‘After’: The Dangers of Lust and Idolized Fictional Romance

Should We Really Be Excited About After We Collided?

Tessa and Hardin’s relationship shouldn’t be admired as ideal love.

After follows college freshman Tessa Young (Josephine Langford) as she meets and is swept into a whirlwind of lust over tattooed British bad boy Hardin Scott (Hero Fiennes Tiffin). The film is adapted from Anna Todd’s enormously popular After series, based on her Harry Styles fan-fiction. The series has racked up 1.5 billion views on Wattpad and sold 15 million print copies. 

After masks the problematic dynamics of Tessa and Hardin’s relationship under a blanket of passion. They aren’t #relationshipgoals or #couplegoals, yet die-hard fans of the fiction are obsessed with the pair. 

Tessa and Hardin’s attraction to one another stems from the concept of “opposites attract.” This form of lust can be dangerous, as it’s idealized and can blind individuals to some obvious reasons they should not pursue a relationship with a potential partner. Many people are attracted to the “bad boy” in hopes of proving they can get the guy, play therapist, and mold them to their liking. Some simply love the extreme highs and lows of the relationship as if it’s a drug and they need their daily fix.  

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Hardin has a lot of emotional baggage due to his upbringing with his father. If you’ve read the fan-fiction, you’ll recognize that his fluctuating emotions are going to be psychological torture and exhausting for Tessa. The film didn’t include all of the arguments the pair had in the Wattpad and novels, including Hardin wanting Tessa to stay away from basically everyone in her life and only sees him. He is often nasty and disrespectful towards her and admits that he’s “just an a**hole.” 

When you’re young and inexperienced in love, Hardin’s behavior is easily dismissable, as it’s viewed as him being emotional or even romantic because he wants Tessa all for himself. But that’s not the truth. A lover should never attempt to dictate their partner’s life. That’s obsessive, manipulation, controlling, and mental abuse – and it isn’t cute.

Hardin displays his emotions by breaking glass and punching walls. In the novel, Tessa describes one instance where she thinks Hardin will slap her. This behavior is dangerous, and its magnitude is unpredictable. If you’re in a relationship and fear your lover will hit you, you need to end that relationship for your safety and sanity. 

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Anna Todd – Photo Credit: BBC

While writing After, Anna Todd told Refinery29 she was upset with how Hardin treated Tessa and didn’t want them together, “I was like, ‘He should just be alone forever and be miserable.’” Todd added, “I don’t know if I wanted them to end up together. I just wrote it, and they had to be.” 

Does the pair have to live happily ever after? No, but since this is fiction, fan service is required. The problem is, people invest in these characters as if they’re real and start to seek a Hardin of their own. Therein lies the danger of someone assuming the turmoil in their relationship is normal – because Tessa and Hardin went through the same thing.  

The one thing After gets right is that young love is complicated by naivety and driven by hormones. We can’t blame every bad decision on hormones, but they can contribute to illogical decisions that make you wonder what exactly you were thinking later.

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Let’s not forget Tessa had a boyfriend named Noah. The writers made their relationship seem vanilla so fans could obsess over Tessa and Hardin getting together and dismiss the fact that Tessa cheated on Noah…TWICE. If things were reversed and Noah cheated on Tessa for a bad girl, would he be considered a jerk? If so, what does that make Tessa? Or did fans see Tessa leveling up so cheating on Noah wasn’t a big deal? This double standard is ideal for another discussion.

The sequel, After We Collided, will be released in 2020. If you haven’t read the fan-fiction, from the sound of the title, you know more drama is coming.

**A freelance movie review completed for Wishbone.**

10 Heartwarming Stories That’ll Uplift Your Spirits — Wishbone App

**Freelance article I wrote for Wishbone. You may view the full article at the link below.**

Flightless Pigeon Bonds With Paralyzed Chihuahua

Lundy is unable to move his hind legs due to swimmer’s syndrome while Herman has an untreatable neurological disorder. The Mia Foundation’s founder, Sue Rogers, put them together, and they bonded immediately. The foundation has received thousands of dollars in donations since posting the dynamic duo on social media.

Two-Legged Dog Wants To Be The Next Cadbury Bunny

Lieutenant Dan is on track to become the Cadbury mascot. His fellow competitors include two cats named Eggbert and Lunchbox, a llama named Conswala, and a pig named Ducksong. Assuming he wins, he’ll receive $5,000 and star in a Cadbury commercial. UPDATE: Lieutenant Dan wone the contest!

A $2,500 Tip Leaves Restaurant Workers In Tears

Due to restaurant closures, The Coaches Bar and Grill in Columbus, OH was preparing to shut down before one loyal patron left a $2,500 tip for a $29.75 check. Yes, you read that right! The patron requested to remain anonymous and for the tip to be split evenly amongst the staff. What an unbelievable act of kindness!

View image on Twitter

For the full 10, visit the website below.

via 10 Heartwarming Stories That’ll Uplift Your Spirits — Wishbone App

The History of the Fork

Random word of the day is “fork.”

Did you know the use of a fork was once seen as evil?

The origins of the fork date back to the Eastern Roman Empire of Byzantium but some of the earliest known table forks made their debut in Ancient Egypt. The Qijia, who resided in part of present-day China, also are known to have used forks. The utensil migrated west after Byzantine princess, Theodora Anna Doukaina married the Venetian doge in 1075, brought the utensil to Venice. God-fearing Venetians saw the fork as a monstrosity.

God in his wisdom has provided man with natural forks – his fingers. Therefore it is an insult to Him to substitute artificial metallic forks for them when eating. -St. Peter Damian

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In the 16th century during the Italian Renaissance, the popularity of forks began to grow when Catherine de Medici brought along a set of eating forks from her native Florence to France. People also became more aware of hygiene and didn’t want their food covered in filth. Men still preferred to use their fingers as forks were deemed too feminine.

By the 18th century, the upper-class began carrying forks as part of their utensils set. During the industrialization period, the middle and lower-class gained access to the “split spoon.”

In 1633, John Winthrop, a founding father of the Massachusetts Bay Colony received a case of utensils accompanied by a note stating, “for the useful application of which I leave to your discretion.” At this time, the proper use of a fork was still unknown. Once the Americans grew accustomed to the fork, their dining etiquette was critiqued by international users. Everything from how Americans held the fork and whether or not the tines should be facing up or down as you ate the food was a source of controversy.

The popularity of forks blossomed and several variations were created.

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So the next time you use your fork, take a closer look. It had a long journey to become a staple in our lives.

 

’90s Candy You Probably Forgot About

A friend and I were reminiscing about our childhoods and landed on a lengthy candy conversation. We were naming candies we used to love, forgot about, and wished we had at that moment. When we thought about the sweet treats we used to eat, we quickly realized our teeth should have fallen out a long time ago. Let’s take a walk down memory lane.

**I know some of these still exist and/or were in production before the ’90s.**

Bubble Jug

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Remember the powder we shook into our mouth that turned into bubblegum? We already had packs of bubblegum, so why anyone thought it was a good idea to turn it into a powder is beyond me.

Life Savers Holes

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Life Savers Gummies already existed, so maybe the company was trying to prevent waste by selling the holes they punched out of the ring gummies. I remember having these a handful of times before they quietly disappeared from stores.

Mamba

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Whenever I could afford these, I considered them an upgrade from Now & Later. THESE were delicious, but my circle of friends would try to sell or swap out the lemon flavor. Why does the lemon flavor always get the bad rap?

Mega Jawbreaker 

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The mega jawbreaker never made any sense to me. It took forever to finish a normal jawbreaker. Why would anyone want to buy a mega-size only to lick it for five years? OK, maybe not five years, but you get the point. My friends used to break it into pieces with a hammer.

String Thing

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You were either a Fruit Roll-ups or String Thing fan. String Thing, in my opinion, was long Twizzlers, but with better flavor.

Push Pop Candy

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I told my friend this was the best candy invention ever. The idea that kids were constantly running around playing and needed a candy that could retract back into its packaging and placed in their pocket was amazing.

Now and Later Candy

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These were my go-to! One mini pack cost 25¢ and a long pack cost 50¢. For the longest time, I never knew there was an “and” in the name. I referred to them as Now Laters.

Candy/Bubblegum Cigarettes and Cigars

I remember my first pack of smokes. When you blew into the cigarettes, the sugar would act like smoke. They would never sell these to kids today for obvious reasons. Good thing I knew smoking was bad growing up. I can see how this could have led to kids wanting to smoke. Yikes!

Laffy Taffy

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My mouth watered when I thought of these. If I didn’t have enough money for Now and Laters, Laffy Taffy was my next option. I think they cost about 10¢ a piece.

Sugar Daddy and Sugar Babies

I can go on forever about candy from my childhood, but I’ll end it on this teeth buster. I didn’t eat these that often because the feeling of my teeth being ripped out wasn’t pleasant.

Button Candy

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I’m going to be 100% honest. This had to be one of the dumbest candy ever! The struggle to get a “button” off without peeling the paper was a struggle. I can’t count how many times I either tossed the “button” or ate it with the paper on because I didn’t want to waste candy. To make things worse, they weren’t even good.

If you ate any of these candies as a kid and still have your teeth, kudos! I know I didn’t list every candy. If your childhood favorite isn’t on the list, list yours in the comments.

 

 

Unique Coffee Drinks You Can Make at Home

With so many varieties of coffee in the world, why settle with using sugar and cream? Introduce your tastebuds to something new with these unique coffee drinks you can make at home.

Bicerin

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A popular coffee in Northern Italy, bicerin is made with hot chocolate, dark espresso, and steamed whole milk or sometimes cream. You can also use milk alternatives. Recipe: Salt & Wind

Affogato

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If you’re looking for a dessert coffee, the “affogato al cafe” or “drowned in coffee” in English, is made with Italian espresso and chocolate or vanilla gelato. Feel free to experiment with different gelato flavors for more options. Recipe: Eataly

Barraquito

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Barraquito is popular on the western coast of Spain and features layers of coffee, hot milk, condensed milk, cinnamon, lemon zest, and liqueur. The primary recipe uses 43, but you may also use Tía María liqueur. Recipe: Tenerife

Oatmeal Latte

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Enjoy your breakfast and latte in one cup! This unique recipe will have you wondering if you should scoop or sip. Whichever you prefer, just enjoy this two in one latte. Recipe: How Sweet Eats

Yuanyang

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Try the flavors of Hong Kong with this Yuanyang coffee. This coffee has aromatic espresso but elevated with the flavors of milk tea. It has a rich, balanced flavor that isn’t too sweet. Recipe: The Spruce Eats

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

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Instead of adding milk or half & half to your iced coffee, used sweetened condensed milk for more flavor and sweetness. Recipe: Steamy Kitchen

Snickerdoodle Latte

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The flavor of a snickerdoodle cookie in a cup? Yes, please! Creating this latte is way easier than the cookie recipe. House of Yumm provided additional latte recipes including Nutella, pumpkin spice, and salted caramel using the same base recipe. Score! Recipe: House of Yumm

Freelance Writing: Realtor Interview – Samantha Johnson

**Freelance Writing – Realtor Interview: The Name Was Changed**

Samantha Johnson has been in the industry since 2001 but started as a receptionist at Frontier Real Estate Better Homes and Gardens at 16 years of age. She started studying for her real estate license at the age of 18 and is now a Top Producer for the Northwest Denver Metropolitan area including Fort Collins, Louisville, and Lafayette. Samantha, who can fit more into 24 hours than Beyonce, specializes in first time home buying, REO, and short sales. 

As an independent agent with West + Main Homes, Samantha utilizes well-rounded marketing campaigns including lead generation, blogs, flyers, open-houses, and unique virtual tours that allow clients to feel as though they’re physically exploring a new home whether at a coffee shop or their office.

As a successful agent, Samantha establishes rapport and builds trust by alleviating the stress that accompanies buying or selling a home. “Putting myself in their shoes in number one,” she says. “Number two, I always try to be ridiculously available. Real estate does not happen 9 to 5. I live my life on calls for my clients because that’s why I’m here. I never want to be that agent that never gets them to the right property on time.”

The real estate process isn’t easy, but with proactivity, an agent, “can see some of the roadblocks ahead of the curve and you come up with a strategy before you even hit an obstacle, I think it just sets everything up for success.” She’s grateful for her new and returning clients and shows her appreciation for referrals by sending flowers or pop-bys to deepen her relationships. If the opportunity is available, she also donates a portion of her commission to a charity of her client’s choice.

Samantha also gives back to her community by holding food drives for her local food bank and supports a child in Africa via Out of Ashes — a non-profit charitable organization combating human trafficking, child prostitution, and provides aid for the poor and marginalized.

As for her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three children and sharing family updates on social media. Her family is her “entire world” and she spends as much time with them as possible. She loves going to new restaurants, coffee shops, breweries, and hanging out with friends.

Considering the years to come, Samantha plans on continuing to be proactive, increasing sales, and expanding her social media business presence by creating a YouTube channel to increase her video exposure and build content. Her goal is to educate people on the real estate process. “I want to be a resource where they can click on a video and learn about the inspection, learn about the process, how much money do I need to have down,” she explains. “Just have a library of content that on a Saturday morning, they can grab a cup of coffee, watch a video, and become educated.”

Samantha wants the real estate process to be easy for her clients no matter what side of the transaction they’re on.

Metacritic Names The Last of Us Game of the Decade and Here’s Why

Naughty Dog’s writers and developers received multiple accolades for The Last of Us. Now, they can add Game of the Decade to their list thanks to Metacritic voters. The Last of Us beat out runner-up The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and third place winner The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The PlayStation exclusive, originally released in 2013, wasn’t even on store shelves before winning Most Anticipated Game at the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards. The post-apocalyptic game became one of the best-selling PS3 games and was ported to the PS4 as The Last of Us Remastered in 2014.

Although the game has been praised for its stealth mechanics and overall gameplay, what makes The Last of Us stand out is its five-time award-winning storytelling. It distanced itself from the saturated zombie genre by including cinematic cues and traditional videogame aesthetics.

Neil Druckmann and his team developed a story that immersed players into a world that made them feel empathy through control. Instead of playing a standard third-person shooter, players became Joel and Ellie. The naturalness of conversations and the subtle A.I. changes made the game more intense, relatable, and life-like. As a result, players were invested in these characters and their journey. 

The empathy gained during 12+ hours of gameplay made the ending more memorable for players. Numerous articles and subreddits were created to discuss Joel’s final decision. Depending on the player, the game may have revealed a moral or philosophical position they weren’t aware of.

SPOILERS

“I love it because in a game that’s basically all about saving the world, in the end, the protagonist is selfish and decides not to. Seriously how rare is that?” – AndrewTheGoat22, Reddit Member

“So Joel accepts his fate and forces Ellie into the hell on earth with him. What a selfish prick. ‘You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.’ Damn you Naughty Dog.” – LargeSticker, Reddit Member

“That last bit was always my sticking point in siding with Joel. People say Ellie would have chosen to die… maybe so, but she didn’t get to make that choice! If Joel is bad for robbing her of that choice then Marlene is equally guilty of the same thing.” – ZapRowsdower, Reddit Member

“I feel like it was the dirtiest decision Jole [sic] had to make… choosing between a girl he views as his daughter and saving the world? He already lost a daughter, but then making that decision? I feel like he made the wrong choice saving her, but it makes me relate to him more because that’s what I would have chosen.” – HemaL2, Reddit Member

With The Last of Us Part II taking place five years after the first game’s events, players will discover how Ellie and Joel’s relationship has changed. Ellie will be the protagonist, so it’ll be interesting to see her character development and how she has grown in her harsh environment. 

Will Druckmann and his team subvert from conventional storytelling? Will they strike gold again?

The Last of Us Remastered is available on PS4.

The Last of Us Part II will be released on May 29, 2020 on PS4.

6 Things to Know Before Buying Commercial Real Estate

**Originally Written for Keller Williams Realty**

Commercial real estate can be a profitable venture. If you’re new to commercial real estate investing, you need to understand the risk and benefits. Here are six things you need to know before procuring commercial real estate.

Types of Commercial Real Estate

Commercial real estate is more than just office space or warehouses. Commercial real estate can be translated to property used for business purposes. Types of commercial real estate properties can include retail, hotels, motels, residential, industrial and land (developed or undeveloped). Determine which property is right for your investment.

Do Your Homework

Visit a variety of properties. Figure out what works and doesn’t work for your needs. Contemplate the price and the condition of the property. Location is very important. Don’t just look at the property. Investigate the surrounding area. How is the neighborhood doing? Are any changes expected to happen that would impact the property? Determine why the owner is selling. Discovering their reason can impact your final decision.

Gather a Team of Experts

You’ll need to hire a commercial real estate lawyer, mortgage broker, a certified public accountant with experience in commercial real estate and a commercial realtor. Depending on the complexity of the property, you may need to hire environmental specialists, engineers or appraisers. Never attempt to go through the entire process without professional help.

Secure Finances

Many people cannot finance the purchase of commercial real estate on their own. Determine which banks or credit unions you can use for a commercial loan. Ask the current owner if they assist with financing. Consider finding an investor to help you raise funds. There is always more than one way to finance commercial real estate.

Don’t Sign Anything Without Your Lawyer’s Approval

Once you make an offer and it’s accepted, have your lawyer explain every detail of the agreement. There will be some commercial real estate vocabulary you may not know. Your lawyer needs to verify that all necessary information was included in the written agreement.

Due Diligence

Make sure there are no issues with the property that can impact your business. Hire a property inspector to ensure the property is in working condition. If any issues are discovered, negotiate with the seller over any work that is required. Make sure you acquire the appropriate insurance coverage and it goes into effect on the date you become the owner. Sellers are required to disclose any property or environmental issues that may compromise the property. Review the disclosure to determine if you have to take any additional steps to meet property or environment regulations. If you discover the seller wasn’t truthful about the property, you have every right to cancel the transfer of funds.

Buying commercial real estate can be a lengthy process, but if you do your research and surround yourself with professionals, the process will be a lot smoother. Alex Biliouris can help represent you on this journey. Call him today at 401-352-4607!

 

10 Stress Busters to Live a Better Life

It’s hard to combat stress and anxiety in a world that can drive you insane. It’s normal to feel stressed or anxious about situations that make you feel frustrated, nervous and uneasy. When it starts interfering with your daily life, that may indicate a more serious issue.

How to Manage Stress and Anxiety

Eat a Well Balanced Diet
When it comes to appetite, stress and anxiety can either make you eat more or less. When I’m stressed, all I want to do is eat and sleep the day away. It may be difficult, but you have to continue to fuel your body with a well-balanced diet. Never skip a meal, eat energy-boosting foods and drink plenty of water.

Discover Your Triggers
Something in your life is triggering your stress or anxiety. Family, work, school, relationships, or friends may be the cause. Keep track of when you feel fine and when you become irritable, nervous or experience any other physical symptoms. Try to avoid stressors if possible. Writing in a diary and keeping track of your emotions will also help.

Exercise
Exercise helps increase the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins. Physical activity allows you to focus on getting through your workout which results in a better mood. For me, it is hard to feel motivated enough to work out, but once I force myself to get up and start moving, the workout takes over and I’m proud I did it.

Talk to Someone
Keeping in feelings is never a good thing. Open up to friends or family that you trust. Simply expressing yourself can relieve stress. Talking to someone can also lead to advice you can utilize. I find this difficult to do for myself because I feel like I’m going to be judged or my feelings will be tossed to the side. Choose who you talk to carefully. Don’t talk to those who are self-centered and wouldn’t care about your thoughts. Choose someone who is empathetic.

Sleep
Stress and anxiety are exhausting on the body. Getting at least eight hours of sleep is important for your body to properly get rest.

Time-Out
Listen to music, go to the movies, take a hot bath, meditate, do yoga or simply go for a walk alone. Do something for yourself! Step away from the stressful moment to mentally breathe and clear your head.

Limit Alcohol and Caffeine
Avoid the “I need a drink” mentality. Caffeine stimulates your nervous system. This can result in a rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure. Sipping on a little alcohol may seem nice, but alcohol stimulates the production of the same hormones that produce stress. A study at the University of Chicago revealed alcohol and stress feed each other.

Keep a Positive Mindset 
If the only thoughts running through your head are negative, your outlook on life will be negative. Our minds can generate so many negative thoughts and scenarios. Positive thinking just means approaching situations in a more positive and productive manner. Self-talk, the little voice in your head, is the most damaging of all. Learning how to shift your thoughts will allow you to cope with stressful situations.

Don’t Be Hard on Yourself
Many times stress and anxiety are caused by an individual trying to be perfect or live up to certain expectations. Everyone is different and being perfect isn’t possible. We live in a social media world where everyone only shows the good in life causing a false image of their lifestyle. This causes envy or jealousy. Be the best you can be. Perfection doesn’t exist. Everyone is struggling with something regardless of how pretty that picture is.

You Can’t Control Everything
Being able to accept things that are out of your control will help you manage stress. There are times when you have to stop resisting and embrace the lesson. There are times when you can’t change things and that’s OK. It’s hard, but it needs to be done. Put things into perspective by asking yourself, is it as bad as it could be?

“Of course there is no formula for success except, perhaps, an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.” ~Arthur Rubinstein

Though you can use these tips for stress management on your own, if you feel as though your stress and anxiety is unmanageable, please seek professional help or ask others to help you find the support you need.

Utilize the helpful tips above to live a happy and stress-free life that you deserve.

Real Estate Marketing – Luxury Apartments Social Media

While freelancing for Show My Property TV, I was responsible for managing multiple social media accounts for luxury apartments across the United States. The goal for each luxury apartment was to increase move-ins via lead generation and share information about their properties on social media channels.

My social media management included creating social copy, producing graphics for ads and social media pages, increasing website traffic, lead generation, and showcasing the surrounding area to help boost interest in the properties. Each property had a different demographic to target, so all ads were adjusted accordingly via Facebook Business Manager. My lead generation ad generated 85 leads in one month at an average cost of $3.50 per lead and a relevancy score of 10.

 

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