Category: Teen Life

7 Things All Teens Should Know About Applying to College

college student
Picture Source: https://flic.kr/p/nzfebX

Let’s face it: whether you’re just starting to look at colleges or racing to finish your personal essay before the deadline, college applications can be intimidating. The good news? They don’t have to be. With a little guidance, any teen can navigate the college application process like a pro.

As a content fellow at Khan Academy, I’ve spent the last year and a half talking to admissions officers, financial aid professionals, and students who’ve been through the college application process themselves. They all had a ton of wisdom to share – things I wish I’d known back when I was applying to college!

#1: Your phone is your friend.

Phones aren’t just for texting – they’re also a great way to get homework help on the go. With more and more free learning apps available every day, the information you need is literally at your fingertips. Khan Academy, for example, has practice problems, video lessons, and articles on math, science, history, and much more on its Android and iPhone apps.

By using the resources on your phone, you can take charge of your own learning. That’s important, because your high school grades are a big part of your college application. In fact, most colleges say that your high school transcript is the most important part – they want to see that you’ve taken challenging classes and done well in them.

Student story: High school classes:

#2: Don’t be discouraged by the sticker price.

Some teens avoid applying to specific colleges – or applying to college at all – because they worry they can’t afford it. There’s no denying that college can be expensive. On average, it costs almost $20,000 per year to attend a four-year public college, including tuition, meals, and housing. The average cost of attending a private college is even higher: over $40,000 a year.

Fortunately, financial aid can make college much more affordable. Financial aid includes scholarships, grants (which don’t have to be paid back), and loans (which do). You can apply for financial aid from the federal government, private organizations, and colleges themselves. In fact, the schools with the highest sticker prices often provide the most financial aid.

Perhaps you’ve heard back from your first-choice school about your financial aid application, and they didn’t offer you as much aid as you’d hoped. The conversation doesn’t have to stop there – it’s perfectly acceptable to appeal the school’s decision. For example, if you’ve received a more generous offer from your second-choice school, you can share that info with school #1.

Student story: Overcoming financial obstacles to college

#3: You don’t have to pay big bucks to do well on the SAT.

For many students, taking standardized test like the SAT and ACT is the most intimidating part of applying to college. Fortunately – since the SAT and ACT test what you’ve learned in high school – you’ve been preparing for them since freshman year, even if you didn’t realize it at the time. Better yet, you can find free resources online to help you study.

For the SAT in particular, check out Khan Academy’s Official SAT Practice. It includes information about the test, personalized practice recommendations, and tons of practice questions. These are all free, and all developed in partnership with the College Board, the non-profit organization that writes the SAT.

Student story: Standardized tests:

#4: Ordinary events can inspire extraordinary essays.

Many teens think that their college application essay needs to about something epic – curing cancer or starring on Broadway or competing in the Olympics. I haven’t done anything like that, they worry, so how can I write a good essay?

The truth is that some of the best essays are about everyday events. In fact, one of the admissions officers I interviewed – someone who’s read thousands of essays – said that his favorite essay of all time was about working at a fast food restaurant!

Your personal essay is the most personal part of your application. It’s a chance for admissions officers to get to know you – how you reflect on your experiences and what makes you unique. So don’t worry about whether your topic is important enough – write about something that’s important to you, and let your thoughts and feelings shine through.

Writing a strong college admissions essay:

#5: Do your homework.

There’s no better way to gauge whether or not a school’s a good fit than the gut feeling you get from actually stepping foot on a college campus. Visiting campuses is one of the most enjoyable parts of the application process and arguably the best way to get a sense of what attending that college is really like. For many colleges, an interview is also part of the application process. Before your interview, get to know the school – what makes it different from other colleges? Exploring the school website is a great way to start your research.

You can use what you learn as a starting point for your interview, but make sure to ask questions that can’t be answered just by reading the college’s website. For example, you might ask about the school culture, or what it’s like to participate in one of the programs you discovered in your research..

Doing your homework shows that you’re really interested in the school, and that you’ve thought about why it might be a good fit for you. You’ll also learn more and get more out of the interview if you can ask specific questions about specific programs.

Student story: Admissions interview:

#6: There’s another reason to schedule a campus visit or interview at a school.

If you already know that you want to attend a particular school, you might think there’s no need to visit it. But visiting isn’t just a way to learn more about the school – it’s also a way to show admissions officers that you’re interested.

Also, if the college’s admissions website “recommends” an interview, you should view the interview as required. Visiting a campus and scheduling an interview, tour, and/or overnight stay are all great ways of demonstrating that you’re especially interested in a school.

If you’re worried about the cost, you can always ask the school whether they have any programs to help lower-income students visit, or whether they hold virtual interviews for students who can’t make it to the campus. More and more schools are offering these options, and It never hurts to check!

Visiting campus: Campus Visit Alternative: Online Tour

#7: Get excited!

There’s no doubt that applying to college is a big job, but it’s also the start of a big adventure. College isn’t just a continuation of high school. It’s a chance to explore, make new friends from around the world, and choose what you want to learn.

College is what you make of it – so dream big, and enjoy the ride!

Student story: College brings new friends, learning, and freedom:

For more college application tips, check out Khan Academy college admissions site. And if you have your own tip to share, let us know below!

Madeleine Traver is the College Admissions Content Fellow at Khan Academy – a nonprofit with a mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. Having recently graduated from the University of Southern California, she now helps other students achieve their college dreams.

Need a Scholarship? There’s an App for That! Interview with Scholly Founder Christopher Gray

scholly_v

College application season is in full swing.  One of the biggest questions on students’ (and parents’) minds besides where they’ll be enrolled this time next year is how they’re going to pay for it all.  Unfortunately, many families cannot afford to pay for college out of pocket and their institution of choice can’t provide adequate aid. The ultimate question becomes: How do you avoid the staggering student loan debt that follows graduates well into their careers?

The good news is, there are millions of dollars in scholarships (both need and merit-based) to be had and they can all be found on Scholly (www.myscholly.com).  Scholly is a web and app platform that quickly matches students to the scholarships they personally qualify for.  Scholly’s patented matching engine uses 8 parameters (such as gender, state, GPA, race, etc.) to quickly filter and deliver a targeted list of appropriate scholarships along with links and deadlines.  The app is just $3 which covers both web and phone access.

(In addition to buying Scholly on an individual basis, the Buy 2 Give program allows companies, government agencies and other entities to buy the app in bulk to provide to their constituents.  Many cities and companies have been giving back to their community by offering Scholly to local high school and college students.)

Q&A WITH CHRISTOPHER GRAY, FOUNDER OF SCHOLLY

Describe the environment you were brought up in. 

I grew up in Birmingham, AL with a single mom and two baby siblings. My mother lost her job in 2008 when the recession hit. In fact, many people lost their jobs. Also, the fact that I was in an under funded, inner city school system didn’t help. There was violence, gangs, and a culture filled with anti-intellectualism. Students who were bright and motivated were often overshadowed and smothered, and that coupled with a lack of economic opportunity made it even harder to succeed no matter how hard you worked. If you were interested in things outside of the entertainment industry and sports, the chances of you finding like-minded peers were slim to none. Despite that, I worked hard and started my own organizations to create my own opportunities. I refused to allow that environment to define me and stagnate my intellectual potential.

chris_gray

How did you find the self-motivation to extricate yourself from those circumstances when so many others around you were not motivated?

At the end of the day, many would call me an outlier and an exception to the rule. I had never had any real desire to “fit in” and remained intellectually driven despite the culture I grew up in. While I didn’t have like minded peers, I did have great mentors who were from outside of Birmingham who helped me, supported me, and provided me with opportunities that I would not have had otherwise. It was still tough being an oddball and being so different than those around you. However, having successful mentors were somewhat of a North Star to me, directing me toward my freedom even if it was just intellectually.

Did you have any help or mentoring in terms of applying for colleges? If so, who were your mentors?

Since my high school guidance counselor didn’t have much time to help, I actually relied on websites and even added random people on Facebook who got into the schools I was applying to. It was pretty effective and some jumped on the phone with me to help. It was amazing how kind people were. These were people from schools like NYU, Drexel, Penn, and more. In my mind, what better way to find out how to get in a school than to ask the people that got in. I’m sure they thought I was weird, but I was a 17-year-old boy trying to get into college so I didn’t care. I also had a teacher who helped me with my essays so that was helpful. In fact, she was the same teacher who helped me with my scholarship essays.

Describe how you began searching for scholarships on your phone.   How did you know how to search – to put in the right terms, etc. that eventually led to you getting 1.3 million in scholarship money to fund your education at Drexel?  What particular talents did you use, and how can others learn from your example?

When I had to search for scholarships, I used sites like Fast Web and Scholarships.com. They were really the only thing out there at the time. It would take you about 20 minutes to put in all of your personal information and then the sites would give hundreds of matches that you had to sort through in order to see if you qualified for them. The process took me months.

To add to the frustration, I was only able to use computers at local libraries and at school for a very short period of time. The forced me to have to apply for some scholarships via my cell phone. For some scholarships I would literally have to write my essays down and then type them into fields on my small phone screen. The process was agonizing and tedious, but I knew I had to do it.

I started looking for scholarships during my junior year of high school, allowing me to spend that time searching in order to use my senior year to actually apply for everything. In hindsight, this was an effective strategy considering my lack of resources at the time.

How did you get the idea to turn your knack for scholarship “findology” into a business?

I found that the hardest part about getting money for college was actually finding the funds. There is money out there, but students do not know where to find it. The search process took me months and that was with an ungodly amount of grit and persistence. It can take some students even longer and most just give up altogether. There had to be an easier way. There have to be certain things each scholarship looks for that makes students qualify for them.

That’s how I came up with our “eight parameters system” for Scholly. I looked through a lot of scholarships to find out what criteria made a student eligible for a scholarship. That’s the core of the Scholly search. The goal of Scholly is remove the search process and to give students access to funds to pay for college.

Scholly App High Res ImageTalk about starting Scholly while you were still in college.

Starting a company in college has both its advantages and disadvantages. The upside is that you are in college and with entrepreneurship at the top of everyone’s minds, you have access to mentors and a lot of free capital through competitions. Between Drexel and other competitions, I won around $130,000 dollars for Scholly. Similar to scholarships, I became pretty good at raising “free money” for Scholly Also, as a student you have access to lots of mentors and programs that can assist you in starting and growing your company.

The downside is of your course that you are a student and you have to take these annoying things called classes.  As one could imagine, it was incredibly difficult trying to take five classes each term while running a growing company. The choice between being a good student and a great entrepreneur was a daily struggle. It’s really tough to strike the balance.

What was the turning point where you knew this could be a real business?

Starting Scholly was all around the notion of helping other people. In order to do that, I had to create a sustainable and growing business. We hit a turning point when my team and I realized that we couldn’t simply rely on press to keep us afloat. We had to commit full time to the company in order to push things forward.

What has been your greatest challenge getting your business off the ground?

My greatest challenge was definitely trying to balance being a student and running a company.

How many millions of dollars in scholarships have been awarded to students using Scholly?  

Currently, we have helped students raise over $15 million. We have tracked that through self reporting. When our new app comes out next month, we will be able to track other metrics. [The app is now live]

Besides leading students to potential scholarship matches for them, do you also offer advice on how to apply successfully? 

Our new app will provide tips on the application process.

Do you worry that by raising awareness of all that “hidden money” that the competition will get tougher and make scholarships harder, not easier, to obtain?

Our goal right now is make the scholarship search process as easiest as possible. By doing so, we will make scholarships more competitive. However, our goal is to eventually create a market place where more scholarships can be created and promoted to students to increase the supply side of the scholarship space to help meet the increase in demand.

Do you have any statistics on the amount of student debt that currently exists in the U.S.?    

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/05/08/congratulations-class-of-2015-youre-the-most-indebted-ever-for-now/

How do you see the future of Scholly?   How will the concept and the company evolve?

Scholly’s mission to provide access to opportunity. While we are starting with scholarships, we plan to begin to match students with and promote other educational opportunities as well. Our slogan is, “opportunity for all” and we plan to provide that access through our platform.

Easy Recipes for Teens To Make from The Twin Chefs Lilly and Audrey Andrews – Plus Interview!

The Twin Chefs (1)
Lilly and Audrey Andrews started watching the Food Network at three because most of the cartoons on TV were frankly too frightening. They saw eggplants being featured and their curiosity grew. They went with their mom to the market, brought some eggplant home and learned to sauté that very night. One day their mom overheard the girls arguing about whether a parfait was flavored with lemon extract or orange zest. It was becoming clear this was going to be more than an after school activity but a true passion. They may be twins but each has their own personality and food palette. Audrey likes her eggs scrambled, Lilly likes them fried.  Ask them about making peanut butter and jelly and you’re in for a surprise. No PB&J for them! They like fig preserves and goat cheese on soft bread with a little lemon zest. There weren’t any cooking classes for kids their age but growing up in Sonoma, CA, they’ve had no shortage of fine chefs to observe and to observe them, making sure they properly handle knives and utensils.”

The Twin Chefs have made many national TV appearances including Good Morning AmericaEntertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood Live and EllenThe twins also recently finished a national campaign as the “spokes-twins” for Cuties, those delicious tiny tangerines that are easy to peel. AND, they have cooked with some of the top chefs including Wolfgang Puck.

Today the girls want to eat the same food their parents eat. Their motto is, “kid friendly food with grown up style.”  Their recipes are ones that kids, teens AND adults all love.

Lilly and Audrey came up with FIVE EXCLUSIVE recipes just for Teens Wanna Know’s readers. These snacks are all wholesome and super easy to prepare by any teen. Of course, check with a parent or guardian first if you don’t have a lot of experience in the kitchen. After the recipes, keep reading for an interview with the girls!

Cherry Chocolate Crunch Mix

Cherry Chocolate Crunch Mix
Serves 4
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp ground clove
1/8 tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
2 cups multigrain cereal squares
1 cup pecans, rough chopped
Vegetable oil spray
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper for easier cleanup. Spread the cereal and pecans onto the parchment paper, set aside. In a small bowl mix together, allspice, ground clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and sugar. Lightly spray the cereal and pecans with vegetable oil spray, sprinkle the spice mixture over the cereal and pecans and stir to distribute evenly, place in the oven for 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and when completely cooled mix with the chocolate chips and dried cherries in a bowl and serve. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Plum and Goat Cheese Pizza

Plum and Goat Cheese Pita Pizza
Serves 2
Fresh and easy, this pita pizza will tide you over until dinner.
2 Whole Wheat Pitas
1 small plum
¼ cup goat cheese
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup fresh baby arugula
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place Pitas on a small baking sheet, and brush one side of both with one teaspoon olive oil. Place thin slices of plum in a circular pattern around pitas. Divide the goat cheese in half and crumble on top of each pita. Pinch of fresh ground black pepper over each pita. Bake for 10 minutes. While the pizzas are baking, toss the arugula with remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. When pizzas are done, place on a cutting board and divide the fresh arugula onto the middle of each pizza slice and serve.

Pumkin Frappe

Pumpkin Maple Frappe
Serves 1
The Pumpkin Maple Frappe is delicious and perfect for fall. Not to mention super easy to blend up after school! It tastes creamy and sweet, but is surprisingly healthy.
½ cup 100% Pure Canned Pumpkin
1 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
3 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Cup Ice

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend on high until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour into a glass, sprinkle with a pinch of pumpkin pie spice and serve.

Sesame Peanut Dip

Sesame Peanut Dip with Fresh Veggies
Serving Size 2 tablespoons each, Serves 4
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons lime juice
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
½ teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)
1 large red, yellow or orange sweet pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into ¼ inch strips
2 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼ inch pieces

Rinse and cut vegetables, set aside. In a small bowl stir together the peanut butter and almond milk until combined. Next add the sesame oil, soy sauce and lime juice, stir until combined. Stir in red pepper flakes, sprinkle the top with the toasted sesame seeds and serve with fresh cut vegetables.

Twin Chef Udon Noodle Bowl

Twin Chefs Udon Noodle Bowl
Serves 2
As fall quickly approaches, enjoy this quick and easy noodle bowl after school! We chose to use Udon noodles because they have a great texture, not to mention they are already cooked so they are quick to prepare. You can find them in the produce department in the refrigerated section of the market. Enjoy! –Audrey and Lilly
7.27 oz. Package cooked Udon Noodles
1 ¼ cup chicken broth
¼ cup shredded carrot
¼ cup shredded zucchini
1 green onion
Pinch of red pepper flakes
¼ tsp salt, or to taste
¼ tsp pepper

Using the large side of a cheese grater, grate the carrot and zucchini and chop the onions, set aside. In a medium sized microwave safe bowl add the Udon noodles, chicken broth, onions, carrot, zucchini, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. (Noodles will separate as they cook.) Microwave on high for three and a half minutes. Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave, stir and let cool for 5 minutes. Divide into two bowls and serve. This is great to take in a wide mouth thermos to school.

And now, here’s the interview!

Nice to e-meet you! First of all, thank you for providing the five recipes. Which of the five is each of your personal favorite and why?

Lilly: My favorite is probably the peanut sauce. It’s very simple, and tastes amazing with most vegetables. It’s an easy dip to spruce up a snack.

Audrey: I personally love the noodle bowl! Especially as the weather is cooling, it can also double as dinner. I like to add a few extra red pepper flakes to mine!

You were inspired to cook when you watched the Food Network at age 3 because cartoons were too scary. Which is your all- time favorite Food Network show or chef and why?

Lilly: Audrey and I liked to watch any Food Network shows that were on, but one favorite of mine was Ina Garten.

Audrey: Alton Brown was always one of my favorites. I loved the science aspects of his shows.

The Twin ChefsAnd which cartoon do you remember was particularly terrible/scary?

Lilly: For some reason, the Flintstones made me really uncomfortable. The characters were so loud!

Audrey: I agree. Although none are coming to mind at the moment, all of the flashing and loud bangs freaked us out!

Which dish have you tried to make and failed at? What happened?

Lilly: I remember trying to make caramel, and it got so burnt that the wooden spoon couldn’t be taken out of the mixture! I didn’t know how to clean it and I was scared that my parents would get mad because I ruined the pan.

Audrey: One fall when we were pretty young we wanted to create a pumpkin bar recipe, we gave up after about the tenth time it didn’t turn out. We should really try again!

What is each of yours personal favorite thing to cook?

Lilly: Our favorite thing to make changes with the season, but right now mine is definitely any kind of soup or stew.

Audrey: I love to cook and experiment making different kinds of Thai food.

When you go out, what food do you like to eat made by others (like a restaurant)?

Lilly: At restaurants I generally like to try a new item or ask for what the chef recommends. It’s always fun to change things up!

Audrey: A food that never gets old for me is sushi. It’s prepared a little differently at every place you go to, so it’s always a new experience.

Twin Chefs Selfie
We asked for a selfie from these talented teens!

 

How do you come up with new dishes?

Lilly & Audrey: Inspiration for new recipes can come from anywhere, a change in season, a new cookbook, or a food from a restaurant can spark our interest. There are many different ways we come up with new dishes but mostly we just brainstorm an idea and try it!

How do you feel about GMOs?

Lilly & Audrey: Genetically modified foods are generally safe for consumption, but can interrupt the flavor and quality of produce. For example, many tomatoes have been modified to have thinner skin and be juicier. But with this the flavor is very watered down compared to an heirloom tomato. We think natural fruits and vegetables are naturally delicious.

What is your guilty food pleasure?

Lilly: My guilty food pleasure has to be pasta with cream sauce. It’s not very healthy, but is a warm and comforting dinner.

Audrey: Mine has to be when my dad makes a batch of our family blond brownies. Definitely a treat during the holidays but I love them all year long.

Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you?

Lilly & Audrey: People would be surprised to know that music is another one of our passions. We love many artists and bands and love sharing this passion with our friends.

What is coming up next for you?

Lilly: Fall/Winter is very busy but we still find time to work on all of our Twin Chefs adventures and never stop learning new cooking techniques! Outside of the chef-realm, we are focusing on school and hanging out with friends.

Audrey: I can’t wait to start working with fall squash again! It’s one of my favorite types of seasonal vegetables, but this year, I plan on making something really outside of the box.

Where can fans follow you on social media?

Website: http://www.twinchefs.net/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lilly-Audrey-the-Twin-Chefs-272652284020/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LillyAudrey

Instagram: https://instagram.com/twinchefs/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/twinchefs/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCozM-BeGFVH6cP9oK496Xkg

Anything else we should know?

Lilly: Cooking is really fun and a great skill to have, you don’t have to depend on someone else to serve you up delicious food! It’s also very social, friends will love coming over to cook, eat, and hang out.

Audrey: Our cookbook “We Heart Cooking” has great recipes to get teens cooking healthy delicious food that everyone will love.

WeHeartCooking Finalcover

 

Top 10 Biggest Myths about High School


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High School!

Looking back at those years, I am filled with bittersweet agony. I, like so many millions, looked forward to entering high school and did so with the best of intentions. However, I made a few missteps — a lot of which were a result of pressure built on by the numerous myths which filled my head about high school from movies, T.V. and books which made high school look like some sort of a wild jungle party.

In the following, I will be debunking a few of them for every teen out there who is about to enter high school.

a21. Only the popular kids have fun

No high school is anything like what we were shown in the movie Mean Girls! There is no elite group which runs the whole school. Yes, there will be certainly people who are more outgoing than others and have a wider circle of friends, but the truth is that most high schools are so big that people don’t really care about how popular you are. And there are not going to be crazy parties every weekend being thrown by this popular clique, with being invited to the party as some sort of acceptance criteria.

The idea is to find your group of friends or like-minded people and have the best time possible while focusing on learning as much as you can (and proving it with good grades). Most parties or hangouts are among close group of friends and are low key. The supreme power of the popular clique is a total myth, unless your high school has like 30 kids in it total. 

Do not enter high school with a mindset that you need to be part of any clique to survive that place. You just have to be yourself for the right kind of friends to like you just the way you are.

a32. I’d better hide on Freshman Friday

I remember walking scared all day long on the first Friday of my high school year. All you freshmen out there, you may breathe a sigh of relief there is hardly such thing as a Freshman Friday any more!

It took me a whole day of holding my breath to realize everyone’s just too busy and don’t really care enough about the freshman to torture them. Some seniors might make you feel that they are superior to you in some ways, which they really aren’t except for their knowledge about the building. There might be some ragging or some people might pull a few pranks but people rarely get physical, unless you somehow end up involved with the wrong kind of kids — in which case get an adult involved if you do not feel safe or are bullied harshly.

Many high schools offer freshmen some sort of mentoring program to jump start their high school experience, so make sure you check out what your school has to offer before the school year starts.

a43. Everyone drives a wicked cool car in high school

Not everyone comes to school in their own personal Benz or Mustang GT — most of the cars in the parking lot probably belong to the teachers or the staff.

Unless your parents got bucks, the usual way you get your first car is that you finish school, get a job and then get your own car, even if its a jalopy. Do not expect your parents to buy you a car automatically when you turn 16, and do not enter high school thinking you need a ride to impress people.

If you want to impress people impress them with your talents and your personality.

a54. Appearance is the key to acceptance

Yes, it is true that we become more aware of our sense of style and fashion in the high school years, but it certainly doesn’t mean you have to be on some sort of a bandwagon.

It helps to look presentable and take care of your grooming, because that is just polite and also makes you feel good, but your style or the label on your clothing is not the key to your social life. Within a couple of weeks after school starts everyone gets so busy with exams, projects and other stuff that people hardly pay attention to what other people are wearing.

So no need to fret over what to wear every morning, just follow what is your true style or whatever you are in the mood for.

napa photo booth company youboothsf.com5. These are the best years of my life

A lot of teens enter high school thinking these are supposed to be the best years of their lives and they should live it up as much as they can before its all over.

Also, just because everyone seems to be dating, doesn’t mean you have to be in any hurry…because the best years are still to come. Your thirties and forties will be way better than this, believe me.

These are the years to make mistakes and not take things too seriously. I was so nervous about “being trapped” that I ended up being in an open relationship. I thought with this no strings attached kind of thing going I would be happy and free, but the truth is I ended up being miserable and multiple commitments even effected my grades.

High school can be a different sort of an experience for everyone. You shouldn’t enter high school with too many preconceived ideas. It is the best time to explore yourself, and what options you have for the future. Your college admission also depends on what you do in this time, so sacrifice a little here by hitting the books and it should pay off in the best years of your life later.

a76. The only thing that matters is my grades

Another myth which should be debunked here is that teens often think “I don’t need to participate in extra-curricular activities; I should just focus on my grades.” This statement is completely false.

Colleges and Universities always look for well-rounded applicants. Even if you are the smartest kid in your school academically, colleges will debate whether they should accept you or not just because you did not participate in any extracurricular activities. Even without college plans, extracurricular activities teach you so much more than what books can. You get to learn patience, persistence and discipline, as well as develop artistically, athletically, and/or spiritually. These are desirable qualities and part of your life education, so do not focus only on your grades, but try something new to expand your horizons.

a127. There is a gang of kids drinking, smoking and/or and doing drugs in every bathroom 

I was terrified of entering bathrooms when I first went to high school, because nearly every movie I have ever seen shows a bunch of tough looking kids in leather jackets that hang out in bathrooms all day ready to beat nerds up in between drags of their cigarette or swigs of beer — or smoking weed and being stupid.

While you may encounter a few kids here and there being naughty, this is rare. And definitely not like what you see in the movies. In fact, if teens are going to misbehave, they usually do it far away from teachers — meaning they wait until after school on their way home.

a88. I don’t have to worry about the SAT or ACT until Senior year

Many students believe since they need their standardized test results just before they need to apply for college of their choice; they should wait until the very end to even think about these tests. Actually the earlier you prepare for your ACT and/or SAT exams, the better off you will be. There are plenty of resources for taking practice tests, study guides, and more online which will help you prepare. It is better to take the SATs as early as possible, as it gives you more time to restudy and retake the test for better scores.

This comes from personal experience.

a99. I must strive to shine like a lone star

Another very interesting myth that is sometimes manifested is that the lone star shines the brightest. In truth, teens need to learn the importance of teamwork and getting along with people.

When working together, sometimes team members become competitive and try to outshine each other or focus only on their part in the project. There has been a paradigm shift in the corporate culture over the past few years. Every company now looks for a team player and wants to see how well you will blend in. Therefore, it is very important to participate in all sorts of group activities. High school is one of the best times to get exposed to the concept.

So, whenever you are part of a group don’t just focus on yourself and sulk in a corner or try to dominate: see how you can contribute to the success of the whole team.


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a1110. I must lose my virginity in high school

No you don’t. You also don’t need to do so in college either. The truth is, there are no 100 percent, across the boards rules about this. Instead, it kind of depends on your upbringing, your parent’s guidance, your cultural background, your religious beliefs, and even what part of the country you live in. Mots of all, it depends on your gut, and what makes your comfortable in accordance with the previous factors.

The point is…there is no rush.

So there you have it. High school is what you make of it, and hopefully you will get to know yourself much better. It is a phase where some of the lessons you learn will stay with you for life, so do not let these myths spoil your experience for you.

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Samar is a senior writer for OLWOMEN.com, an avid reader, fashion and make up enthusiast who simply lives to write and talk about all kinds of stuff. Focusing on open-relationship rules these days and especially about the signs he’s cheating you!

Teen Business Ideas? Entrepreneurship Tips for Teens With Board Blazers Inventor – Plus Giveaway!


Board Blazers 8

What’s it take to create a business and have it start making money right away?

This is the dream of many an entrepreneur, and while there is not one single right answer — since people’s tastes and needs change all the time — you can learn a lot by asking those who have done it in the past.

For teens interested in starting their owns businesses, Greg Rudolph, creator of Board Blazers, is one of those people you might want to pay attention to — because his product is not only cool, but sales have taken off like wildfire very quickly. Fortunately for you, we had the chance to talk with Greg via phone recently, and we present his interview below.

Before we get to it, let’s talk about the product itself. The concept is simple: Board Blazers are brightly-colored LED lights which attach to the bottom of skateboards, longboards, your cat (just kidding) etc. with a super-strong adhesive to illuminate the ground while you skate around. They not only look cool, but they increase visibility and safety at night.

They sell for around 20-25 bucks for a set of four on the BoardBlazers.com site or Amazon, but Greg has supplied us with a couple of sets to give away to two lucky readers! Details after the interview.

Greg Rudolph Board BlazersThis is Greg Rudolph.

First of all, congratulations of your success. I saw you through Entrepreneur Magazine and thought you had a great product, kind of reminds me of those neon lights you see under some sports cars and I thought it was really cool that someone had thought of that for skateboards…and they are affordable. Tell me what inspired you to create it? 

Sure. Well, I started the company when I was a sophomore at Arizona State University…and I will tell you, I have NO IDEA how to ride a skateboard. In fact, the day I got it in sixth grade I fell off my new skateboard and broke my wrist. So that was an early sign that my pro skater career was probably not going to pan out.

With that in mind, I was walking — because I can’t skateboard — around the ASU campus one night in 2011 when I saw a student whose board was lit up. It looked really cool so I went over and asked him about it, and he was one of these real “bro” skater-dudes. And he was so excited to show it to me, he holds up the board and he goes “Oh BRO! I duct-taped Christmas lights to the bottom of my board!” At the time I thought it was just the coolest thing, but perhaps teh design could be improved.

So, long story short, the following summer in 2012 I needed a summer job. I always new that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and start my own business while I was growing up, but I certainly didn’t think it would happen quite that early. Turns out, I did some research and found out that this just was something that hadn’t been invented yet, so with that I started the company in March of 2012.

So its been a little over three years now. Tell us about some of the growth from when you first launched.

It’s been terrific. We’ve sold lights now in all 50 states and 16 countries around the world including some fascinating places you wouldn’t expect like South Korea, Germany, South Africa…and we’ve even shipped directly to several US Navy ships. I don’t know where the sailors are using them there!

They are probably cheaper than their official safety lights so they just stick them everywhere!

(laughing) I don’t know, but I won’t complain! So yeah, sales have been terrific…from 2013 to 2014 sales increased 114 percent year-over-year. For the first five months of this year, sales are up already, I think its 232 percent.

Nice.

It’s far more than I ever expected.

I assume this is all a small operation, that you don’t have a manufacturing plant and its all outsourced–so you’re running kinda lean and mean?
Yeah, we do have five people on our team now so we’ve steadily grown, but the lights are made in China, and the adhesive is specially designed for us in Georgia — the state, not the country — and the assembly is outsourced and all of the fulfullment is outsourced.

Board Blazers 6

So what was the biggest challenge you had to overcome in making this successful?

That is, surprisingly, the inventory. Keeping up with demand has been the biggest challenge. Its a great problem to have because sales have, constantly, far exceeded even our most optimistic projections, but it is still something we struggle with. Or I wouldn’t say we struggle with — its still a problem that requires a lot of our attention — but now we recognize it’s a problem and we don’t “struggle” with it any more.

A lot of people have great ideas like yours, but never see their products go to market. What would you say is the major difference between what you did and what others, who fail, do?
That’s a great question. In our case, we started generating revenue very quickly. I started the company in March 2012 and we sold our first set in July. So there wasn’t a lot of time in the ideation/design phase. We moved through that as quickly as we could. We continued to improve the product over time, but once we got the product really good, we started selling right away, so we reduced that amount of time where we didn’t have any income coming in to only a few months.

I think that separates us from a lot of companies that are constantly in the ideation phase but not actually moving into revenue.

That’s a great point. I think a lot of people do get stuck, where its “here’s this idea” but there is no sense of “how are we actually going to start driving revenue right away?”

Yeah, and I think [the secret] is reducing the time from ideation to sales….compressing that time frame as much as possible.

What advice would you give teenagers out there who want to start their own business?

No doubt: JUST START. You don’t have to know every step to take the first one. Don’t let not knowing how to do every aspect of the business hold you back from getting started because all of the information that you need is out there. Anything that you don’t know how to do can be found or sourced with enough Google and a few phone calls.
So if you have an idea, just get started and even if you don’t know every step of the plan, just by taking the first one, each following step will become more clear.

What do you recommend they study or learn first in order to make it? I mean real-world stuff, not school stuff.

Be observant. Think about what makes YOU want to buy a product, because chances are that those same things appeal to other people as well. So as you are going through your life be observant and look at the things that appeal to you, and trust that what appeals to you is probably what appeals to most people.

That being said, I certainly wouldn’t discount the value of an education. I started the company when I was a sophomore in college and it eventually became far more successful than I imagined, but I always made my first priority getting my college degree, and I am SO GLAD that I did.

I know there is a lot of debate right now as to whether higher education is important for entrepreneurs. I am really glad I got my college degrees, I got two of them, because college gives you the ability to recognize good opportunities versus bad opportunities. We are all presented with so many opportunities and new business ideas, but education gives you the framework to be able to decide whether its an idea worth pursuing or not.

Furthermore, once you have a good idea, I think that education also gives you tools to act upon it. So you may have a good idea but you don’t know what to do with it and how to take that next step unless you have that educational background to know where to go with it.

And lastly, as we all know, success is the result of connections and what college does is it allows you to surround yourself with successful people.

So for those three reasons I think education is, surprisingly, very important and beneficial for entrepreneurs. I also say that, just in your every day life, being observant is the best thing that you can do to prepare to be an entrepreneur.

What are your degrees in?

B.S. in Marketing and I also got a B.S. in Supply-Chain Management.

Board Blazers 7

What’s been the best advice you personally have gotten in business?

Oh, no doubt: “Keep your overhead low.” The easiest way to increase your bottom line is by saving a dollar, not making a dollar.

Alright. And if you could do one thing over in regards to this business, what would it be?

I would outsource our fulfilloment earlier. I was so hesitant to outsource the fulfillment of our product because I really wanted to maintain that kind of high-touch level of customer service. But as I found, by outsourcing the fulfillment — we’ve chosen to go with Amazon as our fulfillment provider — they are able to provide bettter customer service and fulfill the items so much faster than we were able to do on our own even though we were focusing on it.

So while I was really hesitant to outsource fulfillment, I wish I had done that earlier because they can do a better job because they are experts and can do a much better job at it. Its one of their strengths, so taking our time to do the fulfillment takes away from our strengths of doing the customer service, managing and making a great product.

How long did it take for you to outsource?

We started outsourcing last summer, so it took, what, two years?

What’s next for Board Blazers and your company?

Well, we’d really like to expand to more retail stores. We’re alreadfy in a lot of locally owned skate shops nationwide but we’d like to expand it to more chain and big-box retailers. But, I’ve also started another business called the Beyond Business Institute which really grew out of people asking me to share what I have learned from my entrepreneurship and my leadership experiences.

So I do motivational speaking for large groups as well as consulting with other product companies and coaching of full-time professional entrepreneurs. So as our company has grown and I’ve been able to get a little more removed from the day to day operations of Board Blazers, I have been able to shift to helping other people follow their entrepreneurial ambitions.
I’ve always had the entrepreneurial mindset so I have a few bright ideas, you might say, up my sleeve.

Looking forward to what you do with those since this one’s doing pretty well!

That will be a follow-up article on Teens Wanna Know!

Board Blazers Logo

Here is your chance to get your own set of Board Blazers. One winner will get a set of “Wild White” and the other will get a set of “Crazy Color-Changing.” We will pick which winner gets which set at our sole discretion.

To enter:

1. Follow @teenswannaknow on Instagram (we will follow you back)

2. Post a picture on your Instagram account of your whatever you plan to put your lights on if you win: skateboard/longboard/rollerskates/forehead/sneakers, etc.

3. In your description, write whatever you want, but you have to mention @teenswannaknow and use the hashtags #TWKgiveaway and #boardblazers for it to be a valid entry.

4. We will pick the two winners this Friday June 3rd at 11:59 p.m.

5. You can enter more than once to better your chances.

6. We will only ship to US addresses.

That’s it!

 

Win a New Heart Rate Monitor Watch from Dakota Watch Company – Review

While smartwatches like the Apple Watch may be getting all the attention lately, the hefty price and complexity of these devices makes them “not ready for prime time” for most people, let alone cash-strapped teens. One feature that many of these watches carry is a heart rate monitor, a valuable tool for anyone looking for better health through exercise.

What does a heart rate monitor do? It measures how fast or slow your heart is beating. Why is this important? Because it helps you adjust your activity level to maintain your heart rate in the right range when exercising, which can be important for getting the maximum results without overdoing it. You can read more about the science behind this here.

While the Dakota Heart Rate Monitor won’t talk to you like Siri does, or tell you if you have any text messages, it does do one thing very well: measure your heart rate. We are GIVING ONE AWAY to one lucky winner…but first let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons.dakota

Operation is simple. Just wear the watch, and touch the two big sensors on the face with your index and middle fingers. Within a few seconds, your heart rate will be displayed, and you can record this information in one of 16 memory slots if you want.

We tested a review watch sent to us, and can say it works well and is accurate. While it is marketed as a heart rate monitor, we would say it is really an all-in-one sports watch. At first, the number of features and modes was a bit overwhelming, but reading the manual for a few minutes cleared everything up. Here are some of those features:

  • 12/24 hour time modes
  • Dual time (ability to quickly switch between two time zones)
  • Countdown timer
  • Stopwatch with Lap timer
  • Alarm
  • Ability to store heart rate and lap times
  • Exercise mode, which helps you calculate the cumulative calorie consumption and fat burned for workouts
  • Personalization with gender, age, weight, height, target calorie consumption, resting heart rate and upper heart rate
  • Backlight
  • Water resistant to 330 feet
  • Anti-static and shock proof 42mm case

Here are some of the cons. Its got somewhat of an 1980s-1990s styling, with some old-school LCD digits and neon accents. If you are into that retro look however, you might find this appealing. Also, the list price of $49.95, while way more affordable than any smartwatch on the market, seems a bit high for the style of this watch. But I guess if you wanted to just make a fashion statement, you probably wouldn’t be looking for a heart rate monitor, right? The last little thing is that you really need to keep your manual handy. There are lots of modes, and remembering how to operate each function takes some time–it’s not a device you just pick up and start using immediately.

Other than those minor things, we recommend this watch for anyone looking for a durable, accurate sports watch with built-in heart monitor. To find out more, visit Dakota Watch Company.

GIVEAWAY!

We are giving away one Dakota Watch Company Heart Rate Monitor!

How to enter:

1. Follow @teenswannaknow on Instagram
2. Post a pic of your favorite exercise. You can enter more than once and increase your chances of winning–each different picture counts as an entry!
3. Mention @teenswannaknow in your description and use the hashtag #TWKgiveaway in each picture posted
4. Winner will be DM’d once selected, and must reply within 48 hours with a mailing address
5. Contest open only to those residing within the United States, as we will only ship to US addresses.

We will pick one random winner from all entries received by 11:59 PM on Thursday July 2nd, 2015. SIMPLE! We’ll also follow you back if you enter and follow all the rules.

Suicidal? Self-Harming? Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services Can Help

One topic which continues to rear its ugly head in the news and across social media is teen self-harm, which includes things such as suicide, cutting, intentional alcohol and drug overconsumption, and more.

While bullying is often cited as a cause of the depression which leads to self-harm, the roots can stem from anything from family pressure to relationship troubles to bonafide mental illness.

One organization seeks to combat teen self harm and suicide through awareness and direct counselling. Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services is a Southern California entity which, among other services, operates a teen suicide prevention hotline at 800-TLC-TEEN (852-8336).

Didi Hirsch recently held a fundraiser and award ceremony at the renown Beverly Hilton dubbed the Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards, where it raised over $450,000 for mental health and substance abuse treatment while also honoring several passionate champions of mental health awareness and suicide prevention.

Here are some of the pictures from the event, and be sure to keep scrolling for an exclusive interview with Lyn Morris, Senior Vice President, Clinical Operations at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services who explains more about the organization, the awards ceremony, and how teens can help if someone they know if considering self-harm, including suicide.

Darrell Steinberg Mary Lambert Dr Kita Curry Jordana Steinberg Shawn Amos
Darrell Steinberg, Mary Lambert, Dr Kita Curry, Jordana Steinberg, Shawn Amos
Mary Lambert Erasing the Stigma
Honoree Mary Lambert performing

 

Wendy Liebman Kita Curry Jordana Steinberg Mary Lambert
Wendy Liebman, Kita Curry, Jordana Steinberg, Mary Lambert

 

And now, without any further ado, here is our interview with Lyn Morris, MFT, Senior Vice President, Clinical Operations at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services who was willing to answer some important questions for us.

Lyn Morris (1)
Lyn Morris

 

Can you please start us off my explaining a little about the Didi Hirsch organization?

Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services provides mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention services to children and adults who live in communities where stigma or poverty limits access. We have 11 locations in Los Angeles and Orange Counties—including three residential treatment centers–and counselors in nearly 100 schools. Our Suicide Prevention Center is the first in the nation to have a 24/7 hotline and now takes more than 62,000 calls, chats and texts each year.

Can you tell us a little about the Leadership Awards and this year’s honorees?

Didi Hirsch held its first Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards in 1997, honoring then-Second Lady Tipper Gore for sharing her history of depression. Since then we have honored nearly 50 artists, athletes, authors, activists and others who have helped erase the stigma of mental illness, including Ronda Rousey, Kid Cudi, Natasha Tracy, Michael Angelakos and Ross Szabo. This year’s honorees include:

  • Mary Lambert (Mental Health Ambassador). She has used her music such as her song, “Secrets,” which features lyrics about her experience living with bipolar disorder, to erase the stigma of mental illness.
  • NBA New Orleans Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson (Leadership Award). He became an advocate for suicide prevention after losing his girlfriend, Gia Allemond, to suicide.
  • Former California Sen. Darrell Steinberg (Leadership Award). He authored the Mental Health Services Act of 2004 which has raised more than $13 billion for mental health services in California.
  • Jordana Steinberg (Leadership Award). She is Darrell’s daughter and a college student who has spoken publically about her experience with a severe childhood mood disorder.
  • Howie Mandell (Beatrice Stern Media Award)
. A judge on “America’s Got Talent,” he has spoken and written about his ongoing struggle with OCD and ADHD.

One of the services offered by Didi Hirsch is the TeenLine. Can you tell us more about that?

We have a partnership with TeenLine, which has “teens helping teens” nightly from 6 pm – 10 pm. That number is 800-TLC-TEEN (852-8336) toll-free in California only. Didi Hirsch’s crisis counselors answers TeenLine during all other hours.

What is the most important thing you think teens should know about mental health?

There is help available and you can get better.

With the NIMH recently withdrawing support for the DSM-5 (the “bible” of mental illness) due to lack of validity, it seems that the definitions for specific diagnoses used by mental health professionals have to be re-evaluated. How do you distinguish actual mental illness from someone just having a rough time dealing with life’s circumstances—which happens to all of us at some point?

Mental illness is mild to severe disturbance in thoughts, mood or behavior that makes it difficult for a person to function. Feeling sad or low from time to time is a normal part of life. But if those feelings persist to the point where a person is not functioning in a normal way, he or she should be evaluated by a mental health professional.

Early warning signs of a mental health problem can include eating or sleeping too much or too little, pulling away from people and usual activities, experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships, having difficulty performing daily tasks or feeling hopeless or helpless.

And for teens who are thinking about self-harm, such as cutting or even suicide: what tips could you give to cope in the meantime when things get bad, and before they can reach some help? 

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Our crisis counselors are trained to help teens thinking about self-harm or suicide.

What should I do if I am a teen and one of my friends is acting distraught and suicidal—and they refuse to call a help line? In other words, it’s just me and her/him.

If you or someone you care about is in imminent danger of suicide, call 911. Other tips:

  • Never agree to keep suicidal thoughts in confidence. Inform an adult family member.
  • Express your concern . Be empathic and non-judgmental.
  • Listen. You may be scared, especially if the person is someone who is close to you. However, it is important to listen to how they are feeling without overreacting.
  • Ask directly about their suicidal thoughts – “Are you thinking of killing yourself?”
  • Take suicidal thoughts and feelings seriously.
  • Ask if he/she has developed a plan of suicide.
  • Remove lethal means of suicide from the person’s home.
  • Let him/her know that suicidal feelings are temporary, that depression can be treated, and that problems can be solved.

Over time, what do you think are the biggest changes as far as the pressures and problems teenagers are facing these days as opposed to fifteen years ago?

Facebook, Instagram and other forms of social media, which didn’t exist 15 years ago, are exposing teens to additional social pressures at a time in life when they are experimenting with their independence and other issues like drugs and sexuality. Unfortunately, they can be shamed, humiliated and bullied by thousands of people through social media, which puts vulnerable teens in danger and at times has led to suicide.

Drug production to treat mental health issues like ADHD in kids has soared since the 1990s. For anyone who wants treatment for ADHD symptoms, but doesn’t want to risk getting side effects from amphetamines and other stimulants, what do you recommend? 

Ask questions, be informed and discuss treatment options with a psychiatrist and therapist in order to determine what treatment is best suited for the child.

Is there anything in particular which gives you hope that we will one day conquer mental illness?

I have hope that one day mental illness will be viewed and treated with the same humanity and dignity as any other medical illness so people feel comfortable reaching out for help earlier which can help reduce the severity and progression of mental illness.

For more information, please visit http://www.didihirsch.org/

Fight Back Against Bullies with Krav Maga Expert Jarrett Arthur

Are we teaching teens and kids to become a nation of victims that cannot stand up for themselves? That’s one question we posed to Krav Maga instructor Jarrett Arthur, creator of the M.A.M.A. self defense system.

Arthur provides some practical communication tips for dealing with bullies, and also covers some awesome self-defense techniques to use when things go wrong and bullies physically attack. For more info go to http://jarrettarthur.com

Autumn Calabrese’s Fitness Tips and 21 Day Fix Extreme – Interview with Teens Wanna Know

Teens seeking to get in shape know how tough it can be to stay committed to a program until you see results. Even if you stick with the workouts, it is easy to lose the fitness game by eating too much of the wrong types of foods, which slow your gains and can discourage even the most dedicated exercisers.

Autumn Calabrese solved this problem for countless people through her best-selling and highly effective workout/diet plan called 21 Day Fix, available through Beachbody.com. What makes the program so appealing is that it requires only 30 minutes a day of exercise for three weeks, and you get to eat so much food that you will never starve — although the diet will take some getting used to if you have never eaten a lot of fruits and veggies before or are addicted to carbs.

Fortunately, Autumn designed system of color-coded containers to measure your food and help you hit the right ratio of protein, carbs, and fats for maximum results.

On February 2, Autumn’s latest program, 21 Day Fix Extreme is being released…and this one promises to take your fitness to the next level.

We got the chance to ask Autumn a few questions while she was on a short vacation…scroll down for the Q&A where she reveals just what she eats personally and how long her daily workouts last — prepare to be motivated!

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Hello Autumn, nice to meet you. Tell us what motivated you to become involved in the world of fitness?

Fitness has always been a part of my life. I grew up dancing and went on to major in dance in college. I enjoy being active and never wanted to sit at a desk all day. I also really enjoy helping/teaching people to lead healthy lives. Fitness is a perfect fit for me.

Your 21 Day Fix program is Beachbody’s #1 selling weight-loss program to date. What has been the most satisfying part about having created such an impactful product?

Having the #1 selling weight-loss program is great, but helping people is the best part.

I have received several emails from people saying they previously had eating disorders and after doing 21 Day Fix they are no longer afraid of food. They now understand what to eat and when and feel healthy and in control.

That is an unbelievably amazing feeling!

And now you have your new product, 21 Day Fix Extreme. What are the major differences between this and the original?

21 Day Fix is a program for everyone of all fitness levels, it teaches proper portion sizes but still allows some treats and “cheats” The workouts are 30 minutes and there is a modifier so even someone who has never worked out before can keep up and have fantastic results.

21 Day Fix Extreme is taking it to the next level. The portion control is still there but the nutrition is laser focused, no more treats or “cheats.

I’ve stepped up the intensity on the workouts as well. They are still only 30 minutes and there is still a modifier to follow but this is no a program for beginners. Its dialed in and focused; its for people who like intensity — but its only 21 days. You can do anything for 21 days!

Click picture to see the product on Amazon

You are in fabulous shape. How many hours a day do you work out (be honest!)

Being honest I workout for about an hour and 15 minutes a day unless I am prepping for a fitness competition. If I’m getting ready to compete then its closer to 2 hours a day. I enjoy working out so I like to make my workouts a little longer.

I know most people don’t have that kind of time for a workout that is why I design my programs to be 30 minutes. You push for 30 minutes, get in, get out and get on with your day.

What does your diet consist of typically…and do you use the little color-colored containers yourself?

I do use the color-coded containers, not every day at every meal because I can eyeball my portions sizes pretty well but I do still use them to make sure I’m staying on track.

My diet consists of lean proteins like eggs, chicken, turkey and the occasional steak, healthy carbohydrates like steel cut oatmeal, sweet potatoes, brown rice, lots of veggies, fruit, a little healthy fat like avocado, almonds, coconut oil or peanut butter and a LOT of water.

What is the biggest fitness or nutrition challenge you have had to personally overcome, and how did you do it?

I have a bulging disk in my lower spine. It doesn’t bother me often but when it does it puts me out of commission for almost 2 weeks. I’ve learned how to workout smart and not aggravate it.

I make sure I warm up before every workout, stretch at the end of every workout, get plenty of rest and most importantly: listen to my body. If it starts to bother me I take it easy for a few days to make sure it doesn’t completely slip out of place.

Of all the people you have helped through your work, are there any stories which stand out in your mind?

There have been a lot of the last 12 years. My very best friend was once a client of mine. I started training her when she was pregnant with her second child.

There was a person in the original 21 Day Fix test group that I got to know very well. She had a very tough story of domestic abuse, I watched her get stronger both physically and emotionally through my program and ultimately change her life. She lost 100 lbs in 11 rounds of 21 Day Fix. That’s a pretty great one.

If you could travel back in time and give ONE piece of advice to your teen self, what would it be?

Just believe. Everything happens for a reason.

All of those doors that are going to slam in your face will ultimately lead you to the exact place you are supposed to be, so for now, smile and enjoy the journey.

What is coming up next for you?

There are a lot of new things in the works, I can’t talk about all of them just yet. For now my focus is the launch of 21 Day Fix Extreme. I’m so excited to give this program to people.

Anything else we should know?

I always say if its important to you you will make time, if not you will make an excuse.

Life is busy for me, I’m a single mom trying to navigate my way through this crazy, awesome new life but I’ll always make time for my son and for my health.

Could you send us a selfie of whatever you are doing right now, like hugging your pet, throwing up a peace sign, just chillaxing, whatever? We like to keep it real!

The selfie attached is me sitting working in the lobby at the Westin Snowmass, I’m here with my son Dominic to celebrate his 6th birthday. He’s in a snowboarding lesson and I’m working 🙂
Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 1.26.34 PM
Even with little-to-no makeup and pulling mommy duty, Autumn still looks amazing!

Follow Autumn on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/autumncalabresefitness
https://twitter.com/AutumnCalabrese
http://instagram.com/autumncalabrese
https://www.youtube.com/user/AutumnFitness


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Teen Gym Etiquette – Do’s and Dont’s

Its the beginning of a new year, and you know what that means: NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS! Yay!

This means a lot of teens are going to start heading to the gym to work on their fitness goals. Like anywhere else, there are certain things you just don’t do when working out, which you might not be aware of. So, to help you avoid embarrasing yourself when you are “tryna get swole,” we have some tips here from Diane Gottsman, national etiquette expert and owner of The Protocol School of Texas.

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We tryna get swole
  1. Do dress appropriately.  Wearing the appropriate workout attire means you’ll feel your best and get a better workout. If you are wearing too baggy clothing you will be distracted by your clothes catching on a weight. Too revealing is distracting, and comes across as a bit desperate for attention. Neither are good starts to a great workout.
  2. Don’t drop the weights.  If you’re strong enough to get them over your head, you’re strong enough to get them back down to the ground in a safe location so others don’t trip over them. In other words, put away your “toys” after you play with them by re-racking the weights after using them.
  3. Don’t save a machine. If your friend is getting a drink of water, that’s one thing. But, putting your towel on the treadmill to “save” it for someone that may or may not show up is impolite. Share the equipment and allow other guests to work in with you.  If there is a time limit on a machine, get off and move on when your time is up.
  4. Do mind your own business. Giving unsolicited advice may be taken with appreciation or a grain of salt.  Unless someone is in danger of hurting himself or herself, keep your instruction and step-by-step tutorials to yourself.
  5. Don’t stare.  Overtly checking someone out is nothing short of creepy. Equally off-putting is watching someone check themselves out in the mirrors as they make their way through the gym and back to the locker room. You look the same in every mirror!
  6. Don’t sing. When listening to your favorite music with your ear buds securely in place, remember you are probably singing along at a louder decibel (or two) than you may think.
  7. Do wipe down the machine before moving on. Preferably not the same towel you use to wipe your face and body. It’s worth investing in a pack of fitness towels with a germ shield. Use the disinfectant the gym provides specifically for this purpose.
  8. Do back up. Respect other people’s personal space and take a step back while waiting for the weights or machine. If someone is stretching before a class, or has placed their mat down for yoga, move your mat over so the other person has room to move freely without hitting you in the head with their foot.
  9. Don’t use the pool as your shower. Soap and water are still your best option. And please, whatever you do, don’t forget deodorant.  It’s better to smell fresh as a daisy, rather than stale as an ashtray.  On the other hand, don’t over use the cologne or scented lotion.  Just come in smelling clean.
  10. Don’t spit in the sink. Guys…don’t even think about spitting in the shower, water fountain or sink. And, keep your gum in your mouth until you find a trash can.  The water fountain is not the place to leave it behind.
  11. Do leave your cell phone in your gym bag (safely locked up in the locker room). Don’t carry your cell phone around with you while you lift weights or put it on the side of the basketball court while you play a quick game and then complain when it turns up missing or stolen.

And, a few of Diane’s etiquette tips for the outdoor exercise enthusiast:

  1. Stay on track.  If you are using a public area to run, bike, or jog, but want to take a shortcut back, resist the urge to hop someone’s fence or bike across the golf course. Also steer clear of areas that are close to children, or even remotely populated when you feel the immediate need to relieve yourself and can’t wait another moment.

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    Any kids around here? Oh, thank god….
  2. Plan for dusk and dawn.  It might be more convenient to take your daily run in the early morning or late night hours but keep in mind the limited visibility of oncoming traffic. Wear reflective clothing and use reflectors if you plan a midnight bike ride (which I advise against for safety reasons). Don’t forget to wear your bike helmet, and include a reflector or light.
  3. Obey traffic laws and be respectful of drivers and pedestrians.  Utilize all pedestrian crossings and stop at stop signs if you are on a recreational vehicle. Keep in mind that you are responsible for other people’s safety as much as they are responsible for yours. Don’t surprise a walker from behind, or expect a driver to veer off the road to accommodate you.
  4. Clean up after your pet. If your exercise routine includes a jog or walk with your dog, bring along some plastic bags for your dog’s waste.
  5. Walk single file. If you are walking with a group of people, when you see someone walking toward you, allow them to pass by doubling up or walking single file, rather than making them step off onto the grass to allow your entire group to stay together. It’s really very rude!
  6. No littering. Those plastic water bottles won’t throw themselves away and dropping one on the side of the road or in someone’s yard and committing to circle back and pick it up never happens.
  7. Dress in layers. There may be a chill in the air when you leave the house but you will quickly warm up when you start moving. Peeling layers off is better than quitting because you are too hot too soon. Guys, when you don’t have an extra layer to shed, keep your T-shirt on and remember what you look like bare-chested, carrying around that extra 30 pounds from the holidays.

Thanks Diane!

Diane specializes in executive leadership and etiquette training, with clients ranging from university students to Fortune 500 companies, and her seminars cover topics ranging from tattoos in the workplace to technology at the dinner table and the proper use of social media. Her advice is backed by a Master’s Degree in Sociology with an emphasis on adult behavior.  Visit http://dianegottsman.com/ and http://www.protocolschooloftexas.com/ for more information.