Maximizing Your Summer Staycation

Summer vacation as a college student is quite different from summer vacation in grade school. It suddenly becomes taboo to spend your summer days waking up late, watching cartoons, and just goofing around. In college, the generic “have a great summer” yearbook greeting gives way to a slightly different email signoff: “Have a productive summer.” Your classmates may be blowing up your social media with posts about their summer internships in a big city, or with photos of foreign countries where they are studying abroad. If you, instead, find yourself back in your hometown for the summer, don’t fret. You will still have plenty of time and opportunities to experience a new place and to go off on your own adventures. Until then, here are five ways for you to make the most of your summer staycation!

1.       Free Summer Events

 The warm weather offers a perfect opportunity for cities to put on a myriad of outdoor public events. The best part is, they’re usually free! (Or, at least very affordable.) Be on the lookout in your local newspaper for outdoor screenings, concerts, or farmer’s markets. “There are a ton of great activities to take advantage of,” says Brittany Ochoa, a junior at Texas A&M University, spending the summer in her hometown of El Paso, TX. “I’ve gone to a few movies in the park, and the Let Freedom Ring concert series is always a go-to weekend outing for me.” While food and drinks will cost extra, you can always bring your own snack and just go for the show.

2.       Explore Your City

           Cities and towns are not static. They are always growing and changing. If you spend most of your year away at school, then chances are that not everything stayed the same while you were gone. Exercise that newfound independence of yours to explore your city. Grab a friend and venture out. Try a restaurant in a neighborhood that you never go to. Investigate what goes on in that building that has always caught your eye, but that you have always wondered about. This is the place of your origin story, learn more about it, and you might learn something about yourself along the way.

3.       Personal Project

 We all have that secret little book of ideas, whether it’s written on actual paper, or just kept in the back of your mind. You go off to college in hopes of pursuing your passions, but you don’t always get the opportunity to actually spend time practicing them. School, work, friends are all important and all worthwhile things to devote your time, but they can also get in the way of reading that book that’s been sitting on your shelf, or playing out that melody that’s been in your head. You are approaching a chapter in your life that is void of any free time, let alone a whole season full of it. Turn your attention for the next few months to a personal project. It can be anything you want, as long as it fulfills you.

For Ochoa, that project includes “experimenting with watercolors and photography,” which she posts on her own blog. Amanda Chacon, also an El Paso native and a junior at University of Texas at San Antonio, expresses a similar sentiment, claiming that “being home and not having classes to attend has also freed up a lot of my time for recreational activities that I typically don’t have the chance to participate in throughout the semester. I’ve gone climbing a lot more while at home, and even went skydiving a few weeks ago!” You don’t have to be as daring as Amanda, but definitely don’t be afraid to try your hand at something new. This is the perfect time! 

4.       Bond with Family and Friends

It’s called a hometown for a reason. You could be anywhere else right now, but you are here because this is where your family is. This is likely the place where you grew up, where you went to school, where you met some of your closest friends. Going off to school wasn’t just an adjustment for you, it was also an adjustment for your family. Spending time with them, and with your old friends, means catching up on all the little stories that you missed while you were away and sharing the exciting new things that you have learned and experiences while you were at college. Just a fair warning: bonding with your fam could result in increased homesickness when you ship out again in the fall, but it’s totally worth reconnecting to your culture and to your support system. 

5.       Reset

 Like the exhausted laptop that you leave powered on every second of every day, sometimes you just need to reset. Now is your chance to take a breather between semesters. You know those eight-hour nights of sleep that you’re always hearing about? Now you can actually see what the big fuss is about. Without those ghastly 8 am classes or late-night study sessions, you can actually get a decent amount of sleep at night (so don’t sabotage yourself by watching Netflix until dawn.) It’s also okay to take a day every now and then to do nothing. Remember: taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of business.

The Wonders of Quotev

written by Angie Flores

With so many people using the internet daily, it is not uncommon to see multiple social media web pages, such as Facebook or Twitter, with millions of users logging in and constantly stating updated/connected with friends. But digging away from the commonly known social media sites, there is one peculiar page with a whole world of its own. Quotev, or formerly known as Quizzaz, is a webpage focused mainly on the creativity of thousands of users across the world. Containing a variety of stories, quizzes, groups and such, all done by regular people, Quotev can be considered an online paradise. Mostly popular among teenagers, Quotev is growing quickly.

While most pages like Wattpad and Miss Literati offer writing services, Quotev is a whole place of its own. It also offers the opportunity to speak with artists around the world. It is recognized that Quotev does not usually contain material known by the majority of teenagers nowadays. The page is a getaway to roam free for every fangirl/fanboy to happily be dedicated to their idols/fandoms/etc. Some ways users show their love and passion to their likes are by writing fanfiction (which is a large amount of the writing content), starting groups (multiple groups can including role playing), and making quizzes (such as seeing whether you are a “true fan” of a certain topic).

“I think the best part about Quotev would have to be the writing,” Maggie Gordon, 14, shares.

Quotev users are also able to customize their profiles like any other social media account — except with more freedom than the usual. Quotev is sometimes referred to as “the place where all those who don’t fit come together.” Multiple users have even mentioned that speaking to the people they have met through the page saved their lives. While most pages like Instagram are focused on seeing what “real-life” friends are up to, Quotev gives a revolutionary twist to friendship by creating online friendships.

“Quotev is my life. Literally, “Lena Quinn, 18, adds.

“In these two years I’ve been here, I’ve met so many amazing friends, made great memories. This webpage  changed my way of living, in a great way.”

Gordon has a similar experience with Quotev.

“The people online are so friendly. Plus the stories are amazing! I think lots of them should actually be published,” she adds.

While many doubt online friendships, this site has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Once I showed my parents [the page]… they were angry,” adds Quinn.

“I get that they don’t trust anyone online, but I know these are my friends. It’s sad that I cherish these people more than the ones in reality, but I know it was meant to be. Different timezones don’t define friendship,” she shares.

Quotev is packed with multiple caring people, or so Quinn narrates: “I’ve talked to my followers on Skype, I have some of their numbers and Kik [accounts]. They’re just my sweethearts. If I ever put an RA (which stands for Recent Activity, aka a post) about me feeling down, they’re right there to help me to my feet. I couldn’t go through anything without them.”

Gordon supported this case by commenting how has made a couple of friends.

“They’re great! I never saw how great Quotev would be coming,” she adds.

But Quotev is not always sunshine and rainbows. The page, unfortunately, has had some cases of bullying. Most of the cases involve some of the popular accounts. In addition, some users have experienced hacking and spam accounts. One can assume that this stems from the site’s increase in popularity, but, aside from these bad experiences, it still continues to be a positive experience for many teens.

But at the end, flaw after flaw, will forever be the home of thousands of people across the planet “Quotev is my everything” Quinn happily concludes. “I can’t imagine life without it.”

¿Quien Soy Yo? / Who Am I?

AriadneThere are many things that shape who you are, your identity. For me, it deals with my name, nationality, roots, and family history. They have shaped me who I am today, but it hasn’t always been easy. So, who am I? My name is Ariadne and I am 24 years old. This is my story.

Some say your identity starts with your name. For me, it’s a more personal story. The first time my dad saw me he wanted me to have an original name. The origin of it is Greek and it belonged to a princess who protected the entrance of the infamous Minotaur’s cave. I know most of my professors don’t really know how to pronounce my name and I deal with it every time I get to know someone new. I like my name, don’t get me wrong, but I wouldn’t be mad if I had an easier one. My name shapes who I am, but so do a lot of things.

Finding Strength through my Roots
For the most part of my life, I have attended only Mexican schools. I consider myself a Mexican, even if I was born in El Paso, Texas. My parents and brothers were born in Ciudad Juárez, and, for that reason, my roots are stronger than my nationality. As I said, both of my parents were born in Ciudad  Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico.  My maternal grandmother was the daughter of a Spanish colonist who settled in Parral, Chihuahua then later came to Ciudad Juárez to have a  better life.  Mama Quecha, what she likes to be called, is the “patriarca” of my mother’s family. Mama Quecha  was married to my Papa Grande, whose father fought in the Mexican Revolution.

I have Spanish roots from my grandmother, and I must say that I am the only red head with curly hair in the entire family — which I love. My grand-grandfather was a red head with white skin among the indigenas. When my  abuelita had nine sons, one of them came out a red head with blue eyes, too. My dad’s  family also has some Spanish roots, too, but those roots are not as strong as my mother’s family. My Spanish roots shape my physical appearance and are a part of my identity, but who I am comes from living in a U.S.-Mexico border city and relationship with my family.

Living in a U.S.-Mexico Border City
I had difficulty adjusting to the environment of both cities (El Paso, Texas and Ciudad, Juárez) because the people were so different from one another. My dad used to tell me that he didn’t want me to be like a chicana. I didn’t understand why, but I thought that it was something bad. My dad referred to them as  stuck up women covered with tattoos. During my first two years of college, I was able to meet and learn more about the Chicano culture. The Chicanas were so different and nothing like my dad had described them. The Chicanas helped me be confident and not scared of college. Now, I’m a junior majoring in Multimedia Journalism and close to getting my degree.

Even though I wasn’t born in Mexico, my culture and roots come from there. I feel very proud to say I’m Mexican and I’m not scared of my beautiful Ciudad Juárez. I have a lot to be thankful to that city, and I’m not ashamed to say where I come from. I grew up and lived there, I have friends and I even prefer to have fun in my beloved Ciudad Juárez. I’m happy to know that my family has a rich diversity and history in Mexico, but both Mexico and the city of El Paso has helped shape who I am.

Literature Picks for Spring Break

For book lovers, it might seem that there are endless lists of books to read, but we’ve stumbled across a couple of selections that you might pick up during your Spring Break vacation.

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
This historical book is about the famous Mirabal sisters who lived in the Dominican Republic and defied the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. The story follows the lives of the sisters from young girls to marriage, womanhood, motherhood, and to their incarceration. This is a must-read as it recounts a heartbreaking story of Latina woman who fought for freedom in their country during a time when women were expected to be obedient, let alone not meddle in politics. The work of Alvarez makes the reader feel the oppression and fear that Dominicans felt during Trujillo’s regime, while trying to live their lives as normally as possible. This book has been adapted to movie starring Salma Hayek.

The Selection by Kiera Cass
While the story might not center around the Latino community, this author is Puerto Rican who has found immense popularity in the literature realm. The Selection is the first part out of a 4-book saga; it follows the main protagonist, America Singer, who has been forced to enter competition called the Selection in order to compete against 34 girls to win the heart of the future king of Illéa. Unlike the other girls, America finds that being selection is a nightmare as she didn’t want to leave her home and her previous Love to live in a mansion where chaos and violence are constant companion. This book meets The Bachelor and the Hunger Games. The Selection is a must-read as it is important to support Latina authors in the book world where it is difficult to find books that have Latino protagonists or even written by Latinos.

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
Shadowshaper is the story with an Afro-Latina protagonist. This book is for those who are looking for a young adult fiction book that has magic and fantasy elements. Sierra Santiago is a young artist living in Brooklyn when at a party a zombielike creature crashes her world. Through this conundrum, Sierra discovers that her world around her consists of magic and that it exists in her ancestry.  Older’s book is a refreshing take on the female protagonist as she is not only strong but has a positive mentality of her body, which will pass onto the reader. There is romance incorporated into this book but it is not the main focus nor the goal for the protagonist.

Dealing with Family Problems

Hispanic girk looking sadFamilies are those whom we can rely on for support, for love and those whom we have a special bond with, but we don’t always choose to embrace our feelings towards one another.

According to Psychology Today, it is common to have family problems, especially when living with several teenagers at home with their parents. Some of these issues include alcoholism, abuse, feelings of guilt, depression, financial, and anger towards family members.

The Better Health Channel shares three tips on how to overcome these common problems that can be sometimes be too hard to deal with.

1. Communication
Even though it is a cliché when someone says “Communication is key,”  it is true. “A lot of the times, unwanted problems arise because we don’t talk to each other enough. If we could communicate more with one another, we wouldn’t have to deal with the extra stress of unnecessary problems,” says Bianca, 24. Talking might sometimes be difficult, especially when it is something that is bothering you, but even a small amount of communication goes a long way. Keep in mind that the idea is to resolve the conflict, not win the argument.

2. Listen
Try to stay calm by putting your emotions aside and don’t interrupt the other person while they are speaking. Sometimes we are too stubborn to realize that we are letting our pride get in the way of fixing our problems. Understanding what they are saying by asking questions through an open and honest discussion will be beneficial in the long run.

3. Seek Help
If it is a more serious problem where communication is not possible, seek professional help. “When I was going through some intense family problems, I didn’t know what to do. I decided to go to my school counselor and talk about it, it took a lot for me to go, but I couldn’t deal with it alone. And now I can talk to my family about it and things are slowly getting better,” says Mary, 19.

Whether it’s talking with your family or with a counselor, you are not alone. You don’t have to deal with your family problems by yourself. Millions of people are dealing with the same things you are. Communication is key, listen to your heart, and seek for what you need.

“My family and I don’t have a good communication environment. My parents are old school and they think their way is the right way. And there’s no way of  telling them otherwise. I was so fed up and tired with everything that I decided to take it into my own hands. I made my parents listen to me. I made them see how much stress and pain they were putting me through. And that was the smartest thing I could’ve done,” says 22 year-old Clarissa.

Even when you think it’s inevitable, something can be done about it. You just have to speak up, let your voice be heard. Clarissa adds, “I have never been this happy with my life, taking a stand for myself  was the scariest and the best thing I’ve done in my life.”

Girl Talk: Tips to De-Stress

In order to fight stress, first you have to know what it is. Stress is a a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, may it be at work, school, bullying or even family. Stress can result in insomnia, extreme fatigue, headaches, tense muscles and an upset stomach among others. I bet you’ve felt this way before, maybe you were nervous about a presentation in school or an interview for a job or internship. Now the first thing to do is to find what’s causing you to feel this way and how to deal with it. Follow these steps to de-stess.

  1. Start a journal: Find a little notebook or diary as your stress outlet. Besides writing the highlights of your day, write about the things that are making you feel stressed.

  2. Find a special place: Search for a place where you feel relaxed and comfortable to be yourself. It can be your room, backyard or the coffee shop down the street. Go there anytime you feel like being alone and disconnecting of the world.

  3. Find a hobby: Hobbies can be a great distraction. Just try not to spend so much time at it. Remember responsibilities are always first. Try drawing, painting or playing a musical instrument.

  4. Make a calendar: If you’re stressed because of the amount of assignments or activities during your week, then write them in order of priority,. Write deadlines and dates to start working on them if they will take more than a day to do. Mark them as you finish each one of them. This way you’ll see what you’ve accomplished and feel more motivated to do the rest.

  5. Exercise regularly: Not only is it a way to stay healthy physically, but exercise is also great to help your brain. Physical activity enhances memory and learning. Exercising helps your body release endorphins, which are pain killers and will make you feel really happy. Try a sport to make everything more interesting and maybe find a workout buddy. Yoga is the ultimate stress reliever.

  6. Get enough sleep: Do you remember all those cranky mornings? Well that’s because sleep is very important for your emotional well-being. If you don’t sleep enough, you’re not able to function properly. Don’t even think about handling stress when you’re sleepy; it won’t work. If you didn’t sleep those beautiful 8 hours, try a power nap during the day. You don’t know how valuable it is until you try it. Just don’t oversleep.

  7. Pamper yourself: You don’t have to go to the spa or spend a large amount of money. Simple ways to pamper yourself can be done at home. You can take a bath, moisturizing and putting cucumbers over your eyes while you listen your favorite song.

  8. Focus on the positive stuff: Of course stress can be caused by more than one thing, but try to think of all of the good things in your life. It may not change the situation, but thinking of the good things can help you feel better. Some gratitude and positivity can be a big help in de-stressing. Think about the good things in life, you’ll know where to find the support you need.

Now that you know the tips to handle stress, try each one of them and feel the difference.
Good Luck!

Latin@ and Mental Health

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, which affects our daily life in a variety of different ways. A healthy mental state affects how people interact with other individuals, form relationships, handle stressful situations, and be able to perform daily tasks without much difficulty. However, when there is a disruption or compromise of an individual’s state of being, problems begin to arise.sadgirl

Over the past couple of years there has been an increase of public awareness of what mental health is, the stigmas present, and the symptoms of a mental health illness. The National Alliance of Mental Illness found that  approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States (43.7 million) experiences a mental illness in a given year.

Programs have slowly popped up in multiple ways: from city-run campaigns to student-created clubs in school to increase awareness. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, about about 50.6% of children aged  8-15 received mental health services in a past year. The hope of this is to allow individuals that might be struggling in their daily life to reach out for help without being stigmatized by their peers.

Mental Illness and the Latino Community

Having a mental health illness is a serious issue and needs treatment so the individual can continue to perform at their normal capacity. In the Latino Community, symptoms of a mental health illness are usually dismissed or are written off as an attempt for attention, and mental health illnesses are heavily stigmatized. This combination usually prevents the individual from receiving help.

Celeste Nevarez, who earned her Masters of Counseling Psychology from Arizona State, is a licensed psychiatrist who works at the Family Service of El Paso. A native of El Paso, she decided to return to her city after graduation to help her community; she now works at a non-profit organization that offers counseling regardless of ability to pay and is a professor at El Paso Community College. Passionate about her work, she is determined to improve the mental health scene of the city.

Nevarez states that having a mental health illness can be due to a combination of genetics, psychology, and the social environment of the individual. Lacking a family history of mental health illness does not mean that the person is immune, mental health knows “no gender, race, culture, [or] religion.” Mental health illnesses do not discriminate, everyone is vulnerable. According to Nevarez, the best thing for someone that is suffering from a mental illness is to seek professional help if possible- especially if his/her case becomes dangerous; however, sometimes having support from a peer might help.

However, this might sometimes be hard to come by. Nevarez believes that the Latino Community is proud and tough, and asking for help to treat a mental health illness signals that the person is weak and that something is wrong with them. She thinks that the stigma might come from a combination of culture, religion, stereotypes of “crazy” people, and shame placed on the individual and on the family. Nevarez often hears similar lines to “‘it is just a faze,’ ‘nothing is wrong with you,’ and ‘I need help.’ ‘But you’re not crazy,’” when someone attempts to reach out for help.

Treatment of a Mental Illness

By prolonging treatment the individual might feel isolated if no support is given and that is one of the worst things to happen. Nevarez argues that the lack of treatment could possibly make the mental health illness might take a turn for the worst. Although there has been improvement of slowly breaking down the stigma and more people reaching out for help, Nevarez believes that there is still a long way to go.

With the continuation of breaking down stigmas and making mental health services easier to access, those in the Latino community will be able to reach the help that they need. Those that are asking for help should not be ignored or laughed at, but understood and supported through their struggles.

Finding Your Shade

Makeup is found both in the drugstore and high end stores, but finding the right shade and product can be tricky, especially for Latinas.

The following is a guide for chicas who are looking to play with makeup, and to those experienced ones who are looking for extra tips. So, andando!

1. Foundation and powder
Undertone and skin type
It is important to know this, as your foundation needs to work with your skin efficiently.

There are many steps to find your undertone. One of them is to look at your veins. Do they look green? You are warm toned. Are they blue? You must be cool toned. Can’t figure it out or you see a mixture of both? You might be neutral.

Another method is to try on gold and silver jewelry, pero don’t worry, they don’t have to be real!

  • Do you look better in gold ? You are warm. Silver? You are cool toned.
  • Or is it both? Then you’re neutral.

2. Now, onto your skin type. Look in the mirror.

  • Do you have oil and shine everywhere ? You have oily skin, chica. No oi
  • Okay, next question.Does your skin feel tight or have dry patches? Dry skin is what you have.
  • No to oil or dryness? Normal skin.
  • Don’t worry if you have a combination of skin types because, guess what? Yes, you have combo skin.

3. Next,use your skin tone (warm, neutral, cool) to look for some foundation to try on.
If you’re on a budget, the drugstore might be helpful. Unfortunately, some brands do not have enough shades for darker skinned Latinas. Thankfully, brands like L’Oreal have shades for all skin tones. Keep in mind that you can’t open the product in store, but you can return it to most drug stores as they accept returns if you are unsatisfied. Foundations can be tested in some high end stores, such as the famous Sephora. The great thing is that you can get personal help from a Sephora makeup artist.

Okay, if you would like to find a foundation shade for yourself, then swatch some shades on to your jawline to choose one that closely matches your face and neck.

For powder follow the same steps for foundation.

4. Blush, bronzer and highlighter
Blush: perks up your skin
Bronzer: creates more dimension and definition. Can be used to contour.
Highlighter: makes the face look like it’s glowing and radiant.
With all of these products, there aren’t strict rules of how to use them. In fact, you can use a light pink blush on deeper skin tones. Try what you like. You do you!
To apply, you can use makeup sponges or brushes. Ecotools and Real Techniques are some good affordable makeup brushes.
For beginners, definitely start a small amount and then build it up to your liking.

5.  Eye shadow
With eye makeup, the sky’s the limit as some girls prefer light colors and others bolder looks. You can use brushes or even your fingers to apply.
Usually the lightest color goes on the brow bone.
The mid tone color goes on the lids.
And the darkest color goes usually on the crease.

6. Eyeliner
There are many forms of eyeliner: gel, pencil, and liquid. A separate brush is used for gel eyeliner where a slanted one will be easier to apply. For pencil make sure to sharpen it for smoother application

7. Just have fun! 

Advice By Latinitas

As part of our Women’s History Month Blog-a-thon, we asked Latinitas to write their top words of wisdom. LatinitasHandsStarWhat advice would you like to share with younger girls?

“The best advice I can give young girls is to be your absolute self. Being who you are will help you find your true friends, give you opportunities, and the confidence you need to face anything and everything. AND you’ll be truly happy! Focus on yourself and your future. Prioritize because it will really benefit you in the long run. Above all just enjoy your life, don’t rush to grow up take it a step at a time and go with the flow!” – Ariana Ortega

“The advice I can give to younger girls is to always be yourself, because God made each and every one of us unique. Don’t pretend to be  someone else or try to be someone else. We have a lot to offer, and help others. We must always be kind and appreciate the people who love us and are there for us. I thank God simply for one more day to live and his great love for us. Be the best you can be, enjoy your youth years as much as possible. Don’t stress with school, take your time and be organized. We have to always believe in ourselves no matter the circumstances. God will always help us find a way through no matter what. Live life and enjoy it and cherish those who are always there when you need them, family and friends. I am so thankful to God for giving me the family that I have and my friends. I know we can all make a difference to help other teenagers like us to be confident and believe in themselves. I am also thankful to God because I have one more year of life today and because he is always there with us protecting us. Enjoy each day and be thankful to God in everything, and be glad because being a female is the best thing. We all have a lot of talents and a purpose in this life.” – Vanessa Ramirez

“You are always so hard on yourself! Stop comparing your outfits, body, and personality to other people. You need to learn to love yourself. Don’t try to make others take on the role of loving you before you learn to love you. Be confident! Aim to be the best version of you. If someone else finds your quirks annoying, they can sod off because you are unique and delightful. Secondly, be wary of sketchy friends. It’s great to be a friendly girl, but if said friends have proven to be untrustworthy, please get away from them. This is for your own good! Find kinder friends! They’re not that hard to find! They are there! They want your friendship! Thirdly, please put a greater effort in to your school work. Yeah, math might be hard but, it’s even harder to bring up your GPA and/or learn how to discipline yourself academically if you don’t put the time in. You can do it! Please don’t get lazy! I know it’s easier to watch TV and avoid your obligations, but you’re screwing future-you in the long term.” – Vianey Reyes

“Please, think about your future!! I want to tell you that it won’t be easy. Getting low grades at school is not going to help you. Having too much fun is not going to help you at school.Start getting involved in things that are going to benefit your formation at school. Find new friends that can be helpful for you. Pay attention and respect your teachers because you never know if you will need them. Take care of yourself, respect every one and most important respect your body. Remember that you are becoming a strong women with different types of interests and that you are amazing.” – Ariadne Venegas

“Remember that it’s okay to feel things. It’s the one thing I wish I knew when I was growing up. Even to this day, I forget that feeling emotions is okay. So try not to ever forget that. If you’re sad because of a loss in the family or sad because a member of your favorite boy band quit, it’s okay. You have every right to feel any and all emotions that you feel. Don’t ever let anyone else tell you otherwise. It’s best to ignore when anyone says girls are too “sensitive.” Be proud of your sensitive side. Being able to understand someone else’s feelings and accept that they feel that way is a great thing and something more people in the world need to start doing.  Anger, happiness, fear, nervousness, and anything else. They’re all okay. Just make sure that you feel them 100% because holding them back isn’t going to help you out in the long run. If you want to cry, cry. If you want to laugh, laugh. You feel a certain way for a reason, so let it out. Learning feeling emotions is okay and it’s something that I’ve found so hard to accept after so many years of thinking a different way. It’s the only thing I wish I could tell my younger self.” – Gissel Gonzalez

“I would tell younger girls to study and take advantages of every opportunity they have in life. Do not waste time doing things that will not make you feel proud of yourself all the time. Also, do not let other people tell you, you cannot do something you want. Be brave all the time and fight for your dreams. Always follow your heart and do whatever makes you happy. Love your family, friends and life all the time. No matter how you feel, you are worth a lot more than you think. Remember to enjoy every second of life and spread love.” -Eunice Sanchez

Girl Talk: Friendship and Boyfriend Woes

JD-art-teenlove-20121229175333558035-300x0Have you ever had a friend in a bad relationship? Have you ever felt pressured into choosing between your best friend or your boyfriend? Or have you ever had to make a decision between your parents? Relationships are like a baby, you have to care, spend time with them, and love them; but you don’t want to lose a friendship over a boy, do you?Choosing between two people can also be a hard task because they’re people and they both somehow make you happy; the one that makes the decision is you, no one can pressure you into choosing something or someone you don’t want too. Listen to your heart!

 I have a friend that is going out with this boy. After a couple of weeks I start liking him, but I can’t say because she would get mad of me. I really like him, but she is my BFF. I don’t want to make a problem. What should I do? 

Well, hanging out with your ‘BFF’ and her boyfriend can cause you to get certain feelings towards him probably because she tells you a lot of great things about him, and probably more if her boyfriend is good looking.  Try to not hang out with them as much, or try talking to a different boy to get your mind off of your BFF’s boyfriend. A friendship and a relationship are two different things, and they shouldn’t be mixed. A boy should never come between a friendship or vice versa; don’t let just one boy ruin your friendship with your BFF.

A friend met a guy on Facebook and fell in love, but yet they still say I love you. They haven’t met in person, and then yesterday they broke up and they were yelling. Now my friend keeps crying and doesn’t want to meet new guys. What should I do?

Have a girls night with her, take funny movies, buy ice cream and chocolates, and/or get her out of the social networks for the night. After she’s gotten her mind off of Facebook and what happened between them, ask her to get ready to go out– just you and her. And take her out somewhere where she won’t think about the guy on Facebook. Have a good time together and help convince her that everything happens for a reason and maybe they weren’t meant to be.  Try explaining to her that online dating is not the safest way to date because it can be dangerous since she doesn’t know that person physically.

 My parents are separating, but I don’t know where to go. Should I go with my dad or mom? My friends don’t want me to move and I don’t want to leave them. Please help me. 

You should go with whomever you feel more comfortable with. It’s always hard to choose between your parents, but think about the long run, who do you get more along with? Who do you talk to the most? It’s all up to you and your feelings towards them. No one can tell you who to choose because no one knows your parents how you do. Remember, wherever you go you will meet new people, make new friends, and still be friends with your old friends. Think about what YOU really want; don’t think of anyone else right now, it’s your decision.