The Importance of an Internship

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Latinitas El Paso

As a college student looking forward to a career in competitive fields, we hear about the invaluable experience and opportunity of internships. In order to prepare for a future in your post-grad life, you need to know some things about the work pertaining to your field. Internships give you hands-on experience as well as unique insight when it comes to figuring out your career plans. For this reason, it is important to begin considering what you should look for in an internship as a high school student. Think of an internship as opening a small window into the world of your interests which will help in deciding what to pursue for the future.

As a Communications Major and Film Studies Minor, Bria Woods surrounds herself with methods of exploring media. Woods is a development and outreach intern with the non-commercial Jazz radio station, KRTU 91.7 FM, located in San Antonio, Texas and housed at Trinity University.  Her position at the KRTU 91.7 FM as the development and outreach intern has brought her countless opportunities for personal growth.

“I have the opportunity to work very closely with our members, since we are a non commercial radio station, we are listener supported. Parts of the development aspect involves processing new memberships, to collecting gifts, to sending premiums to new members. With the outreach aspect, [which is] probably my favorite, I get to help plan and set up Jazz events around the city. I have the opportunity to meet celebrities in Jazz locally and elsewhere,” said Woods.

“Working at KRTU has helped me realize the type of work environment I flourish in, which are smaller offices, with close-knit coworkers,” adds Woods.

She worked with a close-knit community in which, “it is common to help each other with tasks,” and she delves in tasks across the board from collaborating with others, to helping out in the recording studio. One of her favorite things about the internship is that she gets to help with things outside of her job description. The position has also helped her network, a great and valuable asset to have in one’s arsenal when seeking a job. Through her boss alone, she has met countless business people, musicians and artists. The worst, she explained was having her boss resign because it felt like losing a friend in the sense that “she was like a big sister,” to Bria. The best was her starting a new trend in the office. In her dorm at Trinity, she has a quote board in which she likes to place memorable quotes that she hears in her daily life. She proposed that one was made at work, and what began as her pinning quotes to the board alone, soon grew to an office habit in which everyone was involved.

 “Working at KRTU is probably one of the best decisions I’ve made. It’s shown me what I’m capable of, which has boosted my confidence significantly, and I’ve met a lot of influential and important people that have changed my life for the better,” adds Woods.

Check your school’s website, career service center, or volunteer driven websites to see what internship is best suited for you. The opportunities are endless if you’re willing to look for them!

Latina Professionals in STEM

Photo Credit: blogs.scientificamerican.com

Photo Credit: blogs.scientificamerican.com

The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields exist all around us, from the gravity that keeps our feet on the ground, to the way our cells are working inside our bodies. STEM fields contribute to all sorts of inventions that help in everyday life, and bring about new discoveries in our knowledge of our environment, medicine, space, and much more! According to the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Commerce, Hispanics in total make up 7% of the STEM workforce in the United States, and only 3% of Latinas are represented in the STEM fields. Here are some Latinas who have made their career by making discoveries, conducting important research in STEM, and are paving the way for future Latinitas to go after their STEM dreams!

Lydia Villa-Komaroff - Cellular Biologist

Lydia Villa-Komaroff is a biologist of Mexican descent, earning her Bachelor’s degree at Goucher College and Doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At the time, she was the third Mexican-American woman to earn a doctorate degree in the United States! At first, she wanted to study chemistry, and was faced with an academic advisor who told her, “Women didn’t belong in chemistry!” Despite these set-backs, she discovered her love for biology, and followed her passion. She went on to contribute to the first synthesis of mammalian insulin in bacterial cells, and now works a company that develops cell processing systems.

Elba Serrano - Biophysicist

Elba Serrano was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, but spent many years growing up living in different parts around the world because her father was in the U.S. military. She recalls that growing up, she received a lot of bullying at school from her peers because of her brown skin and Spanish accent. As she became older, she discovered a passion for the sciences, and felt they transcended the barriers of ethnic divide. She received her PhD at Stanford University, and remembers throughout her entire education being one of the very few females in science programs, and part of even a smaller group of minority students. She is now an established Biophysicist studying the nervous system, focusing her research at the University of New Mexico on discovering ways to restore hearing loss.

Adriana C. Ocampo - Planetary Geologist

Adriana C. Ocampo was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At the age of 14, she and her family came to live in the United States. She began her interest in science and space exploration early in her youth, and by her junior year in high school, was working a summer job at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Geology at California State University with a specialization in planetary science. She worked at JPL as a research scientist, became a program executive at NASA in Washington DC, and is currently working at the European Space Agency in the Netherlands as a research scientist. She contributed to various space missions, has studied planets, moons, and many other celestial bodies, and was even a part of the discover of the Yucatan Peninsula crater, believed to be the impact site of an asteroid responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs and other ancient creatures of the Earth.

Marcela Carena – Physicist

Marcela Carena was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and received her degree in Physics at theInstituto of Balseiro in Argentina. She specializes in particle physics, and studies the origins of matter, and the matter and antimatter in the universe. Carena currently works as the senior theoretical physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. She is a professor of physics at the University of Chicago, and advises the U.S. Department of Energy. Aside from scientific work, she has worked to establish a visitor program at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory for Latin American students to come and conduct research there during their graduate education.

France A. Córdova - Astrophysicist 

France A. Córdova is of Mexican and Irish descent, getting her Hispanic roots from her father. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English at Stanford, thinking she would pursue a career in writing or journalism. After seeing the 1969 walk on the moon on television, a passion for science was ignited, and she went on to receive a PhD in Physics from the California Institute of Technology.  She became the second woman and youngest person to be chief scientist at NASA, and has become an award-wining astrophysicist. Throughout her career, she developed experiments to analyze space and help answer the questions of how the universe was created. She is currently the director of the National Science Foundation, the U.S. government agency that promotes STEM education and the advancement of scientific discovery.

If you’re interested in STEM, it’s never too early to start looking for related programs at your school or in your area, joining clubs at your school, or talking to teachers at school about your interests! To learn more about Latinas in STEM and how you can get started on pursuing your interests in these fields, here are a few sites to check out:

For Girls in Science: http://forgirlsinscience.org/

Latinas in STEM: http://www.latinasinstem.com/

Latino STEM Alliance: http://www.latinostem.org/

Covered Up? Become a Fall Fashionista

Don’t you think it’s a little chilly in the fall?  Is your inner fashionista being covered up? You don’t always have to suffer for the sake of fashion. There are many ways to be comfortable and still stay stylish. Learn how to express your sense of fashion while still being zipped up. By following these simple steps, you’ll be on your way to dominating the fall season with your style.

Pick the right jacket

The most important thing about the fall is trying to stay warm and cozy. Since the fall ends up transitioning into winter, these fashion tips can help you stay stylish for the next months to come! Picking a good yet cute jacket is the first step into becoming a fall fashionista. There are many options such as short jackets, medium sized jackets, and even sweaters that can be found at many stylish stores for a good price. Pay attention to what clothing and accessories that you already own when it comes to picking the color and style of your jacket, since it could potentially impact your wardrobe choice as well.

 Color Coordination 

Color coordination is one of the most important factors when it comes to fall fashion. Because the weather can be unpredictable at times, it might affect your jacket choice as well. Looking at your wardrobe, try to pick out colors that match or blend well with your jacket. Remember that you shouldn’t accessorize your look with the same color. So if you’re wearing a black jacket, accessorizing with brighter colors will help brighten up your outfit while wearing dark colored accessories will help cool down a bright colored one. If you currently don’t have anything that goes well with your jacket, then going shopping or borrowing items from your friends is always an option.

Bottom wear

One of the final steps into becoming a fall fashionista is picking the right bottom wear. Once you have remembered to color coordinate and organize your outfit, picking the right kind of bottom wear can make or break your style. Denim will always be a classic choice, so, as long as it blends well with the rest of your outfit, go for it! If you want to add a girly flare into your fall style, then a circle skirt is a great choice to incorporate into your style. Also, if you’re a fashionista who can’t stay away from shorts then that can be a possible option with leggings!

Hairstyles & Hair Accessories

Something that a jacket can’t cover up is a chica’s hair, and that is why the fall season will give you the opportunity to play around with your hair. You can curl, straighten and style your hair to help show off that you can still be a fall fashionista while also being cozy. If you don’t have the time to style your hair, then there are plenty of accessories in this world that can be just as stylish! From hats, to hair scrunchies, to hair clips, be creative! Remember to try to coordinate what you do to your hair with the jacket and outfit that you have chosen to wear.

Footwear

There are so many different options of footwear for the fall. The possibilities are endless such as shoe wedges, heels, boots, sandals, etc. Depending on the setting and occasion, footwear can take you a long way. Because you are covered up for the fall, try to work with the clothing and accessories surrounding your jacket. Fashion is a girls best friend, and cute footwear can help you walk the streets like a runaway model all season long. Since most jackets don’t cover up your footwear, try to use the fall season to express your fashion through footwear!

Need help cording an outfit? Here are bonus styling tips:

  • By wearing this leather styled jacket, you are showing your brave and wild sense of fashion. A pair of slightly ripped jeans will always be a classic that will add a little more flare to your wardrobe. Since this jacket has dark tones, try to accessorize with lighter colors to balance the colors of your outfit. Light pinks and reds will also go well with black. Plus, they will contrast well with denim tones. These light colored accessories are simple, stylish, and make your outfit pop!

Fall Fashion 1

  • If you decide that dark tones aren’t for you and instead want to elegantly stand out, then this light pink pea coat might be the right choice for you! Cool down your overall look with a black circle skirt that is accompanied with leggings. Now, you don’t always have to cool down your bright tones, it’s okay to emphasize them sometimes! Heeled sneakers are very stylish and comfortable at times. By adding a little flare to your girly look, you’ll be stepping up your fashionista game. Complimenting your outfit with some splashes of red will work with your overall look. Make sure to end your look with class, simple and stylish pearl earrings.

Fall Fashion 2

  • If you are looking for a simple yet fun style, this red letterman styled jacket could be a possible choice! Accompanying the look with denim shorts will help bring out the red color some more. Cute black leggings are always a good accessory since it’s fall season. Putting a few flashes of pink accessories will help your outfit stand out even more. Finish your look with some stylish tassel boots. The brown color will help soften your brighter tones and balance out your overall style.
    Fall Fashion 3

 

You’ll be able to strut your stuff wherever you go by following these simple steps. Remember that fashion doesn’t have to be expensive. You can go to many affordable shops that sell the same styled clothing as its bigger and more expensive competitors. Remember to pick a jacket that you will plan to use for the next few months and try to organize your wardrobe with it. With organization and patience, you will be on your way to becoming a fall fashionista!

Packing for College

Photo Credit: Studentuniverse.com

Photo Credit: Studentuniverse.com

Ah, the dorm life! A new room, a new roommate and, most importantly, a place to call your own. Whehter it’s your first time moving out or returning back to campus for the second year, prepping and decorating your dorm room is a pretty big deal — especially if the dorm is in another city away from home.

Here are some tips about essential and definitely non-essential items to pack in order to make that suitcase (or u-haul) a little lighter this upcoming semester.

1) Learn to downsize:

“But what about my 80 pairs of shoes?!” said almost every girl ever. In college, especially if your campus is a large one, you’ll be doing a lot of walking in great distances in not the perfect air conditioned weather. So having 50+ pairs of heels in all colors and hues of the rainbow won’t be necessary, and it’ll be especially difficult to fit into that small dorm room! The same goes for plain t-shirts. Generally, five is a solid maximum number — unless you’re into band tees or something unique like that. Otherwise bring only a few as there will be free t-shirts galore at college. When packing clothes, don’t bring your entire wardrobe. Select your favorite piece and include one or two business-casual outfits for  job interviews, meet and greets, career fairs, etc. Love the nightlife? Pack a dressy outfit or two if you plan to join a sorority. Keep in mind that the less you pack the more room you’ll have in your room. Most college students agree that their suitcase grows while in college because of all the new trendy shops they discover.

2) Pack the essentials:

First-aid is important. Be sure to bring a first-aid kit in case anything happens unless you’re prepared to become bests with your neighbors.  Plus, it’s good to have in case of emergencies. Speaking from personal experience, I’ll never forget the time my friend recalled her first day of move-in after her parents left when she accidentally cut her finger and then had no first-aid kit. Yikes! It’s also very awkward to feel independent one second to completely dependent the next simply because you literally do not have the basic supplies to take care of yourself. A first-aid kit is a must but so is stocking up on your flu remedies/medication. No matter how immune you are to getting the flu or a stomach virus, living in a new city/environment will eventually catch up to you, like realizing you have allergies after moving from your home in the desert to the humid climate of the east coast. Avoid the hassle of leaving the comfort of your bed when you’re sick and stock up on ck-day(s) essentials like decongestant, stomach medicine, ginger ale, saltines and other medicine-like or edible essentials to help with your sickness.

Don’t forget to pack stationery! If you’re planning on sending handwritten letters to friends and family or want to submit formal letters to organizations, purchase a few standard sized envelopes, large manila folders, stamps, and paper.

4) Declutter your dorm, leave these things behind:

Now to things that should be forgotten, a good golden rule for this is if you only need it to go camping then you probably don’t need it at all (unless you plan on frequently camping). Leave things like mosquito-repellent and fly swatters at home. Being in a cement-surrounded room deep inside a building, you won’t be seeing much flies. Some exceptions to this rule are raid and a sleeping bag. In college, one learns and experiences the “all-nighter,” which in some cases, may involve needing to sleep someplace other than their bed. These also come in handy when needing to stay at a friend’s place last minute, or basically anywhere else that’s not your dorm.

Regardless of how far you are going, these tips can be useful when preparing to live in a dorm room for the first time. It’s important to remember the essentials and to plan ahead for what you will need a lot of, versus what you will need a little bit of. Lastly, one of the biggest things you can learn before moving out on your own for the first time is that you cannot learn EVERYTHING you need to know before actually moving out.  One of the biggest lessons you’ll learn is that mistakes are inevitable and some can only be learned after experiencing first. Pack a few keepsakes, but don’t overpack and bring your entire bedroom, childhood toys and all, with you.

Summer Styles to Rock All Day

img-thingFor some, the summer means relaxing by the pool and for others it means checking out the latest summer trends. Whether it’s looking for a new outfit or maybe trying a new hairstyle, try out something different this summer.

“This summer there are a lot of interesting patterns and colors blended together,” fashion blogger said Angela Littlefield, Junior at the University of Texas at Austin. “The Tribal Print with neon trend has been popular for a while now, and as a fashion blogger it’s really cool to see how people make use of this trend rather it be in swimwear, denim shorts, crop tops or with pencil skirts.”

Headbands

With warmer weather comes many more undo; for many, updos are best done in style. What better way to dress up a simple bun than with a cool headband? One of the latest, and simplest, type of headbands for this season is the 1-accessory headband. This type of headband is usually an elastic that goes all the way around the head and comes in a variety of looks and styles. From rhinestones all the way around, to a simple flower or feather on the top, or a single-colored headband. These headbands can come in a variety of colors, so try something new and different with your hair.

Swimwear

After a few decades, the full one-piece is finally making a comeback. For those who like a bit more coverage, but want some style as well, look no further. Stores like JCPenney and others have what are called shirred-front one piece bathing suits that come in solids and prints. These suits have a “high-waisted” look to them that flatters the mid-section for all sizes and elongates the torso. The suit also provides more coverage on the top and bottom, to provide a bit more security for those of you getting active in your swimwear and hitting the beach volleyball court.

Hats

Hats are not typically something many enjoy wearing because they don’t find caps flattering. Hats are another retro piece of headwear making its comeback to popular retail stores. Floopy sun hats are a hit this summer. These hats actually provide great coverage for the face in the sun, while creating a sophisticated look. Also, because they are so floppy, you can arrange the hat to lean on certain sides or flip it up to create your own unique look. Hats come in different colors, patterns and some even include accessories, like bows and flowers (can also easily be added on).

“Another trend that’s kinda of coming back is the overall jeans and shorts,” Littlefield said. “I think if you have the right body shape and a cute crop top you can dress the overalls up or down.”

Whether it’s a brand new headband style or an old-fashioned bathing suit to everything in-between, summer is the time to experiment with new, fun and colorful trends that are purely for fashion or styled for comfort.

Revisiting with Lizzie Velasquez: Q and A

“Though she be but little, she is fierce.” –William Shakespeare.

LizzieLizzie Velasquez is a twenty five year old fierce motivational speaker, author, and a special inspiration. What makes Lizzie so special? Well, that can be found on the outside and on the inside. On the outside, Lizzie is special because she was born with a rare genetic disorder — so rare it remains undiagnosed. The disorder prevents Lizzie from gaining any body weight at all. On the inside, Lizzie is special because she was also born with this outstanding courage that enables her to combat forces as she grows up. Of course, Lizzie would not admit to this, in fact, she will accredit her courage to her parents’ love and support (Thanks Lizzie’s parents).

 

When Latinitas last talked to Lizzie she was getting ready to graduate from Texas State University. Since then, Lizzie has released another successful book, appeared on a handful of popular interviews, and hosted a Ted talk – which launched her career as a public speaker to a bigger national status. She is getting recognized by YouTube’s iJustine and actresses, like Kristen Bell and Hilary Duff! Her efforts to end bullying recently extended to a (now) successful Kickstarter campaign called The Lizzie Project. As if she couldn’t be more inspiring, there are many lessons that can be taken away from this young woman’s outstanding courage.

Q: What is The Lizzie Project?

The Lizzie Project is a documentary that will give a very personal look into my life and my own experience with bullying, but also be the vehicle to address online bullying in a way that has never been done before and hopefully inspire a movement for real change and make the online community a more positive place.

Q: What message do you hope people who don’t know your story will receive?

The message I hope people who don’t know my story is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to overcoming obstacles, diversities, and hardships. My hope is that my story of inspiration will open a door to a new and positive path that is waiting for them to discover.

Q: What has been your favorite moment in this past year?

There have been multiple favorite moments of mine over the past year, but I think one that sticks out the most to me is the very first brainstorming meeting we had with my dream team in California for my documentary. Being in a room with four women I greatly admire and look up to all rallying around me and believing in my dream is something I will always cherish.

Q: Anyone you’d like to be interview by or get the chance to meet?

I would cry tears of joy, giggle out of giddiness, and jump around in pure excitement all at the same time if I was able to meet Julia Roberts. My love for her as an actress and empowering woman is something I admire beyond words. In my mind, Jules, as I like to call her, are already besties!

With the recent success of the Kickstarter campaign, Lizzie will begin shooting her documentary in June 2014 and the expected release date will be determined at a later time. Her goals for the rest of the year are to “make the most of every single minute of this new chapter in [her] life and to make it as memorable as [she] possibly can.” One thing is for sure though, Lizzie Velasquez will be a continued hero for many generations to come as The Lizzie Project takes roots in the lives of the people around her.

To read Latinitas’ previous article on Lizzie: click here.

Demand for Latinas in Tech

Latina on ComputerThe evolution of how we communicate with people has passed all boundaries. From e-mail and social media, to online advertising. Today, people are taking in information in more creative and tech-friendly ways, especially the younger generation. The new media industry is growing, and in more dynamic ways than ever before. With this growth, many women of color are joining the new media force.

Sara Inés Calderón, digital media expert, stated, “It’s important to have women of color in all aspects of media — from production to marketing to creating to distribution to new media. So, having Latinas and other women of color participate in new media, especially when media in general is such a white male-dominated industry, is essential.”

According to Pew Hispanic, the digital divide between Latinos and whites is smaller than what it had been just a few years ago. For example, between 2009 and 2012, the percentage of Latino adults going online increased from 64% to 78%, while among whites it only increased by half as much. In fact, according to Nielsen Media Research, Latinos are especially active on social media and are rising in numbers – in 2012, Hispanics increased their visits to social networks/blogs by 14 percent compared to February 2011 and are the fastest U.S. ethnic group on Facebook and WordPress.com.  Women also use more social media networks than men, according to Adweek.com.

Social media and advertising provide an outlet to voice opinions at a much larger scale than one can do alone to a group of people. It also serves as a tool to connect with like-minded people who share your same interests. Brenda Salinas, Associate Producer for NPR Latino USA, stated, “Latinos use social media in more way than any other ethnic group. Social media helps communicate with family in other parts of the world. There is also a different relationship with people on Twitter vs. real life. Many of us are so used to being the only one in the room, and we don’t have that feeling on social media.”

“It’s revolutionary that the second I’m interested in something, I can get the information in seconds – 20 years ago, we couldn’t do that! You can instantly connect with people that have your same interests, without feeling alone. The fact that other people are like me, is very comfortable. You can connect with people who have shared your same cultural experiences,” continued Salinas.

No matter what career you decide to do, new media will almost always play a role, especially with the future of where our communications medium is going. Being able to write is one thing, but being able to engage effectively in real time conversation online and being able to code, are skills that take time to acquire. For many Latinas, new media has played a crucial role in their careers, especially when making a career jump.

According to writer Erika L. Sánchez, “Without new media, I never would have developed this kind of writing career. My career is completely dependent on the internet. I started off with a small blog and clawed my way up to large publications. I feel that new media has helped give many marginalized people a voice. Though not all outlets acknowledge our communities, many people have taken to Twitter, Tumblr, or blogs to express themselves and engage in important political discourse. In this way, media has become more democratic.”

“There is no such thing as a radio producer, you’re a multimedia producer.  If it airs once, you are wasting your time and only reaching a fraction of people you can be reaching.  To do social media well, you have to be ahead of the curve and do it right. Elements of storytelling don’t change, but social media always changes. It’s always on the go and a learning process,” stated Salinas.

“New media has played a significant part of my career. When I started my career I was writing newspaper articles, then we started adding a few blogs, and when the economy crashed I lost my job and started working at a digital new media startup. New media gave me an entirely new career and opened up a great number of doors for me,” stated Calderón.

With the digital sphere always moving, it is important to note that it is always a learning process and no one can learn at a blink of an eye. But starting now when you’re young and full of energy, will put you ahead of the curve and make you prepared for whatever the world throws at you!

Stress Management Tips

School3With school underway and teachers assigning homework left and right, stress continues to overcome so many teenagers! Here are some helpful tips to learn how to deal with stress both before and during overwhelming situations.

Getting Organized

It is important to be conscious of what is most important and should come foremost in your everyday life. Appropriately prioritizing involves being organized. Use sticky notes to your advantage by writing out to-do lists. Take notice on what is actually important and not what seems important.

“I make sure to write down things that need to get down as soon as I remember them because I know that I will forget later on. Even if I think I will remember, I don’t take that chance,” said Bianka, 14, 8th grade.

Planning ahead is also essential to organizing your tasks. This allows you to be able to set aside tasks that are not as important and to avoid consuming time and wasting valuable energy on unproductive labors.

Make the Most of Your Valuable Time! 

Aside from the given— social media, watching TV, over sleeping, etc…—procrastinating, the inability to make up your mind and being heavily involved in perfecting every task in order to meet your high standards, can take up our valuable time!

Procrastinating wastes time and limits productivity. Waiting for the perfect time to finish your homework or finish your chores will just waste more time. There will never be that “perfect” time. Life’s uncertainties should not cause you to procrastinate and become indecisive. There will be many decisions you make that will have it’s own uncertainties, but the most wise and productive thing to do is make the best, most effective choice with the help of your friends and family.

“I like to keep myself busy which keeps me on top of things. I realized that if I avoid lounging around too much, I am more motivated to get things done,” said Rosa Alvarado, 15, 9th grade.

Trying to perfect every task you take on is not good for you! Take it easy sometimes. It is great to have high standards, but it is not wise to allow them to take up unnecessary time. It can cause you to stress out because of being afraid to disappoint yourself. It is okay to make mistakes every once in a while because that is how we learn.

Balancing Responsibilities

While in school, it is good to consider that you can only fully attain two of three priorities in your life: sleep, good grades, or a social life. Therefore, it is important to have a balanced and realistic view of your priorities and how much time and energy you commit to them.

Extracurricular activities can be fun and enjoyable, but when homework must also be accomplished along with meeting extracurricular requirements, it can become overwhelming. It is important to balance these voluntary activities so that homework does not seem as overwhelming— taking away the joy you should be experiencing with these fun activities.

Going hand in hand with balancing responsibilities, sufficient sleep is also necessary. Getting eight hours of sleep can have a positive effect physically, emotionally, and cognitively. So as much as it is important to get homework done and meet extracurricular activity requirements, it is also good to be able to have some free time on your hands as well and enjoy yourself!

“Being involved in extracurricular activities can be fun, but my parents help me out to make sure that I’m also on top of my school work. Bad grades=no extracurricular involvement,” said Emily, 13, 7th grade.

Life can be full of surprises and filled with endless decisions—this can seem and feel overwhelming. Just keep making the most of your time and making the choices that you think are best, and everything will fall into place!

To have a Quince Mass or Not?

Photo courtesy from http://quinceanera.com.

Photo courtesy from http://quinceanera.com.

The religious ceremony has been a constant tradition in the Quinceañera celebration until recently. While some girls choose to continue the religious tradition, others do not.  While planning (or even just thinking of) a Quinceañera celebration, one element of the festivities always comes to mind: the religious ceremony.

According to Quincehelp.com, “the quinceañera mass is a thanksgiving for [the Quinceañera’s] first 14 years of life.” Nowadays, the religious ceremony is seen as an optional part of the quince celebration. Girls having a quince use their religious beliefs (or lack thereof) to determine whether or not to have a religious ceremony.

For April Reza, 19, she had her quince in 2010 and said having a religious ceremony was easy. “It’s something I always wanted since I was little,” she remembers with a smile. Growing up as a Catholic in an all-Catholic household, April saw the religious ceremony pass down as a tradition in her family. “It’s something we always do,” she says.

Since having a religious celebration is a tradition in her family, it was very well received. April recalls, “They really enjoyed it…they wish they could’ve done the whole thing over again.”

While some girls like April go the traditional route, others like to be different. Nastassia Artalejo, a self-employed photographer who had her quince in 2006, chose to not have a quinceañera.

Raised in a non-religious household and being agnostic herself, Nastassia says that having a religious ceremony was “not important [for me]. I just wanted to be there to celebrate what my parents thought was an important birthday.”

While Nastassia’s parents were fine with her not having a ceremony, her extended family did not have a similar reaction. “It was confusing for the rest of my family that I wasn’t having a ceremony because they are all Catholic. My cousins all had ceremonies at churches, but I didn’t,” she recalls.

Ultimately, a religious ceremony should be something you “do…for yourself”, says Nataly Monique Montana, a 10th grader who recently had her quince in 2012.

Nataly was raised as a baptist but was not officially baptized in her church. In order for her to have had a religious ceremony at her church, she and her parents would have had to go through a series of religious meetings with the priest of her church and be baptized.  When Nataly and her parents were planning her quince they realized that there wouldn’t be enough time before her quince. Nataly and her parents were not disheartened because they couldn’t have a ceremony, and, instead, Nataly says her dad and her said a prayer during the quinceañera which she remembers being personal and fulfilling.  Despite Nataly coming from a religious upbringing she recalls,  “no one said anything” about her not having had a religious ceremony.

While having a religious ceremony as part of a quince is customary, girls planning their quince shouldn’t feel pressured to follow in tradition’s footsteps for the sake of doing so. According to Quinceanera.com, a girl renews her baptismal vows and promises to honor herself and her religion before God and her community at the ceremony. This carries a lot of religious and cultural significance, so don’t do it if your heart and personal beliefs aren’t in it. Remember, it is your big day, so make it yours in your own special way, with or without a ceremony.

Makeup Hygiene

Photo credit: college fashion.net

Photo credit: college fashion.net

Most chicas do not know how important it is to keep your makeup brushes and application tools clean. Makeup products tend to store bacteria and might cause you to get pimples when you apply them to your face, yuck!

 Here are some important guidelines to keep your makeup and tools clean and bacteria-free:

1. The way you wash your makeup brushes is by rinsing only the bristles of your brush under hot water. You should be careful not to wet the metal part of your makeup brush because it will cause the bristles to come off.

2. Apply a pea size amount of your favorite shampoo to your hand and spread it to your brush in circular motions. You will see the shampoo changing color because of the makeup residue that was stored on the bristles.

3. Rinse the makeup brushes again with hot water until the water runs out clear. Try to shape the bristles into their original shape and place them on a towel. Place the brushes angled so that the bristles are facing down. This will allow the excess water to drain onto the towel. It is better if you let  the brushes air dry during the night. This way, in the morning when you are getting ready for school you apply your makeup with clean and fresh brushes.

You should wash your makeup brushes at least once a week. By doing this your make up application will look more flawless.

Did you know? Makeup CAN expire. 

An important fact that every chica needs to know is that makeup expires just like food. All beauty items have expiration dates and most products are not labeled with them. Expired makeup might cause your skin to breakout because the ingredients are not in the optimum condition. If you notice a change in texture, color and scent you need to toss the product away.

Here is the list of expiration dates for makeup products:

Foundation and concealer- from 6-8 months

Mascara and liquid liner- about 3 months

Any powder (blush,eye shadow or pigments)- one year

Lipstick or lipgloss- one year to 2 years

Also, remember to replace your makeup sponges constantly so you can rock a makeup without impurities.

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