Feel-Good Love + Sex Love

Valentine’s, Galentine’s or Palentine’s? Our editorial team spills it!

Valentine’s Day is coming up – lovebirds and palentines – follow along with our Vday series right here

You can always feel the air around you changing as the world dresses itself up in red and the internet is dolled up in hearts, affirmations and words of love and promise. It’s that time of the year again: Valentine’s Day.

There’s something about Vday season that makes you want to share and revel in all the love around you. It may be a simple gesture of sending a box of chocolates to your best friend, treating yourself to a much needed day of self-care, or cuddling up with your boo, but the holiday is here in all its shining red glory.

Heart shaped chocolates and balloons, flowers galore, cheesy cards and sappy rom coms are the mood of this season.

We hope you’re shining, no matter what your plans may be!

So to share our celebrations with you, our editorial team has given you a glimpse into their Valentine’s Day plans:

It has become sort of a tradition for me and my boyfriend to spend Valentine’s Day apart, as it usually fell during our university’s Reading Week, and therefore one of the few times where both of us could go home and spend time with our families. There is no university holidays keeping us apart this year, but he’s still over 3,000 miles away and the UK is on lockdown anyway. My plans include Zoom Scrabble, long hours in front of the computer, chocolates and rewatching Valentine’s Day for the 10000th time. And who knows, maybe I’ll receive a hand-made present by mail.

Bea, Senior Editor of Pop Culture

2021 is the first year in two years that I will be single for Valentines Day, though I am kind of glad about it! I always spent the holiday longingly watching my friends from a distance celebrate together in perfect “galentines” fashion via champagne, chocolate, bundles of flowers, and our favorite movies – while my ex and I acted as if it was any other day: Fast food and video games. I am a hopeless romantic, so this reality definitely gutted me. This year I plan on spending the day with my roommates laughing, singing, dancing, and loving!

Vanessa, Senior Editor of The World

This is the very first Valentine’s Day I’ll be celebrating with my husband. Although we won’t be able to do the typical romantic things we had envisaged – a weekend getaway, candlelight dinner, going to the movies – due to national lockdown here in the UK, we’re grateful that we can celebrate this day together after months of being apart. We’ll go for a walk in the morning around our nearby park, order a Domino’s pizza and watch our favorite sitcoms. I’m pretty sure we’ll rewatch Friday Night Dinner, Friends, and Brooklyn 99 throughout the day!

Rebecca, Junior Editor of Lookbook and Weddings

This will actually be my first Valentine’s, since I was a teenager, that I’ll be spending at home (courtesy of the pandemic). So that leaves me celebrating a mini Gal-entines with my mom. While other people might find that a bore, my mother is the person who taught me—in the wise words of Parks and Recreation—to treat yo’ self. For us, that means we’re picking up some pink balloons for house decoration. Then we’re going to go to our local patisserie and get either a cake or some pastries. And, let’s be real, we’ll probably end up watching Pride and Prejudice or Notting Hill. After all, who needs love when you have cake, balloons, Mr. Darcy and Hugh Grant?

Helena, Junior Editor of Now + Beyond

My boyfriend and I have been together for about four and a half years now, but his birthday falls on the 13th! So we’ve had to find creative ways for him to have a special birthday, then turn around and do something romantic for both of us the next day. Living together during the pandemic has made that extra challenging, since we can’t go out anywhere and it’s nearly impossible to buy a gift or plan a surprise without the other one finding out. Last year we went to a pinball arcade and had an amazing dinner at our favorite restaurant, but this year we’ll probably get curbside pickup (from the same place we went to last year) and create a romantic night in!

Megan, Senior Editor of History

I am pretty sure that I have been single for as long as I can remember… Nonetheless, I still think that Valentine’s Day is a super cute holiday! I like the idea of a day that focuses on spreading love, giving love, and receiving love. It also serves as the perfect opportunity to watch a rom-com, drink some wine if I am in the mood, and eat desserts. Last year around Valentine’s Day, I watched To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You with my friend while drinking rosé and eating cookies. With the pandemic, I won’t be seeing my friends, unfortunately. However, unless I magically find myself in a relationship before Valentine’s Day, I am still planning to watch a movie, drink champagne, and eat dessert like I normally do with my friends! I think this year’s film will be Bride Wars starring Anne Hathaway and Kate HudsonIt is one of my favorite rom-com’s!

Tatayana, Junior Editor of Love and Health

This is the first Valentine’s Day that I’m going to be spending at home after a long time, so I ordered some clothes online and if they deliver on February 14th, I’m going to spend Valentine’s Day getting dressed up at home, feeling myself, and then spending the rest of the day calling my college friends. This time last year, I was living with them so it is going to be a little disappointing, but I can’t wait to drown myself in chocolate and cute t-shirts that I found on an online sale. I’m actually looking forward to being able to dress up, even if its to just click pictures at home.

Natalia, Junior Editor of Pop Culture

This Valentine’s Day, I’ll be spending time at home with my immediate family because of the pandemic. I’ve never been in a proper relationship before, so that’s how I’ve spent most Valentine’s Days anyway. But my mom, in particular, has always made up for my non-existent love life by going out of her way to make the day special nonetheless with gifts, snacks, and cute cards. I’ve also been reading romance novels this month; namely, “The Princess Trap” by Talia Hibbert and “Written in the Stars” by Alexandria Bellefleur (highly recommend both). And to keep feeding my hopeless romantic heart, on Valentine’s day I’ll also watch some of my favorite romantic comedies. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, 10 Things I Hate About You, and The Love Birds are definitely on my docket for Valentine’s day paired with a glass of wine and chocolate-covered strawberries to top it all off.

Ebony, Junior Editor of Life

Self-love is the first and most important form of love. And I know while I haven’t been looking after myself constantly, this Valentine’s Day gives me a chance to reflect on that. Every year, my friends and I do a cute galentine’s day celebration. Last year, we watched To All The Boys 2: P.S I Still Love You, and so this year, it seemed fitting to watch part three. Let’s see if we actually end up watching the movie though, since the second one was a bit of a let down. But who doesn’t love a good Noah Centineo pick-me-upper? Along with the movie, we’re doing a bring-your-own pasta night, where each of us make our own pasta, revel in the beauty of the rom-com genre and just enjoy ourselves.

Maheen, Senior Editor of Love and Health

I’ve been single for 21 Valentine’s Days and we are continuing the tradition for the 22nd year! 😀 I am actually home for a Valentine’s Day for the first time in two years, so I’ll probably just bake some cookies with my mom, and curl up with a romance book and some hot chocolate. I’ve been reading so much of historical romance books, so I’ll continue to spend some time with a duke or some regency era scandal. Right now I am bingeing through Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove series, and I hoping to reread some Lisa Kleypas classics when the weekend comes around.

Mishma, Senior Editor of The World

The worst Valentine’s Day I’ve had was when my ex didn’t wish me the entire day, got us discount burgers (that I ended up paying for), then he left me alone in his house while he went out drinking with his friends…so basically the bar is set low on what would make any future Valentine’s Day a good one! This year I plan to do nothing. I wish I had a tale of how I was going to buy myself flowers and watch cheesy rom-coms while binging on chocolate but, in all honesty, I will be spending 14 February 2021 like any other average day (with the added feature of trying to not obsess over why my crush isn’t texting me back). And it’s going to be amazing.

Kajal, Senior Editor of Now + Beyond 

This is the first Valentine’s day I’m away from home, and not spending it with family and friends, so I’ll really be focusing on self-love. I plan to take a walk through chilly London, grab some delicious takeout on the way back, and pop in for a game night with a few of my flat-mates. After that, I’ll get in bed with some chocolate, watch some Modern Family (my current obsession), some fanfiction, and an Agatha Christie Novel. Really, a perfect night for me.

Sahar, Senior Editor of Lookbook + Weddings

I’ve been single for every Valentine’s day and this year is no different! Luckily for me, my friends are in the same boat. Since I live in New Orleans, Valentine’s Day tends to overlap with Mardi Gras festivities. Last year, we were able to pass the day by watching the parades, but unfortunately due to the pandemic, that’s not an option this year. Our plan at the moment is to buy a large king cake, order a bunch of food, and watch as many cheesy romances as our hearts desire. 

Apoorva, Senior Editor of Life

Regardless of how you’re spending the day, we hope there’s time for a lil extra love somewhere in there!

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Music Pop Culture

Here are the best 2020 love songs for your 2021 Valentine’s Day playlist

Valentine’s Day is coming up – lovebirds and palentines – follow along with our Vday series right here.

Valentine’s Day is about spreading love and receiving love. That being said, to show how much we love you, we have decided to help you out with your Valentine’s Day playlist by gathering a list of the best love songs released in 2020!

We already know that most of us will be sitting in our cars listening to “Driver’s License” by Oliva Rodrigo on the 14th of February this year on repeat. But just in case you want to mix it up, we came prepared! Despite the many ups and downs of last year, we have to admit that 2020 left us with epic love songs, especially when it comes to love songs about self-love, romantic love, break ups, sex, and everything in between!

These songs that have listed for you are perfect for whatever pandemic safe Valentine’s Day plans that you have going on this year.  In this curated list, we have your beautiful ballads if you need a good cry, powerful anthems to sing at the top of your lungs with your friends while standing six-feet apart, and songs for those of us who are hopelessly romantic.

Whatever vibe you are feeling for Valentine’s Day, we have got something here for you!

 1. “Stuck with U” – Ariana Grande & Justin Bieber

An Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber collaboration is just what we needed! Their vocals together are AMAZING! “Stuck with U” is the perfect song to listen to when you are in love during quarantine. Because, you know, you’re “stuck” in the house together. Also, the music video was so cute with all the clips of families, couples, and dogs!

2. “Bigger Love”- John Legend

The music video for this song will make you smile! The video is filled with TikTok dances, Facetime calls, Tweets, photos, and more. It is truly a reflection of how families and friends have had to communicate and stay connected throughout the pandemic.  It is a song that will make you happy and brighten up your day! It will also make you want to get up and dance! It is truly about spreading love!

3. “Boy with Luv” – BTS (feat. Halsey)

Okay, this one may be cheating because the song was technically released in 2019. But “Boy with Luv” was also on their album Map of the Soul: 7 that was released in 2020, so I am going to count it anyway! Can you really blame me? BTS performed this song in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, and it was the best way to kick off the year if you ask me. The song is all about their love for their fans, ARMY, and how true love comes from the small things.

4. “34+35” – Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande has truly blessed us. Her album Positions is so good that we could probably fill this whole list with just her songs. We all love the title track “Positions,” but must admit that “34+35” is a whole vibe. It is super playful and will totally get you in the mood if you know what I mean! 

5. “Forgive Me” – Chloe x Halle

Let’s take a moment of silence for Chloe x Halle because they are truly amazing and talented. Their album is perfection! Also, their performances in 2020 were everything that we have ever needed and more! “Forgive Me” is powerful and badass. It is really empowering to listen, especially if you are going through a breakup or were recently in a relationship that did not work out! You should turn this song all the way up!

6. “Before You Go” – Lewis Capaldi

“Before You Go” was released as a single in 2020. If you loved the song “Someone You Loved,” I bet you will love this song too. Insider tip, the piano version is incredibly beautiful. Lewis Capaldi really knows how to sing and write a painful and gut-wrenching ballad that expresses deep, tough emotions.

Get up to $50 off Lora DiCarlo's top selling products this valentines. 

7. “Rain On Me” – Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande

Two queens came together and gave us “Rain On Me.” This is the perfect anthem for you if you are going through a heartbreak or a breakup! It is about overcoming tough times that are filled with painful emotions. Sometimes a good cry is exactly what we need to get through hard times and tough emotions. This song can definitely boost your spirits, which is 100% needed!

8. “Blueberry eyes”- MAX (feat. Suga of BTS)

If you don’t know MAX, in addition to singing “Blueberry Eyes,” he sings the song “Lights Down Low.” Plus, he was in the Nickelodeon movie with Keke Palmer called Rags. I know, my mind is blown too! His voice is amazing. Also, this song is so sweet. The song is about his wife’s blue eyes and his love for his wife. She is also in the music video. So cute! Also, we cannot forget the BTS’s Suga has a killer rap verse on this song!

9. “Say So” – Doja Cat (feat. Nicki Minaj)

If you did not watch Doja Cat’s performance of “Say So” for the 2020 MTV EMA, you are missing out. The 70s vibe and the beat for this song are literally made for dancing! This song is about the beginning or start of a relationship. It is that potentially awkward phase when you just want the person you like to say something and confess their love! Stop wasting time, and just say it!

10.  “Lovesick girls” – BLACKPINK

Blackpink finally released their first album with hits like “How You Like That” and “Ice Cream” with Selena Gomez. Their title track, “Lovesick Girls,” is perfect for any person that is a little sick of the troubles and woes that come with love. It will definitely have you singing the lyrics “Yeah, we were born to be alone” at the top of your lungs by the end of it!

11. “Rare”- Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez released her song “Rare” and then launched her makeup company Rare Beauty all in one year. I would definitely say that 2020 was quite a busy year for her! With this song, Selena wanted her listeners to know that they are all “rare” and unique! It is about self-love and independence. If the person you are with does not make you feel the way you deserve to feel, then know that someone or something out there will!

12. “you broke me first” – Tate McRae

This song is so good! Tate McRae has blessed us with another ballad that we can listen to when love goes wrong. The song is about a person who was in a relationship with someone, but their partner did not care and broke up with them. Then after breaking up, the person comes crawling back. Tate is basically saying the NO WAY am I taking you back after the way you hurt and broke me. Her performance of her song at the MTV EMAs was SO good! And let’s not forget to mention that the performance featured her incredible dance skills! It was completely mesmerizing!

13. “Damage” – H.E.R

H.E.R is so talented! In “Damage,” H.E.R. sings about being vulnerable in a relationship. Being open in a relationship takes time and trust, which can even be REALLY hard sometimes. The song warns us about the damage that can occur when you break a person’s trust and take for granted the vulnerability that a person has shared with you. The song samples the record “Making Love in the Rain” by Herb Alpert, Lisa Keth, and Janet Jackson.

14. “That’s What Love Is” – Justin Bieber

This song is the sweetest.  It is the 15th song in Bieber’s album Changes. We waited a long four years for a new Justin Bieber album, and it was worth the wait! His voice and the acoustic guitar in the background are so beyond incredible as he sings about true love and what love has taught him.

15. “Sweet Melody” – Little Mix

When you need a girl power moment, play a Little Mix. They are known for their power anthems. Also, this group’s vocals are on another level! The song may be called “Sweet Melody,” but it is powerful! “Sweet Melody” is about realizing your relationship did not involve real love. But after listening to this song, I think you will be okay. Also, check the music video, the outfits, the dancing, and the girls all are FIRE!

16. “The 1” – Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift released her eighth album folklore, then she released her ninth studio album evermore a few months later. We see you, Taylor! Both albums were truly magical and mystical. Her track “The 1” reflects on lost love, a failed relationship. What could have happened if that person was the one?  What could have happened if the relationship did not fail? This is completely relatable. It has been said that this was written based on one of her friend’s perspective and experiences.

17. “Juro Que” – Rosalía

“Juro que, juro que, juro que, juro que!” Rosalía had her first Grammy perform in the United States last year and is completely killing it!  “Juro Que” features acoustic guitar and a flamenco-fusion sound.  In the song, she sings about how she swears that she will wait for her lover that is been sent to prison and that she will do everything to help him get out.  That is a true commitment for sure!

18. “Prisoner” – Miley Cyrus (feat. Dua Lipa)

Miley and Dua Lipa came together to give us “Prisoner.” A duo we did not know we needed! The song has an electronic, pop, and rock vibe to it.  The song also uses the melody of “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John from 1981. Miley and Dua Lipa both sound great together as they sing about feeling like a prisoner in an abusive or toxic relationship. It is no surprise that they completely killed this song together!  If you watch the music video, they include a very special message for all of their exes at the end.

19. “mad at disney” – salem ilese

I bet we have all been mad at Disney at some point in our lives, just like salem ilese. She wrote this song because she is mad at Disney for the princess archetype that is portrayed in many of the films that she watched as a kid. Princesses are often seen as the damsel, waiting for a prince to fall in love with them and save them. We all love the classics, but finding true love is not necessarily a fairytale. As salem ilese says, we can slay our own metaphorical dragons.

20.  “Savage Love” – Jawish 685 x Jason Derulo

“Savage Love” is 100% not a song about true love. This love story actually sounds a little tragic and sad, despite its happy beat.  But I guess sometimes love is like that! This song was all over TikTok this summer and even on has its own dance! It will definitely be a song that will get stuck in your head at a few listens! Also, let’s not forget, thanks to BTS hopping on the track for a remix, the song got to be #1 on the Billboard charts!

21. “LUCID” – Rina Sawayama

Rina Sawayama’s single “LUCID” from her deluxe studio album SAWAYAMA. In an interview with Apple Music, Rina states, “Lucid’ is about living a different life through dreaming, whether it’s to be with the dream girl or to be the dream girl.” It is the perfect song if you want to get up and dance! I highly suggest listening to more of her music!

22. “pov” – Ariana Grande

I was not lying when I said that this whole playlist could be filled with songs from Ariana Grande‘s newest album, Positions! A lot of love songs refer to romantic love between pairs, but the track “pov” is a love song that also refers to self-love. It is about having a partner that loves every part of you and knows as much as it is about seeing, trusting, and loving yourself.

23. “Watermelon Sugar” – Harry Styles

I cannot think of a better way to end this list of 2020 love songs than with Harry Styles! If you are not exactly sure what “Watermelon Sugar” is all about, go watch the music video. I bet you will start to get some ideas (if you’re still confused, we wrote about it)! Harry has left many of the details of the song up to interpretation! But he has described the song as being about the “initial euphoria” when you are beginning an intimate relationship with someone.

We all know that 2020 was quite a year, to say the least. But as we make our way past Valentine’s Day in 2021, I think we can all agree that some great music was released in 2020 that helped get us through the good and bad. So no matter what 2020 songs about love that you choose to listen to on Valentine’s Day, happy listening!

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Feel-Good Horoscopes Spilling The Zodiac Tea Love + Sex Love

These are the zodiac signs you’re most compatible with when it comes to love

Valentine’s Day is coming up – lovebirds and palentines – follow along with our Vday series right here

Love seems increasingly harder and harder to find these days. We all have swiped right a 100,000 different times on Tinder with no luck and gone on dates that lead nowhere. So if you are looking for a new place to start or you are just curious, you may be interested in knowing what zodiac sign or signs that you are most compatible with when it comes to love!

Your true love may not be one of the signs that you are most compatible with because love can be like that sometimes. But, if you have ever thought about who your perfect match will be, knowing who you are compatible with could provide some valuable insight when it comes to your love life.

And since Valentine’s Day is coming up, what better way to spend your time cooking up scenarios?

So let’s take a look to see what zodiac sign your soulmate could be:

Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)

When it comes to love, an Aquarius is attracted to interesting communication and openness. In relationships, they rely on integrity and honesty. Leo and Sagittarius are compatible with Aquarius. 

Leo and Aquarius are opposite signs, but they say opposites attract. They both value individuality and have strong characters. Aquarius can hide their emotions and have trouble expressing them, but Leo is warm and can bring out their emotions. 

Sagittarius and Aquarius can form deep trust and freedom in their relationship. Their minds and ability to communicate with each other are so strong that they do not even need sex to form a great bond or be satisfied with their relationship!

Pisces (February 19 – March 20)

Those with the sign of Pisces are romantic, caring, and intuitive. They enjoy relationships with a long term relationship with a deep connection. When it comes to love, they are most compatible with Virgo and Taurus.  

Pisces and Virgo have a great understanding when it comes to relationships and a love for perfection. They both value realism and are flexible. Pisces can open the emotional depths of Virgo. 

When it comes to Pisces and Taurus, they both have a love for beauty and romance. They do not need to talk much in the relationship because they communicate nonverbally. Pisces get bored when they constantly repeat the same activity and like change, while Taurus do not. So, therefore, it is important to find a common ground when doing things together.

Aries (March 21 – April 19)

Aries usually take initiative when it comes to love and relationships. When they fall in love, they shower their partner with affection. They are most compatible with the signs Leo and Libra.

Aries and Leo’s relationships are filled with warmth and compassion. Both have strong personalities, so there could be some fights or disagreements! However, their sexual connection is strong, and they have great emotional compatibility. Their conversations are energized, and they are usually interested in similar things. 

In contrast, Aries and Libra are opposites. In their relationship, they may have to work on trust and communication. But, they connect deathly on an emotional level. Aries is open, which gives a Libra a chance to but their emotional guard down. 

Taurus (April 20 – May 20)

Next, we have Taurus! Taurus is most definitely sensual and likes to create a safe environment when in a relationship. Your compatible matches are Scorpio and Cancer. 

Taurus and Scorpio are opposites. They may seem like they are not similar at all, but they complement each other. Taurus is quiet but will feel secure with Scorpio. They can be connected deeply through emotions and find balance within their relationship. 

Taurus and Cancer’s relationship does not rely on sex. Both are sensitive, share interests, and can easily talk to each other. Their relationship is gentle as they both value life and peace.

Gemini (May 21 – June 20)

Communication is key when it comes to Gemini! A verbal connection is just as important as a physical connection in a relationship. They are most compatible with Sagittarius and Aquarius.

Gemini and Sagittarius have a light and carefree sex life! For opposing signs, their relationships are also filled with trust, communication, and understanding. This is good if you do not like lying! 

Gemini and Aquarius have a strong intellectual connection. They will even engage in intellectual debates with each other, which makes it important for them to be flexible and understand each other. This relationship will certainly not be boring!

Cancer (June 21 – July 22)

Cancers are in touch with their emotions, and emotions are a strength to them. They are caring, gentle, and dedicated to their relationships. Cancers are compatible with Capricorn and Taurus!

Cancer and Capricorn are opposing signs and have a strong attraction to one another! A Cancer relies on patience from a Capricorn. Cancer provides love and warmth, as the Capricorn may be difficult at times to reach emotionally. 

Taurus and Cancer’s relationship does not rely on sex. They value life and peace. In this relationship, Cancer can be more gentle, understanding, and compassionate, if the Taurus closes up or is stubborn at times. They both share a want to be close to family and understanding.

Leo (July 23 – August 24)

Those born under the sign of Leo are natural leaders who are compassionate and sincere when comes to love. They are loyal and clear about their feelings. Aquarius and Gemini are most compatible with Leo. 

The relationship between Leo and Aquarius are usually very passionate. They are opposites and have strong characters. Their relationship is described as explosive in many ways!

On the other hand, Leo and Gemini’s are could at finding activities to do together and having fun. Leo’s are patient when coming to Gemini’s. However, both of them need to work on listening to each other and understanding each other’s needs.  

Virgo (August 23 – September 22)

Virgo is a sign that has trouble feeling like they are worthy and lovable, as they value perfection in their lives. They feel the need to feel love and build a level of trust before they open up and show their heart. A Virgo’s most compatible matches are Pisces and Cancer. 

Virgo and Pisces are opposing signs! Virgo is typically shy and rational, but Pisces can right through this to awaken their emotions and give them faith in love. They both value perfection. However, they can be flexible and realize that perfection may not be delivered the way they expect it. 

Cancer can build Virgo’s trust through their stability when it comes to emotions. They do not need to share activities as both can be very independent. Virgo is more reasonable, and Cancer is more emotional, which could cause conflict. However, if they work to accept one another, they can form a functional and beautiful relationship.  

Libra (September 23 – October 22)

Finding love is super important to the sign of Libra. Their main goal in a relationship is to maintain peace and harmony. They want a relationship that is meaningful and deep. Their two compatible matches are Aries and Sagittarius.

Aries and Libra are opposites! In their relationship, they may have to work on trust and communication. Aries should boost the spirits of Libra. They may lack things in terms of communication and trust, but their emotional connection is strong. 

Libra and Sagittarius have an intense emotional and intimate relationship. They also develop together emotionally. Sagittarius can melt Libra’s heart and make them feel at peace when they are in a relationship.

Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)

If you are a Scorpio, you are most likely passionate and enjoy intimacy when you are in love! You are dedicated and faithful. Most importantly, you want a relationship with an honest partner who respects you. Your compatible matches are Taurus and Cancer! 

Taurus and Scorpio are opposite signs! They may be different, but they complement each other well. Although the Taurus may seem closed off, they will be able to open up. Taurus will be able to provide the stability that Scorpio needs. 

Scorpio and Cancer are great when it comes to communication! They can understand each other without speaking. Cancer is more willing to share their emotions than Scorpio. However, they can work to enjoy and share a relationship that is sincere.

Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)

Sagittarius is a sign that is playful and likes to have fun in their relationships. They are loyal, dedicated, and faithful. They often look for a partner that is intellectual, expressive, and sincere. The most compatible match for Sagittarius is Gemini and Aries. 

Sagittarius and Gemini are both playful and light when it comes to sex. They are opposing signs that know how to have fun together. Their relationship is filled with trust, communication, and understanding. 

Sagittarius and Aries can be a couple with great potential as long as they are truthful and understand each other’s differences. When it comes to intimacy and sex, Sagittarius is more playful, while Aries is a little bit more serious. Overall, their emotions are deep, sincere, and long-lasting.

Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)

So apparently, a Capricorn’s heart and attention are not easily won. However, once they warm up, their partner can definitely rely on them for a lasting bond that continues to grow. A compatible match for Capricorn is Taurus and Cancer. 

Capricorn and Taurus are both careful when it comes to relationships and love. But, once they let one another in, they complement each other’s gentle nature and can reach their goals together. 

Capricorn and Cancer are opposing signs and have a strong attraction and can be truly happy together! Capricorn may difficult to react emotionally, but Cancer can bring out their emotional side. The relationship is filled with trust as Capricorn’s are devoted and understand their partner’s needs.

If you are on the hunt for love this Valentine’s Day, these compatible matches are definitely something to keep in mind! It can be insightful to know what signs you are most compatible with when it comes to love, and it can also help answer some of the many questions you have about your love life.

However, at the end of the day, we all know love and relationships both take time and effort.  Also, the most important aspect of a relationship is not necessarily the zodiac sign of your partner. What is most important is that your partner treats you well and that you both love each other.  So, no matter what sign you end up with, we hope that your love will be written in the stars.

Follow our Zodiac series for everything astrology related. We’re Spillin’ the Zodiac T! Stay tuned for the juice.

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Let’s talk about the history of the Lock Bridge that Emily goes to in Paris

It’s Valentine’s day – lovebirds and palentines – follow along with our Vday series right here.

Since the Netflix original show Emily in Paris, everyone is dreaming of living out their Paris fantasies and planning their dream vacation. Eating chocolate crescents, day drinking on a workday, and wearing the best outfits as we roam the streets of France. But anyway, with all the love, romance, and dating going on throughout the show got me thinking about one particular romantic landmark in Paris, most commonly known as “the love lock bridge.” There is so much to talk about when it comes to the history and famous tradition of the love lock bridge in Paris. So let’s get to it!

The tradition that makes the love lock bridge famous and a destination for couples from all around the world is that couples come to the bridge, write their name on a padlock, lock the padlock on the bridge, and then throw the key into the river. The tradition is meant to symbolize eternal love and commitment.

A picture of the Pont des Art with the Eglise Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois and Samaritaine in the background.
[Image Description: A picture of the Pont des Art with the Eglise Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois and Samaritaine in the background. The bridge with locks of gold and an array of other colors.] Via Unsplash
Officially, the lock bridge in Paris is called the Ponts des Arts. The bridge was built over the River Seine. It is a bridge for pedestrians that links the central square of the Palais du Louvre to the Institut de France, which makes it a popular spot for visitors and photographers. There is a total of 37 bridges across the Seine River within Paris, and only five of them are pedestrian bridges.

The bridge was built under the regime of Napoleon Bonaparte. Bonaparte ordered the construction of the bridge on 15th March 1801 and it was fully constructed by 1804. The building of the Ponts des art introduced a new building material to the era. The lock bridge in Paris is actually the first successfully built iron bridge in France and the third iron bridge built worldwide.

Unfortunately, throughout its history, the bridge has had its fair share of incidents and damage. In World War I and World War II, the lock bridge experienced damage from two aerial bombings. There were also a number of boats that collided with the bridge before it finally collapsed when a ship rammed into it in 1979. (Yikes!)

The most recent incident occurred in 2015 when the bridge railing collapsed due to the weight of its many love locks (ops!). In response, the bridge became closed to the public for repair and the government removed padlocks from the bridge. There are said to be over a million locks on the bridge today. That is definitely a lot of locks! (The cynic in me wonders how many of those couples stayed together after their Parisian trip.)

While the tradition is quite famous in the city of love, it actually did not originate in Paris, and there are several other places where people hang love locks around the world. This includes Australia, China, Italy, Serbia, and New York. The exact origin of the tradition seems to be unclear. However, there are a few theories.

One theory is that the love lock tradition came from a town in Serbia around the time of World War II. The story is that a young man and woman were in love and would meet in the middle of the night on a bridge in the town of Vrnjačka Banja. During the war, the man went away because he was in the military. When the man left, he fell in love with another woman. (Definitely not cool!) Tragically, the woman he left died from heartbreak. The tradition of placing a lock on the bridge began due to superstition. Women began putting locks on the bridge in hope that their love would be everlasting.

A picture of the bottom of a light post on the Ponte Milvio. Around the bottom of the light post is a silver chain with locks attached to it.
[Image Description: A picture of the bottom of a light post on the Ponte Milvio. Around the bottom of the light post is a silver chain with locks attached to it.] Via Wikimedia Commons
Subsequently, Italian writer Federico Moccia is believed to be responsible for influencing the current wave of the tradition. In 2006, he published a book called I Want You, which was developed into a film. The book featured a couple who put a padlock on a bridge in Rome to symbolize their love. This influenced Italian couples to place locks on the Ponte Milvio bridge as well. From this instance, lock bridges began to become a prevalent attraction across the globe. With Paris being the city of love, the love lock bridge became an extremely well-known landmark and one of the most famous love lock bridges.

Despite the history of this romantic tradition and the Pont des Art bridge, there are now numerous debates about whether this tradition should still be allowed. Placing locks on the bridge in Paris and on other love lock locations has caused damage to architectural structures. It has also caused damage to the surrounding environments. This debate has been especially prevalent since the collapse of the railing of the Pont des Art.

So before taking part in this tradition in Paris or any place else, I suggest being informed on whether or not you are allowed to do so. Fines are definitely not fun, and neither is destroying a centuries-old piece of architecture!

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History Historical Badasses

You know Rosa Parks, but you don’t know Elizabeth Jennings and Claudette Colvin

For stories of Black history and excellence, check out our Black History Month series. Celebrate with us by sharing your favorite articles on social media and uplifting the stories, lives, and work of Black people.

We all know Rosa Parks, the American civil rights activist who is known for standing up against racial injustice. Okay, actually, she was seated when she took her stand, but you get what I mean. We learned about the pivotal role she played in the Civil Rights Movement several times in school and we rightfully still celebrate her today.

A picture of Rosa Parks smiling while sitting on a bench with Martin Luther King Jr. sitting in the background behind her.
[Image Description: A picture of Rosa Parks smiling while sitting on a bench with Martin Luther King Jr. sitting in the background behind her.] Via Flicker
















When she refused to give up her seat in the section designated to Black people to a white passenger on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, it led to her arrest. When she was arrested, she was met with support from her community and members of the Black community from across the country. This level of support is what initiated the Montgomery Bus Boycott that lasted for 381 days.

Rosa Parks continued her work for racial equality and became an influential leader in the Civil Rights Movement.  However, she is not the first or only woman who fought against racial inequality by not getting up from her seat on public transportation. If you are surprised to hear this then I would like to share the stories of two women who also sat in their seats to take a stand.

Are you ready?

In 1854, Elizabeth Jennings, a free Black schoolteacher, was headed to church on a July Sunday morning. To get to church that day, she boarded a horsecar in Manhattan, New York. When she got into the car, she was told to get off and wait for a horsecar that operated for Black passengers. However, during this time, Black New York residents were expected to walk as horsecars designated for Black people were rarely available. In response, Jennings refused and resisted multiple physical attempts to remove her from the car until the police came to force her out of the car.

A black and white photo of Elizabeth Jennings posing in a long dress and standing with her arm resting on a chair.
[Image Description: A black and white photo of Elizabeth Jennings posing in a long dress and standing with her arm resting on a chair.] Via Zinnedproject










The Black community in New York responded just like the Black community in Montgomery would respond about 100 years later.  They held a rally at the church Jennings attended. Jennings sued the driver, conductor, and the Third Avenue Railway. She was represented by the future President Chester A. Arthur and won her case. Judge Rockwell from the Brooklyn Circuit Court ruled, “Colored persons if sober, well behaved and free from disease, had the same rights as others and could neither be excluded by the rules of the company nor by force or violence.”

Additionally, she received a total of $225 in damages.  Her court victory was a catalyst to the ongoing fight for equality in New York public transit. By 1873, the Civil Rights Act was passed in New York.  The act prohibited explicit discrimination on public transportation in New York, right before the New York subway first opened.

We also have Claudette Colvin, who refused to get up from her seat on the bus at the age of 15. Just 15! Colvin was arrested for not giving up her seat 9 months before Rosa Parks on the same bus system in Montgomery, Alabama. Colvin was on her way home from high school and when the bus driver told to get up to give her seat to a white woman. She responded by saying that she had paid to ride the bus and that it was her constitutional right. When she refused, she was put in handcuffs and was arrested.

A black and white head shot of Claudette Colvin. She is wearing a plain shirt, glasses, and has short curly hair.
[Image Description: A black and white head shot of Claudette Colvin. She is wearing a plain shirt, glasses, and has short curly hair.] Via Wikipedia

Colvin was charged with violating segregation laws.  She spent several hours in jail before her minister paid her bail. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People considered using her case to confront segregation laws. However, the association decided not to because of her age and her being pregnant at the time.

Despite the National Association for Advancement of Colored People not using her case, she became a plaintiff in the Browder v. Gayle case. The ruling of this case declared that the segregated bus system in Montgomery was unconstitutional.

We all know the story and the work of Rosa Parks, but few people know the stories of Elizabeth Jennings and Claudette Colvin.  Jennings and Colvin’s stories serve as a reminder that it takes more than one person to institute real change. We should always remember that there are many people that we do not learn about in our history books that made sacrifices and helped influence important changes.

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Health Care Health

I’m 22 and have high cholesterol – this is what you need to know

Right before my 22nd birthday, I went to the doctors to get a physical and my blood drawn. Throughout the pandemic, health and healthcare have been a concern for many of us. The global emphasis on health made me want to take more responsibility for my own health and know more about my body. I was checking my blood work from a few years before to see if there were any red flags, to my surprise, I noticed that my cholesterol was high.

I was mainly taken by this because my physician at the time did not mention it or talk about the results of my blood work with me. I don’t know if my physician just thought it was nothing to worry about, if she thought it was probably fine since I’m young, or if she thought that I could have eaten something the day that would have affected my results. Either way, she didn’t discuss this with me during that time.

While this lack of communication and discussion is troublesome, it did teach me a valuable lesson. It taught me that I need to be more attentive when it comes to my test results.

Most importantly, as a young black woman, I need to be my own biggest advocate when it comes to my health and medical care.

It has been proven and researched in several studies on public health that black women face discrimination from health professionals and disparities when it comes to receiving appropriate medical care. Health conditions disproportionately impact black women.  Additionally, mortality rates in maternal mortality and injury are higher for black women.

So, when I went to my doctor’s appointment, I was specific about what I wanted to be done and what I was concerned about regarding my own health. I came ready to ask questions. I wanted to know if my cholesterol would be high, like the last time I had my blood work done. I wanted to know if the results were a one-time occurrence or an issue that I should be concerned about now.

After my appointment, I anxiously waited to receive my results. About a week later, they came back, and I still had high cholesterol.  Immediately, I messaged my physician for guidance on what I should do and what the results meant for me. To be completely honest, I was pretty much clueless about what having high cholesterol exactly meant for my life now and my future health.

Cholesterol is a type of lipid that is produced by your liver. It is important for the formation of cell membranes, hormones, and vitamin D. You also need cholesterol so that your body can build tissues, produce sex hormones, and aid in bile production in the liver.

However, too much cholesterol can cause issues. Your cholesterol is transported through your bloodstream through the help of lipoprotein. There are two types of lipoproteins, which carry cholesterol throughout your bloodstream.

The first are low-density lipoproteins (LDL), and they are referred to as “bad cholesterol.”

If your LDL cholesterol is too high, it can build on the wall of your arteries, limit blood flow, and cause blood clots. Blood clots in your arteries in your heart and brain can cause a stroke or a heart attack.

The second lipoprotein is high-density lipoprotein (HDL). HDL cholesterol is referred to as “good cholesterol,” and it helps manage LDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol returns LDL to the liver and helps prevent cholesterol from building up in your body. This helps decrease your chances of having a stroke.

After receiving feedback from my physician, they pointed out to me that my HDL levels were high and good level, which is enough to offset any risks. They also mentioned that my having high cholesterol is most likely caused by genetics. While this news was reassuring, I can’t say that I am still not anxious at times or thinking about my future health. I think the most challenging part is I wasn’t expecting to have this particular concern and now having to learn what having high cholesterol could mean for me.

My physician suggested that I should work on establishing an exercise routine and a well-balanced diet that is high in fiber. I have been trying to work on these things one by one. I won’t lie; I have been pretty bad about establishing a workout routine throughout quarantine and the pandemic. Sometimes I am pretty good at keeping a schedule, and other times not so much. Hopefully, it will get better, and I’ll eventually find something that I enjoy doing.

But for now, I’ll just continue to try my best!

In terms of food, I won’t say that I have completely cut certain foods out of my diet. I just feel like I am more concerned about what foods I am eating and how often I am a certain type of food that could potentially increase my cholesterol. I even went online to see what foods I could incorporate more into my diet to help lower my cholesterol. I also try to research to figure out what works for me and my body. I try to make good choices for myself.

Foods that I found that work for me are oats, certain fruits, vegetables, almonds, and salmon. I love making smoothie bowls and loading oats that are high in fiber on top of it. I also could probably eat salmon five nights a week and have zero problems with it!

While there is no need for intervention or dramatic changes at the moment, I am not sure what the future may hold. I realized that I have a lot to learn about my personal health and healthcare as a whole. However, my goal is to take one step at a time, listen to what my physician advises me to do, and ask questions so I understand everything regarding my health in the future!

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USA 2020 Elections The World

Dr. Jill Biden is not “flaunting” her title

On December 11th, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece by Joseph Epstein, titled “Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an M.D.” that received a generous amount of feedback, to say the least. In his piece, he referred to the future First Lady as “kiddo.” He also indicated that her professional title, Dr. Jill Biden, as fraudulent and comedic. As you can see, the overall tone of the piece was misogynist, demeaning, and disrespectful.

Dr. Jill Biden has been an American educator for over three decades. She is not just a wife, mother, or grandmother. She also is certainly not your “kiddo.” Dr. Biden received her undergraduate degree at the University of Delaware in 1975. She went on to earn a master’s degree from West Chester University and Villanova University. Lastly, Dr. Biden earned her Doctorate in Education from the University of Delaware in January of 2007. Her dissertation was titled, “Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students’ Needs,” and focused on maximizing student retention in community colleges, which Epstein called unpromising.

Although people are not fainting and passing out anymore to receive their doctorates like was mentioned in Epstein’s article, it does not mean they are meaningless, or those doctorates have not been earned. While earning my undergraduate degree in Media Studies at the University of Virginia, I worked on my thesis for two years and stayed up many nights to get it done. I cried a few times from stress during the progress, but I pushed through.

Most of all, I gained a deep appreciation and respect for my professors and the professionals that have pursued this path. I received a small glimpse of what it is like to do the work to earn a Ph.D. or a doctorate, and I can assure you that it takes a lot of time, dedication, commitment, and sacrifice.

It is clear from the title and the tone of the article it was structured in a way to grab readers’ attention.  Epstein wanted a reaction.  He wanted his opinion on Educational Doctorates and the prestige of doctorates to be heard. But is this an excuse to be misogynist and sexist in the process? Is it also an excuse for him to undermine her work on maximizing student retention in community colleges?

No, it is not.

Additionally, would Joseph Epstein have said the exact same things if Dr. Jill Biden was male? Do you think he would have written this piece that specifically mentions Dr. Biden if she was not going to be the First Lady of the United States?

I have a feeling that the answers to these questions would also be no.

Of course, academia and institutions need to be critiqued and questioned. Research and dissertations are allowed to be critiqued and questioned as well. However, this opinion piece is not the way to do so. I doubt that we should be simply listening to the wise man that said no one should call himself “doctor” unless he has delivered a child. It is 2020, not the 1700s.

Also, if we want to get technical here, the word doctor is actually derived from the Latin root verb “docēre,” which means “to teach.”  The term was originally used by a select few theologians. It was not until the 14th century that physicians began calling themselves doctor. In the Renaissance qualified academics and medical practitioners both used the term. Both can rightfully claim the title of doctor.   

Epstein claims that asserting advanced degrees titles within humanities and social sciences are now pathetic, bush league, and meaningless. He tries to begin a larger conservation within higher education. But his language and use of Dr. Biden to “introduce” his point make it clear that he has never had to think of the value and significance of these titles and the work to earn them from the perspective of a woman. What bothers me the most is that the article was clearly written from a place of male privilege.

Historically, women have been denied opportunities to receive an education, and in many countries around the world, they are still denied that opportunity. Women were mostly excluded from attending college in the United States until the 19th centuryThe University of Virginia, where I attended, did not even begin full coeducation until 1969.  

Additionally, women still face discrimination, harassment, and gender biases in academic spaces today. Several studies have been done in university settings that document gender biases against women in teaching evaluations. A recent study conducted by Emily Khazan, a Ph.D. candidate in ecology at the University of Florida, demonstrates the tendency of female professors and teachers’ assistants (TA) to receive more negative reviews than their male counterparts due to students’ perceptions and gender biases.

In Khazan’s study, she split her virtual asynchronous online class of 136 students in half and assigned the students to a male TA or female TA.  What the students in the class did not know was that Khazan was posing as both the male and female teachers’ assistants. In the study, out of the six negative evaluations reported in the study, five of them were for the female TA. This means that the female TA was given five times as many negative reviews as the male TA, despite them being the same person.

The degree of gender bias and discrimination in academia cannot only render and have implications on the careers of women but also discourage and cause a lack of motivation for women in those spaces.  In college, I read an article by Minh-Ha T. Pham called “I Click and Post and Breathe, Waiting for Others to See What I See”: On #FeministSelfies, Outfit Photos, and Networked Vanity that taught me about the narrow connotations of vanity and the important role vanity has when it comes to the “social visibility and social recognition” of marginalized and unrepresented groups. It is important for women to not downplay their experiences, accomplishments, achievements, and who they are for the sake of others. Showcasing the work of a woman is important and academia needs more women. The American Association of University Women that only 27 percent of tenured faculty at four-year institutions are women in the United States.

Women are right to assert their earned titles. You claim that her title is comedic and fraudulent, but is actually encouraging and uplifting for other women to see.  It can actually inspire other women to pursue careers in academia and women already pursuing a similar path. Dr. Biden is the professional title that she earned, and she certainly does not need to drop the “doc.”


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USA World News Health News Coronavirus The World

The global distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is far from equal

With multiple of announcements, approval, and plans for COVID-19 vaccines popping up left and right, it may seem like we are reaching the light at the end of the tunnel. But, the reality is that right now, the priority for these approved vaccines is to be used only on high-risk individuals, frontline healthcare workers, and staff in assisted living facilities in wealthier countries within North America, Europe, and Asia. Even with the approval of these vaccinations, within those countries, it will be at least several months for the vaccination to become available to the general public. However, if we put this into prospective, the several months wait in those countries does not compare at all to countries of lower to middle income that will most likely have to wait years to have significant access to coronavirus vaccines.

The United States has now approved two vaccines for emergency use. The pharmaceutical company Pfizer was approved first for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 11. Then seven days later, the FDA approved the Moderna vaccine for EUA for individuals over the age of 18. During the clinical trial, Pfizer was reported to exceed expectations while Moderna vaccination was developed with the help of the U.S. National Institute of Health.

Canada and the United Kingdom will begin vaccinating high-risk individuals and frontline healthcare workers as well. Pfizer is supplying the vaccine in Canada. The United Kingdom was actually the first to approve Pfizer’s vaccine on December 2nd, which is the first approval of a vaccine that was tested in large clinical trials. Also, let’s not forget, China has already developed a vaccine, given over a million vaccinations since the summer, and promised to deploy vaccinations to other countries. Additionally, Russia has developed its own vaccine called Sputnik V. Manufacturers in India will be producing 300 million doses of Russia’s vaccine beginning next year.

While this progress is good and exciting after the long year that many have faced, the issue of distribution of vaccines across the globe is not an issue to ignore.  Wealthier nations have been able to make deals and buy these vaccinations before they were even tested or approved. On the other hand, developing countries and countries of lower-income are rightfully concerned about when they will be significantly accessible for their countries.

In the wake of the pandemic, a global alliance has formed to provide nations of lower-income with coronavirus vaccine called COVAX. The alliance is led by the World Health Organization, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic. There are 190 countries and territories that are participating in the alliance; this includes at least 92 donor-funded or low to middle-income countries. Under these alliances, countries contribute money to manufacturers and support the development of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Even with the alliance, many countries in less affluent parts of the world face crippling uncertainty as countries have secured pre-market agreements for the dose of the vaccine. Even countries and nations like Canada, Japan, the European Union, and the United Kingdom that are a part of the COVAX alliance have secured these pre-market agreements. A study on pre-market commitments for the COVID-19 vaccine by Anthony D. So and Joshua Woo confirms that the level uncertainty felt within these countries is valid. As of November 15, 2020, 51% of the doses will go to high-income countries from 13 vaccine manufacturers. That is equivalent to over 7 billion doses, and those countries only represent 14% of the world’s population.

Vaccine nationalism, in which countries are putting the vaccinations and domestic needs before others, will not return the world to the place that it once was before the outbreak. Countries and nations wanting the vaccination to protect their citizens and fight the virus is not inherently wrong. The issue is that without equal distribution of the vaccine, it is believed the pandemic can continue to be a threat for years, and as of now, it could take years to produce an adequate number of doses for the globe. Ultimately, there are limited resources. First come distribution method for the vaccines and nations claiming a majority of the vaccines does not insure equal distribution.

The premarket deals being made and vaccine nationalism is quickly making it harder and harder for COVAX to be able to deliver vaccinations to countries that need it. As wealthier countries secure more vaccinations than they need, it leaves lower-income countries with little options, and more suffering. The reality is the majority of COVID-19 vaccines produced in 2021 will more than likely be reserved for wealthier nations as they have reserved enough to cover more than their total population.

This exploitative system – which is reflective of that which has taken advantage of lower-income for centuries as a result of white supremacy, colonialism, and hierarchical power structures – will leave a significant portion of the world that is not able to secure premarket agreements without adequate access to vaccinations until at least 2022 and possibly even 2024. While the efforts of COVAX were meant to support the equitable access of COVID-19 vaccines during this global pandemic and consist of nations of various income levels, it seems that the labor and collaborative of efforts of countries of lower-income will benefit wealthier nations first as premarket deals that lack transparency and are not disclosed are continuously made for more doses of the vaccine.

People around the world have suffered and made sacrifices together throughout the year because of the coronavirus, but with the current deepening disparities between the distribution of vaccinations between countries of different incomes, it is more than clear that we certainly will not be reaching the end of the tunnel together.


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Tech Now + Beyond

This is why shaking your developing Polaroid photograph is unnecessary

The fairy lights are twinkling, the smell of roast beef makes your stomach growl, and the highly- anticipated gifts sit patiently under the already wilting Christmas tree. Holiday cheer is everywhere so, naturally, you wish to capture the magic of the moment. Out comes your trusty insta camera. Polaroid photographs are the trend now. A click later, a little boxed-shaped sheet is whirling out but the smiling faces of your family are not yet visible. You start mindlessly shaking the photograph, almost like second nature, until your wrist hurts. Well, what if I told you that shaking Polaroid photographs is not only unnecessary in the development of the image but might actually harm it in some instances?

Ever since receiving my Fujifilm camera, I have wondered why people shake their Polaroid photos after taking them. I would always shake my photos because that is what I thought I was supposed to do, but I never understood the reason why. I was always confused because shaking the photo never seemed to really do much. Why am I doing this if it does not help my photos develop faster? It’s fun to shake my photos, but why am I actually shaking it?

With all the advancements in digital technology, there is something truly nostalgic about using the Polaroid camera. I did not personally grow up using an instant camera but I did use disposable cameras often. I would take it on field trips and vacations with my family in my early childhood. The downside to disposable cameras, however, is that you can only view the taken photo once it is developed. Who has the time of the anymore? My favorite thing about the Polaroid camera lies in its main selling point – providing instant physical copies.

The only reference that I had as a potential answer to my inquiry as to why we shake instant photos is the Outkast song “Hey Ya!” because of the famous lyric, “Shake it like a Polaroid picture.”  As fun and catchy as the song is, it does not really explain why you should shake a Polaroid photo after it is printed.

So, to answer my question, I did a little research. It turns out that shaking it did have a purpose when the Polaroid camera was first manufactured. The Polaroid Corporation was established in 1937 and was founded by Edwin H. Land, an American scientist. When Polaroid cameras were first released. They used a peel-apart film. When a person took their photo with this film, the photo would still be wet due to chemicals. So, people would shake their polaroid pictures to make the drying process go faster.

Polaroid camera’s popularity in the late 1900s and early 2000s came to a screeching halt with the rise of new digital options. Today, Polaroid cameras, which consist of Fujifilm Instax cameras and new cameras from the Polaroid Corporation, actually do not require you to shake them.

Shaking them could, in some instances, cause damage or distortions to the picture as a rapid movement during development can cause portions of the film to separate prematurely, or can cause ‘blobs’ in the picture. The instant polaroid cameras use an integral film, which is an instant film. The film that we are using now is covered in clear plastic and does not touch air. So, you can still shake your polaroid picture all you want, but it won’t actually do anything for you!

The best thing that you can do is leave it alone and protect your photo from sunlight. Keeping your photographs out of the sun is actually pretty important! If it is exposed or developed in sunlight, it could redden due to overexposure. Trust me, I speak from experience. I insist just patiently waiting the suggested 15 minutes for the film to fully develop.

While shaking your instant photos may be fun, not only is it unnecessary but sometimes even damaging. So save yourself some time and wrist pain by leaving your Polaroid photographs alone.

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Health Care Health Ancient Practices

The reason why women started giving birth lying down

I was scrolling through Twitter one day, and I scrolled by a tweet that immediately got my attention. The user @layzchipz posted a tweet that stated, “still can’t get over the fact that men sexualized birth.. and had women change from squatting to laying on their backs which is way more painful.” Wait, what? What do you mean that giving birth was sexualized by men?

A screenshot of @layzchipz tweet that states, "still can't get over the fact that men sexualized birth.. and had women change from squatting to laying on their backs which is way more painful."
[Image Description: A screenshot of @layzchipz tweet that states, “still can’t get over the fact that men sexualized birth.. and had women change from squatting to laying on their backs which is way more painful.”] Via Twitter
If you’re a little shocked right now, you are not alone. The comments were filled with people like me who had never heard anything about this whatsoever. And if you are like me, you probably want to know more about this immediately.

So, let’s talk about it!

In Western culture, it is a common medical practice to have women give birth in various positions that have them lying on their backs while reclining slightly. These positions are called recumbent and semi-recumbent positions. There is the supine position where you are lying on your back, and the bed is angled, so you are sitting at about a 45-degree angle.

There is the lithotomy position, which has you lying back in the supine position with your thighs flexed and your legs in stirrups. There is also the lateral position where you give birth while lying on your side.

We have all seen the portrayals of supine positions in movies and television. You also may have learned about these positions in birthing classes, read about it in books about pregnancy, or have firsthand experience. Our current way of perceiving childbirth is significantly shaped by all this rhetoric and material.

This makes it hard to imagine that child birthing has ever been anything besides a woman lying on their backs on a hospital bed with their legs being held up while someone holds their hand, and a doctor keeps telling them when to push.

Due to this image that I had in my head of childbirth and the dominance of this birthing position, I always assumed that giving birth lying back was simply just the best position.

However, it turns out that may not be the case or the exact reason why women give birth this way.

It is upsetting (even possibly infuriating depending on how you see it) to know that the reason lying back during labor grew in popularity and became common practice for reasons that were not based solely on women’s experiences while birthing.

Shouldn’t birthing practices be about what is best for the health of the woman and child? Shouldn’t childbirth also reflect the wants, the needs, comfort, and safety of the person doing the birthing? I certainly think so!

Early records and depictions of labor actually illustrate women not on their backs. It depicts them standing, kneeling, and squatting. There were even birthing chairs, stools, and hammocks that women would sit in during labor. Also, birthing was typically overseen by a team of midwives as a man seeing a women’s exposed body was unconsidered indecent in many cultures. It was not until male surgeons and doctors got in followed that things started changing.

Are we surprised?

Male doctors were often called in to assist with pregnancies that were likely to involve complications or mortality. In 1598, the French surgeon Jacques Guillemeau first advocated for a reclining birthing bed supposedly for labor and for comfort. However, this bed would not have women lie back completely.

Women actually started giving birth while lying down more frequently in the 17th century. This change was largely influenced by Francois Mauriceau, a French obstetrician, and King Louis XIV.

Mauriceau believed that a horizontal position would be more “comfortable” for the woman and more “convenient” for those assisting with the birth. Mauriceau also viewed pregnancy as more of an illness rather than a natural experience, which was a common perspective shared by male doctors before and during this period of time.

The concept of pregnancy became seen as abnormal and something that needed treatment. This mentality and way of thinking contributed to a shift in birthing care and conditions from midwives to doctors in Western culture.

Mauriceau even referred to pregnancy as a “tumor of the Belly.” A woman carries their child for nine months and you want to call it a tumor of the belly, really? This analogy does not sound right to me.

In addition to Mauriceau, male doctors replacing the role of midwives, and treating pregnancy like some sort of disease, scholars also talk about King Louis XIV’s involvement in the popularity of reclining in the supine positions during birthing, which we discussed above.

Here’s where things get creepy…

King Louis XIV apparently enjoyed watching women giving birth. I highly doubt his reasons for watching childbirth were strictly for scientific purposes. King Louis claimed the birthing stool blocked his view and prevented him from being able to see the birth.  So, therefore, he insisted that women should be lying back while giving birth.

His lack of expertise in obstetrics and gynecology makes me pretty sure that he had no right or qualifications to this suggestion as his version of the supine position most likely did not provide any form of elevation like it does today. It has been reported that lying back completely during childbirth can be quite uncomfortable and difficult for many women.

Upright positions, such as standing, sitting, and squatting, during childbirth have been reported to have the advantage of gravity. These also help the baby move down the pelvis and increase the size of the pelvis.

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Despite the odd way that laying back during childbirth came to be popular, it does not mean that laying back during pregnancy is wrong or should be judged. The recumbent positions are preferred and used by doctors and caregivers because it still remains convenient for doctors to monitor your baby during labor.

I, myself, had just never realized the origins of the reclining birthing or encountered the benefits of other birthing positions.

When it comes to pregnancy and childbirth, there are many factors to consider. This can include your location, the epidural, your body, and the caregiver. Ultimately, pregnancy is a personal journey. Those giving birth have the right to decide what is best, comfortable, and healthy for their own experience.

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