Losing And Finding Yourself

“As we drive along this road called life, occasionally a girl will find herself a little bit lost… she has to let go… and just keep going” – Carrie Bradshaw

Alicia Rank, Germany

Did you ever find yourself in a situation in which you didn’t feel like yourself? I think we all have. But why does this happen? Maybe, we find something in someone else that we don’t have. Maybe, because we admire someone’s style or even more simple, their way of dealing with a specific situation. The only thing we have to be careful with, is not loosing yourself while trying to make this charateristic your own.

But, if we do lose ourselves a little bit, we feel kind of lost. We don’t really know what happened and how this situation could have gone so far. We have to realize that we cannot always change who we are, even if it might be for the better. Remember, that nobody in this world is perfect in every way, so why should you? Accept your flaws. They make you beautiful and unique, so why change?

You want to find the one unique thing again which reminds you of yourself. You relate everything to this one object and without it you think it is impossilbe to go back to your usual self. But all of this isn’t quite true, maybe we feel like our personalities depend on this one thing, but let me tell you, that you have to get past projecting and relating it to that object. You can do it without it, I promise. Surround yourself with those freinds who remind you of who you really are and find the confidence again that you used to have. While trying to be something you’re not, you might lose a piece of this confidence. As soon as you realize that you’re still the same person, you get this confidence back and you will feel like yourself again. Accept that this was a lesson of life. You might feel as if you have failed, but you learned from it and that that’s what matters.

Love, Alicia

 

Our Past Is Who We Are

“Maybe the past is like an anchor holding us back. Maybe, you have to let go of who you were to become who you will be” – Carrie Bradshaw

Alicia Rank, Germany

For sure, our past is what shaped our personality. The decisions we made to this point and the friendships we build, define who we are. We don’t have to let go of all those memories to move forward, but that’s just what I think. We should be proud of who we have become.

The first thing to become who you will be is to accept your past. With all the mistakes you might have made, they made you who you are now. Without accepting your flaws it’s impossible to move on. Always worrying about old decisions will make you feel “stuck”. You cannot change spoken words anymore anyway, so why keep worrying about the past? Open your eyes and realize how much time has already passed by, in which you could have made decisions for the future. Don’t miss out on those opportunities; you might regret it.

Your past might have left some scars, either on your body or in your mind. Ether way, accepting them is the only way to guarantee future happiness. Trust me, once you have had your first heartbreak and you get over it, you know what I’m talking about. Life will put you in situations where you have to make choices. And you might not always make the right ones, but you will learn from them and next time you will do it better.

All of this is who you are, and you should be happy about it. Your past is a part of you that will never go away. “One moment doesn’t define you. The people around you define you. And you’re loved” – Raquel, Hit The Floor

Love, Alicia

You Want To Be a Cool Parisian Guy ? Follow my Advice

Rudy FRANÇOIS-MÜLLER, France

1- The Style

  • A lot of big luxuous companys come from France, like Louis Vuitton, Chanel or Yves Saint Laurent. Parisian guys are inspired a lot by the street mode. For exemple, when people wait at the pedestrian crossing, it’s time to find your inspiration.

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Paris fashion week 2018.

2- Good Place to Be!

  • Paris is a big city, but not so big when you want to discover beautiful areas without a lot of tourist. The district of Saint Germain des Pres is a really good place to be! I really like to seat in the “Cafe de Flore”. This is an really expensive coffee, but I can see a lot of celebrities (from France or Internationnal) and thst can inspire some people!

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3- Are You Really Already Going to Paris?

You can’t say that you are going to Paris if you have not made these trips:

  • The Eiffel Tower is one of those must sees! I don’t recommend it to anyone who is afraid of emptiness but when you are in the Tower, we can see a beautiful view of Paris! And for the richest you can even eat in a starred restaurant in the first floor.Image result for tour eiffel
  • The Champs-Elysees is the most beautiful street in the world. They are many shops for all budgets. In the winter, all the trees are illuminated and this makes the street even more beautiful!Image result for champs elysees illumination
  • Montmartre is a very old district in Paris. Hilltop Montmartre district is a former artists village once habited by Picasso and Dali, and home to the domed Sacre-Coeur basilica. There are sweeping views of the city from its steep, winding streets, while the iconic Moulin Rouge cabaret below draws tourists and night clubbers.Image result for montmartre

4- The French Food

During your trip you should try the beef Bourguignon in a restaurant! It’s a beef stew braised in red wince, often red Burgundy (very delicious), and beef stock, generally flavoured with carrots, onions, garlic and a bouquet garni, and garnished with pearl onions, mushrooms and bacon.

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I hope you will soon discover the city of Paris and share your experience :).

 

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 !