COMM011- Blog Post 6- Barbie 2016

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Every little girl loves to play with Barbie.  I remember when my sister and I were little, we would beg for more and more Barbies.  She was our favourite Christmas present.  We had the Barbie corvette, the Barbie dream house, a crazy amount of Barbie clothes and accessories. It is 30 years later and Barbie is still such a hot item on the shelf.  My 5 year old niece is now just starting her Barbie craze. When I was a kid, Barbie just had long long blonder hair.  She had a tiny little waist, ridiculously tiny feet and large breasts.  We didn’t care; it was just fun to play in dream land.  Sure, it would have been cool if she had had brown hair and eyes like we did, but she was still fun to play with and it never occurred to us to want anything different from our doll.

As I got older and contemplated starting my own family, I was excited to have a little girl, partly so that I could go back to buying dolls and Barbies and sharing that with her.  Well, I have two boys; neither of whom is very interested in playing with dolls.  My brother, though, has a little girl.  I was very excited to be able to share my love of Barbie with her.  Her mother, Marise, however, did not approve of Barbie.  She said that she didn’t want her little girl to grow up with poor self image; she would never look like Barbie.  I was stunned when she told me this.  To me, Barbie is just a doll.  With her, you can live in dreamland where you marry the handsome Ken, have a fabulous car and live in a gorgeous house. What’s wrong with that?  Then, I started to really think about it.  It is ok to dream about being rich enough to afford the house and the car of your dreams.  It is even kind of ok to dream about the man you are going to marry.  I mean, really, when you are a little girl, you don’t dream about marrying that man with a beer belly, balding hair and a great personality.  You dream of marrying the handsome prince charming.  It is not until you get older that you realize that it not the wrapping that counts, but the beautiful gift that your boyfriend or husband really is.  Then, the outside appearance really doesn’t even come into view.  But, is it ok, to dream and wish that you,yourself is perfect like Barbie. Should our little girls dream of having the perfect blonde hair, the tiny little waist and the impossibly large breasts?

30 years ago when I was a child, we didn’t really think about how girls thought about their body image.  Now,however with tv being such an important aspect of daily life (when I was a kid, we were only allowed to watch 1 hour a day and usually cartoons!), body image is something that children are really looking at and thinking about.  Everywhere we look, we see beautiful women on the big screen, we see them in magazines and on billboards. It is just now, that campaigns are starting to use the average looking person in their ads.  We want to connect with the people we see around us.  Barbie is now agreeing with this and has started a new line.  Barbie is evolving!

Watching this video, made me realize just how much little girls are seeing.  When they are reacting to the Barbies looking just like them, their mom, or their friends, you can really see the impact of the dolls.  It is nice to see that Maytel has recognized the change in girls.  In the following video, you see that girls still love playing with the original Barbie, but when one girl is asked what she thinks Barbie would do for a living, she says that Barbie is a party planner; something typical of a “girly girl. Then, the girls are shown the new Barbie line on a tablet and their reactions are priceless. One little girl even tackles the issue of bullying.  My favourite line from the commercial is “Everyone can be a Barbie.”

So,while I never really thought that there was anything wrong with the original Barbie, I am excited for the new line. The new Barbie will come in 4 different body types, 7 skin tones, 22 eye colours and 24 hairstyles.  I cannot wait to take my niece to pick out her special doll and see which one she will choose to take home with her.  If you would like to take a look at the line, you can preview the dolls and pre-order them here.

No, let’s petition Maytel and see if we can get a new Ken line too.  Then maybe, just maybe, my boys will want one and then I can play Barbie with them too!

 

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COMM011 Blog Post 5–#ASD#EpicMomFail

autism

Our family lives with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) every day. It challenges the way we do everything.  Simple things like getting dressed, brushing teeth and getting ready for bed are difficult. My 6 year old son, J, was diagnosed with ASD when he was 4.    I have to make sure that he has the toothpaste with Jake and the Neverland Pirates on it (hopefully Jake will continue to be cool for years!) and that he always has to have a red toothbrush (which are harder to come by than you would think). J has to watch 1 TV show before he goes to bed, has to have 1 story read to him and we have to leave the light on. Any interruption to these or any other of our daily routines will lead to a meltdown. Autism speaks defines Autism as: “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.  ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances”  The spectrum means that there are varying levels of the disorder.  J is diagnosed as being mild to moderate on the spectrum.

So, in the last few years, we have become pretty good at knowing what will and what won’t cause a meltdown.  I know that sometimes, he needs to have the meltdown and learn how to calm himself and move on. So, when his Legos don’t fit together properly and he starts a tantrum, I know what to do. I know that the episode will only last a few minutes and that once he has calmed down, we are permitted to help him with his Lego creation.  We have learned that if we are not going to stop at Harvey’s for supper, which is his super special treat, we had better not drive by the restaurant if we don’t want to have yelling, screaming and kicking in the car.

Last night, however, I had an epic ASD mom fail!  Our bedtime routine was the same. We snuggled up and read Green Eggs and Ham.  We did hugs and kisses, told each other how much we loved each other and spoke a little about what we would do the next day so that he would be ready to face the birthday party we are going to later this afternoon. I let him grab 1 more book that he could look at on his own before he fell asleep, tucked him and then left to back downstairs.  A couple of hours later, I went upstairs to go to bed myself.  As usual, I looked in on my sleeping boys, I gave the baby (he’s 2, so I guess not a baby anymore!) a little kiss and straightened his blankets.  Then I went to my older son’s bed to give him his kiss and straighten his bed and found about 20 books in his bed, under and over the blankets. I giggled a little to myself and took a photo of him, which I had planned to share onFacebook in the morning since he was so cute!  I picked up all the books and put them on the shelf, like any good mom would do.  Then, I turned on the nightlight lamp and turned out the big overhead light and went to my own bed. At about 3 am, I awoke to the loudest screams I had ever heard.  J was having a meltdown!  I jumped out of bed and ran to his room. I couldn’t figure out what the trigger was. I sat on his bed, held and rocked him for what seemed like forever.  By then, the little one was up and crying (hubby had to take care of him).  Once J had calmed down, I managed to ask him what was wrong. He was upset because his books were gone!  So, because it was the middle of the night, I got all the books and put them back on the bed.  But, alas, I had forgotten the porcupine book!  So, this led to another meltdown; thankfully a short one since I found the book and put it with the others. It was 4 am when everyone managed to get back to sleep.

I am thankful for my sons everyday.  I am usually even thankful for Autism.  I know that it has changed the way I raise my kids (my 2 year old is going for diagnosis in March),but Autism comes with some special gifts. I cherish each of the gifts that it has given my children.  Now to decide how we are going to handle 20 or more books in bed; just let him sleep with them, work hard on showing him that it is ok if Mama puts them away once he’s asleep or teach him to take only 1 book to bed!

That picture I took of him all cute with his books in bed; will I post it to Facebook anyway as a cute moment,or delete it?

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References:  Autism Speaks Canada: http://www.autismspeaks.ca/

Photo: Metropolitan Police Services-Katherine Goodsell

COMM0011 Blog Post 4″Gym Newbie”

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Like a lot of people, I decided that 2016 would finally be the year that I would take control of my body; lose the extra weight and get into shape. I started to research different healthy eating approaches and different at home workouts that I could do.  I found a ton of information online, but was scared to get started. I am worried of failing.  I have tried many times to lose weight and have failed every time. This time, however, I am trying.  I got a fitbit activity tracker and I set my step count at a reasonable 10000 steps a day. I use the app to track my daily food intake and I use a walk at home workout that I found on Youtube that I could do with my kids.  If you are interested in the workout, please click here.  I am also trying to stick to a food guide that a friend of mine I posted here.

Then, I was surfing Facebook and my local gym is advertising a great promotion that includes daycare. I was so excited that myself and husband could join the gym together and bring our little rugrats to be babysat at an incredible price.  I asked my Facebook friends for opinions on the gym, best times to go and how the daycare attendants were.  My friends were all helpful and gave great advice; I was ready to go and finally get registered for a gym membership.

I had to wait for the new year to take advantage of the promotion.   I was preparing myself to go after the holiday weekend, but as the weekend progressed,  I started to see some negative comments being posted and shared and then showing up on my timeline.   I did not know that there was a term ‘gym newbie’ and that it was a negative thing! I admit that part of my fear about going to the gym, was my own self-consciousness. I was worried that people would look at me and my chubby thighs and think negatively about my joining the gym.  When I expressed my worries to my supportive husband, he said, “Don’t worry, no one will look at you.  Everyone is there to do their own workout and then go home.”    Then, this meme made it’s way to my feed:

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Granted, I won’t be packing a chocolate bar to go with my water, but I have had my fair share of Oh Henry bars and they are showing on my hips!  I am now very intimidated to go to the gym.  The more I look, the more negativity I see posted online about new people joining the gym. Some are fine and they are just joking that they will have to wait longer for their favourite machines as the newbies figure out how to use them while others are just waiting for us newbies to give up and stop coming.

Now, I am conflicted. I really want to sign up and I feel if I do commit to going and to having money deducted from my account bi-weekly, that I will actually make the effort to go.  Who knows, maybe once I start, I will actually enjoy going! The more I think of it, the more I know that I can be brave and I can go.  I will prove to myself and any naysayers that it is not just a new year’s resolution, I am making a lifestyle choice.  Maybe next year, I can be someone who helps the newbies and encourages them to be there.  Besides, shopping for cute gym gear has to be fun, right?  Can anyone offer me some real tips on how to make my gym time worthwhile and get this extra weight off?

COMM011 Blog Post 3. Social Media Christmas.

Every where you look on social media, you will start to see pictures of people posing themselves, their children and their pets in front of the Christmas tree.  I have been guilty of trying to get the perfect photo of my 2 little cuties in front of the tree.  I must have taken 50 pictures in order to get 1 that I would be happy to post on my Facebook page for my friends and family. Then, I waited, like so many others to see how many likes and comments I would receive.  I don’t know why we want this validation from our friends and family (and sometimes strangers), but we crave it!

The use of social media to display all of the Christmas “spirit” is both uplifting and discouraging.  It is great to see so many celebrating the holidays with family, but it is starting to make me feel like my Christmas is not good enough!

First off, my son has been begging me for an elf on the shelf.  For those of you who are not aware, he is a little stuffed elf that comes to your home on December 1; he comes with a book to read to your children.  When you first adopt him, you need to give him a name and this will activate his elf magic.  Every night, he flies back to the North Pole to report to Santa how good or naughty the children were.  Then, he flies back in the morning and hides; the children need to find him and he is often found doing naughty things.

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We do not use Elf on the Shelf at our house.  He seems like a lot of fun, but I don’t like the idea of telling my children that if they are “bad”, Santa will not come and bring them gifts. Plus, it seems like a lot of work to come up with a creative hiding spot every night for my children to find him in the morning.  There are tons of posts on my Facebook page about the mischief that the Elf is causing at my friends’ homes.  This makes me feel like a bad mom for not buying one and putting in the effort!

Recently, there was a woman in the United Kingdom, Emma Tapping, who posted a picture of her Christmas tree on Twitter. The tree is dwarfed by the number of gifts under it; there were about 300 presents underneath.  She was not expecting the reaction she received. She only had 258 followers and her post has been shared more than 100000 times. She has received so many comments about how horrible it is of her to be spoiling her 3 children like that (and some comments much worse!) and a few comments about how she can spend her money however she likes.  I like to spoil my kids for Christmas too and try my best to shop early so that I can get good sales on the things that they want. I also post a picture after Santa has visited so that I can show off our tree with the goodies underneath. I would be mortified if I received any comments regarding the number of presents I put under the tree, whether my “friends” thought I had too many or too few!  If you would like more information on this article, please visit: http://www.9news.com.au/world/2015/12/10/15/58/mother-defends-decision-to-buy-spent-1500-on-buying-300-christmas-presents-for-her-kids

Xmas Tree

Social media has also been used to help us decorate our homes for the holidays.  Pinterest and YouTube are allowing more and more people to have a Martha Stewart type Christmas on a budge…as long as you have the time and the creativity to follow instructions.  I was inspired by some deco mesh wreaths that someone had posted for sale on Facebook for $75.  I thought I could make one for less, so I took to YouTube and managed to make a cute one in less than an hour.  Here are the results!  If you would like to make your own, please click here.

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On the whole, I think that my Christmas is looking ok when compared to how some of my friends on social media are celebrating. My kids have gifts, but not too many, my house is poorly decorated except for my tree and wreath and there is no Elf on the Shelf! Please no judging!  So, how about you, are you worried that your holidays won’t match up with what you are seeing on your social media feeds?

COMM0011 Blog Post #2 Ode to the Bobby Pin

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After hearing about all the horrible news that is going on around us, I thought I would dedicate my second post to something that is near and dear to my heart, but completely frivolous: the bobby pin! The bobby pin was invented by Luis Marcus who was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  He later moved to San Francisco where he was a cosmetics manufacturer.  He invented the bobby pin to hold back the popular flapper hair style, the bob, thus naming his product the bobby pin.  He almost named it the Marcus pin…not quite as catchy!    He handmade them and sold them  2 for 35 cents.  He later incorporated them in his beauty supply firm.  After the invention became fairly popular, the Bobby Pin was trademarked Bobbie Pin by Smith Victory Corporation of Buffalo, New York.

Mr. Marcus thought that his invention was rather frivolous.  I, however think that it is one of life’s greatest inventions.  I have my hair cut in a style I can only describe as the new bob.  However, my hair is frizzy and requires a lot conditioning and straightening to get it to look like I just walked out of the salon.  Here is a comparison of the old and the new style:

blunt-bob-flapper-lookSo, now that you kind of know what my hair looks like, (only thicker and not as sleek!) you can start to appreciate just how much I love the bobby pin.  Last night, my 6 year old came down with the flu.  He was up all night being sick, which means that I too, was up taking care of and cleaning up after him.  This morning, when it was time for me to get ready for work, I did not have the energy to make my hair look like the above photo; I would have to put my hair up. I managed to find a big hair clip that I could use to secure my ponytail, but I had to find a cure for all the fly away pieces that were just too short to get into the clip.  I went to the medicine cabinet to get my trusty bobby pins and was sad to find only 1 lonely clip on the cardboard package.  That meant that the other 9000 that I have purchased were somewhere in my house. I was able to find the 3 others that I needed without having to go through the vacuum bag!  I typed bobby pin into the search bar of Facebook to see what would come up.  There were at least 50 posts about ladies losing their pins!  Glad I am not the only one.

Sound Familiar Ladies?

Sound Familiar Ladies?

Though I love the bobby pin for what it can do for my hair, there are many other uses for this tiny bit of metal. I found that there are 30 different uses for them.  If you would like to read them, please click here.  I read the list and giggled out loud at a couple of them. Though, number 2, the toothpaste clip did seem useful.  This trick lets you get all the toothpaste out of the tube without wasting any.  I hope never to be desperate enough to try number 11 -Jewellery.  I don’t think that bobby pins on a chain makes a very good fashion statement!  Though, maybe, I should make a few and try to market them on Facebook to see how many I could sell.

There is one use for the bobby pin that I really can’t get behind.  It had shown up on my news feed and I had to look away.  It’s the clip on man bun.  If any of you “gentleman” are considering sporting the look, please don’t.  If you are a hipster who cannot grow out his hair to have a sexy Jared Leto man bun, give it up! If you are desperate to understand the importance of the bobby pin, you can certainly get one of these clip on man buns on sale through Groupon.  For $9.99, you too can look like this (well, at least the hairstyle):

Clip-On-Man-Bun

I hope that you enjoyed reading and learning a little more about the fantastic bobby pin.  I learned something else while doing my research.  I have been putting my bobby pins in wrong all of my life!  Bobby pins should be put in with the smooth side facing up and the wavy part facing down so that they hold your hair better.  How many of you have been using your pins incorrectly?

how to wear bobby pin

References:

Wikepedia the free encyclopedia:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_pin

Los Angeles Times: http://articles.latimes.com/1990-03-10/news/mn-1717_1_bobby-pin

Wise Bread: http://www.wisebread.com/30-handy-uses-for-bobby-pins

COMM0011 Blog #1 Facebook Stalking

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I’ve done it; you’ve done it; we have all done it! No matter how happy we are in our current relationships, there is always a part of us that wonders how those exes of ours are doing. Sometimes we wish them happiness, and sometimes we wish them… the opposite. Before the time of social media, if we thought about how these exes were doing we would discreetly ask mutual friends or friends of friends for any information. Now, we can go to the search bar of Facebook and enter their name and voilà, we find out everything about them. I can remember the first time I looked up my ex. He had commented on a post that one of my friends had made that I was also going to comment on.   This was the first time I had really thought of him in a long time.  I realized that this highlighted blue name was just asking to be clicked on. I must have stared at it for a full 10 minutes before I made up my mind to click on his name. When I did, I watched his new life unfold before my eyes. Right there was a photo of his family. I couldn’t help myself, I had to read all his posts and look at all his photos. A myriad of emotions went through me as I looked at this life, one that I used to be such a part of and now not. I was so embarrassed for myself at having looked at these photos of people I didn’t know and I was sure that somehow he would find out! I closed the computer and wondered, did anyone ever look me up?
I later found out that there is a term for what I had done. I had Facebook stalked my ex! The urban dictionary offers a few definitions which are all similar. The one I like says:

Facebook Stalking
When an individual (male or female) scours another individual’s profile, frequently checks their status updates, or reads their wall posts to and from other people. This is usually done either because the individual wants to know as much as possible about the individual whose profile they are reading, or they’re bored and haven’t looked at that person’s profile yet after they’ve gained them as a friend on facebook. Some people admit to it, other’s deny they have been doing it, even when caught in the act.
Joe: “Dude what are you doing?”
Mike: *Looks up from ex-girlfriend’s profile, whom he is facebook stalking* “Nothing.”
Joe: *Sees ex-girlfriend’s profile page* “Quit facebook stalking that chick and come play Xbox”
Mike: “I wasn’t facebook stalking her!”

I am glad to see that I am not alone when it comes to checking the life of my ex and I am happy to report that I am not obsessed with it as some other people are! There was an article on huffingtonpost.com that referenced a thesis study done by a University of Western Ontario student, Veronica Lukacs. The thesis titled “It’s Complicated: Romantic breakups and their aftermath on Facebook” surveyed 107 people aged 18-35 who have had romantic breakups in the last 12 months. These are her findings (much worse than my 1 time slip looking up a long time ex):

• 48% of people remained friends with their exs on Facebook.
• 88% creeped their exs.
• 70% used a mutual friend’s profile or logged in as a mutual friend to creep their ex.
• 74% tried to creep an ex’s new partner or suspected new partner.
• 64% said they re-read or analyzed old messages from their ex.
• 50% deleted pictures of their ex from their profile.
• 31% posted pictures to try to make their ex jealous.
• 33% posted a song lyric or quote about their ex as their status.
• 52% said they were jealous of a picture their ex posted.
If you would like to read her entire thesis (173 pages!), you can do so by clicking here.

I also took a look on youtube to see if there were any clips on this subject and I was able to find one that referenced this study.  The clip is from TYT University which is a blog and video blog that talks about college life from all over the world.  The 3 commentators have all creeped their exes profiles and they list reasons why they did it.  To watch the clip, please press play.

So, I am glad to say that I have only looked my exes up a couple of times and usually only because they commented on another post I was reading.  I am happy that they are doing well and now have families of their own.  In my case, I everything worked out for the best. I am wondering how many of you have looked up your exes profiles and were you happy or sad about how their lives have turned out without you?

 

References:

Urban Dictionary: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=facebook%20stalker

Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/28/nearly-90-percent-of-people-creep-facebook_n_1687424.html

Thesis by Veronica Lukacs: http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1938&context=etd