Am I Ugly?

pretty3“Am I ugly?” – 3 seemingly innocent words that pack a huge punch.  Millions of adolescent girls, cialis usa cure and boys, cialis are posting this question on YouTube, prescription looking for affirmation from the outside world.  I find this extremely disheartening.  I’d ask “how did this happen”, but this has been rapidly in the making.

I watched another of my beloved TedTalks (I know, I’m obsessed ;) ) where Meaghan Ramsey discusses the impact of low body image and confidence on our adolescents.  Meaghan Ramsey is global director of the Dove Self-Esteem Project, and I must say, I absolutely love the Dove commercials because they show women in their purest forms – as themselves.

Our children and adolescents are facing an insurmountable battle right now – the battle between self-acceptance v. societal approval.  Adolescence is naturally an awkward period in a youngsters life: their bodies are changing, they’re caught between childhood and adulthood, they’re constantly wondering, “where do I fit in?”.  Being a teenager is more complex than ever before mostly due to the development of social media.  I’m not condemning social media as being negative – it’s allowed the world to connect on an even greater scale, but it does have it’s pitfalls.  pretty2One of the major pitfalls is the lack of privacy and constant reliance on the visual.  Adolescents now are being “trained” to value themselves based upon the number of likes and the quality of comments and selfies that present on their news feeds.  They’re viewing their physique as being the sole identifier of who they are.

How do we help our children and adolescents regain their confidence?

How do we show them they are beautiful, inside and out?

I’m extremely passionate about this issue and I hope to contribute to the dialogue with my future adolescent patients.  I think we need to have an open conversation with our adolescents:

Ask them how they view themselves: What do they think are their best attributes outside the physical?  What are their weaknesses, their strengths, and how can we make them stronger?

Openly ask them what they don’t like about themselves physically: Why? Offer reassurance that the world is filled with many different shapes and sizes; there is no correct appearance.

pretty 1Our children are the next generation.  We want them to be confident, successful, and empowered.  Let’s start the dialogue and help them win this battle.

I challenge all the adolescents out there: Look in the mirror and say everything you love about yourself.  Think about how that makes you feel and keep those ideals with you as you venture through.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Happy reading :)




Why We Need To Keep Chivalry Alive

Wonderful article by James Michael Sama on the importance of keeping chivalry alive. I’m a huge proponent of chilvary in a man, viagra buy tadalafil and yes, best cialis I am a feminist ;). Being chivalrous and a gentleman has become a lost art to the younger generations nowadays; often seen as unnecessary. I am a 28 year-old woman and I find nothing sexier than a man who knows how to be a gentleman.  It’s not centered around demeaning women or making them appear as weak; chivalry is about showing respect and romance towards your lady love.  Ladies, why wouldn’t we want respect and courtesy from men; after all, wouldn’t they want the same from us?  Chivalry is not only reserved for women, but demonstrates a man’s ability to show universal respect to men and women alike. It displays the depth of a man’s character.  Sometimes, a bit of the old fashioned is a good thing ;) :)

I would love to hear your thoughts. Happy reading :)

Use Your Words, Not Your Fists

domestic violence 5 October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, viagra buy viagra sale and with recent reports in the news about such cases, cialis generic this topic weighs heavily on my heart.  I finally found the words to express my thoughts.  In America, we inherently have a “victim blaming” mentality when it comes to accusations about domestic violence.  We don’t shout at them and say they did anything wrong, but we “blame” them for staying.  We look at them as weak for “not standing up for themselves” or taking the initiative to start a new life.  Men, women, and children are all potential victims to this fate and are entitled to the support and love they heavily need.  I’ll admit – I was part of that “blaming” culture because I never wanted to see any man, woman, or child in this position, but after my own incident, I realized why it’s hard to leave.

Let me tell you a story…

About 4.5 years ago I began dating a fellow classmate who seemed to fit my “type” (anyone who knows me, knows that I like my ‘cool nerds’).  He was highly intelligent, witty, charismatic, made me laugh immensely, romantic, came from a good family and appeared to be an overall “good guy”.  The first 3 months of our relationship was a typical honeymoon phase, but afterwards, he seemed different.  It started out small, like constantly harboring on the little things about me, making everything seem like it was my fault, and being downright verbally abusive at times.  I know at this point anyone would say to me, “Danielle, you should’ve left right then”, and you’re probably right, I should’ve but when you constantly hear such negativity and ridiculousness, unfortunately you start believing it – no matter how strong you are.  domestic violence 4This is how the abuse cycle starts…and then it gets bigger.  I remember the first time he got physical with me: we were coming back to my apartment after class and I said something loudly that he apparently didn’t like.  When we got into the elevator, he shoved me so hard that my back slammed into the bar and then repeatedly did it in the apartment. My fight-flight instincts kicked in to defend myself and I shoved him back. I was in complete, utter shock that a man would ever lay his hands on me.  A few weeks later he came home drunk from a party and because I didn’t want to have drunken sex he pulled a knife on me – luckily I grabbed it from him.  The last time he placed his hands on me was after an argument.  He punched my chest with the heel of his hand over both breasts – I took pictures that night to keep as evidence. What did I do to deserve such treatment?

I should have left, you’re right, but I was afraid.  I was afraid he would enact on his promises to hurt me.  I was far away from my family and didn’t know what to do.  I felt alone – but I wasn’t.  I’m very fortunate to have a perceptive mother who knows that when I go abnormally silent, something is wrong, and something was indeed very wrong.  I may not say it enough, but I am thankful for the family that I have.  Without their undying support at that time, I would not be where I am now :)   My mother flew to where I was to help me and after I got home, I slowly started to heal.  I blamed myself for awhile, thinking that I was smarter than that for being in that sort of relationship and not leaving.  I actively sought a domestic violence counselor and learned about how this pattern manifests. It’s all about control and ego; the feeling that they can mentally, emotionally, and physically dominate someone. I realized it wasn’t me, it was him. I was stronger than I thought.

domestic abuse1My story is minute compared to those who have endured domestic violence their whole lives, but I would like to say to them: You are stronger than you realize. You may feel helpless or think it’s “love”, but you’re worth a million times more than what you’re receiving.

Sometimes my friends ask me how we should stop domestic violence.  I don’t believe there is a clear answer to that question because there’s many factors to it, but here are some of my ideas:

Education – Education is power.  Part of the reason we blame victims is because we do not understand the psychology of abuse and nor do we believe that it’s entirely real.  It is very real.  It causes immense emotional, psychological, and physical damage to anyone it touches.

Cultural attitude – First, statistics show that minorities have a higher percentage of domestic violence.  There seems to be an ambivalence to it because “that’s just how we do things”, which isn’t necessarily correct.  Secondly, we assume the victim is usually a child or woman, but men are also victimized. They deserve the same support as any victim of domestic violence.

Support and compassion – We all have an inner circle that we rely on for emotional support. It’s extremely, extremely important for those that are abused to have a security network. Unfortunately being in a violent relationship is isolating; the abuser wants you to feel alone and places you in that position.  Family and friends: show them you’re there to give endless support, love, and advice. I understand if you may get frustrated with them for not leaving, but eventually they will, they will.  Never give up on them.

domestic violence 3Communication – This goes out to those currently facing domestic violence. I am naturally a private person myself, especially when it comes to my relationships. I like trying to resolve the issue myself before asking for advice, but sometimes this isn’t always the correct method. I know this is easier said than done, but try communicating with loved ones about what you’re experiencing. They won’t know unless you tell them.

The cycle of abuse often starts slow and unassuming, but it quickly progresses. It stops with you, with us. Let’s start today so no man, woman, or child has to face this alone.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Happy reading :)

Choosing Acceptance

hate2I was cruising TedTalks last night and came across Zak Ebrahim’s lecture about being the son of a well-known terrorist, discount viagra online El-Sayyid Nosair.  His father shot the leader of the Jewish Defense League on November 5, for sale 1990 and helped plan the World Trade Center bombings in 1993.  From the beginning, search Zak Ebrahim was taught to hate.  He was taught to hate and destroy anyone or anything that was not like him.  After his father’s incarceration and moving multiple times, he frequently became the victim of bullying and felt the “hatred” he was taught to embody.  He began to see that hatred was not the answer.

We may not be able to identify with everyone’s background, culture, or perspectives about the world, but we can all share one aspect: the feeling of being discriminated against at some point in our lives.  hate1Zak Ebrahim shines a light onto the prospect of peace and co-existence, which is something I know I’ve written about before on La Vida Dolce.  Given today’s geopolitical climate it may seem easier said than done, but there’s still hope.  If Zak Ebrahim could change his outlook at a young adolescent age, then so can we.  The question is, do we want to change?

I believe that everything is possible.  We just need to take baby steps to achieve our goals.  I realize the world will never co-exist perfectly, but isn’t it time to stop allowing hatred to dictate our future?

How will you start promoting “peace”?

I would love to hear your thoughts.  Happy reading :)


Zak Ebrahim’s TedTalk: 

My Hearts Other Half

soulmate3It all started with a generic introduction: “Hi there. I’m (insert name)”.  Something so simple and unannounced, viagra sale and yet you’re drawn to respond.  Why?  Hesitancy and skepticism take over for an instant, hospital but as the conversation continues, you share the same thoughts, values, and life perspective.  Is this person for real?  How did we share so much in such little time?  An unspoken attraction pulls you closer towards each other as the communication is endless and time seems to stand still.  It’s like you’re 2 pieces cut from the same cloth – you’ve met you’re soulmate.

To many of us, myself included, finding our soulmate is the pinnacle of romantic relationships.  We want to experience that “instant connection”, the feeling that we’ve known someone for years when we’ve only just briefly met.  Unfortunately, some of us may never experience that type of partnership because our life path has taken us in a different direction or we chose to settle down with life partners prior to finding our soulmate.  There is no correct path for our relationships to take; fore every encounter we make and situation we journey into has a lesson we must learn.

soulmate4I’ve been fortunate in my love life to have found my soulmate, and all I can say is that it’s truly amazing and beautiful to be a part of that duo.  There’s an intense, indescribale energy that surrounds the two of you.  No words can accurately describe this feeling, but I equate it to literally being “blown away” or “speechless” when near your partner.  That instant connection felt between you runs deep mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.  Your backgrounds, races, or religions may be different but there’s a shared perspective on life, love, and the world.  In my own experience, the aspect I found most wonderful was the sense of complete acceptance by my partner.  He knew my flaws, my ugly moments, my insecurities, and he still looked at me and said “you’re gorgeous in every way”.  I felt secure knowing that I could completely be Danielle and know that he would forever support my endeavors, as I will with him.  We’re each other’s precious gifts to be treasured always.

soulmates 1What the universe has in store for us, no one completely knows, but I do know one thing: the universe never ceases to amaze me.  It brings people into our lives when we least expect it; sometimes to experience pain and other times to witness the beauty of love.  I believe that we should never take any encounter lightly, we all have something to learn from those experiences.  To love and to be loved are just some of the precious gifts that we must hold dear.  So, here’s to finding our destiny, our soul mates – once you find them, never let them go.  May we all find and truly experience the power of love.

I would love to hear your thoughts.  Happy reading <3



Time to Smell the Pumpkin Latte

autumn-danceMmmmm…the smell of pumpkin latte is all around us, cialis buy capsule and you know what that means –   Autumn is just around the corner. :) September 23rd marked the official first day of fall and with it comes months-long hibernation, health spandex pants, and thinking about our new years resolution.

Let’s not hibernate any further my dear readers! Let’s be daring and bold! Why wait to start something new when the time is now?

I challenge everyone to not enter fall-winter hibernation and get out there and try something new. :) If you feel you’re life is fraught with complacency and the same old routine, try taking up a new hobby, learn something new, or simply do something you haven’t done in awhile.  autumn 2

I feel that my own life has become so routine and cyclic.  I’m an extroverted person and thrive on activity and vitality – I felt that 2 years of endless studying has kinda made me numb because I wasn’t doing anything else.  So, I recently decided to reignite my passion for salsa dancing and started Crossfit classes, and let me tell you, I’ve never felt better. :) There’s no better satisfaction than knowing that you’re in charge of your own happiness and life path.  Let’s make that happen!

I would love to hear about your new adventures.  Happy reading :)

Nerd Alert: Measuring Brainwaves Could Lead To An Objective Autism Diagnosis

Learning about autism has always been a passion of mine.  There’s been immense debate on its origins and reseachers have found that it’s multifactorial.  For those who do not know what autism is, sildenafil case  I shall describe it briefly: Autism is a neural developmental disorder characterized by repetitive movements (i.e. hand flapping) and impaired social interaction and communication.  The mechanism is still not completely understood but researchers have learned that the neural synapses in the brain fail to connect and organize, which results in regressed development around the age of 2.

Today I read an article in Popular Science about a study that used EEG wave patterns to possibly diagnose autism.  Electroencephalogram recordings (EEGs) measure wave patterns in the brain.  It’s a non-invasive method where a patient wears a skull cap that contains multiple electrodes and wires to measure brain activity.

Example of an EEG
Example of an EEG

Since autism is associated with faulty brain connectivity, this study makes complete sense to use in diagnosing! :) In fact, the researchers of this study found an inverse correlation between electrical brain activity and autism severity – meaning, the more severe the autism symptoms, the patient demonstrates weaker brain activity and slower incoming processing time.  This study is quite important for autism research.  It may not establish it’s origin, but it’ll allow for a more objective, faster diagnosis and the ability to categorize individuals along the autism spectrum.  Isn’t that exciting?! I think so! :)

Synopsis of brain activity in patient with Autism
Synopsis of brain activity in patient with Autism





Neural connectivity between autism patient and control.  Notice: the patient with autism shows less connections.
Neural connectivity between autism patient and control. Notice: the patient with autism shows less connections.








Typical electrical brain activity in individuals with autism
Typical electrical brain activity in individuals with autism







Check out the article: Measuring Brainwaves Could Lead to an Objective Autism Diagnosis

I would love to hear your thoughts. Happy reading :)

Let’s talk! about Mindfulness…

The proof is in the pudding! :) Try conquering your stressful life with mindful, cialis buy cialis relaxing techniques – sit in your room or chair, sovaldi close your eyes, generic inhale deeply through your nose/exhale slowly from your mouth, listen to the the rhythm of your breathing and heart. Do you notice anything different about your body? It’s amazing how your body slows down and centers itself – it’s an amazing machine that adjusts to many of lives situations. Be mindful, be present my dear readers!

I would love to hear your thoughts. Happy reading :)