I've always wanted to visit our national parks and I've been to a few before.
The Badlands, in South Dakota, for one. I've also been to Niagara Falls and Mount Rushmore National Monument but was rather unimpressed with both of them. At both locations I got out and said "I thought it would be bigger," (insert "that's what she said" joke here).
But, this week, I visited Mount Rainier National Park, not once but twice in since I moved to Seattle three years ago. And I also took the opportunity to drive through Gifford Pinchot National forest as I made my way down to Hood River, OR yesterday. And I have to say, these are, hands down, some of the most beautiful places I've ever been.
So, first of all, thank you National Parks Service. Thanks for taking care of the great landscape that makes up our country.
Secondly, if you live in or around Seattle, you have to visit these parks. With only a two to three hour drive in between you and this scenery, it's hard to say no.
I mean, are you looking at this?
There are hundreds of miles to be explored and I've only covered a small portion of it. So what's the hold up? Get exploring!
If you're ahead of the game, what's your favorite US National Park? I still have a lot of ground (and now ocean) to cover.
There were many things that my Pappap held close to his heart. At the forefront of that list was family and food. One of my favorite memories was when our family got together for Father's Day lunch at the Olive Garden one year. He and my grandmother arrived and Pappap was greeted by me and free passed appetizers and was faced with a decision: hug Alli or enjoy some free eggplant parm. The choice was tough. Pappap never turned down free food. So before the waitress disappeared and took the free food with her, Pappap went in for a quick hug and then chased after the waitress. It was a win for everyone.
Free anything was probably a close third behind family and food, and the best food was free food. Once, we went to a Chicago Cubs game, and as we were getting ready to leave, there was someone passing out jalapeno chips. Pappap had two handfuls and asked my brother and I to go get some more for him. At the end, we had two backpacks full and he says, "Do you guys like these kind of chips?" I told him no and he goes "Me either. But they're free, so we'll take them home." My brother and I laughed about it most of the bus ride home and every year since. Most recently he said, if its free get in line twice.
When you lose someone that has had such a profound impact on your life, you grieve a little more. Cry a little heavier. You realize all of the parts of your life they have touched. You hope you've learned all you can from them.
Pappap's stamp in on many parts of my life. He and I, we're cut from the same cloth. It's hard to say that without sounding arrogant. He was a great man and we shared many values. He was a hard worker. Strong, diligent, caring, loving, quiet.
Pappap was a man of few words. So much so that I remember a Christmas where he maybe said a handful of words. But he was always listening, always observing. Whenever I called my grandparents, I would hear Pappap talk on three occasions.
When my brother was in middle school, Pappap almost got kicked out of a match for berating the ref on a bad call he gave my brother. Once my brother was in high school, I was warned by the ref for berating him on a bad call against our rival school. You could say we were passionate supporters. Pappap was at every match he could be at for my brother and always called after the ones he could make. He knew the importance of showing up and being there for those that are most important to you.
Since before I was born, Pappap was in my life. He came to Illinois from South Carolina to decorate my room in a Winnie the Pooh theme. My grandparents eventually moved back up to Illinois to be involved our lives. Throughout my life, Pappap has been shaping it in ways I wouldn't realize until I was older. He taught me about the importance of working hard. He taught me that will power is just as important as having the right skills. He showed me what a good marriages, a true partnership, looks like. He always encouraged me to go after my dreams.
Even since his passing, Pappap is still teaching me the little things are the most important memories of all. Evidently, when I was seven years old, I had gotten back from a trip with my family and had a whole three dollars left over. I decided to write my Pappap a card and share my three dollars with him. I don't actually remember doing this. But upon getting into Chicago this weekend for his memorial, my dad handed me this card with the three dollars in it. Pappap has been saving this in his safety deposit box since 1998. I have never been so humbled by anything in my entire life.
While I miss him more than anything, I am happy that he's no longer in pain. I'm am so fortunate that he was in my life and that he helped shaped my perspective on the world and I will never take that for granted.
I love you Pappap.
The capitol of the island nation and absolutely buzzing after the win over England. For the rest of our trip, Reykjavik and the Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina was our home base. (Side note - this hotels has one of the best cocktail bars in the city, Slippbarinn. Definitely check it out.) If you look at a map, the Marina might seem out of the way from city center, but everything was very accessible. Most things were no more than a ten or twenty minute walk.
While we were in town, we got our photos taken by Rakel at Flytographer. Given that it was our honeymoon, and the fact that I'm never in photos, we wanted a souvenir to commemorate our trip. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip because it was much more than a photoshoot. While we walked around with Rakel, we learned about everyday life in Reykjavik and Iceland and got to see the city through a local's eyes. A traveler's dream come true.
Reese and I left Reykjavik to head out on our DIY Golden Circle tour. Depending on what attractions you want to see, it may be better to do a guided tour but we were willing to forego driving on a glacier today, which made our trip entirely more doable on our own. We got our car and headed out of the city around 10am. There's no traffic and the roads were easy to navigate. We were on our way.
The Golden Circle
First stop, þingvellir (Said: Thingvellir. Pronunciation here). þingvellir is really interesting for several reasons. For one, it is the historical site where Icelandic parliament was held there from 930-1798. Secondly, this cultural site lies atop of the fault line between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. According to our Lonely Planet book, these plates are still moving every year causing major geographic changes over time. It was quite the site to see.
Heading East, Reese and I went to go see the Geysir that all others are named after. Now mostly dormant, Geysir is still one of the largest tourist attractions in Iceland with several hotels and shops across the street from the natural wonder.
The air is sulfuric and (non-biting) flies are abundant, but the views of the surrounding mountains, glaciers, and geothermal steam vents is pretty spectacular.
Skógafoss is by far my favorite waterfall I've seen in Iceland. It's not the biggest, or the most powerful, but it falls into a shallow valley between two mountains and a glacier and the view can't be beat. Across from the viewing platforms, on the opposite side of the river, are fields of Lupine, painting the rolling hills purple and white. I, of course, can't get enough of this flower. It's my favorite color, and here in Iceland, it covers the land. It's gorgeous.
You can get close enough to the edge of the falls to touch the glacially chilled falls. I didn't dare attempt to get close enough but I watched others do it and tell their friends how cold the water was. Instead, I took photo after photo of the beautiful scenery around me.
The Blue Lagoon
Opting for a late admission to the geothermal pool, Reese and I arrived at The Blue Lagoon around 11pm, giving us a chance to relax and enjoy the midnight sun. And boy did we luck out. Last night, we saw the best "sunset" since we arrived in Iceland. Of course, the sun only set enough to paint the skies with beautiful pinks, oranges, and yellows before it started to rise again. In fact, when we got to the hotel at 2:30am, it was brighter out than when we started to head back from The Blue Lagoon.
The Blue Lagoon is a different from Myvatn in a few ways. For one, it is placed near a geothermal plant that mixes the water to ensure the optimal levels of algae and minerals in the water. These are what give you the light, milky blue color. The lagoon is also much more geared towards tourist than to the locals.
With a poolside bar, in pool spa services, and onsite restaurant, The Blue Lagoon caters to every visitor. Reese and I relaxed with champagne and algae masks until closing, watching the entire "sunset" and playing with our GoPro (so much fun if you like gadgets and photography).
Game of Thrones Tour
For those of you that aren't devout Game of Thrones fans, that is a common way to leave a conversation if you were a believer of "The Seven" or the old gods in the series. If it's not already apparent, we were having a themed day around the hit series Game of Thrones.
A gorgeous valley in Iceland
Our first stop, I can't find the actual name of, but it's at these coordinates (64°06'49.7"N 21°17'46.0"W) if you're interested in visiting. While it was a quick stop, it was a beautiful valley that was a filming location for Game of Thrones. It is quintessential scenery for what we've seen of Iceland thus far.
Þingvellir National Park
We also happened to head back to Þingvellir on our tour today, but this time from a different vantage point. We were there to see a waterfall and one of the travel routes used in the show. The ravine itself is not that long, but we learned that the actors walked back and forth in the ravine to create the image that producers were looking for.
Viking Lodge in Þjórsárdalur Valley
Another quick stop, but definitely worth it. Surrounded by Lupine flowers with a waterfall in the background, these turf houses were rebuilt as replicas of a commonwealth bar that Vikings used to frequent. This location was used to film a scene north of the wall though it wasn't a very long scene.
Gjáin in Þjórsárdalur Valley
My favorite stop! This location is basically irrelevant to Game of Thrones but it is everything I imagined I would see in Iceland. Only accessible if you have a 4x4 vehicle, this hidden gem is tucked away in central Iceland. With clear, drinkable (I actually drank out of the river. It was delicious) glacial waters, the gorge, or Gjáin, is a must see. Since it's featured in a fantasy, fictional, TV series, it almost seems redundant to say that this looks like it's out of a book, but it does. The waters are transparent to every depth of the river bed unless waterfalls are crashing over it. I'm so glad we got to experience such a magnificent place in Iceland.
Our last stop on the trip was a surprise visit to a nearby horse farm, where the owners breed, raise, train, and show the well known Icelandic horses. Extinct outside of Iceland, the Icelandic horse is a great artifact of what Viking life used to be like.
Unlike many other cultures, Icelandic horses were raised for their temperament and their strength as they were only needed for transportation and farm work. In modern days, Icelandic horses are used primarily for show, breeding, and racing. They are indeed the most friendly horses I've ever met and far less intimidating as I am of a similar height. Much better.
Overall, we had a wonderful trip and it was all made possible by Greyline Iceland. We had an amazing guide and driver and got to ride in an awesome 4x4 bus all day. We were worried that the tour would be a little kitschy and lame, but it was great. A perfect balance of themed fun and historical information. I highly recommend the tour and the company.
On one of our last days, we rented a car and headed south. This was a pretty breath taking day. We headed down to Vík to see where the black sand beaches and glaciers meet. All at once the sea looked clear but black as the surf crashed into the sand.
We could've spent a whole day walking around the beach looking at the different geological formations and wild sheep that occasionally wanted to visit. I highly recommend taking a drive down, especially without a tour group. Give yourself all the time in the world to see a new part of the world.
To start our honeymoon, we head to the north. Akureyri is our first stop.
The first two days we stay in town, exploring shops, celebrating a friend's wedding, and enjoying the community pool which is quite the experience and nothing like the pools in the US, in the best way possible.
Enjoying geothermal pools is not just an activity that people in Iceland do; it's a way of life. As I understand it, many people plan their days around trips to the community pools. Go in the morning before work, during lunch breaks, and before their day is over. These baths also create an enjoyable way to end your hikes, as there are many you can choose from in any town in Iceland.
These aquatic traditions have been said to have been around since the island was settled. Hot water runs abundantly through, over, and under the entire island, creating these natural baths for its citizens to enjoy. As a visitor, it was wonderful to experience such a ritual that is so deeply imbedded into the culture.
I went to the Akureyri pool with my friends and their family. Many of my friends family members had been going there since they were children and said that there were many years where they would go every single year. For some, that may seem like a lot of pool time, but it is so much more than that.
The facility has a lap pool, a leisure pool, a kids pool, two slides, three hot tubs (all at various temperatures), and a steam sauna. Not to mention various workout equipment that is on the grounds both indoor and out. There is something for everyone, young and old - lazy and outgoing. Personally, I enjoyed the hot tubs and the steam sauna. It was great to go from hot and cold and enjoy the fresh, Icelandic air while spending time with my friends.
If you plan to stay in Akureyri for a few days, I highly recommend Accommodation Akureyri. We found out about this company on VRBO and I can't say enough good things about it. The prices are half of what you'll pay at any hotel in town, and your money goes a long way. The unit is nicely furnished, recently renovated, and spacious all in the heart of town. It's one of my prouder booking moments. Everything, including the airport, is less than a 20-30 minute walk, or 5 minute drive if you're renting a car. The place also has a full kitchen, washer and dryer, and a balcony so it's the perfect place for longer stays.
I know TLC told us not to do it, but when in Iceland, I highly recommend it. Reese and I spent the last two days exploring Iceland's aquatic features from Dettifoss to the center of the island.
To do any of these trips, we found it easiest if you rent a car and journey with your map. We saw several tour buses at each place we stopped along the way, so if tours are your thing, you won't miss out. However, from our experience, Iceland is by far one of the easiest places to rent and drive a car. Renting the car obviously gives you some additional freedoms to change your course, stop and get lunch or snacks, leg room, and saves you plenty of money. While car rentals and gasoline are more expensive in Iceland, you will double your costs on tour fees, unless you are traveling solo.
We spent all day driving around Northern Iceland from Akureyri to Dettifoss and if you have the time, I highly recommend the trip.
Heading out of the Akureyri, we were instantly surrounded by rolling hills and mountains and occasionally the shorelines of a fjord. On the way to our first destination, we are greeted in the country side by Icelandic horses and vast Lupine fields. Not far out of Akureyri, we reached our first stop.
Goðafoss (pronounciation)is not the biggest waterfall in Iceland. That one we visit later. Instead, the waterfall is of cultural significance. It is the location where Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði made Christianity the official religion of Iceland around 1000 AD. We were able to walk around two sides of the waterfall and feel the spray from all angles and even hike down to the river bed at the base of the falls.
This may have been one of my favorite stops of the day. Not far from Dimmuborgir, there are two small openings in the ground that lead to the clearest, blue waters I've ever seen. These caves used to be popular geothermal baths but from 1975-1984 the temperature of the water rose above 122 degrees Fahrenheit due to eruptions in Iceland , forcing people to find other bathing sites.
The temperature of the waters have since cooled to a soothing temperature but are now considered to be for private use only of nearby landowners. You can sit inside the caves and enjoy the view but check out nearby locations if you want to soak in the geothermal waters.
Second to last stop of the day was Dettifoss - the most powerful waterfall in Europe. Only a kilometer or two from the visitors center, Dettifoss can be heard before it can be seen. The thundering waters plummets to the river below with immense force, pushing spray back up the cliffs making it partly cloudy and rainy at all times, regardless of the surrounding weather.
If the sun does happen to peak through the clouds, you will see one of the most stunning views of a rainbow. I can officially say I saw the end of a rainbow and there is no pot of gold. Just the muddy lands that used to be covered with moss.
Myvatn Nature Baths
Similar to the Blue Lagoon, the well-known geothermal bath near Reykjavik, Myvatn (pronunciation: Mee-vat) Nature Baths are wallet friendly alternative with an equally stunning view.
This was the last stop of the day before heading back to Akureyri to catch our flight to Reykjavik. I won't say we saved the best for last, but it is certainly a relaxing way to end a day of adventuring. With the sun still high in the sky and the air a crisp 55 degrees, Reese and I nestled in the warm, mineral rich waters for an hour or two, surrounded by mountains and pastures on all sides.
We got back into Akureyri in time for two things: The Iceland v. England match and our flight. We had our priorities sorted out, for sure. We huddled up next to all the locals, in the rain, who had gathered in the town square to watch the match on the big screen they had brought in especially for the event. The match was happening against all odds and Iceland came out victorious. About 20 minutes before the match ended, we had to head to the airport (a 5 minute drive) to return our car and check in. Even after all that, we caught the last 10 (most stressful) minutes of the game. We celebrated with everyone in the (singular) terminal. It was an incredible moment to be a part of. Reese and I were here by chance at the same time as this match, but made memories to last a life time.
Everywhere I travel, I constantly hear how different cultures are. Mostly how different the culture is from home from whoever is talking about it. But, during my travels, I've found that cultures aren't all that different and they all have universal truths, currencies, and languages. Among them are love, pride, and kindness.
Tonight I witnessed many of these translated among many international guests. I don't speak Icelandic, but tonight I easily understood what my friends parents were saying at their wedding celebration. There was such love and pride in their hearts, minds, and voices, and I am so grateful to have been a witness.
In times of such political and financial turmoil, it's important to remember what's important in life and to recognize what we all share with one another. Tonight, I witnessed two families celebrating the love between two wonderful people. Words were said in two languages but many of it did not need a translator. Love poured from their hearts as they celebrated and cherished the love shared by two people, and they could ask for nothing more.
As the night carried on (minus the darkness), Reese and I got to know the family and friends of our friends and found many more things in common than we had differences. These are people thousands of miles from the familiar for us and we all wanted nothing more than to be happy and healthy.
It is nights like this that remind me how fortunate I am to:
Love knows no bounds. This is what people forget. I am on my honeymoon, in a foreign country, and EVERYONE should get to know this bliss. This feeling, this experience should not be privilege but a right. And I will do all that I can to make sure that happens for all during my lifetime.
My day at work is probably similar to many of you reading this.
I work at a desk with two screens; one is my laptop, the other is a secondary monitor. I'm sure the goal of this is enable higher productivity. What it often does for me is get my distracted. Often times I pride myself on my multitasking abilities, but these days I've found that I feel like my day has a long list of to-dos and little time to get that stuff done and do the things that I want to be doing.
Today, in one of my multitasking moments I watched a video about monotasking. The work is pretty self-explanatory. It's telling me I should focus on one thing at a time (by the way: even as I wrote this, I answered an IM and was snacking on food. This video couldn't have come at a better time). Part of the way through the video it shows a time-lapse video of someone at their desk during the day and shows the statistic that throughout the work day people can make around 400 different decisions by trying to multitask. And they're not life and death, dramatic decisions. It's people deciding that they're going to work on a document, and then switch to their browser, check their email, their phone buzzed, someone tweeted them, and other decisions like that over and over throughout the day.
(Again, I got distracted. My phone buzzed. Checked email, then Facebook. Now back to writing). All of this takes a toll on your brain. Ever get to the end of the day and someone asks you what you want for dinner and you literally do not have the capacity to provide a coherent answer? That's because you've, essentially, used all of your allotted decisions. Psychologists call this decision fatigue. Monotasking is looking to limit your decision fatigue.
Personally, I know I've been feeling this a lot lately (this may have something to do with recently getting married and wrapping up the final lose ends of that to-do lists). After seeing this video and forcing myself to think about the subject a bit, I've decided that I'm going to make a conscious effort to move towards monotasking.
My current thoughts on how to do this:
This self-reflection came at a pretty good time for me as Reese and I are spending the weekend relaxing. I can use some of that time to get my life sorted out into lists and hopefully have a crazy productive week next week.
Anyone else game for some monotasking?
A week ago today, I got to marry my best friend and we had our perfect wedding.
I was never one of those girls that started planning my wedding when I was 4 years old. My mom is convinced that I must have thought about it at some point after watching a Disney movie, but it's just not a memory I hold from my childhood. I remember playing race cars and Legos with my brother, or American Girl Dolls and with my Playschool dollhouse with my sister. Not which dress I would wear when I got married.
But what I did imagine when we started planning our wedding totally came true. We took a pretty relaxed approach to things, and honestly, the budget drove most of our decisions. We didn't have a specific date we had to get married or a designer that needed to make my dress. Our entire goal for the day was to be authentically us.
To be honest, I think both of us would've been ok getting married at the court house, but I wanted my grandparents to celebrate with us and when you start getting to about 15 people, you might as well throw a party.
And a party it was. The best party I could've imagine. We got married at Sole Repair in Seattle neighborhood Capitol Hill on May 7, 2016. With about 70 of our closest family and friends, Reese and I began one of the memorable nights of our lives. I am so thankful to everyone who was able to celebrate with us! We had people join us from Germany, Virginia, Minnesota, and Illinois as well as people from the Seattle area. It was so good to catch up with everyone that I haven't seen in a while and I'm so grateful that I got that time!
Truthfully, the food was probably one of the best parts of our wedding, you know, besides getting married. We had delicious passed appetizers (grilled cheese, deviled eggs, meats and cheeses) and hosted a bar with something for everyone. We decided to host a selection of beer, wine, cider and a Kentucky Mule as our signature drink, which was a huge hit. As the night went on, sliders and fries for dinner and followed those up with the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream truck and pies from A la Mode Pies.
Now that the wedding has come and passed, I have my tips & tricks and thinks I learned from our big day.
Tips & Tricks
Things I've learned
I'd love to hear about what you learned from your own wedding. Share your tips & tricks in the comments!
Share our style? Check out our vendors:
Venue: Sole Repair
Pie: A la Mode (Spiced Apple, Marionberry & Hazelnut, White Chocolate Banana Cream, Chocolate Caramel Pecan )
Ice cream: Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream truck
Photographer: Tammy Dahlquist
Flowers: Alli Kolick and Co.
Hotel: Hotel Sorrento, Silver Cloud Inn Broadway
Get the bridal look
Dress: Nancy Frost
Skin: Pür Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Powder - Blush Medium; 4-in-1 Liquid Foundation - Blush Medium
Eye shadow: Smashbox Photo Op Eyeshadow Trio - Sepia
Eye primer: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer
Eye liner: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil - Perversion
Mascara: Maybelline Volum' Express Colassal Waterproof Mascara - Classic Black
Lipstick: Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm - Red Dahlia
Rings: Joseph's Jewelry
Earrings: Joseph's Jewelry
Shoes: The Frye Company - Regina Ballet Flat
Get the grooms look
Suit: Brooks Brothers Regent Fit - Navy
Tie: Brooks Brothers
Rings: Joseph's Jewelers
Shoes: Allen Edmonds
I've taken photography classes since I was in high school. And I was interested in photography long before that. Let's say I've been shooting for 15 years, all of them amateur at best.
For a while, my high school courses were the only formal training I had. Easily, those were one of the more useful high school classes I took. I use that information on a daily basis. Whether I'm shooting or designing something at work, I use skills I gained from photography class every day.
One of the most important skills photography taught me often has nothing to do with photography at all. It taught me to look back. In the context of photography, they're specifically talking about the act of turning around to see the image that is behind you. There might be two sides to any story but there are many sides to any photograph.
This concept of looking back is one I try to apply to my entire life. It's a concept of self-reflection.
Thinking back now I, ironically, don't remember how they taught us to get in the habit of doing this. I just know it stuck and most of my best work has been done when I remember to look back. Whether I'm looking back at my writing and making my red pen do a lot of work or figuring out how I could've handled a particular situation better, I credit this photography habit.
Even if you're not trying to capture the perfect moment through the lens of your camera, take time each day to look back. I find this especially useful when it feels like I'm stuck in tunnel vision and not actually taking in what's going on around me.
When's the last time you looked back?
With the recent passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, I feel even more compelled to write this post. It might be considered an open letter, but letters are supposed to be read. For all I know, this will go out to the interwebs and get passed up by everyone that needs to read it most.
Let's get started.
As you know there is an election happening this year. There are some things that I believe are getting lost in the ever growing divide between our nation. The passing of Justice Scalia is now adding to this increasing tension, though Justice Ginsburg is the perfect example of how we should all be acting.
UPHOLD YOUR OATH. It's upsetting to see the majority of Congress ignoring the oath they took in the name of petty grudges against the other party. To be clear, I'm not just picking on the Republicans here. I have full confidence that the Democrats would do the same thing if they were the majority in Congress. But they're not, so Republicans listen up. You swore to the American people that you would uphold our constitution and fulfill the responsibilities of the Senate or the House. So get it together and work with your Democratic counterparts.
COMPROMISE. I'm looking at you, Obama Administration. You're not going to get everything you want out of this SCOTUS nomination. Prioritize what's important and go from there.
KEEP AMERICANS IN MIND. The Rolling Stones say that "you can't always get what you want, but sometimes, you might find, you get what you need." My mother used to sing this to me as a child and it infuriated me, but now I'm passing this wisdom to you Congress. You need to give the American people what they need an put your own issues aside.
Voters - you have your own responsibilities to the American people.
VOTE. Previous generations gave blood, sweat, and tears to earn this right (unless they were white males) so please don't let this opportunity go to waste. If you choose not to vote, that's your choice. But then please don't complain when things didn't go the way you wanted them to. You had your chance.
EDUCATE YOURSELVES. Whether it's doing research on the internet or engaging in civil discussions and debates, learn about the different candidates and vote for what YOU believe in.
VOTE ON MORE THAN ONE ISSUE. I know, this is a big ask for many people. But there are too many important things going on in our nation right now that need attention and we, as a nation need to prioritize. People in Flint, Michigan do not have clean drinking water. In America. People all over are being deterred from voting. In America. People are not getting the education that our tax dollars supposedly pay for. In America.
Bridges are falling. Schools are underfunded. Drinking water is tainted. Medical services are not being provided to those who need it. Homelessness is rising. None of this is going to get solved if we keep placing blame and pointing fingers.
Let's stop acting like kids on a playground and get our shit together, America.
A disgruntled American
It appears that the world needs to be reminded what feminism means on a regular basis. So what is it? Feminism is an effort to define, establish, and achieve equal political, economic, cultural, personal, and social rights for women.
Unfortunately, this week, it appears some of the biggest attacks against feminism came from self-proclaimed feminists. Madeline Albright, Gloria Steinem, and Hillary Clinton all stepped on more than a few toes this weekend when it came to discussing female voters.
To catch everyone up, this is what was said:
If you're wondering what this has to do with feminism, it's simple: feminism gives women the ability and right to choose when and how they would like to do something. If they'd like to be a working mom or stay-at-home mom. If they want to use birth control or not. If they'd like to vote for a man or a woman. The point of feminism is women get to choose, just like men. How dare these women try to shame other women for deciding to put their vote elsewhere.
If Clinton wants the young, female vote, she's got to earn it. She should be asking herself what she's doing wrong instead of telling these young women that they're wrong for wanting to vote for someone else. If she wants the young, female vote she shouldn't associate herself with people that are calling young females dumb and uninformed.
Furthermore, there's a special place in hell for people who follow blindly, Madeline Albright. You cannot lead if you have no followers. We should be encouraging voters to be informed voters. Without informed voters, you have no one to help you achieve your mission. Let's not encourage people to participate in an election based on one, non-political reason.
As for Steinem, she knows better, or at least she should. This is not her first rodeo and she would be naïve to think that women are voting solely on who their male friends are supporting. Steinem later apologized for misspeaking saying that she knows that "women are mad as hell" at what's happening and that she wants feminists to be vocal and active regardless of who they're supporting.
Steinem is right about one thing today, women are pissed. I won't speak for all the ladies, but I will speak for myself.
Pissed or not, we need to show up to the polls, ladies. Educate yourselves and vote. Don't stand for the bullshit that is Washington's political playground. Don't let people put you down and say you don't know what you're talking about. Speak with your vote. It counts more than ever.
A couple weeks ago I was getting a tattoo and the shop manager came back to talk to some of the artists about shop happenings. She was a bit annoyed, to say the least, that several times that day people had called referencing great Yelp reviews but they weren't sure what artist they should see and wanted a recommendation. The client, however, had not gone to the shop website to look at different artists' work or looked up what style of tattoo they wanted to get.
As a consumer at the shop, I know that they in fact have rave reviews on Yelp. But as a tattoo collector I know that's not how you do research. Personally, I always have an idea of what I want to get done and then look for the best person to do the job. Budget often is also a factor. You may know the saying that "cheap tattoos aren't good and good tattoos aren't cheap." So if you're not willing to wait until you have the money to get a solid tattoo done, don't expect the Sistine Chapel to be the outcome (this rule applies to SO MANY things).
Far too often, I meet fellow consumers that just don't do their research and then get mad at everyone else except themselves. It's not just consumers of tattoos that are having these problems. Restaurants, clothing, travel, technology. You name it, plenty of people haven't done their research.
In attempts to not be lumped into the naïve consumer stereotype, I've listed some standard questions and examples that can help guide your decision making process before you waste other people's time:
What style are you looking for?
Business owners, especially small business owners, work extremely hard. Many have perfected a craft over many years and produce quality work for others to enjoy. Please respect their time and expertise and do your research.
Recently, the Donald got a strategic endorsement from none other than Sarah Palin, who closed her speech by saying "Let's make America great again!"
Let me start by saying that I have several problems with that statement. But the one I want to address today is, do we the American people really think that Donald Trump is the man to do that?
No. I truly believe that there is only one right answer to that question.
As a nation that boasts about being the best, the greatest, the smartest, the freest, we should probably talk the talk AND walk the walk. Trump will not keep us in the lead.
This man's words (so far) have prompted British Parliament to consider banning him from the UK, Muslim children are living in fear of being kicked out of the country they call home, people in Mexico are making pinata's that look like him, and now he's being compared to Lord Voldemort, and even J.K. Rowling thinks Voldemort is a better guy.
If the US wants to be at the forefront of technology, innovation, education, etcetera, then we cannot ignore, neglect, chastise, and outcast half of our population. The world will not stand for it and the American people should not stand for it.
The US cannot have a leader that other nations cannot and will not follow. We cannot elect a leader that is more business man than he is historian. Should that happen, history will repeat itself.
With that, I would like to implore people to truly understand the people they're voting for. I am not telling people what side to pick, but simply asking them to educate themselves on the candidate they're backing. Do some research and cast your vote.
Recently I've begun editing my book for the third time. All 325 pages being critically looked at by me. This time it's different. When I edited my book the previous two time, I was reading for plot holes, grammar errors, consistent tone, character consistency. Not this time. No paragraph, no page is safe. Words are getting cut.
It's not that plot holes and character consistency isn't important. To the contrary, their crucial to the audience believing that I'm a for-reals writer. But I have a different goal in mind with this third edit. I want every word in this book to have a purpose. To move the plot forward.
I began writing this book in 2011 during NaNoWriMo. I love NaNoWriMo because it's a great forcing function and pushes me to write my thoughts on an actual page. But not everything thought is a good thought. In fact, maybe thoughts are like photos: only a third of them are worth sharing with the world.
What brought me to this new realm of editing?
Finishing (and eventually publishing) my book is one of my New Year's resolutions. I am putting more energy and thought into this than ever before. I want this book to be that one third. So here's to more frustrating but cathartic editing!
I've started the year by trying to sort my shit out. Cleaning out my email, organizing my office, getting rid of clothing I don't wear, making sense of ticket stubs I've saved (for some reason). I've been doing all of this in attempt to achieve one of my New Year's resolutions: sell, donate, or throw away things that I don't need or use.
While going through my favorites on Google Chrome (the cleaning is getting that detailed) I found an article that I saved last spring titled "Who wants to be CEO? Not Millennial Women." The article largely discusses why women don't want to be CEO in this day and age. I imagine that I saved this article because I am one of the 31% of women that do not want to be CEO.
In the article they chock the 31% statistic up to women not having enough role models, strong women in a C-suite level job, paving the way for us. To put it in perspective, "more big companies are run by men named John than are run by women sounds like it belongs in The Onion, it actually ran in the New York Times."
While that might be a logical conclusion, as someone that doesn't have any interest of being CEO I'd like to offer a different perspective: being CEO comes with a lot of responsibility, stress, and zero work/life balance. To that, I say no thank you.
What's the point of working so hard that you can't enjoy any of the spoils? I have a fiance, two dogs, the rest of my family, and my friends. If I'm working that hard at my job, do I get to spend time with the people that matter most to me?
There are so many strong female leaders that are stepping up and driving the modern feminist movement. But to be clear, feminism is by definition the ability for people to have equal rights regardless of gender. That being said, it is completely fine for women to not want to be CEO just as much as other men don't want to be CEO. Even if gender equality finally becomes an actuality there will always be fewer CEO positions than there are people, regardless of gender.
We need to support people (men and women) to prioritize things that are most important to them. If it's career success, maybe they'll be a CEO someday. If your number one priority is family, being CEO of a large corporation might not be the right role. Being the CEO of the household might be your dream job.
My dad always told me that I could do whatever I wanted to do, but I should always strive to do the best I could do. "If you want to be a bum, be the best bum you can be," he used to say (I'm pretty sure he didn't actually want me to be a bum, but you get the point). I won't be a CEO one day, but I hope to be a great writer one day and that is just as important.
I love traveling. For those that know me, this is not a secret. For those of you reading my writing for the first time, check out some of my travel photos.
Only recently I started traveling for business. Currently, I'm on business trip number two in my big girl career. It's ok if you do it right. I'm still learning what that means, but there are five things I've learned so far that can drastically improve your experience.