What Does Being a Woman Mean to You?

Smile ladies, it’s International Women’s Day!

It’s so hard to put into words the beauty of being a woman and something I don’t think enough about. To me, being a woman means being me, it’s all that I know, yet, it defines so much of my world. I remember being a fifth grader and thinking to myself, I love fashion, dressing up, and feeling girly, but I don’t want to be treated like someone who does- those girls aren’t taken seriously by other people. It was a mindset that drove me to study incredibly hard, be competitive in both sports and academics, and avoid failure and embarrassing mistakes at all costs. I wanted people to recognize me for my abilities more than my girl-ish appearances- my ultimate defeat being she’s just the dumb blonde girl.

Like myself, every woman can relate to a certain struggle or challenge that they have encountered along the way. It might not even be the deep cuts, but rather the everyday, rubs. Someone referring to you as bossy rather than commanding the room. An eye roll rather than eye contact. Yet, our human experience as women binds us. We understand the beauty in our gender and the uniqueness it affords. We learn how to overcome, with the hope that one day there will be no more need to.

To me, being a woman means so many things. To be scared, brave, fearless, insecure, loud, and outgoing. To be courageous, gentle, silly, strong, and funny. To be aggressive, loving, assertive, aloof, kind, caring, and fierce.

It means being an essential part of life. It means, just like it means to be a man- to be human.

I asked women that I know “what does being a woman mean to you?” and this is what they said!

“To me, being a woman simply means being myself, being a human created in the image of God, maturing to know who God created me to be: a mother, a friend, a writer, a daughter and granddaughter and sister, a lifelong learner, a leader, a follower, an exerciser of gifts and a compensator of weaknesses – pursuing connection, pursuing truth and beauty, pursuing excellence and growth.”  – Michelle (Short Hills, NJ)

“I’d say being a woman to me is being the wonderful product of the sacrifices and acts of bravery by the women that came before me. Them being bold, free and unapologetic in their own ways, in the face of resistance and struggle led me to where I am now. I would never be where I am now if those who came before me didn’t stand up for what they believed in, and for that, I am grateful! So, I guess kind of an ode to the women from many generations ago” – Upasana (Boston, MA)

“What does it mean to be a woman to me? It means to have the qualities of a lioness: independent, fierce, loyal, brave, strong, graceful, and agile. It means having the ability to choose to be whoever you want to be in the world – to have the strength to love unconditionally.” – Lucille (Millburn, NJ)

“Being a woman means….being decent, unique human beings! It means being strong in character but balanced with a sense of fairness and compassion. It’s about believing everything is possible regardless of life’s obstacles!” – Gill (Cowbridge, Wales)

“Being a woman to me means being tenacious, compassionate and unapologetically myself.” – Disha (Santiago, Chile)

“Being a woman to me means being courages. Courageous enough to navigate this world that time and time again devalues us.” – Pamela (Boston, MA)

“Part of being a woman for me includes being able to defy the social construct society places us in and continuing to thrive beyond all limits. It means being able to voice my opinion as an equal and ensuring everyone around me has the same right. Being a woman to me means being powerful and fierce, while vulnerable and caring towards those that mean the world to me. Here’s to International Women’s Day this month and every other month because we shouldn’t need a reason to celebrate!” – Divya (Lagos, Nigeria)

“From my perspective, being a woman means being strong, intelligent and successful all while remaining compassionate, elegant and graceful. Being a woman, means achieving all you may put your mind to, despite any obstacle that comes upon your path or any limits you have been confined to. Being a woman is essential and is what completes this world for there would be no life without women.” – Fay (Kuwait City, Kuwait)

“Being a woman means I possess distinguishable, unique qualities that allow me to shine every day.” – Celeste (Wellesley, MA)

“To be a woman is to be resilient, courageous, and strong. Women are just so badass, our energy and auras are truly unmatched. I wake up every morning and truly feel blessed to not only be a strong woman, but surround myself with communities of other strong women similar to myself.” – Ivana (Orange County, CA)

“I cannot think of one word to define womanhood. To me, being a woman means being multifaceted; we are powerful forces of change. Most importantly, being a woman means being an advocate and active defender for women always.” Olivia (Washington, D.C.)

“Being a woman means having an immediate bond with total strangers; I think of the drunk girls you meet in a bar bathroom when you’re having a rough night, who wipe off your runny mascara and tell you you’re beautiful and amazing and smart and too good for whoever or whatever made you feel any less.” – Liza (Providence, Rhode Island)

“What does being a woman mean to me? I am a little embarrassed to say this but, I don’t think about it that much because of the women of the past who have fought for me to have a better life. It was about growing up learning about the inequalities between man and women, hearing stories about discrimination in school and workplace, limited opportunities for women to grow in the workforce, etc. Although discrimination still exists towards women, it has gotten tremendously better due to the past sacrifices of women. A hope that I can also fight for the rights and equalities of other groups that experience discrimination. I never through of women as being a disability because I experienced more discrimination about being Asian-American. Being a woman gives me hope that we still fight for the inequalities inflicted on women but also for the other minorities in our society; POC’s, LGBTQ+ and many more. Being a woman gives me a better hope for a more equal world for all.” – Anonymous

“I don’t really attach too much specific meaning to my gender identity, although I love being a woman, being a woman can mean whatever you want it to mean.” – Carly (Boston, MA)

“Being a woman means I need to find confidence when it’s not always easy for me. Being a woman means I may be the only person of my gender in my analytics meetings. Being a woman means I can overcome any challenge thrown my way.” – Michelle (Boston, MA)

“To me, being a woman means uplifting those around me. Society puts a lot of pressure on women to be “perfect,” but you are your own kind of perfection. Being my own perfection and showing others the perfection within them is personally what I enjoy about being a woman.” – Chelsea (Bronx, NY)

“Being a woman means that I can act like a lady, yet work like a horse. This statement to me means that I’m able to be compassionate and charismatic, yet tenacious, resilient, and capable of anything I set my mind to. It defines Persian women.” – Tara (Los Angeles, CA)

“To be a woman is to have a profound understanding of those that came before us and to forge forward with passion, purpose, and pride. It is to be as strong as you are soft; to endeavor to be equal parts grit and grace each and every day. And above all else, to be a woman is to show up, always – for your friends, your family, your loved ones, and above all else, yourself – and celebrate how far we’ve come and acknowledge how far we have to go.” Kate (Manhattan, NY)

“I am a trusted, intuitively-intelligent, caring, nurturing, brave, passionate, ambitious, confident, independent, curious, genuine, optimistic, happy, kind person. I feel strongly that too much focus on gender divides us rather than unites us.  I love being a woman, but I perceive myself as human first, heart first.  This way of being in the world attracts infinite possibilities, people and opportunities.” – Marie

“For me, being a woman means having the courage to live life by your own definition. When you overcome your fears, you realize that your power and strength comes from within. It always has.” – Elaine (Toronto, Canada)

“To me, being a woman means getting to enjoy and help display the beautifully varied ways that God has created us as people and women!” – Meredith (Brunswick, ME)

“The ultimate woman in my life is my mom. In observing the way she lives, being a woman means to me, embracing the duality that bred from living in a man’s world. Stern yet soft. Fights for what she believes in, but also forgives quickly. Fierce yet warm. Smart and generous. Protector and nurturer. I am in awe of the strength, depth, heart, and beauty of women everywhere!” – Grace (San Francisco, CA)

“Being a woman means being multifaceted. As I am growing more and more into my womanhood, I’m understanding more and more when and how to show up.” – Monia (Boston, MA)

Happy International Women’s Day!

❤️ Valentines Day Gifts to Say I Love You ❤️

Ditch the basics this year, it’s 2021.

Love is in the air- just the way I like it! I love Valentines Day so much, finally a day I get to express to those in my life how much I love and care for them without feeling weird about it! Not to mention, all my favorite things in one day, love, friends, family, and gift giving. My mom is the one who has instilled a love for the holiday in me. Growing up, she used to celebrate the Valentines Day in a big way for me and my family, setting our table with a red table cloth and heart confetti. Everyone received chocolates and a little treats. And when it came to sharing valentines with my classmates in Elementary school, my mom and I would sit at our kitchen table and hand-make paper hearts with personalized messages in them- if you were my crush in the 5th grade, you definitely received more hand-drawn glittery hearts in your valentine. To help inspire you this Valentines Day, I have put together some gift ideas to say “I love you”. But, when in doubt, just say “I love you,” that will easily surpass any of these ideas for sure.

Sugarfina Candy Cube BundleScreen Shot 2021-01-05 at 7.23.58 PM

If you love candy like I do, this Sugarfina candy bundle is meant for you- or your loved one to buy for you! My personal favorites are the champagne gummy bears and the peach bellini hearts, but Sugarfina has tons of sugary options to choose from, so if its not this bundle, another will suit perfectly. Everyone loves to receive something sweet on this day. A kiss to go with it might not hurt either.   

Venus et Fleur Classic Bundle

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It’s always lovely to get flowers on Valentines Day, but getting flowers that last for an entire year, is even better! This Venus et Fleur classic bundle rose and candle set is the perfect gift if you are looking to spoil your loved one all year long. Despite being delicately preserved, the roses still retain a fragrant and sweet smell, so you don’t have to sacrifice anything for this special flower treat. A 10/10 gift in my book. 

Decoder Heart Valentine Card Stationary Set by Paper Source

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Everyone loves receiving a personalized note in the mail for special events and Valentines Day is no different. Throw some excitement into the mix with this “decoder” stationary set to write secret messages to your admirer. Gifts are meant to be equally sentimental as they are fun and surprising. This stationary set ticks all of the right boxes. Plus, who wouldn’t want to dawn those groovy 2000s 3-D style glasses to decode the message? 

Glitter Eye Mask by Ulta

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Being in love is hard, but someone’s gotta do it! Gift this glittery gel eye mask to your love or treat yourself! This eye mask is perfect to pop in the fridge and take out to help you de-puff and hit the relax button. Pair it with your favorite skincare mask and put your feet up. Let’s be honest, this Valentines Day should be as much about self love too!

Polaroid Camera by instax

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I love taking pictures to capture memories of some of my favorite moments with friends. Capturing those fun times with a Polaroid makes it all the better, as you don’t have to stress about getting the perfect angles or making sure you’re smizing. You simply take the picture and let the chips fall where they may! It’s also perfect because your picture develops right after you capture it. Polaroids for everyone! 

Stemless Wine Glasses and a Vinebox Wine Club Subscription

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When I first saw these stemless wine glasses I thought to myself “this is how shopping addictions start”. They are absolutely gorgeous and pair nicely with any wine club subscription, such as Vinebox. You can never have too many glasses or too much wine in the house, so this seems like the most responsible gift. 

Doordash their Favorite Food

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Having surprise food delivered to your house is like finding a surprise letter in the mail. You didn’t know it was coming and now your entire day has been made. This year, surprise your love with a box of cupcakes, a pizza, bubble tea, or even a whole cake delivered straight to their door. This is especially great because you can pre-pay for it all and schedule the order in advance, letting Doordash, UberEats, or any other food delivery provider take care of the rest. No more hungry bellies on Valentines Day! 

Smallest Love Letter Charm by Catbird 

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Catbird is the epitome of cuteness. Every jewelry piece that they sell is delicate and adorable and this love letter charm is no exception. Custom engrave this piece to include a sweet message and your loved one’s name or address. Better yet, get a matching necklace for you and your bestie. Honestly, the possibilities are endless here.

 Flowers by UrbanStems

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Sending roses in 2020- fine- sending roses in 2021-basic. This arrangement by UrbanStems is so unconventional and special to make any loved one take a double take. This hand-dyed, dried arrangement is a perfect way to communicate your undying love (wow, that got dramatic). The soft, pink hue of this arrangement will bring a smile to your face when you see it every day. That, I am sure of. 

Rose Facemask by Fresh

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Yup, this is one to gift yourself as well as your loved one. Roses are nice to receive in a traditional format, but imagine someone gifting you a rose face mask and saving your skin by hydrating and toning it all at once!? If someone looks after your skin for you, they definitely care for you. Now, that’s true love. 

What are some of the ways you are treating your loved ones this year?

My Favorite Holiday Recipes

The food they serve in heaven.

Let’s face it, there is a special place in heaven for holiday foods. Cookies, cakes, filet mignon, creamy mashed potatoes, a cheese plate… you get the idea. Every year, I look forward to the food that fills our holiday plates- it only comes once a year! Here, I have provided the recipes to some of my favorite foods to make during the season so that you can recreate some of them in your own home. Maybe, some of these recipes will make it into your holiday rotation. If they do, make sure to send me a photo!

1. Bûche de Noël Recipe (Yule Log Cake)

Courtesy of Mon Petit Four

This Yule Log cake is one that I make every year. The cake is light, fluffy, and the perfect canvas for decorating and making festive. I like to cut up marshmallows and add them as “mushrooms” as well as adorn the cake with bay leaves, which look like tree leaves. The possibilities for this cute creation are endless!

2. Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Courtesy of Handmade Charlotte

These cookies are a cross between a vanilla sugar cookie and a brownie all wrapped up in one. Soft and chewy, with a little crunch, this chocolate sugar cookie recipe is a holiday go-to! The rolled sugar on the outside also adds a beautiful sparkle, making it a beautiful addition to any dessert table. 

3. Roladen 

Courtesy of Lecker 

A German staple during the holidays, Roladen is a great recipe to add some variety to your dinner rotation. This meat dish is packed with flavor and definitely an indulgent meal to impress any guest. My family likes to pair our Roladen with potato pancakes, and red cabbage… did I mention I was German. 

4. Russian Tea Cookies

A Dedekind Family Recipe



This family recipe is one that we make every year that never fails to surprise and delight. These nutty cookies are the perfect side to any cup of tea or hot chocolate. It’s hard to mess these cookies up! So, even if you would not consider baking your strong suit, give these a try- they are basically fool proof!

5. Scalloped Potatoes

Courtesy of Chocolate Moosey

If you are concerned about calories, maybe skip on this dish. If you are up for a decadent holiday treat, you have to make this dish. Packed with cream, cheese, and all the good stuff, if you are looking for a yummy side dish, you have got to try this delicious scalloped potato recipe. 

6. Pancakes 

Courtesy of Like Mother Like Daughter

Whether it is the holidays or not, this pancake recipe is a go-to. If you think you have a fluffy and tasty pancake recipe, I would try this one anyways- I bet you it will give yours a run for its money. Add chocolate chips, blueberries, bananas, or anything you’d like, but make sure to pour over some maple syrup for a guaranteed yummy brunch.  

7. Chocolate cake

Courtesy of Add a Pinch

If you are unsure of what holiday dessert will be a crowd pleaser, it is never a bad idea to go with a chocolate cake. This cake I make for birthdays, holidays, and “just cause it’s Monday” and it never fails to delight. The chocolate flavoring really comes out strongly, given the added espresso, and the coordinating icing recipe makes for a match made in heaven! 

3 Friends Picking their Top Gifts Under $100 (Part II)

Because… everyone needs a bit of gift inspo.

There are many joys during the holidays, one of the biggest joys for me is gift giving. I think one of the reasons that I am so passionate about giving gifts is hunting for that personal item, one that couldn’t be mistaken as being a gift for someone else. Anyone can pick out a pair of socks or a black turtleneck for someone and pass if off as making an effort, but those are items that everyone can benefit from. My happiness rests in finding those niche items, whether it be a candle with a signature scent, a set of chocolate truffles in their favorite flavor, or a cozy knitted blanket. It’s the small things in life that bring joy. That I am sure of.

Pamela Mukiza

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The Gift 

Dieux Forever Eye Mask, $25

These eye masks are reusable and affordable. They hold gels, serums and creams close to the skin for maximum absorption. You can also store them in the freezer for a cooling affect!

Kenny Sullivan

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The Gift 

Smartphone UV Sanitizer, $79.95

So I got this for every member of my family this year — I’m talking every one of them. I read an article that phones carry such horrible germs that to top 2020 off, I need to make sure my third hand (my phone) is not going to kill me. I put my phone in this bad boy every night and comes out nice and clean — even smells like all the cells have been slaughtered in my sleep. The best part – it keeps me off my phone when im in bed! So I’m
Sleeping better. Who knew?!

Jahnvi Garg

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The Gift 

Alleyoop Beauty Starter Kit $68 or Must-Haves Set $66

It’s like giving someone fool-proof makeup and convenience wrapped in a Christmas present! The sets are customizable, and the products are so multipurpose- the makeup brush actually has 4 different tips just in one brush. The product design is also really well done, and looks super cute! For a world filled with last minute zoom calls, it’s the perfect gift to give 💫✨

Stay tuned for next week for more friends and more gifts!

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10 Gift Ideas for the Holidays Under $100

It’s that time of year again. But no stress, we’ve got you covered.

Oh the joys of the holidays, where all is merry and bright! This holiday season is extra important, given that we could all use some comfort and joy in 2020 (gospel choir singing “yes”). When it comes to buying gifts this season, let me help you de-stress even further by providing my budget friendly holiday gift ideas for you and your loved ones. Gift giving is one of my favorite things during any holiday- Birthdays, Christmas, Housewarming- you name it! To me, a gift symbolizes, in a tangible form, the care and attention that you pay to your relationship. It shows that you see them, you appreciate them, and you have taken the time to really think of them. So, let’s show some love this holiday season for those we care about. You never know how much those around you might need it.


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Stationary is truly the gift that keeps on giving. I love sending letters through the mail and always find that some unique and fun stationary can make your note even more memorable. This stationary I chose is from Papier and is even customizable to include the gift receiver’s first and last name. Who doesn’t love a customized gift for just over $20?! Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to receive a thank you note on this stationary too!

Ugg Slippers

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These slippers were the first thing on my Christmas list (just dropping a subtle hint here). They are so comfy, so cozy, and, let’s be honest, when we are working from home we need something to brighten the day. At just $100 I think these slippers are a worthy investment in your wardrobe for the stormy winter to come. 

Virtual Cooking Class

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Ok, hear me out. This virtual cooking class is one that you HAVE to take with the lovely Marcella Ansaldo. I took cooking classes with Marcella in Florence many times, one more enjoyable than the next. When I found out that she was doing classes online, I knew I had to seize the opportunity to see her again. Marcella incorporates expert Italian food history into all of her courses and makes the virtual cooking experience one that almost mimics that of an in-person class. 10/10 for me!

Frank Body Original Coffee Scrub 

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This body scrub really does it for me. It smells amazing and leaves your skin silky smooth because the coffee grinds, which act as an exfoliant. The company Frank Body has a large assortment of fun products that you should also check out, in addition to their original scrub, which the company became famous for. Coffee + Skincare = Happiness

Glossier You Perfume

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When I first smelled Glossier’s You perfume I was skeptical. I was used to enjoying floral and sugary sweet scents. However, after using a sample of You and smelling the scent after it mixed in with my skin I was hooked. This perfume is one of my all time favorites, with such lovely mild, peppery notes. It was also The Fragrance Foundation’s Fragrance of the Year winner in 2018. Although it is a bit pricier ($60 for the bottle) it’s Ursula approved to be worth it.  

That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea book

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If you love business, entrepreneurship, and media as much as I do, then this is the book for you. Written by the Co-Founder and First CEO of Netflix Marc Randolph himself, this book documents Netflix’s journey from CD sharing start-up to public company. If you know everything about business or nothing at all, there is something for you to take-away and learn from. Bottom line: you never know an idea won’t work until you try it.  

Abercrombie Puffer 

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If you ever spotted me last winter, you would have probably seen me either wearing this coat or its furry cream sister. I am completely obsessed with this puffer from Abercromie, which keeps me so much warmer than a lot of my more expensive coats. It fits right at the waist and can be buttoned all the way up to the chin. When I am wearing a coat I prefer to be swaddled in soft fabric, where you can barely see my eyeballs I am so snuggle. This coat does just that. 

Bose Speaker 

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This Bose speaker does everything a good speaker should. One charge lasts an incredibly long time, the sound quality is clear and crisp, it’s Bluetooth, and the volume spans a pretty nice range. Even better? It’s just under $70! I have had my speaker for over four years and it has lasted me through college and beyond. A perfect gift I’d say for a college or high school student who needs to tune out the world. 

Sugarfina Candy Box

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I know what you are thinking. She wants me to purchase candy for adults? Ummm…. yeah I do! I have received one of Sugarfina’s candy boxes as a Christmas gift before and, let me tell you, this is a gift that does not disappoint! But, then again I am a sugar-holic. My favorites from Sugarfina include the champagne bears and peach bellini hearts (the matcha bears also look 🔥). Everyone needs a bit of sweetness in their life, wouldn’t you agree? 

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