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This made me really happy.

So peaceful.

Categories: Uncategorized

untitled for now

My eyes have been opened wide recently. I have a friend that I grew up across the street from, who no longer lives in the same province as  me, so I only get to see her for a few periods of time each year, but when I do she always seems to fill  me with knowledge and make me think, in good ways. She’s been talking about how recently she’s been making changes in her life when it comes to consumption. I’ve always been aware of sweatshops, and I’ve bought fair trade products whenever I could, knowing that I’m not paying to keep a sweatshop operating.

But what I never thought too in depth about is what I buy that’s NOT a fair trade product.  It’s disgusting how many products sold in North America are entirely or partly made in sweatshops. In case you didn’t know, in an average sweatshop, young workers work about 60 hours a week for around $50 a month, working with potentially unsafe machinery in cramped, unsanitary factories without days off or breaks. Just so national and multinational corporations can sell these products for far more than they cost to produce just to keep a large portion of the profit so they can expand. And I’m not saying “YOU’RE DISGUSTING BECAUSE YOU BUY PRODUCTS MADE IN SWEATSHOPS” because it’s hard to monitor and look in to. I’ll admit, the socks, pants and shirts that I’m wearing right now … I have no idea where they came from. Along with a good portion of my wardrobe. Fair Trade stores are rare, but it’s not only fair trade stores that are sweat shop free. There are lots of brands whose products are made sweatshop free in the USA and Canada, and there is also a union called Unite Here, that ensures that all workers for their brand have a voice, and fair working conditions. “They’ve negotiated an enforceable contract with their company that covers wages and benefits, safety on the job, and production standards” – Green America. The “UNITE” label on clothing is more reliable than “Made in U.S.A” because illegal sweatshops may be operating in the USA, or finishing touches to a sweatshop made product could have been done locally. Still, the union-made apparel directory remains too short, in my opinion.

Now, there’s two sides to every story. The people working in sweatshops are poor and do it because they have limited options to support themselves. If we all stopped buying sweatshop produced products, these sweatshops would be put out of business leaving many struggling families unemployed. In a perfect world, sweatshops workers could leave and get hired by a unionized company, or have talents to sell their products to a fair trade seller. But that’s not how North Americans have been raised to consume, making the issue complicated and unfortunate.

Sometimes I feel like a bad person for being born in North America. It’s not fair that people who are equal to me work in horrible conditions to provide a shallow life of luxury for my generation. I have daydreams of dropping out of school and moving to a developing country and just experiencing how they live, away from the North American life of mindless consumption. It’s one thing to live in North America and work for an organization that’s trying to improve third world human rights, and a totally different one to experience it first hand (at least I think so – I haven’t done either ..) We can work in an office, writing for a human rights magazine or blog or whatever (I would love to do that), then go home to their fully furnished home to a huge selection of what to have to dinner, but no, we’re too tired to cook so we’ll spend money on take out. Then go to sleep on our fresh sheets that someone in another country worked with unsafe machinery in an unsanitary factory making less than minimum wage. They’ll go home starving but can’t eat tonight because they can’t afford it. Or heck, we can go to a third world country and build schools for a month, then return home to tell everyone it was a “life changing experience” as we return to life as normal. We’re raised to consume things just because they’re there and available without thinking where they came from. And it scares me that I never thought about this until recently – because I was raised to be brainwashed by these multinational corporations that it’s good and normal to just keep on consuming.  When I step outside of that mindset, it’s like stepping in to a whole new world that not a lot of others have discovered yet.

I’ve owned about 9 different iPods in my life without knowing that many workers for Foxconn, a company that produces electronics such as Apple products runs “sweatshop like” factories have committed suicide over the working conditions. After reading this, I realized that many companies that aren’t sweatshops are still just as awful. So now I don’t even know WHO to trust.

Buying Fair Trade/Organic products is considered to be becoming “trendy,” which I thought was a good thing, there’s nothing wrong with supporting human rights and local products. But people are being judged for it, and it’s coming across as “snooty.” I own the book “Stuff White People Like” and it’s hilarious and stereotypical. But it makes white people come off as shallow for buying organic, being vegan, supporting fair trade, claiming that we just like to brag about what we’re doing to help. Which is true for some people, but they’re still helping a cause and getting critisized by people who are not.

I read this quote online and nothing has ever pissed me off more

“Fair Trade Apple products would make the fanboys even more annoying. They’d be walking around, their noses in the air, exuding moral superiority from every pore, and their farts would smell better than roses. It could become suffocating if you were caught in a confined space with one of them.”

Are you kidding me? Fuck you. You know what? If someone buys a fair trade product they have every right to feel good about themselves. They’re deliberately not supporting the violation of human rights. Who the fuck cares if Fair Trade Apple products would make a “fanboy” annoying. That’s not what the point of them is. These “fanboys”, whatever the fuck they are have a heart, and would love if you indulged in a fair trade iPod. It’s gross that someone needs to feel better about themselves for not supporting fair trade to the point where they judge people who have good intentions.

I hope I don’t sound too hypocritical because I’m a pretty civilized North American that has been taught to consume, consume, consume, and I’ve never been to a third world country or worked for an organization trying to help problems. I’ll probably never permanently live in a third world country, I’ll probably do the whole North American trip for a few weeks to do what I can for a country in need. I’m not here to say “hey look at me I’m solving all the worlds problems and judging the country I was raised in!” I just wrote this as an outlet for myself to make sense of all the thoughts in my head.

Categories: Uncategorized

Reasons to love Winter!

I’ve never understood why people don’t like the winter and think the holidays are stressful. The holidays are supposed to be a relaxing time spent with family! People always look at me when I’m crazy when I say I love the winter. I tell them I was a polar bear in a past life – which could be true if you believe in that stuff –  because I’m immune to the cold.Even as a mild seasonal affective disorder sufferer (I get kind of down in the dumps because of the lack of sun/light – vitamin D and exercise help though), I still find so many reasons to enjoy the season!

gingerbread/candy canes/peppermint park/hot chocolate

not that you can’t eat these tasty treats year-round, but they tend to be seasonal foods. Holiday treats give you something to look forward to throughout the fall and come with the comforting fact that Christmas is coming soon! Gingerbread provides me with the good kind of nostalgia, when I was younger I made a gingerbread house every year with my mom and sister. Making them is definitely 75 % of the fun. Who doesn’t love decorating a gingerbread house? And I absolutely love coming inside and making a nice cup of hot chocolate after a day out in the cold … stir with a candy cane and let it melt in the hot chocolate. amazing.

fireplaces

Reading, watching TV, watching a movie or whatever you do in your down time is so much more comfortable if it’s in front of a fireplace. I have an actual fire fireplace instead of one of those oil ones which gives off that whole comforting fire scent that fills the house. I like to sit by the fireplace and play boardgames with my family. It’s just so warm and cozy and obviously isn’t the same any other time of year.

family

is it just me, or do you feel closer to your family during the holidays? Christmas season is always when I get to see all my non-immediate family which is always special. It will be even better this season, being the first time I’ve lived away from home for an extended period of time. I find I get along so much better with my family now, and I don’t see my relatives as often as before so it will be really nice being able to spend time with them when I’m home for the holidays.

snow angels

you’re never too old to lay on your back in the snow, sprawling out your arms and legs. I dare you to experience a better feeling.

decorations

the mall/streets/sidewalks/houses or whatever look so gorgeous this time of year. There’s a community near my house that tends to go all out for Christmas each year, so after church my family drives around just looking at all the lights. Living in downtown Toronto, walking down Yonge street at night is just so much more enjoyable with all the bright pretty lights.

snow

It’s so fluffy, white and pretty. It highlights all the pretty decorations and there is so much you can do with snow. It makes the world brighter 🙂 Snowball fight, anyone?

scarves

anyone who knows me know that I’m obsessed with scarves. I wear them year round but they actually serve a purpose in the winter. They can automatically transform an outfit, or brighten up a plain winter coat. If you’re someone that’s more conservative with how you dress, a bright scarf is an easy way to wear something more vibrant without going overboard while also keeping you warm! it’s a win-win.

TV christmas specials and christmas movies!

so entertaining, so over the top and they make you feel so good. And they only come once a year!

snuggies and heated blankets

so cozy 🙂

hockey and outdoor rinks

hockey is my favourite sport of all whether I’m playing it or watching it. There’s nothing like the rush of gliding down the ice with a puck towards the opposing teams net, or following a team and watching the games with a bunch of friends. Skating at outdoor rinks is so refreshing. The parking lot of the park down the street in the house I grew up in is turned into ice each year. It’s always fun  bundling up to go with friends or my family to play a fun game of hockey or just skate around in the fresh, crisp outdoor air

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Categories: Uncategorized

Hello WordPress!

So, I decided to start a blog. I don’t expect a lot of people to read this but we’ll see what happens. I also don’t know what I really want to focus on and blog about – helloo endless possibilities. There’s fashion blogs, music and entertainment blogs … and then people with blogs to rant about life. I think I will just blog about whatever I feel like and make it my own – just a combination of everything. Life rants included.

Right now I’m at home in Oakville watching Keeping up with the Kardashians. One of my many not-so-guilty pleasures. Not-so-guilty because I’m entertained by it, therefore I enjoy it and I feel that I shouldn’t be embarrassed, guilty, or ashamed to admit that I like it, no matter how criticized these reality TV shows are. I’m also working on my cover letter for an internship at a magazine in Toronto. As a first year student, I’m not sure my chances of getting it are that high but it’s definitely worth a try. Unlike some of my classmates, I’m not offended when professionals brush us off because we’re first years, inexperienced an according to some “amateur” – because it’s true to an extent. For many of us, we’ve just been exposed to the world of journalism and are still figuring things out through experience. We’ve still got 3.5 years of school ahead of us, so to call us unprofessional is only fair, we have so much left to learn. However I do have an opinion when professional journalists have a problem about this unprofessional-ism and bash us – first of all because we’re first years, many of us just out of high school, so please don’t expect us to suddenly morph into professional, successful journalists overnight. And secondly, if journalism students are so unprofessional, instead of brushing us off when we ask for interviews, why don’t you allow us to gain experience from an interview, or even a job or internship which could improve our journalistic talent leading to a professional career.

That’s just my opinion.

This is me being at home

Categories: Uncategorized