I’ve Always Wondered Why (Insert Random Statement Here)


I tend to think a lot. Sometimes I think I think too much. I also tend to question a lot of things that people often just accept as the “norm,” which tends to either (1) provoke interesting discussions or (2) just drive other people absolutely crazy. Mainly the second scenario. Anyway, here are some things that I’ve always wondered….

1. Why do we continue to perpetuate the stereotype that women love shoes? And where did this myth even begin? I know that some women do love to buy shoes, and have at least one pair of shoes for every day of the week. However, not all women do–I certainly do not. Actually, I just hate shopping for clothes/shoes in general. I have three pairs of shoes: tennis shoes, slip-on shoes, and sandals, and that is more than enough. Well, unless you count my pointe shoes, which at times can admittedly be just as painful as wearing high heels. Maybe even more so. The only important factor that comes into play when I buy street shoes is how comfortable they are, and I really have no “fashion sense” whatsoever. Perhaps that is why my younger sister told me that my black Dr. Scholl’s slip-on shoes look like men’s dress shoes, and that my Dr. Scholl’s sandals are extremely unattractive. Hey, at least they are comfortable! That’s what really matters to me. I honestly think shoe-shopping is one of the most boring activities on this earth, other than maybe watching golf or reading celebrity magazines.

2. Why do we always use rings to ask someone for their hand in marriage? Why don’t we use something else? OK, so I do understand the general reasoning process behind using rings: they are easy to slip on and off, fend off unwanted approaches by people at a bar, and probably have some sort of symbolic value that I don’t feel like researching at the moment. Also, they contain shiny gemstones that for some reason tend to captivate some women. Still, I can honestly say that on the 0.001% chance that I do end up getting married someday, I probably wouldn’t want a ring anyway, since I dislike jewelry and wouldn’t even end up wearing it. I mean, it’s just an overpriced band of metal with a gemstone in the middle–the important thing is that someone is asking you to marry him or her. I think I’d be perfectly content accepting something more practical in place of a wedding ring, such as a jar of coconut oil or one of my favorite books. You may think I am joking, but I am being 100% serious right now. Mock me if you must.

3. Why do medication advertisements on TV often include peaceful nature scenes and a smooth voice listing the dreadful side effects of the medication while calm music plays in the background? It’s as though they are trying to downplay the possible effects of the medication by inferring that after you take Viagra you will feel like sailing on a boat or fishing on a lake. It just seems almost amusing to hear that smooth voice saying “side effects may include nausea, vomiting, chest pain, constipation, or a horribly painful death” while those oh-so-happy people, now cured of their ailments, walk in a flower-covered garden or sail on a canoe in some gorgeous lake surrounded by pine tree forests. Just saying…

4. Why do we tell teenagers to be cautious and law-abiding drivers, and then when those teenagers get on on the road, they are honked at or speedily passed if they actually follow the speed limit and the rules of the road? People are constantly talking about how reckless and distracted teenagers can be while driving, and how they should strive to obey all the rules of the road, never speed, always err on the side of caution, etc…Yet when teenagers start driving without that handy little “please forgive me, I am just learning how to drive” sticker on their car, they begin to realize that the majority of people out on the roads do speed, do disregard some rules, and do not always err on the side of caution. Of course, I am not trying to say that teenagers should just follow everyone else–I highly recommend being a safe driver, though perhaps that is because I am an overly-cautious driver myself. However, it’s not hard to understand why teenagers may toss aside everything they learned in driver’s education class, and just go with the flow of everyone else on the road.

5. Why do we only commemorate certain people on those random holidays we have throughout the year? Also, why do we even celebrate certain holidays? Why Martin Luther King Jr. and not Rosa Parks? Why Christopher Columbus (who was a rather cruel and racist person anyway) and not Amerigo Vespucci? Why certain presidents and not certain doctors or teachers? I am not saying we should add more holidays to our jam-packed calenders (if anything, we have too many holidays), but it seems rather arbitrary that only some people get to have a holiday named after them. I mean, I think whoever invented toilet paper and indoor plumbing should definitely have priority over someone who murdered and enslaved Native Americans. Or maybe that’s just me? On a related note, why do we even insist upon commemorating holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day, when the vast majority of Americans either don’t know what it is actually celebrating, or just use the day as an excuse to wear green, drink beer, and go to parties? The same goes for Valentine’s Day–it is so over-commercialized, and probably causes more stress than happiness for many people (particularly restaurant owners and people who forgot to buy a Valentine’s Day gift for their significant other).

6. What exactly is the point of those food-eating contests that are so popular at fairs and festivals? If you can think of a single concrete and practical reason as to why we should watch people try to shove as many hots dogs down their throat as fast as possible, please do let me know. Because I cannot see any benefits to these disgusting and unhealthy “games” that will almost certainly give you indigestion and nausea, or even make you vomit. And why are they almost always unhealthy foods such as hot dogs or hamburgers? Probably because fiber-rich foods such as apples would be harder to gobble down as quickly. Either way, it seems like a terrible way to gain money and fame.

7. Why do we get so caught up in the lives of fictional characters, whether they are in books, TV shows, or movies? I am certainly “guilty” of doing this, so don’t think I am trying to scorn those people who do this as well. I was crushed when in the final Harry Potter book (SPOILERS) Snape was killed, since he was always a fascinating and intriguing character to me. While reading Jane Eyre, I got totally caught up in the romance between Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre, and was inexplicably joyful when the two of them finally decided to get together in the end, despite the rather huge age gap between them (in Jane’s defense, she was mature for her age). I was saddened when, in Doctor Who (SPOILERS again) Rose was sent to a parallel world and would never be able to see the Doctor in person again (well, maybe I shouldn’t say “never,” especially not in Doctor Who). I have found myself talking to the characters in books that I read, chiding them for bad decisions or trying to give them advice. I frequently talk to the people in movies or TV shows, though it is a rather one-sided conversation. Why I do these things I am not entirely sure–there are probably dozens of theories as to why we find ourselves getting emotionally involved in the fictional lives of such characters, but I think it greatly depends on the person.

8. Why do we often start sentences by saying “no offense, but…” or “don’t take this the wrong way, but…”? If you start a sentence by saying “no offense,” then that person will almost certainly take offense anyway, making that opening line rather useless. I suppose we use such phrases in an attempt to soften our words and make it sound less harsh, but does that actually work very well? Not usually. If you are going to criticize someone, you can try to say it in a diplomatic and constructive fashion, but saying “no offense” will not prevent someone from feeling offended. If anything, it might make them even more likely to be offended, since they know you felt the need to say “no offense.” I am not sure that makes any sense, but I hope it does.

Well, I think I shall end it here. I know my posts have been rather sporadic lately, but I try not to “force” myself to write if I don’t feel like writing. That just results in boring or halfhearted posts, which I attempt to avoid at all costs. I hope you all enjoy your day!

 

Getting Back Into My Normal Routine


As I am beginning to write up this post, I am at my grandparents’ house in Washington state, and we are leaving tomorrow to fly home after my week-long spring break trip to Washington and Oregon (by the way, it is NOT pronounced “ore-gone” but rather more like “ore-gun“)–but by the time you will be reading this, we’ll be home already. It has been a fantastic and memorable vacation in more ways than one, and I have so much to share that I hardly know where to begin. I can’t say I was 100% relaxed and stress-free the entire time, but are you ever totally relaxed on a vacation?? I think not. I also have many photos to share, though I prefer not to share the ones that feature my family members, just for privacy reasons. So you’ll have to be content with seeing pictures of food, forests, lakes, mountains, and other nature-related scenes. Hmmmmm….where to start…..I don’t want to make this recap extraordinarily tedious to read, so I’ll try not to ramble on for too long. I’ll go ahead and begin with “day 1,” when we left Illinois for the west coast. I think doing a “day-by-day” recap is the best way to organize my thoughts. Our flight left at around 8:00 AM, so we had to leave our house at around 5:30-ish. When we got to the airport, we had some time to kill, so we wandered over to the nearby Starbucks to get drinks. I decided to try the Valencia Orange Refresher, which turned out to be quite delicious. I rarely buy anything from Starbucks, since I can’t afford it on a regular basis, so this was a nice treat. Our flight was about 4 hours long, and we spent the rest of the day at my grandparents’ house in Washington, chatting with them and also visiting my older sister, her husband, and their adorable little girl (she is about 1 and a half), all of whom also live in Washington. I think the one thing that struck me the most when we arrived in Washington was how green everything was. Here in Illinois the ground and trees are all still a lovely shade of brown. I absolutely love the mountains, trees, rivers, lakes, and flowers in the Pacific Northwest, which is why I want to live there someday. (image source: http://lifestyleetc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/valencia-orange-refresher.jpg)

Day 2: This was the day in which we went up to Seattle so that I could visit Cornish College of the Arts, take a tour of the campus, participate in a ballet class, and speak with the head of the dance department. CCA is located smack-dab in the middle of the city, and consists of several buildings scattered about in different places. The ballet class was great (and very sweaty), and I definitely enjoyed the teacher’s style and the combinations we were given. The other students seemed friendly as well, and the overall environment of the school was welcoming and warm. The only issue is that I would have to stay at the school for 3 years to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in dance, since I am not currently taking dance classes at my community college, but instead at a ballet studio. That would mean extra money, and CCA is not exactly cheap. Still, it was a fun and helpful visit, and I am glad that I was able to make the trip up there. After my visit was over, I walked down to Pike’s Place Market, which is essentially a huge collection of shops, stalls, vendors, and food carts where you can purchase just about anything from jewelry to vegan pastries to all-natural lip balm. I got some delicious Mediterranean food that was basically a salad topped with cooked lentils, rice, caramelized onions, spices, and a delicious tahini sauce, served with some naan bread. I didn’t take a picture, unfortunately, so you’ll just have to imagine how wonderful it was. There are some, shall we say, interesting characters in downtown Seattle, from street singers/musicians to people selling incense and quirky clothing, and it is definitely a very liberal, artsy, and unique city. photo 1 (4)   Day 3: We left early in the morning to drive down to Eugene, Oregon, since it was about a 4-hour drive. After we got there we briefly stopped at my other set of grandparents’ house in order to say hi. It was actually only my grandmother there, though, since my grandpa (my dad’s dad) is actually struggling with Alzheimer’s disease right now and is living in a special home. This was one main reason why we decided to take the trip–we really wanted to visit with them and see how he was doing. It’s very tough for my dad to live hundreds of miles away from his dad, and I definitely wish that we lived closer to them. Any prayers would be greatly appreciated for my grandpa, since he had to visit the ER right before we left after his vital signs dropped. He is OK now, but is still dealing with other Alzheimer’s-related issues. Anyway, on this day, we decided to hike up Spencer’s Butte, which has an elevation of approximately 2055 feet and has an absolutely amazing view from the top. The hike was fantastic, even though the last section of the hike involved climbing up steep slopes, scrambling over rocks, and stopping frequently to catch my breath. The view was well worth it, though, and my mom, my sister, and I all decided to take some fun yoga pictures at the top. I absolutely LOVE hiking, which is one of the many reasons why I love the west coast–there are so many mountains to climb and forests to explore.photo 3 (3)   photo 1 (5)

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photo 3 (4) Later that evening (or was that the next evening? Now I can’t remember…) we decided to eat dinner at a local Chinese restaurant. I ordered the eggplant with garlic sauce (served with some steamed rice), and while I didn’t take a picture, I found it quite delicious and filling. We also stopped at Market of Choice (sort of like a Whole Foods) to get some “Kendra-friendly” food, and I got the following items: two KIND bars (one Peanut Butter and Strawberry and one Cashew and Ginger Spice), some Chipotle Barbecue Beanitos chips, a bag of Earth Balance White Cheddar Popcorn (SO delicious), some vanilla-cherry granola (again–incredibly tasty), and a miniature vegan Sweet Earth Triple Berry pie. (image source: http://veggiedancer.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/9aa49-pb.jpg) (image source: http://www.ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/kind-bar-cashew-ginger-spice-636.jpg)

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photo 3 (5)   Day 4: In the morning, we decided to walk to Amazon Park, a place where my siblings and I used to play almost every time we went to our Grandparents’ house. One “landmark” of this park is a large stone dinosaur, which I would always love to climb on and pretend I was riding on the back of a real dinosaur. The dinosaur was still there, though he had been decorated with peace signs and flowers (see the picture below). After visiting the park, my mom and I went to a yoga class at a nearby studio, which was a great way to stretch out my stiff muscles. Later that afternoon we went to Skinner’s Butte Park, where we climbed up the butte and also walked along the path that ran beside the Willamette River. The view from the top of the butte was fantastic, though it wasn’t as high up as Spencer’s Butte. As for the river, it was beautiful as well, and I sat on the grass for a while, just sitting in a sort of meditative state, reflecting on how much I felt at home in this quirky town of Eugene, and how much I loved the array of parks, hiking trails, rivers, forests, and scenic overlooks. Afterwards, we went to a juice/smoothie store in downtown Eugene, where I got some delicious carrot-blend juice. Again, I didn’t take a picture, but it probably tasted better than it looked anyway…That’s another thing I love about Eugene–there are so many vegan-friendly restaurants! There are plenty of coffee shops as well, of course. The citizens (and college students) of Eugene LOVE their coffee.

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Day 5: This was when I got to take a tour of the University of Oregon, whose campus is located right in the middle of downtown Eugene. I first took a general walking tour of the campus from 8:30 to 10:00 A.M., which allowed me to see several of the campus buildings that are scattered throughout the town. It is a huge campus, but also very picturesque and biker/walker friendly. There were people riding bikes everywhere, and you can essentially walk or bike just about anywhere on campus. I also passed by the Clark Honors College, where I would be attending if I transfer to the U of O in the fall. After the walking tour, I met up with my family at the campus bookstore, where I lost myself in a sea of fascinating books for quite a while. Then I headed up toward the dance building, where I was going to meet up with the head of the dance department. I arrived early, though, so I decided to walk around the nearby Eugene Pioneer Cemetery. Does anyone else think cemeteries are very peaceful and beautiful places? I could totally imagine myself doing my homework and studying in the midst of all those gravestones. Though my meeting with the head of the dance department didn’t happen due to a mistake on my part, I did get to observe a ballet class on the upper floor of the dance building. I definitely enjoyed watching the class, though there seemed to be a huge range of abilities in the class–I have a feeling that a few levels might have been combined since many of the dancers were gone that weekend at a dance festival. I found myself marking the combinations as I stood outside the door, and I felt the urge to just run into the classroom and start dancing with everyone else. They wouldn’t have noticed, right?? Just kidding. Overall, I loved the atmosphere and “feel” of both the ballet class and the campus itself, and I am definitely considering making the U of O my final destination. However, I haven’t yet made a final decision, since I want to get more information on both the Honors College and how long it would take me to complete the Bachelor’s Degree in Dance, since I am a transfer student. Later that afternoon, I went with my mom to another yoga class at a different studio, and then we all went to dinner at a local pizza place with my parents, siblings, cousins, aunt, uncle, and other relatives who live in Eugene. Let’s just say there were a lot of people. I got an individual veggie pizza without cheese, and it was OK, but nothing too exciting or delicious.

(image source: http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/ksor/files/201309/University_of_Oregon.jpg)

(image source: http://library.uoregon.edu/sites/default/files/node2236/uo_arch_pioneercemetery.jpg)

Day 6: In the morning, I went to a drop-in adult ballet class at the Eugene Ballet Academy, since I was desperately “craving” a ballet class of any kind. It was a nice class, with only about five other people attending, and I enjoyed doing plies and tendus again after four days without ballet. The teacher was very kind and enthusiastic, and gave me some helpful corrections at both the barre and in center. After the class, I got to meet up with a good friend of mine whom I used to visit and play with when I lived in Klamath Falls, Oregon. She still lives in Klamath Falls, but since I moved to Virginia when I was 10, I hadn’t seen her in 10 years!! Luckily, we had kept in contact via Facebook and email, but it was lovely to see her face-to-face again after such a long time. We had a great time just chatting about our lives, going to a small museum, and checking out the Saturday market in downtown Eugene. After this meet-up, my family and I all got into the car and began the 4-hour long drive back to Washington state. It was a rainy drive, as can be expected when driving in Oregon and Washington, but we got back safe and sound.

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Day 7: This was sort of our “relaxing day” before we headed back home the next day, so it was mostly spent hanging out with our relatives, making a quick trip to Target, going for a walk around a nearby lake, and packing up our suitcases. Oh, and we watched the movie “Anchorman 2″ in the evening, which was, well, interesting. I thought that some parts were quite funny, some were stupid, some were needlessly crude or heavy on the sexual references, and some were actually very witty. So overall, I had rather mixed feelings about the film…

Day 8: Since our flight didn’t leave until late afternoon, my mom and I went to a yoga class at the local YMCA in the morning. It was a good class, and we did some great exercises that worked your “glutes” (technically it should be “gluteus maximus/minimus/medius”) and abdominal muscles. We also went for yet another walk around the lake since it was unusually sunny and warm–if you didn’t know already, many places in Washington and Oregon are well known for being frequently rainy and cloudy. I also soaked up some last precious moments with my adorable niece, who loves to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” to say words such as “boat,” “butt,” “bye-bye,” “night-night,” “kitty,” and “blueberries,” and to giggle so joyfully that you can’t help but join in. I love being an aunt :) The flight went well in the sense that we didn’t crash or have any long delays, and we watched the film “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” which was a fairly good film–nothing too exciting, but entertaining nevertheless.

Well, this post is getting ridiculously long, so I’ll wrap it up here. I am still in the process of choosing which college I want to attend, and I am honestly not sure how to make the best decision, what with money concerns and the question of how my previous college credits will transfer over. I know I do want to still major in dance, even though it isn’t a very “practical” choice, and may result in me becoming bankrupt and living on the streets. Well, maybe that is a slight exaggeration. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the rest of your week!

Chocolate Orange Almond Butter, Adorable Dog Pictures, and Counting Down the Days Until Spring Break


I know it’s been a while since I posted a recipe, so I thought I’d share one today that I recently created on a whim while preparing breakfast one morning. Yes, I already have 10 different almond butter recipes on my recipe page, but what’s one more, right?? If you are a fan of the chocolate/orange combination like I am, then you will almost certain enjoy this recipe. I am almost hesitant to call it a “recipe,” since it is so extraordinarily simple to create and easy to modify, but I don’t know what else to call it…

Chocolate Orange Almond Butter

One-third a cup of almond butter

One-third a cup of orange juice

2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

Simply combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. I told you it was simple. If it isn’t sweet enough, you could always add a tablespoon or so of sugar, maple syrup, agave nectar, etc…

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Now for the “adorable dog pictures” that I promised in the title of this post. Though I generally don’t like posting a ton of pictures of myself on this blog, I do love sharing photos of our two adorable and very photogenic dogs, Kaden and Maya. The first two are of Maya, and the last one is Kaden enjoying the snow–he will go out there in 10 degree weather and just lay happily in the snow for hours. I don’t know how he does it…We always call him our “snow dog” because of how much he loves the cold weather. He gets so excited when it snows, and will go outside, bury his head in the snow, snuffle joyfully, and prance around like a child with a lollipop.

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I am greatly looking forward to our spring break trip to the west coast next week, and am eagerly counting down the days until it arrives. I am nearly finished with all of my college assignments/studying for this week, and I actually have a story to tell about my earth science exam that I took on Wednesday. Our professor told us that we could use a “cheat sheet” on our exams, which could be one page of paper filled with as many notes as we could fit. In case you didn’t already guess, I decided not to use the cheat sheet, since I wanted to challenge myself and see how well I had retained and processed the information presented in class. On our first exam, which was in February, I got an 89%, which wasn’t terrible, but not nearly as well as I’d hoped to do. Still, I was determined not to use the cheat sheet for any of the other exams either. So for the second exam, I decided to use a method that has been working quite well for me: making flashcards. I based them off of the notes I had taken in class (since the exams my earth science professor gives us are based only on his Powerpoint presentations), and ended up with who-knows-how-many; I would guess at least 80. I diligently studied them in preparation for the exam until I could rattle off the answers to every single one, and also read pertinent sections of our textbook. You know that feeling on an exam when you zoom through the questions and automatically know the answer to just about every single one? Yeah, that doesn’t normally happen for me either. However, this exam was a pleasant exception. I haven’t gotten my grade yet, but I feel as though I had actually over-studied for the exam (always nice), and I felt fairly confident about it. And no, I am not planning on using the allowed cheat sheet for our final exam either ;) And now as I look back on this story it sounds like a self-centered brag-fest on my part–way to be humble, Kendra. I just wondered if anyone else has done what I did and decided not to use an allowed “cheat sheet” on an exam in order to challenge themselves. I am sure my other classmates did well on the exam as well, and I am certainly not super intelligent or anything like that. In fact, I am exceptionally ordinary in regards to my intelligence. I just like to study a LOT for exams in order to make sure I really understand the information and am not just blindly memorizing facts for the test, only to forget everything two days later.

On a slightly different note, I recently got the book East of Eden, by John Steinbeck, from the library, so that I would have a book to read on the plane when we leave for Washington next week. I started reading it a couple of days ago, and I am completely hooked on both the interesting story and the captivating characters. Steinbeck’s writing is fantastic, and he has that ability to bring his characters to life and “paint a picture” with his words. Needless to say, since I have a week off from my college classes starting on Monday, I will be spending a lot of quality time with this book….

(image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/56/EastOfEden.jpg)

Well, that’s all I have for today–I hope you enjoy your Thursday!

 

Brace Yourselves–A Maelstrom of Thoughts is Coming


Does anyone else love the word “maelstrom,” or is it just me? And can you tell I have way too much fun coming up with titles for my posts (though a popular meme may have inspired this title)? And that the titles typically end up being long and boring regardless of how creative I try to be? Anyway, I thought “maelstrom” was the best way to describe this post, though, since it will basically be a swirling storm of different things that I have to share with you today. I know I haven’t posted in a week, and my last post ended on a rather melodramatic and glum note. Though I can’t promise that this post will be all sunshine and rainbows, it won’t be quite as self-centered and whiny as my last one. I feel somewhat ashamed of how often I lamented and complained in that post, but I figured that deleting it would be rather dishonest of me. After all, I DID already put it out there for the world to see, so that’s where it shall stay for now. Moving on now to the promised maelstrom…

1. Only one week left of my college classes until spring break, which I am looking forward to, since (as I mentioned before) we are going to the west coast for spring break to visit family and check out a couple of colleges that I might transfer to in the fall. This is my final semester at my community college, and I will be getting my Associate’s Degree in May. I have already decided that I don’t want to attend the graduating ceremony, since I don’t want to make a big deal out of it and attending a ceremony doesn’t sound very enjoyable. This semester has been great so far, albeit rather stressful at times, but I am definitely enjoying all the classes I am taking: Anatomy/Physiology, Spanish, English, and Earth Science. For my Spanish class, I am currently working on a Powerpoint presentation about an imaginary trip to Perú, and reading about all of the amazing national parks, Machu Picchu, wildlife preserves, lakes, butterfly gardens, and mountains makes me want to hop on a plane and go visit Perú for a week or so. Sin embargo, no tengo el dinero o el tiempo ahora. Me gustaría visitar Perú en el futuro, pero no es una idea muy razonable. Still, look at this scenery!!

2.  So as I think I mentioned, I am writing my research paper (for my English class) on the nutritional aspects of vegan diet, and I’ve been experimenting with some different openings for the paper. Here are three that I’ve come up with–which one do you prefer? I am just interested in hearing your opinion :)

1. As a child, I didn’t think twice about eating animal products: juicy pork chops with applesauce, gooey grilled cheese sandwiches, fluffy scrambled eggs seasoned with salt and pepper—anything was fair game. I treasured those rare special occasions when we would go to McDonalds and gobble down their infamous chicken nuggets—tender and juicy meat covered in a crisp salty breading and dipped in the high-fructose corn syrup-laden ketchup. I was blissfully unaware of the ingredients in those innocent-looking chicken nuggets: “pink slime,” the bizarre ingredients such as dimethylpolysiloxene, and the cocktail of antibiotics and hormones. To me, it was just food that tasted good and filled me up. Another example is that for most of my childhood I was under the impression that dairy products would give me strong bones, not realizing that their high acid content could actually weaken my bones. Bring on the yogurt and cheese! Even as I grew older and uncovered the grim truth behind the nutritional value (or lack thereof) of these foods, I managed to shove this information to the back of my mind as I chowed down on hot dogs, turkey burgers, ice cream, and hard boiled eggs. Though my family never ate a ton of meat, I couldn’t imagine becoming a vegan—what would I do without my dad’s short ribs or homemade macaroni and cheese? However, this was all about to change. 

2. Here in the United States, we like to believe that all our ailments and diseases can be cured simply by popping a few pills. Got disease X or symptom Y? There’s a pill for that—just ask your current physician and read the terrifying list of side effects first! Though there are clearly some diseases that can only be cured via “traditional” medicine, the truth is that many of the most common health problems in the U.S., such as Type 2 diabetes and hypertension, are often linked to something we most certainly can change without medication: our diet. More specifically, the huge amount of animal products we consume on a daily basis. We Americans love our meat, dairy, and eggs—after all, what would life be like without Ben and Jerry’s ice cream to help us through an unpleasant break-up? Or Five Guys burgers to help us partake in that “traditional” American meal of burgers and fries? Or eggs to help us make a light and airy soufflé? However, these foods that we treasure so dearly are also main factors in the development of clogged arteries, insulin-resistant cells, and dangerously high cholesterol levels. In other words, the food we love so dearly could be slowly killing us. 

3. Walk into a fast food restaurant, a steakhouse, or an ice cream parlor, and what do you see? People sitting there, happily consuming their food, and not needing to worry about being judged for their choice to eat a juicy T-bone steak or a triple-scoop full-fat ice cream cone. If you eat animal products on a regular basis, then chances are that you don’t have people coming up to you with concerned looks on their faces, asking “Are you sure you’re getting enough iron? You look pale,” or “How do you get enough protein?? Aren’t you worried about your muscles wasting away to nothing?” In the United States, we are led to believe that dairy products will give you strong bones, that meat is the best source of protein, and that eggs are a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals. If you decide to become a vegan, then may the odds be ever in your favor—because you will almost undoubtedly encounter a storm [or maybe maelstrom!!] of skepticism and concern from your friends, family members, and even doctors. However, what if you could present to these nay-sayers the plethora of increasingly strong evidence indicating that a vegan diet is actually healthier—from a nutritional standpoint—than an omnivorous diet? Perhaps then you could dispel their doubt. 

3. We recently bought this Nature’s Path Love Crunch Dark Chocolate and Red Berry Granola (quite a mouthful to say–get it?? Mouthful?? I know, a lame pun on my part), and it is as close to addictive as food can get. If you haven’t yet tried it, I highly recommend doing so. Or maybe not, if you think it might be difficult to stop eating…

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I also made these Berry Bliss Oat Squares from Oh She Glows–I did make some changes to the recipe, but since I can’t remember exactly what I changed, I clearly can’t tell you. I do remember using some Earth Balance coconut spread in place of some of the applesauce to make it richer, but I don’t recall the exact amount. I really have to start writing down all the alterations I make. Either way, these are delicious, and that’s the important part.

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I made some rather tasty chickpea flour-crust pizza the other night, basing the crust on this recipe that I had made previously, but I made a bigger pizza using about 1 and a half cups of chickpea flour (and more water, of course), as well as some different spices. Again, I didn’t write down the exact spices/amount of spices, so I’ll just have to leave it as a mystery buried somewhere in my slightly insane mind. The topping was a hummus/salsa mixture, Daiya mozzarella “cheese,” and some thawed frozen green peas. It was delicious.

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4. Yesterday I decided to wash my bed comforter/blanket/whatever you prefer to call it for the first time in several months (or maybe even a year?). We had recently bought a new washing machine, since our other one spazzed out and started spewing water into the basement, and this new machine was actually able to hold my rather heavy/thick blanket without the folds of fabric overflowing out the top. After I had washed and dried it, I took it out and thought Wow, it looks strange–Oh wait, that’s because it’s actually clean!! I hadn’t realized how dirty it was until I washed it–dirty with what, I am not sure, but probably a mixture of dog hair, food stains, dried saliva (yes, I do drool in my sleep sometimes), and who knows what else. There were probably fleas as well, considering all the times I let our dog Maya lay on my bed. I am not very vigilant about washing my clothes anyway–if it doesn’t smell funny or have huge stains, then I consider it clean. This method hasn’t had any extraordinarily adverse effects so far, which is good. I think some people tend to obsess too much over everything being 110% “clean” anyway. Though maybe I am just biased since I spent much of my childhood playing in the dirt and drinking out of hoses. Cleanliness is overrated.

5. I have a weird obsession with needing my phone to be at least 50% charged at all times, which is why I diligently plug it in every night. However, my sister recently left her charger at her school, so she has been using mine quite frequently. I don’t really mind, since she uses her phone far more often to text her 5000 friends (OK, that’s an exaggeration), but when my battery level dips below maybe 75%, I feel a compulsive urge to charge it again. Don’t ask me why–it’s not as though I am using my phone 24/7, since I only occasionally text people and have zero games on my phone since they seem like a waste of time. I would say that the main thing I use my phone for is listening to Pandora while studying alone in my room.

6. I came across this quote on a Bahai Facebook page that I follow, and here are my thoughts on it that I shared via Facebook: I think this serves as a powerful reminder to all of us–I’d love to say that I never backbite, but even though I strive to avoid it at all times, I do slip up occasionally. Some people might say “Well, we live in a free country!! We can backbite if we want to!!” However, even though we might technically HAVE the freedom to speak harsh words about other people, this doesn’t mean we SHOULD. None of us are perfect human beings; we all have our flaws and imperfections, and for this reason we should think carefully before criticizing other people for their choices, decisions, words, actions, etc…We are not “better” than other people just because we didn’t make the same mistake that they did, or because we don’t have the same bad habits as they do. It is oh-so-easy to spend time criticizing or ranting about how “stupid,” “thoughtless,” “dumb,” “obnoxious,” or “shallow” other people are, but how is this bringing peace, love, or joy to the world?? I will certainly be keeping this quote in mind, as I usually do, in the hopes that it will help me overcome the temptation to speak unkindly about other people.

Well, I think this post is sufficiently long, and since I really DO need to finish up my Spanish project, study for my upcoming Earth Science exam and anatomy quiz, clean up my room, go to the library, and do other related tasks, I will end it here. I hope you all enjoy what’s left of the weekend!

What I Don’t Talk About


Note: If you prefer to avoid eating disorder-related posts in which specific numbers in regards to weight are mentioned, then by all means feel free to skip over this post. 

I know I don’t talk much about my past struggle with orthorexia on this blog, mainly because I don’t like to remember those years in which I was obsessed with eating a “perfect” diet, thinking it would somehow help me be “healthy” and avoid all those frightening lifestyle-related illnesses such as heart disease and hypertension. Not a day goes by when I don’t think back to that time and cringe at how stupid, thoughtless, and careless I was. However, the topic has been weighing heavy on my mind recently, and I figured I might as well share my story in more depth, in the hopes that maybe it will help relieve this mental baggage that I carry around with me on a daily basis. However, please do NOT comment and say how “brave,” “strong,” or “heroic” I am for sharing this story, because I am no heroine, and what I did was selfish and hurt many people around me, friends and family members alike. That’s what I regret the most: not the damage I inflicted on myself, but the pain I caused other people–people who didn’t deserve such stress and who were always so supportive, kind, and helpful. I’m not looking for sympathy, and I deeply regret the decisions I’ve made in the past, so I don’t want people trying to praise me for telling my shameful story. It’s just that I never talk about this part of my life with anyone, and it’s far easier for me to write about it than tell it to someone in person.

It started out innocently enough–doesn’t it always? I was around 15 years old, and I was just trying to eat healthier and avoid those chemical-laden, fatty, salty, sugary, processed foods that we were always warned about in the news, in magazine articles, or on certain websites. However, this innocent desire soon turned into a dark obsession with eating ONLY “clean” and “approved” foods, nothing with too many calories, too much fat, too much sodium, too much sugar, etc…I memorized the nutrition facts of just about everything, and severely restricted my diet. I would only eat meals at certain times of the day, and would get upset if we had dinner any earlier than 6 P.M. I would love baking rich desserts for my family members, but would never eat any of them. All of these rules were completely absurd, but I followed them anyway. I don’t remember the exact moment I decided to go on this “clean eating” mission–either I have forgotten or it simply escalated and didn’t have a real starting point. It had nothing to do with body image, really–I never thought I was fat and never wanted to lose weight. However, when you aren’t eating enough food, and are exercising almost obsessively in order to be “healthy,” guess what happens? That’s right: you lose weight. And a lot of it. By the time I was 16 or 17, I only weighed maybe around 80-ish pounds at my 5’4” height. I looked absolutely dreadful, and everyone noticed, from my dance teachers to my friends to my parents. And they were very upset, as you can imagine. However, I was stupid and oblivious enough that I didn’t see what they saw. I didn’t think I was that skinny, and I couldn’t understand why they were so worried. I remember my mom begging me to eat more at mealtimes, and me getting illogically upset when she made me eat more. I remember feeling as though I ”needed” to get X amount of exercise per day, or I wouldn’t be “healthy.” I remember my dance teachers intervening and telling me I looked skeletal. I remember people looking at me with that pitying expression in their eyes, silently labeling me as “the girl with orthorexia.” I remember finally accepting the fact that I needed to gain weight, yet not completely understanding just how difficult and uncomfortable the process would be. Unfortunately, I also developed a nasty case of roundworms around this time, which meant that I was dealing with other issues: stomach cramps, diarrhea, insomnia, difficulty breathing, and other not-so-pleasant symptoms. Though I took medication to eradicate the worms, they reappeared twice more, and could even resurface any time in the future–roundworms are hard to get ride of completely.

Though I never went into treatment, my parents did tell me I would have to if I didn’t manage to gain weight on my own. To this day, it amazes me how much my family supported me throughout this ordeal, and I can never apologize enough for all the pain I caused them. I hate the fact that I was such a terrible role model to my younger sister, who couldn’t understand why her older sister weighed less than she did, and why she was so skinny. I hate the fact that I always had this “skinny girl” label attached to me, and that I had made such a mess of my life. I hate the fact that I fell prey to such a “first world problem,” despite my previous naive belief that I would never be foolish enough to develop an eating disorder. I eventually started my weight-gaining plan with the help of a nutritionist that I went to see with my mom, and began increasing my daily caloric intake. I ate tons of nuts, avocados, granola bars, bread, protein shakes, and other calorie-rich foods to help me put on the weight. And it did work, slowly but surely. It was difficult at times, though, since when you are used to restricting your caloric intake, your stomach cannot tolerate much food at once, which results in painful stomach aches and bloating. There were times when I just wanted to scream and give up, when I couldn’t stand eating one more handful of nuts or one more avocado slice. Just typing this out makes me realize how idiotic I was–how while I was struggling to gain weight, there were people thousands of miles away starving because they couldn’t afford or find enough food to survive. I felt like a spoiled, selfish, messed-up American brat who was mentally unstable and unable to face the truth about how unhealthy she was. And I still feel deeply ashamed of myself and my past actions.

Like I said, I did begin to gain weight, but I was still very thin, and for that reason I cannot stand watching my dance performance videos of those years because I looked so terrible. I should have realized how much damage I was doing to my body, and I probably ruined any chance I ever had of actually being a talented dancer. After all, I was losing not just weight but muscle mass as well. I was a fragile waif whom everyone pitied and felt as though they should praise and be kind toward, even though they probably cringed every time they looked at me. I could never tell if people were acting nice toward me because they enjoyed being in my company, or because they simply felt sorry for me. Yes, I did have some good friends (and relatives) who were amazing people and who accepted and cared for me–as screwed up, selfish, and unhealthy as I was. They didn’t deserve all the stress I caused them, and I can never thank them enough for all the support they provided. In the summer of 2011, we moved to Illinois, when I was 17 and finishing up my junior year of high school (well, I was homeschooled my whole life, so I wasn’t actually ”in” a high school). I continued gaining weight and getting healthier, but never told anyone I met about my past problems. It was too touchy of a topic for me, and I just didn’t want to talk about it. I still don’t like to discuss it. Because I was so tiny and slender for my height, people always thought I was much younger than my biological age, and they still do. Even though it was not their fault, I got somewhat fed up with people being shocked and exclaiming “Wow, you look much younger!!” when I would tell them my age. Still, I knew it was completely, utterly, 100% MY fault. No one had “made” me develop orthorexia, and I wasn’t about to pin the blame on other outside factors or people. Sure, I had always been a perfectionist and a worrier, but those factors alone don’t “cause” disordered eating patterns. I had simply made some terrible and unwise choices and was suffering the expected consequences.

And now? Well, I am at a healthy weight of approximately 120-125 pounds (same height of 5’4”), I finally started my menstrual cycle at age 19 last year, and I am in a better place both mentally and physically. I still fall into old habits occasionally, which is partially why I don’t like writing one of those “everything I eat in a day” posts. I know that every once in a while I don’t eat enough in a day, usually when I am stressed out about something or am having digestive problems again–a common side effect of orthorexia. However, I am no longer “fearful” of fatty/sugary/salty/calorie-rich foods, and I am no longer terrified that I will drop dead of a heart attack if I eat such foods. I still look much younger than 20 years old, though, which bothers me more than I care to admit. I think it’s because I still have a small frame and basically no hips whatsoever, even if my weight and body fat content are normal. Still, I know those are petty and trivial concerns in the big scheme of things, and that I am lucky and blessed just to be alive and well. I do my best not to think back to those years in which I was struggling with orthorexia, but you cannot simply erase memories like that. They stick in your mind forever–or at least for a long time–and I know I will regret those choices for the rest of my life. One of my greatest fears is causing pain, sorrow, or suffering in other people, and I did just that by developing an unhealthy fixation with eating a “perfect” diet. I know I will probably never forgive myself for what I did to my friends and family members, but I can at least strive to make up for those “lost” years and be the best person I can be.

Feel free to share any comments or thoughts you may have, but just remember–don’t call me “heroic” or “strong,” because I am truly not. There are people out there who have faced FAR worse struggles than I have, and still found the strength within them to carry on with their lives and make a positive difference in the world. You can call those people heroic or brave, but not me. I just wanted to share my experience because as much as I hate to admit it, it’s been a large part of my life, and has affected me in many ways. I’ve learned many important lessons, even though they’ve been tough ones to learn. I’m far from perfect, and I could write an essay on all my flaws, so I don’t want to paint a rosy picture of myself as some happy-go-lucky, sweet, and angelic person who never gets angry or makes huge mistakes. Because that’s just not who I am.

So, now that I’ve probably depressed you all, or just made you irritated with my self-centered rambles, I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend. I don’t really have some snazzy ending to this post, so I’ll finish it here.

Weird Weather, Castile Soap, Awkwardly-Named Crackers, and Other Thoughts


So, it’s been an interesting week so far. First of all, let’s start with the weird weather. On Monday, it was absolutely gorgeous: 50-ish degrees, sunny, and mild. The birds were chirping, the snow was melting, and the feeling of spring was in the air. However, this was not to last. Beginning Tuesday night, the temperature dropped more than 20 degrees and by Wednesday morning we had approximately 5 or 6 inches of wet and heavy snow on the ground. I normally have an 8 A.M. college class on Wednesday morning; however, the college was opening late because of the snow, so my class was cancelled. Instead, I went out and started shoveling the driveway, only to discover that the very bottom portion of the driveway and sidewalk was essentially slush covered with a thin layer of snow. And that type of “snow” is probably 10 times harder to shovel, seeing as it is MUCH heavier and wetter. So yeah, it was a bit of a struggle, and I probably looked a bit ridiculous as I slowly and laboriously scooped up the shovelfuls of slush, staggered to the side of the driveway, and hurled it onto the yard. Thank goodness my upper body strength has been improved by yoga, or I may have given up halfway through and just laid down in the snow. Soon my mom came out to help shovel the rest of the driveway, and between the two of us we managed to clear it all off. Though I love the snow, I think we are all a bit tired of it by now. Plus, this morning it was only 7 degrees, yet tomorrow it will climb up to 50 degrees, only to drop down to the mid 20s again by Sunday.

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After the snow-shoveling escapade, I decided to go with my mom to a 75-minute hot yoga class, since I normally don’t get to take yoga on Wednesdays because of my college class. The room was heated to 92 degrees, so needless to say, I was a sweaty-yet-happy mess afterward. I came home and chugged down a 20-ounce Sobe Lifewater in approximately 30 minutes, which just goes to show how thirsty I was.  We did lots of regular and forearm planks in the class (great for your upper body AND core), so I woke up this morning with incredibly sore arms, and decided to skip my normal Thursday morning yoga class for that reason. I had also been at ballet from 4:30 to 9 last night, teaching and taking class, so that contributed to my overall soreness as well. I am not complaining, though, since it was an excellent yoga class and made me feel so relaxed and happy afterward.

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I also wanted to share a picture of these rather, um, awkwardly-named crackers that we purchased at Costco. I had to do a double-take at the name, and wondered how many other people had made jokes about it…I know what is meant by their title, but it just doesn’t sound quite right. Next time, maybe try writing “Stone-Ground Wheat” instead, though I guess that’s not much better.

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Have you ever heard of castile soap? After hearing my anatomy /physiology professor talk about it, I wanted to give it a try, so my mom bought a few bottles of Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap at Whole Foods. The ingredients are much less frightening than those on regular soap: (here is the link where I got this information for the lavender soap: http://www.drbronner.com/DBMS/LAVENDER/OLLA02.html )

Water, Organic Coconut Oil*, Potassium Hydroxide**, Lavandin Extract, Organic Olive Oil*, Organic fairDeal Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Lavender Extract, Citric Acid, Tocopherol
* CERTIFIED FAIR TRADE INGREDIENT
** None remains after saponifying oils into soap and glycerin

I’ve been using it for several days now, and it does seem to be less harsh than regular soap, and also has made my skin smoother. You can use it as a hand soap, body wash, shampoo, shaving dream, laundry detergent, dish cleaner, and many other things. A good bargain, right?? The bottle does have some rather interesting things written on it, since Emmanuel Bronner was a rather eccentric person. For example, one quote on the bottle says “It is the mildest, most pleasant soap you have ever used or your money back! Enjoy body rub to stimulate body-mind-soul-spirit and teach the essene moral ABC uniting all free in the shepherd astronomer Israel’s greatest All-One-God Faith!” However, questionable logic aside, I truly do recommend the soap!

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It turned out that my diligent studying for my anatomy exam paid off, and I got 73.5 out of 75 points, AKA a 98%, AKA an A. This was a relief to me, especially since I didn’t feel 100% confident about the exam–not that I ever do. Our next topic is going to be–drum roll please–the reproductive system!! Get excited!! I actually don’t find that topic awkward to discuss, but it may end up being slightly awkward anyway, even though we are all in college now and should be mature enough to have a discussion about the reproductive system without resorting to crude jokes and bizarre comparisons. “Should” being the operative word here. We shall see how it goes. Personally, I find the reproductive system to be very interesting from a scientific/medical standpoint, but I am not sure if everyone else will share my interest.

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I recently made these Healthied Up Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (the “tiny bit naughty” version), and decided to make them gluten-free by using 1 and a half cups of brown rice flour +half a cup of coconut flour in place of the whole wheat pastry flour. They turned out quite delicious, with a rich and sweet flavor and a soft texture. I did cut the amount of sweetener in half (using only 1/4 a cup each of sugar and maple syrup), but they were still plenty sugary enough for me. I definitely recommend the recipe!

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I’ve recently been slightly obsessed with the following songs, so maybe you’ll want to listen to them and also become hooked on them. Or not, if you don’t share my taste in music.

 

 

 

To conclude, I’ll share a couple more random thoughts:

1. On Sunday night, my family and I went out to dinner at Sweet Tomatoes, AKA one of our favorite restaurants because it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet and we eat a lot between the six of us. During our meal, my 15-year old sister noted with some distress that my 17-year old brother was eating his muffin from the top down instead of the bottom up. She claimed that it’s better to eat the bottom first, since the top is the “best part” and you should save the best for last. This prompted an intense 5-ish minute discussion among all of us as to which is the best way to eat muffins. Yes, we have discussions about weird things. So my question to all of you is this: do you eat your muffins from the top down, or the bottom up? Or do you cut them in half first, like I do?

2. I was listening to the class rock station on the radio this morning, and the two morning show hosts were talking briefly about mutton for some reason, and their conversation went something like this: Radio host #1: “So what is mutton, anyway?” Radio host #2: “I’m not sure; I don’t think anyone really knows!” Umm….I am fairly sure that mutton is sheep meat, and that many people actually are aware of this fact. Heck, I am a vegetarian and I knew what mutton was! Well, I initially thought it was lamb meat, but it’s actually from sheep. Close enough, though, since sheep are just grown-up lambs.

Well, that’s all I have for today, so I hope you all enjoy your Thursday and the upcoming weekend! Stay warm (or cool, or dry, depending on where you live and how bizarre your weather has been) and if you live in a colder area, remember that spring is on its way! Unless it just stays cold and snowy throughout March and April, which is always possible. Not to be pessimistic or anything. Or optimistic, if you love the snow. After all, the weather can’t please everyone–it has a tough job.

An Interesting Transition Into Daylight Savings Time (And Other Recent Events)


I’m back after my week-long absence (blog-wise, of course, since I’ve still been existing on earth in that time period), and I wish I could have some fantastic and unique excuse as to why I haven’t been blogging in the last seven days, but I really don’t. I’ve just been caught up in studying for my college classes and exams, formulating my spring break/college visit plans, babysitting, and teaching/taking ballet classes. Just the usual. I do, however, have a rather amusing tale about last night and my rather rough transition into daylight savings time. Well, it wasn’t exactly amusing at the time, but I was able to laugh at myself a couple times, and in hindsight, the whole fiasco seems even more amusing. I’ll share some other random thoughts as well, just for the heck of it.

1. So I had a long day yesterday: I was at my dance studio from 10 to 4, then cleaned the studio until about 5:30. I went home briefly to get changed and grab some food, then I went to babysit a couple of kids. The older girl went to a sleepover soon after her parents left, so it was mostly just me and the 6-year old boy for the rest of the time. We played hockey in their basement for a while, which (as you can imagine) was rather interesting. I am definitely not a talented hockey player (or any sports player for that matter), so the little boy scored far more goals than I did ;) Plus, the hockey stick I was using was far too short for me, so I had to run around hunchbacked and crouching, which probably looked ridiculous. Oh well. Afterward, we watched Paul Blart: Mall Cop on TV, which I’d never seen before. Though it had some funny moments, I thought it had a rather “fluffy” and ridiculous plot line. After the boy went to bed around 9:00-ish, I stayed up studying for my anatomy/physiology exam that I have on Tuesday. It is on the lymphatic, respiratory, and endocrine system, so I went over my 100-plus flashcards (no joke) and did my best to ensure that all of the information was firmly cemented in my mind: the 5 classes of antibodies, the 3 functions of the red pulp in the spleen, the three areas of the pharynx, the different types of cartilage in the larynx, the 5 cells of the anterior pituitary gland, the four hormones produced in the ovaries, and much, much more. Though I remained fairly diligent and focused until about 11, my brain began to shut down at that point, and I could no longer focus very well. Let’s just say I am not a night owl, so it was difficult to keep myself awake until the kids’ parents got back, which was around 1:00 in the morning. I tried doing many things to keep myself awake, ranging from listening to music, to thumping my head on the couch, to pacing around the kitchen and thinking random thoughts. Hey, at least it worked! Then, when I got into my car to leave, I realized two things: (1) there was a great deal of frost on the windows, and (2) the ice scraper was not in the car, since I had failed to check before I left home. Therefore, I had to sit in my car  for 5 minutes or so, looking like a creeper who wouldn’t leave the house, with the defroster on full blast until the ice melted away. I was full of irrational anger at both myself and whomever had decided to take the ice scraper out of the car, but I managed to remind myself that such anger was petty, pointless, and only due to me being exhausted. When I got home, I suddenly realized that the clocks had been changed, and thought Oh &%$#@, daylight savings time starts tomorrow!! So instead of being 1:20, it was actually 2:20 A.M. Our two dogs seemed very excited and agitated when I got back, so I let them out to use the bathroom, and it turned out they both had to go. A lot. When I first tried laying down in my bed, our younger dog Maya started barking at my door, so I had to go out and lay down with her on the couch so she would settle down. She is a very needy dog. So I didn’t get to sleep until 2:30 or 3:00, yet I still woke up by 8:00, and didn’t want to go back to sleep, since I had many things to do: studying, doing the laundry, taking the dogs out to the dog park, finishing up my Spanish homework, etc…Anyway, it should be interesting to see how I feel by about 4 or 5 this afternoon–I do not function very well on only 5 or 6 hours of sleep, so we’ll see how this day goes. I hope your transition into daylight savings time was smoother than mine! Oh, and here is a picture of Maya, since she was looking particularly photogenic on the couch this morning after a romp at the dog park.

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2. The other day, after watching this video about the representation of women in the media this past year, I was thinking about this issue of sexual objectification, and I couldn’t help but think Don’t we often do the same thing with men? They aren’t exempt from this just because they are males, are they? Many women would be rightfully offended by the overt sexuality of many TV advertisements involving women, yet they wouldn’t think twice about fawning over those Ryan Gosling gifs that have flooded the internet. Yet aren’t they essentially the same thing? Focusing on a person’s appearance and sexual appeal instead of their character? I am not trying to defend the sexist advertisements on TV, but we should remember that they don’t just involve women. What about this Hefty garbage bag commercial?? You couldn’t possibly watch this and say that it’s not offensive to both women and men. I mean, come on–those guys have clearly been “touched up” by digital altering as well, and no one looks that “perfect” in real life. I know it’s offensive and rude when men make cat-calls at women on the street, but isn’t it equally offensive (albeit more covert) when women talk about how “hot” or “cute” certain men are? I think some women can be just as obsessed with the physical appearance of someone (perhaps even more so, in some cases) as men can be. Not ALL women are solely focused on how sexually attractive a guy is, of course, but neither are all men!! I am not trying to insinuate that men and women face the exact same problems, especially in the case of sexual abuse–after all, I know that the majority of rape cases are committed by men. However, sexual objectification is a problem for both women and men, and we should strive to keep that in mind. I love this particular quote from the Baha’i writings in regards to gender equality, so I thought I’d share it with you.

3. The other day, while teaching ballet, near the end of the class one of my students asked me something along the lines of “Are you feeling sad, Miss Kendra? Because you don’t seem very happy.” Well, I am paraphrasing, since I don’t remember exactly what she said, but it was something like that. I just sort of laughed it off and said that I was just tired (which was partially true), but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I truly hadn’t been feeling very happy for some reason or another. Actually, I had been in that sort of “off mood” for the entirety of last week, and I wasn’t exactly sure why. Somehow, however, this intelligent and sweet young girl had picked up on my mood, even though I’d done my best to mask it behind a facade of cheerfulness and enthusiasm. I do this a lot, actually–it’s easier for me to pretend I am “fine” than to talk about my feelings with someone in person. Children can be very smart and perceptive sometimes, that’s for sure. So no–I haven’t been very happy lately, even though I have absolutely NO reason to feel down in the dumps. In fact, I am downright angry at myself for not feeling happy, telling myself You have so much to be thankful for!! You have no right to be unhappy!! Stop being such a self-pitying idiot!! Maybe it was stress over school, or frustration with ballet, or just a general feeling of inadequacy and worthlessness that triggered this glum mood–who knows? Or maybe I was just feeling lonely, since even though I am an introvert and value my “alone time,” I occasionally wish that we lived closer to our relatives, most of whom live on the west coast, and none of whom live anywhere near Illinois. Plus, since I am currently attending a community college, I don’t spend time with my classmates outside of school. Though I actually do sometimes prefer studying alone, sometimes I think I should make more of an effort to make friends outside of ballet class. OK, enough moaning now–I’ll shut up and stop complaining. After all, you aren’t reading this blog to hear me ramble on about my petty problems!

4. So I know I mentioned that I have an anatomy/physiology exam on Tuesday, which I should probably be studying for right now, but I still have visions of pituitary hormones dancing in my head from my studying last night, so I thought I’d take a small break this morning and do more studying a bit later in the day. Anyway, I had an interesting dream the other night, as shown by this Facebook post I shared recently…

Last night I decided to make some flashcards on the endocrine system for my anatomy/physiology class, and was studying them right before going to bed. Then, that night I dreamed that I was in the dance studio, explaining to some guy what the 5 cells of the anterior pituitary gland are called, and which hormones they produce. By the time I woke up in the morning, I had all of the 5 cells memorized, and almost all of the hormones as well. That is why I love studying right before going to bed–granted, I don’t always dream about hormones and cells, but it really does help the information stick in my mind. Maybe if I am lucky, I’ll dream about the three zona layers of the adrenal cortex tonight…

Yes, I know–I am such a nerd. And yes, I have weird dreams, as I am sure everyone does. I have been keeping a semi-regular dream diary for a few months now, and I’d love to make a book out of it someday. Just kidding. I’d have to censor them, anyway, since I’ve had some rather disturbing ones. And no, I am not going into more detail than that.

OK, so I should really stop procrastinating now and get some work done. Plus, my classic sleep deprivation headache is starting to kick in, so if I try to write more, it might not be very coherent. I hope you all enjoy what’s left of the weekend, and have adjusted well to the time change!

Random Facts/Tidbits of Information and Interesting Search Terms


I felt like writing a post last evening, but didn’t have an exact topic in mind, so I thought I’d just share a list of (1) some interesting facts and bits of information and (2) some of the more bizarre search terms that have led people to my blog in the past month or so. So here they are!

1. I was watching a show on the National Geographic channel on Friday night about animals with unique defenses, body parts, mating rituals, etc…, and one of the featured animals was the dromedary camel–or, more specifically, the mating ritual of the dromedary camel. Apparently, the male dromedaries do the following in order to attract mates: salivate heavily and start foaming the mouth, urinate and spread the urine on their bodies with their tails, and detach the soft palate from their mouths, which lolls out like a round pink tongue. I’m not sure if you really wanted to know that, but I thought it was interesting. Then, of course, I had to think what if humans did something like that?, and my mind was immediately filled with disturbing images. Yeah, not the best thing to think about. Other animals featured on the show were the Horned Lizard, which shoots blood from its eyes as a defense mechanism, and the Mimic Octopus, which is able to mimic the shapes, patterns, and movements of several other sea creatures. I found the show quite interesting, and will definitely try to catch it again at some point. Here is a video of the Mimic Octopus, if you are a science enthusiast like me and would like to watch it!

2. Did you know that you can make your own deodorant? I had known this for a while, but only recently did I decide to give it a try. I used this recipe, but I was inspired to try it out by my anatomy/physiology professor, who is both a doctor and a HUGE advocate of using more homeopathic and natural remedies to sort out health issues, only turning to “traditional” medicine when all other methods have been exhausted. I love it when she gets on her “soapbox” during class and starts talking about things such as the overuse of antibiotics or how we shouldn’t worry so much about high fevers and douse ourselves with Ibuprofen, since doing this can actually prolong the period of illness. Her point of view is a refreshing change from what you might get at a “traditional” doctor’s office. Needless to say, I always look forward to her classes :) Anyway, back to the deodorant issue…I think most people are aware of the fact that most deodorants contain a rather frightening list of chemicals that at the very least, probably are not doing your body any good. After all, deodorant doesn’t just stay on your skin; it can seep in through the pores and enter the rest of your body. And as for antiperspirant deodorant, should we really be blocking our body’s attempts to cool us down via sweating? This homemade deodorant does NOT stop you from sweating, but it has worked well for me so far in regards to odor control, and I recommend giving it a shot. Next on my list? Homemade toothpaste.

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3. I am really looking forward to spring break with my family in about a month, since I get to (1) visit both the University of Oregon and Cornish College of the Arts, where I have been accepted as a transfer student and (2) spend time with relatives on the west coast. We rarely go anywhere for spring break, since it is a huge cost, but this year was a special exception. Needless to say, I am super  excited to be visiting colleges where I might transfer to next year–I only recently found out that I was accepted into Cornish College of the Art’s dance program, which I auditioned for via DVD. I was not expecting that, since I didn’t think I danced very well on the video, so it was a pleasant surprise! However, the highlight of the trip will be visiting my sister, her husband, their child, both sets of my grandparents, my aunt and uncle, and some of my cousins. It is always wonderful to see your relatives when you live hundreds of miles away from most of them.

(image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3c/Seattle_-_Cornish_-_1000_Lenora_01.jpg)

(image source: http://pages.uoregon.edu/raies/layout/images/oregon.jpg)

4. In regards to dance, I am actually beginning to feel as though I am slowly-but-surely improving on things that I’ve always struggled with–high extensions, pirouettes, beats, etc…Basically just about everything ;) My pirouettes en pointe are gradually getting better, and my petit allegro is getting a bit stronger as well. I am starting to realize just how much I need dance in my life, and how even though I may never make it as a professional dancer, I am not ready to stop dancing anytime soon. It’s difficult to describe exactly why I love dancing so much, or why I continue to do so even though I am surrounded by people who are both younger and more talented than I am. I guess it just comes down to how I feel when dancing: free, blissful, and able to express myself in a way that I can’t do just by talking to people. Even though many people love the performance aspect of dance, my favorite part of ballet is just the day-to-day classes and rehearsals–struggling to conquer a difficult step, losing myself in the “zone” that I enter into while doing barre exercises, striving for that extra inch of elevation on my jumps, or just working on perfecting my tendus. Yes, performing is wonderful as well, but I can honestly say I usually prefer classes to performances–though maybe that’s just because I don’t like wearing makeup and costume changes tend to stress me out ;)

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And here are the strange search terms; I have written them exactly how they turned up in my stats, so please excuse the grammatical/spelling errors.

1. “loud thought radio inside my head.” If you are hearing a radio inside your head, then I suggest you seek help from either a dentist or a psychologist–depending on if the trouble is caused by a silver filling picking up radio signals or just something that’s quite literally “inside your head.” Or your brain, to be more precise. Either way, I doubt you will find help on my blog.

2. “ballet always hungry.” Well, I must say that being a ballet dancer WILL indeed rev up your appetite–despite the stereotypes, many ballet dancers actually do eat quite a bit in order to fuel their dancing. We don’t all have eating disorders or only eat salads.

3. “ruminating over ridiculous fears.” I can relate to you on this one!! I tend to do this quite frequently, even though I know it’s not helping me in any way, shape, or form.

4. “can u have spaghetti with sweet potato.” It’s a free country–you can eat whatever you desire to! Apparently you can even use “u” as a proper replacement for “you,” so I don’t think anyone will be forbidding you from eating spaghetti with sweet potatoes.

5. “difficulty finding happiness in a phony world.” This is actually a rather deep search term, which is why I decided to include it. I understand that it can often be difficult to feel content and joyful when there is so much deception, chicanery (I love that word), and falsity in the world. However, just remember that YOU, whoever you are, have the power to change this, at least a little. Do your best to be an honest, hardworking, and compassionate person, and you never know what might happen.

6. “don’t care about d one who r self-possessed i have many ones to love me.” First of all, I don’t think “self possessed” means what you think it means. I think a better word would be “arrogant” or “egotistical.” Just remember that even if a person IS selfish or arrogant, that doesn’t mean we should “not care” about them. None of us are perfect, and we should try to extend kindness and compassion toward everyone, not just the virtuous people.

7. “what happenswhen you’re 16 and have never dadted anyone.” Basically, you become a social pariah whom everyone despises and shuns. I kid, of course. After all, I am 20 and have never dated anyone, but nothing terrible or earth-shattering has happened yet. Trust me–there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with never having dated anyone at age 16!! Then again, maybe I am slightly biased.

And since 7 is a magical number (or so they say), I will stop here. I hope you all enjoy what’s left of your weekend!

 

An Eventful and Interesting Thursday


I thought I’d do one of those “day-in-the-life” posts today, since I usually don’t do them, and maybe you will find it interesting…Or not. Yesterday was a particularly busy day, though, with a few amusing events, so I thought I’d fill you in on what happened throughout the day–minus some details, of course, in order to protect privacy and avoid boring you to death. So here goes nothing!

6:30 A.M: I had set my alarm to 7:00 A.M., but I actually woke up before it went off, which happens quite frequently. I stayed in bed for a few minutes, then got up and decided to go fill up the car with gas, since it was running low. I don’t have my own car, so I usually drive our Honda Civic. Now, this was the first time I’d ever actually filled up the car with gas on my own–since it’s not really “my” car, I am generally not the person who ends up doing that particular task. So yeah, I guess you could consider that a bit of an adventure. And as embarrassing as this might sound, I was actually looking up YouTube videos on how to fill up your car with gas the night before, just to make sure I would do it correctly (just FYI, there are some great videos on that). Yes, I felt like a total idiot. In fact, I even dreamed about filling up the car with gas that night–yes, I am very weird and paranoid that way. I managed to complete the task without blowing up the car or bursting into flames, though, so it was a success ;)

7:30 A.M: I leave to drive my 13-year old brother to school–he normally walks to school, since it is only a 15-20 minute walk away, but since it was only 5 degrees this morning with a sub-zero wind chill, I figured it might be nice to give him a ride. And since my parents are rarely awake at that time, I am usually more than happy to help out with transportation.

8:00 A.M: I drive to an 8:30 A.M. hour-long yoga class, which was fantastic as usual. After that, I come home, shower, finish up an assignment for my online English class, and start making more flashcards for the respiratory system chapter in my anatomy class. Oh, and I made some delicious oatmeal as well–half a cup of oats cooked with 1 cup of water and two tablespoons of cocoa powder, topped with a “river” of almond butter.

photo 1 (13)

11:15 A.M: My 15-year old sister was skipping the first few periods of school since she had a huge AP U.S. Government test that day and stayed up late the night before to study. So I drove her to school at around 11:15, and on the way there, of course, she had to play “her music,” which is usually the type of pop music I dislike–but I can tolerate it just fine, since if it makes her happy, then I am happy as well. Of course, the song “Blurred Lines” had to come on almost as soon as we started driving, so I was forced to listen to that terribly raunchy song for several torturous minutes. OK, I might be exaggerating a bit. But seriously, why would he want to make a song like that?? I don’t understand its appeal, except maybe that it’s catchy…

11:35–12:30: I keep working on finishing up my anatomy flashcards–we have a big exam in less than two weeks on the lymphatic, respiratory, and endocrine system, and I’ve found that using flashcards definitely helps me remember certain facts and details. For the respiratory, I must have made close to 100 of them, but at least I could do them online, and not have to write them all by hand. Then I had a small incident with the stapler: I was refilling it with more staples, and somehow managed to staple my own finger. I can be terribly klutzy sometimes for a dancer, let me just say. I couldn’t help but laugh at myself, though, and managed to get the staple out within a couple of minutes. My finger was throbbing and pulsing for a while afterward, but it was fine–mostly, I was just interested in looking at the tiny hole in my finger and thinking about all the coagulation processes going on in my blood to stop the small amount of bleeding and clot up the wound. That’s what happens when you are fascinated with anatomy and physiology.

photo 2 (9)

 

12:30–3:20: I leave for my 1:00 anatomy class at 12:30, and it runs until about 3:20. We watched a few videos on the respiratory system, looked at some models of the trachea and larynx, and did some lab exercises. One of the videos was of a doctor explaining the benefits of deep breathing–4 counts in through, hold for 7 counts, breath out your mouth for 8 counts. It reminded me of the deep breathing done in yoga, except in yoga you normally breath in and out of your nose. Here is the video, in case you are interested!

3:40–6:15: After arriving home briefly from school, I get my dance stuff together and go to teach two pre-ballet classes at my dance studio. Like I’ve said before, I love teaching the younger students, even though it does take quite a bit of patience! They are so enthusiastic and sweet, though, and never fail to make me smile. One of the girls in my first class loves to give me little kisses on my hands, and it’s even more hilarious when she says “I kissed you!!” but her “k’s” sound more like “p’s.” ;)

photo 4

6:45–9:00: After arriving back from dance class, changing into normal clothes, and grabbing some food to take with me, I head off to babysit for a couple of hours. The kids who I babysat are ages 6 and 8 (I think? I don’t always remember ages very well, especially since I hadn’t seen them in a few months), and have a ton of energy. So we had a lot of fun playing chase in their basement, running around with their small terrier dog, and doing other random activities. They seem to have a preference for, shall we say, scatological and somewhat crude humor, so of course they found a book in their closet on the human body–and you can guess which topics they were most interested in ;) So yeah, I had to listen to them talking about testicles and the anus for quite a few minutes. Hey, at least they are familiar with the human body, right? They are both quite intelligent, and I truly do love hanging out with them–they are sort of like my un-official younger siblings.

9:30–10:45: After getting home, I watched the 50th Anniversary Special of Doctor Who (the Day of the Doctor) with my 13-year old brother–we had put it on hold through the library, and had been eagerly awaiting its arrival. It was definitely engaging, humorous, and entertaining, as the episodes normally are (not always, but usually). My sister came in while we were watching it and exclaimed “I thought they were done!!” As you can tell, she is not the biggest Doctor Who fan. I had to explain to her that we haven’t even watched all of the classic episodes yet! We won’t be “done” for quite a while now…

(image source: http://www.voxboxcomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/doctor-who-dalek-conjugate.gif)

11:15: I feel particularly tired this evening, so I fall asleep fairly quickly. The end. So, what did I learn today? Filling up the car with gas is not rocket science, always be careful when handling staplers, deep breathing will help calm your nervous system and reduce stress, and I am still hooked on Doctor Who.

I hope you all have a wonderful Friday!

Spill It Sundays–Books!!!!


I shared a bit of exciting news in my last post, so if you haven’t yet read it, and feel inclined to do so, please check it out–I don’t see the point in sharing the link to my last post when all you have to do is click on my main blog page and scroll down…Or maybe I am just being lazy. Anyway, I thought this particular title deserved multiple exclamation points, since I am a total bookworm and love finding new novels, magazines, biographies, and other things to read. So thank you to Arman for hosting this link-up and for having a book theme this week–I am very excited to share my love of reading with all of you. I am normally a fairly quiet person, but if you can get me talking about a favorite book of mine, it might be difficult to get me to shut up ;) Reading is one of my favorite activities, other than dancing, blogging, and going to my college classes. In fact, for the past few weeks, I have gotten to my 8 A.M. earth science class on Mondays and Wednesdays about 20 or 30 minutes just so I can squeeze in some more reading time before class starts. Yeah, I can be weird like that sometimes. As an added anecdote, here is a book-related Facebook post that I wrote the other day…

I go to the library telling myself “Now remember: you are only here to get books for your research paper on the vegan diet, so don’t get distracted by other books and magazines that you want to read.” However, along with my three project-related books, I end up getting two Yoga Journal magazines, a New Scientist magazine with a fascinating article about the dangers of refined sugar, and a Reader’s Digest magazine. Not to mention the books I already have at home–a Stephen King novel, a book about how ADHD and autism are over-diagnosed, and a book about cancer. I just can’t resist the temptations at the library. Some people indulge in retail therapy, but I prefer literature therapy. It’s much cheaper, and you are actually being educated in the process ;) I guess there are worse addictions to have than being hooked on science magazines and books about diseases and other health conditions…

The Big Man's World
What are some of your favorite books that you’ve read in recent years? I’ve read quite a few, so I’ll try to divide them into categories, and list only some of my favorites so you aren’t reading this post for hours and hours.
“Classic” novels: 
War and Peace (it took me at least four months to read this, but it was worth it! Tolstoy truly is a great writer)
Anna Karenina (not as good as War and Peace, and I didn’t have much sympathy for Anna Karenina herself, what with her illicit love affair, but still a great and descriptive novel)
The Grapes of Wrath (I didn’t finish it the first time I tackled this novel, but the second time around I read it quite fast, and absolutely loved it)
1984 (a grim yet fascinating look into what would have been the future when George Orwell wrote this)
Fahrenheit 451 (a wonderfully descriptive book that paints the picture of a future in which books are burned…)
Animal Farm (an rather strange yet interesting political satire)
A Brave New World (a strange futuristic novel in which sex is a social activity as opposed to a means of reproduction, and most people engage in the use of a drug called soma. I promise it is better than it sounds)
Jane Eyre (one of the few romance books I actually enjoyed, perhaps because Jane herself was such a strong and realistic character whose approach to romance was far from dreamy and overly sentimental. Yes, the man she married was old enough to be her father, but oh well)
Wuthering Heights (another romance-related novel that wasn’t terribly cheesy or sappy)
Many more!!
(image source: http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2011/02/24/jane-eyre13_custom-75152aaa504252b0d59c982e08e3efebbba55ead-s6-c30.jpg)
More recently published fictional books: 
The Green Mile (an amazing book by Stephen King about a prison ward in the 1930s and a prisoner with a mysterious gift)
Bag of Bones (a creepy Stephen King novel containing romance, ghosts, revenge, an adorable child, and other incredibly “real” characters. I love King’s ability to really bring his characters to life)
The Mist (yet another Stephen King novel about a mysterious mist that spreads over a small town–a mist containing deadly creatures).
And I know I’ve read other books that aren’t by Stephen King, but I’ll keep this list short for your sake ;)
photo (55)
Non-fiction books: Three Cups of Tea, Half the Sky, several vegan/nutrition related books by John Robbins and other authors, The Road of Lost Innocence, Waiting to Be Heard (by Amanda Knox), Heart Matters: A Memoir of a Female Heart Surgeon, Free to Learn, and many more.
What have been some of your favorite book series? Well, Harry Potter is probably at the top of this list, no doubt about it. I love J.K. Rowling’s writing, and her ability to craft such an entertaining, thought-provoking, and captivating series. Though I was never a “Potter fanatic,” per say, I did read all the books and watch all of the movies. Also, my siblings and I used to play “going to Hogwarts” at home when we were younger, and pretend we were attending all of those classes using old encyclopedias, wizard hats, and other random materials in an attempt to recreate the atmosphere of that fantastic wizarding school. It was a ton of fun. I also enjoyed reading the Hunger Games series, though I haven’t been super impressed by the movies so far. As a child, I did love reading the Magic Tree House series, which apparently are still being published. Will she ever stop writing them? Probably not. And do Jack and Annie ever get any older, or do they just stay the same age? I haven’t read them in years, so I am curious to find out. I also enjoyed reading the Warrior Cats series, which I believe are also still being written. I really got into those books, and became quite attached to all of the feline characters and their lives in the warrior clan. My siblings and I would actually play outside and pretend we were the warrior cats, searching for food and taking part in clan meetings and battles. Yes, we played a lot of “make believe” games as children.
(image source: http://static.planetminecraft.com/files/resource_media/screenshot/1316/Warrior-cats_5286153_lrg.jpg)
What were some of your favorite books as a child? Again, this list could go on for quite a long time, so I’ll make an abbreviated version:
Henry and Mudge series: This series written by Cynthia Rylant about a boy and his beloved dog was one of my favorites to read as a child. I still remember the plots of some of the stories, such as the one in which Henry and his parents decided to build a cardboard castle one day in order to combat boredom on a rainy day and also ordered pizza. Random, I know, but it teaches kids that you can always find something to do!
Mr. Putter and Tabby series: Cynthia Rylant also wrote this series about an Mr. Putter and his cat Tabby, and the books were always so sweet and funny. Oh, and there was also Mrs. Teaberry and her bulldog Zeke–they were Mr. Putter’s neighbors.
The Treasure Tree: This book was a fantastic one, and tells the story of four different animals (a lion, a beaver, a golden retriever, and an otter) who go on a quest to find the Treasure Tree. Each animal has different personalities and strengths, which helps them overcome the different challenges they face on their journey. The book’s main message is that kids should learn to appreciate their individual characters and talents, and learn to cooperate together in order to solve problems. Personally, I could relate most to the Golden Retriever named Honey, who was always kind, compassionate, and caring.
The Quiltmaker’s Gift: This book is about a rich and selfish king who demands that a talented and wise quiltmaker make him a beautiful quilt. The quiltmaker agrees on one condition: with each patch she sews into the quilt, the king must give away one possession of his. The king reluctantly agrees, but by the end of the story, he has completely transformed into a different person, and happily gives away the remainder of his possessions, realizing that they never brought him true happiness. It has a fantastic message for children and adults alike, and I highly recommend reading it!
Little House on the Prairie series: My mom read these books to me and my four siblings when we were younger, and I loved hearing about the adventures of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family.
Many of Roald Dahl’s books: Some of my favorites were Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, James and the Giant Peach, and the BFG (Big Friendly Giant). I loved how creative and entertaining his stories were, and how unique his characters were. Heck, I’d probably still love reading his books, they were so good!
(image source: http://kidsmediacentre.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Matilda.jpg)
What have been some of your least favorite books? Well, the Twilight series is probably at the top of the list. Yes, I did read all three books, but only because I wanted to know what happened in the end, not because they were great literature in my opinion. The thing that bothered me the most, other than the totally unrealistic love story, was the fact that the two main characters, Edward and Bella, seemed to have NO personality whatsoever!! I couldn’t understand why Edward fell in love with Bella, seeing as her character was so bland and generic. People complain about Kristen Steward not having any emotions in the movie, but let’s be honest–she wasn’t much better in the book. It wasn’t that she was simply shy or introverted–she just didn’t have a personality. And Edward wasn’t much better, either. Another book I really disliked was The Great Gatsby–yes, it is supposedly a “classic” and all that jazz, but I just found it tedious and boring to read, and far too focused on petty parties, love affairs, and social gossip. Then again, I did read it when I was maybe 15, so perhaps my opinion would change if I re-read it. Who knows??
Well, that’s all I have for today–I hope you all enjoy your Sunday!

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