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Cause of Death: Pregnancy and Childbirth

Every second there is a mother somewhere in the world dying from either pregnancy or childbirth. Take a look at this powerful video (only 4 minutes long). It definitely taught me something new.

The quote that stuck out for me most in this amazing video: "In some countries, a girl is more likely to die from giving birth than to go to school."

I found this video on the Huffington Post.

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Real Men Don't Rape

In light of the recent news about the 15 year old being gang raped for over two hours, I thought I'd post this on my blog. Ironically, I wrote this over the weekend as a sample post for Change.org. Its saddens me that this is a topic that even needs to be discussed.

Source: Alana Green

Every two minutes a woman is sexually assaulted in America. Put in perspective, by the time you’ve finished reading this post at least one woman will have experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact. Even more devastating, according to the Department of Justice, 20-25% of the female college population could experience an attempted or completed rape this year.

Awareness of violence against women, particularly sexual assault, has been a cause taken up by many women across the country. It is important that we as women voice our concerns about issues that affect us, but it is imperative that we do not stand alone in this fight.

In today’s society women are consistently portrayed as sex objects. Whether it is in a fashion advertisement or pornography, the objectification of women has become something as common as a teenager with a cell phone. Therefore it comes as no surprise to me that there are men who have no qualms about using women as tools for their own sexual pleasure. These are men who see a woman’s body as something to be conquered and find pleasure in demonstrating their physical dominance through sexual assault. Simply put, it is an inhumane act of cowardice that exhibits a complete disregard for women.

Victims of sexual assault often find it difficult to speak up and identify their assailant. Moving on with life and healing after being sexually assaulted can be a long, difficult process. Understandably, there are numerous resources available to victims to deal with the legal aspects as well as the psychological and possible physical health impacts that arise from the incident. However, these resources fail to get to the source of the problem itself. In order for the statistics to change, a general mentality toward sexual assault must first change.

Four in five sexual assaults against women are committed by men. If there is ever a chance of changing this situation in our country, it is imperative that the male population takes a stand for what is right. For every woman who becomes more educated about sexual assault or has the courage to report a crime, it is for naught if the devastation caused is not understood by men everywhere.

Over the last several years, there has been a growth in the number of organizations committed to educating men on the prevalence of sexual assaults against women in society. Organizations across the country such as the non-profit Men Can Stop Rape, Haverford College’s Men Against Sexual Assault and Rape group, and Harvard University’s Men Speak Up campaign work to convey the message that this is not just a woman’s issue, but every man’s as well.

Women are your mothers, sisters, daughters, and granddaughters. We need more men everywhere to stand up for what is right. Not only do men have the power to change the current reality, but you also have the responsibility to do so.
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Music Mondays

I spent last week jammin to the following CDs (or Pandora stations). I anticipate that nothing will change this week either!
Trey Songz - Ready
Well, let me start by saying that I think he's dead wrong for this cover. That's enough on that.

This is the CD that led me to really notice Trey Songz. His songs always come up on Pandora, and they often get favorited. However, the singles that were released from this CD made me a fan. That and just him being him. Ok, I'm really done. But for real, the boy can sang.

Jeremih - Jeremih
Ok, I didn't even know who he was until the song Imma Star started playing on the radio. Then I was introduced to the HILARIOUS music video and decided to listen to the album on Imeem.com. I will definitely say that it is not that great of an album, but a lot of the tracks are cute and have a nice beat. Overall, I find it pretty enjoyable to listen to. Take that for what it's worth.

What are you listening to this week?
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Review: Women on the Edge of a Nervous Breakthrough

Prelude: Its been a long time since I've reviewed anything I've read. I used to do it consistently and post the review on my goodreads.com account too, and I miss that. So here goes nothing. Let's see if I can keep it up...

I won't lie. This was a classic case of judging a book by its cover. You see, what had happened was... well... I had a lot of Barnes and Nobles gift cards from graduation (May 08), and I bought a crap load of books from the bargain books section. Most I chose based on the reviews, but this just had an awesome cover and title. Would you have turned it down for 5 bucks? Didn't think so...

Well clearly, I've just gotten around to reading this selection (I bought a good 17 books in total with those cards...). To put it simply, this book is your cliche you-never-know-what-life-will-throw-at-you type story. But with an intriguing twist.

It all takes place in the quaint town of Kettle, Wisconsin, the most perfect town in the world in the eyes of its residents. Nothing can go wrong here... I mean, there's never even been a murder in Kettle. Pretty dull right. Well that's exactly what I was thinking.

But then - as I'm sure you were expecting just as I was- things start to change. A high-life murderess joins the community. Fresh out of Manhattan and free from homicide charges, she's looking for somewhere to dodge the press until she can get back on her feet. She's lost her life as she knew it (previously filled with sugar daddies, couture, and partying) and she gets her life back together in a way that makes you gush. Ladies, this is chick lit to its core.

For the most part the plot is centered on Vivian and two Kettle residents, Sarah and Erin. Sarah is Kettle's Stepford wife. In her mind she lives the perfect life in the perfect town with her perfect family.

Then there's Erin. She's often perceived as the bizarre one. Like a screw is missing. However as the plot unfolds she shows herself to be the one most in tune with reality, seeing clearly through the town's air of perfection. As the plot unfolds, you'll realize this is due to her own deeply hidden secret.

While most of you will be able to predict the overall storyline, the best twists in his story are better than the semi-expected relationships which are formed. It's about the depths to which the simple presence of someone new can take a set of individuals out of their comfort zone and have them do things that were never expected. At least I sure didn't expect to read what was coming toward the end!

Check it out and tell me what you think.
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Do you know what today is!?

It’s my Birthday. I’m 23! I can hardly believe it.

Some days… screw that, most days I wonder if I’ll ever get good at this whole adult thing. When I was 16 I just knew I could handle all that life had to throw at me. At 23 whole years, I’m starting to bruise and wonder what the heck I was thinking. But still I keep moving! Still living, loving, and – most of all – learning.

Here’s a taste of what the real world has taught me in the last year:

Just because you've decided to move on, doesn't mean it will come easily.
Last summer Monsieur N and I broke up. It was a decision that I believe was good for me, especially at that time. But deciding to leave someone does not equate to immediately not loving them anymore. It takes time to move on from that. You see, Monsieur N and I didn't break up on bad terms or anything. He never did any particular thing that would make my friends hate him and tell me to leave his blank blank blank. It wasn't like that. It was simply something that needed to happen. And because we had been together almost four years at that point (all through college) and had dealt with A LOT together, he had become my safety blanket. And while I knew how much I loved him when the decision was made, I didn't realize it would be so hard to release him emotionally.

I definitely spent several months after our breakup partying, dating, and anything else that allowed me to not deal with my emotions. Then I met someone (this always happens when you don't want/expect it to) who grabbed my heart. And that forced me to face myself sooner and faster than I would have otherwise. I truly believe that all things happen for a reason, and God has been showing me a lot of things about love and myself in the last year as a result of the breakup.

I’m a lot more of an emotional person than I'd like to be.
Man it's bizarre. I've always been one to cry tears of frustration and anger, particularly in situations where I feel like I have no control; but these days a good sob story that would've typically just made me sad makes me bawl. WTH? It seems like after ~20, each year I've become more and more of an emotional mess.

If it's hormones they need to either (A) stop, or (B) be more useful and help a sister out physically... get me?

I'm living to work, but I can still make the best of it.
Mommy Mitchell would argue that we are working to live. On some days that might be the case (i.e. the rare Saturday that feels 200 hours long and is a pure blast), but most mornings it just. aint. true. I don't get up for fun. I get up to work 5 out of the 7 days a week. And I'm realizing that that's okay. I have an awesome job for the most part where I get to learn tons of things. But mostly, I am learning to take things in strides. This job isn't where I'll be forever, but there is a purpose in my life for everything that I do here, and that's reason enough to take full advantage of what it has to offer.

My passion and purpose cannot be ignored.
At this sweet and innocent age of 23 (that's how the more seasoned folks react when you tell them your age), I know my purpose. I'm starting to realize through talking to people that I'm actually not alone in trying to figure out what the path to my purpose looks like. And that's not really what I should be focused on anyway, even if my over achieving personality can't stand the thought of not knowing what's next at all times. God doesn't work that way (that was a 22nd birthday lesson learned that I'm still growing used to). He alone knows what my journey looks like.

I'm learning that everything I do has it own purpose for me ultimately, and fighting/fearing/avoiding - for whatever reason (i.e. not what people expect from me, not the "right" time, etc) - anything that probably is meant for me to experience is even more difficult that trying to figure out the whole journey ahead of time. So I'm taking heed of the blunt honest advice of a good friend. Put nicely, he said stop being a punk and follow your passion.

While there were many other lessons learned in the last year, these were the few that have had the most impact. I'm still soft, so I'm sure the world will throw a whole lot more my way. But I'm ready for it. Happy Birthday Me.
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The Eye of the Beholder

As a young professional finding my way in the big bad real world, I find myself constantly assessing my progress, strengths, and weaknesses. More often than not, I’m already aware of my strengths, and I find myself seeking out feedback to determine my weaknesses. While it may sound like an easy thing to do – and at the risk of sounding cocky – this is often difficult because I am a high-performer at a firm with a passive aggressive culture. What does that mean? I often get told what I’m good at and have to press hard to know what I should work on.

Well, a few days ago I was provided unsolicited feedback from a manager that I really admire and respect. While I have not worked directly for her on any client work, I worked with her a few days last month organizing an internal presentation. Additionally, I’ve been struggling with a situation at work, and she has been a great mentor through it all. Therefore it came as no surprise when she requested that we grab coffee on Monday afternoon. What did come as a surprise to me, however, is when she told me that I don't come across as confident.


“Uhhhhm. Really?” I thought to myself.

It was the last piece of feedback I’d ever think to hear. As I continued to listen, I heard her say things like how she was not confident either at my age, especially since she never had anyone around her to give her positive feedback and….

“Confidence? Really? I think I was in shock.

I’ve spent a great deal of time since then analyzing this feedback. Being that I’m known (and made fun of) for analyzing and over analyzing things, this should come as no surprise to some. Over the last two days I’ve had several conversations with myself. First, I was telling myself that she clearly missed something, and I shouldn't bother thinking about it too hard. Then, I started telling myself that she wouldn't lie and that her opinion is one I really respect. Eventually, I got to a point where I realized that even though the feedback goes against everything I believe about myself, maybe there are situations where I do not appear confident. Besides, nobody is 100% confident 24/7, right?

One of the definitions I found online for confidence is “belief in oneself and …abilities; self-confidence.” Now... if you know me (or even read that first paragraph), you’ll know that I’m very sure of myself and what I have to offer. I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you that I’m the person you want on your team. I’m a go-getter. I’m intelligent. I’m sharp.

Does that sound like someone who lacks confidence?

It doesn’t… So what’s the point of all of this then? This situation has taught me that everyone will form an opinion of you, and sometimes it will completely differ from how you view yourself. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t valuable feedback to digest. While I may think that I’m confident, my demeanor (often quiet and reserved in new situations) will be perceived differently by different individuals. My confidence mostly comes from my strong performance, and they may or may not give me more time to demonstrate my abilities before they judge me. And I think that's okay. It'll happen. I've decided that it doesn't mean I need to change anything. Rather, it's simply something that I will remain more cognizant of in the future. After all, life is full of lessons - most of which I'm beginning to believe are in your 20s.
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