Meet Up and Coming Teen Singer Hannah Richardson

 

Who says you need to be an adult to change the world? Hannah Richardson is only sixteen and already she is the face of a successful company and on the verge of releasing an album. Find out more about her music, her company and its inspiring mission, and how you can connect with her on social media.

(Psst! Go follow the company’s Instagram page — it already has over 10,000 followers!)

 

R: Tell us about yourself. How long have you been singing? What made you fall in love with it?

H: Well, hey there! My name is Hannah Richardson, I’m sixteen years old, and I’m a singer and songwriter, as well as the face of an incredible girl power company called Gomee Girl. Looking back, I think I fell in love with music when my parents started playing it in the house! I was extremely blessed that my parents exposed me to all of these incredible artists at such a young age, such as Fleetwood Mac, Allison Krauss, Led Zeppelin, etc. I was definitely influenced by them when I started writing my own music years later. I officially started singing at six years old in my church choir, but got my first solo when I was seven. My pastor was nice enough to offer that the girl singing obnoxiously over all the other kids (that girl being me) get her own song. Quite frankly, I think that it was the solo in particular that really got me fascinated with being in front of people, as it was when I realized that I could force a group of adults to listen to me who otherwise wouldn’t have. Ironically, that’s kind of still true today.

 

R: I heard you are about to release an album. That’s so exciting! What’s your favorite song on it?

H: Totally! The album is called Chasing Rainbows and is set to be released on September 18th, 2017. It has a very pop and country feel with a lil’ Irish flair, and showcases all of my favorite instruments, like mandolins, fiddles, and vintage guitars. My favorite songs on the album are generally the musically joyous ones that are tinged with darker lyrics. I’m really obsessed with having that awesome conflict of lyrics and music in my songs, just because it makes people second guess that whole concept of “oh, this is upbeat so it’s obviously totally happy!” Spoiler alert, but that’s why “Rich Kids” and “Just A Friend” were personally so wonderful for me to write, and why I think people will really connect with those. This probably sounds cliche, but picking your favorite song is liking picking your favorite child. All of the songs are so unique and come from such different places emotionally. However, I will say that “Chasing Rainbows” was definitely my most therapeutic song. What I mean by that is, after writing it, I realized I had finally unlocked this thing that had been hurting me for a long time, and could let all of my feelings out every time I sang the song. For me, that’s the whole beauty of songwriting. It’s taking incredibly complex emotions and situations that nobody but you understands and somehow translating them into something our actual language hasn’t yet figured out how to communicate.

 

R: Tell us about Gomee Girl. How can we raise awareness?

H: Gomee Girl’s main mission is to improve the self-esteem of young girls. Through positive social media campaigns, school assembly events, and their patches with positive images, the organization is focused on letting every woman know that she can love herself exactly the way she is. As the face of the company, some of my jobs include representing the company in a good light, designing exclusive products, and writing epic, girl-power music. However, the most important responsibility I have taken on is giving advice to girls who are followers of myself and/or the company. Despite the time commitment and rather emotional nature of the job, this has become one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. I mean, nothing is more fulfilling than a girl who at one point felt she was “useless,” and now messages me pictures of herself at a school dance. Nothing can beat that! One way to raise awareness is simply by following Gomee Girl’s social media sites (@gomeegirl). Another way is to let any girl who might need some help know that she can check out http://www.gommegirl.com/getinspiredwithhannah for advice on everything from basketball to boy trouble and also just to connect with other girls who’ve had similar struggles in life!

 

R: What do you like to do besides singing?

H: I’m a Music & Diversions division writer for Metiza Magazine, so I am super obsessed with interviewing artists. I also read a lot (shoutout to Harry Potter), and love watching TV shows like Stranger Things, Game of Thrones, and Gilmore Girls.

 

R: What advice do you have for young girls who want to pursue a career as a singer or anything in the music industry?

H: NEVER let people say that you can’t pursue your dreams due to circumstances beyond your control. There will always be people who are more “gifted” than you, who have prettier hair than you, who have more money than you do, etc. That being said, it’s the people who work day and night and totally dedicate themselves to their passion that actually make a mark on the world. No excuses. You can do this!

 

R: What are your social media addresses?

H: Website – http://www.hannahrichardson.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/hannahrsings1

Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/hannahrsings1

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/hannahrsings1

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/mlpgrow123

R: Is there anything else you would like to add?

H: This sounds a lot like an Academy Award speech, but I just have to thank my family, friends, and fans for helping me so much on this journey. I also want to personally thank all the people who have ever caused any conflict in my life: hey ya’ll, you guys are the ones who inspire the best songs and are part of what motivate me to be better than I was yesterday, so thanks for being you…kind of.

 

Photo credits: Hannah Richardson

True Beauty: Understanding What It Means

God tells us we are wonderfully and fearfully made, and to Him, you are beautiful and unique. He does not compare you to others, as you are the person He made you to be.

Unfortunately, we live in a society where we can feel judged. Despite what the Bible says, we can face pressure within ourselves, or from others, to conform to a false idea of beauty. In this article, we will try and get some perspective on the matter, and try to understand what true beauty means.


On the surface

When most people think of beauty, they think of face value. First impressions are made, wrongly, by the way somebody looks on the outside. The media doesn’t help. From magazine models to movie stars, we wonder why we don’t look like the people we see on the page and screen. There is also peer pressure at school to look and dress a certain way. If you are too fat or thin, or you are wearing the wrong fashions, you may struggle to fit in with the crowd.

For starters, don’t be fooled by the false image the media portrays. The pictures you see in magazines and on the internet have often been photoshopped, with any blemishes removed before publication. Movie stars are as insecure as anybody else, spending a fortune on making themselves look beautiful for the screen. You can look after your skin, with advice from a website such as Exfoliate.com, but you don’t need to compare yourself to others, as chances are, they will still look like you do first thing in the morning.

You don’t want to neglect your body, and we have offered advice at Relatemag.com. Health is important, so while you don’t need to feel ashamed about the way you look, there is still the need to be sensible and take care of yourself. Body shaming has become a trend, but there is no ‘perfect’ weight provided you are healthy and looking after yourself. There will always be bullies in life, but don’t subject yourself to their torment and criticism.


On the inside


The Bible tells us we are made in God’s image. We don’t know what God looks like, but the verse refers to the qualities of God, rather than physical appearance. You have probably noticed some of these qualities in other people, including love, kindness, and grace. It is this writer’s opinion that true beauty radiates from the inside. As you will know from movies such as “Mean Girls,’ people can be beautiful on the outside, but very ugly on the inside.

Focus on your inner beauty. Be somebody that cares for others. There will be people in your life who may not be physically attractive, at least to society’s standards, but you won’t notice this when their beauty radiates from the inside. Think of the people you love, and ask yourself why you do. It will be who they are on the inside, and the way they care for you.

So, what is true beauty? You decide, but above all, love yourself, for who you are, and be good to others.

6 Basic Ways Teens Can Benefit from Spending Time with Seniors

Talking to older adults is intimidating. They have been through so much and have a vastly different worldview from you. Yet, there are so many benefits that teens can experience when they spend time with elderly relatives, neighbors, or residents at a local senior care facility. Here are a few of these benefits and how to get past the initial awkwardness of spending time with those that are older than you.

What Are the Benefits of Hanging out with Older Adults?

By 2030, 20 percent of Americanswill be 65 years of age or older. Seniors are becoming a bigger part of our society. Here are some of the ways you can get more out of life by developing an intergenerational friendship:

  1. Self-Identity– An older person can help you figure out who you are by giving you a well-rounded understanding of yourself that is aided by decades of experience.
  2. Have Someone to Look up to– You don’t make it to old age without perseverance and living through a hard situation or two. Many seniors are real-life heroes.
  3. Engage in Mature Conversations– Talking to your friends is completely different from interacting with a golden ager. You will find that there is more depth to the conversation.
  4. Feel Like You Belong– Both the elderly and teens tend to feel lonely at times. When you are friends with an older adult, you can help soothe any feelings of loneliness.
  5. Learn a New Skill– Being able to talk to people of different backgrounds is an important life skill. It will serve you well throughout life as you apply for jobs and meet new people.
  6. Accept Mortality– As a teen, it is hard to accept that you may get old someday. Perhaps, you are even afraid of the elderly. Once you spend a few hours with an older adult, you will gain a whole new perspective.

How Can You Develop an Intergenerational Friendship?

If you do not have any older adults in your life, there are plenty of places where you can visit them while lending a helping hand. Perhaps offer to visit an assisted living facility, alternatively, see if you can help the elderly at senior centers, or at the VA. If you don’t know what to do with a golden ager, try asking them about what they are interested in.

Popular activities include gardening, scrapbooking, reading out loud, storytelling, and learning new skills, such as baking, weaving, fishing, using the Internet, or crochet. Both you and your senior friend are sure to learn a lot from each other.

Meet Young YouTube Fitness Sensation Alivia D’Andrea (a.k.a. Fiercelivy)

 

If you are looking for some inspiration in regards to fitness and/or a healthy lifestyle, go to YouTube, type Fiercelivy in the search bar, and get ready to work hard and feel great while doing it! Alivia D’Andrea has succeeded in making fitness fun, and her videos are full of inspiration for everyone, whether you dance, cheer, do gymnastics, play sports, or just want to get fit. As a dancer myself, I find her workout and stretching routines very helpful, and I love to hear her words of wisdom and encouragement as she guides you to a healthier, happier you! Be sure to check her out at https://www.youtube.com/user/fiercelivy

 

R: How did you get into fitness and when did living a healthy lifestyle become important to you?

A: Growing up I was always relatively thin, but not fit. My sophomore year in high school, I gained some weight and started to feel lethargic. I wanted to lose the weight, but in a healthy way, so I started researching healthier food options and it just kind of took off from there. After studying and exploring the benefits of a healthier lifestyle, I felt so great inside and out, and wanted to share that with my subscribers.

 

R: What made you want to start a YouTube channel?

A: I wanted to do something that allowed me to project my voice, and I thought YouTube would be a great platform. Little did I know how much I would love making videos. I’ve been on YouTube for about three years now, but it wasn’t until last June that my channel started to really gain popularity. I didn’t receive a lot of recognition my first two years, but I kept at it because I loved it so much. Then last year, I decided to alter the content I was producing, and suddenly the acceptance began to soar.

 

R: What are some of the opportunities you’ve had since you became a YouTuber?

A: My presence on YouTube is still fairly new. However, I recently signed with a talent agency, and I’m looking forward to future opportunities like branding, collaborating with companies, and events.

 

R: What advice do you have for someone who wants to start a healthy lifestyle but doesn’t know how to begin?

A: Make small, specific goals, such as making a commitment to drinking five glasses of water a day. You will be more likely to be consistent, and a little progress each day adds up to big results. Also, your mind is a very powerful thing, so you need to make sure you have the right mindset about leading a healthy lifestyle. Get excited about all the healthy recipes you can try, learn the limits of your body, and reach for greater heights through recreational activities. Fall in love with taking care of your body, mind, and spirit.

 

R: It can be hard to stay motivated. What are some tips?

A: I get this question a lot from my subscribers. My top three tips would be:

  1. Take photos and keep a food journal to keep track of your progress and help you see the bigger picture.
  2. Follow social media accounts that post flexibility and fitness inspo and create a playlist of all the songs that motivate you.
  3. Lastly, don’t think of healthy eating as a diet, think of it as a lifestyle.

 

R: I heard that you travel a lot. Where have you gone? Where would you like to go?

A: I’ve been to China, England, Russia, France, the Caribbean, Italy, Spain, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, and Hawaii. I would love to visit Shanghai and Bora Bora.

 

R: I know that you dance. What else do you do?

A: I enjoy playing the piano and public speaking.

 

R: What are your social media addresses?

A:

Instagram: @fiercelivy

Twitter: @aliviadandrea

Snapchat: @fiercelivy

 

R: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

A: We see so many tragedies on the news today, and it breaks my heart. As youth, sometimes we may feel like we can’t do much because we’re only “kids,” but remember that simple acts of forgiveness and charity, like donating food or clothes, and even just smiling at someone, are things we can do now. Great achievements can come from many small deeds strung together. Nonetheless, the one constant that can change the world from lonely and bitter to beautiful and compassionate is love. In any form, big or small, love can transform us all.

 

Written by Anna Tallarico

Photo credit: Alivia D’Andrea

 

Building A Better Body Image – 5 Things Every Late Teen Should Know

Body image is a priority for all, but carries an even greater significance for young adults. Not only does looking good make us feel good. It additionally has a huge impact on the way others view us, which further influences self-confidence and other features.

There’s no better time to start your positive body transformation. After all, it’s easier to make those changes while you’re still young. But before you do, it’s imperative that you equip yourself with the necessary knowledge to gain great results. Here’s everything you need to know.

Negative influences will take their toll. This is the stage of your life where you may be more likely to fall into the traps of alcohol consumption. There’s nothing wrong with a night out on the town, however, trading some of those beverages for mocktails can bring huge rewards. They are still fun in social settings but don’t come with the consequences of alcohol.

Your body can use a boost during those early stages. If you want to gain a better body, there’s a strong chance that you have made past mistakes. An organic detox tea can aid your general well being to leave you feeling healthier than ever. This is the perfect foundation for building a successful workout and healthy eating plan too. Apart from anything else, those two breaks for a cuppa give you a great chance to reflect and plan things.

Motivation is everything. If working out feels like a chore, you will not keep it up for the long haul. Therefore, finding ways to stay motivated throughout your workouts is key. Whether it’s in the gym or on the track, this will have a telling impact on the efficiency of those activities. Most importantly, though, you need to ensure that skipped sessions don’t become a regular feature. When this happens, progress will be slowed. Consequently, that will send the likelihood of giving up through the roof.

The human body changes with age. Puberty affects everyone differently. Therefore, you may just need to accept that the body you had during your early teens simply isn’t possible. Learn to love the skin you’re in by focusing on achieving the best possible version of you. Ultimately, if you can achieve this goal, then the opinions of anybody else become redundant. If that doesn’t allow you to become the happy and healthy person, what will?

It’s not all about your body. In truth, your facial features will always be the key to feeling your best. While girls will want to perfect their makeup rituals, boys just need to focus on good grooming. Clothing is an equally important element as your fashion choices are what bring the style and look to life. Whether you create your own personal appearance or borrow ideas from celebs doesn’t matter. Whatever you do, though, ensuring that those outfits fit is crucial.

Meet Dutch Fashion Designer Lecy Lau

My name is Lecy Lau, I am 19 years young, and I live in the Netherlands. For four years straight now I been running my own brand called LECY LAU. I hope other young girls get inspired by reading my story.

My whole life I have always been into fashion, but to actually start my own fashion brand…I never thought about that. It just happened! Even when I was young, I always liked to design my own clothes and turn a basic piece into something unique. When I was 15 years old, I designed a pair of denim jeans by myself. I received many compliments on the jeans and people really wanted to buy them from me, so I asked myself, why not? I made the jeans for a couple of people and sold them. Then even more people wanted to buy them, and before I knew it I had so many orders that even my mother needed to help me to make them because it was just too much to do it all by myself! Then I received the question from different people, asking if I had more clothes to sell. I really liked the feeling of seeing other people happy with something I made for them. From that moment I knew what I wanted to do. I was fifteen years old when I made my brand official and started spreading my clothes all over social media.

Even after four years, every day I’m learning new things and getting so much joy out of designing. There have been ups and down, both personally and professionally, but every difficult situation makes me a stronger person. I challenge myself to be the best version of me. There is one thing I really don’t like to do, and that is competing and judging others, because we all try to do our best and I just don’t think you will get any better by making conclusions about somebody because of what you see from the outside. I know a lot of people do this to each other, and most of the time it makes them bitter, jealous, and unfocused. I just like to mind my own business, really, and do what feels and is best for me. I just want to tell all girls, as long as you work hard and don’t give up, you will get where you want to be.

“You learn as you live, you only lose when you give up everything.’’ That is the quote that keeps me focused. I love to see and read motivational quotes and stories from other people; I learn from them and get inspired. I just think you can’t have enough of them!

I am thankful for getting up every single morning, and going to my own office to work on something that I love to do. I enjoy my work every day, and I hope that every single girl will one day get her dream job, too. It doesn’t matter if it is for yourself or for a CEO, the only thing that matters is that you have fun with what you do, something that is really your passion. Stay true to yourself and don’t settle for anything less. No matter what you have been through, or what you are going through right now, you deserve the best.

 

Lots of love,

Lecy Lau

 

Check out her clothing line at http://lecylau.com/

Meet 25-year-old Award Winning Actress, Writer, and Director Castille Landon

“Diversify your interests, study anything and everything, and most importantly, never compare yourself to anyone else. There will always be someone more intelligent, more talented, more beautiful, more connected, etc., but that doesn’t mean there’s not a place for you at the table. You are enough; it’s a matter of working hard for yourself, striving to become the best version of yourself, and believing that you have something that is worthy of contributing.”

25-year-old actress, screenwriter, and film director Castille Landon is making history and paving the way for young women who are pursuing their dreams and careers. Born in Florida, she moved to Los Angeles when she was fifteen to pursue a career in acting. She graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in English, and is currently a student at Oxford, working on her creative writing major as the only screenwriter accepted into the class. “I think it helps as a filmmaker to be exposed to as many subjects as possible so as to create work that more broadly reflects humanity. I’d rather tell the stories of humans (especially women) throughout time, or be inspired by big ideas in science and medicine or great minds than become insular and just tell stories I relate to personally, or make films about filmmakers or writers,” said Landon, when asked why she decided to pursue a college education instead of only going straight to a career in the film industry.

She has appeared in numerous television shows and films such as Criminal Minds, Wind Walkers, Land of Leopold, and Among Ravens, and played a major supporting role in the comedy Sex Ed opposite Haley Joel Osment and Glen Powell. Now she writes, produces, and directs films such as Apple of My Eye, starring Burt Reynolds and Amy Smart, and I Believe in Unicorns, which premiered at SXSW and was screened in more than 40 film festivals worldwide. Her latest film, Albion: The Enchanted Stallion, was just released on Pay Per View on April 2, and will be available on DVD at Walmart on May 2.

The story follows a thirteen-year-old girl, tasked with the responsibility of caring for her disabled father, who is transported by a magical black stallion to the mystical world of Albion, where she discovers that she is the key to saving an entire race of people. It stars Oscar-nominee John Cleese (Monty Python), Jennifer Morrison (Once Upon A Time), and Debra Messing (Will and Grace). “The film was a blast to direct,” said Landon. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of actors. Everyone really nailed their characters, and [the cast] and I became very close during the whole shooting process.” The film earned a 93% audience approval rating when it was previewed at the Bentonville Film Festival, and received both the IFP Director’s Lab Selection award and Grand Jury Award for Best Feature Film at the Equus Film Festival in New York.

In her free time, Castille enjoys hot power yoga, horseback riding, and reading. She is also a very strong supporter of women in film, gender equality, inclusion of girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields, and de-stigmatizing mental illness. This is what she had to say on the subject:

“Gender equality is something that needs to happen, and that I’m constantly shocked to see is not even close to our present conditions. As far as STEM fields, I think it’s important to empower girls through school and teach them that their contributions in those fields can be great. I personally really struggle with understanding detailed science and math, but I’m obsessed with learning about them in the general sense. I love learning about neurology, epigenetics, and cognitive and behavioral psychology— how the brain works, why we do what we do, etc. Perhaps my brain really doesn’t grasp on to the intricacies of it, but it could also be that if I had been encouraged to study those subjects as a younger person, I might have been able to train my brain to function in those fields. Too often, young girls are told that they are meant to be studying subjects in the humanities, that we’re the ‘emotional’ gender, and so we turn the logical, mathematical sides of our brains off. Do we really lack those talents, or are they muscles that we weren’t encouraged to strengthen and have atrophied without use? Geena Davis’s Institute is doing great work and putting forth the idea that young people need to see themselves reflected on screen, so we, as creatives, need to show women doing these things to inspire the younger generation to pursue them.

“All of that being said, de-stigmatizing mental illness and promoting mental wellness is one of my greatest passions in life. There’s a long history of mental illness in my family, particularly in the women, up the maternal line for several generations. I was raised to understand that and so it didn’t even occur to me that discussing one’s struggles in that area was taboo until fairly recently. It dawned on me that many people turned to suicide not only because they were struggling with mental illness, but because they felt too ashamed of their condition to speak up and get help. That’s unacceptable. No one would be ashamed to say they had asthma so they needed to take a break from exercise. Society doesn’t judge those who get cancer. Why do we not regard mental illness in the same manner? It’s really nonsensical to me. And furthermore, positive psychology should be taught alongside any other subject. We should promote positive thinking instead of perpetuating the culture of fear and anger that the media seems intent on spreading.”

You can learn more about Geena Davis’s Institute here: https://seejane.org/
Also, check out the trailer for Albion: The Enchanted Stallion, like the Facebook page, and go follow Castille on Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date on her upcoming projects!
By Anna Tallarico

How I Turned My Passion into a Thriving Business

One of the darling dresses that can be found at daintyjewells.com

You’ve probably been told at some point, “Follow your passion and don’t give up.” It may not sound like revolutionary advice, but it’s truly some of the most important advice I’ve been given. It was my mom who first said these words to me, and if I hadn’t taken them to heart, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

At sixteen years old, I was passionate about upcycling tops, skirts, dresses, and even custom-embellished headbands. My intention wasn’t originally to start my own company; designing was a creative outlet for me. But my friends and acquaintances showed so much interest in owning one of my unique creations that starting my own business seemed to be the next logical step. Dainty Jewell’s was born, a company rooted in pursuing my passions that, after years of hard work, a few setbacks, and many successes, has become a provider of more than 80,000 pieces of clothing. It’s so exciting to watch my dream come to life! If you have a dream you’re passionate about, here is my advice to you:

Turn your passion into profit. In attempt to make extra money, I began designing headbands, shoe clips, and small accessories. Because my father was a traveling minister, I was able to sell my pieces all across the country. It wasn’t until people began encouraging me and complimenting my work, however, that I toyed with the idea of launching a full-fledged business. I was frequently asked about doing retail, so I finally decided to introduce a new clothing line on Facebook. I started my business with ten pieces, and it grew from there. Whenever you’re passionate about something or you just want to make a little extra money, try combining your passion with business savvy. It’s scientifically proven that following your passion brings deep satisfaction.  

What matters to you now many times won’t matter years from now. As I was starting my business at the age of sixteen, most people my age were totally engrossed in school activities, sports, dating, college applications, popularity, and adolescent drama. These things are huge when you’re a teenager, but they’re only a blip on the radar when you look at life on a large scale. While my peers were obsessed with matters of short-term significance, I was bootstrapping a business and learning how to manage my finances. I made sacrifices, such as choosing work over hanging out with friends, and I often chose to focus on my business when other things were calling for my attention. In the end, all the sacrifices were worth it. It’s the best feeling in the world waking up each day knowing I’m exactly where God wants me to be, doing what makes me happy.

Go against the grain. Dainty Jewell’s offers fashionably modest clothing for women and girls. The pieces have a classic elegance and vintage look (think Jackie Kennedy) with sleeves to the elbow and skirts to the knee. In a culture where dressing modestly isn’t celebrated, Dainty Jewell’s has still managed to be wildly successful. My pieces have been featured in USA Today, People StyleWatch, and BuzzFeed, and they’ve been worn by dozens of well-known fashion bloggers. I chose from the beginning to emphasize modesty, not so that Dainty Jewell’s would stand out or be unique—although those things became positive consequences of my decision—but so that I could be true to my belief that women and girls can and should be able to dress modestly and still look fabulous. Going against the grain and what society deems as normal has served my business and me well.  

Rely heavily on your support system. I can’t preach this last piece of advice enough! Surround yourself with positive, influential people who encourage, support, and love you. Your support system will be there when times are good and when times get tough: you need them for both. I would be nowhere without the encouragement and support of my parents, close family, and friends; without moral guidance from my pastor; and without the love and business advice of my husband. I’ve relied heavily on these people throughout the years. They’ve given wise counsel, lent an ear when I needed it, encouraged me, celebrated with me, and even rolled up their sleeves and helped me at times. My support system has been instrumental in the growth of my business and an asset to me personally.

Do you have a dream? A passion? A burning sense of purpose that sometimes keeps you up at night and energizes you in the day? Embrace that passion. Use it for good. Follow your passion, and never, ever give up.

 

About Charity Walter & Dainty Jewell’s: Charity Walter, a modern southern belle who grew up in North Carolina, began designing at the age of sixteen with the intent of upcycling and creating unique pieces featuring custom embellishments, dainty details, and decorative confections. After inspiring friends and acquaintances with her unique creations, the idea of creating her own company was born. Dainty Jewell’s remains dedicated to providing affordable and fashionably modest clothing to women of all ages because Charity believes dressing with ladylike class is a privilege all women should have access to. Combined with her intuitive business sense, Charity’s ability and passion to design clothing for every body type and age group is a gift that has enabled Dainty Jewell’s to soar in excellence for quality, customer service, and integrity. For more information, go to daintyjewells.com.

 

Chatting with Author Laila Jackson

R: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

L: My name is Laila Lee Jackson and I’m a total dork. I couldn’t survive without my family and, in my opinion, animals are better than people. I am sixteen years old and I started writing back when I was ten. I am very passionate about reading, which I have enjoyed since about third grade when I discovered the Harry Potter series. After finding Harry Potter I started reading more and more. I eventually stumbled across Percy Jackson and the Olympians and fell in love. With books and the stories that came to life with just a few words, I decided that I wanted to share my own stories with the world, so I started writing. It didn’t start off well. I was a decent writer, but I couldn’t give my stories any real substance. Finally, after basically moving across the state, I found not only my incredible friends, but an idea that came to life and after four years, I finally had the story I’d always dreamed of.

R: What is your book about?

L: I’ve never been good at summarizing a story, but I’ll give it my best shot. My story is about a girl who discovers she isn’t quite normal. Her soul is not her own, but rather shared with that of an ancient Greek goddess. One day, alongside Dakota Greene, Whitney Clarkson (the girl) stumbles across a magical clearing and awakens the goddess, as well as the souls of eleven other ancient deities from several different cultures. Whitney and eleven others are whisked away from the mortal world and sent on an outrageous quest that they can’t expect to survive. Between running from monsters of myth and magical beings that deceive the eye, as well as trying to keep her friends alive, (even at the expense of her own life) she discovers that everyone wears a mask and the difficulty of seeing through it. While that is the basic plot, there is much, much more to the story. Hopefully everyone can discover the world of Whitney Clarkson as she attempts to beat the gods.

R: Who are your biggest inspirations?

L: When it comes to my writing, my greatest inspirations are Rick Riordan and J.K. Rowling. Rowling managed to give me an unquenchable thirst for reading. Riordan turned that thirst into a fiery passion and a craving to make my own own mark on the literary world. His works made me push myself and developed my dreams of sharing my own stories with the world some day. In life, some of my greatest inspirations and influences are my parents. My mom, whose mantra in life is probably “walk it off,” is one of the strongest people I know. My dad, tough on the outside, but softer than your favorite blanket on the inside, pushes me to always be the best I can be. I love them and honestly, I probably wouldn’t survive without them. My influences would also include my teachers and coaches. They are literally there everyday. They know when to praise and when to give constructive criticism. They help me to grow as a student and an athlete, but also as a person.

R: I heard that you are also into sports. What sports do you play?

L: I run cross country and play basketball, but my heart belongs to softball. Cross country constantly challenges my mental strength. I used to despise running. It was the absolute worst. However, my freshman year I succumbed to peer pressure and joined the cross country team, where my coach taught me how to love running. Basketball challenges my physical strength and sometimes leaves me worse for wear. I mean, a girl my age who is as athletic and healthy as I am shouldn’t already have aches and pains that make her hobble around like an old lady. I played basketball for a few years when I was younger, but then stopped until my freshman year when I joined the high school team. I worked incredibly hard and pushed myself and I finally made split team, where I had the privilege to play with varsity. I have played softball for as long as I can remember. It was a game I fell head-over-heels in love with. Eventually, my family moved to a small town in northern Nevada at the end of my fifth grade year. I continued to play and then at the end of my eighth grade year, one of the other softball player’s dad put together a travel team, the Wells Rage. Now, before that summer I was an average player. I wasn’t incredibly good, but I wasn’t the absolute worst. I understood the game better than most others, but my ability was lacking. After that summer I grew and I turned from average to above average. I had talent, but with good coaching and hard work I developed skill. Now I’m hoping to continue my softball through high school and at the next level.

R: Do you have an official website or any social media?

L: I do not have an official website or Facebook page, though we are looking into getting one. The Kingdom of Fire is available on Lulu, which is a self-publishing site. It is also available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

R: What advice would you give to other young writers?

L: All I can tell them is to just keep writing. Find a topic you’re really passionate about and just write. I never brainstormed anything. I did research, but once I pulled up my book I just typed. I lost myself in the story and let myself become a part of it because I cared about it so much. The most important part is to not give up. I have given up on a lot of stories because I couldn’t figure out how to start them or end them or transition to the next chapter. But I finally found a topic that I was so passionate about I couldn’t ever imagine giving up on it. I would also advise that you don’t look at any past work with regret that you didn’t finish. Don’t look at it and only see the mistakes. The more you write the better you get. Without my own failures in the past, I never would have grown into a writer. I never would have dreamed that one day I would have a published book. But because of perseverance and dedication, I do.

 

Hard Work and Faith Can Make Dreams of Helping Others Come True

 

untitledFaith is sometimes hard to come by, but luckily for me I was blessed with an amazing family who has always encouraged me to trust in the Lord and do what I am called to do. For me, one of those times of calling came four, almost five years ago, whenever I saw disabled children not being able to play on a playground like I could. I knew that something needed to be done, that something needed to change. So that Monday evening at my first city council meeting, I took a deep breath and proposed the Rachel’s Fun For Everyone Project. This project would soon grow to reach over 5,000 people all over the world, taking down barriers and leveling playing standards for everyone of all abilities. The Rachel’s Fun For Everyone Playground is to be built in the spring of 2017. My dream will come true. Kids’ lives will be changed. Of course, no victory comes without trials and tribulations. Throughout this project, there have been times when I didn’t know if I could push further, if I could keep pounding the pavement towards the end goal. There have also been times when I didn’t believe that it was possible that a kid could make such a change in my community, or that I could affect as many lives as I’ve been fortunate to. But like I mentioned before, I have an amazing support system that has helped me make this possible and keep me centered through all of the playground planning craziness. As excited as I am to be prepping the final details for our community build, it’s definitely been hectic and it isn’t going to slow down any time soon. That’s part of the fun. I’ve learned to enjoy it, because it’s a new phase of the process that I haven’t faced, a new adventure to tackle. I’m overjoyed that I’ve been able to share my experiences with you, and I hope that I’ve encouraged you to trust in the Lord and follow what you feel you are called to do. The Bible says, “God helped you begin and he will help you until it is finished.” (Phil. 1:6)

 

Rachel Ritchie, age 12, has been named a national winner of the 2016 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. Each year, the Barron Prize celebrates twenty-five inspiring, public-spirited young people from across North America who have made a significant positive difference to people and our planet. The top fifteen winners each receive a $5,000 cash award to support their service, work, or higher education. For more information please visit www.barronprize.org