we should all be more like dogs

This is an article that I’m writing for my internship at The Odyssey Online, which I typically keep separate from my blog, but I like this one and feel like it fits, so, here we go:

We Should All Be More Like Dogs

During times like these-times of uncertainty, turmoil, and stress-one of the simplest things that we as humans can do to make ourselves feel better is to look at pictures of, pet, or wish we were dogs. Dogs rarely let us down. Dogs are loyal, have unconditional love to give, don’t care about who you are, and don’t care about what’s going on in the world around them unless it’s people, other dogs, toys, and grass.

As a human, it is often hard to feel like you can trust other people around you, even your closest friends. True loyalty from person to person is something that is very hard to come by. With dogs, loyalty is a given. Your dog will never let you down (other than tearing valuable items apart and peeing on the floor), and if they did, they probably didn’t mean it. Dogs truly are “man’s best friend.” They look at you as if you are the most amazing person alive, and it will always feel so good.

Something else that dogs also rule in is their ability to love you no matter what. Granted that you’re not absolutely terrible to your dog, your dog will always greet you with that adorable excitement-as if you’ve been gone for years-every time that you walk through your door. Even if your relationship with your dog goes south, your dog will not give up on loving you until it absolutely has to. The simplicity of love is so easily demonstrated through the bond that a dog has with its owner.

Above all, dogs are as non-judgmental as it gets. Your dog doesn’t care who you are, what you look like, or how you live your life as long as you show them that you care about them. Dogs may judge each other based on size and aggressiveness but with people they just don’t judge.

Taking all of this, imagine if people could be more like dogs based on these simple traits.

What if we could all try to be more loyal to each other, especially the people we care about? I can’t say for sure, but I’m relatively sure that dogs don’t go around stabbing each other in the back over petty circumstances.

I understand that unconditional love is far more complex for humans to implement into their lives, but maybe we could all try to be a little less harsh towards each other. Maybe we could try and look at things from a perspective of love and not hate and try and make the world a more loving place.

Lastly, and my personal favorite, what if we could just try to be less judgmental towards each other? We could all try to look at other people from a dog’s perspective. If they’re nice, loving, and caring, it shouldn’t matter where they came from, what they look like, what they believe, etc. Dogs see us all as “just people,” and that’s exactly what each and every one of us are, “just people.”

In the end, if you’re having a rough day go find a dog to pet. And if you can’t find one, just look at some pictures of dogs. My favorite is @thedogist on Instagram.

also: whenever this posts on my Facebook, Emma Irwin, please go check it out because that gets me more views 🙂 

searching for imperfections

It is currently 9:35 on a Friday night and after hours of cranking out some articles for my internship with The Odyssey, I somehow still have the inspiration and motivation to write this little post.

For whatever reason, I’ve really been noticing how much I point out the imperfections in not only other people, but myself, too, more than I should. What’s the point of being so negative? Everywhere that I go, everywhere that I see people, it’s as if my brain has been hardwired to only find flaws in what I see. “There is no such thing as perfect,” I say to myself, and when I do see something or someone who is pretty darn perfect, I then try even harder to find a flaw.

I’ve gotten pretty good at this “finding yourself” thing this past year after having completely lost who I was for almost two years because of one single person, and I can’t wait for the turns that this journey will take once I get to college, but even though I am happier in this sense and trying to really love who I aspire to be and the entire process of becoming that person, I still look for all of my imperfections. I blame society, whose cold, cold heart has taught us to seek perfection in other things and not ourselves. We know that this is a lie, too, because we can always find imperfections about other people and things thanks to society as well, but we are hardest on ourselves.

“These clothes look terrible, my arms are too fat, my thighs too big, my hair too thin and frizzy, my ankles too wide, my calves too big, my shoulders too broad, my face too round, my double chin always being present, my stomach too big waist too big hips too wide,” blah, blah, blah, the list goes on, you get the point.

These are all things that I say about myself on the daily, and while I know that I can never make them disappear completely, I have to wonder why they deserve all of this space in my brain. And when I see someone that I am either jealous of or think is really cool and being-my-friend worthy I always somehow find everything that I don’t like about them, as if I just cannot accept that they are uniquely beautiful.

We are all beautiful, and nothing is perfect. (There are some ugly people out there not because of how they look but what they do, I know, but it kills my thunder here). Why don’t we all try to find beauty in the imperfections since they take up so much of our thought space? Why don’t I try to think of my weirdly-shaped body that no one else seems to have and my ridiculously round face as things that make me unique? Things that make me different from others and beautiful as a human being. We are all beautiful whether we acknowledge it or not. We all only get one shot at life on Earth and we make ourselves miserable every single day trying to focus on making everything imperfect, when the real beauty is in the imperfections.

Search for imperfections, like we all so naturally do, and instead of searching for zealous negativity, search for the beauty, because the most beautiful things in life are found in the imperfections.

This was some truly motivational shiz. Very unlike myself. But take it as you will.

Emma

LUSH products review

For so long I have heard such great things about LUSH products. After finally deciding to try them out, I have to say that I am utterly disappointed. What happened? My expectations were so high, where did I go wrong??

I bought four products, those being the Maypole soap, the Avocado Co-Wash, the Big solid conditioner, and the Buffy body butter.

I’ll start with the best product that I bought, the Maypole soap.

maypole

For $7, this soap has done a good job. It has been about two or so months, and I still have more than half of the bar left. It smells lovely, although I was expecting a much stronger peppermint smell, not so much a candy cane smell. Would probably buy again.

Next, the Avocado Co-Wash.

avo

The one thing that I can give this thing is that it smells BEAUTIFUL. SO pretty, and it made my bathroom smell heavenly as well. But on to what really mattered, how well it worked. I don’t know if I was the problem because I didn’t know how to use a shampoo bar or what but this stuff was impossible to lather, didn’t stay together so it went really fast, and honestly made my hair look greasy and horrible because I could never wash all of it out. Really a bummer.

Next, the Buffy body butter.

bufyf

This body butter bar smells okay, but what I don’t understand is how so many reviews talked about how it went on so well yet whenever I tried to apply it to my skin a bunch of sand-like grains would come off and not melt into my skin. It felt horrible, like when your feet are wet and covered in sand at the same time. Why am I the only one who had this problem?? Just wondering.

Lastly, the Big solid conditioner.

big

This conditioner bar was equally as hard to apply to my hair and to get out, and it also smelled awful in my opinion. Like old lady or something. It says that it has sea salt, coconut oil, seaweed, lemon and lime, vanilla and jasmine, etc., but I literally could not stand the scent of it in my hair. Basically this just sucked.

In the end, I can definitely say that I will be sticking to shampoo and conditioner that is not in the bar form because this was so disappointing.

In fact, I had only bought the two bars (and yes I realize that they were not supposed to be used together because the Avocado one was shampoo and conditioner and no, I never used both of them together) because I was trying to be environmentally friendly. LUSH has this whole “naked” campaign where many of their products are not packaged in plastic, yet when I ordered the three products that were supposed to be “naked,” they definitely were not.

I don’t exactly know what I was expecting considering that my items had to be shipped, but I find the “naked” campaign misleading if it only applies to in-store products. I’m not sure if I can offer a better solution, but I have seen small cardboard containers that have an almost plastic-rubbery feeling lining that is definitely more recycable-friendly than a plastic wrapper.

I have not given up on lush, but DAMN am I disappointed.

Please leave some suggestions if you have any!!

freshman orientation

Happy Tuesday!

This past week I was at my freshman orientation at the University of Minnesota, and lemme just say, WOW I LOVE THIS SCHOOL. It is so beautiful and Minneapolis is incredible. Minnesota, who knew? Assuming that my education turns out pretty well, imagine if I hadn’t have applied there spur of the moment? Oh how life would be different.

Orientation was one long and really tedious day, all to not really learn anything that I didn’t know. I did get to register for my classes though which was really cool, and I got to meet my academic advisor who seems pretty chill.

Being thrown into some random group at orientation showed me what it was really like to not know a single person going to this school. Within my group, I could instantly tell who was going to group off, and I ended up being pretty spot-on. There were the REALLY weird people, the guys with manbuns that felt the need to vape all day, the super popular and ditsy-looking girls, and then me and my fellow middle-of-the-roaders.

ALSO: the number of times that I was asked why I chose to come to Minnesota all the way from New York. TOO MANY.

But, as I started to sort of make friends, we ended up having fun after orientation was over because we tried to go to Dinkytown, got lost, made it, and then made it back in the dark. Who knows if I’ll actually meet up with these people again once school actually starts, but it proved to me that I most likely will be capable of actually making friends there.

For classes, I’m taking an intro to logic course, an “understanding cultures” anthropology course (YES), the pre-journalism course, Arabic, and campus orchestra. I had to fight to take orchestra because that puts me at 19 credits but it’s just orchestra and hopefully it won’t be hard??? And there was no audition so it can’t be that bad, right??? (Conflicted too because I have to bring my viola but I also really want to bring my guitar and how do I get that there/where do I put it but I really want it ://////// )

I’m semi terrified to take Arabic, but, new school new me and I am up for the challenge.

What I also loved about having no friends and being a complete stranger was that I get to really embrace being the person that I’ve always wanted to be without fear of judgement from my high school peers. I am so excited for this. I’m even considering picking figure skating back up because why not? And it’s Minnesota so duh. I also want to learn how to play hockey. SOOOO excited for hockey.

Here are some cool pictures-

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After I finished registering for classes on day 2, my mom and I went to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and then inside the Walker Art Museum.

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windchimes

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yellow thing

You can’t beat the cherry. Iconic.

Minneapolis and UMN, I love you. Please be good to me.

what’s good

Long time no see, sundaywaffle.

It’s been a hectic few weeks to say the least. Prom, graduation, graduation parties, having family in town, etc. has kept me away from my beloved blog. There has also been a major lack of stuff to write about because beyond graduation and prom I haven’t really done anything cool and worthy of writing about.

This post is primarily a filibuster until I have something better to write about.

In these past weeks, I haven’t done much, but I have been thinking a lot about college and what I want to do with my life and it’s all just so overwhelming, ya know? Not even the going away to college part, just the “ok now everything I do will determine my chances of finding a career” and what not.

I did interview and do a writing assessment for The Odyssey (online newspaper/magazine kinda community for college writers) and was one of four people accepted to be part of the team which is cool because I haven’t even started college yet and I have an internship waiting for me. I’m nervous about having to spew out a new article every week but if I go through with journalism this seems to be a good track.

I’m also really torn between what I want to major in. I want to definitely double at least with one half being journalism because I love to write, but I’m also torn between the other half being Global Studies or Anthropology because they both seem really cool and it’s all just ugh. Global Studies seems so me but at the same time you have to specify a region of study and then a theme and take a corresponding language and I love the whole world and don’t want to have to specialize in one specific region yet and even more so don’t want to commit to the language of that area because I know that I’m gonna change my mind because that’s what I do. I like the idea of anthropology because you don’t have to choose one specific region but then again it’s also the study of humans as supposed to the world and I know they connect but I’m just kinda lost but I think I have at least a year to figure this stuff out and hopefully my academic advisor will be able to help me out Friday (leaving for MPLS Wednesday for orientation which is YAY).

I’m slightly scared for orientation and welcome week but only because they start really early in the morning every day and that’s essentially suicide for my stomach but just gotta tough that out.

For the purpose of adding pictures to this post, here are some pretty ones from a farmer’s market yesterday and then some hot air balloons that flew over my house this morning from the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival.

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I’ve also been finding/listening to some new cool music, drawing tattoo sketches, appreciating the time I have left with my dog, learning how to be Minnesotan, and other random stuff. Hopefully soon I will actually have cool things to talk about.

Emma

P.S. see ya high school

grad]

transitioning to ethical fashion/everlane

The other day I watched the documentary “The True Cost,” which talks about the ethics behind the global fashion industry and the environmental consequences, which inspired me to write my first post dedicated to this topic where I focused more on the psychology behind shopping and how we got to where we are now.

Now that I’ve had some time to come up with an organized post and found a wave of motivation to put the facts and research together, I present to you my first actual post regarding ethical fashion and how the fashion industry is quickly killing the planet.

I’m not going to summarize the entire documentary because that would deter people from watching it, so, go watch it! It’s on Netflix and it will leave your mind swirling.

There are many different alarming components behind the fast fashion industry. I am going to focus on two of them.

The first concern is the lack of respect for human decency when it comes to the global fashion industry. When you’re a person that can afford to buy new clothes, you don’t think of where they come from. You never consider how you’re able to find some clothing items for super cheap “great deals” and on sale etc. You’re only concerned with getting a nice piece of clothing for dirt cheap. What you don’t give is a single thought to the fact that every single clothing item has been touched by someone else’s hands. It could be brand new, but someone made it. Clothing is an area where we still need people to make it happen.

All of the major retail companies locate their factories in third-world countries where they can make the clothing for as cheap as possible, disregarding the welfare and lives of the workers who make them. When they need to sell an item at a cheaper price, they offer the factory two options. One, you make it for a cheaper price, or two, we’ll find someone else who will. Factory owners are concerned with their own profit, and not what they have to pay their workers. So, garment workers are paid even less.

The documentary focuses primarily on the garment factory workers in Bangladesh, which is a major hot-spot for “big brand” clothing factories. I don’t remember the exact wage, but the people who work tireless hours making our clothes are paid so little that if you heard it it would make your mouth drop, I swear.

Their wages are by no means able to sustain adequate living, and this economically traps a third-world country further into its third-world country title.

There is an argument that even though factory workers are paid painfully small wages that can’t support anything, it is still economically beneficial to the country because of the intense first-world interest, and the fact that the majority of garment-factory workers would not have jobs otherwise. I can’t explain economics well enough to go into detail with this, but basically, who cares about whether or not our people can get out of poverty when the factories are making money for the country?

While I see how this argument can be supported, there just has to be a better way. First-world countries have the money to pay the factories higher amounts so that the people that slave away at our clothes can make livable wages, but corruption and consumerism are taking away from human ethics.

Fun Fact: Until about 1960, 90% of American clothing was made in America. Now, 97% of clothing in America is made elsewhere. Crazy.

The other concern that the global fashion industry doesn’t seem to care about is that clothing is helping to destroy Earth! Fashion is the second largest polluter behind oil. What???

The world consumes 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year, and only 15% of donated clothing actually ends up being sold. So, where does it go? (source)

Well, either to landfills where it takes an extreme amount of time to even come close to decomposing, or it’s shipped in big boxes to markets in developing countries where it then kills the local industries.

Nice!

Think of all of the clothing that you have thrown away or donated in your life. Take that and imagine it just sitting in a landfill somewhere. What a big fat waste! Your money, equating essentially to garbage.

But of course, we just need to buy new clothes all of the time for the lowest prices we can find for each new season and it goes on.

Clothes polluting the earth, who knew?

I challenge you to really think about the next item of clothing that you throw out or buy. Is it worth it?

 

To bring some positivity into this post, I’m now going to talk about Everlane, which is a super rad clothing company that truly cares about where their clothing comes from, and makes sure that you do, too. You can look at all of the factories that they source their clothes from, see the production costs of every item, and know that they truly care about what they’re selling. “Radical Transparency,” as they say.

After watching the documentary, my first thought was, “Wow, I need to replace my entire closet with ethically sustainable clothes.” Specifically Everlane because so far that was my favorite ethical brand, but then I though to myself? Did I learn anything? Replacing my closet with all new clothing completely defeats the purpose of trying to be more ethically sustainable in regards to fashion because most of it would go to waste. What I should do is make use of what I have, and if I want new clothing, then I should shop somewhere like Everlane.

(Everlane clothing is timelessly classic and fashionable, but I will say that their clothing is a little boring for my taste. I’m still embracing being able to dress like a teenager while I can. But I definitely see myself buying more from them in the future.)

After roaming through the website and seeing Everlane all over social media, I ran into their t-shirts, which are super cool. I had been looking for new t-shirts, and when I found t-shirts that supported things that I cared about, I was sold.

These two t’s are from the 100% Human Campaign, which is awesome.

The first one I bought, the Human Pride Unisex Crew in Double Print, donated some of my purchase to the Human Rights Campaign, which is America’s largest civil rights organization working to end discrimination against the LGBTQ community. I bought this shirt because I liked how it looks (unimportant in the grand scheme of things) and firmly believe that EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE should be able to love whoever the frick they want to love because it’s their choice and no one else’s and we should just be able to be accepting and peacefully coexist, ya know?

pride shirthuman rights campaign

The second shirt I bought, the Human Woman Box-Cut Tee in Large Print, supports and donated $5 to Equality Now, which really hits home because gender shouldn’t be something that causes inequality and I don’t understand why this is still and issue we’re all HUMAN and should all be EQUAL and the longer I spend writing this the more I understand the 100% Human Campaign. (also #girlpower)

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equality now

BONUS-the package came with stickers and a pin, so you know I’ll be a returning customer the next time that I need some clothes.

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To wrap this up, watch the documentary, think more about where your clothes come from and where they end up, and consider transitioning into buying clothes from more ethical brands.

Emma

some cool podcasts

Happy Monday!

Today I’m gonna throw out some cool podcast recommendations because I just thoroughly enjoy listening to them and bet that there are other people out there that would enjoy them, too.

Until I saw that Arden Rose and Will Darbyshire were coming out with a podcast, I had never even looked at the Podcast app on my phone. In fact, I’ve deleted it a countless number of times.

After I listened to the first episode of “Crash On My Couch,” Arden and Will’s podcast, I was hooked. I now LOVE listening to podcasts in the car, on walks, when I’m bored out of my mind, you get the idea.

So, my first recommended podcast is “Crash On My Couch.” Arden and Will are hilarious. There have been so many times where I’m listening to them and walking my dog and I just randomly burst out laughing, hoping that no one sees me because they are that funny. The majority of their episodes have to do with conspiracy theories and weird stuff that goes on in Japan, which is all interesting and funny and what not but occasionally they do some episodes where they just answer questions that are sent in in a really heartfelt way.

If you want a good laugh, this one’s for you.

Next is “Ladies Who Lunch.”

“Ladies Who Lunch” is the epitome of #girlpower. Ingrid and Cat are two Youtubers as well who joined forces to make a podcast where they talk about pretty much everything while snacking on interesting snacks and other combinations of food.

For example, they dedicated all four of May’s posts to mental health because it was Mental Health Awareness Month, and this month all of their episodes are dedicated to Pride because June is then obviously pride month.

The ladies manage to put together really well organized and though-out, comprehensive episodes each week that are about an hour long, and they never fall short of guests which contribute to the overall greatness of their podcast.

I have never heard either one of them ever say something that could be considered insulting, and they are always very open to corrections from their guests or audience. In general, they are both super open about absolutely everything, they don’t hide anything, and they’re willing to talk about literally anything. I feel like I am actually friends with them because they are so genuine, and I love that. I’ve gotten some of the best advice from Ingrid and Cat and it’s all by listening to them speak for an hour once a week.

I also enjoy “The Minimalist’s” podcast and “Dear Sugar,” but I don’t listen to them enough to write something decent about them.

So, definitely check these things out, especially now that school’s out and if you’re like me you rarely have anything better to do.

Emma