Sunday, February 28, 2016

Winter Day Trip: Lake Louise & Banff

I'm lucky enough to live in Canada, where I can simply drive an hour and a bit out of the city and be in the natural haven of the Rocky Mountains. Recently I found myself needing to get away from the stresses of life and when some of my sorority sisters casually mentioned a little road trip? Of course I was in.

To begin the trip we drove out to Lake Louise and decided to go skating. I'd recommend doing this as early as possible as it only seemed to get more and more busy as the day went on. The ice wasn't the best but you just couldn't beat the views. There were also these super fun ice castles to skate around and even explore.

After skating and basically being overwhelmed by the beauty in front of us we went to High Tea at the Lake Louise Fairmont hotel. We went at a very busy time and as we weren't hotel guests had to wait quite some time. I honestly found myself disappointed with the food and service given the high price. 

From High Tea we decided it was time for another adventure and drove to Johnston's Canyon, located in Banff.  We decided to hike up to the lower falls and oh my god. The views were gorgeous naturally, but getting there was quite the struggle. If you're hiking at all, I would recommend shoes with good grip as the trails were pretty much pure ice. Even with hiking boots I was sliding around and trying not to fall, which was an surprisingly funny bonding experience. 

Hiking took a lot out of me so when one of my friends highly recommended getting Beavertails I was intrigued (no everybody, they're not actual tails of beavers omg) and wanted to give them a try. They were incredibly delicious and so sweet. If you're in Banff giving Beavertails a chance is a must. There's so many amazing flavors to choose from. 

I didn't take this photo as honestly I ate my Beavertail so fast. 
So delicious and probably unhealthy but AHHH. Worth it. 

After eating we headed to the Banff Upper Hot Springs. It was super relaxing and the perfect end to the day. I didn't unfortunately get to take any photos because I honestly just wanted to lay back and just chill. By the time we went it was also fairly dark so taking photos would have been quite tough. So below is just one photo from their website (:

By the time we left the hot springs it was time to head home. Overall I had so much fun with friends experiencing all of the natural beauty Lake Louise & Banff has to offer. It's still so amazing (and I realize how lucky I am) that I can just drive an hour and see such magnificent sights. Both Banff and Lake Louise are perfect for a quick winter day trip in the mountains, as well as a quick winter getaway- there's certainly much more to do that we didn't have time for unfortunately. 

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Discussion: Stigmatization of Cosmetics

For this discussion post I will be talking about make-up in society and how it's been consistently tied up with negative connotations. Firstly, I'd like to make it clear that whether you wear makeup or do not, I won't judge in anyway- nor do I think anybody else should. For myself I enjoy a little bit of makeup, such as a nice red lip, as it does come with an empowering feelings. I think it's a personal choice and one that you should simply respect, rather than tear down.

One stigma that comes with wearing makeup is that you're doing it due to a lack of positive self-esteem and an absolute need to fulfill to societal beauty ideals. Furthermore, some see makeup as this macabre like tool that exists to give a false sense of security to those who wear it, and girls who wear makeup just can't be comfortable without it. It is because of that reasoning they don't wear makeup, maybe preach to others to do the same or even judge those who do. I do understand that this reasoning has roots in a positive strain of thinking- that some want girls to feel comfortable in their own skin without the use of cosmetics.

However, I personally find flaws in this thought process. It assumes that all women wear makeup for the exact same reason (poor self confidence issues and a need to uphold beauty standards). This is obviously not the case, as there are so many unique reasons people wear makeup. Some do so for self-expression, and I'd argue that makeup is definitely a creative outlet. Others do it to bring out certain features that they want to be highlighted. Some, like me, wear makeup as it brings a out a sense of empowerment. It's like wearing a pair of heels, it makes you feel powerful and like you're putting an in a little something extra into your appearance. In that way it does make me feel more confident, but that being said that doesn't mean I'm not confident without it. I'm not oblivious to the fact that some aren't comfortable without makeup, but I don't believe makeup is the culprit we need to blame for that, as I'm sure the individual's poor self esteem existed before they could even fathom makeup. I could write a whole other discussion on who is to blame but that is another story all together, but without getting into it I'll just casually point to the media.

There's also this bold assumption that wearing makeup means you're being a  conformist to society's ideals of beauty, a mantra I've seen preached over and over again in many YA stories- where the main character will look down on those who do wear makeup. I cannot speak for all women, but the majority I know don't wear makeup solely for the purpose to "conform" to societal ideals. To hear that some truly believe this really gets under my skin as not only is it quite judgmental, but to me it assumes that women should feel some sort of shame for enjoying something like makeup, which is traditionally feminine. I have also noticed that time and time again that things such as having an enjoyment in things like makeup and fashion tend to be viewed as shallow and vapid interests, solely existing not only to please society in general, but more specifically men. That blows my mind, like I mentioned previously there's just so many reasons women wear makeup and it's an highly individualized choice. Men shouldn't have any bearing on that and to make such an assumption like that is frankly offensive. It assumes that women exist to simply please men, and god forbid they make a choice that doesn't have anything to do with them.

Overall it's clear to me that there are many negative stereotypes and judgments that come along with wearing makeup. In response to this, I will reiterate what I said at the beginning of this post. Again, it's simply an individual's choice to wear makeup and one that has several different reasons behind it that differs person by person. We shouldn't judge or shame anybody for simply making a choice, instead we should respect it- especially when it literally has no bearing on us. I'd also really like to see a decrease in YA of the shaming of traditionally feminine things such as makeup, it truly drives me up the wall. In fact don't be surprised if you see a future post specifically on that topic (;
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Friday, February 19, 2016

Hello it's me...

I've always been awkward with introductions. I'm not really sure where to begin. I suppose my name is always a good starting point.

I'm Larissa, a 19 year old girl who is completely book enamored and quite struck with a terrible case of wanderlust. Some of you may know me from YA Midnight Reads, as I was lucky enough to be a co-blogger for there for over a year. I left the blog for a number of personal reasons but really ever since have been itching to be able to write on a platform that truly allows me to express myself- both my thoughts, words and ideas. I've just been waiting for things to calm down in terms and I now finally think it's time to re-enter the blogging community.

This time around I want to do things a little differently though. I still will be reviewing books- as reading is an activity like no other for me. It brings me such calm and joy. But yes, of course there are those common YA tropes that bring rage and total annoyance to every fiber of my being haha. 

However the difference with this blog from that of a totally book centered blog is that there will be more of a focus on discussions. Something I learned from my previous blogging experience is that formulating my thoughts and sharing opinions and views is one of my favorite things. I love to raise awareness on issues that some may have not even considered before and have honest and raw responses. It is because of the aforementioned that on Life As Larissa you can expect to see many discussion posts. Some will be book related, but I plan on the majority having roots in feminism, controversial issues and the society we live in currently. It’s hard to really be specific on what I’ll be talking about but really anything I can’t stop thinking or talking about, expect a post on it.

I also mentioned near the start of this post that I’ve been struck with quite the terrible case of wanderlust. It is because of this that I plan on sprinkling this blog with some travel posts. You’ll see such things like general stories and photos from my trips, my dream vacations (I seriously have over 50 planned, oops), some of my bucket list activities/when I actually accomplish them and recommendations. I honestly would love nothing more than to be able to share my love of the world and its gorgeous sights with you, and Life As Larissa is the platform I want to use to do exactly that.

I’m so excited to be back and can’t wait to interact with everybody. I hope that if you did know me before that you will continue with me on this latest adventure of mine. More likely, if you don’t know me or my words I hope that you will join and grow alongside with me on this wonderful blogging journey. It would be an absolute honor to have you by my side.

Welcome to Life As Larissa (: I'm can't wait to begin sharing my posts. Below is a survey that I would greatly appreciate you filling it out. It's essentially to satisfy my curiosity but also to get a feel of my readers and they would like. 

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