EMPOWERING GIRLS THROUGH EFFECTIVE CAMPAIGNS

Lately (and I mean in the last two years) have woken up to the fact that there are many stereotypes about women that have negative connotations.  Some groups have taken to starting campaigns that honestly seem more like militant feminist movement instead of trying to change the views that our culture has of female stereotypes.

Case in point the #BanBossy Campaign.  Do not get me started on this ridiculous attempt by Hollywood celebrities at girl power.  I mean come on the word bossy demeanors women?  I personally, along with many Americans, found it laughable that the main flag bearer of this campaign was Beyonce.  Come on, seriously she and her husband have made a killing using words and imagery that demeans women.  Truth be told, I use the word BOSSY with a bunch of people and personally, I don't mind people using that word to describe me because I am the first to tell you that I can be pretty bossy from time to time.  But moving on...

One thing about failed "girl power" campaigns is that it serves as an example of what not to do.  And it opens the dialogue about effectiveness in reaching out and spreading the message.  Enter Procter & Gamble's Always brand campaign {yes, the feminine products Always brand}.

Now, this campaign by Always is completely different.  It is about the negative perception that men AND women have that doing anything "like a girl" translates into weakness and whimpy.  I actually heard a mother this weekend telling her daughter at the grocery store "gosh, you are such a girl" as if it was something bad.  I myself have used that same expression about MYSELF.  And this is what this campaign aims at.


The concept is pretty simple: bring young girls and tweens and ask them to demonstrate what they think when someone says "run like a girl" or "throw like a girl".  They actually brought in a guy and a young boy and asked them the same question.  What really amazed me is how vastly different the perception of #likeagirl is for little girls  versus teenagers/tweens.  I let you see if for yourself.




Then you have the new Under Armour ad featuring powerful ballerina Misty Copeland and wow, wow, wow!  I am in love with this ad because of the message which so reflects Misty's own journey in the ballet world.  She did not conform to the aesthetics of ballet-- not so much because of race but because she did not have the "right" body type.  Talk about proving them wrong as she has become of the America's shining ballet stars and a trailblazer in the industry.  Here is the ad for your utter enjoyment:





This really resonated with my because I loved ballet and danced for about 10 years.  Then when I was 15 my body decided to change and I went from 5'7" to 6'1" in the span of a Christmas break.  When I started hearing comments like you are to tall or you are too curvy, I equated that with I am not good enough and I stopped dancing.  But never lost the love for it.  And this ad just brought me back to that time.  My parents were great motivators and always told me not to believe that but instead I channeled my energy through activities where I could use my height like sports.  But seeing this ad made me wonder if I have had a better understanding at the time of the important part that hard work and drive-- would I have continued?  I'll never know and I do not dwell on it now.  But whenever I can I try to tell girls that circumstances do not limit your possibilities. 

I am so happy that there are serious successful campaigns aimed at empowering your girls and women in general to be and love themselves.  But more importantly helping them accept their bodies as beautiful instead of trying to fit a mold influenced by what we see in fashion magazines.  As girls grow up there are so many insecurities that come with growing up and becoming an adult.  Self-deprecation and hating their bodies should not be one of them.
Do you have any favorite campaigns?
Do you thing ad campaigns like these help young girls and women?


Fitness FridayWhatever Is LovelyThought Provoking ThursdayOh Hey, Friday

LAST WEEK TRAINING UPDATE: THE NEED FOR REST

Hey dolls!  So last week it was crazy and did not post my training on Friday.  And since I know you are just dying to know (just kidding) here it is and I am sharing it with the girls from Workout Wednesday.  Have you check out these fitness link-up?  If not-- you should.  My training consisted of the following ;-)


Notice what is missing from last week? RUNNING.  Last week was brutal on the body-- so much so that I had no energy for running either Wednesday or Thursday and on Friday I did not go to Crossfit.  Not because I did not want but because my body felt broken.  After the workout on Wednesday I felt exactly like this (excuse my French but I'm not gonna lie... I was hating CrossFit and thinking exactly this):


Next day and Friday I was sore.  Not just a slight soreness but rather "bone tired, my knees are hurting when I walk, when I sit, when I sleep... actually everything hurts" kind of tired.  I know my body and it was screaming at me for some rest.  So I did just that and spent Friday nursing those knees with Celebrex and ice packs while watching the Crossfit Games on my laptop.  Not that I was watching AT work... they were "background noise". 

Did you happen to catch the Crossfit Games? Oh my goodness, talk about a test of fitness.  Just like in previous years the games showcased what makes  Crossfit atheletes rocks stars in the fitness world.   Whether you love or hate the polarizing sport of Crossfit, the athletes are awe-inspiring.  What they do at the games its pretty incredible.

photo courtesy of Crossfit.com
I think this year was really surprising to many because the events featured a LOT of running and many had awesome times. Which truthfully was very surprising to many because running that much is not a Crossfit thing.  And believe me, many questioned what was with all the running?  In all they were awesome and cannot wait to see what happens next year.

This year's winner (and so well deserved) was Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet from Canada.  After 5 years of getting better and better, you could tell from day one that she brought her A Game.  My girl Annie Thorisdottir a.k.a. Iceland Annie (a Crossfit Games two time champ) finished with a silver medal after skipping last year due to a back injury.  And to me that is pretty amazing!  You go girl!  Congrats to all the other winners!

How was your training week? 
Did you watch the Crossfit Games? If you did, who were you rooting for?

MY INEXPENSIVE FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS



In a perfect photography world I would have an awesome camera with the fancy lenses and I would take pictures like the folks at Pastry Affair or some of the other food blogs I read, but I do not.  I really enjoy taking food photos because I like showcasing a recipe I made.  I am not much about styling.  I like my photos simple and unfuzzy.  I do not like too many props and I have no idea of how to create a "moody artsy" quality on a photo.  So I stick with what I know.  Keeping it simple.  

I do not claim to be a food photographer expert.  I AM NOT.  But I have a few tips that have helped me to go from the type of food photos I used to shoot like when I had my food blog a long time ago, like this:




To what I shoot now, which I think is a much better finished product, like this:


I big part was deciding on the aesthetics I wanted my photos to have.  And for me it is light.  I love photos that have a light quality with that tonality that reminds me of the light you see in Paris photos.  The light colors are muted while the colored details still show but with a delicate quality.  Photos like this require one main thing: light.  There are many home studio that you can buy with all the professional accoutrements and lights but since I am not a food blog, I do not want to spend that kind of money.  Instead I make my own.   

One of the key components of a clear and light photo is daylight.  You can fake it indoors with photography lamps but I like the real think whenever possible.  I am pretty fortunate that I have fantastic light in my house and unless it is cloudy in that way that Kansas can get, I can shoot with natural light.  If you have daylight, then all you need are some inexpensive materials and you will have what you need to take a really good food photography.  Here are my essentials.

 
  

No. 1 // White and brown banner paper

This is my favorite background item.  I just roll/tape the end to any surface and roll out enough to place whatever dish I am trying to photograph.  The great thing is that if the paper gets stained with the dish you can just cut out the piece of paper and roll out some more. 

I like the brown one if I want to photograph ingredients and I want to write the names.  I place the items and then using a marker I write the names by each ingredient.  Once I am done, I throw out that piece of paper. 

 

No. 2 - No. 3 // Aluminum tray or aluminum foil

One of the things about light is that when there is light there are also shadows, and aluminum foil is awesome for getting rid of shadows.  In the photo below you see how I place my foil board (which is nothing more than a piece of cardboard covered in foil.  Try different angles until you find the ones that get rid of the shadows.  Inexpesive but so key to lighten up a photo.


No. 4 // Black Project Board

I use this when I want a dark background like this.  It creates instant moodiness and depth.  There are certain food that show better in a black background than a light one.  It is all a matter of playing with the background and seeing what works better. 


No. 5 // Solid color bowls

This is where styling preference comes into play.  I personally prefer to use solid color plates and bowls because I think they show the food better.  But again, this is a matter of preference.  Some people like ornate table settings and props.  Me?  I like simple.

No. 6 // iPhone


Let's talk camera.  I do not have a fancy high speed camera.  I take all my photos with my iPhone.  I do and I love it.  I have had the iPhone 4s and now the 5s, and I tell you: that is one powerful little camera.  Why do I shoot with my iPhone?  For one it is convenient and second for photo editing.  I can get a photo to look pretty great and still sometimes it needs something.  I HATE photoshop with a passion and there is so much I can do with PicMokey.  In contrast I find that smart phones have a myriad of compatible editing apps that are really good.  Which brings me to the next two items: photo editing apps.

No. 7 // VSCOCAM APP

I love this app so much because it has many effects options to give your photos an artsy quality instead of a comic book harsh type effect (not what you want with food photos).  I usually use this app if I want to keep a photo light but give it more "feeling".  It truly is my favorite photo editing app.

 

No. 8 // Pic Tap Go App

This app is also a favorite of mine and has a lot of effects, but the main reason I love it because of one of the filters called Lights On.  This is the filter I first use on a photo because it lights up a photo making it brighter and getting rid of that grayish tone white background can get.  Below is a before and after, and you can how the photo on the right is much lighter after applying the filter. 

And there you have-- my favorite little tips for making my food photos better.  It does not take a lot of expensive equipment, I think.  Just getting creative and imaginative.  Hope these tips help you in taking your own food photos. 
Do you have any inexpensive food photography tips?