Ignorance is Bliss But Knowledge Is Power

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The other day as I was taking in the beauty and charm of San Diego CA I was part of a conversation in which one of the participants asked who ISIS was. The rest of the group was quick to reprimand the individual for being so ignorant and careless in their knowledge of world events. The question and tongue lashing were soon forgotten and everyone forgot about the whole event as we moved onto different activities. Everyone that is except for me. I was so shocked and offended that this person, a young 20 something college student, did not know about one of the world’s most dangerous organizations. Not only is ISIS a terrorist group but they have waged a huge war that has effected the lives of thousands all over the world. How could they not know this?

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The whole intercourse renewed a strain of thought that I have been entertaining off and on over the last year. The thought is that the majority of young people today could give a flying F about what is happening outside of their 18 inch bubble. If something is not happening right now right in front of their very eyes then it is of no or little importance.

This obvious lack of interest shows a generation that has grown up so comfortable and secure that they cannot fathom the possibility that something bad could ever happen to them or this country. That is the tragedy of many American youth. The naive notion that wars in other countries, slavery in different parts of the world, or a flawed government within their own country do not effect them is a tragic and destructive mindset. If we are unaware of what is happening else where then how could we prevent it from happening here? How can the freedom of speech be preserved if we refuse to listen to the ones trying to speak?

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Now I realize that the majority of news sources are full of crap. CNN is too left winged, Fox is too right, BBC is perfect, and all the others are whatever. I constantly second guess what I hear and see on the news. There’s a great quote for that, “Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see.” This is true to an extant. But it isn’t an excuse to forgo staying up to date on current events. There is truth being spoken. Truth doesn’t like to hide, so if you look for it you can find it eventually. A good way to do that is have a few different news sources to cross reference with.

The crisis of the world do not have to become a hobby or obsession for you. However, by taking an interest in knowing what is happening you are equipping yourself with knowledge. Yes ISIS is killing people across the sea and Putin is a crazy president from a different country, and North Korea recently discovered how to use computers and it’s all very distant and happening far away from our safe little bubbles. But it affects us. ISIS recruits people from every where even America, we could have a president like Putin if we aren’t careful ourselves, and North Korea for sure wants to blow us to kingdom come. Girls not being viewed as equal members of society in other countries could one day put one of your daughters at risk when she decides to travel and see the world. Children being forced into hard labor and slavery is rampant through out the world and was apart of our recent past. Racism, sexism, homophobia, and hate do not care about borders or oceans or any other kind of barrier. Stay informed. Take an interest. You never know when that knowledge will be the power that saves or helps yourself or another human being.

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Staying Fit While Traveling Part 2: Holiday Eating

 

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The biggest challenge of fitness and overall health is the kitchen. No matter what your personal goals are food is going to be at least 90% of reaching that goal. The holidays is a popular time to bring up diet and food consumption. That’s because people seriously lose all control and then feel like telling the rest of the world how guilty they feel. We’ve all done it. As you all know by now I love to eat and I don’t deprive myself at all. However, I definitely do not make poor eating habits a regular thing. Even on my travels I am always aware of what I eat. It can be hard to do that when you are out of your element or in a new place. My goal when I’m on the road or in a situation where I don’t have total control over my food is to never over eat. I will eat till I feel satisfied and then stop. Most people over eat, and then discover that they can “never” lose weight. It can be hard training your stretched out stomach to know when enough is enough but it’s worth it. Your body is the gives the best advice on what you should and shouldn’t be eating. Listen to what it’s telling you!

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The holidays suck for trying to listen to your body’s messages, I to fall victim to its siren call.  All that delicious butter, sugar, and salt filled food is just begging to be shoved down your throat. Now at this point I should have a list of tips and tricks to help you stay trim and sexy while still indulging. I don’t. The only trick is your own mind. I don’t know what your personal health goals are. But whatever they are it’s 100% up to you to stick to them. If you don’t have any real goals and you over ate at Thanksgiving or whenever then don’t complain. If you do have goals and you are struggling with your mind I feel your pain! But one mistake will not ruin your chances of succeeding I promise. Learn what your triggers for over eating are and learn to do better next time.

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Staying Fit While Traveling Part 1

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Staying in shape is difficult. It’s literally a pain in the butt and requires time and energy. But it makes you feel good, stay healthy, look hot, and boosts confidence. So what happens when you decided to put yourself in a situation that takes you away from a regular routine?

I am currently on a 1.5 month journey across the states. Fitness is an important part of my life so it’s difficult for me to get thrown out of my usual schedule. That’s why I decided to do this series, staying fit on the road. My on the road fitness journey started this past weekend in Boston, MA. It was my first time visiting, and it was the perfect place to start this little project.

My first order of business was to go to Salem, MA where I had the best Indian food you can find on the East Coast. If you’re ever in Salem go to Passage to India. It’ll be well worth your time. After stuffing my face with nan and curry, my travel buddy and I walked around the main center of Salem. I’ll be honest, Salem sucks. It’s really boring, there’s hardly any history stuff, the witch shops are cheap and gimmicky, and there’s to many brick buildings. However, we did walk for about an hour looking at the few witchy shops Salem has to offer. Workout for the day, done. It is very important after any workout to have some kind of recovery meal. My recovery meal was an asparagus salad, and huge slice of chocolate mousse cheesecake from the Cheesecake factory.

The next workout happened Sunday when we went and explored the City. As a warm up we went to a lovely little coffee shoppe called The Thinking Cup. This cute coffee shoppe sells Stumptown coffee, proud moment from me since that’s THE coffee roaster of Portland OR, and makes delicious nutella filled croissants. Also their baguette sandwiches are pretty tasty.

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After a serious warmup at The Thinking Cup we began the main bulk of our workout. Walking around the city. This was actually a pretty real workout. We walked at least 5 miles, which in winter boots on the old roads of Boston isn’t the easiest task. For a little break we stopped into the Green Dragon for some drinks and the best mussels I’ve ever eaten. And of course we stopped at Mike’s Bakery and had some desert. After replenishing our depleted bodies we braced ourselves for the hardest part of the day’s workout, climbing to the top of the Bunker Hill memorial. In all seriousness that was actually difficult. It’s over 200 steps. I’m in pretty good shape, and I had sore calves the next day. To finish up we went to a delicious Italian restaurant Benevetos. By the end of the day we were completely beat down.

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For those of you shaking your heads because you thought this article would be more helpful I did do a tabata workout on Monday. Tabata is when you take an exercise and perform it for a period of time, usually short, then rest for an even shorter period of time. For example, you could do pushups for 20 seconds then rested for 10. I picked four exercises and did the 20×10 rotation for a minute then switched it up. After 16 minutes you are beat and feel like you did an hour’s worth of working out. Tabata is usually done with body weight exercises. It can be done anywhere easily and without taking up much time while still making you feel great!

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Fitness and staying in shape is great and amazing and everyone should do it. But honestly sometimes it just doesn’t make sense. I happen to love food and traveling and the two together can make a normal hardcore workout routine pretty damn difficult. But it can still be done and we can still have plenty of time for fun along the way.

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I Do What I Want

Venice Beach Rollerskaters of the 1970s (3)A few years ago I adopted a phrase that’s simple and often used as a joke, “I do what I want.” At first using this phrase was just a fun way of being sassy and letting people know I liked having my way. But in the last year it became more serious. It evolved from a girlish power phrase to a factual statement. I began using it  as a warning to people that I was fully capable of making my own decisions and not was easily affected by peer pressure.

I had become tired of people telling me what to do. And by people I mean people who I did not have close connections with. If I had a quarter for every time someone gave me a piece of unwanted relationship advice, or pointed out every flaw in my well thought out future plans I’d be a millionaire. I also grew tired of people telling me how to feel especially in relationship settings. It wasn’t just individuals either. The whole world was telling me how to feel and be in a relationship and when I couldn’t live up to those expectations I felt horrible and even hated some things about myself I never should have hated. So I started fighting back. It took sometime but finally I realized that there were good things about myself that society said were going to get me nowhere. That’s when saying “I do what I want” changed.

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When I tell people that “I do what I want” now I am saying that I can make decisions and live with the consequences. I am taking ownership of my actions. Also I am saying that I trust myself and love the parts about me that are often shut down. It’s not a phrase to prove I’m tougher than you or more confident. It’s simply a statement letting people know that I take myself seriously and when I truly need guidance I will seek it from those closest to me.

I encourage you to think about if you do do what you want. Do you take responsibility for your actions? Or do you blame the world and the people around you for the consequences? Do you love the good, amazing parts of yourself? Can you trust your thought process and the decisions you make? If you feel that most of your choices are made because of what others have said to you have no fear. All of us have been in positions where we don’t do what we want. But with practice and a true desire to do the right thing you too can say with confidence “I do what I want.”

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Frozen: Don’t let Society/Disney Brainwash you

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Like most of America I watched Frozen and loved it. It’s a fun, adventurous, cliche Disney princess movie with all the elements that have made Disney so endearing. However, There is one glaringly obvious problem with the fandom of Frozen, the obsession with Elsa. For some reason Elsa has been placed on the highest pedestal of princess role models. People love Elsa. But why? What is there to really, truly love about Elsa over her sister Anna?

Elsa is portrayed as a fierce independent woman. She has magical powers, dresses like a true queen and decides to embrace her magic powers instead of hide them. Her hair is white blond and her dress sparkles. Anna on the other hand is quirky, clumsy, blinded by a crush on a prince, girly, and has nothing sparkly or glamorous about her. Also at one point in the movie Elsa tells Anna you can’t fall in love with someone you just met thus making Anna seem juvenile and Elsa more serious. What Disney is doing is giving us a model for what society thinks a woman should be, and that is Elsa.

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But let’s look at the problems with this model. What a lot of people don’t readily see about Elsa is that she is fearful, self destructive, violent, resentful, selfish and weak. She doesn’t embrace her power until she is driven to shame and embarrassment in front of all her subjects. Her response to those emotions is to lash out in anger, seclude herself and punish her only family and friend. Elsa is to weak to see that she is loved and cared for by Anna. She is too selfish to know that what she is doing is causing harm to her sister and people. It’s not until the very end does she finally realize that she is loved and doesn’t have to hate herself. Because Elsa hates who she is. She is ashamed of her gift and views herself as a monster. Not only does she cause harm to others but she also is harming herself. How is this in anyway a good role model for girls and young women? Why is society forcing us to embrace this?

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Anna is the complete opposite of Elsa. She is warm, caring, loyal, dedicated, a fighter, determined, and forgiving. Yes she is clumsy and goofy but that should be preferred over a false sense of perfection and superficial beauty. Anna does harbor silly crush for the prince but chooses her sister over him several times through out the movie. Ana doesn’t hate her oddness. She is aware that she is awkward but it doesn’t bother her. Instead she goes with it and uses it to her advantage. When Elsa goes on her self destructive adventure Anna doesn’t hesitate to go after her and she doesn’t stop until she has saved her sister. Even when Elsa rejects her sister’s help Anna persists. In the end Elsa heals and takes her throne. Not once does Anna hold resentment for her sister. Instead she forgives her andcontinues to love her despite what happened.

Another point that I believe makes people prefer Elsa over Anna is the fact that she is single and reprimands Anna for falling in love to easily. These days that kind of “single and ok” and “you don’t need a man” mentality is celebrated. However, Anna proves herself to be more her own woman than Elsa does. She eventually sees the truth to the prince and ends up with a man who loves and respects her for all the right reasons. Anna doesn’t allow her feelings for the prince cloud her love for her sister and she chooses her sister over being with someone she truly cares about. Kristoff is exactly the kind of man all girls should hope to meet. He’s loving, hardworking, honest, and loves Anna for all her odd quirks and awkwardness. Elsa is not mentally or emotionally ready to be in any kind of relationship. She can’t even love herself. That’s why she is so judge mental of Anna’s choices. Being a strong, independent woman does not mean rejecting a good man who wants to help you and love you the right way.

As you can see Anna is the superior princess. She is the underdog and unsung hero. Society is poisoning our minds. We are embracing the wrong woman. Yes Elsa is broken. She is a woman many of us can relate to. I do commend Elsa for allowing herself to be helped and changed in the end. She is willing to forget her anger and except the love her sister Anna is extending. Elsa grows into her role as queen and learns to lover herself. In the real world Elsa’s change wouldn’t happen overnight. She would still struggle with self loathing and resentment. But the hope lies in the love of her sister and the support she gets from her.

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Ana and Elsa’s relationship is really a beautiful story. The sisterly love and dedication is something all of us to aspire to build in our own lives. Yes Elsa is a mess and completely out of her mind but she is redeemed in the end. Anna’s love and forgiveness save Elsa from herself. Anna is obviously my hero. There is so much to love about her character. My hope is that one day our society stops glamorizing and praising the Elsa’s of the world. Instead we should love them and help them learn to love themselves. If you want to be a fierce, independent woman then follow Anna’s lead. Do what she does and you will be the true princess.