(un)Informed: Where do we get our knowledge from?

Recently, I had a talk with Jeff about my general "knowledge" about the world (hint, taking geography in french during high school was NOT of benefit to me long-term...)

I told him I felt frustrated because I didn't "understand" some of the issues that were taking place globally. I felt left out during conversations because I wasn't informed. I blamed it on the fact that I wasn't in school, that I'd skipped out on a good, well rounded, university education.

While I was having this pity party for myself, Jeff gave me some fantastic advice. Teach yourself.

Jeff has been out of university for years, yet is always up to date on the latest news. From celeb gossip to political issues, he knows all the details. I tell everyone Jeff is "the smartest person I know", that it comes naturally. 

Then I started watching him more closely. Jeff wakes up every morning at the same time. He doesn't hit snooze. He has a shower and ACTUALLY leaves himself enough time before work to have a coffee and read the news on his computer. We'll be watching a TV show, and while I'm absolutely consumed in the drama, every once in awhile I'll catch Jeff glancing down reading an article (news, sports, you write it and he reads it). He subscribes to national geographic. Jeff has been self-educating himself for years and it has nothing to do with the fact that he has a university degree.

I've come to realize lately that a lot of the things that I believed were just my character flaws - things I believed were too late for me to learn, things that I had settled for and made excuses for - are things that I can pro-actively change. And it was that simple - teach yourself. We have the knowledge at our fingertips.

I'm so guilty for checking my phone every time I get a break - instagram, twitter, facebook, vine, pinterest - I'm social media addicted. In the amount of time I refresh the pages and absorb useless information about what my acquaintance had for lunch, I could have learned a language and read a bookshelf of novels. 

I'm someone that believes in balance (like I'm going to give up my social media altogether though - funny joke!), so instead I agreed that I would try to check it all at once - in the morning or at night. The same information will be there and it will consume less of my time.

I resolved to study up on things I'm interested in. I've started with just basic 'wiki' knowledge, and I usually get lost from there. The hours I'd spend looking at cute puppies and hairstyles on Pinterest is fun, but I'm really loving being "in the know". I like reading both sides of the issue at hand and being able to form my own opinion.

I've subscribed to "The Skimm", an e-mail which comes to my inbox every morning that simplifies the headlines, puts the news in simple terms, and covers an array of subjects. It has easily become one of the most enjoyable parts of my day. I've found myself able to reference and talk about what I've read with my customers, colleagues, family and friends nearly every day since I started subscribing.

Maybe this is just a revelation to me, but I know that I'm not the only one that uses the internet strictly to look at these Micheal Kors Oxfords and re-watch Miley Cyrus on repeat from the VMA's. I've really learned to love the time that I've taken to open up my eyes and see what the internet can really be used for. The information and tools at our fingertips is pretty amazing if you just go looking for it.



(quoteables): The Quest

“The real truth is I probably don’t want to be too happy or content because, then what? I actually like the quest, the search. That’s the fun. The more lost you are the more you have to look forward to. So what do you know? I’m having a great time and I don’t even know it.” -Ally McBeal
Although life feels crazy at times, I can't say it isn't fun!

Happy Friday!


Books (not) to Read in 2013

About a month ago, I wrote my first book related post. I talked about my love for books, and wanting to share what I've been reading: novels that  create conversation, or novels that others may find relatable.

So, I can't help but be disappointed when I'm reading a book that is so blah. Poor plot, no character development, drawn out story line.

Opinions always differ when it comes to what makes a "good book", and that's one of the things I love about reading. However, there is a time and place for a critique. There are so many books out there, that I see it as my job to save others from reading a lesser quality novel!

Not to say I don't love a trashy novel here and there (Hello, Nicholas Sparks), but my last book was not a winner. 

It's been almost 10 years since the original came out, and I was (and still am!) completely obsessed with The Devil Wears Prada. To me, it was the perfect mix: high fashion, extravagant parties, relateable characters, fun drama. Everything I look for in a beach read!

I bought Revenge Wears Prada the day it was released. It's taken me nearly a month to get through it: which is obscene for me, especially for an easy read like this!

I can't describe how disappointed I was with this book. My beloved characters felt lost and had little direction. Andy has conformed to high society and become downright unlikeable, each chapter revolving around her ridiculous first-world-problems. Miranda was essentially void from the entire book (How could this be? She is arguably the best villain ever written!). The subjects they touched on were not only boring, but silly.

I waited the entire book for something to happen, and - spoiler alert - it was a total snoozefest. I give it 2/5 stars solely on the fact that I needed to know how the story ended. 

The anticipation I had for this sequel ultimately led to disappointment (and from other reviews I've read, I'm not the only one). Seemed like the author may have been looking to "cash in" on the franchise, as the story came off as forced and desperate. 

 Lesson: Sequels rarely measure up to the original (Harry Potter as a sole exception...)

With my next book, I definitely need something that will be a bit more mentally challenging. Hopefully I'll be back with renewed faith & a more positive review!

Happy Thursday!
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