Money

Let's talk about money.

About our relationship with money.

I don't know about you, but my relationship status with money stands as: It's complicated.

I've gotten super into podcasts lately (thanks Joel!) and a particularly interesting one is called Death, Sex and Money. It's a podcast where the host talks to people about those things that are typically considered taboo in decent conversation, but frankly shouldn't be.

Talking about money is often a no-no. Which is weird. Money affects us all. Those who have a lot, those who have a little, those who want more, need more, or simply have hangups about it.

I'll be the first to admit that I have some money hangups. I suppose it's not all that surprising. I've spent my twenties being pretty darn broke.

While it was somewhat charming at first young, struggling artist living in the big city has a certain daydreamy quality I'm beginning to get a bitter taste about it. I'm a bit tired of not being able to build a reliable savings or even pretend to be able to have enough money available to start planning for retirement. (Because as all financial planners will tell you: start early!) 

Writing this, however, does force me to stop pouting and look at all sides of the equation. This has caused me to notice the many ways in which I have it incredibly good. The truth is that my level of broke is occurring after having a number of comforts and safety measures paid for.

I live alone. It's a studio apartment, I'm not being grandiose about it, but I could save a lot of money if I was living in a place with several roommates. I've made the choice to pay more in rent for the luxury of privacy. I pay for a parking structure because the parking situation in my neighborhood is heinous. I work a lot of late hours and not only could I be driving around for a while looking for parking, but the idea of walking a long distance, late at night and alone, did not feel particularly safe. I think these are logical choices, but they certainly are choices I am fortunate to be able to make. I also value quality food (no surprise there) and spend a much higher percentage of income on food than average Americans. While I hardly ever go shopping (birthdays and Christmas are when I get new clothes), I still manage to go to some fun (cheap) events, attend some fun (cheap) concerts and go for fun (cheap) weekend adventures. All this while making rent, owning a car, paying car insurance, health insurance, and my student loan payment. 

To summarize: I'm okay. I'm actually quite fortunate. But in order to do those things, all the money that I have coming in is immediately going back out.

And that's not okay.

Not really. I'm not 21. I'm 29. I want to build a savings. I want to plan for retirement. I want to take a reasonable vacation or mini trip without it being really stressful as soon as I come back to pay for my basic expenses. And, yes, I would like to occasionally buy things throughout the year. 

On the one hand, I completely recognize how fortunate I am to even have these goals. I am aware that there are plenty of people in dire straights who would love to be in the position that I am currently in. Still, I think I am completely within my right to strive for these things. To now be in a place where I'm not willing to continue settling for less than these things. 

Money does not buy happiness, but up until a certain point, it does make a huge impact on happiness. That number is much lower than a lot of people think, but that number is higher than where I am currently at. Most studies about money and happiness have found that (depending on personal circumstances) something around the $50,000-$70,000 range is where an individual's income reaches the level where money is no longer directly correlated with happiness. Basically, if an individual is making at least $50,000 (or I would guess more towards $70,000 in high cost of living metropolitans like LA) that person is usually able to comfortably feed, clothe and house themselves, build some savings, and pay for enough luxuries like a vacation and social outings to not have real money woes. At this financial level, happiness is almost exclusively related to things like job satisfaction, personal relationships and health. (You know, the things that we all expect to have a huge impact on our happiness.) Yachts and private jets are not involved. 

Now, you can of course become much more wealthy and have a grand ole time on a yacht or private jet, but rich people are not necessarily any happier than basically comfortable people. 

And that is the point. I don't yet feel basically comfortable.

The math supports my feeling. My income is below that $50,000-$70,000 range. 

So here I am declaring that I am actively in pursuit of the magic $70,000 comfort level.

And yet, there is a tinge of guilt that comes up.

After all, society has lots of negative terms for people seeking greater income: greedy, money grubber, gold digger, money hungry etc.  

While I can rationalize my level of desired income as reasonable and responsible based upon the aforementioned logic, I still get that pang.  And I think that is worth discussing. 

I find it completely moral to attach negative connotations to the idea of seeking ever more power and financial prowess at the expense of others, but does simply seeking moderate comfort fall under that umbrella? Or what about those who do in fact want to be wealthy, but they desire to attain that wealth honorably and with the intention of spending it supporting good companies and good causes? I for one, love to purchase items from companies who practice environmentally conscious methods, pay their people living wages and do good in their communities. And guess what? Those items cost a lot more than the ones from companies who take advantage of inhumane labor overseas and have no concern for environmental impact. I hate to break it to you, but a shirt should not cost $5. Unless it's from Goodwill or a Thrift store, that is not a reasonable market price. Someone is getting screwed. Probably children in Asia. It's disgusting and I don't want to support those companies. I want to support companies that pay fair wages.

I would argue that as a society in America, we don't have a proper understanding of what price points for various items really should be.  We have been confounded by the ridiculously low prices offered by large companies who treat their labor force like crap. Then, we as consumers get all bubbly and excited about the notion of cheap finds without asking the obvious question of WHY?

Why is this so darn cheap?

Is it because it is poor quality? Maybe it just has less features. Maybe it's on sale because the company bet wrong and they have way too much stock left.

There are plenty of acceptable reasons why an item might cost less than a competitor, but most of the price points on common items that we purchase everyday, (food and clothes being big ones), are way too low for some not okay reasons.

While the opposite is certainly also true fashionable brands can charge huge markups simply because of the value attached to their label without actually having any superior practices it doesn't change the fact that our big bargain brands are often guilty of taking advantage of their employees. This is all to say: Do your research. Know who you are buying from.

Know that if you are paying more it is for a good reason and know that if you are paying less it is for an acceptable reason.

I fully recognize that most people have no interest in adding work for themselves and will absolutely choose the 'ignorance is bliss' approach to consumerism. But that is a pretty shameful cop out. It just is.

Especially with the internet, information is so easily available that it doesn't take that much work to learn about companies. Plus, those that are in fact doing good things are pretty in-your-face about it.

This is not to say that it has to be an all or nothing approach. It is quite hard to completely eschew companies with questionable practices, so I'm not about to shame you for ever buying something questionable. But I fully stand by the idea that we need to change our way of thinking. We cannot allow ourselves to be in the dark about company practices.

It is a willful ignorance.

Even if we have been confounded by the saturation of low prices in this country, it is because we have allowed ourselves to be. We are aware of child labor overseas. That story has been told for decades. We have some understanding of costs and value. After all, we get paid. We know minimum wages. It is not as simple as just not knowing any better. We willfully turn a blind eye to this reality when we purchase these unreasonably cheap things with abandon. When we question the higher price points of products by companies that keep their workforce in the USA, pay livable wages, provide health insurance, and purchase their materials from other companies that do the same.

When we imply that $5 clothes are somehow deeply American while the responsibly priced $25 shirt is just 'hipster' or 'elitist' we are perpetuating this negative stereotype. The opposite is usually the truth. If that $5 is caused by American jobs being replaced by child labor overseas and the $25 is representative of paying Americans legal wages, then the $25 shirt is the inherently American option. 

When meat products are priced incredibly low, there is a cost. It usually means that the animals are being kept in Confined-Animal-Feeding-Operations (CAFOs) that are ridiculously inhumane and often incredibly unsanitary. The workers who work in the slaughter houses are often immigrants who are being paid less than minimum wage and have no insurance or rights. Butchers used to be paid well. They made a good living with benefits and there were practices in place to ensure that no one ever worked the particularly upsetting jobs (actually killing the animals for example) too many shifts in a row. There was a recognition and appreciation that repetition of those jobs could be damaging to an individual's mental health. Now, in order to force prices lower and lower, these poor people work incredibly dangerous jobs, are often injured on the job without any recourse, and are often traumatized by their work. When this happens, we as a community all suffer.

The properly raised animals who are humanely killed and processed by people who are paid appropriately will cost more. We should accept this as the necessary price of meat.

Okay so I've moved through a lot of different money-related subjects.

But I really do feel that they are related. Here it is:

I want to make more money because I am living below the magical "comfortable" level (as supported by studies) where I can stop feeling so stressed about paying for things all of the time. Yet, I have some guilt and hangups about desiring more money because negative connotations with money seeking are pervasive in our society. Still, I am able to justify wanting more money not just because I truly believe that everyone is entitled to wanting to reach the "comfortable" level, but also because I want to have enough money to spend it on companies that are operating in ways that I want to support. Whether we are talking about necessities like food and clothes, or unnecessary wants, there are companies out there who make the world go round in a wonderful way. They make quality products and do so by treating their employees well. Which means that they create jobs that people actually want. They contribute to a cycle of money going in and out that allows for everyone (not just the top 1%) to live happy, healthy lives. 

. . . . . . .

There are way more money-related subjects on my mind so I am guessing that I will have a future post to hit on some other topics of a financial nature. 

One such teaser topic: Are the super wealthy required to give back financially to society? If they don't are they ethically 'bad' people?

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Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.

Material Things

fire alarm

Last weekend there was a house fire in Echo park. One young man died. Two were hospitalized. Two were unharmed. 

One of the hospitalized men is my brother's best friend. I also consider him a friend.

The whole story is quite long, but it appears to have been an electrical fire that spread very quickly. Ultimately, my friend sustained injuries when after having led his girlfriend and dog safely outside he thought the fire was small enough still that he could quickly grab his laptop computer (with his dissertation on it) and escape unharmed. Instead, when he was mere feet from exiting the house, the ceiling exploded and landed on him, throwing him to floor. His laptop slid several feet away and his back caught on fire. He heard a voice inside his head telling him to "Go! Go!" and he jumped up as quickly as he could and ran outside. That same inner voice recalled "Stop, drop and roll" and he immediately hit the ground rolling until the flames were out.

He made it out alive, but ultimately sustained 2nd and 3rd degree burns.

His housemate, whom my friend credits with saving all of their lives as he was the one who ran around the house, banging on doors, waking everyone up yelling, "The house is on fire!" had apparently run back into the house as well with the intention of retrieving something. This mate became trapped upstairs and ultimately he was unable to be rescued. 

It is an incredibly sad case. I never met the housemate, but by all accounts he was a guy whose last acts involved saving the of lives of the people he lived with. 

The question I have, that I can't help but have, is why did he reenter the house?

Maybe he believed one of his housemates was still inside. The timeline gets a bit fuzzy, but one housemate had to jump out the window, following his brother's voice as he called out to him from the lawn. Maybe that was why the housemate went back in. He knew his friend was still inside. 

But the other possibility, of course, is that he went back in to retrieve something material. 

I won't ever know his reason, so I'll stop speculating about his actions. 

Instead, I'll take this time to remind myself that there is never any material possession worth going back for. I absolutely understand going back for a person or a pet. Even in that case, though, I'm fairly certain that emergency response professionals would say to remain safely outside and inform the firemen that someone is still inside so that they can handle it. 

It's one of those classic questions that people like to ask, some version of: "If your house is on fire and you can only grab one possession..."

But the reality is that while, of course, we all have irreplaceable sentimental items or important objects that are critical parts of our lives, we can ultimately do without all of them. We can. Perhaps our lives would have to change or we will have lost something with deep emotional ties, but we can move on from that. 

And it is amazing how people rally together in times of crisis and loss. Friends and strangers alike will pull together to help out those who have lost possessions. As a community, we can replace everyday essentials and help to create new memories of caring and support.

I am absolutely grateful for my few things. I don't own much, but what I do I'm glad I have. I do not wish to see them destroyed or otherwise taken from me. Certain electronics are quite critical to my livelihood. Certain clothes and books are comforts. And I certainly have a few sentimental items. And yet. And yet.

And yet I could move on. I could eventually replace items. Over time and "with a little help from my friends..."

Comment /Source

Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.

Time and Habits

I distinctly remember writing about having not written in a while at the top of my last post. Back in November of LAST YEAR.

Not to steal from Britney, but...

Oops, I did it again.

I just haven't been writing recently. Which is not great. Writing is good for me.

Granted, I have not been writing for some fairly positive reasons: my job, general busyness. But, I can't help feeling as though I'm allowing something to atrophy. People do tend to speak of creativity as a muscle and by not actively flexing it, am I allowing it wither?


Huh. I wrote those previous words in February.

It's June.

This is now officially a problem. 

Seeing as how this has become a pattern — a pattern of absence what is it? What is it about time and habits that has led to this abandonment of something I love and intended to grow?


HA! So I freely admit to adding those last lines and then proceeding to sit there staring at my computer screen for a couple days, my fingers hovering over my keyboard, without a single thing to say. I was stuck. I intended to blather on for a bit about precisely why I stopped writing, but the words weren't coming. I knew it pretty much had something to do with a promotion at work, busier personal life and the such. But who cares? It's always stuff like that when we stop tending to things that we promised ourselves we would prioritize. 

As I sat there, fingers fluttering, I believe my thought was that I should delve deep into the 'why' of it all and create an abstract theory that poked around concepts of habits and choices, but it all got lost in it's lack of purpose.

Because I realized that wasn't the story. That story was boring. It doesn't provide value to say that at the end of a work day I started choosing unwinding with Netflix over mining my brain for cohesive thoughts about life.

What matters it what comes next. Starting from here.

Declaring that starting now I'm committing to writing one post a week. Which may very well result in some short and/or obscure posts (so dear, kind reader you have been warned), but ultimately should force me into a new habit.

A habit of being accountable to this work.

And that, to me, is way more interesting. Because this serves. It's of value to move forward and make a commitment to writing on the regular. I tried simply acknowledging that I wasn't writing and that succeeded only in continuing my hiatus. Instead, I'm going to take a stab at accountability.

Make this declaration here in writing both for myself and to perhaps inspire a little bit of commitment in anyone who also may have let something slip aside.

photos: source, source

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Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.

Having it All Together

Dang it.

I dropped the ball and haven't written in a little while.

Apologies.

I've been busy with my job and moving into a new apartment. Yet, one day, when I still had one foot in my brother's apartment and one in my new studio, I slipped.

I saw my Facebook Newsfeed.

I don't usually do that.

I avoid my Newsfeed intentionally as I have discovered that I don't enjoy a website telling me what I am supposed to know about other people. If I want to see pictures of my friends I prefer them to be shown to me in person over coffee. Or in the very least, having been sent a particular photo directly because it holds some relevance for me personally.

That's not to say that I am not at times interested in the general shares of people that I know, but I am more than happy to seek that info out rather than just have it laid upon my virtual doorstep.

Perhaps I should go through and alter all of my newsfeed settings, but that is incredibly tedious. It's far easier to just avoid it all together.

Of course, the real reason that I don't want to view everyone's shares is that I find it incredibly unhealthy for myself. You know, the whole, "comparison is the thief of joy" concept.

I like to think that I have matured a whole heck of a lot with regard to that idea, but it's amazing how much I really don't want to know what is up with the vast number of Facebook "friends" I have that I no longer interact with.

This age of technology has seemingly pushed aside the forgotten art of losing touch. 

Really and truly. Losing touch is not a bad thing. It makes room for the people and places that are your present. 

That's not to say that you should lose touch with everyone. Some relationships are worth preserving and technology has made communication and interaction possible at a distance. Lovely. But I'm becoming more and more discerning with regard to whose lives I want to allow into my present day psyche.

I'm still figuring out what I want for my life and I have found that my desires can become tainted by viewing other people's choices if I'm not careful.

Yes, I am older and wiser than I was at 18 when this whole FB thing got going, but I'm not entirely confident that I won't be thrown off my rocker by attempting to keep up with the varied happenings and accomplishments of hundreds of people somewhere on the scale of acquaintance to friend.

I'm firmly in my late twenties now and I can say that my life is rather different from what I imagined as a teenager my circumstances would be at this age. 

There was certainly a time when I thought that I would "have it all together" by my late twenties. If "having it all together" by now was some figurative target, it didn't pan out.

Although, I'm not actually sure what "having it all together" truly means. Society tends to label it as financial success, marriage, kids, homeownership etc. Those kind of things. 

Those sort of things are great for a lot of people, but with the exception of the financial angle, they haven't been priorities for me while in my twenties.

And there it is. Surprisingly, after being sucked into a Facebook spiral that revealed that I can, indeed, still be caught off guard by the different life paths of old friends, I found myself having a bit of a revelation. Despite the many, many challenges, I've concluded that I'm kind of digging not "having it all together" quite yet.

I like the fact that I am a bit of a unwritten book. Everyone's story is still unfolding, but I'm pretty sure mine is still sorting out main characters and nailing down major plot points. I like that this is because I've got a multitude of interests, that I desire to pave uncharted territory and that I prefer a certain amount of unconventionality in my life. I enjoy the fact that I know what it feels like to have absolutely no idea how things are going to work out and to still be actively in the creating phase. I feel as though I have great loves and great adventures coming my way and while the uncertainty of it can be unnerving, I'm learning (ever so slowly) to trust in the process and enjoy the moment. 

Here I am. Creating my own undeniably individual course. One day at a time.

Having it all together

Granted, for all of my lack of "togetherness" I suppose I've managed to meet some expectations of "adulthood" and make progress. I've never missed rent (though there have been close calls), I've spent many years able to afford my own apartment without roommates, earned multiple degrees and grown to like who I am as a person a little more each day.

And I guess that is where the joy in my lack of "togetherness" lays: in feeling as though I'm still growing. Despite my lack of many traditional benchmarks, I look back at how I thought and behaved at 18, 22, 25 and recognize huge positive shifts. Despite my own surprise at being in my late twenties, I'm really enjoying being 28.

I realize, of course, that no one ever stops learning, even after "getting it together." Whatever that even means.

Every day presents new wins and challenges that stem growth and there is no such thing as having it "All Figured Out." Still, I kind of like being in a place where I can freely admit to being unabashedly ambling in the wind for a bit longer.

I see some lights at the ends of tunnels, which is necessarily reassuring, but I'm still learning how to combine separate tunnels into one giant chasm that allows for all my varied passions to be tended. 

I suspect that I am not alone in this. I think that my generation has experienced a large influx of unmet youthful expectations with regard to stability and supposed "American Dream" fulfillment coming at a young age. Those of us born in the 80's and 90's are being met with a different economic climate than those who entered the job market at that time. I'm not about to prattle on about student debt and unemployment as it is already being discussed at length by those with more education on the matter, but the point is that less of us are in our dream jobs, in committed relationships and feeling financially secure in our twenties. The technology boom, which has fostered increased communication, global interaction and entrepreneurialism, has presented us all with the wonderful ability to think outside of the box with regard to our livelihoods. With that, however, (and the aforementioned high debt and high unemployment) has come a shift in timeline for classic benchmarks. I rather like the fact that the checklists are being edited, but it can cause some internal struggle when society at large (especially older generations) still reinforce those guidelines. 

Hence, I write this to tell my peers and fellow comrades leery of Facebook-comparison not to judge ourselves so harshly or feel as though we have come up short. 

This is not an argument in favor of complacency, rather it is a suggestion to inject some kindness into whatever inner monologue is happening in our minds. Take away any previously held assertions and instead focus on our own happiness. Of all of the things to feel frustrated about, not meeting arbitrary benchmarks shouldn't be one of them. Sorting out life will always come with its unique set of complications and confusions so perhaps we can at least remove one unhelpful point of upset.

And even more importantly, for those who may "have it all together" let's be clear: you are allowed to still have crappy days. You are allowed to both love your life and be slightly envious of the freedom that can come with being a mess. You are allowed to one day wake up and decide that your current "all together" needs to change to a different version of togetherness. Just as we amblers are allowed to have the best of days (as well as the worst of days that lead to even better days). Amblers are allowed to both love the journey and sometimes shed salty tears of dismay. We are allowed to wake up one day and decide that our feet are tired and we'd like to hang our boots here for a while. 

 

Photos via Pinterest

My Thoughts on Native Advertising

We live in an interesting world these days with respect to information dissemination. More than ever breaking news is available at our fingertips, whether streamed live into our phones, computers, tablets or televisions. Nearly everyone has a camera at the ready in case they need to document some random happening in their own lives or capture (what used to be unseen) moments in other people's lives. While access to information is largely positive, with respect to important global events and accelerated communication when necessary, we have created a strange new environment of information overload. Suddenly any comment can be presented as legitimate information. As a result, we have forgotten the importance of utilizing only credible sources.

There is a new phenomenon where reporters essentially regurgitate the words of their viewers in the hopes of pandering to them in order to increase ratings. Instead of providing substantial information backed by research, news anchors and pundits spin emotional tales devoid of facts because they believe they are reflective of their viewers current opinions. The idea being that instead of informing the public, "news" programs simply tell people what they want to hear, thus increasing viewership.

How nuts is it that ratings drives content in the reporting of national and international news?! 

The problem is that that news is a business. Ratings matter because journalists, and all of the people whose jobs are involved with researching what is happening in the world and then informing us about it, need to be paid for their time and effort, and increasingly, we (the public) don't want to do that anymore. If we aren't going to pay for our news in the classical sense of purchasing the medium news comes in (i.e. newspapers), then advertisers are going to become news outlets' main source of income. 

The truth is that as print media loses out to the internet, news organizations have moved online. Most major newspapers have web versions of their papers with the same content. The difference is that because we are used to websites being viewable for free (outside of paying for internet access), readers don't like the idea of paying to view newspaper articles online.

As a result, our "news" must debase itself into being nothing more than fodder for viewers in order to serve as filler for advertisements. Even worse, sometimes the "news" itself has become actual advertisements.

Think HBO's business model versus that of basic cable. HBO doesn't have commercials because its viewers pay directly for access to its content. On basic cable, however, networks make money by selling advertisements. They utilize popular content to draw viewers in to each time slot.

Print news used to operate on a more HBO-like model where the public simply paid for the papers themselves. The papers contained some advertisements, but ads were easily identified as being paid advertisements unaffiliated with content.

As the trend has moved more and more towards ad-generated revenue, media are experimenting with new ways of injecting advertisements into their products. Instead of simply cramming in more obvious ads, advertisements are becoming integrated directly into content.

It's called Native Advertising.

Native Advertising is when actual posts, segments and articles are directly sponsored by a company.

These ads are made to look like independent reporting, but are paid for by outside companies.

It's the difference between an independent tester evaluating toothpastes and declaring a winner and Colgate sponsoring an article that (surprise!) names Colgate toothpaste as the best.

While these sponsored posts, segments and articles will technically be labeled as sponsored content, they are purposefully designed to appear as regular content. There is a range of native advertising to be sure, with some being relatively innocuous. Unfortunately, there is the darker side where sponsored opinion posts work incredibly hard to appear as independent, investigative journalism. 

John Oliver did a fantastic segment on Native Advertising, covering many of the topics I have mentioned above. Check it out below.

Given this new reality of sponsored content invading our journalism, how can we fight back? Well, for one, we might want to try being cool with directly paying for quality content. 

I know. Clearly we have a problem with this or we wouldn't be having this conversation, but come on people! Most of us can afford to pay a few dollars for news. After all, many of us pay for Netflix.

Look into actually paying for a newspaper or online subscription. If cost is a huge concern, be on the lookout for the many deals and sales going on that further slash their prices.

The second thing you can do is teach yourself about Native Advertising and be wary of any content with a mention of a sponsor. Some of it is harmless, but if an article is attempting to make a persuasive argument about an important national or global issue, be sure to make note of any sponsorships. Would the sponsor have a particular stake in the conclusion? While I am sure that an article could be written independently and then receive sponsorship after the fact, the whole notion of sponsorship makes me suspicious of manipulation of facts and tone.

There are many books written about marketing and the art of persuasion, such as the one above. If you are interested in learning about how our figurative buttons are being pushed, check them out.

There are many books written about marketing and the art of persuasion, such as the one above. If you are interested in learning about how our figurative buttons are being pushed, check them out.

And that brings me to number three. If you agree with me and will never fully trust information sponsorship, then by all means, let your news outlets know this. Tell them that they are compromising their integrity. 

It's one thing to slap a name on a thing for mere product placement (hello every sports event ever "Brought to you by ______!") and something entirely different to sponsor content that reflects positively on your company under the guise of independent journalism. I think we need to tell our media where the line is drawn. 

Obviously, news outlets are entitled to make money, but we should tell them that we view their content for reliable news. We tolerate their advertisements as a necessary part of the equation as long as their news remains untarnished. Once they lose credibility, we will no longer be buying.

Then take our business elsewhere. (Or take our viewing eyes elsewhere.)

While I would argue that many news outlets have long since lost their credibility, many more may be compromised due to this trend. If we find our current resource is becoming inundated with troublesome native advertising, we should switch to sources that aren't.

Creative Genius

I relish the words of author Elizabeth Gilbert and Eat, Pray, Love has been my favorite book for the last 6 years.

For some reason this can elicit jeers from supposedly highbrow, nose-in-the-air sorts of people. (Such a fun sort, these people.) And it irks me.

Actually to be fair, the reason I eluded to is not just SOME unknown reason; I know the exact reason: Eat, Pray, Love garnered mainstream bestseller popularity in recent times. Thus, "boo, hiss!") 

It bothers me that people so often belittle artistry the minute it becomes popular. This is most commonly recognized in the realm of music, but it also happens in every other creative atmosphere. It is silly, and above all, such rash and illogical judgement only prevents an audience from beholding a possible moment of genius.

Perhaps a work will not change or resonate with you, but if you pass it up for reasons as irrelevant as commercial success, you've only robbed yourself of an opportunity. And worse, your prejudice may infect others and prevent them from either openly expressing their experience or from even experiencing it at all.

Even more to the point: who the heck cares with what someone else feels a connection?

The attachment that we have to the art we like and the art we create (not to mention the art we don't like and the art that others create) is too pervasive.

At some point we need to detach from the result. From the way that something is received. And simply allow it to be. 

Elizabeth Gilbert has a beautiful TED Talk about creative genius and I've included it below. 

Elizabeth talks about the prevailing assumption that artistry is connected to suffering. That our contemporary creative artists are somehow being killed by their art.

Then she asks the audience a most brilliant question: "Are we all cool with that?"

Must artistry and creativity be the death of their vessels? 

Gilbert gives this speech at a very apt time. Between what she refers to as the "freakish success" of Eat, Pray, Love and the publishing of her wildly anticipated follow up to that behemoth, which will ultimately be judged as the work that came after her "freakish success" and potentially doomed to never reach such great heights. 

That kind of pressure and conceivably depressing notion is exactly the sort of misery that, as Gilbert mentions, "could lead one to start drinking gin at 9:00 in the morning."

Alcoholism and other unhealthy vices have a history of running rampant in the artistic community. Why is that? Is it inherent in the type of people who wish to share aspects of themselves with an audience or has our modern understanding of genius placed a false and considerable burden on our artists?

"False" in that perhaps the human involved shouldn't be seen as one with their genius. It seems to me that by doing so we strip people of all of their humanity and value that is unrelated to making art. By defining artists exclusively by their art we have inadvertently created a hole in which artists can lose themselves.

Gilbert makes this point in her speech: that prior to the humanist movement, the ancients believed that genius was something external to each artist. An artist was seen as a person who had a connection to a special spiritual being. This spiritual being was referred to as a Genius. It was this separate Genius who was credited with bestowing brilliance and allowing creativity to be expressed through the artist.  People were seen has having a genius rather than being a genius. What this difference in perception allowed was a degree of separation between an artist and his/her work. Thus, no artists could claim complete credit for successes or complete responsibility for failures. Essentially, this protected artists from overwhelming narcissism, which is so common today.

Ronen

Some modern artists internalize this notion, even without having been raised in the culture of the ancients. They just intuitively allow for their work to be a collaborative project. Sometimes this is merely in pointing to all of the other humans who were involved in the process. Sometimes it is by crediting God. Other times still, it is by simply allowing creativity to flow through oneself whenever it does and detach from the outcome. 

I guess my posit to all of you is that we need to make this shift. We need to allow our artists to be human beings with value outside of their creative contributions and permit their identities to exist independent of their successes and failures. If we grant artists this freedom hopefully more of them can thrive and live to bear us all many more gems without buying into such crap ideas as, "You are only as good as your last project." That is an absolutely absurd concept conceived with the thought that perhaps fear of failure and/or fear of becoming irrelevant will wring one more commercial success out of someone else. A "someone else" for whom the person proselytizing this inane concept does not value on a human level and has a financial stake in the outcome.

I would like to point out that I actually wrote the vast majority of this post many days before actor/comedienne Robin William's passing. There have been many headlines on the subject, most of which reference society's great loss. One which was simply titled: Genius Gone.

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Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.

It's All Things

Not all that surprisingly, many people have asked me, "What's it like to be back in LA?"

I've been trying to figure out how to answer that question and what I have discovered is rather simple: it is all things.

All of the things.

It is strange. It is also normal, which feels kind of strange. It is scary, exciting, daunting, brimming with possibility. Both familiar and different.

The answer to the question, "Is it ______?" is yes.

every emotion

My emotions and sensory perceptions are very changeable. 

It's not that I am feeling every emotion all at once, rather I feel each emotion in quick succession. One moment I'm focused on the possibilities and then I have a momentary freak out.

It's similar to the latest studies that have come out on multitasking, stating that we never really multitask, but instead simply switch back and forth between different actions very quickly.  

It helps to be doing. Idleness for me is the enemy of positive thought. Do not confuse relaxation with idleness; sometimes all I want to do is sit with a cup of tea and watch a favorite show. But that usually comes after having accomplished things and then my mind is happy to chill out. Meditation is not idleness either. Idleness stems from confusion. The "huh, what should I do now?" that can happen when I don't really have anywhere I need to be, my mind is too worn out to write any more job applications, but not quite so tired as to merit just chilling out.  Basically, it is when I create the story within my own head that I should be doing something and I don't really have anything on the docket.

Once again, it is just me. Being crazy. Creating my own upset.

I'm working on it.

Overall, things are quite good.

I'm anxious about employment and income and all of those grownup things, but I'm working towards a happy result, I can tell. It is coming. I'm having interviews, I'm reacquainting with old friends, and I'm remembering/learning my way around this silly city again. I went to Disneyland.

Things are working out and looking up and all other positive turns of phrase. I'm just in a constant state of flux. Which, clearly, most of me really loves. It must, or I wouldn't constantly find myself in these transition phases. Most of me loves change. Is comforted by discomfort. I suppose it makes me feel as if I'm growing, which I am. One of these days, (soon, pretty please) the other part of me is going to learn to trust it and stop spinning stories born of fear and anxiety.

That will be a beautiful day.

beautiful day

photo: 1. source 2. source

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Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.

On Being a Badass

I hope you like feminist rants ‘cause that’s kinda my thing.
— Jess from New Girl

Allow me to pat myself on the back for a moment.

I recognize that society doesn't tend to appreciate people who congratulate themselves, especially women who congratulate themselves, but today I'm going to do just that. Because, dammit, I deserve it.

I just upended my life. I moved across the country with my life in my car. And there waiting for me on the other side in Los Angeles: a giant question mark.

I don't have a job (yet. I'm intending that it will sort itself out shortly). And because of that I don't yet know where exactly I am going to end up.

I drove halfway across the country solo. The other half I had the company of my best friend and we turned it into a travel adventure.

I planned out the entire thing myself.

This is no small feat. Yes, I am hardly the only person to do this; I personally know multiple people who have journeyed cross-country, but this in no way takes away from what I have done.

I am a badass. And anyone who has ever done the same thing is also a badass.

badass woman

It is of constant frustration for me how often women (many men too I'm sure, but women in particular) downgrade their own accomplishments and deny compliments. It is seen as the socially appropriate thing to do, it would seem. 

You know, the whole, "No, no I am not" response to someone calling her smart, pretty or talented. (Dammit, Woman! Just say, "Thank you!")

But even more than that, let's celebrate strength. Let's celebrate bravery. These are qualities of the women that I admire and hopefully I embody them myself. I'm not saying that there isn't room for growth. There will always be growth. Hopefully, today is the least enlightened I will be from this day forward. But, I'm not about to downplay my accomplishments because modesty is supposed to be synonymous with femininity. 

Which is stupid.

Being humble is wonderful, but being humble isn't about thinking that your accomplishments are mediocre or worse. It's about recognizing that your attainments do not in some way make you a superior being to your fellow humans.

Women should not be afraid to be proud of themselves. I mean honestly, what kind of role models are we to young girls if we constantly devalue our achievements? 

Today, I am proud of myself. 

What I did was intimidating and challenging. And I did it.

My desire and ability to up and go to far away places is one of the things that I like best about myself. Not everyone does this. It doesn't make me a better person than anyone else, but it does make me a badass. 

And since I would not be able to be the badass that I am today without all of the amazing badass women who have come before me, here's to them. Thank you women who fought for women's rights, who broke glass ceilings and who raised young girls into confident, intelligent, courageous women.

suffragettes

photo credit: source

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Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.

On My Father's Retirement

Last week my father retired. He had been with the same company for 34 years.

34 years.

retirement ducks

That is almost unheard of these days. Staying with one company for that amount of time. 

Today, loyalty doesn't seem to be valued like it once was. Corporate management has transitioned to a new era of management style where the sense of "company as family" is lost and turnover is high.

Despite my Dad's modesty, it was revealed to me that he is a rather big deal in his industry. 

Amongst the changing tides of corporate cutbacks and general insensitivity to employees, the company that my father worked for threw him a retirement party. That alone was a big deal.

Amplifying the evening were the speeches, including videotaped messages sent in from prior colleagues currently residing in Europe, and the humorous, touching gifts. His coworkers made enlarged copies of past company calendar photographs (from back when they made themed employee calendars to give out to corporate customers-- they are HILARIOUS), a lamp that included a model catalytic converter and a cake that featured photographs of his plants. (The building "plant" not the vegetation.)

The most emphasized point of the evening was that more than being brilliant at his job, my father was a remarkably great man to work for/with. Apparently, my father was constantly espousing that work should be fun, that when people enjoy what they are doing and appreciate how they are treated, they work harder and better.

This is completely counter to the incoming management style throughout most of corporate America today. 

Hearing men and women talk about my father advocating this incredible life perspective brought tears to my eyes over and over. I was filled with such pride and love for a man that I realized had this entire work-life happening throughout my childhood that I was completely ignorant of. Not only did I feel blessed to be raised by a man with such a healthy, wonderful approach to work, but I recognized how little I knew was going on when I was young. I suppose that is a normal byproduct of childhood when our lives are consumed with our own schooling and pastimes, but knowing now the amount of pressure and substantial hard work he did constantly, I have a whole new respect for him. Yes, he maintains that work should be fun, but he still believes in doing great work. He was constantly giving presentations, overseeing projects and making huge contributions to his industry. 

I am a proud (and very fortunate) daughter.

Since yesterday was also Father's Day, I suppose there is no better time to honor the great fathers of the world. Here's to you.

Father's Day Quote
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Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.

Quotes for Self-Improvement

Self-Improvement

"Do one thing everyday that scares you."

~Eleanor Roosevelt

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self."

~Hemingway

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

~Howard Thurman

"If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room."

~Anonymous

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.“

~Apple

 

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Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.

In my 28th year

I turned 28 on Saturday.

Apparently, that is supposed to mean something. Some metaphorical turning of the page.

Our society is rather preoccupied with youth, aging, not-appearing-to-be-aging, and physical decay.  

It's bizarre, actually.

Besides stemming from a fear of death, why would aging be seen as such an awful thing?

If we are able to remove the deep-seated fear of death that most people carry, can we stop viewing birthdays as worrisome passage of time? What if we count our lives in lessons learned or experiences had? I want to keep track of fears overcome and the degree to which I have learned how to love. Those take time to accumulate, thus living (and aging) is beautiful progress.

We seem to assign certain expectations and common benchmarks to different ages, as if we are bound by these rules on a cellular level. Your choices are your own. You do not have to subscribe to the notion that you are ever too old to try new things, have adventures or make big life changes. 

I find it exceptionally funny, if somewhat strange and even a bit disheartening, that we seem to do this to ourselves at such remarkably (and increasingly) young ages. I remember having a bit of a crisis at turning 22.

22!

At the time, I felt as though I had surpassed all of the birthdays where I had new allowances to look forward to. 16 and a driver's license, 18 and a legal adult, 21 and legal to drink alcohol...they were all behind me. On top of it, with every passing 20-something year I was feeling stressed about meeting expectations that I had set out for myself.  

I was not yet working a job I loved. I wasn't where I wanted to be financially. And since I am attempting to do artistic and entrepreneurial things, there have been very few ways to measure my strides towards those goals. I felt frustrated and lost. 

Which is exactly why each birthday was vexing. It brought up the disconnect between my previous expectations and my reality.

It was all in my mind.

I invented the problem and I could just as easily allow for the solution. 

Let go.

Once I let go of my associations between a number and my story about what that represented, everything shifted. 

Tracee-Ellis-Ross.jpg

This is a relatively recent realization. 26 is probably when I started to recognize that I was being rather unkind to myself and perhaps I should cut it out. Granted, this isn't like switching on a light; where once it's on it's on. I still ponder about my age and my life each April, but these days I am able to (mostly) be an observer of the moment.  

Okay, so I do wonder if I'm starting to look older. I am firmly in my LATE twenties now. I still get carded at bars, but I have been curious about how my appearance has changed over the 8 years that I have been in my twenties. Luckily for me, Photo Booth exists.

If you were to look at Photo Booth on my computer (the made-for-selfie's application on Mac laptops) I would look incredibly narcissistic. And that makes me laugh. The good news about having yearly selfie sessions (that normally stay for-my-eyes only) is that it is a wonderful exercise in aging. 

Below, for your viewing pleasure (and perhaps just for a good laugh at my expense) is a collage of various computer selfie's from the past 8 years all mixed up. Besides the hilarious observation that I clearly prefer one side of my face to the other, and that I like to either prop up my chin or my hair with my hand, I think that it is remarkably hard to arrange the correct chronological order. 

Despite the overly self-involved nature of selfies, I think I will continue to have a solo Photo Booth session annually. I think it will be an interesting way to track myself over time and have some fun with the aging process.

Even making this collage has been surprisingly self-affirming. A welcome reminder that the passage of time is both compelling and rather unworthy of our apprehension.

Yes, I recognize that this is a collage of my twenties, not a collage spanning over multiple decades into middle age, but since I had already begun to agonize over possible unwanted changes, it is good to remember that the voices in my head that like to self-criticize are dumb.

When I'm 50, I hope to enjoy looking at my appearance from over the ages and see the beauty in each passing year. Hopefully, I will think back to the moments in my twenties when I thought unkind things about my appearance, remember how ridiculous that was, have a good laugh, and admire my wonderful laughter lines; appreciating that I had a marvelous time creating those creases.

And then I hope that when I'm 90, I look back on my appearance into my senior years, still seeing the beauty, and think back to when I was 50 and thought that I had laughter lines. But no, oh no, little did I know how much more laughter I still had ahead of me to really make them stick.

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Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.

Conscious Music

I haven't posted My Weekly Three music videos in a little while, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to do so. I listen to a lot of music so selecting which ones to include is sometimes a challenge. I decided to go with a bit of a theme for this week's posting: Peace & Love. Enjoy!

Nothing More, Alternate Routes

Unity, Trevor Hall Feat. Matisyahu

Give Love, MC Yogi

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Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.

Owning My Fear

Fear. The most cutting of all four letter words. I've talked a bit about fear and consciously choosing to surround myself with supportive folks. (For example, this blog post here.) I am talking about it again because it's a common theme in my life, and as I have discovered, a common theme in many people's lives.

I am a strong believer that for anyone who is attempting to suss out a life by way of uncharted territory, it is extra important to choose the company you keep carefully. 

Gibson.jpg

There are people that throw around the word "can't" too freely. They wield it like a sword ready to cut down those that seek to stray from the acceptable path.

The strange truth is that despite how it may seem, these people are probably not out to hurt us. People who inject such negativity into other people's lives are far too consumed by their own experiences for it to truly be about us. It is about them. Their attitudes are a reflection upon their own inhibitions or life circumstances.  

This awareness lends me some compassion towards people that say unsupportive things, but it does not mean that I need to choose to prolong interaction with them. And nor do you if you find yourself in a room full of naysayers. You can leave that room. 

I'm also learning that fear is not a bad thing. It is how we respond to our fears that matters.

Nelson-Mandela-Quote.jpg

These days my level of inner calm is a pendulum.  

I started to panic about moving back to LA because I had, somewhat arbitrarily, set the end of April as my departure date. This having to do mainly with the fact that my birthday is at the end of April and therefore it felt like a good time to high-tail it out of here. Seeing as how it is already mid-April, that date was clearly overly ambitious. Time flew and I felt completely unprepared.  I was supposed to fit in multiple trips before leaving! Not to mention actually getting packed and ready.  

The pendulum had swung too far to the right; I was feeling rushed, completely caught off guard by the swift passage of time.

Then my mother calmly reminded me through an episode of hysterics on the phone that I set this date for myself and I didn't actually have to be out by a certain time.

Oh, right.

As it turns out, delaying making concrete departure plans was a good thing, as there are new developments in the works causing some shifting in dates. 

After this release of my timetable, I had a few days of genuine calm. I felt at ease for the first time in a while.

And then the pendulum started to swing back the other way. Now there were too many questions! When AM I getting out of here? Seriously, what AM I doing? Is LA the right move? GAH!

Hello, my name is Katie Anxiety Habib.

I am a bit ridiculous and I suppose the only redeeming quality is that I know it and can ultimately laugh about it; you know, when I'm not in the midst of a frenzy.  Wait, I take it back. I have been known to do a laugh-cry.

Kristen-Bell.gif

The take away here is that it is all going to be okay.

(Did that feel like a leap? Stay with me.)

And since that is really all that I ever need to hear, I am saying it to you. 

It is all going to be okay.

If you have genuine dreams and are in active pursuit of those dreams, keep trucking! Living with uncertainty is a rather uncomfortable place to be, but I am a big believer in pushing ourselves, striving for new horizons and embracing change. Even in my only 27 (nearly 28 now!) years, I can already see the truth in Mark Twain's words, "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than the things you did do."  

Foraging ahead is scary. It is. If we are the one clearing the path then we don't know for certain what the future looks like. 

Not-Scary.jpg

Living in the questions is not how we are taught to function. If you find yourself in a state of anxiety over your life, make the question smaller until it feels manageable.  If your entire life feels like one big question mark, and at the moment that feels terrifying instead of freeing and it can absolutely be the latter! That's my ultimate goal. If you are already there, Bravo! But if you are like me and that level of trust is still a burgeoning practice, give this a whirl stop asking that large of a question. Don't ask yourself how your life will look five years from now. Focus on just this year, or this month, this day, or even just this very moment. What is it that you want to do right now? What would make you feel calm and centered right now?

And trust me, we want to feel calm and centered. From that place we can conquer the world.   

5 Comments /Source

Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.

Big Announcement

I’m moving back to LA. 

los-angeles.jpg

For how long or exactly what that entails, I do not know.  I’m trying ever so hard to be okay with living in that uncertainty.  In my daydreams I thrive on uncertainty.  Gypsy-wanderer style.  But in my current, everyday reality, such massive uncertainty freaks me the hell out.

To be fair, I am prone to anxiety.  I’m working on it.

I don’t have the specific date of departure yet, but it looks like I will be leaving in the end of April and road tripping it out to Los Angeles.

via fanpop

via fanpop

Annnnnd....enter overwhelm.

Here I am attempting to plan what should amount to a truly epic cross-country road trip with my best friend, and yet all of the questions and details have turned me into an insomniac.

Because here is the thing:  I’m going out there without a job.  Without a fully developed plan.  I mean, I have a partial plan.  I have people that I can stay with and the intention of subletting over the summer so that I don’t have to buy furniture or commit to a lease until I find my footing, with just enough money to do so.  But just enough.  I will need to figure out an income stream fairly quickly and that is stressful. 

I’m from a family that ensures that everything is already worked out ahead of time, instead of trusting that everything will work out in time.

Yes, I am the token risk taker of the family, and I generally like to be flexible and care-free, but my genetics and upbringing betray me and the secret truth is that their fears and concerns do affect me. 

via pinterest

Interestingly, I’ve got their support on this one.  They know that I have spun myself a tangled web of frustration and restlessness that needs to be broken.  They trust that this is a good move for me.  Beyond good-- necessary.

But then what?

I’ll admit that I hunger for my adventures to include a lot more international travel.  That is certainly the goal.  But, seeing as how I generally want to see EVERYWHERE, I also want to explore more of the U.S.A.  This is a rather large country, after all.  There is a lot here.

via pinterest

via pinterest

A cross-country road trip is on my bucket list and here I am planning to check it off.  That’s amazing.  Plus, I am going to Charleston in a couple days.  Hopefully, Boston next month.  And then I’ll be road trippin’ it.  I even have potential plans to go up to San Francisco for a few days in May and I’ve always wanted to do a pacific coast road trip as well.  So maybe that can be the plan for now.  I’ll get my wandering in state-side first.  I’ll gypsy around the U.S. and enjoy some domestic hungry adventures.  (And get a job of some sort, of course.)

Instead of stressing over how to make everything work out, and how to include all of the epic adventures that I want to have IMMEDIATELY, I will be excited about this change.

(She says because, “Words are the first step towards deeds!” Right, Liz Lemon!)

via pinterest

via pinterest

In truth, writing this all down is helpful.  It pulls the words out of my brain and removes some of the mental clutter.  Between this and some newly revamped sleep hygiene, I’m starting to be able to fall asleep before the wee hours of the morning. 

Progress.

Compare Much?

I got published in Flux!

Thanks Flux!

In their own words: Flux is a space for those of us who are trying to navigate the beginnings of adulthood to safely express our views and experiences on topics that affect our daily lives. Personal stories, reflections, political views—they all have a place here. This is a judgment-free zone for those of us working to figure out what it means to be a “grownup.”

Here is an excerpt of my article titled Maybe Other People's Lives Don't Matter.

As it turns out, turning twenty didn’t actually make me much less like a teenager.

At 18, I really did think of myself as discerning and astute. I had it in my head that I was now a real-life adult and that I was in control of my own life. In actuality, I was often affected by my surroundings and fairly insecure about a lot of things. I suppose being easily influenced is a rather common trait among teenagers. Unfortunately, that unpleasant state of confusion and that search for exterior validation didn’t magically go away when I turned twenty.

I’ve come to realize that classic “peer pressure,” which is often depicted as an exclusive product of childhood, sticks around well into adulthood. In fact, there is a solid possibility that I will one day be 70 and will face manipulation by my fellow 70 year olds. (I’ve worked in a country club and witnessed this happening first-hand.) But, it is definitely an epidemic when we’re in our twenties. I mean seriously, why do you think the most coveted key demographic for advertisers is 18-34? Because we are impressionable! And on top of that, we tend to buy shit. Because we actually believe that we need it!

Granted, besides the already often-discussed consequences of consumerism-gone-wild, I don’t actually think that wanting to wear fashionable clothes or have the latest iPhone is super terrible or indicative of a personal crisis. We are allowed to like shiny things. No, I’m more concerned about being so affected about others’ opinions of how we live our lives.

Click here to read the rest of Maybe Other People's Lives Don't Matter

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Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.

How to Distinguish Between Commonly Confused Terms

At risk of coming across as a pompous sudo-English professor, I've got a mini English lesson in store for you.  A lot of people actually wonder about this stuff, enough that they are common google searches, so I'm really just trying to be helpful.  

Now I realize that some are you are gonna be all:

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And that's okay.  But for those of you who like words or don't know how to use irony correctly and want to, please stick around.

As I've previously mentioned- I'm a word nerd and I love language.  With that in mind I thought I'd go over some common word misusage.  The following are a few words that get thrown around a LOT and often in the wrong context.  Yes, fine, we probably knew what you meant, but seriously you will upgrade your power of speech significantly if you can use these properly.  Plus, you really will win major favor with other obnoxious word nerds like me.  

Ethics versus Morals

Ethics (in the practical sense) are rules/laws about right and wrong from an external source, typically society at large.  Ex. government laws, a company's rule book. In the philosophical sense, ethics deals with theories about what is good for society.

Morals are an individual's own principles.

For example, smoking marijuana may go against society's ethics (although that is now shifting) and result in a fine or incarceration, but an individual may not think that smoking marijuana is immoral.  Violating ethics usually results in some sort of punishment by law or a company ethics committee, while violating your own moral code tends to result in shame or depression.  The two often overlap as ethics tend to reflect the morality of the people, but since morality is individual, what is deemed ethical by society may not align with some people's own sense of morality. Also, something can be deemed unethical in the philosophical sense if it does harm to society, even if it goes without reprimand. This actually happens a fair bit because: 

  • Our lawmakers are supposed to be concerned with defining the country's ethics code. The political parties are supposed to be offering different points of view with regard to what is ethical based on how they define society, but ultimately still be debating what is beneficial for society at large. Instead, recent history has found politicians debating morality.

Envy versus Jealousy

Envy is when you covet something that someone else has.

Jealousy is when you are afraid of losing something you already have.

You can be jealous of your boyfriend flirting with another girl because you are afraid of losing your boyfriend.  You are envious of that girl if you want her shoes or great hair.

Let me state this again for the record since this is such a common confusion: if someone else has something you want the word is ENVIOUS.  If someone achieves something that you've wanted to achieve you are ENVIOUS.  Unless you are afraid of losing something or being replaced, jealousy isn't the correct term.

Irony versus Coincidence

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Unfortunately, Alanis Morissette got this one a bit wrong.  Pulling from the NY Times, "Not every coincidence, curiosity, oddity and paradox is an irony, even loosely. And where irony does exist, sophisticated writing counts on the reader to recognize it.”  Okay, so I'm not trying to make us all NY Times worthy writers, but here's some helpful info regarding IRONY.  

First off, just to complicate matters, there are multiple different types of irony.  I'm going to avoid dramatic irony and tragic irony since this is not a Shakespeare class.  Here are the two types of irony that are commonly used today:

Situational Irony is when there is an incongruity (or reversal) between what is expected and what actually happens.  Meaning: what happened is not what you would have expected.  For example, it is ironic when a couple chooses to have an indoor wedding in order to avoid the rain and the sprinklers end up going off during the indoor wedding.  Another example would be if a criminal returned to the scene of the crime to cover up his tracks, only to end up leaving new evidence that actually leads to his capture.

Verbal Irony is when the intended meaning is opposite of what is said.  Sarcasm is an example of verbal irony, as is understatement and overstatement.  There is also something that I will call "Non-Verbal" irony because it's technically not spoken, but it's the same usage.  The best example of this is modern day hipsters. Hipsters wear clothing that is indicative of a certain genre or social statement, but wear it "ironically" because they are actually meaning to make fun of that trend.  

Coincidence is when two things occur in such a manner that it would appear as if they had been planned or prearranged even though they were not.  

For example, everyone showing up to a party wearing the same colored shirt is a coincidence.  Rushing to make it to your flight on time, then getting to the airport and finding out your plane has been delayed is just a coincidence.

The trouble with irony is that it is somewhat dependent upon one's expectation.  Therefore, technically some events could seem ironic to one person and coincidental to another.  For example, believe it or not: if a daredevil manages to complete all of his stunts without injury and then trips while walking and breaks his arm- that's really coincidence.  The fact that he tripped while walking isn't truly ironic because people trip and fall sometimes.  Although, if you were talking to this daredevil and asked him, "How did you break you arm? Did you fall off your motorcycle or hurt yourself cliff diving?" And he replies, "Actually, I tripped while walking down the street." You would find that ironic since it was the opposite of what you were expecting.  All in all, there is definitely some leeway. 

But for the record: "a traffic jam when you're already late" is just a coincidence.

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Sympathy versus Empathy versus Pity

Sympathy is a recognition or understanding for the situation of another.  Acknowledging another's hardship or challenge with support or encouragement. Think "comforting" someone.

Empathy is when one actually feels and relates to the emotions of another person.  One has experienced that hardship before or can place himself in that person's shoes.  Think "relating to" someone.

Pity is when someone compares one's personal situation to someone else's and feels better off.  Think "feeling sorry for" someone.


Well, there you go!  I hope that has cleared up a few things.  If you have any questions about the correct use of those words, feel free to ask.  Otherwise go forth my newly educated readers and spread annoyingly accurate speech throughout the land!

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Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.

Getting Yelped

During my early twenties, I held one of those rites of passage, character-building jobs known as being a waitress.  Or for you fancy restaurant industry types: a server.  Yes, I was a server for a couple of years and in general I think I was pretty good at my job. Which, by the way, is actually not a super easy job.  I know it looks like it would be really easy, but the truth is that being a server is only easy when everything goes smoothly and all of your customers are nice.  This never happens.  Instead, you inevitably get some really difficult tables, the kitchen gets backed up, people keep changing their order after you’ve already put it in the computer and you inexplicably get caught trying to take the order of a party of 10 for over 20 minutes.

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            Most of the time I was pretty good at keeping my cool.  Well, not actually, just in appearance with my tables.  Trust me, all servers are bitching up a storm about how crazed they are to one another in the back.  But every now and again, my horror would show up on my face.  I honestly don’t think it’s my fault; my face is overly expressive.  Can’t be helped.  Still, one day, when I was not stoked to be at work, I served a lady who apparently liked to write reviews on Yelp. 

Remember Naomi from the movie Waiting.  Every waitress can relate to her.

Remember Naomi from the movie Waiting.  Every waitress can relate to her.

            Okay, so I really would like to talk some trash here because I personally think that it is incredibly shitty to call out a broke waitress by name in an online review unless this person was a straight up jerk.  In all honesty, the write up wasn’t that bad and did not get me fired or anything.  It did get me called out by my manager in a shift meeting, though.  But here’s the thing: I wasn’t great that day.  It started off just fine, but I was feeling grumpy and when she started complaining that the food came out in the wrong order when I didn’t realize that she wanted the food in a particular order my patience was thin.  Normally, I would have put on my standard overly apologetic server speak and been uber nice to make up for it, but that day I wasn’t having it.  It just seemed absolutely ridiculous to me that she required the food in a certain order when this was an average Chinese food restaurant where it’s all pretty interchangeable and most of our clientele doesn’t care.  Or if they do, they specify.  Then when I thought she was completely stiffing me on a tip I made a point not to say my usual “Thank you so much” spiel when she left.  It turned out that she did leave me an okay tip... and a blast on yelp.  Ouch.  Lesson learned. 

            So back to my original point, I still think it’s shitty of her to use someone’s name when it’s not like I called her names or something.  In general, I’m a fan of supporting what you like and not bashing what you don’t.  I think the internet has made it far too easy for people to insult others.  I have never in my life done that and I would never complain about food order or just about anything that seems kind of beside the point.  I’m a super chill customer so it always blows my mind when other people are not.  And yet, I would have been far better off sucking it up and being a gracious server in spite of it.  So here’s the lesson twenty somethings: sometimes you are going to be moody and not like your current “not your dream job” job.  Do a good job anyway.  I mean, don’t kill yourself trying to make the world’s greatest latte or something, but put it this way: you’re never going to regret doing any job well.  You may regret screwing up a job, even one that you didn’t think you cared about.  Being professional does not come back to bite you in the ass.  Being unprofessional might.  Why risk it?

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Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.

Music I Currently Have on Repeat

Noah Gunderson, Ledges

Ben Howard, Hand to Hold

Connor Christian and Southern Gothic, Sheets Down

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Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.

We Are Whole And Complete

I have a tendency to try to fix things.  On some level this is a positive quality.  For one, I give pretty spot on advice to my friends and family.  I am incredibly adept at being objective with other people’s dilemmas and when something really does need to be done, I’ve got ideas, suggestions, and different ways of looking at an issue.  (Of course, my own life is a different story.)  On the other hand, viewing us as beings that require fixing really isn’t conducive to creating a safe space for people to heal and feel loved.  A situation can be fixed.  A table can be fixed.  We do not need to be fixed.

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The words that we choose when describing a situation are important.  They shape the conversation.  The word "fixed" can sometimes carry too much negative connotation.

The truth is that no one needs to be fixed, because we are not broken.  Even if we want to alter something about how we are living our lives, we are not inherently a broken product. 

We are whole and complete, AND there is room for transformation, movement and change.

I love this idea.  It was completely novel to me when one of my teachers taught this concept.  The idea that these two possibilities could coexist blew my mind. 

How do we live this truth?  How do we remember that we are whole and complete while we are attempting to transform in some way?

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1.  Remove judgment words

The way that we shape the conversation about whatever we want to change is incredibly important.  When we talk about ourselves (or others) we shouldn’t use words like “right” and “wrong,” “good” and “bad.”  You are not a bad person.  Even if you feel as though you have made mistakes, you have the ability to make new choices going forward.  The way you have been living your life isn’t wrong, it just may not be serving you.   This approach is much kinder and more likely to help you achieve the shift that you aspire to.

2.  View bumps in the road as necessary lessons

So what if it took years to realize that a relationship, career path, daily habit etc. wasn’t working for us.  We know now.  Let’s chalk it up to a meaningful life lesson and be grateful to be on the other side.  Regret is unhelpful and paralyzing.  In grade school, we used to get gold stars for learning new things.  Instead of lamenting that we didn’t miraculously know everything from the beginning, let’s celebrate our new education.  We figured it out!  Now we can move on.

3. Love ourselves

I tend to harp on this one a lot, but if underneath the stumbles and frustrations we can still look at ourselves with love and compassion we are going to be able to move forward.  No matter what it is that needs to shift in our lives, a small detail or a considerable overhaul, we are whole and complete with the innate power to transform.  I’m quite confident that this mentality results in much more action and success. 

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Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.

Natural Skincare

Does winter dry out your skin like it dries out mine?

I have currently found a really awesome combination of natural oils that keeps my skin hydrated and clear. Happy day! In case any of you have winter dry skin woes and are looking for a natural option, I want to share my nighttime skincare recipe. It only has three ingredients!

  1. Tea Tree Oil (the diluted kind, safe to be applied directly to skin)
  2. Neem Oil
  3. Coconut oil
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First I apply the gentle strength Tea Tree oil directly onto any blemishes or potential "problem areas."  That stuff works wonders!

Then I mix together approximately equal parts of Tea Tree, Neem and Coconut oils in a mini bowl or container.  

Apply to face.  The end.  

How awesome is that?!  And the pleasant aromas of tea tree and coconut overpower the less pleasant smelling neem.  The result is soft, smooth skin.  Loving it!  

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Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.