A Year In Review

My birthday is quickly approaching, and as every year comes to a close, I like to reflect on what happened. Today I am sharing my favorite memories, some of the hardships, personal goals I accomplished, and look at what I’d like to do for the year to come.

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Women Entrepreneurs On Wednesday

#Womenwow (Women on Wednesday) is a movement taking place this December, where ever Wednesday is dedicated to supporting Women Entrepreneurs. Wendy Diamond, who also hosted the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Event at the United Nations, started this campaign in the efforts to bring more awareness and support to female entrepreneurs.

I had the honor and privilege to attend the United Nations event where worldly leaders and speakers gathered to share their perspective. Topics ranged from what is holding women back from success, why it is important for more women to be present in the government, and how a loan of $60 can change a woman’s life. The event streamed live in 114 countries, and in several universities. Making it a day of global awareness of what is truly happen to half of the world’s population.

The United Nations, Women entrepreneurship Day event

From the empowering event, here are the top statistic that were jolting to hear:

” 80% of women’s salary goes to kids while 30% of men’s salary goes back to children. When we invest in women, we are investing in the next generation”- Rodrigo Arenas, a member of the Guatemala government

“98% of women pay back their loans,” Vicki Escarra, Global CEO of Opportunity International

“We need more women in government. Half of the population is not in the conversation” – Atti Riazi

“During slavery it cost the equivalent of $4, 000 per slave, today you can buy a girl for $300. Women don’t even know they own their own bodies” – On sex and human trafficking. The best prevention is to have more women presence online.

United Nations Womenseday

The best advice from leading women:

“Let’s stop telling women there are road blocks, we are not going to make it. We are up against the same issues as men.” Christine Souffrant, Founder of Vendedy on the topic of what holds women back.

“They see the importance of it, and they know they can change it,” Heidi Messer, Co-founder of Collective[i] on what makes a person an innovator.

“Self-awareness, be authentic, never stop learning, workout because you’ll need the energy, don’t tell anyone your passions- make them bullet proof, and find a man who enjoys staying home to raise the kids” Leslie Blodgett, Creator of bareMinerals on how to be successful.

“Being an entrepreneur is like jumping out of a plane and building a parachute on the way down,” Erika Karp, CEO of Cornerstone Capital on discussing the fears of being an entrepreneur.

“Just because you are captivated by the men in your group and what they are saying, doesn’t make your voice less important. When you think it, feel it, go ahead and say it!”- Jen Welter

United Nations Women entrepreneurs

 

The event and #WomenWow made me want to share my own personal story of being a female entrepreneur. After graduating college into a recession, I worked mediocre jobs to get by. It pained me to take jobs where I feverishly worked for another person’s dreams yet only paid slightly more than minimum wage. I decided to make a change. I wanted to create my own schedule, work in a field I was passionate about while still had time to work on myself emotionally and physically. I began freelance writing for startups, blogs, and young entrepreneurs. I still remember my first paid writing job and thought it was a dream! When I started, I didn’t think I could actually do it, I second guessed my talent and work. But with that first job under my belt,  it empowered me to continue.

I push forward with content writing, product descriptions, and blogging for other companies. Eventually, I began this blog to see what type of platform I could create for myself. I knew having a published voice meant power, having a readership meant power, and I knew as a society we needed more powerful women online sharing real opinions and advice. As a result, I had the opportunity to meet some of the most incredible individuals who inspire me, lift me higher, and spark creative solutions to problems we face as a whole. One of the many influencers who helped me was Heidi Nazarudin from Blogger Babes, who showed me how amazingly rewarding a blogger babes life can be.

I still continue to grow, learn, create, and this blog is the physical result of the never-ending evolution. In honor of #WomenWOW, I am preparing once more a new shift in direction for this blog, sharing empowering articles every Wednesday that will help women around the world to reach their fullest potential, or in the very least have a voice and outlet to turn to.

Let me know in the comments below what empowers you, and how you are supporting Women Entrepreneurs this month!

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It’s Perfectly Normal If…

Growing up reading Glamour Magazine I loved reading the section, “It’s okay if…” That little column made me laugh, relate, connect and laugh some more. To lighten the holiday stress as well as bring some giggles I wanted to bring a special version of that column to Rock.Paper. Glam. Here is some Holiday Humor

It’s perfectly normal if (the holiday edition):

  • You still pray for snow days in your 20’s.
  • The factor that determines where you buy presents is if they provide FREE gift wrapping. No one has time for that.
  • Listening to Pandora Christmas nonstop still makes you so giddy people ask if you are drunk. “Drunk on Christmas, y’all”.
  • You get excited by every holiday theme Starbuck drink, and afterwards realized you paid $6 for a coffee. Oh well!
  • Dreading picking up gifts for the whole family. All of the sudden 3 people seems significantly big.
  • Planning the holiday movie order in your head. Love actually or The Holiday first?
  • When Black Friday seems like a great idea, but so does sleeping in.
  • Opening up the biggest gifts first. I’ve waiting long enough!
  • Celebrating the first snow fall of the season with such delight, and then cursing every time it snows thereafter. It’s only good if you get snow days.
  • Realizing homemade hot cocoa is way better than every buying it in a cafe.
  • If at least one thing burns while cooking Thanksgiving day dinner.

Holiday Humor

  • Still believing in the magic and miracles of the holidays. I mean, how else do you explain a significant mood change in strangers.
  • Never fully understanding the point of candy canes, but still want them!
  • Driving around to see how everyone decorated them homes for the holidays and critiquing each one, even though you didn’t even put up lights.
  • Laughing with friends at the local diner after the family dinner is by far the best part of the holidays.
  • Knowing that life isn’t perfect, but there is so much gratitude in what you do have and for the people who love you.

Happy Holidays! Leave in the comments below what is perfectly normal for you during the holiday season.

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How To Fix Airbnb

After reading a new article stemming from a recent Airbnb stay resulting in a death, I immediately knew what my next Monday Travel article was going to be about.

I’ve had my fair share of renting nightmare Airbnb homes. My accidental rental of a drug den and real life ghost story luckily didn’t lead me to any physical harm, but I was horrified by the lack of quality control, liability, as well as misleading marketing. I thought this so-called miracle way to travel could use some improvements and here is how:

  1. Show the number of times a place has been booked compared to the number of times it has been reviewed. Many cases, when it’s a less than thrilling experience, people don’t review the place. I would like to know of the hundreds of people staying there, how many are providing a positive feedback.
  2. Update photos! The marketing techniques used on Airbnb are impeccable. Impeccably deceiving. I’ve rented apartments that looked like they were flooded with natural light, only to find a dark dingy hole in a wall. Updated photos that accurately portray the apartment is basic criteria.
  3. On that note, allow guests to upload their own photos when providing feedback. As a consumer I’ll see things that most people would forget to photograph. Not only will this help future guests to understand the rental better, but also provide helpful tips to the host on how to improve lackluster conditions.
  4. State the cross-streets or actual neighborhood. Again, descriptions can be misleading. From personal experience, I found an apartment titled  “Santa Monica getaway”, only to be located in a run down part of Venice Beach. By no mean is not the same location. Make sure the location is properly labeled to avoid confusion as well as disappointment.
  5. Lastly, inspections. There needs to a be a trained professional to inspect the condition, cleanliness, and safety of the home before it is rented for $300 a night. That’s just common sense. To keep the seamless application process everyone raves about, I suggest having homes not yet inspected listed as “in training”. These should be placed at a 10-20% below the market value, which provides an incentive to rent the home and for homeowners to have their place inspected.

On a serious note, my heart and prayers go out to the family who lost their father. I know this is a rare case, but none the less difficult. While there are many qualified Airbnb homes for rent, there does need to be a marker of quality and an issue of liability while Airbnb continues to grow.

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Why I went Vegan

Doesn’t that food look amazing? Guess what, it is vegan!

In honor of world Vegan Month, which is November every year, I wanted to share my story of why I went Vegan. I am not here to convince anyone to go Vegan, that is your choice. I am not sharing graphic photos of animals being harmed. I am just explaining my reasoning to go Vegan, and how I got there.

Growing up I ate meat and animal products like most of us. I didn’t think twice about it because it was deemed normal. “Drink milk to get calcium, eat meat for protein,” they said. The FDA food pyramid had meat and dairy as a main source of nutrients. Everyone was spewing the same message, so it seemed accurate.

Fast forward many years later, I noticed more of my family members getting sick from cancer, my own body reacting to certain foods, and a poor relationship with my body image.  Unable to just settle with the standard quo of “Oh, well this is life”, I began researching. I looked up foods that prevented cancer. I began cooking more at home. I noticed a radical shift in how I felt in my own body just by eliminating processed takeout food.

I was still eating animals and dairy products. I thought I was doing a great job being healthy until my weight began to yo-yo again, I had low energy, feeling depressed and was getting sick. I eventually contracted food poisoning from Mac’ N Cheese, that had me unable to eat food for three weeks. My body had never gone through something so violent like that before. Intuitively I knew I had to do more in regards to how I ate.

I became frustrated because I knew I wasn’t at my fullest potential yet. People around me commented, “you look great, don’t be too hard on yourself.” That could be true. On the outside, I may seem healthy, but internally I knew I wasn’t. A piece of the puzzle was still missing.

So I continued to do research, and that is when I found the YouTuber Freelee the Banana Girl. She was able to connect the dots that I couldn’t. I highly recommend viewing her videos if you are an animal lover like me and want to see the reality of what we are putting in our bodies. I literally couldn’t stop watching her videos as a rush of clarity came from each. Here is one of the videos:

I rewatched Forks Over Knives to remind myself the healthy benefits of eating a plant-based diet. The scientific data that documentary provides is undeniable.

Then I watched the documentary, Cowspiracy, which discusses the environmental effects of eating animals. This topic is widely unspoken of and rarely discussed because in the US it is illegal to talk about it. You will be sued, found guilty, and possibly go to jail. Why? Because you are potentially affecting the economy of the country. So to finally hear the truth of what is going on, was the last piece of information I needed to go Vegan.

Why I went Vegan:

  • I love animals, all animals
  • I love this planet
  • I have compassion for others
  • and I love myself
  • This one simple way of eating seems to be the solution for all the above.

Each day I am Vegan I am saving (as noted in Cowspiracy):

  • 1,100 gallons of water
  • 45 pounds of grain
  • 30 ft of forest land
  • 20 pounds of CO2 equivalent
  • 1 animal’s life

Not only that but I am reducing, practically eliminating,  my chances of heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses.

Personally what I noticed is, I have a much healthier relationship with my body. It hasn’t physically changed much, but I love it more. I find myself laughing a lot more, my skin looks better. I feel lighter and happier. I have more energy to work. My cravings for sweets late at night have been eliminated. Food actually tastes better! Believe me, we live in a world where there are plenty of Vegan options that are so freaking delicious!

Most importantly, I feel good knowing an animal didn’t suffer from what I ate today and that I am contributing to a greater cause.

My next agenda is really educating myself on Vegan beauty and clothing products. If you have any suggestions or helpful pointers, please let me know in the comments below. I will never judge you for how you live and what you eat, it is your choice! I just thought it would be nice to share my personal experience and story.

If you liked this article, please subscribe. If this is something you’d like to read more of, let me know if the comments below! If you overall just think this is a cool post and want to support the blog, please share with your friends on Facebook. Thanks everyone!

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