A Friday Wrap

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It’s Friday, the week has been busy, but it’s great to be alive.

After pulling my first all-nighter since college, which I finished a year ago this weekend, I realized that something has to give when it comes to my daily schedule. I’m grateful for the opportunity I have, to work from home as I study for my personal training certification, but working from home forces you to actually develop a schedule that needs to be maintained and improved upon daily.

Since it’s Friday, I won’t bore you with how to create a schedule for yourself, or even how to help jumpstart your motivation to get everything done, but what I will give you is this:

You always have more time than you think you do, you just have to find it.

I look for blog topics every morning, since October I’ve been contributing to the Third Wave Fashion Blog and monthly Fashion Tech Report, Paige and I average six runs a week, and I have to study to get certified. Without some type of order, like I lost this week, you’ll end up with the dreaded all-nighter, which shouldn’t happen once you’ve graduated.

You can make it through this Friday, use the weekend to get that big breath of fresh air you need, and don’t worry about anything until Monday. Like the photo below, it doesn’t matter how you have fun, but make sure you do!

7fd2d5e65aa211e382810ee93d32a936_8Courtesy: Paige

Team USA: Uniform of Tradition

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There is no doubt that to participate in the olympics is an honor unlike any other.

Countless athletes have done their best to describe the feeling of representing your country, what it’s like to hear your nation’s anthem ring through the stadium or arena, all because for a frozen moment in time you were the best, your country, was the best.

Unfortunately though, that’s a feeling that many of us probably won’t experience. We won’t feel the pressure of a global audience, we won’t feel the weight of an expectant nation on our shoulders, looking to us to prove the strength and resilience of our country despite such an unstable world.

No, the international stage of the Olympic Games is reserved for an elite few, but luckily, there is one thing that we can share.

Tradition.

No matter who you are, what you believe, or where you live; tradition is one thing that we can all value. From family farms to generations of cops and fire fighters, tradition is one thing that may ring more true than the freedom we so proudly boast.

It’s with tradition in mind that I’ve come to appreciate what Ralph Lauren is doing with the 2014 Sochi Olympic uniforms. I wasn’t a fan of the Polo logo skillfully emblazoned on each garment, but understanding the story and the lengths the company went to to develop a truly American uniform is something that we can all appreciate.

From Oregon to New York, North Carolina to California, the details of the process pay homage to the traditions that have built this great nation.

Instagram: A Forgotten Friend

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One of the first apps I got after getting my iPhone was Instagram. I thought filters were fun, I thought it was a brilliant way to connect photographers, all was good.

But if you look at my profile, I have a pretty minor 125 photos in the two years that I’ve been on the platform. Maybe it was an attempt to break the habit that everyone else has of violating the Three Fs (Food, Feet, and Flowers), or it was just a matter that I didn’t think my photos were engaging.

Over the weekend though, I realized that avoiding Instagram isn’t the solution to my problem with the platform, rather, creating better content instead of documenting an average life story is what engages the community.

There are also the Instagram elite. I followed them as inspiration, but low and behold, I just got mad at myself for not having the eye that they seem to have.

Who are sitting in my list of elites?

In no particular order:

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kylesteed

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cacahuete_sr

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thiswildidea

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And of course PaigeWilhog
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As you can see, there’s a lot to live up to; though while we were in Japan I may have channeled a bit of Cacahuete_sr…

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So with these folks in mind, and a new focus on sharing the beautiful things that I see, I welcome back my old friend Instagram. A friend that’s always been there, but was too quickly abandoned in my struggle to not take boring photos.

Hopefully you like what you see, but even more important, push your own content to be engaging. Don’t use the platform only as a chronicle of your life, but really show off the beautiful things coming in and out of it.

In recognition of the person that pushes me to enhance my own Instagram, here she is in the beautiful light that we found this weekend.

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The Weekly Wrap

Since it’s getting closer to the holidays, and your life is getting busy, I figured I would start wrapping our weeks up in one post for your convenience.

Though I’d encourage you to visit every time a story goes out, this should at least help condense it for you in a crunch.

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Of all the federal holidays, Veteran’s Day might be the most important. Without the men and women that we show appreciation for, it’s quite possible that none of the other holidays would exist as we know them. Featuring two phenomenal charities, Thank You: A Post For Our Veterans, was an appropriate start to the week.

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Thanks to a TechCrunch story that came through my reader, we learned that a Russian sports network, R-Sports, was threatening that it would revoke credentials for journalists found to be using smart phones and apps like Instagram during the Sochi Olympics. Though it seems focused toward maintaining a level of “classic journalism,” it looks more like the network needs to find it’s way out of the Dark Ages.

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I’m becoming a Certified Personal Trainer, and Chris Powell inspired me to do it. From the Extreme Weight Loss guru, to a very supportive wife, I’m on a journey to get certified, and help others understand that if I lost my weight, then they can too.

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Finally, Affordable Healthcare cracked me. After avoiding the topic for months, the president’s recent apology for the botched job that is the Affordable Care Act caused me to laugh. After finding a CBS story about three 20-year-olds that created a functioning healthcare website overnight, it’s evident that nobody in Washington has any clue what they’re doing.

That was the week for the Freelance Rider, and I can’t wait to see what we get from this weekend.

Thank You: A Post For Our Veterans

Of all the federal holidays, this one may be the most important.

You might find it inconvenient that the Post Office is closed, or that your kids are out of school today, but no inconvenience is greater than the sacrifices that deserve the respect this day is meant to carry.

So before you busy yourself on your day off, let’s take a moment to say thank you, for everything that our serving men and women do for us.

Feeling inspired, and want to help make a difference in a veteran’s life?

Two great organizations to support are the Wounded Warrior Project and TAPS. Both are dedicated to helping veterans and their families, and both are worth taking a look at when it comes to helping show your appreciation to our veterans.

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Image: Wounded Warrior Project

Through five core values, the Wounded Warrior Project’s vision is:

To foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.

What are the five values that guide their work?

  1. Fun
  2. Integrity
  3. Loyalty
  4. Innovation
  5. Service

The other organization I’m encouraging you to look at is TAPS, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

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Image: TAPS

TAPS not only focuses on the veterans and a healing process for wounded vets, but also the families of the fallen. With an understanding that veteran sacrifices stretch far beyond just the veteran, the work that TAPS does is inspiring.

I found the organization when I ran with them in the 2013 Disney Princess Half-Marathon, raising $500 for the cause. It may not seem like a huge number, but when it comes to giving back to the men and women that put their lives on the line, every dollar counts.

In the end, I don’t care how you choose to say thank you, as long as you take a moment today to thank a veteran. Without them, you probably wouldn’t be living the life you do.

Bullying: Everybody Cares Until it Happens

The word that has jarred people the past few years, the one that creates a stir in any conversation about the way people are treated, is bullying.

But what does anyone actually do when it comes to handling the issue?

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I would encourage you to take a look at stopbullying.gov to find the laws and statutes that exist in your state, but note what the repercussions of bullying are.

Because the examples that I have both come from North Carolina, that is the state I looked at.

According to Stop Bullying, in North Carolina bullying has both laws and policies to protect victims of bullying, but when you look for the consequences of bullying, everything falls to the responsibility of the institution where the bullying occurs.

Essentially, the whole process is muddled with words so that you can feel “safer” about going to school, or sending your child to school, but there is no legitimate process for handling the issue.

Since I told you I had two examples, I’ll start with a personal one.

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Interestingly enough, North Carolina believes that cyberbullying doesn’t occur between adults, because nobody has ever been stalked or harassed online after they turned 18, and so the law only applies to minors.

The exchange above happened between a person that would go on to represent our school on a national level, despite a number of issues with other students. Since she carried that kind of report, when we found ourselves in her path, we reported it to student affairs and the national organization that the student belonged to.

The response from the university…

That we should leave her alone and avoid any campus activity that she would likely attend.

Again, she virtually ran the university’s student government, so basically we were being told not to participate in anything. Because we were the problem.

Demoralized that the university would slap us in the face, it’s hard to believe that anyone actually takes bullying seriously unless it’s happening to them. But what should a victim do when the powers-at-be choose to do nothing?

That brings me to my second example.

Paige and I were in North Carolina after our honeymoon and I was told a story about an employee whose son was being bullied, and she has had to miss work because of it.

Essentially, her son was being harassed in class by some other punk that wouldn’t leave him alone. The student complained to the teacher, who did nothing, until his mom had to complain to the school. The teacher separated the two boys for a few weeks, and because the issue had calmed down, move the two students so that the bully was sitting directly behind the victim.

After a few days of being harassed again, the victim took justice into his own hands and hauled off and punched the kid.

Of course, the victim was reprimanded for getting violent, but what was he supposed to do?

Now, after hitting the guy that was bullying him, his mom has had to go back into school to discuss her son’s behavior. Oh, and the teacher put the bully in the seat behind the victim so that he can go right back to harassing the kid because he knows if the victim hits him again the victim will be suspended.

Tell me how any of that makes sense.

What type of society are we trying to build where we fake emotion, thanks Facebook, and tell someone they are protected until they’re an actual victim?

What is it that we’re going for when the victim is always wrong?

I don’t have answers to either of those questions, but as a kid that got beat up in sixth and seventh grade, I’m curious to know what your suggestions are.

My bullies stopped after I hit them back, but what do you do when that doesn’t end it?