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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Moving Sucks

     Well I dropped the ball again (are you surprised?) about my Friday blog. I spaced it. I wasn't joking when I said I was unorganized.

     I had something I wanted to talk about, but there are other things pressing on my heart right now. This week has been tough. My brother is in the military, and we have been fortunate to be living within a half hour of each other for the past several years. Most people get transferred after 3 years, and they have been here 6 (ish?) years. 

     My husband's sister is my brother's wife. We are double connected. We get along with our siblings, and have grown very close to their 5 kids over the course of them living in Washington. They just left for Ohio. This morning. 

     I wish I could say something profound about how great it is to be impacted by others so significantly and how much it burns when those people are no longer readily accessible in your life, but I can't. All I can muster is that it hurts. Their youngest won't even remember the memories we made with him, and he will remember very little of us. I'm not sure when we can visit or how often. 

     The tears haven't begun yet. I told my husband that it will truly sink in that they are gone next weekend when we have nothing to do, and for a brief moment contemplate sending a text saying, "You guys up for company?" and it will hit me and then I will crumble into an emotional hot mess on the floor. I will cry ugly tears. There will be heaving, and every little thing that happens in my life will result in a "good cry". I imagine this will last anywhere between a week to a month.

     It has meant so much over the last several years to have a couple who share similar interests. Someone who you can speak to in confidence and fully trust. Someone who you can have an open discussion and disagreement on something and still have a relationship with that person the next day. 

     My sister in-law is the person responsible for me being in the field I am in. Had she not suggested me be an Image Consultant, it never would have happened. I wish I could explain the kind of relationship/friendship that has formed between the two of us in a few words. We have shared laughs, stories, books, articles, memories. 

     I know that they haven't died and that I will still see these people again someday, it is just very overwhelming to not know when or how often. They will be terribly missed in our day to day lives. I wish them and my nephews and niece all of the best wishes and pray that the distance is short lived.

     It is very freeing to have friends in your sphere who see your every day life, who you are as a person, flaws and all, and embrace everything that is you. I wish that kind of friendship upon all of you.

Teenagers

     Hi everybody! I hope you all had a wonderful summer. Mine was jam packed, and I can't believe school starts next week. Where did the time go?! I start my new schedule this week. I will have a prepared topic every Tuesday and on Fridays I will write whatever is on my heart.

     My topic this week is teenagers. I'm only 27 and I wonder what is in store for our fast moving world of technology in the next few decades.

    Here is a tiny glimpse into my childhood: I drank from hoses, roller skated in the street, hunted frogs, fireflies, butterflies and lizards. I climbed trees, rode my bike, used sleds to go downstairs. As a teenager, I got told no for just about everything I wanted to do (which looking back is a total blessing).

     When our county got a 4-H group that was all teens, I finally found something my parents would let me do. It was free, and close to everything we did as a group was some form of community service. I loved it, because it was kids my age doing something that matters. This led me to get elected into the State Ambassador program, which allowed me to travel. I got scholarships and grants to pay for my event admissions and travel expenses. This opened my world to so many opportunities.

     I was in a play called The Pied Piper during the same year I started with the teen group, and through the theater company met someone who was a competing swing dancer. He taught me everything he knew, and we were able to compete in 4-H talent shows together as well as local competitions and then state competitions. Again, this was free, and gave me positive attention, so my parents were all for it.

     Why do I bring all of this up? Because looking back on my teen years especially, I was busy. I was figuring out who I was and being active. So active that I broke a lot of bones even (yikes!). I had jobs, paid for my first car all on my own, etc. you get the point. I only got to use my mom's cell phone after I got my driver's license and left the house for more than a couple of hours. I always had to give it back. I actually didn't own my own cell phone until I was 20.

     A 2011 Ofcom media literacy study found that smartphone ownership in the 5-7 age group is a tiny 3%, rising to 13% in the 8-11s and then climbing steeply at high school age (35% in the 12-15s). In the US, 58% of kids aged 13 to 17 own a smart phone. What do they do with them? A quarter of the smartphone kids say that they regularly use it to visit social networking sites (Ofcom).

     I am a naturally outgoing person who says "Hi" to people when I pass them. I can't count how many times I have tried to say something to a teenager and they are texting with headphones in. No big deal, don't talk to strangers and all that. But that was a 2011 study, and this is 2013! It is most likely much higher now. I watch young children who know how to use my IPad better than I do, kids who know how to maneuver the Kindle Fire and tablets and nooks of all kinds.

     Don't get me wrong, I think I would have benefited from all of this technology at a younger age, like when my car was broken down by the side of the road, and so on, but will these kids know how to interact with other human beings?

     Social Networking sites, in my opinion are very antisocial. I love getting a hand written note in the mail, and getting a phone call sometimes over a text is what I need. It is so much harder to read emotion through text. You can't always read intention or motive on Facebook. I have been down right   appalled at some of the things teenagers share on Facebook. I worry about the next generation quite a bit. Already, in my tiny sphere of influence I know so many kids who don't know how to interact with their peers, and are grasping to fit in, but are so insecure. Are we breeding turtle children? Kids who poke their heads back in their shell the first social situation they get thrust into?

     I do not have children, so I don't have any right to question anyone's parenting, but can we as a society pull together and figure things out? Teen suicides are at an all time high in the US. According to statisticbrain.com, as of April of 2013 there were 4,600 reported youth suicides between the ages of 10 and 24 (10?!). Another statistic from this site is that on top of those suicides, 157,000 people between the ages of 10 and 24 received medical attention for self inflicted injuries.

     I don't know that any of that is related to technology in the hands of our youth, but it wouldn't surprise me with so much pressure being added through social media and networking sites. Add on the overall awkwardness and insecurities that come along with being a teen in general, I feel as though we are only making things worse for our youth.

      It was not my intention to be on my soap box for this long, but there it is. Thanks for reading, and I would love to hear your comments.
   

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Happy and Pretty Face

     Hi everybody! I know it has been a little while. I apologize, but I was on vacation! I just got back from Alaska Monday night, and I am excited to be back on schedule.

      After a week of riding trams up mountains, hiking to see glaciers, kissing in front of waterfalls, wildlife cruises, local sight seeing and tons of visiting with family, I feel regenerated. 

     I'm not sure where to start, so I'll start with the sweet things my niece said while I was there. I don't typically go anywhere without "putting my face on" first. I don't really think twice about it, doing my hair and makeup before leaving the house is a routine that doesn't change on vacation. I honestly hadn't even given it much thought that my niece had been watching. The day before I left, my niece asked me to lean down (she had lost her voice) and whispered to me, "Aunt Heidi, you have a very happy and pretty face without makeup". Next came the "Awwww" s and "You're so sweet!".

     The more I thought about that exchange, the more it worried me. I do my makeup because it makes me feel good, and it makes me happy. I love everything cosmetics. But children don't know that, and I worry that the message I was sending is I can't be seen this way (naked face). Which for me personally, I do that quite often at home, but when you're on vacation, your picture is going to be taken quite a bit. There's nothing wrong with my face. I like my face. I agree that I have a happy pretty face without makeup, but I enjoy makeup so much that it is part of who I am. I may have made jokes about not being seen naked faced as well, which she may have taken a different way (which means I shouldn't joke that way!).

      I don't want to give my niece (or any other little girls for that matter) a complex on beauty. No one really needs makeup. Some of us delude ourselves into thinking we do, where as others avoid makeup altogether in fear that it will cause a complex. I say wear it if you want. There is nothing wrong with it, especially if you're like me and just enjoy it.

     I have a lot of qualities that others enjoy. I am weird, silly, funny and in general, a hoot to be around. I know this for a fact. I want people to remember me for those things. Somewhere along the way I have sent mixed messages about which is more important to me. I could live without makeup. I could. I don't want to, but I could.

     I thought about writing about my vacation and all of the fun things we enjoyed, but I understand that reading about someone else's fun times can often be boring to others, so I will refrain from going into detail.

     Some quick notes that I am sharing just so I can be held accountable: I caught myself judging others based on appearance. This is not something I usually do, but I am human. I apologize because that is the opposite of my message. I felt very disappointed in myself when I realized it. I know that I am not perfect, but I will do better. I love to read, thus I will read more on that subject and hope to absorb like a sponge. I know what it is like to be judged based on physical things and how much that hurts.

     Next week, I will begin my new schedule with blogs being posted on Tuesdays and Fridays. Please watch out for my video tomorrow (Thursday). There are some cool things in my immediate future that I can't wait to share with you all.
   
   

Here I am with my husband in Seward, Alaska in front of a waterfall.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Back to School

     Hi everybody! I went through the feedback I received from my last blog, and it was quite a mixed bag. It seems as though half of you would like personal stories and self esteem blogs, while the other half enjoy the beauty tip format. Here's what I am going to do; I am going to alternate for the next couple of weeks, and then when I get off of vacation, I will begin doing 2 separate blogs a week again. I will do a personal blog on Tuesdays and then a beauty tip blog on Fridays. Thank you so much for your feedback, and please keep it coming.

     So this week, I did some research on what fashion trends will be hot for the fall. I figure a lot of you are either starting to shop for Back to School, or you are taking your kids for B2S shopping. So here's my list of trending fall fashion for 2013.

     I never thought I'd say this, but the 90's are back! So soon? Yes. I scanned through Teen Vogue, Seventeen, Nylon, and Marie Claire magazines as well as style.com for Back to School trends, and here's the skinny:
1. Overalls. This can mean overall dresses, overall shorts, or regular length overalls.

2. Platform shoes. Platform maryjanes especially are very trendy right now.

3. Denim, denim and more denim. Make sure you have a denim jacket for the crisp fall weather. 
They're light, but will serve as a nice barrier against the season change.

4. Floral! Weather it is pants, dresses, blazers or shoes, floral is in.

5. Blazers are adorable! Bright fabrics and bold colors or prints are very hot this fall.

     I know some of you dread going B2S shopping, so here are some tips for when buying the essentials:
1. Always try things on in the store. Sizing is varied with different brands, and it actually saves time (you don't have to go back to the store for returns later) to try things on. 

2. If you like the style of a top, try it on in several colors. Then pick out which is most flattering. I know people tend to stick to the same colors, and I have been guilty of this myself. Bright bold colors are in, so try something you wouldn't ordinarily grab.

3. When choosing jeans, I like to look for soft stretchy material, especially when looking for skinny jeans. If you attend school on a campus, you might consider lighter feeling denim that won't irritate when walking a lot. 

4. Start in the shoe department, before looking at other clothes. This is important, because you can try them on and wear them around the store while you shop. This will tell you if they are comfortable enough to wear. I've bought plenty of shoes that were seemingly comfortable in the store, but then I had to walk in them when I got home and disliked them.

5. A lot of people don't see it as important to try on accessories, but how many times have you bought a bracelet or a necklace and then never wore it because it didn't really go with anything you had? Depending on what store you're in, see if you can try them on with your outfits. If you can't, try them on with what you're wearing and put them against something you're going to buy. If it fits with what you have, you'll probably wear it.

     There you have it! I hope this helps, and happy shopping!