All posts tagged: lifestyle

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 …

Side-Effect Nightmares

This is a topic I’ve been considering writing about for some time, but it never felt right. Yet now, for some reason it does, so here we go… About two and a half years ago I started a medication I’m going to refer to as Relief* for my severe migraines (*I’m unsure about the legal ramifications of actually discussing my experience on a specific medication, so I’m leaving out the drug’s name). At the time my headaches were hindering my ability to do things – focus, think clearly, get out of bed – and as a result affecting my day-to-day life adversely. So when my neurologist suggested a daily medication, I decided to go for it because I needed a solution. The day before I started Relief I went to a coffee shop with my boyfriend and we reviewed the extensive information provided with the medication. The potential side effects were intense, but I kind of glossed over them because I didn’t think they’d actually affect me. Maybe it was due to years and years of being conditioned by ads …

Millennials & the Age of Social Media

For the first time in U.S. history it’s been predicted that the current crop of young-adults (also known as Generation Y or Millennials) won’t be more successful than their parents. As a middle class millennial gal, this information is especially concerning for myself and my peers. Isn’t doing as well as our parents (if not better) the epitome of the middle class, American dream? Our grandparents worked hard to give their children more than they had, and our parents went on to do the same. Some consider millennials to be a notorious group of entitled jerks (and many of us are), but I can’t help but feel affected by more complicated issues than generational narcissism, like the current demands of the economy, our broken education system, and the consumer-driven values of society at large. I also feel that the internet has propelled us into a bunch of “chronic comparers.” Though oftentimes unknowingly, we are constantly comparing ourselves to the online facades of others. Just one look at an Instagram feed and you can see images of your peers attending Harvard or vacationing in Hawaii. Online, everyone (including you and me) is …

My Advice for Incoming Grad Students

After completing my first year of graduate school, I jotted down a list of things I had learned and wished I knew before starting my program. While each graduate student’s experience can be astronomically different from the next’s (depending on one’s school, program, and their tendencies as a student) there are a few pieces of advice that I think are somewhat universal when it comes to surviving graduate school, and more importantly, retaining your happiness and wellbeing in the process. 1. Having great time management skills is necessary for getting through your program… Time management isn’t just a good school skill, it’s a necessary life skill. In order to make it through your masters program you must understand your priorities for every day, week, month, semester, and year. How each individual deals best with organizing their time varies person to person, but for a good starting point check out About Education’s list of general tips for time management in graduate school. 2. Practicing self-care is crucial… A few months ago I posted about practicing self-care, which I think is important no matter what stage of your life you are in. …

A Letter to Los Angeles

Dear Los Angeles, I’ve been living in your expansive, complex, beautiful sprawl for over a year now, and it’s been quite a wild ride thus far. In some ways you’ve met my expectations, but in total, this relationship has grown and evolved in ways I could have never imagined. I came here worried I’d hate driving alongside “California drivers,” as some Arizonans derogatorily refer to maniacs who cut you off and zip by smugly. Worse than that, I was worried that I couldn’t drive your streets; I thought that maybe the freeways would be so fast and frightening that I simply wouldn’t have it in me to get behind the wheel. I fretted about this for months before moving, but within a day of driving your crowded streets, I realized that I’m rarely moving fast. And surprisingly, I’m becoming a “California driver” myself. Many Californians (though definitely not all) drive smart, aggressively, and prepared to slam on their breaks or move out of the way at any given moment. Despite the often unbearable traffic, I somehow enjoy driving here. I’ve learned that you’re nothing like the way …

5 Essential Food & Agriculture Docs on Netflix

I believe that it is immensely important that we know where our food comes from. Not only is it in our best interest, but it’s our right! These five documentaries listed below, which are all available on Netflix, provide a quality starting point for learning about food production and consumption in the U.S. Check them out and be sure to let me know about some of your favorite food and agriculture documentaries in the comment section below!   GMO OMG (dir. Jeremy Seifert, 2013) In GMO OMG father and filmmaker Jeremy Seifert investigates GMOs: what are they, what do we know about them, and how is our government involved with the protection of huge agricultural businesses such as Monsanto? Even if you know about GMO’s and steer clear of them already, Seifert’s critical examination of GMO’s and “big ag” is interesting and powerful. And his kids are super cute!   Food Inc. (dir. Robert Kenner, 2008) I think of Food Inc. as the ultimate documentary about food in the United States. From plant-agriculture, to factory farming, big ag, fast food, organic farming, politics, animal welfare, health, poverty, …

Practicing Self-care

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political welfare.” – Audre Lorde About a month ago I had an incident that made me realize I need to focus more energy on my well-being and prioritize practicing self-care. I believe that in order to be my best self (which means doing my best for others too) there are certain steps I should take to ensure my emotional, mental, and physical health and happiness, and you should too! 1. Understand the importance of your health and wellbeing. As I get older, I realize that when my body and mind are out of whack, everything’s out of whack. I know it’s a common phrase to hear, but it’s true: when it comes to our mental and physical health, everything is connected. In order to do my best as a student, daughter, friend, sister, and partner, I have to first do what’s best for my body and mind. 2. You must find time for rest and relaxation. In this day and age (thanks, in part, to the demands …

Happy Earth Day!

I’m no scientist, but this I know: if we continue treating our planet without care or compassion, the repercussions will be insurmountable. This Earth Day, lets not only celebrate our beautiful world, but also acknowledge the threats we pose to our environment and the need to take action! Here are a few web-based resources where you can learn more about what’s threatening our environment today: Non-profit environmental institutions: World Resources Institute, Greenpeace, Air & water pollution: National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, Oceana Climate change: Climate Action Network, The Climate Institute, Endangered animal life: World Wildlife Fund, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services Animal agriculture: United Nations Environment Programme, PETA Global warming is real. It is happening today. It is being charted by our satellites. It is being charted by our scientists. It is being charted by those of us in this body, and I think the real key is if we are ready to admit that fact and take the action to make the necessary conversion. – Dianne Feinstein War contributes greatly to global warming, which shouldn’t surprise us. All those bombs going off, all …

A Quick Update

Hey there, I haven’t been present on Catch-all these past couple of weeks for a number of reasons, but I plan on kicking it back into full gear by mid-May! My first year of graduate school is coming to an end, and to be completely honest, I just haven’t had enough time to dedicate to this blog. Later this month I’ll be posting about self-care, my favorite original series on Netflix, and a reflection on my first year living in Los Angeles. This summer, I plan to focus more of my work on critically analyzing and celebrating various forms of media, while also engaging with relevant pop culture topics. As usual, contributions and feedback are always welcome. Send me your short film, web series, or information about your crowdfunding campaign, and I’d be glad to share it on Catch-all. I hope you’re all having a wonderful spring, watching lots of high (and low) quality television, and finding enough time to relax and reflect. Best wishes ❤ Julia PS: Check out this inspiring video from the Sundance Institute on women in independent film, …

NYE Cocktails + Resolutions

This New Years Eve I’m staying in and lying low, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to indulge in a good drink or two. Mixing alcohol and resolutions isn’t the most healthy or proactive idea, but what the hell! New Years Eve should be about reflecting, spending time with your loved ones, having fun, and looking towards the future – and I think a good drink or two fits in perfectly with that plan. As the years go by, I’ve been changing my approach to resolution-making. When I was younger I’d come up with a long list of resolutions, which was really a product of self-shaming. I was upset with myself that I hadn’t already achieved those over-the-top goals, so I laid them out in order to count my failures. For the past two years I’ve been making 10 or so resolutions for myself that had to do with learning and experiencing more, but similarly, I was only able to “achieve” a small portion of those resolutions. But this year is going to be different. My resolutions are far more achievable, and …