What can we trust anymore? Well, a lot of brands we trusted, we can’t anymore and we shouldn’t. I can’t even begin to count how many times I had a Happy Meal in my life. What we buy is a reflection our personality and our values. If we buy from a brand that supports an anti-homosexual agenda, deforestation, or the mistreatment of workers; what does that say about ourselves?
Keepin' It Clean?
I once worked at a coffee chain when I was in high school. I’ll never forget when my manager made my coworker lay under the shelves and bleach them. His face turned red, he was faint, and he was nearly throwing up. Our cleaning products must be safe and often times, they aren’t or they have a negative effect on the environment or negative outcomes during the production.
Keep It Green, Keep It Clean
I had the opportunity to try ECOS, a dish soup that puts so much goodness in your life, you will be wishing you heard of it sooner!
Ecos is a brand of dish soap created after "nearly 50 years of scientific passion and plant derived goodness".
So what’s so good about Ecos?
Well, A LOT. Let me break it down.
Good for the Environment
Good for You
See the Clean, Feel the Love
During this past Thanksgiving, my mom and I put Ecos to the test! You can only imagine how full of dirty dishes our sink and counter tops were after dinner and dessert! While using Ecos, we found it was easier to put the soap on a sponge rather than filling the sink. Bubbles formed and stuck-on-food came off easily. After cleaning, hands were left smooth rather than some products that dry out your hands after use.
My mom raved about how the dishes "...truly felt squeaky clean".
See for yourself
Ecos is a great replacement to your current dish soap. Why use a product that cannot guarantee a positive economic impact? Ecos stands for bettering the planet and the company's mission and production has led me to being a supporter and consumer!
Check out Ecos here by visiting
I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel to Washington DC with a group of intelligent, passionate, and well rounded students for the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Social Justice trip. With social justice, empowerment, learning, and passion; I knew this trip was going to be an experience I would never forget. UMass Dartmouth SAIL posted on their Instagram about the Social Justice Trip and after reading about the trip, I signed up. 40 seats were available and I was beyond happy to have made the deadline!
About the Trip
As a group, we traveled to Washington DC by bus to visit significant places and landmarks that demonstrate African American history and culture. We visited the Frederick Douglass House, the NEW Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the African American Civil War Museum, and Howard University. Prior to the trip, I had never been to DC let alone any of this locations so I was thrilled to finally experience these places and learn the history deeply embedded in America's roots.
Frederick Douglass House
Frederick Douglass was a powerful leader in the anti-slavery movement, a public speaker, and the first African American to hold a high US government rank. We had the pleasure of visiting his home.
It was eye-opening to see each room preserved so delicately. Seeing the tools used to wash clothing, the fabrics and patterns, and the decorations gave insights on the daily life of Douglass. It was beautiful and haunting at the same time; to see where such a great and powerful man once spent his days and where he had passed, by the front door itself!
It was haunting to me to contrast how Douglass lived compared to other African Americans during his time.
National Museum of African American History and Culture
When I read that we were going to see the NEW National Museum of African American History and Culture, excitement came to mind. I have read reviews, seen videos, and watched interviews of people who toured the museum.
First of all, I believe ALL schools should bring their students on a trip to this museum. When learning about slavery as a child, it is difficult to truly comprehend the savagery and horror of what was the system.
Exploring the museum showed what words and textbooks cannot represent. You become a changed person when you see a child's cradle with slave chains on it. Your heart will wrench when you see the children's toys mocking African Americans. You will feel disgusted, revolted, and horrified with every step throughout the museum. You will feel helpless when you see Emmett Till in his casket. You will cry and weep and FEEL EMOTIONS, and that's perfect.
People need to understand African American history and culture. People must feel and see the pain and suffering of centuries. People who are judgmental, racist, and all around hateful NEED to walk through this museum. As Donald Trump takes his place into office (Dear God, how did this happen?), the American population as a whole should go through this museum and recognize the devastating history.
We, the people of this country, cannot make change without knowledge and there are far too many people who are uneducated in the history of African American culture. This museum is significant in so many ways and its ability to educate people of all races and backgrounds is astounding.
The African American Civil War Museum Monument
When you visualize war, what do you see? Death? Violence? The divide between men? Most don't picture the Civil War with this thought in mind; African Americans wanted to enlist in the war due to being equal with the white soldiers enlisted. Being in the same uniform and being treated equally as a solider was a leading step in the civil rights movement. Below are some photographs from the museum which demonstrate the strides African Americans made during the Civil War.
The African American Civil War Museum
When you walk among Howard University, the sense of school pride and empowerment cannot be denied. A beautiful school with a luscious and rich history, Howard University is a Historically Black University (HBCU). Meeting some members of the student body, the students were so intelligent, passionate, and full of grace and poise. Learning about the history of fraternities and sororities and the significance of the school was the icing on the trip.
Here are some other images I took on the trip!
Wrap Up & Final Thoughts
As someone who has always been open-minded, and judgement free, it horrifies me on how most non-liberal white people act and think. During this election season, we have seen the worst from people. I cannot believe the hate the BLM movement receives and the ignorance of most people regarding the movement. This trip has made me more empowered as a US citizen, as a friend, and as an ally. This trip has lit my fire and has influenced me in many positive ways.
As Donald Trump is sworn into office (Again...Dear God, WHY?!), we are going to need more passionate and informed people to fight and stick up for the lives of not only African Americans, but Muslims, Native Americans and Latinos (as well as women, too). Our country is divided and with this trip, I am more determined to be a safe space and a fighting ally for those who are mistreated.
American history is wrapped in our daily lives, yet most do not notice it. We ignore our history due to the shame and disgrace we feel.
(I hope this isn't too blunt...) but white people NEED to go to the historic locations and museums that I was so lucky to go to. Racism and hatred will continue occurring until education and acceptance is instilled. I was very disappointed with the lack of white people in the museum while we toured and there is no excuse! No matter your race, gender, age; Americans need to be truly educated about African American history. Public schools do not do enough!
Empower and educate yourself. Go to museums. Go to BLM rallies. Correct people when they are misinformed. Correct people when their "joke" isn't funny. Remember their names: Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice...the list (sadly) goes on. Don't stop fighting. Let your voice be heard.
Who am I? What do I want to do? Who do I want to become? I'm too young for an existential crisis, or am I?
This has been a very difficult time in my life.
Change: people leaving, coming and going. New tasks and expectations. Growth as well as self-dwindling. It is beyond difficult to stay motivated when it feels like meaning is lost.
When seeking guidance, support, and empathy from the adults and friends in my life, I have learned the majority of us are all suffering with our own internal and external issues. As I try to solve my own issues and find inner peace, I extend my own actions and suggestions to you, with the hope I can help others who feel some sort of darkness in their own lives.
Our minds save and destroy ourselves. We self-sabotage ourselves. We build ourselves up. We are the only force truly responsible for our own happiness, no matter how difficult it is to find our own happiness. So how to we save ourselves from ourselves?
Remind yourself of who you are and your capabilities.
I am 19. I was just in high school. But, I removed that thought from my mind. I force myself to focus on my field; to push and push and push to become more educated and experienced, leaving no room for life outside of that. I removed the thought that I am a kid, that I am always a professional. But this is self destructive.
I am on the track of reminding myself daily that I can make mistakes, life does not need to be only focused on my career, I can be happy without obsessing over my career. My fears are that I will never be a successful professional in my field and I will never have the career that I desire, but these fears cripple my happiness. Every day I will remind myself that my fears cannot dictate my happiness and actions. Every day I will remind myself that I am worthy of happiness, non-busy days, calmness, and freedom outside of my career and career goals.
Remind yourself that you are only human and you can only push yourself so far.
As previously stated, my fears feel as if they cripple me,leading to anxiety, worry, and panic. A counselor gave me a wonderful piece of advice I must share.
Every day, for at least 10 minutes, go away on vacation. Shut off your cell phone and your mind. Set a timer for at least 10 minutes, sit, and breathe deeply. Visualize a place you would like to be; a previous vacation, a place you hope to visit someday, your happy spot. Focus deeply on hiking, the sand in between your toes, water rushing upon you, the crisp autumn breeze. Be there undoubtedly, and be there alone. Don't allow yourself to be distracted by tasks, worries, and anxiety. Enjoy your vacation and your deep breathing.
When the timer ticks and you are relocated from your vacation, continue the breathing and the mindset. You will appear open, welcoming, and friendly to others.
Focus on the Positive and the Beauty
I despise this phrase: "focus on the positive". But, it's true. If negativity swarms your life, you will sink. I feel this deeply now. As I attend a university I feel as bleak, glum, and depressing, this notion is making all aspects of my life feel the same. Focusing on the beauty and little things are helping me find the positive person I have lost.
Let the "New" In
Get out There
Trying new things, getting out there, leaving the house... it can feel like the heaviest weight. It can feel impossible.
Doing so can help alleviate the negativity. I am pushing myself to do things I am not prone to doing, like going to the school hockey game with a new group of friends, going on a mini road trip to a far away mall, and planning a Karaoke night with old friends. I am pushing myself to meet new friends and being open to meeting new people. I am pushing myself to reconnect with old friends and reestablish the bond.
Doing all of these things is pushing the darkness out of my life.
Give New Hobbies and Things a Try
Go outside what you know. Try things that may be different or strange.
Try a new hobby
Meet a version of yourself that has been hidden. Try a new hobby. Painting, drawing, singing, perhaps something expressive. I am currently trying coloring and photography. I am terrible, absolutely horrible at coloring and drawing; but that's okay. It feels good to try something new and odd.
Start a collection.
I am now beginning a pin and button collection. Why? I tell myself for fashion. In reality? It feels like a new scavenger hunt and an exciting and fresh adventure. Don't hoard but collecting something like stamps, magnets, records or something else may be the new adventure needed.
Learn Something New
Enlighten yourself. Allow yourself to grow. Move forward by learning. Find a new topic you'd like to learn more about. Feed your mind and curiosity by opening it up through learning. Perhaps learn a new instrument or something like embroidery or crochet. Perhaps take classes, watch documentaries, listen to podcasts.
I am allowing myself to learn more about sustainability by classes, films, discussions, conferences and more. I highly recommend watching Before the Flood while it's free online.
Try New Things
Escape the old. Don't be haunted. Nostalgia is deadly, beautiful, but deadly.
Do Something You've Been Putting Off
We all procrastinate; it's what makes us human. Gain a feeling of accomplishment by doing something you've been putting off. Maybe you need to reorganize your place or something similar. For me, I've been putting off applying for my passport and I FINALLY did it. It feels good. A little pat on the back.
Focus on You
It's your time, no one else's. Give it a shot, focus on you.
Meet Yourself Again
Reconnect With Yourself
Somewhere on this journey, I lost pieces of myself that I used to value. I used to write songs; I had books filled with chords and lyrics. I used to write poems; I had several thick leather-bound journals filled with poetry. I used to write plays; two of mine were copywritten and directed. I used to perform music; but that part of me hasn't been on stage in years.
Revisiting old interests helps me find myself. I am returning to guitar and performing, I will be updating my YouTube regularly. I will be returning to writing, through journaling and blogging. Revisiting the aspects of myself used to like is helping me find who I am.
Reconnect With Nature
We are often so consumed in our lives, we forget about the serenity and peace nature can bring. Explore. Take drives. Go on nature walks. photograph nature, let nature bring you to ease. Nature brings realizations to light.
Reconnect with Old Dreams
What were the dreams you said goodbye to? Did you want to write a book or become published? Did you want to travel and see certain places? What dreams did you let go of and miss?
Visit those thoughts again. Perhaps visiting old dreams will help you feel fulfilled.
I have always, and I do mean ALWAYS, wanted to become a model. I spent years pushing for this and had the opportunity to walk in fashion shows a year ago. I am revisiting this dream that I temporarily dropped but want to pursue and achieve.
A Wrap Up
Be Gentle and Honest With Yourself
You are worthy of love, peace, calmness, and joy. Don't neglect yourself, don't reject these things. Go easy on yourself. Treat yourself like how your loved ones treat you.
Do What's Best for You
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