Dear TopShop

TLDR; I have zero respect for companies that make you jump through numberous hoops to unsubscribe from their e-mail lists.

What is it so hard to unsubscribe to your e-mails? Please fix your “unsubscribe” webpage ( Your “unsubscribe me from all e-mails” button does NOT work. I like your store, I really do, but now it feels like extortion when I can’t get myself off your list without having to submit a customer service form. Really now? ūüė¶ Don’t earn the ire of your customers.

5 minutes later:

Annnnd now after I tried to access your customer service form through the e-mail it says: “Access Denied
You don’t have permission to access “” on this server.
Reference #18.bf070f17.1441557013.360edacf”

What the heck?! It shouldn’t be this hard to do something so simple. Seriously, this is putting me off shopping at Top Shop.


Emily’s Home Sweet Home – Mouse Locations

Sorry, at this time I do not have earlier levels.

Level 9  Upper left by the lemonade pitcher, starts appearing early in the level

Level 10  On the tree branch next to the swing (appears upside down)

Level 21  Slushie machine

Level 22  At the snow cone dispenser

Level 23 – Sideways at the signpost that is next to the park map (if you bought the park map)

Level 24 – Behind the map on the left

Level 25 – In the box of key-chains/penguins

Level 26 – Left side of the green hedge (may be hidden behind a ferris wheel cart as it goes around)

Level 27 – In the roller coaster loop

Level 28 – To the left of the counter, bottom of that lower left table

Level 29 – Behind the counter, to the left of the drinks (for me it was between my coke and my caramel apple)

Level 30 – Left side of the counter (he pops up sideways)

Level 31 – Behind the front post of the left stall with the wood shavings

Level 32 РTo the left of the tent with the ovens

Level 33 РTo the left of counter

Level 34 РWood working station, look around the roof

Level 35¬†–¬†Beneath paint easel

Level 36¬†–¬†Soup pot

Level 37¬†–¬†Top, inside the oven

Sometimes I look in the mirror and hate my body

This is my 100th post on this blog and I wanted to dedicate it to something important. I confess: I struggle with body image issues. Medically I am considered healthy and within the healthy BMI range set by the United States. I really hate sharing my weight and my height, but for the sake of being honest I will share it here. I am about five foot two inches and weigh anywhere from 112 lb to 118 lb. I bloat easily and ‘losing weight’ is an uphill battle. The heaviest I’ve ever been was 125 lb back in high school. I exercise fairly regularly, so I don’t think its a lack of movement that is my problem.

In my head I think most girls around my height should weigh around 105 lb. When comparing reality to my ideal, it is easy to see why I sometimes feel like I’m fat, chubby, heavy, etc. I’m not trying to perpetuate the ideal of super-skinny women, nor am I trying to make people who are actually overweight feel worse about themselves. What I am trying to say is that girls who are at a healthy weight (from a medical standpoint) can also struggle with body image. I think it’s bogus when girls are put down for having body image issues when they are perfectly ‘skinny.’ Those kind of comments are not helpful and they tend to make those who are struggling ignore the fact that they were struggling in the first place. For example, it’s not really ‘kosher’ when I’m talking with my peers to say, “Sometimes I feel really fat,” or, “I really struggle with not nitpicking things about my body that I hate.” Mostly I just get comments like, “Are you serious?” and “You’re so skinny! How can you say that?” I often got rebuked and it is exactly this type of reaction that put me in self-denial and guilt these past few years. While it’s nice to get the confirmation that I am perfectly normal, but it’s not very conducive of a deeper conversation. Sometimes I just want someone to really dig into the problem with me and for someone to understand that perfectly body-normal people can struggle.

Recently, in a New York Times article, it was discussed how outside appearances could perpetuate or exacerbate female aggression toward other females. When a stereotypically scantily clad female walked into a room other females in it quickly turned toward passive-aggressive and plain aggressive behavior. Interestingly, it mentioned that as a gender, we perpetuate the pressure to look beautify, stay thin, and dress desirably. It cited a study that showed that multimedia (such as magazines and TV) did not perpetuate nor pressure girls into perusing society’s definition of beauty. We put pressures one each other to remain competitive for males. It argued that in actuality, the media is a reflection of societies changing values and ideals. Media plays off the idea of what is popular in order to appeal to the masses. If media portrayed unpopular views it would be unsuccessful. Personally, I do not doubt the persuasive power that media has over the masses (there have been plenty of examples of media powerfully swaying public opinion), but the article does put an interesting argument forward.

“Do not let your adorning be external‚ÄĒthe braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear‚ÄĒ but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” 1 Peter 3:3-4

There are lots of articles on finding strength in my inner worth. I believe that. The stuff that is on the inside carries a lot more weight than what is purely appearance. A beautiful person is never truly beautiful unless they also have a good heart. Even the Bible advises us to adorn our hearts with beauty, not just the outside. I have experienced the strength that comes from knowing that I am a capable, smart, young woman with plenty of gifts. I believe that as a human being, I have value. If you’re religious, you may also understand that a lot of this value comes from understanding that I am a child of God. I am worthy of beautiful things just like any other creation. But none of this has eliminated my struggle. It took me a long time to admit that I was struggling. For the longest time I had convinced myself that I was above worrying about my body or resorting to fad diets, over exercising, starving myself, and other stereotypical things. I felt disgust for myself when I pinched my ‘fat rolls’ and wished I was bone thin. Every time I looked in the mirror I had to pep-talk myself into being thankful for what I had. Don’t misunderstand me. I am so, SO, thankful for what I have and who I am, but being thankful for the body that I have didn’t come naturally and was often forced and anyone would agree that forced thankfulness is not the same as true, heartfelt, thankfulness. I entered a lot of fad diets and worried about calories all the time. I justified it all by pinning my reasons on other things: counting calories is healthy, this new liquid diet will be a good cleanse, cutting meat out is more humane, etc. I was actually lying to myself to make myself feel better. I got really good at it. Once I realized how much I was lying to myself, I realized how utterly exhausting it was. Body image is a legitimate issue, even for perfectly healthy women. It gets better, but it is slow progress. I trust that thankfulness will eventually come because the guilt over feeling terrible about my body is slowly going away. In the meantime, I encourage those with body image problems to talk about it. Find a good friend, a good counselor, and explain. Stewing in your own problem is not going to make it better. Denial is even worse.

Learning to be a good sister

I really used to think that I was a great sister. Probably not the most perfect nor the best one out there, but I thought I wasn’t too bad. I don’t put my brother down, I am there to help him, I let him hang out in my room, etc. Taking a gap year between graduating from my undergraduate degree and starting medical school has put a lot of things into perspective, particularly how awful of a sister I have become.

I am about 7.5 years older than my younger brother. I grew up helping my mother watch over him, feed him, play with him. I would hold him when my mother was exhausted from a full day of work. It was like it was the two of us against the world. As a result we are really close. My mother jokes that if she tells him to do something he would take forever to begin, but if I called him for something he would come running.

Being at college changed our dynamic. My brother didn’t have a cell phone, so a lot of our face-to-face interaction suddenly disappeared. He avoids Facebook, so that method of contact was out of the window. We were still close and we would be glad to see each other on breaks, but worrying about him had been put on the back-burner. I was more focused on school, making new friends, adapting to a new environment across the country, and trying to figure out how I was going to get from being an undergraduate to going to medical school.

As a pre-medical student, I was more worried about where I could make my mark. How would I shine? How do I show that I am interested in helping people? Where in my life can I utilize my passion for helping and actually put actions to my words? I joined a wonderful program that worked with inspiring an interest in science among elementary school students at an intercity school. Their budget made it difficult for them to provide very many after school programs. On top of that, their State test scores were showing that the kids were clearly suffering in the science section. This program was perfect for me. Having grown up with a younger brother had me invested in other young children and I found enjoyment showing other why science was a beautiful thing.

I joined cultural clubs and mentored freshmen, I enjoyed sharing my Hopkins experience with high school students, and I always had words to say for the younger pre-medical students looking advice. I gave a lot of myself away to others and somewhere along the way I forgot what it really meant to be there for my brother. Continue reading

By Your Side by Tenth Avenue North

Look at these hands at my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world’s sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

And I’ll be by your side wherever you fall

In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here at my side wherever you fall

In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you