A Millennial’s Perspective on Advertising

I am an “older” Millennial, born in 1983. My husband, a Gen X-er, doesn’t have nearly the problem with advertising that I do. So maybe the seething rage I feel whenever I am forced to endure an ad is a generational thing. Or maybe it’s just a personality thing. Either way, I do everything in my power to avoid ads. I never watch TV or listen to the radio (I do watch things on Netflix and Amazon Prime, where there are no ads).  I have AdBlock installed on my laptop, and that pretty much takes care of everything there, except on Facebook, since Facebook has recently chosen to block AdBlock, so I have now also installed FB Purity. I no longer use my phone for much of anything except texting and watching Netflix, since it is practically impossible to block ads on my phone. If I could, I would.

The main reason I hate ads is that if I want to buy something, I know where to look and how to research and evaluate all options BY MYSELF. I resent advertisers who try to pressure or manipulate me, or who insult my intelligence by insinuating that I need to be told what to buy because I’m too dumb to figure it out myself. All a company needs to do is have an updated web site with detailed product information, photos, and videos of their product. If I need something, I’ll use my Google-Fu to find relevant product web sites, as well as unbiased, useful, thorough product reviews on places like Amazon and YouTube. Then I will use my critical thinking skills to figure out which product will best suit my needs and budget.

The second problem I have with ads is that I am already on “information overload.” In today’s society, I am constantly bombarded with information and “noise” from all sides. I just want peace and calm, and I need to be free to use my brain power to focus on things that are important to me. Advertisements make me angry because they take up my time, tax my mental resources, and increase my levels of anxiety and discontent.

Third, advertisements make me feel personally violated. They are unavoidably thrust upon me, despite my protests, and at times, I am silenced and allowed no recourse (e.g., Facebook recently removed the ability to report individual ads as spam). By the way, I would gladly pay a small monthly fee for an ad-free Facebook experience, but Facebook does not provide that option.

Lastly, it feels dirty and creepy when an advertisement tells me, either blatantly or implicitly, that I need a certain product to be happy/beautiful/popular. This is untrue, and it’s just rude.

Bottom line: Ads are more than just an annoyance. They are intrusive, they are manipulative, and they are unnecessary. I can do research on my own, and I don’t want or need someone telling me what to buy.

Book Review: The Lifegiving Home, by Sally and Sarah Clarkson

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The Lifegiving Home is a practical and inspiring collection, arranged month-by-month, of ideas which will help you to “creat[e] a place of belonging and becoming” for yourself, your family, your friends, and others with whom you share your home.

Sally Clarkson is so amazing in this book, and her other books, about helping women solidify their ideals and work toward establishing an atmosphere of safety and love where people can learn, grow, create, and build strong relationships. I am always encouraged after reading or listening to Sally (check out her “At Home With Sally” podcast; it’s great, too!).

Book Review: Felicity, by Mary Oliver

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Felicity is a collection of love poems, not just about romantic love (although the book does contain several non-mushy, non-racy romantic love poems), but also about loving the natural world, loving oneself, loving friends, and loving life in general.

If you only have half an hour, you can read this entire book and come away feeling elevated and appreciative. Of course, you will probably find a few favorite poems and want to re-read them. Personally, I am going to copy several of these poems into a notebook before I turn my copy in to the library. Among them will be: “The World I Live In,” “I Wake Close to Morning,” “Everything That Was Broken,” “Late Spring,” and “I Have Just Said.”

Book Review: Fit to Burst, by Rachel Jankovic

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In Fit to Burst: Abundance, Mayhem, and the Joys of Motherhood, Rachel Jankovic has some good, wise things to say, and it’s nice to read a book by a young mom, who is, right now, in the thick of caring for multiple little people. This tiny book has eighteen chapters, which means that each chapter is only a few pages long. The chapters are self-contained, which is helpful, I guess, if you only have time to read one, but the book is not particularly organized or unified, other than centering around the theme of “motherhood.” Maybe I would have appreciated the book more in small doses, but I had to rush through it because I borrowed it through interlibrary loan and don’t want to be hit with a steep late fee.

Jankovic’s tone bugs me a bit. Her writing is concise, blunt, and sometimes leaning toward strict or  harsh. I’m suppose I’m comparing it to another “mothering” book I am currently reading, Sally Clarkson’s The Lifegiving Home, and Clarkson’s style is so much gentler and more gracious, which I find more encouraging.

Book Review: Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell

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Outliers is informative and engaging. I genuinely enjoyed reading the profiles of various successful people and the analysis of how and why they were able to rise to the top of their professions or otherwise excel in life. The book can essentially be summed up with this statement from its next-to-last chapter: “Outliers are those who have been given opportunities–and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them.”

So, to be blunt, this book is valuable and interesting in an abstract way, but if you are reading it for practical advice on how YOU can be successful, then you will be disappointed and possibly annoyed that you never experienced any of the “lucky breaks” that most of the individuals in this book were afforded.

 

 

 

Puppy Cake

My middle daughter requested a puppy cake for her sixth birthday, and this is the result:

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I got the idea from here. I made the cake and frosting from scratch, but I’m not going to link to the recipes I used, as they were both way too sweet (and that’s saying something, coming from me, because I definitely have a sweet tooth!). However, the birthday girl was very pleased, and that’s what counts.

Cake making notes, in case anyone is interested: I didn’t use food coloring; I just used varying amounts of cocoa powder to color the frosting. So the puppy turned out to be more of a chocolate labradoodle, rather than the goldendoodle on the recipe page. And I didn’t have the patience to dab the grass decorating tip (Wilton 233) over and over a gajillion times, so I sort of just squeezed the frosting out randomly like squiggly spaghetti. I actually like the way this made the “fur” turn out. The eyes are large candy eyes, Wilton brand I think, that I got at Joann’s. The other decorations I got in the bulk natural foods section at Fred Meyer. The nose is a malted milk ball, the collar is made of natural M&M-type candies, and the “pendant” on the collar is a yogurt-covered almond.

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Book Review: Three Decades of Fertility

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This is not a book for everyone. However, if you love reading birth stories, have a large family or are curious about large families and their beliefs and practices, or are an “older” (mid-thirties and up) woman who is interested in having (or continuing to have) babies, then you will probably enjoy this book. The book is written from a religious standpoint, as is obvious from the subtitle: “Ten Ordinary Women Surrender to the Creator and Embrace Life.”

Each chapter in this book is written by a different woman who holds the conviction that God is sovereign over family size. For the most part, the women eschew all forms of birth control and have large families. Each woman shares about her family, including her and her husband’s reasons for allowing God to plan their family size, birth stories, and challenges and blessings that have come their way. Then, at the end of each chapter, each woman gives her answers for the same set of survey questions that was given to all of the book’s contributors.

I appreciate that the survey questions do not shy away from hard ethical issues, such as the increased risk of miscarriage and birth defects that older mothers face. I was encouraged by the strong faith and wisdom of each of the women in this book. The tone of the book is not preachy or prescriptive; it’s more “this is why we do what we do and how it has worked out for us.”

The last two chapters of the book are full of practical advice about optimal nutrition for fertility and help for preventing and correcting physical challenges that some women experience during and after pregnancy.