The Tempest Radio Mixes Audio + Visual

BE MINE?: The Self-Love Mix for this Galentine’s Day

Whether you’re single or taken this Valentine’s Day, we all know that the obnoxiously pink holiday isn’t the real star of February.  That’s right- I’m talking about Galentine’s Day, or February 13th.

A GIF of Parks & Rec character Leslie Knope talking about her favorite holiday- Galentine's Day.

Hell yeah it is. Galentine’s Day is when women everywhere celebrate women everywhere, a day of self-love, self-celebration, and desserts all around.  It’s when you let your hair down, let loose, and let yourself feel the loooooove– all the love you always knew you deserved. That stiflingly red and pink aisle at Walgreen’s isn’t what Galentine’s Day is about. Roses, candy hearts, big teddy bears? Yeah, you deserve all of the above and more, but not necessarily from someone else. On Galentine’s Day, you get to treat yo’ self.

So run a bath, light some candles, and pour yourself a glass of bubbly.  Bask in self-glory and shimmy, shake, and sashay to this powerful (AND romantic) playlist.

1. Love Myself || Hailee Steinfeld

A picture of the artist Hailee Steinfeld.

This dance-pop song can never fail to make you remember the importance and value of self-love and self-care. It’s hard to forget to love yourself when Hailee Steinfeld is screaming the reminder into your ears over and over again. A beautiful, dizzily upbeat scream. Favorite lyric? “Got me speaking in tongues- The beautiful, it comes without you.”

2. Feeling Myself || Nicki Minaj (ft. Beyoncé)

Sometimes we like to get all dressed up and dolled up. Not for that naive, unappreciative man, but to feel powerful and self-sufficient on our own. Whether or not you feel your best in sweats or a sequined dress, every woman out there deserves to take this Galentine’s Day to really feel yourself. Favorite lyric? “Bitches ain’t got punchlines or flow, I have both and an empire also.”

3. Beautiful || Christina Aguilera

A picture of the artist Christina Aguilera.

You know the other 364 days of the year, the boring days, the days where you might not feel like you’re on top of the world (or on top of your shit for that matter?) Yeah, this amazing tune, with piano coupled with Christina’s classic charm, will make sure that Galentine’s Day reminds you of your self-worth. Favorite lyric? “We’re the song inside the tune (yeah, oh yeah), full of beautiful mistakes.”

4. Milkshake || Kelis

Picture of the artist Kelis.

Sometimes, loving yourself means accepting that sexuality is a strength! Step out of that slut-shaming stereotype, sister, and harness that sexual prowess! Yeah, this song might be an overused cliché, but it’s also an undeniable rhythmic dance beat. Favorite lyric? Of course, “my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.” Can’t beat that one.

5. Fight Song || Rachel Platten

A picture of the artist Rachel Platten.

I know, I know. This song played on the radio a lot, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t amazing! I got to watch her perform this live, and I can confirm she is just as talented, fun, and upbeat as she is in the recorded version! It’s a really strong reminder to all of us that the battles we fight are always within our capabilities to win, if we stick it through. Favorite lyric? “Like how a single word, can make a heart open.”

6. Brave || Sarah Bareilles

A picture of artist Sarah Bareilles.

This is such a cutesy indie pop song, and I love that. You know that feeling when you have something you really want to say but you don’t want to risk getting a bad reception? Yeah, Sarah Bareilles wrote this song for a gay friend of hers, when he was on the closet, and it might even help you get over your fears too! Favorite lyric?  “Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live, maybe one of these days you can let the light in.”

7. Girl On Fire || Alicia Keys

This hip-hop/R&B ballad is slow, sultry, and oh-so-smooth. Let Alicia’s buttery voice and incredible choruses wash over you.  The beat is heavy and pulsating, and Key’s vocals range over an octave of notes! GIRL CRUSH ALERT. Favorite lyric? “Feeling the catastrophe, but she knows she can fly away.”

8. Run The World (Girls) || Beyoncé


Ah, the classic female empowerment song. With the variety of beats in this mix- and the genre ranging from electropop to R&B- this ditty will have your head bopping and your hips shaking. It’s a song full of positive affirmations for women all over the world to unite over. What more could you want, really? Favorite lyric? “How we’re smart enough to make these millions, strong enough to bear the children, then get back to business.”

9. You Don’t Own Me || Lesley Gore

You might be more familiar with the more recent rendition of this song by Grace and G-EAZY, but 17 year old Lesley Gore originally sang this song in 1963. It’s the moment you ghosted that obnoxious SO, the time you stood up to that ex, or just the general badass vibe you give off to our dear patriarchal society. Favorite lyric? “I’m young and I love to be young, I’m free and I love to be free.”

10. Doing It || Charlie XCX and Rita Ora

Related image

When you’re with your girls, you just do your thing. Enough said. No matter how long its been, when we reunite you know that “I got your back for life.”

It’s simple, but its fun and energetic, just like the time you spend with your girlfriends.

11. Young Lady || Kid Cudi  (featuring Father John Misty)

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Hear me out, because you will love this.

Kid Cudi is singing about a girl who is doing her thing, being awesome, and he admires her for it (from afar). Father John Misty is in the back like “Jesus Christ girl!”

“Has anyone told you that you’re fresh as hell? And I dig the way you wear your hair too- it makes you look more mature.”

When you celebrate your girlfriends, you remind them how amazing they are for being who they are. Whether they have a Valentine or not, it is impossible for your girlfriends not to be loved because they’re badass ladies who you’re growing and slaying with.

“I’ll admire from afar, star. Keep doing all the great things you’re doing. You got it goin’ on, young lady.”

12. Everything We Touch and Games for Girls || Say Lou Lou

Image result for say lou lou

If you want something good to blast in the car or while getting ready, Say Lou Lou’s sound will capture the mood and their lyrics will put confidence in your step.

“Everything we touch turns to gold at night” because you and your girlfriends bring the fun wherever you go.

“Games for girls” has got to be pretty self-explanatory, but I will say that if you want to make Valentine’s or Galentine’s Day (or both) a little twisted this year, it’s all the more worth a listen.

13. R-E-S-P-E-C-T || Aretha Franklin

You have to end on Aretha! This classic is a reminder for you to be as loud and full of love as possible. You don’t need to take shit from anybody; they should be respecting you, because of how incredible you are. That climactic break towards the end will soon have you head-banging and shoulder-shimmying, and Aretha’s famous hooks will have you saying those seven letters of the alphabet to everyone in your life who’s slept on you. Favorite lyric? T-O-O  E-A-S-Y.

Hope you enjoyed jamming out with your gal pals.


Because we love you, we compiled all your new favorite songs in one playlist. Enjoy!

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Race Inequality

I refuse to allow your hatred to silence me any longer

At one point, I missed my friends. After all, we grew up together. Our friendships outlasted messy breakups and zip code changes. Yet as we matured, we were no longer protected by our naivety. We weren’t invincible. The barriers of race, identity, and culture presented obstacles, interrupting the flow of day to day interactions.

Possessing a global awareness of issues that faced women, LGBT+ youth, and black and brown identities, put me in a constant state of defense. Developing thick skin was not easy because once I did, that layer was tested.

Being a young, proud Blaxican woman in predominately white spaces filled me with conflict.

I listened to metal and punk: political and provocative music that amplified the unrest of the youth. My style was unapologetic.  I didn’t fit in. Unfortunately, anti-blackness was projected by other Chicano Americans in my circle which complicated relations on another level.

I wondered: Where did I belong?

Entering adulthood intensified relations. My stance on injustice within the United States was non-negotiable. The emergence of Donald Trump as a presidential candidate shook me up.

As I began to speak my truth, others were quick to silence me.

Former classmates undermined my intelligence with ableist and sexist slurs. Strangers targeted me because of my race. The harassment followed me from the classroom to social media. In but an instant, I became a punchline and at times a punching bag.

I lost the self-esteem that I worked so hard to regain. I lost my sense of self. I lost my direction.

I lost my friends.

2016 was the year that I emerged as a voice within my community but it was also the year of sacrifice. The isolation I felt as a result of my advocacy and activism, was both external and internal. Though California offered diversity, some communities weren’t progressive. Sadly, that became evident in my home town(s) of Murrieta and Temecula.

To keep from falling apart, I relied on the support from students that I tutored and mentored; students who were leaders of their campuses and organizations. I relied on my family and colleagues. Readers sent me encouraging messages. The love outweighed the hostility.

Though I gained the support of fellow warriors, activists, leaders, and scholars- I could not downplay the threat of Donald Trump’s campaign. I used my resources to dismantle the hate. I spoke up against a man that represented America’s ugly corners of rape culture and xenophobia. Because of my stance, I knew that I had a lot to lose, but I also knew that I had more to gain.

My efforts were tested when a Trump rally was scheduled to occur in Temecula. After witnessing the violence and hateful rhetoric that spread nationwide, I was afraid.

The stress was high. What could I do? How could I ensure the safety of my community? Did people realize that a fallen marine and beloved classmate was returning home that same weekend? Would a rally interfere? Tensions escalated.

I used my platform as a journalist, educator, and student to promote a message of peace. Grass roots methods encouraged others to get involved. I wasn’t alone. Social media allowed me to gain the attention of students from across the county. Together we were strong. I was willing to put in the time.

I was willing to bear my wounds.

After I gathered more information, I encouraged individuals to write a letter of concern to the council members of the town. Counter protests emerged in response to the Trump rally.

Though I had a moment where I doubted my own capabilities, I was reminded that I was needed and heard. My efforts prompted the Mayor and Sheriff to reach out to me directly. I was assured that safety would be a top priority. Yet, the taunts didn’t stop. Nor did the threats.

I still felt as though I lost. My home. My comfort. My pride.

How could that be?

I was speaking a language that many were conditioned to ignore. Those who were not affected by Trump’s anti-immigrant and misogynistic language attempted to shame me into compliance. They attempted to police my emotions and the reactions of other American citizens. Little did they realize that they were participating in another form of oppression. The cycle of trauma and harassment felt inescapable.

At that moment I was faced with two options: Do I back down? Or do I rise up?

Do I stand up for the countless men and women who are brutalized by the police?

Do I stand up for the immigrants who are criminalized by government forces?

Do I stand up for the students who face economic hardships and disillusionment?

Do I stand up for the women and other individuals who are subjected to sexual violence?

Do I stand up for the black and brown LGBT+ populations who face discrimination and isolation?

Yes, because I am among them.

I fit the profile of the angry and battered. I am the product of immigrants. I am a graduate. I am bisexual.

Fearless, bold, and determined.

I could settle for the path that others decided for me: a lifetime of emptiness and pain or I could defy them.

Friends, neighbors, and associates who were near and dear to me were no longer recognizable. I could never gain their approval and acceptance when they used my humanity against me.

They supported a presidential candidate that incited fear, hatred, and violence against people that looked like me. They defended hate groups that wanted to use our backyard as a stomping ground. They were indifferent to the struggles endured by black, brown, and LGBT+ youth.

Though the Trump rally still took place, nobody was hurt. My message was heard and I discovered my value. That weekend, I attended the memorial service of my classmate who died defending the freedoms of others. I decided to be where the heart of my hometown truly was. My faith was restored.

After the service, I recognized that families nationwide were grieving. Whether their sons and daughters lives were taken overseas or in our neighborhoods, there was a loss. There was a sacrifice.

The whole nation was in mourning.

If Donald Trump is elected president, the grief will be prolonged. The division will prevail.

He aggravates our wounds. He denies his wrongdoing. He does not have America’s best interest in mind. His lies are plentiful and pose a direct threat to this nation.

Though many are fooled by the wolf in sheep’s clothing, I see his teeth.

I thought I lost my sense of self but I gained self-assurance and love.  Though I was tokenized, fetishized, and tossed aside- I reclaimed my space and my narrative. I didn’t give in.

I thought I lost my way, but I discovered new opportunities. I did not settle for the status quo. I did not believe the bogus that Trump was selling. I opened the pathways to involvement and communication, listened to those who were overlooked and denied, and actively engaged. Without unity, compassion, and solidarity- America will suffer. That is why I filled these spaces with hope and empowerment.

I thought I lost my friends but I connected with new people. I learned how to appreciate the individuals in my life who were there for me when everyone else walked away. Those individuals were champions. They were my colleagues and family members. They were my sisters. They were my brothers too. Throughout the heartache, I learned how to forgive.

More importantly, I learned how to forgive myself.

I thought I lost my home and comfort, but I grew. Every seed of doubt was removed.

I am thriving now. In full bloom.

I still face attacks but I am not derailed.

I am humbled by the outpouring love and support. I didn’t lose. I won.

Educators, students, activists, and leaders face a lot of hate as a result of their contributions. Yet, we carry on.

We carry on because we know better. We know the truth. We are not prepared to lose our country. Women of color have fought for centuries. We earned our way and now that we are here, there is no going back.

The reality is disheartening, but we still protest on the streets. We still protest in classrooms. We still protest on the football field, on the podium, and throughout life. Our existence alone is a protest. Our willingness to illuminate the forgotten corners of our society is revolutionary. We are influential, intellectual, and inspiring.

Sometimes it feels like the conversation surrounding our communities is devoid of our voices. It can be discouraging to see others with more influence and power misleading the population when they are not immediately affected or at risk.  My identity as a multicultural woman left me vulnerable to unwarranted threats. My presence forced others to confront their own deep seeded resentments.

It didn’t matter where I was- my identity alone would make a statement.

Looking back, I am thankful. It was not easy to be at the center of threats and harassment. As the days grow closer to the 2016 election, I know there is still work to do. That work begins with us. We must educate ourselves. We must participate in the political process by voting. We must equip ourselves with the tools to create change.

The change begins within. Spread love, peace, and hope. Be a part of the positivity. Be a part of the productivity. Be a part of the movement.

When I used my voice, others listened. When I took up space, I became bigger than myself. Every day I devote my life to the education and success of students who are looking up to us. Those students need us. We should represent them, fight for them, and advocate for them.

There is no shame in our identities as black and brown women.

That is why I am not afraid to say:

Here I am, despite it all- alive. Still black. Still Mexican. Still bi.

I exist. I am breathing and I will continue to use the air in my lungs to fight injustice.

Beauty Lookbook

Why are women so obsessed with the way they look?

Will I ever be slim? I wish I was curvy. Why doesn’t my body have that hourglass shape? My bum just looks flat as a pancake in these jeans. My boobs are so small; I look like a boy. I don’t feel comfortable wearing short tops or dresses; everyone will see my thunder thighs. With a round chubby face, I look like a school girl. My bulbous big nose just takes over my whole face. Thin lips, sparsely haired eyebrows, and thin eyelashes. Enlarged pores, spots, and visible facial hair.

Why couldn’t I wake up with the perfect face?

[bctt tweet=”The cherry on the cake is the various portable screens at hand constantly reinforcing what women should look like.” username=”wearethetempest”]

The creation of this obsession over the way women should look and the consequent insecurities experienced by women stems from mass media. Television, offline/online publications, and social media have created and further fed into this standard of an ‘ideal’ beauty. Actresses and models are either perfectly slim or curvaceous. They are only thicker or quirky looking if the role or campaign requires them to be.

Even on YouTube, an outlet which is supposed to be made up of ordinary people, many (especially beauty gurus) represent this perfectly groomed image. Beauty, skincare, clothing, perfume, and other companies profit by using the ideal looks of celebrities and models to highlight the inadequacies within ordinary women. Makeup, lighting, photo re-touching, clever positioning, and camera angles further add to this illusion of an ideal standard of beauty. The cherry on the cake is the various portable screens at hand constantly reinforcing what women should look like.

The appearance of actresses, female celebrities, and models across this media also sends the message of what is considered attractive by men. It screams that if you look a certain way, you will get positive attention from men. So, in order to be considered desirable, you must meet this ideal standard of beauty. All the various outlets are constantly bombarding women with this one message. This informs the societal norm, adding a further pressure upon women on having to strive to look a specific way in order to be attractive to men.

Focusing only on the external appearance of women sends another message. The only valuable thing a woman can offer is her looks. Ultimately, a woman’s worth is attached to her level of attractiveness. If women meet this ideal standard of beauty, only then will society accept them as valuable and give them the permission to hold a positive sense of self-worth.

[bctt tweet=”How can we stop the obsession of the appearance of women and exchange insecurity with empowerment?” username=”wearethetempest”]

How can we combat these messages sent by mass media and consequent societal pressure? How can we stop the obsession of the appearance of women and exchange insecurity with empowerment?

Equipping women with a confident and positive view of their self-image begins in the home. Parents need to discuss what is shown on TV, magazines and social media so that from a young age, girls understand how unrealistic and manipulated the images are. Complimenting daughters, reinforcing an appreciation of how they look and maintaining an open dialogue will help to challenge issues that arise due to body-image.

The most crucial step, however, is to emphasize the value of their inner qualities. How well you treat people; strive to be a good person; realize and develop skills; help others – especially those who are less fortunate; and live with meaning and to your full potential are much more important than their looks and others perceptions of their looks. Providing such crucial building blocks at a young age will instill an additional confidence. That young girl will grow up to become that vital force, challenging damaging messages and the views and insecurities of other women.

[bctt tweet=”Women need to support one another and shatter the illusions of beauty and attractiveness.” username=”wearethetempest”]

For us now, we women also need to take responsibility. Women shouldn’t shame others about the way they look. We should be the last to point out an external flaw in another woman. We do not need to further reaffirm the standards and the feelings of insecurity that are being put upon us by society.

There is so much natural variety in the looks of women. This difference needs to be celebrated and appreciated. All women cannot fit into one box. Women need to support one another and shatter the illusions of beauty and attractiveness. For instance, when you hear a friend pointing out what she feels is a flaw, positively challenge her and show her the real beauty you see in her.

I am done obsessing over how I look and how others may negatively perceive me. I am done feeling insecure. I am not going to let any external force dictate what I should look like and how I should feel about the way I look.

The way I look is not solely for the pleasure of men.

I love how I look for me.

And I am beautiful!

Beauty Lookbook

My coral lipstick got me through my breakdowns, and now I’m cheating on it

It’s safe to say that I’ve always loved makeup.

Growing up, I wore every terrible 2000’s trend – from blue glitter, cream eyeshadow to clear mascara (I’m still trying to figure out what that was for). Don’t even get me started on colorful hair mascara. Despite my crazy antics, I don’t really remember experimenting with lipstick in my teen’s – though my mother is particularly proud of my high school portrait where I’m wearing a dashing nude gold shade (perhaps that put me off of lipstick for a while).

In fact, my lipstick obsession came around when I was an anxiety-ridden 21 year old and desperately trying to reclaim and rediscover who I was.

[bctt tweet=”My life was changing in every way possible, and I was struggling to be who I really wanted.” username=”wearethetempest”]

At the start of my 20’s, I was recovering from a monumental breakdown. My life was changing in every way possible, and I was struggling to be who I really wanted. Most importantly, I struggled on a daily basis with my body image, and that’s when I found my love for fashion and, in turn, my personal style. I dyed my hair pillar box red, wore long strands of faux pearls, and wouldn’t be seen dead without my trusty dark, red lipstick. My trademark shade became MAC’s Russian Red, and I’d wear it any time I left the house – even to go to the corner shop. It was such a dark, powerful lipstick that made me feel artificially confident enough to walk into a room alone while I was shaking under my layers.

[bctt tweet=”At the start of my 20’s, I was recovering from a monumental breakdown.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Dark, vampy red lipstick was significant in a dark and manic time of my life – a moment where I was going through the motions and hoping to fool the world. But when I grew again and actually discovered real happiness, I sought brighter and funner colors. I wanted a lip color that actually helped me feel alive and gave me real confidence instead of being the mask I painted on to hide myself.

That’s when coral lipsticks came into my life.

[bctt tweet=”Because as materialistic as it seems, they do bring me joy.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Coral lipsticks are one of my favorite things in the world. They’ve appeared on pretty much every “happy list” I’ve made for nearly half a decade now, because as materialistic as it seems, they do bring me joy. When you’re bed-bound with illness as much as I am, you need a quick and easy boost. Coral lipstick does that for me.

I can be lying in bed feeling like crap without having even brushed my hair that day, but I slick on a bright lipstick, and it brings my mood up that tiny bit. I’ve lost count of how many I own, but it’s easily in the double digits.

My bathroom is littered with all ranging from the daily Rio Rio by Topshop to the ultimate attention grabbing So Chaud by Mac – I could give you so many suggestions and recommendations for all your coral lip needs (seriously ask me!). I flirted with other shades, and they flirted back, but even if I was wearing another shade, I’d always keep a coral in my bag and probably end up applying it an hour later.

And then it happened. I wish I had an excuse my dear beloved Coral, but I don’t.

I cheated.

My life took another grand old beating at the start of this year, and in between dusting myself off and reforging my path, my style changed once again, too. I discovered that I actually enjoy how my bum looks in jeans after years of only wearing skirts.

I attempted to perfect casual chic (more on that as the story develops), and I entered into a love affair with a new lip shade.

[bctt tweet=”The kiss on the cheek to coral’s full on snog.” username=”wearethetempest”]

I guess I realized that coral didn’t really go with the casual, classic, and cool (lazy) look I was going for, but dark nude shades definitely did. Where coral had the impact and clout, nude tones had the understated mystique. The kiss on the cheek to coral’s full on snog. The sort of shade that wants you to introduce yourself before it has the chance to shout its name at you. I did something I’d never done when I embraced nude lipstick; I started using lipliner to perfect that pout. It broadened my horizons in ways corals never did. The nudes I love are named things like Bond Girl, Corset and Lolita – sexy names that can’t help but roll off your tongue and make you feel sophisticated whilst sipping a classy afternoon wine. Nude shades help me own that “lady-like” persona for as long as I wear them whilst giving my naughty side wistful gazes.

It’s like slipping into an old mask…

But, sometimes I don’t want to be classy and elegant. Not far from the surface is a loud, bubbly, inappropriate goddess who needs to let her opinions on sex, politics, and life come raging out. She prefers to scream these thoughts whilst drinking a cider with her best friends. And whilst I could easily do this when wearing nude lip colors, I always feel more at home as my opinionated self wearing my old faithful coral lipstick. It’ll be the one being smeared on without a mirror, because it has a groove worn into it the shape of my lips.

Truth is, coral lipstick became as integral a part of my life as my fandoms, activism work, and a certain swear word. I’m fairly sure that nobody else cares what lip color I wear or if I wear any at all.

But it’s going to take some work to replace my true love, but that’s the fun and thrill of a new relationship.

Love Life Stories

You can stop name dropping now, it doesn’t make you look any hotter

I’m on a date. We’ve just met and now we’re fated to “get to know each other.” Inevitably, for some “getting to know each other” isn’t ever actually genuine. The phase usually repulsively resembles a mixture of a high-intensity interrogation and a standardized test — you know the questions are leading inaccurate displays of the self, but you answer them anyway, feeling the tension grow throughout the process with every not-so-perfect response you answer with.

Maybe I’m just grossly hyper ware of how disingenuous most dates are. Among the questions that are falsely framed as an attempt to “get to know,” there are often some about art, and I mean any type of art — music, books, visual art, etc.

Dates, in many ways, are like competitions. I don’t implore you in any way to think about things like this, but as I have grown up in a society that put great value on competition and often pits the sexes against each other in their societally inflated differences, dates have become competitions.

And we can see that competitive drive exist on many different levels. First and foremost, the competition begins with the “getting to know” you game. It all begins when you’re asked what your favorite (insert form of art) here. Most frequently, I get, “What kind of music do you like?” I would like to be clear that I believe that this question is, the majority of the time, a purely innocent one. Music, like other forms of art, are ways to connect with someone. often, we connect with people through our common interests.

[bctt tweet=” Basically, common interests are traded as social capital.” username=”wearethetempest”]

I’ll give you two different scenarios to this question. They are both the most likely scenarios, and frequently they are the only ones I receive:

Let’s say I answer the question, and let’s say that answer doesn’t please him. The immediate response is something along the lines of completely ignoring my response—because it wasn’t the “right” answer—and an automatic reversal of the conversation’s focus. Because I didn’t say something he liked or something that was impressive, he now is going to impress me—taking on the role of subject. In these brief moments, I feel as almost if they are the passing-bys of what these men think equality is. “I thought she was cool, I gave her a chance, but she was just so lame.” Well, no, actually, you never spoke to her.

In this scenario, a guy starts saying things like, “Oh, well, I’m really into X and Y.” If I get really lucky, he’ll tell me, “You know, it’s okay that you don’t know, they’re actually pretty obscure anyway.” Those ones are the real keepers.

But, on the other hand, let’s say that When I answer the question, he’a happy with my response. “Oh, you know them? They’re great. But what I really think grasps (insert ridiculous emotion/feeling) is (insert long list of obscure artists).” Needless to say, these artists in both situations only serve one purpose: to use the music they like as symbols of themselves.

Generally, it would be pretty ridiculous to completely disregard a simple exchange of common interests, too bad that’s never the situation during dates. On dates, “common interests” are just a code words for a test based on how many names you can drop that hold value. Basically, common interests are traded as social capital. Just because you can recite names of bands or authors or artists, doesn’t mean you’re a good person.

[bctt tweet=”Your interests do not equate to your value. Period. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

As an English major and as a college student in general, this happens to me all the time. It doesn’t happen only in interactions with men (although we all know that they’re commons exist within the patriarchy), it happens with all people. This kind of one-upping attitude is the result of the value we put on competitive mindsets. And it’s so exhausting.

[bctt tweet=”Just because you can recite names of bands or authors or artists, doesn’t mean you’re a good person.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Believe me, I can recite the names of authors and bands and artists. I can read up on Wikipedia pages and read summaries online. It’s easy to learn what’s considered valuable to someone. It’s easy to pull out name after name after name. That’s so easy because that serves no purpose. Name-dropping serves no other purpose than to falsely elevate that person’s status, and I’m so goddamn tired of it.

I can’t get this through people’s heads enough — your interests do not equate to your value. Period. From a very young age, young girls are mansplained at. They are shown that what they like represents themselves. So, if you like Barbies, you’re a Barbie girl, whereas if you like anything remotely considered to be associated with boys, you are considered a tomboy. This continues throughout life. But we need to break out of the cage of using the things we like to represent us.

For years, intellectual inferiority stemmed from these interactions. I would be on a date and feel truly inferior for not knowing that band or that artist or that book, and knowing how much I had let that person down. This was before I saw through their actions. I became so acutely aware of how “little” I knew, and always thought that they were so much more educated or aware or cool. In reality, they were just using these artists to be more than what they were.

Now I know.

Beauty Lookbook

The cyber slay: social media’s impact on beauty and self-worth

If you want to learn how to “beat” your face, lay your edges, and snatch your waist, it is as easy as tapping the icon of your favorite social media app. It seems that over the past five or so years, women beauty secrets have gone from powder-room banter to daily posts on Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Facebook and more.

But has this easy access to this form information in the beauty world helped to simplify the lives of ladies or add to the complexities of achieving “womanly perfection?”

[bctt tweet=”Years ago, women flocked to YouTube to learn beauty tips and tricks from other women like them who were also considered ‘beauty gurus’ ” username=”wearethetempest”]

Years ago, women flocked to YouTube to learn beauty tips and tricks from other women like them who were also considered “beauty gurus.” At first, many of these “gurus” did not openly accept the title, because they felt they were just sharing their tips while also learning from others. However, this idea of being  a guru inspired women all over the world to try their hand at creating and re-creating captivating makeup looks. Women like Michelle Phan and MissyLynn went from doing tutorials on fuzzy webcams to building beauty empires. And now these beauty tutorials have evolved from YouTube to snippet videos seen on apps like Instagram, and even Snapchat is being utilized to showcase MUA’s daily/specialty makeup routines.

In addition to just makeup looks, many of these lovely ladies show the world their daily fashions, workout routines, dietary choices, and products they use to stay looking so fabulous. Just like on YouTube, they inform viewers and followers where they purchase their items and how those aspiring to achieve their looks can do the same. To some, this portrayal of how to achieve or recreate their level of “slayage” is helpful and exciting, but to other it adds onto their internal self-esteem struggles.

There are several articles that explore the depressive side of those who use social media, and often times, it is caused by users comparing themselves to others. On the beauty side of social media, it is not much different. Women of all ages often go through stages of comparing themselves to other women’s bodies, hairstyles, clothes, lifestyles, etc. Because of this, the “Cyber Slay” may add to the deepening of those feelings for women who feel as though they are not able to obtain the level of beauty they are constantly fed everyday.

Before social media, many girls and women alike would be seen comparing themselves to models in magazines and actresses in their favorite movies, and while some would attempt to replicate those standards, other offset the thought by recognizing those women as celebrities and elites who have access to things they could not.

[bctt tweet=”It is hard to draw a line between a celebrity and an internet sensation.” username=”wearethetempest”]

But now-a-days, your neighbor can looks just as glammed up as your favorite superstar online, and it is hard to draw a line between a celebrity and an internet sensation.

While the ease of access is appreciated and encourages many women across the globe to try new things in beauty, it can also intimidate women who feel as though they cannot compete. However, it is important to point out that social media beauty has encouraged mega brands like Dove and Lane Bryant use their social media pages to promote diversified beauty and a standard that all women can enjoy and feel good about.

Some YouTubers have even taken to their channels to remind women of all ages that although the daily images may cause you to doubt yourself or compare yourself to others in an unhealthy manner, social media is just simply a tool that we use but should not be allowed to define who we are, what you “should” look like, and what you should be doing.

So remember, there is NOTHING wrong with engaging in the Cyber Slay! Whether you are putting up tutorials or watching on your favorite screen, it can be fun to try to create new looks and try a new beauty tip you saw on Facebook – but if that is not your style, that is okay too.

Social media seems to amplify the good and bad across all topics of interest but it is always important to remember that just as quickly as your log on you can log off to take a break.

Beauty Lookbook

Women with dark skin don’t have my light-skinned privilege

This is not to diminish my hyphenated identities or anyone else and their hyphenated identities. This is simply to point out the truth regarding the topic.

Yes, I can get annoyed when people may say that I don’t get ashy because I have lighter skin. I can get annoyed when someone may be referred to as “yellow waste” for not fitting the quota of what a light-skinned black woman or mixed race woman with black heritage is supposed to look like – especially in regards to hair texture. Yes, my skin is a tad darker than most of the white women I come across.

[bctt tweet=”On a good day, I could pass as white by flat ironing my hair very well” username=”wearethetempest”]

However, that doesn’t mean that my light-skinned privilege does not exist – or anyone’s for that matter.

I may be exoticized often, but I’ll never hear “Oh, you’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl.”

On a good day, I could pass as white by flat ironing my hair very well in order to be well received by a white person. That has rarely happened, but it doesn’t make that less true. People believe me when I mention that I’m mixed race, whereas someone of dark skin who is mixed race, Native American, or Latina is often looked at with suspicion when they claim their true heritage. It is still easier for me to find nude lipsticks and stockings that would look nice on me; although there are more nude products for dark skinned women than ever before, it’s still difficult for dark skinned women to find products that make them look and feel good.

There are two different documentaries on Netflix, one called Dark Girls and another called Light Girls.

[bctt tweet=”I may be exoticized, but I’ve never heard that I’m too pretty for a dark-skinned girl.” username=”wearethetempest”]

“Dark Girls” provides in-depth, personal stories belonging to a variety of dark skinned black women struggling with beauty and body image and how they receive harm from various people. It is powerful and necessary. In “Light Girls”, the filmmakers try to provide the same element for light skinned and mixed race black women, but it is not as heart wrenching.

In “Light Girls”, the idea of being exoticized and experiencing harassment is touched upon. However, the majority of the issues of the women highlighted stem from being teased or insulted by dark skinned black women. There is no depth further than that. And using phrases such as “it’s hard being pretty” or “because I’m pretty, I’m more likely to be assaulted” are NOT okay.

[bctt tweet=”Lighter skinned women have privilege dark skinned women don’t.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Whether or not one could argue that if there were better participants, the film would have been better – it doesn’t matter. It still highlights the privileges lighter skinned women have that dark skinned women don’t.

It’s not a bad thing to acknowledge the difficulties and pluses of being a light skinned woman of color.

It is a bad thing not to do something constructive about it.

Gender & Identity Life

You don’t really love thick girls, and I’ll prove it

Yeah, you don’t love thick girls. And don’t try me with that “What do you mean you I don’t love thick girls?” mess. I’m not having it. Hold your irrelevant, weak, pathetic comebacks until the end—actually forever.  You don’t believe me? Let me break it down for you.

It’s all:


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“Dang, I love a girl who’s thick! Curves and all!”

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“Thick girls are so hot!”

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Until I show up.

Girls like me, who, by the way, aren’t skinny and are considered thick, aren’t brought up in those thick girl posts. When you hear people talk about thick girls, it’s the “slim thick witcho cute ass” thick girls. The “not too big” thick girls. The “society-pleasing body types” thick girls.

The thick girls that aren’t that are then considered unimportant.

When I first saw thick girls being talked about more, I got excited, until I noticed girls like me were still barely on my feed. Or should I say basically none at all? Skinny girls and thick girls have always been pitted against each other. Now we have thick girls versus thick girls? Wow.

People are still trying to find ways to tear girls down.

[bctt tweet=”Society shouldn’t focus on this one body type of thick girls.” username=”wearethetempest”]

There’s nothing wrong with the girls in the spotlight. They should love every part of themselves because beauty comes in all sizes. I do not support hate towards them. Hating one other does not solve the issue. But there’s something wrong with only them being cared about and considered beautiful.

Society shouldn’t focus on just one body type of thick girls.

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Artist Asiey Barbie’s Tumblr page

Let’s start off with this: “fat” is seen as “ugly” when those two words aren’t synonymous with each other. I can’t decide which is worse to hear: “Oh no you’re not fat” or “You’re fat.” 

We still have personalities, talents, dreams, and goals. Stop diminishing us to less than human. It’s sickening to see people trashing body sizes that people label as “disgusting.”

Again, you don’t love thick girls.

You just love a certain body type and are using that to attack girls who aren’t “your type.” I suggest you sit down, get a nice cold glass of water, and think about how ridiculous your mindset is. If you say you love thick girls, it better be all thick girls. There’s no single size all of us follow.

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Akuji’s Tumblr page
Beauty Lookbook

15 gorgeous women that totally rock their premature white hair

I got my first couple of white hairs when I was a teen. They were wiry and weird and stood out in their freaky bright whiteness against the rest of my dark hair. When I asked around, it was scoffed off as normal, so I believed it was normal and that I shouldn’t fret. Unfortunately, it turned out that these two white hairs were just a squadron on an expedition to test out the conquerability of my head. Apparently, they liked the place. And from then on, it was like “Deploooy!”

Although it’s not considered normal for women my age to have as many white hairs as I have, I still consider myself lucky that the majority of my hair is still dark. But I know it won’t stay like that for long. I also know that artificial dyes only make it worse in the long run, and henna simply stains the white hair.

However, with the rise of the salt and pepper hair trend, I’ve begun to contemplate a different future for my hair – one that doesn’t include dyeing or hennaing. Lately, so many women are dyeing their hair all shades of white, grey, and silver. Even better, several have begun to embrace their natural premature grey strands, and I must say, they look awesome!  These brave women are so inspiring that they make me consider embracing my natural look when I’m older and let the grey get the best of me.

Here’s some inspiring ladies: some celebrities and lots of ordinary women like you and I who have decided to get real and celebrate their hair in all its silver glory. They are pulling it off so well, not only because it looks good, but also because of their attitudes and the aura of confidence they exude.

Just see for yourself below. Hopefully the next time you see a few grey hairs peeking their way through your hair, you’ll think twice before you quickly conceal them – hell, you may grow to love your natural hair!

1. Lama Hourani

Lama is a 38-year-old world renowned Jordanian jewelry designer and a woman of great style. She has not spoken of the reason behind her decision to go natural. Regardless, she looks absolutely beautiful, and it does not make her look a day older.

2. Lisa Bonet

In 2012, Lisa Bonet shaved one side of her head revealing some authentically white hair. This is not entirely surprising, as she’s always been known for going against the grain. For what it’s worth, I find her an inspiration – especially with fake beauty standards taking the lead nowadays.

3. Carrie Pink

She’s a 34-year-old stylist from Brooklyn, and she says that she never actually tried to cover up her white strands. She states earnestly that she has never thought of them as something she needed to hide. Why would she? You rock it with style, girl!

4. Kristin Buchholz-MacKillop

In regards to people’s opinions, she gives us a golden piece of advice: “when people do say things to you, remember that this is a reflection on them and their personal securities, not on you and yours.” However, she doesn’t ignore people if they ask her why she has made the decision to keep her naturally changing hair color. She actually has a heart-to-heart conversation with them. I call that sheer transparency, nonchalance, and confidence. Read her story on her blog here and here.

5. Emilia Clark’s Doppelgänger

Her photos are everywhere on Pinterest, but I have failed to find out who she is. For all I know, she rocks that white hair better than Daenerys. You know why? Because it is real and honest.

6. Sarah Harris

Sarah Harris is the director of British Vogue, and she wears her silver hair with the suave panache of a style icon. Don’t you just wish you had her hair this moment? Check out her story here.

7. Lauren

Lauren is the founder of the blog How Bourgeois. A few years ago, she had embarked on a journey to grow her color out and become a “Grey Goddess”. She gives some solid advice here should anyone be considering to go grey. I have to say she is pretty inspirational!

8. Darcia Mejia

Darcia is 40-years-old, and honestly, I don’t think her hair makes her look a day older.  She lives by the motto “going grey is not for the old, but rather for the bold”. She loves going grey, because it’s unique like her, and “it is much more manageable since it is free of harsh chemicals.” Read more of her thoughts here.

9. Marian Marrero

Marian’s journey of making the shift started in a place very much like here at The Tempest – on online platforms and inspirational stories. She didn’t want to ditch the dyes at first, especially since she’s in the music industry. But she gradually started to get drawn to the idea of letting it go and finally decided to do it at the age of 38. If you’re interested in her story of transition, read it here.

10. This beautiful person on Pinterest

This lady whose name I couldn’t find definitely slays the black and white hair look.

11. This enigmatic salt and pepper model

I’m pretty sure she is a model, and she totally proves that naturally grey strands do not age you even one bit. They actually make you look cooler and comfortable in your own skin. Check out this, this, and picture of her.

11. Annika Von Holdt

She’s a blogger, writer, model, photographer and an absolute stunner! She has talked about her decision to go grey in her grey confession, and it has inspired many women to follow in her footsteps – all the while being affirmed in the knowledge that their grey strands are a plus to their appearance.

12. This lovely silver-haired lady

I love the mixture of silver, white, grey, and blonde with the absence of the black. There’s nothing unreal about this color, which makes it all the more beautiful.

13. Katie

She is a professional organizer and founder of a blog called Organizing Moms, who, oddly enough, is not a naturally organized person. But she admits to this flaw with pride on her blog – just like she parades her beautiful salt-and-pepper-strands without a care in the world.

14. This au naturelle smiling charmer

According to my source, her streak is completely natural. I have to say I am in love with her good-natured, happy version of Cruella Deville!

15. Ty Alexander

Ty takes her greys seriously and takes it upon herself to inspire women to enjoy their lives to the fullest – especially if they are self-proclaimed liberated silver heads. Check out her blog Gorgeous in Gray. She is just fabulous!

Politics The World

I always thought politics were too much for me to handle

I’ve never really considered myself to be a political person. Besides the slightly unexpected vote from my high school peers that deemed me “most political” of my class, I have always tried to shy away from politics. The world of politics always seemed too complex for me. The politicians, the policies, the history. It was too big for me to grasp and catch up with.

I’ve felt like this from the time that I had a vague concept of what government was. Everyone always seemed to know more facts, and understand more than I ever could. Mostly this was a problem with my age, as I have always expected myself to compete on the same level as those much older, much more experience. But how could I expect my 15-year-old self to have the same understanding of politics that well-seasoned and professional political pundits? The answer is, of course, I couldn’t. And, at the ripe age of 20, I still can’t.

Learning that was a struggle, rooted in my faulty perfectionism. More or less my logic was that if I didn’t try, I wouldn’t fail. For a long time (and even now, I regretfully admit), I have thought being wrong was failure. And it’s much too easy to be wrong with politics.

It may be somewhat obvious that whenever you are introduced to a new subject, you can’t compare your knowledge to professionals or scholars in that field. However, this hasn’t always been so obvious to me or my pride. 

Politics was also slightly different than any old academic subject. Eventually, as I grew older, I realized it was something that I just couldn’t avoid. Growing older and understanding the importance of policies that are passed, that affect so many of us (sometimes unfairly disproportionately), I couldn’t say, “I’m just not really interested in politics.”  

Simultaneous to my journey into realizing the importance of politics, social media grew rapidly. But of course, we all know this. We have watched—some of us from the beginning of our lives—social media reach and absorb every aspect of our lives. It has become an extension of self, and politics are certainly close to the hearts of many. 

Millennial politics have been reduced to social media. Well, I suppose “reduced” is the wrong word, as social media political statements can be valid, but sometimes, and I dare to say even oftentimes, they are reductionist. Although I’ve spent my fair share of time retweeting, sharing, liking, and favoriting political articles and posts on my own social media, I never dared to post myself. There was always something that seemed unnatural or perhaps even untrue about posting political messages on social media.

This seems, however, to be one of the most fervent versions of politics and political activism today. For many, this is as far as their politics reach. Although making content go viral and sharing and composing posts on social media can make a difference, many can say this comes down to “slacktivism.”

As I questioned my own right to have any opinion on political issues because of my lack of knowledge, I questioned those who posted online. How much did they know? What did they know? Many made good points and many didn’t—it is the internet after all. If these people, who I doubt have rigorously studied the policies that they are so vehemently criticizing, I can too, right?

Well, not exactly. But I am here, at The Tempest, writing about the news, giving commentary about political issues. Through this, I have learned the value in caring about politics and policies. I doubt anyone will reject the fact that politics have such an immense effect on our world. But there is a difference between internet slacktivism and actually being “political.” 

Political does not mean conservative or liberal, left or right. It does not have to coincide with a party or a point of view, but making the effort to understand what’s going on. Just making the effort to turn on the television and turn on the news instead of a show is being political. Turning on the radio and listening to the news instead of music is being political.

It is, however, a little bit more than that though. It’s also being skeptical. As many of the judgments of policies and politicians that do make it to the media have come to resemble reality shows, we must make the effort to question the media and search for deeper answers. 

There is always more to a story, and I say that as a reader, not a writer. Being political is not only knowing the names of politicians and having the years on you to have watched policies take shape. Being political is caring with informed contentious criticism. Looking deeper into what’s going on, and realizing how that one policy could change everything. It’s caring enough to find out how. 

Science Now + Beyond

This is why women need to stop apologizing for everything

Many of us, particularly women, apologize way too damn much. Whether it’s out of politeness, whether it’s over something trite, whether we didn’t do anything wrong, or whether it’s during a moment where we feel our existence is responsible for causing wrong when it’s not.

Guys, we need to stop apologizing for our existence.

But what’s the science behind our way of saying “I’m sorry” these days?

One study has shown that people who have lower self-esteem have a tendency to apologize less, whether it’s because of shame towards themselves, or an egotistical view of themselves. The study has also mentioned that people are more willing to apologize because these people have the ability to confess their wrongdoing and address it.

So is it a case of high self-esteem for us? A case of compassion? What is our definition of “wrongdoing?”

Another study shows that women are more likely to apologize than men because men have a more set stance on what is considered offensive, unlike women. Not because men are heartless and don’t feel as if they need to apologize, but because women feel more sensitized to trying to maintain harmony in every relationship they are in. It’s not a bad thing to care about the relationships we are in, but it is a bad thing to apologize for what isn’t wrong because our surroundings tell us we’re wrong.

Moreover, the negative of apologizing so much is giving someone power to you, when they have no right to obtain that power. Now, this is not to say that you aren’t allowed to apologize when you actually do something wrong, but this is to say that this form of self-respect does give you more power, which wouldn’t hurt to have.

Of course, someone expressing their forgiveness to us can cause both parties less tension in their bodies and increased self-esteem, but what is there to forgive if we did absolutely NOTHING wrong? This is something we all need to work on. Yes, I say we, because I am holding myself accountable as well. My anxiety only goes up instead of down, and my body and well-being do not deserve this form of punishment.

I refuse to keep apologizing for the trivial. I refuse to keep apologizing for trying.

I refuse to keep apologizing for existing.

To those reading, please do the same.

Career Tech Career Advice Now + Beyond

You’re so much more than the college you choose

It’s safe to say that applying to college is miserable for everyone.

You may be eager to get to college. It’s where you get to make new friends, study what you want, explore a new campus, and enter into “adulthood” without your parents breathing down your neck. But before we get to college, we must apply. And that process is, across the board, dreadful.

For the uninitiated, the application cycle consists of waves of anxiety that cut down your self-worth. Between SATs, ACTs, and GPAs, every applicant is reduced to a set of numbers. Alongside that algorithm, you turn in a page or two of words that are supposed to capture the human you are. You have 500 words to tell a college who you are, with a generous choice of five prompts. You get 250 to tell them how you’ll diversify their campus. And 100 words to tell them how this extracurricular changed your life.

And in every word, you’re forced to ask yourself: who am I?

But even more than that, you’re asked: Who do they want me to be?

So I sat in front of a computer screen, attempting to write my Common App essay, asking what these schools wanted from me. In the beginning, I was sitting there with the knowledge that I was valuable. I thought of myself as someone who was motivated, eager to learn and contribute to a college campus. However, as the process went on, I didn’t get the standardized test scores that I needed to get into my choice schools.

When I went to fill out the extracurricular section of the Common App, I stared at the screen, feeling as if nothing that I did could compete with my fellow applicants. I felt that colleges wanted to see me as an unwavering candidate—someone who knew what they wanted and had done everything in their life to show that to colleges. But that’s never been who I was.

As a 17-year-old applying to schools, I had no idea who I wanted to be or what “role” I wanted to play. Even if I did, I had no solid evidence to back it up, because they were most likely new revelations.

Even now, as I’m thinking about all of this, I’m immediately hit with a wave of regret.

I should have done this or that. I should have joined more clubs. I should have volunteered. I should have studied more for the SATs. I should have gotten a better grade on that test. I should have done everything. In all of these thoughts, it’s so easy to forget that it’s physically impossible to do everything.

Because during the application process, it feels as if we are expected to be everything.

We sell ourselves short of our current accomplishments as the process becomes increasingly rigorous. I know I sold myself short. That’s not to say that I regret the school that I choose, because I love my school. But I made applying to college much more unnecessarily difficult for myself.

Because choosing a college is presented like you’re choosing your life.

You have the pressure from everyone around—and more importantly, from yourself—to pick the “perfect” school to lead you on your “perfect” life to land you that “perfect” career. Maybe these things aren’t said to us specifically, but they are subconsciously drilled into our heads by our loved ones who want the best for us.

However, it was important for me to realize that choosing a college was not an end of the world decision. The college I choose does not reflect who I am. Often, people love to mention college rankings—another numerical measurement—in order to claim the prestige or level of the college. Although I fed into those stats, I have to say, respectfully, they’re bullshit. They’re just as ridiculous as are all the numbers we must use to get into college. I know we have to pay some level of attention to them, but they are an extremely flawed system.

These systems are flawed more than one reason, however. The admissions process is incredibly classist. People who are more economically well off can afford college admission counselors, which can alleviate some uncertainty in the process of choosing a college. Often these counselors can prove students with advice (or maybe more) on their applications and their essay.

These high-income applicants can also afford rigorous and expensive tutoring for their standardized tests. This is a growing problem in applications because it essentially means you can buy your admission.

Without these benefits, how could you not feel defeated?

Even with these benefits, applicants still feel defeated by the process. The application process is a twisted game, a crap shoot. It’s really an experience of self-defeat and can take a serious toll on self-esteem. So I urge those who are applying, please don’t make the application process a reflection of yourself.

You’re so much more than those numbers and those words. I guarantee that the college you choose will never be a death sentence.

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