The Talk: Scandalous Clothing and Women

 

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In our previous post regarding beauty, we discussed the controversy behind women choosing to wear makeup. However, that is not the only controversial topic surrounding us women. “Scandalous” or “provocative” clothing is also controversial due to cat calling and I chose to talk about this right now because summer is rolling around, which means us women will be wearing shorts, dresses, and tank tops. Summer to me means exactly those three words. However, as soon as I walk down the street on a hot day I realize that its the time of year where “Hey baby” or “Wait up for me” is said a lot more than on any other day. I immediately pull down my skirt and walk faster in fear of having someone follow me from behind. However, I have realized that cat calling is not an issue for the majority. Cat calling is merely an act that women are often targetted for because of what they choose to wear on their bodies. It is their fault for attracting men on the streets because they would not have done so if your skirt was looser and longer.

Summer to me means exactly those three words. However, as soon as I walk down the street on a hot day I realize that its the time of year where “Hey baby” or “Wait up for me” is said a lot more than on any other day. I immediately pull down my skirt and walk faster in fear of having someone follow me from behind. However, I have realized that cat calling is not an issue for the majority. Cat calling is merely an act that women are often targetted for because of what they choose to wear on their bodies. It is their fault for attracting men on the streets because they would not have done so if their skirt was looser and longer.

I am not writing to argue against this because as women we all know how it feels to be attacked on the street and we know that it is an issue. Thus, I am writing this to let you all know that you cannot and should not blame yourselves for being cat called. Summer is right across the corner so go buy those pair of shorts you’ve been eyeing for months and that little black bikini you saw on Kylie Jenner because afterall being a woman is about confidence and self-empowerment. Instead of letting men make us feel vulnerable lets wear the things that flatter our bodies and in this learn to walk confidently, loving our bodies,  just the way they are!

 

With Practice, All is Coming

Centered right here in the one and only BSGE of Astoria is my lovely yoga teacher, Ms. Kendra Jackson. I thought it would be a great idea to give you guys some insights into the new world of yoga I just embarked, and what better way then ask a yogini herself.


Explain you lifestyle before taking practice in yoga.

“Well I started dancing when I was really young, so my background before yoga was dance. I was a dance and psychology major. But my interest in health stems  from my parents. My dad had a coop healthy store when I was a kid. My lifestyle then was geared toward health someway. My mom had a stationary bike, we went for walks around the park. She would jog and I would roller skate — we made health fun. My interest in yoga came from an injury in dancing, I thought it would be therapeutic. I was much more interested in yoga than dance. I was told by other dancers, I would always feel the pain. And I did. But through all these years of yoga and stretching my hamstrings properly I no longer feel the pain. It completely changed the way I stretch. I honestly thought I would always feel the pain.”

How did you transition into teaching yoga?

“So I came here in 2004, teaching dance. In 2006 I did my first yoga teacher training– 200 hours of training. I started adding yoga into my dancing lessons. At the end of each unit I would throw in a yoga class. Students began asking for, of course Savasana. Using sun salutations also as a warm up; it felt better to me to start classes that way. It loosened up their body more than a traditional dance or warm up or workout. In 2009, I decided to see what happens if I made it all yoga. I got props from donors and over the last 6 or 7 years we got all the props you would see in a yoga studio. It grew more popular, I never got any setbacks. The transition was me really not dancing anymore and practicing yoga and slipping it in to the students. I even had a morning class once, coming in at 7:00 in the morning — which was crazy.”

Has yoga helped you overcome any personal struggles?

“Physically was just the hamstring, trying to learn how to use and fully integrate my whole body. I got that from dance but it is not as forced as yoga. It’s not quick, it’s not sharp. Emotionally, it was like my therapy. I lost my mom in 2009. It was like my trying to send her energy and build her up in an energetic way. Some might call it a prayer. She lives in Boston so it is difficult for us to live apart. I am an only child, so I had to push through this myself. My intention was to uplift myself and try to send as much energy to keep her here. And she was here for 10 more years. It was an eye opener for me, that yoga can be this spiritual therapeutic act.”

Has your lifestyle changed since? When people think of yoga, they think of zen. Do you now feel calm or still find yourself impulsive –maybe angry at times?

“Most definitely, yes. Luckily my husband is the calm one. I still get angry and flare up- you still feel that anxiety. But you remember to come back to your breath and approach people in a kind, compassionate fashion. That’s part of living the practice. In blowing up in someone else, you also feel something else. So remember the practice and why you do so. It’s similar to being in a yoga pose. When I can’t do it now, I can at least do part of it.”

Are there any limitations to yoga? Is there an ideal age or time to practice?

“There can be some limitations, but the reason why we have these props is so that everyone can practice and do the poses. I have seen a person of heavy weight who uses a chair or prop to help with their alignment. But anyone can do this, from infants to the elderly to even the injured in tip top shape. One of the phrases of yoga is practice and all is coming. It should be done daily. In regards to the right time, traditionally it’s morning before sunrise. That is the most auspicious time of the day. Everything is quiet, the mind is not agitated. Also, a few hours before bed.”

In your perspective, do you see that yoga has changed its definition? How so?

“I think we’ve come far from what yoga is traditionally. There are some practices where the music is really loud and so are the teachers. There’s no balance. Yoga should have this sense of effort and ease. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj which means union or bindingI don’t think people know what yoga really is. Before I thought it was just poses, not much of the philosophy or history. Yoga is so vast, its thousands of years old. The door of yoga is the practice — the poses. But then people see that it is beyond that, a spiritual practice.

But yoga gets lost in quick training. I took 200 hours of training but that only scratched the surface –even 300 hours of training which I’ve done. The bigger names in yoga have been practicing for forty years. But it’s different for everyone. Some people just want that one day a week to feel stretched and relaxed and move on with their life.”

How many years have you practiced yoga?

“Over twenty. Yeah, that went fast.”

In a rigorous, highly academic school like this there really is no room for leisure. I find it lucky to have a class dedicated to yoga. Seems to be a necessity considering students or should I say teenagers in general lack self awareness these days. What is your take on this matter? Should yoga be an option or an important class just like maths or history?

“At first I thought, maybe students should have a choice. Not everybody might want yoga. Then I realized just talking with parents their child was not happy seeing yoga on their program, but now it’s their favorite class. And this is coming from boys and girls. Initially, people have a misunderstanding of what it is. They thing it is just sitting and breathing — where they think it is gonna be boring and not physical. But then they start to feel something in their bodies and their minds change about not only what this practice is but how and what to think of themselves. Students come in here to rest. People come to yoga to learn how to rest; it’s crazy people have forgotten to learn how to do that. In a school like this, it’s a necessity. It’s the only class where you get to learn about yourself.”

Any advice for your students or anyone interested in practicing yoga in the future? What mindset should beginners have when entering this – not only physical, but spiritual practice?

“I gave some advice to a friend of mine who is probably close to sixty recently who just started yoga. I said don’t go further than what you truly think you should do or can do and breathe deeply. Connecting your breath is the biggest thing. If you see the rest of the class in headstand, it doesn’t mean it’s time for you to be as well. You need to recognize your abilities. But most importantly, is focusing on your breathing.

Beginners mind – always. Even as an advanced practitioner, come with a beginners mind. Wipe the slate clean, listen to what the instructor says. Do Trikonasana  or triangle pose a million times; every time you’ll learn something new.”

 

 

S.

 

 

 

Yoga for everybody..or should I say, every body.

Alright so I was just spending my evening randomly scrolling through my Facebook feed, I know so active -hah. Anyway, I wanted to call attention to something, better yet someone that caught my eye.

Dana Falsetti.

Let me first start off by saying, I have recently been reintroduced to the world of yoga. Yeah, and the best part is I am loving it. For the next couple months I will be dedicating about 3 hours a week practicing intense and restorative yoga.

But of course, if anyone has been in a yoga class before, some individuals are better than others. It makes you wonder, are they just naturally better? Click here to see what a yogini thinks.

Before learning about Dana, I too thought your body can limit the way you practice. Yoga seems to be all about balance, wholeness, and peace. But do you need to have the right body to feel that? Can anyone perform a handstand? Can I possibly do a Bakasana?

Well, just like any adolescent girl born into the modern age of technology and the world of ‘perfection’ (not really perfect), Dana struggled with confidence, weight loss, depression, anxiety — all the problems that motivated her to find some peace. But unfortunately you can not really find peace at the gym, and while losing weight changed her body, Dana still struggled with her old habits and fears.

So what best place to find peace? Yoga–which was actually her last resort. Similar to most yoga beginners insecure or worried about their weight, Dana too let her mind control her body. Though if this is the case, can we not use our mind to control our body,  instead holding positive, ambitious thoughts? That is what Dana did. You don’t need to be thin or flexible to be great at yoga. Yoga is a spiritual practice, which goes beyond physical attributes. We know our inner selves have no limit–from dreaming to even simply  overcoming a relationship. If I can get over my ex, what’s to say I can not overcome a downward facing dog or better yet a Bakasana. (honestly I think Dana just inspired me to set a new goal for myself: overcome that Bakasana pose. I’ll keep you guys posted.)

On a personal note, what I learned from Dana’s story is the true definition of yoga. I hate walking into a class thinking that some guy is watching me practice and feeling embarrassed or self conscious  while trying to ‘perfect’ a yoga pose. But I realize yoga is a practice of one self. And there are no limits to one self. Hence, if I do my math correctly — practicing yoga will lead to a practice of myself WHICH in turn brings great self awareness and peace. I control my body and so technically, it is only my mind that is in the way of my body’s ‘limits’. I am not gonna just ‘perfect’ that yoga pose, I will perfect it. No quotes.

S.

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Dana Falsetti

Having been 300 pounds, the believer in all bodies, Dana learned to overcome her struggles of weight loss and depression through the peace of Yoga practice.

 

 

Fact: Doga, yoga for dogs, really exists. Don’t believe me? Read here.

 

Attention to ALL Men: My Makeup Is NOT To Impress You

 

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Men, for a moment please picture yourself as insignificant, passive beings because this is not about you.

One of the most irritating notions believed by many, unfortunately, is that a woman considers a man’s opinions while dressing up. That she simply applies her makeup to attract men. In fact, it is dangerously sexist and condescending to us.

However, it does hold true for some women. They simply feel obligated to grab the attentions of men because it is socially considered an aspect of being feminine. And so to those who do feel such remember…

“stop dressing to impress men and start dressing to become the woman you want to” -Carson Olivares

Our Rights and Choices…

Everyday we wakeup earlier than we have to just so we can line our eyes and gloss our lips. We sacrifice half an hour to an hour of our mornings to apply our products. We actively choose to do this for ourselves. It is our choice. There is no specific man in our minds 6am in the morning, matter of fact half of us are either thinking of our breakfast or not thinking at all. The patting of our concealers, blending of our foundations, and puckering of our lips all are we decide to do because we have the right of self-expression.

It Is For Ourselves…

Believe it or not, I feel the most like myself when I do have the little bit of makeup I wear. It makes me feel good. It’s that simple, honestly. In fact, it makes me feel great and its this feeling that we feel not the men around us. A dash of mascara, a hint of glittery eye shadow, and a brush of berry blush makes us feel like we can start the day off just right. And so when we feel great physically it echoes inside of us boosting our confidences and making us work wonders.

 

So if you still think we wear makeup to impress you all I can say is we don’t spend three-fourths of our paychecks in Sephora for someone who can’t tell Half Baked from Chopper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feminist or Egalitarian? The Roles We Hold

Okay. So my question of the day is simply, how do you draw the line between someone who is a feminist and someone who is an egalitarian? By definition:

feminism: the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

egalitarianism: equality for all people. All humans are equal in fundamental worth or social status. 

For the past couple of months, I have been carrying myself around claiming to be a feminist for so long that I began to question why. What does it mean to be a feminist? Why do people ask if someone is a feminist, I mean don’t we all want equality for all people?

Studying the cultural and historical background of women, feminism was a movement that developed during an era where women rights did not exist. Examples of this would be during early 20th century where women lacked the right to vote or the right to the control over their body (voluntary reproduction/motherhood). However times have changed and the success of women suffrage in 1920 or the legal practice of birth control in the 40s altered the dynamics between men and women. Is it fair to say feminism holds a similar meaning today than it had been 100 years earlier?

This is where the term modern feminism comes in. You have probably seen (and fell in love with) the Dove or Cover Girl campaigns or commercials that display women empowerment and gender equality but have you taken the chance to reevaluate what feminism means in modern society and whether it should even exist? Does a sense of pity come with the meaning? Why are the majority female supporters?

In support of my previous argument, feminism is a term that advocates women rights under the circumstances that these rights do not exist, hence the women’s rights movement. In today’s society however, women have grown to hold the same privileges as men. So when I call myself a feminist, do I admit that rights between the two genders are still inequitable? I mean, I don’t really hear the question, are you a masculinist? around school. And yeah, that is a word. 

To my opinion, the term feminism changed in a way that calls on the attitudes driven toward women, which nowadays are unsurprisingly negative. Women have the right to serve in politics, to earn equal pay, to become –body builders. However in a subconscious deceiving level these rights, while legal are almost limited by society’s outlook. And not to mention, these limitations are imposed by both men and women. 

This brings to question whether verbal aggression or assault impede on women rights or for anyone’s in general. Lets not forget, men too encounter societal conformity, just not as common. Still, I have always inquired whether it is fair to claim men and women equal considering the biological differences between the two.  I mean, what are the true origins of our existence and the roles we play? The traditional roles of household work and child care on part of the mother and the job seeking ‘man of the house’ must have derived from somewhere right?

A divided society with loose ideals, for instance Western culture which indeed is very lenient deviates from these roles. Many people can agree to this, and considering I come from an Islamic conservative background that naturally outlines these roles, you wonder whether the positions men and women ‘held’ were in fact to practice a united, easy, non defiant society. And while boundaries exist in this type of society, its purpose is brought to light. Is it better to live in an unchallenged society where defined roles do exist?

Can limitations simply be benefits?

Do us women need to defy society’s norms to be accepted, or does the acceptance of one’s role defy the challenges brought toward society?

-S

 

 

 

 

 

4 Simple Tips to Look Beautiful Without Makeup

Looking beautiful is every woman’s right thus makeup should not be the only way. And so many times we forget that the simplest way to feel beautiful is to work towards clear skin rather than concealing. Thus, here I’m going to give you 5 very simple tips on how to do so.

1. Drink Water: 

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The first and most important trick is to drink plenty of water each day, no matter what the season, and this glass of water will be way more beneficial to you than any makeup product you purchase. (Also you’ll be saving lots of money!)

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2. Moisturize: 

Make your moisturizer your bestfriend, girls!  The more you keep your skin nourished, the more you can prevent the arrival of wrinkles and dry skin. Moisturize your face and neck region, as well as your hands and feet.

3. Face Wash: 

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Wash your face twice a day (or as many times as you wish) but once in the morning and once before you go to bed. It will get rid of the makeup, germs, and oils on your face. Most importantly, it will make you feel fresh and awake.

img22.jpg4. Toner:

Most of you probably do not use a toner and may not know what one is. However, it is a very essential to one’s skin care routine. It will lighten your skin and shrink your pores.

 

Make sure you incorporate them into your daily routine and I’m sure you’ll have beautiful skin in no time.

 

-K

 

 

 

JANUARY 31ST – MARCH 1ST

30 DAY CHALLENGE

 

Hey girls! I hope you are excited (and scared) as much as I am because the 30 day challenge is almost here! For the month of February I decided to bring about a mixture of cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises to you. I decided to take matters into my own hands, but of course feel free to add in whatever exercises fit you best.

On a personal note, I’ve struggled with my weight many times. Trust me, its not easy. I’ve thought about the lemon maple syrup detox (anyone who has seriously contemplated losing weight quickly probably already knows about), gone through the tomato cabbage soup, and sometimes survived hours on the tiniest amount of foods. Don’t worry, I’m a sane person — but in all honesty my craziness is what allowed me to see that these things really don’t work without a proper diet and workout routine. I once lost 15 pounds a month keeping on top of these two essentials, so my own personal goal for this challenge is to get back into healthier eating habits as well as maintaining a healthy shape without compromising myself.

This world is filled with women of all shapes, I happen to be a pear, hah (OK, it wasn’t really that funny). But hopefully the maintenance of the exercise workouts I bring to you guys, which I too, will be a part of will work for your lovely bodies! 

Forget the struggle for a thigh gap, lets keep those curves. Exercising is not only about losing weight, it’s about maintaining a healthy physique.  That is what ETHEREAL is all about. 

-S

 

Trendy, brainy and yummy

Oftentimes, I find myself appreciating the resourcefulness of the city- especially how being a student in NYC is an extremely convenient, particular experience. First of all, it is home to the second largest library in the United States. The ol’ NYPL remarkably stands in what seems to be the center of all the touristy madness. Times Square, Grand Central Terminal, and Rockefeller Center are all within 10 minute walking distances. Who would’ve thought studying and shopping could be done together?

Shopping can be discussed later. What I wanted to share today are the hipster-chill-coffeehouse-music (i’m only kidding) playing cafes that are starting to fill every nook and cranny of the city. Great food, quality coffee, and free wifi. I am not complaining. It almost seems like a stylish thing to do now, and quite honestly, I am a part of this fashionable movement. Having two younger siblings at home, it is almost impossible to stay concentrated. On top of that, a great threat is always calling out my name while I do my work. My bed.

I definitely am not alone in this, so I am here to tell you it’s time to get your butt out the door.

I highly recommend the following:

Le Pain Quotidien

They make sure to use plenty of veggies and fresh ingredients. Your brain will thank you. Check out their site and menu here.

Happy Bones

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Coffee with a story. Get out there and save the world while working on your essay.

City Kitchen

Shaved ice makes supplements a lot easier, I promise. This food court style dining area tucked away on the second floor of building in Times Square has endless options.

Java Girl

 

Perfect atmosphere for working on your art journal, eh? Let Java girl take you to a whole different world.

Unfortunately, those listed above are all in the city. On the other hand, Queens is just starting to step up their game, and Astoria already has plenty of study spots. Just bring your work, headphones and some money. You’ll be surprised at how much more work you get done when an attractive stranger across from you is doing the same thing.

Let’s make the most of what we have!

xx L

 

New Years Throwback?! Let’s not.

C’mon. Lets keep it real here. We’ve all went through those photos, shocked and disturbed, thinking WHAT ON EARTH WAS I WEARING. Trust me, I’ve had that moment already and I’m glad its gone. That’s why the Ethereal team decided to bring about 5 new 2016 trendy styles for the winter, featuring designs for all types of girls under a low cost budget because –well why not?


 

THE FASHIONISTA

Okay, so this one is pretty self explanatory. If you love shopping and you — well, love shopping this is pretty much you. Fashionistas probably already know what to wear, and you might be thinking please why would I need any fashion advise from someone else hm..good point. Instead though, our team understands the value of time, and it is always nice to wake up in the morning and simply not think about what I need to wear –we got that covered! From the high heels to the glamorous dress and makeup this girl will definitely pocket the look on even her worse days.

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HM LINED JACKET $25    HM ELASTIC WAIST SKIRT $19     HM TIGHTS $4     F21 ROUND TOE BOOTS $35    F21 FAUX LEATHER SATCHEL $30   F21 BRUSHED KNIT OBLONG SCARF $13

 THE PLAYGIRL                          

 *COUGH* COUGH* Scarlett Johansson.                                                            (just cause she plays with my heart.)

Okay, so miss playgirl here has every aspect of a perfect girl. She is the type to make most guys fall for her and acknowledges that many of them admire her. But wait –there’s a catch. Yeah you guessed it, she plays with their heart and moves on to the next. So for all my Ethereals who fit into this type of girl we got one hell of a heart breaker winter outfit for you. At least go down with style, right?

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SHEINSIDE OPEN-KNIT POCKETS GREY CARDIGAN $21      ROMWE RIPPED SKINNY DENIM PANTS $13      F21 WOMEN’S BUCKLED FAUX LEATHER BOOTIES $28    TOP SHOP TIE UP VEST  $20       CHARLOTTE RUSSE GOLD CRESCENT TATTOO CHOKER LAYERING NECKLACES $6

 

THE NERD 

For all my girls out there, we know nothing best defines beauty than intelligence. This type of girl can be very opinionated but also very reserved. Although her studies come first, we’ll try to make her style at least runner up. So no worry my beauty queens, Ethereal spends time making sure every part of you stands out. We combine the brains and the looks to give you a taste of both worlds without having to compromise!

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TOPSHOP PETITE RIBBED WOOL BLEND CROPPED SWEATER $20    HM BOYFRIEND LOW JEANS $40   ROSEWE ZIPPER CLOSURE HOODED HOODED COLLAR TRENCH COAT $33    SHEINSIDE BLACK POINT TOE ANKLE BOOTS $39    DONALWORLD WOMEN CANDY DOUBLE ZIP CLOSURE BACKPACK $29

THE ROCK CHIC

Okay, so this is the bad girl. Yep, the ripped up jeans, the sharp cut collar, rocking the pointy shoes with the silver studs — you got it. This look definitely screams bad ass, yep I said it badass. So girl, if you find yourself waking up in the morning, craving the need to gain some power with a killer style, you found the right place. 

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MISS SELFRIDGE BROWN FAUX LEATHER BOKER JACKET $44     ROMWE RIPPED DENIM BLUE PANTS $18                                                   RIVER ISLAND BLACK RIBBED SKINNY SCARF $12    ZULILY FOREVER YOUNG BLACK STUDDED CUFF BOOTIE $33                                    BOHOSHOP BLACK STEEL STUDS STAINLESS EARRINGS $8.73   WETSEAL FINESSE NOVELTY CORP SIMPLY CHARMING CHOKER TRIO $11    LULUS AROUND THE BEND GOLD ROSE BRACELET $14   NEW LOOK PURE COLOR SWEET MATTE LIPSTICK $5.81

THE INNOCENT

Alright so this look will completely send you to heaven. Hah, not really. But hey it’ll make you look like a goddess. From the delicate, off the shoulders dress to the striking, bright shoes the boys will definitely be wanting a taste of your angelic side. 

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NASTYDRESS SEXY OFF THE SHOULDERS LONG SLEEVE FLARE DRESS $21     MAYKOOL WHITE SOLID COLOR SLOUCHY MID CALF PLATFORM CHUNKY HEEL BOOTS $26    NORDSTROM KNEE HIGH SOCKS $8.50    LA GIRL MATTE LIQUID LIPSTICK $11                        F21 FAUX STONE MIDI RING SET    $6.90     RAGEON BLACK TATTOO CHOKER $5

 

__________________

-S