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Book Review: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist Book CoverThe Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This book is a quick read that is filled to the brim with wisdom, insights and life lessons. It’s not dry or boring and doesn’t just tell you how to feel purposeful in this crazy, confusing world. But, through a great adventure and a story that is very well written, the reader walks away feeling enlightened with a peace of mind that your “personal legend” can be found and fulfilled at any age even when you are face to face with the worst of times.  

What’s a personal legend? You’ll just have to read the book to find out!

Here are some of my favorite quotes from this book:

“He was learning a lot of new things. Some of them were things that he had already experienced, and weren’t really new, but that he had never perceived before.”

“People need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they want and need.”

“There is only thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

“Hej!” from Copenhagen

In early December, I traveled to Denmark and found my new favorite European city: Copenhagen! I can’t put my finger on exactly why I was so intrigued and enthusiastic about this city, but I left knowing that it was one of the best weekend getaways I’ve ever had.

The city, in general, is very clean. It was refreshing after coming from the dirty city center of Madrid. Copenhagen also had a really great balance of trendiness and history, which is very appealing to any world traveler in their twenties.

Above all, I think what made my experience so amazing was how kind the people were. They all seemed so helpful and happy! It put me in the best mood for the entirety of my trip. (They also had Christmas decorations up around the city which may have boosted my spirits as well).

The food in Copenhagen… UGH! Maybe this was the real reason why I loved it so much?

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Simple Raw, Copenhagen, Denmark, Dec. 2017

I had the best, and prettiest, vegan brunch (that came with chocolate cake) at a quaint restaurant called Simple Raw.

Then, for lunch, I found a trendy, and what seemed to be very popular, bar/restaurant/cafe that had vegan sandwiches, and for dessert, I had (BUM BUM BUM!) another piece of chocolate cake… I couldn’t help it!

For dinner, I made the journey to Paper Island, a warehouse with 50 food stalls of every variety of street food your heart desires. I had a vegan burger with fried plantain chips. YUM!

Copenhagen is a really great city to just wander, especially near Nayhvn street, which has colorful buildings filled with restaurants and shops along the harbor. And, surprisingly, I was able to do all of this adventuring on foot in one day.

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Nayhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark, Dec. 2017


Many people don’t travel to Copenhagen because it’s known to be a bit pricey, but I think that the trip is so worth it! So, treat yourself! Splurge! Go to Copenhagen!

Veganized

This past December, I made a very out-of-character decision. I became vegan!

Yes, I went from eating cheese and meat with literally every meal to consuming absolutely no animal products, cutting it out of my diet all at once, cold turkey (pun intended).

My main reason for doing so was I wanted to fully commit to a healthy lifestyle in attempts to lose weight. At the time, in my mind, this was going to be a very temporary thing until I reached my fitness and health goals because, one, I grew up on meat and cheese as the true Wisconsinite I am, and two, I think becoming vegan may be a sin for a Filipino.

Three months later, I am absolutely loving my vegan lifestyle. My overall health has improved, and I feel light and refreshed even after big meals that leave me full for hours. Also, to my surprise, finding vegan options, even while traveling around Europe, is very easy.

More and more people are becoming vegan. So, there are now more vegan restaurants opening around the world as well as restaurants adding vegan options to their menus. One of the best and most exciting things about this lifestyle is discovering foods that you can eat that you would never think are vegan. My favorite discovery thus far: OREOS!

Some vegans are more strict than others. I personally eat anything that is not directly made with eggs, milk, etc. and will eat it even if it says it may contain traces of such products. This helps me have a wider variety of options, especially when traveling.

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Brunch at Le Pain Quotidien.

I have had some of the best meals of my life since becoming vegan. Le Pain Quotidien, a chain restaurant all around Europe with some locations in the United States, has DELICIOUS vegan and vegetarian breakfast and lunch dishes (just to name a few: açaí bowls, hummus bowls, and, my favorite, warm oatmeal with fruit and chocolate).

I’ve found a couple of bakeries in Madrid with vegan options. My favorite is called Celicioso that is completely gluten-free, and their vegan options are also sugar-free. These particular vegan pastries are absolutely. To. Die. For. (Picture below: Vegan, sugar-free chocolate cupcake).

 

IMG_0166There is also a completely vegan bakery called freedom cakes with several locations in Madrid’s city center. Can you tell I have a huge sweet tooth?

The best part about being vegan is I know I’m always eating healthy! And, I don’t have to eat things that taste bad, that I don’t like, or leave me hungry. I can feel full and eat good food that I want without feeling guilty!

If you’ve ever thought of becoming “veganized”, I would highly recommend it, and there are so many resources that can help you on your journey along the way.

Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird CoverMy Opinion of the Book

The first book I finished this year was a classic: To Kill A Mockingbird. Now, I am going to admit something I don’t want to admit. When this book was assigned in high school, I didn’t read the whole thing. Actually, I didn’t read the majority of it. I watched the movie instead. *Cringes at 16-year-old self*

So, I “reread” the book six years later and felt full regret for not reading it the first time. I loved this book!

I loved this book because of how it reveals the darkest parts of society through the point of view of an innocent, naïve child. I think Lee is brilliant for using this perspective to unveil how nasty and compassionate mankind can be all at the same time. Scout’s journey through Atticus’ trial goes to show that the people around us heavily influence how we see and treat others, but, at the same time, we are completely capable as individuals, sometimes as young as six years old, to decide for ourselves how we will see and treat others.

I feel like if I had read the (whole) book in high school, I would not have appreciated it as much as I do now. Now that I am older and have seen more of the world, this book has so much more meaning to me. In general, I think high school students really couldn’t grasp how important this book really is.

Why This Book is Still Relevant Today

Over the years this book has been banned, unbanned and banned again from school curricula. The StarTribune recently wrote an article on Duluth schools no longer assigning To Kill a Mockingbird (as well as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) as mandatory reading but will still have the books available to students to read as they wish.

The StarTribune article explains that the argument that ultimately swayed this decision to be made was that adolescents are already exposed to racial slurs and indecencies in the real world. So, why would we expose them to it in their education? To continue, a school environment should be a safe place for all students, and requiring students to read this book in a classroom setting could make students of color feel uncomfortable or unequal.

I do not stand strongly on one side of this very heated, continued debate, and I am not a person of color and cannot agree or disagree if this argument is true. If it is true, then I agree with the decision to ban the book.

However, I fear that if I had not been assigned this book in high school, I may have not picked it up again years later. I don’t think I can articulate just how very important I think this book is because it explores an issue that started hundreds of years ago that still rings true today. The issue may even be getting worse!

I would hate to see less people, especially young adults, reading this book over the years because it was banned from school cirriculum.

So, to that point, I ask: why not use this book in the education system for leverage and as a tool to teach students at a young age to open their eyes and their hearts, to influence them to see and treat each other as equals, and to allow them to choose as individuals how they will fall into this nasty and compassionate mess we call mankind?

Why Anything and Everything?

Welcome to my site!

I thought for my first blog post, I would start by answering the question: why am I doing this anyway?

There are two reasons. First, I felt that I wasn’t writing enough. I have journals and diaries and I have had a personal blog in the past, but I still wasn’t motivated or finding the time (or making the time) to write in them.

The second reason is that I wanted to build a dynamic portfolio and stay relevant in the PR/Advertising/Marketing world while I live out my dream to live in Madrid, Spain for one year. I am hoping this blog will help me to stand out in my future job application processes.

So, I am combining my love for writing and my passion for the PR/Advertising/Marketing industry to motivate myself to keep up with this blog and website not only for professional growth but for personal growth as well.

Why call it Anything and Everything?

Anything and Everything is not just a blog, it’s also a website, a dynamic portfolio and a resume. But, I’m not strictly using this blog/website for professional reasons. This is why it is composed of fun, personal blog posts. So, this little project of mine has many different layers and is truly a little bit of anything and everything!

The tagline, “A little bit of everything all rolled into one.”, comes from one of my favorite 90’s songs, “B*tch” by Meredith Brooks (not the most classy title, I know). In the song, Brooks lists all of the adjectives she identifies with, all of them contradicting one another. This. Song. Is. Me.

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Park Guell, Barcelona, Spain

I am many contradicting things all in one 22-year-old woman. There are so many layers to my personality, to my background, to what makes me, me that it would be so unfair to describe myself as just a few agreeable adjectives.

I want Anything and Everything to be a reflection of myself and who I really am: a little bit of everything all rolled into one.

Thanks for stopping by! Keep scrolling for my latest posts!