CWA #2

Topic: The best advice for a teen just graduating from high school.
Purpose: I was flipping through my book today and came across this topic. I’m the oldest in my family on both sides. I received some sound advice when I graduated but a lot of it seemed to be cliché and was too little, too late. I have a cousin graduating this year and another cousin (or two) next year. This is for them.

The hat and gown suits you well. It seems to be the single outfit in human history to look great on everyone. Not only does it hide any physical abnormalities or dislikes about yourself but it, in all its plainness and flowiness, forces people to believe that you’ve accomplished something great – which you have. You graduated high school; an achievement that was 12 years or more in the making. The hat and gown you’re wearing – it makes people look at you with pride and accomplishment. It makes you, the one wearing it, feel good and special.

That same hat and gown is awfully deceiving though. It doesn’t give you a sure-ride ticket to anywhere unless you continue working beyond the blip of an achievement that you made. And I don’t say blip because high school graduation isn’t important – it’s probably one of the most important moments in your life. But it’s a blip simply because there are so many more great things you’re capable of doing going forward now that you have that checked off your outline of life. There are so many more moments and times in your future that people will look at you with pride and accomplishment – if you allow it.

If you’re lucky, your dreams for your future are clear. You have a plan and you’re going to go and get it as soon as this graduation party is over. On the contrary; you might not have a plan. You might not know what you want to do with your life. The dreaded “What are you going to do now?” has been asked a hundred times over the past six hours if not six months. “I don’t know” doesn’t seem to be acceptable even though it’s the truth.

Don’t be afraid to not know. That’s the absolute best advice I can give you. Don’t be afraid of figuring it out. It’s scary as hell but I promise you, it’ll be worth it. Simple the process of a future down. Go to and graduate college, get a job, buy a house, get married, have kids is still what people seem to want to hear. Even now in 2015, that’s what their ears are ready for. You’re 18, although thinking about your future is important and I wouldn’t abandon it all together, there is no use in thinking of the big picture right now. Consider each moment in your life a single picture creating a lifetime collage. All the milestone photos of your life will continuously accumulate, make them the absolute best. Be proud of what you’re going to do in your life. Follow your dreams, live your dreams.

Don’t be stupid and make detrimental mistakes. Don’t abandon those that love you; primarily your family. Appreciate the world and what it has to offer. Travel, make new friends, take photographs. Pay your bills on time and don’t be reckless. If you decide not to go to college – don’t waste those young years away. Understand the reality of real life and accept it instead of try to fight it. In doing that, you don’t need to give up your free roaming spirit or life. If you don’t see yourself in a typical 8-5 setting 10 years down the road, do something about it. You’re still going to need to make money to survive, accept it. Don’t rely on and abuse your parents financially. Save up some money and make wise decisions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Join the Peace Corps, backpack around Europe, fall in love, skydive. Do everything you possibly can because you want to not because society wants you to.

From personal experience, I do think college is important. However, I would only recommend college to those that know what they want to do. To those that do have a plan. I’m still paying off my 2 years of college debt 5 years later. I didn’t get a fancy job, I didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know, I didn’t make lifelong friends, and it didn’t help me decide what to do in my life. But that’s me, don’t let anyone else’s experience deter you from living your dream. If I could do it all over again, I would have done more research in high school, visited colleges, and actually spent time to decide what I wanted to do. I would have moved away and attended a four-year college. I would have traveled abroad my junior year. But I never did because I felt that the resources weren’t available to me and I didn’t know where to look. That’s why you have me. What are your favorite things to do? Sports? Painting? Photography? Working on cars? Photoshop?

There’s something to do in the “real world” for everyone. You can become a sports reporter, journalist, newscaster. You can own your own art gallery or become an art professor. You can be a photographer on your own or with a media group. You can become an automotive or diesel mechanic, a shop teacher. You can become a graphic or website designer. The possibilities are endless, your future is wider than your arms are even capable of spreading. Don’t waste the days after high school graduation away. Find yourself but don’t lose yourself. Dream big and follow through.

So, even though this was important for you to read, take my advice; put this down and spend time with those that love you. Throw that square hat up into the air, smile until your cheeks hurt today and everyday. Be honest, take those milestone pictures, and show everyone what life is all about. Make your collage worth looking at.

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Sunday Drive.

I did a lot of driving today. I hate driving. I needed to get out of the house. I’ve only worked 5 out of the last 14 days because I needed to use some vacation time since I’m not accruing it anymore. Unfortunately, it was kind of a last minute decision and I didn’t really make any plans to do anything. I thought I’d be content hanging out at home and diving into Netflix full force – which was fine for awhile. I don’t know. Cooped up all day when it’s freezing outside gets me thinking and nothing I thought about was very positive.

2015-01-04 14.07.05I kept thinking about our recent decisions that landed us to where we are. Was it a mistake? Why did we decide to come here? All that pity party jazz. So, I decided to bundle up for the 15 below zero [who knows what the windchill is] weather. I popped in Taylor and just drove. I drove and stopped to take pictures. I took my time. I don’t think I’d ever been passed so many times in my life! I guess that’s my fault – 30 in a 55 probably isn’t legal.

It was a refreshing drive. Although I still don’t know if we made the “right” choice by moving here, I felt better after getting out of the apartment for awhile. My mom told me to enjoy every single minute of every single day as much as possible. I really should take her advice more often. Moms always know best.

Today, I fully enjoyed the two hours I spent singing to Taylor Swift as loud as the radio would go. I enjoyed driving like a tourist in Bemidji admiring the beautiful homes and scenery. I enjoyed pulling over and baring the cold air for a good picture. I enjoyed driving even though I hate it.

I also decided that I’m going to look into a few things over the next year. I love photography. I’m no expert and I don’t even know if I’m any good at it in the terms of being a “photographer.” But I do know that it’s my meditation. It makes me happy and it helps me capture beauty the way I see it. It helps me to tell a story that I have no words for.

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So, I want to spend a little money and send some of my favorites to get printed on a larger scale to see how they look. I’ve only ever printed small scale stuff but it’d be really cool to sell my photos down the line and if they don’t print well now, I need to teach myself how to take photos that will print well.

Second, I’ve wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember but I don’t know what exactly I’d write about. After venturing to a few bookstores in the last few weeks I’ve seen a lot of imagery themed books. I would probably refer to them as table top books. I’m sure some in the literary world wouldn’t consider the title of “author” to be an accurate definition of the books creators but it’d be a great way for me to combine my images with some small passages. I don’t know, just a thought. But my plan would be to gather 50 or 60 photos that I’ve taken and pair them somehow with text. I used to work with a gal that has published a book of her own and I’d probably ask her advice once I gather some material together.

Thanks mom for getting me thinking. You really are the best. I took these pictures today with you in mind.

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Sioux Falls, Waterfalls.

I actually have never taken a spur of the moment trip at any point in my life. Until this past weekend. The last month or so has been pretty busy on the work front for my boyfriend and I so when he finally got word of a weekend off, we were definitely going to make the most of it.

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Waterfalls At Falls Park

Our plans originated in the camping version of a weekend getaway. We love being by the water and in nature. Pitching a tent, building a fire, and roasting a few good ol’ marshmallows. Typical Minnesotan summertime pastime, ya know.

But guess what? After a beautiful week of 80 degree weather, it decided it was going to storm. Mreh. Change of plans I guess.

I spent Friday evening Googling some places that we’d never been and would be fun to explore for a day or two which ultimately led me to Sioux Falls. So, Saturday morning we hopped in the Rav and headed south on I-29.

Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the ride itself because I was driving and Chan isn’t necessarily photographically inclined. But my God, have you been to South Dakota? Actually, I should ask if you’ve been to eastern North Dakota.

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Koi Fish & Ducks

I’ll fill you in. Where I live, it’s as flat as a piece of paper on an even level. We have to build our own hills in this area. Not even 2 minutes after crossing the ND/SD border, we saw hills galore. It’s every skiers paradise. (I don’t ski, so this is just a guess.) We were still in agriculture central so the hills were filled with acres upon acres of beautifully landscaped crops and dotted with cows roaming up and down the land. It was actually picture perfect.

The trip to Sioux Falls actually went by quick thanks to the nice scenery. We visited the city zoo which wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be but was still cool. I hadn’t been to a zoo since my 6th grade field trip to Canada so I felt like a kid again exploring the property and seeing the animals.

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Butterflies.

We also checked out a butterfly and aquamarine house at the local Sertoma park which was also pretty fascinating. The butterflies would land right on us and there were so many different kinds and colors. There was an opportunity to touch a sting ray but I kind of chickened out by that point. Maybe next time.

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Falls Park, Sioux Falls, SD

The highlight of the trip was Falls Park. I don’t know the history about the park itself but there were these beautiful falls right in the center of the park. If you know anything about me, you know that I love love LOVE waterfalls. We spent a few hours there just lingering around. It was just beautiful. If you ever get a chance, head that way. It’s well worth the trip.

Have you ever taken a spur of the moment weekend trip? Where did you go? What did you do!? I’d love to hear some suggestions within driving distance of Grand Forks!

Selfie Or Helpie?

I’ve noticed a phenomenon on Facebook feeds around the area. This has been happening for about a year now but more recently more and more people have followed suit. The topic at hand here – is pre and post workout pictures being blasted all over social media.

I feel indifferent about this. On one hand, I get it. So many “inspirational leaders” are showing off their goods because they want you to jump on the bandwagon. To get healthy and fit. They are proud of themselves and are bound and determined to show you, your mother, brother, teacher, and co-workers that they can do the same.

I’m new to the workout and eating right world. And when I say new, I mean old. I’ve been trying to get into the swing of things since I was in 4th grade when I was put on my first “diet.” However, over the last 7 or so weeks, I started something new and I’m currently down 17.6 pounds and making progress. Go me!! But I’m nowhere near the “show my stomach on Facebook” progress though. That’ll never happen.

Getting a little side-tracked here. But I get it. I get that a good 10 of you on Facebook are Beachbody coaches. Your job is to help and encourage others to do the same as you, try as hard as you, look as good as you. It’s motivating. Sometimes.

But other times, it’s annoying. You’re flat stomach still looks the same as it looked yesterday and the day before. It even looks the same as the day you started. I don’t really think this has to do with “jealously” of the thin and famous. It’s more along the lines of wanting to see someone that has actually gone through a transformation struggle. Not someone that has always been an athlete, or slim built, or naturally born with metabolism.

Just an observation I guess. I do follow most of the people, not for the results but for the encouraging words. Most of them post a picture of their fabulous physique but they also talk about the struggle of making yourself workout and making yourself eat right and making yourself choose life rather than death.

I guess sometimes I just don’t know if they are actually “helping” people because they want to and that’s what drives them or if they are just excited to take a selfie and show off. Every. Single. Day. Considering that we live in a primarily narcissistic world, it’s hard to tell the difference.

Christmas In July.

10488215_10152518733063363_7056823897675192397_nI wanted to post some of my favorite pictures from the holiday weekend. Or, week I should say. The last Sunday in June through July 3rd, we stayed at a quaint little Catholic bible resort through the Diocese of Crookston. I’m assuming the Diocese has camps for kids that run throughout the summer based off of all the hand-written and carved names in the lodge. But for this 4-day getaway, it was reserved for our extended family only. No one else.

10442440_10152518723093363_715589565184503715_nUnfortunately the first two days were filled with chilly off and on rainy weather. It definitely got everyone’s spirits down because for most of us, it’s the only time that we’ll get a vacation in the calendar year. I’d like to say that we made the most of it, which we did, but we definitely got restless watching the white caps form on the little lake knowing that it was too rough for canoes and too cold to swim.
10446556_10152518802578363_3928342290805872018_nWednesday came as soon as it could. The weather let up and the real fun began! Fishing, swimming, driving a boat for the first time, finding out that I possess zero sense of balance in a canoe, laughing, scavenger hunts, s’mores…the list goes on.

Thursday we packed up and headed down the twisty road to Lake Itasca. We mosied our way through the biggest state park that I’ve ever been to. Checked out the beach, visited a pioneer cemetery and crossed the Mississippi Headwaters. It was really beautiful and peaceful.

10400844_10152518740063363_8975642485060600810_nFriday we traveled a bit further to Bemidji to see C’s sisters and nephew. The town had a carnival going on for the 4th of July. I can definitely tell that I’ve grown up and slightly outgrown the fair scene. I still like it. I love hearing the kids laughing and the rides spinning. I still laugh when the carny’s attempt to sweet talk you into playing a game. But man oh man, I don’t miss the crowd. I don’t miss the push and shove and the nasty looks if you’re in the way. When we were younger we must have been too excited to notice the amount of people crowded into such a small dirty area.

10418425_10152518751188363_6484200687791014883_nSeeing C’s nephew was an absolute delight. He’s 3 1/2 now and hilarious as can be. We watched the fireworks right on shore of Lake Bemidji. They were beautiful and he loved the heck out of them!

I won’t bore you with much more. I kind of just wanted to mention the highlights of our trip because memories so quickly become forgotten. I hope you had a happy 4th with friends and family.

Follow me on Vine to see a few 6-second videos from our trip @orianoelle!

“I TRIPLE-Dog-Dare Ya!”

water in back

So, I finished editing photos for my brothers senior pictures and the proofs are printed. I’ll be going home this weekend to show them to my mom and brother so they can decide on the ones they like. I wonder if artists are the most critical of critics when it comes to their own work. Like I said before, when it comes to taking photographs of people, I’m definitely an amateur and I really don’t know if my opinion of the final results are very high. You be the judge.

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On another note, I’ve been very actively practicing patience. Overall, I’m a pretty patient person in most situations. But with the stress of life over the last few months, my patience has been on the back burner because quite frankly, I just don’t have time for that. In turn, the obvious reaction was held in stress. I’m tired of that. So the last couple days, I’ve been taking a deep breath and moving forward. I can definitely tell when I’m trying to be more patient in comparison to just doing things myself and keeping it bottled up. It really does feel good.

Did you hear that once again schools were either two hours late or cancelled? Can you say ridiculous?! I made the mistake of posting a status about it on Facebook and a couple of pansies got flustered. Quite some time ago, I decided to withdraw my Facebook presence and put it more towards Twitter. I have so many co-workers, family, old friends, and judgmental people on my Facebook just like I’m sure everyone else does. It’s pretty silly really; how bent out of shape people get. No one ever says anything on positive, uplifting statuses but the second someone makes a valid point, everyone cries. I respect the value of an opinion, believe me, I’m the queen of opinions but the ignorance of some people is just appalling. I don’t see it often anymore because I hardly put “statuses” on FB but people are so confrontational. It just makes them look stupid.

As I am a very opinionated person, I too, have a mouth full to say but I don’t. I try my best to keep it to myself because I’m not looking for a fight, I just simply have things to say. Not because I don’t want to be heard but quite frankly, most of the arguments that would arise wouldn’t be worth my time. So many people (myself probably included at times) are uneducated. For example, my “issue” resulting in today’s post was really just saying that as a general whole, us (i.e Minnesotans and North Dakotans) can’t really claim to be rough, tough, Viking warriors anymore because as soon as a flake is in the sky or the temperature dips below 0, everyone runs and hides. That’s it. I didn’t “bash” anyone, I was just saying.

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Today, many schools were cancelled for the millionth time this winter-y season because of a blizzard. What blizzard? Sure, country roads were probably crudy but aren’t they always? My entire life, I lived in the country so I’m not some ignorant city girl that can’t comprehend the consequences of a blizzard. But did they really need to cancel school in the city of Grand Forks? Tell me, what percentage of kids actually live in the country, the real country? Not across town or three miles out. I’m talking the 20-minute, probably dangerous drive? Few. So, why the hell was school cancelled? Everyone that had the “balls” to go out of their house today had to have laughed until they cried. The roads and visibility were fine. Typical middle of January weather.

christmas story

Kids these days will be lucky if they survive the real world. Not only are they being taught to pull over when it sprinkles out but they aren’t even going to get quality education much longer. I don’t think we even had a snow day in the last three years that I was in high school. I know, I know, I’m not a mom. I don’t understand, whatever. In cases like today, parents should just use their own discretion when sending their children to school. If it was really going to be a treacherous drive than fine, stay home. But if you have any common sense, you’d know how to bundle your children up for winter just like “A Christmas Story.”

Lets stop wussing out people.