Autumn’s got me daydreaming

Here in Wisconsin, autumn is in full-force. The temperatures have dipped, the sun shines a bit dimmer and sinks earlier than we’re used to, and most mornings call for a cozy sweatshirt and cup of pumpkin or mint-flavored coffee (or any other autumn-inspired beverage).

A hot caramel macchiato on a cold Wisconsin autumn day.

As a lover of summer and all that it brings, autumn in Wisconsin usually has me daydreaming for a bit more sunshine, more 80-degree days, and maybe a new adventure altogether. While drinking coffee with hazelnut coffee creamer (because I’m the type of girl who loves creamer more than the actual coffee), my mind usually wanders to my next adventure.

Usually with daydreams, it’s go big or go home. Why would our brains limit us when the possibilities are endless in our dreams? The thrill behind daydreams is to dream up the “what ifs.”

What if you had an extra $10,000 to spend on your dream trip? Places like Earnest make fulfilling your dreams possible with low-interest personal loans to assist you in making those dreams a reality.

For me, I’ve been dreaming of taking a trip back to the East Coast. After my move from New Jersey back to Wisconsin, I’ve already felt the itch to return to New York. As a millennial who embraces technology, there are so many options that make traveling more affordable and easier than it’s ever been.

Autumn is ideal for a trip to NYC. Southwest offers cheap flights, so I’d hop on a plane from the Milwaukee to LaGuardia airport.

One of the coolest recent technological advancements is Airbnb, an app on your phone where you can browse and book stays in rooms, apartments, or houses for your trips. Communication with the host of your accommodation is done through the app, and prices can often be more affordable than you’d find for traditional hotels. Airbnb can be a great option not only if you’re looking to save money, but also if you’re looking for a more unique travel experience.

My Airbnb would be close to one of my favorite places in Manhattan: Central Park. I love the blend of city and nature, the ponds throughout the park, and it’s perfect for people-watching.

Central Park in panorama.

After a walk through Central Park, it’s only natural that I’d need some pizza to satisfy my hunger. Luckily New York is a place where I have many options for a slice at $1 a pop (or $3 if I wanted to splurge). Then I’d venture down to the perfect place for me: a dessert shop called Becky Bites NYC. Of course, why wouldn’t I go there? Founder of the shop, Becky Rosenthal, has created a heavenly place with cream-cheese inspired treats that are just too good to pass up.
My sweet tooth satisfied, and with my extra travel money still burning holes in my pockets, shopping seems like an obvious way to spend part of my day in the city. The largest department store in the world, Macy’s Herald Square, seems like a wise choice. But I wouldn’t be shopping just for the sake of shopping: I’d be on the hunt for the perfect dress for a night out in Manhattan.

After finding the winning dress, my day in the city wouldn’t be complete without some spectacular views. So I’d head over to 230 Fifth, a heated rooftop bar with a view that’ll blow you away. I’d make sure to make it to the rooftop early enough to see the sunset over the beautiful city. 

The view from the 230 Fifth rooftop bar. Photo credit: Rikki Helvey.

Running around Manhattan all day gives you an appetite, so I’m sure while I’m soaking in the view, I’d have to enjoy one of the options from the bar’s food menu. As a vegetarian, sometimes my options at restaurants can be limited, and sometimes limited to only items from the appetizer menu. But at 230 Fifth, the vegetarian ravioli or Asian vegetarian noodles would be perfect entrees for me (mainly because I’m forever obsessed with pasta).

Nighttime calls for something I haven’t done in NYC since I was 13: seeing a Broadway show. With shows like Anastasia, Wicked, and Hamilton onstage currently, you can’t go wrong. There’s just something magical about Broadway.

My night complete, I’d return to my Airbnb to sleep off the event-filled day I’d had, and definitely sleep in. My second day would involve plenty of museums, which is always one of my favorite things to do whenever I travel. The Museum of Natural History is one of my favorites, so I’d start there, but I’d want to venture out and explore museums I haven’t seen yet, like the Met and the Guggenheim.

American Museum of Natural History.

Of course throughout the day I’d indulge in some mandatory NYC bagels, and probably more pizza. In a city like New York, your food options are basically endless. Foods like bagels and pizza are not only delicious–they’re also convenient for when you’re on the go, which is a given if you’re in New York. After all the running around, I’d go back to my Airbnb earlier and relax for the night.

On my last full day in NYC, I’d take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, another one of my favorite New York sights.

The view from the Brooklyn Bridge.

I’d make sure to bring a good book and find a bench in Brooklyn Bridge Park, which offers beautiful views of the Lower Manhattan skyline.

View of Lower Manhattan from Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The next day I’d fly back to Wisconsin, promising that I’ll return to New York as soon as I could (which would be feasible with the leftover money from the extra $10,000 to go towards the trip). No matter how many times I visit New York, I’m already planning what I’ll see next time I’m there. For now, I’ll keep dreaming.

If you had $10,000 to put towards your dream trip, where would you go?

 

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Donald Trump: Embarrassing Republicans Everywhere

Source: memes.doublie.com The Donald on a good-hair day.

Source: memes.doublie.com
The Donald on a good-hair day.

Donald Trump is basically like that embarrassing grandparent, uncle, or neighbor who just doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut.

He has no filter, says whatever thought that comes to his head (no matter how ridiculous it may be), and he’s so cray cray, he’s even embarrassing the Republicans.

Now that’s talent.

I’ve written about my, um, disdain (putting it mildly) for The Donald on this blog before when I reviewed the documentary called “You’ve Been Trumped.”  If you haven’t seen this documentary that displays The Trumpster’s dumbassery, please give it a watch and report back. His arrogance and ignorance is so in-your-face it’s almost shocking. But since it’s The Donald, I suppose it’s not really too shocking.

Some critics (which would include the majority of the world’s population) have called Trump “the Republican Id.” I couldn’t agree more with this theory, and here’s why:

1. The Donald says exactly what the stereotypical Republican feels about immigration, but doesn’t usually say out loud. Republicans such as Ted Cruz have been quoted as saying that while they don’t agree with the WAY Trump has said he doesn’t approve of immigration, they agree with his views on immigration. Basically, they’re saying they agree with Trump that Mexicans are rapists…well, wait, what? I mean, they just think that all Mexicans should be deported immediately. Wait, no. They actually mean Mexicans are ruining this country. No, actually, Republicans think the ones here can stay, but we need a wall to keep everyone else from Mexico out. Yeah, that’s it. How will Republicans solve immigration? Uhhh, next question, please. That will get the Latino vote. Let’s stick with that.

2. While most Republican politicians love being rich and helping out their fellow rich friends, many of them try to keep it on the down low (even though reporters are onto their sneaky ways). Trump, however, doesn’t keep quiet about how rich he is. Heck, what’s wrong with flaunting bank statements during his presidential campaign announcement speech? Absolutely nothing.

3. The Donald loves war, and wants to fight everyone, all day, every day. Did you know he has top-secret plans to defeat ISIS? Okay, maybe his plans aren’t so top-secret. But for those who don’t own televisions or phones, his plans of attack on basically every other country on Earth will be a complete surprise!

4. Since Trump is a businessman and a billionaire, he worships huge corporations. They keep him going, they give him money, and they are his life support. What would The Trumpster do without corporations? Probably live a life of darkness. Therefore, he is with the Republicans on their love of big corporations (and belief that corporations are humans). However, through the insight from the documentary, it’s clear that Donald is a bit more proactive about his corporation worship than other Republicans.

5. The Donald has been vocal, like many Republicans who probably haven’t brushed up on basic science, in his beliefs that climate change is a hoax. You know, like aliens. It just hasn’t been proven. About 97 percent of scientists would disagree, but hey, what do they know?

Donald Trump has said too many offensive things that he should have kept to himself, and it’s caused him some trouble. Television channel Univision cut ties with Trump and changed its mind about airing Miss Universe. The channel was not pleased that Trump called Mexicans rapists. The Trumpster was of course, not having any of that. As he always says, he’s planning to sue them for a lot of money.

NBC has also decided to fire The Donald from their network after his racist comments about Mexicans. He’s being dropped like a flaming hot potato. Even though he does have politicians coming to defend him, there are still other fellow Republicans who tell him to calm it down.

You would think all of Trump’s antics would have solidified his epic failure in his hopes for a presidential run. Right?

Wrong. The Donald is LEADING the GOP as of the most recent polls. AKA, Donald “Mexicans are rapists” Trump is number one in the Republican presidential field right now.

Source: makeameme.org

Source: makeameme.org

Mind blown. I just can’t. All I can say is, “Thank God I’m not a Republican.” Also, I am a bit terrified for the future of this country. In conclusion, I just ask that fellow Democrats please vote this election. You all know you don’t want this fruit loop in office.

Religious Freedom (in other words, Freedom to Discriminate)

Source: washingtontimes.com

Source: washingtontimes.com

Religious freedom is not what people in favor of it want you to think. At least, not according to the law Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed in private yesterday. Religious freedom is nothing more than passing laws to have freedom for businesses to legally discriminate.

While Pence claims that the bill he signed, called the Senate Bill 101, “is not about discrimination,” it is clear that that’s exactly what it’s about. The bill “prohibits state and local governments from substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion.” There has been worry that this means it’s, essentially, making it legal for businesses to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples, all in the name of “religious freedom.”

The reason people are fearing that this could allow businesses to discriminate is because of the timing (after conservatives in Indiana failed to ban same-sex marriage in the state) and the allies Pence had on his side (conservatives who have pushed for anti-gay marriage laws in the past, such as Eric Miller, the head of Advance America).

Source: akopsa.wordpress.com

Source: akopsa.wordpress.com

Interestingly, Pence cited the equally-controversial Hobby Lobby case as some of his inspiration for signing the bill. In the Hobby Lobby case, the Supreme Court ruled that family-owned businesses can legally deny their employees insurance coverage for contraceptives under the grounds of “religious freedom.” What does religion have to do with contraception? Not much, but Hobby Lobby and other “religious” corporations can use their “religious freedom” as an excuse to deny their employees coverage for different forms of health care.

The passing of Pence’s bill is more of the same. While “religious freedom” shouldn’t have any direct correlation to gay marriage, the law could open the floodgates and allow businesses in Indiana to discriminate against gay and lesbian customers on the grounds of their religion. Apparently, if their religion states that gay marriage is immoral, Pence just passed a law that would allow these anti-gay marriage businesses to discriminate against customers they have a problem with.

The “religious freedom” laws that have been passed over the course of the last year make many Americans wonder what happened to the idea of separation of church and state. While the separation between the two isn’t directly in the Constitution, the idea is still there. Recently, businesses have been given the privilege to use their religious beliefs as an excuse to discriminate. Discrimination is against the law, yet “religious freedom laws” are going against that law.

While Pence claims that this bill isn’t about discriminating against groups of people, it blurs the line. It gives businesses the right to discriminate against people, claim that they are exercising their “religious freedoms,” and doing so legally.

America is founded on the idea of “freedom,” but when someone’s freedom compromises the rights of other citizens, then that is no longer “freedom.” That is discrimination. We should be free to practice our religion (or choose not to practice any religion in particular), as long as those practices do not include denying services to customers based on their sexual orientation alone.

Laws like Pence’s Senate Bill 101 in Indiana could open up the doors for similar bills in other states. Despite the fact that Pence claims his bill was not passed to allow discrimination, it is clear that the bill would make it easier for businesses to do just that. If other states follow suit, discrimination could become easier for businesses to practice legally.

It’s unclear whether or not Pence will be running for president in 2016, but if other conservative candidates hold Pence’s beliefs, then this election could prove to be an election that includes candidates who are still fighting to take away human rights on no basis other than discrimination excused as religious freedom.

Blogging Hints and Tips: What Do You Want To Know?

Do you have questions about blogging? Ask Suzie over at her blog, Suzie81 Speaks! See her original post for more information. You can leave your questions in the comment section of her post, email, or tweet her with what you’d like to learn about blogging.

Suzie Speaks

image

I’ve been emailed many times over the last few weeks with requests for blogging tips and advice. As I had a little bit of time free last night, I sat down and wrote everything I could think of that I deemed to be useful, and then proceeded to edit it and go through the word count.

It was over 4,000 words long.

As I realise that most people don’t have the time, nor the patience to read an epic post of that length, I have decided to break it down into a series over the space of several weeks. This would coincide perfectly with my blogiversary (I don’t care if you don’t like that word, I’m using it anyway) at the beginning of April and would be a great opportunity for me to be able to share what I’ve learnt from my little adventures over the last two years.

To…

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Why I’m no longer reading Thought Catalog

Evidently, I’m not the only one who no longer wants to read Thought Catalog. Even though it’s one of the 50 most-visited sites in America, it has still encountered backlash. So much backlash, in fact, that the Washington Post did an in-depth story investigating the website.

Thought Catalog, which I used to read from time to time, seems to have become a popular outlet for publishing hateful, poorly-written opinions to the masses. The website publishes a variety of articles from numerous authors, and admittedly, not all of them are negative. However, the racist, homophobic, and ignorant opinions have tainted Thought Catalog, and after I read the Washington Post’s article, it’s clear that I’m not the only one who thinks so.

The website has been in hot water over articles it posted in the past, and that I thankfully didn’t read. But there was an article Thought Catalog posted yesterday that provoked this post I’m currently writing, and it’s the one I want to focus on.

The article-in-question is entitled, “Can We Please Stop Pretending Like We Don’t All Have Racist Songs We Sing In Private?” by Nicole Mullen. Her article is a response to the SAE fraternity members at Oklahoma State University who recited a racist chant and were caught on tape.

The title should be reason enough to stop reading Thought Catalog. The title alone is problematic, not just for its ignorance, but also for the simple fact that it’s a crappy title. Thought Catalog is so successful not because it publishes quality content, but because it publishes “click bait.” This term to me gives a negative connotation, meaning that the title is crafted specifically for the number of clicks. Instead of writing quality content, the site is churning out articles with catchy or controversial titles, but the content within the article is questionable at times.

The first problem with the content of the article itself is that she claims that because the fraternity brothers sang the song instead of speaking it, that this alleviates the controversy.

It doesn’t.

She then goes on to say, “Can we all just stop pretending like we don’t have racist songs that we sing when no one is looking?”

Source: imgarcade.com

Source: imgarcade.com

Okay, so there are two problems with the question she’s asking:

1. The fraternity members weren’t singing this “when no one was looking.” There was a whole crew of them singing the racist song. So it wasn’t one person alone in his shower singing the “Racist Slur Anthem for Ignorant Fraternity Members.”

2. Who sings racist songs like that in the first place? Like ever? I don’t know about you, but when I sing in the shower, it’s not usually a racist-filled chant that sounds as if it was written in the 1860’s. Usually I stick to singing Adele.

If you think the author’s problems stopped there, think again my friend. After I read this next paragraph, I was THISCLOSE to losing my faith in humanity:

“It’s human nature to express things through art, and sorry guys, but music is art. Racism is natural, and while it’s something that we should correct, if we suppress it in our regular behavior it has to come out through artistic endeavors. Think about all the idle swastikas you’ve doodled in your downtime. Think about how many times you’ve made up silly little parody songs in your head that use racial slurs.”

I will agree with the author that music is art. Yes, she’s got one thing right in her article so far.

Source: quickmeme.com

Source: quickmeme.com

However, her accuracies within the article stop there.

She claims that when someone draws swastikas and writes songs with racial slurs, it’s “art”?

Source: makeameme.org

Source: makeameme.org

The only people I know who actually did that were, in fact, racists.

For the record: no, just because you doodle anti-Semitic symbols on your notebook or sing songs containing the n-word doesn’t mean you’re a tortured artist. It means you’re a racist.

Guess what? Directly after the author states that swastikas and racial slurs in songs are examples of “art,” she then regales us with stories proving that she’s a racist. Do I dare put her horrific examples in block quotes? Just for illustrative purposes, I’ll let her direct quotes speak for themselves:

“There’s four Chinese people that work at the grocery store near my house, and whenever I see them, in my head I play a different little theme song for each one. And yeah, all of their songs are incredibly racist. One of them is just that song from the old Chips Ahoy commercials – the ones where the melody is Sing, Sing, Sing and the lyrics are all about Chips Ahoy cookies, but I’ve replaced “Chips” with a racial slur. Sometimes I’ll just hum the melody in their face. They don’t know the lyrics so they don’t know its offensive. They just think I like jazz. It feels good and it makes me laugh.

And when I see Muslims? Hell, if I’m not terrified and scanning the area for the nearest police officer, I’m playing a little tune in my head that I imagine would lure a snake out of a basket. Either that or one of the songs from Aladdin.”

Source: memeaddicts.com

Source: memeaddicts.com

This author is claiming that humming a song in people’s faces (when the tune has racial slurs against the people she’s targeting) is acceptable. Why does she claim that it makes her feel good and make her laugh? My theory is that it’s because she’s insecure and angry, and so she’s taking out her anger on others. Humming a racist tune in front of people makes her feel superior somehow.

Her racism even extends to Muslims, when she claims that whenever she sees a Muslim, she looks for a police officer (which connotes that she’s making an assumption that the Muslim is a criminal, maybe a terrorist).

I have no words. I just. Guys. I can’t even.

Source: quickmeme.com

Source: quickmeme.com

Thank God her article is short. She concludes that she’s disgusted that we condemn these fraternity boys for singing a racist song, and something about how she thinks most of us want to live in an America where we are free to sing our racist songs. Racial slurs is free speech, y’all! It’s my country and I’ll slur if I want to, slur if I want to…

Source: errantdiner.com

Source: errantdiner.com

Thought Catalog has posted several other articles like this, and it’s evident that they’re continuing to publish only for the clicks. The Washington Post article was published in October, and after the backlash the website endured, one would think the employees would be striving to avoid further trouble. Clearly, as long as they’re achieving the numbers, that’s all that matters.

I’m done reading Thought Catalog, and I’m hoping that either they improve their content or others stop reading. Articles like this only allow hate and racism to continue and remain socially acceptable.

Donald Trump: He’s Got His Mind on His Money and His Money on His Mind

Source: Rev-elution.blogspot.com

Source: Rev-elution.blogspot.com

Donald Trump has always appeared to be an asshole. The 2011 documentary, You’ve Been Trumped, directed by Anthony Baxter, proves it. Basically, he is the definition of selfish, egotistical, and a douchebag. I guess when you have hair like that, what’s a poor guy to do but plot to take over the world?

To sum up the film, Trump decides that he wants to build a golf course resort on historical and beautiful wilderness in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, to the outrage of the families living there. He buys the land and wants these families out. Trump offensively says that the land is “terribly maintained,” “slum-like,” “disgusting,” and says that one of the residents “lives like a pig.” Those are perfect reasons to buy the land, destroy its environment, and build a golf course resort, right? Apparently for Trump, he will do anything to make money.

Throughout the film, Trump’s crew invades the Scottish land and destroys the natural environment, leaving the residents without water because of the construction. Trump even has the audacity to throw a hissy fit because one of the houses is now on “his” land. He claims the golf course will bring in tons of jobs for Scotland, when it’s obvious that he’s bringing in Americans for this project. Basically, Mr. Donald Trump is a big fat liar.

Poor Anthony Baxter is arrested during the film for, essentially, attempting to show the world the truth. All he’s doing is taking video of humankind destroying nature, and the cops have their panties in a twist about it. Trump is loud and obnoxious, bragging about how fabulous his golf course will be, but then he’s camera shy when someone wants to film the project’s construction? Hm, something isn’t adding up, Mr. Donald.

During the film, all I could think about was Christopher Columbus invading America, proclaiming, “This is MY land, MINE, MINE, MINE!” Or possibly even a couple two-year-olds fighting over a Tonka truck. Trump stomps his feet and whines, “MINE, MINE MINE!” throughout the whole film. He’s a gigantic (and hideous) baby with terrible hair, but the residents of Aberdeenshire protest against this selfish man in hopes of taking back what is rightfully theirs. At the end of the film, the protestors get together, and during the festivities, they sing a new version of “This Land is Your Land,” changing the lyrics to “This land was made for me, not you!”

In the end, Trump decides to take his golf course elsewhere, to Ireland (those poor souls). He fought in court against wind mills being built near his precious golf course because he said it would spoil the view. So, to sum it up, Mr. Trump invades Scotland, destroys environmental wilderness, and then retreats. Clearly, Donald Trump only has two things on his mind: Donald Trump, and money. Yet in this world, this man isn’t the only one who has this mentality. If you think about every big corporation, there is a man (or woman) exactly like Donald Trump, caring about themselves and making millions of dollars. As long as we become aware of their sneaky ways, hopefully more people will refuse to work with them and we can preserve the environment.