Fall Love!

As much as I love every season (even winter, to an extent), nothing beats the sights and smells of fall. The extravagant colours of the changing leaves, the return of pumpkin spice everything, and the fact that the best TV shows are coming back… what’s not to love about the changing seasons? Here are some of my favorite things about fall; and I want to know what you think! What is something you love about this season? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

1. Fashion

I am so into fashion– especially the comfy clothes that are associated with Fall and Winter! I love summer dresses, tank tops, and shorts… but when the cooler weather arrives, nothing compares to wearing sweaters and cute leggings! And don’t get me started on boots.

While everyone around me is trying to hold on to what’s left of Summer, I’ve already started wearing my Fall clothing!

 

2. The Leaves changing colour

As soon as the leaves start to change colour and drop from the trees, I know it’s officially Fall! Even though here in Alberta there is only about a week of leaves falling, I still think it’s a beautiful sight (no matter how fast it happens). It reminds me that God can create something beautiful out of even the smallest things!

 

3. The return of pumpkin-spice EVERYTHING

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If there’s one thing that signifies the arrival of Fall, it’s when Starbucks starts serving their Pumpkin Spice Latte. Although, I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of it this year, that doesn’t mean I don’t love anything else pumpkin-spice-related! (For some reason, I really like McDonalds’ Pumpkin Spice Latte though)

 

4. All my favorite TV shows are returning… including “The Voice

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With the exception of “America’s Got Talent,” it seems that all the good TV shows disappear during the summer! I’m happy that my favorite shows are coming back… including the popular NBC singing competition “The Voice.” This time, there are two new judges: Alicia Keys and Miley Cyrus. A lot of people aren’t happy about the change; but I am.

I grew up listening to Miley Cyrus’ music and watching “Hannah Montana” on the Disney Channel, and her song “The Climb” has influenced my life to this day. And while I– like many other people across North America– am not particularly a fan of some of the decisions she’s made in her career, I have to admit she’s very talented and will be a good addition to the judging panel this season.

 

 

5. The time to reflect

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The change in seasons always offer a time of reflection; a time to think of what has happened in the year so far, and what is to come.

I must admit, the past season has been one of challenges and triumphs. I had been experiencing a lot of tiredness, dizzy spells, mood swings, and lack of motivation over the last six months, but hadn’t really thought much about it until this summer. I was actually getting kind of concerned about my symptoms, so I went to the doctor’s and got my blood tested. A few weeks later, the results came back saying I had Hypothyroidism. I have to take one pill every morning, and get a blood test every few months (so that the doctors can see if the medication is working, if they have to increase the dose, etc.); and just like any condition, there will be highs and lows (at least for a little while anyways). I just have to remember that God will never leave nor forsake me, and asking Him to help make me stronger on the tough days.

 

6. The Fall sales…

While I’m reflecting on what was– and is to come– I can’t forget about the fall sales! A lot of people are doing their Christmas shopping early this year, and I’m already seeing Christmas advertising on TV (in the middle of September!). So what better time to start your holiday shopping than now?

From now until September 25th, 2016, you can save 10% off any order in my Rustic Christian Signs store over $100 with the coupon code “sharethelove”!

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Personal Response: “Scars To Your Beautiful”

It’s something that’s been written about before. Songs such as Britt Nicole’s crossover hit “Gold,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway,” or Beyonce’s “Listen” all have this recurring theme: inner beauty and what happens if you believe in yourself. The underlying message is even present within various forms of Disney media, such as the 2008 children’s song “Fly To Your Heart” by Selena Gomez. But a lot of these songs, despite being good, don’t often provoke very strong emotions while the individual is listening. With her new song, “Scars To Your Beautiful,” Canadian alternative-pop/R&B artist Alessia Cara has done the complete opposite.

Since buying her debut album last week, I had been listening to the CD as background music while doing homework, etc, and had never really gotten the chance to listen to the lyrics closely. But when I finally got the chance to listen to the words in this particular song, I almost cried.

The lyrics open with a description of a struggle that many girls across the world experience. “She just wants to be beautiful.” It’s a question that everyone asks themselves at one time or another: what is it like to “be perfect”? In recent years, society has created all these expectations of how people should look and act, and for some, it can be tough to navigate. In some cases, societal pressures may cause individuals to view themselves in a negative way… even causing many to go to extremes because of their dissatisfaction with their image in the mirror. Alessia illustrates this at several points in the song, stating near the beginning that “Maybe we have made her blind / So she tries to cover up her pain and cut her woes away / Cause covergirls don’t cry after their face is made…”

For a pop song that would likely be played on the radio, this is very heavy content. A change from some of the more generic self-empowerment anthems that have received airplay. What I understand from this song is that society– anything from peer pressure to the media– has made it hard for individuals to see their true value. And as someone who has struggled with finding my identity, I understand how hard it can be to realize that beauty goes deeper than the surface. I appreciate that Alessia wrote a song like this; a song that’s poignant, real, and from the heart. That’s how you know if an artist is really talented.

And in terms of the empowerment part of “Scars,” these lyrics, which practically summarize the meaning of the song, are my absolute favorites:

So to all the girls who are hurting / Let me be your mirror, help you see a little bit clearer / The light that shines within / There’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark / You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are…

If you want to hear this inspiring song for yourself, check out the video above. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. And remember you’re beautiful!

Reflecting on the True Meaning of Christmas

At last, Christmas has arrived! Spending time with family and friends… the lights and decorations… celebrating traditions… all the awesome Christmas music that’s playing right now… it certainly is the greatest time of year!

All those things are awesome; don’t get me wrong. But what happened to the real reason why we celebrate Christmas– the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord?

It seems like every year, this season gets more and more commercialized. The stores are bombarding us with advertising to buy the newest, trendiest thing this holiday season; people are literally getting into fights over sales; and the true Gift of Christmas is gradually being exchanged. It’s crazy!

Now, I understand that everyone has different beliefs– and, as expressed in some of my previous blog posts, I’m totally accepting of everyone no matter what. However, I think people are so busy with holiday shopping and all the traditions, that we are starting to forget the true meaning of Christmas.

A few weeks ago, I reviewed 1 Girl Nation’s Christmas EP, and the first song (“Joy“) was a nice reminder of why we celebrate this season. The song is loosely based on the message in John 3:16-17.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Whenever I read that verse, it reminds me that God became human in the Person of Jesus Christ, all because He loves us.  When you think about it, that’s pretty huge. He became human when Jesus was born, because we needed a Savior. Every time I read the book of Luke in the Bible, it’s a reminder of what God did for us, and I am amazed.

Earlier this week, my youth leader and I had a very thought-provoking discussion about the true meaning of Christmas. We talked about how it’s so easy to get carried away with the traditions of the holidays (i.e., visiting family, shopping for gifts, etc.), that we end up losing focus on what really matters; the birth of the Savior. And I believe that’s true.

For anyone who’s curious as to why we celebrate Christmas at this time, I could go into extreme detail, or I could condense it to four simple words: Because He is Love (as 1 John 4:8 says). Out of gratitude for what the Holy Spirit did for us, we remember Christ’s birth at this time by doing things like:

• Giving each other gifts (although that shouldn’t be your main focus at the holidays). I personally didn’t know this until I became closer to God in the past 2 years, but one reason why we exchange gifts is to honor God’s gift to us. Just remember, the true meaning of Christmas is love upon all else.

• Worshiping Him; carols such as “Joy To The World” and “Silent Night” (one of my favorites!) were written to praise Jesus’ coming into this world. These songs have been sung a million different times, by almost everyone (some music artists who have covered these songs include Aly & AJ, tobyMac, Kelly Clarkson, and the Jonas Brothers, for example), but the meaning is still the same.

• Giving back to the community; when we help others in the community, we are sharing love– and basically being Jesus’ hands and feet. Whether you raise money to donate to your local food bank, or donate toys and clothes to charity… or even sing Christmas carols at a seniors centre, there’s just something so satisfying about helping the community. Not only is everyone grateful for what you did, but you also feel this amazing amount of joy when you do something nice for the people around you.

 

i hope you all have an amazing Christmas, and a safe and happy new year! Never forget what The Lord did for us this holiday season, and remember that He Is Love.

What “Confident” really means.

I was inspired to write this post after seeing the cover artwork for Demi Lovato’s new album, Confident, which will be released sometime in October. I’ve been a fan of Demi for a long time, and I have all four of her previous albums. In my opinion, her new single, “Cool For The Summer“, was mediocre… but I decided to give her new album a chance. After all, there’s bound to be some inspirational messages about confidence, I thought.

And then I saw the cover artwork.

Cover artwork for Demi Lovato’s new album, Confident. The album has a confirmed release date of October 16th.

I read the lyrics for the title track, “Confident“, prior to writing this post. If the song is about feeling confident in who you are… can someone please tell me why in the world there’s so much Photoshop in the picture?

In today’s society, we are often influenced by the media. Models in magazines (and other mass media) are often Photoshopped– to the point where they don’t even look like themselves. Although I’ve noticed this trend in all forms of media, it appears to be especially prominent in magazines that are targeted towards girls and women (such as Seventeen Magazine). These forms of media often remove the models/cover girls’ imperfections, making them look absolutely flawless.

The problem with this? Young girls might see these pictures and immediately think, this is how I have to look in order to fit in. They’ll start thinking that they’re not beautiful the way they are… and, in most cases, they will resort to extremes just to change their appearance and achieve that unrealistic goal of perfection. Issues like eating disorders have become a rising trend over the years– it’s really sad, if you think about it, that the media has put pressure on young people, for them to look a certain way in order to fit in.

Even celebrities have that constant pressure to look like the perfect Hollywood star. For example, Demi went through self-esteem issues when she was a teen, to the point where she pulled out of the Jonas Brothers’ 2010 World Tour to seek help. Since then, she’s been an advocate for self-acceptance, and an inspiration to many people around the world. It makes me wonder why the cover for her new album is edited to this extent. A little bit of Photoshop is alright, but this just seems like too much, in my opinion.

I’d also like to point out the revealing outfit Demi is wearing in the photo. In regards to the topic of this editorial (confidence): if she feels confident wearing an outfit like this for a photo-shoot, that’s all that matters… however, I wouldn’t want young girls to see this picture and think they have to dress this way in order to be beautiful. A word of advice (from first-hand experience): Confidence isn’t all about wearing see-through clothing or mini-skirts… it’s about wearing what makes you happy; what makes YOU feel beautiful.

Girls (and guys… really, anyone who’s reading this), I want you to remember one thing: the models on the covers of those fashion magazines/album covers/other forms of media, probably don’t look like that in real life. In most cases, the photos have been drastically edited. Everyone has imperfections (even models), and those imperfections are what makes you special. God created you in His perfect image, and He loves you… very much. (Yes, I know I basically quoted VeggieTales there. But it’s true!)

There will be days when you don’t feel like you’re beautiful; when you don’t feel like you’re good enough. You’ll look at those fashion magazines and think, “I wish I looked like *insert celebrity’s name here*.” Well, let me tell you something: celebrities have imperfections, too; the media just edits out those flaws

We, as a society, need to start accepting ourselves for who we are. We need to stop tearing ourselves (and others) down, and start building each other up. If you’re influenced by the media, and you start to tell yourself that you’re not worth it, not pretty enough– any comments like that… eventually, you’ll start to believe those things you’re saying.

Outer beauty doesn’t really matter that much. Your personality is really the only thing that matters. When you meet people, they like you the most because of your personality. I may not know all of you who are reading this editorial today, but let me encourage you by telling you this:

You are smart; you are talented; you have the ability to make a difference, even if it’s just a small impact on someone’s life; you are loved by so many people; and you are perfect the way you are.

Never let anyone tell you any different.

An Interview with Sarah Hamilton of LockerStyler

Over the past few months, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to work with some amazing bloggers and writers. One of these bloggers is Sarah Hamilton of LockerStyler.

Along with writing on LockerStyler, Sarah is also an incredible author, photographer, filmmaker, and actress! She’s one of my role models in the writing industry, so I was beyond excited when she told me she wanted to do a collaboration with me! We decided to interview each other.

Keep reading to learn how Sarah started writing, who her inspirations are, etc. 🙂

A.M.: What is your site about?

S.H.: is a teen lifestyle site which focuses on DIY’s, celebrity interviews, advice, recipes, school, and all things that teens and young adults can relate to.

A.M.: When did you start blogging?

S.H.: I started Locker Styler four years ago as an incoming freshman into high school. Ever since I was really young, I had always wanted to have my own website and it has become a great creative outlet that I love working on every week.

A.M.: What inspired you to start blogging?

S.H.: When I was really young, I became fascinated with websites on the Internet and wanted to have one of my own. Starting in middle school, I had obsessively loved decorating my locker to the max and decided to start a site dedicated to locker decor. As time moved on, the main theme may have shifted into teen lifestyle altogether, but I am so glad that I still got that start to make it what it is.

A.M.: What has been your favorite post so far?

S.H.: How can I just choose one!?!? Well, my favorite themed posts would have to be interviews with really cool professional actors, authors, etc and travel journal posts from trips. Both are really fun to put together and I look forward to making them both happen.

A.M.: Who inspires you?

S.H.: I am so inspired by so many people! From family, to friends and so many others, I find that I get inspired very often from many different people.

A.M.: In several years, what do you see yourself doing?

S.H.: In several years, I hope to still be blogging, writing books, and making films. (Hopefully, even starring in some as well!) But overall, I just hope that whatever I am up to, I will be happy and successful while still being surrounded by the wonderful people in my life.

A.M.: What kind of posts do you love the most?

S.H.: As stated before, I really love interviews. Being able to connect to others through the Internet is so wild and I love it so much. Everybody who I interview, I love what they do so it’s amazing to connect with others for a common purpose.

A.M.: What blogs do you follow?

S.H.: I have a tendancy to follow a lot of blogs but my go-to right now is Ashley Tisdale’s …it literally has everything!

A.M.: What would you say to inspiring bloggers?

S.H.: I would say, keep writing, photographing, and making those dreams (and posts) happen! Blogging is really fun and it puts a whole new perspective on life but it’s a really great way to create something and share it with others. Make the most out of it! 🙂

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Sarah! It was really fun interviewing you!

(My answers to the interview questions are here: http://www.lockerstyler.com/an-interview-with-anna-marie-teen-blogger/)

 

Introducing Me!

Hello internet world; my name is Anna-Marie!

You may recognize me from websites like A Kid’s Point of View or Rustic Christian Signs— or even Twitter (@RealAnnaMarieR), but if you don’t know me, let me introduce myself.

I’m a teenage blogger, writer (even though blogging and writing are kinda the same thing), fashion/makeup enthusiast, entrepreneur (Rustic Christian Signs), and occasional YouTuber (I haven’t posted anything in a couple months). I love love love Disney movies (Frozen being one of my current faves!) and music. And most important, my family.

Even though I already do lots of blogging over at A Kid’s Point Of View and the Christian Signs blog, I came across a blog that my mom created in 2009, and remembered how much fun it was to write on there. So I decided to create my own WordPress blog. It will be about random topics; fashion/makeup, music, TV shows, and whatever is on my mind.

Thanks for checking out my first blog post!