Guest Post: Lavish Frugality

The Oxymoron

Lavish frugality. What a pair of words. The first time I mentioned it to a friend, he instantly said this is an oxymoron.

An oxymoron describes two contradicting terms put together. We have all stumbled upon it before. At school, at university, in advertising or when we have placed an order with our favorite Asian restaurant: “I’d like to have chicken sweet and sour chicken, thank you.”

Additionally, the terms lavish and frugal do not seem to go together at first.

Many understand frugality not only to be modesty and a cautious behavior, but also celibacy and the renunciation of certain enjoyments. As opposed to this, there is the concept of “lavish lifestyle”. Especially, nowadays this term has a negative aftertaste and stands for the frivolous and overly generous consumption of money, things and resources. Those who have a lavish lifestyle live very richly and wastefully. So how do these two terms fit together?

Cheers for enjoyment

What is minimalism?

If you look at Instagram, Pinterest and the lifestyle magazines, you will quickly notice that the current trend is towards minimalism and sustainability. There are two great documentaries about minimalism on Netflix and sustainability is receiving much-needed attention. It seems as if these two lifestyles always went hand in hand. When it comes to minimalism, you actively ask yourself:

“What do I really need to be happy?”

It is not about reducing your possessions to a certain number of things or living in an empty apartment if possible. It is about making room for the important things in life and sorting out everything that is not important or even burdensome.

What is sustainability?

When it comes to sustainability, your own consumption and lifestyle are optimized so that you live as resource-efficiently as possible. It is a matter of aligning one’s actions in order to preserve the natural regenerative capacity of the systems involved in satisfying one’s own needs.

Lavish frugality

The idea of “lavish frugality” is not about saving money come hell or even throwing money down the drain. It is not about minimizing or adding to your possessions. It is more about balance.

After having dealt with the topics of minimalism and sustainability, after several unsuccessful clean-ups and tidy out actions à la Marie Kondo, I had to realize I love beautiful things. It just makes me happy to sit on the couch in the evening and look at my wall full of well-stocked bookshelves. If this makes me happy, why should I reduce myself to twenty books?

Please do not get this wrong. I am still reducing, and it makes perfect sense and joy surrounding yourself with the things that make you happy and that you use. However, the joy of life should not suffer. Not everyone is a minimalist. Nevertheless, that is not bad either, because sustainability is also possible if you have a lavish lifestyle – if you define it correctly!

The sustainable, lavish lifestyle

We are surrounded by advertising all day long, whether on television, social media or by friends and acquaintances who arouse desires and needs in us without knowing it. Hence, everyone’s spending is likely somewhere between what we can afford and what we think we are owed. For everyone, money is synonymous with work and drudgery (more for some, less for others). Moreover, students in particular know the feeling of being torn between their studies and part-time jobs, only to start their professional life with student loans debts.

Create new, repair or buy used

The solution is that what you cannot afford financially, can be recreated, repaired or used for little money.

 There are now countless ways to add very beautiful items to your wardrobe without having to immediately spend huge amounts of money or invest in fast fashion. A capsule wardrobe is fine, but if you want to expand it, you can do that. In addition, if you switch to second hand, you also get the opportunity to breathe a second life into a beautiful piece and at the same time, you protect the environment. Those skilled enough can upgrade their favorite pieces themselves with a needle and thread. Therefore, you almost have an individually tailored piece of clothing for a few euros.

Books, whether for private reading enjoyment or for studying, can also be bought second-hand or borrowed from the library, if you know in advance that you will not necessarily have to have them in hard copy on the shelf later. You can also join so-called book hikes, in which a book is passed on to the next person after reading, so that it travels from person to person and hopefully gives you hours of joy.

Thanks to the corona lockdown (regardless of whether it is number one, two or five); we are forced to spend more time in our own four walls. You can have cabin fever and the furnishings lose their appeal. But isn’t this the perfect time for a self-painted picture that will be placed prominently over the sofa, as if you had bought it for several thousand euros in a gallery? Existing pieces of furniture can often be upcycled in a few simple steps and with little material and transformed into truly unique pieces. Each of us has seen at least one Ikea hack and thanks to YouTube and Pinterest there are no limits to the imagination of turning our own furniture catalog home into a dream house à la McGee & Co.

Not just consumption

However, lavish frugality is not just about shifting consumption to more sustainable and therefore cheaper alternatives. But to actively enjoy one’s life. Sit on a park bench with the first warm rays of sunshine with your homemade coffee and just watch people passing by? Having digital lunch breaks with your best friend or having a movie night with your loved one in the evening, including self-made popcorn. Why not just celebrate the nice idleness and sit on the balcony with a beautiful teacup (bought on eBay) and just read your favorite book again? Or treat yourself to a lush bouquet of self-plowed flowers.

Find the balance

In lavish frugality, one finds the balance between luxury and the essential. Instead of snacking on a pack of cookies every day (absolutely no problem in lockdown, trust me), just go to the patisserie and buy a wonderful, but sinful piece of cake. Alternatively, go to the trouble of strengthening your bed linen and ironing it, only to have the feeling of hotel bed linen in the evening when you slip under the sheets.

A cheap wine tastes much better from the crystal glasses bought at the flea market and you instantly feel like Lady Mary from Downton Abbey.

True luxury costs little or nothing – and you do not have to miss anything. It is enough if you think a little more about what kind of priorities you are setting. Even then, it is possible to behave freely and decadently at any time, even without overdrawing your own budget or painfully missing the missing millions in your bank account.

Lavish frugality means that you reinvent the rules for yourself, let yourself drift, create and develop without exploiting the environment and its available resources or having to miss anything.

Feel free to enjoy life to the fullest!

Guest Blogger: Julia

Check out Julia’s Blog: www.zeitistrelativ.com

Follow Julia on Instagram: @jezabel_botanica

My Lockdown Makeup Routine perfect for Zoom Calls

Hey my loves,

Zoom, WebEx, Skype and Microsoft Teams have become a big part of our everyday lives, at least that’s how it is for me. Just because of work, I’m on at least one video call a week, and when university starts up again, I’m on almost every day.

If I’m honest, I did without makeup-free at the beginning of the pandemic. However, due to some private changes in my life and the very real mask acne, I just feel a bit fresher when I make a little effort and put on makeup.My routine has changed so much, simply by wearing far less makeup than before and also using completely different it.I also try to pay so much more attention to my skincare routine as well to keep my now more dry than combination skin moisturized.

If you’d like, I can share my updated skincare routine in an upcoming post. Let me know in the comments!

My Makeup Routine for Video Calls

Base
I like to start with a primer because I find my foundation just lasts so much better and just looks better too. I like to use The Ordinary’s primers: High-Spreadability Fluid Primer and High-Adherence Silicone Primer. I find both amazing! If I need a lot of moisture, I also use the setting spray Bare with me Multitasking Spray from NYX.

Foundation
I tend to alternate between two products. However, lately I use Catrice True Skin Hydrating Foundation, it lasts really long and is very covering. I don’t know about you, but I find it kind of wasteful to use my IT Cosmetics CC Cream every day when I’m not seen in real life. Therefore, I use the drugstore foundation from Catrice. And for its price, it’s great! I can only recommend.

Concealer
My dark circles have been terrible lately, which is why I’m literally soaking up concealer right now. I really want to try the caffeine solution from The Ordinary, I’ve heard really good feedback from it. Well, so for my concealer I use either Maybelline Fit ME! Concealer or Catrice True Skin High Cover Concealer it depends a bit on how dark my circles are. My Maybelline concealer is much lighter, which is why I mostly use it with the concealer of Catrice.

Powder
For my setting powder, I still use my trusted Laura Mercier Loose Translucent Setting Powder. However, I would like to go back to a drugstore variant here too because, as with foundation, it just feels wasteful to use the “good, expensive” powder. Get it?

Blush
I have a four blush palette from Nip+Fab which is great, I usually tend to go for the more muted color and apply that not only to my cheeks but also a bit to my nose. I’ve seen that once on TikTok and found that looked super cute. Tip: You should not go back into the blush but simply use what is left on the brush.

Bronzer
I must confess, most days I skip bronzer, but when I’m in the mood to bring a little warmth to my face, then I use my Benefit Hoola Bronzer. But is it really just me, or do we all need a long super sunny vacation to get a little more tanned?

Eyes and eyebrows
I usually skip eyeshadow completely, especially dark colors make you look even more tired and worn out than you actually are. I am lucky enough to have relatively full eyebrows, which is why eyebrow mascara is usually enough. I use here my fave: L’Oréal Paris Brow Artist Plump & Set Serum. For my lashes I am currently trying a few new mascaras, but my favorite is L’Oréal Paris Unlimited Very Different Waterproof mascara in black.

Lips
I spend a lot of time indoors at my desk and with the current season my heating runs often, which makes my skin and my lips very dry. I therefore tend to use more lip balms or lip glosses. My two favorites at the moment are: Maybelline Lifter Gloss Lip Gloss and Urban Decay Vice Lip Chemistry.

Setting Spray
To set my makeup I use Bare with me Multitasking Spray from NYX. But I also am gonna try a new one from L’Oréal Paris soon (Infaillable Magic Setting Spray Transparent). I don’t really use the setting spray for longevity but much more to freshen up and hydrate my now powdered face.

Has your routine changed since the pandemic began? Let me know in the comments.

XoXo, Jasmin.

Guest Post: How to write a Master’s thesis

Recently, I handed in my master’s thesis for the degree of a Master of Arts. During that time, I had a lot of problems going on, most of a personal nature, but also others that you are all aware of, namely, the pandemic. Then, next to personal and public issues, there is the academic process of writing a thesis of 80 pages. All three of those areas in your life come together in a tangled mess when you begin preparing for your thesis project. In order to maximize the success of your project, I’d like to suggest a few guidelines, based on my experience and that of my fellow students.

Before you start:

1. If possible, pick a topic you like.

Choosing to write about a topic you hate will make the thesis absolute torture because there is little to be motivated for. However, writing about something you really love bears the risk of losing critical distance and simply praising everything, which is not what the thesis is supposed to be. Attempt to find a balance between enjoyment and critical distance.

2. Be in close contact with your advisor.

Not only will you not run the risk of failing because you worked completely against your advisor’s ideas, but you will (hopefully) receive useful guidance and support. I am a bit spoiled because the professor who supervised my thesis is completely awesome and has listened to me crying and worrying a lot. If you do not have that kind of personal relationship with your advisor, it is still central that you listen to what they have to say about your plans. If you are very unhappy with their ideas for your thesis (for instance because they want you to completely overthrow the structure you envisioned), then you are within your rights to defend your viewpoint. If you like your ideas, defend them.

3. Find a support group of like-minded students.

Especially now in pandemic times, it is hard to come into contact with fellow students, but I cannot stress how useful it is to have a small group of people who study the same thing you do. They will have an informed opinion on your ideas for a thesis, so you can use them as a sound board for things you are not ready to talk to your advisor about. They can proofread stuff for you and help you when you feel stuck. And, most importantly, they will remind you that you are not alone. I felt immensely comforted by our little support group that met (and still meets) once a week via Skype to talk over issues each one had or currently has with their theses.

4. Prepare as much as possible before the official registration date.

I don’t know how it works at other universities, but I was able to do a lot of the reading and research before I ever registered my thesis officially, and it was a good thing, too. I changed my focus a few times, so that I continually needed new literature, not to mention the fact that the library closed during the first shutdown, so that I couldn’t get my hands on a book I needed very badly. If you take care of as many problems as possible before your official time frame begins, you will have less to worry about.

5. Know if you are ready to register.

This goes not just for your research process and how certain you feel that your topic is the right one, but it also concerns how prepared you feel for this challenge in general. If you are not ready, but you register your thesis anyway simply because you think you need to, it could end very badly. I registered too early, and the first month I spent with nothing but panicking and having a few nervous breakdowns. I was prepared enough academically, but not emotionally, as spiritualistic as that may sound. Your state of mind needs to be the right one, as my advisor explained to me: commit to the thesis. Be a thesis-writer.

During your writing process:

1. Find a working rhythm that works for you.

If that rhythm is to write 8 pages one day and then do nothing for the next three, that is fine because it keeps you going. Do not force a rhythm on yourself that doesn’t make you feel productive because you will lose motivation. If you set yourself the goal to get up every morning at 6am because you feel you should, but usually you get up at 10am, you won’t manage 6am and then become frustrated. Work with your own rhythm, not against it.

2. Adopt a steady work ethic.

Once you have found your rhythm, stick to it. Do not let it slide for more than five days at a time, because you might fall out of rhythm and it will be hard to get back into it. Do not simply rely on motivation to keep you going. Sometimes you will find no motivation, but you need to keep going regardless. Adhere to the rhythm you have established for yourself and pull through.

3. Create a focused work space.

Put your phone on silent and tape off the time display on your computer screen—when you’re wired in, you don’t need to answer messages or check to see what time it is. If you have appointments you need to keep, you can set yourself an alarm that will remind you. You will benefit immensely from disabling as many distractions as possible.

4. Do not read all of the literature at once.

I cannot stress the importance of this method enough. Sort your secondary texts according to the chapters for which you need them. Read the literature for one chapter, write that chapter, read the literature for the next chapter, write the next chapter, and so on and so forth. I had over 90 secondary sources, and it loomed over me like a mountain that I felt completely unable and unprepared to climb, a feeling that majorly contributed to my panic during the first month. Then, a friend of mine told me to sort the literature and work my way through it one chapter at a time, and it was the decisive piece of advice that got me through the thesis. If you divide the huge mountain of literature into discrete piles, it does not seem so imposing anymore.

5. Work on the list of references as you go along.

While we are on the subject of secondary literature: putting together a list of over 90 sources the day before you hand in is a lot of unnecessary anxiety. Put every piece of literature you have read on the list and immediately format it correctly according to the MLA guidelines or whatever guideline you are using. Later, in the penultimate step of proofreading your thesis, check to see if every work on your list of references has actually been quoted in the text you wrote. It happens that you cross something out that has ceased to be relevant for your argument and you don’t notice that you have removed a quote from a secondary literature text, so you forget to take it off the works cited list. Even if you work with a citation program (e.g. Zotero), you should not skip this step.

6. Save at least five copies in different places.

Make sure to include both clouds and hard drives. Not only does that mean you are prepared for your computer crashing and any other eventuality, but it will make you feel very safe. Not only should you continually save copies of your thesis as you go along, but save all of your digital material (notes, literature, preliminary drafts etc.), from the very first word you type. If anything happens, if your computer crashes, if you accidently pour coffee on it, if—God forbid—someone hacks you and you can’t access your files, you will NEED these safety copies. Trust me, it will make you feel very comfortable knowing that nothing can get lost because you saved it all.

7. Believe in your abilities.

There will come a point in the process where you lose all faith, in yourself, in your topic, in your argument. It will all seem ridiculous and arbitrary and you won’t want to do it anymore. In marathons, this state of mind is called “hitting the wall.” When you have reached this point (and you might reach it several times), it is important that you keep going and remember that yes, you can do it. You’ve come this far, so there must be something about you that has made it possible.

After your writing process:

1. Get a certain number of people to proofread your thesis.

Delegate what their job is supposed to be: one for grammar, one for typos, one for formatting, several for content and so on. Having more than one person on content proofreading is important because the content is the key piece of this thesis. Grammar and format can be perfect, but if your argument makes no sense you haven’t won anything. That is also why the support group of students is important: their input will help you immensely.

2. Do not get too many proofreaders!

Too many opinions can confuse you, so you need to choose a few people whose opinion you trust. Also, you need to be able to tell apart which points of criticism of your thesis are valid and important for you, and which are merely fine-tuning or concerning your style of writing. Do not incorporate every single point of criticism given to you. Not only will it drive you crazy, it will also take your thesis away from you. Your ideas need to stay your own, so do not let criticism water them down.

3. Save enough time for proofreading.

Leave yourself and your selection of proofreaders at least a week for reading the whole thing. If you rush through it, the risk of overlooking mistakes is too big.

4. Check the formatting at the very end.

The last step of proofreading, after all of the input from others has been incorporated and you have checked to see whether everything you cited is in proper formatting, cited correctly, and has found its way onto the list of references, you look at every page one last time to look for formatting glitches. Doing that earlier is pointless because changing the content changes the format, so you would need to check everything several times. Once the content is absolutely set, ideally the night before you need to hand it in, sit yourself down one last time and go over every page carefully to see if the format is correct, if every paragraph is indented and every chapter title is the correct font and if your text program has glitched anywhere.

Miri

Guest Blogger: Miri

Follow Miri on Instagram: @miri_mh8

Cooking with Jasmin – Indian inspired Chicken Curry with Naan Bread

Hey my loves,

a couple of weeks ago my bestie and I wanted to try out a new recipe and we decided it would be super fun to cook an Indian inspired chicken curry dish. My bestie really wanted to try to make her own Naan bread so we figured what better to eat with Naan then a chicken curry. We looked online for a couple of recipes and ultimately ended up with a mix of a few different ones. I personally do not like coriander so we skipped it in our recipes, but you can always add it to your version of the recipe.

Chicken Curry Recipe

This recipe serves around four people and is great with rice and a side of naan bread. We really enjoyed it and I can personally say it tasted a lot better the next day and we think it is crucial to marinade the chicken longer than an hour, I think 12 hours would be perfect for the softness of the chicken and taste.

Like I mentioned we added some rice and self-made naan bread. We really wanted to make our own an we used the following recipe:

If you happen to try these recipes out let me know what you think. I would love to know.

XoXo, Jasmin.

3 Things I do to avoid Lockdown blues

Hey my loves,

I don’t know about you but I am so over this whole pandemic life. I literally just want to go outside and do something fun with my friends and have a nice little holiday. But, that seems so out of reach and to avoid getting to sad or depressed about the situation I have found a few things I like to do to feel like I am doing something. Obviously it is so important to social distance and follow the rules that apply in your country, but these are things I am pretty sure you are allowed to do nearly everywhere.

No.1 : Make sure to have a routine.

Mindsets, habits and routines are the building blocks for success toward your wellness goals.

In the beginning of this pandemic I thought why have a set routine it does not matter. Well, let me tell you: It sure does. Having a set routine changed my whole mindset and made me realize that I can keep busy while social distancing and having everything that is somewhat fun closed. I even wrote a little entry a while ago, so make sure to check it out: Getting back into a routine during Lockdown

A routine is different for everybody. You have to find what works for your lifestyle. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I want to achieve with my routine?
  • When do I have time for this routine or is my routine a time management skill?
  • Is my routine the same every day?
  • Why is it important to me to have a set routine?
  • What is my lifestyle? Are you working from home? Are you a student?

As soon as you get answers to these questions you can start to create your routine. For me, my routine changes throughout the week and months. For instance, I recently started a new job, am writing a paper and am on my semester break for at least five more weeks. On the days I work from home I like to give myself a little around an hour to get ready, set everything up and eat breakfast. On days I go into the office I get up, get ready and eat all in around 30 to 45 minutes, just because I like being ready and out faster. On days I do not work I like to sleep a little bit longer and take an hour to an hour and a half to myself in the morning. I do little chores right away in the morning and make sure to check of any to do’s that involve my apartment. I also use the off-days to write a blog entry and mostly I use my days of to work for my paper. Sundays are my free time day, if I have something I need to get done I’ll do it, but if it can wait until Monday than I won’t. I let myself sleep in, go for a walk, self care and watch movies.

No.2 : Learn something new.

Learning is forging new connections. Every time you learn something new, your brain physically changes.

Dr. Joe Dispenza

I love to learn and I love to educate myself on new topics. In the beginning of the pandemic I made it a goal of mine to learn a lot about the field I want to work in as well as use every opportunity my Uni offers which help me add more skills to my CV. I recently visited a Workshop about intercultural project management and it was not just fun but also so informative. I can highlight recommend doing this. Find something to do that is new and exciting to you, there are so many offers online that are free.

For example, if you like to learn more about marketing Google offers a great free program: Basics of Online Marketing

Here you can even get a certificate at the end which you could add to your CV. But mostly I would look what your university offers, those are mostly included and are free too.

No. 3: Go for walks.

Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.

Erol Ozan

With gyms mostly closed and home workouts getting boring I love to go for a walk with a friend (where I live we are allowed to see one person that does not live in the same household). And let me tell you, fresh air and sun on your skin feels so good, especially when you’ve been inside most of the day.

A couple of days I went on a 7km walk with a friend. We went to a walking trail not too far from where I live and it was such a beautiful day. I had muscle pain the next day but it was definitely worth it. I had so much fun and we were able to catch up a lot. It’s also super nice just to explore parts of your own city. You can always google or ask friends and family for recommendations or just start walking and see where you end up.

What are you doing to keep yourself busy? Do you have any new things you are doing now? I would love to connect with you and chat.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

XoXo, Jasmin.

All TV Shows I have seen on Netflix & Prime Video in 2020

Hey my loves,

so with Covid-19 still happening and pretty much everyone still in lockdown I thought it would be a fun thing to look into my watchlist of 2020. I wanted to see which TV shows I have seen on Netflix as well as on Amazon Prime. And instead of telling you why they are great or awful I would just give you a list of my must-see’s, nice for background noise, reality tv and something fun.

I ranked my must-see’s in the order I would suggest it to you. All the others are in no particular order. Have you seen any of these TV Shows? Let me know in the comments. I am also always open for suggestion for new TV shows, so hit me up if you know any good ones I might have missed last year.

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.

My New Living Room

Hey my loves,

a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I moved and I thought now would be the perfect time to share my new space with you. If you want to catch up on my move, check out my moving blog post: Moving into a new apartment

The only room I would consider completely done is my living room, which is why I am sharing this room first with you. It took a while to get everything together and here and there I would like to change some things, but I will eventually do that this year or next. There’s no rush, because right now I am absolutely in love with my living room space.

I got my prints and most of my frames from Desenio and I absolutely love the gallery wall above the couch, I really want to add some more maps of places I want to travel to, but only if I have been there, I think that would be such a fun thing to add on in the on-coming years. My ladder shelf, the pink chair and my marble and gold side table are all from Wayfair. All plants except the big one on my side table are from IKEA, as well as my book shelf. My couch I got from Otto and my TV Stand is from Baur. My pillows are from H&M Home. The vase and dry flowers next to my TV are from Depot, the lavender smells so good. And I also recently got a new TV and am in love with it – it truly feels like a cinema in my living room when I’m watching TV. I got the Samsung Crystal UHD 55″.

If I haven’t mentioned a design element you would like to know where it’s from just hit me up in the comments or DM me on my Insta.

I hope you all have a wonderful day!
XoXo, Jasmin.

Guest Post: The Power of the Internet – An Opinion on Assassination Nation

The internet is a two-faced jerk. It can make us feel loved and precious and hyped up to soaring heights, or it can leave us lonely and hated and at the absolute bottom of a bottomless pit of rage. It has the unique power to universally unite us as people. It has the historically unparalleled power of dividing us and creating problems where there were none before. And the extreme ambivalence I feel when thinking about this two-faced jerk results from the fact that embracing the good side means the acceptance of the bad side. As I open my door wide to the beautiful face of the internet, the ugly face sneaks in behind my back while me and the beautiful face hug it out in the doorway. I invite one face into my house, but both faces come in.

The internet’s good side is its magical power to connect people from all over the world. It enables me to see and hear things from remote cultures that I would otherwise never come in contact with, thus broadening my horizon, forming me into a more complete, more tolerant and educated being.

The internet enables me to share my creativity with others in the hopes of making their day a little bit better. And the very best thing about it is that entire generations can share their experiences with one another, be it through memes, or tweets, or TikToks, sending out into the world the very clear message that we all need to hear: you are not alone.

Especially now, in pandemic times, the internet and its ability to connect us are more important than ever. I know a video call with my friends will never replace their actual presence in my living room, but it offers me something of a reprieve until I can hug them in person again. And seeing my exact experience and feelings summed up in a meme created by someone from the other side of the world on Facebook reminds me, again, that I am not alone in this.

So the internet’s best side brings people together to create something beautiful. However, there is a dangerous downside. The troublesome thing is the reason why people get together, because it can be to share love or creativity, but it can also be in order to unite against someone else and ostracize them.

The internet’s bad side that piggybacks on the good side is the way in which it has changed the way we communicate with one another. It has completely deconstructed the notion of facts, as David Mitchell explained on the Graham Norton Show: thanks to the internet, the truth may never be recognized as such again. There is no certainty of factual evidence on the internet, because the internet has given everybody the chance to share their thoughts on any matter, and the result is an endless web of facts mingled with opinions that are then misunderstood as facts and again mingled with opinions until nobody can actually comprehend what is true and what is not. There is no way to share your thoughts without them being misconstrued by someone else, and that is one of the big downsides to the internet’s ability to give everybody a voice: people think that because they have the opportunity to express their opinion, their opinion is automatically important, and it is not. Your opinion on a subject needs to be informed, or it is completely useless, but this idea of information is rendered more and more obsolete.

The result of this desire to share your thoughts on any subject with anyone simply because the opportunity is there has led to what I would like to call audience entitlement. Everyone obviously is entitled to their thoughts and opinions. Your mind cannot be controlled, it is yours and yours alone. The problematic thing about the internet’s open platform of opinions, however, is that people appear to have developed the feeling that because they have an opinion, it needs to be listened to. And while this feeling of being entitled to an audience in itself might not be inherently problematic, it very much becomes so once it leads to what Joe Rogan once called “recreational outrage.” People become habitually upset about things they read on the internet and, thanks to their audience entitlement, share their outrage and demand it to be taken seriously. If enough people share their outrage about the same thing on social media, their combined outrage is bundled into a shitstorm. And there have been outrages that were completely justified. The internet pools and combines worldwide forces to fight against injustice and that is beautiful. The issue is that it has become habitual, recreational, for people to try and kickstart shitstorms. In the process, we become desensitized to our own outrage and its consequences. And this desensitization is the bad consequence of the beautiful unification of the people.

The bad is created out of the good, then. The question I have come to ask myself is: is the good created out of the bad? Do they condition one another, or is it a one-way street that ends in doom and destruction? I have to admit I am not sure I have a definite answer, but Sam Levinson’s 2018 film Assassination Nation opts for the pessimistic view that yes, it is a one-way street, yes, it does end in doom and destruction, and that is because it is human nature. It is the human way of handling things, and it has been since colonial times, if not before that.

The film uses the analogy of the witch hunt to make this drive to destroy explicit. The city in which the plot takes place is Salem, Massachusetts, which is historically known for the Salem Witch trials, during which women were burnt at the stake or otherwise executed over accusations of witchcraft that the accused failed to disprove. What the film makes clear through the connection created between the history of witch trials and the postmodern process of the online shitstorm is that both kinds of hunts are not about the accused’s actual culpability. They are about scapegoating.

In Assassination Nation, a group of teenaged girls are blamed for a hacker’s leak of personal information that concerns the entire town of Salem. The girls are actually innocent, but once the town has settled on them as the guilty parties, nobody cares to prove or disprove the assumption of their guilt. And as one Salem citizen after another becomes the victim of a shitstorm concerning their private data (now open for the whole world to see), these victims become the perpetrators of a new shitstorm, namely the hunt for witches. As the hunt for the four girls escalates into a massacre, people die, blood is spilt, and Salem becomes a battleground for a war that started online, but has entered the real world. The fascinating thing is that the film takes the idea of the recreational outrage of online shitstorms, which are a safe, sanitized form of hunting someone without ever having to actually face the victims, and places it in the analog world. An execution in the street is an online shitstorm taken to its logical extreme. As such, Assassination Nation is the satirical, over-the-top conclusion to the trend of online outrage. The internet brought us together for us to share love, but the film proposes that it inevitably transforms the world into an assassination nation.

I watched the film because I saw it in Amazon Prime, and I had no fleshed-out expectations; Wikipedia described it as a black comedy thriller, so I might have expected some laughs, but to be quite honest, it was a horror film to me. You can easily read Assassination Nation as a slasher, with the four girls at the center as the final girls and the entire town as the killers. Reading it like that makes the expectations heaved upon girls by patriarchal structures in the postmodern age even more explicit. The most horrific thing, however, must be the fact that these girls are innocent. They have done literally nothing to deserve the town’s persecution, and it does not matter at all. Nothing makes you feel powerless like telling the truth and being called a liar. The girls have the truth on their side, but we live in the age of alternative facts, so really, who cares? Apparently, we don’t want the truth. We just want someone to blame.

As such, I can’t really find humor in the film. It scares me too much. I am aware of its satirical exaggeration in the Tarantino-esque escalation of bloody violence, but it felt too real for me to be satire. Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian described the film as “social media revenge porn,” which best describes what Assassination Nation presents to the audience: the consequences of lives lived on social media that then (literally) bleed into the real world. Ultimately, the film seems to suggest that the two forms of life (online and offline) do not mix. The intersection between online and offline is also a one-way street. The real world barely affects the online world, but the online world has massive consequences for the real world.

That being said, I really enjoyed Assassination Nation for its artful inclusion of social media into the medium of film. I always enjoy films that explore the limits of the medium, and the internet is so much a part of our lives that we will cease to exist without it.

Miri

Guest Blogger: Miri

Follow Miri on Instagram: @miri_mh8

Cooking with Jasmin – Turmeric Chicken Curry

Hey my loves,

Today I am sharing a new recipe I discovered for myself. Lately I have been cooking up my veggies and meats in a lot of different styles, just because I am so bored with my normal food. A couple of weeks ago I created a Curry dish, that suits my lifestyle and my taste buds. I am in now way saying that I am lactose intolerant, but I noticed that if I keep my lactose intake to a minimum I feel a lot better, so I choose some lactose-free alternatives. I am also not the biggest fan of coconut milk, so I used normal milk, cream cheese and cream to get the creamy-ness. 

I never really eat Currys, but I think I will try to experiment a lot more with different version. So, if you have any good recipes feel free to share a link in the comments.

I think this recipe could use some more perfection but as of now this is how I created my Turmeric Chicken Curry.

Ingredients

Instruction

If you recreate it make sure to tag me on any post you make and let me know in the comments. 

XoXo, Jasmin.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Things I want to achieve in 2021

Hey my loves,

In today’s blog post I am going to talk a little bit about what I want to achieve in 2021. At the end of 2020 I was thinking about a new years resolution list, you know a typical thing. But, because of how awfully wrong everything went in 2020 and especially with everything that was on my list for 2020 I decided I am going to do a list of things I want to achieve that were out of context with the pandemic and would not rely on my leaving my apartment (even though travel and more dating will always be on the list when this whole thing is over). 

So I started making a small but impactful list that would set my mindset for 2021. These are all things I hopefully can achieve and that will enrich my life.

I want to finish all of my exams for my master degree.

I have two papers left and one oral exam before I start writing my master thesis. My plan is currently to write one paper this winter term and then one paper in summer, as well as take the oral exam in my summer term. Hopefully it all works out, so that I can start working on my thesis around October 2021.

I want to read more books.

Especially, I want to read more books in the field I want to work in. I love to educate myself further besides my studies, especially because I want to end up working in the field of marketing. So for this winter break I researched some books of which I want to read at least 2 to 3 and educate myself further on topics of marketing, content marketing, social media marketing and writing.

I want to be better organized and all in all cleaner in my way of living.

Now, that I have a bigger space and enough storage space I want to keep everything organized, clean and in place. I am trying to tidy a bit everyday and have a cleaning schedule that I like to follow as best as I can.

I want to include better and healthier foods into my eating habits.

With lockdown and the move I had been eating pretty crappy and irregular the past couple of months. And I also got so lazy when it got to cooking. In the beginning of my move I did not have a working stove for almost two weeks so I had to order so much food. As of the end of January I am back on my grind with eating low-carb and a lot of veggies. I feel so much more energized and motivated, its so crazy how food has an effect on your mood.

All in all it might not seem much, but I personally think a smaller list is always better. You can much rather add things along the way instead of not feeling the high of ticking something of it.

What are some of your goals you want to achieve this year? Let me know.

I hope you are all happy, healthy and excited for your goals of 2021.

XoXo, Jasmin.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.