I Wouldn’t Let My Period Ruin My First Day on Campus

Arriving for your first day of campus is a thrilling experience for most Campus Divas and my first day was certainly no different.

I remember being so excited to decorate my dorm room, join clubs, make friends and experience everything that college had to offer. It didn’t even cross my mind to make sure I had period care with me because your period can’t happen on your first day of college – and certainly not to me!

It wasn’t until the cramps hit me that I realized I was in for an unpleasant surprise.

My parents were helping me unload my things from our packed-to-the-brim minivan and as I grabbed my new lamp (covered in gold polka dots – so cute!) I felt like someone had socked me in the side. My first thought was, “That can’t be my period. It can’t be.” But alas, it could be. And it was.

In my head, I knew it shouldn’t be a big deal and I knew I’d be fine. But still I felt my heart was sinking. I didn’t want to be missing out because of my period and I certainly didn’t want to be hugging my hot water bottle while all of my potential friends were out having fun. It wasn’t what I had imagined for my first week away from home and I felt like I had been robbed of the opportunity to make a good first impression.

I realize now that I was being a touch dramatic and that of course everything would be fine, but either way I felt deflated. My gold polka-dotted lamp seemed less cute. I began to feel unsure about joining clubs or talking to new people. I just wanted to go home and try again next week.

As I was setting up my dorm room (my roommate had not yet arrived) I realized something. There comes a time in every Diva’s life where they have to choose to rise above their period. Periods happen and they happen often and that should be no reason for me not to enjoy my first week on campus, no matter how crummy I felt.

I am embarrassed that it took me so long to come to that realization and as a self-proclaimed Campus Diva, I was a little disappointed in myself that I had met my period with such dread. But in that moment, I decided I would not let my period stop me from enjoying every last second of this exciting time in my life. I wasn’t going to let my period stop me from cherishing this time with my parents before they drove off and I wasn’t going to let my period deter me from trying new things.

It was like a light had been lit in my heart. I felt that familiar feeling of excitement and anxiousness return and my polka dot lamp looked as perfect as I remembered it.

My advice to past, present and future Divas is to never let your period keep you from doing the things you love or from trying new things. After all, life goes on. Period.

Share your stories about how life doesn’t stop because of your period with us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #LifeGoesOnPeriod!

 

Campus Diva: How to Get Involved on Campus

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iStock_72217607_XLARGE v2Back to school means classes, homework, sporting events, extra-curricular events, campus clubs and much more. But getting involved on campus may be difficult, especially if you’re new to the school! Don’t fret. The Diva Team has you covered with tips and tricks on how to get involved on campus.

Find what you’re passionate about

First things first, determine what you’re passionate about, or what sparks your interest. This could be something within your field of study or even a hobby that you’ve been pursuing. Once you’ve found an area of interest, finding an extracurricular activity will be much easier and more enjoyable.

Go to orientation week

Orientation week is a great way to discover the different activities that take place around campus. Whether it’s a sports team or a club, you’ll be able to receive information and find out what’s needed in order to join. Orientation week is also a great way to meet new people and make friends! Even for returning students, orientation weeks usually have a fair for all the campus clubs and organizations which can help you get to know what kinds of things you can get involved in!

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Your student union is there for you! Comprised of both current and past students, the student union hosts events, information nights, tours, and more. If you didn’t make it to orientation, you can always visit your student union office and ask for more information about on-campus opportunities.

Join intermural sport teams

Intermural sports are a great way to stay active, meet new people, and get involved! Visiting your athletic department or the athletic centre is the best way to find out what intermural teams are available. Intermural sports will allow for that work to play balance and give you a break from school work to have fun with friends.

Follow your school’s social media channels

Social media is a great way to find out information about school events. Follow channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This is an easy way to find out more information about how to get involved and connect with other students.  Colleges tend to offer a wide variety of school events and there will probably be something that suits your interests!

iStock_86271001_XXXLARGE v2Network, Network, Network

… oh and network! Networking is very important if you want to get involved and meet new people. A good way to find out different networking events is through your schools’ social media accounts. Networking will not only help you get involved but it could also lead to other potential opportunities.

The Diva Team wants to know how you get involved on campus! Send us your tips and tricks to make the best of your new school year.

 

 

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How to have the perfect first day of school

 

 

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iStock_80744315_LARGE v2The first day of school is fast approaching and we want our Divas to make the most of it! Here are some tips on how to have the perfect first day.

Pick the perfect outfit

Whether you want to dress for success, follow fashion trends, or set your own style, remember you will want to be comfortable! Classes can often be cold so you may want to add layers for warmth that you can easily remove when you are too warm. Pro Tip: Setting aside your perfect outfit the night before, may save you from a morning wardrobe meltdown.

Pack a great lunch

Packing a nutritious lunch will make you feel energized to take on the second half of your day! I always try to pack something easy on the first day like a sandwich on whole wheat bread and a salad. You may also want to pack a few snacks, such as a granola bar or a piece of fruit. When you are feeling low on energy, you can pull out one of your snacks for a quick pick me up. I also try to pack my lunch the night before so I don’t need to worry about it in the morning.

Set goalsiStock_82812119_XLARGE v2

Goals are a great way to keep yourself accountable throughout the semester and the school year. Most students feel more motivated around the beginning of the term, so writing your goals down early and revisiting them often can help you stay on track throughout the semester. Keep your goals somewhere you can easily see them, so that when you are feeling unmotivated you can be reminded of what you want to achieve. Remember, you can make goals for other things as well, such as personal goals, social goals, or even health goals.

Go to bed earlier than usual

The night before the first day of school, I usually have a hard time falling asleep. So instead of crawling into bed at my usual time, I get into bed an hour or so earlier and try to relax. This way, I will hopefully fall asleep before midnight.

Check out the campus

If it is your first day at a new school (whether it’s a new high school or post-secondary), it’s always a good idea to get a feel of the campus before the first day.  Ask your new school if they offer tours, orientations or maps for students.

Print your class schedule

Print a copy of you class schedule to carry with you for the first couple weeks. This will help you remember where your classes are, and with the help of your campus map, help you find your classes as well!

iStock_62846726_MEDIUM v2Get your school supplies ready

Having your school supplies purchased and packed the night before is great for making sure you don’t forget anything on your first day of school! Some school supplies you may want to buy before school starts are your textbooks, pens, highlighters, backpack and a cute new planner to keep you organized!

How do you prepare for the first day of school? Over Diva Team would love to hear your tips and tricks for the perfect first day!

 

 

 

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6 Ways Your Period is Like Back to School

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School is around the corner and, like your period, it may try to cramp your style. Here are 6 ways your period is like going back to school.

1. It makes you reluctant to follow a schedule

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2. It wakes you up early in the mornings

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3. It can make you see red!

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4. It is both the best thing ever and the worst thing ever

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5. You’re anxious AF if you’re late

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… You when you’re walking into class late or checking your period tracking app


6. It always comes around again faster than you think

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Things you think as summer ends

1. You haven’t worn half of the new clothes you bought for summer…

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…And some actually still have the tags on them!

 

2. You haven’t gotten a tan

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…Which also probably means you haven’t seen much of the beach this summer.

 

3. Soon you will have to swap bathing suits and sunscreen for textbooks and LOTS of coffee…

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…There’s nothing like a good ol’ coffee hype during exam time!

 

4. There is already Christmas stuff in stores?! You’re kidding me, right?…

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…Can we all just agree to not think about Christmas until November?

 

5. Oooooooh, bathing suits are on sale!…

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…And now my last paycheck of the month will help me stock up on bathing suits for next summer!

 

6. Wait, mornings have a 6am now!?…

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…Let me just hit snooze 8 times.

 

7. What will I wear on my first day of school?…

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…But really, who are we kidding? You know you’ll bust out the sweatpants on day two anyways.

 

8. Want to go back to school shopping, but don’t want to go back to school…

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…I just want to buy cute stationary and highlighters, but I don’t want to actually use them.

 

9. Why can’t I fall asleep early enough? I am going to be so tired for my morning class!…

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…I’ll just check my phone one more time before I go to sleep.

 

10. I’ve said this every other year, but THIS YEAR I’m actually going to be organized…

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…Or at least, I’ll TRY to be.

 

11. Only 300ish days until next summer! Let the countdown begin!…

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…Sad this summer is over, but it was a great one! Bring on Fall!

 

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Top 9 Road Trip Essentials

Top 9 Road Trip Essentials

Road trips are an absolute summer staple, especially for Divas who want a fun adventure without splurging on an expensive plane ticket. No one says you can’t have an amazing vacation on a budget and road trips make for a great opportunity to get away without breaking the bank.

At Diva, we love road trips for these very reasons and we thought we would give you our top 9 essential items for the ultimate summer road trip.

1. Your BFFs

A road trip without a BFF(s) does not classify as a road trip. That is just running away from home, adult style. Friends, or loved ones, make road trips so much more fun because remember, when it comes to taking a trip it’s not where you go, it’s who you’re with that matters.

2. Music

Music can make a road trip go from lame to insta fun faster than you can say Justin Bieber. So before you head out onto the open road, take some time to research new music and old favorites, then load up your iPod and you’ll be set for sing-a-longs and head bobbing from New York to LA.

3. Reusable Water Bottle

Driving can be a lot of fun, but being confined to a small space for hours on end can make you more parched than an ostrich head-deep in sand in a hot Arizona dessert. Don’t be that ostrich. Be sure to pack a water bottle with you for the trip so that you don’t have to stop as often… well at least not to buy water (though you may want to make note of where some restrooms are along your route)!  A reusable water bottle is your best bet as you can refill it without having to spend money on buying water and drinks every time you make a pit stop.

4. Snacks

Saving money on water is great, but don’t forget about food and snacks as well! Packing and bringing a few snacks with you means not only saving money, but also being able to eat snacks you love without having to depend on gas station and corner store grub.

Top 9 Road Trip Essentials

5. GPS or Map

Unless you’re able to follow the North star, leave yourself a trail of breadcrumbs, or know exactly  which lamp post marks the start of Narnia, you’ll probably need a GPS. It seems like an obvious essential, but sometimes the most obvious needs when planning for a trip can be overlooked. You may not always have internet access on the road so relying solely on your phone may not be the best choice. If you want to go full retro, buy an actual map… you know, those paper, foldy things that don’t tell you in a computer voice when to turn left and right? Maps can be super useful as a simple tool if you ever do get lost, especially since they never run out of batteries!

6. A Book and/or Games

You’d be surprised at how quickly you get bored in a car. Even though listening to your favorite tunes on repeat can be awesome sauce, eventually that sauce will go stale. So plan ahead, bring some games, and don’t get caught wanting to escape the confines of a metal box going 45 mph.

7. Cooler

You know that feeling when you first get into your car on a hot, summer day and it’s scorching hot in there? That’s how hot your trunk will be your entire trip. Now imagine packing all your snacks and food and water and leaving it in your trunk in that heat. Not ideal, unless you’re trying to slow cook a roast in there using the sun’s heat alone (note, we definitely do not advise trying this). Pack all your food in your cooler with ice and your food and drinks will last longer and stay fresher so you can focus on driving.

8. Comfy Clothes

This is totally the best time to bust out your favorite leggings, yoga shorts, and skorts. Get all athletic-geared up for optimal road trip comfort. The road trip is no time to show off today’s latest fashion trends, so you’ll want to be comfy while sitting in a car for hours at a time.

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9. The DivaCup and DivaWash

As a general rule, I always pack The DivaCup when I travel, even if my period tracking app says I am not due to menstruate yet. The DivaCup is so easy to pack, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Sometimes you just never know when your uterus will decide to bleed on you.

DivaWash is amazing to travel with because not only is it amazing for your cup, but it can be used as a face wash, body soap, shaving gel, and more. It’s like an all in one soap for everything you need in one bottle.

So there you have it Divas, our top essentials for an absolutely Diva-tastic road trip this summer. Did we miss anything that you won’t road trip without? Let us know below!

 

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Periods and Exercise

iStock_000069644637_MediumIt’s time to get yourself moving Divas!

Exercise is a very important part of achieving good health. Not only is it great for your body, but it can help to relieve stress as well… but did you know that exercise may also help to strengthen your fertility and reproductive health? Regular exercise is helpful with regulating your hormonal levels and increasing your metabolism. An hour of exercise at least three times a week is all you may need. To do this you do not need a gym membership as there are plenty of exercises that can be done at home or by taking a class. Some exercises that are great for your reproductive health can include cardio exercises like walking or swimming. I personally enjoy the gym as it allows for a wide variety of workout choices so I don’t get bored of doing the same thing. I also prefer the gym because it allows me to do both cardio exercises and weight training; in fact, I find the best results come from a mixture of both cardio and weight training.

Cardio is a great way to help increase your blood flow throughout your body, including your reproductive system, while weight training will aid your body in getting stronger and help to boost your metabolism. If you’re a beginner when it comes to exercising and find the gym to be a bit intimidating, there are countless other ways to get exercise, such as group activities, sports, fitness classes or even just a daily walk with a friend. For many, exercise is much easier when you have someone to help keep you motivated.

Now that we know a bit about how exercising affects our reproductive healthiStock_49000820_XXLARGE v2, what about the effects of exercising during our periods? Is it healthy?

The short answer is yes, you can exercise on your period, but most often a less rigorous workout is the best route to take. Your body is already hard at work as your hormone levels are in flux and your body works to shed its uterine lining. It is really important to know your limitations too. During the first day of my period, I made a rule for myself that I don’t work out and if I do, I’ll only participate in light activity such as swimming or yoga, which doesn’t put too much pressure on the body. Some women actually find that working out on their periods helps with period symptoms like cramps and heavy flow.

Remember to listen to your body. If your body feels sore, bloated or tired, it is telling you it needs rest. That being said, if you are on your period and feeling unmotivated, just think of Kiran Gandhi who recently ran the London Marathon while free bleeding! If Kiran could run 26.2 miles bleeding freely, then we can handle an hour at the gym or a yoga class, right? Yes! Some menstruating people find that they feel a bit more comfortable when they get moving.

menstrual-cupNot feeling the free bleeding idea? No worries! The DivaCup is an amazing option for working out on your period. Not only does it offer 12 hours of leak-free protection, but it is also extremely comfortable. You can feel completely at ease when running on the treadmill or biking in your spin class, and not have to worry about leaks or uncomfortable chafing.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not just about exercise, it is also about eating nutritiously. What we eat greatly affects our bodies, our periods, and how we feel.. There are certain foods we can eat to help our period symptoms and maintain a healthy lifestyle! Learn more about how what you eat is affecting your period in our How is What you Eat Affecting Your Period?  blog post.

Remember that prior to making any lifestyle changes including those related to diet and to exercise, it is best to consult with your doctor and always be sure that you are keeping the intensity of your exercise routine within your own ability level.

Also if you are interested in reading more about exercise and your menstrual cycle, you may be interested in this great article from our friends at the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research.

Let’s get active, eat right and have a better period experience!

 

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Campus Diva: The Diva Team’s Summer Reading List

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Summer is here again! With school out and the return of long summer days, nothing beats lounging around poolside with a good book. If you need some book ideas this summer, The Diva Team has you covered! In this Campus Diva blog post, three of our Divas have shared some of their favorite book recommendations, so grab a summer smoothie and one of these literary treasures to help keep you company in the sun.

1) Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes is the creator and screenwriter for Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder. Rhimes is both the author and main character is this book! What could be better? Rhimes uses the power of self-experience to portray the idea of saying “yes” to things you normally wouldn’t.  Throughout this book, she rules the world of television, and teaches her audience how to rule their own lives.  People who watch Shonda Rhimes’s shows would probably never know Rhimes behind the scenes; yet she describes in detail how she went from having major anxiety attacks and feeling uncomfortable with herself, to being a happy, life-embracing, self-loving woman.  By using her quick wit and her ability to pull on emotion, this book is the perfect combination of humor and inspiration.  Buzzfeed raves that “you’ll want to standup and cheer when she takes control, remakes her life, and learns to love herself.” So make like Olivia Pope (the character in the show Scandal), grab a glass of red wine and popcorn, and enjoy this truly empowering and hilarious read.

 

2) The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Kelsea grew up in secret, in a small remote cottage, knowing only two things for certain: 1. She would grow up to be the queen of the Tearling. 2. Many people would try to kill her before this ever happened.

In this, the first book of the trilogy, Kelsea leaves the cottage and her childhood behind to take back control of her kingdom and to learn what it truly means to be queen in a world where there are only difficult decisions to make. From fighting for her life to defending her long suffering people, Kelsea learns and must deal with the outcome of the many secrets kept from her since birth, including but not limited to navigate the power emanating from the mysterious jewel around her neck – a jewel that marks her as the true Tear queen. Kelsea is one of the most interesting female characters in a current fantasy fiction series. This book is simultaneously delicious, disturbing, and delightful. Overall, this is a great summer read. You will immediately want to pick up the second book The Invasion of the Tearling and then join the rest of us waiting with bated breath for book 3, The Fate of the Tearling (slotted for release on November 29th).

 

3) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret AtwoodiStock_78887643_LARGE v2

This classic should be on any and all reading lists. Period. If you have not yet read The Handmaid’s Tale… well, we’ll just give you a moment to go ahead and do that now and then you can check out the rest of this list.

After a revolution in what looks like present day U.S., the Republic of Gilead is formed, a dystopian society in which there is a ruling class and the birth rate is so low that women who are fertile are kept as “handmaids” by the ruling class for reproductive purposes, making their entire value their wombs and their whole existence revolve around breeding. The story is told solely from the perspective of one of the handmaids named Offred (which literally means “Of Fred”), as she lives out her day-to-day life in Gilead with other handmaids while The Commander and his wife rule over the household with a totalitarian grip. This startling novel reminds us that while rights can be hard-earned, they can also be easily taken for granted.

Plus, reading this classic novel will mean you’ll be ready for next year’s release of The Handmaid’s Tale TV series from Hulu starring Elizabeth Moss!

 

4) You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

Are you having trouble finding who you are? Or are you not living the life you want? Then this book is for you!  Jen Sincero is a world-travelling success coach who focuses on money and self-appreciation.  She uses her personal experiences to illustrate how to move on from things that are holding you back, which is an even more empowering thought when it comes from a writer who claims to have once considered herself  a “loser.”  This book teaches you how to love yourself and your life, while making the necessary changes to dominate and take control of your own destiny. Bustle tells us that, “if you’re looking for purple unicorns and rainbows you won’t find them here, what you will find are practical and easy ways to connect with your inner badass and change your life.”  When you realize enough is enough, pick up this book that will help you realize your potential and release your inner badass. This book is a poignant reminder that you create your reality.

 

5) The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Sometimes a pond can be an entire ocean. Only a master craftsman like Neil Gaiman can paint a world for us that is simultaneously deeply introspective and incredibly magical. This book will remind you of when you were a child and the impossible was entirely possible and a pond could contain an entire ocean. Moreover, it is a poignant reminder that as children we learn so much about joy, loss, and yes even about dangers (both imagined and lived) and sometimes taking that walk down that lane of memories and peering into that ocean of childhood experiences can remind us how we got to where we are. Neil Gaiman’s writing style in this novel is a delight. It will welcome and envelop you into this tale that really is at its heart of hearts, one about searching for or remembering your identity and carrying into adulthood the lessons of a childhood left behind.

 

6) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

This classic novel by famous feminist writer and poet, Sylvia Plath, should be on everyone’s book shelf. The story follows Esther Greenwood, an observant young woman who wins a scholarship to be a model for a prestigious magazine in New York City in the 1950’s. Esther seems to have it all according to everyone around her, but she is unimpressed by the glamour and glitz of big city life and modelling; a life that many young women her age could only dream of. Esther doesn’t fit in in New York, she doesn’t fit in to the cultural norms of what her life path should look like, and she doesn’t fit into the ideals of womanhood. When she returns home from her internship, she is in low spirits and contemplates her life, career, and relationship status. On the brink of insanity, Esther falls into a depression and is institutionalized. She describes her depression as being inside of a bell jar, unable to breath, and stifled by her life.

We recommend reading this hauntingly beautiful novel this summer because it’s themes of mental illness while poignant are also immensely thought provoking.

 

summer-reading7) The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk  Kidd

The Secret Life of Bees is a beautiful and uplifting, coming-of-age story about the strength that can be found in a community of women. Set in 1964 in South Carolina, the story follows 14-year-old Lily Owens who runs away from her abusive father with her African-American maid and friend, Rosaleen. Unsure of where to go, Lily and Rosaleen see a jar of honey with a picture of the Black Virgin Mary on it at a local corner store and decide to go to where that jar of honey was made. The trail leads them to a bee farm run by the Boatwright sister’s, three charismatic and wise African-American women, who agree to take the two travelers into their home. Lily not only finds solace in the three sisters and their beekeeping farm, but she also learns about the mystery behind her mother’s death.

This story will make you laugh, smile, and cry all at once while still being a quick and easy summer read. But most of all, you will appreciate the fact that nature herself becomes a character in this book, as the bees and their honey mimic the lifeblood and power of the sisterhood household.

 

8) Gregor the Overlander (The Underland Chronicles) by Suzanne Collins

Beware, Underlanders, time hangs by a thread
The hunters are hunted, white water runs red.
The gnawers will strike to extinguish the rest.
The hope of the hopeless resides in a quest

~ Suzanne Collins, Gregor the Overlander

Gregor is not like most 11-year-old boys. Ever since his father disappeared – two years, seven months and thirteen days ago – he has had to take care of his little sisters while his mother keeps the family afloat. When his baby sister, Boots, falls through a vent in their laundry room, Gregor finds himself in a war torn world miles below New York City where he must play the part of the Warrior and fulfil his role in a cryptic prophecy.

Written by Suzanne Collins (of The Hunger Games fame), this highly addictive young adult series features some of the most memorable characters imaginable, including the violet skinned people of Regalia, bats, rats, and even cockroaches. There are five books in this series and you will want to read them in a single sitting, before joining the fan base that writes Suzanne Collins letters daily asking for a sixth book. Gregor the Overlander and the Underland Chronicles reminds us to always seek light in the darkness for where there is light there is hope and life.

 

9) Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang by Joyce Carol Oates

Set in the rock and roll era of the 1960’s in a small, fictional town of Hammond, New York, Foxfire is the story of 5 girls who meet in high school and start a girl gang after bonding over a shared sense of experiencing sexism, oppression, and inequality in their lives and their community. Maddy, Goldie, Lana, and Rita are led by gang leader Margaret “Legs” Sadovsky into solidifying the gang by getting tattoos of the gang’s symbol: a red flame. Their first act as a gang is to publicly humiliate one of their high school teachers for behaving very inappropriately, even sexually, towards Rita. After feeling empowered by this initial victory, this mission-driven gang’s next actions include:  attacking Maddy’s cruel uncle, protesting an animal shelter to end animal cruelty and also donating money to charity. But after the gang goes on a joy ride and crashes the car, things start to go downhill.

This novel is a glorious mix between Animal Farm and Kiernan Shipka’s Sally from Mad Men when she attends boarding school and sneaks boys up into her room. It is both a delightful and insightful summer read: rebellious yet reveals the cynical powers of the status quo.

 

10) The Mastery of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship, A Toltec Wisdom Book by Don Miguel Ruiz

One must be able to fall in love with themselves before falling in love with othersiStock_73202825_LARGE v2 – that is the idea behind the book The Mastery of Love.  Don Miguel Ruiz explains that you cannot put your happiness in others’ hands, but rather you must fill that void yourself.  The harsh reality is that modern day has destroyed the concept of relationships, and this book helps remind us that we must love someone for all that they are in order to experience true love.  If you are looking for a book that focuses on relationships, loving yourself and the fault in perfection, than this is an awesome book for you!  Shed the fear-based beliefs about love as love is not supposed to lead to drama and sadness.  Love yourself, forgive yourself, and let go of all that is tearing you down. Once you become love, everything around you embodies love. This book will help you open your heart and help you embrace other relationships that life has to offer.

 

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Growing Acceptance of Menstruation in Society

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Menstruation, monthly cycle, period… all of these are terms to describe a natural cycle that occurs routinely throughout much of our lives, and yet many of us find ourselves still talking in code when it comes to our cycles. We use terms like “on the rag,” “aunt flow,” and “shark week” to describe our periods, as if there is something to hide, but there really isn’t. Hiding the topic of menstruation in a cloud of secrecy and code words participates in keeping this topic in the margins and treated as a taboo subject in society. Topics that are taboo often come attached with stigma and shame, as well as a ton of misinformation – an incredibly unfortunate state seeing as how about half of the world’s population menstruates.

iStock_000079019285_Large 2But don’t fret just yet, things are starting to change! The past few years have been a revolutionary step forward when it comes to removing the stigma around menstruation in society. Countless women have spoken out in many different ways about menstrual shame and stigma; some even doing so through social media, like Rubi Kaur who famously posted about her period on Instagram, or Kiran Gandhi who ran a marathon while free-bleeding. Women’s periods have become an active conversation in media, art, business, etc. Many articles have been released in the past few months highlighting the amazing steps being taken around the world. One articled explained why 2015 is the year of the period, and major news outlets such as Newsweek and Huffington Post have covered the fight to de-stigmatize menstruation in society once and for all.

While many are working hard to de-stigmatize menstruation, it wasn’t always this way; in fact, there are some very interesting “herstory” facts from the past that would shock you! In the good old days, there were countless different cultural practices surrounding menstruation that were based largely on myths. For example, in many parts of the world, women would leave their families during their periods to join other women in a “menstrual hut” where they would share stories and rest. Menstruation was also seen as very powerful in many cultures. For instance, in Hinduism, the great mothers created the universe from “clotted substances” and in Mesopotamia, the goddess Ninhursag used a mixture of clay and menstrual blood to make humans. In Egyptian and Celtic cultures, menstrual blood was thought to turn morals into gods and goddesses. But of course, menstruation wasn’t always seen in a positive light. As history progressed, a more patriarchal view of menstruation emerged. Influential men like Aristotle and Hippocrates thought that menstruation was something toxic that must be avoided. For centuries, there was a prevailing negative opinion among many cultures surrounding menstruation; for example, some thought menstrual blood would turn wine sour, wither crops, and even dull steel.

The last several hundred years have unfortunately given menstruation a bad rap, but the way menstruation has been viewed has slowly begun to shift. Like the attitude of periods, the options for menstrual care has experienced dramatic changes as well. While disposable products have been on the scene for some time, the first pads were nothing like what we have today, but rather included bulky contraptions like suspenders and period belts holding them in place. Another option was the tampon which was popularized in the 1930s and for many women it was a new way to deal with their periods. Tampons were seen as more freeing and discreet. Interestingly enough, the reusable menstrual cup, with its many benefits, was also introduced in the 1930s but did not gain in popularity like tampons and pads, as disposable products seemed to represent the cultural climate at the time. More and more women are becoming more comfortable learning about the benefits of alternative options for menstrual care, including reusable pads and menstrual cups, like The DivaCup. This increased comfort means that they are also sharing their experiences with their friends, families and followers in life and online. The DivaCup is proud to be part of these important changes surrounding menstruation in society.

It is amazing to see just how far we have come in society today, but that’s not to say we couldn’t do so much more! Menstruation needs to be an open conversation in society among everyone. How will you make a #DivaDifference? #MenstruationMatters

 

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Leaving the Nest

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Mother’s Day is almost here Campus Divas and to celebrate we thought we would take this time to remember how it felt to leave the nest for the first time and move out on our own! Think of it as the empty nest experience from a daughter’s point of view. We asked three of our Diva Team members the same question: How did leaving home affect the mother-daughter relationship?

 

Freedom - 3D renderAlyssa (aka Our Newly Out of the Home Diva):

I am one of those daughters that waited a very long time to leave the nest. In my defense, both of the post-secondary schools I attended were local and so there was no need for me to live on my own or in residence. It also made sense economically to live at home, but at the age of 25, I was ready to take the leap and live away from home for the first time.

There was just one problem; I am a bit of a hoarder! I love to go to yard sales and thrift stores to discover amazing finds for my “dream apartment” and so when it came time to actually move everything into that apartment, yikes! Moving makes you realize just how much stuff you have stored in one bedroom.

The entire day was a bit of a blur but I think I will always remember when I came back from the second trip that my dad and I took to get a few more things. I got inside the apartment and found that my mom had unpacked and put away a lot of my stuff! She had made my bed, set up my closet, and even put away my kitchen hardware. Even as I was leaving the nest she made sure that I was looked after as much as possible and she even gifted me a new electric tooth brush to make sure I would take care of my teeth (lol thanks mom). She really is the sweetest mom I could ask for and moving out has really made me appreciate all that she has done for me in my life.

Even now just a few days after moving out of the nest I have already called her to talk about our plans to go to some yard sales this weekend and just to talk about our days. She really isn’t just my mom, she is also one of my best friends and I know that moving won’t change that. I am looking forward to Mother’s Day this year when I can show that appreciation. Spoiler: I am taking my mom on a wine tour in Niagara for Mother’s Day this year!

 

two red balloonsPaige (aka Our Seasoned Out of the Nest Diva):

At 17, my parents and I drove hours from home into the parking lot of my new ‘home’ at a university campus. The goodbye had to be one of the hardest goodbye’s I’ve ever experienced, especially because I’ve never been apart from my parents for that long. My relationship with my parents growing up, especially with my mom, was very important to me. My mom and I were like peanut butter and jelly, we were best friends. I would tell her everything I would tell all my girlfriends. The thought of being away from home and losing that valuable connection was terrifying. As their car drove away, I knew that the first few weeks were going to be a huge adjustment.

After five years, I’m still living away from home – now moved in with my boyfriend. My mom and I still continue our amazing relationship. Those five years at university taught me a great deal of maturity. It taught me not to take things for granted, appreciate the small things, and always find a reason to call home (for me it wasn’t hard because my mom and I talk on the phone at least 5 times a day). My mother was there through the tough grades, the drama, and the monthly phone calls of “I want to come home,” but she always encouraged me not to give up.

Living away from home was probably the best thing that could have happened to my relationship with my mom. As I matured through the many different stages of university and being away from home, my mom grew with me. We created new experiences together and always knew that home wasn’t too far away. I believe that because of my relationship with my mom, I’m able to do so much more on my own. My mom taught me all the valuable lessons in life and now those lessons are being brought into my new home.

 

question parlez-vous francais? do you speak french?Nina (aka Our Lived Abroad Diva):

When I went off to university, well, I didn’t really go off anywhere! My university was located in my hometown, which meant I got to live at home while studying and save some money on expenses like rent and food. This arrangement worked for me financially, and I know that my mom was ecstatic to put off being an empty nester for a little while longer. She was always worried about me moving away and being on my own. I, however, was itching to get out into the world on my own and spread my wings. So when an opportunity to study abroad came up, I was more than willing to pack up and re-locate half way around the world.

When I left home for the first time, it was to go far, far away. To be exact, I moved to Paris, France for a 6-month exchange program. My initial feelings of moving out for the first time were overwhelmingly positive, engulfed in excitement at the opportunity to live and study abroad. In retrospect, I am certain that my mother went through an entirely different experience at that time sending me, her first-born daughter, off into a big city all by myself.

My relationship with my mother changed drastically after half a year abroad. My mother and I did not always see eye to eye before I left. She had grand plans of what she hoped I would do and achieve in life. As a first generation immigrant, my mother and I had not only a generational barrier when it came to seeing eye to eye, but also a cultural one. I was growing up in North America, with North American values, and she was culturally influenced by her Eastern European upbringing. From time to time, this created tension between us and while it was never tumultuous, our relationship had its ups and downs.

Studying abroad and not seeing my mom for 6 months made me appreciate her so much more. I appreciated the effort she put in every day to make sure our family unit ran smoothly, from making dinner to doing the laundry. I appreciated her effort coming home from work every day, exhausted and worn out, and still being the rock for our family’s emotional needs. I appreciated her love and affection that she gave me when I needed it in university, while stressing over exams or relationships, that was missing when I lived abroad. Of course, we Skyped as often as we could, but the time difference and busy schedules meant I couldn’t talk to my mom every day the way I did when I was still living at home with her. It’s not that I didn’t appreciate my mother before moving away, but the inability to have face-to-face time with her, to hug her, and talk to her when I needed to most was a hard lesson learned, and one that took 6,000 km and an ocean to really hit home.

 

Conclusion:

So there we have it: Three different Divas and three different experiences leaving the nest. From our first days away from home to being gone for a longer time, we think it is safe to say that leaving the nest can be just as hard on the birds flying away as it is on the mothers, parents or guardians, we leave behind. It also absolutely has a profound effect on our relationships with them going forward. So for all the moms, aunts, guardians and significant role models in our lives that we said goodbye to and whose homes we left behind, we just want to say those things we may not say nearly often enough:  Thank you. We love you and we miss you.

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With Love,

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