Friday, August 30, 2013

~30 Day Blog Challenge - Day 10 - Just An Ordinary Day ~

Well. Today I had some fantastic things planned, such as pictures around Boston....but I forgot my camera. Oops. I also have procrastinated on packing for college move-in for oh, about a week, so I got the bulk of it done tonight. I'm done trying to be neat - I have bags, and I just throw stuff in! Maybe not the most organized, but it is effective and not super time consuming. 

Today I went into Boston to meet up with my Mum so we could go and get dinner at an authentic Salvadorean place in Somerville (a city right outside of Boston). There's really nothing that makes me more happy than finding authentic Central and South American food, and if we're being honest here, there are some definite perks to being a Spanish major in that regard. I got to order all in Spanish and the food was gooooooooood. I feel like good food can transport you to another country, and that's how I felt. After dinner, we headed home and I sighed and knew that I had to pack my stuff sooner or later. So after packing for a couple hours, here I am! 

Honestly, not much to talk about today - maybe I have something good for all of you tomorrow! 

Peace,

Karen

P.S. We're 1/3 of the way through the challenge - wow! I never thought I'd have so much to say!
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Thursday, August 29, 2013

~ 30 Day Blog Challenge - Day 9 - No Excuses! ~

Today, I was going to write about alcoholism and my experiences with having a family member who is an alcoholic, but I actually had a great day so I am deciding to talk about it instead!

I went to the animal shelter to volunteer with the kitties, and usually I would catch the bus and go straight home. I was waiting at the bus stop and then I thought, "Screw it. I haven't talked to my friend Margaret in over a year, and she lives right up the street - I'm going to give her a surprise visit!"

So I did. I walked up the street, rang her doorbell, and we talked for two and a half, maybe three hours, just sitting on her couch. We caught up! It was amazing, and we had a great discussion about the excuses people make to themselves to not catch up with someone. For example, she has a friend who is teaching in China, and she kept meaning to email him, but her only excuse was "I kept forgetting" and also a little bit of "I'm just being lazy". She said that she didn't want to email him with just that as an explanation, so she kept putting it off in the hopes that there would be something to give her an actual excuse. In doing so, she just kept waiting longer and longer to email. 

What would the world be like if we didn't make these excuses to ourselves? I think we could probably be more connected as people; less concerned about what people think of us and rather, we would be happy that our old friends got in touch with us or we got in touch with them. How many of us lose contact with old high school or college friends because "we're busy"?

We are so concerned with what our old friends will think of us that we forget that they're probably doing the same thing. And I believe that if someone is really my friend, they won't think badly of me in that way. It is true, people do get busy with life - work, bills, kids. But how much time do we spend by ourselves or just watching tv or browsing the Internet? Obviously it varies by person, but I would guess that in the time spent on blogger or reddit, pinterest or tumblr, an email or even a letter could be written to an old friend, asking how they are and what's going on in their lives.

Let's not make excuses, and let's try for us to be connected with each other. I made my connection today, and now I present this challenge to the public. For a while, stop caring what the other person will think of you - if you've been thinking of them, act upon it. Be spontaneous and remember that life is short! Too short for us to dwell on things instead of doing.

Peace,
Karen
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

~30 Day Blog Challenge - Day 8 - How To Dry Herbs (with pictures!) ~



Hello all! 

I've been drying herbs a lot this summer, and while it might seem intimidating, it really isn't! There is a specific way that they should be stored to avoid going moldy, but that's really it. I've written out the steps below and added pictures to help! If you grew herbs this summer and didn't use all of them, drying them is a great option to not only save them from being wasted, but it also preserves the flavor and they can still be used if stored properly. I like to think every Wiccan and Pagan who grows their own herbs should know how to do this! It can get very expensive to buy dried herbs, and there's really no point when you can just do it yourself. So let's get started!

Firstly, gather your materials:

1. A colander for holding the herbs after they're cut (a bowl/basket can also work)
2. Scissors
3. Twine
4. A Marker
5. A paper bag or another breathable bag (like the laundry mesh bags for washing delicate clothing)
6. Paper Towels


Then, place the herbs on the paper towel and shake off any excess dirt or bugs. If you need to wash them you can, but use very little water and pat the herbs completely dry so they won't mold in the bag. If you need to leave them out to dry for a while, do so (and please excuse my arm in this pic, I was trying to hold the camera steady).


Take the excess leaves off of the herbs, leaving about an inch of plain stem at the bottom of the plant.



Use your twine and wrap it around the stems, gathering the herbs together.



Poke holes in your paper bag - this step is IMPORTANT! Place the herbs inside with the stems facing up.



Finally, label your bag and leave it somewhere cool and dry to hang. Sometimes I loop the string on the outside and hang it on my bedroom doorknob, but I found it's easier to fold the top over and use a clothespin to place it to a washline or a drying rack. Anywhere were it can hang! Once the herbs are dried (about 1-2 weeks), store them somewhere cool in a jar or a bag.



There you have it! Pretty easy, right? This is a great skill for anyone who works with herbalism, needs herbs for Wiccan or Pagan ritual, or even people who use them to cook! 

So there you have it, my DIY for the day :)

Peace,
Karen



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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

~30 Day Blog Challenge - Day 7 - Advice That Every College Freshman Should Know ~



Today I want to focus on something that bloggers love to talk about - tips and tricks for incoming freshman! I had what you might call a *ahem*, unique freshman year experience, as it was a chain of events that set off lots of self-discovery and led to issues with anxiety that I'm still recovering from today. But hey, let's focus on the positive! As self-titled perpetual college student, I figure I can impart some knowledge on the incoming freshman, taking from tried-and-true tricks, and also drawing from my own personal experience. So, let's begin! 

1. Don't sign up for morning classes if you can help it: Seriously. Don't. Some universities will help you pick your schedule, and although that is well and good, you will not want to be going to class in the morning if you had a late night out. It will be very tempting to stay in your nice, warm bed and skip. If you're able to get enough sleep by going to class later in the day, then do that. Trust me. 

2. Don't bring your car to campus: Most campuses don't allow freshman to have cars anyway, so there's really no need for a car or to pay for a parking pass. Many universities have shuttles that bring students to mall outlets nearby and there are also usually some stores or cafe's within walking distance, so save yourself the money and the frustration of trying to find a parking space and leave the car at home (and be environmentally friendly in the process!)

3. Talk to your roommate: No really, talk to them. Lay out rules and boundaries, especially if the two (or three or four) of you are sharing a room instead of just living in separate rooms in a suite. This is super important, because if they go to bed early and you stay up late, there could be a lot of pent-up aggression and frustration if neither person feels comfortable talking to the other about how they feel about. Talk about what to do with dishes, if either of you go out or not at all, what to do if a boyfriend or girlfriend is over - just talk about it. ALL OF IT.

4. If you really hate your roommate/s, you can switch: It is possible! It sort of sucks, having to move your stuff out of a room to another part of the dorm or to another building, but it is possible. If you can't get along with your roommate, the residence life is usually more than happy to help and the RA's are generally very supportive. It is possible. Don't feel like you have to stick in a situation because moving is "too much work". 

5. Don't bring your laptop to class: You will be tempted to go on Facebook, Tumblr, and Reddit. It can be nice to type notes instead of write them, but in all honestly a lot of professors don't even allow laptops anyway for that very reason. And who knows, you might actually learn something in the class if you pay attention! :P

6. Explore different classes:  Don't feel obligated to take classes in just your major. College is a time to expand your mind, to really learn about you. Take a class on something you don't know about, and you might be surprised to find that you have a new passion. Don't just go to college for the degree, go for the experience of learning about yourself and the world. 

7. Avoid the temptation to take huge classes: A lecture hall might seem tempting, and trust me, I know. I used to love large classes and being lost in the crowd, but it wasn't until I transferred schools that I found my love of small classes. Yes, you have to participate more, which seems like the only downside. But really, you get out of a class what you put in. I also found that in small classes, my professors were just so much more dedicated and willing to talk to you one-on-one, plus you get to explore the material in more detail. Yes, I am nerd.

8. You will make new friends: My freshman year, I had a group of friends that I hung out with until I realized that I really hated them. Well, hate is a strong word. I just realized that they weren't my cup of tea: There was nonstop drama, whining, and talking behind other people's backs. I realized: If I heard everyone talk about other people to me, what were they saying about me behind everyone else's back? But fear not: The friends you make your freshman year probably won't stay with you throughout college. Don't worry about it! You will meet tons of people in your classes, and through clubs, and in your dorm. 

9. Don't buy books until you have to: This one is IMPORTANT. Books cost so much money, and the campus store makes them at least three times more expensive than they need to be. Amazon and half.com are your best friends, and don't order the books until you're absolutely sure you'll need them for your classes. Some professors just ask for the reading as an add-on and it's never discussed in class. Some campus libraries have large textbooks on hold so students can take them out, copy pages to do homework, and then return them. DO NOT buy your books until you're absolutely sure you'll need them.

10. Look up your professors before you take the class: ratemyprofessor.com is a valuable asset! Don't be afraid to switch out of a class if you hate the professor. Also, keep in mind that although online reviews can be helpful, oftentimes freshman will comment that a professor is awful simply because they gave them homework or made them participate in class. Use your judgement wisely, but know when to be critical of the online reviews.

I hope this was helpful, and I hope that all of the incoming freshman have a wonderful first semester. Remember: Don't be too hard on yourselves, study hard, and enjoy your first year of college! Learn about you, and become who you were meant to be. Explore and expand your horizons!

Peace,
Karen

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Monday, August 26, 2013

~30 Day Blog Challenge - Day 6 - On Being Unemployed ~

Uh-oh. Yet another topic we're supposed to avoid like the plague in civilized conversation, right? Well, I'm going for it.

This summer is the first summer I've been unemployed since I was 15. From 15 - 20 I worked in a tourist center in Boston, giving directions, selling stuff, and being asked by said stuff was made in China (I can give you a long answer to that but do you really want to know??). I always had money over the summer and for the most part is lasted me throughout the year. Last summer, I nannied two kids who really didn't need a nanny and got paid under the table, which was great. This summer - NOTHING. 

And I panicked. What was I going to do? I had a phone bill to pay, although not much else since I still live at home (yay....).

As it turned out, it was a blessing in disguise. I realized I was becoming too dependent on money and the benefits of it. While it sucked having to ask my family for money to help me pay my bill, I realized that something always comes up to help. As I mentioned vaguely the past couple days, I was dog sitting and that came up very unexpectedly towards the end of the summer. I got paid, and it really just astounded me how that opportunity came through. So now I know - something always comes in the end and I just have to have a little faith in the Universe (And the Universe is going "Duh Karen, what did you expect??" *eyeroll*).

Being unemployed has given me the opportunity to enjoy my own time again. I've been going to the local library and getting books and DVD, and let me tell you - it is amazing having the time to read for leisure again! Even though I can do that at college too, I just feel like I never have the chance. I've read some great books this summer! I've also had the opportunity to work on my health, which is great. It's been wonderful just having "me" time, something which I feel is so important yet so many people neglect it day to day. 

Time for me to go watch some movies :D 

Peace,
Karen
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Sunday, August 25, 2013

~30 Day Blog Challenge - Day 5 -" I'm Not A Witch, I'm Not A Witch!" ~

First of all, if any of you got the Monty Python reference, high five! Today, now that I'm done dog-sitting I figured I'd tackle a topic that isn't supposed to be talked about - religion. Specifically Wicca, a religion that has long been misunderstood and is well-known for all the wrong reasons.

Many people have seen Charmed, I'm sure, and if they know the words "Wicca", "Book of Shadows", and "Pendulum", it's probably from there. Where do I even begin to explain Wicca? It's a huge topic and it's something that means a lot to me. It's also a highly individualistic religion, so the way everyone practices and connects is different from each other.

The first thing I'd like to explain is that Wiccans don't worship nature. That's the impression that many people have, but it's untrue. I don't bow in front of a tree and go, "ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY TREE!!". Wiccans worship the forces behind nature, the God and Goddess. The Goddess is the Earth, she's the "womb", and all of life grows from her. The moon and the ocean are connected to the goddess, the feminine qualities in life. The God is the literal life that's on the Earth - the plants, the animals, the breeze, etc. He's connected to the Sun. They work together to make the seasons and the God "impregnates" the Goddess in the springtime, when all of the plants start to come to life again. If you couldn't tell, Wicca can be very sexual, but it's seen as something natural, something in the cycle of life. Things die, things are reborn. It's all natural, and it's okay and it doesn't have to be seen as something shameful.

Many Wiccans, although I can't speak for all of course, believe in some type of afterlife. This is commonly referred to as The Summerlands, and is seen as a nice relaxing place to go after death. The typical Wiccan belief is that the soul goes there after they die, and then they get reincarnated again after reflecting on their life and the lessons they have learned. Life is just an opportunity to pick up lessons and those who have cycled over and over again and have learned all the lessons they have meant to know become very spiritually aware beings and sometimes stay in the afterlife as spirit guides, to help us mortals here on Earth. Those who haven't learned all the lessons they possibly could come back again, and belief varies on whether the person gets to have influence in where/what they want to be, or if they don't.

Wicca doesn't teach belief in a heaven or a hell. There is no one Supreme Being, so there's not a supreme evil one either. Personally, I believe there's good and bad in the world and there has to be because there can't just be one or the other. A balance is needed. The god and goddess are obviously good, and I believe the Universe, the Divine, is good. So I think the bad comes from humanity and also potential bad forces. This is just my personal belief and what I've come to terms with in my journey.

But what about magic, spells, hexes, and curses? Okay, first let me just say - I'm not going to wiggle my fingers and blue flames are going to shoot out. That's not what magic is. When one works a spell, the end result is magic. It's basically just the universe around us working, and I love that that's what magic is defined as. It's so simple yet so amazing at the same time. A "spell" is simply an intention, like a prayer, but usually more "hands on". For example, if I wanted a little extra money to come my way, I would probably take a green candle, anoint it with oil and an herb associated with money, and visualize money going into my bank account (in a very simplified version). This is simply an intention sent out into the universe. The magic is the sway of the universe to help influence the end result. Of course, nothing might happen as well. Do all prayers get answered your way? Of course not.

As for hexes and curses, the first rule of Wicca is "An harm none, but do what ye will". Basically, don't hurt anybody and you can do what you want and let people do their own thing. Some people do make hex bottles or send out curses, but usually this isn't without provocation or reason. It isn't up to me to judge why a person might do that, but some people might do a "stop gossip curse jar" where they want to stop someone from spreading slanderous, possibly harmful words about them. The "curse" jar sends out the intent into the universe to stop the person - in what way, I don't know. I don't think it's my right to judge anybody and if someone feels the need to do a jar or something like that to stop someone from harming them physically, emotionally, or mentally, then I say do what you need to do. I think the Universe knows what people's intentions are and I can't possibly so it's not up to me to judge or disapprove. I personally would never curse or hex or make a curse jar or what have you, and that's just my brand of Wicca - good ol' Glinda the Good Witch type.

Oh gosh. Are you still reading? One last thing - I wrote the title on purpose because, well, I'm not a witch. Some Wiccans call themselves witches, but a person can be a witch without being Wiccan, if that makes sense. The "witchcraft" part is the making of the magic, using herbs, candles, etc (I think that's the right definition) but you can do that without being Wiccan.

So there you have it, folks, Wicca in a nutshell. I'm not scary, I promise! Although, I do like black cats and sometimes I wish I had a pointy hat!

Blessed Be!

Karen :)
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Saturday, August 24, 2013

~30 Day Blog Challenge - Day 4 - I'm Happy and I Know It ~

Oh gosh. Good morning, everyone! I was up bright and early walking two doggies and now we're just waiting to go on our next walk.

So I realized that my last three entries have been...not so fun. I mean, they're fun for me because I enjoy talking about deep themes and feelings and so on, but maybe they haven't been super fun for all of you. I'm an intense person, I get into deep conversation quickly and it's one of my favorite things to do when I meet people. Forget all of this "get to know you" crap - I want to know your life story, your religious beliefs, and what you think about global issues such as poverty, sex trafficking, and homelessness. I enjoy and thrive off of listening to and learning about other people. 

I am a happy person, I swear. And I don't think about these deep themes all of the time....just mostly. So what are some of the other things I enjoy besides Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Justice? 


  • The TV show Pretty Little Liars - So. Much. Intrigue. A show for teenagers? I think not. There is just layers and layers of mystery and secrets. 
  • Doctor Who - oh, the themes. SO MANY THEMES ABOUT HUMANITY. I love it. 
  • Crisp fall days - I mean, scarves. Scarves, people! Also pumpkin lattes.
  • Pumpkin lattes - see above. The perfect companion to Fall.
  • Crocheting - heaven on Earth in a hook and yarn. 
  • Reading - I just finished J.K. Rowling's book after Harry Potter, Casual Vacancy
  • Watching baby videos on Youtube. Also, cat videos. And dog videos...
  • Hanging out with my boyfriend - YAY! The best person ever!
  • Watching movies - recently, I've been on a Marvel streak. I watched The Avengers and Captain America! I think I'm going to go for The Hulk next. 
Um...I'm sure there's more. Oh! Eating! I really enjoy eating, and the culture surrounding food and going out for a good meal. 


So yeah, I guess it's the simple things, right? I know that it's important to remember the little things amidst learning about all of the bad things in the world, and it's good to find a balance between everything as well! Remember to enjoy the simple things in life :)

Peace,

Karen
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Friday, August 23, 2013

~ 30 Day Blog Challenge - Day 3 - Emotional Scars ~

Hello, everybody. I knew I should have made a plan going into this challenge, because it can be hard to think of things to write on a whim. I decided today to write with my heart and to share what I've been thinking about today.

My ex. Now, don't jump to any hasty conclusions. He and I have been broken up for four years now, and yet the relationship still sticks with me. I have a very loving a supportive partner now, but it's still hard for me because my ex has such an influence on my current relationships.

We met my senior year of high school on one of the old Facebook apps, and as it turned out he was the cousin of a kid I knew in school. He made me laugh the first time we talked, and he got all of my movie references. We ended up going to college together after only a few months of dating. In retrospect, it was a terrible idea, but it was the place that we both got in to and I thought it'd be good. What I didn't know was that I suffered from anxiety until it came up in a big way my freshman year of college. That year was hell for me, absolute misery. I cried all the time and I didn't know when I would feel okay again. I had meltdowns all the time and my boyfriend at the time didn't know what to do with me or with himself, since he was also a
sufferer of anxiety in a social context. Finally in April of my freshman year, we broke up after dating for 15 months - a long time. I was very sad and I thought that we had a chance of getting back together. Finally I realized that he didn't want anyone to vouch for him, and I moved on. I'm over him, don't get me wrong, but it seems like either he or his family keep coming back into my life in some ways. 

I'm in contact with his sister occasionally, and I went over his house to see his mom and his family several months after we broke up. It was awkward, and he apologized to me for his behavior when we dated. I believe I saw him a second time when hanging out with his sister, but I can't really remember. And then he started to work at the same place I worked at, and in one very awkward day in May of 2012, we had to work together. It was pretty bad. Not that we aren't decent to each other, but it's just so awkward.  

Now there's an issue in his family that I talked to his sister about last week, and it just seems that his family will never get out of my life even though we don't see each other. I had a dream about him last night and in the dream he and I were really good friends, on great terms. It was like the friendship we had before we started dating. 

I woke up and I got frustrated because why, why can't I just get over it. We dated ages ago, and although I'm over him in a relationship/love context, I still have the emotional scars of when we were still dating. What will it take for me to move on, finally? I want to, I really do. I talked to Tony about it and he thinks it's just the lack of closure I have, and I agree. It seems like there's never closure in this case, and it can just get really frustrating. I'm tired of dreaming about him, about wishing that things had been different, and most importantly, I'm tired of bringing my anxiety issues into my current relationship because I'm scared that things between Tony and I will turn out the same way. 

Sigh.

There's always chocolate, right? 

Karen
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

~ 30 Day Blog Challenge - Day 2 - Stop Judging My University Major! ~

Hello everybody! This will be a quick post, since I'm dog-sitting/house watching this week and in about 15 mins the dogs need to be walked (seriously, they get 5 walks a day. FIVE.). 

This morning I was walking the dogs and I ran into a neighbor of mine. She's pretty nice, and I've known her son Will since I was little, although we don't talk much anymore. We chatted about the normal stuff - my mom's new job, the kids of the family I'm house sitting for, etc. And then she brought IT up - "So, I heard that you're not an early childhood major anymore... "*looks expectantly for me to tell her what I switched to* I said "Yeah, I switched to Cultural Anthropology". And then I got it. 

THE LOOK.

You know what look I'm talking about - the one where you say something and you just know the person you're talking to is questioning your life choices and thinking you're making all the wrong decisions. This especially happens to college students, I feel, because people who are already in the working world like to tell us how much is absolutely sucks to be in the working world. 

Now, I know many people don't think my major choice is a good idea (and if they think mine is bad, my boyfriend's major is Sociology - and people think that is DOUBLY useless), and they think that I'm never going to get a job and I'm never going to make enough money to live and so on and so on. I understand these fears - in our economy, it's difficult for many people to get by day to day with a job that usually has a lot of work, like a trade job or business or what have you.

Personally, I feel that our society has become so focused on math and science that we've forgotten the benefits of what the arts, social sciences, and the humanities can bring us. In Anthropology, I'm refining my critical reading skills, my writing, my science (yes, I'm taking Biological Anthropology this semester!) and I'm also learning a lot of amazing things about the world and the people in it. 

I think people doubt that these skills will get me a job, but I'm also an idealist. I believe that there are so many people who are in jobs that they hate and are just "getting by" in life without being passionate about what they believe in. I'm passionate about the world, and culture, and travel, and I know for a fact that there are jobs in the world that encompass that. I'm not just setting my sights on some mundane life - and I mean, an office job would be mundane for me, but for some people it's great, so no judgments. I plan on working at a global level, if I can and I feel like Anthropology is the right choice for me to do that. 

So please, parents, relatives, nosy neighbors - leave me alone! Find your own passion and stop discouraging mine.  And remember, it's never to late to love what you do and do what you love! I think that's something that many people have forgotten but I hope that we can all reclaim it :)

Peace,

Karen
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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

~30 Day Blog Challenge - Day 1 - Too Many Thoughts, Not Enough Words~

So I just signed up for the Summer Blog Challenge  because I figured hey, why not improve  my writing skills and my blog at the same time? I think I have a lot to say and goodness knows that I think way, way too much. But I think the real challenge for me here is putting my thoughts into words.

It's honestly a lot more difficult than it seems, just like when someone mean says something and you want to have a witty comeback but can't think of one - that's sort of how I feel writing this blog. Not that any of you have said mean things, of course - I just want to have all sorts of words at the ready but it takes a little while for me to get them flowing.

I also know a lot of blogs feature "how-to's" but that's not really me. If I wanted to make this blog more popular then sure, I could think of something. However, I don't think that would be staying true to myself.

There's a lot going on in the world, and the blogging world wants me to be content with writing a guide on how to clean a kitchen or take care of children or easy breezy summer styles for under $20 each? I can't do that. Not that there's anything wrong with fashion or cleaning or kids, but I've seen a lot of bloggers who are stay-at-home moms and I'm definitely not that. 

I have to stay true to myself. I'm not content with just "getting by" in life. I want to make sure I live my life in a meaningful way and help others find their meaning, too. I want to bring attention to world issues because they are so important. I was texting my boyfriend today and I said "I want to write posts that are difficult to think about but are easy to read [understand]"

That is truly what I want to do. I want people to understand where I'm coming from and help people think about issues in a way that might not have crossed their minds before. I feel like it's my job to make people understand to the best of my ability. I want people to understand because understanding is the first step to doing, taking action, and by taking action changing the world.

So the 30 day challenge is supposed to be meaningful. I got meaningful covered. I can do meaningful - oh boy, can I! I would also like to challenge any one of you who wants to to do it with me! I'm sure all of you have meaningful things to say and feel like you have something to offer the world. If you feel like you don't, then you're wrong. Everybody has something great to offer the world. 

Let's go :)
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

{Why I Want To Wear Hijab as a Non-Muslim}


"What is this madness??" You cry, "You aren't Muslim but you want to cover your hair?? The scandal! The outrage! THE OPPRESSION!"

Alright, well maybe that was a bit dramatic. Or was it? 

In our society today, many people have heard about the concept of hijab or at least have heard the word, but few know what it actually means. It generally known to be something that Muslim women wear and is said to be a symbol of oppression.

What if I told you that it wasn't oppressive? What if I told you it could actually be liberating, empowering? Would you listen?

First and foremost, let me get this straight: Most women are not forced to wear hijab. If anyone does force a woman, then they are probably doing this according to a cultural standard and not according to the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam. Muslim women who wear hijab generally put it on around the time of puberty, although some do it before and some do it after. Some women never wear hijab (I can hear the jaws of misconception dropping as I type) and yes, call themselves Muslim. 

Hijab is a concept that is seen by many as oppressive, but this is because our societal standards force us to think so. In American culture today, the fashion industry tells us that the more skin a person bares, the sexier they will be. They will find their worth, guys will look at them, and they will feel pretty. For some this may very well be true, and who am I to judge what a person wants to wear? Personally, I feel that this focus on appearance actually stifles people and sucks them in to a mentality that says "I need to find my worth through my body". This can lead to issues such as low self-esteem and the even bigger issue of believing that it is only their body that gives them value as a person.

I choose to fight against the societal standard that says this. When I cover up, I know that people are not seeing me for my fashion sense, but rather what I say and more importantly, what I do. This also makes me feel like my words and actions have more weight and therefore I must consider my actions more carefully. 

As a feminist, I also recognize that at the top of the fashion industry, it is still controlled by men. If it isn't men who are the designers, then it is the CEOs of major fashion magazines who decide what to put in to a spread to tell people what they absolutely need to buy to wear. Wearing hijab is like my version of feminism - I control who sees my body and to me, that is what is called empowerment.

"But Karen, you're not Muslim."

It is not only Muslim women who wear hijab. Haven't you ever seen a picture of a nun in full habit? 



They, too, cover from their neck down and their hair. Many other religions do this, such as various branches of Judaism, Hinduism (when they go into temple, I believe), and also Christians in other parts of the world. 

You do not have to be Muslim to wear hijab. In fact, I am Wiccan, and when I found out that there was a group of Pagans that cover, I was a super happy camper. The ideals of modesty and empowerment are found in many religions and spiritualities, and covering is becoming the new radical thing to do. It is much more popular than many people think, and I believe it is time for us to know that we are worth much more than just our bodies. It is our minds, our hearts, and our spirits that make us human.

Much love, 
Karen xo

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

New blog look!!

Hello everyone!!!

Phew, I am exhausted. I spent the afternoon updating the blog and I hope it looks much better now! I worked really hard on it and I'm very proud of what I've done.

The Tarot giveaway is still going on, so please subscribe to my blog and share that blog post to be entered to win two free tarot readings plus an extra 1 card drawing. 

*throws confetti in the air* YAY!

Much love, 

Karen
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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

FREE Tarot readings giveaway until Aug. 19th!

Hi everybody! 

I'm starting to get really into Tarot and I love practicing with my deck and since I've been doing free tarot readings for people on Tumblr and Facebook, I decided I'd do a tarot reading giveaway for two people! 

The Rules:

1. Follow my blog on here
2. Share this post on Google+ (and invite your friends to do this, too!)
3. Leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you
4. NO LOVE LIFE READINGS. I'm sorry, but I am firm on this. 

What you'd get:

Two free readings of you choice plus an added one card pull for thought PLUS pictures of the cards that were pulled for visual reference. I wish I could offer more, but the time and the effort is really all that I have to offer right now. 

What types of readings can you do?
1. A one card pull (you get one as an added bonus, but you can also choose to use your other two readings for 2 daily one-cards)

2. A past-present-future spread

3. A three card-general advice spread

4. Any number of card pulls (up to five) on a certain issue.

5. The Celtic Cross (for decision and advice on an issue)

6. A 6 card spread - how you feel about yourself now, what you most want at this moment, fears, what is going for you, what is going against you, outcome.

7. A three card spread for reflections on this past week, how if affects this week, and what to work on for next week. 

8. Another request you might have, as long as it is not too complex (I am still learning!)

What I can offer you as a reader:

Genuine feedback about the cards and what they might mean. 

Honesty. 

Boldness - I am not afraid to tell things as they are, especially since not all outcomes on Tarot are good.

No assumptions - I don't presume to know anything. I will definitely NOT tell you that things are going to happen a certain way or that something bad is going to happen for sure. Nothing is sure, life changes all the time.

Sensitivity - although I am not afraid to tell you exactly what the cards say, I can and will do so in a manner that is not harsh or judgmental.

Impartiality - I will not judge you for any issue that you choose to come to me with.

********

So that's that for the giveaway rules! To be clear: I will offer a one card pull automatically for "food for thought". This does not count as one of your other two spreads. If you wish, however, the other two CAN be a one card pull for two days straight.

I would also like to ask you all to please consider donating to me and my work. I do not like asking for money and I do not feel like Tarot should be exploited on. However, if any of you feel so inclined or feel like my efforts have been exemplary, please consider making a monetary donation through paypal to my email at ksargent717@yahoo.com. To do this, go to Paypal, then look under the Transfer tab and it says "send someone money". Then you can enter my email address! It truly is much appreciated, honestly. I am but a poor college student and if people feel like I deserve to be paid for my services, that is very wonderful :)

Now, get to it!

Karen :)


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