Category Archives: list

Freshman Year Recap

Well, it’s that time of the year again. No, not the time when I apologize for writing so infrequently. I’m talking about the time of the year that students dread. The one that features an excessive lack of sleep, an unhealthy amount of coffee, and probably some embarrassingly delirious late night Snapchats. That’s right. I’m talking about finals.

This finals period in particular is pretty significant for me because I have now almost finished (read, “survived”) my freshman year of college! It has been one wild ride, my friends, and in case you want to take a break from your own finals studying, or if you’re just bored, you can go ahead and read this recap of freshman year that I have drafted for just such an occasion. Here you can find all of the new fads and personal highlights of this year, from finstas to dorm life at Tulane. Enjoy, and happy finals week!

  1. The Boot
    If there is one place every Tulane student is familiar with, it is the Boot, a seedy college bar/club (don’t worry, it’s 18 and up) that somehow made it onto’s 2015 list of the Top 40 College Bars and was ranked #1 by USA Today in 2013. All this despite the fact that the men’s bathroom features urinals and no toilets. I suppose the true draws are its 6am closing time, its nightly drink specials, and the pizza and crepe establishments flanking it on either side. Either way, I am no different in that I have become intimately familiar with The Boot and its frightening toilet paper deficiency.
  2. Mardi Gras
    It happened. It was a lot. If you want more info on this New Orleans staple, see my last post.
  3. Finstas
    I assume we all know Instagram. In case you’re an older reader or perhaps a recluse, it is a social media site where people exclusively post pictures. This year, someone out there decided to make a fake Instagram account (a finstagram, if you will, or simply and affectionately, a finsta) and it spread like a rash. Like an itchy, annoying rash you cannot get rid of. A finsta, for those are not plagued by them, is like a pseudo account, almost like an online alter ego. People keep them private so that only those they approve can see it, and it is designed to be a place that you can post all of your embarrassing, ironic, and/or under the influence photos in a funny way. At least that’s the goal. I, however, am of the opinion that if you want to say something, say it, and if you need to make a secret account to say it, then probably don’t say it at all.
  4. Dorm Life
    I live in the picturesque Monroe Hall, a place where the garbage truck comes loudly at 8am, the elevator often breaks or is home to condom wrappers and beer cans, and sewage problems and shower hair abound. Add to this the fact that New Orleans has pipe issues in general and the water shuts off fairly frequently, and you’ve got me counting down the amount of showers I have left here.
  5. Rush
    Yes, I’ve #GoneGreek. Tulane rushes sororities in the spring though, so I came back from Winter Break and spent two weekends standing in lines outside houses and chatting with complete strangers. It was all worth it though, as I am now a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority, the first and the finest. Yes, we were founded in 1851, making us the first sorority on this planet, so use that as your next factoid.
  6. Trivia
    This year trivia nights became my friends’ and I’s THING. We’ve been to several at Dat Dog, a gourmet hot dog restaurant near my school that is home to perhaps the best business plan ever, as well as a few other scattered ones at other places. The real highlight, however, was on Spring Break when two of my friends and I went to Vail and won trivia night. Even though we probably did it by a sheer lack of teams (around 7) and by betting zero points on the final question, we still got a $50 gift card, so I’m going to go ahead and call myself a trivia champion anyway.
  7. Crawfest
    One of Tulane’s crowning glories is Crawfest, a day long music festival with bands, food trucks, and LOTS of crawfish. For the low, low price of being a student (of which the price is not low at all), you can get a wristband to a day full of music and all you can eat crawfish, which if you haven’t tried them, are pretty yummy and thoroughly horrifying. I have probably sworn off of crawfish, as I cannot eat meat if it looks like the animal it is, and it took me around 15 minutes just to be able to pick one up. Crawfest is still a good time though. They also give out vegetables.

    Save a crawfish, eat some corn
    Save a crawfish, eat some corn

    And there you have it. Everything you needed to know, but mostly what you did not at all need to know, about my freshman year of college. Hopefully as summer rolls around I can have time to write more often, but I am hoping to get a job so we’ll see! (If any business owners in the Denver area are reading, I would be a fantastic hire.)

Submitted with undying love for,
Tulane, freshman year, a nicer dorm for sophomore year, corn, ADPi, and NOLA,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken

A Glimpse at the Mardi Pardi

Greetings friends and Internet users. Happy almost Spring (she said hopefully) (although I know I’m no one to talk, since I live in beautiful New Orleans)!

I’m here today to talk about everyone’s favorite holiday! What, Valentine’s Day? No, not THAT piece of Hallmark trash. I am talking about everyone’s favorite rowdy, outlandish, no-holds-barred schmooze fest that I experienced for the first time this year. That’s right–Mardi Gras.

For Christians, Mardi Gras is Fat Tuesday, the last “hurrah” before Ash Wednesday and Lent when they are expected to give up something they love until Easter. For most New Orleanians (and for myself, staunchly secular in her beliefs), it is approximately six days, give or take, of parades and mild debauchery. Now mind you, the debauchery part mostly stays in the French Quarter, that wildly mystical land of balconies and booze. I, however, along with my friends and most of the other college kids stick to Uptown, the area along historic St. Charles Avenue near Tulane where the parades still go, where the walk to and from isn’t too grueling, and where, oddly enough, we intermix with families and old people alike.

Mardi Gras is a pretty crazy time–people literally fight over strings of plastic (ok, not FIGHT fight. You’re more likely to get a black eye from being hit by a package of beads thrown from a passing float). And this post is not designed to be a guide to surviving the melee; those posts are far over done, and is there really such a concise list that can provide advice for what’s to come Mardi Gras weekend? No, this post is merely a glance at some notable moments in my Carnival experience this year–I am now still sick enough post-Mardi to have time to comb through my pictures. So please enjoy this scrapbook of sorts, and if you ever come to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, remember to never pee in public.

  1. The Chicken
    Krewe of Muses
    Krewe of Muses

    At a Mardi Gras parade, much more than beads are flying. There may be cups, trinkets, capes, stickers, bags–you can catch any number of things really. Here I would like to direct your attention to the jacket zipper on my friend at the right there. Yes. That is, in fact, a plastic chicken. No, not a rubber chicken, although it looks like one. It is actually, and stay with me here, a plastic model of a rubber chicken. That’s right. And my friend Henry here didn’t catch it so much as it landed in a patch of grass enclosed by a fence behind him and he dove to retrieve it. So that is a hard earned plastic model of a rubber chicken.

  2. The Plunger
    Endymion Parade
    Endymion Parade

    Speaking of crazy parade finds, yes, that is a plunger. And despite my friend’s unicorn ears or my other friend’s wig that resembles a pom pom, or even my bright yellow tutu, I think it really makes the picture.

  3. The Selfie (of the Selfie)
    The Tulane shuttle

    Now I do not use the term “meta” lightly. But if you can make out my features in the washed out bottom left corner, you can see that I look–shall we say bemused?–at my capturing of my friend Allison taking a gung ho selfie (in the middle of my selfie). It doesn’t get more Millennial than this, folks.

  4. The Y
    Loyola University New Orleans
    Loyola University New Orleans
    IMG_2674 (1)
    An undisclosed location

    Here we have before and after pictures of an apparent “tradition” that seems to take place every year. You see, this is Loyola University, a school right next to Tulane (they practically share a campus). On our way back from the parades one night, we thought we would take a picture on the Loyola sign. Running over to the letters, we noticed some other kids flocking over as well, thinking they were following suit. As we stood on the letters, one mildly drunk boy started pulling on an O next to me. “Excuse me!” I shouted to him and his friend, who was close behind. “Sorry, you can try and steal the letters all you want, but could you take a picture of us first?” It took some prodding, but we managed to get a picture on the letters–right before most of them were stolen away in the night. Apparently Loyola reinforced them with more concrete this year, as I guess this is not the first time “LOYOLA” has become “L   LA” come Friday morning of Mardi Gras weekend. They also must literally have a stash of concrete letters and a concrete guy on hand because by the next afternoon, they were Loyola once more. And I won’t tell you how Henry came to be in possession of this Y.

    Okay fine…he caught it in a parade…

  5. The Puppy
    St. Charles Parade Route
    St. Charles Parade Route

    Mardi Gras can be a rough time. There are a lot of people, there is a lot of noise, there is a drastic shortage of bathrooms, and you are never immediately near some amenity you may need. This is my friend Siena right after she fell, hitting her elbow pretty hard, scraping her knee, and ripping her leggings in the process. We got her up and were not but a few steps along when we ran into two nice young men holding the cutest puppy I’ve seen in my young life. Now by this time, Siena is having trouble keeping it together–she is in a lot of pain and we are all pretty astoundingly sleep deprived. So she asks to hold this puppy and just about loses it. You can’t really tell, but she is literally sobbing into this puppy. But I mean look how adorable it is.

    So there you have it. Mardi Gras 2016. I may be suffering right now from the worst sore throat I have ever experienced, but I must say it was worth it. Probably. (Seriously I am in so much pain.) Until next year, Carnival.

Submitted with undying love for,
Mardi Gras, that puppy, Loyola University, NOLA, and getting two days off of school to watch parades,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken

Airport Chic

As a busy, busy college student (and as such, I haven’t written in a long time; I profusely apologize), I am becoming an expert at airports. Over the past six months, I have flown on a plane approximately seven times, which is probably up there with Ryan Seacrest or the Bachelor or something. Traveling is a hassle, and comfort is important, but at the cost of style? In order to navigate the many pitfalls of air travel, I have compiled a Guide to Airport Chic so that you can always travel in style–enjoy!

  1. Neck(lace) Pillow
    This is probably the most important, and therefore the first, piece of advice. We all know about neck pillows–those glorious circular poofs most often found on airplanes. Take it from me: invest in a neck pillow. Granted, you don’t even need to really “invest”, as they are generally under $20. I used to scoff, but when you nap on a plane (or try to, since I am awful at sleeping on planes) with a neck pillow, you never look back. When you buy one, however, I highly recommend ones that snap or button in front. Not only is this convenient to snap around the strap of your purse/backpack when not in use, but it is convenient to snap around your neck! That’s right, don’t believe what those fashion magazines tell you about never wearing your neck pillow around the airport as a necklace. Hands-free is key and the neckless look is in.
  2. Layering…
    At any given time, you may be flying somewhere with a very different climate than where you came from, and everyone knows that it can get chilly at 30,000 feet. Therefore, layering is your friend. That can mean layers upon layers…upon layers…upon layers. Start with a clean base: long underwear is nice, or perhaps a lightweight tank top and shorts in case you get realllyyy hot. And then just start moving up from there! You can go from cardigans to vests to scarves to coats and even parkas for the truly faint of heart. The bonus is that your jacket can become a blanket on the plane. Furthermore, other fliers love it when you share your coat blanket with them! Your seat is 17A? What better way to befriend the guy in 17B than to cover him with half a blanket, or maybe just a sleeve if he seems cold?
  3. …Or Just the Top Layer
    Layering not for you? Skip all of those steps with a simple onesie! Comfort is key, and footie pajamas are a super warm and eye-catching option that also offer a streamlined silhouette. Plus, they come in fun patterns or animal designs! Totally a conversation starter if you’re feeling friendly on the plane, or a conversation repeller if you’re not. After all, would you want to talk to the crazy grown man/woman in the footie pajamas?
  4. Carry-on Queen (or King)
    These last two tidbits are only semi-fashion related but will definitely help you with your airport experience! If you are an over packer like me and you find the two-carry-ons-per-person rule stifling, cheat the system! Here’s how. For “one” of your carry-ons, put things in multiple bags of varying sizes (think anywhere from mid-size purse to large tote). There should be a bit of room at the top so that you can stack them in each other. Hold all of the handles as one bag, and voilá! You’ve fooled TSA!
  5. Rollin’ Into a Window Seat
    Today as I waited in Boarding Group B for Family Boarding to finish, I saw a man with two small suitcases that looked like smiling monkey faces jog hastily towards the line of families. It turns out he was just meeting his family in line with his children’s bags, but at first I thought, “Genius! He’s pretending to be with children so he can get on the plane sooner!” So why not steal this fake idea? Simply bring along a backpack that looks like an animal or is graced with the faces of superheroes or Frozen characters. Wait a moment for the line of families with children six and under to establish and begin moving before running into line and standing near (but not too near) a one-parent group. Remember to bring your own grown-up looking carry-on so it looks realistic, and be sure to make the small one a rolling backpack. Kids. Love. Rolling backpacks.

So there you have it. I hope you never again find yourself wondering how to stay both fashionable and functional while flying. Safe travels, and remember never to let TSA keep you down.

Submitted with undying love for,
neck pillows, footie pajamas, and being back at Tulane,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken

My Guide to the Best Halloween Costumes this Season

Well, it’s that time of year again–Halloween. The night where it is suddenly acceptable to call lingerie a costume and/or to eat literal pillowcases full of candy solo. It’s already October 27th, but just in case you haven’t fully figured out your costume yet, here are some ideas that are sure to wow ’em (whether that’s your party peers or children trick or treating at your doorstep). Wanna be classic? I’ve got that. Wanna stay on trend in an ever-changing fashion world? I’ve got that too! Look no further for your Halloween needs than this comprehensive list of the season’s best hidden costume gems.

Madilyn’s Guide to the Best Halloween Costumes This Season

  1. A Roll of Toilet Paper
    You’ve seen the mummy costume. Now get ready for it’s utilitarian cousin–the toilet paper roll! It’s essentially the same costume, admittedly. Simply dress in brown (you are the cardboard here) and wrap yourself in your favorite toilet paper! (I prefer two-ply.) Not only is this costume nice and comfy, but think how creative you’ll seem when people ask, “Oh, are you a mummy?” and you blow their minds with your response. Bonus: If you’re tending to the trick or treaters this year and you’re looking for a healthy alternative to candy, keep the motif going and hand out mini packs of tissues! You’ll be the talk of the neighborhood and parents will love you–happy flu season!
  2. A Pretzel
    If you’re going for a sexy costume look this year, have I got a suggestion for you. Stay with me now–this look can be hard to pull off, but it will totally be worth it when the fellas think of the contorting and yoga themes associated with a pretzel. That’s right, you’ll be dressed as an edible pretzel, but metaphorically you’ll be referencing the pretzel pose! MAJOR CREATIVITY POINTS! So here’s what you’ll need: all brown clothing and white cotton balls (or if you prefer, and are committed, real salt). Simply dress, affix cotton balls to your person, and start contorting! Could there be anything sexier?!
  3. A Potato
    I know what you’re thinking–another food? Or what you may (and should) also be thinking–another sexy costume?? The answer is yes, as I understand that contorting may not be within everyone’s physical realms of possibility. For this costume (my personal favorite of the list, by the way), you’ll still need brown clothes, but this time focus on making them baggier. Next, wrap yourself from the waist down in tin foil (bonus: you’ll shine so bright, no one will be able to miss you!). Finally, decorate yourself with whatever toppings you please–that’s right, you’re a “Make Your Own Potato” (innuendo intended)! Extra points if you let people slather butter on you.
  4. Rihanna
    If you’re going for a more relevant/on trend costume, look no further than Rihanna, Queen of Fashion’s Most Daring. Here, we’re looking to evoke her now iconic Grammys look with a similar one. (see below)

    Rihanna in Giambattista Valli Couture at the Grammys 2015
    Rihanna in Giambattista Valli Couture at the Grammys 2015
    A cupcake
    A cupcake

    Let’s face it: none of us have anything Valli-esque in our wardrobes (although, I suppose I don’t know who this blog reaches, maybe you do; if so, I won’t ask how you got it). So why not model the costume after something closer at hand?  Simply dress in neutral colors from the waist down and wear a pink tutu around your neck. Violá! Bonus: Make it a party game by letting your friends toss sprinkles on you!

  5. A Katy Perry Shark
    If Halloween is going to be a bit chillier where you are, stay bundled up and cozy in a look that’s as funny as it is fierce! This year at the Superbowl, Katy Perry wowed us all, not just with her musical talent and snazzy outfits, but also with her backup dancers–two sharks who, let’s face it, stole the show.

    Katy Perry performing at the Superbowl 2015 in Moschino
    Katy Perry performing at the Superbowl 2015 in Moschino

    Go watch the video if you’re unfamiliar with it, but if you want to stay warm and still amaze on October 31st, you can order one of these bad boys on Amazon (who put it perfectly in calling these shark suits FINtastic).

  6. Donald Trump
    And finally, if you REALLY want to make a statement this season, why not go as the man who has made the most this year? Stuck on just how to nail the look? Here it is in a few simple steps. First, put on a suit. It doesn’t have to be particularly nice, as people may throw food at you if you get this look right. Next, get a wig reminiscent of a blonde baseball mitt. No need to invest in wig glue or anything like that–just slap it on. The next step is optional: either visit a tanning salon and ask for “Oompa Loompa”, or simply paint your face a nice shade of orange. Finally, furrow your brow and yell at people. Don’t worry about what to say either! What you say doesn’t need to make sense for you to get this costume right!

I hope you have found this list helpful as Halloween steadily approaches. Whether you’re trying to garner creativity points, stay warm, be a popular parent in your neighborhood, or attract some attention without being too uncovered, I truly tried to fulfill everyone’s needs. Remember to stay safe this Saturday, and Happy Halloween!

Submitted with undying love for,
Halloween, Halloween in New Orleans, 2 nights of Halloween, and the fact that one of my costumes includes a tutu obviously,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken

WCW: Female Celebrities to Be Jealous Of

Hello there, computer/phone/tablet users! I’m sorry I’ve been a bit off the grid, as I’ve been incredibly busy with graduation parties (and their menus) as well as college orientation. I’m hoping to get back into writing more regularly, but I make no promises, so don’t complain this time next month when I am apologizing again.

For today’s post I decided that, in honor of #WomanCrushWednesday (are people still doing that?), I would compile a list of some the top women I find to be awesome (just some, as there are too many to pick from, so don’t go getting all huffy if your favorite Hollywood woman is not here). PLEASE NOTE: This is by no means a list of the women who are doing the most to better our society or who are striving the most for social equality or who are doing the most to break down gender barriers or anything like that. They definitely contribute to that and offer (I think) a positive image for women, but for our purposes, they are only on the list because I think they are basically perfect and I want to talk about them and I also would not at all mind switching bodies with them for a day or something.

Okay! So now you understand the list! Here goes:

The Top 5 Female Celebrities Who Are Sweeping the Nation With Their Perfection (Plus Eight More!):
1.) Blake Lively
Okay, Blake Lively is my absolute #1 famous woman who I would want to be if I could be anyone. Not that I don’t love being myself nor do I think we should want what we cannot have and blah blah blah, but come on. Here is Blake Lively (in jaw dropping ensembles, I might add):

In Gucci at the Met Gala 2014
In Gucci at the Met Gala 2014
In Zuhair Murad at the Time 100 Gala in 2011
In Zuhair Murad at the Time 100 Gala in 2011

Whether exuding Old Hollywood glamour or Disney’s The Little Mermaid, she is stunning. But that’s not all. Here is Blake Lively at six months pregnant, rocking a plunging neckline:

In Gucci at Gabrielle's Angel Ball 2014
In Gucci at Gabrielle’s Angel Ball 2014

And here she is at nine–yes, nine–months pregnant in a backless, NON-MATERNITY dress:

In Kaufman Franco at the L'Oreal Paris Women of Worth Awards 2014
In Kaufman Franco at the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth Awards 2014

Is there a flaw on her? And besides being physically perfect, Lively is a great actress (if you enjoyed looking at her in various amazing outfits, you need to see her in Age of Adaline, which came out in April) and now, lifestyle guru. On her new site Preserve, she dabbles in everything from fashion and food to decor and design, while also probably giving me a run for my money with her blogging efforts. So all in all, she’s multi-talented, family-oriented, and beyond gorgeous. Perfect is not really a word I use a lot, but it may be appropriate. If you’ve never watched Gossip Girl, you wouldn’t understand.

2.) Rose Byrne
In case you are living under a rock and don’t know who she is, meet Rose Byrne. She is beautiful, talented, and funny. Here she is at the Emmy Awards two years ago:

In Calvin Klein Collection at the Emmys 2013
In Calvin Klein Collection at the Emmys 2013

And here she is in her new movie Spy:

In Spy, 2015

Are you kidding? That hair, that dress, that cold and powerful stare! Did I mention she’s Australian? For more jaw-dropping photos, check out her shoot for Violet Grey. After really exploding onto the scene in 2011’s Bridesmaids (and flashing those enviable abs at the Emmys above), she has done everything from hilarious and cool in Neighbors to friendly and adorable in This is Where I Leave You to now totally ruthless and oddly likable in Spy. If you have not seen her in anything yet, buy a movie ticket or start up your Netflix.

3.) Sophia Bush
Sophia Bush is the epitome of hot, although those who don’t watch One Tree Hill or haven’t seen her in anything else (like her current venture, Chicago P.D.) would not necessarily know it.

In Gucci at PaleyFest 2012
In Gucci at PaleyFest 2012

She has perfected the sultry stare and that subtly husky voice is the clincher. (Not to mention she was once married to Chad Michael Murray.) But looks aside, Bush is a really talented actress. On One Tree Hill alone, I’ve seen her be everything: mean, creative, intelligent, thoughtful, devastated, furious, heartbroken, heart warming, powerful, powerless, drunk. And now she’s a badass detective on a cop show. Take notes.

4.) Beyoncé
Not to include the queen herself would have been criminal. Although I’m not a huge fan of most of her music (so sorry, please keep reading my blog), she is unbelievably talented as well as stunningly beautiful.

In Nicolas Jebran at the 2014 VMAs
In Nicolas Jebran at the 2014 VMAs

Besides a picture perfect marriage complete with adorable kid and a ridiculously impressive singing voice, Bey was People magazine’s “World’s Most Beautiful Woman” in 2012, and she is practically a crusader for being curvy, makeup-less, and otherwise natural in any way. Just check her Instagram.

5.) Anna Kendrick
She can act, she can sing, she’s immensely beautiful, AND she’s just as hilarious in real life as she is on her Twitter account?! A quadruple threat. She stuns at red carpet events…

In Ellie Saab at the 2013 Oscars
In Ellie Saab at the 2013 Oscars

…slays in simple T-shirts…
…and staggers down the steps perfectly as Cinderella in the remake of Into the Woods

In a costume designed by Colleen Atwood
In a costume designed by Colleen Atwood

As if all that were not enough, Kendrick is a major supporter of the Love is Louder movement, a campaign against bullying, discrimination, and hate that is based on the idea that love is louder than the internal/external voices trying to bring us down. Kendrick’s Twitter bio reads: “Pale, awkward, and very, very small. Form an orderly queue, gents. Location: Probably by the food.” Where’s the said queue? Let me get in line.

6.) Julianne Moore
This woman is 54. Hopefully, she’ll teach a class called “Aging Gracefully with 2015’s Best Actress Oscar Winner”. It will probably include a bottle of red hair dye for those errant gray hairs–unless she doesn’t have any…?

In Alexander McQueen at the premiere of What Maisie Knew at the Toronto International Film Festival 2012
In Alexander McQueen at the premiere of What Maisie Knew at the Toronto International Film Festival 2012

7.) Jennifer Aniston
She’s taking the world by storm with perfect hair, mesmerizing eyes, and an Oscar nomination or two. All in a day’s work.

In Kaufman Franco at Elle's 18th Annual Women in Hollywood Tribute
In Kaufman Franco at Elle’s 18th Annual Women in Hollywood Tribute

8.) Elizabeth Banks
Between hysterical banter with John Higgins in Pitch Perfect, Banks is actress, director, and mom of two sons. Those cheekbones are still in place, though!

In Emilio Pucci at the LA premiere of Man on a Ledge in 2012
In Emilio Pucci at the LA premiere of Man on a Ledge in 2012

9.) Emma Watson
Our favorite Harry Potter actress grew WAY up and blossomed into a cool, beautiful, articulate womens’ rights activist (with the HeForShe campaign) rocking a dress over pants. I mean, have you given a speech to the UN lately?

In Dior Couture at the 2014 Golden Globes
In Dior Couture at the 2014 Golden Globes

10.) Emma Stone
As if that gorgeous hair weren’t enough, she’s exploded onto the scene with about a hundred Oscar nominated movies by now. Oh, and she’s dating Spiderman.

In Thakoon at the Met Gala 2014
In Thakoon at the Met Gala 2014

11.) Mila Kunis
The incredibly hot girl that you can also bring to sports games. And is it just being Ukrainian that gets her that gorgeous skin?

In Ellie Saab at the 2011 Oscars
In Ellie Saab at the 2011 Oscars

12.) Gabrielle Union
Where can I buy the underground Black Market face cream she must be using to get that pore-free skin?

In Issa at the 2012 premiere of Good Deeds
In Issa at the 2012 premiere of Good Deeds

13.) Jennifer Lawrence
Is it possible to be so badass and so hilarious at the same time? Either way, Lawrence seems to be doing it, one Hunger Games arena at a time.

In a Dior ad
In a Dior ad

Well, there you have it. Envy may be one of the seven deadly sins, but it’s still appropriate when it comes to these thirteen amazing women. Remember, be comfortable in your own skin. I just sometimes wish that skin was flawless and Ukrainian.

Submitted with undying love for,
these women, their style, their aesthetic, their hard working attitudes, and that face cream I am going to get from the Black Market,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken

Your Channukah Questions: Answered!

Ah, Channukah.

That age-old celebration of–wait–of what exactly? What even is Channukah? How many days is it again? What do you do? For god’s sake, how do you even play dreidel? I’m sorry, what? What the heck is sufganiyot?

Allow me to shed some light on the subject! This year, I’ve gotten a ton of questions about Channukah, which is understandable if you’re not Jewish, but I feel like I’ve even been getting some questions about things that I thought everyone knew. So here, for your enjoyment and educational purposes, are some FAQs and some not so FAQs. Consider your Channukah questions answered!

Q: What is Channukah?
A: Channukah, loosely translated, means “festival of light”. It is a Jewish holiday celebrating the miracle of the Jewish people surviving because of a little lamp of oil. But more on that later.

Q: Why do we celebrate Channukah?
A: If you want the full story, check out this link: Here’s the long story short: 2000 years ago, Israel was in control of the Syrians. Throughout many years and many rulers, they ended up very oppressed. They were not allowed to practice Judaism or study the Torah. A group called the Maccabees was formed to fight for the Jews. Antiochus, the king at the time, sent a much larger army to destroy the Maccabees, and in an epic battle, yada yada yada, the Maccabees won! They returned to Jerusalem to liberate it and clear the temple of idols placed there by the Syrians. They made a crude menorah out of metal but only found a small lamp of oil to light it with. Here comes the part you probably know–it was only enough to last one night, but it burned for eight! It was a miracle! Supposedly, God had protected the Jewish people, so a holiday was born.

Q: How many days/nights is Channukah?
A: Eight! Remember that whole oil thing? Told you it would be important.

Q: What do you do on Channukah?
A: We light candles on the menorah (adding one for each night), exchange presents, play dreidel, eat latkes and other yummy foods, and be generally merry.

Q: What is dreidel and how do you play it?
A: Dreidels are little spinning tops. We play dreidel on Channukah because when the Jews were oppressed, they would study the Torah in secret. Whenever officials would walk by, they took out the little spinning tops to make it look like they were playing with those instead of practicing Judaism. A dreidel has four sides, each with a Hebrew  letter on it. The letter are nun, gimel, hay, and shin, which is actually an acronym for “Nes Gadol Hayah Sham” meaning “A Great Miracle Happened  There”. This is in reference to the whole miracle of Channukah thing. Each letter also corresponds to an action in the game. When playing dreidel, place a large pile of candies (traditionally gelt) in the middle and give a few to each player. Take turns spinning the dreidel. If it lands on:
Nun: do nothing
Gimel: winner, winner, chicken dinner–take all the gelt!
Hay: take half the pile of gelt.
Shin: put one of your pieces of gelt back into the pile.
When playing dreidel, remember that it can finish rather quickly. Feel free to play as many times as you wish before feasting on gelt.

Q: What are the Channukah foods?
A: Excellent question!
Latkes: potato pancakes eaten because they are fried in oil (remember the story?). Think hashbrowns meets dinner food. They’re delicious and traditionally eaten with sour cream or applesauce.
Gelt: those chocolate coins you use for dreidel. You’ve seen them at the store–they come in little yellow nets?
Sufganiyot: fancy Hebrew name for jelly doughnuts eaten because, once again, they are fried in oil.

Q: What is a menorah?
A: A menorah, or chanukiah, is a candelabra-type thing lit on Channukah. It has nine branches/candle-holders, as opposed to early menorahs in the temple as symbols which had seven branches. A menorah has places for eight candles for the eight days as well as an additional spot for the shamash or “helper” candle. You use the shamash to light the other candle. The shamas’ spot is in the center or on the side and is usually a bit higher than the other candles. After lighting the menorah, you do not blow out the candles, but let them burn all the way down until the flame goes out.

I hope this has been sufficiently helpful for any of you curious ones! f you have any more questions, comment or email me at!

Submitted with undying love for,
Channukah, latkes, gelt, being Jew-ish, and informing people,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken

Life Hacks

Recently, in case you’re part of my “older” audience and you do not know, there has been a sort of trend called “life hacks”. They are supposed to be like little tidbits of information and tips to make your life better and easier! However, in a delightfully entertaining turn, they have taken on a more humorous air as people (like myself) start to make fun of it. They are things like, “Life Hack: wear a seatbelt” or “Life Hack: sled everywhere in the winter”. So I have come up with a quick list of my own little tips. Enjoy.

Life Hack: Buy a T-shirt and some lemons. Write “Life” on the shirt. Give lemons to everyone.

Life Hack: Empty some vanilla pudding cups. Fill them with mayonnaise. Hand out snacks to your enemies.

Life Hack: Replace the contents of a Windex bottle with blue Gatorade. Walk around spraying it into your mouth. Tell people you’re on a cleanse.

Life Hack: Switch the salt and sugar in your house. Watch the chaos ensue.

Life Hack: Walk up to a random stranger. Say hi like you haven’t seen each other in a while. Insist you know them. Proceed to give examples of fake situations where you have interacted. Get them to admit they know you. Show no mercy.

Life Hack: Go to a store. Try to pay for things in compliments.

Life Hack: Attend a sporting event. Fervently yell sports terms of every sport except the one you are watching. Count eye rolls.

Life Hack: Choose a victim at school, work, etc. Insist to everyone that it is said victim’s birthday. When they deny it, simply say it’s because they’re embarrassed. Make everyone break out in a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday”.

Life Hack: Host a party and tell guests that you have hidden party favors around the venue. Describe amazing gifts that are supposedly in said favors. Get everyone to frantically search. Chuckle maniacally.

Life Hack: Dress up like a football player. Run around taking things from people’s hands and yelling “FUMBLE!”. Bonus points to have someone follow you around with commentary (i.e. “He’s at the ten, he’s at the twenty, he’s making his way to the end zone…!”).

Life Hack: Don’t buy a coat. Let your fiery hatred for humanity keep you warm in the winter months.

Submitted with undying love for,
life hacks, making fun of “trends”, and my good friend Jordan Dillard who thought of that last one,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken

Why Do We Say That?

Wow, hi there! I know I’ve been saying this a lot but long time no see! Or long time no read…

This time I really have been absolutely ridiculously busy with….drum roll please…………..COLLEGE ESSAYS! *disappointed sigh from the audience* I really have been wanting to post more, but all of the writing I have been doing has been for colleges. However, today I put my foot down and reach into the furthest corners of my brain where perhaps some sanity and cohesive thought still lies in order to bring to you: Some Phrases and Stigmas That I Think Are Ridiculous and Should Be Rethought in Today’s Society! (Notice I shortened the title a bit at the top there!)

There are a lot of phrases, ideas, stereotypes, sayings, and expressions today that we say and hear and don’t think too much about. But a lot of them, if you think about it, don’t make a whole lot of sense. So here we go.

1. Sick as a Dog, Working like a Dog, and other expressions that have to do with dogs
Just one question: What?? What connection is there between being sick and dogs, or working and dogs. I happen to think dogs are just lovely creatures–why would working someone to death (there’s another weird and rather ominous expression) be compared to working them like a dog? That doesn’t sound too nice! And what, are dog sicknesses just so intense and so memorable for dog-owners that the saying has just stuck? If someone has a legitimate explanation, by all means, leave a comment or email me promptly.

2. I Can’t Hit a Girl
Oh, please. Fine, I’ll hit you!
Now let me be clear: I am in no way violent or prone to hitting, and everyone who knows me can attest that while I am sassy, sarcastic, and sometimes pessimistic, I would last approximately .5 seconds in a fight. So I am not, of course, encouraging hitting! Use your words! But that male stigma is just ridiculous: “If I beat her up, everyone will hate me because I hit a girl and if I let her beat me up, everyone will laugh at me because I got beat up by a girl!” There’s this great line in 22 Jump Street, said by the villain, but still. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are cops trying to bust a drug dealer, and one of the “bad guys” happens to be a girl. At the end of the movie, her and Jonah Hill are fighting, and she punches him in the face, urging him to hit her back. He insists that he is not going to fight a girl, and she shoots back with, “If you thought of me as a person instead of a woman, you would hit me and not feel bad about it.” While men should absolutely treat women with respect, men should also treat men with respect. Everybody should treat everybody with respect. But in situations of self-defense, or if a fight does break out, punch who you gotta punch! A girl is a person, not a separate class of human to be stepped around and not looked directly in the eye.

3. There are Starving Kids in Africa…
Hear me out.
Don’t you just hate it when you’re complaining about something, and someone pulls this card on you? Maybe you’ve used it too, but you’ve got to admit, when you hear this, you kind of want to tell the person to shut up. Now, I completely understand where it comes from; a lot of the time, especially here in the good ole USA, our problems are miniscule compared to the problems of other places/people. We should definitely be more grateful for what we have and have the ability to recognize when we are being selfish or ridiculous. However, that being said, everyone has their problems. Some are big, some are small, but no matter who you are or what your experiences have been, you will never fully understand what that person is feeling, and it is not okay to downplay what they are feeling. To say something along the lines of, “Stop being ridiculous, there are starving kids in Africa and you’re complaining about (fill in the blank)” is to say, as my friend Weldon so eloquently put it today, “Stop being so happy because someone else could be happier.” IS THAT NOT RIDICULOUS? You are allowed to be sad about whatever you want to be sad about! Your topic of choice may not be that big of a deal, true, and yes, if you are completely being a spoiled brat or throwing a fit over something unimportant, then someone should definitely put you in line. But generally, your problems are your problems, and you reserve the right to feel as upset about them as you want.

4. Number Three in Reverse
This, as you may have caught on, is not a saying, idea, or phrase. I mean literally, Number Three (See #3) in Reverse. Just as you are allowed to be upset about what you want, when you want, you are just as entitled to your own excitement. Isn’t is just the worst when you are excited about something–I mean really excited, stupidly excited, even giddily excited–and someone tells you that “It’s not a big deal” or worse, to “Calm down”? It’s awful! Like oh thanks for squashing my dreams! Don’t underscore other people’s successes or joys in life! Sorry that you aren’t looking forward to something like that person is or that you aren’t happy about something, but it’s not okay for you to tell them not to be enthusiastic about something for goodness sakes!

Jesus. Christ. This dumb. Thing. If you are not a part of my generation, this probably isn’t a problem for you, and it is starting to die down for my age group too, but it is still running rampant, and did for a while. Perhaps there are some of you who don’t know what YOLO stands for because you either A. are a hermit, B. are part of the “older” generation, or C. just got Internet, like, today (in which case, welcome to the Internet, congratulations on getting here, and thank you for visiting this site!). For those of you, YOLO stands for You Only Live Once. No duh, right? When this saying first started popping up, I truly was confused, and I was that kid saying, “Yeah. No way.” and “Wow, you mean you guys only live once? That’s rough, I live waayyyy more times than that pathetic number!” Furthermore, and here’s where it gets weird, this phrase sounds like kids are saying, “Take care of yourself! Wear your seat belt! Stay in school! Don’t do drugs! Cause you only live once!” But no. They are not saying that. They are really saying, “Hey, might as well try drugs! Might as well eat that doughnut! Might as well try cliff diving even though I have a faulty bungee cord! YOLO!” Ah, the logical and forward thinkers of my generation. I am truly proud.

So that’s all for now, since I do have to save some time for those aforementioned essays! I hope you have begun to rethink some of these weird and rather annoying stigmas and expressions, and perhaps started to come up with some more that just aren’t right! Remember! I still need an answer on that dog thing!

Submitted with undying love for,
applying to college (just kidding), but really not being able to wait until college, my lovely rants, blogging, free time, and you for sticking it out from my last post til now,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken

Some Wisdom About Wisdom Teeth

Hello again, dedicated readers!
(Actually, this site has no way of telling me if people view it or not, unless they leave a comment, so my mom may be my only dedicated reader. In which case, hi mom.)

Maybe you noticed (or maybe not) that I’ve been a bit AWOL for a couple of weeks. That would be because I have been oh so busy with my bustling schedule, and I was also living on my couch for a week recovering from wisdom teeth surgery. (Can I get a hell yeah!?) If you’ve gotten your wisdom teeth out before, you know it is really only supposed to hurt for a few days. Ah, unless you get dry socket, in which case it will continue to hurt until you go in to see your oral surgeon! He or she will then pack it (don’t ask me what “it” is, I am just as clueless as you) with medicated gauze, which numbs and heals the back of your mouth, which has been causing aching throughout your jaw and general face. Sounds fun, right?

Excellent guess–no.

So I’ve been glued to Netflix watching a weird mixture of Hannah Montana episodes (judge me if you want) and Orange is the New Black (DON’T TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS). And I thought I would compile a helpful list of the Top 7 Foods to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Surgery, or as I like to call it, The Top 7 Mushy Foods That Also Taste Good When Bedridden.

1. Chocolate Pudding
Or whatever flavor you want I suppose. But pudding is a delicious snack that requires zero chewing. Bonus: You don’t have to open your mouth very wide to eat a spoonful of it!

2. Jello
Very similar to pudding. Pick your favorite flavor and go nuts. Bonus: You can entertain yourself watching the Jello jiggle!

3. Gogurt
I am partial to Gogurt but yogurt is just fine too. However, Gogurt is funner and easier to eat in the state your mouth will be in. Just don’t accidentally squeeze too hard and send it flying everywhere. (Nooo, that didn’t happen to me, psshhh, what, don’t be silly…) Bonus: Get the kind with the questions and the answers that reveal themselves when you finish!

4. Mac n’ Cheese
I recommend Kraft, as that stuff is literal magic in a box, but whatever brand you feel works. It’s soft enough to eat, yet not so mushy that you feel like you’re nine months old and trying to eat mashed carrots again. Bonus: You can get it in fun shapes!

5. Ice Cream
My favorite flavor is Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy. Seriously, that stuff cures all ailments. But whichever flavor you choose will work wonders, as it’s soft, yummy, and literally melts in your mouth. I’m not ashamed to say that I ate a full pint in about three days. Bonus: It has the added effect of being cold, which can help numb your mouth!

6. Milkshakes
Part drink, part food. Everybody wins! Bonus: You aren’t supposed to use straws for a week after surgery, so milkshakes are thick enough that you don’t lose anything by eating them with a spoon!

7. Soup
Don’t choose any with lots of things to chew. I like vegetable because those things to chew are all soft after being cooked. But most soups will do the trick! Bonus: Salty soups are basically just like doing one of those salt water rinses that you’re supposed to do post surgery! (Ok, maybe not quite.)

Thanks for reading and I hope you are fully prepared for your next wisdom teeth surgery, or if you’ve already gone through that, the surgery of a loved one. Until next time!

Submitted with undying love for,
soft foods, Netflix, Ben and Jerry’s, and being a person again now that my dry socket is gone,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken

Adventures in Europe!

Oh hello there! Me again! Sorry I have been AWOL for a couple weeks–I was in Europe without a laptop! I meant to post about it before I left so as not to worry my two or three readers (one being my mother!) but, alas, I forgot. Anyway, like I said, I was in Europe on a trip that my youth group (that BBYO thing?) sponsors. I went to England, France, Belgium, and Holland, and WOW was it amazing! Currently, I wish I could go back so badly that all I’ve been doing is laying on the couch and watching Netflix! Well, that could also be because I got my wisdom teeth out yesterday…

Anywho, our trip had a blog that the staff posted on the trip website and trip goers could volunteer to write on it! Since I missed doing this, I volunteered and ended up writing the last post, which turned out to be a sort of overview. Since I was going to post a version of the same thing here anyway, here it is, with some tweaks here and there to adjust for audience. Sorry if it sounds a bit cookie-cutter–I was writing to parents, remember! (However, my mom and my friend’s mom liked it, so I hope you do too!):

Good evening parents and friends! (Or perhaps good morning? Afternoon? Time change is weird.) As I sit here in the hall outside my hotel room writing the final journal entry for BBYO Passport Western Europe Discovery #1 2014 (wow, what a mouthful), I’m feeling nostalgic. We’re sad to be leaving, but happy that this trip has been such an incredible experience.
For my personal last night, I am sitting, as I mentioned, in the hallway, surrounded by an obscene amount of snacks and six of some of my closest friends from the trip. Why the hallway you may ask? Well, as a gender mixed group of friends, we aren’t about to break rules and all go in a room! See mom, I follow the rules!
Anyway, for the parents back home, you’re probably wondering what all has made this trip so fabulous. So here, for your enjoyment and in no particular order, please enjoy this list of The Top 8 Moments/Events/Activities of BBYOinWED1.
1. The Dutch Countryside
If none of you have been to the Dutch countryside, the first thing you need to know is that it is GORGEOUS. Chock full of windmills, green fields, rivers, adorable little houses, cows, chickens, horses, sheep, and goats, the Dutch countryside is truly beautiful, especially when viewed on a half-hour long, fairly flat bike ride. In case that doesn’t sound amazing enough, we then got to see how clogs and cheese are made on a real farm! (If your child is not bringing home flavored wheels of cheese, you should ground them when they return home, because man that stuff is good.)
2. Walking Home from a Synagogue
At this point you’re probably asking yourself why such a random event is even a point on this list. But it really was a high point for most of us. For the first Shabbat of the trip, the walk back to the hotel was around an hour. We walked down Oxford Street in England, talking to each other, and even stopping for an impromptu dance party with some people playing music on the street. Never have we had such a fun time walking!
3. The Eiffel Tower
If you were afraid your son/daughter was not going to get thorough exercise on this trip, what with eating their way through Europe and all, you were wrong. As I may have mentioned above, we have done a lot of walking here. Furthermore, despite the fact that the Eiffel Tower does indeed have an elevator, we walked up to the second platform. In case you are not familiar with the Eiffel Tower, that is 669 steps. Try that in your home. I dare you. But we all made it and once we did, the view was breathtaking. (However, I will personally be taking the elevator next time.)

4. Normandy Beach
The D-Day museum and cemetery in Normandy, France was very interesting and meaningful, but it was made fun by going down to the beach there. We wrote in the sand and played with strangers’ dogs! This included an interesting spectacle involving three dogs playing tug of war with one stick. There was also a dog who knew how to play nicely and was simply jumping in the waves, very much resembling a dolphin. Our favorite game was throwing something and watching her leap after it.

5. The London Eye
The London Eye is a huge Ferris wheel in which the “carts” are big glass bubbles, if you will, that take you on an amazing view of the city of London. Not only were the views great, but we also got to know the other people in our “pod” a bit better. Apparently being put in a small glass space with 15-20 people does wonders for making friends.
6. The FOOD
This probably goes without saying, but my gosh, does Europe have some good food. From fish and chips in London to crepes, macarons, and croissants in France to Belgian waffles AND chocolate to homemade cheese in Holland, we have gotten the chance to eat some amazing food that we couldn’t eat at home. (My mom will read this and shake her head that I had to dedicate an entire point on this list to food, but it was necessary.)
7. Spending Time Together!
As much fun as doing activities is, the “getting there” is often half the enjoyment! Walks, bus rides, etc. have actually been vital parts of talking to each other and becoming friends. Although we have slept for many of the bus rides, many have turned into big conversations and/or games of “Cow I Win” (a rousing game where the first player to see a cow shouts “cow, I win”, at which point the game promptly starts over). As I have previously mentioned, we walk a lot, and though I will be booking a long foot massage for when I get back, I owe walks to a lot of conversations with new people.
8. The Boat Ride
In case you were unaware, Amsterdam is known as the city of canals. On our first day here, we got to take a boat ride on the canal through the city, which was one of the most fun things we got to do. Amsterdam is beautiful, and seeing it from a boat on the canal is a completely different way of seeing such an amazing city.
I was supposed to give up the laptop at that point, and it was already far too long, so I ended it there. But I hope you have gained some insight into the thrills of Western Europe! If you can scrounge up enough coins from your couch cushions, I highly recommend you go! I may or may not post again about my wonderful trip. If I don’t, the post will be about what to eat when you’ve just had your wisdom teeth ripped out. Until then!
Submitted with undying love for,
blogging again, Western Europe, my trip that I wish I was still on, Cow I Win (which I started by the way), and my mom for reading this post,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken