The Notorious RBG

In losing someone so influential to our world we are called to look back at their impact and honor it. In doing so these past few days my timeline of feminine achievement has shifted immensely. How could someone I walked the earth with have to fight so hard for the privileges I don’t have to think twice about? I was deeply saddened to hear of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing but, I was also scared. RBG moved human rights mountains, and with an unfit replacement for her seat on The Supreme Court, that hard work and progression can be reversed.

Born in Brooklyn 1933, the women’s rights activist was 1 of 9 women in her Harvard law class, A law clerk to a judge in the US District Court, The first woman hired with tenure at Columbia University School of Law, an ACLU general council member, and a Judge of the US Court of Appeals.

In 1993 President Bill Clinton appointed Judge Ginsburg to the Supreme Court, filling the seat vacated by Justice Byron White, making her the second woman ever to be on the bench. It’s hard, to sum up, all she accomplished in her lifetime.

Before Ginsburg, State – Funded schools didn’t have to admit women. In the United States v. Virginia case, Ginsburg argued that it is unconstitutional for schools funded by taxpayer dollars to bar women.

Ginsburg paved the way for the Equal Credit Opportunity Act which allowed women to sign a mortgage or have a bank account without a male co-signer.

She helped make large strides toward equal pay. Her opinion and call to action on a pay discrimination case of 2007 inspired the public and congress to strengthen equal pay protections.

Ginsburg’s crucial vote to keep Roe v. Wade preserved a women’s right to choose and was a strong brick in the legal wall that protected the right. This right is in jeopardy with RBG’s passing.

She pushed to protect pregnant women in the workplace from being fired and excluded unjustly.

Ginsburg’s vote in the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges case allowed queer women and the rest of the LGBTQ community the right to same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

In addition to her mark on the legal world, RBG became a role model for all women to be a confident, hard-working female leader. An unlikely pop-culture Icon that is celebrated and continues to empower all generations. RBG fought the good fight her entire life.

It is clear that Mitch McConnell will not rest in giving the prestige position to Trump’s candidate. In doing so he is neglecting RBG’s dying wish and dishonoring her life’s work. Ruth Bader Ginsburg showed up everyday in sickness and in health to fight for our civic rights. Honor her by showing up to the polls and taking part in your civic duty. Vote.

All About Masks

Masks have become a normal part of our everyday lives and we are still getting aquatinted to how to properly wear and pick them. I want to put pretty much everything you should know about masks in one place.

The Mask Test

When looking to purchase a cloth mask you should be asking yourself a few questions to make sure what you’re buying will actually keep you and others safe.

Layers

Obviously, a one or two-layer face covering is better than none but for the full effect, it’s recommended for your mask to have at least three layers or more.

Material

Look for a high thread count dense material. Flimsy or see-through materials do not provide adequate protection from droplets and aerosols. The outermost layer of your mask should not be pure cotton as it’s incredibly absorbent and can hold onto germs. Instead, the outer layer should be polyester or a cotton-polyester blend. You can have the innermost layer cotton as it makes the mask more comfortable by absorbing the moisture from your breathing.

Fit

Make sure your mask fits well around your face. Gaps around the edges let in and out possibly contaminated air.

Candle Test

Put on your go-to mask and try to blow out a candle. If it goes out it means that your mask doesn’t adequately stop the flow of air. If you can blow air out, air can leak inward just as easily.

Water Test

The virus is carried through water droplets. If these droplets land on your mask you want the outer layer to repel them. If you place a drop of water on the outside surface of your mask and it is absorbed right away it’s a fail, if the drop forms a water bead, the mask passes.

Cleaning Reusable Masks

First, it’s important to know how to safely remove your mask as to not spread the germs from face to face contact onto your hands or other surfaces. Wash your hands before removing to avoid placing germs on your face. Do not touch the front of your mask but rather use the ear straps to remove the mask and put it directly into your washing machine. You should wash your mask after every wear. Fabric masks can be washed in your regular machine in hot water and then tumble dried on a high setting. You can also hand wash your masks by scrubbing them with hot soapy water for at least 20 seconds and then drying them on high heat in your dryer.

Cut The Straps

Disposable, blue surgical masks cannot be laundered or cleaned and should be thrown away often. Recently, these masks have caused serious harm to the environment and have uprooted attempts to rule out single-use products. If you are in a position to wear a reusable mask I highly encouraged it but if you must wear a disposable, please cut off the ear straps before tossing it. Like all of our waste, these masks are ending up on our beaches and the straps are getting tangled up with wildlife. Cutting the straps off and disposing of your mask properly can help save the earth and the animals that should not be affected by this.

For Every Occasion

Every-Day

Masks 4 Hope – Masks 4 Hope is a non-profit started by two teens who sell protective reusable face masks. All proceeds are donated to the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in NY and Island Harvest Food Bank. They are super cute and the purchase you’re making to protect those in your community can help countless others in another. Go to @masks4hopee on Instagram and DM to order! They ship anywhere!

Atoms Everyday Mask – with a polyester blend outer layer and a copper-lined ionized quartz yarn inner layer germs can literally not get through this mask. It’s incredibly breathable and comfortable and comes in 5 sizes and a variety of colors.

Athletic

Athleta Made to Move Masks – These masks have a strong reputation as a good sports option. With many gyms and workout studios requiring masks, you want something breathable, durable, and protective. These mask come in a pack of three.

Dressed Up

Skims Mask – I LOVE Kim Kardashians Skims mask, not only are they incredibly comfortable but they make me feel protected and fit well. Their neutral colors go with any outfit and are perfect to wear out to dinner or when you dress up.

Wearing a mask is a sign of respect and can save lives. Send a picture of you in your mask to @show_your_mask to be featured on their Instagram!

4 Tips to Reduce Screen Time

With school online and zoom calls and texts replacing almost all interactions it’s been hard on our brain and our eyes to be looking at our screens all day. I have been thinking through ways to set healthier habits and stay off my phone for even a few extra minutes here and there.

Alarm Clock

For convenience purposes, I like to set my morning alarm on my phone every night. However, when we wake up to our phones the first thing we do each day is looking at a screen. It’s recommended to stay off your phone for at least 30 minutes after waking up. Recently I switched back to my physical alarm clock and I have noticed a big change. I try to get up and get ready before checking my phone and beginning my day.

Screen Free Meals

It can be challenging to stay off your phone when eating lunch or having a snack but putting your phone down or turning off the tv can be a good way to stay off screens while still doing something. This also can benefit your meals, as eating while being distracted can cause mindless eating and you will be able to enjoy your food more.

Turn Off Your Notifications

The constant dings and notifications make it so hard to keep your phone down or to stop hopping from app to app. It’s unnecessary to get a notification when someone comments on your post or likes your tik-tok. Turning these off in settings make your phone less enticing when you check the time or look to see what your parents texted you.

Call People

My friends know that I prefer calling over texting or FaceTime and leave incredibly lame messages to those who don’t answer. Sorting out a plan or just catching up is easier and more personable when done with the phone to your ear. Calling is still on your phone but you aren’t physically staring at the screen the whole time.

Ways to Motivate Yourself for the School Year

With school starting online, and not much else going on it’s been really hard to motivate myself to do things that excited me before. Here are some apps I use to get myself organized and excited.

Google Keep

I use google keep all the time to keep myself organized. I have a list for class’s and extracurricular’s, day to day work, things to buy, movies to watch, and books to read. I color code them and then check each item off when I’ve finished it. It’s super rewarding to complete a list and they help me to keep things in order. You can pair Google Keep with your school email to make it part of your google drive to have it on your computer and as an app.

WOOP

I use the WOOP app to set health, professional, and interpersonal goals for myself. WOOP is a four-step process to start working at a goal. You WISH for what you want, visualize the OUTCOME, think of possible OBSTACLES, make a PLAN. You can track your progress on the app and complete your goals big and small.

Motivation

My friend Elliana introduced me to Motivation. It sends me 10 notifications daily of inspiring quotes to keep me motivated. I can save ones that resonate with me on the app. It’s nice to open your phone and read positive things.

Disposable Camera Craze

You’ve seen them all over your feed for months. People took them on vacations, had them at their birthday parties, and documented their summers with the plastic camera. Why do people pay to wait for pictures that are most of the time dark and grainy?

I’ve brought disposables on winter break, weekend trips, and other special getaways this year and something keeps me buying more. Something is exciting about taking a picture and capturing a moment then waiting days to see it. You can’t take 100 pictures until you get the right angle or lighting. The anticipation of going to pick up the developed pictures and then go through them is an adrenaline rush. It seems stupid, but having in the moment memories in in print in your hand is really cool. But, I must admit, it can be disappointing to find the inevitable dark shots or one with a thumb in it.

Disposables can be pricey and aren’t great for the environment. My friend Trina uses a digital camera to capture the same effect, except her pictures almost always turn out well and can be uploaded digitally at home. I’ve seen Trina with her camera in hand all summer and decided to ask her some questions about it.

From the response it seems that she loves carrying the camera because the pictures are cool and give off an old school vibe. It’s fun for her to take pictures of her friends because she loves them and it captures candid memories. When Trina gets her photos on her phone she always sends them to the people in the photo. Similarly, when I share my disposable pictures, people are really appreciative to have these awesome photos on their phones and sometimes even post them.

With the ability to take pictures and videos all the time, we lose appreciation for the little moments we capture. I treasure every picture I took on a disposable camera and all digital pictures sent to me because they are extra special.

5 Days at Camp

I have gone to Chippewa Ranch Camp in Northern Wisconsin for 6 summers and truly would not be who I am without it. I was devastated to find out that my final summer as a camper would be cancelled due to the virus. Like other camps across the country, Chippewa is renting out cabins in a family-camp model to those who want to be up at camp for even a little this summer. My amazing parents and my summer sisters immediately organized a trip for us to be up at camp for one 5-day session in the cabin we were supposed to call home this summer. It was the happiest I have been in months.

Day

We spent the majority of the time at camp out on the lake. Each group was given a skiing/tubing time daily. It was crazy how long we were able to tube and how many turns we were given while skiing with such little people at camp. We sat on the water-trampoline for hours a day listening to music, tanning, and chatting with one another. We got to sail out into the middle of the lake and swim around out there which we would never be able to do at regular camp. We would sit on the dock after dinner during sunset. We also hung out on land, playing tramp ball, newcomb, and relaxing on our porch.

Night

Nights at camp are magical as they turn from colorful sunsets over the lake to bright stars above the North field. Lucky for us that other age groups were at camp the same time we were, we all got together to organize our own “evening activities.” We played tan and white capture the flag one night which was incredibly energetic. The second-year JC’s organized a campfire where we sang, laughed and shed a few happy tears. We had a lipsync where my cabin performed a repetitive dance to “Never Say Never” by Justin Bieber. Afterwards, if we didn’t run out for ice cream, we would sit on the porch all night talking about life, catching up with counselors, and appreciating our day. We slept soundly in our camp beds.

Eagle River Eats

This experience was unique in the sense that along with the camp food we got to visit all of our favorite North Woods eateries.

Red Canoe

As a camper, seeing the staff come back with their red canoe coffees and smoothies always made me a bit envious. The sandwiches here are incredible. My favorites are the morning panini and the red canoe. The iced latte is so creamy and amazing.

Cathy’s

Chippy girls see Cathy’s as a place of happiness. With visits after winning lipsync, color wars, and just an all-camp trip for fun, Cathy’s is filled with good vibes. My go-to flavor is pirates booty, a caramel ice cream with m&m’s and oreo. I also love jolted cow (coffee ice cream with brownie) and Mississippi mud (mocha ice cream with chocolate) for a double flavored cone.

Kobe Sushi

After weeks without Asian food at camp, Kobe sushi is a town day must-visit. Even just being up there for a few days we had to visit Kobe and enjoy. We play it safe with vegetable rolls and miso soup and the sushi rice is so good.

Briq’s

I’m not an Agawak girl but I have to give props to their go-to ice cream place. I got the “Brownie Briq Mountain” and every bite was delicious.

Although I wish I could have been at camp for 8 weeks this summer, I am so grateful that I got to have this unique experience in the beautiful place that is my second home. I love my camp friends so much and they really are my sisters. I would not be where I am without every hug, smile, word of encouragement, and laugh they have given me for the past 7 years. I am forever a Chippewa girl.

Travel with Dyl: Venice

Venice is in the running for my favorite place on earth. On our boat ride from the airport into the island I was in awe. To be honest, until right then I didn’t even know that there were no cars in the city. What I really loved about Venice though is that sometimes it felt like our little secret. I’m not sure how or why but at night or even during the day we would be the only ones walking through the small streets or over the beautiful bridges. Just my family in this Italian dream. This post will surely be an ode to Venice.

Favorite Meals

Vino Vino

We didn’t have any reservations on our first night of the trip. After a short chat with the concierge, we were making the first of many enchanting walks to dinner. This was a real hole in the wall Italian place. Fresh and delicious and the Cacio e Pepe was the best I’ve ever had.

A Beccafico

A Beccafico was a small place with the best pasta. I was sceptical of some dishes at first but the flavor combinations were perfect. My favorite pasta I had on the trip was here, conchiglie shells filled with ricotta with the best tomato sauce.

Conca d’oro

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza! I was stuffed after this meal. The best appetizers and made to order pizzas. Clearly, mine was cheese, pesto, and eggplant, but honestly, I’d eat a Conca d’oro pizza with anything on it.

Sites

Walking through Venice is enough of a site but there are so many beautiful things the City has to offer.

St. Mark’s Square

Walking into St. Marks Square on my first night with the lights illuminating it was magical. Saint Mark’s Basilica was enough to make my heart stop for a moment. On Christmas eve we attended an open Mass at the Cathedral and it was no small production. Walking through the piazza at any hour was so beautiful it almost made me forget about my terrible fear of the pigeons that swarmed the area.

Rialto Bridge

The oldest and most gorgeous of the four bridges that span the grand canal. It ties beautiful pictures like this one together and provides the most spectacular views of Venice. While taking this painting-like picture I almost lost my balance on the small dock I was on the edge of and was about to fall into the Grand Canal. Thankfully, I did not.

Murano

An island known for its spectacular hand-blown glass making. After watching a demonstration of artists at work we explored the most beautiful gallery, filled with chandeliers, mirrors, glassware, and other spectacular items. We learned how families perfect certain techniques and styles for generations and breed their children to do the same. After our tour, we sat down to design and order our own sets of handmade glasses. Seeing them displayed in our bar reminds me of this magical day.

Burano

Following our trip to Murano, we stopped in Burano. Unfortunately, it was a cloudy and cold day but the colorful houses and beautiful streets of Burano put a smile on our faces.

More Fun

Gelato Views

The small gelato shop next to Saint Mark’s Basilica became an after-dinner must visit for us. Eating our delicious treat with the stunning views of the square was more than surreal. My go-to flavor pairing quickly became Dark Chocolate and Stracciatella.

Gondola Rides

Did you really go to Venice if you didn’t ride a gondola? It is remarkable how many of these there are in the tiny canals of Venice. It’s definitely a little nerve-racking but the gondoliers seem to have it down to a science.

Lights

Christmas lights in Venice is reason enough to brave the cold and come during the holidays. Illuminating even the smallest of streets at night made everywhere you walked out of a movie. The hanging lights made the Island soar and made its beauty visible to everyone at all hours.

I miss Venice every day and long to be walking its streets. My entire trip to Italy was magical and made me gain an appreciation for history and architecture that holds true today. Io amo l’Italia.

Travel with Dyl: Florence

Florence was a dream. Some of my fondest family memories were made in Florence. After hopping off the train from Venice on my brother Jared’s birthday we were determined to not waste a minute. While our parents dealt with the hotel and such, the two of us wandered the city until dark before meeting our parents for dinner. We immediately felt that same homey feeling our parents have been telling us about for years. The Grossmann’s adore Florence.

Favorite Meals

Acqua Al 2

Although that looks like homemade kraft mac and cheese it was the most delicious vodka sauce I have had in my life. The pasta was a perfect al dente. We came with friends our first night in Florence and returned the last night before we hit Rome.

Antico Noè

The most delicious paninis. Mine had pesto, turkey, cheese, tomato, and so many more fresh ingredients. I love a good sandwich and this is for sure the best one in Italy.

La Giostra

A famous spot in Florence for good reason. The food was overwhelmingly good and the vibes were incredible. The owner is an eccentric man who has gold bracelets up both arms to his elbows. We still sprinkle their balsamic on our Caprese at home but it does not compare to the fresh ingredients at La Giostra.

Sites

Ponte Vecchio

The charm that this bridge carries is unforgettable. Like a little city over the Arno. Shopping it may be chaotic but the views are unparalleled. Our balcony had a straight view of the Ponte Vecchio making it such a large part of our trip. I couldn’t look away.

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

Known as the Duomo, the architecture of this Cathedral is incredible. The precise detailing and structure relative to its massive scale and time of construction are hard to fathom. I’m much too claustrophobic to climb the 463 steps to the top, but Jared went by himself like the brave tourist he is.

David (Michelangelo)

Renaissance art was a highlight of the trip for me. The most wowing piece was for sure the David. It is incredible how Michelangelo carved something so lifelike and perfect out of a block of stone. What really struck me are Michelangelo’s “Prisoners” or “Slave” statues leading up to this massive work. They are unfinished, which leads many people to believe they portray the eternal struggle of human beings. I believe in the theory that he had found the sculpture in the stone and felt no reason to continue freeing them.

More Fun

New Years

New Years is always special but this one is my most favorite. We waited on our balcony and watched as people began crowding the streets and the Ponte Vecchio. When the clock struck midnight we cheered with the people, popped Champagne over the Arno, and watched fireworks light up Florence. It was beyond belief.

Waffle Nutella Sandwich

You can always count on me to stop for dessert when I see it. I had been smelling the waffles all through Florence as they were sold in almost every Gelato store. Finally, I got one with a creamy layer of Nutella in the middle. It was so warm and sweet.

Cooking Class

This was so yummy and the most hands-on cooking class I’ve ever participated in. We went to the market to pick out fresh ingredients and then straight to the kitchen to make lunch. We got to make homemade pasta, sauce, pizza and an artichoke appetizer all from scratch. It was so delicious. We took our class at Touch Bistro and then came back the next night for the restaurant’s dinner. Even more delicious, but not as rewarding.

Cappuccinos

An afternoon Cappuccino was a must. Sitting in gorgeous piazzas with a warm and rich cappuccino to give you an afternoon energy boost. What could be better? I am not a coffee drinker but that changes in Europe. It is just too good to pass up.

My parents had raved about Florence for all my life and it certainly does live up to the hype. I am so thankful for the wonderful experiences there and they have created the fondest memories. Grazie, Florence.

Travel with Dyl: Rome

Looking through pictures and reminiscing has brought me back to my family’s wonderful trip to Italy, Winter Break 2018-19. We visited Venice, Florence, and Rome. I loved this trip so much and can’t wait to relive it while writing these posts. Rome was a fascinating city filled with incredible architecture and history as well as the best eggplant parmesan in the world. Once again, all photos were taken by yours truly.

Favorite Meals

Ristorante 34

Discovered by my mom in 1995, we send all our friends and family here. The jolly owner, Nicola is a frequent Chicago visitor and the place feels so welcoming and authentic. The eggplant parmesan is to die for and it all just feels so very Italian.

Bella Carne

Never did I think I would have the best matzo ball soup of my life in Rome. Bella Carne is located in the heart of the Roman Jewish ghetto. The Jewish cuisine was comforting and so warm on that terribly cold day.

Hostaria da Pietro

We were the only non-Italian customers in the entire restaurant. A spot for locals who like their food authentic and delicious. The adorable twin brother owners also happened to be frequent Chicago visitors and enjoy attending Lollapalooza. It’s a small world.

Sites

Trevi Fountain

After visiting I could see what made this fountain so crowded. It was stunning. A true display of Italian art and beauty. Unfortunately, I’m still waiting for my wish to come true.

Vatican City

I’m not even going to get into the fact that I was dumbfounded to learn this is a separate country. I will say though, for the smallest country in the world, the Vatican City sure has a lot of history packed inside. We spent hours roaming St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, and staring up in awe at Michelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel.

Colosseum

It’s really wild to process that this massive amphitheatre was built in 70 A.D. Walking around inside and admiring from the outside was incredible. Although the Colosseum was a place of bloodshed, it is a standing wonder.

Tempio Maggiore di Roma

This absolutely gorgeous synagogue is the temple I want to belong to. Touring the largest synagogue in Rome educated me more on life in the Roman ghetto during the time of World War II.

More Fun

Palm Trees

I would have never guessed that upon arrival with my winter coat that I would be roaming streets with palm trees. Rome is southern enough to house palm trees, which I still don’t really understand because some days in Rome were freezing. The trees aren’t native to Rome, but they have learned to survive.

Gelato

What is a post about Italy without a mention of gelato? Gelato became a post-meal necessity. I was never much of a gelato fan prior to my trip but it is so flavorful how could I resist? This particular cone was from a small chain called Venchi and was delicious. I saw the same chain out of the corner of my eye a year later in Tokyo and raced to get inside but they were closing. It was a sad walk home.

Christmas Lights

The most magical part about being in Italy during the holidays were the street lights. Beautiful arrangements lined all the streets, keeping them alive at night. It was so gorgeous sometimes I just stopped for a while to admire them.

Every trip I am fortunate enough to take is where I learn the most about the world but also myself. I create a new connection with each city explored and love them forever. Hopefully, when I return to Rome it will be a bit warmer and will make each cone of gelato a bit sweeter.

Podcasts For Everyone

In the past few weeks, I have found myself listening to podcasts on walks, putting away laundry, or even doing homework. Without being able to socialize with a wide range of people like usual it is nice to hear a conversation between other people and feel like you are a part of it. Here are the Podcasts that have kept me engaged and make time move quicker.

The Daily

The biggest news stories of the day explained in an easy to understand and efficient fashion. The host Michael Barbaro of the New York Times has the most soothing and calm voice that draws me in and keeps me comfortable with all the crazy news being told. A great way to get your news that is not too overwhelming.

The Morning Toast

Instagram personality Girl With No Job and her sister Jackie O deliver the best celebrity news with the funniest commentary. They talk all things celebrity, social media, and entertainment. They start with the fast 5 stories and then proceed into tv recaps where they discuss all types of reality tv shows new episodes. They are so funny and the show is fast-paced and engaging.

Stuff You Should Know

This the most random but awesome podcast out there. Each episode is dedicated to something completely different that you should or might want to know. The episodes subjects range from talking about bidets and how they came to be, to teaching about how herd immunity works in light of the pandemic. I can guarantee you will find an episode that interests you.

Cults

Based on the bizarre suggestion of my friend Simone to write a full piece on Cults and those that intrigue me, I wondered what is it about cults that are so intriguing? I knew there had to be a podcast about it. As you can see by the name, it was an easy find. This show dedicates each episode to a different cult (sometimes in 2 parts) explaining what went on inside and more specifically, what goes on inside the minds of people who join cults and leaders who start them.

TED Talks Daily

Almost all students hate to admit it but get excited when a teacher plays a TED Talk in class. I can openly admit that I watch TED Talks after school for fun. With this podcast, I can listen to some of the best talks while doing other activities. I have been having so much fun with this. The episodes are all under 20 minutes so they are great for a shorter task when you don’t want to get bored.

Casefile True Crime

My exploration of crime podcasts came from my good friend Molly and her inordinate obsession with Criminal Minds. Too scared to watch crime shows, listening provided a less chilling alternative. The narrator is incredible and I still can’t listen right before bed as every time I am crawling with goosebumps. Each episode dives into a new case and tells these wild stories in the most haunting way.