Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Life Lately: Easter Weekend

Skirt/ T.J. Maxx; Leggings/Xhilration; Shoes/ Shoemint

As you all know, this past weekend was Easter weekend. It was also the weekend of the Soft Shell Crab Festival in Port Royal. We had my aunt and uncle and their three kids come in town because one of my cousins absolutely loves soft shell crab, and you can only get them fresh for a couple of weeks every year. Saturday we went down to the festival, which didn't have as much going on as usual because the weather was expected to be rainy. All we got while we were there was a light misting, though. I got to have my first soft shell crab of the year (I absolutely love them also) from the Sea Eagle Market kiosk. There was live music and craftseller booths also. I had heard that there was supposed to be red velvet funnel cake down at one of the kiosks (Hang on, let me wipe the drool from my mouth) but apparently that was false. Boo.
Easter day, we went to the beach for a while just to walk around and ate dinner at Dockside. I got the soft shell crab there, obviously. Theirs is the BEST.

Also... Ta-Da!!! We got a new baby kitten! He's only about 5 weeks old at the most, and absolutely adorable. I'm pretty sure that he has adopted me as his new mommy; he sleeps with me every night all curled up in my armpit or my hair or my neck. (Squealing internally.) We have yet to name him, but I really hope mom lets me choose, because I'm partial to the name Klaus. (See it's like a play on "Claws" but it's pronounced like "cloud" and it's German and adorable but also fitting for a full-grown cat.... I'll stop now.)

Poor quality on the photo but a LOVE these shoes!!!!

Reading: I just finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, and now I'm starting on Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. I'm hoping to make my way through all the big Austen novels this year as a part of my "52 New Books" goal. Also, I preordered the new Mortal Instruments book, and thanks to Amazon, it should be in my hands right on the release day without me ever having to leave the house. Score!

Watching: My newest obsessions are Orphan Black and Bates Motel. I am totally in love with the plot lines and characters of both and really wish there were more seasons. I need more of the clones and the weird Norman/Norma relationship, like, now.

Thinking About: Happiness. Like, true happiness and how to attain it for myself and not necessarily solely through the other people in my life. While I am grateful for the wonderful people in my life, I am beginning to realize that I need to find ways to really achieve happiness for myself on my own. I am considering trying some new things this summer that are a bit out of my comfort zone, but I won't say what because I don't know for sure if I'll be able to push myself that much.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014


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.


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.)


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.

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? 


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 BobbĂ© 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!