COOL BRAND ALERT: COLOURPOP

ColourPop is an American cosmetics brand based in Los Angeles and owned by brother-sister duo, Laura and John Nelson. You can find their products at Ulta or through their website. I really like ColourPop because of their morals, affordability, and quality.

ColourPop is 100% cruelty-free which is something I look for in all the makeup I buy. Cosmetic animal testing is cruel and not required. It’s done mainly out of convention and to provide data that can be used when faced with a lawsuit, but this doesn’t excuse it. A company using animal testing speaks to their brand’s shortcomings and absence of compassion.

Products from ColourPop are known for being affordable with great quality. In their “Meet ColourPop” video, Laura and John explain they’re able to make such affordable, high quality products because they have all their formulators on their “campus” in LA where they also design, produce, and manufacture products. They have collaborations with makeup artists like Kathleen Lights and Ellarie, and other brands.

I recently discovered my Laura Mercier translucent setting powder has talc in it, which causes flashback and is potentially harmful. I also don’t like spending $40 for a setting powder. I’ve since switched to ColourPop’s $10 No Filter Loose Setting Powder in translucent and it’s arguably better than the Laura Mercier one. They sell it in multiple colors, too!

ColourPop has amazing jelly eyeshadows, cosmetic glitter, a very popular foundation, and just a ton of great products focused around the eyes, lips, and face that won’t break the bank. They even produce vegan products, although they aren’t completely vegan.

THE YEMEN CRISIS

The republic of Yemen is a country located in the Middle East, specifically at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. In 2018, they had a reported population of 28.5 million people. Right now, the country is experiencing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in the midst of a civil war.

Yemen’s civil war began in 2014 when Houthi rebels took control of the country’s capital city, Sanaa. After unsuccessful negotiations, rebels seized the presidential palace. The president resigned and violence persisted between the Yemeni government and the UAE. The country has experienced unlawful, Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, attacks on civilians, bombings of hospitals, schools, mosques, and more.

Already fragile prior to civil conflicts, Yemen’s economy was not equipped to handle the current humanitarian crisis that has only exacerbated their vulnerabilities. According to an article by Aljazeera, “Tens of thousands have been killed, an estimated four million displaced and 80 percent of the country’s 29 million people are dependent on aid for survival.” The United Nations World Food Programme reports nearly 10 million people are facing acute food shortages.

Almost 18 million people don’t have enough clean water or access to adequate sanitation. They’re facing the world’s largest cholera outbreak, racking up more than 2 million cases since 2016, and are of course being affected by COVID-19. UNICEF reports only half of the country’s health facilities are functioning and that many of the ones operating lack basic equipment.

Often, pregnant women don’t have access to hospitals. “Women and children are disproportionately affected by the near complete collapse of health services. Our objective is to save lives and eventually rebuild the health care system. For far too many people, time is running out,” says Rabih Torbay, president and CEO of Project HOPE.

Yemen needs help, and has needed it for a long time. The news coverage on this issue– the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, is extremely minimal in the US. They’re facing a cholera outbreak, COVID-19, a civil war, and a humanitarian crisis all at the same time. Yemen belongs to its people and to them only, not the Houthi or Saudi Arabia.

The UN is trying to raise $2.4 billion for aid to Yemen and has yet to reach their goal. If you have the means, please consider donating to one the donation link in this Google Document that also includes petition links, email templates, and educational resources. In addition, you can play a multiple-choice quiz game on freerice.com (or on the Freerice app) which donates 10 grams of rice to people in need via the UN’s World Food Programme for every right question.

TRENDS I’M VIBING WITH

Monochromatic outfits

I see a lot of monochromatic loungewear sets and think they’re so cute and stylish. I’m also into nicer monochromatic outfits like the ones below; it’s so easy. I like it with similar shades, too. Would love for the navy with black and ivory with white stigma to end. It’s not a thing.

Mini bags

This Y2K style is so cute and I’m happy for its comeback. Plus, you don’t have to spend a lot of money because mini bags are everywhere. If you’re looking to invest, however, the Prada Re-Edition 2000 nylon mini bag is amazing and vintage.

JW PEI Eva Shoulder Bag
Pleated skirts

Pleated skirts look amazing paired with a crewneck sweatshirt or oversized t-shirt, but can be worn with nicer tops too. Overall a solid piece that I’m excited to start wearing.

American Apparel Gabardine Tennis Skirt
Collars with crewnecks

This is such a nice way to spice up a not-so-spicy crewneck look. Plus it’s amazing with a pleated skirt and these aren’t hard to find. I got one that was Brandy Melville from Depop, but thrift stores and department stores have these, too.

via Madison Beer on Instagram
Loose pants

I am done with skinny jeans. DONE. The big pants + little shirt combo is something the fashion industry desperately needed, and there are so many styles of loose pants you’re bound to find one that speaks to you: denim, pleated pants, lounge pants, corduroy– I prefer all these in loose styles.

Levi’s Loose Straight Women’s Jeans
Topshop Ted Corduroy Wide Leg Pants
Biker shorts

I didn’t like biker shorts for a long time, but when I found myself outgrowing the “giant tops that covers my shorts” look, I thought to try biker shorts and I am eternally grateful for it. They’re comfortable and cute, and make your outfit look more put together. There’s a ton of places to get biker shorts, but I like Aritzia’s Tna Equator Short 7″.

Princes Diana did. that.
Rectangle / Y2K style sunglasses

Y2K is one of my favorite styles and I draw a lot of fashion inspiration from it. Rectangle sunglasses give me that vibe, but also don’t scream “2000s” as much as a Juicy Couture sweatsuit does, for example.

Princess Polly Creeper Sunglasses
Mary Jane shoes

I have a hard time finding shoes I like beside sneakers LOL, but Mary Janes are unique and fun, have been around forever, and could go with seriously any outfit. In addition to the Mary Jane style, Doc Martens’ 1461 Smooth Leather Platform Shoes are cute and not your typical shoe. ~Diversification~

Doc Martens Polley Smooth Leather Mary Janes
Victorian / Renaissance inspired jewelry

This style + chunky chains are my favorites right now. Jewelry really has the ability to make an outfit or dress it up and give you confidence. The great thing about the nameplate necklace below is you can customize it however you like, and the Old English font is dope.

Princess Polly Excalibur Sword Earrings
Vibeszn Classic Old English Nameplate Necklace
Chunky hoops

We all know hoop earrings are the best, and the chunky style is included. I stick to small hoops because I can’t stand heavy earrings so I like the fact that you can do this trend in any size.

PAVOI 14k Yellow Gold Chunky Hoops from Amazon

HOW “NOT BEING POLITICAL” IS PRIVILEGE

“Not being political” is a privilege to those who are not oppressed. I’m 20 years old and until very recently, hadn’t given politics much thought. I’m embarrassed, truthfully, about my lack of participation and knowledge of politics because it’s a direct result of my privilege, and I’m embarrassed I used my privilege in such a futile manner when there’s ways I can use it to help.

I’m writing this in the hopes of reaching people who say they’re “not political” or haven’t taken the time to educate themselves and explain how inherently harmful it is. I’ve been there, and I’m not damning anyone to hell for it, just asking them to take a look at the greater picture and change. You may not feel you’re affected by the components and faults of our government, but you are and so is everyone you claim to care about– some more than others.

It’s important to be involved in politics because government and politics affect nearly every aspect of our lives. Not having a stance on something that affects a marginalized group puts you with the oppressors.

Additionally, politicians are harming our country. They’re looking to exclude entire groups of people by eliminating their civil rights, they’re ignoring environmentalists’ pleas for action, and they’re looking to put policies in place about this.

Political ignorance is nothing new, and it has contributed to so many issues that are embedded in our government. Your knowledge has power, and your privilege has even more. Stand up to corruption and bias; use your voice! Being impartial about politics is not an option when people’s’ lives, civil rights, and overall well-beings are at stake. Everything you do matters.

With privilege there is a responsibility to inform ourselves, construct opinions, and enact change– so vote! It’s not too late to educate yourself. You can register to vote, check your voter registration, find your polling place, and more here: https://www.vote.org/

BLACK WOMEN ARE BEING KILLED

“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.”

– Malcolm X


Na’kia Crawford

While stopped at a red light on June 14 following runnings errands with her grandmother in Akron, Ohio, Na’kia Crawford was shot and killed. She had just graduated high school and was set to attend Central State University in the fall. She was found by police around 1:25pm, in broad daylight, with multiple gunshot wounds. Crawford died later in the hospital. Her grandmother was not injured.

In the words of Akron mayor, Dan Horrigan, “The future she dreamed of was stolen from her.”

https://www.gofundme.com/f/nakia-memorial-fund

https://www.change.org/p/akron-city-council-justice-for-na-kia-crawford


Breonna Taylor

In the early hours of March 13, Louisville police used a battering ram to break into the apartment of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, executing a search warrant. After “a brief confrontation” with Taylor’s boyfriend in which the police claim he fired on them first, they fired and struck Breonna at least eight times. The police were investigating two men suspected of selling drugs outside of Taylor’s apartment with a “no-knock” warrant. The single officer injured is expected to make a full recovery.

Taylor was an EMT. Her mother, Tamika Palmer says her daughter “Had a whole plan on becoming a nurse and buying a house and then starting a family.”

Louisville has banned “no-knock” warrants following Taylor’s murder, which means they can no longer enter a home unannounced. “Breonna’s Law” also requires police and corrections officers to wear body cameras while serving warrants. Taylor was murdered on March 13, 2020, and her killers have still not been arrested.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/9v4q2-justice-for-breonna-taylor

https://www.change.org/p/andy-beshear-justice-for-breonna-taylor


Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells

The body of Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, a 27-year-old transgender black woman, was found on June 8 in Philadelphia alongside the Schuylkill River. She had suffered stab wounds and trauma to the head and face, and both her legs were severed. It is reported by friends that she was with a man not long before her murder. An arrest warrant for Fells’ killer has been issued after much out-cry.

Fell’s friends say she “Lived her truth so loud that you could hear her a mile away.” She had plans to return to school and dreams of being a fashion designer.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/dominiquefells

https://www.change.org/p/philadelphia-police-department-justice-for-dominique-fells


Riah Milton

One day after Fells’ body was found, 25-year-old Riah Milton was shot and killed during a robbery that took place in Liberty Township, Ohio. She was a transgender woman who worked as a health aide and was a student at the University of Cincinnati. Milton was misgendered in many press releases which also used her deadname– the name she was given at birth, not the name she had chosen for herself.

https://www.change.org/p/liberty-townships-board-of-trustees-justice-for-riah-milton-womanmurdered-in-liberty-township-ohio

The GoFundMe that was created for Riah’s memorial has been closed.


There are more black women who have been killed in the past weeks, and many more throughout all time as a direct result of systemic racism, sexism, and transphobia. I’m thankful there appears to be change happening in our world regarding these issues, but there is also a lot of hate. Don’t stop fighting for equality. This movement is not a fad. Black Lives Matter and Black Trans Lives Matter today and always!!!

ANOTHER IMPORTANT TOPIC is the fact that in the past two weeks, six black men were found hanged by a tree in a public space. Authorities named all six of these as suicides, but some are being investigated.


Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau

19-year-old Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau was found dead on Saturday, a week after she went missing from Florida. Tallahassee police found her body along with 75-year-old Victoria “Vicki” Sims’. Salau tweeted about having been sexually assaulted by a man who offered to give her a ride while looking for a place to stay after a protest in Florida. She tweeted about escaping the man’s house and calling the police, then gave a description of the man.

There are countless videos of her speaking on behalf of the Black Lives Matter movement, as she was a leading voice in the area. She was an activist, a friend, and a daughter. According to a friend of Salau, she had taught herself how to sew, paint, and design her own clothes.

There is not a GoFundMe for Toyin’s family directly– they’ve been said to be abusive and untrustworthy. Instead, here is the Oluwatoyin Salau Freedom Fighters Fund that is through Justice for Black Girls: https://www.justiceforblackgirls.com/oluwatoyin-freedom-fighters-fund

https://www.change.org/p/tallahassee-police-to-bring-her-justice

UPDATE: Aaron Glee has confessed to kidnapping and killing Oluwatoyin Salau and Victoria Sims.


Check out this Twitter thread by @therealjrm with over 20 ways on how to protect black woman.

BLACK LIVES MATTER

Racism is not an uncomfortable topic if you’re not racist.

I’m not black, so I will never understand the fear and oppression black people have faced and experienced and continue to experience. To the black community: I hear you and I mourn with you. I’m so angry and I’m so frustrated, but I will do what I can to fight for you. Sharing aesthetic Instagram stories about Black Lives Matter means nothing if these words don’t match your actions. We need to continually check our behavior and that of others.

White privilege exists as a result of historic and enduring racism. It doesn’t mean my life or the life of any other white person hasn’t been hard, but that the color of my skin isn’t one of the things making my life or any white person’s life any harder. I have never in my 20 years of life feared for something because of the color of my skin. I’ve benefited from it.

Do not dare say “all lives matter.” Black Lives Matter is about black people and all the struggles and obstacles they’ve gone through as a direct result of their skin color. There was no “all lives matter” before BLM because people seek to invalidate BLM by saying “all lives matter.” They want to take attention away from it, and for what? Are you so offended black people are finally receiving support and you’re not the center of attention? If that’s the case, kindly shut the f*ck up. No one is saying black lives matter more than others. The injustice and racial oppression against all black lives is the focal point of the movement.

Here are anti-racism resources with information on how to educate yourself as a white person. It has books, films, podcasts, and more. It’s our responsibility to create change. Waiting and watching won’t change anything. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BRlF2_zhNe86SGgHa6-VlBO-QgirITwCTugSfKie5Fs/mobilebasic

A Twitter thread offering advice for protestors on how to stay safe and what to do in violent or dangerous circumstances: https://twitter.com/rsqchae/status/1266921042259447813

HOW TO HELP

Donate to Black Lives Matter: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019

Donate to the George Floyd Memorial Fund: https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd

Donate to a bail fund to assist protestors: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GsfJnX62CLaYtZ3Ewd0VVgh7J-W6vIdUBC0x4qsvA8c/mobilebasic

Donate to any of the links on this Twitter thread: https://twitter.com/rosiegguks/status/1266302612250324993

Text “FLOYD” to 55156 to call for action against the police officer who murdered of George Floyd

Text “ENOUGH” to 55156 to call for action against the police officers who murdered of Breonna Taylor

Sign the Justice for George Floyd petition: https://www.change.org/p/mayor-jacob-frey-justice-for-george-floyd

Sign the Justice for Breonna Taylor petition: https://www.change.org/p/andy-beshear-justice-for-breonna-taylor

SAY THEIR NAMES
USE YOUR PRIVILEGE TO HELP

VEGETARIANISM/VEGANISM

The meat industry largely contributes to climate change. It affects air and water quality, ocean health, and greenhouse gas emissions. Beef production, specifically, creates “28, 11, 5, and 6 times more land, irrigation water, greenhouse gases, and nitrogen, respectively, than the average of the other livestock categories” according to PNAS. Not only does the meat industry have a well established carbon footprint, it uses a catastrophic amount of water. More than 2,4000 gallons of water are required to produce a single pound of meat. For perspective, only 25 gallons are needed to produce a pound of wheat. According to PETA (calm down anti-vegetarian people, it’s just an organization), you can save more water by not eating a pound of meat than you can by not showering for six months.

The global livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all planes, cars, ships, and trains combined. A report from Our World by the United Nations University states that twice as many people believe transportation to be the bigger contributor to global warming, though we see that’s not true. The report’s lead author believes “tackling meat and dairy consumption” is dependent on preventing catastrophic warming.

The argument of animal abuse as support for vegetarianism/veganism doesn’t reach many people, but it reaches me, and is something I feel absolutely necessary to include. “Factory farming” is a term used to describe intensive animal farming or industrial livestock production. The goal of factory farms is to maximize production and minimize cost, at the expense of the livestock. They’re squeezed into cages and boxes so small they can’t move, are fed antibiotics to make them grow faster and be kept alive in unsanitary conditions, and usually face a cruel death while completely conscious. In the dairy industry, female cows are artificially inseminated and separated from their calves at birth. The second they stop producing milk, they’re inseminated again. It’s a vicious cycle.

If you don’t care about the environment and our only planet, or animal rights, then hopefully you care about yourself. A plant based diet, according to MD Anderson Cancer Center, has consistently proven over two decades that it reduces your risk for cancer. It’s important to note a “plant-based diet” doesn’t remove meat completely, but is focused around vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. This type of diet also supports your immune system, reduces inflammation, and can help you maintain a healthy weight. So, for anyone who is hesitant to completely cut out meat, this diet is still helpful to the environment because it calls for less meat consumption, but it’s also helping you.

As for dairy, it’s one of the top sources of artery-clogging saturated fat in the American diet. An analysis published by the British Medical Journal found that most studies do not show any relationship between dairy intake and broken bones or fractures. Dairy consumption is also linked to lung, breast, and ovarian cancers.

I could speak a lot more on this topic, but I want to keep it short because I’m sure I got a lot of eyerolls. Moral of the story: the meat, livestock, and dairy industries are contributing to killing our planet. Meat is not necessary for a healthy human diet– there is protein in foods like quinoa, tofu, beans and legumes, vegetable, nuts, and so much more; and you definitely don’t need need to be drinking another animal’s milk.

I highly recommend documentary What the Health on Netflix. It digs into the relationship between diet and health and could be the inspiration you need to begin a vegan, vegetarian, or plant-based diet. Try cutting out an animal product one at a time or eat less of it– it all helps. And lastly, don’t hate on other people for their diet, whether it includes animal products or not. You’re only responsible for your actions, and I can guarantee unsolicited advice isn’t helpful. Love our planet!

I like this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxvQPzrg2Wg&t=185s

GOING OUT OUTFITS (BASICS)

“Going out” isn’t something we’ll be able to do for a while, but that means there’s ample time to do some online shopping until then so that you’ll have fire fits when the time comes. I think all cities have the same going out vibe for the most part, but I’ve chosen pieces that I think can work for multiple situations.

A lot of online stores have a section labeled “going out tops” or something similar which is super helpful and has good options.

I’ve chosen to do basics for this post because in all seriousness basics is what your closet needs, way more than statement pieces. Statement pieces are great and fun, but they’re hard to rewear and don’t always get their money’s worth.

Basic Tops
Free People Fair and Square Neck Duo Bodysuit

I actually own this exact Free People bodysuit and it’s my most solid basic. It goes with everything, it’s flattering, and stylish. I love square necklines. If this style is too boring for you, look for something with puffy sleeves, ties, or ruching.

UO One-Shoulder Tie Tank Top

The one-shoulder style is an easy way to spice up a basic top, and this knot adds more. Urban Outfitters has this top in some statement piece colors like a dark pink and red that are cute! If you don’t care for the knot, UO has a one-shoulder ripped tank. I have it in forest green and it’s a go-to of mine.

Forever 21 Puff-Sleeve Crop Top

I’ve been on the puffy sleeves wave for a while and I’m so glad it’s finally having its moment. However, I only like a slight puff, like this Forever 21 top because I think too much looks silly. The ties, ruching, and buttons are so cute, but not too much; I think they compliment each other perfectly to make this top a good basic.

Jackets
Princess Polly Western Cord Jacket Black

I have this jacket in beige and it’s my favorite jacket I own. I always get compliments when I wear it, and it’s great because rather than buying a bunch of new cooler weather tops, I can throw it on with a tank or short sleeve underneath.

Princess Polly Puffer Jacket Beige

Puffer jackets are so cute in my opinion and perfect for a casual going out outfit. The length on this is perfect because it looks good paired with a cropped shirt or bodysuit and jeans/pants whereas a longer length wouldn’t be as trendy.

Basic Bottoms

I have some beef with shorts because beside denim shorts (which aren’t usually nice enough to go out in), there are very minimal options. This means you have to wear jeans or pants, which is totally fine, but not always convenient like when it’s hot outside. I like Levi’s 501 Original Shorts for denim shorts. Levi’s just has the best denim!

Levi’s 501 Original Fit Women’s Jeans

I’ve said it before– every girl and gay needs a pair of 501s. I’m very over skinny jeans, though they’ll probably never go completely out of style. I wear the 501 Skinny style because I have thin legs so this style fits me like the one above should. Levi’s also has a skinny jean style for those of you looking for one.

Zara Pleated Skort

This pleated style is super cute and a way to get by wearing shorts while looking like you’re wearing a skirt. I think the pleats are more in style than ruffle flounce shorts, too.

Princess Polly Lola Mini Skirt

I have this exact skirt and it’s a good staple. I definitely have more statement tops than I do bottoms, so whenever I want to wear a certain top I can count on this to go with it. Princess Polly also has it in black which is an equally wearable basic.

Shoes
Doc Martens 1460 Bex Smooth Leather Platform Boots

I absolutely love my Doc Martens. I have them in white and black and they’re my most worn shoe for going out. They’re comfortable (although that first wear will give you blisters) and a stylish, timeless look. I always get compliments when I wear mine and I promise they’re not as hard to pull off as you may think. Doc Marten also sells vegan leather styles!

Nike Air Force 1 ’07

Yes, everyone and their mother owns a pair of Air Forces. I’m embarrassed by how many of these shoes I’ve owned throughout the years, but it’s because I can wear them with a big tee and shorts or jeans and a cute top– they’re versatile. Plus there’s a thousand colors in this style of shoe so you’re bound to find one you like. And if you’d rather support an ethical brand, New Balance and Veja have super cute sneakers.

Doc Martens Blaire Hydro Leather Gladiator Sandal

I could probably count the number of times I’ve made eye contact with a pair of sandals and thought to myself “Those are cute.” I personally don’t care for sandals in general and have a difficult time finding a pair that work for me because of my narrow feet. I tried these on because I genuinely think they’re cute, but the straps were too big for my feet *cry*. However, if you don’t have this issue, these are amaze.

Target Women’s Kerrigan Slide Sandals – Universal Thread

I got these sandals as a last minute resort because I’m over my Steve Madden platforms and didn’t own any other “nice” sandals for an upcoming beach trip. They’re not the most interesting pair of shoes, but for $15 I can’t complain. They did their job and are cute enough in my opinion; another good basic to own.

Accessories

I think it’s important to have a good belt or two and basic, everyday jewelry. I don’t think outfits look completed without jewelry, but if you don’t want to spend a lot on your jewelry pieces, look for something in sterling silver (which takes longer to tarnish and can be polished) or gold filled (which lasts longer than gold plated).

Grommet Leather Belt from Amazon

I really like this belt style because it’s kind of grunge, but could be paired with any vibe of outfit. Plus it’d look super cute with a pair of Doc Martens.

Karen Lazar

I’ve been seeing Karen Lazar’s bracelets everywhere, and most commonly I see them stacked. This style is very in right now and I think a lot of products from this company make great everyday accessories. Her bracelets and rings come in yellow gold, rose gold, and sterling silver. Not to mention her bracelets also come in mixed metals! Going to plug my mixed metals post here.

MY FAVORITE PODCASTS

I’m a big podcast person. I listen to them when I’m driving, laying out in the sun, walking on campus to my classes, and more. Most of the podcasts I listen to are crime related, so that’s mainly what I have to recommend, but below are my all-time favorites!

Crime Junkie

This is my favorite crime podcast because every episode covers a different case. Whether it’s a missing person, a murder, or a serial killer it tells a whole story in a single episode. I’m super picky about the narration of podcasts because I don’t want the narrator to go on and on about tangents or play a five minute 911 call that only has ten seconds of anything relevant, but the hosts, Ashley Flowers and Britt are really good at their jobs and I get so excited whenever a new episode is released because they’re always amazing.

Serial

Serial was the first podcast I listened to and still recommend it to everyone. I’ve only listened to the first season, which is about a high school senior, Hae Min Lee, who went missing in 1999 Baltimore. Six weeks later her boyfriend was arrested, but there’s a lot more to it than that. The second season doesn’t have the best reviews, but it seems the third is much better. Plus the host, Sarah Koenig, is great.

Cold

This story is absolutely insane. There are so many surprising and freaky things, but that’s what makes it such an interesting story. It focuses on the Powell family and specifically the disappearance of Susan Powell, wife and mother. The narrator even reads from Susan and her husband’s personal journals that give listeners an intimate look into the family’s twisted dynamic. And the father-in-law… it makes my skin crawl just thinking about him.

Someone Knows Something

I listened to season five of Something Knows Something super randomly and loved it so much that I’m about halfway through the first season right now. The fifth season is about Kerrie Brown, a 15 year old girl from Thompson, Manitoba in Canada who went missing from a house party and was found dead two days later. Over 30 years later the Brown family still doesn’t have answers, but host David Rogen forms a relationship with them and interviews the people involved. Season one is good so far!

Doctor Death

Wondery has a lot of good podcasts, and this is one of them. Doctor Death is about Dallas neurosurgeon Christopher Duntsch whose patients would experience complications not long after their procedure because Duntsch was intentionally harming his patients. Listeners hear from victims and their families, and it discusses the blind faith we put in doctors that ended up changing his patients’ lives forever.

Your Own Backyard

For some reason this podcast hit me really hard, and I think it was because the victim, Kristin Smart is close to my age. Kristin mysteriously disappeared from Cal Poly her freshman year of college in 1996 after being escorted to her on-campus dorm following a party. It’s so heartbreaking, like all these cases, and especially upsetting because it really sounds like they have the culprit from the research discussed by narrator Chris Lambert, but there are tons of roadblocks stopping a conviction.

Call Her Daddy

Call her Daddy is hilarious, but definitely PG-13. It’s hosted by 20-somethings Sofia Franklyn and Alex Cooper who discuss sex, dating, and the trials and tribulations that come with those. In addition to this they offer advice like the acclaimed Gluck Gluck 9000, what to do when you’re feeling suspicious of your partner, and more. These girls are loud and vulgar, but in the best way that makes my core ache from laughing. (Side note: they make some points that I don’t agree with, but like all things, listen and form your own opinion. They’re still hilarious, and now it’s just Alex! I think the show is about to get 100x better).

The Tiny Meat Gang Podcast

Cody Ko and Noel Miller are kings, and you’ve probably heard of or seen their YouTube videos (the Love Island ones are my personal favorite). Every podcast has a different topic, but they’re usually about pop culture, celebrities, and completely random things like types of bottle openers. Cody and Noel are both comedians so every episode is full of humor, and they even have a few songs under their duo-group Tiny Meat Gang.

STOP USING THE R-WORD

It is very easy to eliminate a word, or words, from your vocabulary–even easier when you understand the harm it causes to an entire group of people. The word “retard” is harmful, and it doesn’t matter how you use it in a sentence. For a long time I did not have an understanding of the baggage this word carries and I assume many people don’t considering how often I hear it being used. So, if you need to be informed why this word is offensive and why you should stop saying it, please keep reading.

The R-word was originally used to refer to people with disabilities because it means “to make slow; delay the development or progress of,” which was how people with disabilities have been perceived– slower in development than people without disabilities. The R-word has been used in an insulting context, but as we know, the true definition of this word was not meant to cause harm. Nevertheless it became an insult over time.

This word has evolved into being used to refer to something moronic or unintelligent, which is not what people with disabilities are. I remember kids being called “gay” and “retarded” when I was growing up because people wanted to hurt their feelings and offend them, not necessarily because they were either of those things. When you repeatedly use a word in a context it’s not meant for, its true and original meaning is still a part of it, but dilutes, which is what’s happened here. The R-word became an adjective to describe unintelligent things, people, etc. while remaining associated with people with disabilities.

This word is a slur, pejorative like any racial slur. It is used to offend and cause harm to people. Read that sentence again, and understand the baggage the R-word retains. An article by Spread the Word has a quote from Special Olympics athlete Joseph Franklin Stephens about the R-word being used to refer to people with disabilities, which includes himself. He says, “It means that the rest of you are excluding us from your group. We are something that is not like you and something that none of you would ever want to be.” The R-word is still damaging when used to refer to someone with a disability.

As seen above, the R-words is not only disrespectful and abhorrent, but exclusive, too. People with disabilities should not be viewed as a separate group from people without disabilities. We are all people, and people with disabilities are not just that– “with disabilities.” They have complex lives like everyone else, hobbies, interests, careers, and more and should never be made to feel different.

In conclusion, no one should be using the R-word. It makes me sad how often I hear it to this day, and I try my best to educate someone when they use it. Please, please stop using this word (and all slurs). It takes very little self-control to remove a singular (1) word, and even a few words from your vocabulary; and if you’re unable to do so, maybe reconsider your priorities and improve your capacity for fortitude.

I didn’t know how to include this in the post, but I want it here LOL so check out this iconic advertisement by Hilary Duff about using “gay” as an insult: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_MIb3mYznE