How to: Vegan Meal Prep

 

Check out the infographic below for my tips on how to get started prepping healthy, vegan meals, and let me know in the comments if you’d like to see posts about specific recipes that have worked for me!

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How to: Effectively Adult From Your Phone

It seems like the general consensus among people in their early twenties is that we feel like we should have our lives together at this point, but even if we do have some responsibilities covered, we feel like we can always do better. A lot of this feeling is as a result of cultural gaslighting, older generations constantly calling millennials lazy and entitled until we actually do feel as if we’re lazy and entitled–even though many of us actually aren’t (let me know if you’d like to read a good long rant in defense of millennials, I’ll save that for another post). That said, there’s always room for improvement, so I’ve devised a list of ways you can “adult” from your phone, in other words, anywhere at any time.

Money Management Apps (Level, Venmo, Bank App)

I list financial apps first because that’s where I struggled with the most. I downloaded Level this weekend and realized how much I was spending on little things that I didn’t even register when making purchases, I just made them. I realized I was spending exorbitant amounts of money on vending machine snacks, Chipotle, and other small purchases that were adding up more quickly than I liked. Small purchases and little luxuries like this are fine, just make sure you know what you’re spending.

Most banks also have an app where you can check your account balance, activity, and sometimes even e-deposit checks and transfer funds. If your bank has an app, download it! It’s important to keep track of your activity, because if your bank doesn’t flag a suspicious purchase, it’s up to you to dispute it before your bank account is compromised.

Venmo and Paypal are also good ways of managing your money if you find yourself making transactions between people, or you dislike using your bank card to make online purchases.

Gmail/Outlook

Having your email on your phone is also pretty important, that way if important emails come in while you’re away from your computer, you’re able to respond quickly and easily. Just don’t get bogged down replying to work emails when you aren’t on the clock.

News Apps

Even though it might seem depressing at times, it’s important to keep up with what’s going on with the world, especially if you’re in classes where that’s relevant, or you work in an environment where current events are common discussion. Some apps have notifications that you’ll be sent when important news takes place. This is important to be on top of, because news can come up anywhere, first dates, job interviews, you get the point. You don’t want to look uninformed when current events come up in conversation, especially if it’s something big like who won an election, or if a terrible tragedy took place somewhere in the world. Buzzfeed News, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and the Washington Post are good apps that will send notifications when major events occur.

Google/Apple Calendar

Plan your life, make appointments, and let the app send you notifications. Thank me later.

Health Apps

You can’t reasonably spend your time keeping track of your life and other things on this list if you’re in poor health, so check out some of these health apps that might help you keep that part of your life together.

Period Trackers

Do you menstruate? Pick from a multitude of monthly cycle trackers to help you understand your body better. This can be useful if you’re trying to stay not pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or you just want to be able to better track your cycle and be prepared for what’s coming. There are also a good handful of trans friendly apps that can help trans folks track cycles without too much dysphoria.

Meditation Apps

There are also a number of apps dedicated to meditation that will help you stay calm and mindful. Calm and Simple Habit are good apps for this.

Myfitnesspal and Cronometer

These two apps are good for tracking macros, calories, and generally promoting mindful eating, if you feel like your eating habits might need some adjustments. I don’t recommend these for those who are recovering from eating disorders or feel as if they have an unhealthy relationship with food. Here is a resource if you feel as if you or someone you know might be dealing with an eating disorder.

Are there any apps that you have found helpful for managing your adult responsibilities? Let me know in the comments!

Top 5: Things People Say to Childfree Women

Just as I’ve decided that I want to help people in my career, I don’t want to live in a climate that is colder than south Florida, and I want to adopt a lot of dogs, I’ve known for several years that having children is not a priority of mine, and that biological children in particular are not in my future. There are several reasons for this, but these reasons should affect people the same amount as me saying that I like warm weather, but they don’t. The notion that being a woman must come with the eventual goal of motherhood is so deeply ingrained in our culture that people react to my goal to not have children with concern, sadness, and disgust. Deciding to have or not have children is no one’s choice but my own, but the way people react to my decision would suggest that I’m breaking some sort of rule. Here are the top 5 reactions I get when I tell people that I don’t want kids.

5. “You would be a good mother, though!”

This is nice, because it’s obviously intended to be a compliment, and I respect that, but I truly dislike the idea that because I would be good at something, I should do it. Also, pretty much everyone that has ever said this to me doesn’t know me very well, because I really wouldn’t be a good mother. I genuinely dislike children, I’m very impatient with them, and overall I just couldn’t imagine that I would be anything but mean and oppressive, especially considering the experience that I have actually caring for children.

4. “But you’re so smart!”

This just really sounds like eugenics. Breed because you will produce superior offspring. If someone that is dumb says they don’t want kids, do people tell them “Good, because you’re too stupid anyway”? There’s a really long and terrible history in America of sterilizing people against their will because they would produce “inferior” or “unfit” offspring, and encouraging people to have kids because they’re smart or beautiful, that’s just called “positive eugenics.”

3. “What if your husband wants kids?”

So I’m supposed to change what my goals are based on what my potential husband thinks? And go through a pregnancy (or several) just because he wants kids? If kids are that important for a person, you should enter into a relationship with someone that also wants kids.

2. “It’s different when you have your own.”

I understand that a lot of people don’t like children, and then have their own and like children. Why risk it? I know now that I dislike children, why take a chance and assume that I’ll like them if they’re mine?

1. “You’re too young to make that decision!”

When I was 18 and graduating high school, I was expected to decide what I wanted to do with my entire career, go to college, pick a major, and plan my whole life. Young people aren’t stupid or shortsighted. We have goals and ambitions, and know what we want. When a 16 year old has a child, sometimes they’re given a television show, and no one questions their decision to have kids at such a young age, even though this is extremely life-changing for everyone involved. Remember that not having a child is less impactful than having a child. If I continue my life the way that I have, with no children, my life doesn’t change. If I have kids, everything changes, and I just know that’s not my priority.

Moms are awesome, and knowing that you’re the type of person to have kids and making that commitment is powerful and important. It’s just not for everyone.

How to: Reduce Application Anxiety

If you’ve been following along with this “How to” series on the blog, you know that I’ve released a few posts regarding how to apply to graduate school, from obtaining letters of recommendation to writing the crucial statement of purpose , and I’ll continue to write posts like this, but today I wanted to pause and talk about something that is just as important as having a strong application: how to reduce the anxiety that surrounds these types of applications.

For me, the biggest anxiety I had was with the GRE, because I knew that I could control whether or not my writing was good, and I could choose my letter writers, but how I do with standardized test taking is dependent on a number of factors, so I’ll write a GRE specific post soon.

Step 1: Scheduling Everything

When are all the deadlines for programs you want to apply to? If you’re at least 12 months away, you’re in a really good spot to start getting your life together. If you’re closer to the deadlines than that, you’ll want to find out how many weeks you have until you’re first deadline approaches. Then, you’ll want to map out how much time you’ll need to complete each part of the application process. Having this all written on paper should help you feel more in control of each step of the process, and if you have specific tasks scheduled for certain days, you should reduce your worries about when you’ll have time to get things done, as it’s already in the calendar!

Step 2: Ask Someone Who’s Done it

A huge chunk of your professors have Doctoral degrees, so they’ve been through the graduate school application process before. It’s worth your time to ask them what their best advice is for you. Don’t worry if you think their advice won’t be up-to-date, because their advice likely won’t be specific to technology (unless you’re in a field where you know that will be the case), but will rather probably address procrastination, writing, and other common issues. It might also be smart to ask someone who is on a graduate admissions committee (perhaps not the committee you’ll be evaluated by, if that feels weird to you) because they may be able to give you some insights into what committees look for in applicants.

Step 3: Know Your Worth

It’s important to remember that when a lot of graduate committees look at applications, they’re trying to find who would be a good fit for the program, they aren’t just accepting and denying people for fun. They want to find someone who is qualified, yes, but they also want to accept applicants that they can really teach, that can stand to grow. So if you aren’t the most perfect candidate that’s ever applied to this program, don’t freak out, that might actually be a strong suit. And remember, if you’re in a position where you’re already applying to graduate school, you’re probably a qualified student who has opportunities available to them, so try not to get hung up on the idea that you have to get into one specific program or the world ends.

Let me know if this helps! Like I said, I’ll tackle GRE related anxiety in an upcoming post!

How to: Write A Statement of Purpose

Note that this post is specifically geared toward the statement of purpose or personal narrative you would be asked to write in order to get into graduate school, but the tips in this post can be applied to cover letters as well as any other type of writing where you have to brag about yourself, something many of us aren’t conditioned to do. Below I’ll share the Do’s and Don’t’s of writing a statement of purpose! If you have questions or other tips to add, please share in the comments!

DO:

  • Be specific: If you say that you’ve wanted to be in a particular profession for much of your life, be specific about the things you’ve wanted to do, how you found out about this profession, or what experience caused you to want to do this. Also be specific about your experiences. If you say “I helped out at an animal shelter,” that isn’t much compared to “Three times a week for two years, I volunteered at the Humane Society, where my duties were…” Being specific paints a picture for your reader and gives them more information about you. If you don’t give them as much information as you can, you’re only sabotaging yourself, because your readers generally only know what you tell them.
  • Focus on the most recent years of your life: “When I was a little girl…” is nice, but if you only talk about the dreams and aspirations you had as a child (or in high school if you’re applying to graduate schools), it might make your reader wonder what happened in between. Did you really have high hopes as a kid but then did really poorly in high school/college? That’s okay! Explain that. Explain how you were able to overcome whatever obstacle that kept you from doing well.
  • Take this opportunity to explain any bumps in the road: Did you have a semester where your GPA was really poor? Why? Issues with health, family problems, etc., are all reasonable causes for a poor performance in school, and don’t be afraid to disclose that to your readers.
  • Contact your program for specifics: Every program/school/job will want a specific length and it’s up to you to seek out that information. For cover letters, you usually want to stick to one page, but for statements of purpose, that’s a program specific issue. My program wanted no less than 2 pages, but no more than 8. Also, read the website/application packet to get any other specifics regarding the content of the statement.

DON’T:

  • Lie: Please just don’t lie. Your readers will likely be able to find out if you’ve lied, especially if it’s about something that will appear on your transcripts, or you’ll be asked to show you can do later down the line. You have the skills and experience to apply to this school/job/etc., so if you’re tempted to lie, it’s because you aren’t utilizing those qualifications. Maybe talk to a friend, coworker, or professor about your skills and qualifications, as others likely have insights that you don’t.
  • Offer vague information: Saying “I’m really interested in human rights” is only going to make your reader wonder more, in a space where they likely won’t have the opportunity to ask you about it, so you have to explain that statement to your reader right then and there in your statement.
  • Write a sob story: Everyone has a sob story, and unless yours is important to the content of your letter (e.g. why you did terribly one semester), leave it out. Readers want to know how good of a candidate you are, not how good of a sob story you can write.
  • Panic: More than likely, the instructions for your statement of purpose will be vague. That’s for a reason. If you at least try to write a good letter–or better yet, reach out for information–that already tells the program something about you. If you panic because you aren’t sure what to write about, that usually means you’ll do the same thing on a big assignment or task. Prove to the readers that you’re capable of being resourceful and writing a good statement of purpose.

Top 5: Tips for Applying to Grad School

Are you applying to graduate school but aren’t sure where to start? Are you stressed about the application process? Do you need to know what to prioritize? How much time you should allow for the whole process? How to keep yourself from stressing too much? Keep reading!

5. Stress the Right Amount

Stress enough to get it done, but don’t stress so much that you can’t function. Talk to professors and advisors to help you cope with the stress, it’s likely that they’ve been through this process, as well, and can offer invaluable advice to help you with your applications.

4. Know Yourself & Create Priorities

Know what your strengths and weaknesses are, and prioritize your application process based on that. For example, if you know you’re a bad test taker, focus on your GRE/GMAT/LSAT prep first, and then move on to something you’re a little more comfortable with.

3. Create a Timeline

Figure out when everything is due, how long it will take to get done, and factor in some time for emergencies. Creating this timeline will keep you on track to getting everything done on time with little stress. Usually, putting everything together will take around 12-16 weeks (if you’re giving yourself little breaks here and there, which you should do), so plan about a semester ahead, especially when you’re considering how much time people need to write letters of recommendation, how much time you’ll need to prepare for the GRE, etc.

2. Research Your Programs

Know what each program you’re applying to wants, know when their deadlines are, and learn about the priorities of the program. You want to apply to programs that will match your goals, not just the one that would look good on a resume.

1. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

OH MY GOD PLEASE DON’T DO THIS IT WILL NOT END WELL.

The Busy Girl Diaries: The Biggest Project Yet

Hi friends! I know, I know, I’m always adding more work to my load. This time, I’ve taken on a project that I’ve wanted to take on for a very long time. In the fall of this year, I’ll be beginning classes to complete my Master of Arts in Women’s and Gender Studies. I’ve been working toward this for a really long time, but I also want to keep this blog active and helpful, since I know I’ll continue to learn and grow, and I want to share as much information as I can.

In this blog’s future, I see:

  • Graduate school application related posts
  • GRE related posts
  • Graduation related posts
  • Graduate school survival posts

If there are any specific posts you’d like to see about my experiences applying and getting into grad school, let me know in the comments!

How to: Get Letters of Recommendation 

So you’re applying to schools, jobs, or any other program that will further your path to success. There’s just one problem, though: you need letters of recommendation. At first, this seems scary for some, because no one really teaches you how that works. Fear not, I’m here to explain my experience and the proper etiquette for requesting letters of recommendation.

  1. Start Early

Even if you aren’t thinking about any particular instance in which you’ll need a letter of recommendation, start forming relationships with people that you think might be able to write them for you. If you have professors that you think might be able to write you a letter, make sure to always attend their  class and put in 110% of your effort into their assignments. Try to stand out in their classes by participating (but also make sure you give other students a space to speak) and doing exemplary work. Obviously, if you miss one class or forget about one assignment, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s good to start being conscious of how your professors might perceive you early on.

2. Select More than You Need

If you’re required to have 3 letters of recommendation, consider asking 5 professors if they would be interested in writing a letter for you. This is helpful if you have a professor that would love to write a letter for you but is too busy to complete the task.

3. Ask Politely

Seems pretty basic, right? We’ve been taught to ask for things politely but some people forget, and some of my professors have discussed feeling annoyed or irritated when students have emailed them saying something like “Hey I need a letter of recommendation next week can you write it?” Not only is this rude, but there are some mistakes here that I’ll address below.

4. Make Your Letter Something They Want to Do

In our example above, you didn’t give your recommender time, details, a reason to write about you, or anything you’d specifically like them to write about.

a) Time: You want to email your recommender at least 6-10 weeks before you need a letter, or longer if you will need it to be mailed (though this isn’t typical, but a good reminder to always check the websites of jobs or programs you’re doing this for, or call the company to find out how your letters need to be delivered).

b) Details: Give your recommender a list of the programs you need this for, if more than one, but if it’s for a school, specify which school, the program within the school, and it’s smart to always give them a contact like the office phone number or the email address of the program coordinator.

c) A Reason to Write About You: You want them to want to write about you, so you might begin your email with something like “Hi Dr. Blank, I really enjoyed your Art and Culture class last spring, as well as our time tabling together for last week’s event.” This way, the recommender remembers times where you’ve interacted and where you’ve hopefully gone above and beyond.

d) What to Write About: This won’t apply to everyone, but some people want to know what to focus on in their letter. Without being tacky and listing all the amazing things about yourself that you want them to talk about, you could consider framing it like this in your email “Since you’re aware of my extensive community service work, I was wondering if you would be interested in writing a letter of recommendation for me as I attempt to apply for graduate schools.” This way, you’re making it clear that you want them to talk about the community service you’ve done, but you aren’t being obnoxious. On that note, most recommenders will want to see your resume or statement of purpose (I’ll do a whole post about that soon!), so have that handy in case they want to see it. I usually will preemptively attach it in these emails.

5. Follow Up

Once people have agreed to write your letters, make sure they know the deadlines that the letters are due by, and then follow up with them occasionally throughout the duration of time they’re supposed to be writing your letter. I would send a follow up email about 3 weeks away from your deadline, and then the week that it’s due. A simple “I just wanted to remind you that my FSU letter deadline is in three weeks, on the 28th. If there’s anything additional that you need from me, please let me know” will do, as long as that’s not the only thing you write. If you’re feeling nervous that you’re being a pest, what I like to do is send a more up-to-date version of my resume or statement of purpose, that way I can say, “Here’s my updated resume!” because that will jog their memory of you.

If you have questions about recommendation letters, leave them in the comments!

Top 5: Mistakes Vegans Make

In our pursuit to convert just about everyone to a vegan lifestyle, us vegans sometimes make mistakes. As a vegan, I tend to be quite critical of my own community, because we all mean well, but sometimes we mess up. If you want to lead a healthy, happy plant-based lifestyle, keep reading!

5. Transition Mistakes

Most new vegans don’t know what they’re doing when they first transition. Some try to go vegan overnight, others spend too long transitioning and fail. The problem with bad transitions is that they usually result in people going back to eating meat and/or dairy. The best way most people go vegan is to start by cutting out animals by the number of legs they have, so to start, remove beef from your diet. Once you’ve felt good there for a few weeks, go ahead and phase out pork, lamb, etc., too. Then, chicken and duck. Finally fish, then eggs and dairy products. Cutting out animal products this way tends to work the best because you’re eliminating the least lean meat first, which means that the meat you are still eating is getting leaner and leaner, and you feel healthier. Also, be careful not to eat too few calories, because plant foods are less calorically dense, it’s easy to under-eat them.

4. Exclusivity

As vegans, we’re trying to create a world full of vegans, not an exclusive club. Don’t exclude people from your life because their eating habits make you uncomfortable, and don’t promote restrictive vegan diets like raw or 80/10/10, even if you follow it. You can advocate for your diet, but ultimately if people are reducing their animal product intake, they’re doing a lot of good for the world.

3. Guilt

Trying to win people over with guilt (e.g. the Meat is Murder campaign) is so rarely effective that I always advise people against it. When people are made to feel guilty about their diets, they get defensive, and any chance of them changing their ways just went out the window.

2. Eating Too Few Calories

It’s especially important that vegans eat enough calories, lest they risk particular deficiencies, but because a lot of the appeal veganism is weight loss and overall health, many people associate that with eating fewer calories. When eating plant-based, more is better, especially if you’re focusing on whole foods that tend to be lower in calories. Eating too few calories usually leads to health issues that turn people away from veganism. That’s why everyone always has that one friend who went vegan and got sick. Don’t be that vegan.

1. Leading Too Strict a Lifestyle

Don’t make veganism look more restrictive than it already is. That’s all.