Monday, December 31, 2012

Motivational Monday! ~ 12/31/12


T-minus 6 hours until the famous ball drops in New York City. I'm spending the evening with my family over my boyfriend's house with his family as well. It's going to be a loud but fun time! Ahhh, Italians! ;)

Have a safe New Year & don't drink and drive!!!

Thanks for another fantastic year on YouTube & on this blog that I've been writing on since February - wow, it's already been almost a year! Time really does fly when you're being productive! :)

Start this new year off right! Be motivated and start working towards your goals!
Remember to have a positive day! :)


Monday, December 24, 2012

Motivational Monday! ~ 12/24/12

Merry Christmas EVE!

I can't believe how fast this year just flew by... so much has happened for me this year! I already feel like I'm an old granny with all I've been through, all the stories I have to tell, and how fast each day goes by now-a-days. But none-the-less, I'm trying to live my life the best I can!

I hope everyone had a great Monday and has a great holiday! See you next on New Year's Eve!!!

I read through this and thought it was pretty powerful. It's pretty dead-on with how I feel about my being able to succeed while others lack the courage, strength, or will power to do so. I'm proud of who I am, who I've become, and how I am able to succeed in my own life.
Remember to have a positive day! :)


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Motivational Monday! ~ 12/17/12

Hey everyone! Sorry this post is a day late, so it's more like 'Terrific Tuesday"... I've been battling a BAD case of bronchitis with asthma so it's been a tough weekend - I even worked while under the weather, not making things any easier.

So to be honest, I totally forget yesterday was Monday. But better late than never, right?

Have a great week everyone! ^_^

I couldn't relate to this much more at this point in time. Just as I was taking finals for 5 college courses and working all my free days I'm off from school every week, I got terribly sick. But I'm not the type who gives up easily, so for all I care, keep it coming! It can only mean great things await my future!
Remember to have a positive day! :)


P.S. See you next Monday... providing the world doesn't end this Friday. ;)

*Image provided by*

Monday, December 10, 2012

Motivational Monday! ~ 12/10/12

Hey everyone! In case you missed it, I posted a super long and serious blog post about how I got a back injury and how it changed my life forever - for the better. Check it out by clicking HERE! :)

Now onto the motivation of this wonderful Monday! Enjoy!

My boyfriend was telling me yesterday how he was nervous about his future and if he would be able to get a job anytime soon and stuff along those lines. So I told him this quote... you just can't let the fear keep you from what you want to do in life, especially if it's your passion. So go get what you really want, at any cost. It'll pay you back with rewards in the end!
Remember to have a positive day! :)


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Back Injury: Life Changer

Exactly a year ago today, my life changed forever...

Note: This is going to be a super long, detailed, in depth post about how I hurt my back and how it seriously changed my life... for the better. I'm telling you, everything happens for a reason.

I sit here with a little notebook and fat folder. These two simple items contain every little detail needed to successfully complete this blog post. They are records of everything I experienced throughout the 5 month battle to get my old back...back. Hehe, play on words.

Wow, I'm already getting goose bumps... *takes deep breath* Okay, here we go...

It was an ordinary Thursday in December 2011. I had finished my sociology and algebra classes from the day and had gone to my 3-11pm shift at a nursing home as a Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA. I worked so hard to become a CNA in the first place... took a year long course my senior year of high school and passed every single thing on both the written and clinical exams. It was my time to shine as a real CNA. By this time, I had worked at this facility just over 3 months. I actually started the day after I started my first semester of college, so it was all pretty hectic. Anyways, back to an ordinary Thursday. I was going about my business, working my tail off, sweating more than I had ever thought was possible, just to give the very best care I could to my patients. Did I mention I had 15 patients... to myself?!

Thursday, December 8, 2011. It was around 7pm. 4 hours down, 4 to go. Seriously, who doesn't count down the hours when it comes to working a job? I had just finished helping a new co-worker with one of her patients and was about to go on break. Ever hear that song "Fly" by Hilary Duff? That first line... "In a moment, everything can change." has never meant more to me. I was literally just about to go on my dinner break. But then she yelled for me to come to her and there it was - a patient face down, on the floor of the bathroom.

I freaked out. 3 months on the job and I was faced with a situation I couldn't get out of. So many things were going through my mind... if I had just gone on break a minute sooner, I wouldn't be in this situation... is the patient okay?... is this my fault?... no, this couldn't be my fault, not my patient... it was one of the scariest moments of my life.

After the initial panic had vanished off our faces, we knew we needed to find help. I stayed with the patient asking if they were okay. They were responsive, which was a good sign, but out of it, since it was a nursing home and most of the patients weren't completely "with it".

My coworker came back with the floor nurse, who eventually came back with the supervisor. Then we got another CNA from another floor. There we all were surrounding the patient in the bathroom. The nurse and supervisor watched as the three of us CNAs tried finding the best way to pick the patient up. I was originally on the right side of the patient but somehow it ended up being my in front of the patient (we had been able to somewhat sit the patient up at this point) and and the other two CNAs on each side of her. We counted to 3 and lifted her up off the floor - with no help from the patient since she was hurt and out of it and it took some doing, as the patient was overweight. It took maybe 5 seconds at most to lift the patient into the wheelchair and wheel them out to call the ambulance. Yet another reason that earlier quote from the Hilary Duff song has never rang more clear...

Almost immediately after the incident, I felt funny. My lower back started getting uncomfortable sensations. Everyone had cleared out of the room except my original coworker. I told her about my worry and said I was going on my break to see if it would subside. Needless to say, it didn't. Every minute that went by, the pain increased and became a lot more noticeable. It was a painful, burning sensation I had never felt before. Let's clarify - when I was what, maybe 14 years old? - I had gone to physical therapy for a little while for mild back pain. It cleared up and I never had much trouble since. So I knew this was much more serious as the minutes passed. I called my boyfriend, my parents, concerned, asking what I should do. I knew the answer - I just needed support and clarification.

After my dinner break was over, I talked to a friend of mine from another floor, also a CNA. She suggested just as everyone else did - go fill out an incident report. Incident reports are like a time bomb. If you don't fill one out during the shift that the incident happened, it's like it never happened on the company's time. Therefore, I knew I had to do it - even though in my mind, I was worried but convinced this couldn't be something terrible - it would pass, like everything else I'd been through.

Boy, was I wrong.

It was about 9pm by the time I decided to just go report it. I went to the supervisor (who always intimidated me, so this was fun to begin with) and said I wanted to report that my lower back started hurting after lifting that patient, which she actually saw happen. Long story short, I had to fill out paperwork explaining the situation and documenting everything and she asked if I wanted to go to the hospital, as they have to ask that when the regular clinic I'd usually be sent to is closed. This is where I was stumped - I wanted to reject it because I didn't want to seem dramatic, but she said she'd have to document  if I rejected it and that could nip me in the butt if this progressed. So, I called my parents again. I ended up debating with them for like, 20 minutes, in front of the supervisor, which was clearly annoying her. So sorry I'm only 18 years old, lady. Psh.

Ironically, I had been dropped off at work that day by my dad because my car was having troubles - this was back when I had my 2000 Saturn. It was unpredictable, to say the least. So my dad ended up picking me up to bring me to the hospital. Surprisingly, it was a fast night compared to most. Most nights I went to the hospital throughout my life, I'd be there until 3 in the morning, at least. That night, I was out by 10:30. A hour. Go figure. I was able to return to work just before my shift would end to hand in the paperwork to the supervisor and go home and get some sleep before my final exams for English and psychology the next day. Mind you, I was given a pain pill and muscle relaxer - so waking up the next day was no small feat.

---Let's be clear on something. The main reason I got hurt was because in that moment, I was actually putting the patient first, above me, above everything else. See, my the company I worked for didn't understand that because although they said that putting the patients first was always their first priority, their actions spoke very differently.

Anyways, I woke up the next morning at 7am, groggy and achey. I went to school and took my finals. The lady who hired me (my manager? She was the ADNS, I think) called during my first exam - I called her back after. She just wanted an update on the situation and we discussed light duty options. I had to get an official note from the doctor at the clinic that the company was affiliated with stating I would be on light duty status first, but basically from that day on, I was on light duty status. Yeah, that was fun. It consisted of the most mindless, mundane tasks you could think of for 8 hours. My new shift was 8:30am to 4:30pm, three days a week. (I always worked 24 hours a week since I attended school full time - conveniently, it was my winter break when I started light duty, so I was able to do the day shift) Anyways, it wasn't fun to say the least, but let's not forget people constantly asking why I was there, when I was going to return to my normal duties and shift, and oh yeah, the most intense pain of my life.

During the process of working light duty, I need to attend physical therapy sessions 2-3 per week. What I ended up doing was seeing a physical therapist at the nursing home since the facility also had a rehab. I would see the physical therapist for about the last 30-60 minutes of my light duty day in hopes of getting better. I honestly don't know why this person was a physical therapist. All he did was temporary relief - nothing to actually make it better. It was like great, make my misery go on longer. Thanks.

I would go to the session and lay on my stomach with a really nice feeling hot pack on my back for about 20 minutes. Those did feel really good because I only have a dry heating pad at home. Anyways, then he would do certain massages or the occasional stretch. We even tried this electronic machine - oh, what was it called - it's like an EKG, only hooked up to the muscles in your back. It feels like little ants crawling all over your back and it surprisingly did help a lot - but only for maybe an hour. That was the problem. This guy did nothing to heal my back over time - just the temporary. Not only that, but he tried to convince me I either had scoliosis, fibromyalgia, or some mental disorder kind of pain... he became more insulting as time went on. It was oh-so-subtle, but it made me feel bad, as if I didn't feel bad enough already.

But this wouldn't last long. I had to go to an orthopedic doctor. I had x-rays done, a bone scan - ruled out everything. It was a muscular injury. I know that doesn't sound like much, but trust me, it was no walk in the park... even that was hard to do with this much pain...

The administration at work wasn't doing much listening to me and they were doing several things that were irresponsible and wrong. Such as not pay me for the night I was injured and left to the hospital, lowered my light duty pay to minimum wage, etc... so my father decided to have a meeting with me and a couple of the "higher ups". Yeah. That didn't go so smoothly... my dad ended up embarrassing me because he completely went off on them, uncharacteristically at that, and it didn't get us much anywhere, except now I had the chance to talk to someone from the insurance company that was paying my medical bills from the injury. In the end, that lead to where I had to be in the next few weeks...

It was maybe my 3rd appointment with him about a month after the incident happened and I had told him nothing was progressing and light duty even hurt it a lot. That's when he decided to put me out of work completely - no duty. Take note people - this is another significant moment that changed my life forever.

Friday, January 13, 2012. I was to be on no duty, as in no work period, for the next month while continuing physical therapy. When I told my work, I was scared. But I thought nothing of it and did what I had to.

Thursday, January 19, 2012. I got a letter in the mail from the company insurance company. (They didn't even spell my name or address correctly) It basically stated they would no longer be covering any expenses dealing with my back injury because my orthopedic doctor stated falsely that I had been in an automobile accident. Therefore, everyone at my place of work now thought of me as a liar. During the next few days, I tried reaching the person I had been talking with at the insurance company to discuss this false accusation. Please take note, the words automobile accident never came up during any of my appointments with the orthopedic doctor. In these few days, I was also trying to call my manager to ask a few questions about my circumstances of no duty. Finally, I got a hold of the insurance company to state that the accusation was false. After much debate, she believed me and suggested I start with a nurse case manager. My nurse case manager was very nice and had set me up with a physiatrist, which is like a physical therapist/doctor who does wonders for your back. She knew I was having no luck at all with several different kind of pain pills, muscle relaxers, my current physical therapy regimen, and current orthopedic doctor.

Then the next day I got a phone call from my manager at work... Thursday, January 26, 2012... 11:54am... (told you I had my journal right next to me...)

I was happy at first because I thought she had finally returned my phone call and I could ask my questions. However, she automatically asked if I had known anything about what the doctor has stated. I explained to her almost exactly what I had explained to the insurance company. However, the phone call was over in 3 minutes.

I was terminated.

Over the phone. Red flag #1.

When I hung up the phone, I immediately ran out to my mother bawling my eyes out. I couldn't make the words come out of my mouth. I was fired.

My mother, being the fire-y, super supportive woman she is, automatically came to my defense and was angered at my *former* place of work. But alas, in reality, there was nothing she could do...

A little over a week passed and it was time for my first appointment with my physiatrist and nurse case manager. My nurse case manager was a lovely woman. Very supportive, helpful, kind, and willing to be the support system I needed from a professional. My physiatrist was also awesome. She was a woman - which I automatically - stereotypically, maybe - accounted to her being more patient, kind, and willing to listen to all of my troubles and really help. The other two doctors and my physical therapist were all men - not very kind, understanding, or helpful ones at that.

I would work with the physiatrist, nurse case manager, and a new physical therapist for the next 3 months, approximately. My first appointment with the physiatrist and nurse case manager was Wednesday, February 1, 2012. My last was Wednesday, May 30, 2012... :)

Now you think I was done dealing with that lovely establishment I used to work at, didn't you? Yeah... that's where you'd be truly optimistic - and wrong.

I went out for a leisurely dinner with my family on a Saturday night. We had so few of those anymore due to my hectic school and work schedule. When we came back, there was a voicemail on the house phone. I listened to, with everyone else in the room - it was the ADNS. She was calling because she had heard from my physiatrist that I was able to resume light duty. Red flag #2. Now, this is true - the physiatrist did fill out paperwork in case I wanted to go back to work on light duty status - but I had told her the situation outright and said she can fill it out but I wasn't going back after what they did to me. Both the physiatrist and nurse case manager fully understood and thought the situation was unfair and terrible, but she was just doing her job filling out necessary paperwork. So of course, once the ADNS got a hold of it, she would pester me again.

---Side note - I called and talked with a lawyer the day before about my rights and how to go about the situation of being fired under false pretenses and never getting a pink slip to file for unemployment. This incident will become very clear shortly...

Anyways, I called her back two days later. I needed time to think - plus, she wasn't there normally on a Saturday or Sunday anyway. I talked it over with my boyfriend's mom, my parents, everybody who was close to me and could guide me in some direction. It became clear that I needed to call her back and firmly ask for a pink slip and that was it. I had no intentions of accepting her offer to go back on light duty when I was terminated, meaning fired. Let go. Zippo, zilch, you're outta here.

I remember that day... it was after school and I was in my boyfriend's room. We were sitting on the bed and I was shaking. I was scared out of my mind to confront her because 1) she was authority 2) I never liked standing up to authority, even if it was just and 3) I didn't know how the conversation would go. Fear of the unknown.

After much delaying the inevitable, I dialed the number and put my cell phone to my ear. My boyfriend held me. When she picked up, she immediately asked if I had gotten the message she left Saturday night. I said no, not thinking - I was beyond nervous and distracted by knowing what I had to say. She told me the gist of the message and I said how I was calling because I never received a pink slip from my termination and asked if I would be getting it in the mail or if I needed to come in and pick it up. She said, "We don't do that here." Red flag #3. That's not normal. After persisting to the best of my ability, she finally asked for the last time if I would be returning, as it didn't sound like it. I said no, I'm not. Soon after that, the phone call was over. I cried into my boyfriend... I knew she would turn this around to make it look like I quit - I had no documentation of my firing, only a stupid phone call.

---By the way, if you're confused about those red flags I keep interjecting randomly, they're referring to how unprofessional this "establishment" was run. Pfft.

That's when I decided to take action. The next day, I called a commissioner to set up an "emergency hearing" with a commissioner - that's what the lawyer suggested I do first. He had said if the problem doesn't get resolved there, then to come back to him. In the end, I never talked to that lawyer again and never had to pay the pricey fees of having the luxury of one available to me. I got lucky.

I set up the appointment Tuesday, February 7, 2012. The appointment took place Wednesday, February 22, 2012. Up until this point, I was still going to physical therapy as prescribed by the physiatrist, all to be covered under the company, rightfully so. The commissioner was late to start the appointment, it was unbelievably nerve-wracking. Here I was, 18 years old, recently fired, hurting back, and a person who never liked to stand up to authority - even if it was called for. Well, here I was doing just that. I ended up going with my dad because he had actually been through similar circumstances before and could help me out and provide support where needed because again, I was only 18 years old for crying out loud! I may have legally been considered an adult, but let's be honest. In these circumstances, I felt far from it.

Anyways,  I was expecting some courtroom scenario. It was far from it. It was the commissioner at the head of a table while my and my dad sat on one side across from the lawyer who represented the place I worked. It was a sigh of relief that at least no one I knew from the place had come to represent themselves - that would have been 10 times more intimidating. It was basically just each side telling their side and providing proof where they could - this is where my folder and notebook I mentioned I'm sitting with right now came in. I brought them with me to provide all the evidence I could - even writing down phone calls, as a friend of mine told me could help. In the end, I didn't need much evidence but I won my case. I was reimbursed for the night I had left to the ER and had to clock out (which is wrong to begin with), a day I had to call out of work due to my back injury, the loss of money due to being cut down to minimum wage on light duty (which was also wrong - I should have been cut down to base pay) and paid what I would have made on light duty up until the day of the appointment with the commissioner, which was nicer than he had to be. But he completely saw my side and gave me what I deserved - the money I had lost due to this insanity and closure. He also stated that all my medical expenses would be covered under the company's insurance until I had healed to the best of my ability. So in the end, everything ended up working out in my favor - even though it hadn't from the start.

Now that I had the security of knowing I would be able to heal in the time and care I needed, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. Within the next 2-3 months, I healed slowly but surely. Each time I went to physical therapy with my new physical therapist - who was also a sweet, compassionate female, I improved. There were times it hurt or I fell into a lull, but those times passed and my back healed to the best that it could and strengthened, too. It took 38 physical therapy sessions, from the beginning of my back injury at the company's physical therapy. My first physical therapy at an outside place recommended by my physiatrist was Thursday, February 16, 2012 - my last being Thursday, May 10, 2012. My physical therapist combined physical therapy techniques with yoga and pilates techniques for the ultimate healing experience - slowly but surely, I felt better and got off all pain medications and muscle relaxers. I still take a pain pill or muscle relaxer every now and then when I push myself too much but other than that, my back feels mostly like normal. It'll never be how it was before the incident and things aggrivate it easier now, but it's dramatically better than it was when I injured it. I can honestly say that was the worst pain I've ever experienced in my whole life...and for a good length of time, too. Walking hurt. Turning to switch sides in bed hurt. Heck, sometimes even breathing hurt. It was that bad and the place I worked at just didn't have the heart to realize that. Someone once said that I'm 18 years old and am not able to hurt my back. Needless to say, that hurt my feelings and made me angry because I was living proof of it. How rude.

To this day, I still get a bill every now and then from the hospital or something, asking me to pay. But I just send it along to the insurance company and pay know mind - or money - to it, as it should be.

So to end this blog post on a high note - I'm as healed as I'll ever be. I still need to stretch every night for the rest of my life, which my physiatrist emphasized, which was a lot to hear as an 18 year old... "the rest of your life"... but I'm hanging in there. I also strengthen 2-3 times a week with these strengthening bands that I close my door on. They feel more like arm workouts than back workouts, but they're doing what they need to. I feel good most of the time, like I said. I only take a pill every now and then, really not often.

What I want my readers to take away from this blog post is that I'm a strong individual with the odds against me so many times in my life, with so many things happening at once. At times, I felt useless, frightened that I would never heal properly, scared I'd never get another job, depressed about my situation, you name it - I lost myself for a few months. I lost sight of my passions, lost hope in myself, felt like I would never be who I was again. Now, I may not be that person completely anymore. However, I'm a stronger, more confident individual from it. I didn't become a worse person because of a bad situation that happened to me. I turned that unfortunate situation into a positive one, which I hope is what I am doing for the people reading this. The purpose of writing this long, sometimes emotionally painful blog post was to help people who have lost their way as an individual or experienced similar traumatic circumstances. My back feels great, my sense of self feels even better. I have become more confident when it comes to things like job interviews and speaking with managers and authority. I have learned not to let my voice not be heard when it should be. I've become such a strong person from what happened and I'm so happy with my life right now...

I'm genuinely happy.

That's a really hard thing for most people to say with confidence. I've been there too. I would be happy with some parts of my life, not everything. Well, now I am. I'm happy with my constantly improving health. I'm happy with my family. I'm happy with my boyfriend. I'm happy with my school work and grades. And...

I'm happy with my job.

I'd like to take this moment to announce that as of a couple weeks ago, I've been working as a packer in a warehouse. That sounded so scary to me at first because I knew it would involve using my back. But I've conquered my fear and proven to myself that I can work hard in an environment that takes using your back. Sure, it took some getting used to, as this is my first job since the one I had described throughout this blog post. But I've done it. And honestly, I love it. Sure, it gets boring and tiring. (I work Friday-Sunday and go to school Monday-Thursday, phew!) But I love the environment, the energy, the people!! My manager and supervisor are amazing women who truly appreciate what a hard worker I am. My coworkers are super helpful and friendly. For the first time, it all feels genuine and I just love the environment. And today, yes TODAY - some seasonal positions were laid off due to lack of work - instead, I was kept, recognized for my hard work by my manager and supervisor, and have been told they'd like to keep me as a permanent position when the time comes. How awesome is that?! I know that God is good and this is where I was meant to be. Like I always like to live by, everything happens for a reason! I even worked a full day on the one year anniversary of hurting my back. How ironic and awesome is that?!?!

So I just want to say thanks to anyone who actually read this whole blog post. You're so awesome and I love you so much for it!! I really hope this inspires people to be the strong, confident individuals you were meant to be and hopefully I help someone along their difficult journey! I promise you'll get through it - and you'll come out stronger than you ever thought imaginable!!!

Remember to have a positive day! :)


P.S. Here are a few songs that are HUGELY relatable for me... please take a listen - they'll make this blog post a lot more clear!

"Changed" by Rascal Flatts:
---This one is pretty obvious. "I changed for the better"... "the pain won't go away"... "I'm even starting to forgive myself"... all very relatable lyrics.

"Lessons Learned" by Carrie Underwood:
---"There's some things that I regret, some words I wish had gone unsaid, some starts that had some better endings. Been some bad times I've been through, damage I could not undo. Some things I wish I could do all, all over again. But it don't really matter, when life gets that much harder, it makes ya that much stronger, oh. Some pages turned, some bridges burned, but there were lessons learned." - 'Nuff said.

"Wide Awake" by Katy Perry:
---Instead of this song relating romantically to my life, I would be referring to where I worked when listening to this song. It's how I felt during that time of my life, although I had heard the song after the fact.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Motivational Mondays are back! ~ 12/3/12

Hey everyone! Sorry I haven't been posting Motivational Monday blog posts the past 4 weeks. Here's my explanation...

4 weeks and 1 day ago on a Sunday, I had to take my laptop that I use for college work and blog posts to the store I bought it to be sent out for repairs. LONG story short, after MUCH anticipation and MANY problems, I had to get a new computer. Thank goodness for the extended warranty I bought, or else I would have had to pay full price for this bad boy! Honestly, I really like this new laptop. It's a Toshiba (I will no longer purchase Sony computers) and it's an ultrabook, so it's super thin and light. I'm excited to start using it for my school and blog posting life.

Anyways! Onto the purpose of this blog post, eh?

Enjoy and get ready for weekly posts once again! :)

Good one for my life right now - I recently got a new job on the weekends and finals are coming up. I've been having a tough time trying to balance my life and it's stressful to say the least. But I can't wait to see how all this strength turns into a positive life ahead! :)
Remember to have a positive day! :)


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

First of all, sorry I haven't been able to post the past several "Motivational Mondays". Unfortunately, my laptop I primarily use to post them while I am at college had to be shipped out for repair a couple weeks ago and there have been some complications and miscommunications, which is why it's not back in my hands yet. Rest assured, when it is, I will get back to posting those weekly motivational posts!

But today should be motivational as well because...


I just wanted to take a quick moment to post what I am thankful for this year, as I have put a lot of thought into it and have a bunch to be thankful for this year!

What I'm thankful for...

  1. My family. We're crazy, annoying, and obnoxious, but without them, I wouldn't have the strength to do half the things I've been able to accomplish.
  2. My job. I just got a seasonal position at a Macy's Warehouse this past Monday. It may only be seasonal for now and may not be anything I really wanted, but it's money to pay for gas, my car payments, and my school loans. I'm so thankful for this job since I haven't had one for 11 months and it's taken a long time to get another.
  3. My friends. Without some of my closest friends, I just might be, really.
  4. My boyfriend. Without him... not only would I also still be insane, but I never knew how amazing it was to be loved whole-heartedly by a once-stranger until I met him. And to love someone back as much as I have. He's my support, my rock. I just can't see life without him anymore.
  5. My house. After living through the worst hurricane I have ever experienced here in New England, I'm so thankful to still not only have power (we never lost it, thankfully), but also the house I live in, the bed I sleep in, the heat that comes out of our vents, and so much more. I pray for those severely affected by "Super Storm Sandy".
  6. My health. After being very sick often as a child and suffering from a back injury late last year/early this year, I'm so grateful for my good health. I am not sick nearly as much as I used to be and my back is in the best condition it will get, which isn't nearly as bad as it was... and it's maintainable.
  7. My subscribers. Without you guys, I wouldn't still be doing videos and now this blog. I may not have as many of you as lots of other people, but I'd rather have less true and loyal fans and friends than more less faithful ones. :)
I'm sure we all have so much to be thankful for, even when it seems we don't. Sit down and look around you. Really think about what you put into perspective and what you value most. I'm sure we all have it better than we think at times.

Be thankful for what you have and help those who don't have it nearly as good.

Remember to have a positive day! (and a very Happy Thanksgiving!)


P.S. Please give a listen to this song called "Be Grateful" by The Farm Inc. I first heard it a few weeks ago on the way to one of my classes and it really touched me. It makes more sense today, but remember it each and every day, too.

"Be Grateful" by The Farm Inc:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Motivational Monday! ~ 10/29/12

Hey everyone! I'm going to be really quick with this week's Motivational Monday as I currently experiencing Hurricane Sandy. This is the most serious storm/hurricane I have ever experienced in my lifetime so I'm a little worried. I just want to get this posted before we lose power...which hopefully won't happen, but better to be safe than sorry! Stay safe everyone!! xoxo

I like this one a lot. Now, it doesn't only apply to exercise, but that's true too as I have been working out for several months now and have been shedding some pounds, getting healthier, and gaining confidence. But I really like this quote because I never liked the one that says, "Good things come to those who wait." That's a bunch of bull to me, as waiting does you know good. Get out there and work your butt off and reap the rewards!! :)
Remember to have a positive day! :)


Monday, October 22, 2012

Motivational Monday! ~ 10/22/12

Hey guys! I know this Motivational Monday is pretty late since it's already past 9:30pm, but since I have classes mid day and in the evening on Mondays and Wednesdays, it's usually difficult to post this until later in the night, after Monday is done. Oh well, better late than never if my philosophy... sometimes. Hehe :)

Anyways, I got 4 tests to study for coming up next week. So let's keep this short, sweet, and to the point! ;)

Enjoy! <3

Just what it says. Work through all the pain and the success will come in time. Trust me on this one.

Remember to have a positive day! [or night... ;)]


Monday, October 15, 2012

Motivational Monday! ~ 10/15/12

Hey everyone! Here's your next dose of Motivational Monday! Just so you guys know, I did post a new blog post review yesterday, so if you want to go check that out, click HERE. Enjoy! ;)

Just as it says - forget the things you tend to say to defend your weaknesses and rise above them. You can do it! If you can overcome this step, you're well on the way to success!
Remember to have a positive day! :)


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Influenster Review

Hey guys! So I wanted to try writing a different kind of blog post today - this one is going to be a review on the website Influenster.

Influenster's slogon on their homepage is, "Turn your social influence into rewards". This saying captures the truth behind the website creation.

*I've been a member of this website since May 31, 2012, which isn't a long time compared to some, but it gained me an extra badge. (explanation below)

Influenster just underwent a major renovation and completely re-established their website for the better. Now we are able to have Expert Badges, Lifestage Badges, VoxBox Badges, and Brand Badges. I'll break these down below.

Expert Badges: At this time, you can only unlock 5 out of 16 of these, so choose carefully. You want to be honest with these because you'll need your knowledge of your interest to gain influenster points.

Lifestage Badges: There's only 8 of these bad boys, but you can gain them all. The problem I find is, Influenster is all about being honest, so just call me Honest Abe! But that means I was only able to collect 4 out of 8, as I don't have a dog or cat, am not a bride-to-be (yet!), and I wasn't born between 1945 and 1964. So I just don't see how it's fair to affect our overall score if we are not applicable to all of the badges. That part doesn't seem very fair.

VoxBox Badges: These badges indicate what and how many VoxBoxes you have been eligible for and received. VoxBoxes are the rewards for being active on Influenster and getting your overall badge score as high as possible. I just got an email this past week saying I may be eligible for my very first one, so fingers crossed!

Brand Badges: I personally don't have any of these yet, so I'm not exactly sure what they represent. I'm going to guess if you're especially active reviewing and sharing one specific brand that you will earn a badge representing your love for that brand. But don't take my word for it, that's just my guess.
**Note after this blog post was finished: I earned a badge in this section for doing all the tasks for the relaunch. So maybe they're limited edition badges?

*Influenster Veteran Badge: This is under the Lifestage Badges category, but basically if you have been an active member on Influenster since before this renovation, congratulations! You earned this simple yet distinguished badge of honor. Share it proudly!

Now you're probably wondering if this is all there is to Influenster. Well, it's not. You have a general badge score that is cumulative of four areas. These areas are:

*Picture courtesy of official Influenster Facebook page*
My current Influenster score is 63. That doesn't sound so great, but like I said earlier, I was just notified that I may have earned my first VoxBox. So don't fret if your score isn't super high - you too, have a fair chance to score a VoxBox sometime soon. Just keep reviewing and sharing your favorite pages and products through Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and Pinterest and be patient. There are only a few specific VoxBoxes sent out each year, to a select amount of people. So do your best and wait to get that amazing notification!

Some tips:
  • Be active - don't just be all in for one day then vanish for a year.
  • Invite influential friends - who knows, they may benefit and gain a VoxBox while you gain Influenster points.
  • Use as many social platforms as possible - if you're addicted to Facebook, "Tweet" a mile per minute, and "Pin" everything in sight, you're in luck. Keep doing what you're doing - just include Influenster.
  • Review all your favorite products - every thought counts.
  • Watch your score go up - if you follow my simple tips, your score will soon be through the roof and you'll be well on your way to gaining FREE VoxBoxes!
Just remember to be a trendsetter and an active member in all areas and you should have no problem! Good luck and HAVE FUN! <3

Remember to have a positive day! :)


Monday, October 8, 2012

Motivational Monday! ~ 10/8/12

Hey everyone! I hope everyone had a good weekend - mine was productive but relaxing at the same time...if that even makes sense...? Haha, anyways, the weather is getting cold here FAST! So bundle up and enjoy this week's dose of motivation! ^_^

I thought this was a good one because it's so true that the enjoyment is found while doing the activity, not when it's finished. When it's finished is when we're usually sad that  it's over. Like Christmas morning. It's a joy to open the gifts and when it's all over, we wish we were still enjoying the moment. So live for the moment. Don't worry about what will come tomorrow, as you have tomorrow to enjoy that! ;)

Remember to have a positive day! :)


*Photo courtesy of*

Monday, October 1, 2012

Motivational Monday! ~ 10/1/12

Hey everyone! I hope everyone had a good September. Now it's on to October - which always makes me excited, because that means it's holiday season! With Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's, I absolutely LOVE this time of year. It really brings out the good in everyone and what we all have to offer and cherish. So be thankful, everyday, and be kind, everyday! ^_^

Now that you've endured my sappy-but-true quote, here's this week's dose of Motivational Monday! Enjoy! :)

If this quote confuses you because it sounds all philosophical, don't let it. It's simply saying that kindness is stronger and more important than harshness. So be kind as much as possible. :)

Remember to have a positive day! :)


Monday, September 24, 2012

Motivational Monday! ~ 9/24/12

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had eventful, productive, relaxing, and/or happy weekends! I have been helping my boyfriend and his mom move to a new place since this past Wednesday and I am beat, for sure! He doesn't have wifi at his house until tomorrow so I made sure to come to school to get this Motivational Monday post out on time! Enjoy and have a great week! ^_^

Words of wisdom!
Remember to have a positive day! :)


*Image credit to*

Monday, September 17, 2012

Motivational Monday! ~ 9/17/12

Hey guys! Time for a quick Motivational Monday post to prove that I didn't forget about my loyal readers! <3 Enjoy & have a productive, terrific week! ^_^

This is a good quote for anyone to use, not just people on a diet or trying to get in shape and lose weight. It can be a great metaphor if you're having a tough day at work and want to be lazy, when are having a rough week and have a lot to catch up on with bills and kids, or if you're actually sweating! Hehe - just remember to never give up and persevere and things can only go up from here!
Remember to have a positive day! :)


Monday, September 10, 2012

Motivational Monday (x2!) ~ 9/10/12

Hey guys! So I'm sooooo sorry that I forgot to post a Motivational Monday last week! It was a hectic first couple weeks of going back into the college swing and it totally slipped my mind! This is only the second time I've forgotten though, since starting this blog in February, so not too bad, right? ;)

So as I did last time I forgot, I'm going to make up for it! That's right, time for TWO totally inspiring, motivating, awesome quotes! Enjoy and remember to have a positive week! ^_^

I LOVE this picture and caption. It's so true! Now, of course this doesn't mean physical fighting. But personally, I've had to fight for what I love and what is right a lot over the past year. But it's all worth it in the end.
Just remember, what goes around comes around - that means both the good and the bad. Karma is real! So be good! ;)

Remember to have a positive day! :)


Monday, August 27, 2012

Motivational Monday! - 8/27/12

Hellooooo!! Today is my 19th birthday, how cool is that?! :D Just wanted to throw that out there... I'm officially another year older, yippee! I'm another year closer to achieving my dreams, which makes me the most excited. Also, if you are familiar with last week's Motivational Monday post, the quote ironically rang true later during the week! Who knew my own blog would end up helping me, too!

Anyways, onto the quote! I hope everyone had a terrific Monday and started the week off on a good foot! I know I have to - college starts back on Wednesday! Yikes - goodbye summer relaxation, hello textbooks and hours of studying!!

Good caption for the first week of going back to college for my second year. Also good for things that happened during these short 3 months of summer - there are no limits as to how far you can go in any job, career, class, adventure - you name it. The options and possibilities are endless, which is something I'm really trying to remember in my pursuit to have two successful careers and successful, fulfilling hobbies. Reach for the stars! (no matter how corny that may sound, hehe)

Remember to have a positive day! :)


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Love Gone Wrong: Domestic Violence

It was an ordinary day out with my mom. We had gone to this new place called "DEAL$" which is affiliated with Dollar Tree. We had an enjoyable time, as we always do when we bond going to a dollar store or thrift store. It's our thing. :)

After we were done shopping there, we decided to go eat some dinner. We went to Popeye's because I was craving their yummy fries and buttery biscuits. We had a perfectly lovely time as we ate, as we aren't able to do this often due to scheduling conflicts and tight money.

It was a perfect night... until we left Popeye's.

As we were walking out of the building to the car, to our left we saw a guy and girl messing around. At first, it looked as if they were play wrestling, like friends do. But as we walked in what felt like slow motion to the car, we witnessed a terrible crime - domestic abuse.

Violence that only feels that real when seen in person.

Time felt like it stood still. It felt as if we were watching a drama, except it felt much more real. Because it was. It was very real and it was happening right in front of us - we were witnesses.

We witnessed the guy slap and beat the woman until she said something he wanted her to say. He wouldn't ease up or let her go until she said what he demanded. Exactly what it was? We don't know, we couldn't make it out - all we could do was watch in amazement as our skin crawled.

We were standing by the car as she ran inside (she looked as if she was an employee there). I kept quietly telling my mom to get in the car because my instinct at the moment was to protect my mother as I didn't know exactly what she would do - she is outspoken and always wants to do the right thing and help others, especially in terrible circumstances such as this.

When we finally got in the car, we locked the doors and contemplated what to do. As we were doing this, the guy appeared to be fuming and talking to another employee (a man this time) who came outside. We don't know what they were talking about, all we knew was he was still there, waiting.

My mom said that her instinct was to yell and make a scene. But she was resistant because of what that could possibly turn into. She tried calling 911, only to realize she didn't even press send. By this time, we noticed the woman came back out and actually went to the car with the guy who was beating her up. She immediately said, "There's nothing we can do. The cops can only do something if she files against him." We drove out of the parking lot and around the block - that's when I insisted we go back and at least try to save her, help her, anything. I just couldn't live with myself otherwise.

We drove back to the parking lot, but it was too late. She was going to drive by as I got the license plate number and we were really going to call 911 this time. But like I said, it was too late. The vehicle was already gone, both of them in tow.

I felt so bad. I felt guilty, depressed, and ashamed that as a woman that couldn't even imagine how terrible that must be, I didn't do anything to help that poor individual. For the rest of the night, I just couldn't shake that feeling. My skin constantly felt like it was crawling, my insides felt shaky, and I felt the constant urge to cry. I talked with my mom and dad about the situation and they both tried to make me feel better by saying at least we went back right away and attempted to do something and that I wasn't at fault. Then they said how we couldn't help the woman if she wasn't willing to help herself, which is actually very true. Later that night, I prayed for her. I asked God to please give her guidance and strength to overcome this terrible situation. It was the only thing I could do at this point.

I write this blog post in hopes that it will help someone, somewhere. That's what I always aim to do on this blog. Domestic violence is wrong, anywhere, anytime. Whether it's a man beating a woman OR a woman beating a man (yes, it really happens) it's still equally as wrong. I understand that most times, men can very well do more physical damage to a woman than she can, but regardless, physical abuse/violence is never the answer and if it has become one, the individual inflicting this upon someone should get help ASAP. In the same regard, the person being physically, as well as emotionally wounded, should get help and leave the individual. I understand it's hard to leave someone you love but please realize, there are people that love you without having to hurt you - physically AND emotionally. We will always get emotionally hurt by someone we trust and love because it's inevitable. But physical violence should NEVER happen between the two of you.

I hope reading this story has opened your eyes about a very real, scary, and wrong situation that happens on a daily basis for many people. I am very lucky to say I have never had to experience the tragic situation of domestic violence and I hope I never have to. If you or someone you know have been affected by domestic violence and want to get help, (please do!) I have listed some helpful links below. Please give them a look and share this blog post and the links with anyone you think they will help. Thank you, as always, for reading and listening to my story. I really hope it helps lots of people in their search for recovery. God Bless.

A popular beauty guru on YouTube, Lauren Luke, raising awareness:

Domestic Violence Awareness Site:

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

Remember to have a positive day! :)


Monday, August 20, 2012

Motivational Monday! ~ 8/20/12

Hello! Happy Monday! So I'm only 9 days away from the start of my second year of college as well as a week away from my 19th birthday! (Yay, I know, right? My birthday was ALWAYS so close to the start of school) Oh well, I'm going to have a fun time celebrating it with my family and boyfriend this Saturday. I hope your week is getting off to a good start! Spend it wisely! :)

Very true. You never know when you're last day is, so spend them wisely - that includes surrounding yourself with positive people who love you for who you are and will support you in your dreams.

Remember to have a positive day! :)


*Image credit to*

Monday, August 13, 2012

Motivational Monday! ~ 8/13/12

Hey everyone! Welcome to mid-August's dose of Motivational Monday!! (cue audience clapping and cheering) No, but seriously. Sorry I haven't been around much or writing many blog posts during the summer. I've been super busy with getting a new job, getting ready for school, (omg, already?!) and other stuff. I have, however, kept up with making lots of videos on a regular basis!! If you don't already know, I have a makeup channel on YouTube under the username LaurNmakeup. Check it out! ;)

Anyways, onto the reason for this blog post, already!! Enjoy! ;)

I thought this was a good one because I've been on a diet and exercise kick the past couple months. Also, I am a perfectionist by nature - I am a virgo, you know, as well as a makeup artist. So it's good to get a reminder once in a while that although I may want it so bad and try so hard for it, perfection isn't possible. At least, not always. So I thought the fact that this looks like a working out picture as well as what it stands for, I thought it was a good picture for this week! :)

Remember to have a positive day! :)


*Image credit to*

Monday, August 6, 2012

Motivational Monday! ~ 8/6/12

Hey everyone! I didn't forget to post a Motivational Monday this week, here it is! I'm excited about this one! Keep reading to find out why! ;)

I love this quote so much. I love it even more because of the day I saw it. I recently got a new job as a makeup teacher at this new local cosmetology school that opened! This is a huge opportunity for me and one of my dreams come true. Later that night on Facebook, I saw that my new boss posted this. It couldn't have fit more perfectly into my current life because I have had one of the hardest years in my life both physically and emotionally. (to come in a later blog post) So this quote is now my iPhone background and reminds me everyday to keep my options open and live life to the fullest. :')

Remember to have a positive day! :)


Monday, July 30, 2012

Motivational Monday! ~ 7/30/12 (x2!)

Hey everyone! I'm super sorry I didn't post last week's Motivational Monday. I had just gotten back from a vacation and had a whirlwind of things to do and totally lost track of what day of the week it was. I kept thinking it was the day before or after it really was. So here's a double dose of Motivational Monday, to make up for last week! Enjoy and have a successful week!! :)

This is so true! I'm really working on it, lately. I'm trying to be a better person all around, have a better attitude on a daily basis, and see things in a different light. Ya know, have a better perspective on life. I've been really working on expanding my career as a makeup artist and it feels terrific!

Another good one! This also relates to what I just said about trying to expand myself career as a makeup artist. I'm practicing more and trying to be the best I can be for others. :)
So I hope that made up for last week totally slipping my mind! I'll be more conscientious now that I'm back to regular life! ;)

Remember to have a positive day! :)


Monday, July 16, 2012

Motivational Monday! ~ 7/16/12

Hey everyone! I hope everyone had a great start to their week! Here's an important quote to remember...

Remember this... I know emotions take over in tough situations and some seek revenge that isn't necessary or at the wrong times, but try to calm down, take a breath, and think for a minute. Think about what is really important to you and your life and remember that those are the things you want to keep sacred and protected.

Remember to have a positive day! :)


*Image credit to*

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Life Choices

There I was. My freshman year of college was through, I had just finished a happy day of shopping at ULTA (aka Heaven for makeup addicts!) and I was sitting on my bed listening to my boyfriend play guitar. Then it hit me. I should have chosen gymnastics.

Now, you're probably really confused right now. But here's the story...

When I was going into my freshman year of high school, I had to choose between starting guitar lessons or continuing on with gymnastics classes. I have always loved gymnastics, but have had troubles with it. I first started gymnastics when I was 5 years old at the local YMCA. However, it only lasted a few months because the coaches there were terrible and terrifying at that age. Especially when it came to the balance beam, my least favorite activity because of how high up it was, I couldn't handle the pressure and mean people. So I quit.

Then an opportunity came when I was in middle school. I had just gotten better from suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which I have a lengthy blog post on. I felt empowered to be able to have enough energy and enthusiasm to keep up with an hour gymnastics class each week. Unfortunately, I would often miss the classes because of my unlucky habit of becoming sick very easily and very often. However, I continued on until the summer before 9th grade - so about a year.

At that time, I had talked to my parents about taking guitar lessons because I also had an interest for that. But because of the cost, I couldn't take both at the same time. It's actually ironic, because what they would pay weekly would add up to basically the same cost of what they had to pay monthly for gymnastics. So I had a decision to make. As you can probably already tell, I chose to start guitar lessons and quit gymnastics again, because guitar lessons were easier on my body and I could cancel them without having to pay and lose my parents money. Also, starting gymnastics just isn't the same when you're 13 versus 5, because you're a lot less flexible and have growing parts, if you know what I mean.

Long story short, I ended up taking guitar lessons for three years. I enjoyed them very much, learned a lot, made new friends, and still pick up the guitar every once in a while for myself. It's a really good way to vent without words. I even had the chance to be my guitar teacher's band's Makeup Artist for a while because he knew how I was trying to establish myself as a Makeup Artist. He was a great teacher and a greater guy.

As I continued to take guitar lessons with him and talk to him during them, he gave me several opportunities to practice makeup on his band mate, as well as other opportunities to explore my makeup career. I am forever thankful for the things he did for me because he really didn't have to. Because of him, I met his band mate. Because of her, I have gotten several opportunities to not only practice my makeup skills, but I've also been fortunate enough to receive opportunities for my makeup to be showcased in their music videos, as well as get another job through them.

Basically, I firmly believe EVERYTHING happens for a reason. Every single thing in life, no matter how good, how bad, how big, or how little. Thinking back on all the things, good and bad, I have experienced throughout my life, it all traces to something else. Although some things seem to go into something that ended badly, that bad ending turned into a beautiful beginning of something else. Usually, that something else is actually something I wanted even more than I thought I wanted the bad ending opportunity. (I hope you're following me, here)

This blog post may seem very random and out of the blue, but it's been a work in progress over the past couple months. Because the day I went to ULTA with my boyfriend was actually at the end of May, now here we are in July. But I've been going back and forth trying to find the right words.

So all in all, the main point of the blog is that you see how it started? I felt like I should have chosen gymnastics as my extracurricular activity instead of guitar lessons, but I ended up really appreciating my decision that back then, did make me sad something because of how much I missed gymnastics. Once again, everything really does happen for a reason.

So this may sound like a lot of Motivational Monday quotes put into one post, but here are some awesome quotes to remember on your long, tough, but rewarding journey to personal success!:

"Everything happens for a reason." (hehe, duh)
"Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end."
"Even if you fall on your face, you are still moving forward."
"If you can dream it, you can do it."
"But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done."
"Now if you know what you're worth, go out and get what you're worth."

There ya go! Some awesome quotes to write down in your planner, post on your Facebook, write on your calendar, or put in your phone. Anything to keep you motivated and remember that this isn't the end, it's just another beginning. :)

Remember to have a positive day! :)


*I take no credit for any of the quotes. I have seen them various places online and in books and did not create them myself.*

Monday, July 9, 2012

Motivational Monday! ~ 7/9/12

Hey everyone! So this post is a little late but don't worry, I didn't forget! Better late than never, right? Enjoy! :)

I'm working on it! ;) Keep your head held high and keep going through all the pain and suffering - you'll come out so much stronger for it! :)

Remember to have a positive day! :)


P.S. I know I haven't been posting much on this blog lately, but I do have some things up my sleeve, don't worry! I'm almost done on my latest "serious" post, so I'm really hoping it'll be up sometime this week!! :)

*Image credit to*

Monday, July 2, 2012

Motivational Monday! ~ 7/2/12

Hello there! Happy Monday! I hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July week eating lots of barbeque foods and watching the fireworks with their friends and family! :)

I thought this was a good one - I've had a rough year so far, but I haven't given up when the odds have been against me. We can't control the hand we're given, but we can make the best of every situation and learn from our mistakes.
Remember to have a positive day! :)


Monday, June 25, 2012

Motivational Monday! ~ 6/25/12

Hey everyone! It's time for another Motivational Monday! I hope everyone has a great week!

Enjoy! :)

I've been having a tough time reaching my goals and dreams with pursuing a makeup related job lately, but I know this isn't the end. I'm just in the middle of a good workout. ;)

Remember to have a positive day! :)


Monday, June 18, 2012

Motivational Monday! ~ 6/18/12

Hey everyone! So this Motivational Monday is very special to me! Not only is it me and Dylan's 23 month anniversary (only ONE more month to go until we've been dating for TWO years!) but this is also the 18th Motivational Monday I have done on my blog since it started on the 18th of the month!!! How cool is that?! ^_^

So enjoy the quote everyone and have an awesome week! :)

This is very true. We must remember not only that bad times will pass and bring better times, but better times will also pass and we need to enjoy and cherish them while they last. This shall bring on a quote of mine, "Plan for the future, but live for today, because tomorrow isn't guaranteed." I probably didn't come up with that quote myself, but it popped into my head last week and I thought it was very fitting with this picture/quote.
Remember to have a positive day! :)


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

YouTube Videos + High School Drama = One Hot Mess

"It's not okay what happened to you, but it's not okay for it to wreck you."

Hey everyone! So I was recently told some really inspiring and happy news about something that involved a very tough time for me during the majority of my high school experience - and it regarded my makeup videos. I'm going to jump right into this story and get down to the nitty gritty stuff, so here we go! :)

It all started when I was 15. I developed a passion for makeup that was more than the average girl my age - and it seemed to come out of nowhere. I had always enjoyed the occasional lip gloss or blush, but it's like all of a sudden, I started to collect makeup, learn more and more about it, how to apply it better, and I wanted to share my passion with the world - and that's where YouTube came into play.

The username was (and still is) MakeupByLaurenAnne. I wanted it to be short, sweet, and to the point - something with makeup in it, and who was doing it. My first name is Lauren, middle name Anne. So it was perfect. (I was also at an age when I still didn't want my last name and face out on the crazy world called the internet)

February 22, 2009. That was when I first started my makeup account. For a good while, I didn't show my face in any part of the videos. I would set up a pretty, purple throw/blanket on my bedroom floor, prop my camera facing downward on my little $15 tripod, and press record. In my early videos, all you saw were my hands and arms as I showed the viewers the product I was talking about while you heard my voice. It's funny, because looking back, my voice sounds weird because it's behind the camera instead of in front of it. Oh well, it worked - for the most part. I always had those people who wouldn't stop pressuring me to show my face. I would get insulted and put down for not doing so - but I was not doing it until I was ready to. And I didn't. Until it came time...

July 21, 2009. That was the date that I decided it was time to show my face and start making videos that way. I'd like to make very clear that I did not do this due to any peer pressure or what people were saying - I simply grew up a little, wanted more views, and wanted to do what my favorite beauty gurus were doing, too. I even had the advantage of talking to my favorite makeup guru, emilynoel83, through private messages and she was so sweet, genuine, and helpful - it really helped me make that big, next step.

It got a good amount of views, for the amount of subscribers and viewers I had at the time, anyway. I was both very excited and extremely nervous. You just never know what people will say about you or how they will react to something drastically different.

Of course, I got a mixed review in the comments section. The majority of people, of course being my fans and supporters, supported me, told me I was beautiful, and were very happy and pleased with my presence in the video. And then there were the bullies that have nothing better to do with their lives than try to make others miserable. I was called ugly, fat, stupid, everything in the book - and to this day, still am. I'm not going to sit here and lie and say it never affected me, because it did. People on the internet can be as cruel as they want to be because they're faceless and have no reason not to be - so they can go all out and sometimes made me so upset, I would cry. I'm not ashamed to say this because let's face it - many, many, MANY people are affected by bullies - physical people and over the internet, alike - everyday.

Faceless defenders aside, there were also the ones who had a face and weren't afraid to show it, as well as their strong-minded opinions. See, I started making videos years before makeup videos, on my original account, LaurieGirlie101. I joined YouTube under this username on August 24, 2006, originally just to favorite videos and then it became much more. It's funny how one decision can literally change your whole life. I made random videos - of concerts I would go to, putting songs up for people to listen to, videos of my rabbit, you name it. That's also where I started makeup videos until I got a separate account dedicated to them.

Anyways, back to the bullies. The reason I explained my first YouTube channel is because I was on YouTube years before people I knew got word of it. But that's because they didn't see my face. Literally, I started showing my face on YouTube during the middle of the summer before sophomore year of high school, and on the first day (no joke) I was told by someone that they had seen my makeup videos. Honestly, when I was first told, I actually thought she was complimenting me and enjoyed them. But suddenly, it took a turn for the worst because she was one of the biggest bullies I had to deal with the next three years of my life. I guess she quickly spread the word and as all people who have been in high school know, word gets out quick and everything is taken the wrong way and spread around the wrong way. Everyone would tease me, mock me, say things I said in videos mockingly literally right behind me, laugh at me, and keep spreading the word. I was surrounded by fear and misery every day I had to go into that school because I would wonder who would stare at me as I walked down the hallway today knowing what they had heard or seeing my videos and how they would react about it, whether to my face or behind my back.

I realized a lot that first year and experienced lots of mixed emotions. I lost ones who I thought were my true best friends of several years. I learned who my true enemies were. I felt sad, angry, humiliated, threatened, and everything else you could possibly feel when you're faced with the issue of bullies and you feel like you need to deal with them alone. Even though I've moved on and I'm at a much better place in my life right now, having to recall all these emotions and memories still tears me apart sometimes - like now.

I had three main bullies. The first one was the one who came up to me that first day of sophomore year and I tend to believe she's what really started the fire. I will never know for sure, but I actually want to think she was just looking up makeup videos and came across mine and found that reason enough to start rumors and create misery for someone else, because that's what she did best and was known for by innocent people like me. The second girl (of course, they were all females) actually became more of a threat to me than the first one over time. She didn't do much that first year, but the last couple years she was a true threat. She even got my cell phone number through my ex-best friend who was friends with her (just shows I was obviously around the wrong crowd) and texted me several times pretending to be a guy, saying explicit and disgusting things, basically how "he" became aroused by my videos and wanted to do things with me. She remained a threat until the end. Lastly, I got a new bully senior year. It's as if a new main one developed each year since word got out. Mind you, my videos are innocent. I make sure to never swear in them, don't act vulgar in any way, and all I wanted to do was share my love and passion for makeup with the world as so many others are successful as doing as well. This last girl I never saw coming because I had actually been friends with her since middle school - not really good friends, but a friend I would talk to while in school and such. Her boyfriend ended up messaging me through my YouTube channel one day pretending to be her saying how she tried some makeup tips I gave in one of my videos and "her" boyfriend ended up breaking up with "her" because of it and saying nasty things. See, bullies don't think enough before carrying out their actions because I easily went onto her boyfriend's profile and saw his picture along with his name and age and everything, so clearly, I knew it had to be either him defending her or her through his YouTube channel, thinking I would be intimidated and wouldn't know who it was. I remained civil with her the remained of senior year, but never talked to her about anything personal again because she didn't deserve it.

Along with these three main bullies came their friends. That was fun. (sarcasm) The first bully brought along two of her friends for the ride. They actually ended up making a YouTube video mocking me and saying my full name and everything. They all participated in it. I believe this was either sophomore or junior year. This made me and my parents have enough. I had found this video through someone on Facebook and ended up watching only a bit of it before work one night and cried as I had to face a tough shift at work that night. Again, no shame in admitting this because I'm letting it all out there because I know there are so many people affected by bullies everyday and although it will never stop, there are ways to deal with it. My parents and I went to the assistant principle one day after school about it. Of course I was scared because I always thought bringing my parents into it would make it worse - a common worry of all who are bullied and threatened. But we did it and the next day, me and the three girls were called down to "talk" about it. The assistant principle apparently knew how one of the friends participating had bullying issues herself as well, and brought that up during the meeting. Honestly, I think that day did help with the friends. They never really bothered me after the fact. They also had to delete the video there in the office and if they were to post any again, they would get in trouble for it. However, it never really made an impression on the main bully. She continued to mock me, but I handled it as best as I could. I'd also like to include that actually, one of the friends of that main bully ended up genuinely apologizing to me about it during senior year, as we were placed in the same, small class, and inevitably had to work together. She actually ended up having her own problems with that main bully and ended up not being friends with her anymore. Isn't it ironic how karma can really come in handy, as well as change a person? Ever since, we've actually been sort-of friends. Not too close, but I've come to find out that she actually had her own problems with that person and it's almost like she brainwashed her. She's actually a pretty decent person, minus bully #1.

I actually forgot to mention another bully who appeared towards the middle-end of this 3-year run. She had such an ugly personality and it really showed. She was a little more threat than the first one, but less than the second one. (I hope you're able to keep track of who I'm talking about - I can't mention names, of course) When I had my first boyfriend, I went to one of his classrooms after school once where he had to make up an exam and I just sat near him and did some homework. Of course, she was in that room for some after school studying or something and wouldn't stop staring at me, giving dirty looks, and probably thinking my boyfriend at the time and I looked funny together. To make myself clear, I hated ever having to be around any of these people, but I had to attend school. No way was I going to let them make me transfer or live in fear of them - or rather, no way was my mom going to let that happen. It often took a lot of effort to even go to school, let alone hold my head up high and continue to get good grades, but she was always there to help me along the way, whether that include her or not.

I would like to make very clear that I continued to attend high school as I should, maintain my grades, participate in after school activities, get a job, and attend senior prom and graduation throughout all of this torture. I wasn't going to let them grasp my life in their hands. It was my life, no matter how they would impact it and it was my choice to bow down to them and please them in their bullying ways or to prevail and take charge of my life and enjoy it to the best of my ability. I had a really great senior prom (two, actually, as me and my second and current boyfriend went to different high schools) and walked across that graduation stage, in front of any and all bullies staring at me with whatever face and looked directly at my parents in the crowd wearing a huge smile on my face because that night was about not only them and everyone else, but it was also about me because I had made that milestone and graduated from high school as well. I must say, even though I still live in the same town because I commute to a community college, I never see them anymore as they have all gone their separate ways. It's even been a month of summer, when everyone comes home, and I haven't come across them in the grocery store or anything. I'm sure I will someday, and yes, it may affect me somewhat and make my heart skip a beat, but really, I feel a lot better. Looking back, if I had the strength I do now, I would have gone about things so differently and really stood up for myself. But we all know that when we're faced with difficult situations, looking back, we'd all like to make different decisions. But I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. But honestly, I'm still just so glad high school is over and I will never want to go back because of the experience I had. I just hope someday my children never have to experience the degree of bullying that I did. However, I am also fortunate that it never got physical and it was purely just talk.

So if you refer back to the beginning of this post, I said how I recently found out some happy news regarding something on this topic. My best friend actually ended up telling me she was talking to the boyfriend of this popular girl that she is friends with and he told her that his girlfriend and her friend actually really, genuinely enjoyed my videos. This honestly made me feel really happy while looking back at how miserable I was made to feel about something so innocent back in high school because remember, I never knew they enjoyed them. I assumed that everyone who got word of my videos enjoyed making fun of them, because that's all I experienced from anyone. I just honestly wish they would have told me during high school because that one positive comment about them would have made all the negative ones feel a lot less painful, honestly. But even my dad said that they probably didn't want to get involved and go against the crowd since they were popular. But oh well, finding this out actually made me really happy. :)

So now, I shall end this blog post of a positive note, which I've actually already started to do. First of all, just know that every trial must end sometime, someday. I'd also like to state that since graduating high school, I have been through much worse, real life problems, such as hurting my back at my job and having to face workman's compensation and getting terminated - that's a whole different blog post, but just know that everything must end sometime, both good and bad, and one day you will see how strong you became from that terrible incident. It isn't endless, though it may seem so at the time. You will also see how compared to what is to come in your lifetime, what you went through years ago is nothing compared to the real world. That's not to scare you, rather to show you that what we think is the worst possible thing at the time, really isn't, and again, every trial we must get through to get to the next positive stage in life. Another positive aspect of bullying and what happened to you, is it will make you wiser. People can't become wiser with age unless they experience things that change them forever, both positive and negative. Traumatic things, although they are terrible and in some cases, can haunt you forever, they do happen for a reason and it's amazing to see how if just one thing didn't happen in your life, that awesome thing that did happen after it, wouldn't have existed. Just remember that everything happens for a reason and oh, "just keep swimming!" ;)

Remember to have a positive day! :)


P.S. This song has really helped me through a lot of tough situations, especially this one, and it's so true!
Fighter by Christina Aguilera