Week One: Final Project Reflection

Before I started my final project, I was really struggling to find something that I thought that I could write about for a month (without getting bored with it). I was thinking about a range of topics for a week before I thought of writing blog posts on different factors that play in creating a healthy lifestyle.

This is a topic that I have really wanted to learn about, especially as a college student. Ever since I started college, I have wanted to live a healthy lifestyle and to not gain the Freshman 15 at all costs. I thought that writing a blog about workout tips, eating tips, healthy recipes, and self-love would help me educate myself and others about the things that help create a healthy lifestyle.

I was right. I do love this topic.

Since starting this project on blogging about the factors that make up a healthy lifestyle, I have learned things that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t have this project.

I had a lot of fun writing the Every Little Thing Matters blog post, because I have always struggled with expecting to see results right away and it was nice to learn tips that would help keep me motivated throughout my fitness journey. I loved finding articles upon articles to help me think about what I wanted to include for this weeks section of workout tips.

I also loved writing the Burgers and Fries and Carbs… Oh, My. blog post, because I could really relate to the struggles that college students deal with when their only options for food come from the campus food outlets or the campus cafeteria. I loved learning about things that I could do to eat healthy while living on campus and why colleges don’t tend to provide a lot of healthy eating options. This blog post was really interesting and I really liked the information that I got out of it. I thought the topic this week was very educational.

One blog that left me disappointed was the Mac and Cheese: The Healthy Way blog post. I was so excited to try out this recipe and I thought that this project was the perfect time for me to try it (after having it saved for months). I ended up not liking the recipe at all and was disappointed that I spent so much of my time on something that I didn’t enjoy. That’s the one thing I learned this week… I’m not going to like all of the recipes that I like, but I love that I’m trying them out.

The Just Love Yourself… Is It Really That Easy? blog post was really hard for me to write because I sometimes find it hard to like my own self image. I thought that it was nice to learn more about why people think negatively about themselves (hint. hint. selfies) and find articles that made you feel okay in your own skin. I really liked learning that the definition of beauty is always changing and that there’s no set definition. It made me feel more at ease about myself, because I learned that I was probably just being hard on myself. Overall, this blog post was very therapeutic in a way and is one that I am looking forward to blogging more about this next week.

I really liked the first week of this project and found all of my blog posts to be very fulfilling, as I educated myself a lot on things that matter to me. I can’t wait to see what this next week will teach me.


Just Love Yourself… Is It Really That Easy?

Every single time that I find something about myself that I don’t like about myself, I find myself telling others. My comments to others range from, “Man, I just wish I was able to pull that outfit off” or “I’m so fat, I really shouldn’t have ate that burger.”

The usual responses that I get when I say these things are, “Oh, stop it. You’re pretty” or “Just love yourself.”

I hate that response, because honestly I don’t think that it’s that easy.

I’ve been down on myself for so long that these negative comments just fall out of my mouth and seem normal. It seems like a normal routine and it shouldn’t be. I know that it is unhealthy for someone to think so negatively themselves and with this blog I really want to try and educate myself on how to love everything about myself (but not in a narcissistic way). I think that it’s crucial that people become educated in their nutritional health, physical health and their mental health.

When I started looking up articles I was surprised to find out just how many articles on self-love there was and that there were actually articles of about the things that affect our perception of ourselves.

I was happy to know that I wasn’t the only person who struggled with this, but at the same time it made me sad that people struggle with self-love and loving themselves.

I was fortunate enough to find a few articles on things that people can do to help them love themselves. I know that it’s just an article and that I can’t believe everything that I read online, but I think this article had good advice.

The one thing that struck out to me the most with this article is that beauty can have many definitions. I think that a lot of us often forget that beauty is not strictly defined. Throughout history and throughout different countries there has been different standards of beauty. Though I believe that there shouldn’t be a standard defining what is beautiful and what is not, I do think that it is important to note that there are different opinions on what is beautiful. So really… we’re all definitions of beauty ( even though it’s hard to believe sometimes).

Another thing that I think is so important is that in order to feel better about one’s self image, is that we should be thinking about going to gym to do workouts that make our bodies stronger instead of going to the gym in order to shed inches so that we look the way that we want to. I thought that that was an important concept for me to think about, because I know when I go to the gym I go there in an attempt to burn calories, not to make my body powerful.

I think that the most important concept to take away from this blog is that beauty has many different definitions. Try to change beauty’s definition to strong and powerful and go to the gym to try and be just that.

Beauty is more than skin deep and I know that’s hard for a lot of us to see. But I think that if we try and focus our mindsets on becoming stronger and healthier, we will come a little bit closer to loving our perception of ourselves and become better at practicing self-love.


Mac and Cheese: The Healthy Way

The photo above is taken by me.

I would like to think that I love all pasta more than anyone else in the world, but I know that that’s not true. And as many of you probably know, pasta is not the healthiest thing a person can eat, but it’s so good that sometimes we can’t control us. It’s the perfect comfort food (or just a cheap way to eat). But just because some dishes are cheap, doesn’t mean that we need to eat it. I believe that our bodies are our temples and we should do our best to take care of them. Their the only bodies we’ll have, we better treat them right!

Tonight I stepped out of my comfort zone. Instead of having regular pasta that’s filled with carbs, I looked on SkinnyTaste’s online site and found this Baked Spaghetti Squash and Cheese recipe. When I first found this recipe, I was skeptical about it. I didn’t believe that vegetables could give me the same taste that pasta did. I mean, I’m naive, but not that naive.

When I first looked at this recipe, I thought that it would be easy and take little to no time to do. I was wrong. So, so wrong. I should also mention that I’m not a great cook either. Prepping for this dish took me a lot longer than I was originally expecting, making it seem inconvenient. I guess I should have known that it would take longer to make something fresh and from scratch rather than making something that is prepackaged and comes in a box. Instead of making mac and cheese in 12 minutes, I spent over an hour making this dish.

The questions I kept thinking throughout the time that I was making the cheese sauce and making squash strands was, “Is this really worth it?” and “Is it going to taste good?”

The answer…

For me, I personally didn’t think that it was worth it. As a person who is constantly trying to find healthy recipes, I thought that I would love this dish (as the recipe has been saved on my phone for months) but I didn’t.

I found out that I’m not a fan of the texture of squash. I was bummed to find this out because I was so excited to try this recipe. I did love the first few bites of the dish, though I think the richness of the cheese became too much for me with each bite that I took.

In conclusion, I believe that if you like squash and don’t mind the strong and rich taste of cheese then this recipe will be for you.

Although I didn’t like this recipe, I’m glad that I tried it because I’m learning more about what I do and do not like to eat. I’ll never know which foods work for me if I never try. Not every recipe will be a keeper for everyone, but it’s up to you to see if this one is one that you like.

Until next weeks recipe…

Burgers and Fries and Carbs… Oh, My.

As a college student, I know all about the constant struggle of eating healthy. I mean, a buffet-like cafeteria and access to all of the junk food I could ask for? When I was a freshman, I thought that was the greatest thing to happen. After I realized that I was wrong … oh, so wrong.

Having access to food ranging from pizza to burgers to fries seemed like a dream come true, but I found out that after eating these kinds of meals on the daily that I was breaking out and my body felt sluggish. I barely ate fruit and veggies (sorry, Mom) and ate loads of carbs and sugar.

I’m here to tell you that gaining a huge amount of weight is real in college and that there are things that you can do to avoid gaining this weight.

First off, even though certain foods are more available on campus doesn’t mean that you need to eat them. Fruits and vegetables seem to be seen less and less in comparison to chips and other processed food. I found this article that talked about how colleges don’t think about students’ eating habits when they choose what food they are going to provide for them, as they are only focused on the profit that the school itself can make.

If colleges aren’t going to help us make healthy eating choices, we have to do it ourselves.

School cafeterias do offer certain fruits and vegetables along with a few healthy choices, but for the most part students are surrounded by greasy and fatty food. With all of the food temptations that surround students once they enter the cafeteria, it’s hard to stay strong and motivated in eating healthy. I mean, picking a salad over a burger and fries is a tough thing to do. Plus, watching others eat all the food that you want to eat makes it hard for you to stick to eating healthy.

Though, it should be added that it’s okay to have unhealthy food every once in awhile, as long as you don’t indulge in these foods every day. Unhealthy food always tastes so much better when you haven’t had it in awhile, trust me on that one.

I ran across another article that said that students should stock up on these healthy items themselves, that way the option for healthy foods is available. I think this would be a good idea, because I know personally that if I buy healthy food I’m going to eat it and not let it go to waste, because I can’t afford to throw away my own money.

In addition to buying healthy food for you to eat or have available in your room, an easy thing that students can do is cook healthy meals themselves. There are so many websites that have healthy recipes available. I use SkinnyTaste to find recipes that are lower-calorie and healthier versions of dishes that I love, that way I don’t have to give up the meals that I love and I feel healthier.

In my next blog post I am going to make one of my favorite dishes from SkinnyTaste and share the recipe with all of you.

Eating healthy at college is hard, but by trying to eat leaner versions of the meals that you love and stocking up on fruits and vegetables, it’s easier.

Every Little Thing Matters

As a college student, I know that it is sometimes hard (okay, it’s always a constant battle) to get motivated to work out. With classes, homework, club organizations and maintaining a social life, it’s sometimes hard to not just lay on my bed and watch Netflix. Life can be overwhelming.

But I’m here to tell you a few easy things that you can do to work out (and it won’t interfere with your schedule- that’s a bonus!). This Buzzfeed article helped me think of some easy ways to work out, but I’ll only mention a few of them here.

One of the easiest things that I think people struggle out when they first start working out is that their goals are unrealistic. I know a lot of people, including myself, that want to see results as quickly as possible. I think that after two weeks of working out that I should see the results that I want, but that’s simply not the case.

Change takes time.

I know this is sounds like it should be an easy concept to understand, but when you’re on the elliptical or treadmill for hours on end each week and eating healthier (minus a few cheat meals here or there… we are human, after all) you think that you should be able to really see the results. Yes, that would be nice, but I’m here to tell you that you can’t see those visual changes that quickly.

Instead of thinking that you are going to lose a few inches dramatically within a week or two, try and think of goals that you can actually achieve within the time period you want it to happen in. Losing weight and trying to become the best version of yourself is easier when you see these little goals being reached rather than working hard and not seeing the big results that you were expecting. These little improvements that you see from setting little goals will help keep you motivated on your fitness journey (I know they definitely help me).

Another thing that I thought was so important for people to remember is that there is always time to work out (yes, even with busy schedules). The Buzzfeed article talked about how any type of effort being put into working out, even if it’s not an hour a day, is better than no exercise at all. A lot of the time people say that they didn’t work out because they didn’t have enough time. I’m guilty of this, but I’ve learned that even 10 to 20 minutes of working out is better than none. You’re making way more progress than if you weren’t to work out at all.

There were a few articles that I came across that showed quick things that people can do if they want to work out but are crunched on time. This article is a high-intensity workout that let’s you be in control of what cardio you want to do (to an extent).

Now, if you want a video-guided workout I recommend searching workouts on YouTube. I love watching workouts and being able to follow the trainer for each workout. A plus of going on YouTube is that you can find quick workouts that also have comments so you can see how other people like the exercise.

I know that there are a lot of excuses that people can make of why they don’t work out, but if they want to stay in shape they can’t make excuses.

So no more excuses, go sweat it out! A little exercise can go a long way.

Write it All Down … Wiki Style.

When we first were told that we would have to write on our Wikis, I was kind of excited. I had learned how to use Wikis this last semester in my Technical Writing class. Without learning about how to use them then, I probably would have struggled a lot more. Especially with the headings. Though, I am proud to say that I successfully used my Wiki quickly for this class’ assignment.

My Wiki might not be as pretty as my Weblog, but it sure gets the work done fast.

What do you think about Wikis? What do you like or dislike about it in comparison to the blogs?

Why Do You Blog?

Sometimes I wonder what a blogger is and how people ever got that title and it wasn’t until I read Danah Boyd’s article that I really thought about it.

Boyd talked about how the things that she had blogged about when she first started writing changed as she got older. When she was younger she wrote for herself, instead of writing with consideration of who was going to read it. In the article, Boyd wrote:

 I was blogging to think, to process, to understand. To understand myself and the world around me.

I can relate to her change in blog topics or posts in general. When I was younger I would write about anything that I pleased to without really thinking about what might come of it and that other people could view it. Now that I am older and have had more practice with using the internet, I limit how much I post on my social media and what I post on my media. When I was younger I would post stupid and random things, like song lyrics, and now I post about my successes and important memories that I want to share with my friends and family.

In addition of blogging for her own enjoyment, Boyd also talked about how writing online can make people vulnerable. She talked about how when she was speaking at a public event that people were critiquing her on social media and how since she was in the public light that she was being judged by everything that she did. She also described how younger people are running into this same problem.

 Over the last 30 years, we’ve systematically eliminated young people’s ability to participate in public life. They turn to technology as a relief valve, as an opportunity to have a space of their own. As a chance to be public. And, of course, we shoo them away from there too.

Boyd brought up a great point, reminding us all that most kids use some sort of online platform as a way to escape from their hectic lives and to have a ‘public’ online presence. Personally, I’m not sure if it is a good thing for young people to depend so much on technology, but I see why they find comfort in technology. It seems easier to them. I know when I was younger I was always so attached to my phone or computer and I thought that those were some of the most important items that I could have where I would have a voice to say what was on my mind. I know now that it’s not important, because I’ve seen how obsessed others are with social media and technology. I do like the fact that these individuals have an easier way to express themselves, but I also think that distancing oneself from social media every once in awhile to socialize in person.

People post online for many different reasons. To inspire. To learn. To be heard.

I write to express myself. Why do you blog?

Do We Represent or Present?

When I first heard this question, I really had to think of an answer. I really didn’t know the difference between representation or presentation when it came to a person. After reading Jill Walker Rettberg’s article it really opened my eyes on how people use social media and how they portray themselves in the process. Below are definitions of representation and presentation as used in this article.

Rettberg defines representation as:

An object, a sign that is seen as constructed in some way, and that stands instead of an object to which it refers.

Things can be represented by sounds, word, images, and objects. Rettberg also brought up Stuart Hall’s book Representation, describing that people believe that representation can only be of three things: reflective, intentional and constructive. These representations can be also be interpreted differently depending on what platform they are posted on. An example of this could be if a picture posted privately to a social media account or if a picture was posted on a public platform like a newspaper.

Rettberg also went on to say that every representation has connotations linked to it, that is, ideas or meanings that are laced within certain aspects of a picture.

Rettberg also defined presentation as:

An act, something a person does … Allows us to analyse the way that the person acts to present themselves.

I also looked at this Huffington Post article and it got me thinking of how these terms play a role in how individuals use social media. This article talked about how people want to portray their ideal self instead of how they actually are. I think that this could potentially be accurate because I know that I don’t portray all of my characteristics online and I usually only highlight a few characteristics that I like. Specifically, the article went on to say that one’s actual self is their actual characteristics and that one’s ideal self is what a person feels that the should be.

I know for me, that I tend to sugar-coat my life when it comes to posting online, especially when it’s posted publicly. I have noticed that when I post onto places like Facebook, where I stay connected with my friends and family, that I am more open to posting different things about my life that maybe I’m not super happy about.

Now, looking at social media more closely (particularly at blogs) I have noticed that I’m more open in terms of my tone and different things that I talk about that I wouldn’t usually on other social media platforms like Facebook.

Personally, I think that I present myself on my blog, rather than represent myself. When most people see me they think that I’m quiet and shy, but online I represent myself as a talkative person that could joke with strangers. Now truthfully, I am talkative (people who know me know I don’t shut up) but having a blog to express myself and my identity has helped me show that side of my self more than I would have on other cases or in real life.

I don’t change who I am on social media. Sometimes I don’t talk about things that I don’t want to share to the world. Sometimes I find it easier to express how I really act and talk in my blogs.

What about you? Does social media change how you portray yourself?

Social Media as Literature? Really?

When originally thinking of social media I thought of Twitter and I didn’t think that the things that are usually posted on there are anywhere near literature-worthy (yes, I’m thinking about all the memes). But reading M.W. Jacobs article made me think.

Jacobs talked about how with social media being so prominent in people’s life, the way in which they are commonly writing is changing. Instead of writing long pieces of work, people are now moving away from the Modernist way of doing things and are paving their own path in the writing world- creating a Minimalist literature.

Jacobs went on to make readers ponder if minimalist poetry could somehow exist, since people today are minimizing the amount of words that they use on social media outlets like twitter and with how they text. Even though people have a decent amount of characters to get their points across ranging from 160 characters to text and 140 characters to tweet, Jacobs goes on to show that they don’t use as much.

Currently, there are many online and social media platforms that have made users’ writing content even shorter. Take Vine for example, when it was still a thing, Vine moved away from writing and used videos instead, but only six second videos.

But it isn’t only social media platforms that are minimizing, advertisements are, too. The current writing generation seems to put less and less words into each post, using concise words to get their point across in a short amount of time.

Being that social media postings are containing less and less words, I don’t believe that they should be considered literary work. I think that social media has allowed writers to successfully get their point across quickly and consistently, but I’m not sure if they portray the same meaning out of the work to their readers as they could have if they had written longer pieces. Specifically, I am thinking of Twitter. They have limited characters that their users could use for each of their posts. In another college class, Web Content Writing, there was an exercise that we had to do where we had to make a passage from a Faulkner book and cut it down 30-50%. Now, to those of us who use Twitter, think that we can easily cut words out to make things more concise, but when we do that we lose the meaning.

I think that social media platforms like Twitter and Vine should not be considered a literary work, but I do think that other social media platforms, like Facebook and blog platforms, that allow people to write as much as they want should be considered literary work, depending on what kind of content they put out. If it’s meaningful or portrays stories or events, I think that they should be considered literary work, but if it’s just Facebook rants I don’t think that should be classified as literary work.

There’s a line between what should be literary work and what shouldn’t and I personally think that it has to do with the content that is put on each social media platform.

What do you think? What is the line that separates literary work from non-literary work?

Is Travel Blogging A Literary Text?

The words ‘travel blogging’ enticed me to read Matt Long’s article on his experience as a travel blogger and the challenges that he faced before he became a professional blogger.

When having to answer whether a travel blog should be considered a literary text, I can’t help but feel like it can. I looked up the definitions of literary text and according to this YouTube video, the literary theory is that anything that can be read is a literary work. Specifically, the video showed that things are literary if they portray a message.

In relation to the article that Long wrote, I believe that he portrayed a message of his hardships and led his readers throughout the story of his life, from a job that he didn’t enjoy to taking a risk and going after his dream job.

I think that since this article is longer and talks about his personal life with examples and grammatically correct writing, that it could potentially be classified as a literary work.

When I first saw that our assignment was to see if blogs and other forms of writing could be classified as literally work, I wasn’t really sure what my answer would be. I mean, blogs aren’t the same as Shakespeare or Faulkner, but it does show the stories of peoples’ lives, which is what some famous writers have done. I came across this post while trying to figure out the answer and it states that blogs are literary work, they just might not be as great as the famous literary works that most people know. Blogs aren’t fictional work, but they use words to tell stories, so I think that anything that has these types of meanings should be considered literary work.

I think that a travel blog is more of literary work than other blogs,  specifically in Long’s case, every place that he goes he has a unique story. I thought that it was cool to see that he wrote a story and illustrated it with his places to allow his readers to learn more about the places that he’s been to. I think that although this is just one man posting his experiences on the internet, I think that readers can learn things from his writing, so it should be considered literary work. I say this, because I personally believe that literary work portrays a meaningful message to it’s readers and that they get something good out of reading it.

Specifically to this blog, I think that it has a good possibility of being a literary work because the writer shares things with people that they might not have known before, and in that thought, readers will learn a more personal experience and information of a certain place than one might find in a text book.

I think that the reason why travel blogs are so popular and can be considered literature today is because it makes us feel something, the same way that Shakespeare’s work had on the people before us.