Why We Need to Love America

The 4th of July is a holiday of American pride- both real and fake. While there are certainly many people who love and appreciate this country, myself being one of them, there are many who do not- especially those in my generation.

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On the 4th of July everyone celebrates the birth of America and the principles that it was founded on. However, on the other 364 days of the year, people are bashing the country for its struggles and issues that it is facing. Well, guess what? This is what makes America the great country that it is. Unlike those in other countries, we actually have the right to speak our opinions and raise our voice to principles we don’t believe in.

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You may not agree with everything that is happening in our country right now but it is a beautiful thing that you even have a voice to say something about it. Being in a country with so much freedom has led us to take for granted the freedom that our ancestors fought for us to have 241 years ago. Well it’s time to wake up. We are a country where we actually have a say in government policy and the power to make a change.

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If you aren’t happy with the way things are playing out in America then do something to change that. Speak your mind and fight for a cause you believe in, but don’t ever say you aren’t proud to be an American. It is important that we encourage one another to debate right versus wrong while still being on the same side.

There isn’t a day that goes by where I am not proud to be living in this country, with all its diversity and opportunity. What other country is filled with people from hundreds of different countries that all consider themself one nationality? Zero. It is only America where you can be German, African, Australian, Chinese, Mexican, or Russian and also be American. No other country melts the way America does in terms of diversity.

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This 4th of July, and all other days of the year, be proud to show off your red, white and blue and exclaim your love for America.

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Goals, Dreams, Hopes, Aspirations… Why?

I was sitting on my porch reading the latest issue of Darling Magazine (one of my favorites might I add) when I began thinking about purpose. Life purpose. Our dreams and aspirations. We all have different goals and hopes that we work to reach. However, some of us have bigger and brighter dreams than those around us. Why is this?

Being in my home town for just a few days has me thinking about the dreams of those in suburban Pennsylvania. Has everyone here just dreamed about a white picket fence, a family, and a Golden Retriever? Or did these people have bigger goals at one point? Maybe to travel the world or become the CEO of a Fortune 500 Company in the Big Apple?

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Everyone has to have something deep down that they’ve always wanted to achieve. Or perhaps maybe not. I know for myself, I have such big dreams that I want to achieve and I can’t even go a day without thinking about them. I can’t imagine anything otherwise. I want to see the world. Live different places. Graduate with a Masters in Data Science. Start my own company. Live in a beautiful Manhattan apartment overlooking the Hudson. Own a Golden Doodle. While some of these dreams are bigger than others, they are still dreams, and they are mine.

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So maybe its not that some people have goals and others don’t, but maybe it’s just that people genuinely just really yearn for quite different things. Some people are more career-oriented while others are more family-oriented, causing this difference. Some people don’t need to reach the top of a large company to feel fulfilled in life, while others don’t need to raise children to feel happy. We are all so different in what we seek as our source of happiness. What do you think? What are your biggest goals and aspirations?

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March’s Reads

As I mentioned last month, I have been on a classical literature kick, something very unusual for me. I think the romance and history of London is getting to my head and changing my book preferences! That being said, here are reviews of some classics that have now become favorites of mine. However, towards the end of the month, I went back to my old ways and picked up a book on economics. Now that class is over for me I needed a source for a daily dose of knowledge!

Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood-

If you read my post about the books I read last month then you know I absolutely adored “Madonna in a Fur Coat” (and have been recommending it to everyone that asks for a book suggestion). When I finished reading it and returned to Daunt Books looking for my next few books to read, I asked a worker for books similar to it. She recommend me this book as well as the next one, “Marie”.

The Daunt Books employee told me that this book would give me a deeper insight into the burlesque clubs and war scene of 1930s Berlin that “Madonna in a Fur Coat” touched on briefly; and that it did. The characters in both novels are very similar, which is why I enjoyed this so much. While this classic more so introduces you to an array of intricate characters rather than a dramatic plot, I found it very captivating. If you enjoy Berlin’s history and characters with many different layers, give this one a read.

Marie by Madeleine Bourdouxhe-

This book was recommended to me because the main character, Marie, has a very similar attitude to ___ in “Madonna and a Fur Coat”. Both are women trapped in a lifestyle they don’t necessarily wish to be living. They both possess strong thoughts on men and their particular relationship with them. In this book, Marie struggles between the deep love she has for her husband and her desire to be her own person. Her actions say one thing and her thoughts say another.

Marie Madeleine Bourdouxhe review

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates-

Another classic, this novel tells the story of a couple living together in the suburbs of New York. Unlike most couples in the suburbs, Frank and Gloria never wished to live there or to have a family. They often fight with one another over the plans for the future and their children, both hoping not to sink into the comforts of living a “perfectly normal” life. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel because I can personally relate to the trap that suburbia can put on one’s ambitions. Afterall, I am a girl who loves the city!

Zero to One by Peter Thiel-

This book is quite unlike the others from the month of March. “Zero to One” discusses the evolution of technology and the important roles entrepreneurs play in this future. It analyzes the aspects that make certain companies successful and others unsuccessful. If you have a love for technology, economics or entrepreneurship, you will love this. I personally liked it because its points contradicted the points made by some of my favorite authors in some of my favorite books, one of those authors being Malcolm Gladwell. I always find it interesting when authors argue against the points made by well-known economists.

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If you have any recommendations on books you think I should read, please leave them below! Check out January’s Reads, February’s Readsand be sure to look out for April’s Reads, coming soon.

February’s Reads

As you will see, I really branched out from my typical genre of books in the month of February. I have discovered an appreciation for both classic works of literature as well as romances set in the 1920s and 1930s. These books were so captivating that I finished most of them in a matter of a day or two.

Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear… And Why by Sady Doyle-

This book analyzes popular female “trainwrecks”, such as Amy Winehouse and Britney Spears, and questions why they are given this label. Doyle discusses how society is the reason for these women’s breakdowns and how we can stop this. She questions why men are idolized for the same actions that women are called crazy for. If you enjoy feminist or thought-provoking literature, give this one a read!

Book Review

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi-

I’m sure many of you have heard lots of reviews about this book. It has become increasingly popular, and for good reason. It accounts the life of a neurosurgeon who falls ill with cancer, taking you through his thoughts of life and death. I believe everyone should read books like this because they give you a deeper appreciation for what really matters. Kalanithi struggles between his illness overcoming him and his love for surgery, which is such a powerful message. Be prepared to cry!

When Breath Becomes Air review

Madonna in a Fur Coat by Sabahattin Ali-

This book was being displayed as a featured book in Daunt Books one day, so naturally I decided to pick it up. This bookstore always gives the best recommendations and has books with the prettiest covers. I’m not gonna lie, the cover is what really got me… and the sales lady’s endless praise for it, too. This book is not a typical read for me, being that I usually head towards business or psychology books, but I quickly fell in love with it. It follows a Turkish man who finds himself in Berlin, captivated by a beautiful woman in a painting. I won’t ruin the magic of the book but the characters do end up meeting. Maria, this woman in the painting, is a character I found a lot of myself within, which is probably why I am so fascinated with her. Her strong, complex character is reason enough to read this novel.

Madonna in a Fur Coat

The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald-

A literary classic, I have been yearning to read this novel for awhile now. When I found it for only a few pounds in a bookstore in Old Street station, I knew it was finally time to read it. The first part consisted of the most magical, captivating pages. This part discussed Anthony’s fascination with Gloria and her youthful, free spirit. I have developed a deep love for the character of Gloria in her younger years. The rest of the novel follows the love story of these two characters and the changes in their lives relative to their own fortunes. I personally love the way Fitzgerald writes; there is something so poetic about his descriptions of people and events.

If you have any recommendations on books you think I should read, please leave them below! Check out January’s Reads and be sure to look out for March’s Reads, coming soon.

January’s Reads

I know, I know. This post is a month delayed… but I promise, I have been keeping true to my New Year’s Resolution! I have happily read a new book every week and am learning something new every day. Here is what I read during the month of January:

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St. Marks is Dead by Aba Calhoun-

We all know I love New York City; that is no secret. As Carry Bradshaw once said, “If you only get one great love, New York may just be mine”. When I first saw this book I was instantly intrigued. Some of my fondest memories from my freshman year of college occurred on St. Marks Place. I wanted to learn the deep history behind a street that meant so much to me. The book walks through the colonization of New York City and how the neighborhood changes throughout the decades. It includes personal stories from residents of the street, making the book personal and real. If you love the history of music, art, or New York City, then I highly recommend picking this book up. It even includes vintage photographs!

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Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil-

Some of you may have just read that title and cringed. Ew, math!? Why would I want to read about math? Personally, I love math, but you do not have to enjoy crunching numbers to appreciate this book. O’Neil dives deep into how today’s algorithms favor the wealthy and hurt the middle class. She touches on subjects like college admission and bank loans, describing how these systems work against the typical American. The book is definitely eye-opening; It makes you think how it is even possible to escape this embedded discrimination.

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb-

This book has to be my least favorite of all I read during January. I have had this book for quite awhile, maybe two years. Every time I reached to read it I ended up returning it to the growing stack of books in my bedroom. Taleb is a philosopher by nature so the entire book is quite lyrical, making it one big tangent and hard to follow. While there were chapters that really made me wonder how the world works, and reflect on my own experiences, I found myself lost for quite a majority of it. Also, I may have been a bit bitter that he kept stating the uselessness of statistics, a subject I quite enjoy!

The Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford-

I have a large fascination with robots being that I want to pursue data science in the future. I was initially attracted to this book by the bright, animated cover. Whoever said “don’t judge a book by its cover” clearly never walked around a bookstore filled with the most beautiful books. This book goes into a detailed discussion about how technology is projected to ruin our economical system. Ford dives into each upcoming innovation and how that particular one will destroy opportunities for the middle class. He then provides what he believes to be a solution for the accelerated pace of technology. If you love technology as much as I do, and are amazed by what scientists are creating in the world, give this book a read!

If you have any recommendations on books you think I should read, please leave them below! Look out for February’s Reads, coming soon.

Hidden Gem of London: Daunt Books

Literature has been a major theme of my new year. After all, I did set a resolution to read a new book each week, which I will be filling you in on at the end of each month. Naturally, I am always looking for a new book to pick up and dive into next. 52 books is a lot of books! Can you even name that many books you have read over the course of your life? I’m not sure I even can.

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I stumbled upon Daunt Books one day after venturing off of Marylebone Road where my University’s campus is situated. The surrounding area is bustling with small cafes, boutique shops, and, of course, this fabulous book store.

Best London Bookshop

The first thing I was attracted to was the large window in the back of the store, lined on both sides by upstairs railings. In this room, each bookcase showcases a different country and travel guides to visiting that country. The perfect shelves to browse while planning a European adventure! I must say, the atmosphere is truly unlike any Barnes and Nobles at home (sorry!).

Best London Bookshop

Aside from the unique beauty of the store, each book itself is a true work of art. I was able to find some of my favorite books lining the shelf, all of which had cover art that I had never seen before (Michael Lewis’s books included). Despite popular opinion, I am a firm believer of judging a book by its cover. The outside is an art entirely separate from the words inside the pages, and it deserves to be treated that way.

As an art and book lover, I highly recommend stopping in this shop while venturing through the neighborhood of Marylebone in London. Not only can you find an endless amount of inspiring and well-written literature but also individual works of art in the form of cover pages.

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The Contradiction of Millennials in this Presidential Election

With the election results in, I think we can all say we are a bit shocked. Whether you are pleasantly surprised or moved to fear, it is important to reflect on the entire election process that occurred over the last few months. It is no doubt that the media, specifically social media, has been the largest contributor to the way this election played out. The media blew many little things into crucial issues, causing these issues to go viral all over social platforms and the internet. In many cases, what was reported was indeed false.

Along with false circulations, I think it is even more important to consider the presence of celebrities, bloggers, and brands and their position in the Presidential election. Many of these influencers chose to state their opinion openly on social media using hashtags such as #Imwithher and #govote. Social media was primarily dominated by this large support system for Hillary Clinton, which I believe led to a false sense of assurance for many Americans. The results go to show that social media DOES NOT reflect the majority of the United States and that sometimes only certain voices are heard.

This being said, I think it is even MORE important that we discuss Donald Trump, his decisions during this election period, and how millennials react to his actions and words. Why is it that us as young people are so appalled by Trump’s insults and disrespectful comments towards women, yet we idolize rappers like Kanye West for preaching the same exact beliefs? Google the lyrics for West’s song “Feed Back” and ask yourself, what makes this ok compared to any words that Trump has said? I honestly cannot answer these questions but I think it is something important that needs to be considered and discussed.

If we are going to tear apart Trump for his insults against women and minorities, we need to first look at what we have allowed in this society as millennials. How can we allow West to get away with such derogatory comments but then ridicule Trump for similar comments? We need to truly think about our own actions and our own views for they are extremely hypocritical. We try to move towards progression of women’s rights but then continue to support rappers who preach offensive lyrics. Since when is acceptable for rappers to get away with this but as soon as a politician does the same, it is insulting, demeaning, and unacceptable?

If we expect a change in our society then we need to start by standing up to EVERYONE, whether it is your favorite rapper, clothing brand designer, or the boy next to you in math class, not just a politician in the Presidential election. How much affect does the President really have on our daily culture as millennials? It is more so music, celebrities, media, and our friends that effect our own world views. If you expect change, start with what you expose yourself to every day. Once we do this, elders will begin to respect our beliefs as young people and actually listen to what we have to say.

Although you may not agree with the results of this election, it is important to remember that you are the future for change. If our views as a society continue to contradict one another, no positive changes will be made. However, even with these challenges in America, we are still the most beautiful country in the World. Only in America can women vote, gay people marry, and people openly express their opinions. These are amazing rights that we seem to take for granted every day. In the upcoming months, and even years, just remember how lucky you are to be a citizen of the country that you are.