The Best Compliment

Last night, I was catching up with someone who I only vaguely remembered meeting at a party two years before, when suddenly he stopped, and said, “You’ve changed a lot since the last time I saw you.”

I could see the recalculating interest on his face and for a moment, could see myself from his eyes. Like actually seeing me for who I’ve become.

“Really? For the better I hope?” I asked.

“Definitely.”

And this was probably the single greatest thing anybody’s said to me this summer. Sure, in my own head I know I’ve been going to great lengths to be that person I’ve always wanted to be and live my life to the fullest, but to have that noticed by practically a stranger? This was big.

Every now and then you have a moment where you are able to zoom out on your life and see just how far you’ve come. Just how different you are today than you were a year ago, let alone four years ago. A moment where you genuinely stop and appreciate everything that has led you to where you are now. This was one of those moments.

About a year ago, I hit a turning point. I decided that if I wanted to be happy, like truly happy, I needed to step things up. So I did. I went completely vegan, instead of that 90% silliness I was at for four years. I pushed myself at work, in class, with friends to give them the best version of myself possible and be fully present everywhere I was, and it made all the difference in the world.

I took on every leadership opportunity that came my way. I was elected to the officer board for my sorority and became an admissions fellow who’s sole job was to give presentations to prospective students on what it means to go to Northeastern. Some times upwards of 400 students a day. I like to think that means I changed lives but who knows.

I not only took on twin littles in the fall but in the spring as well, when we had our first spring pledge class in over 10 years.  I made plans and had the best spring break of my life. Got offered a job on the spot at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Did an entire research project on the phenomena of college dating today. Learned aerial and circus skills, got my bartending license, and went skydiving. Road tripped from Chicago to Austin and back. I did everything I wanted and more, so I guess you could say it’s been quite the year.

Honestly, I’ve never been happier. I’m studying at an incredible university, in an incredible city, living in an incredible apartment with some of the best friends and family a girl could ever ask for. I have a job that not only pays the bills but makes me excited for the future, and every day I get to be the best version of myself possible. I have goals and dreams and ambitions I now genuinely believe will come true. At this moment, I’m exactly where I want to be.

So this is my wish for you all: to find your happiness and never stop reaching for more. More great friends and relationships, more new adventures, more opportunities to be that person you’ve always dreamed of. And gratitude for who and where you are every step of the way.

If nothing else, fake it till you make it. Remember, we are exactly what we pretend to be.

Life’s just a game anyway, right? Might as well have some fun with it.

photo

Love always,
Hannah

31 Reasons You Should Go to Northeastern

Deciding where to go to college isn’t always easy. Every school may seem great for different reasons, and it can be tough to tell where you will really fit in from a couple pamphlets, brochures, or books full of statistics and dated opinions.

Enter this list. Maybe you’ve heard of Northeastern University before, maybe you haven’t. For the past few months, in between classes I’ve been giving the admissions information sessions to prospective students and families, explaining what going to Northeastern means in a quick 45 minutes before sending them out on tour. And while it’s a wonderful experience, not everyone always has the good fortune of being able to visit before applying, so for the rest, here’s 31 reasons why Northeastern could be right for you.

(Hint: Click on things. You never know where they’ll take you.)

1.  You learn best by doing.

2.  You think the city’s pretty great.
Boston

3.  But still want a gorgeous campus.
Northeastern Virtual Campus Tour

4.  And a sweet neighborhood.
Back Bay

5.  And to make money.
Average Co-op Salary

6.  And to start your career.

7.  Because you’re smart.
Northeastern Academic Profile Fall 2013

8.  And love to travel.
Northeastern Study Abroad

9.  And love the idea of having the freedom to choose what you want your education to look like.
Northeastern 4 or 5

10.  And wouldn’t mind an extra year of living the dream.
5 Years, 18 months on your resume

11.  Or having friends from all over the world.

12.  And 3D printers, the oldest indoor hockey rink in the world, the site of the first world series, and the only Taco Bell in Boston all on your campus.
Matthews Arena - Northeastern University

13.  You’re truly great at what you do.
Nor'Easters 2013 ICCA Champions
14.  You know exactly what you want to do in the future.
CEO, Bitch.

15.  You don’t know exactly what you want to do in the future.
Undeclared

16.  You want to get involved.
Campus Life

17.  And be surrounded by people studying engineering, business, health, liberal arts, and the sciences.
Majors at Northeastern

18.  You’re opportunistic.
HIMYM

19.  And cool with walking pretty much everywhere.
Healthy Walking Neighborhoods

20.  You like the idea of living 10 minutes from Fenway Park.
Fenway Park

21.  And everything else you could possibly need.
Nearby Northeastern

22.  You think you’re pretty green.
Northeastern Sustainability

23.  You connect on with husky puppies on an emotional level.
Husky Puppies

24.  You want to stay active.
Stay Active

25.  And be around tons of young people.
Northeastern Underwear Run

26.  And aren’t intimidated by cars. Or buses. Or trains.
Just Cross the Street

27.  Or never knowing exactly what ‘year’ you are.

28.  Because you solve things by thinking outside the box.

29.  And to deserve to get an education beyond the classroom.
21 & Over

30.  Because you want to be inspired by people around you who are changing the world.
Northeastern: Changing the World

31.  Because you’re going to change the world.
Change the World

Photos courtesy of the internet.

The Laws of Attraction

The amount of people in the past few weeks who have asked me to turn what I’ve learned in my current Sex, Relationships and Communication class with Daniel Degooyer into something they can study is amazing. Why is it we’re so fascinated with how relationships work? How to effectively flirt and draw in those around you? What truly makes someone attractive?

I think a lot of this, like everything in life, stems from our desire for power. If we can understand how these things work, we’ll be able to more effectively control the people around us, as well as the outcomes of our own social interactions. I get it. I also believe that the more effective communicators we are, the better the world will be as a whole, so I’ve decided to help you out. Full disclaimer though, I’m no expert, and all I am going off are these basic principles we’ve been reading about and discussing the past few weeks, a couple documentaries and my own life experiences. But hey, here goes nothing.

Q: What makes someone attractive?
A: There are many, many things that can contribute to the fact you find someone attractive. Obviously the most dominant factor is someone’s appearance, but personality and proximity also play a bigger role than you may think.

  • Physical Symmetry: Ever heard of the Golden Ratio? Believe it or not, someone’s physical attractiveness can be boiled down down to mathematics. Obviously this isn’t the only factor, but it’s the one of the most basic which influences how traditionally attractive we find someone to be. It’s also proven that we tend to like people with similar face shapes as our own.

  • Personality: If someone is warm, generally positive and shows concern for others, we find them more attractive. If someone is social and able to communicate easily among a group of people, we find them more attractive. And if someone is clearly competent, composed, smart and self-confident, we’ll find them more attractive too.

  • Proximity: How closely available someone is to you can sometimes outweigh similarity as a basis for attraction, which might explain why so many people find relationships in the workplace and other close-quarters experiences.

  • Biology:  On a certain level, it all comes down to genetics. How attractive someone smells to you might seem trivial but it actually is your body telling you taht your gene pools are different enough you could have healthy children. And ladies, we really do look subtly more attractive the closer to ovulation we are.

  • Physical Environment: The physical environment you interact with someone in can actually affect how attractive you find them. For example, think of the difference between meeting someone at a warmly-lit bar versus next to a dumpster. Even if subconsciously, it impacts how you perceive them and the experience as a whole.

  • Social Environment: Approval from family and friends definitely promotes attraction, but of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Ever heard of Romeo and Juliet?

  • Social Media: Who cares what my Facebook says about me, right? Wrong. Science has proven again and again that people with more engaging social media pages, with great pictures and more positive interaction from friends on them are seen as more attractive.

  • Culturally-Specific Values: Depending on the culture and environment you grow up in, you may find certain traits more attractive than others in an other. Some cultures value rounder women, pale skin, whereas others emphasize thinness and perfect tans, and depending on the one you grew up in you’re probably going to find those traits more attractive.

  • Personal Reward Perception: If we believe that someone will offer us more rewards than costs, we will be more attracted to them. Plain and simple, if you think your life would benefit by having them in it, you’re going to want to get them in it.

  • Personal Expectations: Ever heard of self-fulfilling prophecies? If you go into something expecting people to be a certain way, those are the things you’re going to notice first. In fact, most of the time the way we treat those around us in makes them more likely to confirm our expectations. Think the good looking guy has to be a jerk? Chances are, if he makes one slightly rude comment your expectation will be fulfilled and your mind made up. On the other hand, if they defy all your expectations, you may be so drawn to them it won’t matter how physically perfect they are. Personal expectations can work both ways as far as attraction goes.

  • Similarity (to a certain degree): Similar communication styles? Check. Identical food tastes? Maybe not. Things like similar music, tv and movie interests can make someone seem more attractive, but at the same time, for some it is actually more difficult to stay interested someone exactly like them. Variety is the spice of life, and typically makes for more interesting conversations.

Q: Are all feelings of attraction the same?
A: No. In fact, there are four distinct types of attraction, and while you may feel all of them for a person it’s also very possible to just experience one or two. There is power in being able to distinguish them for yourself.

  1. Physical Attraction: Being attracted to a person in the sense that you find their physical presence pleasing.
  2. Social Attraction: Being attracted to a person in regards to how they may fit in with your social group or you would benefit from theirs.
  3. Task Attraction: Attraction as a desire to work with them, to utilize and benefit from their skill set.
  4. Sexual Attraction: The most commonly thought of as ‘attraction’–a physical desire to be intimate with them.

The Laws of Attraction
Q
: So Hannah, tell me how to flirt better.
A: Of course, reader. Surprisingly few people actually understand the basic principles behind how people flirt, so I’ve listed some of the most effective ways people show their interest for one another below. Study up, test them out, and let me know how it goes!

  1. The Laws of AttractionSay hello! You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t first introduce yourself. Be friendly, make an impression. Whenever you see them, make sure you show them you genuinely care about them. And if you’re really interested, put yourself out there and make the effort to see them again. Nothing great’s ever achieved without a little risk.

    The Laws of Attraction

  2. Listen to them. Like really listen. Don’t just hear the words they’re saying–take into account what they’re also not saying, what their body’s saying for them. Do their eyes light up when they talk about something? Are they more reserved in certain settings, or just slower to open up to people? How closely are they positioning themselves to you? How much eye contact are they making? There’s a lot more going in every social interaction  we have than most people realize.

  3. The Laws of AttractionMake eye contact. If you refuse to make consistent eye contact with someone, they’re not going to trust you, let alone think you’re interested in them. Plus, the majority of our communication with one another is non verbal, so use those eyes. They’ll say more for you than your words ever will.

  4. Use people’s names. Whether they realize it or not, everyone loves it when you do. It not only shows you specifically care about them but it immediately makes you feel a little closer with them. Don’t use it to the point of being obnoxious, but definitely throw it in there every now and then if you want to show you like them.

    The Laws of Attraction

  5. Get physically close. If you brush their arm, hug them, even just stand closer to them than you normally would it shows attraction and interest. Generally speaking, if your feet are pointing towards each other, you’re interested.

  6. The Laws of AttractionBe genuinely interested in them. The best way to keep people interested is to by being genuinely interested in them and what they have to say. Not only be a good listener but ask them questions, be engaged and in turn they’ll find you engaging. People love talking about themselves.

  7. The Laws of AttractionSmile! Again, things like warmth, joy and confidence are very attractive so don’t be afraid to use them to your advantage! Relax, be yourself, have a little fun and make the most of every situation and you’ll be a pro in no time.

More on this later.
xox

20 Things I’ve Learned in 20 Years

Today’s my 20th birthday and I don’t even know how that happened. It’s as though I blinked in August and now everyone and everything seems to believe it’s December and I’m just in shock. Not unhappy or in denial, just generally stunned. Does time pass faster as you get older, or just busier?

Either way, I got the idea from this Thought Catalog post to do a 20 Things I’ve Learned in 20 Years post, so here goes nothing.

  1. Things really do work out the way they’re meant to. The people you meet, the college you go to, the inevitable misadventures and strands of moments that have made you who you are today… all of it. So don’t waste your time worrying. If it’s meant to happen and you’re out there always doing your best, it will.

  2. Change is inevitable. As hard as it is sometimes, we need to embrace the fact that nothing is ever exactly the same as it was one second ago. It will always happen, even if so slightly that one day you end up staring, fascinated at yourself in the mirror, trying to decide if you like this person better than the old one. Enjoy it.

  3. We all make our fair share of mistakes. Own up to them, learn from them, right any wrongs, and move on. You’ll be a better person for it.

  4. You’re going to accomplish some pretty amazing things. Work hard regardless and be thankful when it happens.

  5. Do more of what you love and what makes you happy and you’ll never be sorry. You don’t have to have it all figured out. As long as you’re spending your time on the things that matter to you the rest has a way of sorting itself out.

  6. Finding and keeping great friends is crucial. It may not always be easy, but people need other people like plants need the sun. So hang out with them whenever you can, keep in touch, and don’t be afraid to tell them you love them because

  7. It’s always worth the extra effort to show someone they’re loved. Take it from movies like Love, Actually. Even if it doesn’t seem to help on the surface, it always does.

  8. Know your priorities.

  9. Ditch the electronic devices whenever possible. Give people your undivided attention when you sit down to talk with them. It makes all the difference in the world. Facebook can wait. The person in front of you shouldn’t have to.

  10. Celebrate everything.

  11. Taking care of yourself is not an option. Your body is your greatest tool. Act accordingly.

  12. Learn from everything.

  13. Experience the world as much as you can. Go on a road trip. Fly to another country for the weekend. Even if it’s just experiencing part of someone else’s world for a little while, just make the effort to go beyond your comfort zone. You’ll always come out a better, more empathetic person for it.

  14. You can’t trust everyone, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Some people are going to hurt you whether they intend to or not. Chalk it up to human imperfection, let it go, and be open to finding someone more deserving.

  15. Vulnerability is power. Being open and genuine for some reason is practically revolutionary today, and therefore has an incredible effect. Do it more often and you’ll see what I mean.

  16. Honesty is sexy.

  17. Never lose your childlike sense of play. Build a fort in your living room. Turn walking upstairs into a mini-race, paint things with your fingers, play hide-and-go-seek and see how happy it makes you to act like a kid again.

  18. Life is too short to waste time on things that don’t make you happy.

  19. Kindness will never go out of style. Even if you don’t have a reason to, just being considerate and understanding to those around you is as classy as it gets.

  20. Just have fun. Wherever you are right now, just get out there and make the most of it. Other people don’t control you or your happiness. You do.

P.S. — It’s snowing.photo

Happy World Vegan Day!

In honor of today, I’m answering my least favorite question I get when I tell people I’m vegan:

“So, what do you eat?”

Sorry to disappoint you, but meat, cheese, milk and eggs are not actually main food groups. There are literally hundreds of kinds of fruits and vegetables and grains out there to choose from that are better for both your body and the environment. So my answer to them? Everything else. If my lazy vegan butt can do it, yours sure can too.

Here’s just a list of a few of my favorites so you can get an idea.

Breakfast:

  • An apple and a KIND bar
  • Vegan cereal with almond milk
  • Oatmeal and berries
  • Fruit salad
  • Tofu scramble (Boston, Trident makes a mean one!)
  • Tempeh bacon
  • Home fries

 

Lunch:

  • Taco Party Food TruckLentil soup
  • Baby kale salad with avocado, sprouts and siracha
  • Burrito with black beans, lettuce, chipotle lime tofu, guacamole, parsley and pico de gallo
  • Seitanthony’s Feast, Sweet Potato and Buffalo Tempeh tacos via The Taco Party

 

Dinner:

  • Pad Thai with Vegetables and Tofu (no egg)
  • Vietnamese Tofu Summer Rolls
  • Avocado maki and miso soup
  • Vegetable stir-fry and quinoa

 

And for those of you who are looking to eat cleaner but don’t know where to begin, here’s my go-to grocery list!

A Basic Week’s Grocery list:

  • 4-5 Organic red apples
  • 3-4 Avocadoes
  • 1-2 boxes of kale/salad mix
  • A pack of berries
  • 1 box KIND Bars* (Their Madagascar Vanilla’s pretty amazing)
  • 2 365 Organic lentil soups
  • 2 Thai sweet potato soups
  • 4 boxes of kale chips (I’m obsessed with Brad’s Raw Leafy Kale)
  • 2 Bell Peppers

*contains honey

I’ve also been on a bit of a vegan baking kick lately (and by a bit, I mean making at 2-3 of these things every week) so you should definitely give them try! My non-vegan friends literally beg me to keep making them so that must mean they’re good, right?

Favorite Vegan Desserts Recipes:

 

Hopefully that helps you get a better idea of what eating like a vegan’s like, and maybe intrigued enough to try a recipe or two! Also feel free to check out my Pinterest boards for lots more mouth-watering ways to eat your veggies!

Happy eating!

Love always,
Hannah

Hannah’s Links of the Week // April 24th

The internet is awesome. Every day brings countless new opportunities for killing time and having fun doing it right to our fingertips. But remember, not everything has to be a complete waste of time! Here are five ways to procrastinate right now that your future self may actually thank you for!

  1. Write a letter to your future self. FutureMe.org is a magnificent. You write a letter, pick a date for it to be delivered and there it goes! When I was 16 I wrote one to my 18 year old self and when I got it, I had long forgotten about the site, but now had this beautiful note written for myself, by myself. It sounds ridiculous but just try it! I swear your future self will thank you for it. And yes, you’re all free to e-mail me too :)
    FutureMe.org // write a letter to your future self
  2. Figure out if you have what it takes to be a great leader. The good people of Forbes have brought us another great story on how to succeed no matter what job or industry you’re in. In addition to doing the self-test to see if you have what it takes, be sure to take note of their five important principles to live and work by in order to exude leadership without really trying!
    Screen shot 2013-04-23 at 10.45.38 PM
  3. Learn how to look beautiful without make-up. From SPF to hot water with lemon, MindBodyGreen comes through again, this time fully loaded with ways we can improve our skin to feel more beautiful sans all the beauty products. What girl wouldn’t love that!
    Learn how to look beautiful without make-up on!
  4. Get a free education for life via Pinterest. I know, I know. Pinterest? Really? In all seriousness though, I can’t tell you how many things I’ve learned just going on Pinterest and reading through the picture links. How many recipes, home remedies, health tips, DIY projects I’ve found and gone on to try with success. So if you don’t already have an account, it’s about time you made one and started learning beyond the classroom about things you actually care about.
    Screen shot 2013-04-23 at 10.49.23 PM
  5. Earth Month Tips for the Home. As if I needed another reason to love Whole Foods, but here it is: a list of easy things you should be doing to stay green at home. You’re probably already doing some of them without realizing it–taking shorter showers, using recycled paper in your office–but it’s good to take a moment and reconsider the impact of your choices.

  6. On Giving Boston a Chance. Given the events of the past week, I think everyone should read Josie’s take on what Boston means. What this city really is. Somebody I know was sent it from somebody they know so now I’m sharing it with you guys. If you’ve ever spent a good amount of time in this city, you’ll really appreciate her post.
    Screen shot 2013-04-23 at 10.27.54 PM
  7. Anti-Cancer Lifestyle Tips. Actually, let’s just call these 14 things everyone should already be doing if they care at all about their health. Seriously.
    Screen shot 2013-04-23 at 10.32.08 PM
  8. Amazing Places To Experience Around The Globe (Part 1). For the wanderlusters in all of us: a stunning compilation of 30 destinations around the world that will take your breath away. Adding all of these to my bucket list.
    Screen shot 2013-04-23 at 10.43.32 PM