Wise words from Elle Woods

With everything that’s been happening today, I was compelled to write this post. There’s been so much joy surrounding the marriage equality ruling today (WOOHOO!) and that has been both heart-warming and awe-inspiring. But even more inspiring to me is that people are finally speaking up and using their voices. One of my favorite movie monologues ever is from Miss Elle Woods in Legally Blonde: Red, White, and Blonde because it’s so unexpected. But I won’t ruin it for you. Without further ado:

“Hello everyone. My name is Elle Woods and I’m here to speak to you today about a piece of legislation called Bruiser’s Bill. But you know, today is supposed to be about education, so instead, I want to tell you about the education you all have given me over the past three months. See, one day I came to Washington to help my dog Bruiser and somewhere along the way I learned a really unexpected lesson. I know what you’re thinking. Who is this girl and what could this simple, small-town girl from Bell Air have to say to all of us? Well I’ll tell you. It’s about something that’s bigger than me, or any single act of legislation. This is about a matter that should be at the highest importance to every American. My hair. You see, there’s this salon in Beverley Hills. It’s really fancy and beautiful. But it’s impossible to get an appointment. I mean unless you’re Julia Roberts or one of the girls from Friends, you can just forget it. But one day, they called me. They had an opening. So I was gonna finally get the chance to sit in one of those sacred beauty chairs. I was so excited. Then, the colorist gave me Brassy Brigitte instead of Harlow Honey. The shampoo girl washed my hair with spiral perm solution instead for color-intensive moisturizing conditioner-shampoo. Finally, the stylist gave me a bob. With bangs. Suffice to say, it was just wrong, all wrong. For me, ya know? First I was angry. And then I realized my anger was completely mis-directed. I mean, this wasn’t the salon’s fault. I had sat there and witnessed this injustice, and I had just let it happen. I didn’t get involved in the process. I forgot to use my voice. I forgot, to believe in myself. But now I know better. I know that one honest voice can be louder than a crowd. I know that, if we lose our voice, or if we let those who speak on our behalf compromise our voice, well then this country, this country is in for a really bad haircut. So speak up America. Speak up! Speak up for the home of the brave! Speak up for the land of the free gift with purchase! Speak up America! Speak up! And remember, you are beautiful. Thank you.”

Wow. Just wow. This speech she gives blows me away. First, it’s serious, then she gets real, acknowledging that Congress is probably wondering what this small-town girl has to say, then gets seemingly off-track talking about her hair of all things. It’s clear that Congress is probably starting to tune this Barbie out. But this Barbie has something to say. She pulls it back and blows the crowd away, making such an insightful point about using your voice. Though it was not exactly a typical introduction to the vote, it was certainly memorable and powerful, and led Bruiser’s Bill to victory.

Her speech really spoke to me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve let things slip by for fear of being rude or upsetting the status quo. What am I so afraid of? To tell you the truth, I couldn’t come up with a good answer. So obviously, something needs to change! Like Elle says, we are witnesses to this injustice and if we don’t speak up, we have no one to be mad at but ourselves. So I’m taking a page out of Elle Woods’ book and speaking up and using my voice. Speaking up for what I want and what I believe in. And it feels amazing! I’m inspired by Elle Woods and I’m inspired by those who had the courage to use their voices to fight for marriage equality. So speak up!

-elise

Jasmine was right – it’s a whole new world

This past few weeks have been a whirlwind of amazing new experiences! I’ve been working hard at my internship and we just had our first major event (a HUGE success by the way), got interviewed for the college website and marketing material, have been conducting interviews myself for my summer research, and I’ve been meeting TONS of new people! Needless to say this is a summer of firsts.

I haven’t always been shy, but somewhere along the way I lost a lot of confidence. I struggled to speak up, became afraid of trying new things and lost confidence in my abilities. It went on for a while like this, until I got to college. It really could not have come at a better time for me.

Just going to college itself was enough to make me buckle at the knees. I had always thought that I couldn’t wait to get out of my house and out of my town to see the world but I soon found that meant leaving my friends, family, and the comforts of home behind. I was being forced to be entirely independent and did not know anyone. I found the transition really hard and often questioned if this was really where I needed to be at this point in my life. I struggled to adapt, trying desperately to find the balance between school, friends, and sleep. I called home nearly every day sobbing, something I never in a million years thought I would do, and wanted to go home.

It was only once I started to venture out did things start to change for me. I joined a few clubs and weekly activities, started to hang out with the people on my floor and started to speak up in class. It was like emerging from being underwater, suddenly the world was crisp and clear.

The second year was even better. This was my year of adventures, for the lack of a better word. I pushed myself to meet people besides my floor, joined study groups, joined more clubs, and just generally hung out with people whether this was just playing frisbee or getting food downtown. Then there was my white-water kayaking trip, adventures by the quarry, and a retreat that spring. I dyed my hair, starting going to the gym regularly and was gaining confidence by the day. The more I felt confident, the more confident I became. I started an inspirational quote wall and became motivated each and every day.

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One particular quote that I tried to keep in mind was this:

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That was one thing that I tried to do as much as possible was stay optimistic. They say, the more positive you are, the more positive things come to you. That was my mantra, and it certainly was improving my outlook on things. As a final adventure that year, I signed up for a class in France for the summer and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. It truly pushed me to meet people I didn’t know, adapt in a world that was unfamiliar to me, and spent time enjoying the experience. That’s something I hadn’t been doing much; I usually keep my head down and rush around, always thinking about the next thing I needed to do, but France taught me to enjoy the experience while you’re in it.

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I ate way too many baguettes and crepes, stayed up way too late every night playing cards, swam in a pond that was way too cold, saw enough beautiful architecture to last me a lifetime, and couldn’t have had a better experience abroad. That experience took me right into my junior year and I decided to take it by storm.

Junior year was filled with more new things than ever, and I did a lot of “growing up” that year. I had my first real interview, started working with at-risk kids downtown, started cooking my own food for when work ran late, and organized a trip to Ireland with a few of my friends. We had an absolute blast there and upon returning, I found I had more offers. First, a professor approached me and asked if I had plans for the summer. At the time, I was only thinking about heading back to my part-time job at home and said no. She said that she thought I’d be very qualified to do research on campus this summer so together we drafted a proposal and awaited the news. Second, a woman in the event planning industry I had contacted a long time ago had emailed me saying that she was interested in taking on an intern and asked if I would be interested in meeting for coffee and to chat. Of course, I said yes and treated this meeting like a real interview. I dressed the part, brought along copies of my resume and reference letters, and showed up early. Needless to say, she treated it like an interview as well and hired me on the spot. I was BEYOND thrilled. Then I found out the my research proposal was accepted and that I was awarded a grant to do the research. That really set the tone for this summer.

And here we are now. Me, I’m having the time of my life this summer working on campus doing the research and off-campus at my internship. So many new people and things to do, I can’t help but jump right in! So take my advice. It’s a oldie-but-a-goodie for a reason…Get out of your comfort zone! Like Jasmine said, It’s a whole new world! Get out there and explore it, you might just find yourself while you’re at it.

-elise

Carrie – unapologetically fabulous

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I love young Carrie Bradshaw. There, I said it. I’ve never been that interested in Sex and the City, but once I started watching the Carrie Diaries on Netflix, I fell in love.

The Carrie Diaries is a prequel to the famed Sex and the City, featuring high school Carrie Bradshaw who follows her dreams to New York. It starts with an internship at a law firm in Manhattan secured by her father and ends up leading Carrie to her dream job! She is picked up by style editor Larissa Loughlin to work at Interview magazine and is immediately swept up into the whirlwind that is New York! She is mentored by Larissa and truly comes into her own as a writer. It’s fresh, sweet, and surprisingly, it has me hooked.

While many critics complain that there’s holes in the overall SATC plot and that it’s like any other teen drama, I feel that they’re missing what the show is all about. Carrie, only a high schooler, is an unbelievable role model to young women. Her life is not without hitches; she suffers the loss of her mother, takes on the mother role for her rebellious and “misunderstood” younger sister, is trapped between a life her father wants her to live and the life she wants to live, helps navigate a friend’s sexuality, has her own friend and boyfriend drama, all while learning to find herself at a critical time for coming of age. I’d say that is a lot for one young woman to do on her own, never mind in high school.

The most amazing part to me is how she handles her life’s challenges and new opportunities with such grace and poise. I believe young Carrie is a role model that every girl should have. Amidst it all, she is unapologetically herself. What I love the most about this young Carrie is that right from the start, she does not conform. From rocking her iconic hair and fabulous unique sense of style to sticking by her convictions in the face of wild and enticing new experiences in New York, Carrie does what she does best, be herself.

That is a lesson that cannot be taught enough, and I think is often forgotten. It’s something that I certainly forgot along the way. I learned to talk and act like the girls on tv, wear clothes and hairstyles that I saw on models and worst of all, completely surrendered my uniqueness to trends. I wasn’t being myself and I wasn’t happy. There was always the thought in the back of my mind when I saw something edgy in stores, like “WOW, How cool/fabulous/glamorous! I want this!” But no sooner did I think that, I would also think, “Where would you wear that? No one dresses like that around here. It’ll hang in your closet untouched.”

Carrie rewrites this story. Carrie goes all out every day because it’s how she likes to dress. She’s high fashion and she doesn’t apologize for it. And who would when you dress and accessorize like this?! So unapologetically fabulous!

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So ladies, take a lesson from Carrie and be yourself in every aspect possible. Wear the things you want to wear, say the things you want to say, fight for the things you want to fight for. She’s an incredible feminist, one we should all be following. I’m taking charge of my life, filling it with the clothes, internship, and people I love. And I couldn’t be happier. So take it from Carrie and take it from me…be unapologetically you – fabulous.

-elise

Dreams aren’t just for when you’re sleeping

“A girl with stars in her eyes” could not be a more appropriate title for my newest blog, as I am a rising senior in college, hoping to make it big once I graduate a year from now. I couldn’t be happier or more optimistic about my post-graduation dreams coming true as they’re unfolding right before my eyes in an amazing internship that I’ve taken on this summer. My graduation quote in high school read:

“Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground” – Theodore Roosevelt

and I have to say, I couldn’t have picked a more appropriate quote. At the time, I had just picked a seemingly arbitrary inspirational one (I really wanted a Dr. Seuss quote but I knew they’d all be taken), I saw this painted on a bathroom stall and thought that it would do just fine. Little did I know how true it was and would become for me. I have always been taught to work hard, that the time you put in now will pay off in a big way in the end. I’ve always stuck by this, and I have seen the pay off my parents talked about. First it started with small things like grades, invitations to Honors Societies, raises in my small-town job back home, lead roles in dance performances, but now a whole new world is opening up for me. I’m being invited to perform research funded by my school, speak with prospective students about coming to campus, guest perform with my school’s dance team, interview with the marketing department at school, intern at a flourishing event planning company, I could go on and on. I’ve kept my eyes on the stars for a very long time, and now my dreams are coming true.

-elise