Hosting: Last Minute New Year's Party

At some point between holiday shopping, Hannukah, and Christmas, you lost track of the fact you don't have plans for New Year's Eve. Or maybe you do, but it's come to your attention how terrible the plans are-- a gross, boozy night with a bunch of strangers and basics / a party that is really for your parents and family friends, with you being the only one who outgrew the kids table / a night of hanging out alone at home, watching netflix romcoms, until you suddenly realized that that's not how you wanted to start off the new year-- you know, that kind of thing. We've all been there. So now, here you are, at the eleventh hour, trying to put together something to do for New Year's Eve.

Here's your quick and dirty guide to the most last minute New Year's Eve party ever.


Do you have a location? You need a location. Preferably not a 7-11. Probably your house or the house of a friend who had equally woeful plans until you hatched this party idea.

  • Figure out timing-- when is the venue free?
  • Schedule in time for tidying up.
  • Pick areas of the house that are party locations and which areas will be off limits to guests.

Invite list

A party needs at least 3 people, and no two of those three can be in a relationship-- because that's just awkward. 5 or more people is preferable.
  • Invite people who haven't explicitly made their plans known
  • Make sure to emphasize the chillness of your event-- people don't make big, fancy commitments last minute
  • Don't invite friends who are exes. I hope I shouldn't have to say this, but especially when a get-together is small and has alcohol involved, don't do that stuff. You're just instigating crap at that point.
  • Even though your invitee pool is probably slim, don't forget to try to get a good group of people with decent chemistry together. 


Have something for people to eat. No one wants to sit in a room and starve for New Years. Chips, appetizers, etc. with some drinks-- don't make it complicated. Serving dinner? Consider buying food so cooking is not all in your hands, or make it a potluck.
  • Chips and dips
  • Veggie platters
  • Potluck it up for a dinner
  • Hot appetizers like frozen-then-baked taquitos are great
  • Get enough drinks for everyone


You don't want guests to be bored, and you're probably not just going to sit and watch the broadcast of New Year's Eve in Times Square ALL NIGHT so it's good to have some stuff to do. Here are some ideas.
  • Have a TV show in common? One that you loved, or one that you all missed? Marathon it on Netflix, Hulu, or iTunes. Harper's picks: How To Get Away With Murder, The Spoils of Babylon, Selfie (still salty about its cancellation but the remaining episodes are still going up on hulu!), Broad City, Jane The Virgin, Brooklyn Nine Nine, The Mindy Project, Agents of Shield
  • How about a movie? It's a good way to kill time and maybe even get caught up on the Oscar noms (or just any movie you missed in 2014). Harper's picks: Boyhood, Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier, Lego Movie, Grand Budapest Hotel, How To Train Your Dragon 2, 22 Jump Street, The Fault In Our Stars, The One I Love
  • Board games! Play yours or ask guest to bring some of theirs!
  • New Year's Themed Party Games! Tinyprints has a really good listing of New Year's Eve Party games.
  • Make a good playlist to run throughout the party or pick a great Pandora station.
That's it, you've done it! Now add some metallic decor, clean up, and get going on your non-lonely, last minute NYE party!

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Thanks for a great year! Reader Survey and Free Printables!

Thanks for a great 2014, readers! I'm trying to make 2015 even better. That means better content, fun giveaways, and general added awesomeness.

To get a better idea of how to make Harper Honey even better, I've put together a quick 15-question survey! This will help me understand what you want as a reader, so I can give you more great stuff.

Speaking of great stuff, as a thank you I'm offering two sets of printables for those who complete the survey. These printables are designed to help you get your life tamed! You can choose either the home-life maintenance printables, the blogging management printables, or both! Or you can pick neither :)

The Home-life Maintenance Printables include:
  • Bills Spreadsheet
  • Car Care Schedule
  • Contact Info Sheet
  • Emergency Contact Info Sheet
  • Weekly Meal Planner
  • Prescription Info
Blogging Management Printables include:
  • Affiliate Program Info
  • People You Sponsor Info 
  • Business Dealings Report
  • Giveaway Planner Page
  • Income Page
  • Sponsorship Bills Page
Take the survey now!
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Best of Harper Honey 2014

Looking back on 2014, I've definitely grown up a lot as a person and as a blogger. One of the cool (and sometimes embarrassing) things about being a blogger is that you can look back on your past work and see where you've been. I've gathered up some of my favorite posts of 2014 right here for those who either want to look back on them, or missed them before!

How to ask smart questions at a job interview.  Interviews typically wind down with "Do you have any questions for me about the company?" Never be stumped by that questions again!

100 things to love about yourself that have nothing to do with what you look like. Because self-confidence and self-love shouldn't start and end with what you look like.

Ditching the provider for a partner. A piece about love. More specifically, how to avoid letting a good thing crumble because of gender roles.

On the Romione controversy. Remember when JK Rowling revealed that Hermione and Ron probably shouldn't have ended up together? This post is about how I think things should have ended.

Tips on not having a crappy relationship. I'm that friend that people come to for advice, so here are some tidbits of wisdom for really common issues I see.

On Abstinence. Sex-positive me talks about abstinence and how to have open, good conversations about it.

To the men who are "Not All Men". In the wake of misogynistic rampage killings, women pushing for justice were met with whines from men who argued that a gender problem didn't exist because not all men murder women. This was my response.

5 brilliant pieces of advice from Her Conference. Fail fast, recover faster, and more great advice.

A tour of my room. I had a lot of fun redesigning my room in my apartment!

Extrovert to Introvert. It's hard for extroverts to be friends with introverts sometimes because we operate of different wavelengths.

Why I left the HCBN. Leaving the Her Campus Blogger Network was one of the most necessary decisions I have ever made as a blogger. Never be afraid to leave a toxic community.

Life lessons from Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt. Celebrity voice actors Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt give some of the best advice for life ever.

Cold weather hair care. How I keep my hair lookin' fly even in the cold months!

Black Friday Masterpost. Because I love Black Friday so much.

DIY closet curtain. How to replace ugly doors with a cute curtain!

Cool charities you should check out. A round up of really cool charities I like, plus I bust some chops on organizations that aren't as good as you might think.

What were your favorite moments of 2014?

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The Christmas Come-down

Happy just-after-Christmas to those who actually do Christmas things! To everyone else, happy day-people-finally-shut-up-about-Love-Actually. I hope everyone has had fun giving gifts, eating deliciousness, and hanging out with their loved ones. I hung out with my mother's side of the family and we had a Christmas lunch and gift exchange. Today I'm hanging out with my father's side of the family and probably blowing some gift cards up on sales.

I spent Christmas Eve making dumplings and then playing with my Venus McFlytrap Monster High Doll. Venus is the only doll I brought up to NoVA for the break-- she is also the most Christmassy doll I have. I love how well-articulated these dolls are because they are so fun to pose and take photos of!

I'm trying to get productive and power through the Christmas Come-down. Some things I'm doing:
Merry Christmas from your girl, Harper!

What are you doing in the lull between Christmas and New Years?
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Cool Charities You Should Check Out!

The holiday season is a great time to just love your life. For us Americans, it starts with Thanksgiving, a day where we express our gratitude and meditate on the things we are thankful for in our lives. And as a bonus, calories and diets don't count. We then may go into the dark weeks of final exams or general trying-to-get-crap-at-work-in-order-before-the-end-of-the-year time, and then it's Christmas or Hannukah or Diwali or whatever winter observance you enjoy. I know most of us sort of ride the tide of Christmas specials on TV and the "spirit of the season" (even if it's not the holy season for you in particular) and just have a ton of fun taking it easy, partying out the year and into the new one.

But during these times of joy, it's really important to consider that however fortunate we are, there are those struggling. Being grateful is good for the soul, mind, and body, and one great way to take it a step further is to pay it forward by working to perpetuate good. That's why it's a great time to give to charities and other non-profit organizations to give back to the community. In the spirit of giving, I've put together a list of some great charities I love, and also given you a little info on some charities whose missions you might want to reconsider. Remember that even if you can't make a financial donation, you can still help by donating your time, items needed for a project (like canned food or books), and/or publicizing a great organization both as a resource for others and a great place to lend support.
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Weekend Links 12.20.2014

This week I finished out my exams! I'm heading back home for holiday festivities soon, and I'm excited to relax for a while and just enjoy life. Final exams represent such a dark time. I'm still not on a proper sleep schedule and my body is protesting the state of tumult it has been in. But still, I'm happy to celebrate the end of my penultimate semester. You also may have noticed a redesign of the blog. I'm gearing up to make 2015 the best year yet on Harper Honey! Please let me know what you want from me in the new year!

A lost Disney film has emerged-- and that might mean we, the public, get to feast our eyes on it!

Poem of the week: "Frats" by Jozer Guerrero

This is a fluffy harp seal with a toy fluffy harp seal.

For those trying to be productive over break, maybe you might need my guide on starting out on LinkedIn.

This dance workshop video is amazing! So much slayage.

"Nobody wanted to live in a world where Bill Cosby was a sexual predator." But he's not the only one. John Lennon, Mike Tyson, Roman Polansky-- the list goes on.

This Draculaura make-up tutorial makes me want more pink make-up immediately.

Why it's best to avoid the word "transgendered" with some helpful discussions on better words and why language matters.

Columbia students fire back against the administration doing little to help stop rape, but happy to deal out fines against anti-rape protestors.

Song for the weekend - stream it on soundcloud and download it free!

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Harper's Holiday Wishes

As the holidays approach, I'm dreaming of the goodies that Santa might bring me. I'm a girl of simple pleasures.

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

1 - Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 in Grape - The new Polaroid, basically, the Fujifilm Instax cameras are the cutest things and I'm really digging this new color! I'd love to have one of these bad boys for all my projects and get-togethers.

2 - Cute Booties with a Stacked Heel like these from TJ Maxx - I am struggling without a cute pair of boots. I have brown boots for snow, and light brown oxfords-- nothing in between. And it's killing me.

3 - Limecrime Unicorn Lipstick - It's not secret that I'm an opaque lipstick lover. It'd love LimeCrime Unicorn Lipstick in No She Didn't (pictured), Styletto, and D'Lilac.

4 - Over The Garden Wall - Okay, I've not talked about this on the blog yet, but goddamn, did I love this weird, dark, silly mystery series. It's a TV miniseries of about 10 episodes that roughly equate to the length of a feature film. It follows Wirt and Greg, two brothers trying to get home after wandering into the mysterious, dangerous, and creepy region called "The Unknown." A comic book series of OTGW is happening too and I want it really bad.

5 - Monster High Dolls - I have fallen head over heels into this fandom. I love the dolls, I love the webshorts, and the movies are surprisingly good. And of course the characters are to die for. My favorite is Twyla (pictured) but my other faves are Venus McFlytrap, Jinafire Long, Kiyomi Haunterly, Operetta, and Robecca Steam. I'm also 100% serious in saying that the Monster High movies are good-- positive messages, well done characters, and a surprising amount of ground covered, story-wise. I want dolls, DVDs, and also to live in their world. Seriously, cute clothes, magic, no laws of hair consequences to deal with... not to mention the ridiculous amount of monster puns.

What are you hoping Santa brings you this holiday season?

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Harper Watched: Girl Most Likely

Welcome to another Harper Watched review! Today I'm talking about the indie flick starring Kristin Wiig and Darren Criss, Girl Most Likely, which you can catch on Netflix.

I was originally drawn to this movie by the fact that Darren Criss is in it-- I've been on this ride since his A Very Potter Musical days, and I'm probably never gonna leave him. He'd posted about it a lot when the film first came out, but living in Williamsburg, Va, I was only able to get my hands on it via Netflix. Admittedly when it did turn up on my Netflix homepage, I didn't touch it for a while. The film cover and synopsis were interesting, but didn't really capture the kind of whimsy or tightness I like to see when I watch movies so I got distracted by other movies. Or maybe there was a part of me that kind of felt like the movie hit a little to close to some part of me I'm disappointed in. More on that later.

Girl Most Likely stars Kristin Wiig as Imogene, a former wunderkind playwright now struggling with her own mediocrity walking amongst the New York City elite. Her long-term boyfriend breaks up with her, sending her into a tail-spin which costs her her job. In a last ditch attempt to get him to show that he really does still care for her, she half-heartedly attempts suicide. This effort sends her to her backwater roots in Atlantic City, far from her upper-crust circle she doesn't quite fit in with, and into the arms of her dysfunctional family: a brother who struggles with social interactions, a gambling-addict mother, the absurd man her mother is sleeping with, and the Backstreet Boy impersonator who has rented out her room in her absence.

It's a comedy that pivots around the acceptance of the absurdity, heartbreak, and freedom that comes with knowing who really cares for you. It's sort of a coming of age story--- granted Imogene is sort of past the age at which that sort of thing typically happens in stories, but that's sort of the point.

This movie is really likable. It's sweet, it's funny, and it's the type of sensibility that feels like reality with a bit of a smirking edge to it. I would recommend it for those who have a sense of humor that hinges more around realizing everything about life is crazy than slapstick moments or physical comedy.

As a story about a past-her-prime playwright I kind of shrunk away from watching this movie for a while, because it's been half a decade since I wrote a half decent play. I used to win competitions and now I worry it's all gone. I think I was kind of worried about what kinds of things it'd make me feel about my own mediocrity as a writer-- would I feel made fun of or judged? Would I feel pressured to give up? Or to have to write again to feel worthwhile? Would it show a me with all of Imogene's failures and none of her successes? I kind of worried about all of he above. But in the end, it really was a great film and the message surrounding Imogene's playwriting seemed to be about knowing who you are, owning it, and then trusting yourself enough to make art again-- and I think that's a really great message.

Harper's Rating: 4.4 / 5

Great cast
Well-written story
Humor is driven more by events than dialogue (it's a pro for some people, but I am not picky in that sense)
Darren Criss as a Backstreet Boys impersonator
Darren Criss wearing eyeliner as a Backstreet Boys impersonator
George Bousche, the spy
There's a sincerity about this movie that I really like
None, really

Check out Girl Most Likely on netflix!

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Weekend Links 12.12.2014

It's exam week. I don't want to talk about it. It's been rough.

Screeching in glee over this trailer for The Last 5 Years.

The perils of hipster economics: "Gentrifiers focus on aesthetics, not people. Because people, to them, are aesthetics."

Meowingtons: accessories, apparel, and more, designed by cats for use by humans.

My fave Pope, Pope Francis, gives you 10 tips for living a happy life.

Poem of the week "Your body isn't his ideal his type of body but pathetic has never been your ideal type of personality."

So, the Grammys really don't like POC

Very large person, Shaquille O'Neal uses a very small oven, the Easy-Bake.

The which part of the "Blank Space" video are you quiz on Buzzfeed is a lot of fun.

How to make a zine in 7 easy steps!

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Harper Watched: Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart

Today's Harper Watched is about a French animated film now available in the US called Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart. I had seen a trailer/preview for the film earlier this year and I was very excited to see it so I picked it up when I came upon it at Target.

What first drew me to seeing this film was a combination of inherent interest in animated movies (because I'm basically an 8 year old with discerning taste) and the wonderful visual style of the animation. I first came across a clip and I thought the song was so sweet and pretty (although lyrically a little strange, which I later realized was a function of a few different factors which I will get into later). Before I get into it too much, here's the trailer.

So as you might gather from the trailer, this story is something like a steampunk, fairy-tale-esque fever dream. It's about a boy named Jack who was born on the coldest day ever, and has his frozen heart replaced with a cuckoo clock. As a result, he's delicate, and above all else, he can never fall in love-- his heart wouldn't be able to stand it. But of course, on the one day he's finally allowed into town, he hears a lovely little girl singing a song in the square about how she has poor eyesight but dislikes wearing glasses. Her name is Acacia, and she sprouts thorns when she feels upset or threatened. He falls in love with her and goes on a quest to find her again, no matter what it might do to his cuckoo clock heart.
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DIY - Closet Curtain

It's no secret that I like to live in an aesthetically pleasing space. Aesthetically pleasing is a super subjective phrase, but I think we can all agree that bi-fold doors are ugly as hell. They're a solution for the problem presented by regular doors that take up a lot of space swinging out, and they also don't present the sliding door problem of never being able to see the whole closet and having a really difficult to access middle-area. So in theory, bi-fold doors are a great idea, but mine were terrible. They had no detailing like slats or panelling-- it didn't even have a nice texture or knobs. They were absolutely austere. They looked like these, but worse since the geniuses who installed them in the apartment stuck a stopper in the middle because the pair of doors were too wide when closed flush for the doorway. The stopper prevented you from knocking the doors into each other (which I assume was the objective) but because of this, the doors didn't close all the way and were constantly protruding into the room. It was an assault on my eyes, and looking at them made me so annoyed every day! So I finally made the leap and carried out the DIY solution I've been dreaming of since I saw those stupid things. I took the doors out and made curtains.

I didn't want to assault your eyes with the stupid bifold doors either. I love the way this DIY turned out! It only took about an hour and it looks great! Looking at my closet now makes me super happy rather than pissed off. It never juts out into my room like those stupid bi-folds did, and it's a really easy project for renters like me since there's no drilling or anything involved in this fix, and I can take these things with me wherever I go.

(In case anyone is wondering why I have a drawer tower in my closet, since I didn't want to have to deal with a ton of furniture at the end of this school year when I graduate, I didn't want to buy myself a dresser, so I've just been using a garment rack and these drawers.)

I bought the fabric at JoAnn's and I bought the tension rod at Target from the bath section. It's really important to measure your doorway first. I got two lengths of 2 yards since my closet is about 6.5 ft for my main fabric. The white additional fabric helped close the gap and served to make the loop through which the tension rod would go. I could have done the whole thing in the main fabric at 2.5 yards if I wanted, but I liked the idea of the two fabrics, and the pattern of the fabric helps lengthen the look even though the white cuts it shorter, visually, so I felt they balanced out well. I made two curtain panels by cutting the white fabric length-wise, folding each of those pieces in half length-wise and then sewing the open edge to the top of the main fabric panel.

Then I just fed the tension rod through the curtains, and followed the instructions to set the tension rod. For these, all I had to do was pull and twist to set them up. It looks really nice now and I love what it does to my space visually and texturally.

Some tips on picking fabric:
  • Unless you're planning on layering fabrics or want a sheer look, go for a heavier fabric. Some upholstery fabrics will fit the bill really well.
  • Avoid fabrics that stretch or wrinkle. That's probably not the look you're going for.
  • Make sure your curtains add-up to we wider than your doorway so that you get that nice drapey look-- the opposite is true for bi-fold doors. 
  • Be careful about color-- this is a big swath of space in your room and making a mistake about color can totally overwhelm your space. I have a colorful room, but I didn't want the closet to overpower everything so I went for muted tones.
  • Going along with the last bit of advice, be careful about patterns, too! There are a lot of really cute fabrics out there that would look totally cute as the covering of the seat of a chair or as a pillow that are way too busy and overwhelming in large doses. I was tempted, let me tell you, by some really cool geometric prints, but when I took into account the scale of this project I reminded myself that proportion is really important. (Same goes for fashion! It's why I don't wear dainty necklaces.)
What do you think? Do you like the new look?

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Black Friday Haul 2014

It's finally here, kids! My Black Friday haul! Sorry it took a while, but school comes first. I'm sharing my discounted finds from this Black Friday.

First up, my outlet finds.

I bought mulling spices and a floating mulling spice/tea infuser ball for a gift for a friend. I was able to get both because they were 40% off!

I snagged this cute cranberry-colored sweater for myself at 50% off at Loft! 

I didn't buy a ton of stuff at the Outlets this year since I was exercising some restraint because I knew I wanted to buy myself a ukulele online.

I bought Settlers of Catan, one of my favorite board games EVER, for only $32. It sounds steep, but it retails at $40 and almost never goes on sale. 

I also bought these cute Monster High UNO cards for $5. I love UNO and I've been meaning to get a deck since I was like, 7. I finally got around to it with these cute as hell Monster High Cards.

I also bought two Monster High dolls for myself-- I've wanted Monster High Dolls pretty much ever since they came out. This Black Friday, Target had a few of them for $5 (normally around $20)! I bought Ghoul Spirit Venus McFlytrap and Frankie Stein. These dolls give me life, you guys. I love the fashion and character design of Monster High Dolls so much, and the webshorts and movies are so great.

In addition, I bought the DVDs of The Wedding Singer and a Miss Congeniality 2-pack, each for $5. I didn't really like Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (I mean, just read that sub-title!) but how could I turn Miss Congeniality down at only $5? These are some of my favorite movies. I know everyone these days is all about online streaming, but Netflix really doesn't have all the movies I like, and they take stuff off of it every month to make way for new things! Plus, to me DVDs are a little like books in that if I really love a movie, I want to own it!

I got these cute lounge pants at Hot Topic. They were part of a BOGO deal so I got them 50%  after buying a plushie for a friend. They have Ariel all over them and are super warm and comfy.

 In keeping with my Disney theme, I also bought this Disney seatbelt belt to add a little whimsy to my outfits and this adorable Up necklace. it was a BOGO 50% off to the necklace got knocked to half price.

I also did a bunch of online shopping. I did end up buying myself a ukulele, as well as a DVD of Epic, and an on sale copy of Humans of New York (for about $11) which has already arrived. I'm still waiting on the ukulele and Epic thanks to a backlog at the school's post center.

I also bought a bunch of stuff from small businesses online-- gotta support small business! I'm not gonna post links to the exact items I bought, some at full price and some on sale, since most of them are gifts. But here are the shops I ordered from-- definitely check them out!

Did you buy anything fun on Black Friday or Cyber Monday?

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Weekend Links 12.06.2014

This week has been about schoolwork. And also anger and fire over the state of race and the law enforcement system in the US. As usual, I've got fun links, as well as links to help you stay woke to the state of affairs. We are lucky enough to live in a country where access to information is as available as it is, and where citizen have a shot at changing the system. Corporatization of government and other American institutions is a huge problem and a force to be reckoned with, but nonetheless, we as Americans can get educated on issues and then work to fix things, even if the playing field isn't level.

This vine tells the harrowing tale of one kid taking a test when tragedy strikes.

I fell REALLY hard into the Monster High fandom.

Is PTSD heritable? This is a really fantastic piece on research being done on PTSD and how trauma moves through generations. It's a case for marginalized people and the need to better understand their cultures and genetics to help them heal.

My #3 dream guy's top 10 tips for entrepreneurs.

The cop who took 2 seconds to shoot a 12 year old black kid with a gun he was told was fake was removed from a previous police force due to his complete incompetence with firearms. No one at St. Louis PD thought his past might be checking into before handing him a sidearm.

A police officer strangled unarmed Eric Garner to death in an illegal chokehold on video, and yet he was not indicted-- but the man who filmed the incident was.

This is a gif of a cat on a mountain goat.

Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, White Chicks, Old Spice Commercials) talks about redefining masculinity for the better.

Rolling Stone recently had to redact their controversial piece on campus rape due to some pretty boneheaded decisions to not fact-check. Here's a really good run down of the exact pieces of the story that caused them to question the integrity of the piece. I'd like to express my personal rage at the fact that this piece could have been so impactful, but the journalist's inability to fact check called her entire piece into question and now I worry that this will make more victims afraid their stories won't be believed. The point remains however, that UVa failed to adequately investigate these claims, and there are still girls on campuses getting assaulted and colleges are covering it up.

Am I wrong in thinking we have all been this cat before?

How bad cops get to keep their guns and badges. There are plenty of GREAT cops, ya'll. I wholeheartedly believe that. But there's a problem when you make it REALLY EASY to keep bad cops on the force. Communities need to be able to trust their police forces.

Peter Pan Live! did a really good job handling some of the racist source material.

You can buy an Adventure Time Terrarium from NYLON!

This amazing long-read is a must-read.

A song for the weekend. (Holy crap, I sang in choir with the female vocalist in this song! Jeez, what am I doing with my life?)

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I'm Not Going To Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You - harpermade

Hey all! Sorry I've been so MIA. The semester is winding down-- and by that I mean everything is coming to an end and it means everything is due and it's AWFUL! As a result, I haven't been able to blog much. Since today is the last day of classes, I've gotten a bit of a reprieve before diving into studying for my finals.

I mentioned last month how I wanted to make more stuff and post it on this blog in a tag called harpermade. I haven't had much time to do that, but I did want to share with you guys this video of me singing along to my friend Dylan's ukulele act in a little Boys vs. Girls talent show. We legit pulled this act together like 2 hours before the show since he had agreed to be in the show provided someone sing with him and it became apparent I was the only willing last-minute singer. I was coming off an awful sinus infection and getting in the middle of a godawful cough, but amazingly I didn't cough once in this performance (though I did flub the lyrics a few times!). Since it was Dylan's act we were a boys team! Boys lost and I'm still salty about it.

We did a performance of the song I'm Not Going To Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You by Black Kids. It's originally kind of like, a Cure-esque rock song that I really love, but I always wanted to sing a sweeter, cuter version while accompanied by a ukulele. Dreams come true, my friends! I know it's not quite exactly harpermade, but like... I don't know. I made some of those sounds with my face, so that kind of counts, right? Plus, I deserve lenience on the definition since this video's angle made my double-chin the star of my face :) (I have good angles-- this is not one of them.)

For anyone else slogging through the sadness and toil of finals, I hope this was fun, or at least not as awful as studying/researching/paper-writing.

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Things I Wish I Could be Thankful for

Happy Thanksgiving for those of you in the US! There is a lot to be thankful for, living in a country like the US. Voting. Internet Access. Free speech. But that said, these past few days have been incredibly disheartening for many of us living in the United States. The goings-on in Ferguson, MO represent a microcosm of violence against people of color, especially black people, across the country. In case you want some good reads on what is going on, I'll give you a few links:

Is it a downer? Absolutely. But it is millions of times worse for the people actually living it, and you make the world better by being aware of what's going on. I'm not going to tuck racism and ignorance into bed for the holiday, and neither should you. 

I hope to someday be thankful for a system that minimizes abuse of authority. I hope to be thankful for an end to systemic racism. I hope to be thankful that corrupt cops can be held accountable and their victims can get justice. I hope to be thankful for an end to the biases that cause people to think black people are more violent or superhumanly/animalistically strong. I hope to be thankful for an end to the murderers of children walking free.

I hope to be thankful for a society that recognizes that order means nothing without justice.

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OOTD: Friendsgiving

Yesterday I shared my cold weather hair care tips, but today I thought I'd fill you in on how I did my outfit that day, which was the last day of my sister's visit and also the FASA Friendsgiving dinner.

white cowl - LOFT
wishbone necklace - Charming Charlie
collared shirt - traded a friend
crewneck sweatshirt - swag from my internship at Canary
feather belt - Francesca's
a-line floral print skirt - Isaac Mizrahi for Target, thrifted
mustard ribbed tights - Target
black flats - Payless 

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Cold Weather Hair Care

I love my hair. I mean, sometimes I get really annoyed with it-- it's super thick and I have a ton of it so I usually can't do anything cute with it-- but for the most part I love how long and shiny it is. I love that I've been able to keep it as healthy as I have for as long as I have, and really, it's a great companion in life. It keeps my ears warm. It balances out my face (which is rather large, to be frank). It makes whooshing noises. When it is windy out, it makes me feel more exhilarated or powerful. It sometimes makes me look really, really cool in photos. It's its own living being in some ways, because it has this natural soft wave to it, and I never really know what it's going to look like in the morning. I like to think of myself as a mythical creature a lot, and I think my hair really contributes to this fantasy :)

Today I thought I'd share my hair routine for cold weather, since the colder air does things to it and can be damaging! The name of the game in hair care is moisture, and this is especially important in the fall when dry air comes rolling in. Dry hair dulls, frizzes or flies away, and breaks. These tips are also really easy to follow, because I am super un-fussy about my hair, so even the laziest of people can follow through!

Use paraben free shampoo and conditioner. Parabens are chemicals that are known to mess with your endocrine system (which deals with hormones) and have been linked to cancers including breast cancer. They are used primarily for killing bacteria, but they harm other cells as well, including those that make up your skin-- unfortunately they're a part of most shampoo formulas and many conditioners. Currently I'm using the Herbal Essences Naked line which has no parabens or dyes.

Water down your shampoo. I do this year-round but it's especially good to do this in the drier months because shampoo dries your hair out by stripping it of its natural oils in the cleaning process. The amount of shampoo you actually need to clean you hair is very little actually, and in fact, many people ditch shampoo altogether and wash only with conditioner (which does have cleaning agents as well!)

Don't dry with heat. Heat can damage your hair, so avoid styling it with heat products. If you can, avoid drying it with heat products as well, and opt for a good towel dry + air dry instead. I like showering at night before bed, so I'll typically towel dry and then write some emails while I wait for my hair to dry enough for a comfortable sleep.

Use a leave in conditioner. In addition to conditioning in the shower, every morning I spritz a leave-in conditioner spray on my hair and brush it through. I prefer a spray version as opposed to a mousse because mousses are much too heavy for my hair, and I typically avoid styling it anyway. I'm currently using Aveeno Nourish + Condition Leave In Treatment. I apply this to the entire length of my hair, then brush it through.

Spritz a little hair oil for added shine and moisture. The wind can be totally brutal, so in the fall and winter it's important to really raise your moisture game. I really loved Carol's Daughter Monoi Oil Sacred Strengthening Serum back with I was using it, but right now that kind of luxury is out of my price range. Now I use Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Hair Sheen, which is also fantastic, but not as heavy-duty. The Monoi Oil is developed to repair really damaged hair, whereas the Black Vanilla line is more about everyday health. Since the oil is a bit heavier than the leave-in conditioner, I avoid applying this near my roots since my scalp already naturally produces oils to keep my hair healthy. Instead I focus more on the shaft of the hair and the ends which are most susceptible to breaking or splitting.

Use a hair mask once a week to replenish nutrients. Hair masks are like heavy duty conditioners that you let set in over 10+ minutes. I'm currently using Hair Food's Apricot Honey Hair Mask which you can get at Target! Once a week I apply it to my hair towards the root and comb through, then I let it set while I continue my shower. Then I rinse with cool water (for shine). I likely won't be using this as often in the warmer months, but in the cold, dry months, I love it!

Do you have any tricks for keeping your hair healthy and stylish in the cold months?

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Weekend Links 11.22.2014

This week has been super tiring, but I'm surviving. A lot of group projects are coming to a head, so I'm super-stressed and I'm still sick-- not a good combination. I need rest but I can't get much. Unfortunately, whatever is working it's way through my system is not doing so on any kind of timeline coordinating with my academic schedule. I'm really happy Thanksgiving break is coming soon though, and my sister is visiting!

Your Holiday Mom: a site where moms are writing and recording letters of encouragement to those in the LGBTQ+ community who are lacking family support.  Spread it around-- it could warm a heart or even save a life this holiday season as many people in the LGBTQ+ community might be feeling rejected and unloved this holiday season (or any season!)

The best communities for Geek Girls as told by Mia.

Anyone else almost got in a fight over texting confusion? This is a hilarious sketch that is TOO REAL!

#DudesGreetingDudes and why it doesn't actually happen.

My #1 dream guy is going to be on the show that seems most like my life, The Mindy Project.

A poem about a white kid wanting to be a black kid, and actually doing the whitest thing.

Coming to Broadway: Chix 6, a superheroine-filled, comic book lovin', girl power rock musical.

Prank It Forward: a campaign to help out deserving people with a great prank. Today it's Cara Simmons, kind hearted single mother and home cleaner, dedicated to her community but suffering from exhaustion. Watch this amazing video!

A comic about movies like The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, and other such blockbusters.

"What if you were beautiful?" he asked.

Time's attempt to ban feminism got a lot of heat, but more importantly, this list of "ban-worthy" words is sexist and racist.

A song for the weekend. 

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Influenster Moda VoxBox Review

I work with a site called Influenster that sends me free stuff to try and review based on whether or not I seem to match a demographic profile that matches the target market for different products. This month I got sent the Moda VoxBox which was full of goodies to keep me bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as they say. (Apologies to those in regions where that phrase sounds like absolute nonsense. It basically means "refreshed and ready for action.") I really enjoy getting to try out new products-- it's a lot of fun!

Top to bottom, left to right: Hair Food Moisture Hair Mask, Jergens Ultra Healing Extra Dry Skin Moisturizer, Rimmel London Moisture Renew Lipstick, Resource Spring Water, Puffs SoftPack, Swiss Miss Simply Cocoa, Rimmel London Moisture Renew Lipliner, Rimmel London Scandaleyes Rockin' Curves Mascara
Hair Food Moisture Hair Mask - I really like this. It smells great and really helps my hair feel healthy, nourished, and moisturized. It's got my favorite thing-- honey-- in it to help protect and nourish hair, adding shine and strength, and apricot oils to moisturize hair making it more tamable and giving it shine and bounce. This is like conditioning times ten. I don't use any styling products or heat on my hair, so I don't worry about protecting it from that stuff, but if you do this product repairs and protects against damage. It's a new product and you can get it at Target!

Jergens Ultra Healing Extra Dry Skin Moisturizer - This moisturizer is really light-- not too greasy or thick. As stated on the bottle it really is ideal for hands. For me, the benefit for hands is that it isn't greasy so I can still do all those grabby-touchy things I use my hands for. It's also a great size for keeping at your desk, in your bag, or in your car.

Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick - I got this in 260 Berry Rose. I really like the level of moisture from this-- they weren't messing around when they pursued a moisturizing lip color! It's not thick like most of my matte creme lipsticks are which is a nice feeling because it didn't feel like it'd bunch up as my lips dried out from the elements. The color was a nice color for fall as well. It's not a bold color, and that's partially due to it being a thinly-laid formula, but it does lend itself to enhancing my natural color well.

Resource Water - This water comes from carefully selected spring and contains naturally occurring electrolytes. It tastes nice and fresh, which is good since I've had weird-tasting bottled waters before. As someone who doesn't engage in many electrolyte-depleting activities, I really can't speak to the benefits of that. I do like the packaging though!

Puffs SoftPack - I literally can't believe no one thought of this before. We have full-sized tissue boxes. We have handy-dandy pocket packs of tissues. It was obvious to combine them. It cuts down on waste by using plastic bags instead of a box, and also takes less space. It's easy to stash these in non-flat places. Like between the arm of the couch and a cushion. It's also easier to toss to your friends as they're about to sneeze or during an emotionally damaging movie-- you don't have to worry about a cardboard box corner hitting them in the face.

Swiss Miss Simply Cocoa - Just add hot milk and you've got a delicious cold-weather treat. This is surprisingly rich and one thing I really liked: There are actually only 5 ingredients in it and I could pronounce them all. No artificial flavors, no colors, no preservatives. Pretty rare for snacks that come out of packets. This comes in milk and dark chocolate-- I'm eager to try the dark chocolate one since I was only able to sample the milk chocolate one!

Rimmel London Moisture Renew Lipliner - I was very happy to receive this product because I've been in the market for a lipliner to prevent my lip color from bleeding (we all know I love my lip color) but I couldn't commit to what kind of color liner I wanted to purchase. This took all the guess work out of it, because this lip liner is transparent-- so I didn't have to worry about it clashing with my lip color-- it's clear! It was moisturizing as well so that was a plus.

Rimmel London Scandaleyes Rockin' Curves Mascara - I looked at the packaging, looked at the brush, and I thought it was the stupidest thing I've ever seen. The tube is bright red and covered in a snakeskin pattern, which to me, is a really cheap attempt to look edgy. The brush is shaped like a vertically stretched out "S" which seemed so stupidly unnecessary. Why go through the effort of making such a ridiculously shaped brush? No one's eyes are remotely that shape. Was this a play on the "snakeskin" and "Scandaleyes" theme? Was it a way of playing on the idea that "rockin curves" appeal to women, and that should carry over to eyelash mascara wands as well? I thought to myself "this is marketing gone out of control." Boy, was I wrong! I mean, the packaging still looks really stupid to me, but the brush is surprisingly effective at getting all the eyelashes the way I want to without struggling to manipulate the wand. Maybe this applies more to people with flatter eyelid shapes like me because the different angles of the brush were super helpful. I found myself really liking the shape of this brush! I will say though that I don't like the chunkiness of the mascara's top/the wand handle because it's too chubby for my hands, personally (I have stupid cute little sausage fingers).

All this stuff was provided courtesy of Influenster for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are honest and my own.

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