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!

Four Differences Between Full-time Work and School

Ideally, college students use summer break for a breath of fresh air. Away from the academics and stress of school, the pause from action is needed for many. But realistically, most students work full time, instead.

Working full time requires long hours, filled with mindless tasks only to receive minimum wage and coming home to unwind from a hectic shift. Then, maybe even, getting ready to go to a second job. The struggle at home is balancing a social life and trying to make some extra spending money for when you move back to school in the fall. 

Now, going to school full time is very similar, but there is a little more understanding to having a crazy schedule and stretching yourself thin. Professors and advisors understand you’re a student first, and academics are your top priority. But, responsibility lands on your shoulders if you are manning clubs and extracurriculars.

Here are the four major differences I realized this summer between being a full-time worker versus being a full-time student.

Required Uniform

The company polo and khaki shorts are out of style! The multiple loads of laundry a week to keep the uniform clean and professional for all of the customers is gone, and casual campus wear is back in. Of course, some events might require a little bit of dressing up and effort. But, nothing will ever replace the iconic ponytail and company t-shirt look.

A Revival of a Social Life

You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your co-workers. Depending on how many jobs you balanced over the summer [for example, I had three over the break!], time for friends and family might have been scarce. From the moment you step on campus, you are surrounded by young adults all around the same age. Being productive with your friends is ideal, with coffee dates and study sessions at the library. 

A Lack of Cash

This is probably the worst part of returning back to being a full-time student. Money gets stretched thin and every dollar counts toward the end of the semester. On the other hand, though, the summer is filled with spontaneous ice cream trips and purchases because of the biweekly paychecks and extra tip money in your pocket.

Home Cooked Meals Are Rare

Living at home and working over the summer has its benefits, like having dinner ready when you get home after a long day. A meal on the table is always nice, but that disappears once you’re back on your own as a one-man-band. Dining halls and microwave meals in your dorm are the main entrees.

Road to Graduation: Making the Most of the Lasts

Skipping kindergarten has caused me to always be the youngest person in my grade. Throughout middle school and high school, that never bothered me [minus the period when all of my friends got their driver’s licenses and I still had a year to go]. Even when I graduated high school and began my first semester of college, before I turned eighteen, I didn’t feel different than all of the others who were doing the same. However, since starting my third and final year of college, it’s all began to rush towards me. 

After coming into college with some credits from high school and taking 18 or more credit hours a semester during my first two years of college, I’m now graduating early. I came into college with the intention of being able to graduate at least a semester, if not two, early [just one less semester is a couple thousand dollars less in student loans!]. Yet, now that I’ve managed to cut off almost a year’s worth of classes, I’m suddenly realizing how close I am to having to be a functioning adult in the “real” world. Not to mention, the fact that I won’t even be twenty-one by the time I graduate is not helping with the anxiety. How can I be a real adult if I can’t even have an adult drink?

With all of this stress about going out in the “real” world looming nearby, I’m trying to make the most of my last two semesters on campus. This is the first semester that I’m taking less than 15 credit hours and I’m so glad that I made the decision to lighten up on classes. This allows me to better dedicate myself to my on-campus internship and gives me the opportunity to take on bigger roles in the organizations I am involved in on campus. It also gives me more free time to hang out with my friends and to create memories that I know I’ll forever be grateful for. 

I’m only one week into the fall semester, but I already know that it’s going to be a semester that I’ll never forget. I can’t wait to see how I grow during not only this semester but this school year as a whole and all the people I will connect with during my last year as an Ohio University student.

Putting my own Twist on my Dorm Room

Living in the dorms can be both the best and worst part of college. For some, it’s exciting to live with a roommate, but others absolutely dread it. My first two years living in the dorms have been great experiences. This year I am going into my third year living in a dorm because I work as a Resident Assistant [RA]. This is my second year working as an RA and a wonderful perk of the job is getting my own free room! This leaves me with a whole double-sized dorm to myself — and I get to style it myself too. \

Dorm decorating was one of the most exciting things for me when coming to college. Because I am going into my third year living in the dorms, I’ve outgrown some decor and acquired some new items.. When shopping for decor, I am constantly looking for items that are budget friendly [as always] and/or items that I will be able to use in my future apartment. 

IMG_0866

This year I took a lot of inspo for my dorm decorations from Pinterest and Instagram. I have been really into vintage patterned rugs and the colors of a sunset. The rug I have is the cutest burnt orange patterned rug that was given to me as a hand me down from my parents [thanks mom and dad, you saved me 200 dollars!]. This rug is the focal point of my room and the basis for my color scheme.

IMG_9502-2 (1)

My bedspread is the same one I’ve had since my junior year of high school. It’s a queen-sized fluffy grey comforter from Target. The oversized bedspread helps hide the ~unattractive~ storage under my bed and also makes the generic twin xl dorm bed look way more cozy. 

IMG_9498-2 (1)

This year, my room has a cute window nook that I decided to put my bed into. With my headboard against the window, paired with my fluffy comforter and fairy lights, I’ve created such a cozy feel that makes it so hard to get out of bed in the mornings. At the foot of my bed sits a beat up vintage trunk from my dad’s college years. This trunk is the perfect storage for my winter clothes, but still adds a bit of style to the room.

IMG_9489-2

IMG_9504-2 (1)

To the right of my bed is another little nook with my desk and futon. Freshman year of college I bought this desk hutch that not only helps me keep organized but adds a nice touch to my desk. On the hutch, I added some decor items like an old polaroid camera [found at goodwill for 4 dollars!], a skull shaped bottle and old, orange tins to tie together some of  my room colors. Right next to my desk is a black futon from IKEA that I got on sale for 75 dollars— it’s super simple looking, but I spiced it up with a blush pink knit throw blanket and a patterned pillow. The wall above the futon is currently bare, but I am waiting to get a tapestry from Urban Outfitters to help cover up the blank wall. Tapestries are such an easy way to spice up a dorm room. The slanted wall across the way is the perfect blank canvas for a gallery wall where I’ve hung a collection of different girl-power inspired prints and pictures, from my #INCHAARG sticker to the Planned Parenthood poster I held at the 2019 Women’s March on Washington. 

IMG_9491-2

On the other side of the room is less exciting as it holds my makeshift kitchen nook with a fridge and microwave. Right next to that is my mirror and sink. I made it into more of a vanity by moving my desk chair to the sink [let’s be real, no homework is getting done at my dorm desk — that’s what Sunday’s at Donkey Coffee are meant for]. To make this area look a little cuter, I organized my skincare products and makeup items and put them on display. 

IMG_9487-2

My dorm has really come together after a few weeks of moving in. I am still looking for a few more items to spruce up the space, such as a large, floor length mirror and the tapestry from UO. I love my space and decorating it makes it feel so homey. I am excited for this to be my dorm for the year!

Discover: New York City [In 24 Hours]

Recently, I had the opportunity to take a weekend visit to one of my favorite places:New York City. However, I only had 24 hours in this incredible city. There are endless amounts of activities to do in the city; how could I possibly narrow it down to only a couple, and still make the most out of the experience? Luckily, with the help of my sister, who is a Soho local, I was able to find some cute, unique spots around her neck of the woods.

After three hours of driving, my dad, brother and I arrived around lunchtime and decided to meet up at Baz Bagel and Restaurant to grab something to eat. The small cafe on Grand Street scream “old fashioned” with its black and white tiles and framed pictures [and a basket of free postcards] of vintage female icons, like Celine Dion and Judy Garland. Baz’s menu is filled with healthy soups, salads, and [most importantly] bagels. You can keep it simple and order their homemade bagels plain, or you can get one of their specialty bagels like Baz, Super Nova, or Rainbow Kitty. I opted for the Vegan Avocado Toast, a wheat bagel topped with smashed avocado, cucumber, tomato and Baz’s housemade everything seasoning [think Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel seasoning, but even better]. I highly recommend Baz Bagel & Restaurant— I walked out happy, full and carrying a Barbara Streisand postcard. 

After lunch, we wandered down the main shopping streets of SoHo. If for some reason you can’t find anything to do in NYC, these few blocks of shops could keep you entertained for days. There’s something for everyone, with shops ranging from Glossier and Louis Vuitton to Champion and Madewell. While strolling down Broadway, we stumbled across The Lion King interactive pop up, at Dolby SoHo. Founded in 1965, Dolby was the first company to introduce 5.1 surround sound into the cinema world, and they now focus on expanding that technology from the theater into the home. This free experience featured a number of immersive experiences that Dolby offers, including a four-wall projection of The Lion King trailer and the chance to try out Dolby’s audio mixing program. As a media major, I was immediately intrigued. Not only did it show off the Dolby products that you can buy in stores, like their TVs and headphones, but it showed some of the programs they use behind the scenes to create surround sound and 4k visuals. I’m so glad we stumbled on this experience, and although this one was only in SoHo for a limited time, there are always shops and experiences popping up throughout the city year-round that you could find.

Beginning to lose energy, we decided we needed a little pick-me-up. Instead of going to a coffee shop, my sister took us to one of her favorite places to get a midday treat: a Cha Cha Matcha. This pink and palm tree decorated SoHo café specializes in a variety of hot and cold matcha green tea drinks. Their super-powered green tea has just as much caffeine as coffee but doesn’t give you the anxious jitters and heavy crash afterward. As someone who is definitely not a tea person, I was hesitant to try a matcha drink. However, I tried an iced matcha latte with oat milk and was surprised by how much I actually liked it [after I got over the grassy aftertaste]. I’ll definitely always be more of a coffee person, but I’m happy I’ve discovered this less jittery caffeine alternative.

For the rest of the time we were in the city, we wandered down the streets of Chinatown and Little Italy. We meandered through the crowds, amazed at how many Italian restaurants could be tucked into one block. We eventually decided to stop at a small Italian restaurant that focused mostly on specialty pizzas. I honestly couldn’t tell you the name of the  place, but I will never forget the taste of their pizza. It was a fresh mozzarella and homemade tomato-sauce heaven. If I ever find myself in this area again, I’ll scour every end of Little Italy to find this restaurant. 

When we were looking for something fun to do after dinner, we found the Chinatown Family Fun Center [shoutout to my sister for this secret local hangout]. Tucked in between tourist shops and bubble tea cafés, this arcade is a hidden treasure. It’s full of various arcade games like skee ball, air hockey and at least three separate versions of Dance, Dance Revolution. Stepping inside was like stepping out of the chaos of the city and into a completely different realm, where you could take a minute to relax and forget about the world outside. You could come in for ten minutes on a lunch break or stay for hours trying to beat the highest DDR record, but either way you’ll walk out smiling [and maybe with a 15-ticket-worth plastic dinosaur like me].

Even though I only had the chance to be in New York City for a short amount of time, I took every second I was there to my advantage and got to visit a ton of new places, try new foods and make memories I’ll keep with me forever. If you ever have the opportunity to visit a new place, even if it’s just for a day, I promise that it would be worth it.

Reflection: Halfway to Graduation

This year I will be going into my junior year of college— and wow, that feels weird to say. I know everyone you will ever speak to about college will say this, but college really does fly by. It doesn’t feel like it’s been two years and I sure as hell am not ready for real adulthood in just two more years. Over these two years, I have rediscovered myself, made amazing new friends, developed new skills and learned so many life lessons that I will carry with me long after I walk out of the Convocation Center, diploma in hand. 

Now that I am moved onto campus for junior year and am looking at apartments for my senior year, it is finally hitting me how soon college is coming to a close. I am starting to realize how these life-changing people I’ve met will be parting ways to do amazing things. It first hit me when I was on a long car ride and “I’ll Always Remember You” by Hannah Montana came on [this is cheesy, I know]. Every aspect of the song hit me so hard it brought me to tears. The lyrics to the sheer fact that the song is a near and dear part of my childhood. 

All of these realizations that have come to mind have led me to some reflection of my college experience.I need to take these next two years and cherish them. I have a hard time being present and living in the moment. It’s been something I’ve been trying to work on for a while, but it is super important to me that I be more present during these next two years. As time rolls on, I’ll start getting to my “lasts” and have to say goodbyes. I want to be able to fully enjoy every moment between now and then. 

College so far has been such an enjoyable experience and I am so excited to experience the rest of my journey . From the good to the bad, and everything in between, I’m going to cherish my junior and senior years with my people on this amazing campus.

Road to Graduation: Making Dreams a Reality

Three of our very own LVNG Limitless writers [Kenzie, Jess and myself] will be graduating from Ohio University in May. Over the next nine months, the three of us will share our personal insight on what this “Road to Graduation” is like, how we’re navigating our last year and the lessons we’re learning along the way. 

IMG_4328

Growing up, I always envisioned a specific future for myself: a college graduate living in an apartment in a big city with a best friend [or 5]. Every Monday through Friday, I will leave said apartment at the crack of dawn for my teaching job, donning professional attire, an oversized purse slung over one shoulder and, of course, a large cup of coffee gripped tightly in one hand. 

In less than a year, that will be my reality. 

IMG_1545

Today, I began my last first day of college. My last first day of work. My last first day as an undergraduate student. My entire college career has been a whirlwind. After moving from Chicago to start college at San Diego State University, taking a gap year my second year to work and volunteer abroad in Peru, I finally [somehow] ended up at my second home: Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where I will have studied abroad twice by the time I graduate. 

IMG_2615

I can’t say I’ve had a typical college experience, butI can’t say I’m shocked or upset. I’ve always been very conscious of what other people think of me. For a while, this made me think I was very indecisive. In reality, I’m the most decisive person on this planet. I know what I want and I always have. College has given me the chance to learn what I want and how to vocalize what I want and I know that I will only continue to learn how to do this. 

IMG_9552

I don’t know what next year has in store for me —I don’t even know what tomorrow has in store for me. But I do know one thing: I’m going to be enjoying this road to graduation for the next 35 weeks; taking in every feeling, living in every moment and participating in every possible adventure I can.

 

The Importance of Finding a Work/Life Balance

This summer flew by. I mean that in the most serious, non-exaggerated sense. It feels like just last week I was hauling all of my stuff out of my dorm room and back into my parents’ houses. I was nervous but eager to start my summer internship at Cincinnati Magazine and I was planning on filling my days with adventures around the city.

In reality, it’s been four months since my summer break started. As I sit here, at the end of the first day of my last week of interning, just one week before moving back to Athens, I can’t help but reflect on the reality of my summer. The summer exceeded my expectations in some ways but fell short in others. Regardless, with its highs and lows, this summer has given me countless lessons to incorporate into my everyday life from here on out. 

Something I didn’t anticipate at the beginning of the summer was just how much of my time would be spent working. Between 15 hours at my internship and around 28 hours at my retail job, I didn’t have nearly as much downtime as I had hoped. As a result, I didn’t have as much leisure time to go out and do things around the city. While this is a bummer, I did realize how important quality time with loved ones is. 

By the end of most of my days [after heading straight from interning to working], I was way too exhausted to even think about anything other than sitting around watching TV. While this may sound boring to some people, these were some of my favorite nights. Whether it was binge-watching Gilmore Girls with my boyfriend, having a face mask and movie night with my mom or watching movies and eating ice cream with my dad, those nights ended up being so special to me, especially considering I live away from home most of the year.

This isn’t to say that I just sat around all summer. Some of my favorite memories from the summer have been going to the drive-in movie theater for the first time [I’ve always wanted to be a romance novel cliche], attending LaureLive Music Festival for the first time and getting to catch up with friends from high school and elementary school that I don’t get to see often. 

I’ve also really enjoyed my internship this summer. Though this was my second summer interning with Cincinnati Magazine, I took on a completely different position. Rather than just fact-checking and pitching story ideas, I helped the magazine’s digital team upload online and social media content. Through this internship, I’ve realized that I want to do more as a journalist than just write. I’ve loved learning about audience engagement and the importance of an online presence in the quickly changing world of journalism and hope to continue to pursue this in my career. [I was even able to take tips I learned from the magazine and apply it to Backdrop magazine’s new website!]

Summer can be tough when you’re working almost full-time. It’s hard to balance work, internships, time with family and time with friends. But, the next time you start to feel overwhelmed remember these three tips:

  1. Don’t take quality time for granted
  2. Remember to spend some time trying new things
  3. Find something you’re passionate about to make workdays enjoyable

We’re still trying to find the perfect life balance as well [if that’s even possible], but we’re slowly getting there! Share with us on Instagram what you took away from your summer break.

How to be More Sustainable in a Dorm

This summer, I became very passionate about living a greener life. With a surplus of resources at home, this was simple to do.  I’m back on campus now and don’t want to drop these new habits I established,, so now, I’m trying to be more sustainable here at Ohio University.

All of us use a toothbrush everyday [hopefully] and dentists recommend we throw away our toothbrushes in exchange for a new one every 6 months. Just think about all of the toothbrushes sitting in landfills. Last spring I made the switch to an EcoFrenzy Bamboo Toothbrush. This toothbrush is 100% biodegradable and the packaging is even zero waste. Add a bit of a review and why bamboo is better.

Another part of my bathroom routine I transitioned to a more environmentally friendly option was the switch from liquid soap to bar soap. Bar soap has little to no packaging compared to the packaging and plastic when it comes to liquid soap. Bar soap also comes in the same variety of scents as liquid soap. This is saving a plastic bottle not only at my kitchen sink but also in the shower. Add a little bit of why else it’s better + link a few. 

Kitchen utensils [forks, knives, spoons,etc.] are also a huge part of our daily lives. My freshman year I got into a very bad habit of using plastic utensils because it was “easier”. I was too lazy to wash a metal fork and reusable plate after a meal in my dorm room. In the long run, buying reusable kitchenware saves money and is way better for the environment because you don’t have to throw away a paper plate, plastic, and spoon or knife after every meal you have in your dorm.

My freshman year, I did not use the recycling bin as it’s purpose instead I used it for extra waste. I’m embarrassed, but I learned, if I need another waste basket, I should go buy a cheap one from Walmart not substitute the recycling bin for waste. Don’t make the same mistake: use the recycling bin for its original purpose of putting less waste into landfills. 

Everyone preaches using reusable bags, but I always seem to forget mine or not have one when I need it. This summer I invested in these foldable reusable grocery bags. They come in packs of 5 and adorable patterns. The best part is that they fold small enough for me to put in my backpack or purse. This way when I make an unexpected trip to the grocery store I will still have my reusable bags. If you still forget your bags: always make sure you get paper over plastic at check out!

Last but not least, when I did my grocery shopping for my dorm I bought compostable garbage bags and reusable paper towels. You can reuse most reusable towels 10 times at least and they are usually machine washable. While you may not think about these, they are simple changes that make a big difference.

Four Trendy Outfits For Fashionistas on a Budget

Shopping for new clothes is easily one of my favorite activities. Picking out new pieces and putting together outfits is very exciting to me. What’s not exciting is having to spend lots of money on a new wardrobe. As a ~broke college student~, I always strive to find deals, sales and discount stores. Thrifting is my favorite way to shop for cheap clothes that won’t break the bank, and an added plus to thrifting is that is a sustainable way to shop. I’ve recently been trying to switch all my clothes shopping at second-hand stores, but it’s not always easy to find the specific items you’re looking for.

As I’ve been shopping a bit more for the back to school season, I’ve been collecting new items to change up my wardrobe. I put together a few outfits to wear for any occasion during the late summer months. All items in each outfit are all budget-friendly but still super cute. 

The first outfit is super easy to put together but still looks trendy. The base of the outfit is a pair of vintage Wrangler jeans [found for only $1.99!!] that I turned into shorts and a thrifted Harley Davidson tee tucked in. To spice up the outfit, I add a thrifted cheetah bandana [very trendy right now], hoop earrings, a few stacked necklaces and bracelets [I wear the same ones every day], and a mauve handbag from TJ Maxx. I top off the look with a pair of black slip-on vans and now it’s the perfect fit to wear just about anywhere. 

The next outfit is taking the same shorts from the first look [these shorts have been my go-to shorts all summer] and pairing it with an orange scarf tied as a shirt. This has been a huge trend that has been very popular recently and can be worn multiple different ways. I pair this look with the same jewelry and sometimes dress it up a bit with a pair of tan platform sandals. 

The third outfit is a lot dressier for around the same price as the past two outfits. The base of the outfit is a pair of yellow flowy pants found at the thrift store for only $2.99! For the top, I took the bandana from the first outfit and tie it on like a tube top. The colors of these two pieces look fantastic together. To top off the outfit, I put on the same tan platform sandals and also add some gold hoop earrings. 

The last outfit is perfect for any concert or a night out on the town and is so easy to put together. The base of the outfit is a pair of black high waisted skinny jeans and a black long sleeve top. Any black top works, however, I choose to go with an off the shoulder style to draw attention to my shoulders. To make the outfit pop, I add a statement belt to be the main part of the outfit. This belt has a tortoise shell circle buckle that is super in right now. For the shoes, I would either dress it up even further with a pair of black wedges or dress it down a bit with a pair of black slip-on vans.

All of these outfits are possible on a budget. I am able to reuse clothing items in different ways for multiple looks and still make it look brand new. They are super cute without hurting the bank, so that makes them a whole lot more enjoyable! Keeping an eye out on your local thrift stores and sales at all your favorite retailers is the best way to have an affordable wardrobe!