First Times: Hostel

Hey I’m back! Also, I started writing this back in May and never posted it!

I recently took a short little trip to Philadelphia with my best friend (shout out to Emily) and chose to stay in a hostel to save money, but it ended up being so much more than just a budget friendly option! Every time I talk about my trip to Philly with someone I mention how awesome staying in the hostel was, so I decided I should just write a blog about it.

I think hostels have a bad reputation amongst Americans. They find them “scary.” There’s the horror movie (which I’ve never seen so I can’t comment on) and then there’s the factor of sharing a room with strangers. So I’m American, why did I choose a hostel aside from it being cheap? I watch a lot of travel vlogs where people stay in hostels and have an amazing time! Those vlogs made me want to experience hostel life myself, and I was definitely not disappointed.

The hostel Emily and I stayed in offered a variety of different options for accommodations including separate dorms for males and females, as well as coed, in a variety of sizes, 6-bed, 10-bed, and 18-bed. They also offered private and semi-private rooms. Ultimately we chose the 6-bed female dorm. When we arrived on Monday night we were the first to move in to the room and were hopeful that we might have it to ourselves. Ultimately, our room did fill up that night, but I couldn’t be happier that it did! We instantly got along with two of the other four girls in our room, Australian Izzy and British Izzy! The two of them stayed in Philly for the same amount of time as Emily and I did, so we were able to share our days’ experiences with each other. We recommended activities and locations to them and vise versa. (I also made friends with a Korean girl named Moon who moved into our room after Emily left. More on that later.)

In addition to making friends with roommates, there are always opportunities to meet other people in the hostel. There were couches, a pool table, instruments to play, a full kitchen, and even a movie room. Since our days were so packed with activities, Emily and I didn’t spend much time in the communal hostel areas, but had we taken a more relaxed vacation it would’ve been a nice way to chill and meet other people. The hostel also offered a free group activity every night. Our first night in Philly, we went on a ghost tour of the city. We were probably the only two Americans on the tour that night which I found to be really fun! The next two nights, Tuesday and Wednesday, the hostel hosted a movie night and a spaghetti dinner. (Emily and I missed these activities due to our personal plans so I can’t comment on them.)

Thursday night the hostel took guests on a pub crawl. I hesitated on whether or not to go since Emily left Thursday afternoon and I was alone. Immediately after Emily left, I took a quick nap in the room. (We walked a lot and I was exhausted.) When I woke up from my nap, Moon was moving into the room in Emily’s place. After talking about our trips and realizing we would both be on our own for dinner, Moon and I decided to eat together that night. We got to know each other over the meal and decided to go on the hostel pub crawl together. I’m so glad we did, because I met some more amazing people! Two Americans: Dan and Chris, one Swedish guy: Deni, a French girl: Morgaine, and three British guys: Dominic, Iain, and Nash. What I’m trying to say by listing all of my new friends I made in Philadelphia is that hostels are an amazing place to meet people from all over the world!

Okay, so they’re a great place to meet new people, but are they safe and clean? In my experience, extremely! (I have only stayed in one hostel, but it was exceptional!) Upon check-in we received key-cards similar to those that get you into college dorms. The key-card was used to get into the stairwell, our room, and the bathroom. It also opened the hostel entrance late at night. Only guests and employees were able to enter these areas of the hostel. I felt incredibly safe! They also provided lockers in the rooms to keep your belongings in. I ended up not even using the locker because I kept my valuables with me at all times, but none of my things were touched by any of the others girls at any time. As far as cleanliness, the bathrooms and showers felt much more sanitary than those in my college dorm. We were also provided with clean linens upon check-in to make our bed with and turned them in to be washed when we checked out. All in all, the hostel felt very clean and safe!

I could go on and on about why you should consider staying in a hostel on your travels! I actually preferred it to staying in a hotel room and will stay hostels every time I travel from now on. Not only is it much cheaper, it’s so much more fun! If you’re a single twenty-something, I HIGHLY recommend it! (You know, just in case you hadn’t figured that out yet.) My ONE negative is that it can be noisy at night with people staying up late, but I live next door to a frat house so I wasn’t phased by it. They also provide ear plugs at the front desk if that’s a concern for you.

If you’re travelling to Philly, do yourself a favor and book a room and Apple Hostels. Here’s the website:

(This blog was NOT sponsored.)



Why I Hate Facebook

I didn’t even want to join Facebook in the first place! I remember when I first created my account way back in 2006 when you still needed an invite to join. One of my friends sent me an invite and I told her, “Why should I make a profile? I have a MySpace!” Well I eventually figured why not and created an account. As more and more of my friends joined, I grew to like it more. It was easier than Myspace, and didn’t have all of those annoying themes! In the last ten years though, I’ve begun to hate it more and more.

It seems as if everyone I know is on Facebook. My friends, co-workers, and family all have Facebook accounts. Sure, its nice to be so connected to people all the time. It’s easy to share photos, funny videos, and good life moments, but what’s also easy to share is the bad moments in life. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to ask for prayer from your friends when you’re having a rough time, and I know that Facebook is a great way to ask for mass prayer because everyone you know has it, but maybe its better to do so in private.

As you may or may not know, my Grandma passed away last week. In the last few months her health was deteriorating and just the week before we’d had to move her into a nursing home. What does this have to do with Facebook? Well, I happened to be in California for a friend’s wedding that weekend and was flying home the Sunday my Grandma passed away. My flight had been delayed an hour so to kill time I decided to scroll through my news feed. As I was scrolling, I came across a few posts that indicated my Grandma was doing poorly. I knew her health had been declining so it wasn’t much of a surprise, but after reading some comments, I came to the conclusion that she had died. I immediately got up from my seat, walked to the bathroom and had a good cry by myself in the stall. I knew my mom was waiting until I got back to St. Louis to tell me. When I finally landed in St. Louis one and a half hours late, my dad picked me up and told me the news.

It wasn’t until the next day when talking to my mom that I found out I had cried prematurely. I had read those Facebook posts and comments about an hour before my Grandma actually passed away. If people could just keep things to themselves, I never would have had to cry at LAX alone in a bathroom stall. That is one of many reasons why I hate Facebook. It makes people think that we always have to share everything with everyone just because we can, but some things are meant to be private.

Facebook has made people in general both more and less personal at the same time. On one side, we’re more personal in the way that we share every little detail with practically everyone we know! I’m sorry, but that random classmate from high school that you’re only friends with because you feel bad deleting them does not need to know what you ate that day! Some things are definitely worth sharing, I get that. I often share my good news on social media, but it has made us less personal at the same time. When we share news on Facebook, good or bad, that’s it. We don’t share it in person, over the phone or Skype, or even text! Sharing news with friends and family personally connects people. It creates more of a bond. I can personally say that I feel much closer to those people who call or text me personally with news than the people I only receive it from via social media. Facebook is disconnecting people from each other.

This is obviously all my opinion, you don’t have to agree, and I know I’m somewhat of a hypocrite. If I hate it so much, why don’t I just delete my account? It’s the only way I keep in touch with some of my distant friends and family. I’ve considered it before, but then I worry that if I do, I’ll lose touch with a lot of people. I know, if I lose touch with them they weren’t really my good friends to begin with, blah blah blah, but isn’t that part of the point I’m making here? Without Facebook, I’m not connected to people. If you’re reading this and we’re friends, don’t feel bad asking for my phone number or Skype name because I’d much rather text or call you than Facebook you! I miss the age of  deep personal relationships rather than superficial ones.

Pink vs. Blue: Which Restroom Should I Use?

Recently there’s been a lot of controversy as to which restroom trans people should use. There are really only two sides to this argument. One being that people should use the restroom of the gender they were anatomically born as; the other being that they should use the restroom of the gender that they identify as. I’m on the third side of this argument. Yes, I meant to say third. Let me explain why.

In my opinion, there’s really no sense in having separate restrooms for males and females. With the exception of urinals in the men’s room, when you walk into a public restroom you don’t see people taking a leak out in the open. Each toilet is in its own private stall with a locking door. So why in the world do we need our own gender specific bathrooms? I’ve come up with a couple of reasons I can think of.

  1. Men don’t want to wait for women- I get it. There’s often a line for the women’s room, and men don’t have this problem. There have been many times when I’ve felt the urge to just use the men’s room so that I didn’t have to wait in a line, and I have no reservations using the men’s room if they’re the single bathrooms like what you often find at gas stations. (Single bathrooms being gender specific is just ridiculous anyway!)
    Solution: There could be urinal stalls. Women can’t use urinals anyway, so the men are set if they just have to pee, but really they could just have some patience.
  2. Sexual predators- It seems like a lot of people think that all men turn into sexual predators when they walk into a woman’s restroom. It’s a bit of an exaggeration, but apparently it’s a real concern of some people.
    Solution: A solution is not needed. The idea that this would be an issue is absurd! Do these people not realize that sexual predators exist outside of public restrooms? Do they not realize that this could happen without the mixing of genders?
  3. Women want their privacy- We all know that women go to the bathroom in groups. If you didn’t know, it’s often to gossip about men. If there are men and women in the same bathroom, us women won’t be able to gossip. Another way that women, and probably men too, like privacy is that we don’t like to take a dump with the other gender, or really anyone, around.
    Solution: Get over it!

What I’m really saying here is that if we eliminate gender specific restrooms, which serve no purpose other than segregation, then we eliminate the controversy over which bathroom trans people should use. Yes, I know it won’t happen overnight, but new establishments could, and should, adopt the idea of a co-ed restroom situation. Sure it’ll also create controversy at first, but eventually people will get over it and it’ll be the norm!

Side note: If you’re curious about my actual stance, I believe that people should use the restroom of the gender that they identify as.

Controversial T-Shirts and Over-Sensitive People

I recently watched this video:

You might be wondering why I’d watch this video in the first place. The answer is simple; I subscribe to this YouTube channel. The channel posts videos featuring two regular hosts, John Iadarola and Hannah Cranston, discuss their opinions on different topics. Some of the topics are serious, while others are all in fun. This particular video features Hannah Cranston along with a guest co-host, but the premise is still the same.

If you didn’t go ahead and watch the video, the two hosts are discussing a t-shirt that was recently released in, and soon after pulled from, Forever 21 stores. The t-shirt was a part of their men’s line. (I didn’t even know that Forever 21 sold men’s clothing in the first place.) Here’s a photo of it:

As you can see in the photo, it’s a pretty simple white shirt with the phrase, “Don’t say maybe if you want to say no” printed on it. Apparently a lot of people found this t-shirt offensive. They say that it “promotes rape culture,” but nowhere on this shirt do I see a reference to sex/rape of any kind. The idea that this promotes rape is totally implied. However, enough people complained that Forever 21 took action.

“Forever 21 strives to exemplify the highest ethical standards and takes feedback and product concerns very seriously,” the company said in a statement.

“With regards to the t-shirt in question, upon receiving feedback from our customers, we took immediate action to have it removed from our website. We sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by the product.” –

According to the video, I didn’t do my own research on this, Forever 21 did not actually remove the shirt from their website but rather listed it as sold out so now, as Hannah Cranston pointed out, “It’s a popular shirt promoting rape.” This is another issue in and of itself, and one that I will not get into.

Here’s my opinion on the matter. I don’t see how this t-shirt in any way promotes rape, unless you are purely assuming that it is in fact referring to sex, and as a good friend of mine says, “Assumptions are like armpits and butt holes. They stink!” That refers to this too. Let’s say you don’t assume that this particular t-shirt refers to sex. What is it referring to then? Personally, I think that it’s trying to relay a positive message. In our culture it’s almost taboo to tell someone no. At work and in our personal lives we feel pressured to always say yes. Whether its taking on extra work at your job when you’re already stressed out or going out with friends when what your body really needs is rest, it can be hard to tell someone no. Maybe is our cop-out answer. If your friend asks you to go out Saturday night and you want to say no, you’re likely to say, “Maybe, I’ll have to check my schedule,” and later give her an excuse about being busy or forgetting instead of using the word no. I think the t-shirt is empowering people, men and women alike, to not feel guilty for using that two letter word.

Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I think people got way over-sensitive about a shirt. If it in some way actually insinuated that it was referring to sex, sure I’d understand the controversy, but it doesn’t. I can honestly tell you that I think people were upset about this because in this day in age we’re always looking for something to offend us so we can complain about it. I’d almost bet you that more than half of those who complained to Forever 21 wouldn’t have if someone hadn’t pointed out to them that this could be referring to sex, but because we can’t think for ourselves anymore (an entirely different problem that maybe I’ll address in a later blog), a bunch of people jumped on a bandwagon with someone else.  So if you didn’t get anything else out of this blog, at least take away this; remember to think for yourself! You don’t have to agree with me. You don’t have to agree with your family. You don’t have to agree with the media, and you certainly don’t have to agree with the general public! Get educated and make your own opinions!

Thoughts on “Parody of Our Modern Church Service”

(I wish I could’ve come up with a more catchy title here, but alas, I’m not very creative.)
In my very first post here(Why?), I mentioned that part of the reason I was inspired to start a blog in the first place was because of a video I watched. The comments that had been made on this video angered me and I really wanted to share all of my thoughts on the matter. So here I am to write a no holds barred blog about it. You’re probably wondering what the video was that got me so worked up, so I’ll post a link just for you! You can choose whether or not to watch it before reading, but I would suggest that you do, and maybe read some of the comments that come along with it.
You Can Watch the Video Here
(I re-watched the video again, and now I’m not as mad at it, but I will try to remember the things that got me the first time.)

Now before you get all up in arms about it, I do recognize the point this video is trying to make, and that’s all fine and dandy, but I want to focus on what I didn’t like about it. Keep in mind that these are purely my opinions.

#1- It seems like whoever made this video is parodying their own church. It seems strange to me to joke about your own service in this way. Don’t you want the members of the church to take the worship service seriously? If I was a member of this church, I don’t know that I could after watching this video.

#2- “Opening Song, you know its cool because you heard it on the radio.” If its a worship song based in scripture, who cares if its on the radio? In my own opinion, its easier for me to worship when I know the song. I’m not distracted by trying to figure out how it goes, or learning the words, I can just purely worship. And isn’t that what you’re supposed to do at church? Worship?

#3- “This is the song that everyone knows.” See #2.

#4- “My new song nobody knows. Nobody knows this song. I want you to learn this song.” I know its contradictory to what I said before, but there isn’t anything wrong with new songs, especially when its later in the service because you’re already in that worship mindset. It might be a scripturaly sound song by an artist that not many people know, but it might eventually become “the song that everyone knows.”
The “buy my record in the bookstore after the service” part is pretty sadly true for some churches though. Its a worship service, not a concert!

#5- “Feel free to give if you feel led, its between you and God, but we’re tracking it.” As far as I know, churches don’t track what you give to see who gives more. Some people claim it on there taxes and need proof of what they’ve given throughout the year. And if you don’t want the church to track it, put cash in the offering plate.

#6- “I have all the answers.” I’ve never once gotten that impression from any pastor!

#7- For all of the comments about how the pastor speaks, its called keeping your audience engaged. You don’t want the members of your church to zone out mid-sermon!

#8- “Long prayer so that the worship leader can get back on stage.” A prayer is a prayer. Yes, the worship leader/band often uses this time to come up, but that doesn’t make the prayer ingenuine.

Now that I’ve already covered a lot of stuff, let’s look at some comments that rubbed me the wrong way:
“They left out the two easels on each side painting ‘as the Holy Spirit leads.’ My question is why would the Holy Spirit put such distraction at the reading and or teaching of Gods word.” -Lynn M.
This isn’t the whole comment, but I didn’t really feel like addressing the whole thing in this blog. Having been a member of a church where we had an artist drawing during the service on occasion (shout out to Bobby!), I can say that it is in no way a distraction! If anything, it is supplemental. It really comes down to the way people learn. Some people are auditory learners who will remember everything from the sermon just by listening, but not everyone is the same. For visual learners, like myself, seeing artwork that portrays the message can really drive home a point.

“THIS is why I don’t like going to church anymore. Everything is SO predictable. They control the mood of the place with the songs and the way they present themselves. It’s all show BUSINESS- it is about revenue and trying to sell something. THIS is the formula for the ‘MEGA CHURCHES’. If I go at all, I go to a smaller church where I can walk up to the pastor when I see his car in the parking lot. This is nOT quite what Jesus had in mind. BUT HEY, like the old saying, IF ONE PERSON GETS SAVED, THEN IT IS ALL WORTH WHILE!!!” -Mike Hevalow
Let me just say that both contemporary and traditional churches are predictable. Each church uses a specific order of worship. In the past couple years serving on a ministry team, I experienced a lot of traditional churches. I can tell you from experience that traditional services are just as predictable, just in a different way.


And here’s a comment that I would agree with:
“While people of a certain age or background may prefer particular style other than that shown, there is nothing wrong with the modern style. It draws people in who would otherwise not attend, and it is for them, for the young or those with a ‘boring’ image of church meetings. It would also be ready to parody any other church style.” – Trevor Hawes
Exactly. Not everyone worships in the same way, and we shouldn’t judge others by what they prefer.

So that’s it. I know its kind of a long blog, sorry! I just want to say that I recognize this can be controversial and I’m purely stating my opinions here. Not saying I’m right or wrong, and maybe I took a parody video too seriously, but as always, feel free to share your opinions with me! I’d be interested to hear what you have to say on the topic!