Winter Is Coming

Winter Is Coming

Actually, it may already just be here.
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Thanksgiving break is over, the semester has resumed, and now everyone is getting excited for Christmas. Because of this, I'm reminded why I have this love-hate relationship with the winter season

The beginnings of the winter season usually starts off with a slight decrease in the temperature. It's not a big change, but subtle enough for everyone to actually feel the difference and start bundling up. The next step, in relation to this, usually relates with everyone (and I mean everyone) commenting about the weather and how cold they are. Well, that's only going to get worse from here on out so you might as well get used to it.

Another thing, though this is probably something more so related to the holidays, is the excess amount of Christmas related everything in your local shopping malls, plazas, and stores. It doesn't take long for stores to start jam packing for Christmas sales and getting their stock out there. In fact, even around Halloween I saw a multitude of Christmas related items being sold i different stores along with decorations. It's like they completely skipped over not one, but even two holidays just to jump to Christmas. And if you've ever had experience working in retail like I have, then you're already probably starting to get sick of the same 20 Christmas themed tracks playing in your store during every shift. Hang in there guys, it'll be alright.

The last thing that lets me know it's actually winter, and yes you may have guessed it, is finals. In most (if not all) colleges right now, the biggest focus right now in classes are the end-of-the-semester final exams, projects, and term papers that have been occupying every aspect of all college student's lives at the moment. Even myself, I'm getting piled with countless papers and at least three exams to look forward to. This similar sort of feeling exists within the Spring semester as well of course, but there really is something distinct and different about taking finals during this really chilly season. If anything, I feel like there's more of a rewarding feeling getting everything done quickly and even getting home before the last official day of the semester.

It's a tricky season to go about because on one hand, there's holidays to look forward to which means good food, presents, and spending time with loved ones. But on the other hand, on the other side of the season, it brings about increased work hours and the dreaded finals.

The best advice and words of solace I can give you during this frozen time is to just enjoy it while it lasts. I know the cold may be bothersome and it can put a damper on your mood during times you need to stay positive the most, but the season really is beautiful. I've never really appreciated it until I found myself feeling content being bundled up and drinking something warm and being able to see friends and family during this season. It's during these times where I feel like I can be more relaxed than during the summer.

I hope you can find a similar kind of feeling in the midst of this season.

Cover Image Credit: pixabay

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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The Expense Of Hurricanes Should Not Be A Burden For Everyone

Imagine if the state of Florida stepped in and stopped the rebuilding and development of these areas that are prone to devastation, may cause the possibility of lowering homeowners' insurance for the rest of the citizens in Florida.

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The 2019 hurricane season starts in less than two months and I am wondering with the devastation that these storms cause on the shores of our country, when do we decide enough is enough and not allow victims to return and rebuild.

The official season for hurricanes is June 1st through November 30th. However, I want to focus primarily on the Florida coastal waters and the effects hurricanes have had on the state. Hurricane Michael depleted over and above the funds allocated for last year's storm season and it looks like Florida will start this season at a loss once again.

After Hurricane Andrew, the Florida Legislature created the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (FHCF). "The FHCF acts as a state-administered reinsurance program and is mandatory for residential property insurers writing covered policies in Florida. As of June 2018, this fund has a loss of ($1,279,762.00). The amount posted for hurricane losses is $2.5 billion. This loss was recorded well in advance of Hurricane Michael, hitting the panhandle in October 2018 with an estimated cost of damages of $25 billion.

Citizens Property Insurance Corporation was also established after Hurricane Andrew. It was created to provide coverage for home-owners that can't obtain insurance elsewhere. It is a not-for-profit insurer and is considered a last resort for homeowners. As the price of new homes increases so does the rate of homeowner insurance and many homeowners from the Keys to the Panhandle have seen their rates increase annually by 10% since 2010. This begs the question, why would anyone want to keep paying higher homeowners insurance year after year? With a higher percentage of Florida citizens in the retirement age, it seems that owning a home is more of a burden in areas that are prone to hurricanes.

When Hurricane Maria devasted Puerto Rico, it left the entire island in need of massive infrastructure rebuilding. Not only the political implications of the lack of funding for the island, but the images of destruction and personal suffering was heart-wrenching. Some are of the belief there is an economic benefit from a hurricane. After the initial blow to retail, fast food, and hospitals, there is a regrowth that puts many people back to work, if only for a temporary period and another hurricane does not come to make its way to that area for the next seven to ten years.

Yet, according to https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/global-warming-and-hurricanes/, their models project that Atlantic hurricanes and tropical storms are substantially reduced in number, but have higher rainfall rates, particularly near the storm center, as well as potential higher intensity. This can be true for winter storms as well. Many of us have been caught in an airport or up in a northern state in the winter months and have difficulty returning to the sunshine state because of a storm that has pounded inches of snow along its path like a hurricane from the frozen tundra.

No one should be allowed to build a home in a floodplain or a flood zone. For that matter, areas that have been prone to wildfires, or fault lines. If every state looked at the areas that have been continuously destroyed by mother nature, and calculated the cost incurred to rebuild, decided to stop the bleeding and zone those areas as hazards, uninhabitable, or just government property, they will save billions of dollars for other much-needed services.

Imagine if the state of Florida stepped in and stopped the rebuilding and development of these areas that are prone to devastation, may cause the possibility of lowering homeowners' insurance for the rest of the citizens in Florida. The basic questions are, should Florida allow citizens to rebuild once their homes have been destroyed by a tropical storm? Think of it as an automobile, if the house is totaled the insurance company replaces the home. Just not in the same location.

The government has a duty to protect its citizens, and by that definition are in their rights to tell homeowners and developers the devastated area is no longer available for rebuilding. At what cost both financially and in human lives do the citizens of Florida allow the coastlines to be developed or rebuilt? If the developers and homeowners can rebuild the rest of the taxpayers and homeowners should not have to pay the increase in insurance rates or a hurricane relief tax.

The taxpayers of Florida don't want to pay a hurricane tax, they don't have a choice. Their elected officials side with the developers and the large money donor homeowners. Maybe the beach that has that $2 million home isn't meant to be there. Of course, there is a great view and the ocean or gulf coast is at your feet, as the shoreline slowly covers your property. Yet the erosion isn't going to happen in the next few years so why worry?

I can't understand why a person wants to own a home that no insurance company will insure. If these million-dollar homes on beaches meant for sunbathing, surfing, fishing, and Florida wildlife, are forever a part of Florida, maybe these homeowners need to be self-insured. Be solely responsible for the environment they own. Yet, the state of Florida has created legislation to help these people and can't figure out how to make affordable housing for the rest of the state.

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