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Carmen Izurieta

Student at Salisbury University

Washington D.C. Metro AreaPublic Relations and Communications

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Racism still Alive in the NBA

Now I normally don’t pay much attention to TMZ stories or many “Hollywood gossip”, however, it recently came to my attention the surfacing of an audio recording of the L.A. Clipper’s owner, Donald Sterling, having a surprisingly racist-fueled debate with his mistress. 

Sterling’s comments caused quite the uproar the second the recording was posted on TMZ’s website. The Clippers owner’s voice is heard scolding, girlfriend, Stiviano, saying: “not to bring [black people] to my games…It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?”

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In this recording he is also heard bashing “basketball alumni” Magic Johnson, simply due to his being a “minority”. Not only is MJ far from being a minority in any sense, but Sterling, owning a  team within a sport that is significantly African-American and to have had any of those comments even come out of his mouth, is shocking and disgraceful. 

Even Obama this morning quickly addressed the comments, in a press conference tour with the Malaysian Prime Minister. He was quoted saying, “we constantly have to be on guard on racial attitudes that divide us rather than embracing our diversity as a strength. The United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation, that’s still there, the vestiges of discrimination”

Another famous face commenting on the matter, is Miami Heat’s finest, LeBron James. who has now called onto the National Basketball Association Commissioner, Adam Silver, hoping that his steps up his game and decides to take a more aggressive approach. James has publicly commented saying, “There is no room for Donald Sterling in our league. Obviously, if the reports are true, it’s unacceptable in our league. It doesn’t matter, white, black or Hispanic — all across the races it’s unacceptable. As the commissioner of our league, they have to make a stand. They have to be very aggressive with it. I don’t know what it will be, but we can’t have that in our league.” 

Normally having no comment on rumor-related matters, Michael Jordan, worldwide basketball sensation and Charlotte Bobcats owner, released a statement earlier this morning. 

“As an owner, I’m obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views,” Jordan said. “I am appalled that this type of ignorance still exists within our country and at the highest levels of our sport. In a league where the majority of players are African-American, we cannot and must not tolerate discrimination at any level.”

So it is safe to safe, that Sterling is in hot waters. Not only was his team planning on sitting out of their next game (then opting against it), Magic Johnson’s boycott of all future Clippers games (until Sterling decides to sell), but Sterling also has his estranged wife’s lawsuit against the woman on the video clip. He clearly has to re-evaluate a number of things in his ignorant life.

 

TMZ Audio Recording: (Has not yet been verified for authenticity) http://www.tmz.com/2014/04/27/barack-obama-donald-sterling-racist-statement-audio/

Mother’s Day Gift Galore!

May 11, is literally a week away, let your mothers know how much you love them for putting up with you, by making this Mother’s Day extra special. There are tons of options from making her a nice gift from scratch to out a couple bucks for a relaxing spa package. One of my favorite ideas is the gift basket. Gather a handful of her favorite things, get a basket, mason jar or what ever cute packaging you can find, bunch them together and voila! 

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Whatever you chose to give her, remember to always start off with a sweet card, telling her how much you love her. If you decide to make her a card, Pinterest has some truly creative mother’s day card ideas! Here are just a few that caught my eye: 

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Once you have the card all set and done, move onto the “second course” of gift-giving. Make it either a nice, homemade breakfast in bed or a simple basket full of mimosas and  fresh baked muffins. If you have any younger siblings who want to help out the kitchen, a fun way to get them involved is bake the “cake in a mug” (recipe found below). It is delicious and only takes five minutes (ideal for those with short attention spans), but also super fun to create! 

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Another great idea is chocolate-covered strawberries. They are perfect for any occasion and everyone loves them, you simply can’t go wrong mixing up a quick batch. You could also simply bake some delicious cupcakes, with their favorite flavors and write a message on the frosting just for them or even place a toy crown on top to give them that “queen for the day” feeling.  

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Onto the main course of gift-giving, you may have opted for an easier yet equally as delightful gift, such as googling “mother’s day gifts” and buying the first one on the list! Or perhaps you wanted to make her a custom scrapbook or an enlarged canvas of your favorite picture of you two. 

But here are just a few of Groupons that I found, for all those opting the one-click gift option. 

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Now you have no excuse not to make this the best Mothers Day. Go out and show these women how much they truly mean to you. Even if its just a card you made where you write out all the things you love about her, show your mom that you do see all that she does for you and truly love her and want to thank her for everything. Don’t wait until the day before either, a Mother knows all and she will know you waited until the last minute. Good Luck finding the perfect gift for your Mom!

 

“Most of all the other beautiful things in life come by twos and threes by dozens and hundreds. Plenty of roses, stars, sunsets, rainbows, brothers, and sisters, aunts and cousins, but only one mother in the whole world.” -Kate Douglas Wiggin

 

Recipe for Cake in a Mug: http://www.itsoverflowing.com/2012/04/five-minute-cake-in-mug/

 

Finding Happiness

ImageGiven my current circumstances, I have begun to think more of life as a cycle versus a journey. A cycle that we must learn to take full advantage of. In this cycle, we receive what we give. So pay close attention to all the good you can do for others as well as yourself. As I try understanding the ways of the world, I have found it helpful to take advice from those better-equipped. As I began reading articles and books on finding happiness, a quote from Dan Millman, world famous author and self-help lecturer, really stuck with me, “I’d always believed that a life of quality, enjoyment, and wisdom were my human birthright and would be automatically bestowed upon me as time passed. I never suspected that I would have to learn how to live — that there were specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world I had to master before I could awaken to a simple, happy, uncomplicated life.”

Another inspiring leader in happiness, has been psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, in her research she  lists a total of 12 things happy people do differently to increase their levels of happiness. You are free to start at any age, it’s never too late to find your true happiness. 

Express gratitude: Take a moment out of your busy life to say “thank you” to the cashier at CVS, or your dry cleaner, you never know who’s day you can turn around with just a smile and a “thank you”.

2. Cultivate optimism: Once you have the power to create your own happiness, no one can ever take that away without your permission. That within itself is powerful.

3. Avoid over-thinking and social comparison: No two people are the same, we all lead very different lives. Don’t waste your time looking at others saying, “Oh, I wish I had that”. You don’t, move on. Find the things that you do have, and appreciate them.

4. Practice acts of kindness: It could very likely lead to a domino effect of kindness. You can make a stranger eternally grateful for helping them. It costs nothing, and it will forever restore their faith in humanity.

5. Nurture social relationships: Just how I have recently had to find out the hard way. You never know how much a person means to you, until they are no longer part of your life. You have to conserve all your deep, meaningful relationships, you never know what could happen. We have the power to feel connected; a part of something more meaningful than our own selfish existence.

6. Develop strategies for coping: Always have a plan for how to deal with tragic scenarios. That way you deal with them, and move on quickly. 

7. Learn to forgive. — Harboring negative feelings towards anyone, only harms you. Kills you slowly inside. For your own well being, learn to let go and forgive. 

8. Increase flow experiences: As Dr. Lyubormirsky phrases it: “Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still. It’s when you’re so focused on what you’re doing that you become one with the task. Action and awareness are merged.” What she means is that you get to a mental state where you feel no hunger, sleepiness, or emotional distress. You are simply engaged in the activity in front of you, giving it 100%. Nothing is distracting you or competing for your focus. Keep your eye on the prize!

9. Savor life’s joys: Slow down. Focus on the details. We are constantly missing out on life because of the omnipresent society in which we live in. These magically moments we miss when we are too focused on our little digital screens, these are the most rewarding moments that life can offer. Stop and enjoy the scenery. Pause your job and maybe even take a rewarding disconnecting trip (no wifi, no phones, no electronics of any kind). You might be pleasantly surprised to see how refreshed you can finally feel without that digital ball and chain.

10. Commit to your goals: What you set your heart on, you chose it for a reason, stick to it! You never know what you are capable of until you push yourself far enough. don;t allow yourself to give up, losing is not an option. Live with a purpose. 

11. Practice spirituality: To most of us young folks, this topic is quite meaningless. But after some time, you begin to realize that a little bit of God, Allah or Messiah,  goes a long way. Life is bigger than each one of us.

12. Take care of your body: Being mentally healthy is one thing, but if your body is unable to keep up, there is a problem. Your body is your temple, respect it. Staying in shape keep stour mind sharp, produces endorphins that you would not get other than with exercise. Stay fit!

Last tip: The triangle of healthy sanity. Your mental energy (your focus), our emotional energy (your feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose). Keep these in constant health, and you will find yourself a happier person than ever before. 

 

Healthy Relationships 101: Arguing vs. Fighting

To the untrained eye arguing and fighting may seem similar. In fact, they are on completely different spectrums. While one is seemingly healthy, the other has proven to be toxic. According to Psychology Today, “Healthy couples don’t fight – they argue.  There’s a big difference. Fighting consists of: raised voices, bringing up the past, name-calling, problem-focused. Arguing is normally done in a calm voice, mutual respect, focused on one issue, solution-focused”. 

Having recently read a number of articles from the brilliant Dr. Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D. Image

She suggests the following 10 rules to stick to in order to lead a happy and healthy relationship.

1.  Pick a time each week to talk.

With life comes distractions, don’t let them come in between “us” time. Always take a couple hours aside to discuss each other, keep work and business at bay. Stick to what’s important.

2.  Turn off your phone, the television, or any other distractions. 

Technology is slowly weaseling it’s way into our minute to minute activities. Just remember to show your partner that you are still a human being and are still able to hold a conversation. 

3.  You or your partner presents a topic.

When discussing things that may annoy you, (ie. not cleaning up after themselves) allow them to pick once, then next time it’s your turn to bring something that annoys you. Don’t constantly bring up the same thing, that will lead to fighting. Bring it up once, fix it, let it go forever. Done and buried. 

4. Set a timer for 15 minutes.  

When discussing the topic at hand, set a timer for 15 minutes, where you switch off speaking time. That way you both get the opportunity to express how you feel without interruptions and less chances of misinterpretations. 

5.  Hold hands.

Psychologists suggest that that intimate exchange has proven to improve moods as well as instill a sense of a stronger bond with your significant other. So next time you argue, keep eye contact constant and give their hands a little love.    

6.  Phrase your concern in an “I feel” sentence. 

“When you …., I feel frustrated because X, Y, Z.”

7.  Avoid using “always” and “never”.   

Just with the word, “divorce”. These are long term words, with negative connotations. Once said, can’t be taken back. Never say never. It will hurt your partner more than you know.  

8.  Now state your solution.

Don’t nag, that will get you nowhere. Present your problem along with a solution, instead of coming off like a mother. “I don’t like when you …, so I suggest we X,Y,Z”.

9. Time’s up.  Set the timer for 15 minutes.

Remember to switch off talking times. Once your part is said and done, listen attentively to what your partner has to say. 

10.  When the timer goes off, you’re done.

Once you both have said your piece. Game over. You either fixed it or didn’t, but it is not worth bringing it up over and over again. It is said and done. 

Last tip:

Step away if you are getting angry. 

It’s never pretty.

Monogamy: Are we overreaching?

ImageAs I’m here writing in Barnes and Nobles, I passed by a book titled “ The Myth of Monogamy”. It caught my eye, I began flipping through it and so far, it has made some valid points. Has monogamy become too much to expect in a society where picking up the opposite sex is as easy as an Easy Bake Oven?  With dating websites and apps flooding our social media lives, it is hard to stay focused on one single person.
    These corporations have made finding a sexual partner so accessible, to the point that finding a singular relationship is no longer interesting.
    As the authors, psychologist David P. Barash and psychiatrist Judith Eve Lipton, describe it: ““..there is simply no question whether sexual desires for multiple partners is ‘natural’. It is. Similarly, there is no question of monogamy being “natural”. It isn’t.”
    As animals, we are hard-wired to reproduce as much as humanly possible, in order to keep our line of succession alive and ensure we produce the strongest offspring. So why do we even crave monogamy, are we being selfish and demanding far too much? When there are only a few animals in the animal kingdom who are naturally monogamous: penguins and gibbons monkeys, just to name a few. Are we missing something? Monogamy is clearly not the dominant relationship style in the world of wild.
    The authors have pointed out that while we may not want to believe it: monogamy does not come easily to us, we have to truly care about the person we have chosen in order to ensure a successful partnership. We can fool ourselves temporarily into thinking monogamy comes naturally as is easy, but that is often a path that leads to infidelity.
    With adultery constantly in the media, it hard to ignore the constant attention it’s given. We are constantly being made aware of it’s side effects, in our own personal lives as well as those in the public eye. From Tiger Woods to Bill Clinton, infidelity is hot topic.
    Leaving us with a glimmer of hope, Barah and  Lipton end with:“This is not to say that monogamy – even happy, fulfilled monogamy – is impossible, because in fact it is altogether within the realm of human possibility. But since it is not natural, it is not easy. Similarly this is not to say that monogamy isn’t desirable, because there is very little connection, if any, between what is natural or easy and what is good.”

21 Do’s and Don’ts: First Date Edition

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st, especially if it’s in regards to another man. Huge turn-off. Men naturally are naturally possessive so when one brings up another man, one whom you have been intimate with in the past, let’s just say that’s not an appropriate ice breaker.

  1. Do Offer to Pay- Men enjoy knowing that you can provide for yourself. It’s refreshing to know that she can hold her own.
  2. Do Let Loose and Enjoy Yourself – You obviously don’t want to to go over board, but it’s always nice to go out with a woman who is comfortable enough in her own skin to enjoy herself.
  3. Do Keep Some Things to Yourself – No one wants to hear your life story, give little tidbits here and there. A little mystery goes a long way.
  4. Don’t Ask About Things You Found Out Via Google Stalking – Rule numero uno. You might have done your research, but keep those things private, until he feels comfortable enough to share that information with you. As time progresses and you two are still moving forward, let him in that you knew all along, he might have done the same.
  5. Do Quit After Two Drinks – As Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker, Patti Stagner,  always says “Two drink maximum!”. No one likes that white-girl wasted look. You want a clear head, in order to make conscious decisions.
  6. Don’t Make Snap Judgments – You wouldn’t want him to doing the same. Maybe it’s simply an off-day for him, and isn’t in the best of moods. Perhaps he is so nervous because of who beautiful you look that night, that he simply can’t formulate words. First impressions can sometimes come off as awkward.
  7. Do Give Him a Shot- He may not have given you the best first impression, but at least he’s trying.
  8.  Don’t Freeze Up When He’s Even Hotter in Person -Take three deep breathes, and concentrate on the conversation at hand. It’s okay to stumble on your words, it’s even deemed as “cute” in some circles. He might be hot, but girl… you’re hotter ;).
  9. Do Try to Find Common Ground – If you have nothing in common, why even bother with a second date. Nothing in common leads nowhere. If there is no common base, your conversations will soon lead to that dreadful “weather talk”.
  10. Don’t Meet at His Place – Chances are you won’t leave. So stay safe, and meet at a neutral location.
  11. Don’t Talk Politics – Coming from an extremely political background, this is sometimes a tough one. Especially living in D.C., sometime politics simply come up. Try and veer away,  for these are sensitive topics that might lead to a nasty confrontation.
  12.  Don’t Get Too Sentimental- No one likes those sappy Facebook statuses. You just met the guy, give him a break and save those conversations for your girlfriends.
  13. Do Save Soulful Confessions For a Later Date- It’s refreshing to know that there is a brain behind that pretty face. But you want to save those deep, emotional talks for when you two are a bit more serious. Remember you just met this guy, keep it light and sweet.
  14. Don’t Check Out Other Guys- I know as women, sometimes you can’t help but look, but put your phone away and keep your eyes on him. It will show him you are serious about knowing him for him. He will certainly appreciate this in the end.
  15. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously-No one likes to spend time with an up-tight person, so do yourself a favor and let loose!
  16. Don’t Sweat It If He’s Not “The One”- As I’ve said in my other posts, it’s not the end of world. Maybe he ends up being a great friend, or maybe it simply wasn’t the best timing. So enjoy your time with him and make the most of it. 

 

When to Pursue and When to Flee

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As we progress into adulthood we begin to taking our relationships with those around us more seriously. With friends,  significant others and with our family. They will all either disappear with time or grow stronger.
    We begin noticing the toxic atmosphere of some, and slowly distance ourselves from them. They may wonder why, but most don’t even deserve a second glance back.
People feed off other’s energy. It is a proven fact. If you begin surrounding yourself with negative individuals, you in turn will become sour. It’s a domino effect, energy is contagious. Surround yourself with positive people, with good hearts and their positive outlook on life will mirror into your own life.
    With time, my circle of trust has only diminished. With a few rare instances where they have actually blossomed. Those who were meant to stay, did. However, there was a handful who unfortunately did not make the cut. Due to disloyalty, lies, or the physical distance wound up cutting our ties.
    But we all know that  by losing people, comes along with meeting new ones. As adults, it is our tedious duty to network and go outside our comfort zone in order to make new connections. Meeting new people, be them future friendships or more than that, is always tricky. One can either have that immediate connection or simply don’t have that “spark”.
    When it comes to mingling with the opposite sex, in order to find that ideal partner, you are one of two things: a mind game or a potential love interest. If this person has the mentality of a five-year-old, it’s more than likely you are just another cat and mouse game to them. Stay far away from those people. It’s cute when we are all freshman in college, but once you actually desire something with a little more substance, this game gets boring quickly.
    If this person has you going in circles, losing your sanity, and over-analyzing their text messages, this is probability not a person you want around. You need straight forward people, telling you exactly how it is. It’s nice from time to time to have someone that constantly keeps you on your toes and guessing, it’s sexy to a certain extent. But if this card is played too often, it has the potential to kill any future desires for romance.
    So to all those reading this weekly excerpt from my extensive collection of thoughts, you have been given fair warning. Pursue those who are genuine and caring. Flee from all those who cause you more anxiety than necessary.

The One”: A Tale of Torture

We continuously date with the impression that one day, this man or significant other will play a major role in our lives. However, that is not necessarily the case. We trick our minds into deceiving us and telling us what we think we want to hear. Why must we rack our brains, lose sleep and maul over why this guy is perfect marriage material? In the end, we are all just in it for the journey and the new experience. Maybe it was time to move onto a new chapter of our lives, and this fellow came in at exactly the right time. There doesn’t have to be only one category for your man. He may not be marriage material, who knows maybe neither are you. Marriage is not something one strives for. Many women are confused by this, and surround themselves with this idea of a perfect picket fence, with the perfect family. It is not a goal in life, it is not something you can plan. Marriage and commitment are things that take time and energy, sometimes it simply feels right. If it doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world and soon you will see why it never was.
Recently I have begun to notice a change in character in my girlfriends. The vast majority of them originally had no interest in boyfriends or even husbands, and now…they can’t wait for their significant other to commit. They go out with a naive expectations that every date they go on, will magically lead to marriage. They expect calls and texts 24/7, when in reality, this is an unattractive trait and is clearly warding off these poor men. It’s quite frankly exhausting to have to keep tabs on someone every second of every day, why force this onto someone? If the man fails to call back, women begin to assume that the problem is with them.
It may be, who knows…however adding the stress of finding that elusive “One” doesn’t help matters. Perhaps that guy whom you think you are falling “in love” with, simply fits perfectly in your life, in this moment. You will grow, your needs will change, and who knows you might not want the same things anymore. Maybe he is just the perfect man for right here and right now.
As young ladies, most of us still want adventure and crave excitement in our day-to-day lives. Are we even ready to open that can of marriage worms? This man that we date in this moment in time, is fun and wants to have those adventures with you. Don’t rush things, live in the moment and experience all these new things with him. But don’t force anything, pressure destroys relationships. If it doesn’t evolve into what you wanted, then it doesn’t. Move on. Cherish those around you, and appreciate your relationships (even if they were failures). If marriage is not in the cards, then it’s simply not. Don’t make the mistake of revolving your world around settling down.

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Building Healthy Relationships

Healthy Relationships

No one has an exact answer for what love truly means. We have a handful of philosophers and song-writers whom allude to it, however we all have different forms of love.
It is all about supporting one another, sticking throughout those tough moments, and cherishing each other’s flaws. Sharing similar goals and core values in life, and more importantly being their biggest cheerleader.
Having full-disclosure and being honest, even when it’s tough. Striving to become the best you can, independently while still knowing you will have a rock to fall on, if you fail a couple times. Knowing that adventure and that desire and passion to live alongside one another, will never cease, and will only grow.
That to me, is love.
You can have this bond with your best friend, sibling and your significant other. Anyone, love is everywhere you chose to look for it.
With friends, you must keep constant communication lines, and always bring out the best in one another. Never leave space for misinterpretations, because that always leads to a falling out.
With siblings, you quite honestly don’t have a choice, you are bound by blood. No matter how horrible you are to them one day, they will always love you no matter what. They will always support and protect you, even if you were a b*tch.
With a significant other, you have to know that you as a separate individual should grow and never stop. A lot of times, people forget to better themselves, because they allow themselves to get lazy and too comfortable to allow such growth to bloom. We also have enough confidence in that other person as well as in ourselves, to trust with all our hearts that they will not break.
He or she may never complete you, but that is perfectly fine, you are suppose to complete yourself. We should never fully rely on one person to be the master of our happiness, if you can’t be happy alone, you will never fully be happy.
Relationships are all about learning how to be better humans, more compassionate and more loving towards others.
If we are unable to accept, love, support and honor these people in our lives unconditionally, we might as well not love at all.

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