Weekend Reading

October 31, 2014

This has been such a busy and stressful week for me. My weekend will be busy but still fun, so I'm excited. I'm going home tonight, and then seeing the Boston Ballet perform on Sunday with my mother!

Here are some things that caught my eye this week:

{ via TheSkimm }

1. TheSkimm's Guide to the 2014 Midterm Elections I wrote last week about how much I love TheSkimm, a daily email that keeps you up-to-date on the latest news in a fun, readable manner. TheSkimm team has created this guide to the issues and candidates for the midterms. In their typical manner, it does a great job of explaining everything in an easily-understood way. Worth a look, even if you're not voting in one of the key states they look at.

{ via Elite Daily }

2. Why We Should Say What We Mean and Mean What We Say As a Communication major, I found this article to be particularly interesting, but it's a good read for anyone! I think nowadays in our plugged-in generation the social art of verbal communication is often forgotten, but it's so important to be able to effectively articulate your thoughts.

{ via Minds.com }

3. Peru's All-Organic, Low-Price Food System This article looks at how Peru, a country that has banned GMOs entirely and offers organic produce at prices comparable to our conventionally-grown produce here it the US. (Remind me again why our country isn't like this?!) I especially liked this quote: "Dear cynical GMO supporters, are you not in favor of labeling? Why? How could you possibly not be? Do you not want food to be exhaustively tested before spreading into global ecology forever?"

{ via Food Babe }

4. How Food Companies Exploit Americans with Ingredients Banned in Other Countries I have a feeling every Weekend Reading post from here on out will include a Food Babe piece. I just completely agree with everything she has to say regarding our corrupt food industry and the substandard "protections" given to us by those who are supposed to be looking out for our interests.

5. Amelia Earhart Plane Fragment May Have Been Discovered Okay, this is so cool! I've been fascinated with this story since I was little. It's always a little bit unsetting to read about it, but so interesting.

Thanks for reading and Happy Halloween!

4 Healthy Snack Ideas (And a Treat)

October 29, 2014

I am a huge snacker. I get extremely hungry right around 3:00 every day and if I don't take the time to portion out a few healthy snacks I will eat excessively. I think healthy choices are very important so I always try to turn to fruits and vegetables first, but I have a huge sweet tooth and any kind of bread or muffin is my weakness.

Here are some of my favorite snack foods -- 4 healthy choices and my favorite treat at the end:

{ image }

1. Pomegranate seeds These are a fun snack because they're sweet, juicy, and have a bit of crunch. Pomegranate seeds have antioxidants and heart-healthy compounds. Eat them straight or you could put them in yogurt or on a salad. If you don't feel like seeding a pomegranate, Trader Joe's usually carries packages of pomegranate seeds.

{ image }

2. Carrots Carrots are such an easy snack and have lots of antioxidants (carotenoids specifically, which is also how they get their color!) and vitamins. An easy way to get a serving or two of vegetables in.

{ image }

3. Whole wheat toast This is pretty basic but I always find it filling (all the fiber from the whole wheat!) and you can add all kinds of toppings. The key to making this a healthy snack is paying attention to the ingredients of each component. To start, you need an organic and minimally processed whole wheat bread. Look at the ingredients and make sure high fructose corn syrup isn't on there. From here, you can add peanut or almond butter (again I'd recommend organic, minimally processed, with as little added ingredients as possible). You could also add bananas on top. Another option is to mash up avocado and spread it on top of the toast.

{ image }

4. Brown rice cakes Rice cakes are another snack that you can "customize" by adding peanut or almond butter. I love the brand that I've pictured and linked above because they are committed to sustainable farming and organic products. (I would also rather support a family-owned business than support Quaker, a corporation under the monolith Pepsico.) Brown rice is a better choice because it is unrefined and thus still contains its full vitamin and mineral content.

{ image }

5. Iced chai latte I am seriously addicted to iced chai's -- I get one every day. I'm not a coffee drinker so this provides a boost of caffeine and gives me something to sip on as I study in the library. My mom always says not to drink your calories and these are no doubt loaded with calories and sugar, but I can't help it. It tastes especially good with almond milk or soy milk. I can't wait to make this healthier homemade version next time I'm home!


Motivation Monday

October 27, 2014

Lately I have been seriously lacking in motivation. Whether it's sitting down to do my homework, getting to the library to work on an article, or getting myself to ballet class, I've been feeling very lazy. Partly I think it has to do with the rainy weather we had all last week, so with a sunnier forecast I'm hoping this week will be better. But there are also some things I know that can help me get more motivated. Here's what I find usually helps:

{ source via Pinterest }

1. Find some encouraging quotes I know some people who find quotes trite, but sometimes they can be just the trick in getting inspired again. Pinterest is always a good place to look. The Bible also always provides inspiration for me, particularly the book Proverbs!

2. Remember the power of positive thinking I truly believe in the power of our thoughts. (One of my favorite encouraging quotes is: "Change your thoughts and you'll change your world.") Whenever I wake up and consciously decide on a grateful and positive mindset, I always find my day goes better. I always like to caption my wake-up alarm with a positive message and some fun emojis so the first thing I look at in the morning is a happy thought!

{ source via Pinterest }

3. Search for motivation in others I usually do not think comparing yourself to others is a good idea, but in some cases it can be. One of my friends is always extremely busy. She is training to be a professional dancer, and, in addition to strenuous ballet rehearsals, gets up early to work out and take online classes. I admire how much she accomplishes in a day without complaining, and always think of her busy schedule when feeling overwhelmed!

4. Give yourself something to look forward to This is a really important lesson that my mom always taught my sister and I. A hard week is so much easier to get through (and goes by faster) when you have an exciting plan to look forward to. It can be as simple as coffee with friends the next morning or as exciting as a big trip coming up.

{ source via Pinterest }

5. Make a playlist We all have those songs that make us feel like we could take on anything. Anytime you hear a song that makes you feel good and encourages you, add it to a playlist and listen to it when you're feeling unmotivated.

6. Write a To-do list Having all the tasks you have to accomplish written down with an empty check box next to them will probably make you more motivated to do them!


Weekend Reading

October 24, 2014

Some things I found interesting this week, along with some old favorites:

{ my photo, article via Buzzfeed }

1. 28 Incredible Facts About New England I was born and raised in Maine and currently attend college in New Hampshire, and have spent my entire childhood taking road trips all around New England. I love the lifestyle and the beautiful scenery of our region of the country. This article has some fun facts! The photo above I took in Portsmouth, NH, one of my favorite New England towns.

{ via Food Babe }

2. Great Information About GMOs and Food Labeling I recently discovered Food Babe's website. (I linked another good article of hers in this post.) She is extremely well-informed on many aspects of the food industry and conducts "investigations" exposing sometimes hidden chemicals and toxic ingredients found in many of our foods. This particular article really spoke to a lot of the things that frustrates me personally about our food industry, including the dishonest and misleading food labeling that tricks customers into buying a product that isn't actually good for them. A good read!

{ via YouTube }

3. Amazing Contemporary Piece I actually saw this performance on the previous season of So You Think You Can Dance a few weeks ago, but haven't been able to get it out of my mind since. I love the song, "Like Real People Do" by Hozier (I love his other songs, too!), and the beautiful choreography of this piece conveys emotion and passion so well.

{ via TheSkimm.com }

4. TheSkimm Daily Newsletter I've been a subscriber to TheSkimm for a few months now and am convinced it's an absolute must for everyone. It's a daily email newsletter that gives you the latest news (and the context!) in a fun, readable format. I feel so much more informed after I read it in the mornings.

{ via Meet Anaïs Facebook page }

5. Purpose Infographic I came across this infographic on Facebook. Although simplistic (the creator's page says she's working on an updated version), I think it really captures what your "purpose" is. I am a big visual person, so I thought this was a great way to explain all of these sometimes ambiguous terms.

This weekend is parents' weekend at my college, so I'm excited for my parents to come visit and go to the hockey and football games with them! 


Thursday Thoughts: Think Before You Buy

October 23, 2014

As consumers, we have the immense power of choosing which brands we support. Although you may not think twice selecting a product at the grocery store, your decision actually has a large impact on our political landscape, which is currently dominated by corporations. 

It's extremely important to be informed about which brands and companies are connected, and which of those you want to support. Do you support GMOs? Deceitful marketing? Pesticide usage? Unnecessary toxic/carcinogenic chemicals in your food? Your consumer decisions either support or refute these actions conducted by large corporations.

Did you know that most of the brands in our grocery stores are owned by 10 corporations? It's a scary thought that essentially our entire food supply is dominated by 10 companies. If they control the food supply, think of how effective they can be at controlling the people. This infographic will help you see which brands are under this large corporate umbrella.
{ source }

Virtually all of these companies use GMOs, pesticides, and often market their products to seem more healthful than they actually are, deceiving an already desperately misinformed populace. Instead of using whole, natural ingredients (though they often claim to be "natural"), these products contain large numbers of artificial flavors, dyes, and chemicals, many of which are carcinogenic and toxic.

We all have a huge role as consumers. Our money is our "vote" -- do you support the missions of these companies or not? Do you think that 10 corporations should be controlling basically all of our food supply? Do you want to continue allowing these companies to feed us carcinogenic chemicals?

Rethink your everyday buys. There is usually an alternative brand that is ultimately the more conscientious pick.


For more information, I recommend this great article by Food Babe10 Grocery Store Items You Should Never Buy Again (Plus the good alternative swaps!)

Favorite Art

October 22, 2014

This past Saturday, as I wrote in my New York Trip Recap post, I spent four hours walking around the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. I really enjoy art museums (my junior year of high school, I went to El Prado and La Reina Sofía in Madrid, which were amazing). The Met was huge and had so much to see, but I think my favorite parts were the paintings. I am particularly drawn to those that capture landscapes.

{ source }

In the American paintings exhibit, I loved Winslow Homer's work, especially those of the ocean. He actually painted these at his studio in Prout's Neck, Maine, which makes them all appealing to me. The one above is entitled "Northeaster," which is what we call a particularly powerful storm up here in New England. Amazing how he was able to capture the movement of ocean in a painting. The computer images don't really do the paintings justice, so definitely view them in person if you get the chance!

full photo }

I also loved the Art Deco pieces in the American Wing. The one above was a colorful mosaic tile with a fountain. I found it, along with the other works of the artist Louis C. Tiffany, to be spectacular.

{ source }

It was amazing to see the works of famous painters such as Van Gogh, Monet, and Renoir up close, but I was particularly drawn to the brightly colored works of French neo-impresissionist Paul Signac. The one above is my favorite.

What are your favorite pieces of art?

Latest Instagrams

© charlotte {b} harris | a new england-based lifestyle blog. Design by Fearne.