100 Things I Will Teach My Daughter

A while back my cousin-in-law shared a nice article on Facebook. In it a mother listed 100 things that she wants to teach her daughter as she grows. I thought it was really cute and it got me thinking about things that I want to teach my own daughter. So I thought about it for a while and came up with these 100 lessons, tips, and ideals that I hope to impart.

Open your ears and listen up, you little bugger.

Open your ears and listen up, you little bugger.


As a child, try to be patient with other children who are mean and annoying. Some parents don’t discipline properly and some kids are just brats, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

As you grow older, don’t put up with bullies. Stand up for yourself.

No, seriously, stand up for yourself. Use your words first, but if it comes down to physical action being the only way to stop someone from harassing you, mommy will totally back you up.

Don’t spend all your time glued to technology.

Run.

Ride a bike.

Go camping.

It’s okay to like “boy” stuff like superheroes and sports.

It’s just as okay to like “girl” stuff like princesses and makeup.

Don’t like people tell you what to like, and if people make assumptions about you based on what you like, that’s their issue, not yours.

Be patient, even when other people are making you so angry that you could scream. Flipping out rarely makes any situation better.

Learn to recognize the situations where flipping out actually will make things better.

Establish your own faith system – even if it differs from mommy and daddy’s – and don’t put up with people telling you that your beliefs are wrong. Your religious faith – or lack thereof – is no one’s business but your own.

Avoid pop. At all costs. It’s worthless to your body and once you start drinking it it’s very hard to stop.

Respect your teachers, but don’t automatically take everything they say as gospel.

Everyone makes mistakes.

EVERYONE makes mistakes, even the people who you might believe know everything.

Think critically, and if something doesn’t feel right, do your own research.

Find someone who makes you laugh, even when you’re sad.

Don’t be afraid to get a little dirty.

Don’t let other people define you.

Understand that even grown adults can act like childish brats.

Take care of your body. It’s much easier to maintain good health than to try and get it back once it’s gone.

Try to understand both men and women – their thought processes and idiosyncrasies – and take neither too seriously.

Know that a career is not a life sentence. If you stop enjoying what you do it’s okay to make the move to change.

Know that as much as you may think otherwise, most teenagers have no idea what they want to do with their lives, and don’t take that personally; neither do most grown adults.

If you truly, truly want something, be willing to fight for it.

Understand that heartbreak feels like the end of the world, but it will always pass eventually.

Always try to stay positive and keep smiling.

But know that it’s okay to be sad sometimes.

And if you feel REALLY sad, tell someone. Please.

It doesn’t matter who they are or what their story is; if someone doesn’t respect you, they don’t deserve your respect.

Never let a man try to control you just because you’re a woman.

Never try to control a man just because he’s a man.

Don’t deny yourself little treats. Little treats can make a big difference sometimes.

To hell with fashion. Dress the way that makes you happy and comfortable.

Not everyone you meet will like you; don’t worry about it.

You won’t like everyone you meet, and that’s okay too.

Love who you want, and love with all your heart.

Be passionate about something, even if it’s just a hobby.

Know that there is not one set formula for how to live your life.

Family are the people who love you and take care of you, not necessarily the people you share blood with.

Remember that family (of the kind described above) are very important, and you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

But know that just because someone is related to you doesn’t mean that you have to keep them in your life; ditch people who are abusive to you, no matter who they are.

Read. Even if it’s just the news or magazines.

Learn to spell. Please. PLEASE.

Don’t put too much time and effort into being “unique”. Everyone is unique, so just be you and be happy with that.

Have an open-mind.

Have a curious mind.

Be creative.

Always find time to do the things you love.

Always find time to be with the people you love.

Feel free to enjoy the entertainment of the day, but give the entertainment of the past a fair trial too.

Don’t put up with anyone patronizing you just because you’re a woman.

Don’t patronize a guy just because he’s a man.

Learn to swim.

Learn to throw a punch.

Try to never use your knowledge of how to throw a punch.

Learn to love the parts of your body that you can’t change.

Be willing to work hard to change the parts of your body that you can change (if you truly want to change them).

Never change who you are to make someone love you.

Seriously, if they don’t love you for who you are, they don’t deserve you.

Learn how to fix things for yourself. It’ll save you a lot of money in the long run.

Allow time for day-dreaming.

Grow older and learn responsibility, but always stay young at heart.

Don’t feel like you have to make life decisions in the order society tells you to.

Do things that scare the hell out of you.

Do things that relax you.

Play games.

Never settle for a job that makes you totally miserable.

Learn time management skills.

Understand that sometimes friends grow apart. It’s sad, but it’s not a reflection on you as a person.

If it would embarrass you if mommy and daddy saw it, don’t post it on the Internet.

I’m dead serious. No matter what anyone tells you, nothing on the Internet is 100% private.

Don’t feel like you have to go to college. Lots of excellent careers don’t require college.

Keep watching cartoons for as long as they continue to make you smile.

Own at least one outfit that is so comfy you could wear it for the rest of your life.

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

If something doesn’t feel right, go see a doctor.

If the doctor’s diagnosis doesn’t feel right, go see another doctor.

Learn how to cook.

Like, with real ingredients, not frozen stuff.

First lesson of finances: don’t spend more than you earn.

Learn the difference between “wants” and “needs”.

Bake from scratch.

Share what you bake.

Try to be nice to everyone, even if you don’t particularly like them.

Understand that not everyone who acts nice to your face is your friend.

Travel.

Dance.

Sing.

Learn an instrument, even if you never play for anyone but yourself.

Acting like you’re the grand authority on a subject will almost always end in making yourself look like a fool.

NEVER stop learning.

Watch movies that are so good they give you chills and goosebumps.

Watch movies that are so bad they make you cry with laughter.

Don’t watch life through a camera lens; most things are better experienced fully rather than looked back at afterwards.

Be strong, even when you feel like you’re weak.

Try to remember that the only people whose opinions of you matter are the people whose opinions matter to you.

Always know that you can come to mommy and daddy with your problems. Even if we don’t understand, we will try our very hardest to help because we love you more than anything and always will.

Loot Crate Unboxing and Review for August 2014

It’s that time again! Time to review my second ever Loot Crate, which I was so excited to get. I absolutely loved the first one, for which the theme was “Villains”, so I had high hopes for this month, for which the theme was “Heroes”. So first off, check out the unboxing video!

Now you can probably tell that I was pretty damnĀ  happy with the box in general, but lets do a little breakdown just to show the “worth” of the box.

Exclusive “Groot” Funko-Pop Figure: This particular figure retails for approximately $10, but we have to keep in mind that it is a Loot Crate exclusive variant (that you can’t get anywhere else) that glows in the dark. For the exclusivity of it, I’m adding $5 to the value, since it’s not like you can just run out and get this exact figure at Walmart.
Leonardo’s Mask sunglasses: I believe these are a Loot Crate exclusive item, so I’m assigning them a value of $3 based on what I feel the quality of the item (in other words, they’re cute, but a little cheaply made)
Donatello Kidrobot Figure: These cute little figures retail for $10
“Schwings” Shoe Wings: Believe it or not, these things come in a wide variety of colors and designs, and range in price from $9 to $15. The pair that we got with this Loot Crate goes for $9
Mega Man Air Freshener: Making your car smell like Mega Man will set you back about $5
Chimichang’os Magnet: This appears to be another exclusive item, so since it’s just a small magnet I’m assigning it a value of $1
“Heroes” Collectible Pin: Keeping with last month’s breakdown, I’m assigning the collectible pin a value of $1“Digital Loot” downloads card: The card tells me that it’s worth a value of $10, so I’ll go ahead and accept that at face value.

Total estimated value of the box: $54
Total cost to me: $30

So, so far the Loot Crate boxes have been very similar as far as cost analysis is concerned, with the value of the box being a bit less than double the cost. That’s not bad at all, right off the bat. But more important than the estimated financial value of the box is the personal value of the items. So far Loot Crate has more than exceeded my expectations with the quality of their items. They’re picking great, fun, quality stuff that I am thoroughly enjoying. Even the little “junkier” things like the magnet and the Leo glasses are cute and fun, and I can’t say that I was terribly disappointed with anything in either of the two crates I’ve gotten so far. Probably the only item that is something I never would have bought for myself if given the chance was the Schwings, but I can see how some people would love them, so it’s all good.

All in all, I’m definitely impressed and Loot Crate gets two big thumbs up from me so far.

In closing, just in case you didn’t actually watch the video: if you’re interested in trying out Loot Crate, please click on my referral link:

http://mbsy.co/lootcrate/8321165

You’d be helping me out a ton and I’d love you forever. ^_~ Thanks!

Fiction Fragment Fridays: Heat

FFF

Continuing on with my series of drabbles today. A reminder that if anyone would like to use any of these drabbles as a prompt, feel free but please thank me by giving a shout-out to the blog if you post the results anywhere. To check out past drabbles click on the “Categories” drop-down on my sidebar and select “Drabbles”.

For today’s drabble I thought I’d take a break from all the creepy, scary, and just plain weird stuff that I usually go in for, and try out some good old fashioned romance.

—–

Eric’s fingers trailed along the back of Sylvia’s hand. The light touch sent shivers down her spine.

“You’re gorgeous,” Eric said. “You know that, right?”

Sylvia began to shake her head, but the movement was cut short as Eric pulled her close and leaned down to press his lips to hers. The kiss was exactly as she’d imagined it would be. Her whole body flushed as she leaned her chest into his and wrapped her arms around his neck.

A long, wonderful moment later, they pulled apart. Sylvia looked up, a powerful burn in her stomach.

“Your place or mine?”

Blogging 101, Day Twenty-Nine: Plan the Next Thirty

blogging101

It humors me that I should be writing about this particular topic at this particular time. Did you know that at this moment you are reading words that were written over thirty days ago? Yes, at this precise moment (over thirty days in the past), I was planning out over a month’s worth of blog posts to give myself some breathing room for other projects and goals.

Planning is super important if you want to keep your blog regularly updated and your brain functioning stress-free. Therefore, today’s assignment is to sketch out an editorial calendar to cover your next thirty days of blogging.

One of the best things I’ve done for myself in a while was to buy a little personal organizer notebook to help keep track of my blog scheduling. It helps so much to have a visual of what I’ve got planned, or to keep notes on ideas that I have for future posts. I can’t tell you how confused I would be trying to plan stuff ahead of time without being able to easily visualize what I’ve already done and what is left to do.

So do yourself a favor: grab an organizer, a calendar, or find a smartphone app that you like, and get planning. You’ll thank yourself later, I promise.

Farewell, Nanny. Love You Forever.

Yesterday, as I was sitting in the Halifax airport waiting to get home, my mother contacted me to let me know that they were all at the hospital with my grandmother and it didn’t look good. I hoped that I would be able to get home and to the hospital in time, but only about a half an hour later my father contacted me to let me know that she was gone. My last grandparent, Katherine Gillis, had passed away.

I’m full of memories of my Nanny Gillis, who took care of my cousins and I for years whenever our parents were working or busy. In my childhood I spent as much time at her house as I did at my own. Even when I was in school I would go to her house every day for lunch, and during the summers I would ride my bike there on a daily basis. Now that she’s gone, I find myself remembering all kinds of little things about our time together.

I remember she would read to me all the time from books of nursery rhymes and short stories. We would snuggle up in her armchair and read about the Three Little Kittens and Winken, Blinken, and Nod. She’d read the same books over and over to me no matter how many times I asked.

I remember sitting at the kitchen table with her while we ate crackers slathered with liverwurst and mustard. She may have been the only person in the world who could get me to try something with the word “liver” in the name.

I remember laying on her living room floor and writing my stories – some of the first things I ever really wrote – and having her ask to read them. She’d go through the notebook pages with a smile on her face and tell me how talented I was. She always insisted that I should be a journalist when I grew up.

I remember I used to have this slinky, gold-colored belt that had a little bit of heft to it. Once, when she was sleeping on the couch at our cabin, I got it in my head to toss the belt onto her. She woke up immediately, thinking the belt was a snake, and shrieked like a banshee while I laughed maniacally. She wasn’t impressed, but she laughed about it later.

I remember the look on her face whenever she caught my cousin Tommy and I eating sugar right out of the bowl. She’d act like she was disappointed in us, but I noticed that she never ever moved the sugar bowl.

I remember she was always trying to teach me how to swim, even though I was terribly difficult and scared. She’d put her hands under my belly and hold me up so that I could kick and move my arms without sinking. I never did learn how to swim properly because I was too terrified, but no one put as much energy into trying to teach me as my Nanny did.

I remember she would get so worried about things my cousins and I did as kids, like climbing trees and practicing “Power Rangers” moves on each other, but she’d laugh all the same when one of us did something foolish.

I remember her getting my cousins and I to collect rhubarb from a nearby yard so that she could bake treats with it.

I remember her taking the time to painstakingly weave my long hair into an absolutely perfect french braid. She’d make it so evenly, and pull it so tight, that I could have worn it that way for days without ever having to touch it up.

I remember she would always give my cousins and I her spare change so that we could run down to the nearby store and stock ourselves full of candy.

Most of all, I remember that when my cousins and I were around it was all about us. Feeding us, playing with us, doting on us, taking us to the cabin, taking us swimming… She was the quintessential grandmother whose life was all about her grandchildren, and as time went on she came to love her great-grandchildren just as much.

She will be deeply missed, but I will always have my memories of her, and I will hang on to them for the reset of my life.

Goodbye, Nanny. I’ll love you forever.

Nannie&PoppybetterTraceylevels

Blogging 101, Day Twenty-Eight: Create a New Feature

blogging101

Regular posting (three days a week, five days a week, or whatever you choose) is very important to maintaining readership because people won’t stick around your blog if there’s extended periods of nothing new for them to read. A helpful trick to help achieve this is to have a “feature” on your blog – that is, something that you do every week so that people keep coming back to check it out.

Today’s assignment is to develop a regular feature for your blog.

An example of a feature would be my would be my “Fiction Fragment Friday’s”. Every Friday I post an excerpt, short story, or drabble of fiction writing of my own design. It gives readers who enjoy my writing something to look forward to each week.

Another example would be Jay D Archer’s “What Will You Write?” challenges. Readers look forward to seeing what the next prompt will be, participating in the challenge, and returning later to see who won and what the other participants have written. The key is that it keeps people coming back for more.

So think about your blog, your readers, and try to work out something that you can feature on a regular basis. Your stats page will thank you.

Surviving Journalism in the 21st Century

Be honest: these days not a day goes by that at least one person you know doesn’t make a fool of themselves by forwarding completely BS news stories via Facebook, Twitter, or some other public forum. It’s not just that people are gullible (although that’s definitely part of it). No, the main problem is that journalism has gone to the dogs as information sharing has only gotten easier and faster. Fake news pops up more often than real news, so of course people are going to get caught in the tidal wave of stupidity. Cracked.com has had a series going strong for weeks now that is entirely about what idiotic stories fooled the world this week. It’s almost impossible not to be that fool ever now and then, because there are just so many opportunities!

Although, if you fell for this one I'm going to have to ask you to leave the Internet now...

Although, if you fell for this one I’m going to have to ask you to leave the Internet now…

So how can you take steps to make sure that you look like a fool less often than your friends and family? Here’s a couple of tips:

Before you get caught up in a story, check the source.

I could scarcely count the number of times that I’ve seen people get all worked up over a news story that was actually a self-admitted joke. A big example is anything published by “The Daily Currant“. The Currant, much like The Onion, is a joke website that presents itself as the “news”. It is completely satirical and tells you so all over its website, so there is no need to get worked up over anything they publish; it’s all fake and just for fun.

So tip number one is to be aware that sites like this one are commonplace, and you should check to make sure that what you’re looking at isn’t a joke before you get yourself all emotionally invested.

Even if the source looks good, consider that THEY may have been fooled.

One of the biggest problems with journalism these days is that it moves too fast. The Internet has made it possible for people on opposite sides of the planet to share information in the blink of an eye, so if reputable news sites want to keep up they have to cut out nasty little time-suckers…like fact-checking.

For big news companies it has become a much easier route to simply apologize later for getting something wrong than to be the only site not reporting the story because they’re busy trying to establish whether or not it’s for real. On an all-too-often basis huge, reputable companies such as The Huffington Post and the New York Times are publishing complete BS because from a business standpoint they can’t afford to allow their fact-checkers the time to confirm the story.

So keep this in mind: even the most reputable companies make mistakes, and these days they make them more and more often.

Remember that there are an AMAZING number of liars out there.

Let’s get one thing straight: the Internet is an amazing repository of information, but it is also an enormous, digital trash heep.

I could post an article on this blog tomorrow that claims that chewing gum gives you cancer. Most people would look at it and assume that I’d lost my mind, but if I made the post professional-looking enough, with “sources” and quotes from “doctors”, a few people would believe it, or at least consider that maybe it might actually be true. And because of the knee-jerk, zero-fact-checking reaction that we’ve already talked about, it just takes the right person to stumble across my false report and decide to gamble on it.

Any schmuck can make something up and post it on the internet, and there are many, many schmucks out there doing just that. So many so that it becomes outrageously difficult to discern the truth amongst the sea of crap, particularly for people who are focused on getting the newest, shiniest news out ASAP!


So, okay, let’s say that you’ve been smart. You made sure that the story is being reported by a real news company, that enough time has passed for fact-checkers to officially okay the story, and that the original source material for the story’s claims is reputable. The story therefore must be true, right? Think again.

Consider, just for a moment, that news companies LIE. Or perhaps not lie outright, but definitely twist the truth. No, I’m not a conspiracy theorist or anything. I just understand that the news is a business, just like any other, and they’re going to do whatever it takes to do what businesses care about most: make money.

Make no mistake, if Pepsi or Coke paid the news to say that cola cures cancer, they would find a way to twist the lie into a believable story. There might be about thirty degrees of separation between them, but if money is on the line they will find a way to link one cola ingredient to the stimulation of a certain set of cells in the body that are linked to some obscure theory that may possibly, someday, after LOADS more study and research, lead to some kind of new (untested and unproven) cancer treatment. And then they will take that tiny thread of a link and they will report it under the 72-pt font heading: “Suffering from Cancer? Drink More Cola!” Because that’s what businesses (and remember, the news companies are just business like any other) do: they find a way to make you have an emotional response that subsequently leads you to react exactly as they want you to.


What it all comes down to – what I’m encouraging you to do – is to be doubtful, and use your own brain. Don’t accept something as truth just because a friend shared it on Facebook, or it appeared on The Huffington Post’s website, or on the 5 o’clock news. Take a step back, think about what you’re reading or watching or being told, do the extra research if necessary, and make sure that you are confident about the reality of the story before you spread the flame further. It’s not easy to think critically all the time, especially with the vast quantity of information being thrown at us virtually non-stop, and we’re all bound to make mistakes from time to time. But if we’d all make just a little bit of an effort to do our own fact-checking, maybe we could slow down the tidal wave of misinformation and pure BS that is washing over the land and drowning us all.

You don’t want to drown in your own foolishness, right? Right.