Why you shouldn’t buy Viviva Colorsheets

We’ve been seeing posts and videos about these portable watercolors that come in a “notebook”.  And admittedly, they are beautiful and well-marketed, but why should we buy them?

Youtube star artists have been sent these sheets for review.  Great backers get a personalized wood case (which I think defeats the purpose).

But this isn’t what keeps me from backing Viviva.

Here’s an excerpt from the IndieGoGo Page:

“Manufacturing at scale is hard, especially for first-time entrepreneurs, but that said, I’ve spent the last two years with my brother to trying to get the design, the supply chain and finding a location for a production facility. I’ve included an adequate buffer in the timeline and I am confident that we should be able to deliver on the timeline. I have close to 500 samples ready. 

We’ve already perfected the process in smaller batch sizes and have shipped over 200 samples globally. We are certain that we shall be able to scale up with relatively less difficulty.

The biggest challenge is going to be mixing of colors to keep true to the intended hue and shade, especially as the batch size increases. I will be taking the utmost care to ensure color fidelity. “

It’s interesting that they’re discussing how it is difficult to get manufacturing down for this product.  Why?

Because this product already exists.

Jane Davenport Peerless Watercolors

No one’s really talking about it, but watercolor color sheets have existed for over 100 years.  Nicholson’s Peerless Watercolors has been making them since 1885.  And if you’re thinking that no one must be using them, you would be incorrect since plenty of youtube cardmakers use them.  There’s a video with 75k plus views on them.  A little bit of research shows that these watercolors were used originally to color black and white photos by hand.  But they are used more commonly now for painting with extremely vivid colors in a portable way… just like Viviva’s.

Viviva is profiting off an idea already invented by a reputable and established company.  So buy your sheets from Peerless instead, and get watercolors that have been tried and true for over 100 years.

 

The Secret to the Best Smoothie Bowls

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Smoothie bowls. Whoever thought of transforming a smoothie into a bowl form was a genius, as you basically end up eating ice cream (if done correctly). But it’s hard to get that perfect, creamy, holds-up-on-its-own consistency.

The number one thing you must do when making a smoothie bowl?

Use a food processor.

Yes, you read that correctly. Use a food processor, even if you usually use a blender. We’re not putting a ton of liquid into a smoothie bowl, so it shouldn’t splatter everywhere if you are only making one or two servings.

Also, make sure all your ingredients are cold, choosing frozen berries and fruit, and freezing bananas ahead of time.

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 11.47.32 AM.pngFrozen bananas turn into creamy loveliness, just check out videos of Nice cream, which is vegan ice cream, which turns out to just be frozen bananas. I don’t like bananas THAT much that I’d eat blended ones ordinarily, but the consistency of frozen, blended bananas is exactly like ice cream.

I usually eyeball how much frozen fruit to put in (okay, I’m not a health nut let’s be honest here, I’m just trying to pretend I’m getting the right servings).

So the food processor is going to sound TERRIFYING when you first turn it on with all that frozen fruit. But stick with it and keep that cover covered so you don’t have fruit all over your ceiling (er, not like I know from experience or anything). You want it to look creamy and wonderful, and then you’re done!

You’ll wonder why you ever used a blender, as a $20 food processor can grind those seeds in your berries to dust and turn fruit into ice cream.

Scooper Bowl New York

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I really love ice cream.

So when I heard about this philanthropic event in New York’s Bryant Park, I leapt on it.  It was $20 for unlimited ice cream and toppings if you bought your tickets ahead of time. The money goes towards cancer research, so really, you’re donating to a good cause and getting “free” ice cream. You get a spoon and a star stamp on your hand to show that you belong there.

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Häagen-Dazs was our first stop of the day, as we had seen various people sitting down at the tiny tables with “mini pints” of ice cream.

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We got Caramel Cone, and later ended up getting Chocolate Peanut Butter.  Caramel Cone was AMAZING.  It ended up being our favorite ice cream there, although that may be because we ate it first.

We then ended up at VICE Cream which featured the most flavors out of all the tents.  We only tried three, as we weren’t into the Higher Grounds coffee-type ice cream or Minted, obviously some kind of mint ice cream.  These ice creams were okay.  Afternoon Delight and Bourbon Mash were both good.  I had high expectations for L’orange a Trois but it tasted kind of weird in that I was expecting an orange creamsicle kind of flavor and it ended up being more perfume-y.  Which may have been the intention… but it was strange.

Sorry, I don’t have any photos of the ice cream after this because I kind of wolfed them down while standing next to the tent so I could quickly grab another one.

Hey– it’s for charity right?

 

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We tried Baskin-Robbins Golden Oreo ‘n Churro flavor, which did taste delightfully cinnamony but I don’t recall any crunch of sugary cinnamony loveliness, which I would associate with a churro.  But I’d still eat this again- it just wouldn’t be my first pick.  My boyfriend tried Love Potion #31 and seemed to think it was good.

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Sambazon’s acaí didn’t fare too well in the heat, and I enjoy Acai.  They had acai berry sorbet and acaí and coconut, and both were melty and tasted a little odd.  I really like acaí but there was something off about it (admittedly, I’d eaten like 6 tiny cups of ice cream at this point so maybe my tastebuds were losing a battle).Summer2017-40

We tried other ice creams on the other side, included one in a cone, Breyer’s and Ben and Jerry’s.  There were at least 5 other tents.  Ben and Jerry’s had 3 flavors, 2 of which I’d tried (The Tonight Dough and Americone Dream) and Bob Marley’s One Love, which tasted strongly of bananas.  I like banana “nice” cream but since this was ice cream something weird had happened and it just tasted off.  But it was probably like my 12th cup that day so I’d say that my tastebuds could have been conufsed.  Breyer’s was a little unimaginative in their choice of ice cream to bring, but for kids it makes sense, as they brought vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.

I started to stick with vanilla after a while, since my tastebuds had decided they’d had enough of ice cream.  I guess too much of a good thing can be bad?

There were plenty of people at the park when we got there, as apparently everyone eats lunch in Bryant Park when it’s nice.  We left around 1:30-2ish and the above photo was what it looked like.  There was a nice woman who asked if we’d had enough ice cream when we left, when we replied in the affirmative she then said, “Now go get a slice of pepperoni pizza!” which I thought was hilarious because she was right in that the only thing you can crave after that amount of ice cream is savory junk food.

We did end up getting popcorn chicken afterwards. I’m not ashamed.

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Support the JimmyFund!  The proceeds from this event went to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.  If you’re in Boston, I believe there’s another day or two left of the Scooper Bowl there.

The Hoboken Trader Joe’s: First Impressions (Opening Day!)

Walking from 8th and Madison to 14th and Willow today, May 19th, was super hot, but also super worth it to see the new Trader Joe’s that just opened in Hoboken.  I was reminded of the opening as apparently the store did something with leis this morning, as one of the women in my class had a lei with her.

Now, it was crowded, and we only got a few things.

My boyfriend and I were milling about the frozen section, but eyeballing the sweets and other chocolate covered items above the freezers.  Things like chocolate covered espresso beans, s’mores bites and chocolate covered blueberries greeted us.  A worker came up to us, asked how we were, and when asked the same replied “Terrible!” since it was his first day, but then said we could demo anything on the shelves.  Obviously, the s’mores lover I am got the Milk Chocolate S’mashing S’mores, which taste exactly like a less messy version of a smore– the guy claimed he likes microwaving them to make it taste exactly like one.  It was so good, and they were also giving away mandarin orange chicken samples at the same place we demo at.

The things we ended up hauling back?  See below!  Halloumi cheese was something I had at a friend’s barbecue– it’s really tasty grilled and sprinkled with lemon juice!  I’m not a fan of coffee, but my boyfriend claims the espresso beans covered in chocolate are good (I’m sure they are). And obviously, we demo’d the “adventurous” s’mores bites. We will be returning, as they were well-stocked and organized there, despite the craziness of a first day.  Can recommend the store for sure!

Why do the poor get tattoos?

This was a question my dad asked me recently while we were dining out and our very kind waitress had several tattoos. Somehow, in the time span we were being served our food, he had projected this whole story on the woman.  This was all about how she must be on welfare, and why did she have tattoos if she couldn’t put bread on the table? Surely she must have kids that she isn’t feeding, she really must be spending her money on tattoos and not on food.  Why do the poor get tattoos?

My dad and I disagree on plenty of topics. This is one of many. I definitely agreed with him once– why do the poor feel like they can get stuff like lobster and steak on welfare, why do they get iPhones?

At some point, I realized that this thought process is me saying that because I am privileged and these people are not, they should not have these comforts and instead should suffer. I am someone who believes I do not have the right to dictate how people spend money they’ve earned. Also, while I do not know much about the welfare system, I do know they check to see how much people are earning and grant based on that. We also don’t know what they’ve been through, how much they’ve suffered. There is no reason we should decide in our minds that the poor should suffer because they’re poor.

The reason this comes up so much is because legislators want to cut down on tax dollars. But, by cutting down tax dollars, you are taking away from those that aren’t even cheating the system.  There are several different numbers out there on how much fraud actually happens– but it isn’t everyone, and it isn’t the majority.

There’s an article that discusses how much fraud happened after Hurricane Sandy.  Fraud was “more rampant among officials at government agencies and even charities.” Now think about what we’ve been taught to expect, and what reality was in that case.

SNAP, which accounts for food stamps, has a very small amount of fraud happening, and it helps many families put food on the table, but there are still people denouncing the program as unneeded as “only freeloaders are on the program.” Anyway, this isn’t the program you need to cut, the average American taxpayer pays just $36 towards the food stamp program… or ten cents a day.  This is ten cents a day per taxpayer to feed 47 million Americans.  SNAP only budgets around ~$1.50 per meal per person… which isn’t a lot if you think about it.  Cutting the budget of that program would make it harder for struggling families to put food on the table.

I got a little bit off the original topic here– but anyway, ten cents per day per person does not give the right for anyone to tell someone else how they are spending their money.

The tattoos also could have been a gift, or given for free, or the woman saved and saved to get them. We don’t know if she was on welfare– but if she was, there is no reason anyone had the right to decide how she should spend the money she earned.

Disorganized Thoughts: Are my friends right about me?

I’ve had people tell me who I am before. What kind of traits I have. Sometimes, I’m okay with them. Other times, I’m insulted, annoyed, saddened.

I don’t like people telling me who I am.  It rarely happens– with the exception of almost everyone I know telling me I’m quiet and that my laugh is the opposite.

I was told I “didn’t belong” in a group that I was beginning to kind-of enjoy.  I’m not sure if this friend is right– but it made me feel a little weird and uncomfortable and unsure of myself.  I have a decent amount of anxiety about these kinds of things, but this is a friend I trust– is she right about me not belonging?

I wasn’t sure why she would say such a thing to be honest. It didn’t matter to her whether or not I joined this group. Well, it shouldn’t have mattered, it wouldn’t have affected her other than maybe me being around her less often.  We don’t hang out that often anyway.

It was weird. Part of me says she is mad at me for some reason- but I don’t really get it.  She talked about how weird these people are…

IDK, maybe I was complaining too much about how I wouldn’t have time soon– but I mean I’m not stressed out now and it’s not like I’ve been talking about it forever.  I just wanted some support, you know?  It’s not like I’m even getting in with “the wrong crowd.” I don’t get it.

 

Movie Review: A Dog’s Purpose

While the narrator (the dog) was most often lighthearted and the comedic relief in this movie, this was a movie full of harsh reality and death.  This is something we know from the previews, but I was not expecting to have tears rolling down my face.  The sad parts are also sudden and frequent.  It’s a rollercoaster ride for sure- you think your tears have dried from the past life the dog, Bailey, lived, but the next thing you know the next life starts and your face is wet from the tears… again.  This is the pattern the movie takes, and I have to say it’s a beautiful movie but definitely be ready to be crying a majority of the time.

I would highly recommend this movie, but please bring tissues.

Side note: The video that was released before the movie came out was proven to be edited to hint to events that didn’t happen.  The dog was safe and happy throughout.  It was fine.

Disorganized Thoughts: On Recruitment, and an informal guide to Stevens Institute of Technology’s Formal Recruitment

For some strange reason, I enjoyed recruitment more this spring than I did last year.  Last year’s recruitment was my first recruitment, and this year will likely be my last recruitment I went through at Stevens.  This is because I didn’t go out for recruitment my freshman year since I didn’t understand what a sorority was at the time.  At Stevens, greek life, at least on the sorority end of things, is a lot different than what’s in the movies or is in the south.

We aren’t focused on material aspects- but we are focused on creating lasting bonds that help each and every sister.  I have not been particularly vocal, or as active as I could be in my sorority, but I can say that it has provided encouragement in whatever I do

Recruitment is rough.  I won’t say that it isn’t.  But it is necessary for possible new members (PNMs) to get a feel of what each panhellenic organization is like.

Here’s my story of how I got my home away from home.

My friends had been telling me to go out for formal recruitment.  The sorority they had joined while I was gone on a study abroad had their first recruitment the past semester.  I was coming back to college without my closest friends, as they were going on co-op the semester I returned.

Anyway, I signed up.  I met the girls, and was my usual awkward self.  I went to each house for Round Robin, where we got to get a feel of houses and general parts of each sisterhood.  It was a bit of a whirlwind.  There’s a lot of chanting, screaming, yelling, and chatting that happens throughout the process.  The chanting is scary – but something weird and normal amongst greek life.  Give it a chance though– we promise we’re not a cult, it’s just part of the rituals which all sororities have.  Rituals are a tradition, and yes, they can occasionally come off as spooky, but if you listen to them you can understand what the sorority values most.

I ranked them.  At Stevens, the ranking system is set up such that you choose 3 sororities as your #1 choice and a fourth sorority as your #2 choice.  The newest sorority will likely change the quantities, but that’s understandable.  If you choose not to rank a sorority, you won’t be matched with that one. I wouldn’t advise it, as giving every sorority a chance is worth it.  Who knows?  Maybe you will meet someone that you really just *click* with. You should get to know the people at each sorority at the very least, as you’ll be interacting with them no matter what sorority you make your home.

I was won over by the more genuine conversation I had at the sorority I now call home.  I like to joke it was the conversation I had about how many chicken mcnuggets I could eat in one sitting (incidentally, it was 23 at the time).  My sorority likes to talk about food- a lot, which sounds a little bit silly but you can say we’re comfortable with how much we eat.  From this conversation, I figured out that these were people I could be comfortable with hanging out everyday for the rest of my college years.

 

 

 

 

How I Prepared for Semester at Sea

 

I went on Semester at Sea when I was going into my sophomore year.  I originally had planned to go on SAS for the summer, so I could see all the European countries without messing up my schedule. Instead, I deferred my enrollment to the fall semester so I could work on the design of a sustainable, solar powered house (SURE House).  Both of these decisions were probably the best I could have made.

All my experiences are related to when Semester at Sea was associated with the University of Virginia (SAS is now associated with Colorado State University). This meant academics were approved and accredited by UVA.

The Institute of Shipboard Education did a very good job in sending out a checklist to us. There were several documents we needed when we were admitted to the program, including a Medical History Form.  I had a Consortium agreement too, as I was getting scholarships from my “home” university to go on Semester at Sea.  You also have to make sure your passport is updated and to apply for visas for most non-European countries.  ISE usually lists what you need to do.

Don’t use the advice above as the end all be all, make sure you are checking your email and portal information to see that everything is up to date.

Make sure you have traveler’s insurance.  And go to the doctor, get the shots that they suggest.  Don’t put your life in jeopardy to save a few bucks.

Most schools want to see the syllabus of any class you decide to take on the ship.  I got six or seven preapproved by the deans in my home university so I had some flexibility and I would avoid panicking if I was unable to get into the courses I needed. I was worried my college wouldn’t take the credits, but if they fight you on it you can remind them that Ivy League schools often take the course credit from University of Virginia (this may have changed).

I’m not going to make a full bullet point list of what I packed.  I’d suggest not overpacking as much as I did.  My mother and I both struggled with my duffel bags through London-Heathrow that people were asking if they could help us (and not even scammy looking people).  It was not a pleasant experience.  I brought way too much and I ended up paying an overweight baggage fee when I got back into the US because I’d picked up enough to actually make my bags overweight.  I was also a lot more high maintenance when I got on the ship than when I got off the ship… do the thing where you buy toiletries in the country the ship is docked at… it’ll save on space.

I also stayed on the MV Explorer, not the current ship.

A few odd things I would suggest though–

  • Packing cubes – these come in handy so you can quickly pack and unpack your bags by simply pulling the entire cube out of your duffel bags and placing in the drawer of wherever you are staying.  It also keeps you organized.
  • A beach towel – the ship towels are sad and thin and occasionally not replaced as often as you would like, so these come in handy.  If you can get lightweight ones, it’s probably worth it.
  • Water shoes – if you are going trekking through a river or white water rafting at any point, these are beautiful choices, I only used them once but it was one of my better ideas because losing flip flops is not fun.
  • A lightweight,warm weather sleeping bag – assuming SAS hasn’t changed and the ship generally travels where the air is warm so you are in permanent summer, this is a must for staying comfy on the deck.  I got one from LL bean that folded into the size of a throw pillow.
  • The travel outlet converter and inverter with several plugs – it’s a lifesaver and if you get one that doesn’t look like a power strip they probably won’t take it away from you.
  • Body wash that isn’t tinted any color – doubles as laundry soap.  i’m not kidding, it’ll save you money on the ship… it was $6 per grocery bag of clothes… I sent out maybe 3 loads the entire time I was on the ship and that was to get sweatshirts, jeans, and beach towels super squeaky clean.
  • Warm moccasin-like slippers – great if you decide to spend the days inside since they keep it dry and cold inside the ship… if they look like they’re real shoes… good for you but I went to class with slippers on and was a happy camper.
  • Cards/games – make friends, literally people are 1000% more comfortable with socializing if they have a game to play.
  • Some kind of secure money bag – put this under your shirt when you know you’re traveling in a place where there are pickpockets… put only valuables that you know you are going to use in secure locations inside.  Keep some cash in a regular wallet or bag and keep it towards your front.  Basically, separate really important money items from pocket money.  I usually kept my ATM card and a passport in this dorky neck pocket thing, but it made me feel comfortable with walking around with ~$20 USD in my front pockets or purse.
  • Peanut butter – the ship peanut butter doesn’t do it for you if you are a fan of skippy’s like me, great for stress eating

These are all tips.  They might help prepare you, but nothing can fully prepare you for this life changing experience.  If other SAS alumni have any input, or you’re a student preparing for the voyage, comment below!

 

 

Disorganized Thoughts: On Being Adopted and Being A Different Race Than My Parents

“What’s it like being adopted?”

In my day-to-day routine, it’s pretty normal.  Sometimes, what I would expect the differences to be are subtle. I wonder if it would be obvious if I had siblings that were biologically related to my parents.

If you’ve heard about microaggressions though, know they are a significant part of my life.  I often hear, from almost-complete-strangers, “Where are you from?” And, since I honestly identify most with New Jersey (or the United States if I’m abroad) I answer those.  But they are usually displeased, and decide asking, “But, where are you really from?” is appropriate, as if I’m lying.  I really am from New Jersey since I’ve lived here most of my life.  My parents don’t answer their first homes anymore if we’re on vacation.  My friends get to answer where they are living currently.  Why do I always have to state where I’m born when people are asking where I’m from?

People also like to ask my Chinese name when I finally tell them where I’m from… come on, this was a name given to me by the orphanage so that they could probably discern me from the dozens of other babies abandoned in China. I’ve never felt the need to ask people these things.

I don’t know my health history. My friends talk about how their families have a history of heart conditions or cancer, and I usually just sit there and go, “Well… at least you know.”  They forget, sometimes, that I’m adopted in a way.  It’s not something you think about when you’re lucky enough to know.

Once in a while, we talk about the diversity of our friend group (it’s not) and I reminded them one time that I was what made it not completely white. Our school is predominantly white, although there is a significant Asian population in the graduate program. Sometimes, I’m approached by an Asian who asks me if I speak their language, because they need to go somewhere. Only somewhat regretfully, I have to tell them I only know English.

My parents thought about enrolling me in the weekend Chinese school.  They decided against it, that it would hurt me socially as a kid.  That’s probably not the right wording, but I am glad that they did it.  Knowing another language would have been convenient, but with no one fluent enough to talk with me in my everyday life, I doubt I would have learned enough.

In my tiny elementary+middle school, there were few adopted children.  In my class, there was another Asian girl who was adopted. There’s a problem that comes with growing up Asian in a mostly white community– no one can discern your face from your same-race-peer’s. I always thought she was pretty, so it was okay I guess that people mixed us up.  I still was always surprised when it happened… I could see the difference in our faces, why couldn’t anyone else?

Sometimes, I’ll go to the store with my mom, and when we are both placing clothing items on the counter, the cashier will ask, “All together?” This is even though I saw a mother and daughter before us do the same. I know it’s not on purpose, and I can understand the doubt, they have to ask rather than assume. But sometimes, I wish life could be without these little bumps.

I haven’t yet said one of the good parts about being adopted.  Here it is: you know your parents expected and wanted you enough to go to the greatest lengths to adopt you as their own child. They wanted a child so much, that even if they weren’t able to have a biological baby they decided to give another a home. I discussed this once with a few other friends and acquaintances, and one replied something along the lines of, “My dad had a vasectomy– apparently they aren’t foolproof.”

Do I ever wonder what happened to my birth parents?  Not anymore. I am glad that they put me up for adoption, as I assume a life with them would not have been as blessed as the one I have now. I would not have had the parents I have now. When people ask me, “but what about your real parents?” I prefer to say, “My real parents are the ones I call Mom and Dad.”

TV Show Review: The Magicians Episodes 1 & 2

The Magicians is available on Netflix currently.

This show feels like a mix of the darkness we see in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and the weird logic of teenagers in the drama you watched in middle school.  These are technically graduate students, but come on, you show up in a weird place with basically no explanation and suddenly, it’s home and this is where you should be?  That makes no sense.

The effects for this show are good.  The characters are interesting and have depth.  I don’t understand why Quentin Coldwater feels attached to the first people he meets though.  I also think there are a few too many characters in this story.  Also, already in the first episode we have a sex scene.  There’s bullying and overexplaining of the clicque dynamics.  There’s a fist + magic fight. Great, it’s a teenage drama series.  We could have gone without that one.

There is foreshadowing everywhere.  It’s like bam bam bam, let’s hit the audience with foreshadowing.

This show is also terrifying.

The acting isn’t too bad either.

The lighting is nicely done.

I’m still watching it anyway.  I just have to suspend my questioning I guess.

 

 

Disorganized Thoughts: On Kids

I dislike children.  I mean, they are fine when they are happy and cheery and all is right with the world… but as soon as they start screaming and crying the image is shattered.  I read an article once that said humans are tuned to hate the sound of a baby’s cry.  I won’t argue with that one.

I have tried to like children. Gender conditioning throughout my life has attempted to enforce a love for babies.  I like to joke that I didn’t even like children when I was a child (that’s not true, according to my mom).  But also according to my mom, I was apathetic towards baby dolls.

I recall some strange make-believe that a friend of mine had insisted upon when I was in elementary school.  It was where you tucked a baby doll underneath your shirt and insisted you were pregnant.

Both then and now, this image is strange to me.  Are we conditioning our girls to think that it is okay to pretend to be pregnant and take care of kids at the tender age of 5?

I am not sure.  But this relates to the current drive for women to diversify STEM fields.  I will have another blog post on women in STEM separately, so let’s get back on topic.

There are articles wondering why women don’t make it through their studies in STEM, or they get through STEM and only last a few years in the workforce.  These articles often do not take into account the societal pressures for women.  First, expectations are that we have a steady partner within a small window of time, and relatives always ask when we are settling down.  Then, when are we having children?  We are expected to either give up our jobs to take care of the children or lower our job’s workload and still take care of the children.  No one seems to call men out to take care of the children, society has always said that they are the providers of shelter and food.  Why can’t we both be providers of all of it?

I always look at this issue in dismay.  I have been lucky in that much of this has not been forced upon me, but it is always upsetting.  I understand that having children involves sacrifice, but what if you love what you do?  Or if you want to wait?

I hate when people start with the phrase, “When you have children…”  It sparks this anger out of no where.  Have I ever said that I wanted children?  To anyone?  Since when could you assume that someone wants children?  I have also never heard of an instance of a man being told, “when you have children” except of course if they are close to settling down with someone.

On procreation… we are already an overpopulated earth.  There are thousands of children out there without families or forever homes.  I go between understanding and not understanding why people want children that look exactly like them.  I hate when people say that it’s “selfish” to not bring children into the world.  I’ve only ever seen these people on comments in various social media… so they might not be real… Think about this though.  It’s “selfish” to choose to not bring another human into the world?  We know from history that having many more children meant more free labor.  It also means more resources are needed for your family too. Am I really bettering the world if I choose to have children then?

I understand there is some sentiment that if you don’t have children, are you preventing the cure for cancer from the world?  With that logic of potential… couldn’t you say that they’re preventing Hitler from coming into the world?  I just want to say I’m mostly kidding about that comment…

Childbirth also terrifies me.  I have very rarely been to hospitals, and usually just to visit.  I also have very few relatives younger than me.  Maybe it’s the inexperience and the not knowing.  We make it out to be this beautifully painful thing on television, and that it is all worth it in the end.  Not sure if there’s a disconnect there… but it probably isn’t beautiful.  I’m not obsessed with what is beautiful… but it sounds like such a harsh process, giving birth.

Incidentally, there were approximately 11 automobile deaths per 100,000 population in 2015 (this is according to Wikipedia… who knows if I can trust it) .  Meanwhile, there were approximately 18 maternal deaths per 100,000 births in 2015.  These numbers are not comparable, but they are something to think about.

That’s all for now.

Disorganized Thoughts: On Eating Meat

I am not a vegan.

Nor do I have a plant based diet.

Like most people I know, I hate the idea of killing animals.  Also like most people, I’m a hypocrite in this, since I also thoroughly enjoy eating meat.

As someone who wants to be more health and environmentally conscious, I have tried to make up for my sins against life by cutting down on my meat consumption.  It has been a slow process, but I remember a few years ago I barely ever had a meal that did not contain meat.  I remember on my Latin class’s trip to Italy, we were served a carb-loaded dinner and a boy in my class says, “I can’t think of a meal in my life where I did not eat meat.”  This struck me as strange, and after a few years of consuming media on animal cruelty, I couldn’t help but think something had to change.

My house is like many others, where we consume meat as our main dish.  When you are not in control of grocery shopping and cooking, you find that meals are based around another’s taste.  Then, freshman year I was stuck with a meal plan.  I can honestly say I did consume plenty of cereal and much of the meat was scary in the dining hall, but I would not say I had achieved lowering my intake of meat.

It took me some time, but when I moved into an apartment off campus I was able to change the foods I was eating, albeit slowly and through lots of experimentation of what I liked and didn’t like.  I also saw no difference in buying ethically raised meats versus the cheapest.. except in price.

This has changed though, and I like to be more conscious of what I am putting into my body.  I have learned to change out many of my meals with plant based recipes.  I still enjoy chicken and fish somewhat often, but I buy organic/free range or from sustainable sources.  I often enjoy meatless days throughout the week… not just Monday.

I know this does not condone my actions against life, but I’d like to say I’m aware of an issue.  I’m not sure if that makes me a worse person than someone who is unaware though.

Disorganized Thoughts Series

As the title says, this series will be a 20-something’s thoughts on the world and the issues associated with a social society.  Many of my opinions will likely offend some people, but this series was not created with that intention.  Think of it like an op-ed piece in that you can take it or leave it.  These are just my thoughts, and sometimes they turn out to be hypocritical or disjointed or confusing.

This is just me, struggling to make sense of the world.

Movie Review: La La Land

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Source: lalaland.movie

I would like to start this review in saying: I am in no way an expert with reviewing movies.

I am a collegiate woman who really just wanted to watch a cute movie on a Thursday night with her boyfriend. Since we heard it would be a good movie for couples to watch, both of us were ready for this movie like this GIF:

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Source: lalaland.movie

I had pretty high expectations for the movie. I thought it would be this beautifully romantic tale with a happy ending. Well… I got half of that.

You can tell a lot of time was put into the choreography and aesthetics of this movie. The actors are attractive and pull you along for the roller coaster ride of this movie. I’m sure all of the nominations and comments about this movie being critically acclaimed are correct- but remember, I am looking at this movie from a perspective of a woman just wanting something heartwarming to end a night. It was a good movie- but it isn’t the movie for you and your significant other to watch if you don’t want to just feel kind of sad.

If you are the type of person who thinks that if two people really love each other, they would do anything to make the relationship work, you will probably be disappointed by this movie.

WARNING: Real spoilers below…

The most upsetting part was that the ending was purely based on, “what could have been” if everything in the main characters’ relationship had gone right.  They see their lives flash before their eyes, what could have happened in the five years since they met instead of what did happen.  It’s a case of missed love due to circumstances no one could control… kind of.

 

Takeaways

When we said “eh, it wasn’t great” about the movie with a shrug, someone asked us if anyone died.  Well, no one dies from what I recall, so the main thing to takeaway from this movie is:

At least no one died.

Source for banner photo: lalaland.movie

Hoboken Quick Bites

Hoboken is known for having the most bars, but when you need a quick bite to eat where should you go?  There are lots of Yelp recommendations, but here I’ll detail a few that I have tested as a college student living in the mile square city.

Shaka Bowl

This is the newest place on the list, and features smoothies, smoothie bowls, and poké bowls.  This is all Hawaiian style food, and I have to say it has all been tasty.  The Pineapple a Day poké bowl features rice, ahi tuna, pineapple, and an array of other toppings.  Also, follow their instagram as whoever is in charge of it makes some really yummy posts.

Mamoun’s Falafel

Easily the cheapest and fastest food you can get on this list.  A falafel sandwich comes to less than four bucks, and it’s really yummy.  Don’t skip any of the drinks they have either, suggested ones include Mint Lemonade, Blackberry Juice and Mango Juice.  It also doesn’t make you feel ashamed of yourself like McDonald’s would.

Mr. Wraps

I have only gotten the buffalo chicken wrap from here, which is not for the faint of heart.  My friends have gotten the chicken caesar wrap and the roast beef wrap, but honestly, everything seems good here.  It’s only a couple blocks off Washington street, and you can call ahead for pickup!  If you are a Stevens student, they take duckbills.

Rosticeria Da Gigi

I love their pappardelle with bolognese, which is extremely filling. I’ve gotten delivery from here in approximately 15 minutes, but it was a non-busy time.  I would suggest just calling ahead or ordering on delivery.com and getting it for pickup.  My friends also swear by their chicken caesar salad.

Choc O Pain

It’s far from campus if you are a Stevens student, but if you like bread or croissants, this is the best place I’ve been to in the United States.  And I’ve been to France and ate probably 50 croissants over a four day span.  Don’t judge me.  But this place is good in almost every way, although make sure you sweeten your hot chocolates or lemonades if you buy them, as they come unsweetened.  You can also see the baker make things in the back, and it’s a pretty nice coffee shop for hanging out.