Random Thoughts

I Never Get Lonely

2020 has been an interesting year. As people started to work on their New Year’s resolutions, they had no idea the world would come to a halt. We’ve read or watched historical documentaries about pandemics, but we’ve never dealt with one with this much magnitude. Many people lost their jobs resulting in extremely hard times financially and many discovered they aren’t physically or mentally able to handle being in “lockdown.”

It has been interesting to observe friends and strangers as they maneuver through not being able to socialize or freely travel like they use to. I’ve watched, through social media, people post more photos and videos because they needed the attention. They’re so use to receiving face-to-face recognition that they seek it out through “look at me” moments on social media. Some went from rarely posting to posting almost everyday. Basic selfies turned into rambling videos, nonsensical stories, seminude photos, and posts of them expressing their boredom. I could easily spot the extroverts who couldn’t handle not socializing.

I asked some friends how they’ve been coping with the year and the most interesting response is they’re lonely. This made me come to the realization I never get lonely.

I don’t require interacting with people. I’ve taken the the personality test online and I’m considered an ambivert. Maybe that plays a role in the way I interact with people.

I currently live alone and have been asked how do I cope. My response, “I enjoy my space.” That’s usually followed up with, “do you ever get lonely?”

No.

This reply bewilders them.

I’ve realized I enjoy my own company and not many people can say that. I’m fully comfortable by myself. Granted, I’m not going through anything depressing at the moment, but even when I was, I was still comfortable being alone. Quite sure it will vary depending on the situation, but let’s focus on a healthy state of mind.

I wake up, enjoy the silence, zero interruptions, the freedom to do whatever I want, listen to my own thoughts, feelings, and relaxation. This may sound basic, but I appreciate all of this. To some people, this isn’t enough. They need someone else to be physically present. The idea of being alone scares them while I feel at ease.

I can’t put my finger on the exact reason, but maybe it’s because I’m an only child and don’t require attention. Maybe I appreciate my intimate space more than others. Maybe I’m comfortable hearing my own thoughts and communicating with myself. Yes, I talk to myself. Judge me. I’ve always felt like a solo person, but 2020 has really pointed that out to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy interacting with friends and having a romantic relationship. I do miss going out for happy hour and mingling, sporting events, traveling, etc. Social events are amazing, but it isn’t a necessity for me. When I go out, it’s because I choose to and not to fill lonely void. I don’t require the energy of others to boost my mood. Remember, I’m basing this off of a healthy state of mind.

I never get bored or lonely with myself and I appreciate that quality. Even in a relationship, I enjoy “me time” versus wanting the attention of my lover 24/7. I love being an individual and not being codependent.

It’s ok to be alone and never feeling lonely. People may look at you in disbelief, but there’s nothing wrong with it. Everyone is different. I don’t knock those who require attention. We simply rarely hear about those who are fine alone. Maybe it’s because we’re in our own world minding our business enjoying stillness and peace.

Do you never feel lonely or bored of your own company? Has this year made you reflect on your personality and how socializing played a role in your life?

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Fitness and Health

Exercising By Default…?

Many people are talking about how they’ve gained weight during the quarantine, but I’ve dropped 10 lbs. I’m exercising by default… sorta. I feel as though if things were normal, I wouldn’t be working out as much. I’d probably have distractions or other excuses.

Since I’m freelancing and outside is closed, I don’t have much else to do but workout to avoid sitting all day. My New Year’s goal was to get in better shape, but before quarantine, my friends wanted to hang with me more than usual. Not complaining, but where were they when I was being a fatty? LOL. I’m not the type to hang with friends and eat a salad while they enjoy beer and fried food.

I’m not new to exercise, but during this time, I’ve noticed some things that have happened… mostly mentally.

My cravings change.
I start to crave the unhealthiest foods imaginable. Instead of reaching for an unhealthy treat, I workout. By the time I’m done, I find myself craving a smoothie or another alternative to what I was originally contemplating consuming. Usually I’d grab the cookie or order delivery and regret it later. Recently, I had a Dominos tab open with an order in my cart, but I had a cardio workout paused in my video player. I honestly sat for 30 minutes debating if I wanted to be bad or healthy. I chose to be healthy.

I divert my mind.
The most beautiful thing about working out is that my mind gets distracted. How many times have you found yourself stressing out about something and it goes away during your workout? People with stress and anxiety lean on exercise to give themselves a mental break from their worries of the day. I’ve had quite a few things to stress about and fitness has prevented one or two meltdowns.

Music motivates me.
Have you ever worked out to music and found yourself going to the beat? I could feel exhausted, but once my favorite jam comes on and the beat drops, I suddenly feel rejuvenated. Sometimes I’ll put my workout clothes on and pace around with a hot beat to get me going. Try to pick upbeat music during your intense workouts and slow beats during cooldowns, yoga, and/or pilates.

Who doesn’t want to burn calories?
I use a heart rate monitor and can view calories burned during a workout. If I’m at 450 calories, I’m often motivated to keep going to burn 500. As basic as that sounds, sometimes it motivates me to extend my workout… as long as I have the energy.

Confidence improves as my body changes.
According to the scale, I’ve dropped weight. I still have some fat to get rid of to see fully defined muscles, but I know I’m stronger. My arms are more defined. At one point, I would get tired doing 10 pushups on my knees. Now I can do 15 on my toes.

It boosts endorphins.
Endorphins are nothing, but neurotransmitters of your brain that make you feel good. When you workout, the production of endorphins is enhanced. Your mood automatically boosts or improves when these neurotransmitters are increased. Instead of taking a nap, I workout. If I feel sluggish, I’ll do squats or run in place to get the blood flowing and trigger endorphins.

I have a buddy who’s also working out.
It’s always great to have a friend who’s going through a fitness journey. She’s thinner than me and does different workouts, but that doesn’t matter. I only point it out because people have a habit of comparing themselves to people on different journeys. What’s important is we motivate each other and share great workouts we discover on YouTube. We haven’t seen each other face-to-face since February, but we’re both motivated to be in better shape the next time we see each other. It’s like we’re getting ready for a reveal.

 

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Random Thoughts

The Perfect Day

I wake up at 6am and drink 2 cups of coffee.

I workout for 45 minutes then take a shower.

I prepare a light breakfast and eat while reading a book.

Do a DuoLingo lesson in Spanish for 30 minutes.

Listen to a podcast before I start my workday.

Video scripts get written and delivered to clients.

Play in Photoshop and Adobe Premiere Pro and create stuff I’m proud of.

Eat some more food while watching YouTube or Twitch.

Play video games with a glass of wine.

Read a book for an hour. 

Feeling amazing. That’s the perfect day.

Then go to bed.

This usually happens once or twice a week.

What usually happens…

Most days I wake up around 7am.

Turn on my computer and go to YouTube or Twitch and make a cup of coffee.

Each time I see an email notification, I brace myself for the generic job rejection email, but at least they didn’t ghost me.

I debate on whether or not I want to eat breakfast, skip it, or snack.

Open Google Drive to start writing video scripts, but I get distracted by who knows what.

No podcast. Just watching video game cutscenes to get me motivated to write. Yes, this works for me for some reason. 

Get the scripts done. Workout. Shower.

Scroll through Linkedin and Indeed looking for fulltime jobs during a pandemic when millions are now laid off.

Stress out that my unemployment is running low.

Try to figure out what I should have done and what I need to do with my life.

Debate if I want dinner. Odds are I skip it or snack.

Maybe watch a movie or play video games to calm my mind.

Hop into bed oddly feeling no regret about the day.

I still sleep well.

Every day doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to accomplish X, Y, and Z. Try your hardest to do what you can, but don’t beat yourself up if things remain on your list. The perfect day varies and that’s alright.

 

 

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Random Thoughts

Answering Random Questions for Funsies Part 2

When I don’t have the urge to write, have writer’s block, or just want to get the mental juices flowing, I search for random internet questions to answer. You may view part one here

What will finally break the internet?
If people could log in to any website and receive $5,000 each time, I believe that would break the internet. Imagine simply logging in to WordPress and getting $5,000 deposited into your checking account. 

Does fate exist? If so, do we have free will?
No, I believe we have free will. What we work towards is what we accomplish. If you want to become a published author, you have to start writing. It isn’t going to appear out of thin air. If you want to be a pro athlete, you have to put in the work. There are things that happen for no complete reason. You may call it fate or a coincidence. It has to happen with no initiation of your own.

If you could teach everyone in the world one concept, what concept would have the biggest positive impact on humanity?
I would teach people empathy. We’re all different and experience life differently. It hurts to see people express themselves only to get shut down by someone simply because they’ve never experienced the same thing. So many people will say, “I’ve never experienced anything like that, so it doesn’t exist,” “I went to the same place and didn’t experience anything bad, so maybe you’re overthinking,” and the list goes on. People tend to make things about themselves instead of listening, empathizing, and understanding that we’re all individuals and experience things differently. It’s not anyone’s right to dismiss someone’s feelings and experiences simply because they’ve never experienced it themselves. People also need to learn to talk about “uncomfortable” topics. “If we stop talking about it, it will go away” isn’t a valid solution.

What’s a weird smell you enjoy?
No idea why, but I love the faint rubber/burning smell of an underground train station. I can’t fully describe the smell, but you’ve probably smelled it before without paying attention to it. I also like the smell of raw ground beef. I don’t eat beef and haven’t purchased it in a while, but I still remember the smell.

Why do we dream?
Not sure of the scientific reason, but I’ve read it’s a way for our brains to process emotions, our day, etc. It’s amazing how I dream about people and places with great detail. I can remember facial features, clothing, the feel of the weather, and smells as if I’ve met these people or been to these places before. I often wonder how my mind creates these things. Yes, I have dreams of family and friends, but I would consider that common, but complete strangers and my feelings towards them are intriguing.

What’s the dumbest way you’ve been injured?
I was doing a kickboxing workout and punched myself in the lip. I was really into the workout and retracted my punch a bit too hard. I had a swollen lip for a week.At least my guard was up and my chin was down.

What are some things that sound like compliments but are actually insults?
Any compliment that includes the words “for a.” Example, “You’re pretty for a [insert race, body type, hair color, etc.].” Any “compliment” mixed with “for a” is actually an insult. The person is basically saying based on your [insert race, body type, education, etc.] you’re an exception to whatever stereotype they have in their head of people who match your description.

What’s the craziest thing one of your teachers has done?
When I was in elementary school, my fifth-grade teacher and principal were competing for the attention and attraction of another teacher. I don’t remember if our parents pointed it out or if it was so obvious that we picked it up at 10-years-old.

If you could time travel, would you go to the past or future?
I’d go 1,000 years into the future. I’m curious about technology and how people have changed.

If you could know the absolute and total truth to one question, what question would you ask?
Is there an afterlife? I know religions have their versions of an afterlife, but I would love to ask a dead person for a definitive answer. I don’t want an answer from someone who was dead then came back to life. 

What movie scared you as a kid?
I was terrified of the Terminator’s skeleton. In the first Terminator, the CGI made the skeletal frame look creepy at the end of the movie. I was also afraid of The Predator because he killed people in stealth mode while making that snarling sound.

What would be on the gag reel of your life?
My entire life is a gag reel.

 

 

 

 

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Health & Lifestyle

How Establishing a Morning Routine Improves Your Health

A Morning Routine is More Beneficial Than You Think

Does your morning routine consist of multiple scheduled alarms going off every 10-30 minutes? Do you grab your phone and check social media first thing in the morning? Are you dreading your day before it starts? If you never feel on top of your game or as productive as you could be, it’s time to establish a morning routine.  

Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, work from home or an office, a student, or retired, there’s always something that needs to be accomplished in the day. 

Establishing a morning routine can help boost your productivity, keep you organized, and feel successful. 

Why Bother?

You’re the leader of your life. 

You deserve to start your morning with positivity and confidence. The goal of a morning routine isn’t about trying to accomplish as many tasks as possible. It’s about waking up with a focused mind and accomplishing one task at a time without feeling stressed or overwhelmed. 

Not all morning routines are equal. Don’t emulate or compare your morning routine to others. Set your intentions. What do you want out of your day? 

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Morning Routines Improves Mental Clarity

Waking knowing you have a lot to do but not knowing where to begin is daunting. As a result, you say, “I’ll do it later,” procrastinate throughout the day and suddenly feel like you’re playing catchup. A great solution is to plan your day the night before. List your goals in an order that’s do-able for you. The list doesn’t have to be lengthy or complicated. You can start with something as small as making your bed. Having a list creates order and clarity of what you’re doing with your life at that moment. If you can set the pace the night before, your morning self will thank you. 

Your Physical Health Can Improve

With mental clarity comes less stress. Less stress means less muscle tension and aches. Incorporating a workout into your plan will elevate endorphins, improve your energy, mood, and help motivate you. Whether it’s cardio, yoga, pilates, or strength training, the ecstatic feeling after a workout is pure bliss.  

Establishing a Routine Boosts Your Productivity and Confidence

Your mind and body are connected, so when you’re mentally focused, energy flows to whatever the mind concentrates on. The energy you express plays a crucial role in your productivity. Productivity is not always about how much you get done but the quality at which you complete a task.

When you complete a task and proud of the quality, you build confidence and a sense of self-efficacy. As you continue with your morning routine, your self-efficacy will improve making you feel more effective with time-management and productivity.

You’re Less Likely to Forget 

How many times have you had a mental checklist and forgot everything within 10 minutes only to have the list miraculously pay you a mental visit before bed? When you establish a morning routine, your priorities are visible.  According to a 2017 study, writing important details boosts overall memory and cognitive performance. So, maybe instead of typing your morning routine, whip out the trusty pen and paper. Place your daily list on the fridge, on your work desk, or any easily accessible location.  

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Tips to Get Started

Determine Core Tasks and What Makes You Happy

The beautiful thing about establishing a morning routine is it’s created by you, for you. 

We all have core tasks that need to be accomplished. Whether it’s getting the kids ready, taking the dog out for a walk, work, meal prepping, etc. Determine your daily responsibilities that can go undone. 

When it comes to what makes you happy, do you prefer to start your morning with an energizing workout? Do you want to write more? Would you like to take daily naps? Go for it! Keep in mind you may not be able to do everything that makes you happy, but sprinkling in activities that increases serotonin is never a bad idea.

Be Flexible and Consistent 

Life happens, so don’t be hard on yourself. Allow room to adapt and adjust. Do what’s right for you. The goal of establishing a morning routine is to create a fruitful day, not a stressful one. The most helpful habits keep you consistent. As with any new routine, it will feel natural over time. What once felt like an obligation will become something you look forward to. 

Create a Not-to-do List 

Whether it’s falling down the YouTube rabbit hole, we’ve all done it, mindlessly scrolling through social media for a long period, or exposing yourself to Debbie Downer news, keep your mind focused on productive activities. It’s alright to take breaks and chat with friends and family, but try not to let it transition into watching cat videos regardless of how adorable they are. 

Be Realistic

If you’re used to waking up around 7 am, don’t suddenly decide to wake up at 4 am the next morning. If you have a specific time you wish to awaken, set your alarm 30 mins earlier each day until you comfortably reach your desired goal. Several professionals are team 4:30 am, but if you prefer to not rise before the sun, choosing a different time is perfectly alright. If you aren’t a morning person, adjust your routine according to your schedule. If you wake up at 10 am, start your routine at that time.

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Entertainment

Valorant’s Closed Beta is a Success, but for How Long?

Valorant burst onto the scene with record-breaking viewership.

Valorant’s closed beta surged in popularity faster than anyone could have predicted. The hyper-competitive game is the perfect recipe for niche gamers moving away from multiplayer battle royales. 

Valorant skyrocketed to the top of the Twitch chart. It surpassed 1.7 million peak viewers breaking the record set by 2019 League of Legends World Championships Finals. Within the last seven days, the closed beta has accumulated over 103 million views. Gaming lifestyle company, 100 Thieves, recently held the first Valorant invitational tournament one week after its beta release. The eight-team event featured popular streamers including Shroud, Timthetatman, DrDisrespect, Ninja, and Summit1g. With this much success, can Riot Games’ Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch hybrid maintain its momentum?

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Photo Credit: PC Gamer

Despite Valorant dominating the number one Twitch slot, some veteran streamers have questioned if Valorant is watchable. Veteran streamer Jaryd ‘Summit1g’ Lazar shared his opinion stating, “I think the abilities are going to be its [Valorant’s] undoing. If I’m being 100% honest, I think from a viewer’s perspective – I was thinking about while playing…it’s very slow and bland and [has] these stupid and boring chokepoints.”

Veteran streamers play an important role in the first impressions of a game. If they feel a game is bland and won’t help them maintain viewers, they’ll no longer stream it and move on to their favorites or the next big game. Many lower-tier streamers tend to follow the wave of veterans to grow their channels.

The official game won’t come out for months but, according to Twitch Tracker, there has been a dip in viewership despite more Twitch channels streaming the game. 

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The drop in viewers may be due to big streamers with high viewership streaming Valorant for the first week and gradually decreasing their playtime. On April 14, Riot expanded its closed beta access which accounts for the increased channels beginning on the 15th. 

Valorant’s record-breaking exposure has made it a success, but the true achievement will be measured in downloads, revenue, and players’ frequency. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, released in 2012, currently has over 1.1 million players on Steam. Its peak player spike of 1.3 million occurred this month at the same time as Valorant’s beta release. Valorant will need a strong player base to maintain its current dominance. 

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Photo Credit: Newsweek

Valorant’s lead producer, Anna Donlon, and game director, Joe Ziegler are monitoring beta feedback and making additional changes going into launch. There’s no word on additional levels, characters, guns, and abilities, but they’re undoubtedly coming. With the possibility of overexposure, Valorant’s creators will have to release fresh content throughout the beta until launch or go on hiatus and release updates periodically. The last thing Riot Games wants is Valorant to become stale before its official release.

The long-term prospects of Valorant are unclear. It has the potential for greatness, but only time will tell if it has the staying power of the games it’s borrowing from.
 

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Random Thoughts

8 Dos and Don’ts When Traveling Through Marrakech’s Medina

I had the pleasure of traveling to Marrakech, Morocco with a friend late last year. Out of the multiple countries we visited during our vacation, Marrakech was the one location we researched the most. After watching several YouTube videos of travelers’ experiences, I knew of the dos and don’ts when traveling through Marrakech, but I was still 50/50 about the trip.

There were some aspects of Marrakech I enjoyed, but there were some things I had to adjust to. I’m not bashing Marrakech. Just sharing my personal experience mixed with what other travelers mentioned on YouTube and blogs.  This post is strictly from a woman’s perspective. Marrakech is a beautiful country and I did meet some cool people. Please note these tips are for if you’re staying in the medina (old town). If you’re staying in the new town (more modern) area, it may be a different experience. On that note, let’s get to it!

The Dos

IMG_20191203_142642.jpgContact your riad in advance to see if they provide taxi service from the airport. Before going to Marrakech, it’s rare to find fixed prices and you have to bargain for everything including taxis. Some taxis will charge double or triple while others will drop you off in a parking lot only to be guided by someone else, at extra charge, to your riad.

We stayed at the Rodamon Riad Marrakech. The taxi service to and from the airport was 150 Moroccan Dirham (MAD) ($15). The taxi driver drove through the medina and dropped us off at the Rodamon. When it was time to head back to the airport, the same taxi driver walked with us to his taxi and dropped us off at the airport. There was no additional fee or tipping.

Be prepared to bargain. If you want to purchase items in the souks, don’t settle for the first price. Merchants will always start off with a price three to four times the value. The best tip I learned from watching YouTube videos of people in Marrakech is to name your price and if the merchant doesn’t accept, walk away. Odds are, that merchant will bend to your price. Another tip is to take out the exact amount you want to spend before bargaining and claim that’s all you have. NEVER let the merchant see all of your money.

Ask your riad receptionist/host for advice about traveling through the medina and souks. We specifically asked for advice regarding the safety of two women exploring the area. Here’s the advice our receptionist/host gave:

  1. You WILL get lost, but don’t look lost. Walk with a purpose. The souks are a maze!
  2. If you need to ask for directions, ask a police officer and NOT a local. A local is more likely to lead you in the wrong direction then ask for money to get you back on track.
  3. When locals tell you you’re going the wrong way, ignore them. The locals know the tourists are looking for particular locations and will randomly tell you, “You’re going the wrong way. Make a left here.” This can lead you to a dead end and into an unwanted situation.

IMG_20191203_172611.jpgAsk your riad receptionist/host for restaurant recommendations. You have to remember you’re in another country. The refrigeration of food and sanitary preparation is different. Don’t just eat anywhere. Street food vendors can be risky, but a restaurant can provide tasty Moroccan food.

Make sure you get currency exchange. If you’re staying in the medina, don’t expect merchants to take credit cards. Ask your riad receptionist/host for the location of the cheapest currency exchange. You’ll get a better deal in the medina versus the airport.

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Get a SIM card. I purchased a SIM at the airport for 100 MAD ($10). Having phone service will allow you to contact your riad if you get lost and need assistance, tour guides, or service to use GPS maps. Don’t rely on wifi service as it will be nonexistent or spotty.

Download an offline navigation map. You may think Google Maps will work in the souks, but it’s very inaccurate. My friend used MAPS.ME – Offline Map & Nav (Apple and Android), but I preferred Offline Maps & Navigation (Android). It was more stable and accurate than MAPS.ME.

Watch out for mopeds, bikes, and carts. The souks are dense with shops and people, but you also have to make way for vehicles. The vehicles will have the right away so step to the side and let them pass.

The Don’ts

Don’t sample the juice at fruit stands. I witnessed a merchant give the same sample cup of juice to multiple people but changed the straw. Some may say changing the straw is sanitary enough, but I beg to differ. If you want juice, just purchase the one you want.

Don’t drop your guard. Tourists stand out like a sore thumb and the locals will try to test you. If you’re a woman traveling alone or with other women, you’ll hear derogatory terms and whistles. Don’t let this rattle you. Keep going about your day, but be aware that men may follow you. Let it be known that you are aware of them and stay with the crowd. The ones that followed us turned back and eventually walked away. Also, be aware that some don’t respect personal space. Make sure you create a safe distance.

IMG_20191203_183747.jpgDon’t freak out when you get lost. Yes, I said when. As stated previously, the souks area is a densely packed maze with several dead ends. Use your navigation map, but don’t make it obvious that you’re following a map on your phone. Play it cool.

Don’t offer or allow a henna merchant to take your hand. You’ll find several henna tattoo merchants in the Jama El f’na Market. Only approach them if you are going to purchase henna. If you’re unsure, they’ll grab your hand and start designing a random henna tattoo then charge you for it. This happened to my friend, but thankfully, we talked our way out of it. Merchants can be very aggressive for a sale.

Don’t take pictures of the locals/merchants. Some merchants don’t want photos taken of their shop. If you snap a photo, they may ask for money. If you see anyone with snakes or monkeys in the Jama El f’na Market, they’ll try to show the animals to you, but it’s a picture trap and they’ll expect payment.

Don’t wear anything provocative. You’ll be in a country with a different religion that comes with a set of dress rules for women. Although you aren’t practicing the same religion, you should still respect their traditions. It’s recommended women should not wear tops that reveal cleavage, shoulders, or their stomach. Shorts are alright, but avoid showing too much thigh. This is to avoid too much unwanted attention.

Don’t leave Marrakech without drinking plenty of mint tea. As simple as their tea is, it’s delicious. Be sure to pay attention and ask how to properly prepare and serve the tea. If you can, pair it with traditional Moroccan pastries.

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Yes, there will be distractions, but the medina is beautiful chaos. Be sure to learn some of their native languages. You hear Arabic, French, and Berber. Due to tourism, many locals speak English and Spanish. Natives appreciate when foreigners show interest in learning about their language and culture.

Travel is restricted right now, but once available, I highly recommend visiting Marrakech and the surrounding area.

 

 

 

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Entertainment, portfolio

‘After’: The Dangers of Lust and Idolized Fictional Romance

Should We Really Be Excited About After We Collided?

Tessa and Hardin’s relationship shouldn’t be admired as ideal love.

After follows college freshman Tessa Young (Josephine Langford) as she meets and is swept into a whirlwind of lust over tattooed British bad boy Hardin Scott (Hero Fiennes Tiffin). The film is adapted from Anna Todd’s enormously popular After series, based on her Harry Styles fan-fiction. The series has racked up 1.5 billion views on Wattpad and sold 15 million print copies. 

After masks the problematic dynamics of Tessa and Hardin’s relationship under a blanket of passion. They aren’t #relationshipgoals or #couplegoals, yet die-hard fans of the fiction are obsessed with the pair. 

Tessa and Hardin’s attraction to one another stems from the concept of “opposites attract.” This form of lust can be dangerous, as it’s idealized and can blind individuals to some obvious reasons they should not pursue a relationship with a potential partner. Many people are attracted to the “bad boy” in hopes of proving they can get the guy, play therapist, and mold them to their liking. Some simply love the extreme highs and lows of the relationship as if it’s a drug and they need their daily fix.  

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Hardin has a lot of emotional baggage due to his upbringing with his father. If you’ve read the fan-fiction, you’ll recognize that his fluctuating emotions are going to be psychological torture and exhausting for Tessa. The film didn’t include all of the arguments the pair had in the Wattpad and novels, including Hardin wanting Tessa to stay away from basically everyone in her life and only sees him. He is often nasty and disrespectful towards her and admits that he’s “just an a**hole.” 

When you’re young and inexperienced in love, Hardin’s behavior is easily dismissable, as it’s viewed as him being emotional or even romantic because he wants Tessa all for himself. But that’s not the truth. A lover should never attempt to dictate their partner’s life. That’s obsessive, manipulation, controlling, and mental abuse – and it isn’t cute.

Hardin displays his emotions by breaking glass and punching walls. In the novel, Tessa describes one instance where she thinks Hardin will slap her. This behavior is dangerous, and its magnitude is unpredictable. If you’re in a relationship and fear your lover will hit you, you need to end that relationship for your safety and sanity. 

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Anna Todd – Photo Credit: BBC

While writing After, Anna Todd told Refinery29 she was upset with how Hardin treated Tessa and didn’t want them together, “I was like, ‘He should just be alone forever and be miserable.’” Todd added, “I don’t know if I wanted them to end up together. I just wrote it, and they had to be.” 

Does the pair have to live happily ever after? No, but since this is fiction, fan service is required. The problem is, people invest in these characters as if they’re real and start to seek a Hardin of their own. Therein lies the danger of someone assuming the turmoil in their relationship is normal – because Tessa and Hardin went through the same thing.  

The one thing After gets right is that young love is complicated by naivety and driven by hormones. We can’t blame every bad decision on hormones, but they can contribute to illogical decisions that make you wonder what exactly you were thinking later.

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Let’s not forget Tessa had a boyfriend named Noah. The writers made their relationship seem vanilla so fans could obsess over Tessa and Hardin getting together and dismiss the fact that Tessa cheated on Noah…TWICE. If things were reversed and Noah cheated on Tessa for a bad girl, would he be considered a jerk? If so, what does that make Tessa? Or did fans see Tessa leveling up so cheating on Noah wasn’t a big deal? This double standard is ideal for another discussion.

The sequel, After We Collided, will be released in 2020. If you haven’t read the fan-fiction, from the sound of the title, you know more drama is coming.

**A freelance movie review completed for Wishbone.**

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Entertainment

Bloodshot: You Get What You’d Expect From a Vin Diesel Movie

**Spoilers! This movie is basically Riddick losing his memory, getting injected with nanites, and living as Dominic Toretto as a soldier in an alternate timeline.**

**This review is based on the movie. I’ve never read the comics.**

Bloodshot is an adaptation of Valiant Comics’ fictional superhero created by Kevin VanHook, Don Perlin, and Bob Layton. The film was originally released in theaters, but due to social distancing, the film was released on-demand.

Without going into a full summary, Bloodshot is about a soldier, named Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel), who is killed after witnessing the murder of his wife Gina. He awakens in the Project Rising Spirit (P.R.S.) facility with a newly constructed body filled with nanomachines. These nanomachines give him regenerative abilities, cyberkinesis, strength, and endurance. He sets out to find the man who murdered his wife. Typical revenge story.

Bloodshot had mediocre action that the filmmakers tried to enhance with prolonged slow-motion and digital effects. The plot and character archetypes were predictable and you don’t care who survives.

You’d be ready to turn the movie off until the plot revealed everything you were introduced about Garrison was a false memory. P.R.S. programmed the same scenario with different people killing him and his wife so he would seek revenge against that person. Good twist, but they didn’t do enough with it. Garrison did talk to the real Gina and discovered they hadn’t seen each other in five years. That’s all we learned about his past.

How did Garrison originally die? How long has he been getting his mind repeatedly wiped? How many people has he killed? Who was he before P.R.S.? Based on the simulation they implanted, he had approximately 48 hours worth of memories. There were three additional enhanced soldiers in the facility playing along with the constant memory wipes of Garrison. Were their memories wiped too and implanted with a new identity or was it just Garrison?  None of this was brought up, but maybe that’s why the tagline is, “You don’t need a past to have a future.”

Bloodshot isn’t horrible. It’s a tolerable movie you watch when you have nothing else to do or you want to disconnect from the world and don’t feel like using your brain. Bloodshot had potential. It just bypassed character development and dove into subpar action and comedy with very little substance.

After 100 minutes, you’d have watched a movie about an indestructible man that kills two men based on false memories and later kills the scientist, the real antagonist, for lying to him. The end.

 

 

 

 

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food

I Made Dalgona Coffee Because I’m a Sucker for Java

You may have heard of dalgona coffee via social media. The coffee went viral last week and I decided to give it a try.

Dalgona coffee consists of two tbsps instant coffee (I used Folgers) and equal parts sugar and hot water. I’ve seen some people make it with cold water, but it doesn’t make a difference. Use a hand mixer and mix until the coffee is a whipped cream consistency. If you want it thicker, mix until its a slight mousse texture. Place on top of hot or cold milk (I used almond milk). Feel free to mix together or drink as is. If you enjoy strong lattes, this is for you. If you prefer a light coffee flavor, add more milk.

Dalgona Coffee Shalanjo

Since I don’t have a hand mixer and wasn’t about to whip out my stand mixer for six tbsps of ingredients, I shook everything in a mason jar. Not sure how long it took since I was preparing breakfast while shaking it. It may have taken 15-20 minutes to get it to a whipped consistency. Be prepared for an arm workout.

I enjoyed the dalgona coffee mixed and unmixed. When unmixed, the texture and flavor was a nice compliment to the cold almond milk. A little hard to describe. When mixed together, it becomes a strong latte.

I would only make this again if I had a hand mixer because shaking it in a mason jar isn’t worth the time. Dalgona coffee is purely made for aesthetics and a nice change from regular coffee. Give Starbucks time. They’ll add this to their menu.

Dalgona Coffee Shalanjo2

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