TIME feminism

Emma Watson Is the Top Celebrity Feminist of 2014

"Noah" - UK Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals
Emma Watson attends the UK premiere of "Noah" held at the Odeon Leicester Square on March 31, 2014 in London, England. (Karwai Tang--WireImage) Karwai Tang—WireImage

Laverne Cox and Amy Poehler also made the list

The Ms. Foundation and Cosmopolitan.com have released a list of the top feminist celebrities of the year, and actress Emma Watson is number one.

As a UN Goodwill Ambassador, Watson helped found the He for She program this year and made a rousing speech urging men to take up the feminist mantle, telling them, “gender equality is your issue, too.”

MORE Watch Taylor Swift praise Emma Watson for her UN speech

Here is the full list:

  1. Emma Watson
  2. Laverne Cox
  3. Rachel Maddow
  4. Beyoncé
  5. Cher
  6. Amy Poehler
  7. Tina Fey
  8. Meryl Streep
  9. Mindy Kaling
  10. Ann Curry

“We celebrate all feminists every day, but today we’re giving a hat tip to celebrities who are helping to promote women’s equality,” said Ms. Foundation President Teresa Younger said in a statement. “Every celebrity on the list has either embraced the term ‘feminist,’ spoken out for women’s equal rights or battled against sexist oppression.”

 

TIME advice

How to Handle Your Annual Performance Review

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Be proactive and prepare a list of objectives for the new year

As we prepare for 2015′s goals at work and next year’s performance report, we need to consider OUR needs along with the company’s. True story: I was so fed up with my performance report goals (are those tasks anything I can actually control anyway???) that I took control and created my own.

Performance reviews are a necessary evil in the modern workplace. Necessary? Yes, indeed. They exist to keep you on track with the company’s objectives, as well as to plan for next year’s strategy. Evil? Only if you don’t put any effort into them. The good news is that these are short-term data points. This puts YOU in the power seat. Here’s how to make a big impact on your own future when you take control of this annual exercise.

Consider Co-Goals

Make a plan that’s good for you and the company. Be proactive. Show up to the meeting with your supervisor with a prepared list of objectives for 2015. Your plan should include personal and professional development, such as attending one industry conference annually. This would be something beneficial to you (new contacts!) and the company (expanding your professional network).

MORE 10 Questions to Ask During Your Next Performance Review

Think About Yourself: Personally and Professionally

You want to get the most out of this assignment, and it’s important to propel yourself. Plus, work should be fun! Individualize your plan as much as possible. Think about goals that you would enjoy, like subscribing to news feeds, reading books about your industry, forming a business resource group, writing articles for your company’s newsletter, or mentoring a new-hire.

Here are the top 5 subjects you should include in every performance plan and review checklist. Don’t forget to make them SMART.

1. Educational: Outside sources include TED talks, MOOCs, industry magazines, email feeds, books, and iTunes University. Inside sources include your company’s educational platform, media press releases, industry news on their website, or mentoring from a senior manager.

2. Financial: If you work at a for-profit business, you were hired to help contribute to the bottom line. In non-profits or governmental agencies, controlling costs is very important. Have a plan for how you can contribute.

3. Customer: Making connections, contributing business leads, and speaking positively about your company have great impact and show you know why your job has purpose. Don’t forget about your internal customers as well as you external customers.

MORE ‘Tis The Season: How to Prepare for the Year End Review

4. Community: Your company has a philanthropic side as well. Volunteer, do service within your company, and build relationships within your building. Just because it’s not in your job description doesn’t mean it’s not your job.

5. Connections: What’s more important to your professional development than company networking, participating in professional groups, and peer mentoring? These are the key ways to ensure your best professional development.

Finally, don’t forget to do your research, so you can justify everything you’ve brought to the table. You want to build off last year’s review, and help you’re boss’s review look better, too!

This article originally appeared on Levo.com

TIME advice

7 Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

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Keep calm, carry on, and let go

It’s that time of year again. Between the endless parties and obligations, visiting with friends and family (and sometimes avoiding certain friends and family), not to mention navigating decadent table spreads and endless office baked goods, it’s no wonder we sometimes dread the holiday season. Rest assured, there is a way you can manage the inevitable holiday stress and glide to a new year with balance, poise, and at least most of your sanity in tact.

The key thing for managing holiday stress is to realize that we often can’t change the situations around us, but that we can change how we interact and respond in these situations. Which means, proper stress management starts with you…

1. Take care of yourself.

Know your limits. Make sure to get enough sleep, drink water, balance your eating (which of course includes a cookie or two!) and most important, keep your sense of humor handy. This is supposed to be a joyful season, full of good times and many laughs. Sometimes that means laughing at yourself.

2. Say no.

Thank you so much for the invitation, but we have another engagement.”

Now isn’t that a nice way of saying no? It’s likely that you won’t be able to–or want to–attend every party or engagement that you’re invited to, so here’s a chance to prioritize which ones you’d like to attend and politely decline (with appropriate notice) the rest.

MORE Merry Stress-mess: How to Not Go Crazy During the Holidays

3. Keep calm, carry on, and let go.

You’ve likely seen these “Keep Calm, Carry On” signs everywhere. As simple as they might seem, they’re such a good reminder. One of the best tactics for holiday stress management is to learn what you can control and let go of the rest. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the holidays overwhelm you. Keep calm in the moment by taking a deep breath, thinking before you speak, and remembering that whatever’s stressing you right this moment is not likely going to matter in one hour, or even one year. Keep your focus on the joy of the season and have fun.

4. Have a little grace.

As women, we put so much focus on small details and often lose track of the overall picture. I can bet you a nicely frosted gingerbread cookie that no one’s going to be focusing on those little details half as much as you are. Let go of control and have grace with yourself. Everyone forgets to serve a dish, or perfectly wrap some gift. Repeat mantra from above: “Keep calm, carry on.

5. Accept help.

Just like you don’t have to control everything, you don’t have to do it on your own. Let someone bring a dish to the dinner party, and then let your friends help you do the dishes when they meal’s over.

6. Get rid of useless worry.

There’s a difference between worry and planning. Trust that you’ll handle situations that might come up and focus on what’s truly in your control. Perhaps you could mentally walk through a situation that could be stressful and practice your response. Plan ahead what you can to minimize stress.

The last step for stress management ends with you…

MORE How to Prepare for the Holiday Vacation

7. Choose.

Everyone finds themselves in situations that aren’t preferable. Cue the awkward family dinner or significant other’s office Christmas party. In those uncomfortable moments, you choose your memories. How much fun you have is entirely up to you. You can focus on all the reasons why you’d rather be at home with some spiked eggnog in pajamas, or you can be present in the moment and make the choice to put forth an effort and find the good in your current situation.

So when you start to feel overwhelmed by too much family pressure or obligation, all the little details or overwhelming stress of presents and parties, remember that this is the season of joy. Trust that you can and will navigate holiday stress by taking care of yourself, setting and knowing your boundaries, and choosing how you respond.

This article originally appeared on Levo.com

TIME advice

The Dos and Don’ts of Giving Gifts at Work

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As long as your gifts stay professional and thoughtful, they'll be good to go

Should you or shouldn’t you? That’s the real question going through everyone’s mind at work, and we’re talking about gifts here, not whether or not you should have another cocktail at your holiday party. And if you decide to give your boss, coworker, guy friend, assistant, or book lover a gift, here are some tips so you do it the right way.

Do: Make a list, and check it twice.

Unless you’re working for a small start-up, chances are you probably don’t know everyone in your company; especially those who are in different departments. Even at work, purchasing a gift is a personal gesture. Don’t feel obligated to buy the girl in finance whose name you barely know a holiday gift. Consider getting gifts for people within your department that you interact with on a daily basis, people who you make small talk with in your cube area, and those co-workers-turned-friends who you vent to about office frustrations during after work happy hours. Many companies prohibit buying gifts for your boss or department head because it’s seen as trying to buy your way into a promotion. Depending on your work environment and relationship with your supervisor, feel free to purchase a gift for your boss, but make sure it’s on the less extravagant side.

Don’t: Exchange gifts in front of other coworkers who didn’t make your list.

Remember that girl in your 2nd grade class who only handed out Valentine’s Day cards and candy to select students? Don’t be her. While distributing your gifts, avoid broadcasting it in front of other coworkers that didn’t make your list. Although you only made purchases for a select few, you still want to keep the sense of inclusivity in your workplace and you don’t want to be labeled as the “clicky” girl in the office. Consider coming into work early and leaving gifts on people’s desks, or putting them in their office mailboxes if they’re small enough. You can also organize a holiday lunch or after work gathering to exchange gifts in a comfortable setting.

MORE How to Win and Have Fun at the Holiday Party

Do: Stick to a budget.

Before you go gift shopping for your coworkers, make sure that you set a reasonable budget. Your budget will not only steer you away from buying excessively expensive gifts for your colleagues, but it will also keep your finances in order so you won’t go broke and have to eat PB & J sandwiches for lunch for the first half of the New Year. Try setting a $10 budget for gifts. You’d be surprised what you can find; especially in that $1 isle in near the entrance of Target. Small and cheap gifts make for great stocking stuffers.

Don’t: Spend more money than you can afford.

Let’s face it; many of us aren’t on Oprah’s level, yet. Don’t feel obligated to go out and buy something that isn’t within your means just for shock factor among your coworkers. Chances are after buying gifts for your loved ones your bank account has taken a toll. You don’t want your coworkers to expect you to be the person to buy lavish gifts every year. Just because you’re not working with Oprah’s bank account doesn’t mean you can’t be in the Oprah-spirt; so for now, “You get a stationary set! You get a stationary set! Everyone gets stationary sets!”

Do: Buy a gift that shows thought.

Getting thoughtful gifts goes a long way. Take into consideration the things that your coworkers would truly appreciate. Making a small donation to a charity that they support is a great way to pay it forward by giving back. Also, keep in mind things that your coworkers need. Have a coworker who’s always complaining about how frigid the office is? Buy him or her stylish scarf. Have another coworker who’s always getting caught out in the lunch time rain showers. Buy them an umbrella. The options are endless.

Don’t: Purchase a gift that’s too personal.

Although you might look at some of your coworkers as friends, beware of buying gifts that are too intimate. Any Valentine’s Day-esk gifts are off limits; that includes perfume, flowers, and undergarments *clutches pearls*. Also, be sure to stay away from gifts that make your colleagues feel like they need to work on changing their looks. Gift certificates for hair salons suggest that they need a new style. Body wash and lotions might make them question their hygiene. Even though you’re purchasing a gift for someone else, it’s a clear reflection of who you are and what you think of others.

MORE How to Use the Holidays to Advance Your Career

Do: Include a gift receipt.

Although we might think our gift idea is epic, there are instances where someone has already beaten you to the punch and the person already has the item, it doesn’t fit, or they’re simply not feeling your gift. Make sure that you include a gift receipt so that you give the person the option of returning what you purchased.

Don’t: Be negligent of other people’s beliefs.

Although you might be in the holiday spirit and want to spread some cheer throughout your office, keep in mind that others don’t celebrate certain holidays. Avoid making your coworkers who choose not to celebrate these holidays uncomfortable or obligated to join in on the gift giving.

This article originally appeared on Levo.com

TIME viral

Here’s What American Girl Dolls Would Talk About In Real Life

You wouldn't invite them to dinner

If you were a child of the nineties, chances are you’ve thrown a make believe dinner party with your American Girl Dolls.

But this comedic video by Lauren Ireland and Anni Weisband shows why you probably wouldn’t extend a dinner invite if your American Girl Dolls were real girls. Samantha wouldn’t stop talking about voting rights, Kirsten would try to wear the table’s floral centerpiece as a hat and Addy… “I used to be a slave,” she says in a hushed voice. “They didn’t really write much else for my character, I’m pretty one-dimensional.”

TIME

Why Having Kids Won’t Fulfill You

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Jennifer Aniston, take note. You haven't failed as a woman if you don't have kids.

I was struck by the comments Jennifer Aniston made to Allure magazine this week about the badgering she gets on a topic that she finds painful: her lack of children. She tells the magazine: “I don’t like [the pressure] that people put on me, on women – that you’ve failed yourself as a female because you haven’t procreated. I don’t think it’s fair. You may not have a child come out of your vagina, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t mothering — dogs, friends, friends’ children.” For Aniston, 45, the topic is fraught with emotion. “Even saying it gets me a little tight in my throat,” she said.

I thought about Aniston’s comments—what many women in their early 40s without children are forced to feel—and then I thought about my own life. In some respects I’m Aniston’s exact opposite: I’m a 41-year-old mother of two who spent my entire adult life telling myself that children were my destiny. I did what society and my family expected, never questioning the choice. But sometimes I wonder how much of the blueprint of my life was drawn by me, and how much was sketched by experiences I had when I was way too young to be the architect of my own destiny.

For all intents and purposes, my mother was single parent. My father left when I was twelve, but long before then my mother had taken over the head of the household role. She worked full-time as a waitress while my father flitted between different construction jobs. There always seemed to be an injury or a reason he wasn’t able to work. The image of him lying on our living room floor in front of our television is burned on my brain. He was there so much — diagonally and on his side with his head perched upon on his hand–I actually thought it was odd when I went to friends’ houses and their fathers weren’t in that prone position. I also found it odd that my friends’ parents shared a bedroom. My dad had taken up residence on the couch for so long, it seemed normal.

It was the obviously unhappy marriage that birthed the mantra my mother would repeat to me throughout my young life: “Do not depend on a man for anything.” That was followed closely by: “You and your sister are the best things I’ve ever done.” My mother made it clear that we were her reason for living. There was never a time I didn’t feel loved by my mother. But there was also a latent message that became clear after my father left: I am not alone because I have children. If it weren’t for you two I would be falling apart.

Before I hit adolescence, I decided that children were the only things that could fulfill me when I grew older.

“I’ve always wanted kids.” I don’t think I could possibly count the number of times in my life I have uttered those words. But, the same enthusiasm never escaped my lips when talking about marriage. I was never that girl who fantasized about her wedding day. So I skipped the marriage part, feeling like a renegade who was bucking the patriarchal confines of society.

It took five years for my partner and me to have a pregnancy that didn’t end in loss. After the third miscarriage, I began to panic: what if I really couldn’t have children? What would my life become? I was a bartender at the time that we were trying and my partner was a musician — we were in no way financially prepared for children. But the panic and fear that the narrative I had chosen for myself so many years earlier was not going to play out made me a woman consumed.

For five years we spent month after month trying for a child. The obsession I had with ovulation calendars and pregnancy tests only paused when a test came back positive, then the obsession switched to worrying about whether the pregnancy was going to last. I gave birth to a healthy baby boy in 2010, when I was thirty-eight. I was finally a mom.

My life changed — but only the daily tasks. I was still working full-time. Once we added a baby, the only difference was we now had no downtime. I was not a new person. I was the woman I had always been, I just added another label to my list of identifiers: friend, photographer, bartender, girlfriend, writer, mother. I reached the endgame, and nothing about myself had changed — save my ability to multitask.

My assumption that I was destined to be maternal made me never consider the idea that maybe I wasn’t. The possibility that I wasn’t actually hard-wired to mother never occurred to me until I looked into my child’s eyes for the first time and didn’t feel that thunderbolt everyone talks so much about. Those overwhelming feelings of love arrived eventually, but they certainly weren’t automatic.

Had we continued having infertility issues and not been able to conceive, I am certain that I would have felt that there was something “missing” from my life. But only because I believed the narrative my mother sold that children bring fulfillment. Since I’ve become a mother and seen that the essence of what makes me who I am has not changed, I’ve learned that nothing outside of you can fulfill you. Fulfillment is all about how you perceive the fullness or emptiness of your life. But how can a woman feel fulfilled if she’s constantly being told her life is empty without children? How can she ever feel certain she’s made the right decision if society is second-guessing her constantly?

There is nothing wrong or incomplete about building a life with a partner or alone, unburdened by the added stress of keeping another human being alive. This is something that men have always been allowed – women, not so much. A woman is constantly reminded of the ticking time bomb that is her biological clock. We don’t believe that a life without children is something a woman could possibly want. It’s why successful, wealthy women like Aniston are still asked the baby question every single time they sit down for an interview. Everyone is always looking for the latent sadness, the regret. What if it’s not there?

It’s been 40 years since the women’s liberation movement told us that just because we have a uterus, doesn’t mean we have to use it. We still don’t believe it. Whether we realize it or not, the necessity to tap into our maternal side is so wired into our being that we can’t escape it. If we could, there wouldn’t be debates about whether women could “have it all” or whether we were turning against our nature if we decide not to procreate.

I never questioned my desire to have children, because I didn’t have to; I took the well-traveled road. That desire is expected of me – it’s expected of all women. It took me decades to realize that the maternal drive I carried with me my entire adult life, the one that led me to try for five years to have children, may not have been a biological imperative at all. It may just have been a program that was placed into my psyche by the repeated mantras of a woman who was let down by a man and comforted by her children. That’s okay. I love my children and I’m happy about the experiences I’ve had and the paths that have led me to this place. But if this isn’t your place—whether you’re a famous movie star or not– you didn’t take a wrong turn.

 

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TIME health

Revlon Removes Some Dangerous Chemicals From Its Products

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A petition signed by over 100,000 consumers brings about the change

Cosmetics giant Revlon announced Thursday that two long-chain parabens and a formaldehyde-releasing chemical would no longer be used as ingredients in its products, in a move that was applauded by environmental and health advocates.

Long-chain parabens have been linked to endocrine disruption, while formaldehyde may cause cancer.

Revlon was responding to a petition demanding the change signed by more than 100,000 people. The petition was organized by the non-partisan nonprofit Environmental Working Group.

Two long-chain parabens (isobutylparaben and isopropylparaben) have now been removed from Revlon cosmetics, as has DMDM hydantoin, which releases formaldehyde. Revlon is also reformatting a product that contained butylparaben.

“We are pleased that Revlon has acted to remove these toxic ingredients,” Environmental Working Group Executive Director Heather White said in a statement. “We urge all companies to do the same.”

TIME Parenting

Study: What Kind of Car NOT To Buy a Teen Driver

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Old cars may be cheaper, but they have fewer safety features, says insurance study

Driving around in an old clunker is one of the teenage rites of passage. But in news that will no doubt gladden the hearts of car salesmen everywhere—and terrify parents—a new study suggests that parents might want to think of getting their young drivers a newer automobile for safety reasons.

The study delved deep into parents’ nightmares and analyzed all the teen driving deaths in data from the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) for 2008 to 2012. In that time 2420 kids between the age of 15 and 17 died at the wheel of a car. The researchers, from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in Arlington, Virginia, ascertained the make, model and safety features of each car.

What they found was that almost half of the teen drivers killed on U.S. roads in that period were driving vehicles that were 11 or more years old, and thus often lacked certain safety features, like Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and airbags.

ESC is a relatively new technology that can detect when a vehicle is skidding and applies the brakes to help “steer” the vehicle where the driver intends to go and is especially useful in cases where the driver loses control–something that is more common among drivers who may have recently passed their driving test, say the researchers. According to the study, it can cut the risk of death in single vehicle crashes by around half and by 20% in crashes involving several vehicles.

Teens were also more likely to die in smaller vehicles. When comparing the teens with fatally injured drivers between the ages of 35 and 50, the researchers found that teens were significantly more likely to have been at the wheel of a small or mini car (29% vs 20%) or a mid-size (23% vs 16%), and less likely to have been driving a large pickup (10% vs 16%).

“Larger, heavier vehicles generally provide much better crash protection than smaller, lighter ones,” says the study.

All of this makes sense, because who wants to give their teen driver an expensive new car? And who wants to let them drive the family SUV or other big car? But the potential downside may be worth the risk to property.

The good news is that since 1996, far fewer teens are killed by road traffic accidents—or as road safety officials like to call them “road traffic collisions,” as part of raising awareness that these things are not really accidental; they have a cause and it’s usually human error. But teenagers still have about three times as many police-reported and fatal crashes as adults, when you take into account the distance they drive.

So when looking into buying your kid’s first car, says the study, it might be worth investing in something less vintage and more protective. That doesn’t mean it has to be expensive.”Parents may benefit from consumer information about vehicle choices that are both safe and economical,” says the study. So do your research. And shop around.

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TIME Parenting

How to Talk to Your Teen About Sex Abuse

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A Planned Parenthood vice president weighs in on the importance of keeping your kids informed

As an educator and the mother of a teenager, I was shocked and angry to hear that a high school teacher in my New Jersey neighborhood was arrested in September for sexually assaulting five male students. Recently we’ve seen stories of sexual assault charges brought against football players in another New Jersey town, a Brooklyn high school teacher arrested for inappropriate behavior with seven students, a Dallas-area high school teacher arrested for sexual assault of his 16-year-old student, and a California school district arguing in court that a 14-year-old girl could be held responsible for a sexual relationship with her adult male teacher.

No one wants their child’s school experience to include inappropriate sexual behavior, harassment, assault, or rape. It can be an extraordinarily difficult topic to think about, let alone discuss with our teens. However, news stories like these present an opportunity to have critically important conversations with our children.

Planned Parenthood believes parents should be the primary sex educators of their own children—and that means addressing stories of abuse or assault in schools directly with our children, rather than leaving them to draw their own lessons from what they hear from friends or on social media. In a perfect world, we would introduce tough topics on our own, based on our children’s questions or their maturity level. But our kids live in a fast-paced electronic world, and shielding them from the news is simply not an option.

Read More: See how books have presented sex ed throughout history

Data collected this year by Planned Parenthood and the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health at NYU shows that most parents are talking to their children about some topics, such as how to handle peer pressure or the importance of not pressuring others, but rarely about how to deal with inappropriate actions by adults, particularly adults that are supposed to be guiding and mentoring them. So how can we initiate conversations about these sensitive and troubling subjects?

First, ask your children what they’ve already heard, and listen to what they tell you. Don’t jump in while they’re talking and interrupt them with factual corrections — yet. It’s important that they feel their perspective is valued, and you’ll know what you need to address in response.

Read More: Resources to help you talk to your kids about sex

Next, educate them by providing the facts. Here are some things to know to help you prepare:

· Sadly, most sexual abuse is committed by someone known to the victim. When a trusted adult like a teacher violates their role to protect, the child often has trouble making sense of the situation; many young people assaulted by people they trust may not even realize this is abuse. Be clear that any adult who engages in sexual activity with a minor is engaging in criminal activity. Encourage your child to tell you and another adult in the school if they hear about anything inappropriate between students or staff.

· Boys are also sexually abused. Many people mistakenly believe that sexual assault is a problem that affects only girls, but the truth is 1 in 6 boys is sexually abused before the age of 18. For more information, visit 1in6.org.

· People who sexually abuse others often do so to intimidate or manipulate their victim. Sex should never be an assertion of power over another person, and young people should know that it’s not their fault if a trusted adult acts inappropriately.

· Teach your kids to report inappropriate behavior. The best way to confront or prevent abuse is to report it, including when teachers, coaches, counselors, or administrators violate boundaries by acting more like friends than authority figures. If your child sees or hears anything suspicious, they should tell you and a guidance counselor or another teacher.

The most important thing is for your children to feel comfortable coming to you with their questions and anxieties. If you speak openly with them about difficult issues, they’ll know they can come to you if they ever hear about anything inappropriate happening in their own schools or social networks. And you’ll have the peace of mind that comes from correcting your children’s misconceptions about assault while showing that you are willing to talk about tough topics with them.

For a deeper look at the crisis in sex education and why schools are struggling to keep up with the what kids learn from the internet, read TIME for Family’s special report on Why School Can’t Teach Sex Ed.

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TIME viral

This Video of a Guy Proposing in a Photo Booth Is the Sweetest Thing You’ll See Today

"What do we do for this one? Smile?"

When Kevin Moran decided to propose to his high school sweetheart Tuesday, he didn’t employ a Broadway bound flashmob or get down on a knee in the center of a heart made up of 99 brand new iPhone 6s.

Rather, Moran took his girlfriend Molly to a photo booth to pop the question.

Watch the short, sweet and Internet approved video above.

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