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Confident Girl

21 Nov

The prompt for today is: “Describe an outfit that makes you feel good. (It can be from any period of your life.) Double points if you post a picture of yourself in the outfit.”

In high school I really wanted to be on the short flags team. I tried out to be on the team freshman year and didn’t make so I tried out again the following year and made the team. It’s just the kind of person I am–I never give up on my goals! Even though I felt awkward and ugly during those years I always felt my best on game day Fridays when I wore my uniform.

That uniform meant so much to me. I really earned it, like honestly truly earned the money for it myself. Not only did I not make the team the first time I tried out but when I finally did make the team I then had to figure out how to pay for the very expensive equipment needed to be on the team. Making the team was just the first hurdle.

I needed to buy a uniform that included a skirt, top, long sleeve under shirt, bloomers and special Nike shoes. I also needed a warm up suit consisting of custom pants and jacket. On top of that I needed to buy the duffel bag, also with custom embroidery, to store all my things in. We can’t forget the flags. I needed to purchases two flag poles from a specific vendor along with two sets of flags–one for practice and one for performance.

Then there were the extras like summer camp, matching customized team outfits to wear at camp, hair bows, foam curlers, blue eyeshadow and competition fees. Then once I was on the team for a year I earned a varsity letter. So of course I needed to get the Letterman jacket. I shouldn’t forget to mention the design of our uniform AND performance flags changed each year I was on the team.

Monique Gonzalez Abrahamsen ACHS Short Flags

My first year on the team my mom and biological father helped me but we struggled a lot financially and my mom couldn’t pay everything on time. My uniform was taken away from me until we could pay it off. My coach loaned me the money for my warm ups and I eventually paid her back. We did have some fundraisers to help defray some of the costs but still, a huge chunk of the financial responsibility fell on me.

I took a summer job at McDonald’s when I was 14 then quit when school started. I then worked at Taco Bell the following year and finally at the Gap Outlet. I did this to earn the money needed to stay on the team.

You can bet after all that hard work I felt proud and confident while donning that uniform. When I wore it I felt so good about myself. No one could judge my clothes–only a select few girls wore the same uniform as me. We were part of something special. I practiced with the team and made time to practice in my backyard almost everyday to ensure I would perform the routines perfectly with the rest of the team.

That uniform even FELT good! The material was flexible, made for twisting, turning and sweating. Putting on the uniform was like putting on a costume. I was incredibly shy but when I had my uniform on and we stepped out onto the performance stage (whether it be football field, basketball court or competition stage) I suddenly turned into this happy, smiling, bouncing, talented, and CONFIDENT girl. It was the only time I didn’t mind crowds of people looking at me.

Go ahead! Look!ย  I earned this! I worked hard, practiced hard and I feel great!

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First Friend

20 Nov

Tell us about your first friend.

My very first friends where my sisters. Some people may not count siblings as friends but I truly feel like we formed a strong bond beyond what most siblings experience. We did all kinds of fun stuff together that friends would normally do together. Growing up with a sister only one year and a half younger and another sister five years older made for some interesting experiences. Marina, the eldest sister, used her five years extra to her advantage to lead and orchestrate shenanigans. Jessica, my younger sister, was close enough in age to me that we could spend hours playing together and yet I could still take on “big sister” roles like reading her bedtime stories.

My first sleepover was with my sisters. Sure, we shared rooms but we also liked to use our imagination and create our own kind of sleepover experience. Jessica and I shared a room and Marina had her own room so sometimes we would gather our blankets and pillows and set up in the living room. Marina would tell us scary stories and goofy stories until we fell asleep.

Myself, Jessica and Marina when we were kids.

Myself, Jessica and Marina when we were kids.

When Marina did have to give up her room for a short period of time and bunk up with us (literally though-we had a bunk bed!) we spent our nights giggling as she kept us entertained with her vast knowledge of the world–because she is our big sis and knows more stuff! Our mom would walk by the door and say “I don’t want to hear another peep!” and that would lead to a few minutes of silence until we were back at it.

I always knew my sisters were my friends because they were always honest with me. Sure, there were rough patches of fighting and arguing and not understanding each other. We got through it though and all of those conflicts only made our bond stronger. We can always tell each other the truth, even if it takes some time. We seek each other out in a crowded room. We have inside jokes carried on and made better with time.

My sisters were my first friends, and they’ll always be my friends.

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Plugged In

19 Nov

How much of the day are you plugged in? Do you consciously set aside offline time, or does it happen whenever it happens?

Since my job as an Associate Social Media Manager requires me to be constantly connected and aware I am ALWAYS “plugged in.” That means I am always online. Thanks to HootSuite my web browser window holds streams for each brand I manage with all of their social media accounts up at all times. I’m checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Vine all day long Monday through Friday.

It’s my job to grow our audience and raise awareness of our products. I need to be plugged in or else I am not doing my job. I map it all out in my editorial calendar, gather images, take photos, request images from our designers, information, articles then compile it into the content I create. This content must be timely, seasonal, interesting, compelling. I need to know when something is trending on YouTube. I need to think about how I can possibly tie in our brands with a trending hashtag on Twitter. I’m perusing Pinterest for ideas, peeking at competitors social pages, reading mommy blogs, watching YouTube reviews of our products.

Heck yes I’m plugged in!

Even when I’m at home, signed out of all work accounts I still get push notifications from Instagram each time someone likes or comments on one of my brand’s photos. Since I generally stay signed into my work Instagram accounts during work hours when I get home I use that time to catch up on my personal Instagram feed. I want to see what my friends and family are posting!

I do find that I usually do not use the computer when I’m at home. Since my iPhone keeps me connected I really don’t feel interested or compelled to hop on the computer. I even stay on social media when I’m on vacation. I like using FourSquare, Instagram and Twitter to document my travels. Not so much to “show off” to the world but to keep track of where I went.

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Blog Post I Didn’t Publish

18 Nov

Tell us about a blog post that you didn’t publish.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever started a blog post and then didn’t hit publish. I usually spend a lot of time thinking about what I want to write before sitting down to write. I also read, reread, and reread it again to proofread and edit my posts. Sometimes I remove a sentence or two or even entire paragraphs. Sometimes I rewrite things to make better sense.

There are ideas that I’ve never written down. I’m hoping that over time I’ll be able to open up a bit more. I just need to get my ideas on paper first so I can figure out how to express certain things while remaining safe. I completely understand that once something is on the internet–it’s up forever. I never want to post something I’ll one day regret.

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Bad Habits

15 Nov

If you could quit one bad habit instantly without difficulty, which would it be?

No human is absolutely perfect, we all have bad habits we’d like to break. A bad habit I would like to break is touching my hair. It’s a weird thing that I do subconsciously and I’m not completely sure when it manifested.

Sometimes I catch myself at my desk twisting a piece of hair from the back of my head. Or my bangs. Tugging the strands, sliding my fingers through. Finding odd bits that are textured instead of smooth. Then I realize what I’m doing and try to occupy my right hand in a different way.

When I’m vegging out in front of the TV, or reading a book or even driving alone I find myself doing this. It’s so weird! I think I do it out of boredom or to occupy my hands, a strange way of fidgeting. Sometimes I run my fingers through my bangs when I’m trying to fall asleep. If I wear my hair tied up in a bun or pony tail I rarely touch my hair. If I wear it down it’s a sure thing that I’ll catch myself in the act.

I would like to break this habit because for one I think it’s strange. Second, I think if someone walked past me and caught a view of me twisting my hair they might get the wrong impression that I’m a ditz. Another reason to stop this odd habit is I don’t think it’s very good for my hair. My hair is think and healthy but I’m sure constant touching, twisting and tugging is not helpful. So if I woke up tomorrow and simply just didn’t touch my hair like that anymore, without any difficulty, that would be amazing.

Ok there–I confessed something odd and personal! Do you have a bad or strange habit you’d like to break?

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