Uncategorized, wellness

Wellness Wednesday: Bodies Alive

Today’s Wellness Wednesday is a little different than usual. While we’ll still be talking about the human body, it’s not in the way you may be expecting.

This Sunday I was at the Museum of Science in Boston/Cambridge (the museum is actually split between Boston and Cambridge) and I got to see the Body World exhibit and it was amazing!

I went to see Bodies: The Exhibition when I took anatomy in high school and now that I have taken two more years of anatomy I feel like my appreciation for the human body and traveling exhibitions has only grown.

One thing that really amazed me about Body Worlds was that it was educational beyond just the bodies. They had rooms dedicated to different body systems and would include education about how to remain healthy through diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices in each section. As someone who just learned about workplace ergonomics one of my favorite parts was the video about adjusting posture while sitting at a desk and a model about proper lifting technique. I may be on summer break but it was a great way to review some key concepts from last semester!

A section on cataracts. I had no idea Monet and Degas both had problems with vision and it was interesting to see what they saw vs what they painted.

My favorite part of the exhibit besides being able to look at the bodies was the section on centenarians. Body Worlds featured a few people who have made it to 100 years old and had them speak about their lifestyles. While diet and exercise was mentioned, they centenarians also talked about their role in society. One woman discussed how important it was for her to be able to still be an active participant in her life, she still volunteers in her community and spends time with friends and family.

I had to feature this one on the blog! Mobility is medicine!

When you leave Body Worlds you can pick up a chip and pledge to make a lifestyle choice that will improve your quality of life. I was happy to see “exercise more” had a ton of pledges but since mental health is just as important as physical health, I pledged to stress less.

“Eat less sugar” was another popular one and if we weren’t in peak ice cream eating season I may have put my chip there…

But let’s get to the good stuff! The bodies! They are preserved through a process called Plastination and were absolutely amazing. It’s no secret I am a huge nerd when it comes to this kind of thing but they were breathtaking. You could see each of the muscles so clearly and the bodies were posed in such interesting ways, I could go on and on.

It wasn’t just the bodies that were on display, they had the nervous system and plastic replicas of the heart and all of it’s arteries and veins. The nervous system had to be the wildest thing for me because I was able to just stare at the brachial plexus I had learned about in class and look at in our cadavers but there it was laid out in front of me connected to all of the other nerves in the body.

I know not everyone may want to actually see the bodies so here is your warning: the donors are below!!

Could you imagine being the person to set this up?

That’s it for my review of the exhibit itself but I encourage you to keep reading below and learn about how these companies get the bodies. It’s an important discussion to have so let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Something important to keep in mind when looking into these types of exhibits: where the donors come from. In our anatomy class our professor mentioned that while these traveling exhibits are informative they don’t always get their bodies in the right way. Body Worlds’ donors come from people in Europe and the United States who have agreed to donating their bodies to medical students and the general public to learn from. Body Worlds is even stricter with their donations now after discovering some of their bodies were coming from Russian human trafficking rings. In an interview with NPR the founder of Body Worlds said, “What I certainly never use for public exhibitions are unclaimed bodies, prisoners, bodies from mental institutions and executed prisoners.” The key phrase here is public exhibitions. The founder of Body Worlds has admitted to selling unclaimed bodies for educational purposes. These bodies come from Chinese medical schools and have no written confirmation.

Bodies: The Exhibition is another story. The spokesperson for the company openly admits the bodies on display are unclaimed. The founder of this traveling cadaver company used to work with Body Worlds and then created a rival. This is the exhibition I had seen in high school and while it was one of my favorite field trips I had ever gone on, knowing that these bodies may not have been acquired in an ethical manner makes me cringe. But at least they are honest about not being able to verify who was donated to them.

So what can you do with this information? Weigh the options. Both companies have some shady deals going on, whether it’s the bodies they display publicly or sell to medical schools they both obtain bodies in an unethical way. If this is something you are really interested in seeing you just have to decide if you’d rather look at the bodies that were donated or if you are okay with seeing bodies who were not willing but the company is upfront about the means of getting them.

All of the information on donors to Body Worlds and Bodies: The Exhibition came from two NPR articles from 2006. While it is older information, this is the most trustworthy website I could come across.

I’m a huge quote person so I loved that there were quotes about life scattered throughout Body Worlds.

That’s all I have for you this Wednesday! Stay tuned next week for a more traditional Wellness Wednesday post!

xox,

Marissa

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Friday Faves, Travel

A Boston Fourth

Enjoy these cute/cringey throwback pictures!

Here’s my quick guide on the Fourth of July in Boston! If you need any food recommendations I have plenty so just drop a comment!

Hope you’re all gearing up for a great day!

xox,

Marissa

College, Uncategorized

Heels and a Blind Date

Before I went back to school I took a solo trip to Boston so I just wanted to let you guys know what I was up to!

So I took the commuter rail in and got off at the Jersey Street stop.

Then I headed to the Museum of Fine Arts. My main goal of the day was to get Lilly Pulitzer shoes for my graduation but I love exploring museums so that was my first stop.

My view on the way to the museum.

The MFA was amazing! They had so many interesting exhibits but my favorite was all of the Egyptian stuff. I started and ended my day in two different Egyptian sections. Looking back on it, I probably should have grabbed a map but I had so much fun just wandering around.

The most amazing thing about the way they set up the museum is how immersive it is. The ancient worlds sections looked like you were in an Egyptian tomb, you were able to step in a replica at one point, and they also had a reconstructed old New England house!

This is the third building in Boston I’ve been in that connects new and old wings with glass.

I also was able to stop by the Ansel Adams exhibit which was so amazing! I discovered one artist who takes pictures in reflections but I am completely blanking on their name!

After spending four hours wandering the hallways I still had so many different sections to explore but I set my sights on my new shoes.

Next stop: Newbury Street

If you haven’t been to Newbury Street you are missing out. It’s a bunch of stores that I hope one day I can afford all on one street! My first stop was to pick up these shoes that I cannot wait to show you!

Next I went to Trident Books on the complete other side of Newbury Street to pick up a book from their “Blind Date” with a Book section. This is a really interesting concept where they cover the books and draw pictures on the cover so that you have no idea what you are getting yourself into.

At this point in the day I was craving some pizza. Leaving Newbury Street behind me I headed to Eataly, and ate at their Pasta&Pizza restaurant. It was such a good margherita pizza! And I couldn’t go to Eataly without getting dessert so I got this amazing trio dessert!

After that it was time to catch the train and head home! I hope you enjoyed reading about another day in Boston, there’s so much to do there that every day is a new adventure!

xox,

Marissa

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

A Day at the Ballet

This purse is from Charming Charlie last year! I bought it right after Christmas for $10! I haven’t been able to find a similar one to link but here are Dooney & Bourke ones to drool over in the meantime.

A recent Christmas tradition my family has started is going to the Boston Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”. It’s such a fun night getting all dressed up to go see the ballet. I grew up dancing so “The Nutcracker” has a special place in my heart, just hearing the music is so exciting.

Our new tradition started my freshman year of college and I remember seeing a poster they had in the lobby showing the amount of physical therapy the dancers get in a season. I had never realized that dance companies have their own physical therapists and I remember thinking, “Only five and a half years until that can be me!” Now, I’m two semesters into physical therapy school and there’s only two and a half years until that can be me!

Outfit details are coming soon in a new blog series I have planned!

As for the ballet itself, no matter how many times I see it I am blown away by the beauty of it. From the snow falling among the dancers at the end of Act I, to the way the skirts flow in Flowers, to the jumps in Russian, and of course the Sugar Plum Fairy, the show is absolutely mesmerizing (although, after watching it for 15 years I know my grandmothers disagree!).

This was my first year getting champagne at the show and may I just say it was the biggest disappointment. I should have known, I’m not a fan of mimosas either (and it’s not the orange juice that’s the problem).

No day in Boston is complete without stopping for food! We went to Quincy Market to grab something to eat and I had to crab a piece of cookie cake from Maggie’s!

Let me know your favorite Christmas traditions in the comments!

xox,

Marissa

Travel, Uncategorized

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

A few weeks ago (before I sold my soul to PT school), I took the train to Boston to enjoy one of my last days of freedom. I had never been there before but I had seen a photo of the courtyard on Pinterest and it was so beautiful! I have been to Boston sooo many times I found it hard to believe I had never been there before.

I had learned about the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in high school because there was a book (“The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft” by Ulrich Boser) on one of my summer reading lists. While I had picked a different book, every once in awhile I would try to remember the name of the museum that had paintings stolen that had never been recovered (more to come on that later). Then three years later I accidentally stumbled in when I found out college students can get in for $5.

Without further adieu here are some of the highlights of my trip

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Had to stop for Blackbird Doughnuts before I headed over! This time I tried the java berry donut, 10/10 would recommend.

After wandering through some of the Emerald Necklace parks I started heading toward the museum.

 

 

Following the death of her husband, Isabella Stewart Gardner opened a museum to showcase her extensive collection of art. She lived up on the fourth floor of this museum and in my opinion it looks like a regular building, so when I was looking around to figure out where I was supposed to going I completely missed it the first time.

 

 

After looking at a collection in the New Wing, I was confronted with the view I had come to see. Gardner’s “Inside Out” Venetian palazzo. I spent plenty of time just taking in that view as well as watching some people restoring a piece of the collection.

Pictured below is a piece of the woman herself. This picture was actually pretty controversial when it first appeared in the museum. IMG_9549

Two of the themes that I was fascinated by, and it appeared that Gardner was also fascinated by were the dancers and the Christian pieces. I forget if this was a Degas painting but there were a few of Degas’s dancers scattered throughout the museum. They also had quite a few religious pieces and the stain glass absolutely mesmerized me.

 

 

The science lover in me really appreciated this one…IMG_9543

Then, I spent sometime in the garden outside reading. (Go take a look at my review of Summer at Tiffany)

 

 

Here’s the showstopper…

IMG_9551This is one of the thirteen empty frames in the museum. Once a piece entered Gardner’s collection it stayed there. Keeping with her tradition of collecting art, the museum keeps the frames as placeholders.

And just one more picture of the courtyard!
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If you are ever in Boston and looking for something to do, I would definitely head here! It’s such a beautiful place and it’s easy to spend hours wandering through the rooms. I want to keep some element of surprise so I didn’t talk about the layout of the museum but it’s very intriguing!

xox,

Marissa

P. S. If you want to check out my Pinterest, you can find it here!

 

Lifestyle

Forever Young: Chocolate Buffet

If you’re looking for a fun thing to do some Saturday morning in Boston go check out the Langham’s Chocolate Buffet. It runs every year from September to June and it has become a “welcome back from school” tradition for my mom and I. The first time we went was after I got back from my freshman year of college and we just keep going back!

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Here’s a photo of my first plate! For my first round I grabbed a donut from the donut wall, cake pops, and chocolate mousse.  I also took a mug of the chocolate soup- my favorite thing they bring back year after year!

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For the next round I stopped by the crepe station and dipped some fruit and cake in the chocolate fountain.

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This is another one of my favorite chocolate buffet staples! It may seem like you can get cookies and milk anywhere but drinking out of the bottle is so much fun!

Here are some of the desserts that match the theme: their version of Pop-tarts and and cereal and milk.

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If you’re more of an ice cream person check out this topping bar!

If you love dessert I would definitely recommend stopping by the chocolate bar next time you’re in Boston!  Let me know what your favorite dessert is in the comments below!

xox,

Marissa

Lifestyle

The Women’s March

IMG_2903On January 20th I attended my second Women’s March. Last year when I heard our school was sending a bus to Boston to attend the Women’s March I was hesitant. I was not sure I should even be going, I was still questioning whether or not I even considered calling myself a feminist. I mean I have never gone out in public without a bra let alone burn one…

At the end of my freshman year I joined a group at school called SEED, Scientists Embracing Equality and Diversity. That club really opened my eyes that the world isn’t fair. One of the things that has stuck with me from one of our first club meetings (I joined SEED in it’s first year) is that even though there seem to be more women working as physical therapists men still hold more of the higher positions. As a white girl that’s fortunate enough to attend a private college I had never thought I would have limitations in what I chose to do.

So fast forward to sophomore year and the election of Donald Trump. It’s safe to say a lot of the members of SEED were disappointed in this election, with his comments about women and his disregard for global warming I started to realize that when you believe in something you need to voice your opinion. So when I heard about the bus going into Boston I thought it would be such a cool experience. But I was also terrified. I saw clips on the news of police in riot gear and I freaked out. But I mean how often do you get the opportunity to be surrounded by so many people who want to lift each other up. So I put myself on the waitlist and I was lucky enough to get in.

Here are some of my favorite signs from Boston:

I can honestly tell you that is a day I will remember for the rest of my life. Last year was my year of trying new things and I am so glad I went. It’s so powerful to be around women who support each other and want each other to succeed. I learned that I need to use my voice to stick up not only myself but also for other women (and men!) who face more discrimination than I will. The American Dream should be available to everyone. There are three memories that stick out to me about that day. One was when we were at the rally in the morning. They had a group of Native American women sing the National Anthem in their native language and it was so beautiful. The next is more of a funny one. After realizing we would not even get to walk because so many people showed up at this rally, my friends and I hopped a fence. Talk about women and men lifting up women, there’s no way I could have gotten over that fence without my friends, talk about a metaphor. And the third was just how breathtaking it all was. I remember I just walked marveling at all the pink and posters around me. It was indescribable.

Here’s a picture of me at the Boston march:

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So fast forward to this year. One of my best friends mentioned how a girl I went with last year was getting a group together to go to Northampton. I immediately texted her that I was in. As exciting as it is to go to a march, it was a little disappointing that we had to go again. It was just 364 days ago that we were marching and although things are changing it’s not soon enough. Two months after the Boston march a Canadian judge in a rape trial asked a woman why she couldn’t her knees together (full article). But then we have trials like Larry Nasser which gives you hope things are changing. If you want to see a strong woman in action watch this excerpt of Aly Raisman’s speech at his sentencing.

I felt more comfortable going this time. I have gotten over my apprehension about calling myself a feminist although I do not go around telling everyone I am one 😉

The night before we all met at one girl’s apartment and made signs. I borrowed one of my best friend’s shirts because I left the one feminist shirt I had at home. It’s crazy how much I had grown in one year, I had boarded the bus a year prior with no idea what to expect, no sign, and no feminist gear. This year I had a sign (with words on the front and back so everyone can see what I have to say!), a shirt, and an even larger group of friends to go with.

This year’s was definitely more low-key but I still had an amazing time. There were less people but it was still so crowded you could barely move at one point.

Here are some of my favorite signs from Northampton:

First of all I love the sign about introverts because as an introvert I totally agree!

Can we talk about how cute this girl is?! And her sister had a sign with the Star Wars logo for the rebellion that said Rebel.

IMG_8059One of my favorite things that was said at this march was not to make fun of Donald Trump’s physical appearance. A disabilities advocate was speaking and said you can make fun of his character all you want but when you talk about his tiny hands you are hurting people with disabilities. I think one of the reasons that I had originally been hesitant to call myself a feminist was because they seem very polar. You will not catch me saying #notmypresident because guess what he is. I did not vote for him but he is still in charge of the country I live in. I am not happy that he is but he is.  So I really admired that someone brought that point up because I think it is important to remember. Spewing hate is only making more walls when we should be building bridges.

While we are on the topic of building bridges let me tell you about Maddie, the girl I went with last year and this year. She is the definition of a strong woman and a self proclaimed nasty woman. She was the president of our school’s Rachel’s Challenge group before I took over (ahhhhhh!) and she is always starting chain reactions. She made an extra sign to bring to Northampton so that she could give it to someone that did not have one. She knows how to lift people up, emotionally and over fences. And here is our transformation picture.

Last but not least I wanted to tell you about my sign. The front has become my feminist mantra after it was behind me in my Boston picture. That photo was not staged it just happened that way. The back said “If not now when?”. A tribute to one of my favorite Christian songs (Do Something by Matthew West) that says, “If not us then who, if not me and you, right now. It’s time for us to do something. If not now then when, will we see and end to all this pain. It’s not enough to do nothing it’s time for us to do something.”

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That was way longer than I expected and I think it is the longest thing I have ever written on here but I hope you liked it! And remember we were all given a voice, to stand up for ourselves and others.

xox,

Marissa

Uncategorized, wellness

Wellness Wednesday: The Winter Warrior Challenge

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This Wellness Wednesday is a running challenge!

My mom has been doing it for five or six years and this is my third year participating. If you know that I ran cross country and track in high school you may be asking why haven’t you done it for five or six years as well? Because this is not just any running challenge, you must run every day for the month of January, outside. In high school if it was too cold we just would stay inside so I was not about to do a sprinting workout just to run three more miles outside after.

This challenge is put on by Marathon Sports and there are three different levels. If you are running five or more miles a day, you are in the gold category. If you do not want to commit to five miles every day but do at least three you are silver. I am doing silver this year! And then if you are out there for at least one mile a day you are bronze. I have also done bronze.

And if running isn’t your thing you can walk, limp, or crawl. Those are all options in the run log when you go to track your mileage. It does not matter how fast you go as long as you are out there.

In the wise words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

I’m not sure what the reasoning behind having all of those options is but I think they may be tied to this quote. Obama included this quote in his speech after the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013.

I’m not going to lie to you, some days it really sucks to get out and walk in the cold. And it is even harder when you’re out there walking in a bomb cyclone. There are so many ways to get miles in, for example, some days I purposely park in the farthest spot. Or when friends offer me a ride back to the dorms after our night class I tell them I need to walk (it’s only like half a mile away!).

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Here is my car in the last possible spot when I ran to Kohl’s to get towels!

So what should you do if you want to get your run streak on? Start today! There is no better time than the present. Look around and  see if there are any running clubs near you, the Marathon Sports near me runs every Tuesday night. There is also a running club near my house called Central Mass Striders, they run a 5k every Saturday and during the summer they do track/speed workouts one night a week. If you can’t find anyone to do with you, just look at your calendar and circle the day 31 days from now and then you can write the miles in your agenda!

Happy running! Or walking, limping, or crawling!

xoxo,

Marissa

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

NYE

My parents have made it a tradition that when I come home from the fall semester we go to see the Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker. This year we tied it into our New Years Eve plans.

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We stayed at the Park Plaza (I’m a lucky girl!) and because of the weather we figured we would hang out in the lobby for the balloon drop at midnight.

We went to their last showing of the year and it was magical! There is something special about the final performance and I would definitely recommend going!

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Next year I’ll be able to get a glass of champagne!

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Outfit details:

Earrings: mine are from Charming Charlie! I got them for $1.20 because my local store went out of business. My heart is sad but my wallet is doing the happy dance. Here is a really similar set!

Dress: from the Dressember collection at Elegantees. The Dressember collection is not on their website anymore but here is a gorgeous black dress! I don’t know how this dress fits but the one I got is a little short and I have to wear leggings underneath it instead of tights. I’m 5’8″ and I tried to size up to a small but it’s still short.

Vest: from Old Navy! Here is the link!

Go to my Instagram (sunflowersandseersucker) to see another outfit pic!

After dinner we went back to the hotel to figure out a dinner plan. We ended up going to P.F. Chang’s and from there we headed to Copley to see the ice sculptures and fireworks. As I mentioned earlier we were planning on staying at the hotel but there was definitely a reason we were meant to be at Copley.

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The fireworks! Counting down to the New Year was so exciting! You could feel the energy and the fireworks were amazing! I even made it on NECN Boston! I was behind one of the news anchors while she was filming and I’ll post the video if I ever find it!

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Look at my little BitMoji partying it up!

Comment your favorite New Year’s Eve memory below!

xox,

Marissa

Uncategorized, What I'm Reading

What I’m Reading: The Art of Racing in the Rain

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At the beginning of all of my posts from now until December 31st I will be including a link to my Dressember fundraising page. I will also be sharing facts about modern day slavery. Today’s fact: It’s not all men, in 30 % of countries that reporter the gender of traffickers it is women who make up the larger portion of traffickers (information found here).

Here is the link to my fundraising page if you want to join me in helping exploited women experience freedom.  Part of Dressember is just starting the conversation, but another large part is raising money to help Dressember’s partners carry out rescue missions. Just $200 dollars helps with the immediate needs a woman has when she leaves a trafficking situation. Whether or not you make a donation, start the conversation!

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Just a little background on how I got this book first because I think it is the coolest story ever. My family and I were walking around Boston and I saw a Little Free Library. I had seen one before while I was driving but I had never got the chance to visit one so I had to stop this time. It was so adorable and it was modeled after the children’s book Make Way for Ducklings. You can see the full library here.

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Now I am on a quest to start a Little Free Library but that’s a story for a later day.

Now onto the book! There are a lot of lessons we can learn from dogs and Garth Stein lays them out for you in The Art of Racing in the Rain. 

This book takes you through Enzo’s life with his family. I loved how the book is told through Enzo’s point of view. He tells it like it is and although sometimes it was too honest for my liking, I still loved it.

I do not cry at books or movies but if I did, I definitely would have shed some tears at the end. If you are looking for a feel good story this is it. The ending of this book had one of the most satisfying endings I have ever read.

While there are certain parts of the plot that seem unnecessary, the thoughtfulness in the storyline more than make up for it.

Here is my favorite quote from the book: “You should shine with all of your light all the time.”

Happy reading!

xox,

Marissa