My Weekend in SF

Luna, Belgium

Day 1

I arrived on Thursday morning at 10 am in the financial district. I reunited with my best friend from Belgium and it was kind of an emotional moment. To catch up and start slowly, we ate brunch in a Starbucks, which was really nice and chill. After dropping my stuff at her house, we went straight into the center of the city where we walked around a little bit and in the evening we went to the cinema and saw The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. We came back home quite early because we needed to have a lot of energy for the next day which was Black Friday!

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Day 2

Black Friday was a really hectic, but super fun, day. We woke up at 5 am so we could start our shopping at 6 am. Our first stop was Urban Outfitters where we found matching Champion sweaters for a really good price. After that, came Sephora where we spent 75$ for an initial value of 240$ ! Then came Westfield which is one of the biggest malls in San Francisco. We went a little crazy and got really good deals at Pacsun, Hollister and Footlocker ! Forever 21 was also a success and overall we managed our time and money really well. We stuck to our plan and it was one of the most successful shopping-sprees. At 7 pm there was the tree-lightning on Union Square which was like a winter wonderland…

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Day 3

We decided that Saturday would be tourist-day! First thing we did when we woke up was take a little walk in the neighborhood because it was really vintage-looking and quiet. After that we visited famous places like : The Painted Ladies, Golden Gate Bridge, Ghirardelli Square, Fishermans Wharf. That took the whole day and in the evening we went back to Union Square and did a really festive activity : ice skating! This was the most magical moment of the whole trip and the whole place really looked like a winter wonderland. After that we went up to Macy’s rooftop because that is where the Cheesecake Factory is located. We ate the most delicious cheesecake, one was tiramisu-flavored and the other one was raspberry-lemon. We called it a day and went back home for a good night sleep.

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Day 4

For our last day together, we really wanted to enjoy each other’s company so we just did what made us happy. In the morning we went to the Golden Gate Park  where we had coffee. We saw amazing buildings and the weather was great, too. For lunch we tried a typical Frisco-dish which was soup in a bread-bowl. Because we are both vegetarians we ordered a tomato soup and it was delicious! The best place to eat this is on Fishermans Wharf at the pier and it is called Boudin Bakery. For desert we tasted a holiday doughnut from Krispy Kreme Doughnut and it was the best doughnut I have ever had … This day passed by quite quickly and it was now time for me to come back to Santa Barbara.

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It was really hard to say goodbye again, but I had the best time with my favorite person in this world. Even though I miss her like crazy I know we will see each other again soon!.Thank you, Lou !

Traditions in Spain

Andrea Rojas Fernandez, Spain.

All the countries of this world have their own traditions. Best known among Spain’s folkloric traditions are certainly Flamenco and bullfights. You will find bullfights indeed throughout the country. The most popular event perhaps being the “Running of Bulls” during the Sanfermines in Pamplona. But bullfights are part and parcel of any Fiesta.

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The Sanfermines is one of the most important weeks in Spain, especially for the people that live in Pamplona and for the people that love the bullfights. Everybody dresses with white clothes and wear a red handkerchief.

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Every year, this typical week starts with a street shout in which we can hear the hymn of the Sanfermines.

Flamenco, on the other hand, is the musical traditional in the country, particularly in Andalucia. Nowadays, in the rest of the country you don’t usually listen it, but, in Andalucia, yes. In the Fair of Andalucia people dress with flamenco costumes.

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The Seville fair, also called Seville April Fair, is the most popular in the country. The fair generally begins two weeks after the Semana Santa or Easter Holy Week.

The fair officially begins at midnight on Monday, and runs six days, ending on the following Sunday. However, many activities begin on the Saturday prior to the official opening. Each day the fiesta begins with the parade of carriages and riders, at midday, carrying Seville’s leading citizens which make their way to the bullring, La Real Mastranza, where the bullfighters and breeders meet.

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In my opinion, the April Fair is one of the most important moment of the country and it’s so beautiful because everybody enjoys it a lot with their families and friends. It’s a moment to share with your people.

The Effects of Cyber Bullying in Adolescents

Luciana Pesce, Chile

All the teenagers in our society have a mobile phone that allows them to be permanently connected in social networks, but if used incorrectly also can bring serious problems. Nowadays cyber bullying occurs  very frequently with teenagers. This a very substantial problem because this can lead to depression, anxiety, impotence and even suicide. Cyber attacking can be very bad for the person affected by this, because it influences their self-esteem and spreading rumors and intimidation is nothing good. Also this type of bullying is particularly worrying because it is constant, general and very, very public.

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Firstly,  cyber bullying can occur at all times and affect the mental health of adolescents  to have depression and isolate themselves from their responsibilities, family and friends, leaving them helpless to the insults directed towards them. To show that, many teenagers end up committing suicide since they can no longer live with the insults, or being humiliated, and even the harassed cannot afford to rest from the fear when they arrive at home or anywhere else away from the environment of their stalker.

Furthermore, once published, the content shared on social media and instant messaging applications become uncontrollable, making it impossible for the victim to know who the message has reached or if it will be repeated. As a result of this, the harassed person does not know when or by whom he will be bothered, generating anguish and the desire to end everything around him to feel relieved.

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Finally, the victim hides his situation as a result of the shame, until he even think that he is to blame for what is happening to him, and think what they say about him is true. This leads to parents not knowing what is happening to their child, and that they try to solve it without any positive results. If the parents knew, they could solve it with psychological or even legal help, getting beneficial results for their child.

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As I said before, cyber bullying is very bad, but there are some ways to prevent it. The first one is to talk with the kid about what is cyber bullying, if he knows someone who is being bullied and what the child should do if notices acts of bullying. Secondly, parents should monitor social media activity, including Facebook and Instagram, view all text messages, call logs and general online behavior.

There is no simple solution to cyber bullying or the best way to handle a bully, but, since cyber bullying is rarely limited to one or two incidents, it’s far more likely to be a sustained attack over a period of time. But you can handle it with not blaming yourself, do not beat yourself up, try to view bullying from a different perspective. Report the threats of harm.  Do not seek revenge or do not respond to any messages or posts.

Why Danes are The Happiest People on Earth

Louise Mohr, Denmark

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Again this year the Danish people are dominating the World’s Happiness Report and ranks among the top three happiest of 155 countries surveyed. On the other hand, the U.S. is with a four-spot drop, ranked 18th this year.

So why is it that these pastry-loving, LEGO building people are winning the happiness race? And how do they compare to the States?

The Danish welfare state works.

Danes pay some of the highest income tax rates in the world (45% on average), but, in exchange, every Dane gets free health care, free K-college education (the students are paid approx. $900 a month by the government to go to school), highly subsidized child care and generous unemployment benefits.

Some might lift an eyebrow over the high tax-rate, but the Danes don’t look at the tax rate as a burden, but as an investment in our society and quality of life.

If you lose a job in Denmark, it’s not a big deal. Unemployment is built into the system. This is in connection to the “flexibility model”, which, quickly explained, is a system built on freedom for employees. The government programs retrain workers and position them better for the job market. By doing this, we create strong connections and also provide a guaranteed safety net, giving unemployment benefits for up to two years.

The government also has a great retirement system, providing for the elders over 65+ population through a combination of state-founded pension and private employer-funded pension programs. This not only relieves the stress for the elderly, but makes them feel secure about their retirement.

Here’s a video that explains further: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=095ULhvaH5E

The perhaps most important aspect of the Danish culture is “hygge”, which they value as a cultural construct. It refers to high-quality social interactions. It’s used as as a noun, adjective or verb, and events and places can also be “hyggelige” (hygge-like). “Hygge” is most commonly translated as “cozy”, but is more an intentional intimacy, which can happen when you have safe, balanced and harmonious shared experiences.

“Hygge” is the Danish sense of well-being. Although Denmark is a highly individualized country, “hygge” promotes egalitarianism and strengthens the trust between people. It’s fair to say that “hygge” is fully integrated into the Danish culture psyche and culture.

But Denmark is not the only  country that has a concept similar to hygge – the Norwegains have “koselig”, the Swedes “mysig”, the Dutch “gezenlligheid” and the Germans “gemütlichkeit”.

The U.S. also places a high value on individualism, but there’s no real cultural equivalent of “hygge”. Income is generally associated with happiness. Even though the GDP is on the rise and the unemployment has been declining, levels of happiness in the U.S. have been steadily decreasing.

The U.S. income also continues to be an issue. There’s been a marked decrease in interpersonal trust toward institutions like the government as well as the media.

At it’s core, “hygge” is about building trust and intimacy with others. Americans could probably use a little more of that in their lives.

As a Dane in America, i find the the lack of free healthcare the most problematic. The United States reminds to be the only industrialized country in the world that fails to provide universal healthcare for all citizens. The concerns regarding this are significant and continues. Most people here are scared to get sick, and because of the high cost they avoid the doctors. American healthcare is the source of innumerable issues for many, both those withe and without coverage. These issues are not limited to the financial prospect, but has a far-reaching influence on their quality of life, psychological stability, and fundamental happiness for society at large.

After spending 3 months here, i can vouch for the rudimentary differences between America and Denmark. The divergences extend beyond policy, logistics or political agendas. There is a complete different feel to the place, a different tone to the culture on a fundamental level. I truly believe that America could learn something extremely vulnerable form the danish culture, if they had the trust to do so.

How to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Luna, Belgium

Having a healthy lifestyle starts with a healthy mindset. You need to be in peace with yourself to be able to have access to that stable lifestyle you want. It’s all about finding that balance between self-care and allowing yourself to have a treat. It is important to know how your body works and how to improve your way of living.

The motivation and will to become healthy comes from within and you are the only person controlling your body. If you really want it, go and get it. It is as simple as that. You have to find certain sources of motivation to keep track of that lifestyle you want to achieve. As long as your mindset is in a good place, you will be, too !

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One of the first things that is crucial to know and that you’ve probably heard a billion of times is drinking water. It makes you feel cleansed 24/7 and it is recommended to drink 180 ml per day. It will keep your system going and your skin clear!

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Eating healthy always sounds so boring and like it’s something you have to endure, but it is way more easy and delicious than it sounds. You can find tons of easy recipes online that are so healthy and really tasty. Another way to achieve health in general is finding healthier options for things like butter, sugar and other harmfull products we might use a little too much. Coconut oil, Agave syrup are way better options for those two examples. Try to include plant-based products as much as you can in your diet because those are the most beneficial food sources you can eat. Vegetables and fruits are really important but, they’re not the only ones out there ; quinoa, all kinds of rice, grains, beans, lentils … are  fibers and protein sources that are so easy to make, way healthier and better for the environment than meat or fish.

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After you get your diet down and decide which kinds of food are working for you and your inner body, you need to focus on your body image. That is where exercise will become part of your routine. Try to find ways you like to exercise because going to the gym is not always a pleasure for everyone. Dancing, hiking, yoga, swimming sounds like fun to me and are really nice activities you can do with other people.

Finally, you need to see this as a better way of living and not a restrictive way of living. You need to enjoy it in order to maintain it. That’s why balance is the most important thing. You should be able to treat yourself, but have a healthy lifestyle in general.

https://www.pickuplimes.com/

 

Tips to Organize your Trip

Alejandra Cabanas, Spain.

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In my opinion, one of the funniest things, is to organize a trip. Choose a destination, the hotel and what you will visit. So I will give you some tips to those persons that doesn’t like to do organize these trips as I do, to do it easier and faster.

First of all, and the most essential, you must choose a destination which will fit in with your pleasures for that trip: beach or city, cheap or expensive, relax or stressful…

 

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After this first step and have clear the budget that you can spend on the trip, I will recommend to book your accommodation and flight through the apps Air BnB and Booking, these networks that became so famous are actually the bests to find the best place to accommodate and the cheapest flights that for sure will fit with you. You should  check both to make sure that those are the best options.

After have a place to sleep you should take a look on the area that you had chosen for your accommodation. Take a look about the restaurants, clubs, laundry, the services that you think you will go. For this step there are a lot of networks that could help you, but what I used to use is Google maps, it will say you all he services on there with just sending the direction.

At the end, you must plan your activities. Outline the major activities you want to enjoy and how much they cost. Make any last-minute adjustments to your savings so you can ensure you have enough money. This will also help you figure out if you need any reservations for your chosen tours or activities.

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And after do all these steps, what you just need to do is to wait until he day of the leaving, and of course, enjoy your trip!

 

The Perfect Thanksgiving in San Francisco (on a budget)

Luna, Belgium

Thanksgiving is a public holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. It has been celebrated as a federal holiday every year since 1863, when, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. Together with Christmas and the New Year, Thanksgiving is a part of the broader fall/winter holiday season in the U.S. This year I’m going to celebrate Thanksgiving in San Francisco, so let’s see what activities I could do during this little trip!

WEDNESDAY 11/21/2018

Arriving on Wednesday evening, the best thing to do first is to check into the Airbnb : cheaper option than a hotel. A nice and free evening activity  in San Francisco is walking to the Golden Gate Bridge and see it completely lit up with a beautiful sunset. Enjoy the breathtaking view with a nice hot chocolate or coffee to take away from Philz Coffee!

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THURSDAY 11/22/2018

Thanksgiving is already here! To make the most out of this celebration you need to make sure to wake up a little early. This way you can enjoy the city when it’s calm and empty. In the morning you can visit the Japanese Tea Garden which is a really peaceful environment. For lunch, enjoy a nice picnic in the park in front of the Painted Ladies. In the afternoon a nice and not too pricey activity is the cinema ! This year, Disney made a movie based on the Nutcracker story and this certainly is a must see during the wintertime. If you’re not into musicals you can always go see another movie in the winter sphere. Ice skating is also something on your To Do list especially in front of the Macy’s Christmas tree, it’s a magical sphere.

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FRIDAY 11/23/2018

BLACK FRIDAY! This is a day you want to wake up super early to be in front of the stores cause this happens only once a year. Black Friday is an informal name for the day following Thanks Giving in the unites states, which has been regarded as the beginning of the country’s Christmas shopping season since 1952. Essentially, it’s a huge event where all the stores open early, close really late and  have a lot of sales and deals. If you don’t feel like being in a really crowded mall they also have plenty of deals and sales on their websites. There have been some scary stories in the past from people fighting about products and especially electronics but I still think it’s something you need to experience when you’re in the USA.

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In San Francisco the best places to go shopping are:

  • Union Square
  • Union Street
  • Market Street
  • Stonestown Galleria
  • Pier 39
  • Embarcadero Center
  • Ghirardelli Square

SATURDAY 11/24/2018

Take a day off! Try to make this day as chill and cozy as possible. Wayfare Tavern is one of the cutest restaurants that is really going to put you in the winter sphere. It has a beautiful fireplace and delicious winter food. You can also just enjoy the city and visit the most popular places like the Alcatraz prison, the Coit Tower, Fisherman’s Wharf and travel around the city with the cable cars.

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SUNDAY 11/25/2018

Every Sunday morning at 10am, you can catch the two-hour Champagne and Mimosa cruise around the SF Bay. This relaxing ride offers amazing views of the SF Bay including the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and Sausalito. You will also ride past the Palace of Fine Arts, Angel Island and Fort Point National Historic Site.

Farmer’s Markets are an important start to Sunday in San Francisco. Each week, you will find several throughout the city. Here are the details on the largest and most popular (all are year around unless noted):

  • Heart of the City in the UN Plaza in Civic Center: 7 am to 5 pm
  • Divisadero’s Farmer’s Market on Grove at Divisadero: 10 am to 2 pm
  • Fort Mason Center Farmer’s Market: 9:30 am to 1:30 pm
  • Inner Sunset Farmer’s Market in the parking lot between 8th and 9th Avenue south of Irving Street: 9 am to 1 pm
  • Glen Park in the parking lot of the Glen Park BART Station: 10 am to 2 pm; Late March though late November

If you love live music, then you are in luck! Every Sunday night, you will find at least four of five live shows in San Francisco. Larger shows are at venues such as The Warfield, The Fillmore and The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. However, you will also find smaller shows at The Independent, Slim’s and The Great American Music Hall.

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If you are planning on living this experience, which I highly recommend, enjoy it as much as you can whit your love ones. And be thankful !

Santa Barbara Real Estate

Jelle Van Dijck, Belgium

After being in Santa Barbara for a few days, there is one thing everyone tells me about living here: it’s so expensive. Is Santa Barbara becoming the new Beverly Hills? Is the middle class being excluded from this beautiful place?

13600 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, CA 93117

Coming from Belgium, I’m surprised to see the price of a single-family home. Prices are more than double than what I’m used to. What would be influencing these prices? Is it the gorgeous coastline and mountains, or is it the amount of multi-millionaires and celebrities that escape busy LA and San Francisco? Many celebrities put Santa Barbara on the map by buying a home to live in on the weekends or during holidays. It’s their second home to get away from work. Same situation with the owners of big companies, they probably run their businesses out of LA or San Francisco and come to Santa Barbara to live a stress-free life. This is influencing the prices of the different neighborhoods in the city. Some places are becoming exclusive and hard to get in for many families.

SB real estate prices

In the future, I see myself as a real estate agent and real estate investor. Everywhere I go, I look for what’s on the market and what prices are common in the area. (The Zillow app is a real good friend of mine). If you look at the statistics, you can conclude that the median sale price is around $1 million dollars in almost the whole county of Santa Barbara. If a middle class family is looking for a place to live, they are most likely to find an apartment downtown or a single-family house in the Goleta area that they can afford. If they are looking for a house closer to downtown (West-Montecito, Mission Canyon or Hope Ranch), the listings get more exclusive and you are most likely to pay $2-3 million dollars for a single-family house all the way up to $30 million dollars.

Is it realistic for a young couple who just got out of college to find a home that suits their ideas for the future? Maybe they want kids and a dog, so they will need a garden and a good location close to school. In their situation, they need a single-family home with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a decent sized garden for their dog and kids to run around in. If both of them have a job, they are likely to have at least two cars. So they also need a garage or enough parking space on the driveway or down the street.

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I went to Zillow.com and entered my needs all the way from West-Goleta to East-Carpinteria. The website gave me around 130 results. Only 19 of these homes were priced under 1 million dollars (which is around 14%). Only five of these homes are close to the downtown-area. The remaining 14 homes are located in Goleta or Carpenteria. So for first-time home buyers, it’s probably more interesting to start looking for a place in Goleta or Carpinteria, or they can buy a condo around the downtown area for the same price. If you really want to live downtown or in the more exclusive areas of Santa Barbara, you’ll have to save enough money and decide to move later in your life. This explains the statistics I found about the residents of Santa Barbara on Trulia.com. Only 52% of the residents of Santa Barbara are the owners of their own houses. Also, the median age of a home-owner in Santa Barbara is 42.

The Luxury Side of Santa Barbara

So for this topic, I didn’t just want to write about these nice homes by looking at the pictures and the descriptions. I wanted to see these homes and see for myself why these homes are so expensive. Is it the view, the safety of the neighborhood or the privacy that make these homes so expensive?

There are many expensive houses in Santa Barbara county, some which are more expensive than the others. But for “The Luxury Side of Santa Barbara”, I want to focus more on three luxury areas: Hope Ranch, Montecito and Santa Ynez. Hope Ranch and Montecito are very similar. Both areas offer beautiful ocean and mountain views and there are even some homes which have access to a private beach. Santa Ynez is different. It is located around 30 minutes North-East from Santa Barbara. Most of the homes are considered ranches which have vineyards, paddocks and barns.

  • Hope Ranch

Hope Ranch is located west of downtown, the area has beautiful palm tree lined streets and a few gorgeous golf courses. Home prices in this area go all the way up to $25 million dollars. On Sunday October 7th, I went to three open houses in this area.

 

1.  3429 Sea Ledge Lane $6,950,000

The first house was a beautiful beach house with amazing views of the ocean and the Channel Islands. It was the smallest house I visited, but still the most expensive one. This is not surprising since the two most imported things in real estate are location and views.

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2.  3240 Campanil Drive $3,199,000

The next house I visited was just a few-minutes drive up the mountain. This house was the least expensive one, but still the biggest house with the most living space, indoors and outdoors. Since it was higher up the mountain and all the electricity cables on the street were underground, the views got even five times better.

 

3.  4050 Via Laguna $4,000,000

The last house I visited was all the way up north in Hope Ranch. The house was located on a dead-end street and was surrounded by a beautiful golf course. Since this house has no views, it provides you a lot of privacy and it has a pool and hot-tub. This house felt very different than the other two homes, but from the inside it was definitely the most updated.

  • Montecito

Montecito is located east of Santa Barbara. This area has the most beautiful and exclusive real estate in Santa Barbara. Montecito is a community of its own. There are some beautiful stores, hotels and beaches that are very famous and exclusive. Some hotels in Montecito are considered the best in the United States. Montecito is also known for having celebrity residents. Ellen DeGeneres, Katy Perry and Oprah Winfrey all own a beautiful estate in Montecito. On Sunday October 14th, I went to three open houses in this area.

1.  636 Woodley Road $6,795,000

This house, close to Coast Village Road, is a modern house with floor-to-ceiling windows and gorgeous mountain views. The modern homes are very rare here in Santa Barbara. That’s why the house is rather expensive for it’s low square footage.

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2.  1147 Glenview Road $5,900,000

The next house was just down the street from the first one. This one faced towards the ocean so it has beautiful ocean views. The house had multiple levels with a gorgeous game room, sauna and even an outdoor kitchen. Every room has a beautiful ocean view.

 

3.  2775 Bella Vista Drive $7,000,000

The last house I saw in Montecito was definitely the best one I saw in all of Santa Barbara. It was all the way up in the mountains of Montecito, far away from the busy streets downtown. It was extremely quiet. The only thing you could hear were the birds and the fountain that was running into the pool. The views here were almost unbelievable. You could see all the way from Carpinteria to downtown SB and the pier.

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  • Santa Ynez

Santa Ynez is about a 30-minute drive from Santa Barbara, but also has some amazing luxury real estate. The real estate is very different from Hope Ranch or Montecito. Most people in Santa Ynez want a vineyard or horses, so most of the real estate has a lot of land and people are looking for ranches. Prices can also get really high. You can buy a rather small ranch for about $3-4 million, but, if you are looking for a ranch with more than 100 acres of land, you can easily pay around $13-14 million dollars. Santa Ynez is also a popular spot for celebrities. The famous “Neverland Ranch”, which used to be Micheal Jackson’s house, is now for sale for over $60 million dollars. Also, the famous singer Pink bought a ranch in Santa Ynez five years ago and is now starting her own wine brand.

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So, in conclusion, I can say that Santa Barbara is an expensive place for first-time homebuyers and maybe even homebuyers in general. There are also many hidden places that were turned into exclusive and luxury neighborhoods, and, last but not least, there is a real estate market for celebrities that want to escape LA for more privacy.

 

Why Run ?

Adele Fadier, France

Some people don’t understand the interest runners have in running. Maybe it’s because you don’t know all the upsides of running?

So I understand that it’s difficult to begin running because you don’t see the positive effects immediately and that may take a long time to see real improvement of your skills. But anyways work pays. I will show you in what ways it’s good for you.

First, running is good for your health like every sport, everybody knows that. You have to know that our immune system gets stronger when you run slowly. Moreover, running activates the blood circulation and that’s really good for our heart. That prevents many diseases and can also have a healing effect. Running also has a good effect on our bones and joints. Indeed, when we run our body reinforces our bones and joints to protect them against the impacts of each stride.

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Then, running gives us a strong mental attitude. Running can be difficult and unpleasant even for people who have run for a long time. When you are in this bad stage, you must have a strong motivation to push on. Running is like a long project on ourselves to exceed our limits and be proud of ourselves. So jogging also has an effect in our daily lives, that improves our self confidence and mental capacities. So it’s good to overcome daily problems.

You can also run to overcome stress. Yes it’s true. Imagine that you have a complicated and stressed day period, in the evening you put on your running shoes and just think about nothing. When you are running, you forget all the pressure you have on your shoulders and you go back home with a smile on your face. Some Swedish studies even say that running can eliminate some toxic substances cause by stress and anxiety.

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Finally, a big upside of running is the effect on our longevity. In fact, the Harvard school made a study that says that a heart which beats less quickly at rest is an important criterion for lengthening life. Moreover, in average, chronic diseases appear later in runners’ lives than in non runners’.

So as a conclusion, running can change your daily life physically and mentally. You have to try and push on even if it’s difficult because nothing is won without effort. For me, running is also a way to escape from my routine, get some air, and discover amazing landscapes, especially here, in Santa Barbara. So get rid of your false excuses and go running.

I can also give you some spots where you can go for a run. For me the better place is Santa Barbara Waterfront. When I run around 6 or 7 p.m the sunset on the ocean and the mountain is amazing. Then, you can find below a link for a website where you can find every run’s spots of the city.

http://greatruns.com/location/santa-barbara-california/

 

Instagram Food Culture

 

Ramona Kramer, Switzerland

Instagram. There is basically no person in our generation who hasn’t heard that word yet or who even doesn’t use this app. In June 2018, there were nearly 1 billion monthly users and 500 million daily active users – with an upward tendency. Over half of the users are between 18-24 and on an average day, 80 million photos are shared.

Handy

Admittingly, I use Instagram every single day and I love to look at new profiles. Especially in the last few years, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of fitness accounts coming up, posting pictures of healthy food and promoting new weight loss products on a daily basis. This can be great for inspiration and motivation, but it can also put a lot of pressure on young, influenceable users that think they also have to eat perfectly healthy all the time in order to get the “perfect” body. Every Fitness Instagrammer pretends to know what’s best for everyone. For example one says only to eat vegan, the other one to cut out bread and gluten, the other one to eat 1,000 calories a day, etc. This can be confusing and lead people into a dangerous direction of a wrong self image and an obsessive lifestyle.

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I’ve been influenced by this trend before and I know some other people who have changed their eating habits because of Instagram. So, I was wondering how many other young females have had that experience with Instagram or if and how they are affected by this trend, positively or negatively. To get more information, I created a survey with questions related to this topic and I sent it to females, all between the age of 17 to 19. The answers were quite interesting.

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Out of 10, only one of the surveyed people doesn’t use Instagram. The rest are on this app multiple times daily. Only one person follows no account with posts related to healthy food, the others do, and half of them have already tried out a food recipe from one of these pages. Contrary to my expectations, no one has ever bought a weight loss product promoted on Instagram. Still, almost 70% feel pressured to eat healthy seeing these pictures and 30% even feel bad when they eat food that is considered “not clean”. One of the young women gave an interesting answer to the question of whether or not she sees these posts as an inspiration or bad influence. Her answer was: “As long as it is about healthy lifestyle, I see their posts as an inspiration. I don’t like posts about how to lose weight because I don’t feel like I have to lose weight, but the posts make me feel insecure about my body.” This is also where I see the biggest issue: This influence can make us suddenly feel bad about ourselves for things which seemed normal to us before.

Posting these pictures can’t be stopped and as long as Instagrammers want to be inspirational, it also shouldn’t be stopped. Still, there should be more focus on what makes you feel good and happy rather than what could lead you into an obsession with food and fitness. We forget so fast that the people who post these pictures are only human as well, and everyone can post his healthy salad and eat a cookie afterwards without sharing the dessert with the world. What you see on social media is never the whole truth, it is just segments of a life and everyone can decide what they want to share and what not to. So, in conclusion, try the healthy oatmeal for breakfast, but also enjoy your In n Out Burger without worrying about it.