Hi everyone! This is a weird time with the COVID 19 and everything. However, with my university classes being online now and I am stuck at home, the days seem to be blending in together, I have created an April calendar to help me stay organized. I hope you enjoy this calendar and download it too!
Conspicuous consumption is an action that a majority of our society takes part in. It consumes our lives and robs us of reaching our true potential and unlocking our happiness. This is something that almost everybody is guilty of (there are exceptions, of course!). However, it is important to recognize when you partake in CC and your motives why. By understanding CC, we can obtain a better look at ourselves and help us be better humans.
Please partake with my rather playful approach to critiquing something we all do as human beings 🙂
So what’s conspicuous consumption anyway?
Conspicuous consumption is being showy with your expensive purchases. In other words, it’s being shallow (yikes, I know).
For example, it is the difference between buying something because you like it and you think it’s cool VS buying something because it’s expensive and you want to show people that you can afford it.
CC is the application of spending money and other resources to display higher culture. When I say higher culture, I mean, the rich, famous and elite. The people who hold power over the common people like you and me. In other words, we feel insecure. Therefore, we try to copy the practices of the elite by involving ourselves in conspicuous consumption to show our social status.
Why is it bad?
1.We are setting a bad example for future generations
Consider how we talk about celebrities as “role models.” It really is quite interesting how there is more status attached to celebrities and entertainers than teachers or professors. Some youth are being raised to think of fame and wealth as goals.
I want to hear a young teen have a role model other than Kylie Jenner or a Kardashian. I want to hear a young woman say “I want to be like Frida Khalo!” Like yeah! Now, that’s awesome.
We also need to teach our children to be grateful for what they have and to work hard for what they want to earn in life.
For example, we are privileged in ways we take for granted– like attending school. Take a moment and be thankful.
It’s 2:53: Class will start soon, and I am grateful. A lot of people wish they could be in this university classroom seat like I am today.
2.We can’t enjoy “the now” because we are too focused on creating a fake “perfect life”
Through the use of new technology, conspicuous consumption has been really easy to take part in. Do you use your social media to post your lavish lifestyle? We really should revisit our intentions behind our social media postings.
Oh, you went brunch on a rooftop in Austin, and suddenly, there is that undeniable urge to post it on your Snapchat Story.
OMG! I am so guilty! I am physically sick. But Hey, it’s okay. WE ARE NOT PERFECT. Don’t feel attacked if this is also you. I believe a lot of people do this in today’s digital age. But like I said before, let’s notice when we do these things and take a step back.
And yeah, it’s frustrating when we see our super-rich friends or super rich strangers flaunting their money around on the internet. It looks like they have the best life ever. But I promise you, they don’t. No amount of money in the world can make someone truly happy. Also, consider this, a lot of people you are seeing on the internet (like extremely wealthy kids) didn’t earn their money and are benefiting from money from their parents. For real-life examples: See the Tumblr account: “Rich Kids of Instagram.”
Emilee happiness tip: Invest your time in good, genuine people who make you happy. Find something you’re passionate about and run with it. Don’t let people treat you like you aren’t awesome because, hey, you’re freakin’ awesome.
Why are we so obsessed with showing our Gucci belts or our expensive boat shoes (when we don’t even own a freaking boat!)? Seriously, why do we do these things? I am not saying your expensive purchases are bad. However, I am saying that we should be examining our motives behind our purchases.
With that being said, different groups buy conspicuously different things. For example, in Austin, if you are a hiker, you have to have the best hiking gear– like you can only wear Patagonia, North Face, etc. if you want to fit in. If you work out, maybe you only wear Lulu Lemon? These are more examples.
Am I buying this because I really like this or am I buying this because I want to impress people around me?
It’s okay to be you and not have every super-fancy thing in the world! But above all, create genuine happiness; don’t buy it.
3.It’s not financially “smart”
Do you know someone who spent their whole paycheck on a purchase and, as a result, didn’t have the funds to even support themselves?
This happens every day. Like buying a car we can’t afford or putting pressure on our boyfriends to buy us an expensive engagement ring that is way out of their price range or give us a fairytale wedding. These are social constructs that we have created.
We are so sorry, our dear boyfriends for putting that unnecessary stress on you.
4.We are not making social progress.
We, as a society, need to think about things we are doing so we can change the world. I am not saying to get up, move to a different country to do social work. No! We aren’t perfect. We can never be perfect. However, find a cause that you want to support. Maybe we should be thinking about standing up for children in need, protecting our environment, or helping with world hunger.
Instead, we are selfish (once again, this statement doesn’t apply to everyone. There are outliers).
Like why did I just sit down and waste hours watching the Kardashians or MTV Cribs instead of turning it off and realizing it’s garbage? Reality TV is like candy. It’s so fun to watch, but watching too much is detrimental to our mental health.
- We are sustaining these lavish lifestyles because we are so obsessed
- Let’s get up and make a change!!!
ORIGINS OF CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION
The idea of conspicuous consumption originates from Thorstein Veblen, an American economist and sociologist. Veblen wrote about this concept in The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions in 1899. He leaves a highly detailed critique of social class consumerism in his book.
Here are some of Veblen’s viewpoints. Please note, I am not saying these ideas or wrong or right. That is for you to decide 😉 You do not have to agree with Veblen. However, just think about these ideas from his book.
- People are irrational, economic creatures
- We live in a world where we are raised to want social status.
- He argued that we should take social and cultural issues into account
- We pursue social status without thinking of consequences
- Veblen saw the rise of conspicuous consumption in America as regression, the exact opposite of social progress.
So, how can an idea from over a century ago still be relevant today?
Because, we, as a society, still take part in conspicuous consumption. Instead of aristocrats of the early 19th century, individuals in our culture are trying to emulate celebrities.
Look, I don’t have the answers. Is conspicuous consumption bad, good or irrelevant? That’s a decision for you to decide. I laid out some concepts for you to think about. Let me know your views.
Does somebody need a hug?
– Buddy the Elf
Christmas is absolutely my favorite holiday of the year. I mean, come on, it’s dubbed “the most wonderful time of the year.” I celebrate hard. So, if you would like some fun, unique Christmas ideas to celebrate the season too, here’s my list. Enjoy!
-Emilee Hall (HALLiday master)
★San Marcos Sights and Sounds
For over 30 years, San Marcos has had a Christmas festival based in the town plaza, Sights and Sounds is, basically, a little Christmas Carnival. There’s a Ferris wheel, games, vendors, ice skating. There’s even a petting zoo. If you love Christmas lights as much as I do, go check it out!
I will say that if you want the full AUSTIN, TEXAS, CHRISTMAS experience, I urge you to ice skate on top of the Whole Foods in downtown Austin. Maybe, while you are there, just get a little wild and pick up some organic hot chocolate too. 😉
★Create a unique gingerbread house
If you want to stick to the “traditional” gingerbread house, go for it! But, if you’re looking for a unique approach, try building a gingerbread beach house or log cabin! Maybe try to make a cookie replica of your own house. Get creative, you don’t have to even use gingerbread. But Emilee, not using gingerbread defeats the purpose of building a gingerbread house, right? Maybe so, but who cares! It’s Christmas! Do what you want. Here is a log cabin version that I did myself. Not too bad, huh?
★Listen to the Michael Bublé Christmas Album in its entirety
I imagine that when celebrities/famous musicians make a Christmas album, it’s kinda like “Okay, we are out of ideas and need to make some money. Oh, wait! I know what we can do! Let’s sing Jingle Bell Rock!” Whether that’s the case or not, I get down to some Christmas music. Hands down, one of the best Christmas albums ever to be made is Bublé’s “Christmas.” He’s a modern-day Sinatra. So I suggest that you download the album on your music streaming app, or buy the album/vinyl.
Crank that bad boy up and jam out in the car. You’re welcome.
★Weird gift wrapping
Get creative with your wrapping! Especially if it’s a gift for someone you really love. For example, my step-dad can play just about any instrument, so I decorated his gift with music notes. Another example was my friend who was really into cars; I got a toy car and taped it onto the gift. Then I drew a road.
★Austin Trail of Lights at Zilker Park
This is a holiday festival in Austin. Previously, I mentioned San Marcos Sights and Sounds. This reminds me a bit of that. Grab your mittens and your BFFs while y’all stroll through this city-wide celebration.
★Drink hot chocolate at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters
This place has some great coffee, a spectacular view, and AWESOME CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. Sit back, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and the light show.
Address: 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703
★Decorate a tree by the Austin 360 bridge
There I was, driving on the Austin 360 bridge around early December when I noticed something odd but charming. Random trees on both sides of the roads were decorated in eclectic fashions. After asking Austinites and doing a quick session of rapid googling, I discovered this is an Austin Christmas tradition. It’s simple, pick a tree, decorate it however your heart desires, and when Christmas is over, go back to your tree to remove your decor. You won’t be fined for decorating the tree on the side of the road because there are no tree policies. However, please be respectful and to the community and trees.
★Binge on Christmas Movies
Nothing is better than cuddling up on the couch with your family, a significant other, friends, pets or just yourself and watching Christmas movies.
Here are my top favorites:
- Elf (2003)
- Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
- The Santa Clause (1994)
If you’re trying to be “naughty,” you can play drinking games to your favorite Christmas movies.
★Go to a tree farm to pick out a tree.
Sure, anyone can go to the store a pick out an artificial tree, but you see, the real fun and excitement come from going to a tree farm to purchase your tree. It smells like nature, and when people visit your house, they will be impressed. Maybe. I’m not sure, but it will impress me, Emilee. Do not forget to keep your tree watered or… well… It might catch on fire. That just might ruin Christmas.
★Epic Christmas Party
This is if you’re feeling EXTRA festive. Have a Christmas party. I’m talkin’, spiked hot chocolate, ugly sweaters, some guy dressed up as the Grinch, and a little Christmas movie trivia. For the finale, White Elephant gift exchange. For more ideas, I really would really suggest using Pinterest. Also, all pets at the party should have to dress up too. Yeah, that should be a rule.
SAN MARCOS, Texas — The 2018 midterm elections across the nation were shocking due to the increased number of youth voters compared to past years’ elections.
Even Texas State University had to expand voting hours last week on campus after being threatened by a lawsuit over early voting access. Students wanted more time to vote.
“I work in LBJ, so I saw the lines,” junior Alyssa Gonzales said. “Voting opened at 11 a.m. one day, and people were there at 7 a.m..”
According to a poll by the Harvard Kennedy School Insitute of Politics, 18- to 29-year-olds were way more likely to vote in the 2018 midterm elections compared to 2010 and 2014. Forty percent of students said they were “definitely” going to vote in this year’s midterms.
Many Texas State students acknowledge that the typical voter turnout is usually made up of older voters. However, some youth feel like the older generation is not as educated as college students on specific, current issues like climate change.
“It’s important to have a voice for issues that some of the older voters might not be aware of,” computer science major Evan Zimmerman said. “Each segment of the populous in term of age is going to have their own set of issues that they find significant, and I think things like climate change are things that are going to impact us in the long term that an older person may not consider because of the relevance to them. It’s time we realize we grew up in a different scientific and cultural atmosphere.”
Many of the youth said that they get their information about candidates and voting over social media. On Election Day, the number one trending topic on Twitter was “Beto.”
“I think that being so young, we are often influenced by the media, people we follow and relatives,” political science major Victoria Page said. “But voting does give us, being so young, a chance to experience forming our own opinions and getting a foot in the door of the political system.”
According to the same Harvard poll, 26 percent of young Americans approve of President Trump’s job in office.
The outcome from the presidential election is a factor that drove a younger crowd to the polls. Many of the youth were disappointed with the results from the last election and felt motivated to participate in the midterms.
“We saw what happened with Trump,” criminal justice major Susie Rivera said. “Nobody actually took advantage of voting. So now, they don’t want to make that mistake again.”
Even though many Texas State students are feeling motivated to vote, there are some students who feel differently. Junior Braden Schulze tries to steer himself away from politics because he gets irritated with the fighting and conflict amongst political parties.
“Last election cycle just made me so mad about all the stuff going around,” Schulze said. “So, I just try to see myself out of it. A lot of people just can’t find a leeway ground, and it’s like trying to talk to a bull. This doesn’t apply to one side or the other. It’s both sides.”
Many Texas State students will be participating in the midterm elections as first-time voters. These students are very excited to express their opinions by voting.
“This is the first election I am able to participate in and will be voting,” sophomore Matthew Schmidt said. “I am voting this election to have my voice heard and to make an impact on where I live.”
Another student who is going to vote for the first time, freshman Aleah Cockrell, said she is going to the polls because she isn’t content with today’s political leaders.
“It is important to vote to get the right people in office,” Cockrell said. “You don’t want to be the reason why someone you didn’t like to get in office just because you didn’t vote.”
Although the actual number of youth voters has yet to be announced. For updated Hays County election results, visit www.co.hays.tx.us/current-year-elections.
SAN MARCOS, Texas — For the first time ever, Texas State University SJMC students will have a chance to branch out to Asia for a study abroad program in the summer of 2019.
“Japan is a very different country,” Academic program director Gilbert Martinez said. “Obviously, they speak a different language, and their daily life can be very different. I think being there and experiencing that does a couple of things. It helps you understand and appreciate a foreign country, but it also helps you understand and appreciate your own country.”
Martinez, who will be leading the program, said that students will be able to visit Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan, all while earning course credit for MC 4382L Feature Writing and MC 4382O Travel Journalism.
“It’s simply an opportunity to travel to Japan, to visit important cultural sights, write about them, take photos and take short videos,” Martinez said. “Then, students will create media products: travel essays, feature stories, blog posts about the things they find interesting, about the things they want to write about “when we visit these places.”
The approximate cost for this trip is $5,000 which includes tuition, travel assistance and hotel boarding. Airfare will be separate which will range from $1,500 to $2,000.
“On one hand, this is quite pricey,” said Martinez. “I think it’s unfortunate that not everybody can get this great experience, but I think there are lots of advantages to doing a program run through the school, and you get the support of faculty members like myself and Jon Zimikly.”
Students who attend this study abroad program will have an opportunity to explore Japan, such as a day trip to Kamakura to see the Great Buddha, alongside Martinez. He is thrilled about this trip because he gets to go back to his Japanese roots.
“My mother was from Okinawa, Japan,” said Martinez. “I’m half Japanese. I’m half Okinawan. My father was from south Texas in the valley, so hence the ‘Martinez.’ So, I don’t consider myself a half of one and a half of the other. I consider myself a double because I get to draw from very rich heritages on both my mother’s side and my father’s side. So, this is something that is very personal to me.”
During the program, students will be visiting Japanese media companies and a Japanese University.
“I really love incorporating this idea that [students] will get the chance to meet other students like [themselves] but in Japan,” Martinez said. “They are going to be very curious about students from the United States.”
Applications will open in November and will be due by May 31. For more information regarding the trip, contact Martinez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10. The view
Ivar’s River Pub’s backyard might very well be the best view in San Marcos. The restaurant’s outdoor patio overlooks the beautiful San Marcos River. During the day, you can watch the sunlight’s reflection dazzle on the cool river’s water. At sunset, feast your eyes on the warm orange and red tones that take over the wide Texas sky. Then at night, watch carefully as you see bunches of lightning bugs dance above the water in moonlight.
9. Their awesome events
This place offers awesome events during the week. For example, On Mondays, stop by and hang out with your reptilian friends through the educational group “Homies with Scales.” A lot of people are scared of reptiles such as snakes (I know I was), but this group offers a fun approach to properly educate kids and adults on reptile encounters for San Marcos and surrounding areas.
8. Epic live music
One of the best things about San Marcos is that you can listen to live music on any night of the week. However, if you’re going to listen to live music in town, I highly recommend Ivar’s. It has a rocking outdoor venue where you can be served by the best staff in town while also getting your jam on by the river.
7. Furry friends are welcomed
Ivar’s has an area known as their “garden area” that offers full service for ALL their customers (even the ones with furry paws), This is an awesome spot that overlooks the river, and it will accommodate all your pets’ needs.
6. It’s the best place to watch sports
If you’re a big sports fanatic, then this is the place for you. This place is fully equipped with large T.V.s, beer, and the best nachos in town.
5. It’s the best place for people watching
The restaurant has the best people watching because of all the tubers, kayakers and swimmers in the river. Also, there is a very small waterfall in view where you can watch “brave souls” gleefully splash down or the clumsier tubers totally wipe out.
4. Amazing drinks
Ivar’s offers an array of beers, wines, and signature cocktails. There’s a variety of local beers coming from our Austin and San Antonio corridor (Perks of being in between both major cities). They have a wide, wonderful selection of wines from the Texas hill country. Their signature drinks are so good!!! If you’re into Bloody Marys, ask Lindsey to make you one. She will hook you up with an amazing drink.
3. The people who work there
You will never meet a more friendly staff. These people are truly wonderful. They are fast, knowledgeable, personable, and downright charming. You can infer that they are not just workers, but, they act like they are family. I think that’s one of the greatest benefits about coming to Ivar’s River Pub. You walk in and immediately feel accepted. You know they are going to take care of you.
2. The food
Ivar’s food is what I would call southern comfort food; their food is inspired by Cajun cuisines. Also, they have AMAZING BBQ which is very important to Texans like me. I would even go as far to say that they offer one of the best burgers in town. Mmm… I’m hungry as I type this.
1. Because Ivar said so
Ivar’s River Pub was named after Ivar Gunnarson. When you enter the restaurant, you will notice black and white photos of Ivar upon the walls. Ivar, a Canadian WWII pilot, businessman and family man, opened up the San Marcos River Pub in 1996. Ivar’s restaurant remained an awesome place to eat and hang out for San Marcos locals, Texas State University college kids, and his family for 17 years. Ivar passed away in 2007, and his family renovated and reopened the restaurant– but this time as “Ivar’s River Pub” to pay homage to Mr. Gunnarson.
For more information about Ivar’s River Pub, visit http://www.riverpubtx.com or follow them on social media. Instagram: @ivarsriverpubtx.
IVAR”S RIVER PUB ADDRESS:
701 Cheatham Street
San Marcos TX 78666
If you can sing, dance, and not be embarrassed, then you can rule the world.
Hey! My name is Emilee Hall, and I attend Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, where I major in Public Relations and Mass Communications. I really wanted to create a space where I can just let out my thoughts and share with you the things that I am passionate about– like the things that give me butterflies. I hope my words can make a grin spread across your face as you read along. This blog is really just “Em’s thoughts.” For example, the “Hugs and Queso” title stems from my source of needing five hugs a day (yes! Five is the minimum) and my love for cheese (like seriously, I eat cheese for dinner on a regular basis).
I hope you have fun reading what I write. This is a place for awesomeness, optimism, self love, and fun!!!
Hugs and kisses,
Hugs and queso,