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  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Home Life, Lifestyle

    The Power of Influence

    influence

    Anyone can be influenced

    Oftentimes I hear that children are vulnerable to influence, but that isn’t necessarily true. Adults can be just as easily influenced, but like to think they aren’t. Children are usually more open-minded than adults. This causes them to be more easy going and more likely to go with the flow. However, anyone can be influential, regardless of age. Everyone is influenced, whether they realize or not, by the people around them. It’s natural. Some people are influenced negatively and pressured into doing things they wouldn’t normally do. Others are influenced positively, and stop doing things that they normally do that could be harmful. Others are influenced to do anything, just so they can fit in. Regardless of others’ age or reputation, they still have the ability to influence you both positively and negatively.

    Influencers in my life

    The People that Influence Me

    I attribute most of my positive traits to the people I spend the most time with, who lead through demonstration. Within my family, there are a few women who I am most thankful for. First, my Mom showed me how to be strong, independent, and generous. Secondly, my Nana taught me to make my voice heard, be sassy, and confident. My Aunt Glenna showed me how to be kind, patient, altruistic, and loving.

    I spent the majority of my childhood with my gymnastics coach, Mrs. Ashley, who is my family. She taught me many useful lessons in life, like to always be the best I can be, but always work harder. Not to accept defeat, ever. I will sometimes fail, and that’s okay, but failure is supposed to be used as motivation to conquer whatever obstacle is holding you back. My school teachers taught me about their specific subjects, and also how to be successful and helpful.

    My mom taught me how to be strong, independent, and generous.

    Influence can come from anywhere

    My younger cousin, Hope, reminds me simply just to be happy. Each of my friends taught me something about relationships. Some friendships showed me that people can be dishonest, others just change over time and you grow apart. The best friendships are the ones where you learn something every day, usually just how to love and be accepting. Each experience and person we encounter makes an impression on our lives, but we choose how it impacts us and how we can help others. All of these women created the person I am today, without even realizing it. I hope I can make a fraction of the positive impact they had on me, on someone else.

    Hope reminds me to be happy!

    Initially, I thought influence typically comes from someone who is older, wiser, and more experienced. While that can be true, it also works the other way around. Some might think that discussing the power of your personal influence is conceited, but it really isn’t. Each person has the ability to interact and change people’s lives, so it is important to be positive. I strive to use what I have been taught and help others, even if it’s just through being myself.

    I think it’s safe to say that age doesn’t necessarily determine how much of an impact you have on someone. The age of role models is irrelevant, it is their qualities, and the content of their character that is significant.

    You aren’t just influenced by the people in your day-to-day life, celebrities and social media hold lots of influence too. If you’re looking for inspiring women to teach you about being the best you can be, check out our Wonder Women section, specifically our Sheroes!

  • Articles, Body Image, Confidence, Fashion, Home Life, Mental Health

    How to Turn a Bad Day Around

    Girl down in the dumps

    There are lots of ways for a day to go bad: school, bad break ups, and even family drama can turn a standard day into a nightmare. Sometimes life can get really frustrating to the point where you just want to stay in bed for the rest of the day. Through self-care, like this routine on www.girlspring.com, you can feel good in the long run, sometimes all you need is an instant pick-me-up to straighten out the day. 

    Here’s a list of things you can do to get your bad day back on track.

    Have a good laugh

    Laughing is hard, especially if you’re not in the mood for it – but sometimes that’s all you need to drive the negative vibes away. There is even scientific evidence to back this up, with NBC News reporting that smiling can trick the brain into happiness. The news site reported that smiling “spurs a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing certain hormones including dopamine and serotonin.” The hormones you need to make you happy. If you feel like you need a quick chuckle, Buzzfeed is full of jokes, as is Tumblr, Reddit and Twitter. There are many ways to pick yourself up and a quick internet search could put a smile back on your face in no time.

    Exercise

    We know what you’re thinking: who needs exercise? It’s tedious, sweaty and an absolute chore. Well, who said anything about push-ups? Exercise can be something as fun as ice skating, swimming or biking around the neighborhood. Exercise is a refreshing way to boost your mood. Very Well Health explains that you only need to do 30 minutes a day to get the benefits, particularly when it comes to improving your mood. It can even be something as simple as walking the dog.

    Wear your favorite clothes

    Clothes are like a second skin, and can affect or even reflect your mood for the day. A study by the University of Queensland showed that we either dress how we’d like to feel, or, more often than not, how we’d like others to think we’re feeling. This is why going out can be such a chore, especially if you’re having a bad day. The trick is to have go-to clothes for going out and clothes for staying at home. If you are at home, relax in the comfiest clothes you can. Sometimes all you need to do is put on your favorite comfy pants to lift your mood. The stretchy bootcut yoga pants on Woman Within are made from a soft knit material and have an elastic waist in order to provide maximum comfort – the definition of home relaxation. The clothes you wear at home should be easy to slip into and you shouldn’t have to worry about how they will fit your body.

    Meet friends

    On the other hand you could go out. And why do it alone when you can invite a couple of friends? Go out and see a movie – or invite them over for some pizza. This isn’t about forgetting what ruined your day, but creating new memories that will top any bad experience. That way when you look back, the first thing you’ll remember is how much of a good day it was.

    Treat yourself

    Craving for some sugar? Get a tub of ice cream. Something greasy? Order pizza. Or maybe it’s been a while since you did your nails. Treating yourself doesn’t have to be expensive. There are plenty of things to do at home, like a skin-care routine, watch TV or take a long nap that will help lift your mood. In the chaos of the life, sometimes the best thing you can do is find some quality time for yourself. It is a good way to recharge your batteries, especially after a really bad day.

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Holiday, Home Life, Lifestyle

    Spring Break with Parents vs. Spring Break with Friends … What do I do?

    Spring Break

    Spring break season is upon us.

     

    In our heads, we think of this glorious, week-long break from school as a time to relax and recuperate from the trials and tribulations of spring semester. But in all actuality, is it really as revitalizing as we make it out to be?

     

    Spring break falls into two categories: making memories with friends or spending quality time with your parents. Although both have their pros and cons, spring break is never actually as relaxing as we make it out to be.

     

    I spent this past week in Arizona with my parents. After long days packed with hiking at the Grand Canyon, searching for wild horses and watching baseball in the desert heat, I’m finally back home– and let me be honest, I’m more tired than I was before the vacation.

     

    On the other hand, a group of my closest friends spent their spring break in California. Even though laying at the beach, sightseeing around Beverly Hills and chatting around a bonfire doesn’t seem to strenuous, they’re ready to return to everyday life, as well.

     

    So if spring break is going to inevitably end up in exhaustion, how do you make a decision on what you’re going to do?

     

    In my opinion, spending vacation with your parents is always the way to go. Yeah, you’ll miss your friends (and probably encounter quite a bit of FOMO), but after a short week, you’ll be back together again.

     

    Spring break-ing with parents is much more smooth– the group is more organized and overall does more activities (and hey, not paying for everything with your own money is a perk). You don’t have to worry about travel or living situations, and they’re you’re family, so you know you’ll get along. Sometimes.

     

    Experiencing new things with friends is always a good time, but truthfully, spending too much time with them could produce some difficulties.

     

    I missed my friends this past week, without a doubt. But there’s nowhere else I would’ve rather been than with my family. Plus, family vacations aren’t forever– milk it while you still can!

     

    If you’re debating on whether to spend spring break with friends or family, follow the number one rule: family comes first. Besides the perpetual state of tiredness after it’s over, a great time is guaranteed.

  • Bullying, Home Life, Lifestyle, Mental Health, Stress

    Broken Glass: Short Story

    Jenna Prez raced home from school blood dripping down her face as the bruise on her forehead pulsates. She didn’t take much time throwing her bookbag down and running off to the bathroom the check the damage. She stares in the mirror not cleaning herself up but letting the blood drip from her mouth, and tears from her eyes. Why can’t the leave us alone, she thinks, can’t they mind their own business. Jenna goes to an all girl catholic high school where she met her first girlfriend, Regina Price. She had always known she was not attracted to boys, but until Regina, she wasn’t sure she was attracted to anyone. They had kept their relationship ‘on the down low’ for the past three months enjoying the secrecy of their teenage love. They would go on secret dates and hold hands pretending only to be best friends. There secret was well hidden until today when another girl, Janet Kinkle, saw Jenna kiss Regina on the cheek under the bleachers during gym. Jenna and Regina were unaware of Janet’s presence until they got back to the locker room where six of Janet’s friends were waiting on them. As soon as Jenna and Regina walked through the door, the other girls pummeled them to the floor scratch and punching them while yelling derogatory terms for lesbians. The coach, eventually, heard the commotion and broke up what was going to seem like a fight and not a clear attack on two innocent girls. Jenna and Regina were sent to the office for their misbehavior and were sentenced to three days of suspension while also having a call to home for what they had been hiding. The principal didn’t punish the other girls because she understood why they were enraged by this ‘immoral’ behavior. Jenna hears a loud knocking on the bathroom door, and she checks the time on her apple watch. Her mother was home from work. She builds up the courage she can and opens the door, and as soon as she meets her mother’s eyes, she is slammed into the door by her mother’s hand. Her mother slapped her across the face with tears in her eyes stating Jenna would never see Regina again, and she is disgusting. Her mother walks away, and Jenna shuts the door once again staring at herself in the mirror- not crying or speaking-only staring. She had no one in her life who fully accepted her but Regina, and now Regina was gone. Jenna was completely alone. Her breathing becomes heavy, and she slams her fist into the mirror breaking her reflection.

  • Home Life

    Make Your Room Instantly Cozy!

    Make Your Room Instantly Cozy

    Make Your Room Instantly Cozy!

    Sometimes the smallest changes make the largest impact

     

    My Christmas lights above my dresser were pathetically hanging by one nail with half of the lights not shining at all. Which meant I had to use my overhead light that made the ambiance more like a gas station. My bookshelf was full of random items and was used for storage rather than books.

    My room felt miserable to be in. It was cluttered and disorganized.

    When I come home after a long day, I want to put on my pajamas and curl up in my blankets surrounded by warm lights that make me feel cozy and happy. My blank walls, broken lights, and junky bookshelf were not giving me the happy vibes I needed. When I finally had enough – I brainstormed on how to make my room somewhere I wanted to be.

    I started with my blank walls. I picked up a stack of photographs that had been sitting there for months waiting to be used and hung them. This instantly changed how my room felt. It felt less like an apartment and more like my sanctuary.

    Next, my bookshelf needed a major redo. I took the random items and placed them inside of an antique suitcase I had and grabbed my favorite books to place in my bookshelf. Cleaning up that bookshelf was such a small thing but it made a huge difference in my room. My room was already cleaner and less junky.

    Finally, to the Christmas lights.

    The lights definitely needed to be replaced. I drove to Hobby Lobby and bought a 3ft strand of Christmas lights. I hung them so that they were on the wall surrounding my entire room. The aesthetic of my room completely changed, and now gives me that warm and cozy feeling every bedroom needs.

    I lit my candle, which was perfectly placed on my bookshelf, full of books and wow it felt so much better! I was shocked at how different my room looked and felt. Now, I look forward to hanging out in my room and I love it so much. I get so excited to finally get home, jump in my comfy bed and lay under the yellow lights with a book in my hand and the smell of a candle burning.

  • Articles, Home Life, Lifestyle

    Unplug and Experience the Present

    Unplug and Experience the Present

    guest post by Martha Underwood, CEO of Executive Estrogen

    Do you have a hard time concentrating on one thing? Do you check your Instagram or snapchat first thing in the morning? Do you seem to lose track of time? Do you panic if you lose or forget your phone? Do you take the phone into the bathroom with you? If you’ve answered yes to two or more of these questions you may have a cyber addiction. This can have a negative effect on your health and life without realizing it. These habits can contribute to ADHD, anxiety and low self-esteem.

     

    Discover the Real

     Being online can feel like an escape from your emotions, but it’s not, because it’s not real. Some people put more value on the experience they create online than what they encounter in real life. The danger is that you can become immersed and sucked into the online presence they created instead of what’s truly real. That turns into an attachment to a fantasy. If you can relate to this, take small steps to reduce your time online and replace that reduced time with true human engagement. You can start with calling someone you’ve known for a while but only engaged with them through social media. Commit to finding real connections with people in your life and find ways to deepen those connections without technology.

     

    How to Unplug

    Disengaging and limiting your screen-time  is easier said than done. So, what steps can you take to help you unplug from your smartphone?

    Give yourself a list of things you must do before you get online. Here are a few suggestions of things you can do:

    • Read 3 chapters of a book
    • Create something – draw, compose a song, write a poem, write a short story
    • Practice playing an instrument
    • Play a board game with a friend or sibling
    • Take a dance class
    • Create a new hair style without recording it
    • Work on a jigsaw puzzle
    • Meet a friend at Starbucks

    You may be damaging your mental health while missing out on life by needing to see what’s happening online instead of connecting with the people right in front of you. It will still be there when you look an hour or two from later. I promise it will (unless you’re on snapchat ????) Until then……Find your balance.

     

    Keep Shining,

    Martha

  • Home Life, Writing

    Changing My Verb

     

    By: Blanca Tallaj

    I remember sitting at the dinner table with Mama, Papa, and my brother when I was about ten. Mama was telling Papa a story about her day. Papa was sitting at the head of the table scrolling through his phone, not listening to her. By the look in her eyes, I could tell she felt sad that he wasn’t paying attention to her—it was like she was talking to a brick wall. Before she was even done with her story, however, Papa looked up, interrupted her, and started complaining about his day. When she was interrupted, Mama tightened her lips but didn’t say anything. She kept eating. From this and other exchanges between my parents, I indirectly learned that my verb was “to please,” and should always be “to please.” During that dinner scene, Mama let her voice be secondary to Papa’s. I indirectly learned that women’s voices were inferior to men’s, and this damaging lesson has followed me throughout my entire life. Now, however, I want my verb to be “to voice,” because I am an individual whose opinions are just as important as anyone else’s. I undergo subjective experiences like everyone else, and though people might not relate to my perspective, I am a part of this world, and I want to use my voice to help other young girls and Latinas.

    Growing up, my verb was always “to please,” and any variations on that verb, like “to be silent” and “to be nice.” As a young girl, I was always taught to be nice. I remember one day, when I was about seven years old, I told Mama that I hated a boy in my class because he was mean. I thought Mama would reassure me. Instead, she looked at me with her brow furrowed and said, “Blanca, young ladies don’t ever say ‘hate.’ That’s not nice.” From that point on, I tried being the perfect “nice” girl in order to please my parents. When adults met me for the first time, they would smile at me and tell my parents that they “raised me right” because I was “such a quiet, nice young lady.” I was raised to be nice, and in our society, most nice people are young girls because being nice is synonymous with never offending anyone and silencing yourself to please others. Girls are often taught to cater to the needs of others before their own. As a child, I rarely disagreed with anyone, even if I knew that what they said was wrong. I was taught to tend to others’ needs before my own, and this philosophy is still true for me today.

    Recently, I realized that my verb is still “to please” because I haven’t completely shed the mentality that informed my earlier years. About a year ago, I was trapped in an unhealthy friendship. I let that friend isolate me from my other friends. I stayed with that friend—even when he insulted me and made me feel bad about myself—because I felt a duty to stay in that friendship. It wasn’t “nice” to abandon him, even if he was unhealthy. However, after much help from my family, I finally left the friendship. I thought that after I left the friendship, I overcame my verb, but now, I realize that I haven’t. Leaving the friendship was a great first step, but my mindset hasn’t changed. Sometimes, when I start voicing an opinion, it sounds idiotic to my ears. Halfway through my comment, I let my voice peter out into mumbling. If no one hears my opinion, then no one can take offense. I am afraid of people getting offended because of me. This is one of the reasons I often don’t voice my opinions.

    I want my verb to be “to voice.” For so many years, I’ve been taught that my voice is not important, that it is secondary to a man’s, and that my ultimate goal as a “nice young lady” should be to never offend anybody. However, now more than ever, my voice matters. Donald Trump is president. Trump supporters around the country are rejoicing. They feel empowered. It’s important for me to use my voice to fight against the bigoted opinions currently sweeping the nation, because if I don’t, then these dangerous ideas will grow and spread. My voice could get drowned out, but at least I’ll know that I tried to share my opinion. I don’t want to keep silent any longer; it’s unhealthy for me to keep my opinions and my anger inside. I will only feel truly empowered when I utilize my voice.

    I know I can’t change my verb overnight. It’s going to take a lot of work on my part. I’ve always been a little quiet, and even raising my hand in class can be a struggle. However, I am determined to push myself to speak. I’ll start out slow. If someone makes an intolerant joke, I won’t laugh just to make the other person feel better like I’ve done in the past. Instead, I’ll call the other person out by explaining why the joke isn’t funny. I risk offending the other person, but I’ve slowly come to realize that offending someone isn’t the worst thing in the world. It just means that I’m not as “nice” as people thought I was. Over time, calling people out will help me feel more confident in my beliefs. Finally, I’ll be able to voice my opinions more freely. The day that I feel no hesitation calling someone out or voicing an opinion, even if I know no one else agrees with me, is the day that I know my verb will have changed. Maybe someday, girls won’t be taught to please; they’ll be taught to utilize their voices. Then, there will never be a girl who doesn’t know her own strength.