From Sweatshirts To Pencil Skirts

•December 5, 2011 • Leave a Comment

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I’ve been cheating on my blog. Since my last post, I’ve started blogging over at Forbes Woman, with a blog called “From Sweatshirts To Pencil Skirts” that chronicles my take as a Gen-Y woman entering the workforce (and any other issues that I think should be part of the current online discourse).

Here’s what I’ve been up to over at Forbes Woman:

“Can I Still Be A Feminist If I…?”

This post is one of the  more personal I’ve done for Forbes Woman. It was one of the times where I found myself wondering, “Am I crazy for thinking this?” Although I got a few negative comments in reaction to the post, many young women told me (in person, on the blog, and on social media) that they too had found themselves wondering the same thing. (Want to know what the thought was? Head on over to the post! And please feel free to leave me your comments on the blog or on Twitter!)

“Putting The ‘Man’ In Manicure”

What happened when I found myself being sexist about working as a host/hostess in a restaurant.

“Beauty And The Brood”

What do some researchers “beautiful” women want more of than the average woman?

“Combating Violence Against Women, From The U.S. To Uganda”

What the International Violence Against Women Act has to do with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“An Employer’s Guide to Generation Y”

3 ways for employers to deal with the newcomers who are scratching their heads over what the heck a 401k is and packing PB&J for lunch.

I am excited to be able to share the Forbes Woman platform with so many talented contributors (women and men!), who blog on a variety of topics (from exploring why women’s networking events are so “girly” to how driving a stick can help you at work, so check it out!

Battle of the Sexes: Social Media

•September 7, 2011 • 1 Comment

Last January, the news broke that the gender of contributors to Wikipedia was split 85% to 15% between men and women, respectively. In the article that prompted my blog post, the reporter cited the Op-Ed Project as identifying the site as a “public thought-leadership forum,” comparing it to conversational spaces like the U.S. Congress.

This evokes the all-too-common gender gap narrative of “Males dominate. What else is new?” However, according to a recent Pew Research Center study, there is one area of cyberspace where women dominate: social networks. More specifically, the study describes young women (ages 18 to 29) as “the power users.” According to the study, 89% of that cohort uses social networks – and 69% uses one every day.

Now, we don't have to whisper the latest gossip - we've got Facebook messages! (heh) / image from

Even though my gut reaction is to start printing “power user” bumper-stickers to relish my new status, I wonder: is the discrepancy simply a reflection of business as usual? It seems to reflect the pervasive notion that men should lead when it comes to serious matters, but women have control over social life. Will men continue to dominate the “thought-leadership” that advances our society while women focus more on building and preserving relationships?

It may be that (pseudo-)intellectual spaces like Wikipedia, where the game is delivering the facts (without emotion), seem at first glance to appeal to the stereotypical male. On the other hand, social networks, where users are focused on social interactions and the emotions that come with them, might seem like a place where women will participate more than men. For example, women are more likely to “share” and provide responses to other users’ posts, even though women and men are likely to spend around the same amount of time online, says Media Badger. It seems that Jane is still out-chatting Joe – even online.

If Facebook were middle school, girls would form groups to represent their cliques and create events to invite their classmates to the latest “boy-girl” party, while boys might post status updates with links to an article from The Daily Beast. Is this the future? Will pre-teens now be comparing their Facebook friend counts (or even Klout scores!) to get a sense of their popularity? The many recent cases of online bullying demonstrate that social interactions (the good and the bad) do happen online, as they do in real life. It is interesting to think about whether all social activities will (or could) move online and what gender implications this might have.

We’ll have to wait and see the next study to learn whether the social networking gender gap shifts, but, for now, I’m enjoying my “power user” status.

Well, according to the movie, Zuckerberg did create Facebook so he could meet girls... / image from

A Lady in the Classroom, but a Freak at the Frat?*

•August 28, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The most thought-provoking article in today’s New York Times was not in the front page, nor even in the front section. It was in the Style section.

In “After Class, Skimpy Equality”, Lisa Belkin elucidates the baffling gender dynamics that characterize the American college campus – and proves that even the ivy-clad walls of universities like Princeton and Yale house less than idyllic relations between today’s collegiate men and women:

“The women I met were outspoken, self-confident and unapologetic about running rings around their male cohorts in the classroom. That was a marked change from my day, when there were nearly two men to one woman on campus, and we felt a little like guests in the boys’ club treehouse.

I wasn’t surprised by the progress, though… What stunned me was what was happening outside class, where women seemed not to have budged in decades.  In social settings and in relationships, men set the pace, made the rules and acted as they had in the days when women were still ‘less than.’ It might as well have been the 1950s, but with skimpier clothing, fewer inhibitions and better birth control.”

It’s no secret that female college students now outnumber their male counterparts. During my four years at college, I noticed that the girls were just as likely to command the classroom as the guys. (To be honest, I can recall countless type-A alpha females who dominated class discussions, who put on a show demonstrating how oh-so-full of gravitas they were, yet only one infamously annoying male classmate who also had an unhealthy desire to hear his own endless philosophizing about Jürgen Habermas.)

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But, come Thursday night (the unofficial start to the weekend for many), the dynamic changes. After class, girls spend hours straightening their hair, lining their eyes, and squeezing themselves into skinny jeans and skimpy tops. (And that’s not even mentioning the agonizing “UGH! I don’t have ANYTHING to wear!” moments where you inevitably turn away from your jam-packed closet and take your roommate up on her offer of borrowing her sparkly halter top so that you wont have to wear the same top you wore on a night out earlier this month.)

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The guys? From what I can tell, most of them just watch movies before heading out to a party – or, on a night that they want to impress, they might shower. (Please, guys, tell me if I’m wrong!)

Oh, no, wait. The guys generally go out and buy the beer as well. Let’s give credit where it’s due!

I happened to read this article while at my grandmother’s apartment. After reading a piece in Interview about Gloria Steinem by Maria Shriver (pre-Arnold’s cheating scandal, I believe). While my younger college-aged brother was visiting.

After reading the piece herself, my grandmother looked over at us and said incredulously, “Is that really what goes on?”

“Psh, YEAH!” was basically our response. “Haven’t you seen Mean Girls?”

Well, she hadn’t seen the movie. And was appalled at what the article claimed.

Thinking about this later, I almost feel bad that this gender dynamic had never appalled me, or even surprised me. In fact, I went along with it without question (I’ll admit that I’ve suffered through my fair share of straightening iron burns and purchased countless primping products that I’ll probably never use). As an unassuming freshman with few expectations, I probably just saw how it was and unquestioningly accepted it then, over the next four years, it felt normal. Unfair for sure, but normal and unavoidable. I am even more ashamed to admit that I was surprised that there was an uproar after a frat sent out a Halloween party invitation that invited girls to dress like sluts (I mean, doesn’t a character in Mean Girls teach us that Halloween is the one night of the year a girl can dress like a slut and no other girl can criticize her for it?)

In a way, dressing in a provocative way that makes a girl feel attractive makes her feel powerful. In the world of college parties, attractiveness is a girl’s currency. And the recent phenomenon of the “slutwalk” as a form of feminist protest has demonstrated that many women today see dressing that way as a way of exercising their rights. But I do understand the argument made by many that this type of dressing seems exploitative and takes away from the progress women have made in the classrooms of these same universities.

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Whether wearing a miniskirt is a constructive form of self-expression and liberation or something that only hinders the women’s movement, I don’t know. (Same goes for Muslim women who wear the veil – is it an absolute symbol of patriarchy or a sign of a woman’s devotion to her religion?) It’s impossible to say. I was happy to read a piece that says it like it is, but I regret to report that it is the truth. Women may sometimes rule the classroom, but men still run the party.


*Title inspired by Usher’s “Yeah!” for all of you like me who remember all the lyrics to the songs that were in heavy rotation at middle school dances. And still love them without shame.

Trending: Lace

•August 22, 2011 • Leave a Comment

When it comes to trends, I’d say I’m usually a “late adopter” (in techie-speak).

Yup, I’m afraid of commitments – especially when they require money and bold fashion choices. I wont be the girl who rocks the latest suspenders Forever 21 is pushing, nor would I have been the blonde with feather hair extensions walking down the street in the spring before they became all the rage in the early summer.

But I do notice them! Some trends I notice and need to see a few more times on the street before they win me over, but others I embrace wholeheartedly right away. An example of the latter? LACE.

Here are my current favorite lacey items from the stores and designers that are loving the lace this season:

Old Navy (on sale!):

for those who want lace with an edge

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Lush @ Piperlime (another sale find!):

for making the most of those summer nights

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Kimchi Blue @ Urban Outfitters:

for the hipsters

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And the prize for loveliest lace goes to…

The Mad Men Collection @ Banana Republic:

for the Mad Men fans (and me… and apparently all of my friends!*)

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 for some lacey fun under the Banana Republic blazer that you thought you’d need when you started the job search and resigned yourself to becoming a “real person”***

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*within about 48 hours of buying this dress, I found out that about 68%** of my female friends had purchased this dress.

**general guesstimate

***maybe that was just me?

Bill Cunningham New York

•August 21, 2011 • 1 Comment

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“Don’t worry, you’ll be able to find me. I’m sure there wont be anyone else there.”

Said I to my late-arriving movie companion, who feared he would not be able to find me in the dark theater once the show had started.

I mean, who goes to a 10:25am showing on a Sunday morning of a film that has been out for months (or any movie for that matter)?

Even I had decided at the last minute to go: my grandmother suggested that I go once I flipped to the “On the Street” page of the New York Times Sunday Style section – at about 10am. Still in my pajamas.

However, when I opened the door to the IFC’s (tiny) theater 4, the tens of pairs of eyes that greeted me informed me that I was mistaken.

And so began Bill Cunningham New York.

The documentary follows Mr. Cunningham as he bikes the New York City streets, winds his way amongst charity gala attendees, and accepts an award from the French Ministry of Culture (even then wearing his blue smock – the same one worn by Paris’ street cleaners – one wonders whether the elite ceremony attendees picked up on this irony!).

I’ve long been an admirer of Mr. Cunningham’s work – I just didn’t know it. If you have ever picked up the New York Times Style section, you probably are too, for he is the genius behind “On the Street” and the society event photo pages.

If you are a lover of fashion (from street to high couture), of New York, of the New York Times, or even of Bill himself, you must see this film!

Care for a Mint Candy Apple? Your Nails Do!

•August 10, 2011 • 2 Comments

Every time I come to New York, it seems I pick up on a new trend. (And of course, since I’ve moved here – I see them everywhere!)

The latest trend I’m trying is essie’s Mint Candy Apple nail color.

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I’m not one for bright nail colors – I like low-maintenance colors like light pinks, which don’t show chips as easily – but I couldn’t stop thinking about this nail color…

  • I’m a sucker for pastels.
  • The color reminds me of a Tiffany jewelry box.
  • I complimented a man on the street who was wearing the color (alternated with lilac) and we had a fun conversation about how fun it is: “Ooh! I love your nails!” “Thanks, it’s essie!” “It’s fabulous – Is that the mint-something color?”

When he replied that it was, I mentally filed that tidbit away until last night, when I bought it at Ricky’s. I was in need of a pick-me-up, so I paired my mint candy apple with some Trader Joe’s dark chocolate, TLC’s Crazy about Pippa, and an issue of Cosmo.

The result? Instant happiness.

I’m Sorry, Derrick! – Groupon/Livingsocial Apps

•May 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Punish Derrick.

Download the Groupon and livingsocial apps on your iPad or iPhone so that you can unsubscribe to their daily emails to reduce the ridiculous amount of emails you receive. (If you’re like most people these days, the number is somewhere close to the number of times you’ve rolled your eyes at the latest piece of news related to Charlie Sheen.)

And while you’re at it, check out livingsocial’s new instant deals – a section that will tell you what deals are going on nearby over the next 12 hours. If you’re in the DC area, instant deals tend to be for bars and restaurants (Dupont lovers, thanks to these deals, you can hit up Cafe Japone for karaoke or Hello Cupcake for treats on the cheap. If you’re a Hoya senior who wants to explore DC beyond the hilltop before graduation, take advantage of the deals at Grand Central in Adams Morgan, but if you’re less adventurous or want to relive years gone by (or maybe last weekend), Rhino has had deals recently too. And of all the places in DC, that’s probably where you’re most likely to see Charlie Sheen “winning”.)

Frozen Banana Treat

•April 27, 2011 • Leave a Comment

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As the weather warms, you can finally have ice cream, popsicles, and other frozen treats without fear of frostbite.

Frozen bananas are an inexpensive, healthy, and refreshing respite from the heat.

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Just unpeel a banana, stick it in a Ziploc bag, and put it in your freezer. In a few hours, you will have a popsicle that is more satisfying than the average ice pop.

If you want to get fancy, spread some peanut butter or Nutella on it for a delicious combination that packs some protein. Frozen bananas are also a delicious addition to smoothies.


Free Samples on iBooks

•April 26, 2011 • Leave a Comment

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Do you have an iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone? If so, you can download the iBook app for free from the App Store!

Need another reason to download the app? iBook offers free samples of books that download straight to your device. Try out Maria Menounos’ new book, The Everygirl’s Guide to Life and you will have access to 73 pages of Menounos’ tips and anecdotes!

Did you ever wonder as a child where Disney got its stories? Apple will also give you a complimentary digital copy of the classic Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne.

To the Point

•April 25, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Confession: I couldn’t stay away.

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But, for the next while, I am experimenting with a new format – one that requires less time of (the likely very busy) you and I. Posts will now be tips that are to the point and I will leave it up to you if you think it is useful for you to learn more about (i.e., spend more time on) them.

My rationale? (Out of respect for your time, stop reading here if you found yourself thinking, “Thank goodness! Hannah is finally going to stop wasting my time with her pontificating!” and just wait for the next few posts because, here comes some of my media philosophizing.)

Think about it: how often do you (or, if you’re a particularly voracious reader, the average person) read an entire article? Do you have the time? The attention span?

What does it mean that Twitter, with its 140-character limit, has both found a way to integrate with traditional media outlets like TV news programs as well as serve as a source of news in itself for its users?

Sometimes I find myself worrying that I have not taken full advantage of the vast amounts of information out there – in cyberspace, in print, on the radio, and on television.

So, for better or worse, I see a major trend towards short-form content, both as useful in providing succinct information in itself as well as giving users a hint of the longer form content they can access.