June 30, 2009
Here are 10 fun things to do this summer. At less than 10 dollars each, you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank.
1. Go to a local pool. Submission to many pools is only 4 to 5 dollars. Pack a lunch and go early so you really get your money’s worth. If food’s not allowed, bring a cooler to keep in your car. It should keep fresh as long as it doesn’t sit too long.
2. Make your own set of washers. It’s the perfect game for hanging out in the yard.
3. Head to the mini-golf course. One game is usually about 7 dollars. If it’s too hot out, check online to see if there’s an indoor course nearby. Challenge your friends to see who can get the lowest score.
4. Have a picnic at the park. You and your friends can each bring something to munch on. Pack a frisbee and a bunch of board games, and you’re all set!
5. Have a water ballon fight. Nothing says “fun” like water balloons! Even filling them up is a blast.
6. Have a girls’ night. It’s easy to bond when you’re just hanging out or making a snack together. It’s important to take time out of your busy lives to laugh.
7. Use the sprinkler. Running across the sprinkler makes you feel like a kid again. Alternate trips to the sprinkler with sunning on the lawn so you can work on your tan at the same time (remembering to use sunscreen, of course.)
8. Host a movie marathon. Have each girl grab their top movie pick, make some popcorn and find a comfortable spot. You could even pick movies in the same category, such as comedy, or have everyone dress up as their favorite character from one of the movies.
9. Be sporty. Many parks have soccer or football fields, sand volleyball or basketball courses, or hiking trails. There’s no pressure to be a super athlete, so you can just have a great time goofing around with your friends.
10. Window shop. Just because you’re out shopping doesn’t mean you have to buy anything. Don’t bring any money and you won’t be tempted to buy anything. If you’re willing to part with a few bucks, try shopping for antiques. Not only is it fun to see all of the merchandise, but you might come across an affordable item with a lot of character.
June 27, 2009
How would you rate your self-esteem on a scale of 1 to 10? How does that fluctuate when you’re around your friends? Do you feel more or less confident? What about when you’re around boys? Does that number change? Most girls I talk to have dealt with self-esteem issues in one way or another. I would venture to say all teens and women struggle with self-esteem at some point, I know I still do.
When it comes to boys, it’s important to notice if your self-esteem goes up or down. Take a quick quiz to see how you do. Do you agree or disagree with the following statements:
- On a scale of 1 to 10, my self-esteem is 8 or greater.
- I rely on comments from my friends to make me feel better.
- I depend on attention from guys to make me feel good about myself.
- I believe I’m a better person if I’m dating someone.
- I feel good about being myself and about expressing my opinions.
How did you do?
- Hopefully you agreed, but it’s okay if you didn’t. When I was a teenager I probably would have answered 3 to 5, depending on the day. It’s more important to be aware of where you are on the scale and look for ways to build your self-esteem positively.
- Although it’s wonderful when our friends compliment us, you hopefully disagreed. We shouldn’t rely on our friends to boost us up because we should be able to find that confidence within ourselves.
- I hope you disagreed. Guys can be wonderful, but we shouldn’t depend on them to make ourselves feel better. What happens when you break up with the guy you depended on to build you up?
- You are amazing whether or not you have a boyfriend, so I hope you disagreed. Don’t fall into the trap of believing you have to date someone to be someone. Being single can mean many things. You might not have found the right match, you might be too busy, or your confidence might be intimidating. It’s so important that we stick together as girls and help each other realize that our self-esteem shouldn’t fluctuate based on whether we have a boyfriend.
- Hopefully you agree and can do this no matter who you are around. I know so many otherwise confident girls who shrink around boys. Don’t let that happen to you.
Whatever you scored on the quiz is okay. It’s more important to be aware of where you stand with your self-esteem and how it’s shaped by the people around you, especially boys. When girls become dependent on boys for improving their self-esteem, they get into situations they regret. You can probably think of a girl who went too far with a guy or dated a jerk just because she was trying to feel better about herself in some way.
Let’s work on sticking together as girls and building each other up. You can also hear other girls sharing their tips and advice on our You Tube channel and check out more tips here. Finally, think about joining our Self-Esteem Challenge. As part of our challenge, we hope to give girls more tips to feel beautiful and confident.
June 26, 2009
I was talking to Stevie, one of our Girls With Dreams advisors, about new topics to write about. She said a lot of girls want to know how to eat healthy and maintain a healthy weight. Both of us know too many girls that might be thin, but aren’t eating well or taking care of themselves. On the flip side, there are also girls who are overeating and putting themselves at risk for being overweight.
So, can you really eat and be thin? YES! Here are a few tips to help you eat well and be healthy!
- Always eat breakfast. This is a really important way to start your day. It kick starts your entire system and gets your metabolism going. Try to avoid sugary foods such as donuts, though. Think fiber, protein, and fresh fruits.
- Eliminate or cut back on soda. Many schools have vending machines and soda is everywhere, so this can be a tough one. Try to replace all of the sugar and chemicals from soda with water. Think of soda as a treat you have once in while.
- Taste the rainbow. Try to put as many colors on your plate as possible. I’m not talking about french fries and yellow cheese dip. Try to get different fruits and veggies into every meal, so you eat the entire rainbow throughout the day.
- Eat regularly. Different theories suggest eating anywhere from 3 regular to 6 small meals a day. As teens, it’s easy to skip meals, so make sure you eat at least 3 meals a day with maybe a few healthy snacks in between. Plan ahead and pack a snack if you know you’re going to be out so you won’t be tempted to eat junk food.
- Don’t obsess! Eating well should become a natural part of your life, not an obsession. If you’re constantly thinking about your weight, how you look, or what to eat, you might be on the verge of a serious problem. Unfortunately, too many girls have distorted images of themselves. If you fit into this category, check out our other posts about eating disorders and body image.
- Get support from your friends! One great way to do this is to join our Summer Self Esteem Challenge!
June 26, 2009
Many of us are going to be seniors this upcoming school year. Along with the title of “Top Dog” and college prep courses come so many important decisions. Sure it might seem like no big deal, but it’s really not a time to goof off. Preparing for college can be stressful and overwhelming. I’ve even found myself worrying about what I’m going to do after high school is over. I’ve gotten some great advice from teachers, family, and friends to share with you:
1. Don’t Procrastinate! Putting something as important as applying for colleges off until the last minute can really hurt your chances of getting into the school of your choice.
2. Study. It might be summer, but that shouldn’t stop you from pulling out those dusty books or brushing up on new material. If you can learn a few things now, understanding the same information will be easier during the year. This will give you more time to focus on applying for scholarships or doing well in challenging courses.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The saying, “The only dumb question is the one never asked,” holds true even for college. It’s not the college’s job to nurse you through the process of applying. Remember you want to go to their school. Don’t be afraid to ask about courses, class size, scholarships, and financial aid programs. Colleges won’t beg you to take advantage of their aid packages, so you might miss out on a lot of opportunities if you don’t ask questions.
4. The ACT is not a death sentence. The ACT is important because it helps colleges assess your general knowledge in a particular field or subject. It is also proven to accurately judge how well a student might perform in school. There are a few exceptions, though. Some people are just not good at taking tests, while others might be having an off day. These exceptions have prompted colleges to look more closely at the whole person, not just their ACT score. This isn’t a free pass to blow off the testing, though. Just try not to stress out about it too much.
5. Make a List. Listing your priorities has been proven to improve thought processes and output. Start simple. First, jot down a checklist of ways to prepare for applying to colleges. Once you’ve mastered that list, move on to making a list of colleges you might want to attend. Put your first choice at the top of the list and your last at the bottom, ranking them from the most desirable option to the least desirable. Include side notes that serve as small reminders, such as financial aid options, available scholarships, distance from home, and if they offer your major.
Preparing for college can be extremely stressful and mind-boggling. So take a deep breathe every now and then, and enjoy yourself. Junior year is a great time to start picking your schools. You should also take test such as the ACT and SAT. Invite your parents to talk to your guidance counselor about the schools you’ve chosen and the application process. The best time to apply to your colleges is the end of your junior summer. By the beginning of your senior year, you should be awaiting responses from your schools. The key to staying calm is to surround yourself with positive friends and family. They will support you throughout the preparation and application processes. So take a deep breathe and get to it!
June 16, 2009
Competition between girls is everywhere! Find out what teens think about mean girls, competition between girls, and how to deal with it.
June 13, 2009
Have you ever wondered how to go from a stress-filled school year to a fun summer? It should be easy, but sometimes it’s hard to find the right balance. Teen girls share advice on how to find time to relax and make the most of your summer!
June 12, 2009
It’s only week 2 of swimsuit season and, I’ll have to be honest, the Summer Challenge has been a little more difficult than I thought! I didn’t realize how much I compared myself to others. I also didn’t think I was as hard on myself as I have been.
Have you ever felt like your stomach wasn’t flat enough or parts of you weren’t thin enough? I’m glad we started the Summer Challenge because it was an even bigger wake up call for me. We still have so far to go with self-esteem in teens and women! Eating healthy and taking care of myself have been pretty easy (minus the pint of Ben & Jerry’s that is sitting in my freezer). Now I know where I need to focus my attention during the challenge. What’s been the hardest or easiest part for you?
June 10, 2009
This is a poem I have stuck in my head. I wrote it all down and here’s what it said:
Staying true to oneself is easier said than done.
Following the crowd can be just too much fun.
You forget who you are and what you might enjoy,
Moving on with the crowd, trying not to annoy.
All the while a talent, deeply hidden,
Goes undiscovered, a special gift you were given.
With each day you ignore your special gift,
The more you find yourself lost, adrift.
Strive not to please those who don’t truly care.
Work with what you love, the gift you can share.
By finding your knack, your niche, or your talent,
You succeed, you’ll win, and you’ll truly be gallant.
You’ll be grateful by the end of some stressful long day,
That you stayed true to you, no matter what others might say.
June 5, 2009
This post is for those of us who have ever felt lonely or been too hard on ourselves. This post is for everyone who has ever said, “I can’t”. Remember that you are all beautiful, smart, and just downright cool.
With every weakness comes a strength, and every strength has weaknesses. Our strengths help to define us and help us to stand out as individuals. Our weakness should not be viewed as detriments to our personality, but as opportunities to grow and learn more about ourselves. Overcoming a weakness will only take us one step closer to becoming the person we strive to be. Weakness, in a form, is our greatest strength. Acknowledging weaknesses allow us to move past the embarrassment and the feelings of inadequacy.
For every girl who feels unwanted, undeserving or insignificant, strive not to be “The Popular Girl”. Instead, strive to see yourself as special. Once you’ve achieved this, try to make someone else feel the same way. One person might not seem like much, but think of how much progress we’ll make if we can all do this!
Independence and love are the greatest gifts we can give ourselves, and the greatest hope we can offer to others around us. Be comfortable with who you are. You are unique and beautiful just the way you were created.
June 3, 2009
Are most of your friends graduating? Find out how other teens are coping by watching this quick video.
You might be worried about heading back to school without some of your friends, but try to maintain a positive attitude and open up. You’ll probably meet some really cool people. Think about the types of friends you enjoy spending time with, and try to find new friends with the same characteristics. Also, consider making friends with people who frequent places where you normally hang out. School clubs, the local coffee shop or the gym can be great places to meet other teens who have similiar interests.