I’m not one to pass on tags, but I’m happy to participate in the ones I find most interesting! For this installment of Music Monday, I will be shuffling my libraries as Alyssa did (if you haven’t already, check her out in last month’s Blogger of the Month). Yes, plural. My older music is on iTunes (which I haven’t touched in over six months) and my more recent musical endeavors are reflected through my Spotify library.

Here are my iTunes songs…

  1. “Shark Attack” by Senses Fail: Still a great song by my favorite band. Seen live March 2011, November 2013, October 2014, March 2015, October 2015 and March 2017.
  2. “One Hundred Sleepless Nights” by Pierce the Veil: I used to love this band. I remember my friend Tara gave me a mix CD of their album Selfish Machines freshman year of high school. Seen live multiple times until 2014.
  3. “Bruised and Scarred” by Mayday Parade
  4. “Thank You for the Music” by ABBA: ABBA is timeless. I will never get tired of this band.
  5. “They Say You Won’t Come Back” by Breathe Carolina: I used to worship this band but grew out of them and no longer actively follow them. However, I do enjoy a good nostalgic listen of their work up to this album every now and again! Seen live multiple times until 2014.
  6. “Toe to Toe” by Streetlight Manifesto: One of my favorite bands! Absolutely massive live (October 2013 and July 2016).
  7. “I Wanna Be Yours” by Arctic Monkeys: Like every other white girl, I listened to this album way too many times it no longer brings me pleasure. But I still like this band and look forward to their comeback. Seen live October 2014.
  8. “Sovereign Circle” by Circa Survive
  9. “Tragedy + Time” by Rise Against: If you’ve been following me for a week or a year, you probably know that Rise Against is my all-time favorite band. I only recently realized that tragedy + time (the song title, duh) = comedy, which explains the lyrics about overcoming adversity and remembering that “there will be the time to crack another smile, maybe not today or for a while, but we’re holding on to laugh again some day.” You can read about all the times I’ve seen them live in this post.
  10. “Deadbolt” by Thrice: Another one of my favorite bands. Seen live October 2016 and July 2017.
  11. “Bombtrack” by Rage Against the Machine
  12. “Modern Magic Formula” by Biffy Clyro: Yet another one of my favorite bands and favorite track off this album. Seen live March 2017.
  13. “Forget” by Marina and the Diamonds: My queen. I can’t wait to see what she does next. Seen live December 2015 and February 2016.
  14. “Stay With Me” by You Me at Six: A band I used to quite like a lot, but am no longer too fussed about.
  15. “Waiting for the End” by Linkin Park: R.I.P. Chester. It goes unsaid that this band opened the door to rock for me. Seem live May 2014.

Here are my Spotify songs…

  1. “Of Matter – Proxy” by TesseracT
  2. “Redshift” by Enter Shikari: A somewhat new song by one of my favorite bands. Seen live April 2015, February and March 2016, March 2017 and November 2017.
  3. “Cheap Thrills” by Sia
  4. “Butterfly Dream” by Turnover
  5. “Sorrow” by Bad Religion: This song always plays before a Rise Against show.
  6. “Idle Worship” by Paramore: I actually didn’t care much for this album.
  7. “Jimmy and Sally” by I Fight Dragons: Diego wanted this record and posted it to my house back in the States for me to bring to him when I came across the pond. Decided to check it out for myself and it most certainly did not disappoint.
  8. “Blue Jeans” by Lana Del Rey: Born to Die is one of my favorite albums of all time.
  9. “Mercy” by Code Orange
  10. “Matter” by Arcane Roots: I worship Arcane Roots. This is probably my favorite song from their new album. Seen live February 2016 and October 2017.
  11. “Why Do You Hate Me?” by Marmozets: One of my more recent favorites. I’ve seen them live in February 2018.
  12. “Gravity” by Architects: The most incredible band and one to watch. I’ve seen them live in February 2018.
  13. “Sex Robot” by Neo Geo
  14. “Excuses” by Minus the Bear
  15. “The ’59 Sound” by The Gaslight Anthem: I’ve seen them live before I actively liked them, now my friend Alyssa is coming from Utah to see them together in July!
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Another month of new content and great posts! Here are my top five posts from all categories:

  1. Cape Town Drought Explained: I can’t believe we would see such a big city run out of water in our lifetime. If this isn’t a massive wake-up call, I don’t know what is. Due to this crisis, my field trip has been moved from being based in Cape Town to Hermanus.
  2. Enter Shikari: The Theatrical Headline at the Brighton Centre: This piece was published for my student-run university blog and this article took my right back to the show (you can read my words about it here). The words really paint the scenes, the sights (pun intended) and the energy of the crowd beautifully as well as critically assessing Shikari’s new music and its place in their discography.
  3. Spearfishing Lionfish in Belize: These animals are devastating coral reef ecosystem function and killing and eating them is a growing strategy to combat biodiversity losses. This is a great way for tourists to engage in local conservation efforts while also enjoying life under the surface.
  4. Observations From a Year of Veganism: Sophie speaks the hard (and sometimes funny) truths about being vegan in a society that insists on keeping their head in the sand and ostracizing those with different diets.
  5. Antarctica Expedition Travel Guide: I would love to explore the most off-the-beaten-path place in the world. This trip looks bloody incredible!

Science, sustainability and veganism

General travel and study abroad

Travel: Europe

Travel: Africa and North America

  • Cape Town (Part 6): You can also find links to the previous five installments of this holiday on this post. I’m going to Cape Town in April and reading this has got me so excited!
  • Top 6 Highlights in Mauritius: This island nation wasn’t even on my radar until I met someone on my course who lived and worked there for a number of years and loved it. I’d love to visit one day!
  • Lions, Cheetahs and More: The same blogger from the first Cape Town posts write about safaris! I’m definitely living this trip vicariously through these posts.
  • Beginners’ Brooklyn: I couldn’t be happier with my choice to stay in and explore Brooklyn on my most recent trip to New York. I can’t encourage those visiting the area enough to spend time in Brooklyn.

Blogging

Lifestyle

Entertainment

Photo by Andrew Knechel.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Let’s talk about sex, baby.

I recently read Jared Diamond’s Why Is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality (in fact, the idea of this post and Monday return date motivated me to finish it) and was really fascinated. In all the weird sex in the animal kingdom, humans are one of the strangest, even by mammalian standards. In our very short evolutionary history, we’ve managed to create a never-before-seen system that is still not fully understood.

I will share some tidbits from Why Is Sex Fun? to prove Diamond’s point that the sex life of a human is unique and wonderfully weird:

Menopause: although non-human animals exhibit decreased fertility towards the end of their life, humans are on of the only animals to experience a regular complete halt in female fertility. The prevailing theory is that women* out of their reproductive prime have more to lose than gain by having their own children but rather are in a place to help raise their grandchildren.

Concealed ovulation: Female women are one of the only species who not only don’t actively advertise their ovulation, but it’s almost impossible to tell exactly when she is most fertile. Some women might even struggle to know when their time of the month is. Concealed ovulation is thought to stem from two very different theories: first, that concealed ovulation promotes monogamy, forcing the man to stay with the woman and copulate constantly to increase the chances of fertilization. The other theory says concealed ovulation evolved to give women the opportunity to copulate with many men, causing confusion of paternity and decreasing the chance of infanticide in traditional societies.

Runaway sexual selection: Whether it’s an aggressive display of dominance or intricate plumage, traits that females favor become increasingly more frequent and exaggerated when they keep becoming selected. This is also seen in humans with the male penis. Our ancestors and close ape relatives have really small penises compared to their bodies. While a gorilla is larger than a man, the gorilla penis is less than two inches while the average male penis is five inches. This is more than big enough to perform its biological function and suggests that the superfluous size is merely ornamental.

Sexual signals: You might be familiar with males of certain species putting on displays for females, seen in examples such as bright colors, song and dance. But do humans send sexual signals? Apparently they do! Some we’re not even aware of. One of the ones I found most interesting was women unknowingly selecting men with complementary immune genes based on smell (pheromones) alone. This is a relic of our evolutionary past when the endgame of sex was largely reproduction and survival of offspring.

I hope you all found this enjoyable! I hope to do more of this so any and all feedback is welcome.

*Although I use gendered language in this article for simplicity sake, I understand there are more than two genders and acknowledge there are transgender, gender fluid, non-binary, intersex people as well as those who have yet to make up their minds.

Photo by Mike Fox.

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I love supporting other bloggers and getting to know them better by sharing their content!

For this second installment, meet Bexa from Hello Bexa. I’ve been especially enjoying her travel posts and wide variety of other posts! (Seriously, whoever says you have to have a niche is grossly mistaken).

Without further ado, here are some questions she answered for me:

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Bexa Feb 2018I’m Bexa from Southampton, UK. I’m currently a student with The Open University studying for a MSc in Science. I live with my two cats Simba & Zazu (gotta love the Lion King) and have a bit of an obsession with pretty stationery and sweet potato fries.

How did you get into blogging?

I used to blog back in 2010 about health and fitness. It was a place where I shared my 4 stone weight loss journey in the hopes to inspire others to live a healthier life. I took a little (4 year) break from blogging but felt re-inspired to get back into it last October. I had somehow found myself reading a lot of blogs and thought I wanna do that again. I’m loving being part of a huge supportive community and I’m now wondering what I actually did with my time when I wasn’t blogging.

Tell us about your favorite blog post.

I really enjoyed writing 18 Amazing Places I’ve Visited In The Last Seven Years as I had fun looking through all my old travel snaps and reminiscing on the adventures. It won’t do my bank account any good though, as ever since writing that I just want to book up my next holiday!

What are you doing when you’re not blogging?

Studying, playing my guitar, swimming, reading… Just recently I have discovered I enjoy podcasts and I feel like I have now reached the next level of adult. Other than that I’m probably just spending waaay to much time on Twitter.

What is your favorite pizza?

I’m a fan of Dominos chicken feast with plenty of garlic and herb dip.

From all your travels, where would you return to first?

Oooh, good question! I would to go back to Thailand. I visited a few years ago and absolutely loved the place for its culture, stunning scenery, friendly people and cheap noodles. There is so much to see and do out there. I would definitely go on a boat trip to one of the beautiful islands nearby as the sea was too rough to do so on my trip. Also, the massages there are amazing!

Where else can we find you?

Twitter || Instagram || Pinterest || Bloglovin’ || Etsy

Photo by Arnel Hasanovic.

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I decided to build up on the original version of this post every six months or so for new (and old) followers.

  1. I don’t know how to play chess.
  2. I dabbled in a lot of sports as a kid: karate (which I hated, thanks Mom and Dad), football (a.k.a. soccer), volleyball, track and gymnastics. I still really enjoy volleyball and have made it a resolution to play it more often!
  3. Although I suffer from anxiety, I find scuba diving (a typically anxiety-inducing activity) one of the most relaxing things I can do.
  4. I’ve met Jimmy Kimmel. Okay, sort of. He was at my work (2014) and he passed through the stage door while I was waiting for my lunch. Some people took pictures with him, but I was too shy to ask, so I just shook his hand.
  5. I keep all my movie stubs (amongst other memorbilia I seclectively display on my board). My oldest stub is circa 2010.
  6. I have been to ten states that I can remember: Arizona (where I lived), California (where my extended family lives), New Mexico, Hawai’i, New York, Ohio, Nevada, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Washington, D.C. I would like to go to Oregon, Washington, Illinois, Tennessee, Utah, Florida and Massachusetts, but I’m in no rush.
  7. My favorite animals are foxes.
  8. I’ve never seen a single episode of The Simpsons.
  9. My best friend of about ten years is called Sydney. She’s a year below me and studies physiology back home (Arizona). We actually met through our brothers who used to be best friends, but when they fell out, we didn’t!
  10. My biggest (and only) celebrity crush is Paul Rudd. I do have intense, fleeting infatuations, my most current one being Jack Whitehall, but Paul Rudd is the only crush to stand the test of time.
  11. My favorite smells are gasoline, cilantro and roses.
  12. I have several birthmarks; a large one on my right hip, medium one left knee and a small one the inside of my right thigh close to my crotch.
  13. Almost all of my extended family lives about an hour outside of Los Angeles, California, but I have family in San Diego, northern California, New Mexico, Montana and Japan.
  14. I’ve more or less had the same haircut since my hair was long enough to be styled: quite long and thick with a fringe. Although I still have a fringe (I have some friends who have never seen my forehead), I have an undercut (meaning my head is shaved from about the middle of my ears down) and my hair is currently shorter than it’s been in my adult life (a bit longer than shoulder length).
  15. I have a small permanent retainer on the back of my two front teeth. I don’t notice it except when I talk about it… like right now.
  16. I love ice hockey. I unfortunately support the Arizona Coyotes exclusively for geographic reasons. Although, I once caught a practice puck from Oliver Ekman-Larsson (okay, maybe not caught, had to fight someone off for it once it fell between the seats is more like).
  17. I have never been with an American. My two past boyfriends have been Canadian and English respectively and the current guy I’m seeing is Spanish.
  18. My all-time favorite restaurant would have to be Ike’s: a small sandwich chain where I’m from. Chipotle and The Dhaba also get an honorable mention. In England, I really enjoy Wahaca and Honest Burger, but I don’t think I will ever like them as much as those three restaurants back home.
  19. A bit more about my immediate family: my dad was born in Hawai’i and my mom was born in Germany before they met in high school. Both my brothers are in university studying biomedical engineering and criminal justice. I’m often mistaken for the youngest because both my brothers are about a foot taller than me. Once my brother’s birthday comes around, my parents will be able to say they have a 20, 21 and 22 year old… for a month until my birthday.
  20. I’m the world’s worst bowler and have a trophy of a horse’s ass to prove it.

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Photo by Jill Heyer.

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