Oaxaca

Last Sunday, I returned from one of the best trips of my life: a week of immersion in the Spanish language spent in Oaxaca, Mexico with my class. Normally, when I tell people this, they react with absolute shock and confusion– some school took a bunch of teenagers to Mexico? Who does that?

Let it be known to the world that no, in fact, I did not sit around on a beach all day. We had school (if you count two hours of Spanish class in the morning school), so it’s not like this was some kind of opportunity to slack off, and in the afternoons, we set off on tours of museums, ancient archaeological sites, and marketplaces crowded with locals and tourists alike. Our meals and any extra time on our hands we spent with our host families.

Oaxaca is gorgeous. I can’t say that enough. The architecture is beautiful and a single building is about a thousand times more colorful than the entirety of Chicago. Everyone was really nice, too. Our Spanish was only a little step up from rudimentary (or mine was, at least), but people took it in their stride, waiting patiently as I struggled to find the right words to say something.

I don’t want to waste your time going on and on about the things I learned, the things I saw– it could take several days to read it all. But if there’s one thing I could say to wrap it all up, it would be that this was an experience I’ll never forget.

I’m taking the next couple of weeks off for spring break, so I won’t be posting for a while. Let’s hope that April’s better to us than March: we’ve still got snow here, after all.

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Sunday Posts Poll

As regular readers of my blog know, I generally post craft-oriented stuff on Sundays: sometimes tutorials, sometimes recipes, sometimes lists of related links. I was taking a look over my past Sunday posts, and I started wondering, what would you  like to see more of on my Sunday posts? Take a minute to answer my survey below to make sure that I post the kind of content you’re looking for, and I’ll do my best to take it into consideration while planning future blog posts.

Body Image

I’ve seen a lot of posts lately about an issue that affects women (and some men as well) all over the globe: body image. I thought that because it’s such an important topic in our current society, today, in honor of women’s history month, I’d post my own thoughts on the topic.

The media constantly bombards us with photoshopped pictures of the ideal image of Western beauty– teeny-tiny waist, long thin limbs, unnaturally long necks, a weight of 90 pounds soaking wet, and a ‘natural’ set of size-H boobs. Right. Natural.

And then there are the pictures of ‘fitspo’ and the like floating around the internet, cramming into the feeds of every single social media site in existence, of girls with thigh gaps and stomach bridges and ribs sticking out of their torsos, the majority of them effects of serious eating disorders.

As much as you may try to ignore these pictures and the accompanying comments people make, they have a habit of burrowing into your head and whispering soul-crushing thoughts without your notice until it’s too late.

Everyone has their Kryptonite.

Mine just happens to be my height. It’s the first thing anyone ever notices about me– “You’re so tall,” they say. All I have to do is look in the mirror, but for some reason, people think I’m blind to the fact and that it’s their duty to humankind to alert me to it. When I blush, embarrassed, they rush to say that it’s a good thing. There are people who would kill to be that tall.

But they never say a word about anything else. I would so much rather have people call me smart, overly sarcastic, a hard worker, a good writer . . . anything other than tall. I never had problems with weight or anything like that, but sometimes the full novelty of my height will hit me and all I want to do is shrink to the size of an ant to stop all the comments and exclamations that follow me everywhere I go.

And then I thought, why do I care? If that’s all they notice about me, let them do that. If they can’t see past that shell of a person to what lies beneath, they’re probably shallow and ignorant, and I don’t need those kinds of people in my life. I still have the episodes when all I want to do is hide away and return, but it’s much better now.

So for all you people out there struggling with body image, and even for those of you who aren’t, I want you to take a nice long look in the mirror, face that Kryptonite, and tell yourself that no matter what the world says, you are more than the shell that defines you. You are strong, kind, smart, daring . . . the list goes on forever.

Don’t forget it.

Body Image-- Olivia Simone

On Spring

So I know I promised a longer post for today, but I may have to go back a bit on that promise, although the promised post will come out next Friday.

I found a quote while poking around the internet the other day that I thought especially fitting for this time of year.

On Spring-- Olivia Simone

Too many times we get all wrapped up in school and work and everything else and end up finding ourselves too busy to relax. We’re too busy running around in circles trying to get everything done, and all of a sudden, it’s summer and we’ve lost our chance of seeing a single glimpse of spring until the next year . . . when the same exact thing will happen.

This year, I’ve vowed to take at least some time to relax and get outside out of my schedule. It’s going to be difficult, since my schedule includes balancing school, dance, homework, writing, blogging, Pinterest, and Netflix, but I’ve found that even 5 to 10 minutes makes a huge difference. It may not be a hike through the woods or a full-on kayaking trip, but walking instead of driving when the weather is nice (if you live in a nice neighborhood), or even opening your windows wide open for the wind to drift in and send papers flying all over the room.

Take some time this spring to relax and ‘smell like dirt’ at the end of the day, and let me know how it works out for you.

Shoutout to Serena’s Musings

Hi there! I was planning on writing a longer post today (I’ll be posting the one that was supposed to be for today next Friday instead), but somehow I watched a little bit too much Supernatural, so now I’m kind of short on time.

My friend Serena, who is 100% responsible for getting me started blogging, has a blog of her own: Serena’s Musings. Although she doesn’t post very often (if you’re reading this, Serena, this is a subtle hint to POST MORE), when she does, it’s always amazing. She’s got an incredible gift for writing, and especially for the more serious topics that her posts generally center on.

Serena's Musings

Take a minute or two to go check out her blog– it’s really cool, and you won’t regret it. I’ll try to get that other post done by next Friday, but until then, I’ll be posting on both Sunday and Tuesday as usual.

My Playlist

Sorry to those of you who may have been expecting a longer post: today’s going to be pretty short. I just realized I have a gigantic to-do list (probably should have done about half of it yesterday . . . whoops), and I figured that getting my homework done was probably a better idea than spending several hours on a blog post. I’m sharing with you a list of my favorite songs of the moment. Quick disclaimer: I listen to a lot of rock/alternative stuff, so if that’s not your thing, I’d skip this list. The links go to YouTube, but you should be able to find the songs on iTunes without too much trouble.

My Playlist-- Olivia Simone

I hope you enjoyed my list, and I’ll see you again on Sunday.

On Perfectionism

The other day, I came across a really interesting quote from Albert Einstein that I’d like to share with you today:

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.  - Albert Einstein

I’m a serious perfectionist, so when I saw this quote, it really spoke to me. I’ve always been terrified of making mistakes: in my writing, in my crafter-y endeavors, in school, etc. As a first child, I think it’s kind of unavoidable, but I’d like to give myself the freedom to let go more often and try something new. I don’t want to end up regretting all the choices I didn’t make in life when I’m older, and what better of a time to start than today?

What does this quote mean to you? Share in the comments below.