Book Review: Body Positive Power

Megan Crabbe runs a popular Instagram account, @bodyposipanda, that I’ve been an avid follower of for a while now. Megan’s insta is bright, colorful and fun, but most importantly, it is focused around the body positive movement and self love! Crabbe encourages the acceptance of all body types and pushes for the dismantling of our culture’s fat-phobia.

As a woman who has struggled with my body image for as long as I can remember, Megan has become a true inspiration to me. I finally took the time to read her book, Body Positive Power, and I truly found myself radiating with self-love. Personally, my favorite part of the entire book was her dedication to explaining why diet culture is so problematic. She discusses things like intuitive eating and reminds you that it’s really okay to just eat pizza and not feel guilty about it [treat yourself, girl]! 

Megan’s book redefines what ‘flattering’ clothing is and encourages you to dress how you like. After reading this I found myself online shopping for clothes I would’ve never dreamt of buying a week prior. It’s important for women and girls to wear what they like, feel confident in their own skin and express themselves through their own style. She breaks down the limitations you might have on yourself and your clothing style. Seriously—you’ll be reconsidering everything in your closet and having a ‘screw it’ mentality. Wear what you want!

An important theme in Megan’s book surrounds exercise and why we should do it. Should we do it to get skinny and have a ‘summer’ body? Absolutely not! Exercise is meant to bring you happiness, health and keep you active. It is not meant to guilt you and make you feel like something is wrong with your body the way it is right now. Go to that cycling class because it makes you happy, don’t go because society told you being skinny is equal to being perfect.

Body Positive Power will leave you second guessing everything you used to know and present you with a new perception of the world and it’s incredibly empowering! After reading this book I’ve found myself telling everyone I know to follow Megan on Instagram, buy this book and toss out everything they think they know about dieting and exercise. It’s time to change your life, girl. Go read this book!

Discover: Dayton, Ohio

While Dayton, Ohio is not as big as its neighboring cities, it is just as full of culture and rich history. Tourists will often just visit Dayton for the Air Force museum and to learn more about the Wright Brothers [Dayton is the birthplace of aviation], but Dayton has so much more to offer. We have a wide variety of places to visit, with something new and exciting around every corner. I’m going to share with you my three favorite ways to spend the day in Dayton!

2ndStreet Market

On the weekends I often myself drawn to the 2nd Street Market. Located downtown, it’s a market with a variety of vendors.In a remodeled factory in the heart of the city, the market is both pleasing to the eye and a piece of Dayton history. From produce to handmade jewelry, the market has it all. My personal favorite booth, Rahn’s Bread’s, is a must. They have fresh baked breads, pastries and muffins that’ll blow you away. I HIGHLY recommend the blackberry Danish and ciabatta loaf. Aside from fresh groceries, I also enjoy eating at many of the food vendors within the market for breakfast and lunch. The market has many lunch options, from Mediterranean cuisine to Mexican street food. After your grocery shopping and lunch splurge, it’s nice to wander through the rest of the market and visit the booths owned by local artists and entrepreneurs. It’s always a good day to shop local!

Oregon District

Only a few blocks away from the 2nd Street Market is the historical Oregon District in Downtown Dayton. The Oregon district is home to several bars, restaurants and boutiques. However, my favorite shop has always been Omega Music. Having been a loyal customer for years, I cannot recommend a better place to pick up all your vinyl needs, although I may be a little biased. Aside from vinyl records, they have a large selection of CD’s, cassettes and turntables. Although it’s received a name change, Omega Music has been around for decades, always blessing the Dayton area with the best music finds. Another shop that’s always worth checking out is Heart Mercantile. They sell all kinds of knick-knacks, funny mugs, Dayton t-shirts and the best greeting cards you’ll ever find. Whenever I am in search for a birthday present, Heart Mercantile is my first stop!

Yellow Springs

Often referred to as a hippie oasis, Yellow Springs is a must-do when visiting Dayton. Located about 25 minutes outside of downtown, it’s a short drive to enter an entire new world. The town is filled with boutiques, coffee shops, and even a comic book store. It has something for everyone to enjoy. The town is one of love, acceptance, community and is the perfect get-away from everyday stress. Home to many mom-and-pop shops, environmentally friendly goods and the strongest hippie aesthetic, you can’t go wrong with Yellow Springs. Just outside of town is some of the best day hiking in southwest Ohio. I recommend taking the time to visit the Clifton Gorge and John Bryan State Park. Once you’ve finished your shopping, hiking and coffee stops be sure to stop by Young’s Jersey Dairy for the best locally made ice cream and cheese curds [made right on the farm]!

Bonnaroo Music Festival: A Community of Love and Music

“We are all connected here tonight. Don’t let anyone tell you this feeling isn’t real, because we all know it is.” These words were spoken by Childish Gambino on Friday night of the Bonnaroo Music Festival, and I couldn’t think of a better phrase to sum up my first experience. Anyone lucky enough to find themselves at the farm this year would agree. Bonnaroo isn’t only a four-day music experience, but a chance to disconnect from the outside world and submerge yourself into a community of love, acceptance and happiness and that is exactly what I did.

Bonnaroo is located on a 650-acre farm [It’s seriously HUGE] in Tennessee. It features six main stages, with many more tents for smaller performances. This year, headliners included Childish Gambino, Post Malone, Phish and The Lumineers. Although music festival ticket prices can be intimidating, I knew I couldn’t pass up a lineup like this one. 

The first day, I was determined to see many small bands like Peach Pit, Caroline Rose, and Magic City Hippies. I had been playing them on repeat during the weeks leading up to the festival. I figured their crowds would be more intimate since their music was less known. I was incredibly wrong. Unlike what I expected, every band at Bonnaroo came with an energetic, passionate crowd. I assumed people attended the festival for the headliners or certain bands they knew and ignored the smaller ones. I had been so accustomed to opening bands at concerts never receiving the same energy as their headliners. However, at Bonnaroo, people made an effort to learn the music of every band they planned on seeing. Not only was I surprised, but the artists were too. Many performers were happily shocked with a crowd that sang every line of every song.

Friday evening,  Childish Gambino took the stage. I’ve seen Childish in concert before, so I knew I was in for another amazing performance. I was even lucky enough to secure a spot only a few rows back from the pit, so I had an amazing view. When he finally came on I felt myself in awe of the atmosphere. I truly felt connected with the crowd around me. Childish Gambino’s energy was unlike anything I had seen before. I could feel the passion he was putting into the show, putting every single bit of himself into each song. 

Childish Gambino’s Bonnaroo performance outdid the time I had seen him before by tenfold. Just as I was questioning if everyone else was experiencing the same level of pure joy as me, he said it was time to rate the crowd [he does this at every show] and gifted us with an unmatchable score of, “unreal.” The crowd was awestruck by his energy and he said the feeling was mutual. I feel confident in saying I’ve seen one of the best shows Childish has ever put on, all thanks to Bonnaroo.

I assumed my weekend had peaked at the Childish Gambino set. Once again, I was wrong. Post Malone’s set was the following night and I was blown away. In fact, it’s difficult for me to explain just how amazing his show was. I had another amazing view of the stage and I was surrounded by three of my favorite people in the entire world. Post Malone gave it his all, he truly sang his heart out and the four of us chanted back every line of every song. During his set I had the realization that I was flooded with nothing other than pure joy. The image of me and my friends [with huge grins across our faces] watching one of the best shows I’ve ever seen will be happily tucked away in my memories for the rest of my days, and I am so thankful.

Bonnaroo offered up so many experiences I thought I would never have. When checking out a booth owned by Good Dye Young [a hair dye company] I was lucky enough to meet THE Hayley Williams [lead singer of Paramore and founder of Good Dye Young]. I would’ve never guessed I’d be meeting such a lifelong idol of mine at Bonnaroo, but all of my other expectations were exceeded, were they not? Aside from meeting such an amazing person, I had to get my hair done up with their temporary color products. For those of you who love fun hair, but don’t love permanent, I highly recommend Good Dye Young’s poser paste! 

Sitting here reminiscing about my Bonnaroo experience already has me counting the days until I can get back to the farm. I was incredibly moved by the atmosphere at Bonnaroo, I had never felt so safe and accepted among so many strangers. It felt good, really good, to be in such a state of happiness. Even when I accidentally missed a set by a favorite band of mine, Hippo Campus, I found myself brushing it off much faster than I thought. Although I didn’t get to see them live, nothing is ever really that bad when you’re at the farm. If you find yourself unsure of making the leap to attend Bonnaroo next year, I urge you to just do it. You’ll find yourself immersed in a haven of love, friendship, and best of all, music.

The Importance of Love Language

They always say to treat others the way you want to be treated, but is that really the best solution? Early in my high school years I remember learning about love languages. They didn’t mean much to me then but since have become a vital aspect of communication in all of my relationships. There are five main love languages, the first being words of affirmation. This means that an individuals communication and sense of love is rooted in words and compliments. The second, physical touch, is easy to understand. A simple hug, kiss or touch of the hand can speak louder than words. The next language is receiving gifts. A meaningful gift can mean everything to individual if this is their love language. It lets them know you’re thinking about them even when you aren’t around. Quality time is about giving the other person your undivided attention. It’s important to set aside time for one-on-one conversations. Lastly, my personal love language: acts of service. Always having a busy schedule, I respond well when my partner does simple tasks to my life easier, such as the dishes, laundry or running an errand.

In every romantic relationship I’ve ever had, I’ve always strived to understand my partner’s love language. I would work tirelessly at our communication and we were always attempting to develop the best method to understand each other’s emotions. My partner responds to words of affirmation and I’ve always taken to acts of service. Aside from our love languages, we regularly practice open communication. Whenever there is an issue we encourage each other to speak direct and honest. Once we established these guidelines for our communication, our relationship blossomed.

It wasn’t until later in my sophomore year of college that I realized I neglected to work as hard at communication within my friendships. The effort I put into my relationship with my partner should also be applied into all of my friendships. It’s important to regularly check in with your friends, encourage open communications and have a good understanding of each other’s love language.

A dear friend of mine, Hailey, and I have worked on our communication these past few weeks. I can confidently say that I have never felt closer to her. When we finally took the time out of our lives to sit down and talk, really talk, we had so many revelations. Not only did we discover the importance we hold within each other’s lives, but we realized some misunderstandings we both held onto. It was difficult to realize that for years of our lives we miscommunicated in a way that kept us from growing even closer. Hailey didn’t always realize the true intentions behind my decisions, and I wasn’t always speaking her love language. I found myself reacting to her decisions in the way I would want others to react toward me. However, we are not the same person and we perceive the world differently. When Hailey is going through a difficult time, I tend to become a problem-solver when what she really needs is a listening ear and sympathy. It’s not always my job to problem-solve. Instead, it’s my job to listen to what my friend has to say and offer comfort in the way she likes best. Having this newfound understanding of each other’s preferences has allowed our friendship to thrive. I have always felt close to Hailey, but now I feel even more like her family.

Having an understanding of your own love language and the love languages of your friends is such a rewarding experience. It’s important to communicate in a way that your friends and family members feel most valued. Since working on my friendship with Hailey, I’ve made a conscious effort to recognize the love languages of everyone involved in my life and I encourage them to do the same.

Behind the Bills

In the past three months the United States has seen multiple restrictive anti-abortion bills enacted by as Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio. None of the bills have yet to take effect and many are hoping that they’ll be blocked while moving through the courts. Aside from the bills that have passed, like the House Bill 258 in Ohio, we’re seeing new legislation and proposed bills popping up all over the country.

Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Georgia have all passed similar bills surrounding the “heartbeat law”.This means it will be illegal for a woman to receive an abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. For many, this can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy [4 weeks after a missed period]. Most women don’t even know they’re pregnant before six weeks. Alabama notoriously enacted the most restrictive abortion law within in the United States, the Alabama House Bill 314. This bill completely bans abortion in most cases, not even providing an exception to cases of rape or incest and will sentence doctors who perform abortions with up to a life sentence in prison [read more here].

Women, like all humans, deserve the fundamental right to their bodies. Restricting access to abortion takes away this right. It is not the right of governing officials to decide what a woman can and cannot do with her body, it is a decision that only she can make for herself. It is also important to note that the majority of individuals signing these bills are cisgender men. Why are we expected to believe that a man has any idea of what is best for a woman’s body? This is a recurring issue seen within our patriarchal system. Men of power believe they have the right to control a woman’s body, and by extension, this will bring the control over their political freedoms and personhood. This explains why there are bills, such as the one in Alabama, making it a felony to get an abortion. Felons can’t vote.

However, this is not only an issue of sex, but an issue of race. Alongside many of the white men signing these bills has been the support of white women. According to The National Women’s Health Network, the health care of women of color and low-income women is already lacking in the United States and these abortion bans are going to make it much worse. Those who have the privilege and the money will easily figure out another way to acquire an abortion and birth control if needed, but women of color and low-income women do not have this privilege. Instead, this will lead to the less privileged women attempting to end their own pregnancies in unsafe ways, which can result in horrible injuries and many deaths. Abortions were around before Roe v. Wade, and will continue to be around even if it’s overturned. And much like we did during Roe v. Wade, we are only asking to keep access to safe and legal abortions. The personal is political, we recognized it then and we will continue to recognize it now.

The bills enacted under the Heartbeat Law and in Alabama alike are unconstitutional. They infringe upon the decision set in place by the Supreme Court in the 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, which gave women the right to an abortion. The current peak in pro-life bills is anything but coincidental. Many right winged, pro-life individuals are hoping to take the abortion bills to the Supreme Court as the current members are predicted to be more in favor of their laws than the those who preceded them. The ultimate goal is to overturn Roe v. Wade and take away a women’s decision to get an abortion. [Read More Here]

It is time for this country’s citizens to come together against the face of oppression. It is not a debate of who is allowed to get an abortion, what circumstances allow for an abortion, or who can afford one; it is a debate of whether or not we should give women the right to their own bodies. For me, the answer is simple: women will have the fundamental and constitutional right to their bodies just like anyone else. Women will decide when an abortion is right for them, regardless of circumstances. Women will decide if and when they want to become mothers. It is her body and her choice as an individual.

It can take months and even years for the Supreme Court to decide to hear a case. It is also unlikely for the Supreme Court to take on such a large case during the presidential election year. However, that doesn’t mean we are in the clear. There is a long road ahead for the Roe v. Wade ruling and it is crucial for individuals to do what they can to prevent it from being overturned. We will not stand by as people strive to take away everything women have worked for in this country. Now is the time to call your representatives, donate, and most importantly, vote in your next election.