Life

It’s World Environment Day

We are so incredibly blessed to call Earth our home. I’m glad that more people are becoming aware of the issue of climate change, but awareness isn’t enough. There are more things we can do to help conserve and appreciate our environment. Here are some of the things I do to minimize the negative impact I have on the environment:

Thrift

  • Over the past year I have tried to stop myself from buying clothes from “fast fashion” stores such as Forever 21, H&M, and Zara. Besides the terrible conditions that the foreign manufacturing workers are forced to deal with, fast fashion products are not sustainable. Every season, factories mass produce cheap clothing items for new fashion trends. Anything that doesn’t sell after each season gets thrown out and piles up in our landfills. It’s hard to avoid getting swept up by every new trend, but the effect these trends have on our environment is the bigger issue. In order to stop supporting fast fashion, I started to thrift more at local resale shops, Goodwill, and Savers. Thrifting not only gives wearable clothes a second chance, but it’s also super fun to walk into a store and not know what you’re going to find.
  • If you want to learn more about fast fashion I highly recommend checking out the documentary, The True Cost (on Netflix).

Visit National Parks

  • When I pay to go to parks, it’s almost always a National Park. I think it’s important to support our National Parks in every way that we can. Over the past year I have visited the Grand Canyon, the Sequoia Forest, and many other state parks and beaches. Visiting these places not only helps fund the protection and maintenance of the parks but it also gives you a greater appreciation of Earth and its natural beauty.
  • Some other parks on my bucket list are: Yosemite National Park, Zion National Park,  Big Bend National Park, and Joshua Tree National Park.

Public transit and carpooling

  • Going to the city is one of my favorite things to do and I’m lucky to be near public transit that will take me there. Instead of driving to the city every time, I choose to ride the train. Utilize the resources that are already available to you. Besides, trains and carpooling are more fun anyway.

Being a Vegan

  • I wrote a few posts about veganism, but I’m not kidding when I say that the animal industry is a huge contributing factor of climate change. The cattle/dairy industry alone is the cause of deforestation (need acres to raise the cattle and grow the corn that feeds the cattle), mass consumption of water (for cattle), and methane emissions (worse than CO2 emissions from transportation vehicles).

Limiting the use of resources

  • There are little things you can do at home and at school to avoid wasting resources. If you don’t already, PLEASE turn the faucet off when you’re brushing your teeth. Letting the water run for your convenience wastes water and your money! Whether you’re in the shower or bath, just be aware of the amount of water you’re using. (This also goes for leaving lights on)
  • Unless I absolutely have to buy my textbooks for school, I choose to rent or purchase the e-book version of my textbooks. College textbooks come out with new versions almost every year, wasting and killing so many trees. If the new version isn’t required, I’ll always try to find an older version because they’re usually way cheaper and are still usable!

We should treat everyday as an Earth Day or Environment Day, so let’s do our part!

Much Love,

Syd

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Life

Tips for Trips

Whether it’s to the next state over or across the country, I love traveling. [My goal is to one day travel to another country on a solo trip] I wouldn’t call myself a professional traveler, but I have learned a few things from the handful of trips I have been on. Since I’m going to LA for spring break this year, I decided to share them:

Plan:

  • I have a journal where I write down all the places I want to see and all the things I want to do. It’s pretty much a bucket list, but it has helped SO much. In November I went on an Arizona/Vegas/California trip for my birthday and if it wasn’t for this journal, I would’ve wasted so much time figuring out what to do. And now, I have a little checklist of all the things I’ve done in those places (and the ones I still need to do) so it’s pretty cool.

Packing: 

  • Who has time to iron clothes during a trip? I never do, but I was always annoyed with the folding lines on all of my clothes from being squashed in my suitcase. So instead of folding my clothes, I started to roll them. This not only prevents those annoying lines, but it also saves a lot of space. Roll up a few shirts and fit them in the small extra spaces in your suitcase.

Music:

  • Make a travel/trip playlist. I’ve discovered that making a (long) playlist beforehand makes traveling so much more enjoyable. Trust me, you don’t want to have to shuffle around songs while being stuck in the airport or on a long flight. My favorite thing in the world is hearing a song from my playlist in the future and immediately being reminded of the great times I had on that trip. Here are my travel playlists:
  • If you don’t have time to make a playlist, lucky for you, there are already tons out there to listen to! Here are some of my favorites:

Entertainment:

  • When I’m not listening to music, I’m either doing homework, reading, listening to an audio book, or watching Netflix. ALWAYS bring a book wherever you go, you never know if there’s going to be a delay, or if you don’t want to use up your phone/laptop battery (plus reading is great). If you’re someone who doesn’t like reading (???), audio books are great too. I’m sure everyone has heard about Audible on Amazon at some point; it’s AMAZING. There are so many books to choose from and listen to (if you want to go the free route, podcasts are a great option too). Also, I love that Netflix now allows you to download movies and TV episodes for offline streaming, perfect for the plane when you don’t want to spend $ for wifi. And don’t forget portable chargers!
  • Books I’m currently reading:

Water:

  • This isn’t really anything new but, drink LOTS of water. Headaches aren’t fun on a plane, and those tiny cups of water last about 5 sips. TSA will make you toss any bottles you have with water in it during the security screening process, but there’s a pretty simple solution: bring an empty water bottle and fill it up once you pass checking! I bring my glass water bottle pretty much everywhere I go (I think water tastes better in glass, and it’s reusable so less waste).

Much Love,

Syd

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Life

New Year’s Resolutions

My main focus for 2017 is to strive to be a better person for myself, my friends & family, the environment/planet, and other living beings. We’re already 2 weeks into 2017 and even though it’s too early to tell, I think I can say that I’ve already made lots of progress because of the different resolutions I set for myself this year. Last May I became a vegan overnight after educating myself about the huge impact animal agriculture has on the environment. This was the beginning of my effort to change my habits and learn more about how badly we’re treating our planet. [I wrote a blog post about my first month of being vegan; an updated version is really overdue] This past December I was introduced to the ideas of minimalism and the law of attraction. I can write a post about them in the future but essentially these ideas made me realize the importance of mindful thinking and that happiness can be easily achieved just by changing some things in your life. So without further ado, here are my resolutions for 2017:

  • Decrease how much I depend on my phone and social media by picking an hour (or more) during the day to put my phone away and actually do something.
  • Read at least 3 books every month (and not just fiction).
  • Expand my music taste by trying to listen to music of other genres like folk, jazz, soul, blues, reggae, and music form other cultures around the world (click the links for the spotify playlists I made).
  • Do something new or go somewhere new every month.
  • Buy things I only truly need. Shop less at fast fashion stores and more at thrift stores/goodwill.
  • Write more letters to friends and family.
  • Stop asking for new things and just appreciate what I already have.
  • Drink more water.
  • Meditate at least 5 times a week (maybe more).

I’m ready to make 2017 even better than 2016.

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Health, Life

Veganism: One Month Update

As of today, I have been vegan for a little over a month, and guess what? I’m not a crumbling piece of flesh, my bones feel stronger than ever, and I am still enjoying the food that I eat. The first week of being vegan was difficult not because I’m “missing out on bacon and cheese”, but more because of the response I got from the people around me. It’s crazy to see just how butt hurt people will get when you make a decision to not eat meat or drink milk. I only bring up veganism when necessary but I’ll never be afraid to defend it. Don’t get me wrong, I used to be one of those people that would look at vegans as think of them as annoying people who think they are better than everyone else because they eat tofu everyday. Boy was I wrong. Being vegan has opened my eyes to many of the issues going on in the world that major food industries and the government try to hide from the public. I’m glad I went vegan because I feel like I’m doing something for my planet and I’m not supporting the slaughter, exploitation, rape, and murder of innocent beings. Sorry (not sorry) if that bothers you.

Things I’ve learned:

  1. Make sure you completely educate yourself. For anyone that tries to criticize you for being vegan, nothing will shut them up more than backing up your claims with real facts and statistics about what they are supporting if they consume or use animal products.
  2. If someone asks why you won’t drink milk or eat the platter of meat that’s for dinner, and you reply, “sorry, I’m vegan”, be prepared for:
    • You need milk to have strong bones. Getting milk from a cow doesn’t even kill them.
    • You need meat to get protein.
    • How will you survive without bacon?!
    • Let’s see how long this will last, it’s just a phase.
    • Don’t come to my house and expect me to cook anything special for you (yes this is actually something a family member told me)
  3. How to respond to these responses:
    • No actually I don’t need milk to have strong bones, have you ever heard of almond milk, coconut milk, or soymilk? Yeah well they are all great sources of calcium WITHOUT the fat and cholesterol that is in cow milk. Plant-based milk doesn’t involve the rape and exploitation of cows. It doesn’t make sense that as humans we feel the need to drink the milk from cows when they are meant for raising calves to the 500+ pound mammals that they are born to be. Do your research.
    • Protein isn’t only found in meat, where do you think the animals get it from? From eating PLANTS. It makes more sense to eat the primary source of protein without having to ingest all the saturated fats and cholesterol that comes with eating meat. Beans, dark greens, lentils, quinoa, bananas, and so many other plants provide just the amount of protein we need in a day.
    • Trust me, I don’t need a strip of flesh full of fats, cholesterol, and salt to survive.
    • I plan on living this way for the rest of my life, it may just be a “phase” to you, but at least it’s a “phase” that doesn’t support the overuse of water, deforestation, and slaughter/rape/exploitation of innocent animals while also increasing the longevity of my life.
    • I never asked to get any special treatment, but I’m perfectly fine staying at home or eating my own food before I leave.
  4. Not everyone is rude and ignorant; I am lucky enough to have a handful of friends and family that are supportive of my decision. I will never force my opinions onto others (maybe encourage), but all I ask is that my right to live the way I do is respected.
  5. Eat bananas, everyday.
  6. If you’re planning to eat out with friends or family, always look up the menu online first so you know what to order, or if you have to eat something before you leave.
  7. If you ever feel like you’re losing your grip with veganism, rewatch all the documentaries to remind yourself of what you’re doing for the planet and for the animals.
  8. Don’t fall into that “annoying vegan” category. It’s good to try to educate others and encourage the vegan lifestyle but don’t be too pushy and militant. Only bring veganism up in conversations if you have to, don’t be that person that says “I’m vegan” in every sentence. There are some really stubborn people out there that refuse to give up meat; don’t let them get to you. Spread awareness to others, but realize that the people who won’t listen are the ones that just don’t care, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Things I have accomplished:

  1. I guess you can say that I kind of went vegan overnight. Some people usually start of as a vegetarian and then work their way towards veganism, which is totally fine. To me, the dairy industry is probably one of the worst ones so giving up dairy products wasn’t hard at all. For a month I’ve completely had a plant-based diet. I don’t crave bacon or burgers; the sight of raw flesh in grocery stores actually makes my stomach turn.
  2. I don’t buy any more products that are made of animal products, or are tested on animals. I’m in the process of using up all the non-vegan products I already own.
  3. I stopped using my genuine leather Fossil purse that I’ve had for over 2 years. The thought of having a once alive and thriving animal hang off my shoulders made me sick.
  4. Most of the meals I eat are raw; I rarely eat processed foods.
  5. I actually read the nutrition labels now! (To make sure that I’m getting the amount of nutrients I need and that there aren’t any animal products)
  6. I feel absolutely no guilt about the foods that I eat now.

Tips for newbies like me or anyone who is interested:

  1. Youtube is your best friend. It’s an easy way to educate yourself and make your transition as easy as possible. I watched many different youtube videos to learn more about why I’m choosing to be vegan and also recipe videos for inspiration and ideas.
  2. You don’t need to eat salad everyday. Salads are great, but it’s still possible to enjoy other dishes like pasta, stir fry, burritos, etc. A vegan diet can be limited to an extent, but it doesn’t limit you from being able to enjoy delicious and nutritious foods.

Sorry for the long post, there are just so many things to say about veganism and I am so grateful that my eyes were opened to this amazing lifestyle. It’s really not that hard to make the switch; I highly encourage everyone to learn about it and at least try it out!

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Health, Life

The Start of my Journey towards Veganism

I used to believe that having meat in my diet was something completely necessary for survival. Everyone has been told to drink milk for stronger bones, and eat meat for protein, but this is not true at all. All it took was a video presentation and research, for me to realize that we were all being taught the wrong thing. Sure milk does give you calcium for bones, but it isn’t the only source for calcium. There are other ways to get proteins and nutrients without having to ruin the lives of another animal. Every animal is born with the will to live, the food industry does everything they can to belittle this. I was exposed to information and the reality of this horrible industry. I can’t believe that as a 19 year old, I’ve been completely ignorant and unaware of the food that I put on my plate. I am choosing to change my lifestyle not only for the obvious ethical reasons, but also for health and environmental reasons (read about this).

Veganism has crossed my mind a few times before, but the vegans that I have seen and met actually discouraged me from wanting to even be involved with this group of people. Their rudeness and pushiness were things that I did not want to be, but I’ve learned now that not all vegans are like that. Thinking back at this now, I feel pretty stupid because choosing this lifestyle shouldn’t have anything to do with vegans themselves, it should be about the animals and our planet. So no, I’m not being a vegan because it’s a “trend”, I’m doing it for the well-being of all living animals, our planet, and myself. For some people, this switch can occur overnight, but I’m telling you right now, it’s not going to happen for me. Habits that I’ve had ever since I was a child won’t break in one day, but I’m going to give myself time to change them. People also argue that meat tastes so good and that it would be hard to give up but after looking into the meat industry and realizing what goes on in those factories, I promise that you won’t even want to put a piece of meat in your mouth without wanting to throw up.

Here are some videos that helped me make my decision:

This video is AMAZING and very informational (only a few graphic clips):

This guy is a great example of a vegan, and offers really helpful tips about how to obtain the sufficient amount of nutrients/protein with a plant based diet:

Documentaries:

Cowspiracy (2014)

Earthlings (2005)

 

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Life

2016 Goals

It’s 2016 and I’m ready to grow, learn, and achieve more. In light of this new year, I want to address some of the things I hope to carry out over the next 366 (it’s a leap year!) days.

Dear Sydney…

  • Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. You are your own person and it’s hard to focus on yourself if you’re constantly trying to compete with others.
  • Don’t turn your entire life into a competition. Don’t let jealousy keep you from supporting your friends, family, and peers because in the end, you could learn a thing or two from them.
  • Being single is great! In 2015, too often you found yourself being afraid of living alone for the rest of your life, but don’t stress about it because there is no rush. You’re still young and now should be a time to focus more on school and yourself.
  • Love yourself. Stop telling yourself that you need to look a certain way in order to be happy. There shouldn’t be an end goal when it comes to your appearance because nobody is ever going to be perfect, and that’s ok.
  • Take better care of your body. It’s a great thing that you stopped drinking pop in 2015, but that shouldn’t stop there. Decrease your intake of processed and fast foods. Also, take more vitamins and drink more water.
  • Look up more. I know that you and your phone are best friends, but don’t let that keep you from seeing and experiencing the world with your own eyes.
  • Read more books. Maybe spend a little less time watching all the tv shows you watch, and instead, pick up a book and READ.
  • Help more around the kitchen. Even though you absolutely suck at cooking and baking, practice  and learn more so that you can survive on your own without food being given to you.
  • Be more socially aware. Learn more about other cultures, and issues going on not only in the US but other countries as well.
  • Stop being so judgmental. Just like you, nobody is perfect and it’s not cool to make fun of other peoples’ appearance. Appreciate the fact that everyone is different.
  • Spread more positivity. It’s easy to let in negative thoughts and allow negative actions, so don’t let it!
  • Have more self confidence. This is a goal you have every year, but this year, stand up straighter, walk with your head up higher, and don’t devalue yourself.

Day 1 of 366 starts NOW!!

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