Category Archives: Self-Improvement

‘No One Can Help You But Yourself': A Senior’s Struggle With Anorexia

meghantranauskas.anorex No matter one’s age, gender, race or lifestyle, everyone has days where they look in the mirror and are startled by their reflection.

Whether it’s a “Damn, what happened last night?” reaction, or a “Wow, I need to run 10 miles” accompanied by “I feel more bloated than ever,” kind of day, we all experience the occasional mini battle with our body.

For some though, these mini battles aren’t so small. These mini battles have the potential to grow into full-out war.

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder. Although it’s an issue for men and women, 85 percent of these sufferers are women.

Regardless of these startling statistics, only one in 10 people receive treatment. It’s difficult for people to recognize when diet and exercise have gone too far.

That’s exactly how it started for senior energy business and finance major Jaimee Baker.

Her freshman year, Baker said she gained the notorious ‘freshman 15’ and was unable to wear clothes she used to. She swapped her closet for baggy sweatshirts. Continue reading

Happy Pets, Happy Mind… Happy Pet Photos!

By now you’ve had a chance to get a copy of our Fall 2014 issue – and had a chance to see the adorable puppy photos with the article “Happy Pets, Happy Mind”. Because we can’t get enough of the cuteness, we asked a few of our staff members to share photos of their furry – and scaly – best friends. We dare you to not say, “awww!”

Kasey Lam - Enzyme

Kasey Lam’s dog, Enzyme. Her parents, who are scientists, gave him the name!

Leah Polakoff - Teddy

Editor-in-Chief Leah Polakoff’s dog, her “teddy bear”, as a little puppy 12 years ago. DOESN’T IT MAKE YOUR HEART MELT.  Continue reading

WCW: Our Favorite Boss B*tch Quotes

-TYRA-tyra-banks-29689889-440-330 In today’s society, its easy for us girls to get down on ourselves. We are constantly being compared to celebrities and are in an uphill battle to compete with men. When some of our favorite women in power give us quotes such as the ones listed below, it really helps to boost our self-esteem and motivation.

1. Lauren Conrad
Caller: “What’s your favorite position?”
Lauren: “CEO.”
When Lauren Conrad was featured on a radio show, she was asked this question. She replied in probably the classiest, most professional and all around BOSS way. Lauren successfully resisted sexual harassment, replied quickly and confidently, and kept her cool. Props to you, LC, you truly are a boss.

2. Tyra Banks
“You have what it takes to be a victorious, independent, fearless woman.”
Tyra Banks, famous supermodel and host of America’s Next Top Model, has always been a strong advocate for feminism. This quote embodies that. It is especially important that this comes from a supermodel. She is sure to empower all women, telling us that we don’t need to be 6’2” and 98 pounds to be successful.

3. Meryl Streep
“My Advice: Don’t waste so much time worrying about your skin or your weight. Develop what you do, what you put your hands on in the world.”
Meryl Streep, a goddess among men, tells us all what we’ve always wanted to hear. Women these days are constantly being put under pressure from the media to look and act a certain way. It can be stressful to try and keep up with societal standards. Streep’s quote tells us to take a step back and focus on the things in life that are truly important. Our waist size isn’t one of those things.

4. Emma Watson
“If I was going to be a princess, I would be a warrior princess, definitely.”
Emma Watson is a truly inspirational young lady. She has long been an advocate for gender equality, most notably admitting that feminism is not about hating men. Watson’s quote shows that not all women are to be delicate and powerless.

5. Adele
“It’s never been an issue for me – I don’t want to go on a diet, I don’t want to eat a Caesar salad with no dressing, why would I do that? I ain’t got time for this, just be happy and don’t be stupid.”
Adele puts it plain and simply- just be happy and don’t be stupid. In a world where young women are constantly comparing themselves to models and eating disorders are running rampant, we need women in positions of power to bring us back to reality. Celebrities are not perfect and it is not healthy to model ourselves off of them.


Cauliflower Herb Pizza Crust

Clean, gluten-free
(Makes 2 servings, or 2 individual 8-inch pizzas)

If you love to eat pizza in its high-carb, unhealthy deliciousness, then try making this recipe at home as a better alternative—one that’s packed with veggies and still tastes good.

TIP: Add your favorite pizza toppings to your own cauliflower pizza, such as onions, peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, or even pineapple!

What you need:

1 medium-sized head of cauliflower
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
1 egg
1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese (grated)
1/4 cup of asiago cheese (grated)
tomato or marinana sauce
salt and pepper
pizza stone Continue reading

Breaking Down the Stereotype of Guys as Players

guys.natalierunnerstrom Teen movies, ABC Family television shows and Taylor Swift would all have us believe that guys are players.

Young guys, namely college guys, are branded with this stereotype that they are only out for one-night conquests. Society tells us that no guy could possibly be searching for something more. They are happy being bachelors, and run away from committed relationships like they’re Ebola.

All that generalization is a little unfair to males, don’t we think?

We wanted to give boys the chance to prove their label wrong. We wanted to hear from the guys who dream of someday having a wife, kids, a dog and a picket white fence. So, we hit the streets to find out what boys actually have to say about their “players” nametag and what they want for their futures.

Sophomore mechanical engineering major Evan Lynch understands the rationale behind the typecasting he and his fellow men face, but feels he is different. Continue reading

Covert Advice: Why We Read People More Than Textbooks

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 10.01.19 AM

Dear Confused Penn Stater,

A couple of weeks ago, you asked me some very important questions:

My problem is I am bad at reading people. I feel like I’m getting mixed signals from this guy I hang out with from my dorm. Like sometimes he asks me to chill and then he’s totally unavailable. What is he trying to say? Is he trying to say anything? Why is this a problem?

These are all amazing questions. As we meet new people and make new friends, we begin to form different feelings toward all of them. We keep our friends in a safe place close to our hearts and we open ourselves up to those people we trust the most. But more often than not, it is hard to tell what we represent to someone else: are we friends, is there romance, or is this something in between? To get these answers, we read people.

This is college, but sadly, we read people more than we read textbooks. So what is he trying to tell you? Well, let’s find out.

What Is He Trying to Say?

Both nothing and everything at the same time. In better words, he is telling you everything you need to know by saying nothing at all. I know that’s an awful answer, but it’s probably the truth. When I am faced with situations like this, ones where I am forced to deal with my emotions, I tend to close up too. Continue reading

Dining with D’Amico: Baked Apples

Healthy eating and college don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, but knowing the right tricks can help turn eating right into a daily routine. So have a seat and dine with D’Amico, your guide for navigating the health-food scene without taking a chunk out of your schedule.

image_5 As temperatures drop and the wind chill seems a little less forgiving, we find ourselves craving delicious fall foods. But if you can’t help but feel guilty after treating yourself to some pumpkin pie and apple cobbler then stress no more. At Valley we’re making apple the new pumpkin when it comes to fall treats. I’ve created my own twist on baked apples that leaves you satisfied, curbs your sweet craving, and requires barely any time or ingredients.

What you’ll need:

Small sauté pan
One apple (of your choosing)
I Can’t Believe It’s not Butter Spray
Ground Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt Continue reading

Valley Mag takes on Cosmo’s Fun Fearless Life

photo 1-9 This weekend, three of our staffers made the life-changing decision to travel to New York City to attend Cosmopolitan Magazine’s inaugural Fun Fearless Life conference. Celebrities, fitness gurus, bloggers and CEO’s were just a handful of the powerhouse career moguls in attendance of the two-day event.

Needless to say, it was totally kick-ass.

From the minute attendees stepped into the theatre at Lincoln Center, they were given the royal treatment.

Event sponsors Express and Maybelline handed out freebies to guests, including a full-sized lipstick and an exclusive clutch purse designed specifically for the weekend. Maybelline makeover counters were set up all weekend long so guests could touch up their makeup. An Express pop-up shop showcased stunning fashion items for sale. Cosmo, Express and Maybelline did everything in their power to make sure the fierce men and woman in attendance felt their very best, and that they did.

But it wasn’t just the freebies that made the weekend completely memorable. The killer lineup blew everyone away, and we must admit we were a little starstruck.

From fitness trainer Jillian Michaels, to actress Shay Mitchell, to Nasty Gal CEO Sophia Amoruso, the guests were nothing short of inspiring. Each speaker and panel provided our staffers and the other attendees the tools and motivation to be the fun, fearless women we all are. Need some inspo in your own life? Check out our favorite quotes below:

“I didn’t have the most experience, I didn’t have the most money, but I cared the most,” – Spanx founder Sara Blakely. 

“Your life has clues into what you are good at. Put your life under investigation. Turn detective on yourself,” – Cosmo’s editor-in-chief Joanna Coles

“Balance is so important. Finding middle ground is exactly where you need to build your life,” – fitness guru Jillian Michaels. 

“All the world wants from you is your authentic truth,” – best-selling author Gabrielle Bernstein. 

If that doesn’t get you feeling ready for anything, nothing will.


In addition to the motivating panels and speakers our girls got to experience, Cosmo also encouraged some mad career development.

On day one, everyone was given a different colored sticker to fill out with their name, ideal career path and celeb spirit animal. Then, Joanna Coles herself encouraged the guests to spark a conversation with someone with the same color sticker and exchange contact details. Where else can you find such hands-on networking? Nowhere is the answer.

As a young woman just starting out her life path, it can be easy to feel lost and naive to the big, bad world of career development, let alone what it takes to fully take care of yourself. But Cosmo ensured that no stone went unturned, and Coles, her staff and the sponsors took everyone under their wing to help them hit the ground running.

When all was said and done, our writers and editors walked away with a new sense of motivation and drive totally unique to those who had the opportunity to go to the event.


So on behalf of Valley Magazine, our staffers would like to thank Cosmopolitan, Maybelline and Express for providing our own confident, beautiful women with the tools they need to succeed in all facets of life. Cheers to a fun, fearless life!

November Struggles

NovemberStruggles.DanielleD'Angelo October is a great month. The leaves are changing, the weather is perfect, Starbucks is serving fall drinks and Halloween is right around the corner. December is arguably the best month of the year. With snow on the ground and Christmas spirit in the air, everyone is cheerful and upbeat. In between these two wonderful months is November. The struggle month. The stepping stone. Here are three reasons why November always feels like a struggle.

The Weather

“In November, it’s typical for the temperature to change 20 degrees or more in the matter of a day,” says Senior Meteorology major David Bennett. “And, every time there’s a large temperature change, it rains or snows because of the front.” This explains why the entire month of November feels dreary. So get ready for lots of rain. And not just normal rain, but cold rain.

Awaiting Thanksgiving Break

At this point in the semester, most college students are either panicking and scrambling to save their grades, or have given up completely. But every college student is not-so-patiently awaiting Thanksgiving break. There are only a few weeks of classes left in the semester, and we can all see a light at the end of the tunnel. We know that as soon as we make it to Thanksgiving, we only have two weeks of classes to go. So now, we wait. Continue reading

Let it Grow: No Shame in No Shave November

NoShaveNov.MaryDuggan If you take a close look at the guys around this time of the month, you will probably notice that some of them have joined the trend of having a beard. Aside from your personal ideas about whether the guy can pull off the beard or not, there is a strong possibility that there is a bigger cause behind his new look.

No Shave November has been an ongoing cancer awareness organization. This organization particularly focuses on the goal of embracing your hair, which many cancer patients unfortunately lose, by letting it grow out. It is up to the individual on what body hair they grow, but mainly guys participate in this with their beards.

The key word that sticks out when understanding how No Shave November is  done here at Penn State, is the word guys. When it comes to this organization, many seem to forget that women can participate too! Women may not have beards but there are other parts of the body that have hair, like your legs or eyebrows,  that can be grown out in order to participate.

Jordan Laporta, a junior studying criminal justice is among many other girls who didn’t really notice or pay attention to the fact that many girls don’t participate in No Shave November. Continue reading