From the time most woman are little girls they dream of meeting their Prince charming.  This dream ultimately leads to thinking of their Wedding Day and that “oh so important Wedding Dress”.  First the bride to be, will have to figure out what kind of dress she likes, then hunt for that particular store that sales that perfect dress.  Now let the fun begin! The Bride is likely to change her mind several times about the dress before she narrows down her choices “what to do”.  There may be at least four or five dresses that that have made it to that final cut.  How does she choose?  That final choice may be one of the hardest things she’ll ever have to endure because this dress can be a defining moment in her life.  Considering all of the choices that she has to make for this day, from what will be served at the rehearsal dinner to the types of flowers that will be in the wedding, the dress is going to be most important decision that she will make for that special day!

The Bride has finally made her decision and picked her beautiful Wedding Dress.  Now, the fitting nightmares begin!  She may have gained or lost a few pounds since her initial fitting and the dress must be taken in or let out, uh what a pain! But, this has to be done for that perfect Wedding Dress.  Now the dress is finally ready and by the time that all has been said and done she or parents have paid at least $3,500.00 if not more for that prefect dress.  The bride to be must now accessorize her dress so that she can be that fairytale bride that she dreamed of so long ago.  By accessorizing, I mean her make-up, her hairdo, the jewelry, etc. All of this makes a Bride beautiful for that Perfect Wedding Dress.  Her special day has finally arrived, all of the Brides headaches and choices come together to make a special and memorable day for she and her Groom.   As the Bride makes her grand entrance to her chosen venue everyone sees that “Perfect Wedding Dress” for the very first time and it is then that she relaxes and realizes that all of her aggravation was worth it.  Now she in her “Perfect Wedding Dress” can enjoy her Perfect Wedding Day!

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Growing Pains of Womanhood

Becoming a woman of influence is a critical part of growing up. Even more, it becomes intensively important when one decides to have a family. More often than not, woman are pressured to uphold a higher standard of living, but not men. Despite what society has to say and ignoring the critics with testosterone, woman are the bread and water of life. Not only are they the creators of life, but are now becoming today’s bread winners. Nowadays, It is more common to find most woman in the household making more money than their spouse. For this reason, woman are required to give their all, with very little help or support. Not enough credit is given to today’s queens and everyday super heroes. From having the ability to multitask, to taking care of an entire household on your own; we salute you. The battles of life are always given to the strongest warriors.

By Whitney Watkins 

Breast Cancer And The Importance Of Self Advocacy

It’s important to talk about the importance of taking an active role as a member of your cancer care team. Understanding your breast cancer and communicating well with your doctor is one step towards taking this active role. Being your own advocate in your medical care is perhaps the most important thing you can do to improve both your survival and your quality of life. The fact that you are reading this blog, shows that you have already taken the first and most important step in taking caution over this disease. I am a firm believer that “early detection is the best protection”.

The fact of the matter is only few people face cancer alone; including your loved ones. If you in fact do suffer from breast cancer, learning about it not only gives others the opportunity to support you, but gives them an opportunity to cope with one of the most difficult issues faced by loved ones; the feeling of helplessness.

By Whitney Watkins 

Why Do Addicts End Up Hurting Their Families?

Our country is in the middle of a drug epidemic that’s claiming hundreds of lives each day.  There becomes a new norm when a person in the family is grappling with addiction. Typically, when a family member has an issue, the family can get together in attempt to help that person get through hard times. However with addiction, it may not be that simple. Why? Because addiction and family dysfunction often goes hand in hand. There is no one way to deal with an addict and because we love that person, sometimes what is best for them may not seem to be. The more help your family provides, it seems like the deeper the addict goes into their addiction. The more you create an environment of love and support, the more the addict lies and manipulates friends and family. The addict is aware that what they are doing is not right but even still cannot escape the urge to get high. By the time they realize what is happening, they are physically and psychologically addicted to the high. Now they have to choose their family or their drug. In most cases, the drug will win.

An addict may not intend on hurting family. But in order to keep getting high they have no choice. Their internal struggle soon gets diluted in their high and, in time, hurting their family just becomes part of the process of getting what they need; drugs.

By Whitney Watkins 

Image Credit: Hubpages

Hurricane Season

Although hurricane season can be a disaster for many families, there are ways to prepare ahead of time for survival. When a hurricane strikes, you will not have access to any of the items that you will need to survive. This is why it is critical to prepare a few months ahead of time for the disaster. When this is done, you have a good chance of survival/escaping during the “storm”.  Emergency kits should combine basic staples (food, water) with supplies reflecting your family’s unique needs, such medications or baby formula. As a tip, make sure to put your electronics into something waterproof. Freegrace Waterproof Lightweight Dry Sack/Dry Bags is one great option and comes with double zip lock seals to extra protect your things if they get submerged underwater.  Not only is it important to have tangible survival items, it is even more crucial to have an evacuation plan. You must develop a successful way of escape. Having packed all your goods in backpacks, you must keep your family close to each other. Remind everyone the importance of sticking together and develop a mutual meeting location if someone gets lost. Before hurricane season arrives again, be sure to review your insurance policy to assure you and your family are covered in the event a disaster strikes. This too should be done months ahead of time.


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Coffee a Day….

Coffee is not only a great way to wake you up, it can actually improve your memory, and help make you smarter. There are chemicals in coffee that increases the norepinephrine, which improves your brain’s function. Coffee drinkers are not known to be “morning people”, hence why coffee is a necessity in the first place. When the first sip is taken, it relaxes your mind and entire state of being.  Most coffee lovers can agree that it soothes the mind when having a bad morning or day.  When you wake up on the weekend, head outside, sit under the awning and enjoy a cup of coffee. You’ll reap more benefits than you realize, and give yourself the perfect perk needed to start your day!

How to encourage healthy eating in your child


As I like to say, “A family that eats together stays together”. This is a major tactic that can be used to get your kids eating healthier meals. It is one thing to constantly reinforce good habits, but it’s totally different when one chooses to lead by example. Another way to encourage health eating is by paying close attention to labels and serving sizes on the back of food items. Not following the serving size can lead to an excess in eating. Kids understand that it’s important to eat right, but they may not understand the significance of an unhealthy diet. Talk to them in terms they can understand.

How to Battle the Summer Camp Blues

It’s that time of year again. Fresh, blooming flowers… bonfires and cookouts galore… But why is it that amongst this warm, summer heat, us parents still feel a sense of the sad, December chills? The answer is two words: summer camp.

Now, let me backtrack and mention that I’m specifically referring to the newbie parents. You know, the ones who still get fooled with the puppy eyes? Yeah, us.

Even though summer camp is supposed to be of enjoyment for our kids, and  burden-reliever from us, there’s still the same wave of sadness that occurs like when we drop them off at school for the first day. In light of Freestate Sports Arena’s Summer Camp starting this week, here’s a list of ways YOU (not your child) can prepare for the big, summer camp drop-off.

  1. Trust them; they’re in good hands. As a parent, it’s understandable that you’ll be protective over your little one- especially when you’re not around. Despite the craziness that goes on in the world, there are actually some people out there who have your child’s best interest at heart. Get a feel for the summer camp facility & staff, and trust your gut when deciding whether or not it’s the best fit for your child. Being informed and getting involved will dramatically lessen your worries!
  2. Don’t get jealous- you’re still Mommy/Daddy. Yes, your child is going to form a tight bond with a camp counselor/director/employee. It would be weird if they didn’t! Having been a counselor before, I can vouch that the objective of a camp staff is to make the children as comfortable as possible. Not just for peace or revenue for the camp, but because camp becomes their home away from home. They will get boo boos, and they will want piggy back rides. That does not mean your parental title is gone too.
  3. They have to grow up eventually. It’s not time to drop them off at their college dorms yet, though it may seem like it! So let’s take baby steps with our babies, and not be overdramatic when it’s finger painting day. They have to grow up and “leave the nest” eventually. So let’s practice now…
  4. Think about what chaos would erupt if summer camps didn’t exist. Your boss would NOT be okay with Take Your Child to Work day- everyday. No work would get done. Your notes for next week’s meeting would be a scribbling pad. And there’s only so much of The Backyardigans’ theme song one can take.

As you can see, thinking about the positives goes a long way. Most of us were campers ourselves, and never did we want Sally the camp counselor to replace our beloved Mommies. While it’s a parents job to worry, it’s also their job to not shelter their kids and keep them from the world forever. Camp is another opportunity for them to make new friends, learn new things, and have more fun. Yes, you have  a right to be upset and feel attached- they’ve been yours all this time. But maybe camp is the easy way to introduce them to the rest of the world.

Reality TV is Affecting Our Reality

As I scroll through my Snapchat during my break at work, I cannot help but to watch Kylie Jenner’s snap story. Not so much for the pictures of her freshly, delivered pizza or her new nail color- because that’s not out of the ordinary for anyone. Instead I’m intrigued by the lavish cars, designer clothes, and A-list outings… let’s face it: MOST of us aren’t used to that! It’s the idea that she could’ve easily ordered a $500 pizza flown in from Italia that keeps me being a constant viewer. So yes, when I get in my car from work- it’s hard to not feel enough. Despite the fact that I work hard, earnestly, and am pursuing a career that requires more education than what most of Hollywood consists of, I still feel like an average joe compared to someone who is my age, a high school dropout, and parties every weekend.

And this feeling is an ongoing problem in America. People are spending money they don’t have to try to keep up with the Kardashians [pun intended]. We are downplaying the need for education, and making it seem like knowing how to market yourself on Instagram is a requirement for success. Our resumes, our accomplishments, and our hard work is no longer of importance. Reality TV has such a drastic impact on the perception of wants vs. needs, beauty, etc.- and it is not a positive impact, at that.

We must be responsible enough to remind ourselves and others that reality isn’t all that real. The “drama” that takes place is just as legitimate as the hair extensions and nose jobs. People, especially younger audiences, watch the shows for the entertainment, yet subconsciously pick-up mannerisms of those who appear on the series. Catty, manipulative people always have the most spotlight- and I don’t think those are the traits we want our future generations to aspire.

Most of these personalities are rich, attractive, and involved in scandal. From Real Housewives, to W.A.G.S., to The Bachelor- this pattern of what it takes to be a recognized television personality is consistent and false. We often forget of people like Oprah, who may not always be on the front cover of People with her new beau, but still is an internationally recognized philanthropist who has taken Hollywood by the reigns for decades. She is the type of role model we need to idolize- whose material is raw and not overdramatized for better ratings.

The saying ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is unfortunately true now. Reality TV effects our perception of what matters in this world. While it is important to socialize and live life to t’s fullest, it is not necessary to break the bank or be involved in bar fights to be successful. Balance is a necessity in happy, fulfilled life- and reality TV lacks that. We are all interested in where Kyle is vacationing to next- but let’s not stay up too late watching that stuff: we have work at 8am tomorrow.


NFL Draft 2017

From April 22nd-29th, 2017, many deserving athletes’ dreams became reality.

The NFL Draft is a significant time for athletes everywhere, but most importantly, for those at the collegiate level. These young men have dedicated most of their young lives to be able to stand at the podium, and be inducted into a professional franchise. The 2017 NFL Draft was of the most notable, because there was an overwhelming amount of talent being inducted into the league.

Across the nation, NFL fans tuned in to see their favorite players get chosen by their favorite teams. The hometowns of those drafted were even shown celebrating live. The nights that oversee the draft were filled with excitement, hope, and overall emotion.

Many of the athletes drafted had emotional testimonies of their own.

James Conner, a football player from The University of Pittsburgh, was among those with an emotional story. Conner, a Pittsburgh-native, is not only an honorable student-athlete, but also a cancer survivor. Even before the draft, he was a hometown-hero.

Now, after getting drafted to his favorite team, the Steelers, Conner is a national hero. His story had many in tears- even those who did not know him personally.

This was a common theme of the 2017 NFL Draft. While obviously commending these men for their athletic skills, the NFL paid homage to their upcoming, their trials and tribulations, and ultimately, their testimony. The Draft was made to be particularly special not because of the record-breaking viewer count, but because of those who made it worth watching.