Beauty & the Brunch

Historically speaking, brunch has gone through three phases— it began in Britain as a privilege for the wealthy, moved to the US as a way for Hollywood stars to eat glamorously after early morning plane rides in the 1930’s, and was known as the “varsity” meal for its association with hung-over college students. All of this is according to sociologist Farha Ternikar, author of Brunch: A History.

However, the most contemporary form of brunch is a glamorized social gathering, a midday meal full of eggs, toast, frittata, truffles, mimosas, bloody mary’s… hungry yet? Today, brunch is the meal that you envy on shows such as Sex and the City, the meal that you gather your very best group of girlfriends and hangout for half the day at. Brunch is no longer a convenient meal, but a glamorous (and delicious) excuse to catch up with the people we love.

This week was an exciting week, two of my best friends and I were in the same place— for the first time in a few months. Though we thoroughly missed the fourth edition to our crew, who was traveling the west coast, the three of us decided that a much needed catch-up brunch was in order. As per the usual with us, we underestimated the amount of time it would take for us to catch up, and in approaching the parking meter found ourselves on agreeing that two to three hours should do the trick. (We returned to the car four and a half hours later and not nearly done swapping stories of our time apart).

Deliciously colorful tacos at Mojave Grille.

Deliciously colorful tacos at Mojave Grille.

We adventured to one of my favorite brunch spots in NJ, the Mojave Grille in cute downtown Westfield. Despite one of us oversleeping and one of us having car trouble, we made it to the restaurant still in time for the brunch menu, which featured entrees such as a mushroom frittata with truffle oil and adorable mini steak tacos (all fresh ingredients, yum!)

In my opinion, brunch is a meal meant to bring people closer together. Whether or not you choose a place with bottomless mimosas, that time of day is one that is beautiful, the sunshine is at its peak, and the hang overs are coming to their ends. My friends and I sat in the sun for hours, talking about summer travels to Spain and Panama, the struggles of long distance relationships, the struggles of the single life, and planning the rest of our exciting summer together. Despite being overly glamorized by television shows and celebrities, brunch truly is necessary meal of extravagance and relaxed conversation— something that we all need to pencil in every once in a while.

Stay classy! xx

Now Inhale – Exhale

At what point does one come to realize that breathing is an art? Especially one that we don’t take the time out of our day to do correctly. Really, when was the last time you took a nice deep breath? Or even few moments for yourself to do something you love; meditation, yoga, exercise, crafting— and don’t sell yourself short. For most of us, it has truly been a while. After the week I’ve had, a real bundle of stress and frustration, a sprinkle of good and a lot of bad, I didn’t even realize until the weekend how long it had been since I’d taken a nice big deep breath, and then let it all go.

Too infrequently do we reward ourselves with a break. We run from one thing to the next, getting caught up in waves of appointments, work schedules, train timetables, and we rush through it all before we get a chance to fully enjoy any of it. Last summer I had my first exposure to meditation and loved it. Even if you set aside the time for just a ten or fifteen minute session, you notice an incredible rejuvenation in your happiness, memory and overall appreciation of the good things that are occurring throughout your day. Just taking note of these small blessings makes a world of difference. You can find

Warm colors and warm weather are the perfect mood boosting combo.

Warm colors and warm weather are the perfect mood boosting combo.

some of my favorite meditations here: http://gabbyb.tv/free-meditation .

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Beauty at the Jersey Shore.

Tried meditation and it’s not your thing? There are many people who have tried keeping a gratitude journal, writing a list each night about the good things that happened to them throughout the day, and this really creates a happier perspective as well. Others get the same benefits from an exercise regimen, a little bit of sunshine or even the relaxing sounds and atmosphere of the seashore.

I spent a much-needed day down the shore this weekend, and I have to admit that there are few places inherently more relaxing. Even the colors of the shore are bright and happy, the sound of the waves relaxes one to a light sleep and the addition of Vitamin D adds a perfect warmth to the mix. This day added a much needed change to my outlook on the stresses that I’ve been dealing with, and was a great way to reconnect with my appreciation for all things natural.

I hope everyone’s having a great, relaxing Memorial Day Weekend!

Stay classy! xx

Before You Run Off For Some Fun In The Sun…

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Jackman’s new line of sunscreen.

Especially now, with Hugh Jackman as an advocate, awareness in the consequences of dangerous sun exposure is definitely on the rise. Unfortunately, although many people know that unprotected sun exposure could have its consequences, what they fail to realize is just how frequently this happens. In the United States, 1 in 5 people will get skin cancer, and in Australia, where Jackman is from, the numbers are at a frightening 1 in 2. The sun is getting stronger, and now there’s a great new product on the market to help protect us from it, without the nuisances of traditional sunscreen.

Jackman launched Pure Sun Defense with all of the issues that people have with using sunscreen under consideration. It retails for an affordable price of less than $6, and is even child-friendly with fun characters on the bottle designs. Even more important than the aesthetic, this sunscreen is both hypoallergenic and dermatologist approved, and it is also suggested by the American Skin Cancer Foundation.

Pure Sun Defense bottles feature adorable characters.

Pure Sun Defense bottles feature adorable characters.

I tested two different bottles of Pure Sun Defense, featuring these adorable Minions and Marvel Superhero’s, and found it to be different than most other sunscreens that I’ve used in the past. First of all, the typical sunscreen smell is so faint that you might not even notice it. The lotion is not oily, and is simply absorbed by your skin once applied, and of course most importantly, it does serve its purpose. I wore it while out in the sun for a few hours and I’m happy to announce that I remained protected the entire time (and I have not turned into a lobster.)

If you’re looking for a new, affordable sunscreen, Pure Sun Defense definitely seems like the right way to go. Please protect yourselves from dangerous rays on your upcoming beach trips and outdoor excursions, taking care of your body is undeniably classy, and you won’t regret it.

Stay classy, xx!

OK OK, I Admit To Hibernation

Now that it’s spring, the cold and finals induced exhaustion has melted with the snow, and it is time to get ready for a hot and steamy summer. Yes, that’s exactly right. Now, here’s the truth, I met Hugh Jackman this week. And if I didn’t believe the hotter months were here just yet, seeing tables of ladies around me fanning themselves and swooning at Hugh’s lovely Aussie accent was definitely enough to convince me.

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Jackman at the NYC Hunt and Fish Club / Fczochanski

What a great way to start the week.

Now, you’re probably wondering why you haven’t seen much of this Sydney native in the news too frequently. But quite honestly, he’s been busy. In 2013 Jackman was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, to those of us without medical degrees, and in fact the “kind of skin cancer you should hope to get if you’re going to get it,” as Jackman put it. In the time since his diagnosis, Jackman has had four skin cancers removed. But he has not let this stop him from doing the things he loves.

In addition to playing the roles of husband and father to his adorable family, and taking on some professional acting roles as well, Jackman has impressively used his spare time to start raising awareness about how unprotected sun exposure really can and does lead to a lot of complications.

So how does Jackman; aka Wolverine, X-Man, Hubby, Daddy, etc. decide to do this most efficiently while helping lower the numbers of those affected by unwarranted dangerous sun exposure? He analyzes the reasons why people don’t wear sunscreen, and then launches a brand of sunscreen, Pure Sun Defense, that seems inexcusable not to purchase.

According to Jackman, the number one reason that people don’t wear sunscreen is price. He jokes that when he was in college, he had to choose between “eating dinner and slathering lotion on my body. For me back then, I hungrily cut costs where I thought I needed to.” (Good thing you’re broke college days are over, right Hugh? Don’t think you could’ve made Wolverine status without a couple hundred dollars of steaks…)

Yet, what Jackman came to find later in life was that 1 in 2 Australians and 1 in 5 Americans will get skin cancer in their lifetimes. And what is most horrifying about this is that this horrible disease is something that one can take minimal steps to prevent.

So to start engraining this in society, Jackman decided it most efficient to start with parents, by designing Pure Sun Defense, a sunscreen brand that is both hypoallergenic, pediatrician approved and affordable at less than $6. The bottles are designed with characters from Disney and Marvel, to excite kids about using the sunscreen, while being the smart and affordable choice for parents— and I mean, you’re never too old for princesses, right?

The MOMS Network did a great job choosing to host this event at the classy and glamorous Hunt and Fish Club (Like WOW check out these pictures). Where even an astronomical mimosa bill cannot deter you from being inspired by the great Hugh Jackman who, has taken to fighting skin cancer with the same vigor as the Wolverine — but sans the claws (for now.)

Time to Equalize the Playing Field

   Everyone talking about double standards raises awareness 
about their existence and does nothing to actually fix 
them. We hear about double standards when it comes to 
“teacher’s pets,” the treatment of student-athletes, and 
expectations for what is considered to be appropriate 
professional attire for males and females.

   So, at one point or another, we pick a side.

   Maybe we believe that it is okay to judge females by 
their physical appearances while evaluating males solely 
on their personalities. Maybe we believe that it is OK 
for a student-athlete facing criminal allegations to be 
permitted to play the entire season without any 
repercussions. Maybe we believe all of this. Most likely 
we do not.
   We understand the problem, yet still we permit and— 
in some cases— encourage these double standards to keep 
appearing in our society. There have been multiple events 
this month alone that have featured some of the different 
types of society’s double standards on both professional 
and collegiate levels.
    On Nov. 16, Karl Stefanovic, co-host of the Australian 
Today show, sparked a worldwide discussion when he revealed, 
“I’ve worn the same suit on air for a year… to make a point. 
Women are judged much more harshly and keenly for what they 
do, what they say and what they wear,” taking a creative 
stand against society’s double standard for male and female 
appearances. While Stefanovic wore the same exact suit for 
each broadcast, entirely unknown to his audience, his female 
co-host was constantly criticized for her attire.
   Since the initial reveal of this disturbing truth, the 
Internet has been inundated with responses. Amy Rorke, from 
the Twitter handle @honeyandabee, tweeted at Stefanovic 
applauding his protest: “Good job Karl. Sometimes the 
loudest messages don’t need a speech.” I agree with Rorke, 
they do not need a speech, but they do need a discussion.
   The Australian Today Show, @TheTodayShow tweeted about 
Stefanovic’s experiment as well, writing, “talking about 
these things is how you change and challenge the culture.” 
In a culture where double standards have sadly become the norm, 
sparking this discussion is more important than ever—especially 
when society’s standards can potentially lead to danger for 
other members of society and our specific communities.
   Another double standard revisited by the media this month was 
that of student-athlete privilege. This past Saturday, one of the 
biggest rivalries in college football, University of Miami and 
Florida State University, faced off at the biggest game of the 
season. However, unfortunately the conversations leading up to 
the game were full of topics that strayed from the typical 
weighing of the offensive and defensive line’s strengths and 
weaknesses.
   Florida State University’s superstar quarterback, Jameis Winston, 
was facing alleged criminal charges two years ago, and still has not 
had his student disciplinary hearing to discuss them with his 
university. According to FSU’s literature for student rights 
and responsibilities, any student who has allegedly violated 
the Student Conduct Code must set up an appointment for a 
disciplinary hearing within five days of receiving the alleged charge.
   This policy is enforced in every case a student is allegedly 
accused of committing a crime that breaks the Student Conduct Code. 
Well, in every case except that of a superstar student-athlete, 
so it seems.
   In mid-October of this year, the Florida State University 
fraternity Phi Kappa Alpha was temporarily barred from 
affiliation with the university due to its alleged connection 
to a rape case that occurred just over a month ago. The 
entire organization has been restricted from participating 
in any on or off campus events, holding chapter meetings, 
serving on the FSU Interfraternity Council Executive Board, 
participating in intermural or using university facilities, 
all of which was stated in a letter from Rachel Bukanc, the 
director of the FSU Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
   In Winston’s case, the possibility of receiving such a letter 
has been pushed back multiple times over the course of two years 
as he still has yet to undergo an initial student disciplinary 
hearing. The current date for the hearing was set last month 
to be on Dec. 1, conveniently after the conference championship 
game and allowing Winston to be eligible for the 2015 NFL draft. 
While a fraternity facing the same alleged charges as the star 
student-athlete is temporarily not even permitted on campus, 
Winston has not been permitted to play in every game. 
   His hearing was most recently pushed back on Nov. 12, and 
the decision received a lot of backlash on the Internet. 
The New York Times Sports section, @NYTSports, tweeted the 
objective statement “Jameis Winston’s statement is postponed” 
with a link to an article breaking the news. This tweet, along 
with many others just like it, received a multitude of 
commentary criticizing the school such as “where is the NCAA 
talking about Florida State losing “institutional control” over 
this football program?” tweeted by John R. Ewing from the 
handle @jackewingjr. 
   In less than 140 characters Ewing has unearthed the fact 
that student-athlete privilege blatantly exists at the university. 
In this concise statement, Ewing has sparked a discussion of his 
own. The preferential and treatment of convenience shown toward 
Winston, both a student and athlete at FSU, does not only lack 
justice but also goes against the well-drawn out policy of the 
school—showing that double standards on the college level are 
just as prominent as in the professional world.
   Stories such as these make one wonder where society 
has continued to allow double standards to impede on the 
just and safe society we strive to be. Of course it is a 
shame that a woman’s style is occasionally off, but should 
she be judged and criticized while her male co-host’s style 
is completely ignored? It is similarly a shame that an iconic 
and talented student-athlete has been charged with an alleged 
crime, but it is even more shocking and shameful for this 
student’s university and to continuously postpone and 
dismiss this due to his success on the field.
   It seems like now is the time more than ever to stop 
judging people based on stereotypes and double standards. 
It is time for society to get off the sidelines, transform 
these discussions into actions, throw out the old standards 
and create new ones. Now is the time to equalize the playing 
field once and for all.

stay classy! xx

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Magic in the air at Columbus Circle. 
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  About a week ago, I walked through Chelsea on a 
particularly chilly fall night. Dazed and smiling, 
I walked past a few carts of street vendors until 
I realized what was happening. The scent of 
Christmas in New York City was back. Smelling the 
roasted sugary nuts mixed with the distinct scent of 
cold air, I immediately glanced around for someone 
dressed in a Santa suit or at least Will Ferrell 
dressed as an elf.
  Honestly, I'm not usually one to get roped into 
the holidays a month early. In fact, I’m known to complain 
about this to anyone in my general surroundings. I get 
frustrated with how early stores start to break out the 
holiday décor — Christmas decorations are out before all 
the Halloween candy has been finished.
  But, this year I’m not going to let this excessive 
materialism turn me into a pre-Christmas scrooge. How 
could I be so cynical when I live in the most beautiful 
city in the world?
  NYC makes it so easy to fall in love with winter. Note 
that this is coming from a New Jersey native who has 
always hated the cold, snow and everything that comes 
along with it. I hate wearing puffy coats, snow boots, 
scarves and gloves. Yet, NYC romanticizes winter with style 
and class, which is hard to find anywhere else. So maybe I 
am excited to break out my sweaters and winter coats. It is 
definitely not beach attire, but I’ve started to warm up to 
the idea.
  Since starting at Fordham last fall, and remaining in the 
city throughout the summer, I’ve spent more time in NYC than 
ever. I’ve experienced the city in every season, and can say 
with full certainty that as winter approaches, the city 
transforms. Winter in NYC is truly magical.
  I was walking down Fifth Avenue last week and passed a 
street full of striking, beautifully decorated buildings. 
Across the street from one another, Tiffany & Co. and Harry 
Winston have been bejeweled from the inside out. 
  Not only were the in-store displays stunning, but the 
outside decorations, a background drapery of an orange sunset 
and the Fifth Avenue clock, reminded me why this holiday 
season was the best of the whole year.
  It’s not just the decorations that make me fall in love with 
winter in NYC. It is the overall sparkle of the city and the 
excitement that takes over the streets just like the seasonal 
tourists. It’s the stream of snowflake lights that glitter on 
the trees above Madison Avenue. It’s the cheerful mood, the 
increased family time, the Rockefeller Center Tree and 
ice-skating in Bryant Park. Embracing the cold, although still 
tentatively, I can easily get into the holiday spirit with 
these reminders of how lucky I am to live in a city as great 
as New York.

stay classy (& warm)! xx

Previously published in The Fordham Ram.

College Fashion Week: NYC Fashion Show

IMG_3871Striking a pose on the runway in my first look of the night. 
Makeup:BareMinerals. Hair:Tresseme. Outfit: Boohoo.uk

       One of my biggest inspirations has always been the 
wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt. So much of the adversity that 
she faced in her life is something that most women will 
face during theirs as well. Like all great and powerful 
women, Roosevelt perceived the challenges in her life as 
learning experiences. And like all true role models, 
Roosevelt used these lessons to help other women overcome 
similar obstacles. Her unfaltering belief in herself makes 
her a timeless and incredibly special inspiration.
       She once said, “you must do the thing you think you 
cannot do.” Did I ever think that I would find myself 
walking a runway in platform heels in front of over 500 
people, many of which are from today’s most popular 
magazines — never. But when the opportunity came up to apply 
to be a model did I simply ignore the possibility of it 
because I was afraid and inexperienced? Nope. If there is 
anything that I have learned it is that if you reach out to 
the universe, it will respond to you. With just the act of 
expressing interest in doing something challenging or 
frightening that you would not normally do, you will receive 
the guidance that you need to get you there.
       Walking down the runway at NYC College Fashion Week 
was one of the most empowering experiences that I have had.
       The Santos Party House had been set up so that the 
audience, which was full of fashion bloggers and magazine 
editors, was in front of and surrounding the runway. This 
way the clothing would be visible from all angles. 
       As guests started arriving they were ushered into 
the pre-show party, which featured make-up tutorials by 
BareMinerals professionals, hair-do’s by Tressemé, a brow 
bar by the European Wax Center and professional headshots 
and cocktails. The other models and I were able to attend 
an hour of the pre-party, standing out in the casual 
clothes we had come in though we’d already been through 
hair and makeup for the show.
       Before we knew it we were ushered backstage once 
again to go over a final accessory check and get into our 
outfits for the first look. I was in two of the three 
featured looks, which required a quick outfit and hair 
change once I got off the runway from my first catwalk.
       We had rehearsed catwalks and poses earlier that 
day, however upon going out on the runway for real that 
night we still did not have the slightest clue as to what 
music we would be walking to. The first look was a 
military-inspired style, to which we walked to Lorde and 
Florence and the Machine. My hands were shaking as were 
my legs, however I looked out into the crowd and embraced 
the energy. Embraced the camera’s that were right in 
front of my nose and the smiles and criticizing 
countenances on the people sitting below me. I focused on 
how blessed I was to be there, and how this was an 
experience that I would never forget.
        My perception of time while on the runway was 
nonexistent. I moved with the audience’s reactions and 
the beat of the music. For my second look, after the 
hairdressers from Tressemé braided strings of leather 
into my hair, I was the first model to walk. As if this 
does not sound intimidating enough, it was me who had 
to set the time for the entire Woodlander scene — full 
of fall trends. I tried to relax as I went through 
the motions of each pose in my head, still waiting 
backstage for my cue.
        The model director ushered me out into the 
spotlight with less than a 30 second warning, but 
when I heard Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” blast 
over the speakers my nerves were instantly put at 
ease. Halfway down the runway I shed the plaid wool 
coat that had been designed as part of my look and 
stared comfortably into the cameras that seemed to 
come closer and closer to me from the end of the runway.
        Then it was over. All of the models and 
directors came out for the finale. More pictures were 
taken, and the runway was emptied. I had done something 
that I never thought I would get the opportunity to do. 
I let my self-confidence shine in front of hundreds and 
hundreds of the most important people in the fashion 
industry. I had seized an opportunity and made the most 
of it.
        I applaud Ms. Roosevelt for living this way her 
whole life— and I plan on continuing to embody it in the 
rest of mine, with one alteration. I believe with my heart 
and soul that one should not just do the things that they 
think they cannot, but that one should go after these things. 
That one should be hungry to experience the things that at 
one point or another he or she has told his or herself that 
they will never have the chance to do. I believe that we 
should all seek out the things that we think we cannot do, 
and then have an amazing time proving ourselves wrong.

Check out more photos from CFW in the Photo Album :) 
stay classy! xx

College Fashion Week NYC: Primping Party

Landmark Renaissance buildings, cocktails and couture,
makeovers and Baked by Melissa- College Fashion Week has officially
kicked off in NYC — and guess who was selected to be one of the 16
college women to model in the NYC CFW show!
I spent Friday night in SoHo at the BareMinerals studio and
store, which was hosting the “primping party” for those of us who were
modeling in the fashion show the next day — as well as our friends!
The atmosphere was bubbling thanks
bm partyto the tunes from the awesome DJ that the
BareMinerals and CFW crew set up at the
front of the studio, as well as the
cocktails and cupcakes — Baked by Melissa
of course, what else could we expect to
snack on at a chic boutique SoHo event?
The models and our friends were
treated to early evening makeovers in the
studio, giving us plenty of time to go out
looking fabulous and show off our BareMinerals
glow! But before we could have that luxury, it
was time to practice our runway walk. And where
better to gain the confidence to walk a runway
with over 500 people watching you, many of who
are from magazines, but on the streets of NYC?
The models lined up in the orders that we had
been placed in for the show. I learned that the Saturday night NYC CFW
Fashion Show would be featuring three different looks, and that I had been
selected to be in “Model Group A,” which was featured in both the first and
third looks, and would require an outfit, makeup and hair style change in less
than twenty minutes.
Trying to put my nerves aside I began to strut down the SoHo
sidewalk,practicing my poses while being watched by confused New Yorkers
and tourists whokept stopping on my runway, wondering what they had just
walked right into (in some cases, quite literally walked right into). After walking the “runway” bm party mea few times, the model 

coordinator gave us a rundown of the schedule for the
pre-show and show and sent us off to get some beauty sleep before 9PM. I
collected my
friends from the nearby Chobani store and we shopped for a bit in
Anthropologie, watched
a few episodes of Sex and the City at my friend’s apartment on Thompson Street, and then headed home to Fordham where we decided to strut
down Arthur Ave. to meet our friends for
an hour or so and show off our
professionally done makeup. The weekend of fashion had officially begun!

You can find more pictures in the Photo Album :)

thanks for reading guys!
stay classy! xx

Muggles Must Solve Gender Inequality

     If you’ve never gone to a Harry Potter midnight 
movie premiere, or even better, the midnight book 
release party at your local Barnes & Noble, you’ve 
never encountered the die-hard, and entirely enamored 
fan base that J.K. Rowling’s British brilliance created. 
I attended all of these releases and, like many others, 
have read the entire series multiple times. As if this 
did not validate my love of the series, I also played 
“Hedwig’s Theme” on piano in my fourth grade talent show, 
while dressed up as Hermione. Furthermore, I am currently 
tackling the task of reading the books in Italian — maybe 
being dubbed a “Harry Potter nerd” doesn’t even cut it for 
me.
     Though it’s been many years since I first read 
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, my love for the 
series and its set of iconic characters has not been at all 
subdued. In fact, just this week, the respect I have for my 
childhood role model Hermione Granger, now transformed into 
my young adult role model, Emma Watson, has skyrocketed.
     Bringing together two of the things I take most interest 
in, Hermione and feminist issues, the United Nations Women’s 
Conference asked Watson to speak on the topic of feminism and 
the progress, or lack thereof, that has been made throughout 
the world. In her speech Watson joked, “You may be wondering 
who is this Harry Potter girl and what is she doing at the U.N.” 
However, her question provides the answer to its inquiry. All 
throughout the Harry Potter series, Watson’s character is an 
example of what it means to be a feminist. From an impressively 
young age, Hermione was assertive, strong-willed, fearless and 
had a strong sense of self. She was the perfect role model for 
any young girl, and continues to be one today. Watson was chosen 
to be the face of the HeforShe Movement, and she embodies the best 
of Hermione’s qualities in real life.
     With Hermione Granger as my role model, she showed me that it 
was more than okay to be an intelligent, assertive female, and 
caused me to become a feminist at an incredibly young age. When I 
was seven, I joined a baseball team and proved that even though I 
was a girl, I could play just as well as, if not better than, the 
boys. When I was 16, I finished the manuscript for my first novel. 
I sent it to publishing houses for the first time that year, and 
was told in response to create either a male or an androgynous 
alias, because it would be easier for a supposed “male” writer to 
break into the industry. As a girl and as a woman I’ve faced 
adversity throughout my life because of the fact that I am a 
female. And I will be the first to tell you why my gender will 
never limit me.
     Although attempts at improving equality of the sexes have 
been made, equality has yet to be reached. In just minutes, Emma 
provided the clearest explanation of the problems that feminists, 
those who are afraid to declare themselves feminist, and those 
who do not understand the term “feminist,” have been facing. 
Watson stated eloquently, “I think it is right that I am paid the 
same as my male counterparts… able to make decisions about my own 
body… involved in the policies and decisions that will affect my 
life… and that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men.” 
To many, these statements are already believed to be true. 
However, the disturbing and frightening reality is that in society 
today, there is not one country in the world where all women can 
expect to have these rights — the rights that many naively believe 
to be natural human rights.
     Until our society rejects double standards gender equality 
will be impossible. Every time we call a girl “bossy” and a boy 
“assertive,” we are normalizing double standards. Everytime we 
complain a woman only got a promotion because of the way she 
dresses and not the work she does, we take a step away from 
equality. By raising the awareness of this issue, the U.N. can 
get people to understand the severity of the fact that over half 
of the world’s population is still struggling with receiving 
their basic human rights.
     When I was 18, my yearbook quote was the following mantra, 
said by Eleanor Roosevelt, “you must do the thing you think you 
cannot do.” I do not believe that there should be internal social 
boundaries based on society’s expectations of us that limit what 
females and males can do. I believe that all people have the 
capacity to do extraordinary things, and that it is out of line 
to tell someone that they cannot do something, especially just 
because of his or her gender.
     It is time for us to begin making the small changes so that 
equality can stop being something that we strive for, and instead 
something that we see in our daily lives. Personally, I’m tired 
of waiting for these unjust social 
boundaries to be lifted, and I am ready to experience the amazing 
things that 
women and men in our society can do. We all have it in us — it is 
time to start being extraordinary.

stay classy! xx

Previously published in The Fordham Ram.

New York, I’m Honored

Musings from the top of the Empire State Building, Floor 102new york, i'm honored   A lot of times in life things seem to move so fast that we 
can barely catch our breath and find the energy to keep up. 
The incessant vibrancy and energy that the city gives off is 
impossible to ignore. The city breathes circles around us, 
making us feel powerless and insignificant when compared to 
the skyscrapers and brilliant billboard lights. 
   It makes us feel like we aren’t doing enough, when there 
is so much movement buzzing around us, speeding ahead of us. 
But the funny thing is, that in all this time, when we know 
that the city is alive, and moving, and breathing, and 
creating serendipitous miracles to happen all over at any 
given time, we never paused to realize that we missed 
something. 
   The city has a heart. So big that it makes the lights 
twinkle all throughout the day and night, shine on the 
reflection of the Hudson and on the raindrops on the ledge of 
the Highline in Chelsea. And this heart is so intertwined in 
itself, so connected through systems and powers that we cannot 
understand, that we cannot even spot it from 102 stories above 
at the top of the Empire State Building. Contrary to popular 
tourist opinion, the heart of the city is not Times Square. 
   The heart is found in the giggles of children and business 
people alike in Washington Square Park, popping giant bubbles 
under the arch in front of the fountain. The heart is on the 
steps of the Met, where so many footprints pass through everyday. 
The heart is in the couple that is buying their first New York 
City apartment together, making it together, starting a real life 
together. The heart is in the awestruck eyes of a girl who is 
frightened, because she has realized that the pure love and 
excitement that she feels for the city is stronger than anything 
she’s felt for a man. The heart is in all of us. We cannot see the 
heart because we carry it. Because it is due to what is within us 
that we have such an amazing city to live in. 
   And it is humbling to see the beauty of the city from above. 
To remove oneself from the world in which we are nothing but 
selfish and self-concerned. To step back for a moment and realize 
that the place from which we have come, to which we belong, likes 
to dance. And to move. And to breathe. And to live. As do we. And 
in an instant the city, something that was once so concrete, just 
a place where we walked and dwelled and stared at the beauty, 
became something greater.    And though I carry a piece of the heart 
of the city, I know that I am also in love with it too. Now the city 
is a part of me and I’ve vowed to remain a part of it. And no matter 
how crowded or traffic-filled or loud, I embrace it. Because the 
dance of the city is one that cannot be duplicated or choreographed 
or mimicked by another. The city is the most unique place I’ve ever 
been, thing I’ve ever met. 
   And one day I might meet a guy who embodies this same fabulous 
quality—who brings something different all the time, spontaneous 
and serendipitous, keeps me happy even on a rainy day, makea me 
feel special without getting jealous, gives me hope as I look up 
at him, as I do the buildings, that although I’m so small and the 
world is much bigger, that I am still so close to the center, to 
the heart, that I will make a difference in it. That the 
insignificant footprints I am leaving will matter to someone, will 
help someone. And this hope always draws me right in. Into the 
heart that’s forever inside me, next to my own, becoming one. It’s 
an honor to be here, in the presence of such greatness. I can only 
have hope that I too have the power to be the next great thing.

stay classy! xx