July 9, 2010

CARE’s Annual Report

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 8:22 pm by Gina

Hi readers!

One of my favorite organizations and a topic of many previous posts, CARE, has recently published its 2009 Annual Report. This beautiful pdf (it really is a nice layout!) tells stories of individual women, overall goals, as well as financial statements and cash flow charts.

If you click on the picture you will be able to read that 75% of the worlds women cannot get bank loans, 64% of the worlds illiterates are women, 60% of the worlds poorest people are women and 55% of the worlds children out of school are girls.

Think of the times that you are most thankful to have a strong support system. I would imagine that it involves these three important steps in any women’s life: as a student, when pregnant and raising a baby, and when working to create lives for you and your family.

In my previous post I complain about work. What about the women who walk 8 hours a day to get water for their families? The women who cannot go to school or earn a living because there is no wages to simply stay alive. It says “Everyday we ask ourselves, how can we do our work better?” Take the time to ask yourself what you can do. These women may be across the world from us, but there are many around you that can be constantly helped. Women you know who have sick family members, multiple young children or cannot find a job. What can you do? Lend an ear, a shoulder, a hand?

Love,
Gina

Check out the entire Annual Report here!

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June 24, 2010

I Love Summer Because…

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 2:26 am by Gina

Sorry Loves!!

This week has been hectic and fun and too long for only being half-way over 🙂 Needless to say I forgot about Finish the Sentence Tuesday…BUT since you are all loving, empathetic, awesome readers I know you won’t hate me forever! haha

The first day of summer was this past Monday and for many of you I imagine it simply came and went like any other day. I know its not a national holiday and we don’t get presents, food, fireworks or any of the other positives that come from such holidays, but it is an important day nonetheless!!

If you’re anything like me than summer vacation is a slew of happy, fun, deliciously joyful moments and images. Perhaps it’s because of our summer vacations when we were children, but it seems summer often makes us think of the little things that give us pleasure– strawberries, flowers, outdoors, swimming etc etc etc. The list could go on.

This is the reason it’s important!! Despite the fact that we all have responsibilities and to-do lists longer than our arms, don’t let the first day of summer pass without acknowledgement! Tell us your favorite things about summer! The little pleasures that you envision when you close your eyes and think of the word “summer.”

Now for the final part. MAKE THOSE THINGS HAPPEN AGAIN!! Catch fireflies (if you can find them!) play in the sprinkler. Actively work to get that deliciously joyful moment again (while remembering that high expectations can often ruin the awesome moment you’re already having) and take back a little bite of your summer. (what’s with all the food references? I must be hungry.)

When I was a kid I would make lists in my notebook during the last few weeks of school of all the things I loved about summer. It made me very happy and hopeful and helped me to survive the last few weeks of being locked up inside all day– tell me yours!!


p.s. don’t judge the video too harshly, I’m still learning and threw it together quickly 🙂

Happy Summer!! xoxo
~Gina

May 20, 2010

Yes!

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 11:56 pm by Gina

Readers-

Lately I’ve been feeling blah about myself. Nothing too bad, no worries. The only reason I’m posting this is because I don’t want you to think that by any means I always think positively or always feel great about my work/my actions/my body. Thats ok though, because in the end I’ll always turn/try to turn the positive way instead. 🙂

Now for the star of the post! Jessica!

How AMAZING is this? This little girl knows how to do it! Stand in front of your mirror and sing, dance, scream what you love! Make that mirror your friend instead of your constant foe. Anyway, I really liked this short video and the adorable and adorably brilliant little girl.

Your disgustingly corny friend,
Gina

April 27, 2010

Three Blessings I Have In My Life Are…

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 2:09 pm by Gina

Hi all!

Wow, first let me say I’m sorry it has been an entire week since our last update, I promise that won’t happen again (anytime soon at least.) Anywho we are back to finish the sentence Tuesday and I would love to hear from all of you again! and your friends!

Today it is rainy and dreary and only a Tuesday. I didn’t get much sleep and I have a lot to do. In response to this I think its time to remember our blessings, the good things we have in our lives and the reason they are good. While it won’t make the rain go away, perhaps it will clear the junk out of my mind and at the very least remind me of something positive, something sunshine-y 🙂

I’m going to make just one stipulation- no putting “family, friends, my health.” BORING! We are ALL thankful for our family and friends and health (and various other “duh” blessings) so I challenge you to think of something a little different, make it specific if it’s about these things, tell a little story, contemplate for longer than the normal three seconds. I’m sure it will be good!

So here goes,

Three blessings I have in my life are…

1) Ohio University:
I know that many students struggle with their first year of college. Sometimes they don’t fit with the school and often they don’t know what they want to study- it’s a big decision for a 17/18 year old, and not an easy one. That’s why I feel completely blessed when I’m reminded over and over again that OU is the right school for me. This doesn’t mean that there haven’t been problems, stress, or other issues, what it does mean is that Fall, Winter, and now Spring I have found myself walking down the streets of Athens and realizing that I love it here, problems, stress, issues and all.

2) Open-minded parents:
This might seem like a weird one, but I guarantee you my mother understands. I am like my mom in a whole lot of ways- a “free” personality being one of them. In the past few years I have scared them by almost choosing a school in New York City, taking a flight to Ghana by myself and telling my mother I would be teaching English as a second language soon. I signed up to study abroad in Italy and I’ve thrown numerous parties at my house while they are away. What I’m saying is, I know that sometimes I dream big, and I am blessed that I have parents who not only are getting used to it, but are supporting me as well. I think everyone can understand, whether you have it or not, a parents support makes a difference.

3) Internet:
Sweet, sweet internet. I use the internet daily, 5 million times a day probably. I stay connected with my friends and family (thank God!) I read blogs, I update blogs, I do my homework, I check the weather, I read the news. While I am always an advocate of going outside, being active, doing something that doesn’t involve technology, I also am constantly amazed at the numerous positive things the internet can help one accomplish. It can start movements, change elections, share ideas. It can serve as a link for every internet-accessing person on this earth. I don’t watch T.V. anymore at all (really, the last thing I watched was the Cavs game and I had to use a friends T.V.) and I can’t say I’m upset about that. I am blessed to have internet connection to seek out positive media messages instead!

These are three blessings that I have in my life right now. Obviously I have many, many more, including my friends, my dad, sister and nephew, my health, my strikingly good looks (hahahah just kidding!) But for now ima focus on these three!

Have a blessed day!
~Gina

April 20, 2010

What I Wish For In This Moment Is…

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 7:56 pm by Gina

Hi readers,

Today is our second weekly “finish this sentence…” and the sentence to be finished is the title of this post!! Let me preface this post by saying that I am typically an advocate for being happy with the present moment just the way it is, I think you will find it is the way to be truly happy. But I am human just like you and of course am not happy with every moment. I often have expectations that don’t come true or responsibilities I don’t want to have. It’s those moments that make me wishful for something else.

What I wish for in this moment is… to be somewhere, anywhere, with my three best friends on earth (all of whom are very far away), relaxing and laughing and not doing one single important thing. I don’t care if there are other people with us- the more the merrier! I don’t care what we’re doing, as long as we are together and happy and I don’t have to be in my room on a beautiful day scrambling to finish the million and one tasks I have to complete before tomorrow.

In acknowledging this wish out loud, I hope I can come to terms with it, and let it float away for the time being. School is not always fun or easy (hardly ever) but it serves its purpose just as much as friends do. Plus, if I finish my work quickly enough, I may just be able to hang out with other friends and act as if I never felt stress this entire day 🙂

So share! Pass it on to others, anyone who you would want to hear an answer from!! We love to hear from you ❤

Wishing you a great day!
~Gina

March 31, 2010

Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 6:31 pm by Gina

When I first walked in to the theater I was surprised by how many people already filled the limited amount of seats, evidence that there is a hunger to hear about these issues and perhaps an excitement to get rid of them. I’ve come to hear a presentation from Courtney Martin about her book, Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters, and how “the quest for perfection is harming young women.”

Courtney, a young writer and graduate from Barnard as well as NYU has a personality so friendly and relatable it is easy to feel comfortable around her, as if she is a close friend. Characteristics that, to me, make her all the more qualified to write a book on the struggles of young women.

She says outright, “I am not an expert on eating disorders, nutrition, health, or psychology, but I do have expertise in quiet desperation…In this book, I act as an observer, an outraged idealist, a story teller, a bleeding heart, an eavesdropper, and an ordinary young woman.”

Courtney begins by asking us to close our eyes and imagine our morning.

“One minute debating whether to have a bagel and be “bad” or a protein shake and be “good”; two minutes chastising yourself for choosing the bagel: two minutes contemplating how fattening the cream cheese was. Three minutes poking your face in the mirror, feeling bad about the dark circles under your eyes. Four minutes reading that Lindsay Lohan lost a bunch of weight; another minute chastising yourself for being so vulnerable to the media; five minutes thinking about how crazy it is that woman as smart as you spend so much of their days obsessing about food and fitness…”

The list goes on to include contemplating decisions such as chicken sandwich vs. salad, gym vs. nap and dinner eating plans. Think about your own day, how much of it is spent chastising yourself? Everyone wants to be healthy, but it is not healthy if it comes with a side of hatred, discouragement and obsession. All told, women spend about 100 minutes a day scrutinizing instead of loving their bodies. These are ambitious, driven, impatient women who have settled on wasting this time and energy obsessing over their bodies.

What fascinates me most about her book is the focus not just on eating and body image disorders, but also on the perfectionism that seems to have taken over our generation. We were raised by parents of a feminist, rebellious generation who taught us “we can do anything” and yet we heard “we must do everything.” It is this complex that is also represented in the title of Martin’s book—Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters.

I am positive that everyone knows the perfect girl. They have struggled with it themselves and seen their peers/relatives/friends struggle as well. Perfect girls are the captains of our sports teams, honor roll students, winners of scholarships, peacemakers, do-gooders, socially conscious and involved. We have 5-year plans and must be thin, beautiful and effortlessly perfect.

On the other hand, the starving daughters are dying for attention, recognition, a hug. They are constantly being pushed away by the perfect girl who only wants to show the world her beauty, strength and willpower, not her doubt, fears and cravings. The starving daughters are tired of trying so hard all the time and constantly being at war with the perfect girl.

I am not trying to blame the media, our parents or our friends. I am not trying to say that every person you know has an eating disorder, and I don’t think Courtney is either. Instead, this book brings to attention the harm that destructive thoughts and attitudes can have to one’s well-being, which, in a world where two-thirds of females ages 18-35 would rather be mean or stupid than fat, is something every single person has to conquer to some degree.

A few weekends ago I came home from school stressed and emotionally drained from trying to support a friend I know who struggles with some of these same problems. Collapsing on the couch I looked at both of my parents and genuinely thanked them for never making me feel like I had to be perfect, I did that to myself more than enough.

Don’t wait until you are 50 to love yourself, life is too short and perfect is far too boring. 🙂

With love,
Gina

~If you are interested in hearing Courtney speak and read excerpts from her book click here

~Much of this post was paraphrased from Courtney’s book. I encourage you to check it out!

February 5, 2010

Your Lists!

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 6:59 pm by Gina

Ladies!

First, let me say THANK YOU for sharing your lists with me, for the encouragement and also for such a personal glimpse into your minds! I can’t explain how much joy this brought me! Reading over the comments there were DEFINITELY some themes (many themes actually.) The ones I tallied the most of though went something like this (highly paraphrased of course):

Surround yourself with positive people then always, always, ALWAYS appreciate those special people. Your amazing friends and family members, they are more valuable than you can imagine. Make sure you keep in touch with these people no matter how far and make sure to let them know how much they mean to you from time to time.

Find something you love and go for it! Follow your passion and HAVE passion- it is more essential to your day to day life than first meets the eye.

Get your feelings out rather than bottling them in. It is better to express yourself- whether that is through writing, drawing, singing, dancing, talking, laughing, or smiling. Never forget to smile and to LOVE YOURSELF!

And lastly, as much as all of us teenagers don’t show it, the number one most common response was to love your Family- particularly your mother. To say thank you, appreciate them, listen to them, work to spend time with them instead of doing everything you can to leave. Don’t take your family for granted- life is short.

These responses were all amazing, but something I got even greater joy out of was the feeling of community the responses gave me- even through the internet. Amanda quoting Regina, people reading other peoples lists and borrowing aspects of it, compliments given (thanks Allie!) and even more exciting, Patricia V. Davis actually commented!! Thats right, the author of the original list, founder and editor-in-chief of Harlots Sauce Radio and e-magazine, author of multiple poems on women’s issues and keeper of a bossy blog COMMENTED THIS BLOG!!! We’re practically famous! haha It’s because I am a woman! 🙂

Thank you all!
~Gina Marie

December 31, 2009

New Years NEW Resolution- YOU!

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 2:18 am by Gina

Hi READERS,

Sorry it’s been awhile, also sorry about the over-used excuse of “the holidays.” Tried but true! Anyway I’d like to welcome the New Year in with all of you!! I have never been a huge fan of New Years resolutions; it seems silly to me to make resolutions just because of some random holiday when it may not be the right time in your life to make them. I resolve to do things daily, whether long or short-term, and I think many of you do too. Still, one can see the benefit of taking time out to breathe, relax, and take a life inventory. Where are you right now? Where do you want to be? What was hard about the past year? What was great? Don’t just think big- think small, common, strange and everything in between that helps you find your answers.

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”
—Louisa May Alcott

What a great quote to read after taking stock of one’s life! Don’t be down if you haven’t done your resolutions from last year, whatever they were. You are faced with Change everyday and what you think is best for you at one time may not be at another. What is important is that you can see those goals/aspirations and keep following their path. Instead of beating yourself up, what you should do is ask why? Did you not accomplish certain goals because they were outrageous, too broad or not strong enough? Did you procrastinate, forget them or did life change them? The most important question for me personally is, “am I not doing this because of my own fear?” I do everything I can to not base the decisions in my life off of fear. If the only thing holding you back is fear, than the only thing holding you back is yourself. At any given moment you can take steps to get past that fear.

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Finally, I think it is important to realize the things you already have accomplished in your life. Once again, not just big things, little things are often just as important. The relationship you mended, forgiveness that you have given, trash that you picked up, the smile you caused. In the end, those are the big things. We have accomplished a lot in the past decade, just think of the decade to come!

“Something which we think is impossible now is not impossible in another decade.”
— Constance Baker Motley
(First Black Woman in the U.S. to become a Federal Judge)

Happy New Years!!

~Gina Marie

December 20, 2009

Video Series: Part II, I Am Powerful

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 3:30 pm by Gina

Buongiorno bellas!

Part II brings a video from the super amazing CARE organization (their videos are just very well done.) It is simple and strong. It is moving and mindful and a perfect 3 minute break on a relaxing Sunday. Oh and thanks for putting up with my alliteration 🙂

Another fresh blogger out there posted something today that really touched me. He said, “The minute we were conceived we became receivers and transmitters. We are connected to this world, this fantastic universe, and to each other. Our thoughts, speech, beliefs, actions and attitudes are our tools to use to create the ideal life experience inside and out…The same works outwardly for those you love. You can create them as something for them to grow into.”

Don’t limit yourself or those around you just because you have preconceived notions or fears. Like the video says, you are powerful.

“I’m dreaming up a decade free of doubt where every life is loved and celebrated.” (via)

With Love,
Gina

December 19, 2009

Video Series: Part 1, Odanadi Cycle

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 3:16 pm by Gina

Hi all!

Everyone seemed to love the video I included in the CARE post, which is great because I loved it too! I have found a ton of informative, interesting, and awareness-bringing (yes I made that a word with a hyphen) videos celebrating and encouraging women!

This video I found on another fun blog was practically made to be seen by me! Traveling is my obsession, yoga is my hobby and volunteering is what makes me happy. Not to mention that India is on my list of dream places to visit and study. It is about 12 minutes long, but I promise it is worth it. Play it in the background while getting ready in the morning! Or with a cup of pumpkin spice coffee like I did 🙂

The only problem is, I can’t seem to figure out how to embed it in the post, but take a second to check out this beautiful video here: http://www.vimeo.com/8104963

“For 19 years Odanadi has been providing a safe haven for victims of human trafficking. They are committed to the rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of enslaved women and children.”

Bye sisters,
Gina

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