Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Feature: Spotify

Okay, so I definitely know that I am late to the party on this one.  As in, this became-a-thing-in-2011 late to the party.  But I'm going to feature it anyways because this is such a fantastic service for music lovers!

Basically, Spotify is both an online music player and an app in which you can listen to practically anything you could ever want.  You can create your own playlists and listen to online radio curated for your specific tastes. One of the reasons I didn't partake in this music platform for so long is that I didn't understand how this was anything other than a mashup of Pandora and 8tracks.  However, there are a couple of things that make Spotify unique:

1) Yes, you can follow friends to keep up with their listening habits, but you can also follow celebrities and Internet personalities as well.  You know, in case you want to add another dimension to your stalking habits.

2) You can listen to full albums!  Rather than forcing you to listen to bands similar to the one you actually want to listen to (like Pandora does), Spotify provides a discography section on each artists page, and you can listen to them like you would an album on your iPod/Phone.  As someone who likes to fully immerse myself in one band at a time, I really, really love this feature.

Needless to say, if you haven't already tried Spotify, I highly recommend that you do so.  Both the players for computer and mobile work well and are super easy to navigate, and you can sign up with your Facebook account.  Honestly, with this discover, I think my Pandora will become very, very neglected.

*I should mention that I am in no way being paid or sponsored by Spotify to promote their services.  I only ever share things I genuinely love and have discovered myself.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sketchbook Sunday [3]

This one's a bit of a throwback to my 30 Day Drawing Challenge from 2012.  Looking back at the Challenge posts has reminded me how much fun it was.  Hm, maybe I'll do another one sometime this year...

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Relay for Life 2014

As April gets closer and closer, that means it's time to start thinking about Relay for Life again.  As I mention in the video, we recently lost my good friend Nick to his battle with lung cancer.  While we were definitely shaken as a community, we have come together again over planning for this event and I really cannot wait to take part in it again.

If you would like to donate, you can visit my page HERE.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

College Confidence: Skinny Girl Insecurities

As kind of a continuation of the last (and first) College Confidence post, today I want to talk about skinny girls.  Something I've noticed over the years is that most of the time, when we talk about body image and confidence, these discussions are always directed at larger women.  Our message for these larger women is that they should learn to embrace their curves and feel confident in their bodies, and yet there is something that we always seem to forget:

Skinny girls can be insecure, too.

I can speak from experience when I say that often, when thinner women express insecurities about their bodies, social discourse ignores them or dismisses their concerns.  Why are you complaining?  You're already skinny!

However, skinny or not, we're still women being confronted with the same body expectations and pressures.  I know that when I was in high school, I had one friend in particular who was quite a bit larger than me and obsessed with trying to be smaller.  She was always trying to diet and exercise and although she rarely complained about her body, she made it clear that she thought I wouldn't understand what she was going through because, well, I was as thin as a toothpick and a whopping 88 pounds.  She was wrong.  I was just as uncomfortable in my skinny body, precisely because it was skinny!  I thought my legs looked like toothpicks and my arms childish because I lacked any muscle definition.  I didn't enjoy wearing shorts or skirts because I felt like I was revealing my stickish body to the whole world.

Looking back on it now, I also realize that I probably suffered from food anxiety from sophomore year of high school until the end of my first year of college.  I spent a lot of time feeling guilty about being able to eat whatever I wanted while my friends were off dieting and exercising.  Every time we got together for a meal, I would eat just a little and end the day feeling hungry or eat and then immediately feel sick afterwards.  I distinctly remember asking myself after each meal I actually finished, Was that too much food?

Although this food-centered anxiety was still an issue for me when I first started college, today I am glad to say it no longer seems to be a problem.  I think the biggest thing for me was that my friend group changed and with it, the emphasis.  The friends that I've made in here in college are all fairly athletic, whether they did sports or intense dance training during high school.  Because of this, I've actually gotten into exercising myself, taking up running and yoga over the past few years.  This has also changed my outlook on the ideal body: rather than being skinny, my ideal is to be strong, and this is something that I am still working toward today.  But exercise has provided me with a healthy outlet through which I can transform my stickish-appearance into something strong.

So what I'm trying to say (in my very typical, talkative Marisa manner), is that when you go to college, you will meet girls (and boys) of all body types.  And every single one of these girls is entitled to her body-insecurities, no matter if she is fat, thin, tall, or short.  Their body-concerns are just as valid as yours, and you should try not to cheapen someone's personal feelings by ignoring or neglecting their concerns.

Think about it and pass it on.