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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Music

Summer Tracks (Playlist #6)

Hi all,

I realized that I haven’t made a playlist in quite some time so I’m here to share some of the songs I’ve been listening to this summer. Some are good tunes to listen to when you’re driving your car with your windows down, and some are good for times when you just want to chill. Many of the songs I picked came from the show, Shameless (amazing show by the way), and a few are new releases! Enjoy x

[click the link to listen on spotify]

Kisses- Funny Heartbeat

Band of Horses- Dull Times/The Moon

M.A.G.S.- My Love

The Temptations- My Girl 

Slow Club- Tears of Joy

Still Parade- 7:41

Tame Impala- The Less I Know the Better

Robert Francis- Baby Was the Devil

Paw City- Canyons

The High Strung- The Luck You Got

Father John Misty- Real Love Baby

Two Door Cinema Club- Bad Decisions

Local Natives- Wide Eyes

LANY- yea, babe, no way

Flume- Never Be Like You

 

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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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Life

How To Experience Chicago

Last weekend I took advantage of the opportunity I had to go to Chicago alone. This may seem like a scary experience for some people, but as long as you do it right, it’s actually a rewarding one. By being by myself, I was able to really take in every thing the city has to offer and appreciate its natural beauty. If you live in the Chicago Suburbs, I would highly recommend trying this if you ever get the chance! But first, here are some tips:

Choose the right day and time.

  • Pick a day that isn’t going to be cloudy and gloomy (unless you’re into that)
  • Go when the city won’t be completely empty, it’s not safe to walk alone during those times

Dress accordingly.

  • Check the weather and be prepared
  • Wear comfy shoes

Pack.

  • Not a suitcase obviously,  but I brought a water and a portable phone charger

Take the Metra.

  • Very affordable
  • Don’t have to worry about finding parking downtown
  • I find train rides enjoyable because I can just listen to music and read a book on the way

Bring cash.

  • You’re probably going to need to take a cab at one point, always pay with cash

Music.

  • Listen to music while you’re walking
  • I found that this helped me concentrate more on myself and my thoughts
  • For safety reasons, whenever you feel like you’re in a “sketchy” area, ditch the music

Eat.

  • Pick your favorite place to eat
  • Eat outside if you can
  • I went to the Shake Shack on Michigan Avenue and sat outside by myself, with my food. I thought I would feel weird about it, but it was actually kind of nice being able to admire the view of the city while I ate and listened to music.

Enjoy.

  • Fully take in the city and enjoy every minute you’re there
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Music

Fall 2015 [Playlist #5]

It’s been awhile since I posted, but here are some songs that I’ve been listening to to get me in the fall/orange-red leaves/pumpkin spice/cozy/sweater wearing mood.

Birdy- “Shelter

One Direction- “Perfect

James Bay- “Stealing Cars

Fiona Apple- “Across the Universe

The Neighbourhood- “The Beach

Troye Sivan- “Talk Me Down

The Paper Kites- “Electric Indigo

Rooney- “I’m Shakin‘”

Ivan & Alyosha- “Running For Cover

Urban Cone ft. Tove Lo- “Come Back To Me

Beach House- “Space Song

 

Happy fall and happy listening x

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