Category Archives: Uncategorized

Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

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Room by Emma Donoghue is a book that will capture your heart. You have to be soulless to not feel something after reading this book. It’s a story about a five-year-old boy named Jack and his mother “Ma”, who have been living in a small room with no contact to the outside world. His mother was kidnapped and has been living in this room for seven years long before Jack got there. In her captivity she finds purpose as Jack’s mother. The mother and son relationship is the basis of the book.

Donoghue decided to write the entire story from a five-year-old’s perspective, making the plot less tragic and more inspiring. There are thrilling moments in the story, which makes the book a page turner. However, it was Jack’s innocence and growth, as a character in his circumstance, that intrigued me as a reader.

I recently saw the movie and I loved it! Go Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay! The book does have more twists and turns than the movie though. I’m guessing for sake of time since the movie is two hours long. I would read the book before or after seeing the movie.

I give the film adaptation an A+.

I give the book an A++.

Why Women Should Travel Alone

Thought Catalog

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In my short time as a traveler and backpacker I’ve often come across criticism from friends, family, and strangers about why I travel alone. Usually the concern or criticism isn’t just about me traveling in general, it often comes down to the fact that I am a woman and I am a woman traveling alone.

Considering the many attacks on women travelers in India in the past year it’s understandable that people are concerned. These news stories only reinforce the mindset that international travel is dangerous and scary, but even more so if you’re a woman alone in a foreign country.

Think about the numerous books out there like On the Road about a male protagonist headed out on a journey of self-discovery through traveling and meeting new people. In stories where there is a female protagonist on a journey, her story is always surrounded around finding love, but…

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My Journey: Welcome to Barcelona

My Barcelona Journey Day 1

I am in Barcelona for the next few months, interning for Edelman Public Relations. This is an internship trip for me, but it is also a personal journey, as I am thousands of miles away from the U.S., with no friends or family, and living on a budget. I hope to learn and grow, and of course enjoy my time in Barcelona.

For the next couple of weeks I will be blogging and sharing my journey with you all. Hope you enjoy my stories. (and pictures!)

I landed in Barcelona on Sunday June 1st, and not to sound cliché,  but it was really love at first sight. Despite the adversity I faced arriving in a new country, I still can’t stop smiling here, and that’s a feeling that I hope to continue to carry throughout my time here.

So what adversity am I talking about? I only have three days in Barcelona. Well a new country is an adjustment, but besides getting use to things like the small coffee size, how small the showers are, and how slow people walk compared to New York City, a lot of things went wrong my first day in Barcelona. First I had the wrong address to my apartment, in fact the building number that they gave me did not exist, so I walked around carrying (honestly it was more like pushing, kicking, throwing) around 100+ pounds worth of stuff.  After finally calling my location coordinator and sending two desperate voicemails, she responded and found me, said that it was a miscommunication, and walked me to the right place.

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But I love my apartment! I’m enjoying the sun on my balcony as I write this!

Second thing that went wrong my first day, I left my European adapters at home. With my phone and laptop on 10% I had no way to charge them. In addition to that, I arrived on a Sunday and most stores in Barcelona are closed on Sunday. Every store around me was closed. So instead of unpacking and resting, I decided to walk around. I found a train station and took the metro to the center of the city where all the tourists are, and I found a marketplace selling adapters for 2 euros. (I was so happy! And tired, but mostly happy!)

I found myself jet lagged and my body was exhausted from my trip, but I was too excited to lay down. I decided to meet with other interns and explore Barcelona a little. We walked through Las Ramblas, and the pier in Barceloneta. Enjoyed tapas, wine, and a fun Barcelona ice cream shop called eyes cream and friends.

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I stayed out later than I had planned. It was 11:30pm and when I got off my stop on the metro and I looked around and nothing looked familiar. Yup, I was a lost. The streets were a bit dark, and I forgot which way I had to go. My stomach turned as I desperately walked through small pathways and crossing streets but still nothing looked familiar. I said to myself “Toughen up Jess! You’re a New Yorker!” I started asking for directions by approaching strangers street to street until I found my road, and half an hour later I found my apartment building.

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Christopher Columbus statue. I wish he was pointing me to my way home. 😩 😢

After this incident I’ve gotten lost around four additional times, but I realized that I like getting lost. Barcelona has a lot to explore and I have seen a lot more than I expected in my first three days here.

I can’t help but think, if this would’ve happened to me back home I might’ve been angry or frustrated with myself, but I am in a beautiful city and I find joy in every thing that I am experiencing.

I write this thinking wow, still can’t stop smiling! I’m filled with love and adoration for this city.

If we can view every day like this, grateful for all of life’s experiences, we would probably never feel stressed out or frustrated.

Lesson #1: Keep enjoying life and smiling through adversity.

28 Ways To Afford Living In New York City

Thought Catalog

1. Work a full-time job, two part-time jobs, have a freelance business, and several standing gigs that you pick up when rent’s due. Work a combined total of 80+ hours a week.

2. Really. Work a lot. Don’t sleep.

3. Live uptown.

4. No, higher uptown.

5. Have you tried Queens?

6. Do your grocery shopping uptown because they sell avocados for 70 cents each!… Wait. Forget that. You don’t know where they sell cheap avocados. You never knew where they sell cheap avocados. Leave my cheap avocados alone.

7. Make a budget for everything. Include your food, your transportation, your shampoo, and your morning coffee.

8. Forget the words “latte,” “cappuccino,” “frappumacaramelwhatthehell” were ever invented. Save approximately $1.50 per cup of all-black everything.

9. Talk your boss into providing the office with unlimited complimentary coffee.

10. Don’t get cable. Use your parents’ HBOgo account instead. They have Glitter on…

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Journal no more, Journey some more

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 I love writing. I started to prefer the pen and paper version of my thoughts. I’ve been keeping a personal journal which made this blog pointless to me. Until I realized the true gift for a writer is when someone reads your writing and says “I’ve been there” or “I understand exactly what you mean”. I live to inspire people, especially my friends. I had one person in particular constantly asking me to post more stuff on my blog. So this is for you. And for everyone who supports me. I will be updating my blog again! Well, I will try to do my best with grad school and other projects. I’ll keep personal stuff to my journal. But I’ll share what I feel is right.

Blessings.

P.S. Excuse my boyish handwriting.

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Oprah gives inspirational Commencement speech at Harvard– Inspired Me All Over Again

Yesterday Oprah Winfrey was given an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the prestigious Harvard University during their 362nd commencement ceremony. A Mississippi native, Oprah seemed so full of joy and emotion to be among the scholars at Harvard, her whole reaction was so awesome to see! Still she was composed enough to deliver a moving commencement speech, and dropped some wisdom that she’s learned along the way in building her own empire from the ground up. As well as what she’s learned from the feeling of failure. I graduated last year but as I listened I felt like I was graduating all over again. I hung on to her every word as she spoke, because even a year later I am still growing into my own. This speech is a must hear/must see.

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ON WHAT SHE’S LEARNED FROM FAILURE
I am even prouder to share a fundamental truth you might not have learned even as graduates of Harvard. It doesn’t matter how far you might rise, at some point you are bound to stumble. If you are constantly doing what we do, raising the bar, If you are constantly pushing yourself higher, the law of average predicts that you will at some point fall. When you do, remember this: there is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction. When you are down there in the hole, it looks like failure.

So this past year, I had to spoon feed those words to myself. When you are down in the hole, it’s really okay to feel bad for a little while. Give yourself time to mourn what you think you may have lost, but then learn from every mistake. Every encounter and particularly your mistakes are there to teach you and force you to be more of who you are.

Then, figure out what is the next right move. The key to life is to develop an internal moral emotional GPS that can tell you which way to go.


ON CREATING YOUR OWN STORY

The challenge of life, I have found, is to build a resume that doesn’t simply tell a story about what you want to be, but its a story about who you want to be. It doesn’t just tell a story about what you want to be but why. A story that’s not just a collection of titles, and positions, but a story that’s really about your purpose. When you inevitably stumble and find yourself stuck in a hole, that is the story that will get you out. What is your true calling, what is your dharma, your true purpose.

Maya Angelou always says… When you Learn, Teach. When you Get, Give. That is what makes your story great.

No matter what challenges or encounters you face, you will find true success and happiness if you have only one goal and that is this, to fulfill the highest most truthful expression of yourself as a human being. You want to max out your humanity by using your energy to lift yourself up, your family, and the people around you.

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. The world needs people who have come alive.

From time to time, you may stumble, fall, you will for sure have questions and doubts about your path but I know this, if you are willing to listen and to be guided by that still small voice that is the GPS within yourself to find out what makes you come alive, you will be more than okay. You will be happy, you will be successful, and you will make a difference in the world.

OTHER GREAT QUOTES FROM HER SPEECH
“Even though this is the college where Facebook was born, my hope is that you will try and go out and have more face-to-face conversations with people you disagree with.”

“I have to say the single most important lesson I learned in 25 years is there’s a common denominator in our experience. We want to be validated. We want to be understood.”

“To fulfill the highest, most truthful expression of yourself as a human being, you want to max out your humanity.”

“Lean in to use your voice, lean in to make change where it needs to be made, and lean in to invest your heart and your soul in ideas and people.”

WATCH THE FULL SPEECH BELOW

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10 Foods that Can Help Flatten Your Stomach

As requested by one of my coworkers…

I listed foods that help keep a flat tummy! The hardest part to tone up can be the abdominal area (especially for us women! we are biologically bound to store more body fat because we need the fat to help us with pregnancy!). So note that it is also important to research food with healthy fats :P.

I usually eat foods that avoid having fat to be left over in that area. When in doubt substitute for one of these healthier options!

1. Avocados (I fucking love Avocados. Get rid of the mayo and try it as a spread for your next sandwich!)

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According to Bliss.com, avocados contain more cholesterol-smashing beta-sitosteral than any other fruit. For a great veggie dip, mash half an avocado with lime juice, salt and pepper, and onion.

2. Bananas

Bananas are loaded with potassium, which helps limit the amount of sodium in your body. To banish belly bloat, eat one banana a day.

3. Yogurt (More and more yogurt brands have a probiotic line so if you don’t like Activia look for others!)

A recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity said, “People who get their calcium from yogurt rather than from other sources may lose more weight around their midsection.” The probiotic bacteria in yogurt keeps your digestive system healthy, which means less gas, bloating, and constipation, and therefore, a flatter tummy.

4. Leafy Greens (YES KALE! YES SPINACH!)

Leafy greens, like kale and spinach, have a low calorie count. This means you can eat more of them without expanding your waistline. Leafy greens are also a good source of protein, which can help fuel your workouts.

5. Dark Chocolate (winning!)

Dark chocolate contains compounds that protect against heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer. Eating a small piece a day will help you stay healthy, while keeping your belly slim.

6. Peanut Butter (i love peanut butter, especially to give my protein shakes an extra boost! as a spread you can also use almond butter which has less fat than peanut butter)

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Peanut butter contains magnesium, vitamin E, potassium and B6. Incorporate 2 tablespoons a day into your diet for a snack that will keep you full without making you fat.

7. Apples

A large apple contains five grams of fiber, and 85% water, which helps you feel full fast. By eating one or two apples throughout your day, you’ll feel less inclined to snack on junk foods.

8. Soy

Soybeans are full of fiber, protein and antioxidants. Studies have shown that too much soy can have negative effects on men and women because of the hormones it contains, but consuming it in moderation can be good for you. Try for 25 grams of soy protein daily.

My previous blog post about vegan protein mix suggest soy protein powders! I mix my vanilla flavored protein powders with vanilla soy milk! yummy!

9. Eggs (I would recommend egg whites for leaner protein)

Eggs are a great source of protein, with a healthy balance of amino acids- the protein building blocks used by your body to manufacture everything from muscle fibers to brain chemicals. Eat one egg with your breakfast, and you’ll feel full until lunch.

10. Almonds

Almonds contain filling protein and fiber, as well as vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. They also contain magnesium, a mineral that is vital for producing energy, building and maintaining muscle tissue, and regulating blood sugar. Eat an ounce a day to help curb cravings and prevent weight gain.

Taken from a @fitness tweet, follow them on twitter!

xo

I may have graduated college but Ramen Soup is still a go to in my 20s. A healthy twist to Ramen!

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Though Ming Tsai, chef/owner of Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and host of Simply Ming, no longer lives in a college dorm, ramen with eggs remains one of his go-to late-night snacks.

“It doesn’t take much effort to make a store-bought soup mix healthier,” Tsai says. “I add whatever fresh vegetables I have on hand. Spinach, cabbage, mesclun, and slaw mix are ideal since they don’t take long to cook. I find meat to be too heavy late at night. Eggs are a lot easier to digest and a great source of protein.”

Ingredients:
1 pckg. instant ramen noodle soup
Big handful vegetables*
2 eggs
Hot sauce to taste

Directions:
In a large saucepan, prepare ramen noodle soup according to directions on package. Halfway through cooking the noodles, add the vegetables. When noodles are cooked through, reduce heat to low, add seasoning packet and stir. Then carefully crack eggs into pan. Gently simmer until egg whites are cooked through and yolks are still runny, about 3-4 minutes. Add hot sauce to taste. Gently ladle soup into serving bowl and garnish with sliced scallion greens if desired.

*Use whatever vegetables you happen to have in the refrigerator, such as baby spinach, mesclun mix, grated carrots, sliced red bell peppers and sliced scallions.

Makes 1 serving.