May Theme

Wow, I can’t believe that May is already here. Finals are just around the corner (Monday and Tuesday for me) and that’s just crazy to me that I’m already nearly finished with my first year of college. So I’m off to a late start for the month of May and I contemplated not doing a theme at all. But then I realized that sticking to one theme for the whole theme has helped me become a lot more organized and consistent with my blog posts so I might as well continue doing them. So this month I’m going to talk about underdogs: the washed up, those that have all the odds against them, and just those that you can’t help but root for and be inspired by. Some of these underdogs don’t ALWAYS win, but you always want them to due to the fact that they never give up. Some other words to describe them and just general words to think about this month are: outcasts, misfits, freaks, geeks, weirdos, round pegs in square holes, rebels, and dreamers. Basically the best way to sum up this month is this quote from Apple,

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

So this is the quote that helped me come up with this theme because it’s a quote that I come back to fairly often. Underdogs seem to have the whole world against theme but somehow they manage to find something or someone to believe in and they find a way to reach some level of success. Some of the things I’ll be talking about this month include: Broadway musicals, Disney movies, books about the world being against you, movies about finding a way to overcome, and also a few rad playlists, one of which will definitely be for those of you studying for finals. Plus there will be many more things that are going to be a surprise so stay with me this month!

Sidenote: Since I’m a day late getting started, I’ll also put my first post that should have been today sometime later on in the day so I don’t get too behind with my posts.

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Best Sports Articles

There’s something special about sports articles. To be a good one, the reporter has to be involved in the lives of the athletes. These authors in the following magazine articles went above and beyond that expectation and wrote some of the best articles of all time.

1. Crime and Punishment by Gary Smith

By far my favorite piece of sports writing of all time. Richie Parker was a high school basketball player who found his dreams of being a college basketball player shattered when one moment beneath the school stairwells changed everything. The interesting thing about this story is how everything affects everything. It didn’t just change Richie’s life, it changed the lives of journalists, principals, coaches, and other authority figures. It’s written in such a flawless way and you get wrapped up in the lives of every character.

2. Life goes on for Lance Armstrong by Rick Reilly

This story is heartbreaking and personal. Reilly went above and beyond the call of duty by following Lance Armstrong around and also defending him against steroid allegations for years. The story uncovers a lot of information and you can’t help but sympathize with Rick Reilly.

3. The Final Walk-Off by J.R. Moehringer

Derek Jeter is one of the best baseball players my generation has seen. I love how in-depth and thoughtful this story really is. It’s a terribly long article but it’s worth the read. I’ve never been a big fan of Jeter as a person but this story was able to shed a light on how awesome the baseball player actually is.

4. In The Nick of Time by Rick Bragg

Despite the totally awful pun, the title and the article gives us serious insight on how much the state of Alabama needed Nick Saban. It’s crazy to me how obsessed these fans are. But football is really the big thing that gets people together in the state. Saban was able to satisfy the people of Alabama by his arrival. It’s a fascinating story filled with many quotations and personal stories.

5. The Left Arm of God by Tom Verducci

I love the story of the legendary pitcher Sandy Koufax. So naturally, this story really appealed to me. In my humble opinion, the introduction to this story is by far one of the best I’ve ever read. It paints such a vivid picture for you of a man who’s no longer a star, he’s just like an ordinary guy who doesn’t get much attention.

6. Heroes For Sale by Brin-Jonathan Butler

This is a lovely profile of a former Cuban boxer who proved that money isn’t the most important thing in life. This Cuban boxer, Teófilo Stevenson, once said, “What is a million dollars compared to the love of eight million people?” Stevenson was one of the few boxers who was able to stand a chance against Ali. The profile does a great job at connecting the boxer with the number one most famous Cuban athlete Yasiel Puig and both of them with Cuba in general.

7. Federer As Religious Experience by David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace is one of the best authors I’ve ever read. He doesn’t just scratch the surface of what he writes about, he digs in as deep as he can possibly get. He’s known more for his essay on lobster and his classically long book, “Infinite Jest.” Beyond that, he was also an amazing sportswriter. More specifically, he was a beautiful writer about tennis. He was a serious tennis player growing up and it’s clear he knows a lot about this sport that he loves. This essay provides us with a perspective about Federer that we’ve never looked at before.

8. Higher Education by Gary Smith

Gary Smith tells the story of a black basketball coach teaching in Ohio’s Amish country. This story goes beyond basketball and creates empathy within the readers. It also is the rare type of story that causes us to actually put ourselves in the characters shoes. Just read how perfect this sentence right here is, “They knew in their bones how small his wrath was, held up against his love.” It’s simple yet beautiful and compelling.

9. Special Team by Rick Reilly

No story could be more heartwarming as this one. Rick Reilly tells a story about Chy Johnson, a girl from the small town of Queen Creek Arizona who was being bullied at school. This quote explains it all, “Chy’s brain works at only a third-grade level because of a genetic birth defect, but she knew enough to feel hate.” Her mom noticed how sad her daughter seemed to be so she contacted the starting quarterback on the school’s football team, he and the other football players began a beautiful friendship that is extremely touching.

10. Mutant by Luke Dittrich

Usain Bolt is the fastest man on the planet. This profile of him is the best I’ve read. It goes deeper into what motivates this athlete and it gets personal – maybe too personal but it’s still insanely detailed. This is a must read for all of you that have heard his name but don’t know his story.

 

 

How To Dress Like Ariana Grande

Here is an article that I wrote for Teen Scene about how to dress like one of my big fashion icons Ariana Grande! I think the girl is straight up gorgeous. I love her hair and just her style in general. She always looks extremely classy and she knows how to accessorize. I could even update this more, let’s just talk about how fabulous she looked at the Grammy’s?! It’s crazy to see how far she’s come since her Broadway days! But anyway, here is a link to the article which I hope you enjoy reading!

NPR Education Articles

NPR is amazing at publishing the best news and general content. They have an education blog that also never disappoints. Recently, they started an ongoing series they call, “50 Best Teachers.” There’s 12 total articles which you can find here. I’m going to link to several different articles that I found the most intriguing.

Any article about Springsteen is automatically one of my favorites. This one doesn’t let me down. It focuses on one particular teacher who finds inspiration from the famous performer. She says that there’s not really one particular method of teaching that she’s been taught. This is a bunch of interesting points and I like hearing about different teachers around the world.

These are all important points about being a good teacher from voices that know what they are talking about. It’s a well put together article and it’s all important things to keep in mind.

NPR talks about movies and how teachers are portrayed in them. They bring up interesting points about a variety of different teachers and their personalities in movies. They talk about the good teachers who are passionate and involved. Such as Robin Williams’ English teacher in Dead Poets Society. In contrast, they bring up the teacher in Whiplash. A movie that was recently released about the relationship between a drummer and his jazz teacher. The relationship goes abusive which is obviously not a good turn of events. I like how many different personalities the articles explores.

All are personal and endearing tales from the readers favorite teachers. They talk about how a teacher’s colorful personality is a large part of the appeal. I love hearing others points of views and experiences.

There’s yet another perspective on real people and the memories we share with the teachers. It’s like Friday Night Lights, only more inspiring and has a much happier ending.

Best Podcasts

Podcasts are pretty much the big thing right now. Here are some of the ones that are really worth listening to. There’s thousands of podcasts but these are the ones in particular that are important and awesome. Check them out!

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Fresh Air is the first podcast that I ever really listened to. I remember being in the sixth grade listening to Terry Gross interview Dave Grohl about the new Foo Fighters album. That was also my introduction to Nirvana. Grohl told stories about his experiences as a drummer for the band and stories about the late Kurt Cobain. It was cool to listen to and has stuck with me for a long time now. I continue listening to this podcast because the guests are always so popular and the interviews always feel really genuine and they aren’t ever boring.

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Invibilia is a podcast from NPR that’s actually pretty recent. They’ve completed their first season and it wasn’t nearly as long as I hoped it would be. However, every episode taught me about things I never have previously thought about. Every story told on this podcast is just as interesting as the last. Prepare to be enchanted with all the information this podcast provides listeners with.

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This is easily my favorite music podcast. I love All Songs Considered but I feel like this choice is under the radar and should be recognized. Each episode revolves around some kind of aspect to music. They only talk about topics they feel that no one else is. They uncover things about songs that were written in a dream to political songs to backing tracks. The episodes are fairly short so it’s easy to listen to a bunch of them at once in order to catch up.

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I couldn’t leave Serial off a post about the best podcasts. Serial is obviously the most downloaded podcast of all time for a reason. The first season of this storytelling podcast is about the true story of Adnan Syed who was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend in 2000. He was sentenced to life in prison but a family friend of his contacted Sarah Koenig about looking further into the case. Koenig discovered that there’s a lot of flaws in the case to convict Syed but if he didn’t do it then who did? The way the podcast is structured is one of it’s serious strengths. Each episode focuses on a different aspect in the case and it’s impossible to keep one opinion throughout the whole season. One episode you’ll be sure of Syed’s innocence then the next episode will make you sure that he’s guilty. If you love a good story, listen to Serial. You won’t regret it.

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Criminal is a podcast kind of similar to Serial. However, the episodes are a lot shorter and it focuses on a different criminal case each episode. The stories are all incredible and compelling. The only problem is that there’s not more episodes available. You’re bound to get hooked on the episodes that are currently released.

selected shorts

Selected Shorts is a pretty great podcast. Each episode centers around one central theme. Then famous performers, actors, and actresses read these stories in front of a live audience. The short stories are always beautiful and some of them will be familiar to you but not all of them will be. The cool thing about selected shorts is getting to hear these stories come to life by such brilliant and hilarious performers.

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I’m on a role with storytelling podcasts so why stop now? The thing different about this one from the other storytelling podcasts is that it’s true personal stories. These performers- some famous and some not, tell stories from their personal lives. It’s equally heartbreaking and heartwarming. One of my personal favorite episodes is the story actor Ethan Hawke tells. He talks about his mom’s ex husband Michael and how he was a secret influence in his life. It falls into the category of both heartbreaking and heartwarming because Hawke desperately craved for the attention of Michael and he was a straight up jerk. It makes a hilarious story though. Every episode of The Moth is different but the personal quality of it is always there.

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My brother made me check out this podcast and I don’t regret it. It’s more than just mildly offensive. The podcast is a lot about sex but it talks a lot about what’s going on in the world. KFC is always up to date and it’s always absolutely hilarious. They also had a bunch of episodes dedicated to Serial because KFC was so obsessed with it. The opinions they had about Serial was laugh out loud funny and I recommend that be your introduction to the podcast.

 

Magazines to Read

Spring break can get a little busy, especially if you’re planning on hitting the beach or something like that. These suggestions are magazines that you should read while in a long car ride or on a plane. Whatever it may be, these suggestions obviously don’t require too much of your time. Anyone can make just a little bit of time for some magazine reading! Hey, who knows, if you love it you might even subscribe to the magazine so you’re able to read more and more of it!

This magazine always has the most famous celebrities on the cover. It also is filled with a lot of pictures and wise style and relationship advice. Glamour is starting to become more like Cosmo, it has a lot of really sexual tips. But I still recommend it because the fashion and general articles are still amazing. Plus getting a subscription to Glamour is so cheap and you won’t regret it!

W magazine is filled to the brim with stunning photographs. It always has such stunning photoshoots with the models and celebrities. It also is just an incredible fashion magazine and general magazine for women. It’s hard not to love these stories and pictures.

Hey, you gotta stay educated right? Time is the biggest news magazine out there. It has so many issues and always keeps you up to date on what’s going on in the world. If you like reading in-depth articles, this is the magazine for you. I find it so interesting because it informs you about facts you may not know about. Plus so much research is spent on these stories and you can’t help but respect that.

If you just really want to read about what’s going on in the movie and television world, look no further than EW. It’s filled with so many interesting celebrity interviews and general news. It always keeps me updated on what’s going on in the entertainment world and that’s always fun to read about. It’s not too heavy but it’s always entertaining and what more can you ask for during your break?

The New Yorker is definitely my personal favorite “literary” magazine. I included the quote marks because that’s not really what it is. It talks about everything and so many different topics. The New Yorker has pretty much everything stacked inside the magazine. It’s filled with pieces from some of the greatest writers. It also has detailed profiles on certain popular celebrities and it’s news stories are always on issues that are ongoing.

Despite the fact that the swimsuit cover is the most popular issue, Sports Illustrated actually has some really cool stories about sports. It keeps up with what sports on going on when. If you’re a fan of sports, this is obviously the top magazine. It profiles all the best and most popular athletes, both current and old. The stories are really in-depth looks and you can always count on them to be extremely well written.

Fashion Icon: Audrey Hepburn

Classy and iconic actress Audrey Hepburn is the epitome of a true fashion icon. She has inspired so many actresses, models, and just everyday people in general. Here are some of Aubrey’s most famous looks that I personally love and has influenced me to wear something similar. Everyone needs a little Aubrey Hepburn in their lives.

This is the traditional LBD that became Hepburn’s signature look. Although it’s still extremely popular, no one pulls it off quite like Aubrey. She’s not showing off her body, she’s just wearing a classy and beautiful dress that she clearly loves.

This is THE Audrey Hepburn classic look. After looking at this picture, it’s not hard to see why. The gloves plus her necklace and gorgeous bun and hair piece makes the outfit truly come together. This is a look that will continue to be continually recreated and remembered.

Not many people can rock sunglasses quite as well as Audrey can. Her bathing suit is totally chic and stunning. Plus her timeless pixie cut is showcased here so it’s obviously an important look that we shouldn’t forget about.

I could be wrong but there wasn’t a whole lot of actresses wearing pant suits like this back in the day. Most actresses wore only dresses that showed off their curves and other body parts. (I’m looking at you, Marilyn Monroe) There’s nothing wrong with that, but Hepburn brought something new to the table by making this minimal look such a classy looking one. She was skinny and lacked curves, but she was different from other movie stars at the time and we embrace her look and timeless beauty.