May 30, 2013

Flower Power

Hello everybody! Sorry for the cheesy title. It reminds me of one of those kid shows where Care Bears conquer all evil by using their tummy powers--silly fun stuff.

But to be honest, no would have cut the chase when it comes to this image that I wanted to share with you today:

I found this on Facebook, and the caption was: "How do you interpret this picture?"

It's good to take some time and think about it. There is beauty in this world, but it's really up to us to decide whether or not it conquers all that's trying to crush it.

Find that flower inside of yourself, and never be the boot that tries to destroy the color and spirit in other people.

I could probably write a whole dissertation on my reaction to this image, but those little blurbs give as best of a summary as I can manage--I'd much rather hear about your opinions and ideas.

I hope this post provided a quick fix of inspiration for this wonderful new day, and please leave a note in the comments below!

Take care,
-Riley XO

May 28, 2013

8 Things to do with Your Friends This Summer

Hey all, so summer is finally here! Summer is one of the best times of the year for students--as you probably know. Suddenly, we have all of this free time to spend doing whatever we want. But it's not worthwhile to just sit around at home staring at the ceiling and "relaxing" the whole time.

The purpose of this blog is to give you reasons to smile, and what could be a better reason to smile than having made new memories with your friends?

image from

Without further ado, here are eight creative ways for you to spice up your summer with a group of friends.

  1. Organize a mystery party. I've only organized two mystery parties, but they are incredible. Some mystery parties can be pretty expensive for student budgets. However, I found an excellent site that has a free mystery party! Please click here to read the synopsis and available download for Michael Akers's "Sour Grapes of Wrath." Mystery parties are fun because it allows any number over four people to participate.
  2. Make collages. Gather some magazines (or pictures) and brainstorm a topic--anything from friendship to desserts to vacation destinations. Then, take some time alone to create your own collage. Afterward, present your collages to your friends and see what different ideas you have. You could be surprised.
  3. Play Ultimate Frisbee. Get a nice-sized group and get outside. Run, enjoy the air and sun. It doesn't even really have to be Ultimate Frisbee. Just make that trek to the park--do something active!
  4. Cook dinner. For your parents. Yes, for your parents. If you're anything like me, this may seem like a daunting task, so that's where the friends part comes in. Gather your friends at around 3:00, watch a quick TV show, and then set to work trying a fancy recipe. Don't settle for spaghetti; try making something like Eggplant Parmesan or Chicken Pad Thai. Also, the best dinners have a nice dessert to finish off on a sweet note. This is also nice way to show your parents or mentors how much you appreciate them.
  5. Learn yoga. Okay guys, maybe this sounds silly to you. Some of you might be shaking your heads. Well, yoga is something that I've personally wanted to learn for a long time. Us teenagers are under a lot of pressure when it comes to balancing our work, school, extracurricular, and social lives. Learning some yoga, meditation, and breathing techniques this summer will help you to lead a healthier, more relaxed and steady life.
  6. Organize a service project. It doesn't have to be anything too complex. Motivating a group of teenagers to wake up early in the morning to volunteer at a soup kitchen is work enough. Plant a tree, or go together to visit a nursing home. Not only will you help the community--you'll also have fun doing so with your friends. And who knows? You just might learn something about yourself and each other.
  7. Make a music video. Find a completely random song, learn the lyrics, and try to top the original MV with one of your own. If you need help finding a random song/video, here is one that may leave you shocked for a couple minutes, but would definitely try tackling. Please follow this link to see it:
  8. Go on an adventure. I'm blessed to live in the lovely state of Colorado, and I have the ability to go to the mountains for a hike. But even if you don't have mountains, there must be hills, beaches, valleys, or beautiful fields or forests to explore within a reasonable distance. Our generation is earning a reputation for being too "plugged in." So take a day off, and be one with your friends and the breathtaking scenery that is all around us. Bring a camera, sunglasses--don't forget your water bottle or sunscreen either!
And there are my eight things that you can do this summer. I hope that this gives you some ideas to treat yourself and the people around you--to make add a little something to the story of your summer.

I really tried to think of activities that would appeal to people of a variety of age groups and interests, but if you have any of your own, please feel free to share in the comments below.

Have a wonderful time!
-Riley XO

May 21, 2013

Setting Sail

Hello everybody! I found this quotation a while ago, and I hope that it inspires you too on this beautiful Tuesday. It's quite brief, but it holds a lot of meaning, so take the time to digest it. Think about it, meditate on it a little while--what it represents, how it applies to you.

Hope the seas give you good weather today!
-Riley XO

The Meaning of High School Friendships

There are a lot of directions I can take with this topic, so we could probably call this "Part 1."


My last day of school was Thursday--and let me tell you, it's been one heck of a close. I don't know how na├»ve this sounds, but I expected to go out the way the kids in that movie High School Musical did: throwing papers, dancing, and singing--having a good time with friends that would always be there with me. Life, however, is a lot more complicated than that. As my friends and I signed each others' yearbooks leaving some sincere, heartfelt notes, there were definitely some mixed emotions.

People have varying ideas of what high school friends are for. I remember sitting with a couple random kids earlier this year during English. One of them said, "To be honest, I don't think I'm ever gonna talk to any of you ever again. For the most part, it'll be like, yeah, it was cool. We had some fun times. But you don't make your real friends 'til college."

To me, it seems like a depressing way to considers one's friends, and my mind was somewhat saddened when I realized that many people believe that high school friendships are just built to be fun for the time-being--temporary. Actually, some people I consider to be very close think that high school relationships are not meant to last and only exist in the now.

I say that it seems depressing to me because I was on the other extreme.

I was determined to keep all of my relationships intact while forging new connections in college. On Thursday after class was over, I talked to my friend Val about staying in touch, referring to my current relationship with Kevin, who was a freshman at Cornell this past year, as sort of a standard.

Kevin had quickly moved on from his time in high school. He'd plunged into a rigorous academic track, registering for 21 credits this last semester. He also joined a project team for engineering, and had a whole new social life to deal with.

As you can probably guess, Kevin didn't have the time to pay attention to everything that happened to me. And my own life had gotten so busy that I still don't really know each detail about Cornell, or even the names of most of his friends. As I scroll through our conversations, most of them are very brief.

But the point of the matter is, we're still here for each other.

When I went through hard times, Kevin knew about them, and offered whatever advice or kindness that he could. And when he was studying for his difficult exams or was stressing out about personal issues, I also did what I could to help.

As I consider my relationship with Kevin, my relationships with my friends from middle school (who I'd say are still some of my absolute best friends), I realize this is true:

So while my friends from high school will be doing many things that I won't be involved in, it's okay. Because I know that I can still count on them when I'm in need, and I'll be there for them whatever they go through.

It's impossible to maintain the friendships the way they are now. However, the experiences in high school aren't meaningless, and neither are the people.

The most important part of your high school friends are the experiences you have together, because these are what help you grow. So the best thing you can do is to thank them for these experiences, and try to keep in touch the way Kevin and I do, the way Val and I will. I've made some valuable friendships these past four years. The best ones are sure to last with a little bit of effort. 

Cherish the memories, and love the people you're with

To end on a cheesy note (so I don't drag on forever), here are the lyrics from this little tune I learned from my Girl Scout years:

Make new friends,
But keep the old;
One is silver and the other's gold.
A circle is round,
It has no end--
That's how long we shall all be friends.

Take care,
-Riley XO

May 14, 2013

Why We're Here

I have three days left of school.

It has been quite a journey! I can still remember my first day in high school. I stepped into the large halls filled with people I'd never met before, brimming with anticipation and anxiety, peering around at the kids that would one day come to be my friends. I didn't know what these next four years would hold for me. You could probably say that I went in blindly but willingly. Now that everything is starting to wind down, I've been experiencing quite a lot of self-reflection after going through so much.

I have many great stories that have come from my friends and family, but it would be a lie to tell you that everything has been easy. Everyone goes through rough patches; I admit that I just got out of a very terrible one. This isn't the post to talk about the turbulence I experienced this last month, but all of that hardship taught me lessons. Lessons about people, lessons about myself, and lessons about life. These lessons inspired me to contact North and Scooby about a new project: this blog.

Even though my heart had felt crushed, I've found a reason to smile. I realized that happiness is a matter of perspective, how you see the world. North and Scooby agree with me, and that's why we want to share this with you.

So this blog is dedicated to you, whether you're going through good times or bad. It'll be a compilation of advice, stories, pictures, and quotes that will help you find yourself, help you find a reason to smile no matter what is going on in life, no matter how dark it may seem.

Here is the first quotation out of many:

-Chad Sugg
Take care,
-Riley XO
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