By Melanie Walker
September 22nd marks the beginning of our trees turning into their yearly collage of golden, reds, oranges, browns as they paint the side of your street with a myriad of fallen leaves and dusty fog. A chill will send shivers into the air as you smell of pumpkin pie and cuddle up to your loved ones.
September 22nd marks the beginning of the beautiful season of Autumn where you reflect on what you are grateful for as the year turns the sands of time to a close. Or, as many like to call it…
Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Aztec-print sweaters. Ugg boots. Leggings. Crunched leaves. Sweater headbands. Infinity scarves. #ilovefall.
I think our Instagrams are more ready for fall than you are.
Though I often find myself silently-chuckling as I scroll through my Instagram after three leaf-crunching and rider boots pictures, I have a problem with the culture that comes along with the changing of the seasons. And it’s not a problem with the basics on my newsfeed.
Basically, I have a problem with Basic-Shaming (#basicshamers).
Basic Shamer(n): Someone who has ever shamed women during a particular season for posting a common thread of pictures often found among many women in the turning of the seasons; someone who has ever referred to another female as a, “basic bitch.”
Let me explain. I have a problem with people shaming others for things that they like or like to do. We live in a culture where everyone feels like they can say what they want without consequence. Everyone feels like they have expertise on whatever they decide because they have a published platform where they can convey those opinions.
But if everyone is an expert on culture trends, what is exactly considered tasteful or acceptable? Just because someone doesn’t like something, it’s suddenly considered shameful or embarrassing? Who are they to call these girls “#basicbitches” just because they like to pumpkin spice all the things and smell all the fall scents?
I can tell you what’s NOT tasteful: considering someone “basic” because they like something that a lot of other people enjoy, too. And for the record, it’s perfectly normal to wear sweaters when it gets cold. And Ugg boots will probably never go out of style.
While I don’t Instagram my cozy fall sweaters, I’d be lying if I didn’t occasionally trade my usual Tazo Passion Tea for a delicious Pumpkin Spice Cream Frappuccino. Is that something I should ever be ashamed of? No freaking way. Those things are bomb in the fall.
As women, we need to be building each other up instead of tearing each other down. We need to stop calling each other degrading things for something as small as a post on Instagram. Because the truth is, I do not give a flying flip what kind of shoes my friends wear because I am too busy living my life to even care.
So if you’re a classified basic…
Girl, you do you. You post those selfies sitting on a pumpkin with your bestie. Don’t even apologize for being #basic, because you must be having a fab time with your friend.
If you’re someone who doesn’t like basic things…
Girl, you do you. Way to have a unique taste and uncommon interests.
If you’re someone who has ever used the term or called someone a “basic bitch”…
Just stop. Someone needs some serious chill.
Whatever people like or don’t like, keep your mouth closed about it unless you’re celebrating them. We need more lady-positivity instead of shaming in this world.
By Natalie Issa
Eight months after graduating from college, I finally decided to go deep diving in the dark, musty corners of my closet. Because after four years of college, I had collected a lot of clothes – half of which I didn’t even wear.
Looking through my closet, I realized that I was completely bored with my clothes. Did I really want to continue dressing like I was still a sleep-deprived college student?
The answer was an absolute, resounding no. Because I am now a 23-year-old, sleep-deprived adult.
So I hunkered down, girded my loins, and got ready to make some big changes to my personal style. And here’s how I did it:
1. De-Clutter Your Wardrobe
Before I even thought about buying new clothes, I did a heavy duty de-clutter session. In order to effectively go through your clothes, you have to be pretty strict with yourself. I ended up throwing away everything that I hadn’t worn in the past year.
So after one very sweaty cleaning day, I had donated the following: five giant bags of clothes, one huge bag of shoes, one bag of purses/scarves, and one box of random toys stashed in a corner of my closet. In total, I donated about 75 percent of my clothes.
When I first looked at almost empty closet, I totally panicked. But after taking a few calming breaths, I reminded myself that it was all part of my grand master plan.
2. Get Inspired
Shortly after the Great Closet Purge of 2016, I was offered a very adult-y internship. So not only was I looking for casual clothes, I was also looking for things I could wear to work.
Cue Pinterest. Looking at my fashion board, I realized that while my personal style was more boho, I pinned something different.
I was digging a style that was chic and feminine, but lacked the lace and frilliness associated with the bohemian style. Think trench coats, duster jackets, turtlenecks, classic button downs, and ankle boots. Apparently, this was what my heart was secretly yearning for.
Now that I knew what I liked, I began to look for style icons that fit my new style. For me, that was Emma Stone, Lily James and Lily Collins. Those ladies SLAY.
Another great resource for me was, surprisingly, YouTube. A lot of fashion bloggers have their own channels. They use them to display their seasonal lookbooks, as well as videos of their recent fashion hauls.
This was helpful because it not only showed me what to buy, but where to buy it. My favorites are Estée Lalonde, Allana Davison, Alix at I Covet Thee, and Suzie from Hello October.
3. Make a List (And Check it Twice)
Now that I knew what style I was leaning towards, I made a list of the clothes I wanted to buy. To keep myself organized, I was painfully specific. Instead of simply writing down “pants”, I scribbled “black slacks”. Instead of just “shirts”, I wrote down “turtlenecks” and “a white button down”.
Being specific leaves no room for interpretation. You’re a woman with a mission, and you gotta get it done.
4. Shopping Time
Now’s the best part! Or the worst, depending on if you actually like shopping.
To be frank, this does cost some major cash. I got most of my new clothes as birthday presents and by using money I received as a graduation gift. So if you’re planning a huge shopping trip, save up.
While I was shopping, I was extremely careful. Every time I picked up a piece of clothing, I asked myself: “Will this fit in with my wardrobe?” While I stuck to the items I had put on my list, there were a couple of other things to keep in mind. Would the color fit with the overall color scheme of my clothes? Does the style match my ~vision~?
And unfortunately, you do have to try clothes on. Yes, it’s a pain. But if it doesn’t fit, what’s the point?
It’s also important to invest in expensive, good quality pieces. Sure, it costs extra. But if you’re willing to go for it, you’ll have something that’ll last you a very long time.
By the end of the whole process, I had an entirely new wardrobe. Here’s what I got:
3 button-down shirts
4 pairs of pants
2 pairs of jeans
4 pairs of shoes
6 pairs of earrings (that came together)
If that seems like a lot of clothes, keep in mind that I basically had no clothes to start with. Also, I was shopping for workwear and casual wear. Plus, I definitely won't go shopping again any time soon.
So what can I leave you with, now that I've completed my journey and you're about to start yours? Honestly, it'd be this: buy and wear stuff that makes you happy. Put on clothes that make you think, "Daaaang, I look good!" Wear an outfit that makes you walk down the street with confidence. Slay, girl. SLAY.
Now, go forth! Get that new wardrobe. And good luck!
By Rachel Comish
As we watch world famous athletes compete in the Olympics, we ask ourselves: How can I relate to these accomplishments? Will I ever become an Olympian? Don’t worry, normal people have their own Olympic victories. Sometimes it’s getting into an exclusive school, sometimes it’s just getting off the couch.
No matter the level of difficulty, here are some non-Olympic events:
Sometimes you just have to lie on the couch for no particular reason…all day. You have your blanket, snacks, and laptop, why bother moving?
Once you’ve started a new show, it’s hard to stop. You think you’re ready to move on, but then there’s a huge cliffhanger at the end of the episode and you just have to know what happens next.
When you’re having a good hair day all week, who’s stopping you from bragging on Instagram? If your puppy is adorable, why hold back on Twitter? If you are the single most clever and awesome person in the world, why would you ever let a day go by without posting on Snapchat?
Watching Cat Videos
Cats are hilariously weird. Watching them be funny and adorable is the best way to recover from a stressful day.
Speeding Through Your Morning
You’ve perfected your morning routine. You know exactly how many times you can hit the snooze button. Your bag is ready, breakfast is a power bar, and your outfit is whatever clean clothes are left in your closet. You are ready to go and you’ve only been awake for 17 minutes.
Rush hour traffic is not for the faint of heart. Pay attention, blast your music, and feel free to scream at the other drivers while you try not to die.
You could totally be on The Voice, and your showerhead agrees. It takes skill to sing at the top of your lungs while washing your hair.
Finally, the ultimate event. The most cherished, most sought out, number one goal on everyone’s wish list. Sleeping in until you can’t sleep anymore. Laying in bed while the suckers drag themselves around outside in the real world. Lazing through dreams while snuggled with the secret teddy bear you never got rid of. The only morning in your world is when you go dancing at 2 am. 7 am is just a myth, for sure.
These events take some serious training, sometimes a whole lifetime of dedication. So whether you’re catching up on Once Upon a Time or spending all afternoon on an Instagram post, go for the gold.
By Rachel Comish
With everyone watching the Olympics, our focus is on teamwork and patriotism. Social media is blowing up with people cheering on their favorite athletes and encouraging their country.
With so many eyes on the hundreds of athletes from all over the world, it’s important to be able to differentiate the separate countries and who exactly we’re cheering for.
This is one of the few times everyone loves uniforms.
From glittery leotards to swim caps to jerseys, each country has their look. Some, like the US gymnasts, wear the actual flag across their leotards. Others, like the beach volleyball team, opt for a bright and simple look that will stand out. Others don’t even incorporate their countries colors, since most countries choose red and blue, and wear vibrant shades of pink just because they can.
So what’s the point of uniforms?
Uniforms create a sense of unity. They bring people together and set them apart from the other teams. When you wear a uniform, you know you are a part of something. Visually, uniforms give the sense of working towards a larger goal. Being dressed the same as a dozen or so other people immediately makes you feel more included and accepted.
Feeling more connected with your team pushes you to work harder for them. And it’s not just your own team that you can share that connection with, it’s every team competing for your country.
Teammates can identify each other by their uniform, which is great for the Olympic athletes who don’t necessarily know every athlete from their country. The volleyball and golf teams may not know each other, but they know they are competing for the same country because they have the same flag incorporated into their attire.
Likewise, viewers know who to root for. You might not usually watch soccer, but you know exactly who is representing your country just by looking at them.
Some of the bigger games can get chaotic with so many people and it would be hard to identify your team without jerseys. Swimmers usually have their flag on their swim caps, because that’s all you really see when they’re in the water.
You may also be used to seeing certain athletes compete against each other. A basketball team could consist of several star American players who come from a variety of teams. But they all join together for the Olympics and wear the same jersey.
It’s fun to see how everyone expresses their country pride through uniforms.
I especially like seeing the gymnasts, and not just because of the glitter. They get a little more freedom with choosing designs and it’s cool to see what they come up with and how they unite together using a simple outfit. It’s such an individual sport, but they do it as a team; which just shows that everything is better with moral support.
The Olympics have been amazing so far, and I can’t wait to see the rest of the events. Go team USA!
By Rachel Comish
Every bright eyed freshman has had that dream. You go to college, you meet all your new best friends, and have enormous adventures living together. Sometimes, that dream actually comes true. It usually takes a couple semesters of sorting people in and out of your life, but hopefully you find yourself living among friends.
Unfortunately, despite all our efforts, we’ve all had that one roommate that we just can’t stand.
They may be too noisy or messy. They may hate your friends and hobbies, or get offended by everything that you do. Hopefully they never go to the lengths of trying to sabotage your peace of mind. But hey, living with strangers is a big risk.
I’ve had my fair share of living with best friends and not so best friends. Here are some tips for making your home a peaceful place, even when eight strangers get shoved together in one apartment.
1. Space things out
Make sure everyone has enough space. Get the kitchen cupboards assigned, the fridge organized, the closet space sorted, and the bathroom/laundry schedules done. It doesn’t need to be detailed, but at least know where you can keep your laptop, flip flops, and leftovers.
2. Pay attention to schedules
Whether you’re in college or working, schedules can get crazy. Be mindful of the people around you. There are those who work the graveyard shift and those who pop up at the gym at 5 am. Some may need to chat every night and others might depend on showering at exactly 7:45 am in order to get to class on time. Everyone is different. It helps to know what time everyone has to get up, when they usually shower, and when the TV is available for movie nights.
3. Bonding activities
It’s fun to do things as an apartment. Invite everyone to something small, like getting ice cream. Don’t force it. Make sure everyone feels welcome, but not obligated. It’s a good way to at least know a little about the people you share four walls with and motivate everyone to care enough to try.
4. Know your limits
Sitting everyone down and having a discussion is a good way to start off a semester. See what everyone’s expectations are and how they can be accommodated. Know what people are ok with (taking over the kitchen for a baking spree but sharing the goodies) and what some might struggle with (one roommate having all her friends over every single night). You can’t compromise everything (the dishes must be done), but this allows everyone a chance to communicate honestly instead of letting the passive aggressive competition escalate for four months.
5. Be honest
If you have a problem, talk about it. This does not mean telling everyone and their mother what so and so did while your oblivious roommate continues to believe you’re friends. Pull that person aside and have a private conversation. It doesn’t need to be a big deal. If the problem has to do with everyone in the apartment, meet with everyone. Don’t be aggressive. Don’t be confrontational. The goal is to solve a problem, not prove that there is one.
I’ve had semesters where I lived with my best friends and it was amazing. I’ve also gone through semesters living with people I never want to see again. There’s also the in between, people you lived with but hardly spoke to and it was fine. Cramming half a dozen people into a small apartment can be tricky and there needs to be balance. But that balance takes work. Sometimes, you just have to be nice and hope for the best.
Hopefully, you can find that person you want to chat with at 3 am and keep them around.
By Rachel Comish
One of the European customs that I fell in love with was going to little patisseries and getting fruit tarts. It was the most quaint thing in the world to eat a teeny tiny little pie. There’s something about miniature desserts that seems so cute and classy. As an avid dessert maker/eater, this idea really stuck with me.
I’m not the only dessert person in my family. One of my favorite things to do with my sisters (when we’re not watching Gilmore Girls and eating Ben & Jerry ice cream) is baking.
While baking for a party, my sister discovered that if you take a muffin pan and a lemon bar recipe you can make delicious lemon tarts. So I took that and went a step further with a mini muffin pan and a pumpkin pie recipe.
Here is a great Pie Crust recipe for mini Pumpkin Pies:
Mix in a large bowl:
3 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cup shortening
Cut the shortening into the flour until it forms pea sized lumps. Do not over mix.
Mix in a small bowl:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
5 Tablespoons cold water
Add second mixture to first mixture.
Roll into cookie sized balls and press into pan.
Pour filling onto crust. For the pumpkin filling recipe, just look on a can of Libby’s 100% pumpkin.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, depending on size.
I like to squirt a little whipped cream on each mini pie, but that can melt pretty fast so keep them cold. And these pies don’t have to be pumpkin, you can fill them with cream cheese and berries, pudding, or even diced apples.
For lemon tarts, just take this lemon bar recipe and stick it in a muffin pan.
1 cup softened butter
½ cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
Pinch of salt
Press crust into pan and cook for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
4 beaten eggs
2 cups white sugar
¼ cup flour
6 Tablespoons lemon juice
Combine sugar and flour before mixing with eggs and lemon juice.
Pour filling onto crust. Bake an additional 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Let the tarts cool, then sprinkle powdered sugar on top.
Brownies are also a good dessert to bake in a muffin pan for individual mini brownies, which I would definitely recommend eating with whipped cream
I also like to melt candy on pretzels. Just lay out pretzels on a plate, set a piece of candy on each pretzel (my favorite are Rolos) and heat for 10-15 seconds.
Another goodie is filled strawberries. Just cut out the middle along with the stem, fill it with a bit of cream cheese and whipped cream, and freeze. You can also fill the strawberries with Nutella, or dip the strawberries in chocolate.
Clearly, there is no end to the novelty of bite sized deliciousness. So have fun being creative, and enjoy feasting on your hard work.
By Melanie Walker
92% of boys will have viewed pornography by the age of 16.
1 out of every 5 12 to 13-year-olds think viewing pornography is a normal part of life.
88% of pornography contains violence against women.
We’ve seen it in the movies: little brother steals his big brother’s Playboy magazine with a sheepish grin, reading in the confinement of his bedroom. But it’s no secret that pornography has been around for ages and now becoming more accessible than ever.
Pornography has become easier and easier to view for the average-joe: you can access it on your cell phone, your friend’s wifi, and even on a virtual reality headset. The push for pornography to be normalized and integrated into our everyday life is sickening, because the truth of it all is that pornography is an abhorrent lie.
And these lies are poisoning our culture as the normalization of pornography is pushed and seeped into mainstream media. Here are some of the lies porn will try to tell you, your siblings, your friends, and your future children:
Porn empowers women.
Everyone watches porn.
Men need porn.
Absolutely, and inexcusably, I give a vehement: NO.
Porn does NOT empower women
See that woman on the screen? She’s beautiful, a fantasy, and she seems to be enjoying herself. It looks like she likes what she does, so that makes it completely consensual.
This is one of the lies porn portrays. The audience knows little about what goes on behind the camera. In real life, majority of the women in the pornography industry are lured into the making of porn, there to be drugged, threatened, beaten into submission, blackmailed, and manipulated. Additionally, many sex-trafficked victims are sold into the pornography industry.
You may say, “Oh I don’t support sex-trafficking of women! That’s awful!” But what you don’t realize is that by watching pornography, you are supporting sex-trafficking because it’s impossible to determine if the females in the making of the film consented to what they were doing.
On the anti-porn organization Fight the New Drug’s (FTND) website, it states:
Research has also found that watching degrading porn increases users’ dominating and harassing behavior toward women, and leaves the user feeling less compassion for rape victims. Porn watchers are also more likely to express attitudes supporting violence against women—which is especially scary since those who support sexual violence are more likely to commit that kind of violence in real life.
Women empowerment? Yeah, right.
When would objectification and enslavement of women ever be considered empowerment?
NOT everyone watches porn
Many will try to tell young females and males that “everyone watches porn” so it makes it OK. But let me ask this: if everyone supposedly watches porn, then why does a man to sneakily watch it at 4:00 am, fearing that his wife may find out? What about a teenage girl looking at nudes under her covers, or a 10-year old boy waiting for his parents to leave for full computer access?
Entertainment in the form of film, novels, or graphics should be enjoyed openly alone or with others’ company. Not everyone watches porn. Such a statement is an overgeneralized fallacy porn uses to trick society into thinking it’s fine. “It’s not a big deal. It’s normal.”
Sex is natural, so what’s the difference? The difference is that sex is meant to be an intimate, special action shared between two people in love. Not between you and a male or female and a computer screen.
Men do NOT need porn
This is what a real man means to me: a real man is someone who pursues a woman he is interested in. A real man takes a woman out on a date. A real man respects women. A real man is more attracted to a woman’s personality than her body.
A real man does not hide behind a computer screen in search for attraction or
synthetic “love.” To degrade men by lumping them into another twisted generalization is not creating the progressive society we desperately need.
Men are capable, thinking, and intelligent human beings. Claiming that men need porn would be as sexist as saying women need cooking skills to be successful. Men can think and can control their bodily appetites even if the media, celebrities, or even your guy friends may say otherwise.
Your boyfriend doesn’t need porn. Your husband doesn’t need porn. No one needs porn, because porn is unnatural. It’s detrimental to a person’s health and relationships, and, again, is a lie.
“Part of porn’s fantasy is that a person can live in both worlds—that they can create a real, loving relationship, but also bring in thousands of other sexual partners as long as those partners are kept behind a computer screen” (FTND).
So What Now?
There is hope through all of this. You’re not a terrible person if you have viewed pornography; however, it is important to become aware of the harmful effects of watching it. If you’re addicted to porn or know someone who is, there are many different things you can do.
I present to you: Fight the New Drug. Check out their website. Check out their free recovery program for any issues with addiction or heartache. Learn more about the harmful effects pornography has on the brain, the heart, and the world. Join their fight to shed light on this growing issue and donate. Share their articles and inform others about the many different ways pornography deceives.
As for me, I choose to fight for love. I choose a lasting relationship with my boyfriend where we don’t need computer screens or devices to help us grow together. I choose to give all my love and devotion to him and not some stranger on my television or internet. Our relationship will grow knowing that the feeling is mutual.
I choose to not watch pornography because I do not need it.
I choose not to watch pornography because it is degrading.
And I choose not to watch pornography because I don’t want to be lied to.
By Rachel Comish
With all the crazy stuff going on right now (and completely depressing, I’d like to add), let’s remind ourselves what’s really important: adorable baby animals. Here are 15 fun facts about animals. I dare you not to smile:
The fear of animals is called Zoophobia.
When puppies play together, the boys try to lose so the girls will like them.
In China, killing a Panda is punishable by death.
A black panther is really just a black leopard.
Women, elephants, and humpback whales are the only mammals to experience menopause.
Sea otters hold hands when they sleep to keep from drifting apart on the water.
A kangaroo can’t hop if you lift its tail off the ground.
Dolphins only use half their brains to sleep, the other half stays awake so they can swim to the surface and breathe.
Giraffes don’t have vocal cords.
Elephants can’t actually drink through their trunks like a straw, unlike every cartoon we have ever seen.
Penguins are capable of jumping 6 feet out of water.
Gorillas can catch colds.
Dogs’ nose prints are the equivalent of a fingerprint.
Polar bears don’t have body heat.
Cats started meowing in an effort to communicate with humans. They don’t need to make any noise to communicate with each other.
And there you have it. Next time you’re feeling down, bust out one of these bad boys, Google search baby panda bears, or even find a live stream of kittens playing. Always remember: some-“bunny” loves you.
Images from www.unleashed.org
By Sadie Young
I almost wrote this article saying 5 excuses to make instead of being creative, but I need some motivation too! Everyone has something they are passionate about. Something they struggle with fitting into their schedule. For me, it’s writing. I LOVE writing. Do I do it every day? No. I’m lucky if I write once a week. Terrible, right? Well, hopefully this helps me as much as it helps you.
Keep a journal/sketch pad in your purse
This one is huge for me! You never know when you’re going to receive a stroke of genius. I like to frequent cafes and bakeries which is obviously the best place to come up with something amazing, duh. Where do you think J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter? Bring those journals or sketch pads with you everywhere you go and you’re bound to find something inspiring.
Host a creative night writing/painting/art/etc.
This sounds like some lame book club thing, right? It’s not! I have people over all the time for art nights. Even if it’s just to color and watch Netflix. This is a great way to be social AND get stuff done. Trust me, it’s fun.
Set aside a certain amount of time every week to do something creative
I have such a hard time with this one! The last thing I want to do when I get home from my job is do more work! I love writing, but it’s work! Disciplining yourself to do creative things every day is probably the best thing you can do to become better at whatever you are trying to accomplish.
Hang out with people that help fuel your creativity
There is nothing better than playing off of someone else’s creative mind. You can brain storm; you can get the motivation you need for your project. It’s great! Why would you be hanging out with boring, wet blanket people anyway?
Attend cultural events that showcase other people’s creativity
If you like to write, go to a book reading/signing. If you like theatre, go see a play. It’s pretty simple. Once you see the things people can accomplish, you have something to work for. The most difficult part is just starting! This should help you.
Alright, this should eliminate any excuses you have for being creative. Go do those things you love. Create something amazing!
By Rachel Comish
Summer brings so many more opportunities to try new things and meet new people. Between bonfires and barbeques, pool parties and beach days, drive in movies and concerts in the park, it's a time to branch out and put yourself out there.
But that's not always easy.
The lure of snuggling up with Netflix on the couch is real, and trying something new takes effort. But putting forth that effort once in a while is really good for you. Even if the night is a bust, at least you know that you tried.
You may have your solid group of friends, your go-to yoga buddy and backup dates. But things change. People graduate, they move, they get married, they study abroad, and sooner or later you will have to find new friends.
Let me tell you-- it is always rough. Putting yourself out there isn’t easy, but here are some things to keep in mind while friend hunting/getting constantly forgotten by your new friends:
Don't be afraid to be alone.
You can get some serious me time while looking for new experiences. That is good! It’s a wonderful opportunity for self-reflection. You can get used to yourself and figure out what you really want. Going places alone isn’t sad, so enjoy yourself and don’t apologize for being momentarily friendless.
Focus on others.
Let yourself get dragged to random parties even if you only know a couple people. Talk to people, ask them about themselves and actually listen. Most people love talking about themselves, so be friendly and get them to open up. Even if you never hear from them again, you’ll at least have heard some interesting stories.
When you are constantly chatting up potential new best friends but left hanging, it’s easy to be bitter. Try to stay positive. Sure, your calendar is empty and your phone isn’t ringing. That does not mean you are not an interesting, dynamic, worthwhile individual with goals and skills. Know who you are and don’t let your social life dictate your self-worth.
Most of all, keep trying.
Keep going to activities. Keep inviting yourself to parties. Go see a movie by yourself. Go to your favorite burger joint and eat inside the restaurant instead of using the drive through. Put yourself out there and be nice to the people around you. Sooner or later, someone is going to decide to keep you. In the meantime, have fun exploring your independence.