Currently I’m Loving…

Currently I'm Loving

currentlyi'mloving

When I first heard Taylor Swift was releasing a new song, I was skeptical. I have a love-hate relationship with Taylor Swift’s songs. There was something about her songwriting formula (i.e.: You did this, it made me feel like this) that rubbed me the wrong way. Now before the hardcore T-Swift fans come to murder me, I will say that I do not hate her. I actually love her. I mean, I don’t know how you can hate her, especially after her Graham Norton Show appearance in London.

That being said, I actually love Out of The Woods. Yes, 1989 might be more of a pop record than a pop-country record, but I loved the vibe of the song. It brings back memories of something I went through. I might grow to hate it when it becomes the most overplayed track on the radio, but I like it now.

This post from Marielle about The Whiteness Project. I was always the native informant whenever we studied Japan in school. I didn’t grow up in Japan, nor have I ever lived there, and there was a point where my Japanese was nonexistent, but I was somehow expected to know everything about Japan. Don’t even get me started on that. I could go on for days.

This might sound cheesy, but I’ve been incredibly grateful for my friends and words of encouragement that I’ve been getting from them. I’m always amazed at how the little things someone does can make your day. For me, that little thing was a reminder that it was okay for me to take a chill pill and not be so hard on myself.

What have you been loving this week? Let me know in the comments!

What I’ve Read Recently: The Pursuit of Happiness (REVIEW)

Miscellaneous Musings

HappinessOfPursuitBookReview

We are naturally drawn to the idea of quests; from ancient legends to the latest underdog flick to hit our screens, we naturally gravitate toward a “hero’s journey” model.

In Chris Guillebeau’s latest book, The Happiness of Pursuit, he shares the stories of many of his readers’ personal quests, including his own, in which he visited all of the countries in the world (all 193 of them) by age 35.

When we think of the “hero’s journey” model (a la Star Wars and Harry Potter), we think of these large, sweeping, epic quests. But The Happiness of Pursuit shows you that your quest (should you have one) doesn’t have to be made of stuff that constitutes a sweeping epic.

Having read all of Chris’s books, I can say that this was by far my favorite of the 3 that he’s written. When I first found his website, I pored over his journey. Being a travel junkie, I loved the idea of what he was doing. The book was a great insight into his journey: the things that went on behind the scenes. But I think I gravitated toward it the most because of the idea that having this quest gave him purpose. Sure, visiting all 193 countries was not the sole purpose of his life, but there was something there that resonated with me.

The journey gave him a(n unusual) routine. It gave him structure. While I loved his first book, The Art of Nonconformity, I didn’t take to it as quickly as I thought I might. Some of the language he used in the book put me off a little bit; he made it sound almost as if you didn’t need to go to the conventional route (i.e.: go to grad school, etc.) if you didn’t want to. While I appreciate the message, some of the language made it sound almost as if it was better not to. It didn’t seem to account for those of us in the grey area (at least in my view).

In a recent radio interview, Chris talked about how his second book, The $100 Startup was meant to show people that there are seemingly ordinary people who found financial freedom through unusual means, that such options are open to everyone. Again, great message, but to me, it sounded as if he was focusing a little too much on the entrepreneurial aspect of financial freedom. For those of us (like yours truly) who aren’t sure whether or not they want to be an entrepreneur, this book wasn’t my favorite.

But this one was. For those of you who did not follow his blog as he traipsed across all 193 countries, you may find the book a bit haphazard; by no means does Chris tell his entire story in chronological order. But his story is one that merely supplements the content and helps to emphasize certain points. The wide variety of people he spoke to and the diversity of the quests they undertook inspired me, and I hope it will inspire you. What I appreciated most about this book is perhaps the fact that the language of the book didn’t come across as very black and white. Maybe it’s the much more personal nature of the book, but I found this book far more relatable.

As someone who has attended Chris’s main event, the World Domination Summit, for the past 2 years, I’ve often heard stories of attendees’ quests and personal projects, and taken back plenty of inspiration. You don’t need a life list (although those could help). But for a chronic wanderlust-er like me, a quest holds a certain allure. Reading about the various quests of Chris’s readers rekindled my wanderlust, and inspired me to develop a quest of my own. What that will be, I can’t say, but I’m eager to find out.

For those of you who are restless, who are searching for purpose, or are just chronic wanderlusters, this book is for you.

Any other Chris Guillebeau fans out there? What do you think of his work?

Currently I’m Loving

Currently I'm Loving

currentlyi'mlovingweek6

Remember a few weeks ago when I was raving about Emma Watson’s speech at the UN (like 1.2 billion tweeters were)? I came across this really interesting read that offered a devil’s advocate perspective to her speech. It picked the speech apart following the 6-minute mark. As I was reading the piece, I was reliving my Rhetorical Criticism days. Given that that particular class turned out to be a favorite of mine (yes, I am a nerd), this piece made me happy. It’s always interesting to read opposing points of view. I currently have a couple blog post ideas marinating in the back of my head because of this post, so keep your eyes peeled!

And speaking of good reads, I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m a J-Law fan. So it should come as no surprise that her response to the nude photo scandal in Vogue made me very happy. I also finished Chris Guillebeau’s new book, and the review will be posted soon!

My inner bookworm was doing a happy dance when I read this article about all these studies about people who read actual books. I have always been a traditional person in that way (also, add to that the fact that I can’t stare at screens for an extended period of time)

I just discovered City of the Sun; I am in love. Part of me wishes I was still figure skating so I could choreograph a competitive program to their music. This is my favorite song of theirs.

What have YOU been loving this week? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Currently I’m Loving…

Currently I'm Loving

CurrentlyImLoving5

 

The Shib Sibs YouTube Channel

 

As a former figure skater, the ShibSibs YouTube channel makes me smile. Maia and Alex Shibutani are world bronze medalists and 2014 Olympians in ice dance. They put up short vlogs giving us viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of competitive ice dancers and cute little music videos and skits. I had the pleasure of meeting them (along with Olympic champions Meryl Davis & Charlie White) when I attended a competition back in 2010. They ( meaning all 4 of them) are the sweetest people ever.

Maia and Alex conceptualize, shoot and edit all of their videos, and I’m continually impressed by these two. I mean, balancing an ice dancing career with college is hard enough. But these two do that AND manage to interact with their fans on YouTube by giving them a unique perspective on something that so few us rarely get to see, let alone experience.

 

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

 

Since I started this whole self-help/transformation journey, I’ve done plenty of reading. And I’m going to be honest. I didn’t buy much into the books I got my hands on because so much seemed very woo-woo to me. Because I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason.

I had a friend recommend this book to me, and I bought the audiobook on iTunes. Enter the best self-help book I have ever invested in. The author wrote in a language that just made sense to me. She tells it like it is. No woo-woo needed. She explained a bunch of what I would have previously considered woo-woo concepts in a way that I just got. The audiobook is currently hanging out in my phone, and I listen to it all the time.

 

Doing A Brain Dump

 

In addition to writing gratitude statements every morning, I have been doing brain dumps both in the morning and at night. It’s a great way for me to start and end the day with a clear head without taking anything into the following day. It’s also a great way to generate ideas for blog posts. As I get into the rhythm of doing this more consistently, I hope that this will prove helpful.

 

Yoga

 

Doing things consistently when it comes to my physical health (especially given all the personal health issues I’ve been experiencing lately) is difficult for me. It takes me a while to get into a routine, and it’s so easy for a lot of us to overlook things when we’re crazy overwhelmed.

I have been getting back into yoga and Pilates lately. I tried some yoga classes at my local gym, but wasn’t really feeling them. So I turned to YouTube and found SO MANY great options. I’m looking forward to getting back on my mat consistently and making this practice a part of my daily routine.

What have YOU been loving! Can’t wait to see in the comments!

Image Credit: Gratisography

Bullying: From Victim To Badass

Culture & Society, Learning To Love Yourself

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 6.49.51 PM

Originally posted on Honesty For Breakfast

We’ve all heard that classic saying, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Whoever coined that needs to call me. I have a really big bone to pick with them. When I finally track them down, I’ll give their number to all you ladies out there who want to give him a piece of your mind. Just ask me for it.

All jokes aside, bullying sucks. When you’re growing hair in weird places, and sporting glasses AND a metal railroad across your teeth it gets even worse. I remember crying a river when all the lights were turned out as I replayed the school day in my head. I got a lot of phone calls from my classmates. But those calls weren’t to discuss homework or arrange the next trip to the movies. They were prank calls. They called so often that I became afraid of the phone. One thing led to another, and I eventually found myself on a therapist’s couch dealing with a cocktail of emotional issues and sporting a huge label that said I was disabled.

The bullying continued every day for 2 years, until I made the decision to switch schools. The new school was a much better fit, but the damage had already been done. I could spend the rest of my life wishing I could jump into a time machine and do everything over again with what I know now as a twenty-something college graduate but what’s done is done, and honestly, I think that the most painful experiences of your life can be the most powerful teachers. And bullying is no exception. Looking back now, I’ve realized that it’s made me grow in more ways than one…

It Makes You Develop Empathy For Others You’re probably thinking I’m insane right now, but yes, you did just read that headline correctly. Anyone who’s seen the documentary Bully knows that bullying is damaging. It can make you cynical. It can make you a recluse. But it can also make you empathetic. It allows you to relate to others and put yourself in other people’s shoes. Being bullied isn’t a prerequisite for being empathetic, but if you understand that everyone goes through pain, you can be kinder to yourself and others. And who doesn’t love a nice person?

You Develop A Thick Skin That brusque lady who snapped at you as you waited in line at the grocery store? Maybe she had a bad day. Maybe there’s something going on in her life that she’s distracted by. Maybe she’s just not a morning person. This is not to say that you’ll never be bothered by ANYTHING that is said to you if you’ve gone through bullying. You’re a human being, not a robot. Words can (and do) hurt. But you get good at picking your battles. You take in what you want to take in, and let the rest roll off. Easier said than done, yes. But I find that it’s a hell of a lot more fun going through life without worrying about what sort of ridiculous rumor the resident Regina George started about you behind your back. And all that experience dealing with your school’s version of the Plastics has given you plenty of practice, wouldn’t you say?

You Get to Focus on What Makes YOU Awesome Just because your bullies call you fat doesn’t mean you are. I mean, come on, not all of us have Cara Delevingne’s brows, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t just as awesome. Break out a piece of paper and pen and write down the things you love about yourself. Do you speak 2 languages? Love how beautiful your hair is? Are you unwaveringly loyal to your friends? Keep adding to it. Ask your closest girlfriends what they love about you, and add those things to the list. Put it up where you can see it. Focus on it. Re-read that list when you’re feeling down. Focusing on what makes you awesome not only boosts your self-esteem, but it’s also the most powerful “[insert expletive of choice here] you” to your haters. By focusing on what YOU rock at and pursuing your dreams, you can go to bed knowing that you busted your butt to get to where you are. And it’s still entirely possible that those bullies are still camped out on their couches looking for someone else to pick on. Who knows? You just might appear on their TV when they sit down for their next channel surfing session. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

It Shows You Who Your Real Friends Are You might have 500 Facebook friends, but that doesn’t mean that they’re REALLY your friends. When you’re being bullied, it’s easy for those around you to drift away. Not because they’ve suddenly decided that you’re worth less than their morning Starbucks, but because they’re afraid of becoming targets. Not everyone is going to stand up for you when you’re being bullied. But the ones that do? The ones that support you? They’re special. They’re the ones you should keep around. Actions do speak louder than words. Knowing who your real friends are keeps you happy. And when you’re happy, life is just better. And as for those who drift away? It’s their loss. You’re awesome.

Currently I’m Loving…

Currently I'm Loving

currently4

Emma Watson’s He For She Speech

Yes, the cat’s out of the bag.   I’ve always loved and respected Emma Watson. In fact I’ve kind of not-so-secretly wanted to be best friends with her. This speech was so on point. Not because I was able to identify myself as a feminist (because according to the definition presented in her speech, I am one) but because she highlighted the struggles of men. Women are not the only ones held to a double standard. And I loved that she recognized that. I could go on and on about why I love her, but that sounds creepy, even to me.

Essential Oils

I’ve been struggling with anxiety attacks and other personal issues as of late, and essential oils have saved my life. I hardly go to the drugstore anymore. These oils have been more effective than any pill I’ve ever taken. Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am very anti-medication. No, these things are not magic, but they’re a great first step in the right direction for me.

This Huffington Post piece on gratitude. I’m all for gratitude, but everyone forgets. that there are some things that we take for granted. This is a great reminder of the little things that we tend to overlook that are just as valuable.

Jessica Chastain’s interview about her new movie. I’m not one to usually peruse Yahoo, but this was a great find, particularly because I’m so adamant about my own struggles with depression. I loved so much of what she said in this interview.

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.30.35 PMScreen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.30.51 PM

What have YOU been loving this week? Let me know in the comments!

Currently I’m Loving…

Currently I'm Loving

currentlyi'mloving

The #fireworkpeople Twitter chat

I discovered the #firework Twitter chat through She is Fierce and attended my first chat this past Tuesday. As someone who struggled with self-worth in the past, this chat made me feel amazing. Check out a snippet of all the amazing discussion we had.

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 6.49.51 PM

That feeling of knowing you’re with people who really GET you

I’ve talked a lot about finding your tribe a lot on the blog. Yesterday, I attended a going-away dinner for a friend who is moving abroad. Although I was only there for a few minutes, those few minutes were invaluable. Sometimes when you’re in the loony bin, getting out of your head and being around people who really get you can screw your head back on properly.

I had been feeling pretty uneasy the entire day; those few minutes with friends and talking to them screwed my head back on straight. You don’t need to do any explaining. The people around you will not judge you. And that’s an incredible feeling.

Shiba Inu Puppies

If I didn’t already have an adorable Labrador/Akita mix for the family dog, I would love, love, love, LOVE to get a Shiba Inu puppy. How can you not love that face?

eabc23535cc9477bd0fd5c9bde5c8a58Image Credit

Sofia Coppola films

Lost in Translation, The Bling Ring, Somewhere…I love all of her films for such different reasons. In an industry that seems to be dominated by male directors, it’s very refreshing to see someone like her out there. Her aesthetic is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love the fact that she seems to understand the power of silence.

Ed Sheeran

Okay, let’s be honest. I’ve loved Ed Sheeran for a while. I know I’ve said that I’m not a Top 40 pop kind of girl, but I really love him. In this day and age where auto tune seems to be everywhere, I think there’s something to be said for being able to create so many songs using just a guitar.

I can’t pick just one favorite song of his, but I have been listening to Give Me Love on repeat recently.

What have you been loving recently? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Currently I’m Loving…

Currently I'm Loving

currentlyi'mlovingweek2

  1. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): I have never been a meditation kind of girl. My feet go numb after less than 5 minutes sitting on my legs in a Buddhist temple, making my ADD brain do nothing is next to impossible, and staying positive can be hard some days for someone who’s naturally cynical like me. On the rare days that I can actually set aside time to do it, I find it’s incredibly helpful. This video (warning: it’s long) does a better job of explaining it than I ever could.
  1. Shameless self-plug, but I recently wrote a feature on the TEDxSalford website that revolved around Stella Young’s amazing TEDxSydney talk that focused on physical disability. If you haven’t watched it yet, you should. It’s funny, I promise. This subject is deeply personal to me, and I’m thrilled that the piece is being received well.
  1. Stop, Breathe, Think: I have the free version of the app on my phone, and I’m currently loving it. You basically tell the app how you’re feeling on any given day, and it generates a few meditation options based on that. I love that it customizes the meditation options based on how you feel. I know I said I’ve never been a meditation girl, and that’s true, but I’ve read too much about the benefits of meditation to dismiss it completely.
  1. Last week, I mentioned that I was reading The China Study. I recently added another book to my reading list: The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau. I was lucky enough to attend one of his amazing events in Portland, Oregon last year, and it changed my life. How can a guy who runs a blog called The Art of Non-Conformity not be awesome?

So what are YOU loving this week? Let me know in the comments below!

We Are All Warriors. Every Day.

Culture & Society

I was racking my brains for what to write for today. I wanted to write this glowing post to honor World Suicide Prevention Day.

And then I realized something.

The reason why I couldn’t write that glowing post wasn’t because I had writer’s block. It was because I felt like everything I had to say on the subject had already been said.

I am not at that point in my recovery where I can believe that no one else can play my part. I’m at that place where I’m struggling to find the balance with living life and relying on my story as fuel. I went from not sharing my story at all to sharing it very publicly. And now I’m trying to find that middle ground.  Recovery is a daily process. It’s battle we fight every day. Everyone goes through pain. Pain and disability do not make us special. We are ALL warriors.

yourstuggle

 

 

 

Currently I’m Loving…

Currently I'm Loving

currentlyi'mloving

If you follow my Twitter account, you’ll see that I share articles that I like or those that I think are relevant. But I love seeing what other bloggers are loving. So here we go: the first installment of my version of She is Fierce‘s Friday Favorites and The College Prepster’s On My Radar: Currently I’m Loving…(title subject to change)

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 9.06.50 AM

  1. This tweet from the lovely Emma Watson. This pretty much sums up all my feelings about the whole Jennifer Lawrence issue. 120k favorites and 95k retweets (and growing)? Wow. So many people agreeing with this sentiment gives me hope that we can distance ourselves from our screens and try to change the world.
  2. I’m currently reading The China Study on the recommendation of my physician. I was never a chemistry person, and statistics aren’t very fun to read, but it’s nice to read a physical book when we’re surrounded by Kindles, especially about nutrition. I love the feeling of learning something new.
  3. I try to avoid the Top 40 (I am not a Miley Cyrus/One Direction generation person), but it melts my heart when celebrities use their notoriety to lend their voices to an issue. This article is just one example.
  4. The fact that I am now a writer for 2 of my favorite blogs, Honesty for Breakfast & Hello Perfect. Writing has always been something I’ve loved doing, and I see writing being a giant part of my career. The only way to get better at what you want to do is to do more of it, right?
  5. This image that forever changed the way I see Beauty and The Beast. My inner Communications major was doing a happy dance. I mean, how can you not?

What have you been loving this week? Let me know in the comments!