We have the opportunity on the daily to make a positive impact on the world around us.
Whether one goes through their day searching for good deeds to be done,
or simply takes advantage of random opportunities to spread love,
every action (or inaction) has a resounding impact.
The question is: Is your impact today going to be positive, negative, or indifferent?
I have been told that one person can't make a difference.
I affectionately call these people "dummies"...
Those who actively try to hold the rest of us down,
those who would rather watch you drown than help you soar, those who can't grasp the power of positivity to create change.
Whether it's a great recipe found, or an uplifting story to share, you can be sure to find it here.
Let's start a Positivity Revolution, and drown out the dumb!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Caving at Christmas

So...I totally caved at the Christmas party. The Broadmoor is the most gorgeous hotel in Colorado, and I had the opportunity to be my bestie's Plus One for her company's holiday shindig. There was amazing food at every turn, most of which included meat. So I caved. The vino may have helped me forget the reasons I wanted to become vegetarian, and it definitely helped to choke down really delicious meat without thinking about the animals. And since I did it one night, I decided to do it the next, when our very good friends took us out for an incredible Italian feast. I can't be the girl who eats only salad when we go out!

I won't beat myself up about the two (or three) mishaps over the past few weeks, but I have to say, I woke up feeling gross this morning. It wasn't even a "bloated" feeling, it was like a rock was sitting in my tummy. So I think it's fair to say that my body simply responds better to a veggie lifestyle. And the best part is I eat so much more bread now. I eat all kinds of sandwiches and pastas, and I actually feel lighter and better than I did before. It's insane, and wonderful.

I attempted for the second time in my life to make tofu tonight, and I'm trying to convince myself it's like chicken (it's not). But, the fact that I don't have to wonder if the tofu had a good life, and I know I'm going to wake up tomorrow feeling great, is good enough to deal with some minor changes. I figure, even if I were to cut out meat 90% of the time, I can drastically reduce my impact on both animal cruelty and the environmental impact of agribusiness. But being crazy strict? Not my style.

Purple teeth ladies!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Powering Through

When I'm not napping on a plane, I like to ponder and write. This is the result of my in-flight thoughts this morning...

I am a feminist, which means I believe that the path to success for a man or woman should be basically the same. My definition of success personally is doing anything I want, within reason, without thinking as to the cost. I don't want fancy yachts or servants, I just want to live comfortably, travel often, eat at gorgeous restaurants and drink expensive wine. The thing is, the roadmap to becoming successful for a man and the roadmap to becoming successful as a woman are totally different. There are subtle, yet powerful obstacles in my way.

Even if I have the same views and goals as a man, the fact that I have breasts means that any after-hours business meeting teeters between a date and an actual meeting. If I have too much wine, I'm unprofessional (not so for a man). Conversations quickly meander from professional to relationship-based. I get questioned about past relationships, current relationships, and the reason why I may or may not be in love with someone. Totally inappropriate and uncomfortable, FYI.

Looks is important in business, as it is everywhere else in our backwards society...If I am good looking, men are more likely to do business with me, especially one-on-one, but it does not mean that they respect me. If I am not traditionally good looking, I won't get the attention that someone else may get, even though my skills may be far beyond their reach. If I eat too much, or eat too little, or am overly agreeable, or too argumentative, I am judged. Whereas a man would be commended for sticking to his guns no matter the circumstance, women are scrutinized at every opportunity.

Take the fact that I'm not married. When it dawns on me that my business meeting may be construed as something more, I play the boyfriend card. I do have a boyfriend, but I should never feel the need to divulge something personal about myself in order to keep a meeting professional. In these circumstances, it become immediately apparent that although it was clear in my mind that nothing about this was a date, that they were hoping for something more. More often than not, I leave my one-on-ones feeling dejected, devalued, and uninspired. I never know if someone is dealing with me for my business sense or for my looks.

How are women supposed to become truly successful in business when the men we do business with can't grasp or respect boundaries? Why should I have to monitor my every action in the hopes that I am continually perceived as professional? Anyone in the sales business knows that networking is huge, and I won't stop. But I've got to come to terms with the fact that no matter how I act, there will always be those who don't show respect. All we can do is push on.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Easing into a Vegan

Sounds kinda dirty, doesn't it? I can't help myself.

I'm about four days into my newfound interest into vegetarianism, and every time I open my fridge or look at delicious cheese or think about eating a succulent steak, all I can see in my mind is animals being tortured. It's the worst, mostly because I really enjoy eating animals, especially bacon and cheese.

We went to Happy Hour tonight, and I tried to plead my case without being obnoxious or high-and-mighty. I think that's the thing I hate most about this: I could totally give up all the meat I love for the love of animals and the planet, but I feel like I look like a jackass. Every time we go out, are my friends going to look at me and wonder what I'll eat, what I'll pass up, and if I'll make others uncomfortable by talking about my newfound beliefs? I worry about Christmas, when my sister will be preparing an amazing rare prime rib for dinner, and all I can think about is a cow suffering. What about when my boyfriend comes back and finds that our favorite pastime (ahem, eating) has to now be carefully planned? Will I hold to my beliefs, along with holding their interest? And furthermore, why should I even care? It's not like I'm trying to convert anyone, but I feel like I have to have an explanation. I have been devouring bacon like it's going out of style, and I've not had much regard for where food comes from since I was 9 years old. I take pride in eating everything, especially being able to eat more than dudes. Who am I without these pieces that I have allowed to define me? Will I still be interesting, sexy, and fun while standing up for what I believe in?

This experience is frankly, terrifying so far. I've had to start over from scratch a few times in my life, but this is altogether a different experience. There's such a negative, uptight stigma surrounding vegans and vegetarians. I don't want to be one of those people that my friends roll their eyes when we go out to eat. But I also can't eat irresponsibly anymore. Here's to trusting it will get better...

Saturday, December 5, 2015

What they don't tell you

I am so deeply proud of my military man.

When we decided to be "boyfriend/girlfriend", I knew it would mean staying together through his eight-month deployment. We made the most of the time we had together here, and crammed fun activities into every moment until he left. I had no idea what dating someone who deployed would be like, but I got my first taste on the drive home from the airport. I cried the entire way back to my house to crawl into bed, all the while trying to get it through my head that this was not forever. The emotional side of me always wins.

After my tears dried up, I took action and researched, mostly because I'm a giant nerd and partly because I refuse to be a Mopey-McGoo for eight months. I read a bunch of articles from military wives and girlfriends, pieces about what to send in care packages, and how to generally cope with a deployment. What I learned was that the process goes something like this:
1) Take up a hobby. Done, I am a workaholic and obsessed with crafts.
2) Start a daily schedule, and stick with it. I'm terrible at this, because I'm super ADD. This is still not getting done.
3) Find others to hang out with and provide support. I have the most amazing, supportive family and friends, who never tell me I'm annoying them with all my "miss my boyfriend" talk. Done.
4) Be overwhelmingly positive when talking to your partner, they are under a ton of stress. Not great at this one, but I'm trying to be better.
5) Send care packages, write letters, Skype. Done and Done. The best part of my day is when we get to text or video chat. And I love sending packages! The post office ladies have been incredibly kind and patient with my ignorance about shipping overseas.

These are all helpful bits of knowledge, and I am so thankful for the Googles. I couldn't help but wonder if the articles purposely leave this out; but no one talks about the loneliness and worry and guilt that is the daily life of the SO. I am in no way complaining about my relationship; I am counting down till he gets back home, and I think we're doing an awesome job making the best out of this deployment. But all the articles in the world could not have prepared me for the emotions that I've experienced over the past few months. Having the strictest schedule every day wouldn't make me worry any less; having friends and family doesn't make me less lonely at night, when I just want to know that he's home and safe. And then there's the guilt... I have a wonderful life; I get to do whatever I want, eat whatever I want, go anywhere at anytime; and he is stuck. I tell him everything, but there's always that guilt in the back of my mind, like I'm rubbing it in. In reality, I'm making mental lists of all the things we get to do together next year.

In conclusion, I would give this advice to anyone facing a long deployment, especially for a first-timer like me:
1) You WILL get lonely. Don't stray. If you find yourself doing something that you wouldn't do with your SO around, stop.
2) You might cry some days more than others, or not at all. Don't let your emotions interrupt your life here.
3) Send care packages often. They're so fun to put together, and only cost about $12 to ship to an APO.
4) Keep busy. Men can be wonderfully time-sucking, and a deployment provides a perfect opportunity to be a little selfish and do something only for yourself.
5) Tell your SO everything. Communication is the only thing you have to keep your bond strong over the months and miles.

Thank you to all who serve our great country, and to their families who also must sacrifice.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Ignorance is Not Key

I like to watch random videos in bed before I force myself to start the day. It's not something I'm necessarily proud of, and it's probably a terrible habit, but it happens. I'll go on Facebook, which has oh-so many random bits of nonsense, and watch clips, which lead to other similar clips, and so on. I have a knack for finding the heart-jerkers, like dogs welcoming their military owners home after a deployment (those are my fave), and can sit there and just cry. Feels good most of the time. But this morning, I followed the wrong string, and wound up a changed person.

Everyone knows I love bacon. I love steak and beef and pork and chicken and eggs...I truly enjoy eating all of God's creatures! Until this morning. I was a carefree bacon-lover when I woke up this morning. Flipping through randoms, I saw a video about almond milk. "Hey, I like almond milk!" I thought to myself, and continued onto the next recommended video. This one was about dairy farms. I clicked Play, even though I typically avoid this kind of content. It's upsetting, I always cry, and then my eyes are red and face is puffy for the rest of the afternoon. This morning, for whatever reason, I watched the entire video about a secret investigation into dairy farms in Australia (funny thing is, the same thing happens here in the good old USA). It was horrifying. You wouldn't think that something as simple as milk would cause so much abuse and pain for the cows, and especially not the calves, but it's rampant and disgusting.

I could deal with the babies being taken away from their mothers, even while the cow is running after the vehicle that has her newborn calf...I could deal with the fact that cows have to give birth once per year in order to keep milking, although it was borderline upsetting...What tipped me over the edge into full-blown sob-mode was watching the farmers (can you even call them that?) kick, punch, throw, and drag baby calves around; trying to get them away from their mothers, throwing them into trucks, using electric prods in their faces to move them along the conveyor belt to slaughter. I understand there may not be a financial need for a calf in their eyes, but why torture them during their short lives? I don't understand. You can check out some really horrific videos at milkiscruel.com.

I pulled myself together after a bit and decided that a Starbuck's breakfast would make me feel better. After all, I don't drink milk, and I am totally addicted to their Bacon Gouda Breakfast Sandwiches! But when I pulled into the parking lot, I pulled right back out. The thought of putting food in my mouth that had likely been tortured, regardless of how utterly delicious and salty it would be, was no longer an option. I've lost it. I've lost my love of bacon. Which is a sad, very sad realization for me; but not as sad as seeing those animals being tortured.

I wanted to document this, because it's going to be hard. I want to remember how I feel right now, and remember that no matter how much shit people may give me, it's not their decision. It's mine. And I'm not going to go around preaching about the terrors of meat to everyone. I just choose not to participate anymore in mass-produced meat and meat products. It's because of the torture, not because I think we aren't supposed to eat animals (because I totally do).

So my goals now are to: 1) Clean out my fridge and give everything I no longer want to my bestie. 2) Find a local farm to buy eggs from, supposing they are free-range. (BONUS: I get to support local farmers who do the right thing). 3) Arrange a visit to the local slaughterhouse for me and my mom. She's totally down, and I'd like to see what happens. 4) Find a local farm who treats their animals humanely, to buy steak and chicken from (and maybe even bacon). If I can't find a place, I can live (mostly) meat-free. I already buy organic chicken, hoping it's free-range, but if I could purchase from a humane source, that's what I'll do. Plus, I could eat fish forever. This gives me an excuse to get the super-pricey fish special when I go out instead of the filet mignon!

Stay tuned: This is just the beginning.