7 Must Have Items For The Summer…

There are certain items that everyone needs for the summer. For those long days at the beach or those road trips that seem to last forever, you are bound to need certain things that you wouldn’t necessarily need for the other seasons. Below are the seven things you are going to need for the summer to help you be as prepared as possible.

#1: Sunglasses

Everyone needs a nice pair of sunglasses. Sunglasses are a must have for sunny days, and they protect your eyes from the damaging rays of the sun. Plus, they are super stylish. Even though I can’t wait until I’m able to afford expensive sunglasses, you can easily find affordable sunglasses at your favorite retail stores. My current pair of sunglasses are from Charming Charlie.

#2: Bathing Suit

Bathing suits are must haves for the summer. Regardless of your body type or your confidence level, there is a swimsuit that fits you. I for one am not ashamed to show a little skin so I’m a fan of two pieces but one pieces can be fun to rock too.

#3: Flip Flops/Sandals

Flip Flops and sandals were made for the hot weather and summertime is the perfect time to show off those manicured feet. Sandals are about the only shoes I wear because they can go with all your outfits whether it’s a formal event or an informal occasion. Sandals are life.

#4: Shorts

Wearing blue jeans all summer is a no go. Not only will that get boring quickly but it will also be hot. Shorts are made for hot weather and a nice pair of shorts can go with just about anything. I like to pair my shorts with a cool tee.

#5: Sundress

I love dresses. They make you easily stylish and they keep you cool in the summer weather. Sundresses are made for those summer days that are too hot to handle and you want an outfit that requires as less effort as possible. Pair your sundress with cute sunglasses and a cute pair of sandals for a summer vibe.

#6: Beach Bag

Some time in the summer you are bound to go to the beach and bringing a purse to the beach is not recommended. The best option is a beach bag. They are super handy because they allow you to carry your cool drinks and other things you are going to need for the beach. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the sand messing up your bag. Beach bags can take the heat.

#7: Water Bottle

You are going to need a water bottle and not just for the summer. Water bottles can be used year round. But for the summer, water bottles are especially going to be of use. Drinking lots of water in the summer is extremely important to keep you hydrated. Water bottles are great for trips and are also better for the environment.

Enjoy your summer!

Photo Image by Despo Potamou

7 Healthy Snack Ideas…

So I have a confession. I eat a lot. With so many great foods around, it’s hard to resist, but I’ve learned that eating a lot isn’t a great thing especially if you aren’t eating the right thing.

So in order to curb my big appetite, I stick to 3 meals a day as well as snacking on healthy items to keep me from not getting hungry throughout the day. I know you’ve heard that snacking isn’t good for you, but snacking is a great thing because it helps curb your appetite so you don’t overeat. I try to stick to snacks that are on the healthier side and I try not to eat potato chips or sugary snacks until the weekend when I get to pig out. Below are seven healthy snack ideas that are both cheap to buy and easy to make and they will make you feel less guilty about eating them.

#1: Fruit

I love fruit. It’s one of the healthiest things you can eat and you can never get enough of it. I try to eat fruit everyday whether it’s an apple or a banana or a bowl of strawberries. My favorite fruit tends to be pears, apples, and strawberries. Fruit helps curb my hunger, and also I get to eat something sweet without the guilt that I feel when I eat a piece of cake or pie.

#2: Yogurt

Yogurt is one of my favorite things to eat, and since it’s more healthier than eating a bag of chips, I don’t feel bad when I eat it. Yogurt comes in a variety of flavors and you can even add granola or some fruit on top to fill you up even more. Personally, my favorite flavor is either vanilla or strawberry.

#3: Granola Bar

Granola Bars are perfect snacks. They’re cheap to buy and are perfect for those days when you are on the go. I usually go for the Special K bars because they are the best. They don’t taste like you’re eating something healthy. But really any granola bar with chocolate chips is good for me.

#4: Popcorn/Kettle corn

Popcorn is one of my favorite foods and it’s a bonus that it’s also a healthy snack. Popcorn is low in calories and fun to eat. You can add butter or nothing at all. And if you need popcorn with a little bit more flavor then try kettle corn. Kettle corn is just like popcorn but it’s sweet. Kettle corn is perfect for people who have a sweet tooth but don’t want to indulge themselves in cakes or pies which have a lot more calories in them.

#5: Nuts

I’m not really a fan of peanuts so as a alternative I tend to go for cashews or almonds which are more my style. I even go for trail mix because it has more ingredients in it. Sometimes nuts can taste bland so in order to spice things up, you can pick nuts that have flavor to them like spicy or honey flavored.

#6: Jello

I know people might think that jello is a kid food, but jello can be eaten by anyone. Because jello comes in a variety of flavors, you can easily customize it to fit your taste or you can add fruit in it to make your jello less boring to eat. Jello is easy to make and will curb your sweet tooth without making you feel guilty.

#7: Smoothies

Last but not least are smoothies. Smoothies are perfect as a snack and sometimes they could be substituted for a meal if you have the right ingredients in them. Smoothies are cheap to make; just put your choice of fruit, milk, and ice in a blender. The reason that smoothies are so healthy is because you make them yourself which means you know what’s going in them. Nothing artificial at all. Smoothies are made of simple and natural ingredients.

Photo Image by Brenda Godinez

7 Things To Do For The Summer…

Summer is finally here. That means shorts, tank tops, and cool drinks. School is out and unless you have a super exciting life then you might be in need of some ideas on how to keep your summer from being as boring as possible.

For me, summer means a break from college. I know some people choose to go to summer school, but that doesn’t work for me. My summer is my time off to relax and to think about something other than schoolwork. So instead I choose to work which is a much better decision for me. But besides working I like to do other things in the summer like take time to read a book or travel. Below are seven ideas that I’ve come up with to keep you having a fun and enjoyable summer.

#1: Read a Book

I love books, but during the school semesters I don’t get much time to read what I actually want to read. So during the summer when I don’t have to read boring textbooks, I get to read books that I like. Reading is very relaxing for me, and during the summer it’s best served with a cold drink.

#2: Take a Trip

Road trips were practically invented during the summer so why not enjoy yourself and go on a few trips. And traveling doesn’t have to be expensive. Unless you’re going to Los Angeles or New York then you don’t have to have a lot of money. There are plenty of places around you that you might not have even been to yet. Visit them. You might find a hidden wonder. Traveling is super fun and is even more enjoyable with another person.

#3: Make a Scrapbook

Taking pictures is a way of life and it’s super convenient to just store the pictures in your phone so that you can look at them anytime you want, but I for one like to have an actual photo in my hand. I discovered that it’s really easy to print pictures off your phone. All you need is your charging cord and your nearby Walgreens or CVS. There are even apps that let you print photos from your phone to be mailed to your house. Putting the photos in a scrapbook could be a great way to savor the memories that you’ve created. Just think about it this way: some day you’re going to need photos to share with your kids.

#4: Cook

I really enjoy cooking and baking. In fact, in another life I would have been a baker and owning a bakery is a tiny dream of mine. Summer is a perfect time to experiment with different recipes because you have a lot of time on your hand. You can easily find recipes online or buy a cheap cook book. Even if you aren’t the best cook in the world, cooking is something you can be proud of because it’s all you.

#5: Exercise More

Take advantage of the summer days and try exercising more. Hit up outside instead of the gym so that you can get fresh air at the same time. Summer exercise routines don’t have to be hard. Light jogging or a small exercise routine in the backyard can be fun.

#6: Start a Garden

Although I don’t have much of a green thumb, many people do and many people enjoy gardening. Gardening can be relaxing and the summer season is the perfect time to plant flowers and vegetables. But just make sure that you keep them hydrated. Georgia heat is no joke.

#7: Host a Party

Summers are great for BBQs and cookouts. The smell of grilled food and the sound of a freshly opened can of soda is what summer cookouts are all about. Invite some friends and family over to enjoy a nice day in the backyard. And it doesn’t take much to host a party. Just these three simple things: music, chairs, and food.

Have a great summer! Enjoy!

Photo Image by Sai Kiran Anagani

So Why Donate to Charity?

We have all seen the commercials. The sad ones that feature starving children or neglected pets. We are familiar with the different organizations. Red Cross. The Humane Society. We know the feeling of watching these commercials and feeling horrible. And this is usually the time where we actually start to appreciate everything in our lives instead of complaining about not having enough.

Society has programmed us to being in the habit of giving around the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but what would happen if we started giving all the time instead of at certain times? And why do we have to wait until holidays to be generous? Doesn’t someone need our help all the times of the year?

I will admit. For awhile I didn’t appreciate how good my life was compared to other people. I have everything that I need and want and I’m never without anything. I have food on the table every night. I have clothes on my back and I have a place to stay. Like many people, I got caught up in materialistic things like wanting this thing or that thing that I forgot what would life be like if it was a struggle just to get a meal on the table. What would a life be like if I had to fight to survive on a daily basis because I didn’t have my basic needs.

I think people don’t realize the magnitude of how widespread poverty is and they believe that just because they don’t see homeless people on a daily basis means that poverty doesn’t exist. But that’s wrong. Poverty exists everywhere not just in places in far off countries. It can exist right in your own community. The kid that you see wearing ragged clothes or the person that eats like it’s their last meal is no joke. It’s a harsh reality.

So as I came to this realization, I realized that I needed to look at the bigger picture instead of thinking about myself all the time. And it’s okay to be a little selfish. I’m a huge fan of getting my wants, but you can’t be selfish all the time. That’s why I started to donate to charity as I reminder to myself that the world doesn’t revolve around me. I realized that some things are more important than buying the newest shoes or having the newest outfit, and once I realized these things are ultimately meaningless, I wanted to do something that was actually important. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that donating to charity isn’t important because it is. Helping someone who can’t afford to help themselves is probably one of the most meaningful things a person could do.

So for almost a year, I’ve been donating whatever I can. I used to think that I had to be a millionaire to donate to charity, but that’s not true at all. Anything is helpful. Whether you think it’s a small act or not, you’re saving someone’s life and that’s a big deal.

Starting last year, I chose to donate something once a month whether it’s donating money or clothes or supplies. This month I chose to donate some old clothes to my local salvation army, and last month I sent off a package of supplies to a children’s home. I find a way to give back to society and this has given me a sense of purpose and a sense of meaning that I didn’t have before.

You might ask yourself, why should I donate? Does the man that lost everything or the struggling woman down the street with ten kids really deserve my help? Well, I’ll ask you this, put yourself in their situation and ask yourself wouldn’t you like help if you suddenly was down on your luck? I think the answer is a no brainer.

People also doubt if when they do decide to donate, does it really help them? Yes, it does. You can’t think like that. It not only gets in the way of what you could be blessing another person with, but it gets in the way of the blessing that can happen to you from this. For me, donating to charity gave me a purpose when I needed one.

When I begin to doubt if my little donation helped anyone at all, I imagine myself in the other person’s shoes and realize that any little help means everything to a person in need. So I challenge you to try at least once to give ten dollars to an organization or to give away some old clothes or shoes to a local goodwill or a local salvation army. You’ll feel the sense of purpose and satisfaction that I feel when I donate and I promise you’re going to want to do it again.

Photo Image by Nathan Anderson

7 Horror Movies To Watch On Netflix…

Okay so we all have done it. We want to watch Netflix, but instead we spend hours flipping through the different movies trying to find the right one. And before we know it we’ve spent hours not watching a movie but instead looking for a movie. Even though Netflix has a large number of movies for selection, it takes awhile to find something that’s actually good. Since I’m a horror movie fan, I’ve sifted through plenty of the horror movies that are on Netflix. Below are some good ones that I’ve seen so far. Although all of the movies on my list are scary, they all are different in theme. So beware. They’re going to scare your pants off.

#7: Honeymoon (2014)

A newlywed couple’s honeymoon is ruined by mysterious events taking place. Honeymoon is a slow paced movie that at first I wasn’t sure if it was going to be any good. When I started the movie, I found myself not quite knowing what I was watching, but then the longer I watched the movie, the more intense it got. The ending might be one of the most intense scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie, and by the end, you’ll realize that this movie is quite different from what you thought it was going to be.

#6: Contracted (2013)

After being sexually assaulted, a woman contracts a mysterious STD. Contracted is an indie film that I found on Netflix, and it is one of the most disturbing. I didn’t think this movie was going to be any good, but it was. The reason that this movie is so good is because it makes you paranoid. Contracted makes you wonder how safe you think you are. And what kind of diseases are out there that we haven’t discovered? Contracted is the most disturbing on the list and will definitely creep you out.

#5: The Sacrament (2013)

Journalists help their friend locate his sister in a mysterious religious community that turns out not to be what it seems. Cults have always fascinated me so I knew that I was going to like The Sacrament. I’ve seen many cult movies and not many have captured how truly terrifying they are. I’ve always wondered how people can be brainwashed and The Sacrament gives you an in-depth look at how these communities operate. Needless to say, there is no happy ending.

#4: Starry Eyes (2014)

An aspiring actress enters into a deadly agreement and discovers that her fame will come at a price. Starry Eyes was a movie that I thought would be like the other bad scary movies that Netflix has, but as I watched this movie, I found that I couldn’t look away no matter how many times I wanted to. This movie shows just how desperate people are for fame and the length they would go to get that fame. Which begs the question, how far are you willing to go for everyone to know your name?

#3: Kristy (2014)

A college girl stays on an empty campus during the Thanksgiving break and is terrorized by mysterious strangers. Kristy was such a good movie because it was relatable. Even though I’ve never stayed on a college campus during the breaks, it made me ask myself would I be scared to do it? And after watching this movie, yes I would. I would definitely advise going home for all the holidays.

#2: The Invitation (2016)

A dinner party goes horribly wrong as a man starts to believe that the hosts have sinister plans for their guests. I went into The Invitation not knowing what I was getting myself into. I figured that this movie was going to be a simple slasher film, but then the movie got more and more darker the longer I watched it. When you realize why the guests were invited, you will never attend another dinner party again.

#1: V/H/S Series (2012-2014)

A collection of VHS tapes features a series of found footage shorts that show horrific content. The V/H/S Series was a movie that I came across on Netflix and by far is the best original horror film I have seen in a long long time. The V/H/S Series is unique, scary, gross, and fun all at the same time. Each individual short can be a stand alone movie by itself which shows just how good these movies are. I really enjoy this trilogy as both a fan of horror as well as a lover of movies in general.

Photo Image by John Silliman

 

7 Quotes For The Day…

#7: “Be The Kind Of Person That You Want To Meet.”

#6: “Do What You Feel In Your Heart To Be Right For You’ll Be Criticized Anyway.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

#5: “You Need A Little Bit Of Insanity To Do Great Things.” -Henry Rollins

#4: “Don’t Ever Save Anything For a Special Occasion. Being Alive Is The Special Occasion.”

#3: “Don’t Wander Away From Yourself To Get Close To Someone Else.”

#2: “God Will Wreck Your Plans When He Sees That Your Plans Are About To Wreck You.”

#1: “You Were Born An Original. Don’t Die A Copy.” -John Mason

Photo Image by Annie Spratt

We Are Made Of Many Places…

I have always been interested in my ancestry. This is because I have always wanted to know what parts of the world my ancestors came from. Where did my family history begin? And who were these people?

There seems to be this idea floating around that we’re all separate. That the color of our skin classifies us in a box. But we are wrong. You can be the lightest skinned person on Earth and be just as closely linked to African heritage just as if you can be the darkest skinned person on Earth and have just as much European heritage as the white guy you see walking down the street. That’s because we’re all related. Our DNA is made up of more than just one place. We are all a combination of the world around us.

So last year I decided to take the Ancestry DNA kit. I always see the commercials on TV and I had been wanting to do it for awhile. When I finally got the money to do it, I was able to purchase the $99 kit (and yes it’s kind of expensive but it’s worth it). I was super excited when it came in the mail. I remember thinking about the results and wondering what the test was going to tell me. The Ancestry DNA kit is a saliva test, so after filling a tube with my spit, I sent the kit back in the mail and waited another six weeks for the email that was going to tell me that my results were in.

So where did my DNA come from? Before going into this I had already predicted that I was going to be mostly African but not all African. This is because some of my characteristics are questionable. When I was able to see my results, I was more surprised than I thought I was going to be. In honor of my one year anniversary of finding out about my DNA, I want to share with you my results in hopes of encouraging you to find out about your own ancestry.

Results

African 86%

Out of 100% of my DNA, 86% of it is from Africa. Most of my African DNA comes from the Ivory Coast/Ghana region (30%) which isn’t a surprise since majority of the slaves that were taken from Africa were from the West Coast. Another big part of my DNA is from the Benin/Togo region. I hadn’t heard of this region before me finding out that it makes up 20% of my DNA. After this region is the Cameroon/Congo region (18%) and Nigeria (9%) which were regions that were recognizable to me. The last part of my African DNA is from Mali (5%), Senegal (3%), and North Africa (1%).

As far as what I want to do with this information, I think it would be cool to visit these places especially North Africa or Ghana. Although going to Africa has never been something that I thought about doing, I think it would be an amazing experience to see African culture firsthand, and I think it would be nice to be able to be around the people who are a part of my ancestry.

European 12%

Out of 100% of my DNA, 12% of it is from Europe. My European DNA is divided among Italy/Greece (2%), Finland/Northwest Russia (2%), Great Britain (2%), Scandinavia (2%), Iberian Peninsula (2%), Europe West (1%), and Europe East (1%).

It was interesting to find out that I had so many different European countries in my DNA. I would like to know how all these countries became a part of my ancestry, and even if the history of how they came to be a part of my DNA isn’t as great as what I would expect, European DNA is still a part of me and I would like to visit these places as well.

Asian 2%

Out of 100% of my DNA, 2% of it is from Asia. My Asian DNA came from Central Asia which according to Ancestry DNA is the area known as the Stan region. This part of my DNA was perhaps the most shocking because I would have never thought I would see Asian in my results. It made me wonder who in my family tree could have been from this region and how did they encounter my African or European ancestors.

Buying the Ancestry DNA kit was a great decision. It was an amazing experience to see where my DNA came from. Most people think that they are just made of one place, but in reality, we are made of many places. We are all connected in some way whether we would like to admit it or not. Your ancestry is about the people who came together to create your history so I encourage you to take the test so that you can have a clearer view of where this history came from.

Photo Image by Joao Silas