The Best And Worst 13th Birthday Gift Ever, Thanks, Dad

The Best And Worst 13th Birthday Gift Ever, Thanks, Dad

Happy Birthday, here's some yard work!
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Turning 13 is a milestone in everyone's life. You're finally considered a teenager and you've been waiting for that title since you were little. I don't remember a lot about my 13th birthday but I do remember the one gift I was dreading, a weed wacker. Now, I knew this was my inevitable future and after years of watching my sisters help cut the grass (they also suffered the same 13th birthday gift), it was my turn.

I don't remember how I felt the first time I was sent out to go weed wack but I'm assuming it was something like this:

I'm also assuming that my dad stood inside watching me like this:

Years later and I am 19 years old and still out there weed-whacking every spring-fall. Of course, I didn't get this wonderful gift without expecting some lessons to come along with it.

One thing I learned was that if you're going to do something, you might as well do it right the first time. When I first started weed wacking, it was hard. I have a pretty large, slightly hilly yard so walking up and down it in the summer heat wasn't fun (I mean it still isn't but I think I've become accustomed to it). I was tired, hot, and sick of lugging my weed wacker around so I'd sometimes "miss" a spot or two in hopes of finishing early.

Yeah, that never worked. Every time I tried to skip out on a tree or two my dad would immediately notice. I would hear his lawnmower pull up to the back door and hear it shut off and that's when I knew I wasn't off the hook. Although, sometimes I would attempt to hide in hopes that if he didn't see me he would forget about the tragic weed-ridden weeping willow in the front yard.

That never worked. I would always have to go back out there and finish the job I started. Now, I realized that I can still work fast and do a good job to get out of the heat. I just have to take some long strides in between trees.

Something else I learned was responsibility. I mean I had chores every day but those were always wildcards but I knew if I came home from school in the spring or fall and it was nice outside, I was going to weed wack. I learned how to prioritize my time if I wanted to hang out with friends. And I learned that, if I do an extra good job and it doesn't rain, I may have three or four days without weed-whacking instead of just two.

Yard work will never be my "chore of choice" but if I ever need to remind myself how to do hard work, catch me outside with my week wacker in hand and a look of despair on my face.

Cover Image Credit: Mark Wilnauer

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27 Things To Do With Your Friends When You're Bored

A little bit of fun for any season.
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I am sure many could relate: you are texting or sitting around with your friends and no one knows what they want to do, everyone is bored, and everyone is flat out of ideas that are actually realistic and achievable. Boredom makes an appearance at it's finest moments... always.

Here are 27 things you can do with your friend in just about any season (some are exclusive to a particular season) when boredom takes over!

1. Find a local coffee shop to try out.

2. Or better yet, find a local restaurant that you’ve all been wanting to try.

3. Go shopping at each others' favorite stores.

4. Tie balloons with positive messages inside of them to random places in your town to uplift a few souls.

5. Cook a homemade meal for a homeless person and deliver it.

6. Get crafty and create a time capsule that you and your friends can open after (x) amount of years.

7. Make your own sushi.

8. Plant flowers in little pots for your homes.

9. Road trip to random local cities and do some exploring.

10. Have a photo shoot.

11. Buy or create a blank page’s journal filled art, writing, sketches, and pictures of your friends that can be used as a memory book.

12. Visit a pumpkin patch.

13. Go stargazing in the middle of the night with a blanket and a few midnight snacks.

14. Go to a haunted house.

15. Go to a movie with the group.

16. Have a giant sleepover with board games, snacks, movies, and crazy pajamas.

17. Have a game night with the peeps.

18. Have a gingerbread making contest.

19. Have a bonfire when it gets cool outside.

20. Make homemade ice cream.

21. Search on maps for the nearest natural spring or river and go swimming or canoeing.

22. Take a camera, your group of friends, and stroll around town taking pictures of your adventure.

23. Use the pictures you take on your adventures and create a photo wall in your home.

24. Have a "Madea" movie night.

25. Throw a themed party.

26. Write letters of encouragement to children (or adults) in hospitals.

27. Look up random keywords on YouTube for possibly some of the best videos ever.

Cover Image Credit: aurimas_m / Flickr

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Not Having The 'Picture Perfect' Body Shape Doesn't Mean You Can't Wear A Bikini

All shapes and size are acceptable and beautiful.

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Summer has finally come again and it's now the time where everyone regrets not working out to get their "perfect" summer body. I'm here to say that these summer bodies everyone has been talking about are an unhealthy way to look at yourself and can hurt one's body image. If you're a size zero, that's great for you. If you're not a size zero, that is still great for you. There is no defined size that is required to wear a bikini during the summer, and there shouldn't be these unrealistic society norms on who can and can't wear them.

My entire life I was never worried about my size or how I look in a clothing item such as a bathing suit during the summer. I had always maintained a small figure from being active in grade school all the way through high school. Now that I am in college with no daily or weekly (and sometimes even monthly) exercise routine, I have gained weight and started to feel self conscious in what I look like in certain items that show my stomach. I don't look like the swimsuit models that are posted all over Instagram and started to feel that when summer came along I shouldn't be caught dead in a bathing suit or a shirt that showed any part of my stomach. I was beginning to feel bad about my body image because I didn't have the body shape or size that is considered to be a "society norm" and let it get to me. This is when I knew I needed to change my mindset, and not my physical appearance.

Just because someone isn't a certain size doesn't mean they should be shame into not wearing something they like or makes them feel good about themselves. Summertime is all about being in the sun at the beach or at the pool and getting a tan and getting in the water. This things require a swimsuit of some sort. The size and shape of someone's body shouldn't put a restriction on what type of bathing suit they choose to wear, and no one should comment on how they look in it in a negative manner. For some people, it's hard to lose weight just as it is hard for some people to gain weight. Society is always making remarks about girls being "too small" or "too big" or comments that are similar to those and it's putting a negative effect on how women view themselves which makes it harder for them to have a sense of self love.

Let a woman feel good about herself in what she's wearing no matter her size and leave the rude comments to yourself. Whether she is a size 0 or greater, she is still adding beauty into the world. If you want to wear a bikini, then do it. Don't let the negative people in society harshen your summertime fun.

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