Posted on January 17, 2019
Last year I was given the opportunity to get a reusable straw for less than 50 cents after a coupon was given to me on an online site. That’s when I started my research into reusable straws and why they are all the talk. What I learned was crazy. Here are some quick facts that I learned when looking into the importance of reusable straws.
Think about the last time you used a plastic straw. Where did it go when you were done with it? I bet you didn’t bat an eye when you threw your straw in the garbage. Most people don’t. They just carry on with their day. I’ll be honest… that was me.
Many businesses have made alterations to their policies to enforce the straw-free lifestyle. Starbucks, for example, pledged to entirely remove plastic straws from their locations by the year 2020. They plan to replace straws with recyclable lids (pictured left). They also sell hard plastic cups that you can ask your order to be served in. You can bring those cups back and get all your future orders served in them as well.
I also noticed that my university has banned the distribution of plastic straws as well. It was super exciting to see the movement expand to my university of roughly 17,000 students.
Let’s do the math real quick.
1.6 straws used a day x 17,000 students = 27,200 straws prevented from entering our environment!
If every student at my university adjusted to the strawless lifestyle for only a day, we could prevent 27,200 straws from getting into our environment! And that’s just at my school. Do the math for your school and see how many straws your campus would eliminate if they converted!
When I pull my straw out of my purse or backpack, I get a lot of mixed reactions from those around me. I’ve had friends laugh at me and say I’m ridiculous. I’ve also had friends who encourage me and ask where they can get their own straws. It feels good to know that although I am only one person, I am making a huge impact on the people and environment around me.
I have two different styles of straws. I preferred stainless steel over paper, but that was just my choice. If you’re into paper straws, GO FOR IT! At the end of this article, I linked the straws that I use so you can purchase your own and get started on making the change!
The style that I was interested in first was the collapsible stainless steel straw with a hard case. It was really easy to throw in my backpack before school and it’s even attachable to a keychain. I found a better quality version of the one I have on Amazon and I decided to link that one rather than the one I have because there were some issues with mine when I got it. This type of straw is great for drinks with more of a watery consistency because the rubber inside makes it hard for thicker drinks to travel through. So if you’re one who is constantly on the go and drinking water, pop, or juice, check this straw out!
I also own stainless steel straws that are not collapsible, but they came in a pack of four with two different styles- bent and straight. These straws also came with a carrier, however, this one is made of cotton. They’re great for tumbler cups or Starbucks drinks if you’re one of those whose lives just won’t go on without a straw in their frappuccino. These straws come in packs of 4 and packs of 8, so you don’t need to wash one before using another. Each pack comes with at least one cleaning brush (depending on the pack you purchase).
If you STILL think adjusting your straw habits won’t make a change, watch this TEDx Talk by Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff.
GET YOUR OWN STRAWS:
Category: Blog Tagged: advice, earth, eco-friendly, environment, life, me, metal straws, nrdc, plastic straws, reusable straws, save the animals, save the dolphins, save the earth, save the environment, save the fish, save the turtles, save the world, Starbucks, straws, thelastplasticstraw
Posted on January 15, 2019
Another year has come to a close so that means another year of MegannLouise.com has come and gone. 2018 was an eventful year for this site. Toward the end of the year, I took the bull by the horns (sorry PETA) and focused more time on writing.
When I started writing for MegannLouise.com, I had no intention of posting regularly. I just wanted a platform for me to post my work when I did write. And for roughly 75% of the time I’ve had this site, that’s exactly what I did. But now I dedicate time out of my day to work on new content. In doing this, I learned a lot about myself as a writer, creator, and individual. I know that sounds extremely corny. I’m sorry. But here’s the top 5 things I learned after I focused on my blog this year.
1. Writing isn’t always easy. And writer’s block is real.
There have been days where I’ve spent hours just trying to write an introduction or even come up with a topic. Since I’ve been writing for a long time, I know my style and whenever my brain fails me and I don’t do my best work, I get upset. I’ve spent entire days working on posts before, arguing with myself over wording or formatting. At the end of it all, I’ve felt defeated when I give in and post whatever I came up with even when I wasn’t happy with it.
And here’s the thing- writer’s block happens. It can kick your ass at the worst times but that’s how it goes. I had to learn to roll with the punches and give myself breaks while writing to recoup. Sometimes nothing would pop into my head for days or even weeks. It wasn’t pretty. I would usually go into a dark place whenever that happened. It’s pretty devastating to fall into a place where doing what you love takes a brutal toll on you. But like I said- it happens. I just had to accept that and work with what I had.
2. Writing ahead of time saves my sanity.
To piggy-back off the last point, my self-deprecation took up so much of my time and made it almost impossible for me to crank out content like I wanted. I eventually mustered up the ability to “mass produce” posts. I would write three or four posts in a day and schedule them for later dates so I wouldn’t have to worry about them the day I needed something to go up. This helped a lot during Blogmas since I had to have a post up every single day for almost two weeks. I think the best part about writing in bulk is that I can pump out a lot of content whenever I’m feeling really creative, and relax on the days where I can’t come up with anything.
3. Quality over quantity.
This one was a hard pill to swallow. Once I found time and motivation to write, I wanted to keep writing and create an arsenal of posts stocked up for scheduled posting. However, during Blogmas I realized that the short posts that didn’t take as much effort weren’t as good as the longer ones that I put more of my heart into. It took a lot out of me to know that although I was getting these posts done early, they weren’t as good as they could have been if I worked a little harder and didn’t spread myself thin.
Now I look at it as a reader instead of a writer. What would I want to read? What would I think if someone posted something like this? Would I continue to read their work?
4. It takes determination.
No successful blogger made it where they are now without determination. Slacking isn’t an option. Consistency is really important- just as important as content. Sure, breaks are great for the mind and can lead to better content, but disappearing for large chunks of time really doesn’t work. It leaves everyone wondering where you are and if you really take writing seriously. Trust me, I’ve been there. I had no motivation for this site and it ruined the great path I had made for myself. I had to almost completely start over.
5. This is a community.
I had to repeatedly remind myself that people actually read this. When I write, deep down I know that people will read it but I sometimes forget about it and throw all caution to the wind. So it’s freaky for a second when I get to meet people who read my blog and they bring up something that I forgot I wrote about. I’m always like, “HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT?!” and then it freaks them out. Sometimes I really feel like I’m writing in my diary.
I found myself heavily relying on my blog to write about my feelings. This is still true at times today. I always say that I try to remain open with my readers, and although it’s hard, it’s extremely empowering at times too. When I feel like my voice does not matter, I come here and I feel heard. I can be happy, sad, or just not myself and I know I have a community here who is willing to listen.
With that, I also had to learn how to censor myself. Although I believe it is crucial to be open with your readers, a line has to be drawn. I used to be far too open and it would ultimately backfire on me. Sometimes I post about something and look back at it later in regret. Now I have to use my better judgment whenever I write about something personal. It’s hard to hold back on occasions, but it’s for the best.
Posted on January 6, 2019
Excuse all the “um” ticks I disperse throughout the pod. Whenever I’m recording by myself I don’t really know how to make sentences without it haha.
In this episode, I talk about my plans for the site in the new year and ask you guys for your help to make this site the best it can be! It’s also a bit of a pointless rant at times too, so buckle up.
See you guys on Tuesday!
Posted on December 29, 2018
Today I had an idea to start a new series. I’m obsessed with Pinterest, so why incorporate that into my site? I’ve got a lot of boards for a lot of different things. How fun would it be if I shared my favorite pins from these boards in order to digitally collage my plans for the future? Maybe you guys won’t think it’s as fun as I do, but it’s happening anyway.
Everything I did growing up was to prepare myself for the future. I’ve been planning my dream house for years, pinning my favorite pictures on a board titled “my future home” (https://pin.it/zw5q3v2mnufyqs). I’m sure it’ll be clear once you see the photos, but I have a deep love for the farmhouse style. It’s so cozy and welcoming. I also really like neutral colors, so that will play a huge role in my future home.
Follow me on Pinterest!
Posted on December 26, 2018
A year ago today, I posted Paying Homage to 2017, where I took time to look back at everything that happened to me in 2017 that influenced me deeply. I said that I had an eventful year, and I was looking forward to 2018. However, I couldn’t have possibly been prepared for all that this year had in store for me. Let’s go ahead and look back at all that has happened in the past 12 months. Be warned- a lot more happened this year than last year.
I celebrated the new year with my boyfriend, Zach. We started off at my God Mother’s house, then after a trip to McDonald’s minutes before the ball dropped, we made it to my house. I wanted this new year to be rung in perfectly, so I ran to the tv as fast as I could and got ready for the count down. We made it just in time to eat a few chicken nuggets before we shared our first New Year’s kiss.
After working at Boys and Girls Club for about 5 months, I decided to resign. I’ll keep it professional and not go into too many details, but to sum it up, the employees were not kind to me and I felt that my voice was no longer being heard. It was extremely hard for me to do, as I loved the students I got to know. The smiles on their faces made all the hard work and sleepless nights worth it. However, I knew that I would continue to be treated poorly and for my mental health, it was time to go. I’m still very unhappy with how I was treated and how nobody really seemed to care when I told them, but it’s in the past and I just hope that things have gotten better there.
The day before my last day of work, I came home to my sick hamster, Arodite. She had been looking sickly for a while, and I wasn’t sure what was wrong. She barely ate and didn’t drink much water. The only way I could keep her hydrated was by letting her chew on a wet washcloth. It was devastating. This day had been extremely hard for her. She wasn’t moving around much, staying close to her tower of bedding she created. That night, I was in the living room with my mother when we started to hear breathy cries from the room Arodite was in. I was too nervous to check on her, so I asked my mom to see if she was alright. She said, “oh, she’s crying.” Then, just as I got up to comfort her and give her some water, my mom corrected herself.
“No, don’t come in here. I think she’s dying.”
I know I should’ve ran in there immediately and held her in my arms, but I was so heartbroken that I couldn’t face her. I ran outside and refused to come back into the house until she passed. My father, who once worked at the county’s Metroparks, put my sweet Arodite down in the most humane way he was taught. I could hear her crying and gasping for air as I cried outside.
I’m so grateful for my boyfriend for coming over late that night to be with me while I cried. I was so upset that my fuzzy little baby had passed and there was nothing I could have done to save her. It was just her time to go.
As some of you know, my boyfriend was a grade below me in high school, so he had his senior prom this year. I dreaded going because I wanted nothing to do with high school events such as this, but I was obligated. It was a nice time back with friends that I hadn’t seen in a while. Zach was the absolute sweetest to me that night. We danced for hours, then left a little early to get Wendy’s. After we finished our food, we headed to my house to relax. That’s when Zach gave me a book he made of reasons he loves me. Reading it made me cry like a baby. I was so sappy and lovey all night. All I wanted was to be cuddled up with my man. I don’t think anything has changed.
A couple months later, Zach graduated high school. This was a special moment for him and I couldn’t go without sharing. I was so extremely proud of him, and as he walked across the stage to receive his diploma (from my dad, the V.P. of the School Board), my friends and I screamed and cheered. I ended up crying a few times too.
Being alongside him while he was working to get his diploma made it that much more special to me. I watched him get frustrated when he didn’t understand something, excited when he did, and relieved when he was on track. I knew he was ready for greater things and seeing him get that green light to do so was powerful.
After a long, painful few weeks of bickering and disagreements, Zach and I broke up. I was devastated. But it had to be done. Of course I was hysterical for months. I begged him to come back, but thankfully he said no. I say “thankfully” because we weren’t ready for each other yet. We needed some time to grow ourselves. Although there were many nights that I sobbed into my pillow and screamed until I lost my voice, I am grateful for our break up.
But here’s the thing- while we were broken up, we were still seeing each other. We wanted to maintain a friendship, since that’s where we started. He would come over and we would talk, or we’d go to the park or the lake to get away from everything. It was nice spending time with each other because he was such a huge part of my life for so long. It was comforting. So that is why we say that although we did not have the title of boyfriend and girlfriend, we were still “together.”
I felt the need to explain this to everyone because people were confused when we split, and even now when we say we’ve been together for over a year. Although we were not boyfriend and girlfriend for a couple months, we were still talking and loving each other just as if we were. We like to say we never left each other’s side, so that’s why we say we’ve been together the whole time. We basically were. What’s a title worth anyway?
Since the breakup left me with many open days throughout the summer, I got to spend a lot more time with my friends and family. I got to go to my sister’s travel softball tournaments that were hours away, which was a great way to relax. Well, until my sister’s team lost, which was quite often. But getting away from the small town I felt trapped in was wonderful. I felt myself growing just from a weekend of being away. When we got back, my dad offered to take some pictures of me to boost my confidence and keep my mind off things. And that’s when this photo was taken. I really love all the photos he took of me because I feel so strong when I look at them. I see myself not letting things hurt me.
My friends also deserve a huge “thank you” for all they did for me over the summer. They were always there for me no matter what. Whether I was canceling plans because I couldn’t gather myself enough to leave my room or shaking and crying in public, they understood. We got to make great memories together and I couldn’t be happier.
I spent my last day as a teen this year. My 20th birthday was hot, exhausting, but so much fun. My best friends took me to the zoo and to dinner. I complained the whole time because it was scorching hot and my feet hurt, but the memories created that day were special enough to last forever. At this point, Zach and I decided to get back together, as we found it impossible to live without the other in our life. So I invited him to come with us to celebrate. Having all of my favorite people together was magical. It was a great way to spend my last few days at home before going away for college.
On August 17th, I moved into my first apartment. I had never lived on my own before, so I was terrified. I know so many people who were nothing but excited when it came to moving out and that made me feel awful for the way I was looking at it. I thought I was babied too much and I was going to hate it, but after some getting used to, it was the best decision I had ever made. I love living by myself. I have so much more motivation to do things because nobody else can be held responsible for the end result- just me. Oh, I also went blonde that same day after battling with my dark hair for months. It came out sort of yellow, as to be expected, and it took months of toner and purple shampoo before I was able to get it to a subtle blonde. It isn’t the cutest yet, but it’s getting there.
August 27th was my first day of school at Cleveland State University. I was extremely nervous because I had only one semester of community college under my belt and I had no idea what to expect. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get lost as soon as I got off the bus that morning. It was overwhelming, but after the first traumatizing day, I knew exactly where everything was. I was really surprised when I knew where I was going on day 2.
Now, with a semester at CSU under wraps, I feel amazing. I’ve made so many great friends in the short time I’ve been going here. I found myself exploring things outside of my comfort zone and realizing my potential while being in college. It’s crazy. Tom Hanks once said that he was “exposed to this world that [he] didn’t know was possible” and that’s exactly how I feel.
Although this past year has been full of ups and downs, it has been the most influential. I got to see what I could and couldn’t handle which ultimately taught me life lessons. In the midst of it all, my love for my best friend grew and grew. Our relationship grew, too. After this rollercoaster ride of a year, I am very happy to say that Zach and I are as amazing as ever. We got through all obstacles life has throw our way with our heads held high. Our love for each other motivates me everyday, and something tells me it just might motivate me forever on.
2018, you were good to me sometimes…other times, not so much. But while I was going through my low points, I recognized all of my good points. I became grateful for all I had and all I would have. So thank you for giving me that ability.
2019, you’re going to be my bitch. I’m not holding myself back anymore, and 2018 taught me how to do that. I will learn from my mistakes, build off them, and prove how strong I really am.
Last year, I said that 2018 had a lot to live up to, but in all honesty, all coming years have a lot to live up to because I’ll only be going up from here.
Posted on December 23, 2018
We finally made it- the end of Blogmas.
I didn’t think I would make it this far. And I guess in a way, I didn’t. I was late uploading a lot of the time and couldn’t stick to my original schedule. However, I still managed to post 12 blogs in 12 days, and that’s something I am very proud of. My first Blogmas- at least in my eyes- was a success and I can’t wait to do it again next year.
When I wasn’t blogging, I was enjoying December and all it had to offer. I took a few pictures along the way and I thought I could share them all with you. Rather than explaining them in extreme detail, I thought I could just leave the photos to be interpreted by the viewer. So make of them what you will.
Posted on June 22, 2017
18 years, 10 months, 11 days.
That is how long I have faced this world- the cheerful, the gloomy, the downright cruel.
At least 12 of those years, I have been unhappy. That means that from the age of 6, I have been displeased, whether that be with myself or the world around me. Yes, that is a very young age to feel the way I felt, but I was able to disassociate myself with childhood thoughts at a young age. I began thinking like an adult early in life. Granted I wasn’t thinking about taking out mortgages or paying a phone bill, but I was questioning things with such an intellect that none of my peers could comprehend yet. I was by no means a brainiac baby, but I was definitely different.
The Early Years
I can remember being in kindergarten and looking at myself in a mirror. My hair was tangled and my lips chapped. Those who knew me then would expect nothing less. I ran my fingers through my curly hair and smiled at myself. “Looking good,” I would think. Little did I know that that was the last time I would be so confident in myself.
Not long after, I was bullied on the playground for having chapped lips. “Your lips look funny. That’s so weird,” I remember a classmate putting me down as we lined up to go down the spiral slide. That was the moment that I began the long cycle of self hatred and manipulation. Years went by where I would endlessly compare myself to my peers. I wanted to dress, act, and look like them. Maybe then I wouldn’t be weird, right?
Another vivid memory I have is seventh grade math class. The teacher had left the room, and my class began to run around and cause havoc just as any seventh grade class would. Students were getting out of their seats, writing inappropriate things on the smartboard, and throwing things across the room. One classmate of mine walked up to my friend and I. At first, he just made jokes about how we were the only students who weren’t getting out of our seats and being obnoxious. Then, after realizing that we weren’t offended, he began to pick on our appearances to get a rise out of us. What he said to me has stuck in my mind for the past 5 or so years.
“Hey, ginger! Have you ever made a gingerbread house? I mean, it makes sense because you’re a pasty ginger.”
Yeah, I know. It’s a lame little kid joke. But I had been bullied for years about my natural strawberry blonde hair and light skin tone. It had been so bad that I was actually driven to dye my hair more “natural” shades. This ultimately damaged my hair, and I am still working to get it back to a healthier condition. But I couldn’t find any other way to escape the name calling and ridicule that I would face every day. What hurt me the most was not that I was a ginger, but that the word “ginger” was meant in a derogatory manner and it would continue to be for years. To this day, I encounter people who use the same word in an effort to offend me and I can still feel young Meg’s heart breaking deep down.
Once high school rolled around, I felt slightly more confident. I entered my freshman year with my chin held high. Then it happened. I “loved” a boy for the first time. He was a senior wrestler, soccer player, singer, and he just so happened to be in my computer class. After months of getting to know each other, we began dating. The maturity difference between us was a huge roadblock, however. Not only that, but he did not respect our relationship like I did. So after months of being off and on, we finally cut ties for good. It hurt me immensely because he was the first boy I “loved.” I use quotes because after years of growing up, I realize that I did not love him. I loved only the idea of him. But since I thought I loved him, his absence in my life made me turn into a maniac. I wanted love. I wanted someone to give my attention to like I had once given to him. Something about loving someone gave me such a high. I craved love from someone that would not leave me like he did. So I spent my sophomore year looking for someone who would love me unconditionally. To many, my manhunt looked like I was “putting out.” That was far from the truth, but I couldn’t defend myself, as the evidence was too convincing. Hell, although I never did anything more than make out with a boy at that age, I was beginning to believe the rumors too.
Let’s go back to what I said earlier about me thinking differently than others my age. At this time in my life, I wanted to find the person I would spend forever with. I wanted to love someone and I wanted them to love me the same way. So while others were concentrated on “getting some,” I was focused on finding the one. That is why I was said to be “hopping from boy to boy.” I was eager to find the one who would love me unreservedly, but not many people recognized that.
So sophomore year came and went, filling my life with enemies and untrue rumors. Then, as I was beginning my junior year, I met someone who would forever change my life. We connected almost immediately and we began dating in October of 2015. He took care of me and always assured me that he would never do what any of the previous boys in my life had. I gave him my heart and my trust. I fell in love with him. I would tell all my friends about how perfect he was and how he made me want to change for the better. But then the worst thing imaginable happened. I developed anxiety and depression.
I believe half the reason for this was a medical condition I have called hypothyroidism. Side effects include depression, anxiety, and mood swings. So that’s great for relationships, right? Yeah, exactly.
But times became harder. I would cry hysterically and want to shut out the world. My poor boyfriend would have to watch me suffer. And the worst part of it all was that I didn’t know how he could help me. Sometimes I would need him to hold me and comfort me, while other times I couldn’t even stand him touching or looking at me. He learned, though. He spent months trying to figure out what I needed to feel better. Finally, we learned what it was. I just needed love. However, time went on and my mood swings and uncontrollable panic attacks took their toll on him. He finally left (I say “finally” because I think he should have left for his own good months earlier) after ten months of being with me.
Just as you could imagine, I did not take it well. I would cry myself to sleep for weeks, and had terrifying nightmares about him abandoning me. I would wake up in the middle of the night to dried tears on my cheeks. The thought of him broke my heart for months. Hearing his name would result in a painful heavy feeling in my stomach. Speaking his name burnt my lungs. Seeing pictures of him would make my eyes swell. It was like losing a part of me. And the worst part was knowing that he was better off without me even though I was not better off without him.
It was finally time for my last year of high school, and I couldn’t be more excited to leave. I planned to go through the motions until I had a diploma in my hand. That’s when I became friends with someone else. For the sake of this story, let’s call him Manbun. Those of you who know who I’m talking about are probably laughing hysterically about this choice of characterization.
But back to the story.
We had been classmates for as long as I can remember, but we were never really friends. We sat next to each other in freshman physical science and everyone told me we should date, but he was a jock, and I was still a gap-toothed loser. So I never tried anything with him. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a huge crush on him, though.
But senior year, we were given another chance, by fate or by God. We were both put into a creative writing class for our first semester. He was a super loud and outgoing type, and I was the opposite. Some would even go as far as to say he was the “bad boy” of our grade. He smoked, did drugs, and didn’t have the cleanest record at our school. But after a few weeks of getting to know each other, we connected. Our teacher partnered us up for a project and I, redeveloping a faint crush on him, flirted it up. He surprisingly reciprocated. Thus began the cycle of off-again, on-again, Meg and Manbun.
I fell in love with Manbun, I will admit, more than I loved the past boyfriend I had. We spent so much time together and he made me laugh so much more than anyone ever could. He was what I imagined my metaphorical “Prince Charming” to be like. He taught me how to love myself. I no longer hated myself or my appearance. I could finally look at myself in the mirror and smile. He worried about me and took care of me. On top of that, he would randomly play with my hair and rub my back for me. He wasn’t such a bad boy after all. Although he was great to me, some of our different morals got in the way of us maintaining a steady relationship. We ended in a terrible way, and to this day we rarely speak.
After we broke up, I could not look at myself the way I used to. I began pointing out every flaw I had. I would sit in front of a mirror for what seemed like forever, just to remind myself how hideous I am. I’d say to myself, “he didn’t love you because you’re ugly.” I couldn’t find any confidence within myself. I barely wanted to live.
Months have gone by since Manbun and I broke up, and I am slowly beginning to feel better about myself. A year has gone by since I lost the first boy I truly loved, and I no longer yearn for his return. Years have gone by since I was called a ginger, and I stopped dying my hair to hide from the truth. 18 years, 10 months, and 11 days have gone by since I began this wild journey, and not one single second of it is in vain.
My life is my story, and that is why I write. I share my story with others who may or may not know what I was or am going through. I encourage everyone to open up and find beauty within their struggles and triumphs.