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    You Don’t Need a Better Half—and This Is Why

    We’ve all seen it, whether in someone else or in ourselves: a woman (or man) falls in love and, somewhere along the way, forgets themselves and fades into half a person. Someway, somehow, the wants and needs of another human being becomes more important than their own. They disappear into themselves or, more accurately, disappears into the new romance, not to return until the initial sense of magic fades.Falling head-over-heels in love is an exhilarating and exciting feeling, one that’s all too easy to get caught up in whenever we’re lucky enough to recognize the sensation. But while love and partnership can be amazing if you want to have those things, they should never come at the cost of your own sense of self.
    We are a generation raised on the words: “You complete me.” Romantic movies and media have shaped the way we regard and celebrate love. We see the language everywhere: Other half, better half, soulmate. In this world, love is seen not just as a wonderful part of life, but an achievement necessary to reach a level of full, complete humanity.

    We are a generation raised on the words: You complete me.

    Frankly, I hate this idea. You don’t need a “better half” because you are not half of a person. You are a whole person. A healthy relationship isn’t made of two broken, incomplete halves becoming one. It’s made of two wholes, both fully formed with their own plans and dreams and ideas, choosing to navigate the world together. And here’s the kicker: holding on to yourself after falling in love won’t just make you happier down the line—it will also make you a better, more honest partner.
    I’ll be the first to confirm that staying in a successful, working marriage is more difficult work than any job I’ve ever had. The people my husband and I were when we married five years ago are not the people we are now, and we’ve had growing pains as our new goals and plans shifted us together in some ways, and apart in others.

    Holding on to yourself after falling in love won’t just make you happier down the line—it will also make you a better, more honest partner.

    Long-term commitment is never easy, and it’s compounded by the fact that, in the early stages of a relationship, we work really hard to make it look like it is. In those magical first few months and years when your partner can do no wrong, we ignore personality traits that will bother us later (and disguise our own bad habits that will later reemerge), put our own goals on hold to make more time for our partners, and generally change ourselves in ways that make for really blissful short-term relationships and really difficult long-term ones.
    Remaining fearlessly ourselves: the good, the bad, the trying-to-untangle-headphones-while-you’re-in-a-rush ugly, might scare off more than a few potential partners who never would have worked out anyway. It might make the initial phases of dating scarier and more vulnerable, and it might make it seem more difficult to find someone special in the first place. But then you can rest easy knowing that the ones who stick around are the ones who are truly compatible with the real you.

    Source: Polina Tankilevitch | Pexels

    Some things to remember:

    1. Remember your goals
    While it’s natural for your goals to fluctuate and change as you re-envision a shared future with someone else, remember that it’s OK (and necessary) to have goals that extend outside of your relationship. You owe it to yourself not to get complacent after settling down.

    2. Make family and friends a priority
    When you start a new relationship, it’s too easy to leave your family and friends in the dust. As you start seeing someone new, double your effort to maintain connections with loved ones. Ask yourself, “Am I saying ‘no’ to them more than ‘yes’?”

    3. Have your own hobbies
    You don’t need to have everything in common with your partner. I will repeat: you don’t need to have everything in common with your partner. You might like reading while he or she prefers video games. You might be an outdoor person while he or she likes staying inside. Sure, these things can help you determine if you’re truly compatible or not, but it’s perfectly healthy for aspects of your lives and interests to exist independently from one another. It’s far more important to be honest and supportive of each other than it is for you to both like camping. I promise.

    Do you change at all when you start a relationship or is this a non-issue? Start a discussion in the comments! More

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    It’s Hard to Watch the Growing Interest in Asian Food After Being Shamed for My Culture as a Kid

    Everyone has a handful of memories that are painful to remember. I have a fistful of memories that are shrouded in guilt and shame. These memories lie deep within my belly, and among these darker memories, there are several of them that are connected to being Asian American. In between the shrouds, I remember being ridiculed for my eyes and being told to “go back to where I came from.” To be frank, growing up Asian American was difficult for me. I grew up in the early 2000s; in a past world where I often felt marginalized by my classmates. While not all Asian-Americans or BIPOC share my experience, based on my candid conversations with my peers, there seems to be a feeling some of us share; this is a feeling of shame. Whether it’s shame over our bodily features or over our heritage, this feeling, I’ve felt many times, lies within the recesses of our bellies. My shame is often surrounding my Korean heritage and the “pungent” foods we eat.
    In the early 2000s, Asian food was not as popular as it is today. Anglo-cized Asian staples, such as Orange Chicken and California Rolls, were around and accepted, but Asians and their authentic food were not. I’m talking about Asian Barbeque, Hot Pot, Xiao Long Bao, Dduk Gook. I was taught by my family that if I ate Korean food in public, that people would shun me. The shame I felt started at a young age. 
    I remember the night I learned that my Korean food was not accepted. It was a cool September “school night.” I was in first grade and would be experiencing my first lunch period since graduating from kindergarten. 

    Source: Shutterstock

    My family had just finished a giant pot of Kimchi Jigaae (a spicy, tangy stew made out of sour fermented kimchi and beef). After scarfing down my bowl, I declared: “I’m bringing this to lunch tomorrow.”
    In response, my mom quickly stated that, in fact, I would not be bringing this to lunch tomorrow… or ever. Her reasoning was that my mostly white, non-immigrant classmates would make fun of me for a number of reasons. She broke it down for me pretty quickly:

    “It smells too strong”
    “It has a weird taste compared to a typical peanut butter sandwich”
    “Your schoolmates simply can’t handle it”

    In Korean culture and in many cultures, food is celebrated, and family time can mean cooking and eating together. In Korean culture, food is our culture. After all, making kimchi with your whole family in the fall is a ritual called Kimjang. 
    I had known that food was a big deal to my family for as long as I remembered, but after hearing my mother explain that our food wouldn’t be accepted, I understood something else. At the tender age of 5, I learned that society didn’t accept who I was because of my heritage and race. After all, if my food and my culture weren’t accepted, how could I be accepted? 
    As years passed, I would remain quiet as my non-POC peers laughed at the thought of Korean people making “BBQ” and would turn their noses up to homemade mahndoo (otherwise known as Korean dumplings). I would even occasionally be the butt of the joke as people asked whether I ate dogs or not.

    At the tender age of 5, I learned that society didn’t accept who I was because of my heritage and race.

    Source: Alejandra Cifre González | Unsplash

    It took until my senior year of high school for something strange to happen. One of my friends said she tried Korean food for the first time and loved it. Since then, my friends have asked me to go to Korean BBQ with them, or have asked how to use chopsticks properly. 
    Over the years it has been hard watching my friends embrace Asian culture with open arms. There lies an underlying frustration that stems from the pain of having to hide my identity for so long. More importantly, my frustration also lies in the way Asian Americans have been treated in the United States over the last 150 years.

    It has been hard watching my friends embrace Asian culture with open arms. There lies an underlying frustration that stems from the pain of having to hide my identity for so long.

    In the past, the rise in awareness of Asian cuisine has come from historic immigration waves. President Lyndon Johnson’s Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 allowed for more Asians to finally migrate to the United States, including the immigration of my family. The migrants then exposed non-Asian Americans to new cuisines. 
    The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 is something that has always made me cringe. While it’s lauded for ending a quota-based immigration system, I always felt that it’s a remembrance of wrongdoing towards the Asian community. After all it was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 that did not allow Chinese immigrants to the U.S. (Later, in 1924, other East, Southeast, and Southern Asians were barred from immigrating also). The Exclusion Act, the first federal law to restrict immigration by nationality, later turned into a restriction by race. It took until 1943 for the Exclusion Act to be repealed, and during the 19th century, there was even a persisting stereotype that the Chinese ate rats. 
    Fast forward to present day, when the Pew Research Center noted in 2017 that there are 20 million Asian-Americans in the U.S., and Asian fast-food restaurant sales in the United States have increased by 135 percent since 1999. 

    Source: Matthieu Joannon | Unsplash

    This growth in Asian food over the last several years has been astounding to see. But after years of Asians being ridiculed, how can I not feel frustration towards this growing interest in Asian food? Why show interest now? What’s the point? 
    After being shunned for my Asian food and heritage my entire life, now the current exoticism and wonder towards Asian cuisine is something that makes me wince. When my friends mention that they want to try more authentic Asian food, I can’t help but feel like they are rubbing salt in an old wound. Where was this acceptance and love for this food when I was a kid.
    Given my uneasiness, I asked my Asian peers what they thought about the current rise in popularity of Asian food. Kevin Chen, a Tawainese-American, said, “People are being more aware of cultures now. It’s just hard because it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. It’s more about bringing up the message [about Asian food] and having people be more aware of these cultures and the depth of them.”
    Chen continued, “It’s not easy. I had a coworker that said a certain type of Asian Cuisine, Sichuwan, is superior to all Asian food, and you can’t just write off a whole culture like that. You can’t just pigeonhole cultures. Each culture’s cuisine is different.”
    Chen’s cautious optimism towards the growing interest in Asian food is one that mirrors my own. It’s hard to envision a place where people are becoming more accepting towards the Asian community. Their curiosity is often one that I look at with weariness. This weariness comes from a fear of snide comments and a wall of shame. All it really boils down to is a wish to be respected for your culture and identity.

    After being shunned for my Asian food and heritage my entire life, now the current exoticism and wonder towards Asian cuisine is something that makes me wince. When my friends mention that they want to try more authentic Asian food, I can’t help but feel like they are rubbing salt in an old wound. Where was this acceptance and love for this food when I was a kid.

    Source: Filippo Faruffini | Unsplash

    Harinder Kaur, an Indian American, had different thoughts as she reflected on her childhood. Kaur said, “Growing up, I wanted to be more white and accepted. When we came to America, we didn’t even have ‘American’ clothes. I saw more racism through the way I looked, not over food. I think I’ve gotten more comfortable accepting my culture, but there’s more to it than food and racism.” 
    Kaur’s story is one that holds true for many Asian families today including my own. The attempt to assimilate to white culture shows the amount of shame we harbor towards our own Asian cultures. 
    While Kaur and Chen may not be reflective of the whole Asian American community, they share a sentiment that needs to be heard louder during these trying times. This sentiment is that Asian stories need to be heard more and accepted more into society, but more importantly, we as Asians need to be prouder of who we are. I truly believe this is the only way forward. After years of hiding and feeling shame within our bellies I believe it’s time we finally stand proud together.
    Perhaps this can be a new step towards more equality and understanding. Instead of focusing solely on our past, it’s time to discuss and reflect on what our future as a nation can be, Asian or otherwise. More

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    The 15 Best Books for Your New Year’s Resolutions

    Even though New Year’s resolutions look a little different this year, it’s still the season for self-invention. The beginning of January means making new promises to ourselves, letting go of the past year, and, most importantly, reflecting on what we want out of the year ahead. And the best way to keep resolutions (instead of letting them trickle out by January 28 like most years)? Go all-in by indulging in a good book that offers concrete advice to reach your goals and become your best self. So to help you make resolutions that will stick (because we all deserve a win in 2021), we’ve rounded up the best books that will give you a much-needed dose of inspiration, optimism, and motivation. Whether your 2021 resolution looks more like running a marathon or just getting off the couch every once in a while (no judgment), these books will help you get there. 

    Sallie Krawcheck
    Own It: The Power of Women at Work

    This bestseller is basically the #1 career playbook for 2021. No matter your industry or where you’re at in your career, “Own It” is a powerful manual for a new set of rules to achieve professional success. Read if: your resolutions are career-focused.

    Mallika Chopra
    Living with Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace, and Joy

    Because sometimes resolutions aren’t about changing your life; they’re about changing your mindset. Use this book as your go-to for finding purpose, joy, gratitude, and balance. Read if: you’re done thinking about what your life could be, and instead want to appreciate where you are now.

    Are You Fully Charged?: The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life

    Never feel like you have enough energy or time to accomplish all you want? Maybe your to-do list feels impossible to finish, or you give up on goals because you don’t have the time. Drawing on practical advice from the latest in business, psychology, and economics, this book proves you can accomplish everything you want. Read if: you feel like you’re always lacking time or energy.

    Laura Thomas, PhD
    Just Eat It: How Intuitive Eating Can Help You Get Your Shit Together Around Food

    Whether your nutrition resolution is to stop eating late-night pizza (right, like that’s going to happen!) or to get rid of outdated food rules, intuitive eating is the way to finally eat nourishing foods and achieve food freedom. “Just Eat It” is a life-changing read about trusting your appetite, listening to your body, and ditching diet culture once and for all. Read if: you’re sick of struggling with your relationship with food.

    Michelle Obama

    Because we would be remiss if we didn’t include our queen, Michelle Obama, on any list of life-changing books. “Becoming” is the inspirational memoir you’ve been looking for to motivate you to chase your dreams. Read if: you want to focus on New Year’s resolutions, but self-help books aren’t typically your thing.

    Barbara L. Fredrickson, PhD
    Love 2.0: Finding Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection

    This isn’t your average relationship book. Whether or not your resolutions have to do with your love life, Fredrickson argues that love is the secret to improving our physical and mental health. Oh, and FYI, she also argues that love is not about a romantic relationship (though it can be!). It’s about connection between all people, including strangers, coworkers, friends, and family members, so this book is for anyone (regardless of relationship status). Read if: you’re looking for a new perspective to change your health.

    BJ Fogg, PhD
    Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything

    No matter how big your resolutions or goals are, the secret to achieving them is in small changes. Fogg breaks down how exactly to achieve anything you want by starting small. For example, try two push-ups a day instead of aiming for a 60-minute workout, or take a deep breath whenever you get in your car instead of starting with a full meditation practice. Read if: you have some lofty resolutions you’re not sure how to achieve.

    Maxie McCoy
    You’re Not Lost: An Inspired Action Plan for Finding Your Own Way

    With step-by-step advice, thoughtful exercises, and real-life stories from McCoy and other inspirational women, “You’re Not Lost” is an inspiring action plan to get the life you want (and deserve!). Read if: 2020 made you feel lost, hopeless, or confused in any area of your life.

    James Clear
    Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

    No matter your 2021 resolutions, “Atomic Habits” offers a proven framework for changing your life by forming good habits, breaking bad ones, and mastering small behaviors that lead to massive transformation. Learn how to overcome a lack of motivation or willpower, get back on track when you fall off course, and design your schedule for success. Read if: your New Year’s resolutions typically don’t last past January.

    Ann Shoket
    The Big Life

    Sometimes just a few key changes can help you achieve everything you want in your career, finances, love life, and overall wellbeing. Or, at least, that’s what trailblazing editor-in-chief of Seventeen, Ann Shoket, argues in her self-help book and memoir packed with actionable guidance to living your best life. Read if: your resolution is to find more meaning in your life.

    Lalah Delia
    Vibrate Higher Daily: Live Your Power

    Looking for inspiration to tap into your inner power and become your best self? Instagram superstar, Lalah Deliah, put her self-help wisdom into this comprehensive book that teaches us that we have control over situations and our emotions. “Vibrating Higher Daily” helps you make intentional day-to-day choices that lift you out of mindsets, habits, and lifestyles that don’t serve you. Read if: you’re over physical resolutions and ready to transform your soul instead.

    Dan Harris
    10% Happier

    Dan Harris experienced a nationally televised panic attack that acted as a wake-up call to prioritize mental health and make some major changes in his life. Follow Harris on his quest for happiness as he explores spiritual practices, studies scientific research, and explains his own experiences to help you get 10 percent happier (and maybe a lot more). Read if: anxiety or stress levels are affecting your life.

    Gabrielle Bernstein
    Super Attractor: Methods for Manifesting a Life beyond Your Wildest Dreams

    Filled with tangible tools like the “Choose Again Method” for reframing negative thoughts and boosting your mood, “Super Attractor” is a more spiritual approach with essential tips to live in alignment with the universe to create the life that you want. Forget resolutions–start attracting the life you want right now. Read if: your resolutions include getting more in touch with yourself. More

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    2021 Outfit Inspiration Based on the Most Fashionable Characters of 2020

    2020 didn’t give us much to go off of, but if there’s one, singular thing it gave us in abundance, it was incredible TV characters.From Emily in Paris to Dash and Lily to Dead to Me, our Netflix queues were filled to the brim with fabulous women, and for me, a girl stuck at home daydreaming of wearing what the characters on my screen were, the fashion that came with it was one of the best parts. After all, when you’re sitting on the couch in sweats that you haven’t changed out of in six months, a beret paired with a colorful jacket is about as insane of a concept as we could imagine.
    It’s a brand new year, and we’re saying goodbye to the style boredom of the past year, and hello to new, fun ways to style our clothes—and it’s only fair that we’re turning to our favorite characters for inspiration to start 2021 off on our most stylish foot.

    1. Grace Fraser, The Undoing

    Sure, you could toss a paper bag on Nicole Kidman and it would be a fashion statement, but The Undoing was as full of out-of-the-box outfit choices as it was suspects for murder. We’re channeling Grace through long, jewel-toned coats and eclectic dresses for winter looks that are anything but boring.

    coat / coat (affordable option) / dress / boots / bag

    2. Beth, The Queen’s Gambit

    Beth and her story came to us toward the end of 2020, but everything about her made her one of the most memorable characters of the entire year—her wardrobe included. Her style gave us the go ahead to take inspiration from ’60s patterns and silhouettes to our 2021 looks. The first look to check off our to-be-worn lists? Her iconic all-white final episode ensemble.

    coat / beret / boots / sweater dress

    3. Lara Jean, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before 2

    We fell head-over-heels for Lara Jean last year, and when To All The Boys 2 made its rounds in early 2020, we were reminded just why we love her so much. Sure, she’s in high school, but we can take her youthful aesthetic and apply it to our own style too.

    sweater / leather mini skirt / sneakers / sunglasses

    4. Emily, Emily in Paris

    Just when we thought we’d never feel wanderlust again, Emily in Paris came to save the day and give us travels to dream about once we’re able. While her wardrobe was controversial, we can all agree that the girl was fearless with her style, and that’s something we’re trying to emulate throughout the new year.

    jacket / dress / beret / boots

    5. Mia Warren, Little Fires Everywhere

    Mia Warren, played by Kerry Washington, was one of the most underrated characters of 2020 (maybe just because the show coming out feels like it was 100 years ago, but I digress). Her no-bullshit attitude carried into her wardrobe, filled with casual basics paired together effortlessly—the perfect inspiration for slightly elevated work-from-home outfits.

    top / jeans / belt / boots More

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    What Your Resolution Should Be This Year, Based on Your Enneagram

    ‘Tis the season for resolutions! Some of us love a new, clean slate of goals (@eights), while others look at them as an unwinnable chore (ahem, four), but there’s no denying that having something to look forward to this year is a great way to start it. The key to a New Year’s resolution you can keep is keeping your goals attainable. And what better way than making sure it aligns with your personality already? Your enneagram type is a quick snapshot of you, so we’re helping you pick one goal you might not have thought of yet (or it’s already top of mind!) that you can work toward this year.

    Start a meditation practice
    Ones have resolutions lists filled to the brim, but they’re likely forgetting to add self-care at all. Ones could benefit from the calm and clarity of meditation, and developing a whole practice around it is the kind of routine and order type ones find so much joy in.
    READ: Think Meditation Isn’t for You? Here’s What to Try Instead…

    Create a cleaning routine
    After the dumpster fire that was 2020, twos are looking to get organized to take on any new challenges that 2021 throws their way. Create a cleaning routine you can follow daily, weekly, monthly, bi-annually, and annually will give you the flexibility to clean as you go instead of doing big clean-outs every few months (you know, before company comes over). Plus, twos will love putting their new routine in their planner, on the fridge, in a notebook, or anywhere they can access it.
    READ: 7 Areas to Clean and Purge for The New Year

    Develop a new meaningful connection
    Threes have an abundance of lofty goals for their career, health and fitness, mental well-being, and more, but they likely haven’t turned their attention toward relationships just yet. It can feel daunting to think about creating all of these new relationships and making new friends, but adjusting the goal to something tangible, like meeting one new person, is something anyone can accomplish (especially a goal-getting type three!). 
    READ: 10 Career Connections You Need to Make By the Time You’re 30

    Take on a special project
    Fours love to get into their own little world and create; the mundane parts of a task bore them to tears. They love to get started on many new projects, even when they don’t have time for it. Make it a point to take on one really special project this year that you devote a lot of time to. You’ll feel so accomplished in the end, and all of those late nights creating something will be your epitome of joy. 
    READ: 100 Projects Our Readers Are Doing in Isolation

    Start investing
    Ringing in a new year for a five is all about preparing and getting ready for the year—because we all know a five likes to have all the information before they make their way into a project. This year, take your financial goals to the next level by making a point to start investing. Whether you’re already a pro and are brushing up on your financial literacy and trying something new or starting from scratch, this task will likely involve a lot of reading—which the Rory Gilmores of the enneagram will certainly appreciate.
    READ: The App That Will Help You Finally Master Your Personal Finances

    Take up a new hobby
    Sixes are called “The Loyalist” for a reason: they’re committed and stick to the things they love, which can make it hard for them to bust out of a comfort zone or try something new. We’re about to spend a little more time at home in 2021, so now more than ever is the time to learn a new skill and really delve deep into it. In typical six fashion, you won’t stop until you’ve mastered it.
    READ: 21 Hobbies You Can Start at Home—Today

    Read more books in different genres than your usual
    Hopping into a whole new world through a book? The exact vibe of a seven. They love anything with adventure or a thrill (even when that “thrill” comes from a solid hate-to-love romance trope). However, make a point to step out of your usual box this year and try some new genres, like nonfiction, contemporary fiction, and sci-fi. 
    READ: I Read Nearly 150 Books in 2020—Here Are 10 I Recommend

    Create a morning routine
    Eights are pretty typically night owls, so mornings don’t look as blissful as they’d like. However, they need those free hours in the morning; getting straight into a day’s full of work is draining. Try a few different morning routines—whether they include meditation, journaling, working out, meal prepping, or reading a book in bed—and see which sticks. 
    READ: 12 Morning Routine Hacks for a Calmer Day

    Try a weekly social media detox
    The people-pleasing nature of a nine loves to scroll through their feeds and double-tap every single thing their friends and family have been up to, but after a while, this can do the opposite effect of making you feel joyful. Make it a point to try a weekly social media detox. You don’t have to delete every social account you love, just remove the apps one day a week or use the screen time limiter function on your phone. Our editor tried this, and it changed her entire relationship with her phone! 
    READ: 7 Things to Do At Night Besides Stare At Your Phone More