Things To Learn In Your 20s, And Carry For Life

July 30, 2015

There's a sharp difference between your teens and you 20's. You carry 19 years of experience: heartbreak, lost friends, broken plans, loss, and more. Of course, there is happy stuff. However, as younger people we are more doe-eyed and innocent. We are more likely to want to please everyone. Our friends are very important, so we're more likely to put them over our other priorities. Sneaking out the night before you have to be up at 5 AM for a road trip with your family may be a regular occurrence. 

However, the older you get, the thicker your skin becomes. After some let downs, the blow becomes easier. You also learn from it. Thankfully, through these experiences, we gain bring 19 years of lessons that protect us like an armor from the BS of the "real world". We also keep learning every day. Our 20s are just as a transformative time as our teens. Here are some lessons that should be in our lesson suit of armor:

1. You don't have to like everyone.
2. You don't have to go to EVERY party.
3. You don't always have to be "on".
4. Take time for yourself.
5. Take time for your family.
6. Don't put yourself in box.
7. The only person you need to impress is yourself.
8. Don't waste your time in a relationship or friendship that isn't benefitting you.
9. There's no set rule on putting your friends or your relationship first. It depends on the situation, the friendship, and the relationship.
10. Life is all a balancing act.
11. Balance isn't about everything getting equal attention. It's about knowing when to make something a priority and when to leave something for another time.
12. Save at least some money
13. Don't be afraid to splurge or "treat yo self" every once in a while.
14. Eating is just like everything else, balance is key. Don't sweat eating unhealthy every once in a while, it feeds your soul.
15. Groupons, coupons, and BOGO are the holy trinity for a broke millenial and frugal 40 year old.
16. Don't be afraid to try something new.
17. Travel every chance you get. The older you get, the harder it will be to travel.
18. The only constant in life is change.
19. A friendship or relationship requires equal effort.
20. Honesty will get you farther than avoidance.
21. Being honest with yourself is the first step to being honest with others.
22. Learn to love yourself. Comparing yourself to others in a negative way can only bring about negativity. 
23. Surround yourself with positivity and positive people.
24. Think of the world as neutral. For example, social media is a neutral tool that people add good and bad connotations to, just like words.
25. Have a creative or spiritual outlet to go back to at the end of a stressful day, whether it's meditation, music, poetry, blogging, or whatever else.
26. If you don't have many, have at least one person you can tell ANYTHING to.
27. Chances are you can create that artisan decoration at pottery barn by yourself for cheaper.
28. Variety is the spice of life.
29. Go out of your way for someone every once in a while.
30. Go out of the way for yourself every once in a while. 

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July 27, 2015

While I was in D.C. for the 4th of July, I did the most "D.C." thing I could think of, and no, it wasn't lobbying or holding a hearing on a bill. It was taking a Segway tour of the city, of course! This activity was actually recommended to us by our Uber driver from the airport. I had also seen my friends do this before, and was always curious.

After comparing prices and times, we called City Segway tours. I was very pleased with my experience. Our guide was funny, informative, and personable. Not only did she teach me so much about D.C., but I also, y'know, learned how to ride a Segway. It takes about 5 minutes, but once you're comfortable on it, it's really easy. Despite me almost hitting two other segway-ers, I had no speed bumps (besides the actual speed bumps).

As you can tell, I had a great time lead by a tour guide who looked eerily similar to So-So from Orange Is The New Black. Here are my reasons why I think segways are the only way to see a city.

1. You learn how to use a Segway
Seeing the sights is great, but don't forget you've just learned a valuable skill. With the new hover boards popping up in LA, and longboards becoming a new mode of transportation, we've got to adapt to new and exciting ways to get around.

2. Once you get the hang of it, it' so fun
I mentioned this before. You'll have the bug to segway from now on. You may even want to invest in one.
3. You get to know the city
And not in the driving-on-the-street way. We segwayed by the White House back entrance, which is closed off by cars. If we were in a bus, we'd have to get out or just drive by. We also segwayed through the winding gardens connecting the WWII memorial and the Vietnam and Lincoln memorial. On segways you can see nooks and crannies of the city not seen by everyone.

4. Do it at night
This is more of a suggestion. My reasons supporting this are: It's cooler, so you wont get as hot, a sunset by segway sounds enticing, and the memorials will be lit up, so it's just a cooler experience. 

5. It's somewhat active
Sure, walking and biking tours are active, but this is just active enough where you're not overworked, but you're not  a lump in a seat. Also, it's time away from the distraction of your phone. Texting and segwaying is not recommended. 

6. It's a better opportunity for pictures
After traveling across Europe in a bus for 19 days, I know that pictures and sitting in a bus don't mix well. The bus drives too fast, the glare is annoying, and so are the bars on the windows. The guide stops for prime picture locations and will even take pictures for you with the monument behind you.

Have you every done a Segway tour?

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An Optimist's Mindset on Situations

July 22, 2015

Being an optimist is like being in the minority of the House of Representatives. There's less like-minded people like you, at least visibly, and it's harder for you to get people to your school of thought. However, this is a cross I am happy to bear. I believe that optimists not only see the world in a more beautiful light, however, they also live a more beautiful life. A life full of more opportunity and enjoyment. A life full of color yet in grey because we see that not everything is black and white. A life not hung up on what other see, think, do and perceive about us.

I'm not saying that optimists are perfect. We acknowledge many comforting truths such as that no one is perfect. We usually aren't hung up on people thinking about what we do, but I still catch myself being hung up on it sometimes. Being an optimist doesn't make you immune to anxiety. I haven't been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, however I can definitely feel anxiety infringing on my life sometimes. 

To me, being an optimist is like having insect eyes. Insects see the same view hundreds of different ways at the same time.

This is how I view situations. Often, people bring their problems to me and I analyze the situation and make suggestions that they admit they've never thought of. Sometimes, they adapt the suggestions, sometimes they deny it and bring up another "barrier" or problem. To me, I don't see these "barriers" as "barriers" at all. I often ask them and myself, "Why do you even think that's a problem?" I know these reasons can be deeply rooted in insecurity or something of that nature. I'm not saying I'm not insecure, because I definitely can be sometimes.

To me, being an optimist means seeing all things as neutral things (words, constructs, objects) that we just give negative or positive connotations to. Social media is a neutral tool that some people can make evil and some people can make useful. Words are neutral words we make good or bad. Genders are neutral words that we associate certain things with in society, sometimes too strictly. 

Being an optimist is simply a change in language in and out of our minds. A change in language in our minds leads to a change in mindset, which leads to a change in the way we live our lives.  The language change can be simple. Block out phrases like "it'll never happen", "it's the end of the world", and "i'm screwed". Think outside the box.

As an optimist I question everything that is "set in stone" in our society. You can call it bending the rules, having it my way, having my cake and eating it too, or whatever else you want. I call it being an optimist.

How do you describe yourself, an optimist or pessimist?
How does it affect your life?

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July 20, 2015

You know those days when you're just feeling brunch? My fellow brunch enthusiasts out there would answer this question "Yes, every day." If it was possible, I would make it every day. However, today was one of those lucky days. 

Don't get me wrong, I love good a good ol' bacon and pancakes brunch, however, I came across a place in Lowell on Foursquare called the "Connector Cafe" that prides themselves on their paleo menu. I never thought I'd have the chance to enjoy a paleo brunch outside of LA or somewhere trendy like that. I never expected it to come out of the Merrimack Valley, but I'm pleasantly surprised.

The cafe has two menus: a regular lunch and breakfast menu and a paleo lunch and breakfast menu. The non-paleo menu hails eggs with many different mat choices (steak, sausage, kielbasa), omelets, corned beef hash, home fries, toast, and more. Egg whites are also available. They also serve pancakes, french toast, and waffles topped with fresh fruit. The lunch menu has wraps and subs, paninis, burgers, clubs, and salads. 

The explanation of the paleo menu wraps up the paleo state of mind well:

 The Paleo diet is not a diet per se, but a decision to follow a healthier lifestyle. The diet includes meats, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and olive oil.  It excludes processed foods, grains, dairy, legumes, refined sugars and processed oils.

Another cool note about the paleo menu is that the dishes are named after CrossFit workouts. The menu includes omelets with veggies in them with a side of sweet potato hash and sliced tomatoes, steak with peppers and onions, Eggs Benedict, and power muffins.

This is the grilled orange cranberry paleo muffin my mother got. All of their paleo muffins are made with almond flour, coconut, eggs, banana, pumpkin, carrots, zucchini, and whatever the flavor is.

This is my paleo Eggs Benedict. It includes two poached eggs with paleo hollandaise sauce over two broccoli cakes, smoked salmon and sweet potato hash. My first reaction was that this dish is very spicy. However, I am the biggest spice wimp there is. I looked at it as a way to build up my tolerance. The sweet potato has had a bit of spice to it, however the sweetness mellowed it out and made for an interesting flavor profile. The broccoli cakes had SOMETHING in them - maybe chili power, maybe Sriracha - I wouldn't know. However, the hollandaise and eggs helped balance that out. 

If you're in the area and want to switch up your normal breakfast routine, I would check out the Connector Cafe in Lowell, MA!

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chinese tea


July 12, 2015

Last summer, I partook in my first teatox, the ever-famous "Skinny Me Tea" teatox. It was around this time. My reasoning for it this year was to cleanse myself from the dining hall food from the school year. Also, it was to kickstart the fat-burning summer. I did it this year for the same reasons. However, I tried a different teatox this year: Purgo.

Purgo TeaTox was created after its founder developed "leaky gut disorder" after years of bad eating and sleeping habits. He was burning the candle at both ends, and was unknowingly, simultaneously burning a hole in his intestine. He felt weak, tired, and helpless. Like many others, traditional medicine let him down and he turned to hollistic medicine. That's what lead him to make these herbal teas!

Before I ever did a teatoxes, I had only heard of the potent powers of herbal teas. When it comes to food and drugs, I definitely follow the "closest to nature" rule. The less the amount of artificial ingredients, the better. The less preservatives, the better. Therefore, I naturally believe in natural remedies and food, and believe in the healing powers of herbs. Ben teamed up with Chinese herbal medicine wiz's and came out with a potent blend of herbs he is proud to present in this teatox. 

Here are the ingredients:
Morning Detox Tea: Sencha, Dandelion, Lemon Grass, Goji Berry, Hibiscus, Chamomile Flower, Acai Powder, and Ginseng Root.  
Evening Cleanse Tea: Locust Plant, Sencha, Key Lime, Lotus Leaf, Cassia Seed, Pu'erh, Oolong, and Chamomile Flower.  

When I read this list, I recognize dmany things I like to eat and add to my meals: goji berries, chamomile, hibiscus, key lime, acai, and ginseng. I know these are powerful antioxidants and cleansers, so I couldn't wait to see what they could do.

The regimen is similar to other detoxes: a looselfead tea drank for 14 or 28 days, with  a morning cleanse every morning and an evening cleanse every night.

One of my first observations about this cleanse was a pleasant one - the acai powder turns your morning tea a pinkish red! It actually made my morning. It reminded me of berry hibiscus teas I've had at panera and such. Technically, with the goji berries and the hibiscus, this is a berry hibiscus tea.

I also enjoyed the taste of the evening cleanse tea much more than I enjoyed the SMT evening cleanse taste. Flowers were used in both, however the taste of the flower was covered up by the lighter fragrances and flavors in this tea, perhaps the key lime. It's also s mind over matter situation of sorts. If you don't know the purpose of the evening cleanse - you'll find out in the morning. I might have associated what the tea does to me with how it tastes last year. This year, the taste didn't affect me in a negative way.

This teatox was also very effective! I noticed physical effects on the outside and inside. My schedule this summer between my internship, my job, and half marathon training is hectic to say the least. There's a lot of early morning and coffee involved. Before I started this detox, I felt tired most of the day, and my thoughts turned negative by the end of the day. However, by the end of the detox, I felt a lot better!

I now have a renewed energy at both my internship, job, and running. I also suffer from many digestion issues, and this helped me as much as any probiotic I've ever taken.

I WOULD recommend this tea! I have enough for another week or two, so maybe I'll do a post-summer pre-school detox. 

Here's all the info on how to order and contact PURGO:

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July 07, 2015

It was a very patriotic weekend. I've never been to D.C. before in my life, so I was very excited! Even though I travel a lot, there are still SO many places I haven't been. I felt the need to show my love for the freedom and opportunity that being an American citizen gives me, so going to our nation's capital seemed like the right thing to do! I also love history, and currently work in politics, so it just makes sense. 

Day 1

Top: White House Black Market
Shorts: Francescas
Shoes: Amazon
Necklace: BP by Nordstrom

This is McPherson square, it's two blocks from our hotel and two blocks from the White House. That's McPherson on the horse. Did you know that there's a law in D.C. that no statues can be taller than 19 ft?

I was so excited to see a farmers market and street tacos right near the White House! These were two different types of vegetable tacos  in corn tortillas - green bean, salsa, and goat cheese; and mushroom and feta. The berry hibiscus iced tea hit the spot!

Not that important of a house.

The WWII memorial is shown here. There are two arches (Pacific and Atlantic) for the two theatres it was fought on. In diagonal order of entrance, each wreathed pillar represents each state or territory of the U.S. that fought in this war.

Honest Abe

The reflecting pool and the Washington Monument.

We also stopped by the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Day 2

The theme of our day was George. We went on a tour of his George Washington's estate, Mont Vernon, and his church, Christ Church, in Alexandria, Virginia. 

Shirt: Forever 21
Shorts: Zara
Shoes: Target
Bag: Forever 21

What's interesting about Mont Vernon is that it's not just one big house, but it also has many different, separate rooms in separate houses. The laundry, kitchen, slave quarters, carriage house, and meat cellars were all separate.

The current owners and preservers of the estate, The Mont Vernon Ladies Association, purchased all land in sight across the Potomac so that the view you see today is very similar to George and Martha's views.

Mont Vernon Wharf

Next up was a Segway tour of the city, so I figured a maxi skirt and chambray shirt would keep me warm from the wind. 

We had reservations at G by Mike Isabella, former Top Chef contestant. I was so jazzed about eating there, because I consider myself a budding foodie, and I love trying new, delicious foods.

This is our antipasti board including, pork terrine, citrus mostarda, seasonal crostini, foie gras mousse
snapper croquette, caper remoulade, creamy burrata, grilled asparagus, speck.

This is my sweet pea tortellini with lemon thyme, pancetta, maitake mushroom.

Day 2

Happy 4th everyone!

Shirt: slip from an Old Navy dress
Shorts: Old Navy
Necklace: Icing
Shoes: TopShop (shown later)

The Constitution Ave parade was grand, and long.

My favorite part of the trip was the NEWSEUM! As a communications major, this is natural. I loved seeing our nations history through the eyes of journalists. From the 9/11 exhibit with an actual piece from the building, to the timeline of Presidents and their dogs, it was a mix of emotions.

Above is a part of the Pulitzer Prize winning photos exhibit. 

The digital media part, my favorite, went over social activism, YouTube, Twitter, WikiLeaks, Wikipedia, TMZ, and much more.

Hundreds of thousands lined up from the West Lawn of the Capital building, all across the mall, to the Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial to see the concert and fireworks. 

The weekend ended with a bang.

How was your 4th of July?

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July 07, 2015

It's time for another series! I don't have many blog-help based posts, because although I've been around for quite a few years, I'm still learning myself. I thought, who better to learn from than my peers and colleagues? Through this experience, we can learn and grow together.

What exactly is this experience? In this series, I put out surveys on several blogger networks and kindly ask them to give their opinions about several behind-the-scenes facets of the blogosphere. My Research Methods in Communications professor would be so happy with me conducting field research on my own. If you're reading this Mia, heyyyyyy.

My first topic is blogger networks! Blogger networks are like men, there are soooo many out there, you have to know what you want and sift through the muck to find the good ones. I wanted to know exactly what people looked for in a blogger network. So, I'll share my results with you all, after I share my own opinions first!

What do I look for in a blogger network? The main component I look for in blogger networks is post shares, obviously. Second comes sponsorship opportunities, then of course networking and friendship-making. In my survey, I asked if people like daily post threads or category threads. I personally like daily post threads, because they require less thinking for me, however, I appreciate networks that do category threads. It can be very useful. Through networks I have had amazing opportunities - event appearances, sponsorship opportunities, collaborations, and more. If anyone asks me how to get started blogging, I tell them to join a network.

What did my peers say?

Most bloggers are in the 1-3 range. 22.2% are in the moderate 3-5 range, and 22.2% are in the 8-12% range. This may be bias considering what you consider "being part of" a blogger network. There are many Facebook groups I am inactive on, however I'm still a part of. I am definitely active on at least 3, it seems like a good number.

Across the board, networks give social media shares and networking opportunities. Almost all have post share opportunities. However, skill building opportunities are not as common. 

It appears my peers agree with me, that they overwhelmingly prefer general, daily post shares.
This graph is scarcely skewed left, by 11.1%. (I think I just used some stats terms, wow! If I got it wrong, don't harp on me too bad, math nerds). My sample was small, however they seem split. Yes, blogger networks definitely do help them. However, it's almost a tie between 3-5 and 7-9. 

I also asked my participants two open response questions:

What do you look for in a blogger network?

My participants highlighted networking opportunities, working with like-minded people with similar interests, an organized platform, friendliness, and good workshops and webinars.

What's your favorite part of blogger networks?

They highlighted community, interacting with other bloggers, getting to know others, and reading other blogs.

THANKS to my awesome participants!

How many blogger networks are you a part of?
What do you look for in a blogger network?

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