"I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You have to go out and kick ass."  ~Maya Angelou


“Some friendships carry us through a

certain time in our lives, then end…”

     There’s no one like your best friend. You know, that one girlfriend you go shopping with, tell all your secrets to, and go to when life’s lesson are too tough to go through alone. But your best friend can also be your most dangerous ally. She’s had a glance into your heart and mind. She had a front row seat on the emotional rollercoaster that isyour life and she knows how to use it against you. She understands how to encourage you, but most importantly, she knows what breaks you down. When in need, women seek out other female friends for consolation, while it may have been another woman who put her there.So what happens when your best friend becomes your worst enemy? How do you know when it’s time to end a friendship?
     Nothing lasts forever; including friendships. So whoever came up with that B.F.F. crap is full of it. The truth is, people drift apart. But sometimes friendships end on purpose. “Some friendships carry us through a certain time in our lives, then end…”, explains Linda Sapadin, Ph.D a Long Island based clinical psychologist. Like any relationship, friendships have their ups and downs. But there are some things that just can’t be forgiven: your friend tries to sleep with your boyfriend, steals something that belongs to you, gossips about your sex secrets, or does something that might put you or someone else in jeopardy. Your best friend can hurt you more than any other person. And when the friendship starts to hurt, it’s time to let it go.
     Just ask Mya*, a 21- year old student from California. Mya did everything with her best friend Olivia*. Since the day they met in their freshman year in high school, they were inseparable. After high school, they both got accepted to Spelman College in Atlanta, and roomed together. They were so much alike in so many ways and people always compared them to one another. And it didn’t help that they looked like they could be sisters. They even got jobs working at the same department store. But that, Mya says, was the problem. “Because we were always together, we were always compared to each other. She always tried to better than me at everything. She was always in like this unspoken competition with me, that I didn’t know about.
     Mya says she had begun to question her friendship with Olivia their freshman year in college-when Mya got a boyfriend. “I think she was jealous of my relationship, not only because she didn’t have a boyfriend, but because she wasn’t getting as much of time as she used to when it was just me and her,” Mya says. “The next thing I know, she’s telling all her friends private things about me and my relationship. People were coming up to me at school asking me about me and my boyfriend; things that I know she told them because she was the only one who knew.”
     It wasn’t until Mya was offered a job promotion that she decided Olivia’s jealousy and competitiveness was stronger their friendship. “I was promoted at work which meant I would get a huge raise and boss and be Olivia’s new boss.” And that was something Olivia couldn’t allow. Olivia went behind Mya’s back by telling their boss that Mya wasn’t interested in the position, and that she was the woman for the job. “I was angry and I felt betrayed. I knew she would be jealous but I never thought she would take it that far. That’s when I realized she was never really my best friend at all and I didn’t need her in my life.”

"Accept that the friendship is over, extract the bad moments from recent memory bacnk, and remeber the goos times you had, instead."

    Toxic friends- You don’t always know when the girl you think is your best friend isn’t really a friend at all; But Dr. Felecia F. Ferrara, psychologist, says that you can identify a bad friend by
asking yourself these questions: Is your best friend spiteful or overly jealous? Does she make you act or feel out of character? Does she disrespect, ridicule, or put you down in front of others? “If your answer is yes to these questions, the friend ship is toxic. You have to take a hard stand and cut that person out of your life,” Dr. Ferrara says.
Breaking Up- Once you’ve recognized the friendship is no good, it’s time to let her go. Julia Bourland, author of The Go-Girl Guide, stresses how importance it is to address the conflict immediately to see if it’s something that can be worked out. “A girl talk is good because it can remind you why you’re friends in the first place. If not addressed it can cause tension,” she says. But if the talk doesn’t lead to positive changes or if you can’t talk without one of you getting upset and angry, that is a sign that the friendship is ending. Bourland says there are a few ways to end a friendship. “You can fade the friend out of your life or tell her directly.” To fade her away and to back out of a circle of friends, simply start turning down invites. Refuse to make plans. Keep yourself busy so that it’s impossible to hook up,” says Bourland. But if you decide to tell her flat out that you don’t want to be friends, Ferrara says to be firm but respectful.
      The Aftershock- Once she’s out of your life, you may feel lonely, depressed or confused. But Bourland says it’s natural to feel that way after letting go of someone you were close to. “For emotional balance, if nothing else it’s always wise to mourn the loss of a true friend, even if ending it was your idea. Accept that the friendship is over, extract the bad moments from your recent memory bank, and remember the good times you had, instead.”

* The names of individuals have been changed for privacy reasons.
By: Niccole Culver

Broke & Bourgeois:Learning to live within your means

      You’re at the check out counter with arms full of jackets, jeans, and just about everything else you could think of to buy. As the sales associate rings you up, that feeling of remorse comes over as your total steadily increases. You didn’t plan on spending that much, but you just couldn’t resist those one day sale  signs. Now, your total is well over your budget. You can either put back those designer jeans that all your girlfriends said they wanted but you will be the first to have, or you can put back that handbag that you saw Beyonce with  on TV that costs twice as much as the jeans.  Just as you’re about to make that seemingly fatal decision, the sales associate asks if you would like to sign up for their department store credit card. She paints a pretty picture by telling you that if you apply, you can save 15 percent off your purchase, plus receive coupons in the mail. That’s perfect! Now you can afford all that, and still be able to go to that party that everyone is talking about. You might even be able to grab a bite to eat with your girlfriends at that high profile, over-priced restaurant downtown. So what if you’re a little on your bills. You’re going to be the hottest girl there. What more could you ask for?
     If this sounds familiar, then this is where you need to start paying close attention. A study performed at the University of Illinois found that female college students are at high risk of mismanaging and misusing credit cards. If that doesn’t surprise you, then maybe this will. That same study showed that African-American and mixed race women are more likely to incur credit card debt than white woman, which can ultimately lead to poverty. “Women spend within context to pressure to maintain social status,” says Angela Lyons, Assistant Professor  of Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois. 
     As college aged women, it’s easy to want more than your measly allowances will allow you to have. You want to be able to go the club, eat out, and of course, shop. You don’t want to have to worry about student loans, bills, and credit card debt.  That’s why many college women find themselves over-indebted with credit card bills and late fees before they’ve even received their degrees.
     “Granted, it’s a pain to schedule your life around cheap alternatives but it’s a much bigger pain getting out of credit card debt,” says Julia Bourland, author of The Go-Girl Guide: Surviving Your 20s with Savvy, Soul, and Style. And she’s right. So before that credit card burns a whole in your pocket, consider setting a budget and sticking to it. Bourland says that 10 percent of your monthly income should go directly into a savings account. Once all other expenses are paid, shopping and entertainment should come last.
     To avoid over-spending and over-shopping, ask yourself, ‘Do I really need this? How long will it last? Can I find it cheaper somewhere else?’ And before applying for that department store credit card, keep in mind that store cards carry higher interest rates, which makes it harder to pay them off. If you can’t live without credit cards, pay back as much as possible as soon as possible instead of just paying the minimum balance.
     “Food seems to taste better when your with your friends,” Bourland says. So if you’re constantly eating up your money or blowing it on your weekly ladies’ night out”, Bourland suggests eating Saturday or Sunday lunch and catching a matinee movie as opposed to a Friday night dinner and movie.
     For those of you who have student loans, try to start a payment plan before graduating. This will lessen your balance and make things easier in the long run. If you have a lot of loans to pay back, consider debt consolidation, which can discount the amount of the loans.
     Many young women feel that by not being able to go out, eat out with friends or having bills to pay before they’ve even lived deprives them of the general fun and  frivolous 20-something experience they see on TV. But living within your means doesn’t mean you can’t still go shopping and have fun. “You can still enjoy life on a budget,” Bourland says. Just remember that college is only a short period of your life, but the financial mistakes you make while you’re there can last forever.

By: NC


With Marcus Randall

     Marcus Randall is more than just a pretty face. He’s a smart and sexy model on a mission to take over the fashion world. Randal is young, dark, handsome and damn near perfect! This 21 year-old bachelor from Los Angeles has only been modeling for about two years, but has the look, talent and the body of someone who has been in the game for much longer.
     Everyone knows the fashion industry is one of the most competitive and cut throat industries out there. So getting his foot in the door was no easy task. “I would spend all day, everyday searching the Internet, going to castings and networking any chance I got. I would take any opportunity to be seen,” Randall says. And being seen is what he loves to do. “I've always loved to be in front of the camera and be the main attraction,” he says.
     Ever since he was “discovered” Randall has been working non-stop. He’s done a ton of fashion shows and photo shoots. He recently showed off his chiseled, 5'9'' frame in an underwear ad for Fantastics Magazine. Although he loves modeling, Randall says it’s not always all it’s cracked up to be. He tells a story of when he was first staring out as a model and was hired to do a show. He showed up on time and ready to perform. He worked the run-way and the crowed. But when it was time to get paid, his agent disappeared. “I guess it’s kind of funny when I look back on it but at the time I was pissed!” he laughs. “I learned a big lesson that day though,” he says. “It wasn't what I expected. It was a situation where things were set to go one way and went the exact opposite, but it being my first job as a model I embraced it.”
     But he didn’t let that stop him from pursuing his dream of becoming the next big name in modeling. Randall learned you have to take the good with the bad. Today, Randall continues to work hard to make a name for himself in the industry. “I'm going to be the face of many campaigns and commercials. I want to build an acting career. I want to be the next Tyson Beckford. I want everything!” he says; including a girl friend.
      This laid back Virgo  is looking for more than just a groupie. He wants someone who is stylish, intelligent and classy. But dating is isn’t at the top of his to-do list. Outside of modeling, Marcus works part-time and attends Antelope Valley College in California. So his search to find the perfect girl, who he jokingly describes as a “Megan Good look-alike who is understanding”, will have to wait until he’s ready to settle down.

     When asked what sets him apart from everyone else, he says, “I don't think I'm only different from male models, I feel that I'm  different from everyone; I'm my own person. I strive to be different and standing alone is my specialty. I'm not afraid to be me regardless!” And we love him exactly the way he is.

By: NC