Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Disney Vault

The Disney Vault really freaks me out. I don’t like having my options taken away, so when they tell me that they are putting a classic childhood movie in the vault forever, it just makes me really anxious. I mean, I’ve only seen Bambi once, and I don’t think I really liked it. But these commercials keep reminding me that it’s going in the magical Disney Vault (PS where is this vault and is it guarded like Fort Knox?) and won’t be available EVER again. Something about that makes me want to drive to Walmart and run through the aisles screaming “WAIT BAMBI, WAIT! DON’T ENTER THE VAULT YET! WHAT IF I GET A COMPLETELY RANDOM URGE TO WATCH YOU SOMETIME?” I guess vaults in general just make me nervous. Like, what the heck is in there and why can’t I get to it? Sooooo, is that just me? Does the Disney Vault send you into a complete panic too?

*Ugh. P.S. When I searched Google to find this picture, it came with a list of movies that have been in the vault or are being put in the vault. I need a Klonopin, ASAP.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Letter to my younger self, pt. II

Dear younger Brooke,

It’s been a while since I’ve written you last. Since then I have turned 22 and moved to a new city to start nursing school. I’ve experienced the awkward period of life right after college, where you feel like a baby that’s been kicked out of the womb too early. There are a few things I’ve learned recently that I wanted to share with you, so listen closely. Get on a plane. I know you had a terrible, horrible, no good, traumatic experience, but you can do it. And once you conquer that, the sky is literally the limit. Don’t compare your journey to others. I know that when you’re young, you are basically on the same track as your friends. Unfortunately, no one prepares you for when life happens and the people around you seem to be moving at a faster pace than you. I’ve been told that this is okay, and everyone’s timing and journeys are different. I’m still trying to figure this one out for myself. Work hard. At everything you do. You tend to be disappointed in anything less than perfect, but try to hold yourself to a standard of grace, not perfection. Trust me on this. Don’t stop competitive dance just because you don’t feel good enough. You will definitely regret that. You are going to hit a particularly rough patch in your life, but just keep going. It might feel like your world is crashing down, but you will get through it and be better for it. Don’t feel defined by your appearance. For a long time you will continue to be called “little Brooke” and you will be the smallest in your classes. But this doesn’t last forever, and one day you will have to stop being defined by your size. It will be a hard realization when you grow and change, so prepare yourself for it now. And most importantly, don’t wear underwear under your leotards. It’s not attractive. Now go have fun, watch Matilda, play outside, have a picnic with your Beanie Babies, pretend the floor is lava, and enjoy your childhood.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What I Should Be Doing With My Life

If this quote is true then here is the work I should be doing for the rest of my life:
-Professional Social Media explorer (aka Facebook/Twitter stalker)
-Nap specialist
-Olympic gymnast (okay, so maybe that's a stretch, but I find myself flipping off of my bed and doing a lot of handstands when I should be working)
-TV critic
-Recording Artist
-Professional List Maker
-Pinterest expert

So if anyone knows of any available jobs as a Facebooking, napping, gymnast, who watches TV and Pinterests while drawing, singing, and making lists, PLEASE let me know. Cause goodness knows I'm certainly not studying Algebra or Microbiology by choice in my free time...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

You think you have forever, but you don't...

Tonight I am reminded that life is short, and we are not promised tomorrow. So many times we take days, or even moments, for granted. We rush through life at such a fast pace, eager to see what’s next. However, we often forget to soak in the here and now. We focus on the big picture, forgetting that it is made up of smaller moments. I am extremely guilty of this. In fact, this morning I found myself thinking, “I can’t wait for next month, for it to be summer”. But what about today? If I had fast forwarded through my weeks, I would miss the opportunity to go to a middle school soccer game, or have a delicious dinner with friends, or a fun weekend with girlfriends. Who knows what opportunities lie around the corner? We can’t possibly know. So we must wait. And enjoy the time that we’ve been given and make the most out of the situations we’ve been dealt. I think this post by David duChemin sums it up best:

“We think we’ve got forever and that these concerns that weigh us down are so pressing. We worry about the trivial to the neglect of the most precious thing we have: moments we’ll never see again. We talk of killing time, passing time, and getting through the week, forgetting we’re wishing away the moments that comprise our lives. We say time is money when in fact the time we have is ALL we have. Money can be borrowed, time can’t. We fear taking risks, unaware that the biggest risk we run in playing it safe is in fact living as long as we hope and never doing the things we dreamed of. And then it’s too late. We watched our favorite TV shows, we fought a losing battle with our weight, we picked up the guitar once in a while and never quite finished the french language courses we wanted to do. We managed to get a large flatscreen and new cars once in a while, but the list of things we’d have done if we could really, truly could have done anything, kept growing. And we never did them. We’re all terminal. We’ve got less time that we think. Whatever your dream is, find a way to make it happen. Your kids can come with you. Your job can wait. You can find someone to feed the cat. I know, I know, there are so many reasons we can’t and some of those reasons are valid. Life is not only short, it is also sometimes profoundly hard. But I think sometimes our reasons are in fact only excuses. If that’s the case, take stock. It’s the realization that life is short and no one is going to live my life on my behalf. And one day soon – because it’ll seem that way, I know it – my candle will burn out; I want it to burn hot and bright while it’s still lit. I want it to light fires and set others ablaze. Life is short. Live it now. And live it with all your strength and passion now. Don’t keep it in reserve against a day you might not have. While the ember is still lit, fan it to flame. Be bold about it, even if your circumstances mean all you have is to love boldly and laugh boldly. Because now is all we have, and these dreams won’t chase themselves.”







Dear Shantel Van Santen

Here is a full transcript of the wonderful Shantel Van Santen's speech at the Team True Beauty 1-year Anniversary event. Enjoy & be inspired!

“Each of you inspires me and each of your strength astounds me. Each of you are a powerful part of a bigger picture. A life that is evolving each day. You are an integral part of this movement for a reason. I read somewhere: ‘Each word or thought of yours can be like a pearl. That you can drop into a secret place of another heart, and in some hour of need, the recipient finds the treasure and realizes for the first time, its value.’ See, change happens with each and every one of you; with your stories and with your voice. We all possess these pearls and you helped this movement grow and reach thousands of people by being brave. I constantly encourage each of you to share your story because you have been given a gift- the gift of a voice. So honor it. And use it for a positive change. Use it so that others might be inspired by your strength and know that they’re not alone. We all struggle. We’re all human. We all feel things and it doesn’t matter if we’re male or female, what age we are, what religion, our sexuality, our job, our walk of life, it’s really universal. We need to throw aside physical judgment of ourselves and others. We need to accept differences and we need to see beauty in those differences. We need to appreciate one another and we need to restore a sense of balance for our generation, and for generations to come. I believe it’s a part of our responsibility to be the change. We’re each unique and amazing and we are made for a higher purpose. We are all beautiful beyond all measure, we are all capable of everything that we can dream, and we are all loved beyond all comprehension. One of my favorite quotes ever is: ‘We are better than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps for the rest of our lives we will never settle for less.’ So, embrace yourself- what you are in your heart, so that you might uplift others. Because what you do with your life, how you live it, the things you accomplish, the mountains you climb, the struggles you work through, how you treat one another, the kindness you show, the people you inspire, the love that you give, that’s what defines your heart. And that’s what matters. Not what you look like when you do these things in life. In closing, I want to share a letter with each and every one of you. It’s a letter to something that we aspire to define, each and every one of us. And my hope is that we all have a clearer understanding of what it means so that we can be a reflection of this to others. My letter is to beauty.

Dear beauty, I don’t think we’ve formally met. I’m Shantel Van Santen. I’ve searched to find you for a while now. To find out how you define yourself. There are many others searching for you too. Some of us think you’re found in a number on a scale, or a muscle in our arm, the color of our skin, or our reflection in the mirror. We all struggle because we think you seek a perfect image, and we’ve become obsessed with the search. The idea that others might see us as a reflection of you or call us by your names makes us happy. So we look to the media and we look to mirrors, instead of turning our eyes inward. In the depths of our soul you wait. You wait for our search to end, because that’s where you are found. So we were wrong. Because you’re not an image of something that we can see. You’re a feeling. We define you by how we live our life, the kind of person we choose to be, and what’s in our hearts. Thank you for helping us find you. So that your reflection can be felt in others hearts, that they may know that they possess you too. And we can all unite to define you.

I want to thank each and every one of you for believing in me and I want to encourage each and every one of you to inspire other people with your stories. And I feel very blessed to be a part of this cause.” -Shantel Van Santen

“Every word matters. Speak kindly”

Have you ever been hurt by a friends words? Someone says something in the heat of the moment, the moment passes, but the words stick with you? That's happening to me right now and the words keep playing back over and over again in my head.

Each word you speak has power behind it- the power to build up, or the power to tear down. So how do you choose to spend your words?

Every single person has, at some point in life, opened their mouth to say something, and then immediately regretted it. Whether it be harsh gossip, a bad joke, a pointless story, a TMI moment, or whatever, it’s happened to everyone. The thing with words is that they can never be unheard, and you may not even recognize their power.
 Let’s take the first part of that. Words can never be unheard. Once you say something, you can try to retract, you can apologize, or you can try to explain yourself, but the words that you said can never be taken back. When I was a camp counselor I explained this concept to my campers by using a toothpaste analogy. I walked around and let each child squeeze a dot of toothpaste onto their fingers. Then I passed around the tube and asked them to try to put the toothpaste back in the tube. I could see them becoming frustrated when they couldn’t get it back in. I then explained that their words were very much like this toothpaste. Once it was out, it could never go back to where it came from. Sure, they could wipe it off or wash their hands, but the damage was done and the toothpaste was out. This is why it is so important to be careful with what we say.
The second part is this: Words can be more powerful than you know. Again, it’s happened to all of us. Someone says something to you that seems unimportant at the time, but you find yourself replaying their words days, weeks, months, and even years later. There are things that were said to me back in elementary school that I still remember and carry with me. So although it may just seem like a silly comment to you, remember that your words carry weight and can mean more to a person than you know.

Which is why it’s good to remember that our words can be used to both build a person up, or tear a person down. The choice really is yours.

Remember: “Each word or thought of yours can be like a pearl that you drop into the secret place of another heart, and in some hour of need, the recipient finds the treasure and realizes for the first time its value.”

                                                                                        *photo credit*

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Jennifer Lawrence, be my BFF?

I don’t think Katniss Everdeen and I would be best friends. She’s strong and independent and brave. She enjoys shooting animals in the eye and having adventures in the forest. I enjoy a good veggie burger, and sitting on the couch watching a movie. So I don’t think we will be braiding each others hair or making friendship bracelets anytime soon. However, Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Katniss, could very well be my BFF soul mate. She is rarely serious, ridiculously hilarious, and just downright loveable. If you don’t believe me, check out these quotes from interviews:

            “I picked up an issue of Cosmopolitan the other day that had tips for job interviews, because I was like, ‘I need to get better at interviews.’ The article was basically about how to get someone not to hate you in 20 minutes. Every single thing they told you not to do, I was like, ‘I do that every day.’”

          “Well, one woman asked if she could throw her gum away in her interviewer’s garbage can. I never think it’s right to chew gum in front of other people, but a lot of times I’ll come in for a meeting chewing gum and I’ll forget I’m chewing it. Then you don’t want to swallow it because it stays in your system for seven years or something, so I’ve asked to throw it away. I’ve started to wonder if that’s why I didn’t get certain movies.”

        “I’m scared of ghosts. Just yesterday when I moved into a new room at the hotel, I was deeply convinced, that I shouldn’t wash my face, because if I would look into the mirror, I would actually see a ghost.”

        “When I get my first real check, I want to bathe in a pool full of pasta.”

         On the rumor that she injured herself on set: “But what was written was ‘Jennifer Lawrence damages her spleen on Hunger Games shoot’. So who knows what’s gonna come out next. At least it didn’t damage the baby... I’m kidding! I just wanted to start a whole new rumor.”

           “It’s a very violent futuristic movie where kids are randomly selected from their home districts to fight in an area to the death. But we don’t drink blood. That’s just sick.”

           On her brown hair: “yeah, my mom didn’t even recognize me. She came to visit me on set, walked into my trailer, made eye contact with me, and said ‘oh sorry! Wrong trailer!’ so I just let her go…”

          “My mom doesn’t believe in her kids being sick or hurt. We never go to the hospital, just straight to the morgue. I got hit by a car when I was 18 months old. No hospital.”

            On being nominated for an academy award: “I mean, I’m 20. I know how to take my dog to the vet and go to the dentist. I don’t know how to respond to something like that. I usually just smile and change the subject”

         “I’m very stubborn. Which is why I have a cold. Cause I refuse to take vitamins. Cause I’m all like “I don’t have a cold”. I’m so stupid”.

Still don’t believe me that she is potentially the cutest human on the face of the planet? Here’s a video to prove it.

So, Jennifer Lawrence, wherever you are. Please be my BFF. We can eat Linguini and talk about Harry Potter and color.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hey Girl, Heyyy!

Usually, April Fools day is a day full of pranks and silliness; however, this was not the case one year. April 1st, 2009.  I woke up that morning and went over to my friend Amanda’s dorm to put some final touches on our bible study plan for the night. Amanda and I led a group of 5 girls every Wednesday night, and this Wednesday was to be no different. When we finished planning, I walked over to the downstairs Colonnades to have lunch with my friend Wendy. During lunch my phone rang and it was Amanda. I remember thinking that she probably just had a question about bible study planning and that would call her back later. But then she called again. And again. And so by the 4th call, I finally answered the phone, somewhat annoyed that she wouldn’t stop calling. I could immediately tell by the tone of her voice that something was wrong, but my first thought was that it was going to be an April Fools Day prank. I very clearly remember the words that I heard next. “Brooke. I need to tell you something. Milena died. Her mom just called. She’s gone.” I couldn’t believe it. This had to have been the worst April Fools joke to ever exist. Only it wasn’t a joke. Milena Alvarez died on April 1st, 2009 after a long battle with cancer. Milena was one of the freshman girls in the Bible study that I led. The next few hours were a blur. I know I walked back to the dorm, only to find the other girls in the Bible study all gathered around crying. I know I cried in the arms of my friends. I know I walked around campus alone, letting the shock wear off. I know me and Amanda tried to hold it together for the other girls in the Bible study. And I know I went to the vigil that night to listen to stories of how Milena impacted others lives. The world lost an amazing, sweet, hilarious, super sassy, brave fighter that day. So to honor her memory, here are some things that I learned in the short time I knew Milena:
1. Find a reason to smile, no matter what the situation.
2. No one’s life is perfect, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
3. Accept life’s challenges as they come.
4. Don’t spend too much time worrying about the future. We aren’t guaranteed a tomorrow.
5. "If we all threw our problems into a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd quickly grab ours back"

6. If you have to go pee, go pee. It’s better than peeing your pants.
7. Sympathy only gets you so far. Strength gets you farther.
8. You don’t need hair to be beautiful. A bright smile is much more gorgeous.
9. Sarcasm is an art form
10. It’s okay to not be okay. Sometime we need our friends and family.
11. People are kind and willing to step up in times of need.

I will never forget Milena’s laugh, the way she would throw her head back and laugh loudly. I will never forget her sarcasm and great sense of humor. I will never forget our bowling trips and Bible studies and how she handled herself with such strength and class, even in the face of a challenge. So Milena, Hey girl, heyyyy! You are missed. Gone, but never forgotten.