By Samandra

Emerald Bay – Lake Tahoe

22 Jul 2021

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Summer has been busy as I’m doing school, an internship, and trying to keep it all together. I went to Tahoe in the middle of June, right after finishing the Spring term at BYU. Different from all the trips before, I didn’t plan anything until I was there. That was certainly a bit uncomfortable because I don’t like wasting time on the trip doing that, but I also didn’t have time to plan for it before. But it was good to have done things this way, and I learned that doing nothing is also doing something. So I allowed myself to woke up and just be. I didn’t need to have a full schedule while at Tahoe. I just needed a break from the crazy life, and it was all so good and refreshing.

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I did tons of research on Google to find information about the locations. Often, the information I found was unclear if the place was a hike, by a parking lot, or something else. I decided then to make this post as clear as possible so you can plan accordingly to your mood on the day. After all, we aren’t always in the hard-hiking-mood, ammright?

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There are different places that you can see Emerald Bay Island. This was one of my favorites, and it’s a must-to-go location. The best of it all? All these pictures were taken by the parking lot! Not hiking required. From the parking lot, you can spot the island with a prime view.

If you are feeling in the hiking mood, go down the Vikingsholm Trail, that’s also accessible from the same parking lot. I have made only half of the trail, but if you decide to go all the way down, it’s a relatively easy 1.7 hike that will take you to the Vikingsholm Castle.

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I like soft light images, so we sat on the rocks and waited for that perfect light that’s an hour before the golden hour. You can see that the light in these pictures doesn’t look the same, as they were taken at different times. If you don’t care much about how your pictures will look, any time should be good to go! Emerald Bay is always blue and beautiful.

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It’s a good spot to have a picnic or just chill.

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How to get there: Search on Google Maps for Emerald Bay State Park or paste these coordinates: 38.95434742509013, -120.10966981711792

Wearing Lovestitch dress.

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How has social media changed you?

21 Apr 2021

I used to think that I had a shield that protected me from being affected by the media. These shields were all the years that I have been active on social media, the trait of being observant to what’s happening, and later on, the media literacy I have earned while pursuing a major in Communication Studies at BYU. 

If I noticed that they wanted me to take a particular action, I would intentionally do the opposite and reject the message. The more persuasive it tried to be, the less power it would have over me. 

This is explained in a social psychological theory developed by Brehm and Brehm (1981) called Reactance Theory. When noticed a threat, we tend to protect our sense of freedom. A “boomerang effect” occurs to safeguard our independence and control, leading to an opposite behavior than initially expected.

How does persuasion work?

When facing a persuasive message, the individual might react to it in different ways:

  • Being Persuaded: when the message is in accordance with what we believe/want, persuasion is very likely.
  • Having a Boomerang Effect: when the message is contrary to what we believe/want, a boomerang effect is likely.
  • Peripheral Cue: when the message is neutral to what we believe/want, we try to associate the received message with something we already think positively about. 
    • If accepted the peripheral cues, there may be a temporary attitude change and possibly future elaboration.
    • If not accepted, the initial attitude is held.

After a few considerations, I realized that I’m more vulnerable to media messages than I thought I was. So why do we think that we are media-proofed while others aren’t? This is explained on the Illusion of Personal Invulnerability study by Levine and Wiley (2004).

“People tend to have a curious illusion of personal invulnerability to manipulation—a belief that we’re not as vulnerable as others around us.”

We might think that because we know how persuasion work, we will prevent any damage from its use. However, just like driving a car, we might understand how things work, but we are still vulnerable to the effects of using it. The illusion that we are not as vulnerable as others might occur because clever and subtle messages make it hard to see that we are being manipulated.

These messages might also not have an immediate effect on us, but the more we see them, the more we get affected by them throughout the times. This is explained by the drip-drip hypothesis which explains that gradual changes occur in the long term in an individual’s attitudes or behavior.

How has the media affected me?

Subtle messages are more persuasive to me. I will be more curious about what people on social media are using if they aren’t trying to sell me on. Here are some examples of how the media has affected daily decisions.

  • Instagram has influenced me to have an “Instagram Worthy” bedroom decor. So if I decide to take a picture, it will look good on it. 
  • I rely greatly on Pinterest to know how to match different pieces of clothing and what I should have on my wardrobe. 
  • I shop for outfits that will look good in pictures.
  • I choose what to wear on a trip according to the places that I will visit, and how good they will look in pictures. 
  • I purchase products that are effective and look good on the shelf–if I decide to share a “shelfie”. 
  • The trip destinations are highly influenced by what I have seen on Instagram.
  • The list of places I want to visit on a trip also considers which pictures I will want to take. 

I have been affected heavily by media messages without noticing it. Can you imagine how much greater it would be if I wasn’t aware of how persuasive messages work?!

“The most effective persuasion often takes place when we don’t recognize we’re being persuaded.”

— The Hidden Persuaders

It’s then crucial to be aware of the media that we consume to not be surprised by undesirable changes. I make choices about the media I consume the same way that I make choices of what I should eat. The saying “we are what we eat” could be replaced by “we are what we consume on the media.”

Are you aware of the media messages that come to you? What has been the media making you become? It’s time to be mindful of the media content we consume, become media literate, and educate others that aren’t equipped with our understanding.

Reference:

Brehm, S. S. (8). Brehm; JW (1981). Psychological Reactance: A Theory of Freedom and Control.
(Levine, R., & Wiley, J., 2004). The Power of Persuasion: How We’re Bought and Sold. Cultic Studies Review, 3(2).

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6 Tips for a Less Stressful Move

23 Feb 2021

Moving–it might be one of the things that I have involuntarily done so many times while I was growing up, and it has become something that I have got used to overtime. While in Brazil, I have lived in three different states and moved a total of eighteen times. After moving to the USA, I have lived in three different states as well, and at twelve different places. I have learned so much during all these 30 moving times. For example, I learned that moving isn’t as bad as it sounds, you make friends everywhere you go, and it’s actually such an exciting feeling to move to a place where anyone knows you, and explore the new place you have moved to. 

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Moving tips and advice:

  1. Get rid of things: in my adult life, I have always handpicked what I was going to bring with me in the next chapter of my life. Then I usually donate or sell the items that didn’t make the cut. The best things to family members, the ones that were too valuable I sold and I donated the rest to whoever wanted it. 
  2. Take a picture of how you want things to go back: If you really like how things are placed in their current place and want to replicate it, take a picture! You might think that it will be easy to remember it all later, but I recommend taking a picture so you don’t need to struggle to remember later if your brain decided to not keep a memory picture of it all. 
  3. Keep clothes on hangers: One of the mistakes I did on my early moving days, was to remove the hanger from clothes. Keeping the hangers will make your work so much easier later, as you can just grab and put them back to where they should be. Extra tip: keep clothes that are folded as they are in your storage, so later you can just grab and put them back. 
  4. Start packing: I start packing the things that I won’t need until the moving date, and I go packing as I feel I won’t need these things until I have everything packed. While packing things, do yourself the favor of organizing them in categories so you know where things are if you need them during the process. I like to say that I can find anything I want, anytime I want. 
  5. Ship it: If you’re a solo rider like me and don’t have furniture to move with, you might just have a few boxes to move to the new place. Shipping boxes instead of bringing them with me in the airplane ended up being less expensive while moving from Virginia to Utah.
  6. Invite your friends to make the move, or hire a moving company: My friends usually resent coming to help me later because I have so MANY things and I joke that I always need to make new friends rotate who will help me with the next move. Jokes aside, it takes a true friend to help you with that, so if you want to spare your people from moving all the crap you have collected all the years, hire someone! This is also probably the best option if you’re specific on how things should be handled because your friends might not be as interested in your “high maintenance” needs. 
  7. Hiring a company: This might be the best option if you want people to have control of how people will treat your belongings. If you’re moving within Utah, The Muscle Men Movers should be your pick! They are experienced movers that have the proper equipment to move it all safely–documents, money, timeless papers, gun safes–to the next destination. 
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