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Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year: Things to Leave Behind & Things to Keep

This past year was filled with wonderful trends: bike-sharing programs in major cities throughout the country, artisan donuts, super speedy 4G, hilarious vines and more. Here’s what we’d like to leave in 2013 and what we’re looking forward to in 2014…

What to leave behind:

1. Internet Buzz Phrases like Selfie, #YOLO and Swag

Selfie: It seems the focus on self was more prominent than ever in 2013. The self-portrait snapped with a smartphone and shared on social networking sites has become a staple in our culture’s quest for attention.

#YOLO: Initially created to inspire people to live life to the fullest, you only live once has been around for years. While considered to be the biggest buzzword of 2012, YOLO has overstayed its welcome well into 2013. While we love the message behind the acronym, we are disappointed with its current promotion of idiocy.

#SWAG: Swag has quickly become the catchphrase for egomaniacs everywhere. Bragging about how much swag you have garners negative attention and no one will take you seriously, especially if your “swag” is actually nonexistent. Sorry, Justin Bieber.

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2. Twerking: Twerking has been around for years, but until recently was reserved for dance clubs and less savory establishments. Thanks to Miley Cyrus and her infamous VMA performance, twerking has become a national phenomenon. As Jay-Z said, “somewhere in America, Miley Cyrus is twerking.” And the more she twerks, the more we lose faith in humanity.

3. Going Gluten free for no reason: Eating gluten-free foods is necessary for those who have gluten intolerance and Celiac Disease, which you would think effects 50 percent of the population because of how the gluten-free craze has taken over health blogs and grocery stores. However, it really only effects one percent of Americans. In 2014, how about we all just strive to eat a balanced diet of healthy foods.

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4. Instagraming Food: Instagram is a foodie’s dream. It’s a platform for smartphone photographers to document their culinary adventures. I’m sure the soup you had at dinner was delicious, just like you captioned it, I’m not completely convinced, Martha Stewart…

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5. Photo filters: The only thing worse than hundreds of food photos on Instagram is the over usage of fancy photo filters. However, the worst offenders are those who proudly caption their retouched photos: #nofilter. Yes, that hyper-saturated picture of your dog is really cute, but don’t expect us to believe that your yard is naturally that bright green and sparkly.

What to look forward to:

1. Winter Olympics: Nothing brings a country together quite like a massive sporting event. The Olympics create a special feeling of unity throughout a country. It seems Americans need a reason to unify, and the Winter Olympics will be a great way to start 2014 off with a renewed sense of community and patriotism. Tune on February 7-23 to be in awe of the impressive athletics and to feel a special bond to your entire nation.

2. Cheaper Tech Devices: Tech companies are constantly battling to hold to title of best and most affordable tech devices on the market. This competition is good for consumers, as it continues to push prices down while still giving us the option of an excellent user experience. While the thought of getting a tablet for less than one hundred dollars sounds great, the most important part of cheap electronics: greater access to knowledge and the Internet, especially for lower-income citizens. Communities have a greater potential to thrive with a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips.

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3. Rebirth of the Community: There seems to be a new interest in hometown pride. Community-building events, such as festivals, art shows and pride parades, are defining the young generation as purpose-driven individuals aiming to make a difference in their community. In 2014, hopefully people will realize that a healthy community is at the core of positive relationships, economic growth and tolerance.

4. The Return of Epic TV Shows: We have been spoiled with Netflix-style binge watching of amazing TV shows. So it is brutal when you have to wait a long time for your favorite shows to release new seasons. Cue 2014 and a new crop of season premieres: we are looking forward to Downton Abbey (premiering January 5, 2014) and Game of Thrones (premiering in April).

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5. Personal Mobility: This past year saw an increase in walking, biking and other environmentally conscious mobile behaviors. 2014 has the potential to usher in the total acceptance of alternative personal mobility in urban cityscapes. There are only positives to this movement, including less environmental pollution from cars and an increased focus on a healthy lifestyle. Hopefully cities will continue to foster this movement with more bike-sharing programs and people-centric transportation systems.

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