Why I’m a feminist

Honestly, I’ve been meaning to write this post forever, but I’ve put it off because I’m nervous about it. But at the same time I think it’s worth sharing why I consider myself a feminist and what that means to me.

“Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.”

what feminism means to me

Personally, I don’t remember learning the word feminism or ever thinking it was bad. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s because I grew up thinking that Topanga from Boy Meets World and Jessie of Saved By The Bell were pretty awesome, although now I know they’re not model feminists. Some of my favorite fictional characters when  was young, and still today, include Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird, Jo from Little Women and Mulan of, well, Mulan.   The media definitely shaped my worldview of men, women and our society, as I’m sure it did for you, too. Even though there are plenty of negative images and stereotypes in the media, I’ve tried to analyze all of it from a young age and found myself drawn to strong female characters.

It wasn’t until college that I started to analyze and take on the word feminism for myself. In my first Ethnic and Women’s Studies class my third year of college, the professor asked those of us who considered ourselves feminist to raise our hands. I hesitantly raised my hand whole looking around the room to see who else would. But then I thought, “Hey wait, of course I am.”

That led to me learning more about feminism from professors, friends, books and Tumblr. Yep, Tumblr. Here’s some of what I’ve learned and why I’m a feminist.

What feminism has done for me (and you)

Although feminism is a relatively new term in history, the idea that men and women should be treated as equals has been around for longer. And it’s not going away any time soon. First there were suffragettes and then some 60 years later came the women’s liberation movement, which is now considered the start of the feminist movement.

Women are allowed to inherit, own, buy, sell and transfer property now. By around 1900, every state in America had given women control over their own property. Before that, property rights largely depended on marital status (unmarried, married, widowed) and varied state by state.

Women can vote and hold public office. Hattie Caraway, an Arkansas Democrat, became the first woman elected to the US senate in 1932. Thanks to the hard work of suffragettes, women achieved the right to vote in 1920.

Women could and did get fired from their workplaces before the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978. My grandma was fired after her managers found out she was pregnant with her first child.

Women have more opportunities for education, sports and work in the United States now.


Why I still need feminism

Recently, someone started a Tumblr called “Why I Don’t Need Feminism.” You may have heard of it by now, depending on what you look at on the Internet. This Buzzfeed listicle tells about it.  Now, I’m not saying every girl needs to call herself a feminist by any means, but some of these girls have got it all wrong. They’re talking like being a feminist means hating men or thinking women need to be elevated above them, which is not true.

I still need feminism because I believe all people deserve to be treated with respect, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation or anything else.

I mean, that’s what I’ve been taught since elementary school or before that even! Love your neighbor as yourself. Stand up for your rights. It’s not about playing the victim. It’s about working towards a better future.

Today there a variety of issues feminist stand for, including access to birth control, abortion, same-sex marriage But feminists don’t need to agree on all these issues for them to be considered feminists. Just want to make that clear.

Some of the biggest issues facing women today are violence against women, the wage gap and the poor treatment of women in the media.

Opportunities for education and work for women need to be improved both in the United States and around the world. Less emphasis should be put on body image, which would help not only women, but men too. The world isn’t all that safe for women or the LGBTQ community. This is something we still need to work on.

We need to care for each other as a society and as a world.


What do you think about feminism? Do you consider yourself a feminist? What do you think are some of the biggest issues facing women today? Let me know in the comments below.

My writing process


I first started this blog in the summer of 2012. With that said, I wouldn’t say I’ve been blogging for two years. I stopped and started until this past September when my posts became a little more consistent.

What really made me want to blog was seeing amazing personal lifestyle blogs in Blogland and making connections with fellow bloggers. It’s fun getting to know people and working through questions together. I’m very thankful for the women I have met through blogging for their encouragement and inspiration.

A few days ago Betsy tagged me in this “My Writing Process” tour. I had fun reading the other responses before sitting down to create my own.

1. What are you working on right now?

I’ve always got a list of blog post and article ideas going. I also have a ton of drafts saved with little notes about my ideas and half written posts waiting on a little something. I’m working on a few introspective pieces relating to feminism, more recipe posts and notes on my 24 before 24 list.

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?

As the others said, it’s mine. I have my own voice that I’m still developing. It also changes on the day and my mood.

There are so many great lifestyle bloggers out there, but ultimately we’re all different because of the life experiences that have shaped us. What I love about blogging is seeing how although people have similarities, we’re all unique and have something special to give.

3. Why do you write what you do?

I like to share what I feel strongly about. That may mean sharing something I’m very happy or excited about, feeling sad or angry about or any other type of feeling. I suppose I want to share both my concerns and sentiments with the world. But honestly, I’m still working through this question.

I’ve always felt a need to write from a young age. Since second grade I have been convinced that I should be a writer. But when my best friend since fifth grade recently asked me what I like to write about, I had a hard time coming up with an answer. Maybe that’s because there’s not just one thing. I like to write about things that are inspiring in some way. That could mean an amazing music video, people who inspire me, falling in love, overcoming difficult things, or something good to eat.

4. How does your writing process work?

Sometimes I sit down to write a piece and have it done in an hour. It may be something I just thought of that day. Other times I’ll be considering a topic for a month or more before I finally write about it.

Sometimes a post will start from personal photos I want to use and writing will be added from there, while others get photos added in at the last minute. This blog has seen cheesy phone photos (especially in the early posts) and better ones from my Cannon Rebel. No matter the visuals, I try to keep my writing interesting and engaging too, so the photos aren’t pulling all the weight.

I’ve written blog posts on the train, buses, the passenger seat of a car and from the comfort of my own home. I’ve also used a variety of devices, from mine and my sister’s Toshiba laptops to my boyfriend’s Mac, from my iPhone to my Windows tablet. I don’t have a real process or routine when it comes to writing. I’ve heard a lot of people say that, so I know I’m not the only one, but I think my writing and blogging could be improved with more structure. It’s something I’m working on.

I also always, always have posts in my drafts folder, notebooks with ideas and keep a running list in the notes app on my phone.


Thanks again for tagging me, Betsy! Now I’m suppose to tag three people. I choose Phoebe, Cassie and Monique. Let us know if and when you get to talking about your writing process. I’d love to hear about it!

5 things I learned in college

graduation 1

I graduated college on Sunday. It’s almost been a week already. It doesn’t even seem real. I don’t think it will sink in until I have my diploma in hand.

I have to say, I quite enjoyed college. It taught me a lot. In fact, I feel like I’m forgetting something when I say

1. Education isn’t just taught in the classroom.

I learned so much from the jobs and volunteer experiences I had in college, many of which were on campus. The motto at my school is “Learn by doing.” Honestly, is there any other way?

2. It’s okay to change your mind.

In the four or five years it takes to graduate college (who’s counting, really?) it’s inevitable that you will change your mind a lot. Feel free to change your mind about about your major, who you call your friends, and who to date. Of course, you should have your reasons.

my mom and me

Paul and me

3. Let the people you care about know you care. 

I’ve always been shy. College made me just a wee bit more outgoing. I’m also totally over hiding my feelings. I’ve told guys that I liked them. That was scary. I also made great friends simply by showing them I care.

4. Don’t put yourself in a box.

When I decided for sure that I wanted to pursue writing, I somehow thought I couldn’t also be a photographer and marketer too. But that’s just silly. I was putting myself in a box with only one label. Then I met interesting people with multiple talents and interests. It’s okay to have hobbies. You can be a writer and a science student. Be a photographer and kinesiology student if you want to. You can even be good at more than one thing. I promise.

5. Life isn’t meant to be taken too seriously.

I’m a goofball, but I can also be super serious. As a kid I was often told “Don’t take everything so literally.” I like thinking deeply but life is also meant for water fights and silly games. I had some tough times in college and that only reinforced the idea that I shouldn’t take everything so seriously.

on the screen

Congratulations to all the recent graduates. I hope you all had a great experience. To those still in school, I wish you the best!

Head in the clouds

blue skies

Note: I wrote this a few weeks ago and accidentally pushed publish before adding in the pictures. Here’s the completed piece, as it should be.

It rained today.

My mom excitedly pointed out the rain as I was looking at my computer on the dinning room table. We could see through the dinning room window that there was rain pouring down, but there weren’t any clouds blocking the sun. “There must be a rainbow,” she said. Sure enough, there was practically a double rainbow.

I went right out in the rain with my flip flops, running shorts, tank top and hoodie on. (This California weather changes fast. It was hot a few days ago and I was inside most of today, so I was in lounge clothes.) After about 10 minutes, it stopped raining. I had some photos of the rainbow, a truly beautiful feat of nature, so I retreated inside to warm my feet.

from porch

I got lost in the Internet again. When I looked up from the 10+ tabs I had open and saw the sunset, I decided it was time for another photo session. Queue more cloud photography, a downpour and then hail started falling from the sky. That happens a few times a year where I live and I love it every time.

in motion


dark clouds

Each time I was outside staring at the sky, I thought about how my head has been in the clouds lately. I like to live in reality, but sometimes I get too caught up in thinking about the future, what it could hold, and what it should hold. The things that have been weighing heavily on my mind feel so personal at the moment, that I would rather not go into detail. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to say I’ve been deeply considering marriage and my career both as separate and intertwined things.

As I’m writing this, I just remembered a quote from one of my favorite books and movies, Little Women. “We’ll all grow up someday,” Amy March told her sister Meg. “We might as well know what we want.”

In my experience, this is true. We should know what we want. We should be dreamers and have our heads in the clouds sometimes. Of course, eventually we’ll have to come back to earth and see how our dreams can match up with reality.

I also try to keep in mind that wherever there’s rain, there’s likely to be a rainbow. Take the bad with the good and vice versa. Gray skies and blue skies can exist in the same day, even in the same stretch of sky. So appreciate what you have.

The sky always makes me feel very contemplative. I just have to remember to look up.


Thoughts on graduation

erin on campus

After five years, two changes of my major, four jobs, two internships and several big life events, I’m finally going to graduate.

It seems real now. It took a while to sink in, but now I’m ready for it. I’m ready to go out into the workforce equipped with the knowledge and experience of my time in college and start new adventures.

Continue reading “Thoughts on graduation”

Beer with a Blogger: Cassie of Witty Title Here

A few weeks ago, I met up with another blogger for the first time. Meeting people from online is not all bad, I tell you. I’m still alive and I got to meet this cool girl Cassie who runs the blog Witty Title Here, a lifestyle blog which features personal essays, photography and interviews. For her Beer with a Blogger series, I suggested we meet up at O’Brien’s Irish Pub in Santa Monica, because hey, O’Brien is my last name.
beer close up

It was so cool getting to sit down across from someone whose blog I had been reading for months and talk about blogging with someone who actually does it. I don’t know any bloggers in real life, so whenever I bring up blogging to my family and friends they just play along.

We talked about blogging (of course), places to visit in the area, books, feminism and the media. Cassie is a Journalism student too! She’s also a California transplant who moved across the country for school, which I find very brave. The girl is brave, funny, honest and smart. You can follow Cassie on Twitter here.

William O’Sullivan neon sign

The owner, William O’Sullivan came out to meet Cassie and me while we were taking photos of the outside of the building. He was really nice and friendly. He wanted to know what we were taking pictures for, understandably, and even went back inside to write down the names of our blogs. I thought that was sweet. Although he was born in Ireland, he decided to name the bar after a Star Trek character instead of his own last name.

O'Briens Pub outside

The pub seemed like a nice place and I plan on going back. I’ll have to get my family to go with me so we can all enjoy being there together. Fun fact: My sisters and I all have pajamas that say O’Brien’s Irish Pub. My dad got them for us from Old Navy one year.

Beer with a blogger

Photo from [Witty Title Here]

This was so much fun! I’m glad we met up, Cassie. We’ll have to get meet up again soon.

The Versitile Blogger

Versitile Blogger Award

It’s always nice to be nominated. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Jasmine of Jazzed About Stuff, who just so happens to be a former college classmate of mine. Thanks Jasmine! As she wrote over on her blog, the idea is to choose 15 nominees, write 7 interesting/random facts about yourself and pass on the award. I’m assuming based on the name that the award is for blogs with a variety of topics.


Here are my 15 picks:

1) Alyssa Goes Bang

2) Awash With Wonder

3) A Novel Quest

4) Barrett All

5) Everygoodthing

6) Existation

7) Little Lessons In a BIG City

8) M Loves M

9) NDloveNY

10) Ohdizzle

11) So You Guys

12)  Welcome to Ladyville

13) The Wine Stain

14) With A City Dream

15) Witty Title Here

7 things about me:
1) I tend to leave a trail of bobby pins wherever I go. I’ll see them laying around places I have been such as the bathroom at my work, down the hallway, on my front porch, or in my boyfriend’s car. It’s kind of ridiculous.

2) Although I rarely cuss aloud, I don’t mind if other people do. Sometimes I like it. I guess somewhere along the way I decided that cuss words sound weird when I say or write them. People don’t expect me to, so they look at me funny when I do. Therefore, I just don’t.

3) My favorite movie is still The Lion King, hands down. I’m a little kid. Oh well. Also, I can relate just about everything to that movie. Here’s proof.

4) I don’t own a car and I rarely drive. If I do, that means driving my mom’s car while she sits in the passenger seat. Yes, even though I’m 23 and live in Southern California. Maybe I’ll write more on that later.

5) I met my boyfriend through our college student newspaper. The full story is here.

6) When I was in second grade, my teacher gave the class little award things and I got “most likely to become an author.” That made a big impact on 8-year-old me.

7) This is going to sound really weird, but I narrate my own life in my head sometimes. I’ll passively narrate what I am doing  in past tense. For instance, “I typed what I was saying and wondered if it made any sense at all.” Yeah, it sounds narcissistic and crazy but it’s true. I’ve always had this tendency. It’s something I tend to catch myself doing when I’m bored or anxious.

Welcome to Modern Notebook


Those of you who have been following this blog may notice some changes. For one thing the name is different. For three years, my blog had been named Take Comfort Project and it lived at the domain http://www.takecomfortproject.wordpress.com. Note that if you type that into your browser you will still be redirected to the site at its new address.

I’m the type of person who will mull on a big idea for a while and then make the change overnight when the time is right. So, this wasn’t a hasty decision. I’ve been thinking about overhauling the design and name for about a year. I tweaked the design about a month ago. Now it feels so good to have finally, finally found a name that I love.

It’s funny, actually. I have been thinking of names for my lifestyle blog for quite a while now, but hadn’t settled on one until last night. When it came to me, I changed the domain right away and made a few changes to the sidebar as well.

I figure a name is pretty important, so it was important to make the change. I’m not sure how you all felt about Take Comfort Project. To me, taking comfort by diving into a it signified project like my blog. It also meant that the blog is a work in progress.

Of course, it still is. But I don’t want to think of it like an ongoing project any more. I want to be happy and proud of my little blog. That means all parts of it.

The name Modern Notebook just came to me last night when I was on the phone with my boyfriend. I had thought of a different name and looked it up only to find that the domain I wanted for it was taken. Then when there was a lull in the conversation I thought “What about Modern Notebook.” He said it sounded like a band name, which makes sense because he’s a musician. He would say that and I loved that he said it. Modern Notebook it is.

That’s what this blog is to me. It’s my Modern Notebook. It’s a place for me to write down my rambling thoughts, big ideas, goals, latest recipes, music I love and anything else I find notable.

The content won’t change, or at least it won’t change along with the name change. I’ll still be experimenting as I deem necessary. My enthusiasm for the blog has grown, which makes me really excited.

I hope you keep following along with me. I’m still navigating this, so I’m not sure about a few things. Do I have to update my Bloglovin’ page somehow? Anyone know? Any feedback on these changes will be much appreciated!

A big thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you blogger friends who have encouraged me to take this little project blog and make it better all the time. Your support means a lot to me!