To all my followers….

I’ve migrated all my the content from this blog over to my main/primary blog

stylemenerdy.wordpress.com which also has the domain tomorrowlandtribune.com from when it was a Disney only blog. Now that I write about most things under the generally nerdy umbrella, I’ve decided to combine the blogs, so go check out my primary blog and give it a follow! Thanks!

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Freedom of Speech vs. Freedom of Action: What the First Amendment Actually Means

So, as student of history and hence a student of the US Constitution, one of the things that literally makes me hate the education that children are receiving and truly believe that people have lost the ability to synthesize information is the defense of a stupid or hateful comment with the first amendment of the Bill of Rights.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” – See more at: http://constitution.findlaw.com/amendment1.html#sthash.gkVkgFxQ.dpuf

IMG_0023The first amendment is by far the most far reaching amendment and the most widely incorrectly cited. You can’t just say something awful and say “It’s free speech.” when someone tells you you’re being a moron. Free speech does not actually mean that you can say whatever you want without consequence. It means you have the right to say it, but it does not excuse you from the repercussions of that statement. For instance, the first amendment does not entitle you to say something racist at work and not be fired for it. Your employer has the right to fire you for slander of either the person you said it about or the company itself.

The first amendment also protects the rights of the press. Journalists who report the truth. The “press” should not really encompass the people who are ruining the lives of actors and artists for their own public gain. Just because the story makes money for your magazine, doesn’t mean it should be published. Do you think the founding fathers of America believed that the internet would be a thing when they were sitting in Independence Hall screaming at one another in the hot Philadelphia summer? Do you think they felt that it was necessary to ask themselves “How does this right work IMG_1819for the press when they want to slander the lives of famous people?” NO! BECAUSE NO ONE CARED! They, unlike people of today, realized that artists, politicians, and “famous” people are…people, fellow human beings. I’m not saying that people in the public eye should not be held accountable for their actions. EVERYONE SHOULD BE! AND IT’S NOT HAPPENING! Rights from the Constitution and its amendments can be employed in as much as they do not infringe upon the rights of others. I would say publishing nude photos of actresses because you hacked into their computer (whether in the cloud or otherwise) is infringing on their right to the pursuit of happiness, their right to privacy and is theft of their private property. I realize that the internet has truly changed the world and questions the rules in play. Just as I have the right to write this blog, someone has the right to say that I’m wrong if they think I am. We have the right to have the discussion but if that discussion leads to illegal action, that’s where we run into a serious problem.

I think the internet and social media have blurred the line between freedom of speech and freedom of action (which is not a fundamental right, you cannot simply do whatever you want, that would lead to anarchy and things like the Purge…tread carefully). Continuing with the use of the nude photo leak example, if you went to someone’s house and stole nude photos of them and published them in a magazine, that’s not freedom of the press, that’s theft and that journalist would be arrested for stealing and trespassing onto private property. So…what’s the difference between that and committing the same crime digitally. Just because it’s there and you want it, does not entitle you to take it. And with free speech, just because you think it doesn’t mean you should say it. You can, that’s a right provided to you by the government, AND ONLY THE GOVERNMENT, but it doesn’t protect you from the response and reactions of others.

IMG_1810I think this age of individualism is actually really dangerous and the internet has given us a mask to hide behind, our keyboards. You can do a lot of damage from behind those keyboards. You can spread hate and that’s not the intent of the right to free speech. The right to free speech should be used for good and to protect yourself and your ideas. Also, remember that private entities, not owned by the government, do actually have the ability to restrict what you say. For example, if you are found out to be sending hate mail on a website like tumblr, youtube, Facebook and twitter, your account can be deleted and you will be reported. We seem to have, as a culture, lost the ability to care about the greater good and are only out for the private good and not the public good. This is VERY BAD! While there are amazing organizations that are doing the right thing and joining together to promote the public good, there are a lot of stupid people who are only looking out for the interests of themselves as individuals. Where is that going to lead us?! It’s going to lead us down a seriously dangerous path and we will lose the collaborative spirit that made this country amazing in it’s early years. Look back in history, amazing things happen when people come together for the good of the public and sometimes that means sacrificing a small private want in order to accomplish something much more amazing.

Think before you open your mouth to speak or hit the keys on your keyboard, take five seconds to make sure that you are saying something worth saying. Don’t just speak to speak, say something with purpose. Say something educated and intelligent. Make sure you aren’t saying something inaccurate and stupid. Sometimes ranting in cathartic, sometimes it’s dangerous and inaccurate driven only by misunderstanding, hatred and anger. Just something to think about…keep sifting through shelves.

Maintaining A Positive Attitude While Abroad

SONY DSC I know a lot of others like myself who have participated in an internship or study abroad program. My program was one that a lot of people have participated in, the Disney College Program; my program was in Florida but there is also one in California. I had the amazing opportunity to begin working with Disney at my local Disney Store before moving to the most magical place on earth. I participated in the Disney College Program and the Disney Professional Internship Program. This meant a year away from my home in Pennsylvania. I’m still in Florida now, happy as a clam so I figured I would share with the world how I maintain my positive attitude so far from home.

For one thing, I do maintain contact with my family and friends regularly. Technology has made it much easier to study or work abroad these days. With Facebook, Twitter, FaceTime, email, texting etc, I can contact family whenever they are available at the same time as I am, breaks from work, days off, etc. I also keep everyone in the loop through postings lots of pictures on social media and occasionally sending cards home. Sometimes it feels good just to put something in the mail. I also visit when I can and they visit me when possible! (How could they not?! I live in Disney World?!)

One of the most important things while being far away from home and family for the first time is keeping things in perspective and while I will openly admit that sometimes I’ve failed at this. However, keeping the future in proportion, and realizing that your family has your back will definitely keep the anxiety of future plans to come in check. I always try to remember that I am living in the Most Magical Place on Earth and that always lifts my mood whenever I am freaking out about jobs, money, or the future. Not every day will be perfect, but as a whole, being abroad anywhere is an incredible experience. I don’t know anyone who has every regretted it!

One of the things I can consistently add to and look back on if I’m feeling blue is my Magical Moments Journal. It’s like my own version of Ellie’s Adventure Book. I keep little scrapbook-able momentos in the back half of the pages and write down magical moments next to the date in the front half. I spend a lot of time in the wonderful parks and hotels of the resort and I want to remember as much as I can, whether that be through notes or pictures. Whenever I’m having a down day, these notes remind me of what an amazing time I’m having and what a wonderful place I get to work in and the difference I make in the vacations of families and the difference the people of WDW make in my life!

Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 2.25.52 PMThis leads me to my next little trick. Gratitude, sometimes (ok, a lot of the time) when I am visiting the parks, whether on a planned whole day there with friends or on my own after work, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity I have been presented with. I get to visit this amazing place whenever I want and be surrounded by the culture of something I have been in love with for a very long time. I love Disney, unapologetically so. Being around the parks all the time and in one of the hubs of Disney culture, and being surrounded by other people who love Disney as much as I do has presented a unique opportunity to research and talk with people who are as passionate as I am. Since I am also a writer on top of everything else, I read a lot of books to supplement my knowledge so that I can eventually share it with others.

I also stick to my roots. I love dance, history and theatre and cosmetics so I have also picked up part time jobs at a local dance studio and at a new Lush Cosmetics store. I also volunteer at the local history museum giving tours. I then have a chance to explore the city of Orlando, and do research at the museum’s research center and the library next door. Sure, I have a really full plate, but it’s good that I keep myself busy so that I can keep that homesickness at bay and enjoy myself to the fullest.

If I ever find myself freaking out and just feeling really down for some reason and I have the financial means to do so, I treat myself. Whether it’s to a new pin or a side of Mickey Waffles at a resort. I know what I can do to pick myself up. Visiting a park or watching a Disney movie are other ways to raise my mood. Sipping a coffee while strolling down Main Street USA or riding the train around the Magic Kingdom while eating popcorn or visiting my favorite character at Animal Kingdom before watching Festival of the Lion King. One show that NEVER fails to cheer me up is Fantasmic. If I’m feeling blue, I hop on the Tower of Terror or Toy Story Midway Mania, grab some mac and cheese from my favorite quick service stand and head to Fantasmic. It’s a quick evening that I can do after work and it’s my ultimate pick me up. Sometimes I need something that’s not Disney, and that’s totally ok. I grab a John Green book, watch some reruns on Netflix with a Lush Bath Bomb or read some Harry Potter with a cup of tea. Whatever I need that day. Knowing how to cheer yourself up when you are feeling down is a great way to maintain your happiness while abroad.

The last thing that always makes each day lovely is living in the moment. I don’t mean forgetting about the future or abandoning responsibilities, I just mean taking each moment of each day as its own. Living in the future tends to lead to stress and living in the past leads to regret. Living in the here and now, as a professor of mine once put it, allows me to make each moment count and enjoying each day to its fullest. #YOLO as people sometimes put it, but in a sensible way. Not going out of control, just allowing time to enjoy myself, not everyone gets to live in a kingdom with a castle and everyday access to their favorite place on earth!

Aldi Food Markets

So this morning when I realized that it had been quite some time since I had gone food shopping and my cupboards were quite empty, I decided to make a financially savvy decision and head to my “local” Aldi Food Market. I say “local” because it’s almost 20 minutes away from my apartment as opposed to the Publix which is about 3 minutes away.

I arrived at Aldi and realized that due to the fact that I don’t carry cash on my person, I did not have the quarter necessary to rent a cart…so I had to carry all the things I was intending on purchasing, which made for a very sad looking version of myself constantly dropping things. But I thought to myself, “hey, live and learn, bring a quarter next time”. By about 30 minutes in, I had acquired enough food that I needed to check out or I was literally going to drop everything and look like a fool. So I approach the checkout and I got everything on the belt and scanned and the gentleman at the checkout asked how I wanted to pay, as I wasn’t getting paid until Thursday and this was a Tuesday, I said credit. He said they could only take debit or cash…this is where I kinda mentally lost it. I had driven out of my way to go to a store marketed to people on a budget and I couldn’t use my credit card. This was baffling to me. I later found out it was because of credit card fees charged to the store for each credit transaction but I was still seriously frustrated and “hangry” (a term for being angry because you are hungry, a symptom of my low blood sugar). What made me even more annoyed was that if I had attempted to use food stamps, which I am not on, I could have paid with those… I have good enough credit to have a credit card but I can’t use it because I’m on a tight budget. The paradox was just too much for me to handle in my hypoglycemic rage. He asked if I had a debit card. I said, “Yes I do, but I need the money to pay my rent this month. I guess I will be going to Publix after all.” And with that I left the store empty handed. I said I knew I had used a card there before, it must have been my debit card, I guess. Now I know part of my irritated state at the store was caused by the fact that it had been too long since I had eaten, but none the less, I was annoyed. I did end up going to Publix, “where shopping is a pleasure”. And it was, the people were all very nice and the manager walked me and my groceries out to my car, but I still ended up spending 2x as much as I had wanted to in order to fill my cabinets. I was majorly conflicted. I guess now I know that I can’t use a credit card at Aldi and I have to bring a quarter in order to use a cart and I have to have my own bags if I don’t want to pay for them. (This I agree with, as I think people use WAY too much plastic to transport their groceries and I usually have my own bags anyway, the quarter for the cart is to keep them out of the parking lot, which I also understand now, I just wish I had known). I just wanted to make all of this known to other people who are on a tight budget so that the next time you go to Aldi, you don’t get caught off guard like I was and have the same terribly unpleasant experience.

Was this a serious case of first world problems just piling up to make for a bad experience? Yes, but nonetheless, I was annoyed. Next time you go to Aldi, you better go with the knowledge that with the cheap prices, comes providing your own bag, temporarily paying for your cart and using cash or debit. I’ll step down from my soapbox now and put my life back in perspective, I was able to get food and eat that day, so in the grand scheme of things, I’m doing just fine.  Keep sifting through shelves!

Being Unemployed

It took me quite a while to decide to actually write this post but here it goes. Technically, if you look at my employment record, I wasn’t unemployed, I wasn’t working though. It’s complicated. I finished back to back internships at Walt Disney World in June of this year. I found myself scrambling to find a home with the company because I could not extend my internship and the company did not have the space in the department to extend people to became seasonal or part time but I was told that I qualified to stay in the pool to be pulled for a Temporary Assignment in the department that I did my internship in and I LOVED my internship so I definitely wanted to do that. After several weeks of online applications (which feel productive and aren’t really), I finally applied to work in one of the resorts and got the job, the only issues were it was only part time and it did not start until July 6. That left me a month of a whole bunch of time. I was (and still am) trying to find a second part time job that I could work at while I wasn’t working for Disney. I only managed to get one interview, despite over 16 applications, the availability just wasn’t matching up. I looked for freelance writing, nothing, because the job market sucks, it’s unfortunate but it’s true, especially if you are right out of college, in the Orlando area (where there are a lot of us). Luckily, I have started working at the Disney job at the resort so I have left the insanity that is having WAY too much time on your hands.
Let me tell you first off…it’s not a vacation. It feels like a vacation for all of a week, if that. You can only watch so much TV, go to Starbucks so many times and window shop online before you really start to lose it and panic. I have the issue where I HATE asking for money, from anyone, I think it’s a pride thing, I really don’t know. What I do know is without the support of my family, I would be even more broke than I am now and I probably would have moved home to PA from FL. I cannot describe to you how many movies, tv shows and Youtube videos I watched during the month of June.
Why didn’t you go to the parks? People often ask me this. Even when you get in free, the parks are expensive, food for starters, especially for someone like me who needs to eat quite often costs a lot of money. And then there are the tempting souvenirs, and trying to find people to go with you. I did go a few times, for special events like the Frozen Summer Fun (but that really didn’t come up until the end of the period of unemployment), Star Wars Weekends and my birthday.
Let me explain to you why it’s really not fun. Bills still come into your mailbox and email box. Car insurance, credit cards, rent, electric, gas, groceries (you do have to eat), internet and student loans. I was lucky enough to have my loans adjusted, so those are on pause for a bit. Still, it’s enough to cause even someone as calm and rational but passionate as me to completely feel like there’s no end to the stress in sight. It makes you feel lazy, inadequate, and like you will fall into a hole of financial panic from which you will never recover. You question choices you otherwise never would (like staying in FL to work for your dream company for example). Now in retrospect, I should have asked for help when I needed it, but again with the pride thing. I felt like I should have it all pulled together now that I had graduated from college and had lived in a semi-adult state of life for several months. I felt like I was regressing and being thousands of miles from the people who are capable of helping you didn’t help. I became quite homesick and prone to quasi breakdowns. I did get to go home right at the end of my program which was lucky. I was under the impression that by 24, I should no longer be financially dependent on anyone else and I should be working or on the path towards the job I would have for the foreseeable future. Both of my roommates were (and still are) working full time in professional jobs, so again, there’s the feeling of not being as pulled together as them. I’m also an extrovert, meaning I get my energy from being around other people, so spending so much time in the house by myself also took its toll. I could have gone out…but again…gas to make the gar go from point A to point B takes money, which I was not making.
I’m sorry if this sounds like a whine fest and a sob story. It’s not meant to. It’s meant to make anyone who has also gone through this realize that they aren’t alone. It happens, the economy sucks. There are times where you may feel like a failure or ashamed that you aren’t making 5 figures. You’re not inadequate, you have nothing to feel ashamed of and it will end eventually. Mine only lasted a little over a month, but it felt like a lifetime. You will find a job that you love. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. I was lucky enough to have amazing friends and an amazing support system and I hope everyone who goes through this is equally lucky as I was. I learned a bit late in the game that going into a business to apply (though it takes guts) is much more effective than applying online. However, I know a lot of places have an online screening process that you can’t avoid. I know most of mine did. Take each day one at a time, keep making effort to find a new job, knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel and breathe. I learned a lot about hobbies I enjoy during the last month and I started this blog, a YouTube channel and in general revamped my online presence. If like me, you have real issues accepting money you don’t feel like you earned, ask the people helping you if there is anything you can do in exchange so it doesn’t feel as undeserved. It really helps. For example, I’m helping my mom revamp her online presence and managing the social media for her business. While this phrase usually applies to a totally different topic, it does get better, I promise.

Subscription Boxes I’m Dying to Try

First I should say, if you have tried any of these before, please tell me what you think of them in the comments below! I reply, I promise! I have not terribly recently, but within the last year become sadly (as in I spend an embarrassing amount of time watching them) watching unboxing videos on YouTube. They are fairly common among the beauty and lifestyle channels that I love so much. I have watched every kind of beauty box unboxing you can imagine. Birchbox, Impsy Glambag, Popsugar Must Have, Beauty Test Tube, Beauty Army, Big Black Bag and many others. I have also watched NatureBox ones, Dollar Shave Club, and Madame Ladybug and Bonjour Jolie unboxings (and lots of other food ones I don’t remember the names of). Here are the ones I’m dying to try (I’m sure there are more that I would love just as much but they are either WAY too expensive or I haven’t found them yet.

  1. PopSugar Must Haves– This is by far the most expensive box on my list and I won’t be able to subscribe to it right away but I love watching Eleventh Gorgeous unbox theirs every month. It’s about $40 per month and contains about $100 worth of products ranging from beauty, fitness, snacks, jewelry, makeup, nail polish, books, fashion and holiday specific products. It’s a catch all box that contains usually full sized products where as with subscription services like Birchbox and Ipsy Glambag usually have some full sized and some samples. I like that the contents of the box varies every month and it contains things I can actually use to make my house or style better. They also release one much more expensive box each season like a winter, summer, spring and fall one. They usually run around $100 and they have very limited quantities of these so when the word goes out that they’re available to order, you better order yours right away if you want what’s inside, which is usually AMAZING!
  2. Naturebox– I spend a lot of time at the Disney parks and traveling (I wish I did more of this though). Being hypoglycemic, I need to eat every few hours or I become what people have lovingly deemed “hangry” …basically I turn into a very irritable crazy pants and no one wants that, trust me. (that’s putting it quite nicely). Naturebox includes different levels of subscription depending on how long you want to be subscribed for, for example a 12 month subscription costs less than a month to month subscription. They are fantastically travel friendly and would be perfect for me to bring to the parks and on planes and long car rides with me. It would stop me from spending gobs of money at the parks, which right now I do, on snacks and food. It would also enable me to eat healthy snacks instead of junk food, which I’m quite guilty of (I’m looking at you Magic Kingdom popcorn…). You get to pick out your snacks ahead of time and if you don’t like them you have the option of switching them out for something else. They have an amazing variety from sweet to savory snacks.
  3. Madame Ladybug– This one is just for the ladies. It’s a monthly period subscription box. Sounds weird but hear me out. Ladies, you spend lord knows how much on your feminine hygiene products every month. It’s absurd. You don’t like sending your significant other out to get them if you don’t have time because they 1) don’t want to take it to the register 2) they buy the wrong ones, whether they mess up the size, brand or product. Why not spare yourself the hassle of going out to get them or sending someone to get the wrong one and getting a few treats to make yourself feel better during this unfortunate time of the month. Madame Ladybug sends everything you could possible need to make yourself feel better during your period. Pads, tampons, liners and that’s so not it! They send chocolate, tea, bath and papering products, beauty products, and jewelry. Their extras outside of snacks and hygiene products change from month to month. AND if you aren’t a fan of one of the snacks they send one month, you can let them know and next month they will swap it out for something else. You also get to pick your brand of products, since we all know we are picky, don’t deny it! It just shows up at your house and you have plenty of supplies to endure the crimson tide, Tom’s visit, whatever you like to call it. There are three tiers of subscription depending on how much of each product you want, $18, $25 and $33
  4. Dollar Shave Club– first of all…do yourself a favor and go watch their video introduction. I will post a link to it at the end of the description. It’s hysterical and that alone will make you want to subscribe. We all know how obnoxiously expensive shaving has gotten. Whether you by disposal ones regularly or replace your blades on a more durable one. AND the Pink Razor Tax (their word not mine) is obscene! I’m sick of the marketing towards women of feminine shaving products, half the time the quality is worse, they have to be replaced more often and all they are is PINK! It’s stupid but I’m working on another article which will come out with a review of the Dollar Shave Club. Basically what the Dollar Shave Club is a shaving subscription service. They don’t have fancy name brand razors but I have heard that they are much better, I’ll let you know when I get mine. They send you a handle to correspond with the blades that you choose. There are there different levels of razor/blades, two blades, four blades and six blades.. The cost goes up a bit accordingly but it’s still SO much cheaper than the alternative that you can get at grocery stores or CVS or Walgreens. I’m subscribing to this immediately!! Here’s a link to their blades! razor/bladesSo these are the four that I’m dying to try soon, let me know down in the comments if you have tried any of these and what you thought! If I subscribe, I’ll definitely do unboxing videos and post them to my Youtube channel. Thanks for reading and keep sifting through shelves.