Instagram

Is there a social media outlet that has captivated our culture quite like Instagram has? I think we can all agree that Facebook is the most popular and widely used, considering many of our grandparents are plugged in to the site. Twitter would be a close second, but Instagram is in a class of its own.
We post every picture from every event we attend on Facebook. We share our every thought on Twitter. But Instagram is saved for the best of the best. We only post our favorite pictures on Instagram; usually accompanied by an ambiguous caption that gives the photo a bit of a mysterious edge, along with a filter that perfectly highlights the photo. Instagram is all about perfection.

Nowhere on Instagram will you find sloppy pictures of groups of friends that you may find on Facebook. Instead, any friend group photo will look like its been pulled straight from a Gap catalog. Instagram is filled with photos of freshly cut fruit, perfectly ironed outfits, beautifully painted nails, and the most creative, cute crafts you have ever seen. Instagram is a place where we only post the best moments of our lives in hopes that people will visit our profile and think “Wow, what a perfect life they have!”

I’ll admit it, I’m as big an Instagram addict as any. Honestly, I think it has taken a hindrance on my life. Whenever I go out, I’m constantly thinking of possible “Instagram moments.” And when I do think of one, I’m completely stressed until the photo is taken and posted. Once it’s posted, I am still stressed because I always want my photos to hit at least 11 “likes”, because then it shows a number count instead of just a list of the “liker’s” names. Okay, I know I sound like a self-obsessed freak, but this is what Instagram has done to us all! Fellow Instagrammers will know exactly what I’m talking about.

But to be honest, even I with my 426 Instagram photos, get annoyed with the constant strive for perfection. You know what I absolutely hate? When people post pictures of freshly cut fruits with the caption, “OMG my fav food ever. So perfect!!!” NO. It is not “so perfect!!!” Because it is a LIE. Nobody’s favorite food is a freaking kiwi. When people post pictures of their so called “favorite food,” it’s clear that they are just trying to appear as a healthy, active person. We all know that if given the choice between your beloved kiwi and an ice cream cone, you’d pick the ice cream. You ain’t fooling nobody. And honestly, I don’t think anyone really cares how healthy you eat, so I’m not exactly sure why this has become a trend. I’m going to start a new trend of posting pictures of big, greasy hamburgers with the caption, “OMG my fav food ever. So perfect!!!” At least that would be an honest trend.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if people posted pictures of all moments in their life, good and bad? An Instagram that displays, you know, real life? I think Instagram often makes people feel bad about themselves, because they look at other’s flawless profiles and wish their life, too, could be that “perfect.” What we don’t always realize is that nobody posts the bad hair days, the failed tests, the embarrassing moments… We only see the good in people’s lives, and assume that they have no bad moments. Truth is, we all have those bad moments, you’re just the only one who knows about them. Somebody is probably looking at your Instagram profile too, thinking that you have a perfect life.

But for now, Instagram will stay a haven of perfection. And we will enjoy it anyway. The photo I posted this morning currently has 28 likes. It’s a good day.

Until next time, everyone!

xoxo Katie Lou

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Ruff.

I think this world would be a much better place if we all lived like a puppy.

I don’t mean that we should all walk around naked, pee on every street corner, and greet each other with a good butt sniff.

I mean that we need to live life with an outlook of a dog.

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Gibby, age 8

Dogs don’t really do much in their days. They eat, sleep, and play. They live a simple life, but they certainly don’t act like it. Every meal is met with extreme enthusiasm and excitement. Dogs eat kibble, every day, but they act like they are being served a filet mignon complete with béarnaise sauce. When a dog is taken on a walk, they make the most of every step. They walk with a spring in their step the whole way, just happy to have been taken on a walk in the first place. Dogs love to nap. They find the comfiest spot in the house, and enjoy a nice sleep. Dogs really have a fine appreciation for the simpler things in life. It doesn’t take much to please them. Just some kibble, water, a good stick, and a nice place to sleep. Maybe a walk or two.

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Dolly, age 1

Dog’s treat their owners with a genuine, overwhelming love. When their owner comes home from a long day of work, a dog reacts with such an extreme excitement. There will be lots of licks, jumps, barks, and love. They have this uncanny ability to make their owners feel appreciated… loved… and special. Dogs don’t care about race, gender, sexuality, wealth, size, or shape… If you love a dog, they will love you back. Simple as that.

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The Wood Dogs

Dogs know that their time on Earth is short. They know that one day, their lives here will be over and it will time for them to move on. They take advantage of each day of their short lives. Above all, dogs know how to live. When they want to have fun, they pick up a ball. When they want to relax, they take a good nap. They stay close to one’s they love, and always remind them of that love. I’ve never had a dog pass away, but I hear that when their last day comes, they know that its time. And they are ready for it. Because they know they have lived a happy life.

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Gibby, Dolly, and Will

We are so busy trying to figure out the many problems of the world. But I think we can learn a lot from our dogs. Maybe they’ve got it all figured out. Perhaps there isn’t some big, complicated reason as to why we are here. When it comes down to it, maybe life is just about happiness & love. Dogs live a lot shorter than we do, and maybe its because they figure that out so much sooner. So next time you’re down, or feeling like life is just too much, think about your dog. Their life is short, simple, and somewhat boring; but their tail is still wagging 🙂

xoxo Katie Lou (& Gibby & Dolly too)

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Time.

So I’ve been MIA lately and I apologize for that. I feel like I have been really busy lately, and exhausted on top of that. I haven’t found much time to blog, and if I did find time, I usually just wanted to lie down.

This summer I am working for the first time. Well, its technically not my first gig, but I don’t really count the first job. I worked at a country club, I ran the “Kids Night Out.” Its basically where the kids get dropped off while their parents attend the club parties. I worked two nights, and they were two of the most chaotic nights of my life. Twenty young children, unlimited marshmallows, and a bouncy house are not a good mix. After my second night, they never called me in again, due to my cross country schedule taking up the majority of my weekends. They never actually fired me, so I guess I technically still work there. However, I haven’t worked a single hour there since October 2009.

Anyway, this summer I am working my first long-term job. Its not technically long-term… But I have made it longer than two days. In fact, I’ve been doing it since the beginning of May. NEW RECORD 🙂 Anyway, I’m working as a nanny to two little girls, aged seven and five. They are a fun age, and they are both really sweet… But still, its hard trying to keep them entertained all day. When I get home, I am usually pretty tired. 

This week was particularly busy, because I took my first camping trip! Tucker and I spent Thursday and Friday night at Bear Creek Lake State Park. Not gonna lie… I was a bit nervous. I am not an outdoorsy person. The only things I like to do outside are run and tan. That’s it. But I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed camping! It was really quite relaxing. We went swimming, paddle boating, hiking… And it was just beautiful out there. The view of the stars was remarkable. Plus, we had access to a bathroom so it really wasn’t so bad 🙂

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Tim McGraw

Then, yesterday night, I surprised Tucker with an early birthday present… tickets to a Tim McGraw concert! Tim McGraw has been his favorite singer since he was a baby, so he was very excited 🙂 He even got to high-five Mr. McGraw himself! And Tim was awesome! He put on a great show, and he can still really rock for a forty-six year old.

So, as you can now see. It has been a very busy week, and that’s why I haven’t been able to blog much. Or, at all, really. To be honest, I’ve also been a little down this week. The summer is going by really really fast and I just feel like time is slipping away from me. I’m excited to start up at JMU, but I just wish I had more time. Soon my time with my family and Tucker will be gone for a while.

Time is a difficult concept for me to grasp. Like where does it come from? And where does it go? And why, when you are waiting for something, time goes by achingly slow? But when you are in the midst of something exciting, something fun; time seems to fly by? And we all know that eventually, our time will run out. So we as humans are faced with the daunting task of making the most of the time that we are given. And that’s scary, because you’ll never know if you made the most of your time until its gone.

And this summer, that is the problem I have been facing. When the Fall begins, will I be able to look back at my summer and feel that I made the most of it? I just feel like there is so much to do: spend time with my family and friends and Tucker, work hard at my job, try to run, blog, relax, have fun… But there is so little time to do all these things! I don’t know exactly what I am trying to get at here… I guess I’m just struggling with the fact that my summer is quickly ending, and I’m really not ready for it.

One of my favorite songs is “Seasons of Love” from the musical, Rent. Throughout the song, the question is asked:

How do you measure, measure a year?

I always thought it was an interesting question. How do you measure time: a day or a week or a month or a year? I think it really is a difficult thing to grasp. For me, it sometimes seems like an individual day goes by slowly, but when you look back, time seems to have flown by. Its hard for me to believe that I have been living for close to nineteen years. It has gone by fast.

I suppose its an ancient struggle that humans will forever deal with. How do we measure our time here, and more importantly, make the most of that time? I didn’t mean to get so deep with this. Really all I’m wondering is how to have a fun final weeks of the summer… I tend to get a bit overdramatic. Nonetheless, I hope you all are making the most of your summers! I promise to blog again real soon 🙂

xoxo Katie Lou

Beach Etiquette

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When I was nine years old, my parents bought our beach house in Nags Head, North Carolina. Since then, we have spent a good amount of our summers there. The highlight was always the Fourth of July. We always have a big group of friends and family down there, which makes for a lot of fun. The only negative thing about the holiday is the mass of people that take over the beach. In a short amount of time, the beach goes from being moderately mellow to complete hooplah. The beaching experience of Fourth of July is not particularly relaxing, or even enjoyable at times, its actually pretty annoying.

There is a term some of local friends taught us: tourons (tourist + moron = tourons). Tourons are people who really just seem to know how to handle themselves on the beach. You know, those people whom don’t seem realize that there are hundreds of others on the same beach. Well on Fourth of July, the tourons take the beach in grand fashion.

Tourons are an annoyance to everyone around them. You may be laughing now, but you probably have more touron tendencies than you realize (thats okay- we all do). My mom and I used to joke about writing a book called “Beach Etiquette,” that would teach people all of the dos and do nots of beaching. But now that I have a blog, why write a book? I can post my tips here! I debated weather or not to actually write this post, because I did not want to come off as snobby. But then I remembered that my email address did used to be “BeachDiva94,” so I figured, why not? It’s time for the Beach Diva to go to work.

Here are some tips for all of you beach-goers to ensure an enjoyable day for yourself, and those around you…

  1. Do NOT smoke on the beach. While many of these tips will be more on the frivolous side, this one is really bothersome to a lot of people. The beach is a windy place, people. Your secondhand smoke blows all up in everybody else’s faces. Not only is this annoying, but its also a health issue. Some people have asthma (cough, me, cough). So please, hold off for a few hours.
  2. Stay in your personal bubble. The beach will be crowded for sure, but that does not mean that we all need to be sitting on top of each other. When you get out and set up camp, take a damn look around! Give people a reasonable amount of space. Oh, and please look around as you are walking down to the ocean. Don’t just trudge through people’s stuff.
  3. Do NOT feed the birds. I feel like this should be an obvious one, something we all learn by age three. But no, every year I always see adults giving the birds their leftovers! Haven’t you all seen Finding Nemo? Birds are always hungry, and they are always annoying. If they know food is around, they WILL. NEVER. LEAVE. And then because of your stupid decision, the birds will be flying, squawking, and pooping on everyone else. Image
  4. Keep your clothes on. This is not as common, but every year I always see somebody half nude tanning on the beach. Look, unless you are visiting a known Nude Beach, please keep everything covered up. Sorry that you won’t get a full body tan, but I mean come on. There are families there. Kids. Or people that just don’t want to look at your ass.
  5. Do NOT surf. Surfing is cool, I wish I could surf. But Fourth of July is NOT the time to surf. The ocean will be filled to the brim with people, more than any other day of the year. Surfing quickly goes from fun to dangerous. As someone who has nearly been ran over by a surfer, please go early in the morning or just wait for another day.
  6. Watch your spraying and flapping. This is probably the most common occurrence on this whole list! As I mentioned before, the beach is a windy place. Therefore, your spray on-screen and sand from your towel will travel quick. Be careful! As I have said multiple times, take a good look around! Do not go spraying your sunscreen or flapping your towel in a crowded area. How would you feel to be showered in Banana Boat with a side of sand? Exactly.
  7. Do NOT fly a kite. I realize that flying kites is sort of a beach pastime, and its a fun activity for the kids. But Fourth of July is just not the time. The beach is far too crowded, and your kite will fall on some unhappy beach-goers. I know the beach is kind of an ideal kite flying location, but realistically, you can fly one anywhere. So please relocate and leave all the sunbathers in peace.

There are many more things I could mention, but these are the basics. Don’t feel bad if you realize that you commit many of these things annually, most of us do. Even the Beach Diva herself is guilty of frequent towel flapping. But if we take these tips to heart and be mindful of our surroundings, I believe we can have a peaceful Fourth of July beach day! It can be done. If you take one thing from this post, I hope it is such:

DO NOT BE A TOURON.

Here’s to a happy, safe, a touron-free July 4th, everyone! Remember your beach etiquette 😉

xoxo Katie Lou

Perspective from the “Entitled” Generation

This post is a response to another blogger, Kelly Williams Brown, whom may I add, is a big-time blogger and way above me when it comes to blogging. Anyway, she wrote a post that offers advice to the current generation trying to grow up. You can read it here. Her main point?

Accept that you are not that special.

Okay, I get what she is trying to say. And on its own, it probably wouldn’t bother me that much. The reason I got SO rilled up is because of the many ignorant comments left behind. Here is just a select few…

What????? But, mom said!!! And, I got 165 likes on my Instagram pic of my new high waisted shorts?

Generation “not my fault”

Yes! Stop acting like entitled little SNOTS!!!!

There are SO many comments like that, too many to post here, and thats what got me so heated. Our generation, known as “millennials,” is constantly being criticized for being too fat, too lazy, and this time too entitled. I think this one bothers me the most, because it is a hit to our character. Now, to solve this “problem” Ms. Brown believes we should accept that we are not special. Many of the commenters believe our parents should not treat us like we are special.

Frankly, I just think all of it is bullshit. Because, we are special. I know it sounds cliche, but everyone is special in their own way. We all have our strengths and talents. Some of us are made to be artists, some are made to be businessmen, some athletes, or musicians, or chefs, or parents; I could go on and on.

I firmly believe that the potential for greatness lies within all of us. It definitely takes a lot of hard work and diligence to reach that potential. However, it also takes a great deal of confidence. If you don’t believe you can accomplish something, you probably never will. So I happen to disagree with Ms. Brown. I believe that us “millennials” that are beginning to enter the real world should never forget that they ARE special. We shouldn’t settle for a cubicle job when we want to be a CEO. We need to believe we are great to accomplish great things. And as much as these same people complain about the current state of our country, our generation is going to need to do some pretty great things.

In a world where blog commenters are always putting us down, I think its okay for parents to point out the special things in their child. A kid’s confidence has a lot to do in what their parents say to them. I have been very lucky to have had parents who instilled a lot of confidence in me. They have always encouraged me to try new things and strive for the best. Because of them, I have realized that I have strong leadership and speaking skills, which is why I hope to be a pretty damn good teacher one day.

So that’s my piece. Some of you may disagree with it, but I don’t write to make everyone happy. Now that I have this blog, I’m not gonna let this generation trashing go unnoticed! Until next time 🙂

xoxo Katie