My Definition Of Cold Is Different Now That I Live Up North

My Definition Of Cold Is Different Now That I Live Up North

Surprise! 50 degrees is not cold.
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As many people know, I am from Houston, Texas, which is pretty close to as south as you can get in the United States (the furthest is Brownsville at the tip).

Needless to say, before I moved up to Kentucky for school, I hadn't had much experience really with anything under about 45 degrees, and for me that was cold.

As defined by the dictionary, cold is a relatively low temperature, especially when compared with the human body. In other words, no set number can be defined as "cold."

The coldest year I ever remember experiencing was probably 2011 and at the time it's only ever snowed about three times in my memory while growing up in Texas. Highs in the summer were usually around 90 degrees.

That is why this past Christmas when I went home, I had a new definition of what cold felt like. It was funny to hear my friends that haven't been up north (or had temperatures under 30-degrees) to be out in the 50 and 60-degree weather complaining of being cold.

Since living in Kentucky, I've discovered that cold is, at least for me, a relative term and just like hot, everyone's version of "cold" is different depending on where they live. Cold to me now means anything below about 40 degrees.

It became clear to me when I would walk around or go outside in a short sleeve shirt in 50 degrees and look around and see people with winter jackets on I would think to myself, well it could have been worse.

Now, I haven't had much experience with snow yet and the lowest temperature I have experienced is about 18 degrees. Walking to class that morning wasn't fun but there was no snow or rain, so I guess it could've been worse.

I think the kind of cold I like least is when it's in the high 30s and raining, because not only is it cold, but the rain coming down makes it colder. It's the kind of cold that despite how many layers you are wearing, you'll always be cold.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Here's Why You Shouldn't Donate to The Salvation Army This Holiday Season (Or Ever)

No, I’m not a grinch or a scrooge. I’m just a member of the LGBT+ community that is tired of seeing my community suffer at the hands of organizations that are supposed to help us.
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The holiday season is upon us, bringing mall Santas, twinkling lights, and the well-known bell ringers with their red buckets stationed outside busy department stores. The Salvation Army is a mainstay in the memories of our childhood holidays. I remember a number of years where my parents would give each of my sisters and I a handful of change to put in the shiny red bucket as we walked into Wal-Mart to shop for our family Christmas dinner. On the surface, the Salvation Army is an organization with good intentions of helping the less fortunate, especially during the holiday season. However, a quick Google search exposes the organization’s discriminatory practices.

The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian denomination and an international charitable organization. Their mission statement, as stated on their website, reads: “The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”

Despite their insistence of nondiscriminatory practices, however, there have been several instances of discrimination, specifically against members of the LGBT+ community. In July 2017, a Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Brooklyn, New York, was found by the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) to be discriminating. Three other centers in New York City were also cited as being discriminatory. Violations within the four centers included refusing to accept transgender people as patients or tenants, assigning trans people rooms based on their sex assigned at birth instead of their lived gender identity, unwarranted physical examinations to determine if trans people are on hormone therapy or have had surgery, and segregating transgender patients into separate rooms. The NYCCHR had been tipped off about the mistreatment, and testers from the commission went to the cited centers and found clear evidence of the mistreatment. One of the clinics told the testers outright, “No, we don’t [accept transgender patients].” Another clinic’s representative said, “People with moving male parts would be housed with men.”

This isn’t the first time the Salvation Army has discriminated specifically against transgender people. In 2014, a transgender woman from Paris, Texas fled her home due to death threats she received related to her gender identity. The police told her, “Being the way you are, you should expect that.” She went to Dallas and found emergency shelter at the Carr P. Collins Social Service Center, run by the Salvation Army. The emergency shelter allowed her to stay for 30 days. Towards the end of her 30-day stay, she began looking for other long-term shelter options. One option many of the other women staying in the shelter had recently entered was a two-year housing program also run by the Salvation Army. When the woman interviewed for the program, she was told she was disqualified for the program because she had not had gender reassignment surgery. The counselor for the program later claimed there was a waiting list, but it came out that two women who arrived at the emergency shelter after the transgender woman had already entered the program. The transgender woman filed a complaint with Dallas’s Fair Housing Office, which protects against discrimination on the basis of gender identity. She was able to find other housing through the Shared Housing Project, a project that aims to find transgender people with housing who are willing to support those without.

The Salvation Army’s Christian affiliation drives the organization’s statements and beliefs. The church has a page on its website dedicated to its decided stance on the LGBT+ community that seems to paint a nice picture. Their actions, however, tell a different story. There have been several accounts reporting the Salvation Army’s refusal of service to LGBT+ people unless they renounce their sexuality, end same-sex relationships, or, in some cases, attend services “open to all who confess Christ as Savior and who accept and abide by The Salvation Army’s doctrine and discipline.” The church claims it holds a “positive view of human sexuality,” but then clarifies that “sexual intimacy is understood as a gift of God to be enjoyed within the context of heterosexual marriage.” This belief extends to their staff, asking LGBT+ employees to renounce their beliefs and essentially their identity in order to align with the organization. The Salvation Army believes that “The theological belief regarding sexuality is that God has ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman and sexual activity is restricted to one’s spouse. Non-married individuals would therefore be celibate in the expression of their sexuality.” Essentially, gay people can’t get married. Unmarried people can’t have sex. Therefore, gay people are forbidden from being intimate with one another. This is unfair to ask of any employee, especially considering that one’s relationship status does not interfere with how well anyone can do their job.

If you are still looking to donate to a non-homophobic and transphobic organization this holiday season, here are some great pro-LGBT+ organizations with outreach similar to that of the Salvation Army:

  • Doctors Without Borders: medical and emergency relief
  • Habitat for Humanity: homelessness and housing
  • Local homeless shelters: search the National Coalition for the Homeless’ website for shelters near you!
  • Local food bank: find your local food bank through Feeding America here.
  • The Trevor Project: a leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT+ young people ages 13-24.
Cover Image Credit: Ed Glen Today

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My Goals for 2019

I'm not really into resolutions, but I am into goals. Here are my top ones for 2019.

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I dont think I've ever actually made a new year's resolution. Since my birthday is the second day of the year, it doesn't really ever make sense to do one for diet, because on your birthday, diets don't exist. Despite not having any resolutions, this year included, I do have a lot of plans for the year in terms of what goals I want to achieve. Mainly, they include getting in the habit of taking care of myself in every aspect of my life.

The Basic One, Fitness

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I don't have any set numerical goals about how many pounds or inches I need to lose, I simply want to focus on taking care of myself every day as I should. Water, exercise, cute gym fits, adequate sleep, low sugar, and high protein. I think when you focus on taking care of yourself daily instead of stressing about the results, the results happen naturally. I've been doing this for the past few months and a lot of my clothes are basically falling off of me. But as long as you're eating enough and are healthy, nothing should be about a number on a scale. 2019 isn't about being a certain size or looking like a Barbie- It's about self care. For me, this looks like staying hydrated all day, working out at least five days a week, keeping my gym bag stocked with clean and cute gym clothes, and eating vegan protein, complex carbohydrates, and lots of veggies!!

My Career Goals

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My first goal is to absolutely kill it at my internship and learn as much as I can in my position as a Salesforce Administrator. I'll be attending OU's next career fair in February and talking to the only other company in OKC that I would be interested in working for outside of where I intern, so I can ask about what they most typically hire for MIS students in entry-level jobs. That will give me enough time to prepare before September when I actually start applying! It's so crazy to think that in 8 months I'll be preparing for jobs after graduation. I would LOVE to work for Dell in OKC, so I'm excited to see if it's a good fit for me to hopefully work my way up to Microsoft!! I really want to live at home for the first few years after I graduate because it's only 20-30 minutes to the city and close to where I will hopefully be going to get my OU MBA!!

School Goals

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I'm shooting to graduate with a 3.75 GPA, so I basically need all A's outside of one class this semester (which will be calc 2). I'm also working to be as time efficient as possible in 2019. This means quitting my side retail job, planning out the week's outfits, meal prepping a little bit more, and studying early in the semester. ALSO I have to complete 10 seminar hours a semester in Price School of Business, so my goal is to attend 5 hours per week in the first 3 weeks of school to get everything done ASAP! That is what I did last semester, and it was so worth it to be done with my hours by the time I started my internship- which of course was entry-level- but getting used to my internship time commitment was hectic. I want to work hard this year by studying EVERY week and spending time in office hours, because that is where A's are made!!

Social Goals

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This year I will be in Norman every Sunday for Green Week Committee, so I'm shooting to be at LifeChurch in Norman on Sunday mornings. Even though I live at home and commute, I want to be even more plugged in to Norman than I already am, because Norman is one of my favorite places ever. I feel completely at home at OU and love the people so much, so I'm excited to make my church my home while I'm there. You don't need a religious organization to accomplish being more social, but when you frequent places that involve your interests, you'll meet people you can relate to.

I also am so excited to continue going to my younglife bible study at OU that we formed last semester. We're the only group that's continuing into '19 because we all had such a good connection. The girls are super sweet and amazing and are just another reason that I feel so grateful for how things are going in my life at the moment. I have my St. Louis and Illinois besties, but I'm so excited to also have close besties in Norman and OKC! .

Internet Goals

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I've been wanting to do YouTube since I was literally 14 years old but have always had reasons that have held me back. In 2017 and 2018, I felt like I needed to do more growing as a person, and in my life, before I started posting. I think I'm finally at the point where I'm ready to start creating, and it's only from watching some of my favorite channels kill it from people who are honestly not much different than I am. I'm a perfectionist, and probably won't post much until I can afford to splurge 10's of thousands on equipment, but this year I want to post 2-3 videos that I'm really proud of. I love watching videos about style and design, and these are the niches I want to move into eventually. So I'm going to try to make videos about shopping and dorm room transformations! It's 2019, so why not *cue that song by hilary duff from literally 15 years ago*.

On Instagram, I want to start posting and creating a cohesive theme that I'm really proud of, and that accurately matches my aesthetic. This past year I've realized that my favorite clothing pieces are light pink, white, and pale blue, so I'm going to be working on a wardrobe and Insta feed that matches this. I'll be using Snapchat and Insta stories strategically to post anything I love that doesn't match my Insta feed on those to keep things cohesive. I've already got some ideas of what I want to shoot for my Instagram photos in 2019, but you'll have to follow to find out! (xsarahbryanne ;) )Oklahoma City has so many murals and cute places for photo-ops that I think I'm set until I move to Dallas Fort Worth and tackle Deep Ellum. (The murals there are INSANE!)

Style Goals

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This year I want to redo my bedroom, and continue dressing in a way that makes me feel confident and happy. I've noticed from my iPhone screenshots that my favorite outfits mix pinks and blues- whether it be with denim jackets, cute booties, or lace bralettes. I'm also really into neutrals at the moment; specifically cool neutrals like black, grey, and ivory. Having a wardrobe that you're obsessed with isn't about spending thousands, it's about finding out what you like and finding it for as cheap as possible. I'm a big supporter of window shopping Pottery Barn campaigns for room decor, and finding cheaper options on Amazon. I'm also planning on DIY-ing furniture from Goodwill for my room this year, because the price differences are insane. Redoing furniture from Goodwill just takes a few Youtube videos, creativity, and vision, and you will save HUNDREDS. I'll let you know when I have videos to prove it!

BIG ways that I'm shopping this year include frequenting LOFT clearance, Dainty Hooligan (a Norman boutique that always has GOOD sales online if you search), Target, Goodwill, and cute OKC boutiques! LOFT takes care of a lot of the essentials and classy trends, but they also have insane markdowns on anything that's been in the store for awhile. I worked there for about a year and a half, and during that time, I got so many things for $5 or less; cute jeans for $3, a $100 coat for $5, a $100 blazer that I got for $13...there's seriously so much that goes to final sale that's super adorable. A lot of times it's thrift store prices for things that are new! Dainty Hooligan is trendy boutique that doesn't really advertise their clearance, but honestly, that's better because it means more for YOU. I look at all the dresses and find a lot that are $20 or less. I got my NYE dress for $10 and I'm going to a prom for teens with special abilities soon, so I've picked out a dress only $15. In terms of prices, it kind of puts Goodwill to shame. Goodwill has a lot of options, but this year I'm going to try and only buy things that I know are within my streamlined aesthetic. Going in with an idea of what you want, like a color scheme or a list of items that you need, is super helpful and keeps you on track. It can be fun to find things that are outside of your box, but it's easy to buy things while thrifting that you don't love because they simply stand out from the pack. Don't buy something unless you can really picture how you will use it.

Overall, I am really, really excited for 2019. I'm ready to go after these goals and make them a reality. I don't know what it is, but I have a feeling like it's going to be the best yet. Here's to being a girl boss and making my own dreams come true.

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