All posts filed under: Lifestyle

My Makeup Dilemma

Like many women, I have a somewhat complicated relationship with makeup. Applying cosmetics and experimenting with new products, shades, and styles is an opportunity to express myself creatively, and wearing it makes me feel good about myself. But once I start to peel back the label on the norm, so-to-speak, I remember what a problematic concept makeup is. At a certain age, women are expected to cover their flaws. We’re taught to wear makeup; just enough, but not too much. Too little and you look tired and lazy – too much and you’re “fake.” Some men complain of “false advertisement” when a woman wears so much makeup that her appearance is significantly altered, but the same men expect women to naturally look like living, breathing, Barbie dolls. Beauty is a multi-billion dollar business in the U.S., and the industry is so lucrative because many of us feel that our beauty is our worth. In America, and presumably much of the world, women who occupy professional roles are not necessarily required to wear makeup, but it’s certainly expected of them. It’s been proven …

10 Film & TV Costumes for Halloween

Over the years Halloween has evolved into one of my favorite times of year. I’m not the type of person who engages in fan communities and does cosplay, but I find so much joy in figuring out a costume and putting it together. Basically, Halloween preparation is a form of self-care for me – as I’m sure it is for most folks who enjoy this time of year. Even if I don’t have solid plans, I know that I’m going to assemble a costume and wear it somewhere, anywhere, simply because it’s fun and makes me happy. Below are 10 film and TV-related costume ideas that I was inspired by. Some are relevant, others not so much, but they’re all fun and fairly simple to put together. 1. Arthur & Buster from Arthur If you’re around my age and grew up watching PBS, then you probably have a warm place in your heart for Arthur. And who doesn’t love that theme song? ♫ Everyday when you’re walking down the street, everybody that you meet, has an original point of view …

How YouTube & Instagram Are Normalizing the Vegan Lifestyle

Thanks in part to social media, being vegan in America has become more acceptable and even “cool” in some circles. But more importantly, digital vegan activists have made veganism approachable for many of those who may not have access to the movement otherwise. YouTube and Instagram, in particular, seem to be platforms in which vegan content creators can work to normalize the lifestyle, while simultaneously creating a digital social community where vegans can find the support and resources they need to sustain their lifestyle decisions. Based on current food industry trends, the U.S. vegan population seems to be on the rise, though the exact increase is difficult to gauge since recent reliable data isn’t available. But with major ice cream companies such as Ben & Jerry’s and Dreyer’s now offering dairy free flavors, and a wheat, coconut oil, and potato-protein based veggie burger funded by Bill Gates being served at a Michelin starred restaurant, it’s a safe bet that companies are responding to rising consumer demands for plant-based options.[1] In addition to the recent expansion …

There’s No Place Like Home

As I captioned the above photo on Instagram, things are always changing in Tucson, but also remaining exactly the same. I spent 24 years of my life living in the same city. I was born there, went to school there, fell in love there, made friends there, lost friends there, had loved ones be born there and die there. And when I moved away I had no idea what it would feel like to come back home. When I’m in Tucson I’m bombarded by familiar smells, sounds, and feelings. The air is different, the stars shine brighter, the birds chirp louder. In the summer there’s the smell of creosote and the sound of cicadas. The fall starts off warm, but a coolness eventually rolls in. The winters are chilly and dark and there’s something wonderful about feeling cold in the desert. In the spring the Texas Rangers bloom with bright purple flowers and the smell of sunscreen fills the air as people flock outside before it gets too hot again. While I wouldn’t trade living in …

Fast Fashion & “The True Cost”

The True Cost is one of those documentaries that everyone should watch, and then tell their friends and family to see too. I discovered the film after a friend told me it was necessary viewing, and I’m so grateful for her insistence. In order to be conscientious consumers, it’s imperative that we know where our clothes come from, who’s making it, and how they’re being treated. The True Cost examines the human rights, labor rights, and environmental impact of the garment industry, focusing on the horrific practices of fast fashion in particular. It’s also important to note that with women making up the majority of garment workers across the globe, this topic is a feminist issue as well. Before watching The True Cost I admittedly shopped at places like Zara and H&M because they offered affordable, cute clothing. But such low prices are the first sign that something is not ethically produced. Now I not only shop less (why do we need so much stuff?) but I buy second-hand and search for brands that are known to treat their employees well and embrace sustainable practices. Compared …

26 Goals for My 26th Year

For the past couple of years I’ve done a post on my birthday (last year’s was 25 of my favorite things/feelings, and the year before was 24 lessons I’ve learned in 24 years). Although I’m not the type of person who cares too much about birthdays, I’ve enjoyed doing these posts because they provide me with the opportunity to reflect on my life thus far and give some thought to the future. It feels like just yesterday that I wrote that post for my 24th birthday, but it’s been two years! Does anyone else feel like time seems to move faster the older you get? Anyways, this year I decided my birthday list would be 26 things I’d like to do/accomplish in my 26th year. Let me know in the comment section below what some of your hopes for this year are! 1. Run a 5k without stopping (graduate school has made me out-of-shape and lazy) 2. See New York City for the first time 3. Have one of my essays published on an online publication 4. Have one of my essays published …

Migraine Madness

A few months ago I wrote a post on my horrifying experience while taking a migraine medication. Now, I’ve decided to write a brief, somewhat cathartic post on migraines in general. I suffer from severe chronic migraines and have for most of my life. What’s extremely frustrating about being a migraine sufferer is the fact that “migraine” is a term in popular culture that’s synonymous with “headaches.” But migraines aren’t just headaches. My migraines have sent me to the hospital and multiple MRI scanners. I’ve had half of my body go numb, forgotten how to speak, and thrown up more times than I care to think about. Migraines can impair my vision and impede my ability to think clearly. Because of my migraines I’ve had a variety of neurologists throughout my life and each have provided me with medications and vitamin regimens, but nothing seems to do away with them entirely. My migraines hurt me more days than not. My chronic migraines are a disease, despite what society-at-large may think, and I’m tired of suffering. While this blog …

Calling All Vegans!

If you’re vegan and use YouTube as a resource for recipes and information, please reach out to me! I’m preparing to present on Veganism & YouTube at the Pop Culture Association and American Culture Association national conference in San Diego this April, and am looking for insight from vegans who include YouTube as part of their online community. If that’s you, please respond to the following questions using the contact form below. Be sure to include your name, age, gender (man, woman, or gender non-conforming), location, and how long you have been vegan. If you were vegetarian before becoming vegan, be sure to include the number of years you were vegetarian before transitioning. Did watching a YouTuber or specific YouTube video influence your decision to adopt a vegan lifestyle? If so, what YouTube channels in particular? How often do you consume vegan material on YouTube? What channels do you watch and why? What sort of content are these YouTubers providing for you (i.e. recipes, lifestyle tips, animal cruelty information)? What other materials do you credit to influencing and …

Watch Abha Dawesar’s TED Talk: “Life in the ‘Digital Now'”

I don’t often watch or listen to TED Talks, but when I happen across one while endlessly scrolling online or listening to NPR – like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “We Should All Be Feminists” – they always seem to emerge at the perfect time in my life. And I love novelist Abha Dawesar’s “Life in the ‘Digital Now,’” not only because she’s brilliant and speaks to so much about our digital lives that I’ve been trying to grasp, but her talk came into my life at the exact moment I needed it. I’m currently taking an entertainment business class at USC about digital technology and the entertainment industry. For the most part I thoroughly enjoy the course, but I wasn’t prepared for all of the focus on futurism and our likely destinies as tech-obsessed individuals and societies. Taking this class has made me realize that talk of a hyper-technological reality is personally anxiety inducing. And visions of a world filled with AR, VR, and AI are absolutely terrifying. I may be typing this blog post using WordPress on my laptop, and I …

Positive Change as an Individual

In these socially and politically tumultuous times, I think it’s important to reflect on what we can do as individuals to contribute to the greater good. While significant change is enacted by policy-making, progress within one’s lifestyle and personal relationship to society as a whole is also essential in creating change. Below is a work-in-progress list of ways I think an individual can create positive change. While I’m sharing this on Catch-all, it’s also a personal reminder of the many ways I can use my individual power for good. This list will always be evolving, so please comment below with any suggestions you may have. Ask more questions! Think critically, engage with new ideas, listen to your peers, confront your own problematic assumptions, and always look beyond the surface level Cultivate a community of friends and family who hold you accountable for your actions and words Support businesses owned by immigrants, women, people of color, members of the LGBT community, etc. Support the work of diverse journalists, artists, authors, and filmmakers, etc. Question the status-quo Avoid fast fashion and …