What Is Healthy Romantic Love?

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What is healthy romantic love? How do we define it? Where does it come from? Why do we fall for specific people, and not for others?

For as long as man has told stories, love has been at the center of everything. From great wars, to epic songs, to movies that stay with us forever. Love is the thing that we all long for at the end of the day when the noise of the world quiets, and we are left meditating within our essence’s essence.

While I may still be figuring out all the facets of love, there have been instances when I’ve felt love for someone else in a way that is indescribable. However, I’m going to try and explain it here, so that we may understand love a little better.

Healthy romantic love is listening to your person talk nonstop about their life, their problems, their hopes, and their dreams without wanting to interject your own answers.

Healthy romantic love is your person finishing, and then asking you the same questions.

Healthy romantic love is feeling comfortable enough to open up to your person in a way that you never thought you could, or would know how to.

Healthy romantic love is having your person open up to you in the same way.

Healthy romantic love is watching your person age physically, and knowing you are only going to be more attracted to them as they age because your attraction goes far beyond skin. 

Healthy romantic love is spending an unplanned afternoon together, which turns into the perfect day.

Healthy romantic love is fighting with your person, but knowing wholeheartedly you will get past this because you both want to.

Healthy romantic love doesn’t look at disagreements as fighting, but as a way to approach sensitive topics that have to be dealt with.

Healthy romantic love is watching your person enjoy life, and feeling fuller because they feel full.

Healthy romantic love is showing your person new things.

Healthy romantic love is having your person show you new things.

Healthy romantic love is giving up the last bite of something delicious so that your person can savor it a little longer.

Healthy romantic love is having your person give you the last bite of the meals they have grown to know you love.

Healthy romantic love is understanding that your person may not realize they are your person, so you let them go off into the wild to find whatever it is they are looking for.

Healthy romantic love is knowing they will find their way back to you.

Healthy romantic love is actively communicating when things are both good and bad.

Healthy romantic love is patient, understanding, and kind even when disagreements, tension, and uncomfortableness ensue.

Healthy romantic love is watching your person eat ice cream like they’ve just tasted it for the first time every time, and still finding it incredibly adorable.

Healthy romantic love is knowing that you both need to maintain your friendships, so you alternate hanging out with each other’s friends.

Healthy romantic love is understanding you need time to do things on your own, so sometimes you see your friends alone, go on trips alone, do things alone.

Healthy romantic love is being full of excitement to tell your person about all those things you did alone.

Healthy romantic love is welcoming your person to your friends and family because you want to, not because you are expected to.

Healthy romantic love is being introduced into your person's world because they want to.

Healthy romantic love exercises the body, the mind, and the soul.

Healthy romantic love is knowing your person doesn’t complete you, but makes your world far brighter with them in it.

Healthy romantic love is your person letting you know the feeling is mutual.

Healthy romantic love speaks the truth, so that you both can move upwards, not just forwards.

Healthy romantic love is constantly evolving and growing in a way that works for you and your person, without the boundaries of the rest of the world being worried about.

Healthy romantic love is looking at your person as your partner, not your property.

Healthy romantic love is that feeling when you meet your person, and you know they just met their person as well.

Healthy romantic love knows your person will never be perfect, and you love them even more for it.

Healthy romantic love means your person feels the same way about you.

Healthy romantic love doesn’t involve stressing about when you will see each other because you fundamentally know you both will, and want to.

Healthy romantic love doesn’t play games, take days to return a message, or follows the “rules.”

Healthy romantic love is knowing your person will find other people attractive, but doesn’t let this get the best of you.

Healthy romantic love is your person understanding this goes both ways.

Healthy romantic love involves every single emotion, but always ends with kindness, joy, and peace.

Healthy romantic love is what we all want to and will find at the end of the day because we are taking the steps to work on ourselves right now, so that when this person comes walking into our world, seemingly out of nowhere, we are ready to honor that healthy romantic love.

Remember healthy romantic love is the specific type of love we are looking for, so be specific with your intentions when it comes to finding that kind of love. Remember that you are deserving of an amazing love that shows you parts of yourself you didn’t even know you possessed within your being. Remember healthy romantic love starts within ourselves, and manifests into the world to attract the type of person who will make this healthy romantic love even deeper, fuller, and more beautiful than we can begin to imagine. Remember that healthy romantic love knows no boundaries when it comes to race, religion, sexuality, gender, and a multitude of other things we often get hung up on, so be open to others. You never know, healthy romantic love may be right in front of you right now, but because we’ve gotten hung up on love that wasn’t healthy or romantic, we are often blinded by our egos desire to have something we fundamentally know isn’t good for us.

Ultimately, what healthy romantic love is, is yours to define, so be gracious on your journey, be kind to others, and most importantly spread this kind of love everywhere you go. The more you spread this kind of love, the closer you will be to finding that person, who also spreads this kind of love.

What is something you would add to this list? Let me know in the comment section below. I always love a good love talk.

XO

Posted on June 6, 2018 .

Becoming Jade(d) In New York City

That's not a typo, although I'm sure there are others in here, so just keep reading along. ;)

Sometimes you pour your heart into something. Sometimes that something is actually a someone. 

I’ve been a hopeless romantic my entire life, but when I embarked on creating a blog about fashion I was punched in the stomach with my first heartbreak. I found that the initial things I wanted to speak about felt vapid and superficial, and I couldn’t write about anything other than how I was feeling. I had experienced sadness, loneliness, and confusion before, but the ways in which I was feeling these feelings was different than anything I had known. So I wrote about it. It was my way of working through all of those emotions and feelings, and not only making sense of them, but finding the beauty in them.

I often credit my vulnerability during my first real break up as part of my success initially because it was the first subject I publicly blogged about. I spoke honestly and authentically about a shitty part of life that 99% of us will experience, and I often found a new perspective of hope on the other side of those words.

And I really needed that hope then.

For me writing is cathartic, therapeutic, and helps me to make sense of the things I can’t make sense of otherwise. However, it’s been a while since I shared my heart in this way publicly because while it is cathartic for me, for those that shared those experiences, it has been a difficult thing to read even when the beauty, respect, and honor is found in my writings.

As I go through another battle of heartbreak and breakup, I struggle with wanting to express myself, my feelings, my love and loss. I struggle because in doing so in the past, I've ostracized myself from not only them, but their friends, people who used to be my friends, and social circles.

It has never been my intention to hurt anyone through my writing. My only intention in life is truly to spread love, and that is why when I pour my heart into these particular someones, and we both find ourselves standing solo again, it hurts. It hurts to think that you’re doing this to yourself, but even more so that you’re doing it to them as well. 

However hurt only comes when we let our egos speak for our hearts. Hurt is confusion without definition and sense.

You’d think after years and multiple experiences with breakups, we’d be better at them. To be honest, I am. I’ve gotten better at feeling the cut, but not letting it go as deep. I’ve gotten better at seeing the bright side, but understanding there will be days that just suck, and that is ok. I’ve gotten better at allowing myself to feel lonely, confused, and sad, but not drowning in those emotions.

Even as I sit here writing this at 2:20 am, I feel myself remaining calmer than I ever have at this 2 month marker. I think largely it’s because I’m choosing to focus on myself, my loved ones, and the fact that I will always have love for my past loves. I also think that what feels different about this breakup is that I’m older, wiser, but also honest that I’m still figuring out what it is that I want for myself professionally and personally. I’m being honest that I don’t know where I want to live, what I want to do, and how I want to be, but I am ok with that because as we all learn, life is forever evolving to force us to think about these questions.

So while this may feel like a story of heartache or a breakup, what it actually is, is a reminder to myself, and I hope all of you, that we’re never going to have all the answers. However, what we can know, is that if this is the decision we are making right now, in this moment, than it has to be the right one because it is the one we are making. And accepting is allowing ourselves to acknowledge that while we may not understand everything, we know things are right, simply because they exist in this way. 

In 2013, right when I moved back to NYC after my three years in LA, I went on a date with someone I had lusted after via social media for a while. They turned out to be a really nice human, but it was clear we weren’t vibing in a romantic or sexual way. As our date ended they sat across the table from me and said, “never let New York City make you jaded, and never stop being a hopeless romantic.” I think they felt compelled to say this to me because they were older, and had in many ways felt as if they lost their own hopeless romantic to jadedness. 

Recently I’ve had moments where I’ve felt as if I had in fact become what that beautiful create had warned me of, jaded. However that conversation keeps playing out in my head, and I know it is not by coincidence. 

Ultimately the poetic justice of becoming jaded is that jade, as a stone, stands for balance, purity, and purification. Thus, being jaded and accepting this, we are given the perfect opportunity to rebirth something lost inside of ourselves. Manipulating language has become one of my favorite ways to find freshness in life, and in this scenario, deconstructing jaded to jade, which is it’s true essence, we are able to purify our thoughts back to vibrational frequencies of love and innocence to find that that hopeless romantic never left us at all.

Posted on May 30, 2018 .

The Perfect Summer Shoe: Pikolinos X Zappos

Sponsored by Zappos!

Thanks to Zappos getting your own pair of Pikolinos, which I will fully claim to be the perfect summer shoe, couldn't be any easier!

As summer finally arrives in NYC, I'm super pumped to bring you gorgeous human beings one of my favorite new pair of sneakers, the Pikolinos Belfort.

Pikolinos stole my heart when I read that "passion is a way of life" for this brand, and they have committed themselves to creating and reinventing what it means to be fashionable and comfortable. As you all know, I'm all about reinventing oneself, and being as comfortable as possible while being fashionable.

As everyone obsesses over the same exact pair of kicks and brands, I've been hunting for something that not everyone has, but should. Standing out in a crowd is way more fun!

The Pikolinos Belfort is the kind of shoe that goes with everything, and is super comfortable to wear with or without socks, which is huge for me stylistically in the warmer months. As we watch a never ending wave of white flow into summer fashion, I'm all about this dark heather grey color as it brings contrast and more interest to an array of looks.

I know what you are thinking, "How can I get my own Belforts right this minute?"

Well, lucky for you guys, Zappos makes it incredibly easy to not only search for the perfect pair of shoes, but thanks to their impeccable customer service, next day day shipping capabilities, and 365 day return policy, you are able to have these Belforts tomorrow!

It feels like it's taken forever to get to summer, but we made it. Soooooooo, give yourself the gift of galavanting in the sun in the most comfortable and trendiest of ways with Pikolinos!

Don't forget to click on any of the highlighted words to shop these Pikolinos, and let me know what you think of them in the comment section below!

Much love everyone!

Posted on May 13, 2018 .

Thrive Global Questionnaire: My Mindful Morning Routine

I brought Thrive into my home to take an intimate look at my mindful morning routine, and discover how I tune out the haters, and prevent burnouts.

Posted on April 10, 2018 .

OHMME: It's More Than Yoga

Welcome to a truly mindful experience.

For over 10 years I’ve incorporated yoga into my lifestyle in different ways, and because of this, I can truly attest to the benefits that this ancient mindful movement provides. Yoga is, and has been, the place to which I turn when I need to reconnect with myself and mindfully move through my emotions. Thus, you can imagine the excitement I felt when finding a brand like OHMME, which not only takes into consideration the physical movements of yoga, but also the idea behind it, which is about staying fit emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

 As someone who is constantly searching for the best when it comes to fitness gear, I was so excited when I happened to come across this brand, as they marry style, technology, sustainability, and mindfulness.

Could it be any more perfect for this crazy urban hippie? I don’t think so!

OHMME is not your standard activewear brand, they focus on creating sustainable clothes made of eco-friendly fabrics, are super friendly when you speak to them, and are building a community of men that support each other whilst breaking the stereotypes of masculinity. 

Recently, they have launched their men’s workshop, Stillness In Motion, in support of Campaign Against Living Miserably, a charity dedicated to preventing male suicide. Unfortunately, at the moment these workshops are only available in London but one can only help they soon come to the US!

OHMME is a brand that doesn’t mind how you move, they just encourage you to find something that makes you want to move; whether that’s yoga, running, pilates, parkour or even dancing! Because their garments are spot on for all types of activities.

One of my favorite items is the Eco Warrior II Lined Shorts GREEN DEFENCE, which are comfortable and cover you in all your poses and movements! They use a revolutionary anti-bacterial technology called GREEN DEFENCE that integrates natural ingredients such as almond and cinnamon extracts into their fabrics at production stage, which avoids the use of heavy metals or poisonous disinfectant in the making of the fabrics. Moreover, they’re also made of a bluesign® certified material, ensuring that the fabrics are produced in the most environmentally friendly process possible. Rest assured, these shorts are one of the most environmentally-friendly shorts available on the market.

Their 2-Dogs Graphite Shorts will make you want to move as soon as you put them on as they’re designed for all types of dynamic practices and are engineered with built-in compression shorts for total flexibility. These bad boys are also made of a bluesign® certified fabric.

Additionally, I'm obsessed with the Vajra II Mens Yoga Vest! As it's comfortable, doesn't ride up during workouts, and is super breathable. In my professional, and personal, opinion all of these are a must when it comes to my workout gear.

 If you are looking to make an impact on your mind, body, and soul with the addition of making conscious environmental choices then gift yourself some OHMME products. Check out their full range at OHMME.com/Us

Posted on April 3, 2018 .

Gillette: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

For far too long men’s grooming habits have taken a back seat to women’s multifaceted world of beauty, and we’ve been left using the same products. However, as men we all have different wants and needs when it comes to our overall lifestyles, which means our grooming habits as well. It’s about time companies recognized that we aren’t all the same, and created products to reflect that. One company has finally done just this, and that is why I’m excited to team up with Gillette to show you guys all the options we now have because one size doesn’t fit all.

For years I’ve struggled to find grooming products that matched my needs, but with the advancements in Gillette’s razor technology, I have not 1, but 2 awesome options that stay within my desired lower price point without compromising quality. Both the Gillette MACH3 and Gillette Fusion5 fulfill my fussy skin and beard needs. Personally, I hate your standard single use razor as I feel it is extremely wasteful. My skin is super sensitive, so I need a razor that has multiple blades as this requires less pressure on my temperamental skin. Additionally having a razor with a lubrication strip and skin guards totally changed my beard and skin game. Add to the equation the Gillette Fusion5’s precision trimmer, which helps keep my beard lines tight, or the Gillette MACH3’s ion technology (think of it like a car with paint, rather than without), and I end up with 2 winning razor options. 

From price points, to where and how we shave, to what type of facial hair we wear, or if we simply keep it bare, Gillette understands that men are becoming more and more mindful of how we consume and take care of our bodies. Shaving and how we present ourselves should be fun, expressive, and an extension of who we are as unique individuals.  

As someone who is mindful in all aspects of my life, it truly means a lot to see companies like Gillette looking to bring better products to their customers. So make sure to check out some of our new and improved Gillette grooming options by clicking here: Gillette.

Lastly, remember looking like you give a damn is never a bad thing!

#MyGilletteShave

#MarchForOurLives

March 24, 2018 was a historic day as hundreds of thousands to millions of people showed up to peacefully march for gun control. It was a soul healing experience to see so many diverse people show up, yet again, to stand up for what is fundamentally right. While I often have many things to say, I am going to let these images speak for themselves. 

Here is what I saw while marching in New York City.

Too everyone who marched, Thank you!

P.S. My F#CK DONALD shirt can be bought here. (This isn't an ad, and I have no affiliation with this company, I just love this shirt, and know many of you do too).

Posted on March 25, 2018 .

A Nutty Vegan Snack

No "cooking" required.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Organic Avocado 
  • 2 Pieces of Whole Grain Bread
  • 1/2 of an Organic Tomato
  • 1/4 of an Organic Cucumber 
  • 8 Organic Whole Walnuts
  • Ground Pepper
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Garlic Powder

Prepare:

  1. Cut your avocado in half.
  2. Place into a bowl and mash with salt and garlic powder.
  3. Spread onto bread.
  4. Slice your cucumber and tomato.
  5. Place on top of avocado spread.
  6. Add walnuts.
  7. Top with salt and pepper.

BAM!

A beyond easy meal or snack that will take you less than 5 minutes to make! Are you a fan? Let me know!

Do You Believe In Spiritual Wifi?

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Do you believe in spiritual wifi or should I say the belief that we are all connected?

Spiritual wifi does not require a specific provider. It does not have a religious affiliation. It is not password protected. Anyone can log on at any time from anywhere, and the strength of it is factored entirely by you. The signals will be weak at moments, stronger at others, but will remain lightning fast when connected with other modems. The best part about spiritual wifi is that it is free.  You just have to believe.

Each day, everywhere you look there are people talking on their phones, scrolling through social media, and connecting to the world wide web. We, as people that desire a sense of connectedness, turn on our phones, modems, and computers and are instantly connected to endless people, news, events, images, videos, and really anything you can think of. Though we physically cannot see wifi, we believe it exists. We cannot see ‘the cloud,’ but we know our data is being saved somewhere, somehow. We cannot see this thing that has become a basic human necessity; however, we all undoubtedly trust in it.

Why?

One train of thought might be that we are able to physically see the results of the connections it makes as we connect to social media or use a search engine to give us easy access to information. When we have been without wifi or unable to connect to whatever it is we were trying to, thus some sort of tangible understanding of wifi’s existence occurs.

Why then is it so hard to believe we are all connected through a universal energy, ‘spiritual wifi’, if you will. We understand that connecting with others is of vital importance. It’s this idea of connection that has allowed social media to expand and grow in such a dramatic way, that we cannot deny how great it feels to connect with others in a vulnerable real way. 

Some people believe in God, gods, energy, or a greater power that connects us to a larger field, but for many others the idea is too abstract, and without tangible evidence difficult to believe at all. However, what I want to remind you of is that just like an internet modem, we too have to be turned on.  Using a strong signal to accept our spiritual wifi, and accept that not everyone is at the same level of strength when it comes to believing in this larger idea of connection. 

The more we allow ourselves to open up to the people in our lives, the more we will be able to strengthen, not only our ‘signals’, but everyone else’s ‘signals’ around us. The more we explore what makes us happy, the more we will see people around us doing the same. The more we travel, meet new people, and open ourselves up to new experiences, the more we will find ourselves accepting and receiving incredible opportunities in every facet of our lives.

Just because we cannot see something does not mean it does not exist. Some might call it faith, hope, universal acceptance, or whatever makes you comfortable because spirituality and mindfulness are supposed to be about what works for you. No matter what you call this concept, just make sure you have your ‘modem’ turned on, and that you are consciously capable of receiving anything your mind, body, and soul desire.

Remember that social media is a tool, but connecting face-to-face is always a more rewarding, socially engaging, and spiritually strengthening experience. Taking time to sit with yourself, being aware of your breath, and allowing your mind to wander is an essential aid to building and harnessing your spiritual wifi. Lastly, the closer you are to other people’s modems which are as turned on as yours, the farther your signals will go due to the power in numbers.

Whether you have been a believer in the concept of spiritual wifi forever, or are just starting to question its actuality does not matter. What matters is that you continue to be aware of how your actions affect yourself, those around you, and the greater world we all live in. The more you open your mind to this concept, the more you will find positive changes occurring in your life.

Posted on February 2, 2018 .

Ralph Lauren's Latest Trend: Customization

I've always loved Ralph Lauren. I grew up wearing the brand, and even had their bedding covered in the iconic RL bear as a kid. 

The brands classic American style always hits the mark, and I feel like everyone I know has some sort of connection to Ralph Lauren.

The brand has recently stepped up their style game, and now lets customers personalize sweaters 100%. You get to pick the color, logo, details, and even add something to the back. You can make yours by clicking here.

Check out my customized Ralph Lauren sweater below! I freakin love it!

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Click here to make your own sweater today!

Posted on January 10, 2018 .

Call Me By Your Name Will Bring Out Your Insecurities

Call Me By Your Name was an emotional experience for anyone who has had to love and let go. 

For me it was an even more emotional experience. Just two hours before seeing this beautifully sad tale of a love lost, I found myself standing at the corner of 53 street and 8th avenue, looking into the eyes of someone I love, and thinking I was losing them. It’s been a rollercoaster ride over the past two and a half years for me and this incredible human being, but so is life, and as Call Me By Your Name so beautifully showed us, not everything works out as we expect, plan, or hope. 

We all have things that we are insecure about, and when someone unexpectedly shows up in our lives that reminds us that we aren’t alone in those insecurities, life feels immensely less lonely. 

And that is what we all want, to be less lonely. To find someone that we can share our secrets with, to feel related to, and to feel like time slows down and you’re the only two people in the world in those moments together. 

However with finding that person comes the possibility that we may not get to have them forever, and that is what makes love so scary, deep, and honest.

The final moments in this tale of love sent a message that we all need to hear. The father, Mr. Perlman, played by Micheal Stuhbarg gives one of the most eloquent pieces of advice to his son, Elio, played by Timothée Chalamet that I have ever heard. 

The speech’s text, which follows and is a light spoiler if you haven’t seen the movie or read the book yet, hits to the core of who we are as humans. But even more so, what we need to be conscious of as we go through this wild thing we call life, regardless of your age, sex, religion, race, or whatever.

“In my place, most parents would hope the whole thing goes away, or pray that their sons land on their feet soon enough,” Mr. Perlman says. “But I am not such a parent. In your place, if there is pain, nurse it, and if there is a flame, don’t snuff it out, don’t be brutal with it. Withdrawal can be a terrible thing when it keeps us awake at night, and watching others forget us sooner than we’d want to be forgotten is no better. We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of 30 and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything—what a waste!”

What a waste in deed, and what an imperative thing to hear. We spend so much time running from being uncomfortable, shielding ourselves from pain, and trying to conform to societal norms.

Why?

Because in our youth we stood out for better or worse about something, and someone, most likely our parents, or someone of authority told us that it wasn’t good. It could’ve been a small, insignificant, passing statement to them, but to us it was something that would sit in our essence and core forever. I know that as you read this you can probably recall such a statement. For me, it was the countless peers telling me I was less than with words like "faggot" being thrown at me daily, and while those words burned so deep, it was actually hearing my dad tell me that I had a big nose at the age of 12 or so that buzzes in the background of my identity.

It was the first time I had ever really considered my looks in general, and to have them scrutinized in a negative way would be the beginning of my own physical insecurities. My father's words coupled with the constant ridicule of my peers is what continues to be at the center of any insecurities I know I still hold onto today. 

I don’t share this piece of personal history as a way to garner sympathy, but simply to say, I understand deeply how badly we yearn for approval, specifically from our parents, and when we don’t get that approval the way Elio does, it can extinguish our light, our uniqueness, our flames. Something Elio's father brilliantly warns him against.

While Call Me By Your Name is having an incredibly successful run at the moment, and I personally loved the film, I know many people have their fair share or criticism. However, beyond the movie, what I found to really be such a special experience was to sit in a sold out theatre full of mostly gay men and watch everyone around me feel that they had been seen and heard.

To know that the showing before and after the one I sat in was sold out, and almost all other showings of Call Me By Your Name have been sold out, reminded me that it has been years since a gay centric movie has been at the center of pop culture. As far as I can remember, nothing since Brokeback Mountain or Milk has really come close to what Call Me By Your Name is currently experiencing in terms of relevance, popularity, and importance. With the current administration making so many of us feel like second class citizens, this film is providing not only a safe space for us outcast at a very compulsory time, but for younger generations to hear words that are healing, caring, and empowering.  

Love it or hate it, Call Me By Your Name will leave you feeling as if you’ve been thrown back to your younger even more insecure self, but in a way that makes you feel grateful to have made it to today. Even more so, it will remind that your flame still burns deep inside of, you just have to care for it, and let it brighten each day through self-care, being a little kinder with yourself, and love.

Posted on December 8, 2017 .

Winter Is Coming: Are You Ready?

Sponsored by Zappos

As the leaves fall and the seasons begin to change, I'm making sure I'm fully prepared for my least favorite season, winter, and ZapposUgg have got me covered. 

There's something romantic about snow, being cozied up inside, and layers, but more often than not the romance is short lived, and I find myself not excited to leave my apartment.

However, I've found a few ways to make the winter more fun.

One of those ways is to gear up in fashion forward winter ready pieces like these classic black Ugg Magnusson Boots, which thanks to one of my favorites, Zappos, were at my apartment in 24 hours. 

Ugg has really stepped up their shoe game as these Magnussons aren't just stylish, they're waterproof and perfect for any guy who isn't afraid to get his feet a little dirty, aka yours truly! Add to the fact that the Magnusson isn't your normal ugly bulky winter shoe, but rather a sleek and stylish boot that can stand up to the elements, and I knew I found myself a new favorite with this innovative Ugg! As most of you know, I find myself in all types of situations, so to find a shoe that is able to go from the outdoors to a holiday event really makes my life a lot easier.

And ease is key when it comes to living a life like mine, which is why I am such a fan of Zappos. Zappos is seriously the best when it comes to finding a huge range of shoes, stellar customer service, and the fact Zappos offer things like a 365 day return policy are perfect for my world-traveler lifestyle. 

Whether you're in the market for new shoes, just looking to browse Ugg's new awesome style, or like me know need another reason to look forward to winter, zappos.com has got your back.

Winter is coming, are you ready?

Posted on December 5, 2017 .

Why You Need To Go Backpacking Tomorrow

Or do any of the things you dream of doing.

While another Thanksgiving has come and many of us find ourselves taking one day out of the year to give thanks, I think it’s incredibly important to acknowledge that you aren’t thanking yourself enough.

You work like a dog year after year. You argue with yourself that it’s all leading to something: a trip, a promotion, more money, an apartment, a house, a bigger apartment, a bigger house, security, happiness, and the list goes on.

But when does the vicious cycle end?

When will it ever be enough? When will the list stop growing? When will there finally be nothing standing in your way from doing all the things you’ve said you were going to do?

You’ve sacrificed years of your life, relationships, friendships, and ultimately your happiness in the here and now, so that you could one day live your dream. However, on this day of thanks and reflection, I want to remind you that dreams aren’t something to continuously be dreamt, they’re things to be lived out right now.

You argue with yourself that while you don’t love your job, it is in fact providing you with security, an income, and a plethora of other bullshit we feed ourselves to make ourselves feel better about shitty situations. After all, these things are somewhat important, and if we can’t justify why we are doing something than we feel really crazy for doing it. Right?

I mean you spent thousands of dollars on your education, and then years of your life grinding away at your career, which you thought you would love, eventually, but still it just doesn’t feel right. You can shake this feeling for a little bit, and find some things you like about your job, but ultimately this feeling just isn’t disappearing. We make excuses, say things will change soon, and my favorite, “I just need to get to x.” 

We all do it, or at least we’ve all done it.

Personally, I found that I was always saying I wanted to do something, or that I was going to do something in the near future, but for one reason or another the timing just wasn’t right.

And then last year I fucked my whole life up even more than I already had, and just went for it. I decided that I was going to do the things I always wanted to do. I was finally going to cross off bucket list items now; while my body is able and capable; while I’m young and have less responsibilities; and while I know I can always bounce back if things don’t work out.

In May of 2016 I unexpectedly decided to hike 650 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, and two weeks later I was at the border of Mexico and California at mile zero with one of my best friends as ready as I’d ever be to push myself in ways I couldn’t even been to imagine. 650 miles turned into 800, and after 45 days of living in a tent, and carrying my whole life, food and water included, on my back, I had completed the hardest thing I have ever done mentally and physically.

From there the adventures haven’t stopped.

I backpacked for 2 weeks through Germany.  I went to Australia for a month by myself because I had always wanted to, and it was time to stop waiting for someone to go with me. An excuse I’ve employed forever. I decided to go to Thailand to work with elephants and Cambodia to work with kids because I was sick of bitching about things, and wanted to be a part of the solution and change. I decided to miss my flight the day I was supposed to go home from this same 2 week trip, and travel through South East Asia for 3 months doing humanitarian work along the way, and seeing a part of the world I had no real knowledge of. I decided to dye my hair blue because hair grows back and I had always wanted to. I decided that I was going to live life, not just watch it pass me by on someone else’s Instagram account or Facebook. I decided to be the guy I had always wanted to date.

And I can tell you my life hasn’t been fucked up at all, it’s only been fucking amazing.

I know what you’re thinking how did you afford all of this? Well, I can tell you all these trips have cost less than one month’s rent does for me in New York City. I live below my means, I save, I don’t eat out a lot, I don’t shop, I rarely drink alcohol, I almost never use taxis or Ubers, and I work in between my trips, so that my savings never runs out. 

You’d be shocked how much money you spend on things you do not need, alcohol being one of the biggest. Personally, I’d rather actually have a fun time somewhere abroad then get drunk to make my surroundings fun. P.S. alcohol is so much cheaper in most other countries. 

I also chose a career as a life coach and personal trainer because they’re flexible, and place me in a field that is needed worldwide. They’ve even taken me to places all over the world that aren’t included in my self-funded adventures. And yes, through all of this I have been clever enough to turn this into a digital career on social media, but this was only after years of hard work and spending my own hard-earned money to do the things I had always wanted to do.

Does all of this sound crazy to you? 

Well, what if I told you, I thought your life was crazy? Waking up every morning and doing the same thing because somewhere along the path of growing up, you were taught that that is what you’re “supposed” to do. That you have to force yourself to find joys in life, rather than actually enjoying life.

The truth of the matter is that I really shook my life up 4 years ago when I decided to quit my job, my long term relationship, the city I was living in, and the pressure I was drowning myself in. I finally told myself no more, and since then every year I have pushed myself harder and harder to do more, explore more, and just be a better, kinder, more loving human in every way, which I truly accredit to traveling as much as possible.

The thing that backpacking and traveling as a whole has really taught me is that: 

  1. You’re never alone unless you want to be.
  2. Traveling is far cheaper than you realize, you just have to get creative.
  3. For everything you get to cross off of your bucket list, you’re about to add four more items to it.
  4. People are amazing, resourceful, and kind.
  5. The Western world isn’t the end all be all, and America specifically has tricked us into buying this American dream that doesn’t actually exist, but just traps us.
  6. There is no time like the present.
  7. Big cities aren’t all there are to see.
  8. You don’t need to speak a language to communicate with people.
  9. The world is changing for the better and for the worse.
  10. You’ll never have enough time, so make the most of it everywhere you go.

Thanksgiving is a reminder to all of us celebrating that the holidays are upon us, and that a new year is fast approaching. It’s an important reminder, and something that we all should be grateful for.

So while you are taking time today to be grateful and thankful, I say take time to talk to yourself today. Finally thank yourself for making it this far, and working really hard to get to this point because I know it hasn’t been easy. But I promise it doesn’t have to be this hard, and you can have everything you want.

Lastly, I challenge you to question if the year you just had would be the year you want for the rest of your life, and then just go for it, whatever it is because it will never be the right time to do anything. Make a list of all the cool shit you’ve done, and use this as a reminder that you’ve done some pretty epic things once, and you can do stuff like this again. Remind yourself that you’re a badass, and don’t get down on yourself if your list doesn’t feel long enough because the awesome thing is, you still have plenty of time.

All that’s left to do now is eat some good food with some great people and relax. 

And maybe buy a backpack!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Posted on November 22, 2017 .

Top 5 Tips For Better Blogging

I never thought that when I started my blog in 2013 that 4 years later it would be my main source of income. I started it as a fun project with Bianca, one of my best friends from college, as a way for us to keep connected and show what we thought was cool. However, we sat down one day and very seriously wrote out a plan, brainstormed ideas, and tried to come up with something that we thought was unique.

Thus Artisan & King was born. 

It took a while to find the perfect name, but one day while getting lost in a blackhole of the internet, I found myself taking a personality test, which classifies you into one of seven Roles: Server, Artisan, Warrior, Scholar, Sage, Priest, and King. Can guess what I ended up being? 

Yup, I was an Artisan and after making Bianca take the test and being proclaimed a King (or Queen), we knew we had found our name. This leads me to my first tip for better blogging.


1. HAVE A MEMORABLE NAME

There are thousands of blogs today, and if you want yours to be one that is remembered than you’re going to have to make yourself stand out in the sea of saturation. People often have no idea why my blog is called Artisan & King, and to be fair the mystery is part of the appeal for me. It’s a great conversation starter, and it reminds people that we all have an artisan (creative) and a king (leader) in all of us. 

Personally, I also think it sounds slightly more professional from a business stand point to have a blog name that differs from your actual name. Yes, my social media accounts are all my name, but that is also where I feel slightly more personal. My blog on the other hand is my home base for everything I want to talk about, not just one quick image from one specific day. When I think about my fellow bloggers who have made a real career out of blogging, they too have their blog name and their actual name as something different.


2. COLLABORATE, COLLABORATE, COLLABORATE

This is something that so many people shy away from because they’re either too afraid to reach out to someone they admire, or they simply think it’s better to do everything on their own. As someone who grew rather quickly in the blogging sphere, I can promise you that reaching out to people I admired was not only beneficial for me, but for them as well. We were able to build relationships, share each other’s content, and when it comes time to recommend other bloggers for jobs, we don’t think twice about who to suggest.

The other thing that I think scares a lot of people away from collaborating is that there’s an idea that you’ll be handing over jobs, or giving your competition something that should have been yours. Here’s the thing, whether you do or don’t work with someone, they’ll still be out there in the blogging sphere, and I can promise you they’ve been seen by the same clients. It’s not a win/lose relationship when it comes to collaborating, it’s a win/win, and you’ll only benefit by teaming up with other bloggers. 

Yes, not everyone will want to collaborate, but some will. Yes, following size will range between bloggers, but as long as the collaboration makes sense this shouldn’t matter too much. And yes, you should think strategically when it comes to your collaborations, after all this is a business, so get out there and collaborate with bloggers like you!

Plus it’s a great way to meet new people, and I’ve actually made quite a few friends by doing this.


3. BE AUTHENTIC

This is the most fundamental piece to blogging when looking to make a well rounded blog. I accredit my authenticity to what helped me grow quickly in the beginning, and what helped me find my voice.

When Artisan & King first launched it was meant to be a lifestyle blog with a guy/girl take on fashion; however, after going through my first real break up with my first real love, I couldn’t find any interest in fashion. I was writing, but about my feelings, and I just couldn’t force myself to write about something that didn’t feel relevant to me. Thus, the “Feelings” section in my blog was given life and I was able to post my first piece.

I would’ve never guessed that this section of my blog was where I’d originally find my audience from; what would be the tipping point for becoming a professional blogger; or what would give me the chance to be a contributor for The Huffington Post.

To this day the Feelings section in my blog is my personal favorite as it’s where I get to speak my truth, leave pieces of my heart, and write things that help others feel less alone. Ultimately this section is the voice for the blog as a whole.

I can’t stress it enough, but the more authentic you are, the more people will want to be a part of your journey because in so many ways it’s their journey too.


4. STAND FOR SOMETHING

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So many social media accounts today are endless vanity projects that do nothing, but give their owners a false sense of validation. I know that when I first started my modeling career, what I was looking for beyond money was validation. It’s something that we all want, and it makes sense as we all deal with silly insecurities; however, if all your posting about is stuff and your gorgeous face than people will get bored.

I often joke that you should use your powers for good, not evil, so if you find that images of yourself do the best, as they almost always do, then incorporate important messaging.

This specific tip is one that I find myself frustrated with when looking through things like Instagram because so many people have giant accounts and don’t use them to promote important occurrences, news, organizations, differing cultures, or a plethora of socially conscious things. I respect that not everyone is interested in world events, or that they think their opinion is relevant, but when we watch people like Donald Trump get elected to office, it’s clear that we need more and more people speaking up. Especially those who have the power to influence thousands, if not, millions of people. These things most likely won’t pay you in monetary value, but they will pay you in so many other ways, and at the end of the day I can promise you that when I have spoken out on controversial topics I haven’t lost followers, likes, engagement, or branded contacts, so don’t let those things hold you back from doing what you know is right.

If you’re serious about making blogging a profession than you have to understand that at the end of the day, you’re agreeing to letting the public into your life. It may not seem that way in the beginning, but the more you start to share, the more you realize this is part of the job, and for better or worse, it’s not going to change.


5. BE USEFUL

Being useful perfectly puts the cherry on top of the sundae when it comes to sharing my top 5 tips for blogging. 

By being useful you are giving a potential follower a reason to hit follow, not just like your pics and disappear. Whether it’s style tips, workout tricks, or inspiring others to pursue their dreams, you need to make sure that you serve a purpose. Too many people get caught up in just creating beautiful content, which I’m not including in this list because beautiful content is a must, not a tip. However if your blog, Facebook, Instagram, or whatever is just beautiful to look at, eventually people will get bored of it, so make sure that you have a target mission that sits at the heart of your blog.

Additionally, remember that you should try and find a focus that fits what you’re good at. If you can’t cook, don’t be a food blogger, but maybe be a “learning to cook” food blogger. There’s a way to spin anything into an interesting and engaging blog, but remember you have to find a way to make yourself standout.

Today blogging is a lucrative profession that thousands of people are looking to break into everyday. It’s a major offered at universities, and something that is only growing. I often accredit timing, my eduction, and dedication as being the 3 key things for how I found my place in this highly saturated world of blogging. While blogging looks easy and glamorous from the outside, it’s actually a very time consuming profession that often doesn’t pay off until years later, or if ever. 

While you may think you can just jump on the blogging bandwagon, quit your job, and do whatever you want, it just doesn’t work that way. So make sure you are ready to spend hours each day alone writing, your own money on things that you hope one day become free, and people thinking your nuts because you’re following your wanderlust. 

Blogging isn’t for everyone, but if you think you have an original idea, what it takes, and the drive and dedication to make it big then implement these 5 tips and get going because every second you waste someone else is out there living the life you dream of.

Posted on November 14, 2017 .

Booting It Up For Fall With Zappos X Steve Madden

Sponsored by Zappos!

Fall is definitely here!

After being in South East Asia for 3 months and gone from from my beloved NYC, I found myself in the middle of fall with nothing but summer clothes. My experience was beyond amazing, but there’s nothing like returning home, especially to New York when the leaves are changing, sweaters are necessary, and a stylish pair of boots becomes a wardrobe staple.

I knew I wanted new boots, but I wasn’t exactly sure what brand or style I wanted, so I turned to Zappos to help me narrow my search. With just a few clicks I found myself searching through Steve Madden’s wide range of boots and styles. After finding Steve Madden’s Paterson Boots, I knew I had found a winner. They’re cool, edgy, and clean. Beyond all of that, the Paterson Boots are the perfect addition to step up anyone’s style game.

With just a few more clicks I had managed to use Zappos world class customer service to figure out exactly what size I needed as I had never ordered a pair of Steve Madden shoes before, and we all know sizes vary depending on the brand. My Zappos customer service rep was amazing, and made sure that everything was all set before reminding me that there’s a free return policy, which I luckily didn’t need.

I used Zappos next day shipping service to get my Steve Madden shoes quick. The next day I was wandering around NYC perfectly suited for fall. Whether you’re looking for a wardrobe must have, or just looking to add another pair of fresh kicks to your closet Zappos is the perfect place to check off all your shoe dreams.

Head over to zappos.com now to browse through their endless styles and options!

Posted on November 10, 2017 .

World Mental Health Day

Today is World Mental Health Day, a day that doesn't get enough recognition here in the US.

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Now that I'm back in NY, my mission is to work with more and more people, groups, and companies to help bring awareness to the importance of mental health.

As a Behavioral Change Expert and Life Coach, I've worked with many individuals and groups around the world, and watched incredible change: in overall happiness, feelings of peace, and stress management evolve by implementing small but impactful habits.

If you, someone you know, or your company is looking to simply be happier, deal with stress better, or create meaningful change in a personal and/or professional manner then please reach out to me. I've made the changes myself, I've watched others make the changes, and I can promise life doesn't have to feel so hard.

So my final question is: What are you waiting for?

Please feel free to email me at artisanandking@gmail.com or fill out the form below to inquire about personal one-on-one sessions or my 6-8 week course. I'm happy to provide any answers to questions you may have, and know this can be an intimidating dialogue to start.

You deserve to have it all!

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Posted on October 10, 2017 .

A Fall Escape: Storm King Art Center

A journey through time in more ways than one.

Since coming back from my South East Asian adventure, I've made it a point to be more social, explore my own backyard, and do fun stuff. So when a friend suggested heading 2 hours outside of NYC to visit Storm King Art Center I was down for an adventure.

As we journeyed through classic North Eastern fall foliage with Alanis Morissette blasting in the car, I couldn't help but be reminded of my childhood. Growing up on Long Island, it was a signal that time was changing when you saw the leaves graduate from green to orange, red, and yellow; something I took for granted, but as an adult am so aware of. 

Add some Alanis to the mix and a wave of memories came flooding back into my consciousness. Sense memory triggers fully at work, a moment of gratitude, and before I knew it we were at the iconic open-aired museum located in Mountanville, New York.

Named after its proximity to Storm King Mountain, and containing perhaps the largest collection of contemporary outdoor sculptures in the United States, Storm King was founded by Ralph E. Ogden in 1960 as a museum for Hudson River School paintings. Now it acts as a getaway for not just New Yorkers, but people visiting from far and wide looking to find some nature, art, and intrigue while on the east coast. 

Welcome to Storm King

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XOXO

Never stop exploring, spending time outdoors, and going on adventures with good people.

Posted on October 8, 2017 .

Let’s Talk About Sex

Safe sex.

You and me baby ain’t nothing but mammals, and I know majority of us are doing what they do on the discovery channel, so let’s be mature adults and talk about condoms.

Standard condoms only properly fit 12% of condom users, and if we’re doing the deed, we want it to be as pleasurable and safe as possible. Condoms that fit too tight or too loose make it harder to orgasm, keep an erection, and enjoy sex overall. The idea of one-size-fits-all never made sense for anything, so why would we expect it to work for condoms?

MyONE Perfect Fit condoms is the perfect solution to this problem. Ranging in sizes from 4.9 - 9.4 inches long and 3.5-5 inches in circumference these perfect fit condoms are a game changer when it comes to sex. MyONE believes that consumers no longer need to sacrifice comfort for safety and with over 60 different sizes available, they solve the condom fitting problem.

Whether you’re a banana, zucchini, carrott, stick of celery, or a piece of chorizo, there is a perfect fitting condom for you with MyONE.

Figuring out your size is beyond simple with MyONE’s FitKit available online at myonecondoms.com, and to make sure you get the right size, MyONE offers a free sampling program. 

And if all this talk about condoms, penis size, and sex makes you a little nervous and uncomfortable, you have nothing to worry about: shipping and size labels are completely discreet. There are a range of subscriptions you can sign up for, the best value being the 24-pack subscription, which makes each condom cost 66 cents. Not too shabby at all!

Look, I get it, who wants to talk about condoms? The thing is, it would be way more irresponsible to act like any of us weren’t having sex, and to avoid the topic all together. So let’s be grown ups, protect our own body, and our partner's bodies. 

Sex is fun, and it should be enjoyable in every sense, so check out MyONE Perfect Fit condoms, and let the good times roll.

Posted on October 5, 2017 .

The 4 Big Pro Gun Arguments Obliterated 

Guns. Firearms. Death Weapons.

Protection. Stimulant to the Economy. Food Gatherer. 

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As we continue to be desensitized by another mass shooting, I found myself having discussions with people I love about why they believe they should have the right to own a gun. In doing so arguments that I often think about, but roll my eyes to came up. Looking to fully understand how anyone could still think that guns should be not just accessible, but in existence, I challenged myself to think critically about the arguments that politicians, pro-gun lobbyist, and countless Americans employ. 

This is what I found:

The Economy Argument

As the world’s largest dealer of fire arms it makes sense that the United States has the most firearms per capita. Right now there are more than 300 million firearms in the US, and that represents just the ones reported.

There seems to be this argument that if we ban guns, we will be taking away people’s jobs, a money making venture for the US, and a general wealth. 

As it sits right now, the wealth of the US is dominated by 1% of extremely wealthy individuals, and the lack of distribution to the lower classes, a large group of people who adamantly fight for their right to bear arms, don’t see this or any social benefits that come with being a “super power.” What is the point of being a “super power” and a wealthy country if all of our citizens don’t have healthcare, clean water, and shelter?

Secondly, it is time that our citizens started learning new skills, or translated their skill set into something that doesn’t create a deadly weapon because that is what firearms are, deadly weapons. Yes, many people will have to step out of their comfort zone to learn a new skill, talk to new coworkers, or be a part of the liberals that want to help all classes have the basic human rights. However, when we step out of our comfort zone we find that our lives change for the better, and many other opportunities present themselves.

Additionally, if we no longer produce firearms than our country will no longer be providing firearms to other countries, terrorist groups, or any other consumer of these deadly weapons.

What the economy argument truly boils down to are larger problems that surround greed and power by the 1% of America’s elite. The NRA funds government officials to vote in their favor, so that these few individuals don’t have to face the country’s growing problems, which is that we will become very irrelevant globally if we stop producing firearms. 

To really drive this idea home, it’s important to note that with less guns we’d have less gun related injuries, which would mean our medical field in the US would also have to have a discussion based on preventive medicine rather then medicine that deals with a problem once it’s proliferated. 

It’s time we started investing in other ventures and looking to the future, which is going to come with or without us.

The “It’s My Right” Argument

There's a huge argument regarding the 2nd Amendment and the right of Americans to bear arms. I understand that this is an amendment built into the United States Constitution, but when over 1.56 million people are homeless, 1 in 8 households are food insecure, and majority of Americans don’t have access to medical care something is fundamentally wrong.

Furthermore, this amendment was written into the constitution in 1791. The type of firearms that are employed today didn’t exist and I highly doubt could have even been imagined by our founding fathers. 

If guns were banned from the US than this idea of a right, which is greatly skewed, would no longer be necessary because we’d all have no need for guns.

The Hunting Argument

Another common argument that pro-gun citizens like to use is the fact that many families get their source of food from hunting, and if we were to ban guns many people wouldn’t have the same access to meat. 

While guns do provide an easy way to kill a harmless animal, there are other ways to do so. A bow and arrow was how people originally hunted their meat, and if we are going to continue to allow this argument to be employed than we need to discuss that fact that we’ve evolved as people that don’t need to hunt. Guns have evolved and not for this reason. We are no longer hunter-gatherers, we’ve become a culture of settlers.

There is no sport to hunting when you can shoot an animal from an extreme distance and use a firearm that shoots off multiple rounds in the matter of seconds. 

Furthermore, the FDA has even stated that majority of our diets should be plant-based with meat acting as a side, if at all. We no longer need the amount of meat that our ancestors needed, and if people want to live like them then they should have to hunt like them.

As a side note, meat is remarkably inexpensive to buy in the US because of factory farming, which is a whole other argument, but one that is important to touch on because this industry is closely linked to the NRA, the American Heart Association, and the same elected officials who vote against the majority of US citizens.   

The Protection Argument

One of the biggest arguments surrounding the right to bear arms is the idea of protection.

I’d like to ask those of you who are reading this that support this argument, who exactly are you protecting yourself from?

Terrorists, gang members, the crazy man down the street?

Well, if we were to ban guns, or at least look where and who we are selling them to, none of these people would be able to get firearms. We directly or indirectly supply firearms to all those who we are taught to fear. Yes, even terrorists abroad have acquired many firearms through our poor systems and laws.

We are literally in the middle of an argument to legalize silencers for the average American to own and use. What would the average American need a silencer for?

There’s a huge myth that the NRA likes to spread, which is that owning a gun will protect you. The truth of the matter is, it is far more likely to harm you or a loved one. 

Using data from 1981–2010 and the best firearm ownership proxy to date, the most recent study examining the relationship between firearms and homicide rates on a state level found that for every 1 percent increase in gun ownership, there was a 1.1 percent increase in the firearm homicide rate and a 0.7 percent increase in the total homicide rate.

Studies have been done looking at countries that allow guns with ease, and those that don’t have guns at all, and those that have banned firearms have found what one would expect, a significantly lower number of deaths by firearms.

Going one step further, suicide rates drop dramatically when firearms are not allowed to be owned. It literally is the easiest way to kill oneself, and unfortunately what majority of suicide victims employ for this heartbreaking occurrence. 

When there are 1.69 million American children living in homes with loaded and unlocked firearms, and 73% of children aged nine and under report knowing the location of their parents’ firearm, can we be surprised that 89% of accidental shooting deaths among children occur in the home? 

Finally, when we look at other countries that don’t use firearms within their police forces, we see that there are less firearm related deaths. Countries like Australia, Denmark, Austria, Norway, Germany, France, Iceland, and Sweden train their law enforcement to be in good physical condition, think critically, and handle situations without the use of firearms. Why? Because if you don’t have a gun, you can’t act rash and just shoot someone, which unfortunately happens way too often in the US.

By properly training and vetting our law enforcement officers, and requiring them to be in top physical condition the need for guns is simply unnecessary.

To add to these sentiments, it’s incredibly important to look at a few statistics:

  • Since the American Revolution 1,396,733 Americans have died in wars. 
  • Since 1968 1,516,863 Americans have died by firearm-related deaths (not wars). 
  • In 2017 at least 59 people were killed and over 500 more have been hurt in some way in the Las Vegas shooting.
  • In 2016 49 people were killed and 58 were wounded in the Orlando shooting.
  • In 2012 20 six and seven year olds were shot and killed in Sandy Hook.
  • In 1999 13 people were killed in Columbine.
  • American has 4.4% of the world’s population, but almost half of the civilian-owned guns around the world.
  • America has 6 times as many firearm homicides as Canada, and nearly 16 time as many as Germany.
  • There have been 1,500 mass shootings since Sandy Hook.
  • On average, there is more than one mass shooting for each day in America. 
  • States with more guns have more gun deaths.
  • Other developed countries with more guns also have more gun deaths.
  • The states with the most guns report the most suicides.
  • Since the shooting of Michael Brown, police have killed at least 2,900 people in the US.
  • In states with more guns, more police officers are also killed on duty.

What all major mass shootings have in common is that they’ve been executed by men, and more often than not, white-Christian-middle-class men. It’s important to note this because it highlights the ways in which we are avoiding issues beyond gun control, mental health being at the top of that list.

Ultimately, this is a conversation that is too far gone, but one that isn’t dead for lack of a better word, and we need to create change. The right to bear arms shouldn’t be a basic human right when actual things to survive like healthcare, clean food and water, and shelter are denied to so many. We are literally giving access to creating more death than we are to sustaining life. When a school full of children looking to learn, a church full of people looking to spread light, and a festival where people are looking to listen to music are shot up, we need to stop claiming that the wars we are fighting are outside our borders because they are in fact right here at home.

In closing, I have to ask, What will it take for all of us to agree that money and power do not champion human life?

What other arguments do you constantly hear?

Sources:

  1.  http://smartgunlaws.org/guns-in-the-homesafe-storage-statistics/
  2. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2015/01/good_guy_with_a_gun_myth_guns_increase_the_risk_of_homicide_accidents_suicide.html
  3. https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/amendments/amendment-ii
  4.  http://www.worldhunger.org/hunger-in-america-2016-united-states-hunger-poverty-facts/
  5. http://www.socialsolutions.com/blog/2016-homelessness-statistics/
  6.  http://www.gunpolicy.org/
  7.  http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2015/aug/27/nicholas-kristof/more-americans-killed-guns-1968-all-wars-says-colu/
  8.  https://www.nbcnews.com/
  9.  https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/2/16399418/us-gun-violence-statistics-maps-chart
Posted on October 3, 2017 .

New York Isn’t for Lovers

It’s a city for workers.

As I found myself back in the hustle and bustle of New York City after three months traveling South East Asia, a rush of perspective came flooding into my consciousness.

New York City is a city where people go to make their dreams come true, their work dreams. Yes, many people move to NY and fall in love, but the reason that drives millions of people to migrate to NYC isn’t to find a partner, it’s to find a career, opportunity, and the chance to make it big. After all, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

It’s an incredible city where you can be anyone, do anything, but falling in love isn’t necessarily the easiest. New Yorkers can get anything at anytime, and the never ending ease and excess is no different when it comes to finding a potential mate. It’s an exciting thought, but one that doesn’t translate into real life quite as well.

I’m sure you could make this argument about many major cities, but there is something to be said about NYC as it’s a city that attracts people from all over the world looking to broaden their horizons and find something new. It’s a place that pushes you harder than you could imagine to be the best version of yourself in many ways, but one that doesn’t stop and ask, “Are you ok?” 

“Of course I’m ok, I live in fucking New York City.”

But the thing is most New Yorkers are tired, rent-poor, and neglecting many other areas of their lives to make their careers the thing they thought they wanted, but many times find isn’t fulfilling. Being that we are constantly evolving, it makes sense that our dreams evolve as well, but it’s an incredibly hard thing to come to terms with, and ultimately understand that this is not a failure.

Add to the fact that years have been devoted, relationships have been sacrificed, and we can’t imagine our lives any other way, and it’s no surprise that so many people just suck it up for whatever excuses they employ.

NYC is a city that doesn’t promote strong spiritual health and mindfulness the same way it promotes clothes, cars, and coffee. There’s billboards advertising the latest phones, trends, and stars, but nothing promotes love.

And not just romantic love, but self-love as well. NYC culture breeds its inhabitants to push our bodies at the gym, our minds at work, and our energy levels throughout all of this. We work hard and play even harder, but rarely is there a moment built into our lives to recharge, reset, and take stock in the things that are truly important.

What are those things?

Community, relationships with nature, and altruism are all things that have been understood to add increasingly high value to all human’s lives. As happiness becomes a scientific study, researchers are finding that human interaction, gratitude, and being in open outdoor spaces are the key to finding one’s own lasting happiness. 

Ultimately, what I’ve found since leaving New York and then coming back is that NYC changes us. Sometimes for the good, but also sometimes for the bad. I’ve adopted saying hello to strangers, smiling as I walk, and making eye contact even more than I already did, and people think I’m crazy. I’ve realized that NYC is beyond expensive, and that without even realizing it I’ve fallen into being fancier than I ever thought I’d be, paying more for rent than I could’ve ever imagined, and found it was normal to pay $30 for an ok meal. 

But more than anything I’ve realized that NYC isn’t for lovers. A city that makes it easy to fall for one person, and have them fall for you. A place where you get swept up in each other in a healthy way, and think long term. Yes, people find this here, and I still have hope, but NYC definitely isn’t for the lovers, the dreamers, and maybe me.

Posted on September 29, 2017 .