The Best of Bustle: Our Favorite 50 Stories from 2013

In the past 12 months, we've seen a lot of highs (DOMA struck down!), a lot of lows (hello Obamacare!), and a whole lot of Miley Cyrus. And, since its launch in June, Bustle has been here covering it all.

So, in honor of the year that was, take a trip back to memory lane and relive 2013's best, brightest, and most bananas moments with our 50 favorite articles on Bustle this year. And, yes, there will be Miley.

How Do You Sign Up for Obamacare? One Soon-To-Be 26-Year-Old's Valiant Effort

Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images

“Though the Obama administration missed its self-imposed deadline by a day or so, it claims the site is now running smoothly and is able to hold 50,000 at a time now. Well, I’ve got news for you all: Healthcare.gov still doesn’t work for me. The website — nay, the entire process — is confusing and repetitive. Please, won’t you join me on my Healthcare.gov journey.” —By Adrienne Vogt

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Kate Middleton Jumps, Shows Off Stomach, Creates "Post-Baby Body" Media Monstrosity

Ian Gavan/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

“Middleton’s stomach is flat. Let’s throw her a party and decorate her belly button with troll doll jewels. Huzzah. Or we could, you know, not jump like a pack of ravenous hyenas on a fly-ridden carcass every time a famous woman experiences the miracle of childbirth and then dares to parade herself before the public thereafter.” —By Kelsea Stahler

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I'm a Transgender Woman, and This Is What It's Like

“I don’t want ‘special treatment,’ I just want to be respected as a human being, as deserving of dignity as anyone else. I want to be able to exist in the world without the core of my identity, something that I grappled with for more than a quarter century, being dismissed by someone who couldn’t possibly understand what it’s like. I want to be able to go to work without worrying about being fired for who I am. I want to be able to use the restroom without fear of being beaten or accused of having malicious intentions. Like everyone else, I want the world to see me for me.” —By Parker Molloy

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Image: Parker Molloy

How To Take a Selfie: Pro Photographers Give Us All Their Best Self-Portrait Secrets

“JIM KRAUSE, Jim Krause Design, and the originator of the term ‘selfie’: Selfies should be decisive: They should either declare ‘I am a selfie’ by clearly giving away that the person in the shot is also the person holding the camera, or they should be sly and completely hide the fact that the photographer is also the subject. Think backdrop when shooting selfies. What’s behind you? How does it affect the scene?” —By Tori Telfer

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Image: Tori Telfer

Scholarly Lessons I've Learned From Trashy Romance Novels

“Another cheesy romance novel described the female lead as a ‘hot house flower in bloom.’ After I was done laughing, I did my research and discovered 19th century England’s obsession with botany and the natural world — particularly exotic plants from faraway countries. I remember entering college and explaining a similar reference from Bleak House to a stymied Dickens seminar. As the professor looked on approvingly, I only had one thought: ‘Thanks, Tides of Passion. Thanks a lot.’” —By Kirsten Fawcet

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Image: comedynose/flickr

On Newtown Anniversary: Has Anything Changed in America?

Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images

“Mass shootings in America … are roughly as common as the sun rising.” —By Seth Millstein

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Chris Brown and a History of Celebrity Violence in Black and White

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“I, too, despise Chris Brown, but I am also uncomfortable with the treatment of his abuse. He is so notoriously hated, but this hatred seems self-satisfying; if you hate Chris Brown, it automatically renders you a warrior in the fight against domestic abuse. Yet when the conversation turns to the likes of Bill Murray, Sean Connery and John Lennon, somehow these white men are divorced from their actual acts of violence — their cultural mythology eclipses their offenses.” —By Maitri Mehta

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I Was Sexually Harassed By My Female Boss

“A few months after I started, my birthday rolled around. The company bought me lunch, and my boss called me into her office to give me a gift … Then I opened it. To my surprise and horror, it was a pink vibrator in a box adorned with a half naked woman.” —By Amanda Chatel

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Plus-Size Pride: My Name is Marie Southard Ospina, And I'm Here to Say I Love My Fat

“I use the term fat because the fact is I know my naked body better than anyone, and I have lots of fat on it and happen to like it all. I also love using the word because the more we plus-sizers use it, the less of an insult it can ever be — the less anyone can hurt us with it … Personally, I am going to keep using the word with a smile on my face.” —By Marie Southard Ospina

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Image: Marie Southard Ospina

Lance Armstrong, Greg Mortenson, and Memoirists As Liars and Narcissists: Can We Still Admire Disgraced Heroes?

Mario Tama/Getty Images News/Getty Images

“But these rags-to-riches tales of redemption aren’t wholly idealistic. Memoirists — more so than other writers — undoubtedly fall prey to one of 21st century America’s most pervasive epidemics: narcissism. No matter which way you slice it, the word ‘memoir’ screams ’Look at me, and all that I’ve accomplished!’ (with perhaps a smidge of ‘And you can do it, too!’ in barely-legible script right below).” —By Allyson Gronowitz

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Hurricane Sandy, One Year Later: Jersey Shore Town Union Beach Still Recovering

Mario Tama/Getty Images News/Getty Images

“This whole year, as I’ve seen some of my favorite places — the centers of my childhood summers — ripped to shreds, I feel like my heart has broken over and over. Visiting Union Beach one year after Sandy, I felt the same unease and anxiety. This time, however, I was struck by one marked difference: the complete silence that enveloped the town. It’s almost like it’s holding its breath, waiting for better days to come back.” —By Adrienne Vogt

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Miley Cyrus Drunk Dials Liam Hemsworth: A Transcript

“[Liam Hemsworths’] cellphone rings and buzzes on the table, a harsh jarring sound that wrecks any semblance of late night peace he had previously. ‘God dammit!’ he says before stopping himself short. He’s been trying to think positive thoughts and maintain a calm energy, just like his yogi says, but it’s just too damn hard when he knows there is only one person that would call at this hour.” —Dale Neuringer

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My Mother Does Not Understand Thigh Gap — And Now I'm Not So Sure I Do Either

“But despite my mother’s history of unrealistic body standards, she had never even heard of a thigh gap — something I found highly telling. Why is thigh gap something we suddenly want now? How can this thing be an ideal if only a generation ago, no one had even heard of it?” —By Emma Cueto

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The Lazy Girl's Guide to Beauty: 7 Easy Steps for Getting Ready in 15 Minutes

“I love beauty products… but I love sleep more. Given the choice between 20 extra minutes of REM and perfectly winged eyeliner, my pillow wins. Still, I value looking presentable, even on those days when I’m scrambling. Here’s the routine that allows me to enjoy my extra time in bed and still look like a functioning member of society — it’s truly what dreams are made of.” —By Michelle King

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Image: Alex/Flickr

11 Novels You Can Use As Self-Help Books

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis: Life lesson: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Also, don’t murder people.” By Molly Mary O’Brien

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Image: Lions Gate

Ted Cruz Reads Green Eggs and Ham, Lessons Republicans an Learn From Dr. Seuss' Books

Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

“Cruz chose to read Green Eggs and Ham. The moral of that book (as made clear by noted real-life liberal Dr. Seuss) is to not knock things until you try them. That’s awkward, since the whole reason Cruz launched his faux-filibuster last night was to defund the Affordable Care Act before it even has a chance to take effect. Which got us to wondering: what lessons might the GOP learn from correctly interpreting our favorite Dr. Seuss books?” —By Seth Millstein

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'The Walking Dead' Will Be Subject of A U.C. Irvine Class So We took the Time to Write a Syllabus For Them

“Midterm: A short-answer test on all of the information covered so far in class, as well as questions about potential character motivations, i.e.: Why won’t Carl stay in the house? There are no right or wrong answers, grading is based on evidence and support provided.” —By Samantha Rullo

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Image: Gene Page/AMC

The 24 Most Hipster Things That Have Ever Happened To Me

“Here are 24 of the most hipster things that have ever happened to me (of which I have readily available photographic evidence, anyway). Full disclosure: Many — but not all — of these people are my friends. Assume the more obnoxious ones aren’t my friends, okay?” —By Elizabeth Nolan Brown

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Image: Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Velvet D'Amour, Plus-Size Supermodel and "Volup2" Founder, Talks Fashion, Fun, and the Future

“’The women we hold as icons of beauty are not happy. And if they’re not happy, who is happy?’” —By Marie Southard Ospina

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Image: Velvet D’Amour

9 Writers On Their Non-Literary Obsessions

“Esteemed writers like Ann Patchett and Barbara Kingsolver expound on the wonders of yarn and needles in Knitting Yarns: Writers On Knitting, a brand new collection compiled by Ann Hood. It makes sense that writers would also enjoy knitting, as both activities require the same things: patience, the willingness to do something over and over again, and of course, the appreciation of an finished product, whether lumpy or perfectly stitched.” By Molly Mary O’Brien

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Image: artbystevejohnson/flickr

Egypt Worst Country in Arab World For Women, According to Study

Ed Giles/Getty Images News/Getty Images

“Egyptian columnist Mona Eltahawy said, ‘As the miserable poll results show, we women need a double revolution, one against the various dictators who’ve ruined our countries and the other against a toxic mix of culture and religion that ruin our lives as women.’” —By Nuzha Nuseibeh

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'Breaking Bad' Theories Won't Stop Because The Series Trained Us Too Well

“Yes, TV has kept us chattering away for eons … But Breaking Bad has brought discussion to a new level. It’s legitimized television debate in a way no series before it managed to. It engages minds on all levels, from the most well-educated writers to the silliest dudebros on Reddit. It’s no longer fanatical or insane to have an hour-long debate or write a 2,000 word treatise about what amounts to an actor in a costume on a small screen.” —By Kelsea Stahler

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Image: AMC

4 Things You Shouldn't Say to Your Fat Friends

“2. ‘Let’s go shopping at [place that only sells clothes for Dickensian teenagers]!’ I love to go shopping more than just about anything — I can always add a new pair of shoes or earrings to my collection. But, my dear thin (or even average-sized) friend, we’re probably not going to be shopping for clothes at the same place.” —By Amy McCarthy

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Image: dearlydeparted on flickr

How Real Millennials Feel About Shopping, Budgeting, and the Guilt of Materialism

“Millennials are extremely susceptible to buyer’s remorse. Almost every respondent expressed feelings of guilt and distaste over both their own impulse buys and materialism in general. Though Millennials are often portrayed as shallowly consumeristic (nose in their iPhone, covered in head-to-toe brands), shopping isn’t necessarily our drug of choice. It can make us feel pretty dark, actually.” —By Tori Telfer

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9 Graphic Memoirs By Women

“The first graphic memoir I ever read was Pulitzer Prize winner Maus by Art Spiegelman, about his father’s experience as a Holocaust survivor. Since then, the genre has exploded, and numerous female writers and cartoonists have used it to explore everything from family dynamics to food to sexuality to punk rock. Through a deft combination of art and words, each of these artists gives her life a unique spin, serving up far more than either form could alone.” By Rachel Kramer Bussel

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Image: Allie Brosh/Hyperbole And a Half

Q&A: An American Living in Cairo Describes Scene in Egypt

Ed Giles/Getty Images News/Getty Images

“Sunday, there was a sense of a sort of celebration almost in the air. This was really before the violence started. And then it got dark, and then Monday and Tuesday happened, and I think more violence [began] as more factions came into play, and that’s when clashes started. [Because] of that, obviously, we’re going to stay inside. I haven’t really felt good about going out at night. You don’t know who’s going out there with weapons.” —By Ariana Tobin

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'The Spectacular Now' Director James Ponsoldt on Teen Film, Shailene Woodley

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

“[Ponsoldt continues], ‘A lot of teen movies can come from a really cynical place, and that can really flatten it out — because they’re teenagers, it has to be boys making dick jokes, or they have to have superpowers, or whatever. But no, they don’t. Young people are incredibly sophisticated. They can be bright, they can be stupid, they can be anything.’” —By Rachel Simon

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9 (Altogether Questionable) Types of People You Must Date in Your 20s

The Pack Wolf: This person — who may or may not be a bro — is perpetually en route to a birthday party or a dinner gathering. You’ll make tons of new friends and contacts through them. Whee! And then you’ll have a sinking realization that your personal life has become a never-ending Santa Con, and you will bolt, but with a perfectly padded contact list.” —By Rebecca Santiago

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Image: Jordin Althaus/FOX

This Photo Series Will Challenge Your Notions About What's Beautiful

“When I first saw [Marc Erwin] Babej’s images I was simultaneously captivated and unnerved. My stepmother is a plastic surgeon, so I grew up around discussions of Botox, and lifts, and tucks, and injections. But Babej’s images made me wonder if our definition of beauty has become so impossibly narrow that it cannot be achieved naturally.” —By Michelle King

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Image: Courtesy of Marc Erwin Babej

10 Bookstores in 10 Literary Cities That You Don't Want to Miss

“Instead of lamenting your loses as the chain bookstores are shutting down, divert your path to the independent bookstores across the country that are able to fill all your literary needs. These 10 bookstores have made the list by becoming an important part of their communities, having a particular charm, and, in short, being more than a place where you can buy a lot of books.” —By Kelsey Thomas

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Image: Lydia Chow

Benedict Cumberbatch's 10 Sassiest Moments of 2013 Prove It Was the Year of the Cumbersass

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“That’s right, the should-be spokesperson for tweed is an unadulterated sass-machine. Though you’d like to imagine Cumberbatch swaddled in wool by a cozy fire in the English countryside reciting a bit of poetry (no? just me?), he’s actually more likely to be throwing some serious shade and slamming you and your friends with his own brand of Cumbersass.” —By Rachel Semigran

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Albuquerque's 20-Week Abortion Ban Draws Money, Activists From Both Sides

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“In reality, Taylor argues, the Albuquerque proposition — and the entire anti-abortion movement — is ‘about forcing women to have babies’ and promoting a ‘cult of motherhood.’ ‘Let’s stop talking about fetuses, because that’s not what they’re motivated by,’ Taylor says. ‘Let’s talk about women, and what role they want to have for women, and what role women need to have.’” —By Seth Millstein

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The Cognitive Dissonance of Miley Cyrus

“Good for [Miley]: This is the time when women start to figure shit out for themselves, coming face-to-face with who they are versus who they want to be versus what everyone else thinks they should be.” —By Alicia Lutes

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9 Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches to Warm Up a Rainy Day

“The grilled cheese is the tabula rasa of paninis, the canvas on which any cook can paint (or, as it were, assemble and fry) her masterpiece.” —By Claire Luchette

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Image: How Sweet It Is

5 Factors to Consider When Getting Bangs (That Aren't Your Face Shape)

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“It seems that most ‘should you or shouldn’t you get bangs’ advice has to do with the shape of your face, but does anyone actually know the shape of her face? Do I have a heart shaped face? A round face? I don’t know, man. It’s all so confusing. Here are five things to consider when getting bangs that matter far more.” —By Michelle King

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10 Self-Help Book Recommendations for Literary Outcasts

“Well-written characters are characters that face personal challenges. They are dynamic and compelling and complex — and sometimes we just don’t get them at all. (Holden Caulfield, I’m talking to you.) Because of this, many of our favorite characters are ones that exist on the peripheries; they can’t quite make it in the mainstream because some significant fatal flaw is holding them back. Oh, hamartia! Lucky for Holden (and Iago, and Miss Havisham, and all the other misfits), we’ve put together this list of recommended reading for our favorite literary outcasts. The genre is Self-Help because, just like us, these guys could use a little tough love.” —By Emily K. McDonald

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Guantanamo Bay Still Exists. On Gitmo's 12th Birthday, 12 Things We Forget About the Prison

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“Only seven of all the men who have passed through Guantanamo have been convicted and sentenced … Many have been there for years, without even knowing what the charges against them might be. Getting tried and sentenced is one of the best ways to get out of the prison: five of those seven men are no longer living in Guantanamo.” —By Katie Zavadski

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Tom Hiddleston's Hollywood's Next Big Heartthrob, Here's Why You Should Love Him

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“Tom Hiddleston is already making fanpeople sob and ovaries activate, but his fandom, like that of Benedict Cumberbatch, is still mainly relegated to the Internet. We sense that’s about to change. So let’s explore Hiddles, shall we?” —By Alanna Bennett

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Gregg Abbott, Meg Whitman, Billy Long, and More Politicians Who Fail at Twitter

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images News/Getty Images

“[Whitman’s spokeswoman Sarah] Pompei accidentally omitted the last digit of the URL when she pasted it into Twitter. Because she’d used the immensely popular URL shortener bit.ly, she inadvertently ended up linking to something entirely different—specifically, a video of a Japanese man in a tutu playing bass guitar (with a good amount of talent, we might add).” —By Seth Millstein

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We Hope 'Girls' Season 3 Addresses the Following 'Degrassi'-Inspired Issues

“Hannah goes to a party with Jessa and someone offers her ecstasy. Hannah, in her quest to keep “experiencing life,” decides to go ahead and take it for the first time. Little does she know, it’s a placebo. She behaves like she’s on the drug (or so she thinks), but everyone is weirded out. She makes an ass out of herself and ruins the party. Jessa confronts the person who was handing out the E. He reveals that it was actually aspirin because he didn’t want anyone taking the real drug. Hannah monologues for the for duration of the subway ride home. Jessa sighs for the duration of the subway ride home.” —By Kristie Rohwedder

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Image: Jessica Miglio/HBO

10 Politicians Who Smoke Weed, Or At Least Used To

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“New York City’s curmudgeon mayor [Michael Bloomberg] says the legalization of marijuana “is one of the great hoaxes of all times.” Yet when asked by New York magazine in 2001 if he’s ever smoked a joint, he responded, ‘You bet I did, and I enjoyed it.’” —By Adrienne Vogt

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INTERVIEW: JOYCE MAYNARD ON 'LABOR DAY,' 'AFTER HER,' AND J.D. SALINGER: "IT'S ABOUT AN IMBALANCE OF POWER"

“’I always exploit the themes of my life in my writing,’ Maynard said in a phone interview with Bustle. ‘If you actually sat down and read all my books, you’d know a lot about me. You’d know I love Dolly Parton, you’d know the clothes I wear — you’d figure it all out. But you’d also figure out some neuroses, which, I think, may be a reason Salinger didn’t publish. When you publish your work, people know you.’” By Rachel Simon

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Image: Joyce Maynard

'AHS: Coven' Fans Fat-Shame Gabourey Sidibe on Twitter

“Now, I’m not talking about the people who expressed shock at Queenie’s encounter with a Minotaur — the idea of a human woman getting it on with the half-beast and his hoofy hands is a tough pill to swallow. But that didn’t seem to be the issue for many fans: It was the fact that Sidibe, a plus-size actress known for her role in Precious, dared to touch herself on national television during a show that’s already featured blood, gore, torture, rape, incestuous rape, death by intercourse, and voodoo rituals riddled with boiling semen and goat’s blood poured on Sarah Paulson’s vagina.” —By Kelsea Stahler

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Image: FX

Manning Announcement Begs Question: Did DADT Repeal Movement Ignore Transgender People?

“‘The reality was, I knew,’ trans-activist and navy retiree Autumn Sandeen said of her gender identity. ‘I first knew when I was 14, and I talked myself out of it. I was in the military, and I wasn’t capable of hiding it well.’” —By Jenny Hollander

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If 'Friends' Were Set in 2013, Here's What the Gang Would Be Up To

“[Rachel] and Ross would break up over the fact that not only did he sleep with someone else, but he really didn’t subscribe to that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie TED talk they watched together, and she could never date a man like that, even though she doesn’t really get the whole feminism thing.” —By Dale Neuringer

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'Breaking Bad's Psycho Todd & 'Friday Night Lights' Geek Landry Actually Have a Lot in Common

“It’s all coming together now. Landry had a tough life in Dillon. His best friend moved to Chicago for college, the girl he liked got into college because of his help and left, his dad helped him cover up a murder, and he had to change schools. It was a lot. He was even bullied, by everyone from temporary teammates to Matt Saracen’s grandma. He couldn’t take it anymore … He told everyone he was going to college, but really, he went to New Mexico to live with his uncles.” —By Samantha Rullo

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Image: AMC

CONFESSIONS OF A RELATIONSHIP ADDICT: I'M STAYING SINGLE UNTIL 2014 AND THIS TIME I MEAN IT

“Rebound romances aren’t terribly healthy. I’ve spent the past week “detoxing” from Jake and reminding myself what I came home to do: Reflect, recuperate and re-imagine my life without my ex. There’s no room for any of that when you’re already reaching out for the next thing, the next person, and no matter how bright and shiny they are it’s not really worth it. Staying single for a while might not be terribly interesting, but I think it’s pretty vital to self-care. Wish me luck?” —By Elizabeth Nolan Brown

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Image: Pixabay

16 HOLIDAY AND CHRISTMAS COOKIES TO MAKE FOR FRIENDS, BOSSES, AND LOVERS

“You may have already caught our collection of easy holiday food gifts you can make in one Saturday. You may have even gotten your first batch of homemade amaretto underway. But if bacon jam or compound butter aren’t exactly to your friends’ tastes, you can either 1) find new friends, or 2) go old school, and gift them with a big plate of home-baked holiday cookies. We suggest the second option. Because cookies.” —By Emily K. McDonald

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Image: How Sweet It Is

KELSEY OSGOOD ON 'HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY': THE SKINNY ON SKINNY

“I remember all through high school, I saw one therapist after another who said I needed to find something to take the place of my eating disorder. I tried all the typical hobbies: knitting, collaging, drawing, and on and on. When nothing felt quite as all-consuming, I was beside myself. Now I’m really fucked, I thought, because I figured there must be some anorexia-shaped hole inside me that nothing else could fill … We don’t tell recovering heroin addicts that they need to find something they love as much as heroin.” —By Claire Luchette

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Image: Linda Troeller

Meredith Vieira Wrote the Weirdest Twitter Poem Ever

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“Vieira’s tweets read like the beautiful music of the most curious parts of the Internet. A whimsical poem of the weirdest nonsensical order. A look at modernity, and what happens when the world advances before the people in it.” —By Alicia Lutes

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