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Guilt of Beauty Culture

Reflecting on The Beauty Myth reading from this weekend…

Glad to finally have picked up The Beauty Myth again after a long break – I read about 50 pages this weekend, the chapter titled Religion. At first it was hard to get into, very academic and dense but then I got into after a few pages and was really into it.

I feel the guilt of beauty culture all the time but wouldn’t have been able to articulate it so well. What stood out to me…

  • Beauty products don’t work and regularly make false/impossible claims, the companies/representatives themselves have admitted it. The FDA became interested but just with changing the language, not the products.
  • If make-up and anti-aging products did what they were supposed to do, they would put themselves out of business…
  • There is no way to achieve the perfection that the ads and products promise — no matter how skinny or wrinkle-free you are, there’s always room to loose more weight or wrinkles. It’s a never-ending cycle.
  • If you don’t buy into the make-up/beauty/anti-aging industry, it will be YOUR fault when you age and wrinkle etc. If you do spend money on these beauty products, regardless of their effectiveness, at least you’ve tried and it’s not your fault. There is guilt associated with not trying hard enough — if you are lonely, old, sad, unpretty it can be blamed on you.
  • When women became more sexually liberated, body image became more of an issue. Before, physically sinning was related to sex but now it’s related to food. The book gave good examples – diets, food as temptation or guilty pleasures, women feeling guilt about food/calories/portions in general.

Thoughts?

Looking forward to reading more of the book. This is just a helpful way for me to keep track of and highlight what I’ve read so far.

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Movie Recommendation: Frances Ha

Today I took advantage of the rainy Saturday afternoon to enjoy a movie I’ve had my eye on for a while. I would definitely recommend the 2013 indie flick Frances Ha. BONUS: It’s on Netflix instant streaming.

5 stars for Frances Ha!

Frances (Greta Gerwig) lives in New York, but she doesn’t really have an apartment. Frances is an apprentice for a dance company, but she’s not really a dancer. Frances has a best friend named Sophie, but they aren’t really speaking anymore. Frances throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possible reality dwindles. Frances wants so much more than she has, but lives her life with unaccountable joy and lightness. FRANCES HA is a modern comic fable in which Noah Baumbach explores New York, friendship, class, ambition, failure, and redemption.

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Recipe: Black Bean Corn Salad

What may seem like a perfect summer recipe is also great anytime of year! I made this Black Bean Corn Salad recipe last week with a few twists of my own. I love recipes that you can add to or substitute things for ingredients that suit you better, personalized recipes are the best!

This recipe is great as  a side dish or it’s own meal. Eat it on its own or add a meat to it. Take it with you for lunch or a picnic. Lasts a week or so in the fridge.

These are ingredients I used this time for the salad:

Chop up and mix these together in a large bowl.

  • 1-2 cans sweet corn (frozen works too)
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 red bell pepper and 1 orange bell pepper
  • a half of a red onion
  • 1 avocado
  • Optional small roma tomatoes (I’ve used them in this recipe before but didn’t have them this time)

In a small jar or resealable container, combine the following for the lime dressing then shake until mixed together and pour over the salad, mixing throughout:

  • Fresh lime juice (about a 1/3 cup)
  • Olive oil (about a half cup)
  • Garlic
  • Cayenne pepper

Sometimes you don’t need to use all of the dressing as the salad itself will get too soggy so pour on gradually and decide how much you want.

 

Like I said, this can be modified for anyone. What would you do differently, if anything?

This is one of my favorite simple and healthy recipes. What’s yours?

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The Red Spot: Tacocat

tacocatWhat is The Red Spot? It is the name of the all-female radio show I had in college. My life was filled with Cyndia Lauper, Bikini Kill, Ella Fitzgerald and the like, every Monday from 8-9pm for 2 years. I miss discovering new female artists (new to me or new new) and this is an attempt to get back into it.

Here’s a really fun band I used to play on The Red Spot…

 

TACOCAT

As you can tell just by their name, Tacocat is quirky and unique. They bring awesome pop punk with twee rhythms about food, boys, crushes, and the like. Their newest single fits in well with their wacky themes – Crimson Wave is about PERIODS! That’s right girls, don’t be ashamed of your monthly visitor, it happens to us all. They know how we feel when we’re “surfing the crimson wave”. It may not be groundbreaking music, but it’s noteworthy and danceable and I love it. Brings me back to girl rock classics like All Girl Summer Fund Band and Cub. Listen to more on their Bandcamp.

This Seattle band made up of 3 women and 1 guy, also have a super fun beach-themed video for Crimson Wave. (Kind of seems like they’re only touring locally – Tacocat, please come to Oakland!) It was recently released on their new album, NVM. Check it out on Hardly Art!

 Not even dancing crabs, hungry sharks, or “that time of the month” can ruin a day at the beach for Tacocat. “Crimson Wave” is the second (hit) single to be shared from NVM, the new full-length from Tacocat, out February 25, 2014 on Hardly Art.

Follow them on Facebook.

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Butternut Squash Recipes

Rain is here in the Bay Area and it finally feels like winter again! 

This winter season I’ve made a few good seasonal vegetable dishes that I am proud of. Two of those were made with fresh butternut squashes: butternut squash mac n cheese and butternut squash soup.

mac and cheese

The mac n cheese is a bit healthier than usual but still gluttonous. This is the second family holiday where I brought this dish actually and it has become a favorite.

  • Roast a squash in the oven until tender. This makes it easier to cut as well. Dice it up into chunks and puree in a blender until smooth.
  • Boil and cook noodles. I usually use Large Elbow noodles.
  • In another pot, melt a stick of butter and gradually mix in 7 tablespoons of flour. Next, mix in 3 3/4 cups milk. Next, add cheese! I usually grate several cups and add to the mix slowly.
  • Then, add the squash to the cheese sauce mix, constantly stirring until it’s all mixed together well.
  • Once noodles are cooked and strained, pour into a baking pan. Then pour cheese sauce over noodles and bake in the oven at 300 for at least 10 minutes. Feel free to add garnish or breadcrumbs.

*Measurements are approximate. Ingredients can be substituted for similar items.

 

butternut squash soup

The soup was simple…

  • Diced up a squash I had already roasted in the oven.
  • Sautéed onions on the grill.
  • Added squash and seasonings to a blender and pureed til smooth.
  • Added pureed squash and broth to onions on the stove. Cook together with seasonings until hot.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Of course, there are lots of variations to make it more exciting. Add some potatoes, celery, and carrots for a more hearty vegetable version. Or some coconut milk for a Thai twist. Soup is easy and healthy so try it for yourself and let me know how it goes.

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2014 New Years Resolutions

I guess it’s time for resolutions again. Despite the fact that I’ve been writing down my resolutions regularly, they are always quickly forgotten. [Check out my blog posts dating back to 2012 Resolutions and 2013 Resolutions.]

Despite how easy it is to discard resolutions, thinking about my personal goals for the year is still a great way to start the year. My resolutions are always pretty basic and cliché as well: exercise, eat better, get organized, save money, make new friends, travel, read, etc. [Basically: grow up and be a better human being.]

So here goes…

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2014

1. WRITE
Regular blog posts. Ideally, I would write a blog post at least once a week. I mean if I were really a so-called writer, I would probably write everyday. Or at least more often. The word “blog” or “blogger” always sounded different to me. I’d rather be a writer than a blogger but I don’t really feel like either.

2. READreading challenge
2013 was a SUPERB year for reading in my life. I joined the coolest website out there for readers and book recommendations. With a full-time job at a company about reading, I became a regular reader again. According to my 2013 Goodreads Reading Challenge, I read 22 books last year. That is A LOT for me. [Check out what I read in 2013 on Goodreads.]

I am challenging myself to read 30 books in 2014! [Hopefully, I will pass my goal though!] How about you?

3. EXERCISE REGULARLY / LOSE WEIGHT
I live in an awesome apartment with a view of Lake Merritt where I can constantly watch people running and jogging and reminding me how lazy I am. Instead of watching them pass by, I will more regularly force myself to join these joggers and get some fresh air.

4. SAVE MONEY
Movin’ on up in the world! I feel like I have a career, I gotten several raises this year, a 401k, stock options, new fancy apartment. Now that I’m finally in a place where I can save money, I need to make sure it happens and be smart about it.

smoothies

5. PERSONAL CARE / ORGANIZATION / DE-STRESS / SELF-LOVE
Not to say that I have terrible hygiene, but I could change my personal care habits for the better. From a lack of flossing to weekend binge drinking to snacking, there’s plenty of room for improvement. I also plan to spend time organizing and being less of a slob. I think this type of change will help my mental health and lower stress. I want to be more self-confident and worry less about the pressures of society around me that don’t really matter in the long-run.

Wish me luck on these resolutions! No matter how small and simple they may seem, I know they will help me continue towards a successful path in life.

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Goodbye 2013

I couldn’t have asked for a better year! I have grown up a lot and feel like my life is moving in the right direction. Looking forward to even more wonderful memories and milestones in 2014.

  • Moved to an amazing apartment with views in February
  • Got an awesome new job in April
  • Portland roadtrip in May
  • Costa Rica trip in November
  • Big raise in December
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View from our apartment on Lake Merritt

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Pickling Party!

Pickling is easier than I ever realized. Cheap, quick, and it makes lots of yummy, fresh, vegetable snacks!

This weekend, a friend and I (loosely) followed this Food Network recipe. We got veggies from the farmer’s market at the SF Ferry Building (sweet and spicy peppers, carrots, cucumbers, jalapeños) and garlic, vinegar, and kosher salt — and of course a great big, air-tight jar. We have 3 jars jam-packed full of veggies (one BIG one and 2 pint-sized). They will last for up to a few months, can’t wait to enjoy them. Let the snacking begin!

 

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Boardwalk Empire group

Boardwalk Empire discussions

Boardwalk Empire groupWho knew one of my favorite shows was not only based on history but a book as well?! As part of my job at Goodreads, I find many more TV shows and movies that are based on books than I ever realized.

With the 4th Season of Boardwalk Empire premiering on HBO this Sunday at 9pm, there is a lot of excitement and talk around the show. That’s why I’ve created a custom Boardwalk Empire group on Goodreads. It’s the perfect place to discuss the show, predictions, Prohibition, the history, and more.

Join the Boardwalk Empire Group to discuss the show and more of the excitement of the Prohibition and Jazz Era.

 

Boardwalk Empire: books about the 1920s

Boardwalk Empire 115 members

This is a group for fans of the Boardwalk Empire TV series on HBO. We will discuss each episode as they air as well as related books and past seasons. Additionally, we will explore the exciting setting of the Prohibition Era.

Books about Boardwalk Empire and the 1920s

Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City
Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and the Corruption of Atlantic City
The Boardwalk Empire A�Z: A Totally Unofficial Guide to Accompany the Hit HBO Series
Boardwalk Empire and Philosophy: Bootleg This Book
Boardwalk Empire
Boardwalk Empire Free Bonus Material: The Speakeasy Guide to Prohibition Era Slang
Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition
Chance of a Lifetime: Nucky Johnson, Skinny D'Amato and how Atlantic City became the Naughty Queen of Resorts
Dry Manhattan: Prohibition in New York City
PROHIBITION
Prohibition: America Makes Alcohol Illegal
Chasing the Stargazer: With Help from Luigi Pirandello, Nucky Johnson, and Thomas Wolfe
American Dictators: Frank Hague, Nucky Johnson, and the Perfection of the Urban Political Machine
Flappers and Philosophers



View this group on Goodreads »

 

 

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amypoehler

Amy Poehler on Smart Girls – “Watch Less Local TV and Read More”

smart-girlsHopefully you’re fully aware of Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls At The Party YouTube series by now. If not, I will forgive you and allow you time to catch up. Unfortunately, I only watch Smart Girls videos once in a while but every time I feel like she’s talking to me one on one and I want to have a little marathon and it always amazes me.

Amy is so personal – I feel as she’s verbalizing things I never knew how to say and I realize it’s just personal and awkward feelings many of lots of people feel. I know exactly what she’s talking about even if it may sound like she’s rambling.

Then, there’s part of it thats timely to my life and relevant to the world and everyday issues. This video (“Ask Amy: News“) came out during a stressful week where the news was also incredible intense, shocking, upsetting, and sad. Zimmer got away and I watched protests from my window in Oakland. Texas women stood up for their rights. I still feel new in my job and career and life, I am barely even an adult yet. I felt my emotions going every-which-way. 

Life goes on and Amy lays it down. When I feel stressed about my life and my little problems and then terrible things happening in the world – I realize I need to make the rest of it and go on, or as Amy puts it…

“Watch less local news, and read more”

- Amy Poehler, Smart Girls At The Party

ask amy

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cheeseboard_pesto

Berkeley Appreciation

I’ve had the pleasure of working in downtown Berkeley for the last year and a half. I grew up in the suburbs of the East Bay and have fond memories of taking BART to the thrift stores and music stories on Telegraph in Berkeley. My recent Berkeley experiences have been very different though.

I feel like I know a new side of Berkeley, a more intimate one. I love Berkeley’s liveliness, local and organic food culture, hippy vibes, happy people, bike-friendliness, cute houses and shops, green efforts, and on and on…

Though I am moving on to bigger and better things, I will definitely miss daily life in Berkeley. I will miss biking to Berkeley everyday and I will miss my coworkers in Berkeley. I’m sure I will be back to visit and enjoy all Berkeley has to offer though. This recent post on Matador Network said it better than I could - On Leaving Berkeley.

My last few weeks in Berkeley were spent trying new places and revisiting all my old favorites. Here’s a list of my recommendations (mostly food).

 

 

Favorite Downtown Berkeley Lunch Spots

Cheeseboard pizza

Long Life Vegi House - Best lunch special ever! I could never get enough of it. $5 for an entree that comes with hot and sour soup and an egg roll, not to mention the entree is big enough to take home and make a second meal out of. As the name implies, it’s also a perfect spot for vegetarians! All dishes are vegetarian and contain fake meat. I recommend the beef and broccoli dish.

Cheeseboard Pizza - One type of pizza per day, always vegetarian, and always amazing! Even if the toppings sound a little off, I always trust Cheeseboard to do it right and am never disappointed. Though it’s at least a 10 minute walk from the center of downtown, it’s definitely worth it and better than the downtown equivalent of Silver (okay, they’re the same but I’m biased to stick with the original). Grab some cheap slices at Cheeseboard, listen to a local band, sit outside, and visit their Bakery too!

Gather - Okay, I’ve only been to Gather once so I’m no expert but I’m so glad I tried it and would definitely go back! Pricier and nicer than the other spots on this list, Gather is definitely a special occasion spot. It’s not way too expensive and is totally worth the awesome food and atmosphere. We shared an awesome pizza, fried egg sandwich and grilled cheese sandwich. I’d definitely recommend one of their refreshing cocktails as well. The Bloody Mary I had at Gather was the best, and spiciest, I’ve ever had!

The eclectic Brazil Cafe

The eclectic Brazil Cafe

Platano – I hadn’t had much experience with Salvadorian food until I visited Platano but I was immediately hooked. If you’re looking for a quick, cheap lunch order some delicious papusas. If you’re looking for a little more food, a combo with papusas, salad, and fried platanos are the way to go.

Brazil Cafe - Though I’ve only been to Brazil Cafe a handful of times, I’d definitely recommend it. Great lunch spot with refreshing sandwiches and mango smoothies. I’ve experienced long waits in the cafe on Shattuck but there’s also a stand on University with outside seating if you want to enjoy the Berkeley sunshine. The meat options look awesome but as a vegetarian I can definitely recommend the sandwiches.

 

Clearly, Berkeley is an awesome food spot and this is only a short list that leaves out many other hits. These are my favorites and I stand by them – keep in mind my vegetarianism too. What else would you add to the list? Herbivore? Bobby G’s? Thai Noodle? Burgermeister?

Favorite Downtown Berkeley Beer Spots

Albatross – Okay, it’s not really downtown but it’s worth the trip to North Berkeley. Albatross, known for being Berkeley’s oldest pub, not only has an awesome variety of nice beers on tap but is also full of awesome board games, free popcorn, and darts. Great spot for a group hang out!

Jupiter patio Berkeley

Jupiter’s patio is one of the best parts

Jupiter – If you’re just going for a beer and sitting outside, Jupiter is a great spot. It’s also very conveniently located right downtown by the BART stop. They have their own beer plus other local ones on tap. Lots of good variety to choose from but the menu and the service isn’t always great.

Triple Rock – While this place gets packed in the evenings and on the weekends, they definitely have some great beer. Another spot that makes their own beer, Triple Rock offers an awesome variety of beers you can’t find elsewhere. While the menu is pretty standard and unimpressive, it’s still a nice place for some snacks and bar food. The upstairs patio is pretty great too if you can find a spot.

And, I just found out that Triple Rock and Jupiter are owned by Drake’s Brewery! I also have to mention Bobby G’s for beer because they have Pliny the Elder on tap!

Other Favorite Berkeley Spots

I spent my time in Berkeley doing things besides working, biking, eating and drinking – sometimes. Here’s some other spots to check out…

Virginia Bakery is amazing. Go in to browse and have a sample and you will walk out with some amazing desserts. I also love that they always have something specific for the season – whether it’s cookies decorated like baseballs or election cookies, one for each candidate, they’re always delicious and creative!

The Berkeley Library is beautiful and huge. Easy way to waste an afternoon reading or browsing at least. You can also check out movies.

shattuck cinemas

Try all of Berkeley’s unique theaters!

The park next to Berkeley High School is a great place to picnic and enjoy your lunch hour. There’s always some interesting people watching too. It’s close to Trader Joe’s, another favorite spot of mine, so you can always grab some snacks there.

John’s Ice Cream is the perfect place for a quick afternoon treat, you can’t find a much better deal than $1 scoops!

Berkeley has some movie theaters with character like you won’t find anywhere else. Shattuck Cinemas has an old timey feel, a cool sign in front, big and comfy seats, and awesome mosaics on the walls. The Downtown Theater isn’t as special to look at but they play old movies, or flashbacks as they call them, once a week for $5. Great place to catch some older classics! The California Theater has an awesome look to it as well. Definitely worth checking out even though it’s smaller and more independent.

 

Clearly, I have tons of reasons to continue to visit Berkeley. What are you favorite spots downtown?!

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Google Analytics Testing: My Journey to Become a Google Analytics Expert

It has been one of my recent goals, and even a New Year’s Resolution, to become a Google Analytics expert. As a marketing professional and someone interested in websites and search engines, Google Analytics is important for many reasons.

There are many ways to learn about Analytics. It can be overwhelming at first. My suggestion would be to have goals in mind. What do you want to learn? There’s so much to learn, but most of it you will probably never use. What are you going to be using Analytics for? I use it at work to track traffic, see which pages are doing best, and to see what our top referrers are. I can also look at conversion rates for clients, trends, top keywords, etc.

By summer, I hope to be ready to get my Google Analytics Certification and pass the test! That requires a lot more video watching, playing around in GA, and reading. Before spending that $50 to take the test, be sure to be ready! Follow along with my GA adventures and offer any advice you have.

Below I’ve highlighted the techniques I’ve put in place for learning as well as some of my favorite tools and resources. Feel free to add more in the comments, thanks!

Practice - The most obvious and simple way to learn is to practice. Try some hands-on learning and really get into it! Set up your own site personally or use your company’s account more regularly. If you’re not already an administrator at your job, ask someone who works on Analytics regularly to add you and show you some basics. Have some metrics to check and analyze weekly at the very least.

Details - Analytics can be very in-depth but you can also get by and learn a lot just from some basics. Learn the basics and terminology first then dive deeper. Watching videos can be a great way to get a better grasp on the nitty-gritty.

Testing - This Google Analytics Testing site has been my savior lately! You can choose which topics to be tested on and how many questions to have on your test without a time limit. The most useful part has been reviewing the answers after taking the test and reading the explanations.

More Resources & Articles:

Get ready for the IQ test! Google Analytics IQ Lessons
Take the test! Google Testing Center

I want to hear from other Analytics users (beginners and experts) out there!

How would you rate your knowledge? How do you use Analytics? Have you taken the IQ Test? Share your knowledge and resources!

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working at SkyDeck

“Learning By Doing” – More Than A Motto

“Learn by Doing. It’s more than our motto. It is the foundation of education in Cal Poly.”
CalPoly
Although there are a lot of complaints I have about Cal Poly and the university system in general, one of my favorite things about going there (besides the beautiful town of San Luis Obispo) was the “learn my doing” attitude at Cal Poly. My classes and my professors focuses on getting hands-on experience which is one of the main reasons my resume is so full today.

In school, I had several internships, part-time jobs, and class projects that allowed me to gain real, professional experience. My upper division Public Relations classes allowed me to work on a team with several local businesses as our clients.

redcross

We worked on various aspects of awareness campaigns for the American Red Cross, the Cal Poly Community Center, and the Central Coast Railroad Festival. We created marketing materials like flyers, media kids, press releases, brochures, and even video scripts. We also used our knowledge of the college-age audience to attract new supporters, volunteers and donations from the younger crowd in the college town. From social media to fundraising, we did it all!

Another great example of “learn by doing” that I experienced at Cal Poly was my Red Cross internship. After forming a great relationship with the SLO Red Cross Communications team during on the client-agency basis, I wanted to continue my work with them so I became an intern there. I focused mostly on social media strategy, branding, more marketing materials, and a fundraiser called Swim Across. I had such a great time putting together a social media strategy and handbook. I also enjoyed setting up every aspect of the fundraiser event.

My senior project was yet another hands-on experience I learned a lot from. I choose to study and analyze the effects of social media on a new local organization.working at SkyDeck

Now two years after graduation in March 2011, I have had several internships and a great full-time job at Go Overseas. I am continuing to learn new things and expand on my professional development everyday. From teaching myself to code by building a site and using things like Codecademy or watching videos to learn Google Analytics and understand the measurements and tools available, there’s always more to learn.

The best way to learn something new is to just try it and learn from it!

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search-suggest

8 Useful Keyword Research Tools

As a marketing professional, I spend hours researching the hottest topics and trends in our industry. No matter what kind of industry you work in, keyword research is important for creating content that will become popular and be searched organically. Before finalizing your next editorial calendar and social media strategy, be sure to do your keyword research! The resulting high quality traffic will be more than worth it.

Here is a list of some of my favorite tools I use to do keyword research!

 

GooglelogoGoogle keyword tool - This is a basic one you should already know.  It gives you the number of times each keyword or phrase has been searched and it’s level of competition. This keyword tool isn’t always updated quickly meaning you can’t rely on it for those hot, trending topics.

Google search suggest - You probably already know this one too but it’s definitely worth mentioning and always keeping in mind. Just start typing in Google and those suggested searches that show up underneath are the most up-to-date trending keywords.

ubersuggest logoUbersuggest - Simple and easy way to get some quick ideas based on any topic. Just write a term in Ubersuggest and it will produce a list of ideas with the keyword term you input. It will also give suggestions for your term + each letter of the alphabet.

Free Keywords from WordTracker - Even though I’ve been less impressed with Wordtracker’s Free Keywords tool compared to these others, it’s still worth mentioning. After creating a free account, you’ll be able to search an unlimited number of keywords to see how popular they are.

quoraQuora - Quora is a great Q&A site that you can search to see what people are interested in. If there’s a question asked on Quora in your industry that you don’t already cover, time to write on it! Sign up for Quora and start following people and topics in your industry.

SEM Rush - SEM Rush is pretty great, not only for tracking keywords but for keeping up on your industry and competitors as well, an important part of marketing that we sometimes don’t pay enough attention to. Type in your own domain or a competitor’s to receive a full report with graphs, charts, and tables of rankings, traffic, organic keywords, ad keywords, and more.

keyword eye logo

Keyword Eye – The best part of Keyword Eye is the layout of your keyword suggestions, almost in a word cloud format but you can also choose a grid or chart. You can sign up for free or paid pro accounts from this UK site.

keywordspyKeyword Spy – Keyword Spy lets you search and browse by keywords as well as your domains, a great way to “spy” on competitors as well. Not only do you get to see search volume, but also the value of the cost per click (CPC) for each term. Free and paid accounts available but not necessary.

 

 

These certainly aren’t the only tools available but they are the best FREE ones I’ve found. I hope this post will remind myself and any readers to stay up to date on your keyword trends and keep them in mind to use organically in your content and throughout your site.

Any keyword tools I’m missing?!

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girl-scouts-cookies

4 Awesome Reasons to Support the Girl Scouts

girl-scouts-logoWho doesn’t love the Girl Scouts?! Since Girl Scout Cookie season started a few weeks ago, the memories of my time as a Girl Scout have been overwhelming and positive. I’m glad to support an organization with such important values. Children need this type of support to ensure a positive future.

Also – “101 years ago today, Juliette Gordon Low assembled a troop of 18 girls together in Savannah, GA for the first Girl Scouts meeting!” (Source: Ms. Magazine)

Here is a list of four awesome reasons to support the Girl Scouts of America. Whether you buy their cookies, encourage a young girl to join, donate to the organization, or just spread the word about their good work, you will be doing an important service for the future of our country’s young women.

 

 1. Create a better future of smart, confident young women.

I have fond memories of being a girl scout in elementary school. From making friends to learning to fun activities and crafts, there’s so many positives about being a Girl Scout. The program not only gives young girls something safe and structured to do, but also gives them a sense of empowerment and leadership.

The skills learned in Girl Scouts can be translated and applied to all aspects of life. By supporting the Girl Scouts organization, we can help girls learn these skills in a positive environment at a young age.

 

girl-scouts-cookies

2. Girl Scout Cookies

Besides the delicious cookies, there are tons of benefits of the Girl Scout Cookies. Selling cookies also gives girls experience with goal setting, money management, decision making, business ethics, and people skills.

“With every purchase, approximately 70% of the proceeds stays in the local Girl Scout council and with troops to provide a portion of the resources needed to support Girl Scouting in that area, including the portion that goes directly to the group selling the cookies. The balance goes to the baker to pay for the cookies.”

 

3. Connections to Other Organizations Worthy of Your Support

Check out a Timeline of Girl Scouts’ Connections with Planned Parenthood, United Nations & More from Honest Girl Scouts and a list of the official affiliates of the Girl Scouts.For more than 100 years, the Girl Scots have been connected to organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the EPA, the Peace Corps, and the United Nations.

 

4. Equality

Girl-Scouts-1411x794

Girl Scouts are diverse and this is more important and less common than most people think. By focusing on equality in gender, race and class, the Girl Scouts teach the next generations to be more tolerant and equal.

LGBT-inclusive policies, policy updates to include transgender members, and sponsors of all kinds – the Girl Scouts of America have every right to be proud of their organizational culture, especially when the Boy Scouts are so far behind.

 

 

Were you a Girl Scout? Know someone in Girl Scouts now? Why do YOU support this wonderful organization?

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team work!

4 Things I’ve Learned from Managing Interns

At my current job, I’ve managed a total of six interns in the office, up to three at once. During this time, I’ve learned a lot about myself and my management skills. I want to share some of the things I’ve learned along away.

team work!

Team Work at Go Overseas

Everyone needs to be managed differently. 
Some people need more guidance than others and that’s okay. A little competition is always healthy but I’ve learned that it’s not always right to compare interns to each other. They all come from different experiences and backgrounds and work differently. As a good manager, you need to acknowledge those differences and work with them. Get to know your interns and employees professionally!

Make clear goals.
Making goals and being on the same page  is so important.  If you expect young and inexperienced interns to be productive and accomplish big goals, you need to push them in the right direction my setting specific goals. Big picture, general goals are important too!

Set standards from the beginning.
It will be easier to manage expectations when you’re clear from the start. I once had an intern who missed several days of work in the first month of the internship. I made it clear that even though she was new, she had to make up those hours and make sure she still got her work done. Those kinds of conversations can be difficult to have but it’s well worth it in the end.

Find the right balance.
Being professional and fun is easier said than done. It’s a manager’s job to keep their interns and employees happy and motivated. We all want to work for someone who cares about what they do and cares about your input and your goals. I’ve learned to give my interns rewards for their hard work and things to look forward to. For example, team pizza parties and going out for ice cream after getting another thousand Twitter followers.

 

What are your experiences with managing employees and interns? What other tips would you add?!

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Creative and Unique Oakland Public Art is Everywhere

Oakland is full of art – from upscale galleries, to art walks, to street art and graffiti – there’s a little bit of everything. Here are some photos I’ve taken recently while walking around Oakland and Lake Merritt.

Painted Telephone Pole Gnomes
There are more than 2,000 of these little guys around the Oakland neighborhoods. Always makes me smile when I find a new one.

Tons of these little gnome paintings can be found on telephone poles around Lake Merritt. PG&E wants to move them, calling the poles "gnomes-man land". #oakland

Public Art and Street Art
Art truly exists everywhere in Oakland, even on buses.

#oakland #busart

Trash Can Mosaics
There is a whole series of trash cans decorated with tiles throughout Grand Lake and downtown Oakland. The series includes animals, hearts, flowers, a dragon, and many more. My favorite so far is this one pictured below of the Oakland cranes by the water with a starry nights background.

mosaic trashcan street art #oakland

 

If you’re into the Oakland art scene, here’s a few organizations to check out.

Keep Oakland Beautiful, an affiliate of the nonprofit organization Keep America Beautiful, is a great way to find out about local volunteer opportunities to beautify and clean Oakland. Many of these wonderful public projects are run by this organization through the city of Oakland.

Art Murmur is an event held every first Friday and every Saturday where galleries throughout Oakland have extended hours and even serve food and drinks. The scene of first Fridays has grown and expanded to include a street fair as well. The Saturday Strolls are a bit more low-key and art-focused. Either way you’re guaranteed a good, art-filled time.

The Oakland Museum of California is an awesome place to spend an afternoon. This large museum features a wide variety of mediums and types of art – from paintings and sculptures to a history of California through technology and personal mementos. One of my favorite exhibits there was a 1960s focused room and protest posters. The museum, right next to Lake Merritt in Chinatown, is fun and interactive and free on the first Sundays of the month!

What are YOUR favorite things about Oakland’s art scene?!

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Get Involved in Twitter Chats!

twitter-logo-hashtagIf you had asked me a few years ago, I would have never predicted that I’d be Tweeting daily on two accounts (one for work and one personally). Now that I’ve created Twitter handbooks, implemented successful Twitter strategies to increase engagement, traffic, and followers, as well as written articles about Twitter, I am pretty confident with my Twitter knowledge and abilities.

One aspect of Twitter I am still working on mastering is Twitter chats. There are Twitter chats on also every topic in every industry. They are generally run and curated by one organization that starts off the chat with some questions. Anyone can get involved by following and replying with the appropriate hashtags.

I’ve had some fun with Twitter chats and connected with some awesome people with similar interests. There’s a whole world of Twitter to discover with tons of benefits too. Here is some information about the Twitter chats I’ve participated in and my experiences with them.

 

Twitter Chats I’ve Tried

Travel Tuesday: Tuesday is a great day for the online travel industry. The Travel Tuesday Twitter Chat started back in 2009 by Katy of ‘Where I’ve Been‘. This chat is a great way to find and recommend new people to follow as well as interact with fellow travel-lovers.

Try following along with the chat and using the hashtag #TravelTuesday all day every Tuesday!

 

BootsnAll Travel logoRTW Wednesday: Each week, the RTW Twitter chat has a different theme – from planning your RTW trip to should you take a RTW trip. Every six minutes there is a new question posted from the moderators, with a total of 10 throughout the hour. The chat is run by an awesome RTW travel website and resource called BootsnAll. (FYI: RTW = round-the-world.)

Use the hashtag #RTWchat on Wednesdays from 3:30 – 4:30pm Eastern Time.

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She Party: The weekly She Party Twitter chat is run by the Women’s Media Center in 2010. This chat has been a great platform to bring light to women’s political issues as well as discussing and celebrating strong, smart, and influential men and women in the media who stand up for equality.

Join in on the #SheParty every Wednesday from 3pm to 6pm (EST).

 

More Twitter Chats to Try

 

What are your experiences with Twitter chats? What other cool chats are out there? What recommendations do you have?

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My Video Interview with Atlas Sliced

atlas slicedLast month I was happy to be asked to participate in a video interview for an episode of the new travel talk show, Atlas Sliced.

Atlas Sliced is an awesome interview/vlog style YouTube show about travel stories, advice, and inspiration. Alexa Hart is the young and smart woman behind the website and the show. With about two new 20 minute episodes per week, Alexa is hard at work to bring the online travel community awesome videos while connecting people and cultures through Atlas Sliced.

Since Go Overseas focuses on 5 meaningful, important, and unique forms of travel – during one week this January, Atlas Sliced featured one Go Overseas expert each day. Monday Tucker talked about teaching abroad. Tuesday Megan gives some advice about studying abroad. Wednesday was my big day! I talked about my own experiences studying and volunteering abroad but also gave some advice for future travelers looking to find the right volunteer program abroad and to save some money as well. I was overall very happy with the video and glad to be included! Watching myself always makes me think about how I present myself and is a good way to improve my speaking skills. The week finished up with Nadia discussing how to get an internship abroad. Friday finished off strong with Go Overseas President Mitch Gordon with some inspirational stuff about gap years.

Check out the interview on Atlas Sliced: http://atlassliced.com/episode-slice-40-volunteering-abroad-what-you-need-to-know/

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Learning to Code with Code Academy

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One of my professional development goals and resolutions for the year is to work on my HTML and CSS skills. I already know basic HTML and use it on a daily basis for work and in my spare time. As someone in the tech/online marketing industry, the more I know about coding, the more I can help out with on-page optimization and coding, among other things.

Our CTO introduced me to a website called Code Academy. Code Academy is constantly “working hard to build a better way for anyone to teach, and learn, how to code. We’re determined to succeed in realizing our mission to turn a world of tech consumers into one of empowered builders.” What a great mission!

Currently, I’m working on the Web Fundamentals track. Styling HTML is the most fun! I spend just a few hours each week moving along and learning more.

Code Academy is makes coding very fun and social. It gives you badges based on courses you’ve completed in addition to keeping track of “points” and “streaks”.

Check out my Code Academy profile to see my progress! You can also follow Code Academy on the blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

What other websites and tools exist for learning HTML, CSS, and JavaScript?keyboard

Some others I’ve found include:

I also use a text editor tool called Sublime that makes coding easier on the eyes and more efficient as well. Dreamweaver is another popular option but Sublime is free! Any other text editor suggestions? Thanks!

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What are the Best Sources for East Bay News and Culture?

As a Bay Area native myself, I’m pretty familiar with consuming all of my media from the eyes of the local news, or at least I was before internet. With news online being less localized, it can be fun to focus on your own town – not to mention the East Bay, and the Bay Area in general, are great places to be!

With exciting news stories, winning sports teams, the occasional cute fluff piece, and cultures mixing everywhere, East Bay media has a lot of wonderful things to cover! What are your favorite places to soak in all of your East Bay news?

What is the best publications for local East Bay news and culture?

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Oakland at night

Oakland at night

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Three Easy Things to Do for Women’s Rights in 2013

With the start of the new year, it’s a great time to look at what women’s rights has done and where the movement is going. Here are three things that recent news, events, and media have reminded me of. This year there was a lot to be excited about but it also showed the world how far we have to go until there is really equality.

 

Malala release

Appreciate the Women in Your Life and in The World: This photo of Malala Yousafzai being released from the hospital is a touching one. The 15-year-old Pakistan girl was attached by the Taliban. She will not be silenced or stopped from getting an education though. She is one of the most inspiring people I have heard of in our time. Thank you Malala!

Remember to acknowledge and support anyone who takes a stand for what’s right and makes a change. Every little step, every activist can make a difference. Strong women are important and we need more of them making the world a better place. Who are the women who most inspired you recently?

Read more on Malala and other awesome women: The Road to Recovery, Time Person of the Year Candidate, Malala should be 2012 Person of the YearMalala Yousafzai Wikipedia, 30 Lessons Learned from My Favorite Lady Amy Poehler, World’s Most Powerful Women 2012

 

congressBe Political, Learn about the Issues and Women in Politics: The beginning of this marked the 113th Congress of the United States and great news – the most diverse ever! This Congress that boasts the most racial diversity and number of women, also has our first Buddhist Senator, the first Hindu and the first openly bisexual woman in the House.

For anyone that followed women’s health and politics in 2012, it was a passionate year to say the least. It was probably the most I’ve cared to be interested in politics in a long time. I was proud to stand for an issue and it made me think about other issues as well. Though it may have been a rough year, I see this as a sign of hope. 2013 can be even better!

Find a part of politics or activism that you care about. It’s easier to start with issues that you have first-hand experience with. The education system?

Read more about women’s issues in politics and what you can do: Congress now has more women, minorities than ever, Women in Politics Break Records in 2012 Election, Benches Full of Women, Pressuring Obama to Appoint More Women

 

saddest graphRecognize and Fight Violence Against Women: Sadly, this is one of the most obvious ways to prove sexism still exists. (I hate that that’s an argument people still have…)  The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was first signed into Congress in 1994 by President Clinton and just a few weeks ago was effectively stopped after 18 years in effect. It has a chance to be reauthorized and either way it just goes to show how little authorities and society value and recognize violence against women.

A really great article was published recently on CNN about ending rape culture in 2013. Terrible incidents of sexual violence against women, including fatal public gang rape, leave me speechless.

The Washington Post published a graph, The Saddest Graph You’ll See Today, illustrating the number of rapes to those reported, facing trail, jailed, and falsely accused – which made up only 2%. Clearly, anyone who blames women or doesn’t believe them about their

No matter where you are or which stories tug resonate with you the most, global and local women’s issues are in need of passionate people.

Read more of violence against women and what you can do: Ms. Magazine: What’s next for VAWA?, VAWA Wikipedia, It’s Time to Address How We Talk About Rape (video)

 

These three things - supporting women in politics, fighting violence against women, and appreciating inspiring women – are perfect ways to start of 2013. It has been a year of progress and we have a long way to go. What else has stood out for you this year? How do you plan to get involved in whatever it is you care about?

 

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Just Another Blog Post About 2013 New Year’s Resolutions

golden gate no filter

Katie Boyer’s 2013 Goals and Resolutions

After a long weekend of drinking beer, eating awesome food, and catching up with old friends around San Francisco and Oakland, I’ve had a day of rest and reflection. Here are my 2013 New Year’s Resolutions!

I am not promising to keep all of these but maybe writing about it will help. I’m looking forward to a better year and a fresh start. Some of these things are more of wishlist items and goals for the new year but I thought it was still appropriate. Resolutions are easier said than done but they’re fun and motivating!

 

Finances – Budgeting is hard and I am not very grown up yet when it comes to money. I have a Mint account which is good for keeping track of spending but I don’t log in and use it much. I will try to use Mint to budget and make some advances with finances and taxes and such. Especially as an employee at a start up, I want to be more educated on businesses, equity, etc.

Personal – I want an apartment upgrade, preferably even to a house instead. Moving is a lot of work though, we have been looking on Craigslist regularly for a while now but are being picky. Here’s hoping I’m living at a place with a yard and/or view in Oakland soon.

Professional Development – There are many things I have been wanting to that would help me in my career, education, and professional life.

I would like to get the Google Analytics Certification. I would like to write more, including blogging and guest posts. I would be also interested in trying some kind of writing group. If I could go back to school I’d like to brush up on Spanish or be in a conversation club. I’d also take some kind of women’s studies classes and think about education, business, ethnic studies as well. There are small steps I can take in 2013 to start myself in the right direction.

Health – This is an obvious and boring resolution but it’s necessary. I want to take basic daily vitamins. I need to floss more and go to the dentist. Exercising regularly is also hard but I ride my bike and walk a fair amount. I even do yoga once in a while. In 2013, I plan to go to yoga even more, ride my bike even more, eat better, and be healthier in general.

 

Happy 2013! What are you looking forward to this year? What are you resolutions and can you actually keep them?!

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Awesome Tech, Social Media, & Marketing Blogs

As someone with a budding career in online marketing, I find myself getting lost in industry blogs regularly. Here is a short list of SEO, Tech, PR, Entrepreneurial, Marketing Blogs that I find myself constantly going back to. There are some great blogs in here, but for some of these brands I’ve usually found their content via social media, not their site. Other consistencies include simple, clean designs with frequent posts varying in length and topics.
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SEOmoz: Relevant, informative, and fun SEO news and tips. They also have tons of other cool SEO tools that make a Pro account totally worth it. SEOmoz founder Rand Fishkin, who does a scary amount of blogging, is a great person to follow as well.

Connect with SEOmoz: SEOmoz Blog, Twitter, G+, Facebook

Noteworthy and recent posts: Top 1 SEO Tips for 2013, Every Marketer Should be Technical, Justin Bieber Gets 32K Retweets Per Tweet – Can You Beat That?, Whiteboard Friday video: What’s Really in an SEO’s Job.

 

mashable

Mashable: Fun and intriguing posts for a broad range of technology related industries. Sometimes it’s even a bit much so just follow a few topics if that’s how you feel…Topics: social media, tech, business, entertainment, US &world, lifestyle, watercooler, and more. Internet trends are important no matter what industry you’re in. (Recognize the name Pete Cashmore? Good branding, huh?)

Noteworthy and recent posts: Boost Your Wi Fi Signal with a Beer Can, 50 Shows with the Most Social Media Buzz in 2012

Connect with Mashable: mashable.com, Facebook, Twitter (@mashable), G+, Pinterest

 

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BuzzFeed: BuzzFeed has a little bit of everything and it’s a little too easy to waste hours and hours browsing their GIFs and photo articles. Their timely and shareable posts are a great way to find new info in the technology world or whatever else is happening and popular on the internet. Topics covered include politics, tech, lifestyle, food, rewind, celeb, music, LGBT, sports, animals, and more! What’s not to love?

Noteworthy and recent posts: The 45 Most Powerful Images of 2012

Connect with BuzzFeed: buzzfeed.com, Facebook, Twitter, G+

 

Technorati: Great way to find all the latest and greatest blog content relating to technology. Technorati rates the top blogs around the web and ranks technorati_logotheir authority on different topics. Women, sports, technology, business, entertainment, etc. Interesting blog research and discovery to be had by all!

Noteworthy and recent posts: Google Reveals “Most Googled Search” of 2012

Connect with Technorati: technorati.com, Facebook, Twitter, G+

 

TechCrunch: News, graphics, technology – all on TechCrunch. Focusing on tech with gadgets, mobile, start ups, and video with a great social media techcrunch logopresence. Follow their writers on social media as well.

Noteworthy and recent posts: Gift Guide 2012 DIY Edition, A List of the Best Annual Tech Start Up Events Europe 2013

Connect with TechCrunch: techcrunch.com, Facebook, Twitter, G+

 

CNET: For those of you who only know CNET as a review site (like my old-self), your mind is about to be blown. Yes, they are based on reviewing new

CNET-Twitter

technology and products but they also have awesome content. CNET blogs about green technologies, online security, tech news, business, and more.

Noteworthy and recent posts: Instagram Says it Now Has the Right to Sell Your Photos, ‘The Hobbit’ 3D tech divides our CNET reviewers, Magazine names hacker Limor Fried ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’

Connect with CNET: cnet.com, Facebook, Twitter, G+

 

Gizmodo-Twitter-Avatar

Gizmodo: Gizmodo synidcates and reshares a lot of things but is nonetheless a great place to find a ton of relevant tech content in one place.

Noteworthy and recent posts: 10 James Bond Gadgets That Actually Exist—And One That Needs To, The Most Important Events of 2012 in 14 GIFs,

Connect with Technorati: gizmodo.com, Facebook, Twitter, G+

 

There’s no way I even scratched the surface of all the awesome blogs out there! But that’s the fun of it. These are some of the obvious and my favorite. What would you add to this list of techie blogs?

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Mila Kunis Steps into Producer Shoes for Feminist Show

This is an article I wrote that was originally published on Flurt!.
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If you haven’t already heard, The CW is currently developing a new project with Mila Kunis as the executive producer. The drama is called Meridian Hills and stars a group of women fighting for equality at the height of the feminist movement in the 70s.

As a feminist, this is a topic I would love to see more often in the media, especially if feminism is portrayed positively for once. A show about the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the feminist civil rights movement could prove especially important and relevant in these political times when women are forced to stand up for things the feminist movement fought for 40 years ago. The only question is: Do we trust Mila and The CW to do the feminist movement justice in Meridian Hills?

Despite the lack of details about the show that have yet to be released, the media and feminist communities alike are already buzzing with predictions, excitement and of course critiques. Before we judge too quickly, let’s learn more about Mila, the show and The CW.

The Show: Meridian Hills
The official pitch for Meridian Hills shows awesome potential for empowering moments of sisterhood: “Set in a boozy Midwest country club circa 1972, when the push for the Equal Rights Amendment was just beginning, a young, newly married woman joins the Junior League, discovering an eclectic group of other young women who become unlikely allies in her quest to change the system.”

Besides Kunis, others working on the show include Chris Keyser (Party of Five co-creator), Eric and Kim Tannenbaum (producers of Two and a Half Men), and Sydney Sidner as the writer and co-producer. It’s also been noted that Kunis herself isn’t expected to have a role in the show.

Background on the ERA: The show’s plot focuses around the women supporting the ERA and could be a wonderful opportunity to educate the public about the history of the women’s liberation movement as well as celebrate the progress that was made to help it continue. The ERA was drafted as a constitutional amendment in 1923 by Alice Paul, a famous suffragist, and called to end institutionalized and legal discrimination based on gender or sex.

For decades feminists pushed the amendment through Congressional committees and in 1972 a version of the amendment passed in the Senate. In the end, the ERA failed to be ratified by enough states to pass as a new constitutional amendment. Although not all women supported the ERA for various reasons, it was a time of hope and passion for feminists around the country.

The Network Behind the Show: The CW
Meridian Hills is Kunis’ first producing gig and The CW’s second flashback series – the other is a prequel to Sex and the City set in the 80s. Personally, I have been unimpressed with The CW’s past record of shows. However, their long list of female-centric shows of the past, present and future show a glimmer of potential. (Upcoming shows include The Carrie Diaries, Alice in Wonderland, Wonder Woman, and more.)

The Actress Turned Producer: Mila Kunis
Funny, talented, and hard-working, it’s easy to see how a beautiful girl like Mila Kunis has become a hit in Hollywood. Just watching That 70’s Show, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Black Swan are enough for me to have become a fan.

Despite being known for her good looks, Mila objects to being praised on physical attraction alone. “The bottom line is if you’re an attractive female in this industry, people take you as just that: attractive.”

As she said this, most readers brushed her off because of her clothes (or rather her lack of clothing) in the featured interview. While I admit, that isn’t the best way to get your message across, let’s remember that slut shaming (aka judging and discriminating based on clothing choices) is never okay. I’m willing to give her a chance to show us she can be more than just a pretty face in the industry.

Critiques and Hopes for a Feminist TV Show

Some bloggers worry the show will sacrifice historical accuracy for cute girls in skimpy 70s outfits. Others speculate that she won’t be taken seriously for the similar reasons involving her personal choices. There’s also the possibility that The CW will play a role in sexualizing the women and playing down their historical importance.

Some more positive predictions see Meridian Hills as an opportunity for Kunis to show off her intelligence instead of her looks. Either way, it’s the first I’ve heard of a mainstream show dealing with feminism so directly, which is definitely a step in the right direction. It’s also a chance for feminists to be portrayed in a positive way. It’s an opportunity to show that feminists aren’t the stereotypical man-hating, bra-burning hippies that the media loves to rely on. We can only wait and hope Meridian Hills lives up to its potential to inspire and empower young female audiences.

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5 of the Best Things About Portland

There are many things to love about Portland. I recently started getting excited about my upcoming visit to Portland. Besides Law and Order marathons by the fire with my mom, Portland itself is so exciting! I can’t even describe the way Portland feels but it’s beautiful and fun and unique. Here’s just 5 of my favorite parts of visiting Portland.

Food Trucks

I wouldn’t be surprised if you’d already heard of the Portland food carts. Any given day there are tons of food cart options. Like most things PDX, it goes beyond the simple hot dog stand – there are vegan carts, dessert-only carts, grilled cheese carts, interesting cuisine fusion carts, and more. There are lots of places where there are more than a dozen open all day. The hard part is choosing just one!

For cart lists, updates, news, apps, and more check out Food Carts Portland.

Food trucks in Portland

Green, Green, Trees

More than 10,000 acres of parks and natural areas are spread throughout the green city of Portland. There are even urban forests with vegetation and streams in the city too. With the wet weather, it’s not surprise that nature is thriving. I don’t just love trees for their beauty but also their importance. Benefits of trees are ten times the cost of maintenance for trees. Think about all the long term environmental benefits too! Win, win, win.

portland camping river

Beer

Beer is one of my favorite things and that makes trips to Portland especially fun. Every time I’m in Portland I eat out, especially because of the food (see above food truck section). When I eat and drink out I make sure to always order a PDX beer, preferably one I haven’t had before – a Rainier is always good though! It’s also fun to go to the store with a large selection and take some home for a night in with the family. Always be on the look out for new beer spots to try! Even beer festivals and events. You’ll be amazed at the number of microbreweries in the area so don’t miss out. (Check out PortlandBeer.org org.)

Watch out for those weird liquor laws though! Stop selling early? Grocery stores don’t carry liquor? Weird. I always forget too.

Deschutes brewery sampler

My favorites beer spots so far…

  • Deschutes – I’ve been to the brewery in Bend for a tour, the pub/restaurant in Bend, and the pub/restaurant in Portland. The Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House is by far the coolest. I’ve heard it gets crowded but when I went it felt open, big doors and good lighting, cool decor, and an awesome beer sampler. Don’t get me wrong though, if you’re in Bend, the Deschutes locations there are worth a stop. I am a fan of several of their beers, there’s something perfect for every mood – Black Butte Porter, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Inversion IPA, a good solid winter seasonal beer, and even a white IPA (try it!). Deschutes is from Oregon but luckily the Black Butte and Mirror Pond are somewhat common in bars in California too.
  • Rogue – Rogue isn’t exclusive to Portland either but there are some wonderful and unique things about Rogue in Portland. For example, last time I was in Portland in October, I visited my sister where she goes to school in the middle of nowhere. The best part about the middle of nowhere – the Rogue Farms Micro Hopyard in Independence on the Willamette River. Tasting room with some food too, even a veggie burger. Farm animals roam the land where hops and other crops grow. There is even a small bed and breakfast called the Hop n Bed. Beautiful area! I actually haven’t made it to the Rogue bar/restaurant in Portland though – I haven’t even been to the one in SF! I hear they’re both cool though. Rogue is definitely easier to find on tap in Portland but Dead Guy Ale is common here in the Bay Area too. Tons of cool beers to try, even a VooDoo bacon donuts beer in pink bottle! All of the beers have characters though, like Mom Hef or the Mocha Porter.

Street Art

The first time I appreciated the street art of Portland I was walking down Alberta street with nothing but camera and it was all I needed. It’s no secret that Portland is filled with artists so the awesome street art and murals shouldn’t come as a surprise either. I am always delighted by the vibrant colors and inspiring paintings.
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Bikes and Bike Friendliness

I love to ride by bike. There are many reasons for it, which I think are obvious (health, money, environment, fresh air, happiness). For all of the same reasons I also believe that a more bike-friendly community leads to wonderful things. Though I have not actually biked in Portland, I hope to do so when I move there one day. I just know I would love living in such a bike-friendly, green city. Check out Bike Portland too!

But that’s not all…

With so many things to love, I had to split it up into a few posts, stay tuned for more wonderful PDX things! What would you put on the list?