Energize Yourself!

I don’t know about you, but this past week has just been killer for me. I’m currently working two jobs and juggling a full time course load and I feel as if I’m constantly tired. Is it true that professors have meetings and decide to assign all homework and projects in the same week? At this point I’m basically ticking off every day until my graduation in May (2 months left! Ahhh).

When I first started this blog, I had thought that I would be able to write throughout the week with ease. I was excited at the possibilities and ways in which I could use this outlet as a means of making myself write consistently. Of course, life is getting in the way (as it always does), and I find myself writing my blog posts every weekend in order to fulfill the weekly requirements. While I’m slightly disappointed in myself, my weekdays are so jammed packed that I truly have no time until the blissful freedom of the weekends. So here I am again, on a Sunday evening, making my blog a little fuller.

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Anyway, what I wanted to talk about and share with you was a way to help during your long and heavily scheduled days. I will admit now that I am an avid coffee drinker, and have been since I was a young teenager. While there is debate on whether coffee is good or bad for you (I believe it is good in moderation), I have found from experience that coffee is indeed addicting. There were periods in my life where I would get bad headaches due to a lack of caffeine, and it was then that I knew that my love for coffee was turning against me. I would drink it because I loved the taste and the slight energy  boost, but suddenly without it I was a sloth and with it I was only a normally-functionining human with no increased energy.

So now, I try and drink no more than a cup (or two, who are we kidding?) of coffee a day, and when I still need boosts of energy I resort to other sources. Thanks to the wonderful world of the internet, I was able to scroll through articles and reviews and find things that work for me. Because I tend to lean more on the healthy side, I shy away from energy supplements like red bull. Instead, this is what I do:

WATER

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Everyone should drink water with this fierceness. 

Yes, I’m aware that literally the whole world is preaching the many benefits of water. But seriously, if you’re feeling slugish, down an 8 ounce bottle of water and soon will feel a kick. Don’t forget that our body is 50-60% water and that drinking enough is essential to avoiding fatigue and headaches. My boyfriend’s new “trick” when he’s feeling particularly groggy when he wakes up is to drink a whole glass of water. It gets him get out of bed so that he can make me breakfast (What? Who’s dropping hints?).

ALMONDS

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Be like this squirrel and eat almonds.

Besides being delicious, almonds stabilize blood sugar and slow digestion, which help regulate energy. Almonds are also a good way to curve your hunger. Keep a plastic bag filled with them in your purse or backpack for an on-the-go energy boost.

BANANAS

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These bananas are so happy to see you.

I buy a bunch of bananas every weekend and everyday grab one to throw in my bag. It’s easy to eat, there’s no mess, and it helps keep me more alert. This is because bananas help slow down digestion, as well as help keep blood sugar levels stable.

These are the top three things that I do, that I find to be the most helpful and easy to do. When searching on the internet, there are so many different things that people recommend. For instance one website (not giving any names), recommended that, in order help one’s energy, you should “plant a garden.” Yes, because that’s such a realistic option! Let’s all stop what we’re doing halfway through the day and revitalize ourselves with gardening.

Stay alert, friends!

 

Why You Should Cook more

It’s 2016, and every time I drive home the street is clustered with an assortment of restaurants and fast food chains. It’s too easy to succumb to the easiness of buying your food out. While I agree that some days I just can’t imagine having to cook my food, I do try and prepare my meals at least five days a week. Not only is this more cost efficient, it can also be so much healthier.

In terms of cost, I’ve noticed that by strategically making a large dinner, I can have enough food left over for lunch the next day and even another dinner later in the week. That’s a lot of savings! If I buy lunch out every day of the week, it’s an average of $6 a meal, or a total of $30 a week. $120 a month! If I don’t have leftovers to have for my lunch, my go-to is a sandwich using whole wheat bread, mustard (there are about 100 calories in a tablespoon of mayo), deli meat and cheese, and veggies. I also bring a fruit as “dessert” – an apple, banana, or a couple of tangerines.

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While cost is a huge benefit for making rather than buying food (my college-student budget is appreciative), I also do this for health reasons. When I cook, I can control what ingredients I use. I can control the amount of oil and salt that’s used, how many veggies I incorporate, choose low-fat meats, use whatever seasonings I want, etc. When I buy food out, I don’t know what they’re using. They could be using a gallon of butter for all I know (they’re probably not, but who knows). Most fast food chains add an assortment of unnecessary chemicals that I would rather not have in my body, thanks. In general, when I cook my own food, I feel better afterwards because I use ingredients that are good for my body.

Also think of it this way: It’s 2016, and the internet is at your disposal. While people used to rely on recipe books and sheer innovation to find recipes, you can now find anything with a simple good search. Millions of recipes free for you to use, with pretty pictures and in depth instructions. You can find the simplest of recipes to the most complex (when you’re feeling cray-zy). Find some simple stir-fry recipe, or a 30-minute crock pot recipe.

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Pinterest is a great website where people can share recipes and save them for future use. I also like Foodgawker. I think of it as Pinterest but for foodies. You can type in any ingredients you want to use and hundreds to thousands of recipes will pop up. I like to search by the most popular – of the week, the month, or all time. You can also type in keywords like “healthy” and “easy” to find things to cook during a busy week.

Anyway, hoped this was at least a little insightful. See you soon!

 

 

Facebook & Dank Bernie

I tend to waste my time scrolling though Facebook a couple of times a day. During these daily excursions, I’ve noticed that Facebook has been slowly turning into into more of a “blog” type of social media. Whereas Facebook used to be more of a personal compilation of thoughts and life events, I believe that it has evolved. While it is still personal and used to share personal things, there has also been a large increase in people “sharing” pictures, articles, videos, etc., in a blogging style similar to websites such as Tumblr.

I personally favor this shift to blogging-style because I can find some interesting articles or cute videos featuring dogs and babies, or fun recipes demonstrated through video (Tasty, anyone?). For instance, I just saw the most adorable video of a three-year old singing a song from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. You need to see it because you will instantly feel happier and have an urge to sing the song all day.

You can watch the video here

This is obviously quality entertainment and definitely what I want to find when I scroll though Facebook. But interestingly, while the original video has about 7,800,000 views, the shared video on Facebook has reached at the time of this posting over 24 million views. This is only one example that demonstrates the power of sharing over Facebook and how it can really increase popularity and view count. Also, how can someone watch this video and not want to share it with everyone they know? That is why I am enlightening you, my lovely reader. You are welcome.

Another interesting trend I have noticed blossom from Facebook’s blogging style is the use of meme’s and funny pictures in order to promote a political candidate or party. In particular, I have noticed a large amount of meme’s in favor of democratic nominee Bernie Sanders.

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Bernie cuddling with a cat – the internet’s awesome way of campaigning. 

Many of the people on my newsfeed are sharing memes from a group on Facebook that is quickly gaining popularity, called Bernie’s Dank Meme Stash. (In case anyone is unclear, Urban Dictionary defines “dank” as “something of high quality”). This group currently has a whopping 284,000 members and is continuously growing. However, people do not have to belong to the group to share and distribute memes, which would indicate that the pictures are likely reaching a greater audience.

Here is an example of one of the memes from the group:

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This meme is an extension of another (older) popular meme that went around for a bit. It featured the word “me” next to a picture of an eyebrow similar to the one on the left, with “you” next to a picture similar to the eyebrows on the right. You know we’ve reached a pivotal point when there are memes of memes.

Other examples from Bernie’s Dank Meme Stash:

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While I am a supporter of Mr. Sanders and his politics, my aim is not to talk politics but instead to highlight an interesting phenomenon happening on Facebook. Since a large portion of Sander’s supporters are considered millennials, I find it extremely interesting how a generation that grew up with internet culture are currently using it as a means of supporting and raising awareness for Bernie. The internet is doing what it’s best at, which is using humor and funny pictures to make a point. Because really, aren’t memes at the core of internet culture?

Social media, including Facebook, are being used as tools to spread political messages. This is the first campaign where I feel like this is happening on such a grand scale and I feel like this is partially due to Bernie himself, whose ideas and messages seems to resonate largely with a younger group of voters.

Do You Fitness?

Hello friends!

I’ve spent the past couple of days trying to decide what to write about for my inquiry posts. I have a range of hobbies, and choosing just one to focus on for the next couple of months seemed slightly limiting. How could I choose favorites? I play the ukulele and guitar and have an appreciation for folk music (thanks to my hippie father), cook and bake often, love to travel, and I am into health and exercise.

So, after much consideration, my (tentatively) topic of inquiry will be health and exercise. I realized that at this point in my life, it is something that is more than a something I “do”, like a hobby. It is unquestionably a way of life for me, and something that I naturally incorporate into my days.

I have been regularly lifting weights for over three years. At one point I even would have considered myself a “bodybuilder” – whatever that means. I would plan my week over what exercises I had to do each day. I was the friend that put off hanging out because I had to do leg day. A few days after arriving to my dormitory during my study abroad trip to South Korea, I tracked down and persuaded the right people to give me access to the gym before exchange students were supposed to be allowed to use it. I also met my boyfriend my first week working out at the Korean gym – he was a trainer (and was probably impressed by my squats).

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My favorite work-out shirt!

Nowadays, I notice that I’ve grown less intense about being a gym rat. I still go four to five times a week and almost exclusively do weights (cardio is actually the worst), but I’m no longer focused on how much weight I can do or how my biceps are looking. I do it to keep myself healthy, improve my endurance, and strengthen my body. It keeps me sane and burns off the energy and stress from school and work.

So for future inquiry posts I will look to the internet and social media to learn more about fitness and health. In the subcategory of health, I will include healthy foods, cooking, and ways to improve your energy. Since I almost always cook relatively healthy foods, this will also be fun and interesting for me to research and write about. In terms of my sources for information, I will look to youtube, instagram, pinterest, fitness-related blogs and websites, as well as blogs and websites related to healthy good. Of course, I might find my source somewhere completely new – which would be fun and a great way to learn!

Anyway – see you soon 🙂

‘Cause I Slay: Beyonce’s “Formation”

If you’ve been active on the internet the last few days, or if you saw the Super Bowl half time show, you are probably aware that Beyonce released a new song titled “Formation.” On February 6th, without any previous hints of its release, Beyonce debuted the song accompanied by its music video. Naturally, the internet exploded after the song’s release, and it wasn’t long before people were writing and sharing their reactions across various social media. But the reason that this song in particular has made such an impact is not just because it’s sung by “Queen Bee” – the song, and its video, has a politically-charged message that people can’t miss.

Watch Beyonce’s “Formation” Here

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As of late, the Black Lives Matter movement has risen to national attention. Activists, particularly in the Black community, are rallying for justice and equality for the numerous Black lives that are being unfairly lost in the hands of a faulty law enforcement. Beyonce’s choice to involve herself in the movement should come to no real surprise. Beyonce has been quietly donating in support of the movement for a long time as well as giving bail to jailed Ferguson protesters. However, by creating and releasing “Formation”, Beyonce is choosing to use her position of influence and power to bring even more awareness to an issue that definitely needs to be addressed.

Despite it’s release only 2 days ago, many articles and reviews have popped up on the internet about the music video. In its initial release I found only positive reactions – people excited and applauding Beyonce on not only her musical talent, but also her video’s message. Soon after, negativity and criticism about the video started mixing with the positivity, creating a clash of opinions that is now heating the internet.

Some criticized Beyonce for involving herself in such a politically charged movement. Under this belief, Beyonce shouldn’t extend herself beyond the scope of pop culture. Perhaps people who believe this are under the impression that celebrities should stay in a hollywood-esque world, and distance themselves from reality. Isn’t that a purpose (or byproduct) of being a celebrity? People can look at these stars from a distance, idolizing them and using them as a means to take a break from daily life. But it is my opinion that major celebrities are the perfect candidates for raising awareness about social issues, and that by breaking the glass between their world and ours allows for stronger reactions and responses.

Another criticism people are having about the music video is Beyonce’s depiction of police officers. In a few scenes of the video, Beyonce is sitting on a New Orleans police cruiser as it sinks into the water. Another scene depicts a young Black boy raising his hands in front of a line of cops, quickly changing to a picture of the words “Don’t Shoot” graffiti’d onto a brick wall. The criticism people are having with these scenes is their belief it shows police officers being badly depicted. In fact, some people feel so strongly about this that they have created the hashtag “#boycottbeyonce”.

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The problem with this way of thinking is that they are missing the point and the overall message. Beyonce, as well as others in the Black Lives Matter movement, do not believe that every single police officer is a problem. On the contrary, the problem lies in the system itself, and the underlying racism and prejudges that contribute to unnecessary deaths and unfair trials. In the United States, it currently requires more training to be a hairdresser than to be a police officer (Source). This lack of training and lack of awareness needs to be changed.

I am a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, and wholeheartedly applaud Beyonce’s choice to create this music video. I find it ridiculous and almost amusing how some naysayers are writing it off as an “Anti-White Song” because we live in a country where Whiteness is the standard in all of society. Creating a song celebrating and empowering Blackness does not mean that it undermines Whiteness.

I’m interested to see the later reactions Beyonce’s “Formation” will cause. In just two days time, Queen Bee was able to create a storm of responses, likely due to her (obviously planned) choice to release the video the day before the Super Bowl and sing the song during it’s half time.

What did you think of Beyonce’s formation? What was your initial response?

Hello, It’s Me

The idea of putting yourself out there on the internet seems so natural in our current society. Your identity online shapes how your friends, acquaintances, and stalkers perceive you. I thought I was totally unfazed by this concept until I decided that it was time to put my English major skills to use and attempt to write a blog. Putting my words and thoughts onto a part of the internet that is only mine seems so…personal. I have a choice to write in any way that I want! My tone and writing “voice” will shape my online identity.

If you plan on getting to know me, you should know upfront that I’m a Harry Potter nerd. I read all seven books maybe twice a year and have a bond with all the characters. Anyway, if you are familiar with the second book, you would know that Ginny Weasley wrote in a diary over the span of a year which ultimately allowed Voldemort to possess her. The act of pouring her heart and feelings into her writing was like putting out a piece of her identity and soul. I’m sorry if you have no idea what I’m talking about… But I have a point! My point is that writing can be so powerful and intimate, which is what I realized as I planned my first blog post. Also, the other lesson is to not create horcruxes.

Anyway! Let’s move back to reality.

 

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Hiking in the mountains in the middle of Autumn.

My name is Gabrielle. I’m a senior in college and will graduate in May. The most interesting thing about me is that I spent my entire junior year studying abroad in South Korea. As super cliche as it may sound, the year I spent abroad drastically changed my outlook on life because I was able to experience things that were so different from the culture and society I grew up in. I was living in a small town with a small amount of “foreigners.” I looked so different from the Koreans and was able to experience being a minority in a largely homogeneous country. I learned some Korean (and am still studying), and stepped out of my comfort zone more frequently than ever before in my life.

I also met my boyfriend. We started dating a month after I arrived in Korea and recently celebrated our 500 days together (in Korea they tend to celebrate every hundred days rather than 3 months, 6 months, etc). We are currently in a long distance relationship but spent a wonderful year in Korea together. We’ve learned a lot from each other, and he helped me to experience Korea in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to without the knowledge and insight of a native Korean.

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When we visited Jeju Island (제주도) together.

After I graduate in May, I plan on returning to South Korea as an English teacher. This way I combine my passion for both of my majors (English and Linguistics), make some money for my future grad school costs, and get to be with the love of my life.

My future posts will probably consist of a lot of my experiences I’ve gained in the past year, as well as all the hobbies and life things that make me “me.” Through every post you will better know the internet identity of Gabrielle and hopefully I can get to know you too.

Thanks for reading!