Author Archives for ambanks19

Snow Day Survival

Snow is a’comin for some of us. For others of us, snow has already been here and you wish it would go back home (I feel you). But either way, you must be ready! So whether you are at home with the ‘rents, in a dorm, or have your own pad (lucky you!) below are our Michaela Must-Haves for a stormy, snowy day.

1. Food and Drink
Food is a must for those snowy days. My favorite ‘snow storm’ foods and drinks are soup (potato or chicken tortilla), warm bread, hot chocolate or chai. Basically, I use snow storm days as an excuse to eat my favorite, filling, warm comfort foods. There is no good reason for this, but who needs a reason to drink hot chocolate? So, I’d advise you do the same. However, it is actually important to stock up on non-perishable foods and water on a snow day just in case your electricity goes out.

2. Technology
You must know whether or not this will be a ‘you get to stay at home and nap’ snow day, or if it will be a ‘you need to get up earlier than usual and shovel out your car and go to school/work’ kind of snow day. Thus, you need the Internet or television. Also, you may be having a ‘I need to rescue my silly roommate who drove her car in the ditch’ kind of day (aren’t you so nice?). For this, you will need a cell phone. Finally, if it is the kind of snow day where you get to stay home, then you need entertainment. Nexflix and Hulu are your friends in this case. For those of you who live in terrible cold, rural places where electricity often goes out or who love to be uber prepared, a radio, flashlight and batteries are really helpful things to have.

3. Warm clothes/Blankets/Candles
Keep the warm and cozy coming with clothes that keep you warm and comfy. Leggings and sweats are great if you get to stay home. If you want to take your laziness to the next level, drag your blanket around with you all day. Up the cozy vibe with a couple of scented candles.

4. Games!/Movies/Good Books
If you do share a home with someone, break out the Apples to Apples, Taboo, Scrabble, Dominos and movies and have some fun with your friends or family! Snow days are wonderful times to make incredible (indoor) memories. So, invest in your relationships and play your heart out. If you live at home, break out that cozy mystery and enjoy!

5. A shovel
Eventually, you will need to venture back outside into real life. Bring a shove (and preferably, some help) to clear a way for your car or shoes.

Before the storm:
Stock up on the food/warm clothes/games/movies/etc. Also, remember to make sure you have all your medications up to par, in case you can’t get out of your home. The Federal Emergency Management Agency also recommends that you allow faucets in your home to drip a bit of water to prevent pipes from freezing.

photo courtesy of 123rf.com/Copyright : ximagination

Prayer for the Week

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:4-7)

I’m a worrywart. I have spent many nights lying awake at night worrying about one thing or another. This only results in me feeling overly tired the next morning (and that leads to me bumping into things, but that’s another story) . But I’m learning that instead of lying awake at night with the world on my shoulders, I can rejoice. I can rejoice in the fact that the Lord has done so much for me and I can rejoice in the fact that He will never leave or forsake me. Even when I feel worried, sad, or stressed, I can rejoice in the fact that God is taking care of me, even when I don’t see it. So this week and always, may we remember to rejoice.

Father,

As we begin this new week, we want to thank You for Your faithfulness to us. For getting us through the storms of life, and bringing us to meet this brand new day, we thank You. For filling us with dreams and for taking care of us, we thank You. You are good Lord.

You are good.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

Question: What has God done for You lately? Take some time today to  remember and worship the Lord for the blessings He has given you.

Photo Copyright: rmarmion / 123RF Stock Photo

In Defense of Awkward

I have many weird traits. One, I love dark, quiet places. So when I feel stressed (particularly during thunderstorms…which is a constantly occurring situation that leaves me feeling stressed), I like to hide in my closet. Yep, my closet. Also, I’m super shy and quiet, and often experience (and am the cause) of the totally-awkward silence in which the other person expects me to say something, but I really just can’t…So yeah…

I have no (absolutely no) sense of direction, so I am constantly going back and retracing my steps to try to figure out where I went wrong. Sometimes I have to retrace my steps several times, probably causing people to wonder about the woman who is wandering around with a confused look on her face.

Finally, I have a tendency to run into things. Particularly in the mornings. Particularly when I’m tired (see: every morning). Usually these ‘things’ I run into are street lights. Yep. While walking (and daydreaming) I have often found myself crashing face first into a street light that I hadn’t previously seen (note to urban developers: Do we really need so many street lights? They are a safety hazard). Thankfully, usually no one sees this. If someone does happen to witness me walking into a streetlight (or sometimes a car door) I quickly start walking the other way, while trying to convince myself that they didn’t really see me.

In short, I’m awkward. I’m a book-loving, clumsy, klutzy awkward woman. The awkwardness hasn’t really gone away as I’ve grown older, but (I believe) I’ve been able to hide it (a little better).

But, I’m beginning to realize that maybe hiding it is the wrong way to go about being awkward. Maybe awkward needs a defender. Because awkward is kind of cool. My awkward is what sets me apart from everyone else. I would be totally normal if it weren’t for my quirks, but who wants to be totally normal anyway? Many people don’t love my awkward traits (I spend countless hours with people who tell me I need to talk more, smile more, be more, do more…). The ‘more’ crowd would love me to be confident, bold, articulate, insightful. The more crowd would love me to always be in style, always know the right words to say, the right things to do. The ‘more’ crowd would love for me to be coordinated, to glide through life like a dancer who is always sure of the right moves.

I’m beginning to realize that the ‘more crowd’ doesn’t really love me.

Instead, I’m loved by those who see the awkward, and who know how to point me in the right direction, or not mention the knot on my forehead (courtesy of my head intimately meeting yet another pole). I’m loved by those who give me books, and those who can laugh with me at my weirdness. My awkward is what separates the people who are real and true from those who I need to stay away from. My awkward is what compels me to write, and read and dream. It’s what causes me to be vulnerable and real, and what compels others to be vulnerable and real with me.

In short, even though I don’t always like my awkward, I love it, and am slowly starting to embrace it. I’d encourage you to do the same. When you begin to embrace the thing (or things) that make you awkward and weird, you begin to see that the same things that make you awkward, are the things that make you special.

In short, be you, the weird, wild, wonderful you.

Love,

Angela

Photo Copyright: icetray / 123RF Stock Photo

Prayer for the Day

Father,

As we get ready for another work week, wrap us all in Your arms of protection. Be our guide and our help and help us to always remember you. Give us the wisdom to make good choices and the courage to dream big. May we make lasting memories and have a love that overflows.

You are good.

In Jesus’ Name,

Talk back:  What do you need to pray for this week?

Copyright: marishaz / 123RF Stock Photo

Weekend Lounge: Art, Music, Fun

Weekend Lounge is just that. A place where you can sit back and  chill. We’re bringing you the best in music, art and entertainment. Enjoy your weekend!

Poetry

Woman

woman

Dark, stooped over, fragmented piece of glass sat she
cold and alone, and void of poetry
her verse was gone, her rhythm stopped, no song to sing
she wanted to fly, but couldn’t find her wings,
This dark essence, no one to hope in her words,
hear her voice, sing her song,
stepped on, beaten by life,
stooped over, utterly alone,
for what do I do when my strength is gone?
and I have no poetry?

No one to glean from
no inspiration comes
the future looks bleak,
her body is weak,
mindless but mindful
that there’s no sunshine in store
for her
whose poetry is gone.

Her glory, her essence, her strength, her smile
has long been forgotten
and replaced with the chains
of her Mistakes and her Shame
blighted and sinful and stricken with a curse
lies this silent woman who has been stripped of her verse,
Where is her story? What has become of her glory?

She can’t see the writing of her Maker’s hand
can’t read the words, can’t find the faith to see
what her mortal eyes cannot see
they say the storm will be over
but how can that be?
for someone who has lost her poetry?

But the Writer still writes
with His holy pen
and every stormy story
has a middle and end
and even the lonely can find a Friend
in the arms of Her Maker.

‘Your story’, He says,
‘Is still there, still being written,
still under My care.
I’ve allowed this storm to come and the
fog to fill your eyes so that you could not see
My will but now you must realize, child,
the web of your life is still being spun,
the song you once had is still being sung.

Your story, my child, is telling the tale,
of one who has overcome, a storm, a gale
I’m bringing you through
When you look up
I’m still holding you.

Stand up, My Daughter, I won’t let you fall
I haven’t forgotten your voice and your call
have not gone unheeded.
You can’t believe because you can’t see
the ending of your story
but don’t look at that, look at Me,
and see my Love, and My Comfort, my Glory, My Care
I who will never forget you and will always be there
who has written your name in the Book of Life
so that she who once had no story
will forever see My Glory
she who once had no song, will forever sing Hallelujah,
with tears in her eyes, remembering the times that she tried
on vain,

to write her own story, by herself,
forgetting, to put her hand in Mine
but now this time, she has decided to trust
In her Storyteller’s care, to rest in His arms
and watch as he gently turns the page in the Book

and gives her a sweet verse.

Music

Love this video by John Legend, celebrating beauty of all kinds.

My God is Awesome Remix by Charles Jenkins featuring Jessica Reedy, Isaac Carree, Da Truth and Canton Jones. Lift Him Up!

Art

Fun

For those of us who need a little extra help at clubs and parties….tips below:



Comedian Michael Jr.

Photo Copyrights (from top to bottom):
aleksander1 / 123RF Stock Photo
szefei / 123RF Stock Photo

3 Tips for Great Summer Hair

Summer is a time filled with heat, humidity, swimming pools and rain. All of these things means that we need to approach hair care differently during this time. Here are some simple tips for keeping your hair fresh and healthy this summer.

1. Consider washing your hair more frequently

Michaela wash

Heat, chlorine, sweat and pollution (eww!) all mean that your hair may need to be washed more frequently in the summer. If you typically wash your hair once every two weeks, consider washing it every week. If you usually wash your hair once a week, consider washing or co-washing your hair three or four times a week. Regardless of what schedule you choose, be sure to  wash your hair after you get into a pool or have an intense workout . Chlorine and sweat can really dry out your hair if you let it. Also, say no to the heavy greases and opt for lighter moisturizers during the summer.

2. If you usually wear protective styles, summer is a good time to (sometimes) wear your hair out.

Michaela afro

Even though there are many things in the air in the summer that can potentially harm your hair during the warmer months, summer also brings with it much more humidity, which can be good for your hair if you enjoy wearing it out. So feel free to let your hair down a few times during the more humid days!

3. However…summer is also a great time for letting your hair rest.

Michaela braids

If you (like me) tend to go a little crazy with the flat iron or relaxers during the year, consider giving your hair a break during the summer. Braids, buns,  sew-ins and half wigs are great ideas for letting your hair rest. However, even while ‘resting’ your hair, make sure to continue washing and moisturizing it regularly. Also, if you do decide to opt for braids or weaves during the summer, be sure that your hair isn’t braided too tight (Basically, if you have a headache after a braid job, it’s too tight).

So remember that if you wash, moisturize and protect your hair this summer, you will better ensure that your hair looks great all year long.

photo credits (from top to bottom): Copyright: basheeradesigns / 123RF Stock Photo Copyright: subbotina / 123RF Stock Photo Copyright: sam74100 / 123RF Stock Photo Copyright: warnerbroers / 123RF Stock Photo

Surviving Summer Camp

Art Camp? Band Camp? Cheer Camp? Sports Camp? Church Camp?

Here at Michaela Mag, we are intimately acquainted with the joys (and sometimes pain) of summer camp. On one hand, you make friends and memories that may last forever. On the other hand, you’re often crammed into a shady dorm-room or cabin with who-knows-how-many other females and subjected to more forced bonding than you could ever need in your lifetime. Here are some tips for how to survive summer camp with your sanity intact.

1. Remember the essentials:
Camp comes with many hazards: bugs, sunburn, insect bites, headaches….so make sure you come prepared. For any outdoor, overnight camp you go on, remember to pack:

  • Sunblock lotion
  • Insect spray
  • Sleeping bag/pillow
  • hoodie
  • socks (seriously, if you forget these, you’ll seriously regret it)
  • walking shoes
  • flip flops/shower shoes
  • bathing suit
  • Umbrella
  • Pain relieving pills (like Tylenol)
  • glasses
  • Any prescription medications
  • a whistle and a flashlight
  • any camp-specific supplies (sports gear/art gear/ etc.)
  • extra cash
  • digital camera

Also, it’s helpful to bring along a sheet of paper with the following information:

  • Your name
  • Emergency contact information
  • Health insurance info
  • Allergies/illnesses
  • Prescription medication information
  • These things will make your time at camp much easier.

2. Make a Plan….
Because I’m an extreme introvert, the idea of spending an entire week socializing made me want to crawl into a hole. But, I survived, in part, by making a plan of attack. For me, that plan was to make sure that…regardless of what other girls were doing…I would be curled up in my sleeping bag–alone–by a certain time each night. The first night of camp, I would try to find someone who felt the same way so that I didn’t feel alone doing this. Whatever your deal is with camp: make a plan for it. This may mean finding a roommate ahead of time, scoping out the girls who are less likely to get on your nerves to get to know, finding a quiet spot where you can spend your alone time when you need it, calling friends or ‘rents at a certain time each day, or stuffing food you actually like into your suitcase. Whatever it is that will maintain your sanity, make a plan to incorporate it into your camp survival plan.

3. …But be open
Not everything that I encountered during camp was fun: loud campers, drama, food I didn’t like, rain, and forced ice-breakers were some of the things that come to mind that were decidedly not fun. But…I found that when I took a deep breath, silently repeated to myself “It’s only for a week…” and plastered on a fake smile, some of the things about camps that I once rolled my eyes at became bearable, and I got to meet some great people. So be open, step out of your comfort zone and embrace the crazy that is camp. That way, on the last day, you’ll look around and see that ‘camp’ with all it’s quirk becomes your home away from home.

4. Work Hard
If you are at a themed camp (sports camp, cheer camp, band camp, art/music camp, etc). work your tail off. Camp is the place where you learn fundamentals and routines so keep your head in the game, show up and be ready to work. By working hard during camp, your post-camp life will be much easier.

5. Help Out
Whether it’s kitchen duty, helping others find where things are, or simply being a friend to someone who is homesick-help out during camp when it’s needed. You know you’re awesome, and helping out is a way to expose others to the awesome that is you.

6. Follow Up
Do not forget your camera. I repeat, do not forget your camera. Take pictures, get names and numbers from new friends and follow up–either on Facebook or by phone. That way, the friends you make at camp can be friends that last forever. Also, if you ended up loving camp, consider volunteering to be a counselor or leader next year. This way, you can be involved in making sure others have had as awesome a time at camp as you have!

Let us know: What camps are you off to this summer? What are your tips for surviving?

Image Copyright: kakigori / 123RF Stock Photo

We Love You!

Today, we just wanted to give a shout out to all of our Michaela Mag readers and visitors. You all are smart, strong and beautiful. In other words, you rock. But you already knew that, didn’t you?

Have a great week!

Michaela staff

Ways to Make Sure Those New Year Resolutions Stick

Okay, so you know the drill. On New Year’s day, you resolve to exercise, eat better, get up earlier, be nicer to your parents, etc. On New Year’s day, you are all about it. The next day, you work that resolution out. But then the next day comes and….crickets.

Don’t feel bad. You’re not the only one to get afflicted with ‘I-can’t-keep-a-resolution-itis’. But, while we might not have the cure, we do have some tips that will make it easier to keep those resolutions.

1. Check your resolutions
Are you someone who has to make approximately 50 resolutions on New Year’s Day? No wonder you can’t keep them. The easiest way to make sure you keep your New Year’s resolutions is to not make too many resolutions to begin with. I always suggest making one, tiny resolution that you can stick with. If you absolutely, positively must have more than one resolution, then don’t have more than three. Any more than that and you will burn out. Trust.

2. Keep ’em simple and specific
I know you want to save the world, lose 30 pounds and/or nab the cute guy all at the same time this year, but another way to make sure to keep your resolutions is to keep the resolutions you make simple. Resolutions should be something that is relatively easy for you to do and keep doing. For example, ‘I will keep my room clean everyday,’ might be too hard of a resolution to make if you have never kept your room clean a day in your life. Try, ‘I will make my bed every day’ instead. Or instead of saying, ‘I will eat healthy,’ try ‘I will eat one piece of fruit’ everyday. Resolutions that are simple and specific are easier to keep than those that are not. Check out this link for more information about how to make good resolutions.

3. Write them down and post them up
Writing your goals down makes them tangible and real. So don’t just think of the resolution. Write it down and then hang it in a place where you will see it each day. Whether on your wall, on your locker, on your mirror…hang that resolution so you never forget it.

4. Track them.
To take your resolutions to the next level, make sure you are tracking them. This is easy. You can use a calendar and simply write a checkmark on the days when you met your resolution. Or you can use a goal-keeping app, like Way of Life, Everest, or Goal Tracker to keep track of your resolutions.

5. Get accountability
Another way to ensure that you keep those resolutions is to have other people in your corner reminding you of your resolutions. So think of someone you trust who can help you keep your resolution and let them know about your resolution. Ask the person to remind you of your resolution and ask them to keep you in check when you veer off course.

With these five adjustments, you will be more likely to stick to your resolutions this year. Now make it happen!

Image credit: fuzzbones / 123RF Stock Photo

Ways to start your New Year off Great

Things you definitely must do on New Year’s Day

1. Make those resolutions
Making  New Year’s Resolutions is a tried-and-true way of starting the year on a great foot. But don’t just think about your New Year’s resolutions…write them down. Writing down your goals and dreams is a way of making the resolution real. Wanna take your resolutions to the next step? Then post that resolution on your wall, in your locker…or any other place where you will be sure to see it everyday. Having your resolution stare you in the face will help you to get it done.

2. Send love.
Call or text people you know to wish them a Happy New Years. This is a great way to connect with people you may not have connected with much during the past year.

3. Out with the Old…In with the New
Clean your closet. Take out all your old clothes that you no longer want to wear, and dream up the wardrobe changes that you may want to make in the New Year. Maybe now’s the time to buy that funky piece of jewelry or new sweater that you’ve been looking at. The New Year is also a good time to go around your room and discard things (like gifts from ex’s) that you don’t need cluttering up your life anymore.

4. Be grateful
Take some time to thank God for the blessings you’ve received in the past year. If the past year was horrible, take some time to be grateful that God brought you through it.

5. Dream a little
Take some time to dream big dreams and plan new adventures for the upcoming year. Then think of ways to make it happen girl!

Image credit: ilmoro100 / 123RF Stock Photo

How to Get Yourself to Study When You Don’t Want To

One of the not-great things about still being in school is the fact that I still have to study. Sometimes, when it is a class that I like, studying isn’t too bad. Other times, especially when I’m trying to tackle a subject that I find completely and utterly boring, studying feels like the worst thing in the world. So I totally get it if the thought of studying makes you want to put your head in your hands and cry a little. But here are some tips to make it better.

1. Write down your mission
The first tip for getting motivated to study is simply writing something down that will motivate you. So first think about what you want to get out of your education and write that down. Remember this is your goal. It doesn’t have to be an academic or career goal.  (At one point in my life, my goal was to do well in school so that I could prove my haters wrong). That was all. Whatever it takes to get you studying, make it a goal. And write that goal down and (if possible) put it up where you can see it.

2. Set a stop time
One of the reasons that studying sometimes feels so daunting is that, theoretically, studying can go on forever. Unlike writing papers, you are never actually finished with studying, you could always do more. And who wants to spend forever on a subject that they don’t like? So, one of the quickest ways to get yourself motivated to study is to simply plan your ending. Maybe you will quit after two hours of studying. Maybe you will quit after you’ve gone through your entire study guide. Whatever it is, plan your exit strategy ahead of time.

3. Set a timer
Don’t think you can even make it to your stop time? Never fear. Get an egg timer, or use a timer on your phone. Set the timer for a certain amount of time, and promise yourself that in that period of time, you will focus—really focus—on your work. When your timer goals off, it’s break time! Take a break and pat yourself on the back for another hard earned work sessions.

The amount of time you set to focus on your work doesn’t have to be long. Some days, I set a timer for 10 minutes. I think anyone can do almost anything, no matter how boring/hard/confusing/horrible,  for 10 minutes. One of my favorite time-setting methods, the Pomodoro Technique, advocates setting a timer for 25 minutes and taking a break every five minutes. Whatever amount of time works for you, set a timer for that amount and promise yourself that—for at least that amount of time—you will focus on studying.

3. Bribe yourself
If you’re like me and you…um…have a habit of procrastinating by doing anything and everything but studying, you know that while procrastinating is fun, it also comes mixed in with a load of guilt. You know what’s better than looking at Youtube while feeling a little bit guilty? Looking at Youtube with no guilt at all! You can do exactly this when you bribe yourself to study. Tell yourself that for each pre-set amount of time studying, that you can do whatever you like for 5 or 10 minutes. Rinse and repeat.

4. Pair studying with something you like
Music, food, hot chocolate, add whatever it is that you need that will make studying bearable. Admittedly, most experts note that it is easier to concentrate when you are only focused on one thing at a time…and I agree. But I think that halfway concentrating while studying is better than not studying at all. So pack up your own “make this situation better” bag and start studying!

studying help3

5. Study with friends
This goes without saying, but many times, studying with friends can make the studying more fun and more effective. Try to quiz each other, and consider making your study session a game. And then go out for ice cream afterwards. Win win.

6.  Make it a game
As you go through studying, quiz yourself and give yourself a point for every correct answer. When you get to a certain number of points, you’ve won (and can stop studying). Also consider studying by “teaching” a pet or even some stuffed animals. Whatever it takes to make studying more fun, do it.

Michaela-studying2

7. Study in public
You don’t have to stay cooped up in your room to study. Libraries, coffee shops, and parks are all great places to study, especially if you like studying with people around. This way, you can take breaks and people watch. So, if being in your room is making you antsy, get outside your house and get your work done!

8. Get tired
Sometimes you can be too revved up to study. If that’s the case, then do a quick workout before you sit down and study. Make the workout hard enough so that when you are done you are at least a little bit tired. This way, studying will feel like a break and your body will feel calm enough to study.

What are your favorite ways to get yourself to study when you don’t feel like it?

Image credit: kmiragaya / 123RF Stock Photo

Image credit: rmarmion / 123RF Stock Photo

Image credit: otnaydur / 123RF Stock Photo