Travel Snacks

With weeks of back-to-back travel ahead of me, I have made sure that I am well-stocked with snacks. These are my favorite reliable snacks to bridge the gap between the time that you had dinner and the time that your plane lands, or the snack that lets your skip a fast-food joint on the road, saving you time/money/nutrition. What is your number one go to snack while traveling? (I knew a family who always bought gas station corn nuts while on the road. Admittedly, I will usually stop just for an Arizona tea.)

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In-shell Pistachios, if you are not driving. (Out-of-shell if you are!)

Mix almonds and craisins for THE BEST salty/sweet flavor combination

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My favorite pre-made trail mix is Target’s Sweet Cajun

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I like to hide emergency Clif bars in my purse or backpack or that middle console in the car so that they are there if I really need them. I especially love these caffeinated mint-chocolate bars.

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San Fran Plans

I am so excited to be flying out to San Francisco today! I have never been to California, and I have know idea what to really expect. I know it will be similar but different from my Northwest and Southwest encounters… more ocean, mostly. Here are some of the things I am looking forward to seeing!

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-drive across the Golden Gate Bridge
-shop (browse, really) at the General Store
-eat seafood and avocado
-visit the Muir Woods!
-have a tasting at a California winery
-wander around. get lost.
-hear live music
-visit some of the sites, recording studios frequented by the likes of Janis Joplin
-see the “Full House” house
-swim in the Pacific Ocean! I’ve never even SEEN the Pacific Ocean!!!

Here’s to new adventures!

Related: Spring Break Planning: The Wild West! and Clever Beach Hack

Sex Ed: Questions from Teens, Misunderstandings from Adults

I grew up in Indiana. At public school, sex ed consisted of one week of “STD’s will kill you so just say no.” The health teachers treated sex like drugs, and taught that abstinence was the only safe choice.

Fast-forward some years, and now I am a teacher on the south side of Chicago. Recently, a whole bunch of teachers who are not licensed health educators decided to do some legwork to give our kids access to information vital for them to lead healthy lives. I would like to say that for kids who are already getting involved in physical relationships, we were FLOORED by the questions they had for us. There were some (basic, seemingly obvious) things that they really didn’t know. Even crazier? This week long health course was implemented school-wide, and some adults stepped forward and confessed that they really didn’t understand one part of the reproductive system until that lesson, or came to us asking if we could clarify something about their own reproductive health.

Weird! Crazy! But not altogether surprising, given the lack of resources and education regarding a topic that is so often taboo.

I tried to give my group of girls a perspective of personal sexual health that was women-friendly, empowering, and centered around choice, consent, hygiene, and understanding. I also wanted them to leave with tangible knowledge and with access to resources. They may not need to know where to find protection now, but but when they do they will know where to go.

Answering some of their questions was complicated, because I wanted to be clear that every person is unique and I never wanted to make these girls feel like they were wrong. Body hair is a personal choice- but their are pros and cons to having it or not. Sex may be hetero, homo, all of the above, or not at all, and that’s all okay! If someone is hurting you because it brings them pleasure, you do not and should not be in pain to please them. Above all else, you are in control of your body.

Some of the winning questions divided into relevant categories:

Man periods
Do men have periods? No. (They do have hormonal cycles, though.)
Why not? They don’t have the necessary organs.
Can men have babies? No, they do not have the necessary organs.
Can men take birth control? Yes, but they are weak.

Girl periods
Does it hurt?
Bleeding doesn’t hurt, but other physical pain may occur.
Can you get pregnant on your period? Yes.
How do you put in a tampon? Like this.
Will a tampon take your virginity. No. Explains the hymen is a thin piece of tissue, and how it may break prematurely due to active lifestyle, attempt to define virginity as a man-made concept in place to restrict women or shame them for their lifestyle… lost many students during this feminist impartment.
Do I have to use a tampon? No, there are also panty liners, maxi pads, and menstrual cups!
What is a period, anyway? That’s complicated.

Let’s talk about sex
What is sex?
 Sex is intercourse between a man and a woman. Sex is also sharing physical pleasure with a partner. Sex is a biological drive to reproduce. In the 21st century, sex does not need to end in reproduction. 
Does it hurt? It can, but it shouldn’t. Every body is different, and when it is time you need to figure out what works for you.
What is masturbation? See, “figure out what works for you.” A healthy understanding of what brings an individual pleasure is vital for a partnership where each person experiences pleasure.
Should I use two condoms? Never!
Where do I learn about/get birth control? Research and cross-compare every method imaginable at Bedsider. Learn more, and find safe, legal, and discreet access to what you need at Planned Parenthood.

Boob stuff
Why do my boobs hurt? You’re growing! Puberty’s a bitch.
Is it normal to have hair on your nipples? Yup! (But it’s not, not normal if you don’t.)
Should I shave pubic hair? That is your choice! Same goes for armpits and legs. For some women, removing hair helps maintain personal hygiene. For others, hair serves as a defense against lint and other outside contaminants.
How do I wash my vagina? Think outside, not inside. Wash around the outside of the vulva with gentle soap and hands. Do not put soap or wash cloth inside the vagina, it is a self-cleaning mechanism. 
How many holes does a girl have? If you watched that Orange is the New Black Episode, you should know the answer by now. Thanks Sophia! If not, take this quiz, and keep count! (We had our students label diagrams of internal and external male and female anatomy, so that we were able to use clear language and differentiate between parts of the body throughout these conversations.)

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3 Things

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A poem by Nayyirah Waheed

 

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The weirdest thingI tried this week.

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very silly quizabout wizards and their coffee. I am Snape… all because my taste for bitterness is balanced by a weakness for cinnamon pastry.

 

Related: Four Things

Unrelated: Summer Music

 

 

Reflections and Intentions (a Monday series)

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Reflections (weekend):

-explored Chicago’s hidden coffee shops

-wandered through parks and gardens downtown

-found tamales… at Whole Foods, of all places!

 

Intentions:

-clean the counters, clean my clothes

-rock climb inside and outside

-run every day

-go to the beach

-schedule all necessary health appointments

Dad Gifts (Last Minute Card Idea and Belated Amazon Orders!)

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I’ve been thinking about getting this card for my coach at work. I think it is the perfect template for a Father’s Day DIY: what did your dad teach you to do? Mine taught me to identify tree species by their leaves and bark.

I asked Dad for his chili recipe once, and he gave me a stream of consciousness on a notecard. It would probably be really confusing for anyone who is not his child to read, but it is very personal- I hear it in his voice as he walks through how to chop the onions and which spices he adds in, and when. I think that this onion chopper would streamline the process.

Are you constantly stealing Dad clothes? I am sure my dad wonders what happened to all of his t-shirts and flannels. Pay him pack for all of those winning outfits you “borrowed” with a tee that represents programs he loves. Get him some National Park gear, these parks tees, or help him rep public radio.

Neil deGrasse Tyson seems to be quite the pop-culture figure, lately. I have seen him showing up in interviews, and he has a new book out: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. For anyone who watched Cosmos with their Dad as a kid- this is for you. Also check out his Amazon shop with colorful pro-science tees!

Admittedly, I always forget about these occasions until the last second. I don’t shell out much money on these Hallmark holidays. I’ve learned that my parents would rather have me call them or pay a belated visit home than mail expensive stuff that may or may not be useful. Just be sure to call the father figures in your life!

Saturday Check-In

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It’s the best kind of Saturday- full of spice and caffeine, color and nature.

Thoughts from today:

  • I am on track to meeting my goal of blog views for the month of June! I am so excited and intrigued by the world of blogging and the flexibility it provides as a hobby or career. Thanks for all of your support so far, friends, and please pass this link on if you enjoy The Wonder Of!
  • I have explored two of the best coffee shops in Chicago today. I’m kind of buzzing (if you’ve ever had 4+ cups of coffee you know what I’m talking about) but I am so glad that I visit the Currency Exchange Cafe this morning (table and chai pictured above) and I was so delighted by the hidden Pickwick Coffee Roasting downtown (pictured below). I ordered the Black Tiger, iced, which has ginger and chicory in the creamy espresso drink. Grateful to my friend Sara for the recommendation. I am currently sipping the spicy drink in the Art Institute garden!ls.jpg
  • Cool thing: my boyfriend has his bass lesson in Grant Park today, at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion! Very cool. In addition to hosting amazing concerts and festivals, the pavilion and other Chicago parks plays free movies on Tuesday nights! It is a really sweet experience, and you can pack your own picnic for the calmest evening downtown. I saw the movie Brigadoon here years ago, and it was a great experience. If you are into quirky films you should watch this bagpipe-laden time-travel feature.

I hope your Saturday is as blissful and peaceful as mine!

 

Four Things

No one is talking about it because everyone is watching it: Orange is the New Black. Has it really been 5 years, already??? The last season made me cry, almost every episode! The emotional reactions from this show are intense, it is fun and it is funny, it is sad and it is infuriating. I have only watched the first episode so far (NO SPOILERS!) and I really appreciate that Sophia shows her previously unrecognized medical expertise. It reminds us that these women were all members of society, many carrying jobs or going to school, making change in the world. Some of them, however, are more influential in prison than they were on the other side (Piper).

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When it is hot outside, the single most refreshing thing for me (more than lemonade!) is a chocolate-covered frozen banana. They are usually more chocolatey and fresh if I dip them myself, and the crunchy toppings are a nice touch.

 

 

I enjoyed this slideshow of camp style. I often find myself in the true-American denim suit (left) but I identify with the Ranger Dad clothes on a spiritual level.

 

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This weekend I tried cucumber dill hummus and my mind was blown. It was so cool and refreshing, and made the best beachside picnic snack! My sister had bought it at the local farmer’s market, but I am thinking of making this recipe for myself.

Related: fun things and summer greens

Pay Attention to these Musicians this Summer

Photo credit: Junk Host

Everyone is talking about Lorde right now. Either you are interested in her latest review of the best/the worst onion rings, you can’t wait for her album release this week, or you just bought tickets to see her at a music festival this summer. I am guilty of the two purchases and one guilty read. (But seriously, follow that onion ring account!)

First listen. Learn more.

I am going crazy for Sylvan Esso right now! Also appearing at summer festivals, also released an album. Get their new album, but also get their first album because it is still relevant. In Episode 1 of Season 5 of Orange is the New Black featured the wonderful “Hey Mami” in a scene of ethereal chaos. Highly relevant.

First listen. Learn more.