Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Festive Food and Drinks

Corned Beef and Cabbage

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up this Tuesday, it’s time to start planning how you and you’re friends will celebrate the big day. Depending on where you live, there will be parades and activities everywhere. If you don’t live in one of the major U.S. cities that goes all out on March 17th, you can still throw your own amazing party at home. Of course the decorations have to be green, but what about food and drinks? Fear not! Here’s some recipes you can serve on St. Patrick’s Day.

Corned beef and cabbage

Turns out corned beef and cabbage isn’t part of the traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal in Ireland. According to Ireland for Visitors, the Irish serve “succulent, pink bacon or a savory roast chicken” on March 17th. Here in America, however, we celebrate St. Patrick with corned beef and cabbage.

There are several different ways to prepare corned beef and cabbage, so do a quick Google search to find a recipe that works for you. If you don’t have time to cook, see if any restaurants in your area are having a special on the traditional dish order a few carry out orders.

Irish Beer

I know I said there’s more to St. Patrick’s Day than beer, but let’s be honest, most people plan to have at least one beer on this day. Several bars and restaurants will be serving green beer for the day, but if you want something more authentic try an Irish beer. Everyone knows about Guinness, but Harp Lager, Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale, and Smithwick’s Irish Ale are also pretty common across America.

Shamrock Floats

If your St. Patrick’s Day includes children, you’re going to need something besides beer for them to drink. I haven’t tried this recipe for Shamrock Floats from Simply Kierstie yet, but I like how it’s simple and quick to make. Plus it apparently tastes like a Shamrock Shake with chocolate so how bad can it be?

Mini Shepherd’s Pot Pies

At this point it’s obvious I like making things in muffin tins. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the mini versions are always easier to make than the real thing. Shepherd’s Pie is a traditional Irish dish, but these Mini Shepherd’s Pot Pies from Tablespoon only take an hour and look so much prettier to serve. Just like corned beef and cabbage, there’s plenty of different recipes for Shepherd’s Pie so search online for one that fits your cooking time and skills better.

Find a restaurant

Don’t want to bother cooking? Don’t worry about it! There will be plenty of bars and restaurants having St. Patrick’s Day specials and celebrations. If you want a more traditional Irish experience I would give Irish pubs a try, but since everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day even your favorite Mexican restaurant might have a St. Patrick’s Day event.

Be prepared, the more activities they have, like traditional Irish music or green beer (I’ve already heard one bar in my area brag about it on the radio), the more likely you’ll be to pay a cover charge.

jeffreyw. Mmm… corned beef and cabbage. 26 May. 2014. Online image. Flickr. 13 Mar. 2015. https://flic.kr/p/nN1gcH

St. Patrick’s Day Isn’t Just an Excuse to Drink


Why is St. Patrick’s Day such a huge celebration? Why do we even bother celebrating it at all? It isn’t a national holiday, the U.S. doesn’t have enough of a Catholic population to make the religious aspect of the day that important, so why do we look forward to St. Patrick’s Day once March starts? Simple: it’s about celebrating our roots.

According to Catholic Online, St. Patrick was born in Scotland around 385 to Roman citizens. As a teenager he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave. He remained there until he was around twenty years old. During his time in pagan Ireland, St. Patrick’s Christian faith grew stronger. After receiving a message from God in a dream telling him to leave Ireland, St. Patrick made his way back to Britain and his family.

After joining the priesthood, St. Patrick eventually rose to the level of bishop and was given the task of spreading Christianity throughout Ireland. He arrived in Slane, Ireland on March 25, 433. St. Patrick quickly began converting the Irish and setting up churches all across the nation over the next 40 years. He is said to have died on March 17, 461. He was eventually canonized as the patron saint of Ireland.

For those who don’t know, being the patron saint of a country makes that saint the guardian of the nation. That saint is the first person people pray to in times of trouble. Ireland has several patron saints, but St. Patrick is by far the most well-known. So how does Ireland celebrate their most famous protector?

St. Patrick’s Day was once a solemn time throughout all of Ireland, although that is beginning to change. History.com states that it wasn’t until the 1970s that pubs even stayed open on the holiday. The website Ireland for Visitors explains that Irish tradition is to go to mass to celebrate St. Patrick, perhaps stop and get a pint or two, and then sit down for a special family meal. Rather than the corned beef and cabbage that Americans demand every March 17, the Irish serve “succulent, pink bacon or a savory roast chicken.”

Since the mid-1990s Ireland has started to have larger St. Patrick’s Day celebrations like those of their American cousins. Many large cities now have parades as well as cultural performances and activities during the week of St. Patrick’s Day.

While St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland has typically been treated like any other saint’s feast day, it has always been a different story across the pond. March 17 quickly became a day to celebrate Irish culture in the United States. In her International Business Times article “St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2014: Top 10 Largest Parades; Schedules And Route Maps For New York, Boston, Chicago And More,” Nadine DeNinno states that the current population of Americans with Irish heritage, more the 30 million, is “seven times the population of Ireland itself.”

Those numbers don’t really matter since, as the saying goes, everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. It does explain the popularity of the holiday from America’s beginning though. St. Patrick’s Day parades have existed since Irish settlers first appeared in the 16th century.

While DeNinno does mention that St. Patrick’s Day has earned the title “drunkest holiday” after New Year’s Eve in the States (did you know that St. Patrick brought distillation to Ireland?), it isn’t just an excuse to drink. After generations of Irish immigrants making their mark in American society, St. Patrick’s Day is a day to celebrate the culture that so many Americans call their own.

Not sure how to celebrate the Irish culture this St. Patrick’s Day? Here’s some festive food and drinks to serve this Tuesday.

Robinson, Diana. 2014 St. Patrick’s Day Parade, NYC. 17 Mar. 2014. Online image. Flickr. 11 Mar. 2015. https://flic.kr/p/mbxscn

Pi Day Is Upon Us!


March 14th, is celebrated in math classes across America for being numerically similar to the infamous numerical constant pi. For those who have forgotten, pi is an infinite decimal that is rounded up to 3.14 or 3.14159. While every March 14 (3.14) is Pi Day, this year is special because March 14, 2015 (3.1415) will bring us closer to than we’ve been to pi since 1915. So let’s celebrate!

I say you’re never too old to celebrate anything. Most of us live pretty average, mundane lives. Any excuse to make things more interesting or bring people together is wonderful in my opinion. Obviously, you can celebrate with the classic pie of any or every flavor, but if you want to make a meal to celebrate pi or keep the party going all day, what else can you make? Here’s some more interesting food options to try next Saturday to celebrate 3.14159

Pizza Pie

A pizza is great for parties and even better for Pi Day. I recommend Chicago Style since it’s more pie-like, but traditional pizza is still great. If you’re feeling festive with your traditional pizza, use your toppings to spell out why you’ve all gathered on this night: 3.14159, or simplify it with ∏.

Zucchini Pies

Trying to stay healthy? You can still eat your pizza pie without dealing with greasy pizza dough. Zucchini Pies can be serves as either appetizers or the main course, so it’s perfect for any size party. Find the recipe here.

Chicken Pot Pie

Another wonderful entree idea is the chicken pot pie. While it doesn’t have same ability to feed a party like pizza does, it does have the word pie in the name, so points for that. If you want to feed a crowd with them, try the mini version. Get the recipe here.


Depending on the filling, quiche is wonderful for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If you’re Pi Day party is more of a brunch than dinner event, make a quiche.

Frito Pie

If you would like something a little more spicy, make a Frito pie. While I don’t have a recipe to point you to, there are literally dozens of Frito pie options with different spices and flavors.

Mini Shepherd’s Pie

Okay, I have a slight obsession with making things in muffin tins. It’s so much easier than making the actual thing though! Mini Shepherd’s Pie is another item that can either be a snack or the main course. Find the recipe here.

Rice Cake Pie

Are your guests vegan? Gluten-free? Trying to eat healthy? Serve these Rice cake pies. While they aren’t technically pies, they’re the perfect option for your health-conscious friends. Get the recipe here.

Pie Fries & Jam

Did you make a pie for your Pi Day dessert? Do you have leftover pie crust? Don’t throw it away! Use it to make Pie Fries! They’re cute, only take 15 minutes to make, and with only 3 ingredients you probably already have everything you’ll need in your kitchen. Like dipping your French fries in ketchup? Dip your Pie Fries in jam, pie filling, or fruity frosting. Find the recipe here.

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies

The best part about this recipe is that you make the filling in the microwave. The second best part about this recipe is that the tarts are store bought. Perfect if you don’t have time for all that baking or you’re just too lazy for the oven. You can even make this in your dorm room. Find the filling recipe here, and the lemon meringue pie recipe here.

It doesn’t matter if you’re having a big blowout bash next weekend or a small get together, you should never miss an opportunity to make things fun. Do you have any other recipes that celebrate 3.14159? Share them in the comments!

Stephanie. Cherry pie. 26 May. 2014. Online image. Flickr. 6 Mar. 2015. https://flic.kr/p/nL82TY

Enjoy the Sunshine: Daylight Savings Time Is This Sunday


We’ve all heard the saying: Spring Forward and Fall Back. Move the clocks one hour ahead in spring, move the clocks one hour back in the fall. I’m sorry to say it, but Daylight Savings Time is this Sunday, March 8th. At 2:00 a.m. on Sunday your clocks will spring forward one hour to 3:00 a.m. Luckily most cell phones automatically change for you, but that doesn’t change the fact that Daylight Savings Time is quite possibly the most annoying “holiday” on the calendar. So why do we even bother with it?

Contrary to popular belief, Daylight Savings Time isn’t mandatory. Not every country country participates. According to WorldTimeZone.com, most of Asia, Africa, South America, and parts of Australia does not change their clocks throughout the year. Interestingly enough, not every state in the U.S. follows the Spring Forward, Fall Back guideline either. Both Arizona and Hawaii have opted out of the rule.

So why do these places choose to have Daylight Savings Time?

DST has only been used for roughly the past 100 years, but people have been changing their daily schedules around the sun for centuries. Without electricity, ancient civilizations needed to maximize their time in the sun in order to complete their regular work. TimeandDate.com explains that “Roman water clocks used different scales for different months of the year.”

Although it had been suggested throughout the centuries, DST became widely accepted during WWI. With so many countries using as many resources as they could spare, changing the clocks to allow more sunlight, and therefore cutting the amount of resources citizens used for artificial lighting, seemed like the perfect solution during The War to End All Wars. TimeandDate.com states that Germany was the first to utilize DST on April 30, 1916. The rest of Europe quickly followed and the United States finally joined in 1918.

DST has come and gone in the U.S. since WWI. Some states used it, some states didn’t, some major cities followed it, some didn’t. It actually affected travel and nationwide businesses because there was no real set time for the entire country.

After a few decades of watching this “do whatever you want” attitude towards time cause major problems, the United States passed the Uniform Time Act of 1966. TimeandDate.com explains that the Act declared DST was from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October and gave states the ability to opt out of the time changes. According to Glenn Coin’s article “Daylight Saving Time: When do you change your clocks this spring?” for Syracuse.com, several changes have been made to DST since 1966, the last one being in 2007 moving DST to the second Sunday in March and ending on the first Sunday in November.

Coin states that DST doesn’t really help save energy like many proponents claim. Moving our clocks around an hour “only cuts electrical use by 0.5 percent — if that.” There have been studies supporting this claim, one in Australia in 2000 and the other in Indiana in 2008. For my fellow Hoosiers out there, the Indiana study “showed little change in energy use when parts of the state went to daylight savings time,” so don’t feel too bad that you don’t capitalize on that extra hour of sunlight.

Whether you like the idea of Daylight Savings Time or not, it’s here to stay. If you’re worried about being late for work or school, use your cell phone as an alarm clock if you don’t already. Like I said, cell phones automatically switch to DST so you don’t have to worry about programming it like some of your other electronics. I’m sorry that we’ll all be essentially losing an hour this summer, but let’s hope that the extra sunlight means less of the awful freezing temperatures and several feet of snow the nation has been suffering through.

becosky…. TIME. 23 Jan. 2008. Online image. Flickr. 2 Mar. 2015. https://flic.kr/p/632Ye5

Emma Watson Celebrates International Women’s Day with Fans


Emma Watson, the actress best known for portraying heroine Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series, has been making a name for herself as a social activist. She has quickly become the Global Goodwill Ambassador of the UN Women‘s HeForShe campaign, a new gender equality movement that calls for men to become supportive of their female coworkers, colleagues, classmates, friends, etc. as a way to improve the quality of life for everyone.

Obviously International Women’s Day, which is this Sunday, March 8th, is going to be important for the Ambassador. Watson posted a Facebook video Monday sharing her plans for the big day: she’s going to be hosting a conversation in London at 5 p.m. local time about HeForShe and gender equality.

In the video Watson explains how her amazing opportunity is also great for her fans and followers of HeForShe as well.

I am going to be conducting a live Q&A in London answering questions about gender equality. I’m also hoping that you would like to be a member of the audience. If you would like to be a member of the audience there is a form on my Facebook page which you can fill out telling me how you are advancing gender equality, or telling me about how gender inequality has affected your life, or you can send me some questions.

If you’re going to be in London and would like to be in the audience, simply fill out this form by 12 p.m. London time on Wednesday, March 4th. Can’t make it to England in time to see the Q&A in person? Facebook is going to be streaming the event live on Sunday, so check out the Facebook event for more information. For my fellow Americans, keep in mind that the event takes place at 1 p.m. EST so you don’t miss it!

What’s a question you have for Emma Watson about gender equality? Are you going to try and join the audience? Let us know!

Bond, Marco. Emma Watson. 15 Jun. 2014. Online image. Flickr. 3 Mar. 2015. https://flic.kr/p/nZ6Ffi

Apologies and Promises: A Brief History Behind New Year’s Resolutions


It wasn’t too long ago that people were making promises to themselves about how they would be better in the new year. I saw plenty of social media updates about “2015: The Year of Me.” People listed all the ways they would change for the better after they cured their New Year’s Eve hangover. I also saw plenty of people making jokes about New Year’s Resolutions as well, and it isn’t hard to see why.

In her Huffington Post article “New Year Resolutions You’re Most Likely To Break,” Corrie Pikul states that “about 40 percent of us will resolve to change our lives in some way in the new year.” According to Siobhan Norton’s The Independent article “Why we make (and break) our New Year’s resolutions – and how to stick to them,” majority of people give up their resolutions by January 23rd, which means most of my social media friends have already failed in their quest for making 2015 all about a better self.

So why do we bother making New Year’s Resolutions year after year? The truth is this tradition has been around for so long it isn’t going to vanish any time soon. According to Norton, ancient Romans, Babylonians and other civilizations began the New Year by atoning to their gods for wrongdoings and promised to live better lives this time around.

Ancient Romans in particular paid special attention to the god Janus during this time. Janus was associated with, among other things, new beginnings. He is portrayed with two faces, one looking to the future and one looking to the past, making him the perfect deity to send both apologies and promises.

Over time Janus, as well as his fellow Roman gods, fell out of favor to other religions. However, the fear of new beginnings as well as the past still plagued humanity. So the tradition of looking back on our failures and promising to change them in the future carries on to the present day. So for those who mock this ancient tradition, why not give it a try? It clearly isn’t going anywhere.

Think it’s too late to start a New Year’s Resolution? Think again. Plenty of people stumble throughout the year before reaching their goal. The important this is that you try.

Internet Archive Book Images. Image from page 180 of “Manual of mythology : Greek and Roman, Norse, and old German, Hindoo and Egyptian mythology” (1875). 29 Jul. 2014. Online image. Flickr. 29 Jan. 2015. https://flic.kr/p/oeSsJW

3 Ways to Make MLK Day Mean Something


Martin Luther King Day is next week, which means many people will be off from work and school on Monday, January 19th. While many people see this as a 4-day weekend, and therefore an excuse to stay out late or sleep in for one more day, MLK Day is so much more than that.

While I’ve heard people question why MLK day isn’t in February, which is Black History Month, MLK Day is celebrated on the 3rd Monday in January. This date roughly coincides with King’s January 15th birthday.

The holiday is fairly new and has an interesting path to becoming recognized by the US government. People began campaigning for a national holiday remembering King after his death in 1968. Over the years people, organizations, and even celebrities began to support the idea until it was signed into law in 1983. Interestingly enough, the first Martin Luther King Day was in 1986, but it was not observed in all 50 states until 2000.

MLK Day is more than just remembering the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, though. One of King’s most repeated quotes on this holiday is, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'” As a civil rights activist, King constantly worked to improve the lives of all Americans. Why not use that as inspiration to help out those around you?

MLK Day is part of President Obama’s United We Serve plan that began in 2009. The idea is that by taking the time to volunteer and make a difference in the community, the community will begin to improve. Not sure where or how you can help? Here’s 3 places you can look to volunteer this Monday. Please note that you should always call ahead about volunteering instead of simply showing up to any location.

1. Food banks

Food banks are a great place to volunteer because you can not only help out a great cause, but you can also go with friends or the entire family and work together. Check out places like the Feeding America website to find a food bank near you.

2. Homeless shelters

Like food banks, homeless shelters are always in need of extra hands to help. If you aren’t sure where your nearest homeless shelter is, you can search on websites like Volunteers of America.

3. Check online

Do you have a special skill or passion that you want to utilize this Monday? Perfect! There’s plenty of positions all over America that require specific training or abilities from their volunteers. Websites like Volunteer Match allow people to enter their location and then provides a list of topics they can browse to find the perfect volunteer position for them.

MLK Day is more than just remembering the life of an inspiring civil rights advocate. This Monday is also about giving back to your community and helping those in need. As I’ve said before, please call ahead and state your interest in volunteering before you go in on January 19th. Trust me, I’ve worked at places that take volunteers regularly. Calling ahead means you can make the most of your volunteer time.

It doesn’t matter how long you can donate your time, as long as you make the effort to help your community. If you can’t get off work this Monday but still want to make a difference, perhaps make an effort within your own life to help those around you. Call a friend you don’t see too often, make a special dinner for your family, anything to make someone’s day a little brighter.

The U.S. National Archives. Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking.], 08/28/1963. 28 Aug. 1963. Online image. Flickr. 14 Jan. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/8LTnQf

4 Tips to Find the Fun in a New City


This was my first New Year’s Eve in Indianapolis with all my friends being over the age of 21. It was also my first New Year’s Eve living in Indy. Naturally, a fun evening had to be planned to commemorate so many firsts.

We ended up going to the New Year’s Eve party on Georgia St. It was a first for the city, and it showed in some ways. While I wasn’t surprised with how many people were packed in the bars, I was surprised with how much of an area was blocked off for the actual event. Georgia St. is only 3 blocks long, but for some reason only 1 block was reserved for the event. Even if it was the city’s first major New Year’s Eve party, 1 block for the entire city’s all age event seems ridiculous.

That being said, the concert was really fun. I’m glad to hear that Indy is planning on doing this next year, so hopefully they’ll learn from their mistakes.

This is the kind of event that mainly locals hear about. While there were a few articles and news stories about it, they were short pieces at best and easy to miss. Most of the people seemed to have heard about it through the grapevine. This is easy if you’ve been in the area for a while, but those who recently relocated might have a harder time.

Remember in August when I quoted a Forbes.com article that the average worker stays at their job about 4 years before moving on and majority of Millennials expect to stay less than that? That hasn’t changed much in the last 5 months. Many people move to completely new cities every year. So how do you find fun events in your new home when you haven’t established yourself enough to be part of “The Grapevine?” Here’s how.

1. Google it

I know it sounds obvious, but a simple Google search will bring up some interesting results if you know where to look, especially for holiday events. I found the Georgia St. event by simply looking up “Indianapolis New Year’s Eve.” When you find an event that sounds interesting, change your Google search to that specific event to get even more details. After reading an article mentioning Georgia St., I began searching “Georgia St. New Year’s Eve Indianapolis.” That brought up more detailed articles that gave me enough information to decide to check it out.

2. Use Meetup

Meetup.com is a great website for both personal and professional use. I’ve mainly used it to find business conferences to attend, but I know people who have also had great success using it to find events and activities to do during their free time. Several clubs also use Meetup so the site is a great place to find regular events that can help you make new friends in your new city.

3. Just look for the signs

It’s another obvious answer, but staying on the lookout for signs about upcoming events is another great way to find things to do. I’ve read about concerts on marquees and found great trivia nights will out at local bars all by reading signs. Next time you’re out, especially at a place you want to visit again, scan the room for signs about upcoming events. They’re often posted at the front door, by registers, or behind the bar, but they could be anywhere so always look out for them.

4. Ask around

Ask your coworkers! You have to talk to them anyway, and they all know you just moved, so why not ask them for some great places? They might even know some hidden gems you can’t find online. This works better for restaurants, bars, or concert venues than individual activities, but it’s still nice to have a few locations to suggest when meeting up with friends. Who knows, your coworkers could even invite you to these places so you can check it out right away!

If you’re anything like me, you like staying busy. Moving to a new place can be hard on your social life, but relocating doesn’t mean you’re life is over. Whether you’re looking for something to do for the next holiday or just a regular weekend, these tips will help you plan the perfect outing. So go forth, my fellow New In Towns, and become a social butterfly in your new city!

Solana, Jesus. Party time ! in Istanbul / Fiesta! en Estambul. 7 Jun. 2007. Online image. Flickr. 2 Jan. 2015. https://flic.kr/p/QRTMV

No Shave November: The History of Facial Hair Removal


It’s the last Wednesday in November, which means it’s time for the last installment in our history of shaving series in honor of No-Shave November. We’ve talked about the regular shaving topics: legs, underarms, and, of course, the bikini area. Now it’s time for facial hair removal.

As you’ve read in earlier articles, removing body hair is not a new thing for women. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians all had their own tools and body hair preferences. Taylor Barringer writes in her Elle.com article “History of hair Removal,” that one of the first trendsetters of removing facial hair in the Western World was Queen Elizabeth I.

While Elizabeth and her followers removed the hair from their faces, their body hair remained untouched. Barringer explained that since large foreheads were in during Elizabeth’s reign, “the fashion of this era was to remove eyebrows and hair from the forehead…which women did by using walnut oil, or bandages soaked in amonia [sic] (which they got from their feline pets) and vinegar.” That’s right, English women were soaking bandages in cat urine and then applying it to their faces to remove unwanted hair.

Note: While I doubt you’ll harm yourself if you apply cat urine to your skin, please don’t try this beauty trick at home. It just seems really unsanitary.

In her Chicago Tribune article “Shaving and fashion: A storied history,” Lauren R. Harrison explains that our modern obsession with body hair removal might have some more recent roots. While there were some women removing body hair in the 19th century, it didn’t gain the popularity it had under Elizabeth I’s rule until Gillette invented the first women’s razor in 1915. Harrison quotes Russell B. Adams Jr., author of “King C. Gillette: The Man and His Wonderful Shaving Device,” that Gillette’s Milady Decollete was “the first razor designed and marketed specifically for women.”

Razors weren’t the only option for women looking to remove body hair. The early 20th century saw plenty of ads, just like the ones for the Milady Decollete, for depilatory creams that could help women with their body image woes. Barringer writes that “in 1907 an ad for X-Bazin Depilatory Powder began circulating, promising to remove ‘humiliating growth of hair on the face, neck, and arms.'”

For those of you wondering why neck hair was an issue to women of the 1900s, take a look at your own neck in the mirror. The hair line is most likely irregular. With all the glamorous up do’s of this decade, trimming and shaving these hairs into a uniform shape was the only option.

By the 1920s and 30s, short hair was the new trend. Instead of having your neck exposed with pinned up hair, the Flapper Girl of that era had hair that barely passed her ears. The trend remains today. Ask any girl with a pixie cut and they’ll tell you that their stylist takes a razor to their neck with every trim.

Barringer states that by the 1950s hair removal became more widely accepted. Rather than completely removing their eyebrows like they did during Elizabeth I’s time, women began using tweezers “to groom and shape their eyebrows.”

Now there are dozens of options for women to remove unwanted hair from their face and neck. They range from at home options like tweezers and shaving to luxurious spa offerings at waxing bars and eyebrow threading studios. There really is no limit to how women can alter their natural body hair.

There’s only 4 days left in November, so hopefully you’ve taken part in No-Shave November by educating yourself on men’s health issues as well as raising awareness by putting down that razor and letting your body hair grow. For those of you who did take part in the no-shaving fun, how did it go? What body part did you not shave? How long did you participate? Share your stories in the comments below or on social media!

Brown, Ian. Eyebrow Work. 22 Apr. 2012. Online image. Flickr. 26 Nov. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/bASVFU

3 Tips On How to Shop This Black Friday


Black Friday is only one week away. For those of you lucky enough to not work that day, you might decide to take advantage of the multitude of sales taking place across the country. If you’re lucky enough to have never worked in retail before, you might not know how to conduct yourself while shopping for loved ones on this infamous day. Here’s 3 tips on how to shop on Black Friday without becoming That Customer retail employees talk about for years to come.

1. Great deals don’t excuse bad manners

Yes, we know that thing you really want is 75% off. That doesn’t mean you can punch and shove your way to get it. I don’t care if other people are doing it. They shouldn’t act that way and neither should you. While it’s nice to exchange gifts with loved ones during the holidays, the season is more about spending time with those people and being kind to all. Don’t ruin someone else’s day because you just really want to buy something.

2. Don’t be upset that you missed the deals

Stores are given only a certain amount of items to sell. Don’t get me wrong, they’re sent an insanely large number of these items, but no matter what it’s still a set number. There’s no guarantee that an extra shipment can be delivered quickly just because one product is running low. And those specialty gifts that are only available to “the first 100 customers” or whatever other rule corporate comes up with? They’re sent even less of those, and once they’re gone they’re gone.

Some people line up for Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving. There are even some stores that stay open on Thanksgiving just to get those extremely early Black Friday shoppers. If you aren’t one of those people, don’t be surprised that some items have already sold out. Even if you do participate in those extreme practices of Black Friday, there are hundreds of other shoppers there with you. Don’t be surprised that your favorite retail store sold out of the thing you wanted at 3 am, especially those specialty items.

If you think that this scenario is the appropriate time to flip out and storm out of the store, it isn’t. You are allowed one “Bummer,” or “Darn it!” before moving on with your shopping. Yes, it stinks that you put in a lot of effort into trying to get an item that you can’t purchase, but remember what I said about the meaning of this season. You aren’t going to ruin someone’s Christmas by not giving them a specific present, but you will ruin their Christmas by making it seem like an item can replace you being a kind friend.

3. Don’t blame employees

Seriously, don’t do this. You should hardly ever blame retail employees, but especially not on Black Friday. More than 90% of the issues I had with customers while working in retail, during the holiday season and the rest of the year, came from two sources: 1) insanely high expectations (No, I can’t make the designer create this sweater in red just for you. It comes in blue or green and that’s it.) 2) issues with corporate policy.

The people you’re interacting with on Black Friday are powerless to change the rules Corporate has laid out for them. Has the store put a limit on how many of one item people can purchase? Too bad. Did the store run out of nothing except the one thing you wanted? Tough. Corporate has set out specific rules for stores to follow. These can detail everything from how often shipments can happen to strict sales rules to keep items on the shelf for a larger number of shoppers to purchase. Keep this in mind when a store employee tells you that they are unable to give in to your demands.

Black Friday has turned from a major US shopping day to basically a three-ringed circus. Every retail employee has a Black Friday story they can tell you about a Customer From Hell. I know it’s tempting to be a complete jerk in order to snag all the deals this year. And trust me, you will see people doing just that. But you’re better than that. Be a great shopper and enjoy the sales you get if you choose to go out on Black Friday this year. And no matter what you do next week, happy holidays!

Bartoszek, Brandon. Mall Interior. 8 Jun. 2006. Online image. Flickr. 21 Nov. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/4yf71S