Laurel: Why I Started Reading (For Fun!) My Senior Year of College

Over the summer I had a serious thought: When was the last time I read a book for pure enjoyment? I honestly couldn’t tell you. I can tell you the last time I watched Netflix as a form of procrastination, but I never read a book when I have nothing else to do. Sometimes I think it’s because with school work and the amount of reading I am assigned that it feels like extra “work” to read any more. When watching a show, you can just let your mind relax. But is that still a valid excuse to not read?

 This summer I decided it wasn’t. Something that students might not know is that we are also eligible for a library card from the Boston Public Library (BPL)! So, I decided to go to the library and sign myself up!

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Another reason I have always avoided reading was because I never knew what to read. What do I like? What will I stick with and finish? What genre is entertaining to me? There are so many endless options that I could never figure out where to start.

 Luckily for me, the BPL has a shelf in the front called “Lucky Day.” It’s a shelf that the library fills with popular books, most of which have a waiting list to read. They take the books out of rotation to give other people the option to read them if it is their “lucky day.” That’s where I started.

 The benefit of the “Lucky Day” section is that you only get 14 days to read the book as opposed to the normal 30-day rental. You also cannot renew the book, unlike normal rentals. This forced me to read my books in a rather short time frame. That really got me on a roll.

 

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 Instead of finishing my day with some Netflix, I read. I found it relaxing and a nice quiet change of pace. I went to coffee shops to sit and read. I found new parks to read in. It got me out and about, enjoying things at a slower pace than I am used to.

 It was more of a personal goal of mine, to feel more connected to something. I almost viewed it as a form of personal growth. What I didn’t expect was to tell my friends what I had been up to and realize they had been reading for enjoyment all along and had plenty of recommendations for me. One of the most helpful recommendations I got was to download the app Goodreads where you can connect with friends and see what they have read, how they rated it, what they are reading, and what is on their reading bucket list. It doesn’t get more fun than that!

(You can also scan books and find other ratings and reviews to see if it sounds like something that is interesting to you!)

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But this isn’t just to convince you to download an app or even to tell you to start reading, though you should as the famous scientist Carl Sagan wrote that there are more books in the world than anyone could ever possibly read so you really don’t want to miss your chance to read the small percentage that you can. Instead, I wrote this because the best thing I have gotten out of my new reading endeavor is the book clubs I’ve gone to, sitting on coffee shop patios bonding with strangers over the same emotions and reactions to the book.  The people I’ve interacted with at the libraries whether it be the librarian that always helps me find the book to the old woman I sat with as we read for hours. Or the deeper level of friendship my friends and I share over our book preferences and so on. Me stepping out of my comfort zone, trying something I knew wasn’t my strong point (I’m talking to you elementary school Laurel with the low-level reading comprehension) and really enjoying being unplugged and relaxed from the world and school.

We have such little time to enjoy college and the four years feels like two by the end of it. It would be a shame to not continuously try something new, whether it be something as small as reading for pure enjoyment. I hope you too find something that excites you like I have and brings you closer to the community around you as it has for me. Happy reading!

Tyler: Legitimize your Ideas: Aly & AJ

“You need to know how to defend your ideas with confidence, even if that means digging yourself into a hole.”

It was the first day of class senior year when the Media Money Trail course instructor, Professor Jodi Luber, established this objective for the semester. She encourages debate, even if you’re aware that you are wrong, for the sake of knowing how to argue. It’s an important skill for any professional in a creative field: how do you legitimize your ideas? If you’re pitching an idea and there is an unexpected question or criticism comes, you must know how to address it.

When you think about it, this is a pretty good skill for everyday life. When you have an opinion or theory, what can you do to defend it? Let’s take this example that is my personal favorite. Are you ready?

Ex-Disney Channel stars-turned-pop duo Aly & AJ are vampires.

What?

Yep. Believe it or not, I think that they are vampires. And I’m going to defend my opinion to you, readers.

  1. Alyson and Amanda “AJ” Michalka were practically A-List celebrities in the mid-2000s. Think: Cow Belles, Phil of the Future, some recurring roles on daytime shows like Passions and General Hospital, NOT EVEN to mention their ultimate stardom with their Insomniatic and Into the Rush albums. But, where did they go post-Insomniatic? Simple: the grave. Their retreat from the spotlight lasted years. As a ruse, they sometimes popped up in throwaway projects like Hellcats and Silicon Valley, but who really cares about that? They just wanted you to think that they weren’t dead. Truly, there is a stark contrast between who they were and who they became.

alyandajinsomiaticWhat a dreary album cover for what was probably the last time they were seen alive

2. In 2015, Aly returned to the small screen via the CW series iZombie. The series centers around newly-minted zombie, Olivia, who uses her eating habits to absorb the memories of murder victims and solve their deaths. Creepy? A bit. Aly plays Peyton, Olivia’s (living) best friend. The connection is just uncanny. She’s in a show about dead people, but she isn’t dead? Seems like a diversion where she can point fingers elsewhere.

alyizombieTaken from tv.com.

3. Recently, Aly & AJ have emerged from their slumber together. Their EP Ten Years reintroduces them to the music world with a rejuvenated sound. Yeah, I bop to it. It sounds nice, and I can definitely say, “We stan!” But think harder. What does “ten years” even mean? Ten years since what? Their deaths? Probably. Things get even spookier when you listen to their hit, “Take Me.” Check out these lines:

I know that you would want it

If I could sink my teeth into you

They are literally talking about biting somebody. Their music video also confirms the suspicion. Check out those sharpened teeth:

AlyfangsTaken from Vevo music video of “Take Me“.

4. This summer, my friend Jess and I had the pleasure (or doomed misfortune) of seeing Aly & AJ live at the Paradise Rock Club. It was a transformative experience. Great banter, great tunes, and lots of dancing. At one point, Aly commented on their tumultuous careers: “I feel like AJ and I have lived nine lives!” Honestly, Aly, maybe that’s because you have.

jJEb7ziXSkWPSHTXDjD47wA poor quality photo of a high quality evening.

I feel as though I have some irrefutable evidence here. Try to come at me! Perhaps I have dug myself into a hole in the process of this post… but what kind of hole? Notice my obsession over Aly & AJ aligns closely with that of a vampire’s minion. I was within close proximity of these two goddesses. Maybe there is a small chance… just a tiny one… that they have turned me, too, and the hole in which I lie exists in your local cemetery. Watch out when you’re traversing Commonwealth Ave late at night, all alone…

 

Arianna: So You Went to Splash…Now What?

If you’re anything like I was as a freshman, your BU inbox is probably (and hopefully) cluttered with emails you signed up for during Splash this weekend. You may have signed up for a couple of them just to win a free T-shirt, and some you might’ve just put your email down because your friends or roommate did. I remember being pretty overwhelmed at my first Splash, because there are so many different clubs and organizations out there, and all of them are trying to get your attention. At the end of the day, the idea of narrowing everything down to a very small handful of clubs can be very daunting.

Unfortunately for me, I actually only ended up going to a few of the meetings, and didn’t really stick with any clubs my first semester. In the thick of everything, that actually didn’t occur to me–I signed up for BUTV10 and went to the trainings, but I only sporadically showed up to shoots after the training ended. I was afraid of over-committing my time, and ended up with such an excess of free time that I ran out of things to do almost constantly. The tricky thing is, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to get involved with clubs after the initial buzzing of the start of the semester wears off, because most organizations are in a routine by October.

Thankfully, at the beginning of the spring semester each year, BU hosts a Winter Activities Fair. I attended by myself, being the only person in my friend group who really needed to go. I signed up for WTBU and a volunteer group with the Community Service Center, and from my initial sign-up for WTBU stemmed an opportunity to write for The Beat, WTBU’s zine. Suddenly, my semester was filled with weekly meetings and opportunities to do stuff outside of class, and meet a ton of great people. My freshman spring was leaps and bounds better than my freshman fall, and I fully attribute that to the fact that I was more involved at BU.

Starting with that semester and throughout my sophomore year, I tried out a lot of different clubs and organizations, learned so much, and felt so much more content and fulfilled at BU, then during my junior year, I fully settled into BU On Broadway, joined BUTV10’s Bay State as a writer, and have stayed involved in the Community Service Center by doing FYSOP as a staff leader and going on an ASB trip. Because of my extracurriculars, I feel so much more passionate, driven, and capable, and I bring that into the classroom, which has helped me grow academically.

Long story short, even if you somehow ended up only signing up for 3 mailing lists, make sure you get to those general meetings and ask around about what your friends, classmates, or floormates are involved in and see if you can tag alone. I promise it will make all the difference in your first year, and the sooner you get involved, the sooner you will discover your greatest passions and meet your favorite people.

Have a great semester,

Arianna <3 

Sophia: The Typical “I Am Abroad” Post!

To quote fellow CA Tyler from his blog last week, “Yes, I am abroad, but I don’t want to give you the standard ‘I am abroad!’ post.”

Good for you, Tyler. Except here I am, about to give you the most typical, basic, eye-roll-inducing “I am abroad!” post of all time. So take that! Ha!
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Point is, abroad is as every bit exhausting, delightful and life-changing as everyone makes it out to be. I know, I know: when you’re living in Europe and traveling to magical cities every weekend, how can it not be? But until you come abroad (or in my opinion, specifically to Europe), you never fully understand why no one shuts up about it until you’re two weeks away from leaving and are already feeling nostalgic. Yeah, it’s that bad.
Because everyone’s abroad experience is so different from each other, it’s hard to pin point exactly what the best parts of. I remember that before I came here, I asked so many people what the absolute must-dos of abroad were, and everyone had different answers. But, because this is MY blog post (mwahaha), I’m going to give you the must-dos that I’ve taken away from my time in the London Internship Program.
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I only have three suggestions:
1) Eat everything.
This one is self-explanatory.
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I truthfully think food is the best thing in life (like genuinely, try to name something better than food, because I never can. Love? You can’t survive off of love! Sleep? Pfft, I’ll sleep when I’m dead!), and to have so many authentic dishes as close as a train ride away is the best part of being abroad. I won’t lie, I haven’t loved all of the food that I’ve tried, but I’ve still tried it. And then, there was the food that I was hesitant to try and ended up LOVING! I used to feel kind of ‘eh’ about Spanish food, but turns out it’s my favorite European food…and that out of Italy, Scotland, France, Sweden, Germany and London. I can’t count Greece because that’s where my family is from and my normal diet consists of the best Greek food ever, so it seems unfair to pit other countries against it. Still, not once have I ever regretted spending money on a meal, even the ones that I didn’t like. Order everything!
2) Work your tush off at your internship. 
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My internship is at the Evening Standard, a large scale publication in London. As a journalism major, I had known of the Evening Standard well before even deciding to come study abroad, so when I was placed there, I was more than delighted – I was, somehow, terrified, thrilled, anxious and eager all at once. I had many expectations coming into my internships, and I am delighted to announce that so far, all of them have been met. In fact, most of them have been surpassed.  Having worked for a publication before (Boston Magazine), I was used to writing on tight deadlines, pitching ideas and working in a fast-paced news environment. What I wasn’t prepared for, however, was the freedoms and responsibilities that were given to me by this publication. In Boston, my pieces had been carefully calculated, planned out precisely with my supervisor down to the very detail, edited and re-edited again and again until they were finally published. But at the Standard, I was published within my first day. In fact, I had published seven articles after my first week’s completion, articles that I had pitched myself and been given barely any afterthought before publishing. “We know what you’re capable of,” my supervisor had told me after my initial surprise. “We trust you, we trust your words.”
And really, I have been treated since then as a full-time employee in the best way possible. The days seem to zoom by; I have my own desk, co-workers who respect me and take me seriously, a supervisor who trusts my ideas and an editor that does my words justice. It is an idealistic set-up, a dream-come-true, and it’s reignited a fresh fire in my pursuit of a journalist career. Having this experience did more than just give me an international resume boost…it reignited my fire.
3) Be bold.
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Okay, hear me out: I’ve jumped into so many bodies of water abroad in the cold, and honestly, it has completely revolutionized my outlook on life. We’re only this young once, and there are only so many times in your life that you are actually able to jump into the freezing cold Loch Ness without the obstacles of life stopping you. It sounds so silly, but every day that I’ve been abroad I’ve tried to do something bold and whimsical, and coming from such a renowned school like BU that can feel so overwhelming at times, it was the best way outlook to have when waking up in the morning.
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So go, try some weird Scottish food, surf in Barcelona, work hard at your internships. This experience gives back what you put into it, so don’t be afraid to go all in.

Claire W: The Importance of Friendship

Today was a challenging day. You know how it gets with classes, final projects and midterms, and then I received some sad news. As I sat in my apartment trying (but failing) to collect my thoughts and be productive, my roommate, CA Megan, came home with insomnia cookies. She had also had a tough few days, so I made her favorite muffins that she eats every morning so that she wouldn’t have to worry about it after her night class. We sat on our futon (Barb), ate cookies, promising that we will get through this together, and everything felt a little better. And that’s why, as Megan would say, I love friendship.

The friendships I have made at BU have made all the difference for my experience at BU. Even with all of the wonderful classes, faculty, and stellar opportunities, my friends will always be the best thing BU has given me. It’s the small efforts we make for each other – ensuring one another that we’re not alone during these crazy few years – that mean so much.

I heard another CA say at open house last Saturday, you could make your best friends in college at orientation or half-way through sophomore year, and both are okay. I couldn’t agree more. One of my closest friends I met during FYSOP, and others I only got to know a few months ago. Some of the best moments of my life have been spent with these people, and I am so grateful for that.

Sometimes I wish I could turn back time and meet some of my friends again. Like CA Tyler, who I don’t really know when or how we became friends. I think we both just knew immediately that we were going to have a long and wonderful friendship. He’s been my shoulder to cry on in the dining hall of all places, but also makes me laugh more than anyone else can. Other friendships took longer to form, like Megan who is now glued to my hip, but who I knew for a full year before realizing that she was my friendship soulmate.

In conclusion, take this Buzzfeed quiz about toast to find out what kind of friend you are: https://www.buzzfeed.com/jasminnahar/make-some-toast-and-well-reveal-what-kind-of-frie?utm_term=.evqLlyY3Y

I got the ‘Mum Friend’, which I feel is both right and wrong. I don’t really know. Anyway, go hug your friends close, let them know you love them, and if they are having a bad day buy them some insomnia because chocolate chip cookies can solve nearly anything. And, if you are an accepted or perspective student buckle up to meet your friendship soulmates.

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Hali: Hali’s Favorite Warm Weather Activities

“I woke up this morning and was immediately greeted with a true rarity: sunshine. Sometimes, Boston winters seem to last forever (shoutout to last week’s April snowfall). But there are brighter days ahead, and it’s almost time to trade my vitamin D supplements for some fun in the sun! This upcoming weekend’s 60 degree forecasts inspired me to list the things I’m most excited to do when Spring has finally sprung.
1. Check out the art (and food) at SoWa Open Market
When I spent my first summer living in Boston, I went to SoWa nearly every weekend. Located in the gorgeous South End, it’s filled with various artists, vendors, and most importantly, food trucks. Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, anyone?
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2. Go for a stroll (and spend a bit too much money) on Newbury Street
This one is an absolute classic. Newbury Street may look beautiful when those trees are covered in snow and Christmas lights, but subzero temperatures don’t make for an ideal shopping experience. When it finally warms up, I can spend hours strolling along Newbury Street with my friends. Don’t forget to take a snack break at Georgetown Cupcake (you deserve it).
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3. Visit The Seaport District!
I’ve noticed that this area is severely underappreciated by BU student. I’ll admit that I’m part of the problem! The seaport is a little difficult to get to, but on a nice day you can walk here from Park Street or South Station, and it’s even accessible by the Silver Line if you’re not feeling it. The seaport is beautiful on a summer day, and you can stop by the I.C.A., or even go beyond this district and walk to the Lawn on D!
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4. Enjoy a run (or walk, or bike ride, or picnic, etc.) on the Esplanade
Ah yes, save the simplest for last. There isn’t a single excuse to not enjoy the Esplanade. It’s about a thirty second walk from campus, and it’s a great place to exercise, do homework, or just spend time with friends.
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The next several Saturdays should be beautiful, so be sure to add a few of these ideas to your weekend to-do list!

Grace: How to Make the Most of Your Abroad Experience: Tips and Tricks from a Travel Enthusiast

The study abroad opportunities offered at Boston University attract many students to study here, and those within the College of Communication are no different. While COM students can go on most programs available through the university, there are four COM-specific programs in London, Dublin, Sydney, Washington D.C., and Lost Angeles. These are internship programs in which students complete three courses and an internship in their field for academic credit.

I am a dual-degree student studying advertising and international relations, and I chose to study in the London internship program. I’m currently interning in digital marketing at Brevia Consulting, a public affairs agency. When you apply, make sure to research and find out what program is best for your interests and career goals.

As I reach the beginning of the end of my incredible abroad experience, here are my key insights and recommendations:

  1. Network at your internship placement – don’t be afraid to ask questions, and make sure you work hard. You never know what a connection could lead to later on.

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2. Travel on the weekends – if you do leave the US, take advantage of this time to visit neighbouring countries you may never be able to return to.

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3. Spend ample time exploring your home city – this is a unique opportunity to become a local in a foreign place.

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4. Try the local cuisine – there’s no better way to experience a new culture than to sample its food. Fish and chips, mate!

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5. Experience nightlife (if of age) – try an electronic club in Berlin or an underground arts festival in London for a truly unforgettable experience.

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6. Befriend locals – they will show you the ins and outs of the city and help you avoid the super touristy stuff.

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7. Call back home occasionally – don’t forget that your Mom misses you!

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Trust me – you will fall in love with your abroad experience and never want to return. Live your best life while you can, make some memories, and earn credits at the same time. Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!

Claire W: Looking on the Bright Side of March

I really hate March. And, I don’t think I’m alone in this. Objectively, it’s probably the worst month. Every year when March rolls around I sigh heavily and wish that I could hibernate until the month is over, cue “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” but with March.  I mean really… It’s a month chalk full of dramatic weather fluctuations, midterms, and never enough sleeping. But, as we near to the end of the month, I think I’ve found a handful of things about March that actually do bring me some joy.

1. Spring Break

Obviously, this is the best part of every March! It’s a week to escape to a warmer climate or spend some time exploring Boston sans homework and classes. Spring Break gives us all hope that summer is indeed on the horizon. This spring break I road tripped with my best friend, CA Megan, from my home in Utah to Las Vegas and Los Angeles. It felt oh so good to have sand between my toes on a sunny LA afternoon. This alone is reason enough to look forward to March.

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  1. St. Patrick’s Day

Boston is the place to be during St. Patrick’s Day! There is so much Irish spirit all around. This year, I explored the South End before heading to Southie for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Next year, grab some friends, deck yourselves out in green, and enjoy the parade. This is also a great time just to walk around the city because everyone is in a festive mood!

 

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  1. Snow Days

A cup of hot chocolate, blankets, and Netflix as the snow falls outside is my idea of heaven. It means catching up on much-needed sleep, practicing some self-care and finding some new Netflix shows. Lying in bed all day? Don’t mind if I do.

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  1. Pi Day

This is such an underrated day. I love making pie, eating pie, and occasionally I even like doing math. This year, I made a lemon pie with a gingersnap crust that made me tear up it was so delicious. Pi Day just makes people happy.

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  1. Connecting with Friends

People always want to connect in March, making it a great time for friendship. A few days ago, my friend CA Claudia hosted a Persian New Year for a bunch of her friends that was so fun. I learned about another culture, ate yummy food, and caught up with some of my favorite people. March is a lot more bearable when you surround yourself with people you love.

 So, next time March rolls around don’t fret! This drab month doesn’t have to be so gloomy. That being said, next March if all goes to plan I will be studying in sunny Los Angeles, so this might be my last frigid March for quite a while *single tear*.

Sydney: The Different Stages of Studying Abroad

Hola from Madrid! I am currently taking classes and interning in the beautiful country of Spain through the Madrid Internship Program. Studying abroad is an amazing opportunity that brings out many different emotions. After also participating in the Dublin Internship Program this past summer, I have observed and experienced the various feelings that come with living overseas. Here are all the relevant stages and emotions during your time abroad:

  1. Nerves

The idea of living in an unfamiliar country that is so far away from friends and family can be pretty nerve-wrecking. These nerves are extremely normal and valid; you are about to embark on a huge adventure and there’s no way you can know what to expect.

  1. Excitement

Along with nerves comes tons of excitement. Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and there are so many things to be excited about: traveling to new places, trying new food, meeting new people, and so much more! Once you arrive to the city, you will be excited to explore and take everything in.

  1. Overwhelmed

After the excitement of the first few weeks settles in as you begin classes and your internship, it is very common to feel overwhelmed. Although it would be great if studying abroad was one big vacation, you are there to study, go to class, and work. General school stress that you feel in Boston will also affect you abroad. Additionally, you may be overwhelmed about being so far from friends and family. However, it is very easy to overcome these feelings by relying on your peers in the program who are experiencing the same emotions, as well as distractions such as constantly traveling and exploring new places.

  1. Comfort

After about a month or so of living somewhere, you find comfort in the new city with your new routine and friends. By the time I left Dublin, everything was so familiar and I felt as if the city was my home. After already living in Madrid for two months, I am extremely comfortable with my host family, friends, and the city in general. I am so excited that I still have so much time left!

  1. Bittersweet

As your time studying abroad comes to an end, you experience many mixed emotions. For one, you will be upset that such an amazing experience is almost over. However, you are content with all the time you had getting to know and explore the city. Even though you wish it was longer, you have a bunch of new, extraordinary memories.

Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that teaches you so much about different cultures and ways of life. If you have the time in your schedule and opportunity to do so, go abroad! You will not regret it.

Laurel: NYFW Essentials

New York fashion week has come and gone, but its trends will last forever…or at least for the spring season. 

Whether you care about staying on top of the trends or not, we are all sucked into the rabbit hole of the aftermath of fashion weeks around the world. You may think you are being original when you buy 90’s wear at the store, but the only reason it is being sold to begin with is because of the influence of these major designers. It’s a never failing and everlasting marketing mastermind that has been constructed and tailored by the fashion industry. 

So, since it’s not going anywhere and we are never going to stop buying clothes why not embrace it? Here are the top trends from fashion week and a guide of how to take the runway and make it wearable. We all know, thanks to celebrities like Lady Gaga and Rhianna, sometimes runway outfits can be a little….out there so I’ve given you some ideas on how to transform them into your wardrobe.  

First things first, gone are the times of your jeans being the dreaded and uncomfortable wardrobe essential and welcome to the bold statement pant. Otherwise known as “fancy pants” quite literally, these are anything from jeans to embroidery, fringe, flare or even ruffles. On the runway, you may find sheer or even two different colored legs and if that is a little too far out of your comfort zone, stores like Anthropologie and Madewell have you covered with some spiced up basics. 

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Moving on we have a personal favorite of mine…pastels. Who doesn’t love a good color scheme and a color coordinated wardrobe? You may laugh now but when you tailor your wardrobe colors to complement each other your outfit possibilities multiply. On the runway, you may find head to toe one solid and baggy pastel ensemble but stores likeAritzia offer a more refined and sleek look for everyday wear. 

Fashion Week 2 pastel

Next up we have bright bold and the way to tell when someone over edited their Instagram picture…saturated! This is a fun twist to include in your spring wardrobe and especially as we start itching toward those summer months and beach vacations. What better way to daydream about a tropical oasis then dressing like you’re already on vacation? If all saturated isn’t your thing try bold tops with a basic pant or vice versa. If bright is your enemy but you want to stay #hip then opt for a colorful statement jewelrypiece instead. 

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Finally, one of my personal favorites—fringe! Fringe is the new black if you ask me. Now this one can be done in many ways. Wear it head to toe like the runway models or get a ~fringe-y~ bag or accessories. Either way you’re going to look like the coolest kid on the block!

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Now, go forth fashionably.