Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Act FAST

I remember when I found out that my father had his stroke. It was about two and a half years ago, between Thanksgiving and Christmas. My mom came home from work late at night and sat me down to tell me. I couldn't go to see him until after school the next day, and I was really upset and scared and confused. A stroke? That only happened to people's grandparents, not 39 year-old’s. Turns out it could have been prevented if they had caught it the first time he went to the ER that day, but because of his age, the hospital ruled it out and sent him home. Then he had to go back because it got more severe. He still hasn't fully recovered, and there are some things that never will be the same.

Even though I wasn't there, it has become very important to me to know what to do in case he has a stroke again when I am around, or in case someone else I love has a stroke. Or for that matter, anyone. I want to be informed and know what to do, because it's such a common thing and so many people don't know how to properly handle it. I'd like to share some information regarding strokes here on my blog just because the more people know, the more likely someone is to be properly diagnosed and to reach medical help in time.


What exactly is a stroke?

According to stroke.org, a stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or when a blood vessel breaks and interrupts blood flow to an area of the brain. When either of these things happen, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain are lost, such as speech, memory, and movement.

There are two types of strokes:

  • Ischemic stroke occurs when arteries are blocked by blood clots or by the gradual build-up of plaque and other fatty deposits. About 87 percent of all strokes are ischemic.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain breaks leaking blood into the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes account for thirteen percent of all strokes, yet are responsible for more than thirty percent of all stroke deaths. (This is the kind of stroke that my dad had. Scary.)
What are the risk factors of a stroke?

  • High blood pressure
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Diabetes
  • High Cholesterol
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Circulation Problems
  • Tobacco Use and Smoking
  • Alcohol Use
  • Physical Inactivity 
  • Obesity
  • Family History
  • Previous Stroke
  • Fibromuscular Dysplasia
  • Patent Foramen Ovale
Warning Signs and What To Do

Source: stroke.org

It's such an important thing to be able to recognize the signs of a stroke, especially when many of the damaging effects can be avoided completely if the stroke is caught in time. Now that I am informed, maybe I will be able to help someone in need instead of being just another face in a crowd of curious bystanders who have no idea what's going in and just watch. Maybe I'll be able to help save someone else's father from struggles like what my dad has had to go through, or worse.

Maybe now you can, too.


~♥
Gabby

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Brown Sugar Meatloaf



With Spring comes rain, especially in the south. After all, April showers bring May flowers, right? Well I personally am not such a big fan of these rainy days. The gloom and wetness makes me feel tired and I don't really get anything done because I just want to curl up with a blanket and a book and some hot coffee. But one really good thing about rainy days is that they are perfect for eating comfort foods. Whether it's a nice bowl of soup or french toast, it always seems so much better on a rainy day. My favorite is this really yummy brown sugar meatloaf, so I decided that sounded like a pretty perfect thing to have for dinner today.


Brown Sugar Meatloaf (Serves 8)

You Will Need:

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cups lean ground beef 
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup finely crushed saltine cracker crumbs
  • 1 small chopped onion (OPTIONAL)
       (Note: Earlier today I made sweet potato and turnip chips and crumbled some of these into the                meatloaf mixture also, just to add a little veg to the mix without big chunks.)

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 5 x 9 inch loaf pan.
2. Press the brown sugar in the bottom of the loaf pan. Spread the ketchup over the brown sugar.



3. Using your hands, mix the rest of the ingredients together in a large bowl and shape into a loaf. Place on top of ketchup.




4. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until juices run clear.

Finished!
And there you have it!


I like to pour some of the juices at the bottom of the pan over top like a sweet gravy... yum! What are your favorite rainy-day dishes? 

~♥
Gabby

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A College Speech: How the Media Affects Body Image

This is a little different from my "A College Essay" posts because I am posting an assignment from my Public Speaking class. I am including my speech outline as well as my powerpoint from my presentation, but not a recording from my actual speech. I wanted to share this on my blog because it is a topic that I am very passionate about. 





                            
                      Persuasive Speech: Media Influence on Body Image from awhisperedwish

The Media and Body Image Outline

  1. Introduction
  • “Fat and Unwanted”; “Short”; “Hideous”; “I wish I looked like that”; “Meaty”; 'Powerless”; “I'm too skinny.”
    • These are all words that people in this room used to describe themselves in relation to the models we see in magazines and ads.
  • But is it logical to base your feeling of self-worth and image on these “models”?
  • We derive the term “role models” from “models” because they are people to look up to in terms of their ethics, generosity, and kindness.
  • But are the models in magazines and ads really people to look up to in terms of body image?
  • The answer to both of these questions is “NO.”
  1. Here are some more statistics from the audience analysis survey
  • 78% said they have experienced personal body image issues at some point in their lives.
  • 64% said they don't feel like they can relate physically to models of their gender in magazines or ads.
  1. Here are some examples of photoshop editing used in magazines and ads.
  • Cameron Diaz for The Telegraph (as featured in a Huffington Post article.)
    • In the photo on the right:
      • Her cheeks are fuller.
      • Her thighs are wider.
      • Her stomach is more full.
      • Her hip bones are no longer pronounced.
      • Her bust is more leveled.
      • Her arms and shoulders are given more bulk.
  • Brittany Murphy (10STEPS.SG)
    • In the photo on the right:
      • The entire photo is brightened.
      • Her hair is more blonde.
      • Her skin tone is more even.
      • The bags and dark circles under her eyes are gone.
      • The lines around her mouth are gone.
      • Her lips are more rosy.
      • Her eyelashes are longer and darker.
  • Penelope Cruz (10STEPS.SG)
    • In the photo on the right:
      • Her hair is more full and tame.
      • Her bust is larger.
      • Her ribcage is thinned on her sides.
      • Her hips are made larger.
      • The bones in her chest are smoothed away.
  1. It isn't just the women in the media who are photoshopped to so-called “perfection.”
  • Thom Yorke (Radiohead) (10Steps.SG)
    • In the photo on the right:
    • His ears are trimmed.
    • His nose is straightened.
    • His jawline is more full.
    • His right eye is made more symmetrical.
    • His lips are made more symmetrical.
  • Unnamed male fitness model (10STEPS.SG)
    • In the photo on the right:
  • His skin is drastically darkened and contrast added to make him appear more muscular than he is in reality.
  • His waist is photoshopped thinner.
    • These kinds of edits are leading to rapidly increasing cases of male anorexia and other eating disorders, as well as the use of harmful steroids to “bulk up.” (Bahadur)
  1. What can we do about these unfair and unrealistic standards?
  • Search for or start a petition against the use of drastic photo editing in ads.
    • Even if for one company at a time, any change could make a huge difference.
    • Websites like Change.org are great for starting petitions and getting the word out!
  • Support companies who openly enforce positive body image.
    • AERIE, a women's fashion branch of American Eagle, has launched a campaign called AerieREAL, in which all of their models are unretouched. (Aerie for Amerian Eagle)
    • Dove has an ongoing campaign called Dove Real Beauty in which they create Youtube videos to help promote the diversity of beauty. (Dove Real Beauty.)
  • Introduce your children and yourself to body-positive sources of entertainment.
    • Tavi Gevinson's online magazine ROOKIEMAG is a great resource to help young girls feel comfortable with who they are and to help them feel comfortable in their own skin. (Rookie)
    • Photographers think diversity is beautiful.
      • Nir Arieli's “Inframen” is a collection of photographs of male dancers in which the use of Infrared film brings out the scars and bruises obtained over a lifetime of hard work and dedication to their art that are normally invisible to the naked eye. (Frank)
      • Leland Bobbé has a collection of photographs of people he finds “Quintessentially American.”
        • The collection enforces the diversity of America and the beauty of it's people because of that diversity. (Brooks)
  1. Realize that nobody has a “perfect body.”
  • As you have seen in this presentation, even the modern icons of beauty don't have “perfect” bodies. Not without the help of technology, anyway.
  • Don't obsess over the fact that your waist isn't a certain size or you don't have a certain body type.
    • Eat, drink, and wear what makes you happy, NOT what the ads tell you to.
  • Don't feel obligated to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks just because the bold print on magazines are telling you that they know how.
  1. You have seen the unfair ways that the media affects our view of ourselves through the use of programs like photoshop in their ads and magazines. It is an unfortunate cultural norm that unfortunately results in self-harm, eating disorders, and self-abuse. I have given you multiple ways to combat these standards, because the change starts with you. Learn to appreciate your own unique beauty, and pass that appreciation along to your families and children. Spread the word about companies and artists who appreciate natural and diverse beauty.
  • I'd like to end with a line from a song called “5 Bottles of Shampoo” by The King Blues:
    • Too fat, too thin that's just media spin/ You look best when you're comfortable in your own skin.”
Works Cited
  • "40 Amazing Before and After Photo Retouching Photos | 10Steps.SG." 10StepsSG. N.p., 2010. Web. 07 Apr.
  • "#aerieREAL." Aerie for American Eagle. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2014. <http://www.ae.com/aerie/guides/aeriereal.jsp?catId=cat6890055>.
  • Bahadur, Nina. "Male Eating Disorders Are One 'Men's Issue' We Don't Discuss Enough (VIDEO)." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 22 July 2013. Web. 08 Apr. 2014. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/22/male-eating-disorders-the-stream_n_3635570.html>.
  • Brooks, Katherine. "Photographer Travels The Country Documenting 'Quintessential Americans'" The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 03 Jan. 2014. Web. 08 Apr. 2014. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/03/americana-photos_n_4531600.html?utm_hp_ref=photography>.
  • Frank, Priscilla. "10 Stunning Black-And-White Photos That Challenge Norms Of Masculinity." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 07 Jan. 2014. Web. 08 Apr. 2014. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/07/nir-arieli_n_4550685.html?utm_hp_ref=photography>.
  • Rookie. Rookie, n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2014. <http://www.rookiemag.com/>.
  • "The Dove® Campaign for Real Beauty." The Dove® Campaign for Real Beauty. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2014. <http://www.dove.us/Social-Mission/campaign-for-real-beauty.aspx>.
  • Wade, Lisa. "You'd Be Shocked at What These Fashion Editors Are Editing Out of Their Photos." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 06 Jan. 2014. Web. 07 Apr. 2014. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-wade/youd-be-shocked-at-what-these-fashion-editors-are-editing-out-of-their-photos_b_4542067.html>.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Give Me A Break


Can I get a "Hallelujah" for the first beach trip of the year??!!

With everything going on lately between college and family stuff and just general stress, I SO needed my day at the beach with my best friend Autumn. We were down there for about 5 hours just sunbathing and beachcombing and walking and talking and just being.  It's been such a long time since I felt so relaxed and at home and happy. I am seriously blessed to have her in my life.


Hunting Island is such a beautiful beach, and actually a state park here in South Carolina! Next time we go down, Autumn and I plan on climbing the lighthouse and doing some serious, hardcore beachcombing. I was lucky enough to find a large white shark's tooth just laying in the sand! We are going to bring some wicker baskets next time, and cut wildflowers to make flower crowns on the way to the beach. I could totally get used to the beach bum lifestyle! Maybe a suntan tattoo? (Even despite my desire to get super tan, a little color on my pale Irish-descent skin might do me some good!)


I suppose I'm turning into one of those Summer Tumblr girls....
 #SaltySkin #BeachBum #LongHairDon'tCare

Keep it lovely everyone! I'd love to hear about everyone's favorite beaches... including the non-ocean variety! 

~♥
Gabby


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Psst... Anybody Out There?


Ladies and gents, it's time for a round of late-night blogging! I really need to find a way to become more consistent in my posting. I have a bit of trouble coming up with things to post though... I'll brainstorm. 

I recently went to my friend Autumn's house for a lovely brunch her grandparents made us. Their home is absolutely stunning with high ceilings and a gorgeous view of the river. Not to mention how fantastic her grandparents themselves are! They are just a bunch of lovely people. I was talking to her grandfather about my desire to pursue Photography as a career, and he decides to just give me two really amazing vintage film cameras! I was shocked, but he wouldn't let me not take them. So I now own a Konica Autoreflex A from the late '50s and a Canon T70 (The lens cap said "The Official Camera of the 1984 Olympics.) Super stoked!

The Canon

The Konica

I just finished taking the Free creativeLIVE! Minicourse on Newborn Posing, and I'm moving on to the one on Food Photography. Gotta begin somewhere, right?

The weather here is finally starting to warm up. I wore shorts and flip-flops and went sleeveless these past 2 days! I so missed the beautiful Spring days when it isn't too hot or too cold or rainy. It was lovely to just sit out and read a book in the backyard with the breeze and the birds and my dog curled around the bottom of the adirondack chair.


~♥
Gabby

Thursday, February 27, 2014

19 Before 20 (A Little Late!)

My dear readers, how could I forget to post my list of 19 Things To Do Before I Turn 20?? 
My birthday was almost two months ago! I'd better post it now so that when I make progress I can share it with you!

  1. Get my driver's license. (It's embarassing, really. It has to happen this year. Preferably before summer.)
  2. Learn to crochet.
  3. Take a photography class/wokshop just for fun.
  4. Learn to bake French macaroons.
  5. Walk a collective 200 miles.
  6. Have my photography published in a newspaper/magazine with credit.
  7. Be accepted into SCAD's eLearning program.
  8. Get a job. (Again, needs to happen.)
  9. Learn to play the ukulele.
  10. Purge my life of negativity.
  11. Try a 1-week sugar detox.
  12. Go to a fashion show.
  13. Have my photo taken professionally.
  14. Focus on creating positive memories.
  15. Read 52 new books.
  16. Get to 300 likes on the Whispered Wishes Photography Facebook page.
  17. Travel. (I have to get out and do SOMETHING.)
  18. Wardrobe detox. (I've had some stuff since middle school. Gotta go.)
  19. Cut soda from my diet.
~♥
Gabby

A College Essay: Art Exhibition Analysis of Japanese Woodcut Prints of the Edo Period

Art Exhibition Analysis
The Fitzwilliam Museum
Snow Country: Woodcuts of the Japanese Winter



     The Edo Period, lasting from 1603-1868 C.E., was a time in Japan where peace and prosperity were achieved through rigid and repressive forms of government. Neo-Confucianism replaced Zen Buddhism as the main intellectual force, and foreign ideas were discouraged, including traveling out of the country and allowing outsiders in. Edo, or modern-day Tokyo, was a center of a flourishing community and culture of tradespeople. These commoners were deeply Buddhist and lived by the mantra of living life to its fullest. From this philosophy, a pleasure district was born and named ukiyo after the “floating world.” This district housed theatres, bathhouses, restaurants, and brothels, all places to achieve earthly pleasures to fulfill their mantra. Actors and courtesans were portrayed in woodblock prints as samurai and aristocratic poets were in other art forms, as heroes. The woodblock prints became known as ukiyo-e, “pictures from the floating world.”(Cothren.) In looking at the woodblock prints from the Edo period, it is easy to identify the values of the country at the time.
Ki no Tomonori, Suzuki Harunobu

Geisha as Daruma Crossing the Sea, Suzuki Harunobu
      In looking at Suzuki Harunobu's Ki no Tomonori (1767-1768 CE) in the Fitzwilliam Museum's online gallery, the importance of poetry and cultural standards of beauty can be seen. The piece is from a series of thirty-six poets, in which a woodblock print was created to depict a then-modern interpretation of an 11th century poem. The poems were inscribed in a cloud at the top, and the scene below illustrated it. This particular piece portrays a woman and a young maid walking through the snow along the Sao river. Their garb is that of the 18th century in Japan, including high wooden sandals called geta, and split-toed socks called tabì. Both figures are portrayed in the ideal feminine form, with painted white faces and clothing that hint at the feminine physique underneath. This same idealism can also be seen in a more humorous of Harunobu's paintings, Geisha as Daruma Crossing the Sea (18th century CE) (Stokstad.) The geisha also wears her face painted and light robes that blow around her frame. This piece is a reference to the legend of a semi-legendary Indian monk, known as Daruma in Japan, who crossed a river on a reed. The geisha is performing this legendary act in a sharp and humorous contrast to the image of a Zen monk. This piece highlights the “live to the fullest” mantra by comparing the earthly pleasures brought by the geisha to enlightenment.
Overnight Snow in Yoshiwara, Keisai Eisen
The Nightmare, John Henry Fuseli
    
      The ideals of poetry and beauty can further be observed in Keisai Eisen's woodblock print Overnight Snow in Yoshiwara (1825 CE.) The scene depicts the image of a geisha looking out the window as a wealthy client leaves her apartment in a brothel. The poem on the left side of the piece compares her relationship to the client to the snow outside. The geisha wears rich, vibrant, and slightly disheveled robes, adding to the sensuality of the piece. In her hair is an elaborate headpiece that distracts from her coiffure of black hair. While artworks of America and Europe during this same time period had a completely different style and were more life-like, there were still sensual depictions of the female form, such as in John Henry Fuseli's painting The Nightmare (1781 CE), although the sensuality is much less direct than a scene from a brothel. In The Nightmare, a sleeping woman in white (possibly to symbolize virginity) strewn across a bed and dreaming an erotic dream that is brought by the demon sitting on her chest. The sensual nature and it's connection with the demon were meant to strike fear and emphasize sexuality as a sin, rather than celebrating earthly pleasures. (Stokstad.)
Kamedo Gyarô-une, Ogata Gekko
      In Ogata Gekko's print Kamedo Gyarô-ume (1895), the idealistic forms of women are continued, as well as hinting at the policy against foreign influence. In the piece, two women with the traditional painted white faces and sleek coiffures of hair are walking in the snow and admiring the plum trees. The women carry not the popular silk and steel western style umbrellas but the traditional paper and bamboo umbrellas called wagasa. The women's robes are thick for the cold weather but still hint at their feminine forms beneath. Both women wear the wooden geta. The posture and stance of the women is also highly feminine, a quality that is much-admired in the country.
Woman From Willendorf
     All of the above examples of the capturing of the idealistic feminine form keep with a tradition that has been around since the Upper Paleolithic Period. In the Upper Paleolithic piece Woman from Willendorf (c 24,000 BCE) the then-ideal forms of women, such as a bulging bellies, solid thighs, and large breasts, are captured in a stone figurine that was a totem of fertility. In ancient Egypt, the famous stone bust of Nefertiti by Tutumose captures the Egyptian queen in a way that is almost too ideal, making it a paragon of socially-accepted beauty over thousands of years and even into modern standards. In observing the woodblock prints of the Edo Period of Japan, we are able to identify not only the period's ideals of beauty but also other various values of its culture.
Works Cited
Cothren, Michael W. Art A Brief History, Books a La Carte Edition. By Marilyn Stokstad. 5th ed. N.p.: Pearson College Div, 2011. 4+. Print.
"The Fitzwilliam Museum : Snow Country Home." The Fitzwilliam Museum News. The Fitzwilliam Museum, 2 Oct. 2012. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

Exhibition Link:



(I have added the photos of the prints for easier viewing for my readers. Photos are from either the Fitzwilliam Museum website [link above] or a Google search to help find the works I referenced from my textbook. Photos were not included in my graded essay.)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Southwestern-Style Hummus


Ingredients:

1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 chipotle pepper
1 tsp ground cumin

Blitz in the food processor and enjoy!!



~♥
Gabby

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Product Review: Business Cards from MOO.COM


I received a perk from Klout for 50 free business cards from MOO. I was really excited because I had been wanting to order business cards to start my photography business out, and I only had to pay for shipping with this perk. The picture above doesn't do the cards justice.

I opted for a gloss finish because I wanted to use one of my own photographs as the background, and it was a huge success. The photo quality is perfection, and the cards themselves aren't cheaply made. They are made on a nice thick cardstock-type paper that seems very durable. They even came bundled in a cute little cardstock holder with an adorable little message inside and a code for 10% off the 200 pack of cards.

My only issue is that in printing, a small strip of white was put on every one of the cards, but that isn't enough to turn me off from the company. I am so pleased with the quality that I will gladly order my business cards from them in the future!

~♥
Gabby

Monday, February 17, 2014

Life Lately


Craving: I'll tell you what, I love junk food, but I have been wanting nothing but salads lately. I mean, yeah, Oreos are awesome, but there's nothing like a good salad when you need an energy boost and you want to eat healthier. Mom and I went to Outback for dinner today, and I ordered the Sesame Salad with Ahi Tuna on top and Oh. Sweet. Goodness. I ate the whole thing and almost felt sick after but it was just so freaking good. I want to start buying lettuce and eating a salad a day. I've pinned probably 100+ salad recipes on Pinterest. Bring it on.

Feeling: Restless and nostalgic. I always have a desire to get out and do something. Since I'm stuck at home 99% of the time, I've taken to experimenting with nail art, food, and watching a lot of movies. And reading a lot of books. I'm working on the first two Game of Thrones books right now. Joe and I spent the day together yesterday and we went for a walk along a new local trail, and I got some gorgeous sunset photos. It used to be the railway, but they paved it over. I remember when he and I would walk along the tracks, and it makes me kind of sad, although now the trail is more user-friendly. Still, I miss when it wasn't, because there was never anyone else walking there and it seemed like a special secret thing just for us. 

Working On: Building my photography business. Tons of essays and speeches for college. The usual. I'm also working hard to eat healthier and exercise more. I've been walking as often as I can and trying to build up strength in my pitiful upper body and abs. I'm tired of constantly feeling like crap because I haven't taken the extra step to care for my body. I'm still young, and I've decided it's time to change before it's too late.

Doctor Who-themed nails
Doctor Who-themed nails... pardon my left hand handiwork











~♥
Gabby