Celebrating Lunar New Year at the Botanical Gardens

Will and I went to the State Botanical Gardens in Athens, GA this past weekend as part of our Valentine’s celebration. The gardens are broken up into different sections: the garden house, the greenhouse, the kids area, the trails, and the outdoor cultural gardens. I personally like the greenhouse best. It reminds me of going to the Biltmore House with Will back during our first spring break together. How cute!

This weekend the gardens were decorated for the lunar new year. Chinese lanterns were hung everywhere in the greenhouse. It felt absolutely magical!

There were quite a few educational activities. They were meant for kids, but Will and I checked them out anyways. I taught him how to use chopsticks!

This year’s the year of the pig. Did you know that some American kids are developing British accents because of Peppa Pig? Conversely, did you know that Peppa Pig is banned in China? Crazy, right?

That’s all for now! Zài jiàn!

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My Five Love Languages and Acts of Service for Valentine’s Day

A friend turned me on to taking the five love languages quiz at the end of last semester. My top love language is acts of service. While it came as no surprise, it was nice to have some affirmation that I like what I like and I know what makes me happy.

Acts of Service: Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. Finding ways to serve speaks volumes to the recipient of these acts.

Five Love Letters

Affirmations are always nice (and they’re almost all of my friends’ top love language) and they go right along with acts of service if you’re making Valentine’s Day cards this week!

Delta Gamma got together and made cards for the visually impaired using puffy paint for the braille! If you go into stores, you won’t find many cards for the blind (or any at all if you shop where I shop). Making your own is super easy. Send them to a school for the visually impaired near you! Delta Gamma sent ours to schools in Atlanta.

Another card writing act of service I’ve done recently is through More Love Letters. My group of freshmen and I got together yesterday night to write cards for people going through hard times. More Love Letters is an organization that provides a short story about someone’s hardship (that’s asked for letters, or has had someone ask on their behalf) and an address for people to write notes of encouragement to them. You can find them by clicking here! My Freshman Forum group wrote more than fifteen letters for Joe, Shelby, Regina, Anthony, and Erica.

Those are just two small acts of service to think about this Thursday (or before!). Happy Valentine’s Day y’all!

A Sweet Valentine’s Day

Will and I love cooking and baking together. This Valentine’s Day, our plans are to eat lots of pasta, go ice skating, watch a movie, and then make a bunch of pink cookies! With icing and sprinkles of course 😉

Here are some recipes you all can try out:

Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Bites from Tip Buzz

Frozen smoothie bars from Bakers Royale

Rose Madeleines from Lauren Conrad

Valentine Sugar Cookies from Alice and Lois (these are the one’s Will and I will be making!)

Chocolate Lollipops from Shutterbean

If you’re looking for even more Valentine’s Day inspiration follow my Valentine’s Day Pinterest board (or check back next week for another ~*pink*~ themed post)!

MLK Day

I hope everyone is enjoying this day off of school and (maybe) work. While a lot of people view this as just another day off, I’m grateful for friends and family that encourage me to take the time to educate myself on race, politics, and history. I know this is something I should be doing every single day, but because today is MLK Day I’ve made sure to set aside a moment of introspection and research for myself.

I don’t have all the answers about race in America. I actually don’t have many at all. I’m by no means an expert. I’ve tried hard to listen more than I talk when it comes to the things I don’t fully understand how to talk about. I think the article White People Assume Niceness is the Answer To Racial Inequality. It’s Not. by Robin diAngelo sums up this feeling well in this quote:

I am white. As an academic, consultant and writer on white racial identity and race relations, I speak daily with other white people about the meaning of race in our lives. These conversations are critical because, by virtually every measure, racial inequality persists, and institutions continue to be overwhelmingly controlled by white people. While most of us see ourselves as “not racist”, we continue to reproduce racist outcomes and live segregated lives….If I cannot tell you what it means to be white, I cannot understand what it means not to be white. I will be unable to bear witness to, much less affirm, an alternate racial experience. I will lack the critical thinking and skills to navigate racial tensions in constructive ways…We can begin [to support racial equality] by acknowledging ourselves as racial beings with a particular and limited perspective on race. We can attempt to understand the racial realities of people of color through authentic interaction rather than through the media or through unequal relationships. 

This weekend, I browsed the internet for articles on race in America. I hope you’re not surprised that I found many, many articles, news reports, YouTube videos, Facebook posts, and various other web-based writings on the subject.

I thought this article, talking about the way Americans perceive the word ‘racist’, very interesting. I personally had not thought about that word that way before.

On the other side of the political spectrum, Forbes came out with their own article on racism this time last year.

And to wrap up this week’s post, I have an article for you about Black Burnout. I wasn’t aware that someone else’s definition of burnout could be different than mine. I’d always assumed it was the same feeling, happening for the same reasons, and ending in the same way. I’d read an earlier article from Buzzfeed writer Anne Peterson about millennials being the burnout generation and intensely related to the scenarios and feelings she described. I’m so glad that someone else decided to write a follow up article from their perspective because otherwise I wouldn’t have known there was a difference.

I hope you enjoyed the articles and the discussions they may prompt. Some may find them enlightening, some inflammatory, and others dismissive. Feel free to talk about your thoughts and reactions in the comments section below.

Hello 2019!

While my blog might have gotten off to a rough start this year, my real life has been full of positive change. Here’s what I’m doing in 2019 to make this year the best one yet:

  • Make more art
  • Embrace the unknown (looking at you, law school)
  • Drink more water
  • Take an exercise class
  • Write!
  • Focus on skin care and hair care
  • Read at least three books from a genre I wouldn’t normally choose from

And there you have it! My goals for the new year are almost always flexible and simple. I don’t like attaching numbers to things, except for maybe how many books I want to read. This “freeform” type of resolution making helps me actually want to make some changes. I get to do it at my own pace, however often, whether that’s two minutes every day or twenty hours in one sitting.

Do you have any goals for 2019? Have you changed them or come up with new ones in the past two weeks?

How to Give Back During the Holidays

As we wrap up the year many people are consumed by gift giving madness. Some are wondering how they’re going to afford presents. Others are just trying to provide their loved ones with food and shelter during the start of winter. 

Here are some quick ideas on how to help others have a happy, and fulfilling, Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukkah, and New Year’s:

The article is old, but let’s put that aside to focus on the idea. Donate your new, unwanted beauty products to shelters. 

Toys for Tots, Shop With a Mascot, and other local programs donate toys to underprivileged children in many areas across the United States. 

Food banks are always looking for donations

Kitchens also need help cooking holiday meals for those they serve!

Another old article here, all about a “Tie One On” event where a community tied winter clothes to trees and fences throughout town with notes for individuals to take the items if they needed them.

If you see a homeless individual outside a coffee shop, ask them if they’d like something warm to eat or drink. A little warm coffee or a bowl of soup goes a long way when the weather dips into the freezing temperatures. 

Make a shelter for the neighborhood feral cat.

On My Radar

This week’s and next week’s blog posts will be on the shorter side because it’s exam season. Best of luck to everyone studying their butts off (and thanks to those procrastinating by reading my blog).

For anyone else still on a Thanksgiving food kick, here’s a great GrubHub post on a chef’s Thanksgiving week. All of her “spontaneous” dishes sound like they’re to die for

Pediatricians swallow Lego heads to prove a point.

See how the New York Time’s Best Books of 2018 compares to Goodread’s Best of 2018 

Here’s my top pic from both of the above articles! 

The great red cup debate. Great for instilling political controversy and for keeping those holiday brew lattes nice and warm. 

This looks like something I need to do to finish the debut novel I’ve been working on since high school.

For your listening pleasure this week.