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Elephant Trade – A Cruel Way to Keep Up Tourism in Thailand

Over the few months, more news about ivory trade in South East Asia has made headlines, as elephants are cruelly treated and exploited for their tusks. The elephant population is threatened both by the illegal ivory trade as well as the capturing and trading of elephants for the tourist industry.

Elephants are a large part of Thailand’s tourist attractions. People from all over the world visit Thailand to go on trekking tours on elephants.  Riding an animal as big and beautiful as that is imaginably an amazing experience. I myself  have always wanted to ride an elephant. What tourists often do not realize is the horrific conditions these elephants are held in and the cruel manner in which they have been captured and transported from Myanmar, also known as Burma. One elephant ride might threaten the whole existence of elephants in South East Asia. What tourists fail to realize is that these beautiful animals are also wild animals, nonetheless. In order for the elephants to be ridden, they first and foremost need to be tamed.

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Taming elephants has become a cruel process in South East Asia. Since tourists prefer younger elephants, they are caught at a very young age and held captive under horrific conditions. They capture the wild elephants by using domesticated ones to lead them into pit traps. The older elephants are shot, and the younger ones held in these pits and beaten until they submit and are tamed. They are then smuggled across the border from Myanmar to Thailand, where they are used to entertain in the tourist industry.

There have been efforts to improve the laws at the border and against the illegal elephant trade. Nonetheless, the illegal activities are still going on. There have been cases where elephants were seized, but the guilty were not prosecuted for their actions.

I think it is important to further raise awareness about the illegal elephant trade. Myanmar’s elephant population is at great risk of extinction. Before tourists travel to Thailand they must be made aware of the horrific conditions these elephants were captured and tamed under.

There are sancturaries within Thailand that have rescued abused elephants from these horrible situations; some places offer visitation. When researching a trip to Thailand, make sure to visit a rescue center for elephants, rather than further adding to the problem of the elephant trade in South East Asia.

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The Thing About Beards

Ladies, let’s be honest, we all have gone through the phase of being attracted to bearded or scruffy men, and some of us may still love it. The trend for men to embrace their facial hair has grown to new lengths this past year. What started as a singular month dedicated to not shaving — AKA No Shave November — has turned into a fashionable trend that seems to be circulating with urban men.

The thing about beards is that even though they add a few years, they have become highly stylized and categorized.

The market around beards that now exists is fuller than ever. It revolves around beard-grooming kits, beard oils, and a beard blogging trend.

Despite the popularity of beards nowadays, it appears that this hairy trend will soon see its end. Did you hear that, male readers? According to research conducted at the University of New South Wales, the highest point of the popularity of beardhood has been reached. Robert Brooks, the top researcher declared, “We may well be at peak beard.” The research consisted of asking females of all sexual orientation to identify their preference for a bearded versus clean-shaven face.

What the beard implies now more than ever, is not so much style (because lets face it, when everyone is growing one, the individual is no longer unique or fashionable) but an implied attitude of laid backness that may imply unemployment, while, a clean-shaven man in a suit implies the opposite.

Whatever may happen to this trend, women’s opinions do seem to influence the way it is evolving. Oftentimes, it is claimed that a beard makes a man look more mature, even though an unkempt beard makes him look unprofessional at times.

I’m sure people will disagree, but just as any other trend, the beard trend will fade out slowly, and then most likely make a return in a decade or so. I have spoken to women who either loved or hated the beards. But, look around ladies, the beards are now abundant, inescapable, and have lost of all their uniqueness.

Director Profile: Deepa Mehta

Midnight's Children - Deepa Mehta 2 - 96 dpiUnafraid to tackle oppression and issues of social justice through the art of cinema, Indo-Canadian director Deepa Mehta creates work that is harshly realistic, emotionally fraught, and politically driven. Throughout her three-decade long career, Mehta has won multiple awards and critical acclaim. But, has also had her films protested against, to the extent that sets were torn down by outraged crowds to prevent filming. Her life and her stories criss-cross cultures dwelling in conflicts and persistent humanism.

Born in 1950, Mehta grew up in India, where her father was a film distributor. She would watch movies, both Hindi and Western, everyday after school. She later immigrated to Canada after meeting her first husband, a documentary filmmaker.

In a 2012 National Film Board of Canada documentary profiling Mehta, she declares that “all art is political,” but that the narrative and personal elements of art are the most essential. Her sense that “issues are boring, feelings are important” comes through in her filmmaking style. Her trilogy of elements films, including Fire (1996), Earth (1998), and Water (2005), each explore issues of social injustice in India through intense personal stories.

030fireFrom Fire (1996)

In Fire, Mehta tackles the taboo subject of homosexuality, which set off protests from conservative groups. Earth is set during the historical partition of India, a colonialist division of territory  which caused future conflicts. Water looks at the marginalized and impoverished situation of widows in Mehta’s home country during the 1940s, again, drawing negative responses from conservative politicals with her unflinching look at conditions for women in traditional Hindu culture.

Selected Filmography:

Bollywood/Hollywood (2002)

One of Mehta’s few western set films, this Indo-Canadian comedy  about a Torontonian family is full of light-hearted marriage plots and plays with stereotypes.

Water (2005)

In the third installment of the trilogy of elements, a 7-year-old child bride is widowed and forced to enter an ashram where she will spend the rest of her life outside of society. While the painful and moving film won several best foreign language film awards, production was delayed by protesters, who went as far as to tear down sets and force Mehta out of India.

Midnight’s Children (2012)

Midnight’s Children adapts the post-colonial Salman Rushdie novel, taking up the subject of the partition of India, but this time with a magical twist.

 

Demi Lovato Performs “This Is Me” With Joe Jonas – Long Live Camp Rock!

Okay, so it may not have been the full-fledged Camp Rock reunion we’ve been waiting for, but Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas sure gave fans a surprise with this special performance. During her concert at the Staples Center in Los Angeles this past Saturday, Demi began performing a popular song from her Disney past. To the crowd’s surprise, within seconds Joe joined her on stage and the two rocked out to “This Is Me,” the anthemic power ballad from Disney Channel’s Camp Rock.

The crowd roared as the duo performed the very song that made fans stan for them in the first place. And while the era of “Jemi” is long gone, fans were just excited to see the two performing a song from the movie that brought them together as teenagers.

It’s been more than six years since Camp Rock premiered. (Shh. Don’t say it. We are not getting old.) Not only do fans love Joe and Demi’s resilient friendship and the incredibly catchy track “This Is Me,” but I think it’s safe to say we were all a little excited to enjoy two marvelous minutes of nostalgia from our teenage years as well.

So watch and enjoy, ladies. And don’t be embarrassed if you still remember all the words. Because let’s face it: you will remember every word…and you’ll love every second of it. Meanwhile, I’ll be starting a petition for a Camp Rock 3. Wouldn’t a real reunion be great? So. Many. Feels.

Going Mad For Plaid

Plaid prints always seem to remind us of Gossip Girl episodes, where hints of it were the perfect accessory to Serena van der Woodsen’s uniform. It’s a classic trend that has been in the fashion world for ages — and we seriously do mean ages. The well known print was created by Celtics as far back as 100 BC; it officially made its mark in the 17th century though, as a Scottish signature. Can you say fashion history? We sure can! It’s no wonder why plaid never really goes anywhere. It always regains its popularity over the years for its horizontal and vertical design in a variety of colors that is just too hard to pass up. Whether it’s resurrected in a flannel, styled on a  hat, or gracing its presence as a must-have accessory, plaid is definitely never history. Get it? Haha!

It’s no shocker that now that fall is here, the plaid trend has resurfaced for the cool weather. School always seems like the perfect place to rock this print, not only because it reminds us of classic uniform style,  but also because it is versatile in simple, everyday wear. Its minimalist qualities allows shoppers to purchase the print and style it in any way they please.

People are going mad over plaid everywhere right now, and who can blame them? The edgy yet preppy vibe it can give off is something we are loving right now. Not to mention, there are so many ways you can style plaid! We created some outfits inspired by this plaid trend; check out how we styled them below!

Hopefully, you’ll be plaidin’ out this school-worthy tend in one of our looks that were inspired by fall’s perfect print!

Look 1:

Schoolgirl Uniform

Look 2:

Look 3:

Work Smart

 

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Meghan Trainor Covers “Shake It Off” And Duh, We Love It

In case we forgot why Meghan Trainor is so amazing (hint: we didn’t), she set out to remind us of her awesomeness with a cover of Taylor Swift’s infectious new single, “Shake It Off.” T. Swift’s version of the song is heavy on production and super upbeat, but Meghan showed the world that the anthemic track sounds just as good (if not better) all stripped down to the basics.

Meghan performed her version of “Shake It Off” on the Dan and Maz radio show, only accompanied by a guitarist and her very own ukelele skills. Between the acoustic vibes, Meghan’s smooth notes, and her effortless runs, it’s safe to say that this cover of “Shake It Off” has us shaking our heads yes. As in, “Yes. Let’s listen to this 15 more times.”

Meghan Trainor doesn’t stop at singing though. Nope; this diva adds a short and spunky rap to “Shake It Off” — complete with a reference to Outkast lyrics.

The only thing that could make this pop-star-covering-another-pop-star tribute better is if Taylor flipped the script and covered one of Meghan’s songs. A country version of “All About That Bass,” maybe? Now that’d be entertaining. (Too bad Tay isn’t doing country music at the moment.)

So while we keep wishing that Taylor Swift will proclaim her love of bass, you should give Meghan Trainor’s awesome “Shake It Off” cover a listen. Peep it below:

And if you need a little bit more Meghan in your life, check out her new single, “Dear Future Husband.” It’s a little retro, very sassy, and super catchy — AKA perfect.

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Embracing The Au Naturale Look

Lately, more and more women have been stepping outside with less and less makeup on. From having only BB cream on to going full on bare face– this all natural trend has become frequently more common.  It allows women to feel more confident, free, and less pressured to wear makeup 24/7.

We at The Miss Information are absolutely all for it — wearing our bare faces right along with you! While it may be a big leap for some of us to just go outside without makeup, the au naturale trend has even made its way into popular YouTube beauty tutorials. Titled as the “No Makeup, Makeup” look, beauty gurus on Youtube and blogs are showing women how to wear less makeup while still feeling comfortable and looking natural. Youtube beauty gurus such as Nicole Guerriero, ThatsHeart, Dulce Candy, Jaclyn Hill, and more have taken on this au naturale trend beautifully. You wouldn’t even believe they didn’t have any makeup on! IMG_0134 Michelle Phan is one such Youtube beauty guru known for her positive messages and creative videos . Her trend of embracing a bare face (no makeup included) has taken social media by storm with her hashtag: #barefaceselfie. Her viewers have taken to posting tons of selfies showing themselves looking happy and beautiful in their natural skin. Makeup brands, such as Maybelline, have even been attempting a more natural take on their products. Maybelline’s Dare to Go Nude collection includes neutral shades of eyeshadow that look more natural on a woman’s skin. Their ads and commercials have displayed the models wearing the new product, while showing off their skin and embracing their bodies. Thirteen beauty gurus as well were showcased in a video promoting the looks Maybelline created.

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Runway shows have been displaying their models with fresh, glowing skin without the boldness of a smokey eye or other heavily made up looks. Designers such as Chanel and Chloé have shown their models with subtle makeup looks that appear au naturale. These looks have proved to be much more stunning than a face full of  makeup. Instead, the natural beauty of women are complimented and shown off with soft touches of makeup. Whether you Dare to Go Nude, take a bare face selfie, or try the “No Makeup, Makeup” look, going au naturale is a step in a fresher and feel-good direction.

And keep in mind: wearing makeup isn’t a bad thing. It’s just an awesome feeling to be able to show the world your natural face as well.

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Celebrating Banned Books Week

If you’ve ever been to The Strand bookstore in New York City, you’ve definitely seen the banned book section/bookshelf. Books that have been barred from libraries, schools, and bookstores line the shelves, directly displaying the currently most banned books in America. You can usually spy classics such as Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and Animal Farm by George Orwell, as well as more modern books like Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan and any book by John Green.

The week of September 21st to September 27th celebrates banned books, or books that have been censored in the United States due to their prolific, provocative, violent, and explicit content. Libraries, booksellers, and other associations share their love for banned books and their belief in freedom of speech and freedom to read by tweeting with the hashtag #IReadBannedBooks, endorsing the books that have been censored the most, and making promotional videos such as this one from BooksInc:

Unsurprisingly, the number one reason books are banned in the first place is fear. Books have a big influence on those that read them, and parents and community leaders are scared that they will influence their children with values and ideas that they don’t believe in or don’t think are appropriate. But just because someone thinks that something is inappropriate doesn’t mean that they should disallow other people from learning and reading about it.

Restricting someone’s freedom to read and develop their own ideas from what they’ve read is something that should be banned on its own. Who is to say that something valuable can’t be learned from Beloved by Toni Morrison, or the Junie B. Jones series? (Both which have made the most banned books list in the last decade.)

Surprisingly, the number one banned book in America today is the jovial, cartoonish and humorous children’s book series Captain Underpants. Harry Potter has also dominated the list for a while, despite teaching significant lessons to its readers about overcoming adversity, friendship, and growing up.

Celebrate Banned Book Week by picking up one of your old favorites, or challenging yourself and reading something that you’ve never read before off of the list of the most banned books in the last decade (which you can check out here).

Banned Book Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the American Library Association, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Association of American Publishers, and the National Association of College Stores.

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Director Profile: Jane Campion

Campion

New Zealand born Jane Campion is a formidable, esteemed female figure in the male-dominated film directing world. Her attention to sensual details and love of emotionally conflicting, intense stories, mainly focused on the lives of women, have made her the first female director to  win the coveted Cannes Festival’s Palme d’Or for her short films, and, one of only four women ever to be nominated in the Academy Awards’ Best Director category.

Campion’s training in visual art shows clearly in the construction of her films (she holds degrees in visual art, anthropology, and film). She focuses more on individual moments of feeling, over explication. In her early short, Peel, there is the perfect communication, through eye contact, between family; in Bright Star, a young woman’s rhythmically moving sewing needle is transformed into a visual meditation through Campion’s vision. In a 2005 criterion selection interview, Campion declared that “our lives are not logical but poetic and allegorical,” and her quiet, emotionally oriented scenes speak to this approach.

While Campion, now 60-years-old, experienced her loudest critical successes twenty years ago, she was recently recognized for her continuing contribution to film as head of the jury for the 2014 Cannes Festival.

Peel: An Exercise In Discipline (1982)

This tight, tense short, which won Campion the Palme d’Or in the short category, precisely explores the emotional textures and open nerves of a family car trip with a surreal, modernist touch.

The Piano (1993)

A very tiny Anna Paquin made her acting debut, and a subsequent Oscar win as best supporting actress, in the Campion-written-and-directed Piano. The film swept the 66th Academy Awards, with Campion winning best original screenplay, and Holly Hunter taking an award for best actress as the central character Ada, a mute woman sold into marriage in 19th century New Zealand.

Bright Star (2009)

Expanding and fictionalizing the relationship between Romantic poet John Keats and his neighbor, Fanny Brawne, this later Campion work is a glowing example of the director’s lush aesthetic. The transcendent beauty of Romantic, Victorian nature surrounds a timeless story of ill-fated, youthful love.

 

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Top Ten Tuesdays: Fashionable Fall Outerwear

We all know that the changing of the seasons can sometimes lead to new wardrobe necessities. But while you’re off perusing the cutest riding boots for fall, don’t forget about a potentially more pressing wardrobe requirement: fall outwear! From vests to jackets, here are our top ten picks for fashionable fall outwear.

Ariat Logo VestThis Ariat Logo Vest is a perfect fit for fall. It is great for a bit of added warmth during the fall, as well as ultimate layering and comfort in the winter if you live in a cold climate. This super affordable vest is also available in a coffee color.

Vans Gainsbourg FleeceWant a simple fleece for the chilly weather, but don’t want another pricey jacket from The North Face? Try Vans! This Vans Gainsbourg Fleece is about half the price of your average Denali from The North Face, and you may think it’s cuter, too!

Columbia Tested Tough In Pink VestThis Columbia Tested Tough In Pink Vest has a nice cut for a feminine fit, and it’s cute for a cause! Proceeds from this vest benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. This vest is also available in Sea Salt (white).

Larry Levine Quilted Barn JacketBarn jackets are quintessential fall gear. This Larry Levine Quilted Barn Jacket is simple, timeless, and perfect for an afternoon picking pumpkins. (Or, ya know, drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes.)

Ariat Camden VestStep up your prep style with the Ariat Camden Vest. It’s unique, affordable, and the subtle colors make it a versatile piece despite its plaid pattern.

MPG Sport ZoeyYou can take your uniqueness to the next level with this MPG Sport Zoey vest. Its modern cut is chic and clean, and you’re sure to stand out with this original piece.

Michael Kors Soft Shell Asymmetrical ZipThis Michael Kors Soft Shell Asymmetrical Zip is a stylish coat for the brisk fall weather. It’s modern but classy, and it will look great with the perfect pair of riding boots.

Under Armour UA Qualifier Woven JacketWhether you’re super sport or simply looking for a practical purchase, Under Armour’s UA Qualifier Woven Jacket is a solid choice. It’s wind and water resistant — perfect to wear during workouts or for the weather — and comes in a variety of great color combinations.

Michael Kors Fitted Puffer VestAs if this list needed another vest on it, right? We couldn’t help ourselves with this one. This Michael Kors Fitted Puffer Vest is as cute as they come. C’mon. Who doesn’t love Houndstooth?

The North Face Mod-Osito JacketAn outerwear list wouldn’t be complete with The North Face! This Mod-Osito Jacket is so comfortable, we can already picture ourselves falling asleep in it. (No, but seriously.)

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