Monthly Archives: January 2013

Ask Angie: All my Parents Ever Do is Fight!

Dear Angie:

My parents fight all the time. It’s ridiculous. I come home and hear them arguing, and they are still going at it when I try to go to sleep. I don’t know what to do about all of the fighting, but I do know that I don’t want to hear it. Not to mention that they try to put me in between their fights by forcing me to take sides. It’s stressful and I’m losing sleep over this.

Fed Up

Dear Fed Up,

Oh no! It’s horrible when parents fight, even more so if they fight a lot. I’m sorry that this is happening to you. Although you aren’t responsible for their fighting, and as such, can’t put a stop to it, there are some things you can do to make it easier to deal.

The first thing that you can do is talk to your parents separately. Tell them that you love them, but that their constant fighting is making you feel uncomfortable and is interrupting your sleep. Also tell them that you do not want to be in the middle of their fighting and that you refuse to take sides. Hopefully, your parents will get the message.

In addition, it is important that you have someone (preferably an adult) to talk to outside of your family. Whether it be a trusted friend,  counselor, coach, minister, or teacher, be sure to talk to someone about your feelings regarding your parents’ fighting. Talking it out will make it easier for you to deal.

Image credit: ejwhite / 123RF Stock Photo

Do You!

I love to sing. I do it all the time and everywhere—which probably makes my friends and neighbors pretty sad. But I keep on singing anyway, because for me singing represents the joy that I feel which comes from God. So I express this joy by opening my mouth and belting out the latest tunes.

Now, I am not a singer. If you stopped by the office and heard me singing, you would not assume that I was about to become the next ‘American Idol’ or anything like that. Instead, I sing because I’m happy and not because I’m necessarily talented.

So what’s my point? There may be things that you like to do, things which you enjoy but are not necessarily talented at. My advice? Do them! Yes, it might not be your best talent (I’m much better at writing than singing) but if you enjoy it, learn to laugh at yourself and go on doing what you do.

You go girl.

Image credit: piksel / 123RF Stock Photo

Winter Skin Care

The cold weather can make skin dry and ashy, which is definitely not cute. Here are some tips for keeping skin moist and supple this winter.

Essential #1: Moisturizer. You need a good moisturizer for keeping your skin soft in the wintertime. Body lotion works great. You can choose one that’s scented or unscented, but choose a lotion that fits your budget as well as your needs. For those of you who have extremely dry skin, you may want to try a crème or shea butter in order to give your skin moisture. Oils such as almond oil, are another good way to soften your skin.

Essential #2: Lip protection. Chap stick, lip balm, lip gloss…whatever works for you to keep your lips soft and smooth. Try to get a lip protector with SPF in it, since your lips are still subject to the sunshine in the wintertime. If you wear lip stick or lip color, try putting gloss on top to ensure that your lips don’t get too dry. Lip hint: Don’t lick your lips to moisturize them, this will only make them more dry.

Essential #3 Hand protection: I have a big problem with dry hands in the wintertime. In order to combat this a good pair of gloves as well as hand lotion or crème is needed. Putting on hand crème after washing hands and before going outside will ensure that your hands are soft. Also, if you apply hand moisturizer before putting on gloves, then your hands will be soft when you take off your gloves.

Winter Skin Care Secret Weapon: Petroleum Jelly, also known as good old Vaseline. For me, Vaseline can work as a moisturizer, lip protector and hand protector all in one when I need it. And, it’s cheap! So stay moisturized and have a happy winter!

Image credit: stryjekk / 123RF Stock Photo

Get Those Grades! Tips for Making it Happen

A new semester. A new chance to get a great report card. If your grades aren’t where you’d like them to be, here are some tips to get better ones. Get it girls!

Get a ‘To Do’ Notebook. Every day, make a detailed ‘To Do’ List to help keep yourself focused

Get with your teachers. Okay, so I was one of those students who hated to do this. But, it does help your grades when your teachers know you’re interested. (It doesn’t hurt) So ask questions, be kind to them. See how your grades improve. Power tip: Asking the right kind of questions was one of my secret weapons in high school. The class before a test (while your class is reviewing) ask a question like: ‘So what should we be focusing on for this test? Or something like that. Basically you’re asking a leading question to get info about what will be on the exam. Then write the teachers’ response down and take it seriously. This is your ticket to a better grade.

Get organized. This was always a sore point with me. And, I admit that I got pretty good grades while being pretty un-organized. But, I found that it’s a lot less stressful to be organized. So clean out your notebooks and folders and discover an organizing system that works for you.

Get a schedule. This sounds boring, but its somewhat comforting to go to the same place at the same time every day to study. It’s a lot less stressful and it will get things done.

Get a positive mindset: ‘If you believe it, you can achieve it’. Okay, so we’ve all heard that before. But trust me on this one. You will usually receive what you think you will receive. So always, always shoot for an A in every class, no matter how hard the class may be. Believe that you can and you will get an A. Think about it. If you’re doing this and you ‘fail’ you might receive a what…B? (Terrible, isn’t it (sarcasm) So shoot for the A…every time.

Get motivated: I admit I have had those days where it took a miracle to get me to study. So on those days I had some secret weapons. The first was simply music. Listening to music while studying motivated me to actually study. (I don’t do this on a regular basis, only on those days when I really need motivation.) Another trick that has worked has been the study 30 (or even as little as 10 for you who know your attention will only last for 10 minutes) and then take a 10 minute break. Or take a break when you finish each subject (or project) you’re studying.

Get Nutrition. Zinc is a vitamin that can make you feel calmer and more focused and can also help prevent colds! So take a multivitamin (ask a doctor or parent before doing so) that includes zinc. Also make sure you have plenty of water and/or tea while studying. Water helps keep you awake while studying and you need lots of water anyway, so by drinking it while studying, you are killing two birds with one stone.

Ask Angie: My Period Makes Me Cray-Cray!

Dear Angie,

Each month, a few days before my period starts, I feel absolutely nuts. I start yelling at people, I start crying for no reason, and I generally feel like my life is over. When I try to talk to my parents about how I’m feeling, they shrug it off, saying that its ‘all in my head’. What to do?

Signed,

Period Problems

Dear Problems,

Oh the fun world of PMS! First of all, it may help to realize that the symptoms that you have are definitely real, and that you are not alone. Womenshealth.gov notes that 85% of women and girls report having at least one PMS symptom a few days before their period starts. There are some things that you can do though, to ease the crazy feelings.

The first thing that you can do is to simply chart your symptoms. When you find yourself starting to feel angry, anxious, tearful or depressed, make a dot on your calendar. Then bring your calendar with you the next time you visit your doctor or the gyno. This way, your doctor can see whether or not your symptoms have a pattern and can talk to you about possible treatment options.

Another thing that you can do is get some exercise. Even mild forms of exercise, like walking, can help ease pre-period anxiety and depression. Also, make sure that you cut down on foods like sugar and caffeine, and increase your intake of calming foods,such as turkey, milk, cheese and blueberries.

Also, it is important to determine what you need to get you through this time of the month (in one piece). For some girls, it may mean that you may need a bit more time to yourself during the days before your period. It may mean that you read your favorite books, meditate, listen to music, or engage in your favorite hobby. For others, it may mean that you need to find a friend that you can vent to. And for others, it may mean that you talk to a minister, counselor or therapist that you trust. The days before your period are a good time to engage in those activities that help you to feel happy and calm.

Finally, if you are feeling severely depressed, unstable, suicidal or out of control, be sure to immediately tell a doctor or a counselor who you trust. Severe emotional symptoms can be a sign of a disorder known as PMDD, or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. PMDD is a serious concern, and a doctor can suggest treatments to help you manage the disorder.

Be well,

Angie

Image credit: creatista / 123RF Stock Photo

Find Out What Type of Exercise Works Best For You

Find out which types of exercise really get you motivated with this fun quiz!

 

1. If you were in a large room and no one was watching and you had to exercise, what would you do?

A.      Put on some music and dance

B.      Start running around the room…randomly

C.      Start doing cartwheels and attempting to backflip in the room

D.      Put on some skates and start skating around the room

E.       Walk around the room

F.       Feel uncomfortable. Who wants to exercise in an empty room?

2. Now picture yourself in a crowded gym. You would feel__________

A.      Excited. You see lots of machines that you can’t wait to try out

B.      Nervous. You wonder if others are looking at you while you sweat.

C.      Excited. Your fiends are at the gym so you can chat with them while you exercise

D.  You can’t picture this. You’d never be at a crowded gym…or any gym at all for that matter.

3. You’ve always secretly wanted to be:

A.      A dancer

B.      A gymnast

C.      A track star

D.      An ice skater or hockey player

E.       Nothing that has anything to do with sports

F.       On a sports team (basketball, softball, football, volleyball, etc.) or in a partner sport (tennis, raquetball etc)

4. Do you enjoy gym class?

A.      Yes

B.      No

5. You like to be with others when you work out

A.      Yes

B.      No

6. You like to exercise.

A.      Yes

B.      No

7. You like your classes at school

A.      Yes

B.      Kind of

C.      No

8. You like learning new things.

A.      Yes, I’m all about adventure

B.      It depends. I don’t do rock climbing or skiing or rafting or canoing or ….

C.      No. People who like to be adventurous don’t live very long

9. On a Saturday night, you’d rather

A.      Read a good book or watch a good movie

B.      Go out with a group of friends

C.      Hang out with one or two friends

D.      Sleep

10. When you think of the word, ‘exercise, you think:

A.      Fun!

B.      Boring

C.      Ugh! Horrible

11. ‘I would exercise more if

A.      My friends exercised with me.

B.      I had access to machines and weights and stuff

C.      I had space to dance or skate or flip or do whatever.

D.      I was on a sports team

E.       I was taking a fitness class

F.       I could do something exciting, like rock climbing or mountain biking

G.     I actually liked the thought of exercising.

Answers

1.       A (2), B (3), C (4), D (7), E (1), F (5)

2.       A (3), B (2), C (5), D (1)

3.       A (4), B (2), C (6), D (2), E (1), F (5)

4.       A (5), B (1)

5.       A (5), B (2)

6.       A (2), B (1)

7.       A (4), B (6), C (2)

8.       A (7), B (5), C (1)

9.       A (2), B (5), C (3), D (1)

10.   A (6), B (7), C (1)

11.   A (5), B (3), C (2), D (6), E (4), F (7), G (1)

Categories:

(57-62) Adventurous Babe

Go Girl! Whether mountain climbing, skiing, white water rafting etc., you never want to be bored while you exercise. Your challenge is to make sure your exercise routine isn’t…er…routine. Look at outdoor fitness centers (ie parks) that you can use to skate, bike or hike at. Also consider exploring classes or seminars in extreme sports such as mountain biking, climbing, skating, or whatever else tickles your fancy. Just don’t get hurt.

(51-56) Athlete

You enjoy organized sports. So join a team! Whether it be basketball, volleyball, track, softball, rugby, etc. Find a sport that you enjoy and stick to it.

(45-50) Friendly Exerciser

You don’t seem to like to exercise alone. Your exercise solution is to find a friend or two and together make a goal to exercise together regularly. Go for it!

(39-44) Class Act

Studious girl, you need to incorporate learning into your exercise routine. Whether it be trying a dance class, an aerobics class, a gymnastics class, check out a class that interests you and you will probably be more likely to stick out your exercise routine.

(33-38) Gym Girl

You love gyms and machines, weights, whatever you name it. Most schools now have the luxury of having small gyms. If that describes you, count yourself blessed. (My school didn’t until my junior year). Even if your school does have a gym however, you might also want to think about joining a gym in your neighborhood as well. (FYI: This is a great thing to do with your mother and/or a friend). Curves and Victory Lady Fitness are two fitness centers that I like.

(27-32) Solo spirit

You like to exercise by yourself. You hate gyms and people watching you while you work out. Consider solo forms of exercise, such as running or walking or using an aerobics video or even simply dancing around your room.

(26 or below) Don’t wanna exercise…r

Um….you don’t seem to want to exercise at all. Don’t worry, I’m like that too (Don’t tell anyone) What works for me is choosing the most minimum amount of exercise (I know that’s a dirty word…I’m sorry) possible. This might mean taking a long walk at the park…or the mall. I also like to dance around my room. Also, making small changes, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator can greatly elevate (pun intended) your physical fitness. So go for it girl!

Last Night

Last night I had a meltdown. It was pretty bad. It ended up with me crying in my apartment for no apparent reason. Just standing there and sobbing. No one likes me, I thought. My life is horrible. And so on thoughts kept coming and  I kept crying. I think there was a part of me that was perplexed at my sudden horrible mood, and another part of me that gently reminded the rest of me that ‘my time of the month’ was near and was responsible for the meltdown. But still, the emotional storm threw me off guard, and the next day I walked around with a ‘crying hangover,’ feeling stuffed up, tired and (yes) a bit teary-eyed.

A part of me wonders where God is when we are messy-crying alone in our rooms. I wondered last night. Heck, I questioned God out loud. “Where are you?” I inwardly screamed. “I can’t hear You.” I wish I could say that right after that, I experienced some cool miracle that would be fun to blog about. And, I can honestly say that I did feel a little bit more at peace after my ‘angry-prayer,’ but the pain still lingered. I still felt alone and afraid and ready to give up.

During times like last night, I remember that there are no easy answers. People leave us, people hurt us, and sometimes we feel like no one will ever understand us. Sometimes we question everything. And, I suppose that that’s okay. God made us to question. But it is also in times like last night, when I remember that I do believe, even though it is sometimes hard, in something, or better yet Someone,  who is beyond myself. Last night through the pain, I remembered that I still believe in hope, in love, and in faith. I believe that I am made for a purpose, that things will get better. Last night reminded me that though I sometimes hurt, I am still alive, and I am still loved. And you are too.

In love,

Angie

Image credit: kmiragaya / 123RF Stock Photo

The Trouble with Ugly

I think I was four when I first thought of myself as ugly. I don’t know if ugly was the exact word for it: maybe a more accurate term would be ‘different’. I definitely looked different, from my mom and my sister, and from the rest of the adults around me. Being different, with deep brown skin, a high forehead, a big nose, and kinky hair that never seemed to stay in place was not considered the best thing to be back then. And so, I remember feeling hopeless a lot, as if no one could love the girl that stared back at me in the mirror.

We do strange things when we don’t love ourselves. We may diet a lot, wear lots of makeup, and continually read beauty magazines in the hope of one day feeling as though we look not quite as bad. There’s nothing wrong with these things in and of themselves, but the problem with them is that no matter what happens or how we end up looking, many of us still feel like we are ugly. And even when people tell us otherwise, we still carry the ugly around with us, afraid to let it go.

What I’ve been learning lately is that letting go of things, like the ugly, takes practice and honesty. It’s more than shrugging your shoulders and saying, I believe I’m beautiful, because the truth is, if you do not actually believe you’re beautiful you will feel fake.

But instead, it’s more like trying. Like,  I will try to appreciate myself for 10 minutes today. Okay I can’t do 10, well 5 then.’ I will someway try to think of the beautiful parts of me for 5 minutes, and then I will roll my eyes at myself and this activity for the rest of the day. And maybe next week, I will try for 10 minutes.’

We can practice feeling beautiful. One tiny step at a time, over and over, until we really start to start to believe the truth about ourselves.

Image credit: imagesource / 123RF Stock Photo

113 Amazing Things You Can Do in 2013

1. Write in a journal or diary

journal2

photo by {ErinKphoto} aka redcargurl-flickr

2. Dance around your room

3. Sing in the shower

4. Send someone a secret gift

5. Write down 100 things that you are grateful for

6. Make a list of all the things you love about yourself. Hang it on the wall.

7. Hug a friend or family member

8. Give someone a sincere compliment

9. Purchase a planner and use it

10. Do something that you’ve never done before

11. Go somewhere you’ve never been before

12. Cook a new recipe

13. Jump up and down for 5 minutes

14. Hula hoop

photo by: quinn.anya

photo by: quinn.anya

15. Go roller skating

16. Smile at a stranger

17. laugh until you cry

18. Take a nap

19. Create something new

20. Have a party

21. Read a book that you’ve never read before

22. Listen to a different style of music than you normally listen to

23. Keep a secret

24. Share a secret

25. Do something daring and a little dangerous

26. Make someone smile

27. Solve a mystery

28. Change someone’s life

29. Volunteer

30. Recycle

31. Clean your room

32. Wake up early

33. Go to bed late

34. Pray

35. Do a random act of kindness

36. Visit a park

37. Take a walk

38. Make jewelry…or pottery

39. Enter a contest

40. Make your parents breakfast

41. Write down your dreams

42. Ask someone to help you to reach those dreams

43. Watch a good movie

44. Update your Facebook profile and/or Twitter account

45. Forgive yourself

46. Forgive others

47. Yawn

48. Smile

49. Do a cartwheel

MinivanNinja

MinivanNinja

50. Jump rope

51. Clean your closet

52. Redecorate your room

53. Breathe deeply

54. Give something away

55. Purchase something for someone else

56. Have a great idea

57. Hold your head up high

58. Climb a mountain….or a hill (and sled back down it)

59. Drink eight glasses of water

60. Try some food that you’ve never had before

61. Eat fruit

62. Go to the doctor…and the dentist

63. Visit relatives (smile!)

64. Take a great picture

65. Clap your hands

66. Go see a play

67. Run

68. Play kickball…or hide and go seek…or both

69. Embrace your weirdness

70. Try a different hairstyle

71. Challenge yourself

72. Challenge others

73. Make believe

74. Make a list

75. Check it off

76. Pet an animal

77. strum a guitar

78. Talk to someone new

79. Learn to knit

photo by kimadababe

photo by kimadababe

80. Read a newspaper

81. Write a note to someone else

82. Be you

83. Stand up for yourself

84. Stand up for someone else

85. Stand up for what you believe in

86. Be proud of who you are

87. Wave at the haters

88. Let go of old grudges

89. Strut your stuff

90. Believe in something

91. Believe in yourself

92. Finish what you started

93. Work hard

94. Play harder

95. Take a break

96. Spin around until you feel dizzy

97. Look at pictures that make you smile

98. Discover something

99. Keep going

100. Ask for help

101. Try out for something

102. Join a club

103. Look at a painting

104. Look at the clouds

105. Kiss someone (on the cheek 🙂

106. Be a romantic

107. Start a trend

108. Spend time in silence

109. Make memories

110. Write down old memories

111. Consider making a scrapbook

112. Be blessed

113. Be amazing

 

Making Your New Year’s Resolutions Work for You

New Year’s Resolutions–we make them every year, and every year many of us are disappointed at how little we are able to keep up with our resolutions. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some tips for making the most of your New Year’s Resolutions.

1. Make it small.

Make sure your New Year’s Resolution is less “I will climb Mount Everest” (unless you are a professional climber) and more “I will take a walk around the block.” The easiest way to make sure that you actually meet your New Year’s Resolution is to make that resolution small and manageable. The easiest way to make a small New Year’s Resolution is to think of the resolution that you definitely want to make…and make it smaller. For example, one of my dreams is to write for a bagillion magazines. My (smaller) resolution this year is to write for 12 magazines (yes, only 12). I think I can do that.

2. Make it specific.

New Year’s Resolutions, or goals of any type, are easier to make when you are specific about them. So, instead of making a resolution of, say, “I want to exercise more,” make it your goal to exercise at least 3 times a week (or once a week if you’re like me :). That way, you know exactly how well you are meeting your resolution.

3. Check yourself

Using a checklist is a great way to ensure that you get your New Year’s Resolutions accomplished. So, for example, if your resolution is to exercise at least 3 times per week, then create a simple checklist that you will check off every time you meet your resolution. You can put the checklist in your smartphone, using apps like GoalCheck or GoalTracker (android) or websites like http://www.42goals.com. Even better, you can print out your checklist and hang it up where you (and other people) can see it at least once a day. Having other people know what your goals are can motivate you to keep those goals.

4. Have other people check you

Which brings us to the fourth way to get your goals met. Have someone else support and help motivate you to meet those goals. For example, if your resolution is to wake up at 7am every morning, have a parent or a friend wake you up will help. If your goal is to work out at a certain time a day, have a friend meet you at your designated workout spot. Trust me, when I’ve made plans to do things (even things I don’t necessarily like doing–like studying–with friends, I’m way more likely to actually meet that goal when I’ve made plans in advance to do it with other people. Having other people encourage you or hold you accountable for your dreams is a great way to ensure that those dreams get realized.

5. But don’t get crazy.

The biggest way for me to make sure that I don’t get my New Year’s Resolutions met is to make too many resolutions. Making too many resolutions is a good way to feel overwhelmed. When you feel overwhelmed, you are less likely to do anything. So please, don’t make too many resolutions, try for less than 5. Even better, make less than three New Year’s Resolutions.

6. Have fun!

Take New Year’s Resolutions seriously, but don’t overdo it. Resolutions are supposed to make your life better, not worse. If you find that your goals are no longer fun or beneficial, then yes, it’s perfectly fine to quit them. There’s always next year!

P.S. This post is part of my New Year’s Resolution to write at least 500 words per day. One day accomplished!