All posts by snegeye

The Problem with Graduating…

My whole life I’ve been waiting for the day I would walk across the stage, in my cap and gown, and receive my degree. I would wave to my family in the crowd and feel like I made my parents proud; but as graduation approaches I’ve been feeling a bit uneasy. Why am I fearing something I’ve always looked forward to? Is it because I’ll finally be an adult who can’t blame their lack of finances on being a “broke college student” or is it because I now have to be 100% accountable for my status in life?

Being in college has been somewhat of a crutch for me. While all my friends moved on after undergrad in pursuit of their long-term career goals, I decided to start over and pick another major. For four years I had college as an excuse for all my social and career set backs – but recently I’ve realized that I’ve help myself back.

Post-graduate depression is a real thing. Although it might not have an official term, many grads are feeling the effects of this type of depression and I’m scared I might become one too. In 2017 The Washington Post published an article by Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez titled There’s such a thing as post-graduation depression. I know: I had it. Rochaun shares her struggles, the effects of post-grad depression, and not knowing she wasn’t alone in this adventure.

“And that first week at home felt great. By Week 3, though, something changed. I had a pervasive feeling of loss and, with a knot in my stomach, I stopped eating regularly. Within two months, I was so depressed, I had trouble getting out of bed in the morning. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t believe anyone would understand. What I also didn’t know was that my post-graduation emotional distress was not uncommon.”
– Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez, The Washington Post

Some of the signs of post-grad depression are “an abnormally negative perspective, decreased motivation to get out of bed, a general sense of hopelessness and, occasionally, substance abuse.” Rochaun mentions that studies on young adults post-grad depression experiences aren’t easily available and most studies on young adult depression isn’t centered on this specific issue.

As a Twitter user I come across many posts daily that cover a range of topics including college student woes. The coursework, the debt, the pressure from society to get a degree in a field that you most likely won’t work in; you can’t deny the immense stress young adults are experiencing daily. So if students are carrying tons of stress for at least four years straight, why wouldn’t they have detachment and identity issues once they graduate.

College is the addiction in this situation and graduates are suffering from the withdrawals of stress and staying up late nights. My fear of graduation stems from the extreme shift my lifestyle will experience. Although there are some struggles I will face, I need to get comfortable with failure and practice separating my life’s value from societies “one size fits all” standards. Students and graduates aren’t all the same; we think, process emotions, and value different things in our lives. It is a shame we let these standards effect us negatively and break us down; but I say enough is enough. I refuse to let this next chapter in my life be ruined by other peoples opinion on my life and if you’re a recent graduate or will be soon, try your best to reject the hate. And finally, seek help from a medically trained professional; therapy does wonders for the mind and body so take a chance.

A Michelin Star Experience

This year I’ve decided to take my unsolicited Yelp reviews to another level, I’ve decided to blog about them.

My relationship with food with has always been positive – yes I was that kid asking my parents for another serving of veggies. Something about the flavors and chemistry of every dish has always pulled me in. So when I was old enough to go out with my friends and grab dinners at all the popular restaurant, I went all overboard. We often used popular Twin Cities Instagram account Eat.Drink.Dish.Mpls as our guide to explore new and innovating restaurants that opened up in the city. My friends and I would go out to eat so often that it started to effect my bank account and my mother wasn’t happy at all. I’ve pulled back since then and only go out for special occasions (suddenly my students loans inspired me to eat at home more often)- like birthdays and graduations.

Recently I took a trip to Washington, DC for school purposes and it happened to also be during my birthday weekend – needless to say I called my cousins who lived in the area and we went out to eat. My cousin recommended a little restaurant called Chloe located in the Navy Pier area, and to my surprise this “little” restaurant was Michelin Star certified.

As soon as we walked in we were greeted warmly by the hostess and ushered to our table. Our waiter came by seconds later and introduced himself, followed by the usually questions. “Have you dined with us before? Are you familiar with our menu? Do you have any dietary restrictions or allergies the chef should know?” After that he dived into the extensive shared menu that had dishes ranging from crispy fingerling potatoes to Chile glazed sablefish; to say that we were excited to order would be an understatement.

We settled on the Cobio Crudo, an avocado and Thai chili lime fish sauce with shallots; Caramelized Cauliflower and Potato Gnocchi that we ordered twice; Roasted Cod; and a Hanger Steak that had creamed Swiss chard, shishito peppers , crispy onions, and chimichurri. The dishes were shareable and that made the experience 10 times better. The mastermind behind Chloe is Chef Haidar Karoum, a Lebanese-American whose dishes are inspired by his heritage and travels around the world.

My experience at Chloe was intimate and their dishes were the perfect combination of appetizing and sensual. Rarely do I rave about a restaurant like this but Chloe deserves the praise. I’ll be making a trip out to DC sometime soon and within the first 2 hours of my visit, you’ll catch me at Chloe ordering my fourth bowl of Caramelized Cauliflower.

When the Shades Don’t Match.

It’s hard to believe that in the beauty industry (estimated to be worth $532 billion, Business Insider) there is a lack of quality cosmetics for people of color. Consumers of color are complaining about being an afterthought when cosmetic brands launch new products. Why are some consumers angry you ask, let me explain.

From the chemical compositions of foundations, to the lack of pigment in eyeshadows, POC women and men are fed up. Makeup brands like Tarte and Almay consistently drop the ball when it comes to releasing quality products for deeper skintones. Some say the industry is racist and views POC makeup needs as an afterthought; this point was highlighted when the major cosmetic company Tarte launched their Shape Tape foundation. The foundation was inspired by the brands successful concealer of the same name and was expected to be a solution to many makeup wearers issues, but then Tarte released their campaign photos and all hell broke loose.

The launch hype was met with backlash when consumers noticed they only had two shades that could be used on Black women, out of fifteen shade. And here’s the kicker, when the foundations actually hit the market the two darker shades were making women look orange. This launch was followed up by a fake apology from Tarte claiming they had more shades launching later in 2018. They also released a statement that mentioned how they “made the decision to move forward before all the shades were ready to go,” and defended the darker shades by mentioning how they would match women when their tans would lighten in the winter. One thing about Black people, we don’t lose our melanin in the winter- it’s kinda permanent. Eventually the brand discontinued the failed launch and went back to the drawing board.

It’s almost 2020, why is this still happening? Some may argue since Black women spend nine times more on makeup and haircare products, these companies don’t want to solve their problems. Others , like beauty writer Funmi Fetto, believe this lack of inclusion and representation stems from racism in the industry. In Funmi’s The Guardian article The beauty industry is still failing black women, she describes her day to day struggles and experiences navigating the beauty industry and how their is a lack of motivated exploration from her caucasian counterparts.

The lack of respect for women of color is disrespectful and demeaning; the beauty industry should be ashamed of their blatant exclusion. Until more brands take accountability for their releases, they should be called out by the masses and higher more diverse people so they don’t repeat the same ignorant problems.

Hip Hop Is Made For Black People.

“If you are going to accept royalties from album sales and concert revenue from both black and white fans, you can’t legitimately expect them to consume your music differently.”
-Jeremy Helligar, Variety

Black art isn’t made for those who lack melanin, so it’s always surprising when non-black people argue that in Hip Hop, the “N” word is ok to say because rappers say it. Last time I checked, there aren’t many non-black rappers who write their lyric to include that word. Now some of you may not understand why that word should be left alone, or maybe you choose to be ignorant and your privilege can’t wrap its large ego around a word being off limits to you. Regardless of your opinion on Black art you must understand that it isn’t made to be consumed by the masses, it is made for BLACK PEOPLE.

Recently in 2018 Kendrick Lamar was performing at the Hangout Musical Festival in Gulf Shores, AL. During his performance, like many musicians, he calls a lucky fan on stage to perform a song with him; this fan happens to be caucasian. While she’s singing along and belting all the correct lyrics to m.a.a.d city, she includes the “N” word several times. Immediately Kendrick stops the set and the fan is confused as to what the problem is and continues to brag about her presence. That is until he points it out the one word she can not say, to which she says ” Oh I’m sorry. Did I do it? I’m so sorry.” Yeah, you heard that right, she was rapping along and saying that word several times without any recognition which means one thing, she does it all the time.

After Kendrick ended his performance that night, he woke up to many think pieces written by caucasian writers defending that fan and making him out to be a villain. One writer who mentioned “both sides having a point,” was Variety writer Jeremy Helligar. In his 2018 article Kendrick Lamar’s Onstage Outrage: Why Rap Should Retire the N-Word for Good, Jeremy argues that there should be one set of rules for all fans because it wouldn’t be fair to have two sets of rules. He goes on to explain the history of the “N” word and that he thinks “It’s time for rappers to rethink how they deliver their message.”

The problem with Jeremy’s take is that he is a White man telling Black artists how they should make their art. To some Hip Hop is just a genre and a good time, to others it is a cultural practice passed down through generations. A talent that challenges the tongue and inspires communities through creativity and storytelling. So no, Black people will continue to make their art and practice their culture how they want to and if you want to take part and appreciate it, act accordingly.

Death by Device?

Since the start of the millennium, technology has progressed into an unstoppable cycle of releases and re-releases. Growing up in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, I was able to experience the rebirth of modern day tech and its negative effects on society. Although video game consoles were popular in the 90’s, they still haven’t measured up to the physical and mental health effects of current day mobile tech. Mobile devices like cell phones, tablets, and handheld gaming devices are a threat to our society.

According to Lindsey Beavers article published by The Washington Post, tech neck is “a risk for some 58 percent of American adults who own smartphones.” The article , ‘Text neck’ is becoming an ‘epidemic’ and could wreck your spine, dives into the physical damage these devices are doing to our bodies. More and more people are suffering from physical ailments that stem from tech related practices. In the article, Beavers spoke with Dr.Michelle Collie, a head performance physical therapy specialist, who “started seeing patients with mobile technology-induced head, neck and back pain some six or seven years ago.”

“Smartphone users spend an average of two to four hours per day hunched over, reading e-mails, sending texts or checking social media sites. That’s 700 to 1,400 hours per year people are putting stress on their spines, according to the research.”
-Lindsey Beaver, The Washington Post

These physical ailments aren’t the only harms technology is causing, they’re also effecting our mental health. More and more social media apps are creating filters that change your face into looking smaller, thinner, and lighter. These filters are creating unrealistic beauty standards that are creating users to experience body dysmorphia, reducing their self-esteem, confidence, and in some cases, they’re seeking plastic surgery. It has gotten to be so bad that Instagram recently banned all filters that resembled extreme plastic surgery from their platform. Recently, BBC spoke with the apps spokesperson and covered Instagrams decision drop the filters; the company, owned by FACEBOOK, states “We’re re-evaluating our policies – we want our filters to be a positive experience for people,” and that they are stopping “further approval of new effects like this and remove current effects if they’re reported to us.”

Technology is harming our society bit by bit; we used to have fear about sitting too close to the TV and loosing our eyesight, now it’s the threat of spine stress and life-long body image issues. The number of people suffering and falling victim to these mobile technology devices is growing rapidly daily.

These devices are threatening our society and need to be dealt with. The longer we wait, the worse it’ll be for our recovery and chances of damage reversal. This threat needs to be dealt with before more symptoms and permanent health related issues arise in our society.

Fashion vs. The Environment

A Closet Full Of Nothing To Wear: How this fashion faux pas is damaging the planet.

As a self declared style guru I’ve seen and had my qualms with the fashion industries wasteful practices; specifically fast fashion. Sites like Missguided, Boohoo, and Fashion Nova pump out trendy, extremely affordable pieces everyday by the hundreds with discounts and free shipping daily. This fuels the existing negative preconceived notion of outfit repeating, also known as “I can’t wear this outfit again, I’VE ALREADY TAKEN PHOTOS IN IT!” By violating this unspoken rule somehow you’re deemed shameful by your online constituents. Yes you heard that right, the friends you have on Instagram who you’ve known since kindergarten, shared classrooms with and even worked with every day are now going to look at you sideways all because you repeated outfits, even though they’ve seen you wear the same clothes to work since forever. These unrealistic and false standards are why these fast fashion sites heavily advertise on socials like Instagram because they can supply a quick and affordable solution to your fears of committing a fashion faux pas.

Enter here Maxine Bédat, former co-founder and CEO the sustainable fashion brand Zady, aka a women to be reckoned with. Her work and mission of creating a clean environment in the fashion industry has landed her high recognition and honors in the industry; her company Zady was labeled in 2014 as on of the “Most Innovative Companies” in retail by Fast Company. Even Oprah Winfrey mentioned Bédat on an episode of Super Soul 100 as a leader for her environmental and elevating humanity. Bédats TEDx Talks ( which I highly recommend every reader to watch and share) did a great job explaining why fast fashion is an issue, the ramifications of these problems, and how we as a society can start small and practice some steps in creating a healthy fashion diet.

Maxine mentioned that fashion companies rarely use cotton as a material and often stick to polyester, a plastic substance made out of fossil fuel, and as everyone knows, fossil fuel is not bio-degradable. That means every clothing item ever made out of polyester is still sitting in landfill somewhere on the planet. Literally, every piece from the beginning of time until now.

“More than 60 percent of fabric fibers are now synthetics, derived from fossil fuels… ”
“How Fast Fashion Is Destroying the Planet”
-Tatiana Schlossberg, New York Times

Recently, the New York Times published an article by Tatiana Schlossberg about How Fast Fashion Is Destroying the Planet. It highlighted some ugly parts of the textile industry including slave and child labor. Schlossberg dives into how fast fashion clothing is purposely made to not last. “More than 60 percent of fabric fibers are now synthetics, derived from fossil fuels, so if and when our clothing ends up in a landfill (about 85 percent of textile waste in the United States goes to landfills or is incinerated), it will not decay.” The article also covered veteran style writer and author Dana Thomas’s book Fashionopolis; a book about how our wardrobes, the climate, and the economy intertwine.

So how can we do better you ask? Bédat shares 5 ways we can try to reduce the damage without sacrificing our style.

  1. Check the tags & understanding where clothing is coming from.
  2. If you’re not sure if an item is a fast fashion piece, check the seams. These pieces aren’t made with longevity in mind so they always lack quality and craftsmanship.
  3. Love what you buy! Don’t fall for the marketing ploys that aim to have you second guess your previous purchases. If you weren’t interested in that dress before there was a sale, you shouldn’t be interested during one.
  4. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask brands about how they source their materials. Any honest brand would disclose their practices – most of the time you’d already find it on their website.
  5. Lastly, think of the cost per wear for each article of clothing. When you break down items this way, it’ll help your buy quality piece you love that’ll last a lifetime (hopefully).

Which one of these steps can you start implementing in your life when shopping? If the access and affordability of fast fashion is the reason you might have a hard time breaking off, think about how much you’ll help the planet. Comment below and let us know what practices you could start today.