, then check out some of the other 539 food-themed choices from AJ Sweet Soap and pick his favorite dish for the soap dish.

For the writer:

Pheasant Feather Quill Pen - $8.33

Pheasant Feather Quill Pen – $8.33

The sacred feather of this quill from Whillock hails from the mighty eagle of Middle Earth’s Misty Mountains. Okay, that’s not true at all, but your writer buddy is definitely gonna’ love the Tolkien tribute.

For the gamer:

SNES Ring - $16

SNES Ring – $16

Oh My Geekness! How rad is this ring? OMG deals primarily in nerdtastic jewelry and cuff links. Each item is totally customizable, so you can even order their favorite game for extra bonus points.

For the crazy cat lady:

Cat Ears Ring - $15.06

Cat Ears Ring – $15.06

We all know a future cat lady in the making. Now, thanks to OST Accessories, that abundance of cat hair won’t be the only kitty-themed token they take out of the house.

Is Romance a Dying Art?

Every so often, when I’m looking to unwind, I throw on my Frank Sinatra Pandora station and let the smooth kings of croon carry me away. But then, the other day, a truly captivating song struck my fancy. It was “A Kiss to Build a Dream On” by Louis Armstrong. As I listened carefully to the words, it got me thinking about a few things, namely romance. But first, have a listen for yourself.

Now, let’s slow it down and look at those lyrics.

Give me a kiss to build a dream on,
And my imagination will thrive upon that kiss,
Sweetheart, I ask no more than this,
A kiss to build a dream on.

Give me a kiss before you leave me,
And my imagination will feed my hungry heart,
Leave me one thing before we part,
A kiss to build a dream on.

Have you ever heard anything so charming in your life? If you’re a twenty-something like me, probably not. It’s not exactly news that modern music doesn’t carry the same love-struck chord that it did in the fifties, but just how far have we strayed? For comparison sake, let’s take Britney Spear’s newest hit, “Werk B****.”

You wanna hot body,
You want a Bugatti,
You want a Maseratti,
You better work b****.
You want a Lamborghini,
Sip martinis,
Look hot in a bikini,
You better work b****.

Maybe I don’t actually want a Maseratti. Maybe what I really want is old-school, heart-felt romance. Maybe I want Louis Armstrong. Long gone are the days when love was enough to pay the bills, and now it’s all about “jet planes, islands, and tigers on a gold leash,” or so says Lorde. Of course, marvelous love songs still exist today, but they’re seldom chart-toppers. They say that pop culture is a mirror to society, and if that’s the case, then doesn’t this deficiency of affection in mainstream music say something about us as a whole?

Lyrics

Of course, no romance is better than hollow romance. What I’m talking about is an outpouring of affection rooted entirely in genuine fondness and respect for another person. But if we did actually receive that grounded, all-in romance, would we even know what to do with it? It all reminds me of an episode of Sex and the City, where Carrie begins to feel smothered by all the grand romantic gestures of her new boyfriend. I think she sums it up best:

“We accept Tasti D-lite instead of real ice cream, emails instead of love songs, jokes instead of poetry. It’s no wonder that when faced with the real thing we can’t stomach it. Is it something we could learn to digest or have we become romance-intolerant?”

TextLove

A recent article by the Huffington Post suggests that the root of unhappiness plaguing Generation Y stems from a long history of unrealistic expectations. While that’s probably true, is it possible that just this once, in regard to romance, that’s not the case? Could the problem actually be that reality is quite simply coming up short? Or, as the article suggests, are we twenty-somethings stuck in a world of Ryan Gosling, romcom-fueled unrealistic expectations?

15 Fashion Tips from Mean Girls

1. Always wear pink on Wednesdays.

2. Never wear your hair in a ponytail twice in one week. So I guess you pick today.

3. If Cady Heron buys Army pants and flip flops, you buy Army pants and flip flops.

4. As long as you wear mouse ears, you’re obviously a mouse. Duh.

5. If your name is Aaron Samuels, push your hair back.

6. Nipple-less tanks are so fetch.

7. Never wear tank tops two days in a row. Gross.

8. You can only wear jeans and track pants on Fridays. No exceptions.

9. Vintage is super cute!

10. The bigger the hair, the more secrets.

11. Be Regina George.

12. Body hair makes great wigs.

13. Three pounds is a totally real weight-loss goal.

14. You can still rock Spring Fling in a body cast.

15. Confidence is the best accessory of all—mathletes jacket included.

Mathletes

So, how many of these tips should you actually use? Trick question!

10 Signs That She Loves You

Okay. So you’ve been seeing this girl for a while, and you think things are going pretty great. Could it be? Does this majestic creature called woman actually care for you? Or is it all in your head? Despite your best efforts, reading her mind is like understanding Sofia Vergara. Hopeless. So, how do you know? By checking for any one of these ten tell-tale signs:

She loves you if…

1. She shaved her legs.

shaving

Those battlescars running up her sikly smooth legs are for you and you alone. They’re bloody nicks of love. No woman spends a mind-numbing ten minutes running some scratchy, tetanus-infused razor up and down her legs for her own sake. Trust me.

2. She ironed her clothes.

ironing

Aside from your grandma, no woman uses an iron these days. Those ultra-crisp pleats snap “love” every time they swish in the soft summer breeze on that moonlit walk you’re taking.

3. She laughs at your bad jokes.

A woman in love will always offer up a courtesy laugh. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself. Pick any line from this bad jokes site, and give it a go. If she humors you with a full-on courtesy laugh, you’ve landed the gig.

4. She eats your cooking.

Cooking

While this rule may not apply to the culinary-inclined, it holds true for the 97.3% of men who consider boxed macaroni gourmet.

5. She cooks for you.

Dwight

They say the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and she knows it. Don’t be fooled by her, “Oh, I just enjoy cooking” line. She knows what she’s doing. Oh, she knows.

6. She sits through Die Hard.

Die Hard

Die Hard, Fast and Furious, the old Bond films…basically if the cover features some ruffian carrying a gun while zipping away in his flashy car, she’s only watching it for you.

7. She brings you to a wedding.

Tuxedo

Weddings are like the county fair of the social world: it’s a great place to bring your prized stud, parade them around, and go for the gold. A gold engagement band, that is.

8. She buys you just-because gifts.

Gift

There’s a special gene encoded on her second X-chromosome that prompts random gift-giving for those she loves. “Just because” means “just because I love you.”

9. She hangs out with the guys.

"MY BOYS" "Mike-Fest" / Ep 403 TBS Ph: Karen Neal

As much as she probably loves your friends, she loves her more. If she voluntarily sacrifices a Saturday night to hang with the boys, it just got real.

10. She really, really likes you.

List

When a woman says she really, really likes you, that’s her working up the nerves to throw the L-card on the table. As long as this statement isn’t followed by “but…,” you’re in the clear.

So, what’s your go-to “I love you” sign? Drop a line in the comments below and be sure to follow my blog for regular updates on this growing list!

5 Manly Musical Moments to Make You Melt

Singing

There’s just something about a man pouring out his heart in song that makes us womenfolk melt like a stick of butter on hot mashed potatoes. Whether it’s the always-appealing emotional purge, the sensitive soul of a musician, or the sikly crooning of a hunky sir that does the trick, the world may never know. Yet, one thing is certain: it’s hella fine.

Being a musical connoisseur, I’ve scoured Hollywood history in pursuit of the most melt-worthy musical numbers ever performed by men, and the results are guaranteed to tip you into an estrogen-crazed spiral that will take weeks to recover from. Without further ado, I bring you the top 5 Manly Musical Moments to Make You Melt. You’re welcome.

Note: common side effects may include senseless crying, realization of loneliness, swelling of the heart, and a newfound fondness for your significant other.

#5 “You Were Meant for Me” – Singing in the Rain

Nothing says romance like old-time Hollywood, and Gene Kelley’s charisma certainly doesn’t hurt. This number’s got class, understated charm, and a timeless feel: what more could you want?

#4 “Sandy” – Grease

“I would hate to have Danny Zuko sing a song named after me,” said no woman ever.

#3 “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” – Blue Hawaii

Let yourself slide into the warm, honey-coated melodies of the King’s sultry serenade. I think this is what falling in love sounds like.

#2 “The Music of the Night” – Phantom of the Opera

Admit it. For a split second you forgot she was a hostage, and you were ready to pack up and move into his lair of seduction. It’s alright. No one can refuse the Gerard.

#1 “Your Song” – Moulin Rouge

Now this, good people, is romance. If this did nothing for you, then you should probably see a doctor because your heart has turned to stone.

Now, the big question: what’s your favorite manly musical moment?

On Being a Pretty Lady

You’re browsing through the crowded aisles of Wal-Mart when, suddenly, you spot it. A wadded up  mess of hair bobbles along the row next to you as a frazzled looking woman rounds the corner. Her faded sweats really compliment that sickly, blotchy look her make-up-less face sports. You with your judgy Kim Kardashian eyes wonder why she couldn’t bother to slap on some mascara, but that’s because you’ve probably never realized how stupidly time consuming womanhood can be.

Birds Nest Bun

A while back, my boyfriend and I had a discussion that led to a grand epipheny. He claimed the majority of famous authors, chefs, and painters were men, and after much deliberation, I realized he was right. You know why? Because we’re too busy filling our eyebrows and blow-drying our frizzy-Lizzy hair.

Let’s say it takes the average woman fifteen minutes to put on make-up and that she wears make-up at least five out of seven days a week. Now, if she began wearing make-up at 13 and stops at 60, she will spend 183,300 minutes applying make-up. That’s roughly 127 days. I think Jenna Marbles said it best.

Jenna

Then we’ve got jokesters like Dove to deal with and their Real Beauty Sketches video. Oh, you didn’t see it? Check it out below. They’re clearly trying to say “hey, you’re more attractive than you think you are” while they’re actually saying “big foreheads, round faces, and freckles suck.” Thanks Dove. There went another $28 for some heavy duty Bare Minerals foundation and $20 on bangs.

Of course, there’s more than just make-up. You work out for your cottage cheese thighs, shave an acre-worth of real estate daily, buff and polish your lizardly dry skin,  and spend hours painting your nails like little watermelons. And you think skinny jeans are fun? There’s nothing enjoyable about jeans tight enough to leave stitching indentions on your billowing thighs. In fact, half the time our jeans are secretly unbuttoned beneath that flowly, hipster shirt we’re wearing for maximum meal-time enjoyment. Why do we do it? To look like pretty ladies.

Pretty Lady

You may think I’m a weird feminist hipster who doesn’t wear make-up or girly clothes. Wrong. I love dolling up and dancing around with baby-bottom-smooth legs as much as the next girl. I rejoice in femininity and the color pink. This song pretty much sums it up:

Really, I’m trying to say two things:

Boys: the next time you see a girl who’s obviously spent four hours trying to look like Jennifer Aniston on a bad day, you tell her how awesome she looks.

Girls: the next time you’re tempted to judge someone’s bird nest bun bobbling wildly like an epileptic turkey, bite your tongue. She’s probably the next J.K. Rowling.