Real Talk: Like A Girl

I’m excited to introduce a new series on the blog today entitled “Real Talk”. Today’s centers on beauty but you can expect these to be on a variety of topics. One of the wonderful things about having a blog is having this platform to discuss things that I find interesting at the moment and sometimes they don’t always fit in the food or beauty category. So here’s some real talk from me to you! If there are any topics you’d like me to cover be sure and comment below!

In terms of commercials, so often these days we are fast-forwarding through them or if we’re on YouTube, waiting the requisite 5 seconds before we can skip them. Except lately, a few beauty brand commercials have caught my eye and enticed me to watch the entire thing. In the past, we have become accustomed to women’s empowerment type of commercials from Dove  (and I have previously written about them here and here) but it is so wonderful to see other female brands hopping on the positive self-esteem bandwagon.

Pantene Not Sorry| Shine Strong

I don’t know about you, but when I first watched this video, all I could think was “Omg, that’s me”. I am always saying I’m sorry whether it is when someone else bumps into me or for a myriad of other reasons. In fact, previous boyfriends have told me to stop saying I’m sorry so often. (And for the record, when someone tells me to stop saying ‘sorry’, it’s extremely difficult for me to not respond with ‘ok, sorry’.) Needless to say, it’s been a bit of a problem. Now I’m not really totally on board with the whole “sorry not sorry” thing, as I think sometimes people use that as an excuse to be rude but I do think that many women are constantly apologizing for things that we don’t need to be apologizing for! As a natural people-pleaser, it’s a difficult habit to change, but I do love the idea to “be strong and shine” and I feel inspired to live that out a little more and leave some of the unnecessary sorrys behind.

Covergirl #GirlsCan

In this commercial, I love how these amazingly talented female musicians, athletes, as well as TV and movie stars are all sharing how they were told that they “couldn’t do something.” And then they went ahead and did it. Women have been breaking barriers since the beginning of time and it’s so refreshing to see the media focus attention on challenging those walls. It’s also so interesting to see these huge stars whom we associate with their talents that made them famous and think that they were once held back from doing those very things. I feel so lucky to live in a country that doesn’t put barriers on what women are capable of and so many opportunities are now afforded to us. Reminds me of a pin I had in high school that said “A women’s place is in the House… and Senate” and maybe next the White House!

Always | #LikeAGirl

This post is similar to the Covergirl campaign but it focuses on the phrase “like a girl”. It’s one that has inundated our language for so long and yet, this is the first time I really thought about what it meant. I think it’s so eye-opening watching the adults do a variety of activities “like a girl” and then to see the young girls do the same activities to their full potential. It saddens me that as we grow up, many women lose confidence in their abilities and tend to give in to that gender stereotype. But what if “like a girl” meant strong and powerful and capable? How many more things and boundaries would we be able to push? Definitely food for thought in this one.

Clean & Clear | Confidence in Yourself: See the Real Me

I just stumbled upon this video tonight but I had to include because it’s one of my favorites. I’ll be honest, I love beauty and hair and style and think that there is absolutely nothing wrong with those things. But self-confidence is something that every woman has struggled with at some point in their life, if not on a regular basis. The statistic in the beginning shocked and saddened me that 75% of teen girls want to be seen but are afraid of being judged. Little personal story: when I was in middle school my mom had to have a little talk with me because I wasn’t raising my hand in class. I remember telling her that it wasn’t because I didn’t know the answer, in fact, I often did. Rather, it was that I felt uncomfortable giving the correct answer, afraid of how I would be perceived. I was never shy and have always loved speaking in front of crowds and yet, I was worried what people would think if I was correctly answering questions. Thankfully, with my mom’s wise words and growing self-confidence, that worry went away and I became much more engaged in answering questions from then on. But I think girls need to hear the message that it is wonderful to be smart and that it is something to be celebrated, not to be downplayed.

Questions:

-What campaign resonated with you the most?

-Any topics you’d like me to cover in the new series?

Let’s Do Something

Hi lovelies! I hope that you all had a wonderful weekend! It’s the final workweek stretch for some of us, and some of you lucky few might be already on vacation and spending time with family and friends. My weekend was the perfect combo of relaxing and productive and yesterday I finished the grocery shopping for all of the Thanksgiving recipes. As I was walking around the stores, adding items to my cart, I couldn’t help but think of all those who would love to be “stressed” about finding their ingredients in a store. Those who would love to spend hours over the stove in order to produce a meal for their family. Those who would be ecstatic that their family had something to eat, on Thanksgiving and beyond. To me, it just wouldn’t feel right thinking about enjoying a meal with my family without thinking of all of these people. I feel extraordinarily blessed (a post devoted to that coming on Wednesday!) and it’s important for me to share that with others. But I get it- we all have so much going on this time of the year and are swamped with commitments that adding one more thing to our plates seems too daunting. Luckily, supermarkets are making it easier than ever this year. Here are a few of the programs I encountered today and some I discovered online.

  • Sprouts & Whole Foods Grab N’ Give Program

As you can see in the above, Sprouts is making it incredibly easy to give this season. You simply choose a pre-packed bag that you would like to donate. The bags come at a handful of different pricepoints (the one’s I saw were between $9-$20) and you can see on the receipt of the bag what items are being donated. I have to admit- I was a little picky about which bag I chose. I wanted one that contained staples for a healthy meal but one that would also feel like a little more of a treat or something special. They make it so easy too since they can take care of the donation for you!

At Whole Foods, you pick the meal you would like to donate- Breakfast ($5), Lunch ($10), Dinner ($10) or a day of meals ($25). All you have to do is add the amount to your total when checking out and Whole Foods will pack a healthy meal for a family and a local food bank (each store is partnered with local organizations) will come and pick up the meals for the families!

  • Ralph’s Bringing Hope to the Table

Ralphs grocery stores are offering two opportunities to help those less fortunate over the holidays. First, there will be collection canisters at checkstands for you to give your spare change. If you rarely have change or cash like I do, you can use a scan card that comes in $1, $3, or $5 denominations to add to your bill. This money will go to local food banks and Feeding America. Note: As I was researching this, I read that Ralphs donated 1 million pounds of perishable food to Southern California food banks this year which amounts to about 850,000 meals! Pretty incredible!

  • Safeway Help Us End Hunger Food Drive

Safeway has a similar format as Sprout’s program in that from now until December 25, you can buy a bag of pre-packaged food for a needy family for only $10. Even more amazing, it’s reported that each bag will provide 7-8 meals for a hungry family, an amount that so many of us spend on lunch! This past weekend, NBC Bay Area actually partnered with this program and on Saturday, an incredible 26,929 bags of food were purchased! It’s amazing to see this support but it’s important to keep the momentum up through the rest of the holiday season!

So get out there and while you are shopping to feed your family, consider making a donation to feed another family as well. Hunger in America exists for over 50 million people- that’s 1 in 6 people. Let’s do something about it together.

Question:

-Know of any great programs at your grocery store?

Take 5 Friday

Hi lovelies! Happy Friday! Sorry I didn’t post yesterday, I came home late Wednesday night and was just too exhausted to write a post. I hope you all have had a great week! Mine has been so busy that it has flown by and all of the sudden it’s the weekend again… love when that happens! Tonight I’m going to an event with some girlfriends and tomorrow an event with my Grandma… details and pictures to follow!

Now let’s move on to Take 5 Friday: my bi-monthly list of 5 things that you can do to make a difference that will take you less than 5 minutes!

1. Join the Dove Movement for Self-Esteem!

Remember that amazing campaign Dove did a few years ago to campaign for real beauty? Recently, they have launched a new movement for self-esteem to provide women everywhere with opportunities to mentor the next generation and celebrate real beauty. They also recently released findings from the largest global study on women’s relationship with beauty and found that only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful and that anxiety about looks begins at a very early age. It’s time to change this for all the women in our life! Start by browsing the Inspire a Girl Tool-kit for ideas or simply sign up to join the movement and be updated on the great things that Dove is doing!

2. Write a Note to a Teacher!

We all have a teacher who made an impact on our lives, whether it be big or small. Sometimes the lessons they teach us that make the most difference are the ones that they never get to hear about. Like one of my college professors who took the time to email me back late at night when I was going through a difficult time with medical issues and was worried about missing class. I think that teachers are so underappreciated but this campaign is striving to change that! With Thanks For Teaching you can write a quick note online to a teacher that made a difference and they will publish it on the website for the next 30 days. People from all over the world are doing this and it’s inspiring to see all the lives that teachers have changed.

3. Support Charity: Water!

Charity: Water is an amazing organization that is striving to end the water crisis that affects 1 billion people living without clean drinking water. The truth is, water affects everything: education, health, poverty and especially women and children. But in the past 5 years, they’ve been able to help bring clean water to two million people in need. Now they are trying to raise the money to buy another drilling rig that will provide 40,000 people with water each year. Normally I don’t ask for people to donate money since everyone’s financial situation is different, but this is a cause truly worth supporting, even with $1 or the $3.50 you would have spent on a coffee today. Charity: Water is all about accountability too and donates 100% to clean water (not employee salaries) and shows films and gps locations of everywhere your money is going.

4. Donate Old Clothes!

(Source)

Let’s face it, you are probably never going to wear those jeans in the back of your closet or that shirt that ‘never really fit right but you bought because it was on sale’ again. Yet, they take up prime space in your closet and don’t serve a purpose. But they could make a real difference in someone else’s life- that suit could be the outfit that a homeless woman wears to an interview that lands her a job and takes her off the streets. It could be the outfit that a student gets to wear for their first day of school, feeling confident for the first time. Your old clothes can be doing great things in this world, so find a shelter or organization to donate to today!

5. Thank a 9/11 Hero

As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 just passed, I am filled with such sorrow for what happened and gratitude for all who have sacrificed. This great website shows you a picture and a short synopsis of heros from that day. By signing in with your Facebook account, you can write a short note of thanks to these incredible men and women.

Have a great weekend everyone and Take 5!!

Questions:

-What would you thank a teacher for?

-What message would you like to tell young girls regarding body image?

Take 5 Friday

Hi lovelies! It’s finally Friday and a three-day weekend! We definitely have something to celebrate and I hope that you all have some fun things planned! I hope to do some relaxing and am going to get together with one of my best friends who moved to DC in January! It will be so good to see her and catch up!

Today is the second edition of Take 5 Friday! For those new to my blog or the series (welcome!) every other Friday I highlight 5 things that you could do that take under 5 minutes to help make a difference in the world! Catch up on the first edition here and now on to this week’s list…

1. Take Oprah’s No Phone Zone Pledge

Warning, the above video might make you tear up, but it also showcases how important this cause truly is. In a world where we all live on our phones, using them when driving is truly detrimental to the health and safety of ourselves and those around us. In 2010, a study by the National Safety Council found that 28% of accidents involve talking or texting on cell phones or about 1.4 million annually. The even scarier part is that there are many unreported cases and many near misses that would only increase that number. I know putting away your cell is hard but you are risking your life and everyone elses just to see that your friend wrote back “kk.” Join me in taking the pledge and encourage your friends and family to do so too!

2. Stop Junk Mail

This might seem like a surprising way to make a difference, but I recently found out that over $350 million taxpayer dollars are spent disposing of junk mail that has not been recycled and 100 million trees are needed to create this mail! Besides all the harm that is doing to our forests and budget, who wants to deal with it? By calling the customer service department for the company you can usually get off their mailing list. (There are also a bunch of companies that help provide this service but since I haven’t personally vetted for them, I don’t want to link to any specifically.)

2. Donate magazines to the hospital!

Recycling this picture from May, but I can assure you I have more than this from September!

This one might take slightly longer than 5 minutes depending on your proximity to a hospital, but I promise it is a worthy cause. If you’ve ever been a hospital patient or visitor, you know that time goes by extremely slowly in the hospital. Around here we call it “hospital time” because you can never tell whether it is day or night and it all blends together. One thing that makes that time a little easier is having a distraction. I learned this the hard way when I spent the night on a hospital chair for a family member and my only reading material was a Spanish Reader’s Digest. So as regularly as I can, I try to donate magazines to the hospital for the patients. You can simply drop them off at the help desk and they are so appreciative. Then instead of collecting dust on your floor, they are making a difference in someone who really needs it.

4. Microvolunteer!

I just found out about Sparked and am so excited to share it with you all. Not only is it based here in SF, but this is an amazing opportunity to volunteer when you really do only have 5 minutes. The company’s goal is to “offer *convenient* online volunteerism to you. We’re driven to fit volunteerism into the same kind of time that you might normally spend on Facebook, Farmville, or Twitter. It’s volunteerism for the digital age. We call it microvolunteering.” This microvolunteer program has already done amazing things. Whether it’s by instructing someone in Africa on how to build a well or matching photos of missing persons after the earthquake in Haiti, Sparked is truly making a difference in the world.

5. Shop in a Global Marketplace

Whether you are shopping for yourself or for someone else, considering shopping in Ebay’s World of Good which vets every product to make sure it’s eco-friendy and ethically sourced. Not only will you be doing something great for the world, but you will be supporting hard-working people in disadvantaged countries! There are some really beautiful items for great prices and the best part is that they tell you about the person that made it!

Well, I hope you are all feeling as inspired as I am! After writing this post, I genuinely feel so excited about the positive impact we can make just by participating in some of the above things. Have a great weekend everyone and I hope you’ll join me in taking five!

Questions:

-Which cause did you feel inspired by?

-What are you up to for the three day weekend?