My Final Paper for Women’s Literature Class… The Call To Arms!

The Call to Arms!
Hélène Cixous shouts a call to arms “And why don’t you write? Write! Writing is for you, you are for you; your body is yours, take it!” (Cixous 876). She was telling women so much more than to just write. In her article “The Laugh of the Medusa” she often compares the act of writing to the act of masturbation. It is something that has been taken away from women, our “right” to experience pleasure, because for so long we have been made to be pleasure for men. That we have been taught to sacrifice our pleasure to ensure the man has his. Writing is essential for women, communication, expression, our ability to relate to one another are all things that were lost to us when we became the product of male desire. To write, and to experience our body in ways that have been frowned upon is a way for women to take back some of their power in society. To write ourselves and our own desires not only shows other women that these acts are ok, but they allow men a glimpse into what our bodies feel. That we exist with or without them and even offer them a chance to grow and learn as well. In the poem “Goblin Market” Rossetti uses the sexualized imagery of eating fruit, Laura struggling with consent with the goblins, and Lizzie saving her sister by stealing fruit juices and restoring sisters power delivers some of Cixous most important messages about taking back the body.
Laura makes a tough decision to indulge herself by eating the fruit of goblin men, she knows it is forbidden and that other girls they knew had DIED from looking upon goblin man and buying their fruits. She thinks that she can handle it, that it could be different for her if she could just try the fruits. While I think Cixous would argue that Laura has every right to try the fruits it’s the imagery of how she enjoys them that makes me feel like Rossetti was setting a very sexual image,
She sucked, and sucked, and sucked some more
Fruits which that unknown orchard bore;
She sucked until her lips were sore,
Then flung the emptied rinds away
But gathered up one kernel-stone,
And knew not if it was night of day
As she turned home alone (Rossetti 8).
The way that Rossetti describes sucking on the sweet fruits until her lips become sore, and the gluttonous nature with which she casts the emptied rinds away and continues for more, brings the picture of a very pleasurable sexual experience. It seems cleverly hidden in an innocent poem about a little girl breaking the rules, but when certain scenes are isolated it is like she is writing about female pleasure, the fact that there are sexual ways a woman experiences the world. Women have been told for so long that their own desire is something close to a sin, that it is a relatively unexplored topic. The voice of woman who want their desires to be known and heard has been growing throughout history in literature, even as yearly as 1859 when Rossetti was writing. This poem, and many others written by woman attempt to break the sexual double standard, which is the double standard the privileges male desire while denigrating female sexual desire and shaming as promiscuous or immoral (Class Worksheet).
Another key issue the poem recalls is the issue of consent that Laura faces with the goblins. When she is ready to taste their fruits of course there is a fee. She must pay for the pleasure of eating these exotic fruits. When she tells them, she has no money the goblins tell her they will take a lock of her hair. In 1859 a lock of hair was an extremely intimate gesture. Girls would give a lock of their hair to a man to be worn as a ring as a symbol of love and affection. Which to me seems like an extreme parallel for her to be giving a lock of golden hair to a goblin. This is where things begin to go south, because she gave a lock of hair, she already paid for the fruits yet the goblins try to steal her life. She pays, she eats what she pays for, then she leaves. But then she begins to yearn for the fruits and this yearning for the fruits starts to drain the life from her. The worst part of this situation is that the goblins haven’t even left, they are still there and Lizzie can still hear them cry “Come Buy, come buy”, this is also a theme that Cixous talks about. The fact that men create unnecessary competition between women, and that woman hate one another because of men. This is another way they take power that isn’t freely given, her consent doesn’t matter, once she has already tasted the exotic fruits she is no longer of use to them. As if they took her virginity and tossed her aside for no longer being pure. This was a common occurrence of the time, that if a woman was not a virgin she was not worthy of being a wife. With such strict implications perhaps, Laura would have skipped tasting the fruit. There is also the moment that Lizzie turns down the goblins, and they try to force the fruits into her mouth, because the moments before while Laura ate the fruits was so sexualized this moment feels a lot like unwanted sexual attention towards Lizzie. They hit her and beat her and try to force the fruits into her mouth so that she might yearn for them until her own death. Which symbolizes men using their physical strength against women in unwanted sexual situations. In general, most men are physically stronger than women and they exploit this fact. If women were innately the physically stronger sex perhaps “women rights” wouldn’t be an issue.
The final parallel between these works is the message that women are more powerful when they stick together. There is a central message shown by the sisters that women’s love and cooperation together that they can return from even the direst situations.
Then joining hands to little hands
Would bid them cling together,
“For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands.” (Rossetti 20)
Lizzie tricks the goblins into squeezing the juices all over her, she goes to them with the intent to buy the fruits so Laura doesn’t die fighting the desire in her to eat the fruit. When they won’t sell and they make aggressive moves towards her she endures their aggression knowing she will get the luscious juices that her sister needs to survive. Once again, the sucking of juices is oddly sexualized as Laura sucks them off her sister, breaking the goblin curse and allowing Laura to return to a normal life. Though homosexual acts were considered indecent at the time this little sexual snippet of one girl sucking exotic juices off another may have been a way to indicate that desire has no gender. That a woman may desire whatever she desires and at that moment Laura desired the juices off her sister.
There are a few moments in the poem that Cixous may not fully be in line with. The moments where Laura is being described before meeting the goblins as a swan, a lily and as a vessel at launch. While the vessel has some sexual symbolism of its own I was more taken with the description of these majestic white images, indicating her purity. Another spot is when the two girls lay down to go to bed, after Laura eats the fruits,
Golden head by golden head,
Like two pigeons in one nest,
Folded in each others’ wings,
They lay down in their curtained bed:
Like two blossoms on one stem,
Like tow flakes of new-fall’n snow,
Like two wands of ivory
Tipped with gold for awful kings.
Moon and stars gazed in at them,
Wind sang them lullaby,
Lumbering owls forbore to fly,
Not a bat flapped to and fro,
Round their nest:
Cheek to cheek and breast to breast
Locked together in one nest (Rossetti 10)
So much of this section makes me think of “The Angle in the House” by Coventry Patmore, the fact that all the creatures in the night do not fly, as if time is standing still at the beauty of these two young girls in bed together, speak directly from the poem, where he describes the beauty of his wife with the ability to inspire faith in men that had none. Because her beauty could make you believe in god. Specifically, in this poem it puts the girls, and women in general up on this pedestal of purity, and it is done directly after Laura is defiled by eating the cursed goblin fruits but before any symptoms show her as being less than pure. Although, it could be said that this imagery is used to show that Laura wasn’t defiled by the eating of cursed goblin fruit, but that is her inability to satiate that desire that causes her to fall from this pure image.
Overall, I think Cixous would support this poem, especially from the year it was written as a way for Rossetti to write her body and talk about her passion without it being so obvious that it couldn’t be published. She subtly gave women this sexual fantasy driven imagery and allowed the women to win victory with their intellect. Not only was Laura able to fulfill her desires but her bond to her sister was made stronger by them overcoming the obstacles of man… Or goblins in this case. Laura was still able to take a husband and raise children with her sister at her side, because as they say it takes a village to raise a child, and women are much better off when they work together at anything.

References:
Cixous, Héléne, Keith Cohen, and Paula Cohen. “The Laugh of the Medusa.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 1.4 (1976): 875-893 accessed 4/12/2018

Rossetti, Christina., “Goblin Market” The Complete Poems, Penguin Books, London (2001) Accessed 4/12/2018

Patmore, Coventry. “The Angle in the House” 1854 (Recited in several books used in reference from Wikipedia on 5/5/2018)

 

Can Women Have it All…?

It is a fast paced world we are living in. Feminism is running rampant, women are demanding to make more money than their phallic possessing counterparts, companies don’t want to give us what we want so we branch out to build it ourselves!

Something all women want to know is can we have it all? Can we be the rock star career woman, loving mother, perfect wife, kick ass feminist, and sexy goddess all rolled into one package? I hate to break it to you ladies but there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get done everything women want to do. Take it from someone struggling to be a good mom, top notch student, kick ass feminist, online millionaire, and doting girlfriend (maybe someday wife).

And it is hard… SO hard. I do the best I can, I feel awful that my son has to be put into a preschool so I can go to college, I think he would benefit more from a mommy that is home to teach him and be patient. But he is stuck with me, and I am bull headed also sometimes impatient. But I am also working my tail off to get an education so that some day his life is just a little easier. While he is the greatest motivation behind what I do he is also suffering because going to school takes so much time, and he has to deal with me being broke while I figure it all out (Not that children care AT ALL about how much money you make, all they want is your attention…. but attention is hard to give when you are “on” 24 hours a day trying to make a living). So because he doesn’t get every second of my time I do try to make the time I get with him count, gymnastics, soccer, action figures, cars and as much fun activities as I can manage between homework assignments. I may not be a 4.0 student, which is fine I still maintain a 3.0 and build great relationships with my teachers because I am the same age as a lot of them. My kick ass feminism is confined to this and one other blog (Girl Boss International) which I have HUGE ideas for! but I can only do things one step at a time. So this blog is where it started. And it is only mildly feminist based. Some things more than others yeah? The online Millionaire… Doesn’t everyone have this dream? that they will post something online and it will go viral and they will not only be famous but rich on top of it? I feel like everyone just wants their voice to be heard and blogging is a great way to achieve that goal!

So at the moment I do not have it all…. I really don’t think anyone can truly have it all… It is hard to be a devoted wife and mother without sacrificing some of those feminist ideals… Impossible to be the perfect stay at home mom while also making an insane fortune and making a difference in the world… Something always has to give. And what gives is different for everyone, how you choose what to prioritize is the decision of every women with her inner goddess. There is NO SHAME!!!! in what you believe to be the most important things.

Woman are the powerhouse of the world. We bring new humans into this world, I believe that woman can do anything! We just may not be able  to do everything at once.

The Difference Between Utopian and Dystopian Novels

There are a couple distinct differences between dystopian and utopian novels other than just one being happy and one being scary or tragic.

When you read a utopian novel it takes the worst problems of the world and it fixes them. Sometimes the entire world or a hidden community in the rainforest. The society usually functions on high levels with no war, clean cities and at least one underlying issue. Like all “happy” or “comedy” writing they usually end up in some sort of marriage which represents the mending of society. But most importantly there is no way you could imagine what is happening in the book could happen in real life. In a dystopian novel they take the worst points in society and amplify them to the worst extreme. Like all great tragedies they end in some sort of death. Either a physical or emotional death signifying a fractured society. The worst thing about dystopian novels is that it is easy to believe the world could dissolve to such a horrific state.

Both of these types of novels serve a purpose in their cannon. I personally enjoy the dystopian types because of how real it feels that we could end up in that world. I also find it fun to think about how I would survive in such a situation.

Let’s Talk About Podcasts

Podcasts are a wealth of knowledge! They say there is always time to improve yourself. Even on the commute to work you could learn something new every day! Or reinforce knowledge you know is there to inspire your greatness.

I have 4-5 podcasts I listen to daily on my commute to school.

The Almost 30 Podcast

I LOVE the almost 30 podcast! It’s two women chit chatting with successful people in the world. Talking about problems that plague us as we get older and how to remedy the situation. The two quirky girls make the material even more fun to listen to!

Science Vs.

This is an adorable little podcast that takes… I wouldn’t say myths but common misconceptions and applies science to them! My favorite episode was about recent studies on ecstasy and other hallucinogenic drugs and how they can help in the world. They have a purpose beyond all night dance parties.

The Side Hustle School

This one I find particularly enlightening, it’s a guy that tells you about people’s unique side hustles and how they got started. This is so relevant today because it’s getting harder and harder to live off one or even two incomes! A side hustle is just enough to give you a little cushion, and some people end up leaving their jobs and making their lovable side hustle their full time income.

The School of Greatness

This one is by far my favorite. There is something about Lewis Howes voice that literally makes you feel like you could do anything! The words he shares with his listeners is about empowerment, improving your life, it being ok to fail and learning about the greatness within you! Amazing, I’ve purchased 2 of his books and implementing his practices every day to get my greatness to the level I want it!

I think it is important to be constantly growing and improving life. This does not mean compete!!! The only person you should be competing with is the person you were yesterday.

Let me Tell You About my Women’s Literature Class

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If you have the chance to take women’s lit I highly recommend. Especially if you have a chance to learn from Professor Grace Rexroth at University of Colorado in Boulder because she makes the content worth listening to.

We started this semester with the theme of CONSENT since it seems to be so hot in the news right now, and how the ideas and definition of consent have changed throughout history.

With the way things have been a woman’s body is not her own. First being owned by her father to then being owned by her husband. The taking of a man’s family name is even steeped in this rhetoric that the husband owns his wife.

We have also been made to believe that our desire, and sexuality are unnatural. That women shouldn’t be sexual creatures unless it is in the bedroom with their husband. Yes, I know it’s 2018. And women have made great strides to be the women that they want to be. But it doesn’t change the fact that we are slut shamed, for having premarital sex. That we don’t make as much money as men, $0.75-$0.98 per $1 that a man makes. We are still viewed as hysterical and overly emotional. Which is why men are consistently chosen for promotion over women. Although, recently I’ve started to believe men are chosen for promotion because women make themselves meek. Because it is considered a desirable trait for women!!! Our meekness, humbleness and obedience are all traits that “the perfect woman” possesses.

Before I took this class I experienced gender bias, some of you read my post about it, but I hadn’t realized how prevalent it was until I was observing and doing research around the topic. The overwhelming information of how much women are still battling has lead me to start Girl Boss International, a blog, a support group, and eventually a non-profit all for the support of women on a mission. Feel free to look it up, it’s here on WordPress. It’s also on google groups waiting for aspiring women to join! Let me know if you are interested!

There are more CEOs named David, than women CEOS in this country. This is a problem. Help me fight!

Let’s Talk About My Trip to Vegas

Not too long after I made my post about traveling cheap to Florida I decided to join the Frontier Airlines “Deal Den”. Let me start by saying if you don’t really care how comfortable you are on a plane and don’t need to bring luggage then Frontier is the way to fly. Their seats are almost non existent, they charge $30+ for a CARRY ON BAG. But that’s ok, when they have $20 one way tickets it gets really hard to complain. I also got a great deal on a room at the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino that paired with my flight. $29 a night plus a $71 resort fee. I know this is nothing like my tent in Miami but I wanted the full Vegas experience and they had a free shuttle that drops off at the strip. Free transportation was totally worth it.

So, my boyfriend and I decided to take a quick 2.5 day trip to Vegas because neither of us had experienced it as Adults allowed to drink. After seat selection, round trip tickets for 2 from Denver to Vegas came out to just less than $200. Now since we were only going to be gone for 2.5 days we decided to only take what we could each fit in a purse (and yes he carried a purse). Just enough room for a couple tanks, a pair of shorts, and makeup. I also made sure I wore a couple layers in case it got cold. Now in order to get the cheapest flights available they had some terrible hours. Denver >> Vegas 10pm take off, arrive at 11 pm. Vegas >> Denver 1:44 am take off, 4:44 arrival. They even sound awful, but my boyfriend and I love taking adventures together so what is a little sleep deprivation I mean its Vegas baby!

Day of flight aka Monday of spring break. We wanted to take naps and get all rested for the flight. I get too excited on the day of travel to nap, I have a difficult time sleeping when the sun is out anyway. The boyfriend napped while I spent the day making sure I had exactly what I wanted for the flight, spent time with my little boy because he was staying home, and being annoyed at this slight ache in my mouth. I decided when we were on our way I would slam a SPARK (advocare energy drink. If you want more info then message me) and that should keep me awake and energized. To make this even more of an adventure we decided to make the 2 hour commute using the train that runs around the Denver Metro area called the light rail. That way nobody had to take us or pick us up from the airport at unreasonable hours. When we boarded the first train we were extra excited. I added so many Snaps to my Snapchat (Peasy_pie) story it would have made your head spin. By the end of the train trip that dull ache I felt in my mouth and turned into a full blown toothache. When we hit Union Station in Denver I had to buy some Tylenol…. They didn’t have ibuprofen, but I needed to try something. Obviously that didn’t work so I navigated the airport with this toothache. We ate a quick dinner and each had a drink while we waited. On our way to board we noticed it was snowing outside, which means it took an extra hour before we took off because the plane needed to de-ice. Since it was taking so long I asked the flight attendants if there was ibuprofen on board that I could purchase. No but they found me some aspirin, which again didn’t really help. When we landed we made the TERRIBLE mistake of jumping into a taxi. $32 to get to our hotel… for a 10 minute drive. At this point, it was midnight, we were weary from travel, hungry again and I had a toothache. After dropping our stuff at the room we decided to just explore our casino. The restaurant was open 24 hours so I insisted we needed to eat a more proper dinner than our pre-flight sandwiches. As we sat a Wheel of Fortune machine caught my eye (its one of my favorites). I watched a mad sit down, feed it $60, get mad and walk away. I looked at my boyfriend and informed him that something inside me was telling me to go put a 20 in that machine. He held our table while I ran over. I gave it my $20, and it was a $1 machine so each pull cost $5. I pulled the arm down, and won $300!!! I cashed out and we used that money to pretty much finance our trip! After we ate we decided to take our winnings and go to bed.

Our first morning anywhere we travel to is usually spent sleeping. No child, no work, no school, no obligations. In bed tell noon and happy, but my toothache was still poking at me. On our way to the days adventures I passed by a vending machine that had ibuprofen, it worked great! While we were having a cup of coffee we each purchased a GO City card like we had in Florida. As usual it came with great things to do and a considerable bit of transportation. We used it to get a monorail ticket, the monorail travels almost all the way up and down the strip, and we used it all day. Our first stop was the Stratosphere. Our GO city cards covered the ticket to the observation deck but we also purchased tickets to ride all the rides. The x-scream and Big Shot were the ones we actually rode due to wind. Still the two scariest rides I’ve ever been on. One tips you over the side of the building, and one shoots you up a pole on top basically. Crazy 2,000 feet up in the air strapped into a carnival ride. so great. We made our way inside of so many Casinos: Circus Circus, Planet Holywood, MGM Grand, Bally’s, Flamingo, SLS, Stratosphere. And broke even at all of them! However, I had to call it an early night because my toothache had come back with a vengeance in addition to a head ache because I drank and let myself get sober! We tried an oxygen bar, and ate delicious food. I tried not to let my tooth ruin it. I was still having a blast.

The last day we started with a trip to listen to a timeshare pitch. We got a free mini vacation to Orlando and actually ended up making a vacation club purchase. I will tell you about it once I’ve used it and know if I am happy with it. We made it to the Luxor, Excalibur,  Mandalay Bay, and watched the fountain show at the Bellagio before we ended our Vegas experience with V the Variety Show. Which was great! Several of the acts were from “America’s Got Talent” including a Roller Skating couple that my boyfriend and I idolize (we roller skate as well). Flying and 2 trains later we made it home at about 7am. Exhausted I hung out with my son till he was ready for a nap, and we both napped.

Vegas was a great experience, we loved the strip, there are so many things to do, and the food everywhere is unbelievable! All in all we broke even in the experience, the little bit of cash won was enough to cover the things we did and transportation while we were there. I know this is not the typical Vegas experience, but as long as you don’t take more than you are willing to lose you should be Golden!

Let’s Talk About Gender Bias

I said in my last post about school that I would talk about some gender bias I have experienced. I will try to not let this post get too lengthy but it’s something I’m pretty passionate about so get ready. 😉

Let me start by saying it’s 2018. Gender bias should not be something that we still actively experience. My mother was the first person in my life to push gender bias on me. And probably why I fight so hard to break “normal girl” stereotypes.

1. Mother

My mother means well. She only ever wants what is best for me and can only teach me what she knows. Girls should be thin and beautiful to please men. Because life is so hard when you are not beautiful. She was an ugly duckling so she never wanted me to go through what she did in school. But yo prevent this she has always been hard on me about my weight. It fluctuates between 120-130. Regularly. And when it gets to about 125 she starts pointing it out. Fine whatever, it only happens when I am starting to let my diet slip and not eating as healthy as I should be. I’m allergic to dairy and let’s face it all the good treats have milk. I like sweets, but I like feeling good more. However sometimes it those cravings are too much to bear and I will eat chocolate and cupcakes and put on an extra couple pounds and be bloated for days. So she will remind me.

She also brought me up constantly telling me that my man is the king of the house and women live to serve them and make them happy. Gag me with a spoon. However, this mindset plus her driving me to stay thin and beautiful helped me learn how to work this system, getting things done on my car, getting free things, all by playing this part she forced me into. While never planning to fulfill the role full time.

Finally, the views on sex. I know everyone has heard it “they aren’t going to buy the cow if you give away the milk for free” if you haven’t it’s about sex. Why would a man marry you if you are easy basically. To which I wanted to say “who wants them to buy the cow? I’m the one that wants free milk.” Which was really hard for my mother. I never wanted to get married or have children I just wanted my career and good sex. Obviously I have a child now that I would not trade for the world. You can call me a bad mom for admitting I didn’t want kids and that I was manipulated into my role as a mother and now while I’m in school full time it’s like he spends more time with his grand parents than me. But I am working to make his life better and make sure he grows into a better person than his father. But anyway, I still don’t feel like the conventional family is what I am destined for. And being a mother does not mean that I don’t like sex. And you should never let ANYONE tell you how you feel or let them and their social norms rule your life. Be you and be not afraid. I’m going to use this moment to tell you about my long essay “Memoirs of a Dirty Slut” on amazon which covers this thought more thoroughly.

2. The college Guidance Counselor

This is probably the worst that I experienced. When I was 23, 2 years before I returned to school I went into the community college to talk to a councilor about the career path I wanted to take. Molecular Biology, I wanted to attend the university of Colorado at Boulder after completing my 2 years at Red Rocks community college. I was behind in math, but everything else was college level and ready. And this old man looked at me, looked at my placement scores, and told me I was 2 semesters behind in math. And that I should rethink my career because “a career is science is really hard and I wouldn’t be able to get a job that I wanted”. Completely discouraged I didn’t enroll in school. I wish I had because by now I would be in my graduate classes. But that’s not the direction my life took. So for 2 more years I felt not quite good enough to go to school. I knew I was smart enough but if there was no encouragement how was I ever going to make it? Later I found out that a colleague of mine faced a similar or with one of her teachers who told her science would be too hard for her and that she could never get good enough grades to succeed. They very carefully do not say that the problem is our gender but I have never encountered a man in my field with a similar story. It finally took seeing someone decide at the age of 45 to go into medical school to be a doctor, made me believe it was not too late for me.

3. The Ex

This is probably the worst one and I won’t go into great detail because I am writing a book about my experience with him. But he was only ever content when I was a housewife. If I tried to get a job that took away from my taking care of him it was sabotaged. I “couldn’t make enough money anyway” and I was made to quit. Forced to find ways to make money from home. Which are helping me greatly now in college but at the time it was insulting. And when I started school and needed to do homework he would whine and complain that I didn’t love him anymore. Because he was threatened that someday I would make more money than him and that I wouldn’t let him control me. Obviously I learned that before graduation and it was over. This was the worst because it carried on for 6 years. 6 years I was under this gendered oppression. And I’m here to tell you it was not right.

I hope you enjoyed this short little segment. Have a great day!

 

 

Let’s Talk About Going Back to School

A Baccalaureate degree is the new high school diploma. Yikes. When I graduated high school (barely) there was no chance I was going to college. At that point, school was not for me. I assured my parents I just needed some time off to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. This also has to do with a string of gender bias I faced but I will cover that in a different post. So I was told I wouldn’t be able to get a job with the degree I wanted, so I explored my back up plan which was journalism. Unfortunately that field was dying due to online bloggers and the death of newspaper. So I didn’t want to waste 4 years of my life going to school for something that wasn’t at least going to pay for itself.

I was also doing a lot of partying in those days, so a break from school was needed. I ended up working as a dancer(not a stripper) for night clubs and all night EDM shows. While maintaining my high school job at a grocery store. It was good for a while, I was broke and living with my parents but hey, I was having fun. Eventually the broke and bored party girl ended up in a terrible relationship, which I am currently writing a book about. Super unhealthy, couldn’t keep a job, was kept under lock and key, my dance career was smashed to pieces just as it was starting to take a more positive turn,over state every other year, and had more jobs than I can count. Most of the time I was a stay at home mom.

A few jobs I had that actually paid well enough for me to make s living in those years were sales. But let me warn you now! SALES IS NOT FOR EVERYONE if you can’t handle being slimy you probably won’t do well in sales. Lots of moral grey areas with what you tell people.

So After I had given birth to my son and realized how terrible my life was and how much I didn’t want that for my son I decided to go back to school. For Molecular Biology because that is what I had wanted to do in the first place, and now that all the elderly men in science are starting to pass away (RIP Stephen Hawking, even though I don’t think he was a Misogynist) there are openings in the field. And it is so importantly get more women in science. In fact most of my classmates are female which is great.

Going back to school has been the most challenging and rewarding thing I have ever done in my life. It has opened so many doors. And as an adult learner (I was 25 and a freshman in college) it was very easy for me to dedicate myself to my studies and get good grades. Although I will warn you an older brain does not always absorb information like the 19 year old colleagues. But it makes communicating with teaches much easier because you see them as people rather than all knowing gods that are dishing out failing grades.

And now I am almost graduating, I was way behind in math and a couple science classes so a 4 year degree turned into a 5 year degree but that’s fine. I got a job in a lab on campus working with a wonderful post doc candidate. Making friends with my younger classmates is fun because I get to tell them horror stories about dating and living on my own and how awful life was when my education wasn’t a priority. And I will be a success. I will go all the way through my PhD, and life will be great. It already is great but it can only get better from here. Please send me your stories!!! Tell me about your life, how old are you? Do you have children? Did you return to college? Send me your story! Tell me what you would like to hear? I am currently writing another blog called “Explaining Science” taking scientific articles and translating them so that people not in science can understand what is going on without combining through tough to read scientific writing. If there is anything there you want to hear let me know! I can be reached in the comments below or at Science4sluts@gmail.com

I’m all about female empowerment, I also have an Ebook out called “Memoirs of a Dirty Slut” you can find it on amazon!

Let’s talk about a Financial Empire

Times are hard. An irrefutable truth about living in America is that we live in an extreme capitalist society. Everyone and everything has been commodified. In a place where time is literally money how are you spending your “free time”? In front of a tv? With a drink in your hand? Let me tell you now, the most successful people in the world do not spend their time away from work being addicted to things that won’t benefit them.

Two years ago I went through the separation from hell. He took my car, got it repossessed. He kept my apartment, got me evicted. Destroyed my reputation, burned and gave away my clothing and things I had left at the house. Tried to kidnap my child. It was not fun. I was in financial ruin. My credit score was dismal, I didn’t have a job, living with my one year old in my high school bedroom at my parents house. Things were not looking good. I was a college student just trying to keep my head above water. It took a couple months but got myself a car and 2 part time jobs. Now I am getting a house, my son is going to preschool, my credit is almost perfect and I have over $10,000 in savings. Here are the small steps I took to get my life back on track.

Let’s start with Saving

I know you have heard it over and over since you were a child, a penny saved is a penny earned. I can’t even tell you how important this statement is?!? I started with just $5 a week. Every paycheck I physically made myself put $5 in my savings account. I know this doesn’t seem like it would amount to anything very quickly. But seeing that number in my savings account go up was literally addicting. If I didn’t have school that week and didn’t have to pay daycare I would put the whole $120 in the account and just pretend he went anyway. The hardest habit to learn when you first begin to save is pretending that the money isn’t there. What made this easier for me was opening a second bank account. I decided to go with a credit union, the nice thing about credit unions is that you own a portion of the credit union when you have an account there. I took the debit card, stuck it in my sock drawer and refused to sign up for online banking. I didn’t want the ability to transfer money out of savings unless I went down to my local branch. If I skipped my daily latte( one of my part time jobs was at Starbucks) I would put that money into yet another account! Which brings me to my next topic

Micro Investing

If you don’t have $2500-$5000 to start a stock portfolio then micro investment is the way to go! I use an app called Acorns Start investing with Acorns today! Get $5 when you use my invite link:

https://acorns.com/invite/J38BXT

You can start the account with just $5 and set up automatic withdrawal or one time investments which is how I started! If I had a little extra cash I would throw it in the account. But my favorite thing about Acorns is they have an “Education” section. Before I knew it every chance I had I was learning about finances. The different kinds of stocks, different forms of investment, and quick ways to make extra money that I could invest. This year I decided was the year of making Money with my eyes closed. And so it started to happen. Not long after I started putting money into my Acorns account I started getting adverts on instagram for a website called “Ellevest” investing for women, by women, and recently in women! Being a #Girlboss myself I was interested. I set my goals and added $25 to each goal. I get monthly updates on how my investments are doing and what Ellevest as a company is doing in society. (If you want an invite for a $100 start to Ellevest please contact me they don’t just provide a link it’s a little more exclusive than that). Once I reached $2500 I opened an Ally invest account because they have a “do it yourself” account with no minimum investment. When you start to spread your money around it starts to gain in momentum faster. And Finally! I started a Summit account at Aspiration. I funded a new checking account as well as a green friendly investment account.

The Side Hustle

I cannot overstate the value of a side hustle. Any extra cash you earn is extra cash you can save. Let’s start with the side hustles which are my favorite, making money with your eyes closed. First is Airbnb, great company! Not only do I find great affordable accommodations when I travel, but it is also very simple to post a listing. And before you count yourself out because you “don’t have room” there are TONS of unconventional rooms to rent. On my trip to Florida last year I stayed in a small circus tent in a lady’s back yard. It had an air mattress and I had access to her bathroom and kitchen. Next to the tent there was also a large shed she had set up as a studio apartment that she rents out! Campers, grain silos, conversion vans!!! Don’t underestimate people’s desire for a cheap place to stay.

Use my Airbnb affiliate link to list your properties today!

www.airbnb.com/r/lacih75

Along the same lines as Airbnb there is a similar app for car sharing. Rent your car with Turk, sure there are restrictions for the year and mileage but as of a survey in 2016 an average car owner earned about $6000 a year. Stop and think about how an extra $500 a month would help you out.

Another venture I have been looking into is called peer lending. Like lendingclub.com you give your money to the website, they lend it to people and you get your money plus interest. This is just another form of investment.

Also I like to walk. I am a very big fan of walking. So last year I decided to put up a profile on Rover.com and Wag the app. In the month of December I brought in an extra $650. It really helped with Christmas. I house sat for 3 weeks with one family and did drop in visits for another. Very simple. I was still working at Starbucks, finishing up the fall semester at school, I just slept somewhere else and took a couple dogs for walks.

Fix the Credit

This is probably the hardest part of the empire. Making sure your credit is in a good place. Mine was in the toilet. But once I had my credit union account for a couple months I decided to put in an application for a secured credit card. I applied for A capital one platinum card and was accepted. Due to the nature of my credit I had to pay a larger deposit. For six months I put $100 in charges on the card and would pay it off. And my score would rocketed up 15-30 points every month! I contacted my delinquent accounts and got on payment plans to pull them out of collections. After 8 months my score was up almost 300 points and holding steady. So I hired Lexington Law to help me get over the last hurdle to be ready to buy a house. Credit is essential in our society today.

It is possible to start the first few steps when you are broke. The hardest thing is changing your mindset about money. It can’t be your enemy, it’s important to let the money flow freely through your life. When you can achieve the mindset that money is just something you use you can reach success!

Lets Talk about how to meal plan!!

Ugh meal planning… It’s the start of a new year and I know you ladies are trying to get fit for the new year! I know I do this every year! And I succeed in having a beach body ready by summer, but half way through summer I give up and start putting weight on again. OBVIOUSLY the best way to go into the new year is to not give up half way through the last year!! Be that as it may I am going to go over how I get back my beach ready body every year! First off I’m going to throw it out there that I am an Advocare distributor!! Wooo I love my Advocare and I stand by all their products! Here is a link to my website! And if you think you would like to join my team feel free to email me at lacijean31515@gmail.com and we can talk about everything Advocare can do for you! https://www.advocare.com/160224437/

Ok back to my topic, how to meal plan! I have a budget, who doesn’t these days right? that has to be one of my favorite things about meal planning, because it can really help keep you on budget while helping keep you on track and healthy!! So this is an example of my meal plans. If this is something you are just trying out might I suggest starting with your lunches? You can still plan all your breakfasts and dinners for the week but it can be a little overwhelming on a Sunday night to have all that food piled up in the kitchen ready to be made. Lunches and snacks are a good place to start because carrying that food with you will keep you from running to McDonald’s mid day. My biggest issue when I fist started meal planning(I also started with my lunches) was making sure that I packed enough food!! I am active and I have a fast metabolism, I need to eat a lot of food to stay satisfied. And I am a terrible cheater! So I had to find a healthy substitute for something sweet. You will also see that all of my dishes lack dairy. I am allergic to milk proteins and I can’t eat cheese yogurt or any other dairy products. You are more than welcome to add and or subtract whatever you want in this plan.

Also know the type of diet you are going for! There are so many and it is not a one size fits all system! There are gluten free, dairy free, liquid diets, there are also commercial types like the whole 30, or the advocare challenges, going vegan, trying vegetarian. No matter what kind of diet you are planning on it is important to do your research! It is easy to become nutrient deficient if you don’t know what you are doing. Another alternative is to pay a coach(like myself) for a specific breakdown of what you need to eat every day. Coaching is an asset, in all aspects of life it frees up time you need for other things while still getting the information and success you desire. Heath and fitness can be difficult things to learn about, people literally spend years in college and researching why our bodies need certain things. While blogs like this can be good places to start there is more to meal planning than just knowing the structure of the plan.

I get really bored eating things all 7 days of the week, so normally I do a little bit of searching for 2 different recipes. One for Monday, Wednesday and Friday, one for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Sunday is my cheat day. I absolutely WILL NOT SURVIVE if I don’t have a cheat day… I call it a cheat day but it’s really just a day I totally wing what I eat, even though it still usually in healthy standards.

Here is a brief outline of how I eat in a day. This is not the only way!

Breakfast

I live my life on the go! Being a college student and a full time mommy I’m on the run constantly! So for breakfast I make myself a smoothie! Usually 2 cups fruit, 2 scoops pea protein (again the milk allergy prevents me from whey. Also these days I’m getting closer and closer to vegan because my body just feels better) and an all natural orange juice.

Morning Snack

For the morning snack I like to do something light. Grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries. Coupled with nuts!! I love walnuts! But any nut as long as it isn’t coated in sugar or salt will do! Another great snack is the little packages of nut butter! I love them! Or to save on money buying a jar of your favorite nut butter and using small Tupperware! You don’t need more than a tablespoon, they are super rich packed with protein so that is plenty for a snack.

Lunches

I am a grazer! I like to have lots of little things to snack on for lunch. Smoked salmon with crackers, sliced cucumber, seaweed, baby carrots, humus, celery… things like that… if you don’t have a milk sensitivity than nice slices of turkey wrapped around GOOD QUALITY CHEESE! if its yellow then it has dies in it… milk is white… cheese should be white, that’s all I have to say about that.

For those of you that don’t have a problem with reheated food, you can also cook a very large helping of 2 meals on Sunday and separate them into daily portions for lunches! A good measurement for your foods is 1 palm full of protein, 2 palms of veggies, and 3 of a grain. Some great examples are

Protein:

Lean beef

Chicken

Pork

Salmon or your favorite fish

Beans

Tofu

Or if you like liquid lunches then protein powder! If you are vegan there are GREAT Pea proteins out there!

Afternoon Snack

Ok here is where I like to get a little fatty!! Usually an avocado… Yes a whole avocado. Lightly salted. again for this snack nuts are great!

Dinner

I am a very happy follower of Facebook groups that are dedicated to delicious recipes!! It is your job to sort through the ones that are healthy. My Favorite is the fajita bowl! In each dinner container would go A FULL CUP(again I eat a lot, if you need less please put less if you really NEED more than add more) or veggies, for this dish it’d be colored bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms. And 2/3 of a chicken breast. To make 3 days you can use 2 chicken breasts. Salmon is a nice healthy alternative, any white fish. And for the off days spaghetti squash baked with sautéed cherry tomatoes and spinach as a sauce.

As for drinks! I try to drink as many ounces of water as pounds I weigh… So right now I’m at about 120 oz of water a day… I am also just getting started this year! When I did this last year I lost 10 lbs in 10 days. Paired with my Advocare 24 day challenge. I also drink coconut water, which is a natural diuretic and helps… keep everything moving. And of course my all time favorite thing to drink is my SPARK. It is a #1 seller on the Advocare website. I call it my happy mommy juice! I replaced my morning coffee with it over a year ago and I would never go back!!

I hope this was a helpful template on your journey to your meal plans!