Memorable Vacations

Those moments where things do not go as planned while on vacation. Yes, those. Yet, they turn out to be ahhh-mazing and the most memorable of the trip.

This happened for me at Yosemite National Park years back. Some call those a happy accident. Sometimes you just cannot plan these things. And that is what makes them so special.

We were coming back from a star gazing event on the Valley Floor that we seemed to miss or could not find. We were bummed and everyone was feeling hungry and grumpy. No campfire smores or shooting stars. Sad face.

Remembering back, the moment was not heart racing, like jumping out of an airplane type of excitement. It was more subtle and took me by surprise. While we waited for the shuttle bus to arrive, we all had a chance to get quiet and gaze up at El Capitan. Realistically, I think we were all slightly annoyed. But then something changed while sitting there.

What appears to be a phenomenal wall of granite during the day has an enchanting transformation as the sun sets. The colors from the dimming fiery orange ball in the sky blazed. Until slowly it faded and a reddish-purplish glow cast like a thin veil covering the textured surface.

Minute-by-minute the brilliant rock giant grew slightly darker. Fading and its rough edges smoothing out, like a shadow against the deep purple heaven. The forest trees appeared to draw themselves closer as if they had come to take El Capitan and store it away until tomorrow.

I began to struggle to make out its shape. I held on for as long as I could, I was absorbed and felt like a friend was departing after a sweet and memorable visit. A rush of emotions filled up on chest and I did not want to leave, my mind rebelled. My gaze fixated on the place where it was as I boarded the bus.

I would like to think it was serendipity that placed us in the path to witness the the beauty I saw. Something  that can never be experienced in our pictures. The moment was ours and it plays over and over in my mind’s eye when I travel back to that bus bench. The moment I sat among and shared space with the rock gods of the Yosemite Valley. I must go back.

What is your favorite memorable moment from a vacation?

Energy Upgrade California, NOW

It is no mystery; California is shoe melting hot during the hottest days of summer. Air conditioning and a well insulated home is not a desire but more a necessity. Yet, now more than ever, Californians need to watch our water and energy usage. With the heat ahead, it is a great time to take a thorough check of some basic changes we can make inside our homes.

Our state bear has come down from the flag to talk to us about managing our water and energy use. See him in action.

Some easy steps include:

  • Using low-flow showerheads
  • Playing fun family games at night by candlelight
  • Using advanced smart strips to stop standby power
  • Installing smart thermostats and home energy monitors
  • Replacing inefficient light bulbs with energy saving bulbs
Additionally, Energy Upgrade California’s Website has many details and tools to help out. From financing options to searching for approved contractors, it is a great resource and place to start. Help California stay golden. Overall, the goal is to better manage energy and water, which will not only help California meet energy and emission goals, but also save consumers money while making their homes more comfortable.
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Even simple changes in the way we manage energy can have a big impact – especially if we take them together. Learn more about energy management, upcoming events, contests and more:
Disclosure: Frufrugal partnered with Energy Upgrade California for this post. All opinions are my own.

Writing Like a Girl

I write like a girl. I talk like a woman. I think like a grown-up.

Am I bothered by that? F#*k no.

Because I am all of these things. In fact, I am shoveling spoonfuls of ice cream into my mouth while I type this and don’t plan on barfing it up later.

I am emotionally raw by the manipulated images that have rubbed against my imperfect skin since middle school. I have always been too dark, too light, too chunky, too Asian. So, I used their beauty sticks to measure up my looks. Applied all their make-up but I still didn’t look like Gisele Bündchen or Eva Mendes.

Ladies, you know what I am talking about. Those late at night, after a terrible date and a half container of (pick your poison) later. We stuff those feelings of inadequacy down. Deep down.

I have put these images up on pedestals and envied them more than myself. Binged, calorie counted, exercised my young adult life away. All to get a little closer to unrealistic. For what reason but to perpetuate a cycle that the beauty industry has created for us. Unreachable.

Wait a minute. Now these same companies want to teach me about self-worth?

Lately it seems, the beauty industry marketers want to shove feminism down our throats. Presented in nice, neat boxes. Cause as women, that is what we like. Pretty, emotional yet what is perceived as being the smart choice. Easy to consume, cause it is calorie-free, shareable to friends and family. No one gets fat off that crap. It is almost subliminal. Not almost, it is subliminal.

Back-to-back viral videos that are carefully crafted to magnify a long running dilemma.

Instead of offering real solutions, they force and perpetuate the stereotypes. Almost like a reminder we can never leave it in the past. Instead we have to drag the dead horse around. As if our mothers, grandmothers and the women before them did not suffer enough to pay for our freedom.

Always and their like a girl campaign video.

Let me get this straight, I am for brands using women in realistic, smart and educated ways to help improve our perceptions of our worth.

Yet I can’t keep buying into these bullshit examples from Always and Pantene.

From the moment the “Like a girl” video starts it’s a set-up. Even the actors and actresses can’t fathom the part they will play. Had the woman behind the camera shouted, “act gay” or “act like a southerner” — how would they have responded? Probably with wild extremes because this is how you act while performing in front of a camera. Isn’t that what they teach in acting school? No?

Instead they face plant right into the guilt.

Oh you, dirty rotten girl, how dare you flail your arms when I say “act” like a girl. Shame on you and repent to the camera, you sinner.

Besides the commercial making us feel vulnerable or wanting to cry, why would they play the girls, and us, like that?

Because it triggers our emotions. Those feelings of inadequacy we cannot forget. I mean, it worked. I am writing this post in frustration.

PLUS, because the Ban Bossy campaign. Always and Pantene are partners and supporters of the continued efforts of Sheryl Sandberg. So what, you might be thinking. Sandberg’s desire to help younger girls is based off old research data, in a study that is not so easy to find on the Ban Bossy website. Until solid data is available this just continues the cycle of victimization. Yet this time at the hands of corporations.

Why do we want to trust the CEO of Facebook. Her apology for manipulating timeline feeds should be enough to not.

We Are Not Victims.

Yet we are helpless to this steady barrage of advertisement that virtually beats us down a little more each time it is viewed.

Did you fall for it? We all must have. The video has 18 million 30 million views and counting.

The only thing this campaign makes clear:

  • Marketing to a girl requires over dramatizations for the sake of going viral
  • Women are not using their intellect but instead seeking drama
  • Companies will continue pandering to our emotions rather than our brains

Brands are not our teachers.

If these companies wanted change for women, they have the power to do something more drastic than make this veiled attempt at our insecurities. They should depict a strong women, without heavy make-up or lighting in powerful roles.

When will this happen? Not for any length of time since that kind imagery doesn’t sell tampons.

We should be bothered by this. Instead we keep the cycle going by whoring ourselves for them to give them likes and shares as if we’re not smart enough to know the difference.

Until then, we are the butt of the joke – women are beautiful because you buy our products.

In the meantime, I am sorry for posting this like a girl.

write like a girl

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