Why I Read the News AND what apps/websites I Recommend for it

A couple days ago I went to a local meeting for the League of Women Voters for the first time. I was pretty nervous because 1) I only knew two other women that were going to be there and 2) Unbeknownst to anyone else in the meeting I myself have not registered to vote yet even though I am 18 which made me feel like a complete imposter. However, despite my nerves I decided to go so that I can start getting more involved in the community (particularly in politics). Most of these women were 45 or older so I was sure that I would have NOTHING to talk with them about. I mean they weren’t going to care about the latest episode of Pretty Little Liars or that my best friend ran into my ex at the mall and I don’t know anything about back pain or growing petunias. But I ended up having a great time AND I was able to sound well informed because I had read the news the night before and brought up North Carolina changing their voting laws. The only reason I had known this was because I’ve started reading the news before bed each night. At first I started doing it because I thought it would put me to sleep, but I ended up learning about politics, sports, space, etc. I’ve found that besides just improving how much I knew about a variety of subjects I can easily use what I read to converse with people that I may not have much in common with and I’ve started having better conversations that don’t have to deal with how bad someone’s hair looked or the weather outside during the day. Personally, I find the use of a couple apps the most useful to find out the news I want to know because I prefer reading, but I’ve also listed the news channel/website that I recommend for young adults that prefer a video format. 

My top four sources for news:

1) My favorite source above all others is Flipboard. It can combine news from your social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc) along with different news from multiple sources on the web you’ve indicated interest in (general news, tech, sports, etc.) One of my favorite parts of the app is the ability to create “magazines” where you can store different stories that you’ve read. If I run across a particularly interesting news story that has a hard statistic to remember or that I want to show someone I can sort it into an infinite amount of magazines of various topics that I’ve created. You can even follow magazines created by other people. 

2) My second favorite is Readability. It isn’t exactly news persay, but it does have a top reads section where you can find articles covering many subjects from different websites. Here, I usually come across useful information I can apply to my life or a tidbit to throw into conversation. It has information that is trending so therefore I count it into my daily news reading. 

3) The Guardian is a fairly typical way to find out news, but it’s been my favorite for years. It’s well organized, varied, and it never seems to try and “dumb down” any material for it’s viewers which I truly appreciate. This is a more replaceable source for the news if you already have a favorite site, but if you don’t have one I highly recommend you choose the Guardian.

4) If you prefer finding out the news from a video source, Current is coming out with an American news channel and you can access a lot of their news videos from the website until the channel starts running. Current is a great news source geared towards a younger audience. I feel that sometimes it can offer a one-sided view of things, but because they were recently bought by Aljazeera America so there is a possibility that will improve. 

5) My last source is an oldie, but a goodie. I’ve grown up listening to NPR in the car as my dad drove me to work and his love of getting the news this way has been passed down to me. They have high-quality articles that can cover broad issues such as global warming or very specific events (they once had an hour long segment on a small local band). Usually it’s hard for me to just sit and listen to something so I use NPR when I’m busy with more mindless activities like cleaning so that I can pay attention and not get to antsy.

I hope this article helps some of you find a way to connect and learn about the world and what’s going on around you! 

How to Get In the Mood for Back to School!

Let’s not lie; aside from a few social butterflies or the super studious types very rarely are any of us actually excited to start waking up hours earlier to blaring alarms so that we can sit listening to a middle-aged man with a lisp drone on about theorems or taxonomy. So here are some tips to get more excited about sharpening pencils and pulling all-nighters:

1) Back to School Shopping!

What girl doesn’t love shopping even if it is for school? My favorite place to get school supplies is Target hands down! But, below I’ve linked a few school supplies related coupons or sales from various places (including those adorable hand sanitizer  holders that can clip on your Backpack, purse, or whatever from Bath and Body Works!)

Bath and Body Works Hand Sanitzer Holder Deal

Target Bookbag coupon

Some various coupons for places including Kohl’s, American Eagle, Old Navy, and more! 

2) Plan your first day back to school outfit and hair! 

For some outfit ideas I’m going to recommend myself here though that may seem a bit egotistical ; ) But go check out my style board on Pinterest for some school appropriate outfits! 

And for hair you should totally check out Makeupgeek.com’s article and tutorial specifically for school hair

3) Plan some fun lunches you can pack! I love bento box inspired lunches like this one from spoonful.com

4) If you’re crafty do some fun DIY projects that involve school supplies like this fabric notebook cover (if you’re more crafty) or this cute pen DIY (if you’re less crafty like me)

5) Plan a Starbucks run in the morning or another special treat for yourself to look forward to and perk yourself up! 

If none of this works just picture your own personal cheer team following you around!

I hope you guys have an awesome first day of school 

The Power of Positive People in Your Life

I just want to brag for a second and say that I have one of the best best-friends a girl could ask for. She is infinitely supportive and has managed to forgive me even when I’ve completely messed up. However, recently I have had to let go of two very close friends and limit the amount of contact I have with them. As an introvert and someone who chooses her friends with great thought, this was extremely hard. I realized after sobbing out on a balcony alone for awhile that it was time to let go and put relationships that belong in the past behind me.

Though these two people have their good qualities and attributes that I can truly respect they were both having a negative impact on my life. For the past couple of months I’ve been thinking about a quote by Jim Rohn

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

As an eighteen-year-old I am still discovering who I am and who I want to be, but despite my age  I still know of certain qualities that I would like to possess. The one that has become most important to me is having a positive attitude. Even though I knew I wanted to be positive about life and my experiences I was spending a good deal of my time around two consistently negative people.

I want to clarify that a positive attitude is not the same as an optimistic attitude. An optimistic person expects a good outcome, but a positive person will look at the bright side of things even if they have a bad outcome. I believe with practice a person can become more positive about their situations whereas a person will naturally be an optimist, realist, or pessimist.

Because I have battled depression and it is something I always have to be on guard for I’ve learned to foster a more positive attitude and become more aware of potential pitfalls that may be difficult for me to climb out of.

The hard part about spotting pitfalls is that sometimes it’s hard to eliminate them from your life. I love the two friends that I’ve had to push away recently, but no matter how much I care about them I know that for my own health and stability I need to let them go. If you surround yourself with negative people or people that attract drama you will become that way yourself over time. It is unavoidable. 

For example, these two friends would constantly put themselves down. Eventually it wasn’t enough for them to put themselves down, but they started also saying negative things about our entire group of friends as a whole. Each time I hung out with these two I began feeling worse and worse about myself and I started thinking negative thoughts about myself even when they weren’t around. Not only did this result in moodiness and tears, but I gained about five pounds (I’m an admitted emotional eater) and I started putting others down to make myself feel better.

It’s only been about four days since I’ve ceased communication with these two former friends, but I’ve already started being kinder to those around me and even started a new work out routine. As children of God it is our responsibility to take care of ourselves, physically and mentally. If there is someone who is hurting you or making you feel less than the treasure that God made you to be perhaps it is time to create some space between you and that person. I recommend that today you to take a step back and look at the five closest people to you. Is that who you want to be? Consider how those people make you feel about yourself. Is that how you want to make others feel? I knew that I didn’t want to hurt others like my two former friends were hurting me and I knew that meant making a change in who I was around. It may be hard, but trust me it is worth it. 

Hump Day Treat!

I’m sure that plenty of us have heard Wednesday referred to as Hump day at least once in our lives. It gets the name by being in the middle of the week and therefore the metaphorical “hump” we have to get over to finish out the week and get to the weekend (PARTY!..or okay, if you’re more like me, CUPCAKE WARS MARATHON!)

To help everyone get through to the rest of the week each Wednesday I’ll post a Hump day treat, something that will hopefully make you smile.

Today you have to do part of the work for the treat, BUT it’s super easy AND worth it!

All you have to do is Google Scotland’s National Animal! (or just click on the link below!)

Happy Hump Day!

The story behind Classroom CEO

It’s amazing how time can change everything about a person’s life and how quickly it manages to do so. Last year I learned how just a few events can turn someone’s world upside down. My house burning completely down was probably the biggest change I experienced during this time. My family and I lost everything we owned except our cars and what was on our backs. I still remember the way the smoke smelled in my nostrils after going to look at the remains of our family home. 

This was not the only change I experienced though. My boyfriend of three years also left me and began dating girls I had considered my good friends merely two days after leaving me. This boy with whom I had shared my deepest secrets and most intimate desires began spreading lies about me and making sure that I felt totally worthless before leaving me behind. Everything changed for me including who my friends were, where I laid my head at night, and what my priorities were. Every day was about surviving. Every day was about not letting others see how far I had fallen. 

Fast forward a year later and my family and I are living comfortably in a condo that despite it’s smaller size we all surprisingly prefer to previous home, I have discovered what I want to do with my life (educate others about the world and how to make the most out of living in it), and I have the best bestfriend a girl could ask for. I knew that I had recovered from the fire when I was crowned Miss Northwest at my high school’s scholarship pageant. 

Now that I’ve recovered from my fall and picked myself up off the ground it is time for me to start climbing my way up. That’s what Classroom CEO is about. It’s not about re-building a life, but building an entirely new and better life on a foundation of love and forgiveness. I want you to take control of running your life as seriously as a CEO runs a company while constantly learning the lessons life has to offer you whether you are in a literal classroom, your own home, or a car traveling to another state. So grab a cup of five dollar coffee and a clipboard, and put a smile on your face. You are already beautiful and now we will make your life beautiful too.

 ImageThis is a photo from the inside of our last home after the fire

ImageAn old family Bible survived the fire and was found surrounded by rubble. It was truly an amazing find. 

ImageI am the one in the yellow gown. This is just moments after I was crowned Miss Northwest.