Life During a Pandemic
This tumultuous time of COVID-19 has given me a lot of things to miss. Before quarantine, there were a lot of things I did or saw every week that I didn’t appreciate enough when I had them. Being stuck in the house for over a month urges me to never take these things for granted ever again:
-Going out to eat.
This is a big one! I never realized how much I went out to eat until I had to stop cold turkey! Talking over good food with friends or family while wearing normal clothes sounds like the dream right now. Ernesto’s, Hawthorne, Tilted Skillet, and The Landing; I miss you!
Okay, thrifting is something I always appreciate, but it definitely still makes the list because of how much I miss it! All I want to do with my free time is flip my wardrobe and redecorate my room, but I need thrifting to do so. Picturing how many clothes and antiques that will be flooding the resale stores after this is all over is keeping me sane!
Something I never thought I’d miss! The motivation to keep going (or even get up and do it in the first place) is hard to muster up at home. Being in a space where I'm there to work out and I have the necessary tools is much easier. That being said, I’m finding running to be therapeutic for me during this time. I can do it while still practicing social distancing, and it takes my mind off of the craziness around me.
I want to sit in a recliner chair with cookie dough bites and popcorn ASAP! The movies are perfect for winding down while being outside the house. Cinema 1 Plus did a drive-in movie in their parking lot that my siblings and I went and had so much fun. When the quarantine is lifted, I’m spending the first rainy day at the movies!
I work at a beautiful winery, Balducci’s. I miss it terribly. Since our state went on lockdown, I haven’t been needed at work. I spend the majority of my time on the weekends working there and without it, my schedule is incredibly off. I miss my funny and sweet co-workers, the view, and making money! Unemployment in the US is at a ridiculously high rate and I’m keeping workers that need to support their families in mind.
Never did I imagine my Mom and I would need to go to 5 different stores, only to find toilet paper at a gas station finally. The mass panic buying of toilet paper confused and saddened me. People are too scared to listen to logic; they are unknowingly taking resources from those in dire need.
First off, I want to say thank you to ALL of them. Our essential workers have been risking their lives while saving others and that is something I cannot be more grateful for during this time. I hope that if there is one thing I learn out of this, it’s to be compassionate about other people's lives and to SAY THANK YOU.
-My teachers and staff at school.
Wow, I miss you guys. Our staff at WHS is arguably the best ever. I wish I could’ve gotten more time with my favorite teachers, to say “good morning” to our front desk ladies, and “thank you” to our janitors and lunch ladies one last time. Twitter is one way I’ve been connected and entertained by our school through this tough time. Sixth Man is doing a great job of keeping us all connected, like the spirit days we started with!
-Normal grocery shopping.
“Quarantine shopping” is a whole different kind of shopping. I hate not being able to wander and look at unessential things without feeling judged. Being scared to say hello to other shoppers and workers, while wearing gloves and a mask, and using hand sanitizer ALWAYS after touching things is such a strange situation. Also, there are empty shelves everywhere, social distancing “markers” on the ground, and plastic boards up at checkout. As much as I agree with all these things and understand how they are needed to flatten the curve, seeing them in place is a weird feeling. It’s hard feeling so disconnected.
I think our country will need time to feel connected physically again, so it’s important we all stay connected emotionally right now. This rough patch is exactly that, a patch, and something we must get through together.
I hope that this blog post inspired you to think about things you won’t take for granted anymore.
Stay safe and sane,
Sunny and 75!
Well, actually it was 55, but close enough!
It was a beautiful day to do something new outside!
Recently, I was lucky enough to grab two of my friends and take advantage of a spring-like day for a walk on the Katy Trail.
Last year, I moved across the river, so I pass the trail everyday. Yet, this was my first time on it. The Katy Trail State Park is 240 miles long following the old MKT railroad line. It is currently the longest recreational rail trail in the US.
With a checkpoint being a skip, hop, and a jump away from my house, it’s a shame this was my first time going. We had originally planned a bike ride, but two flat tires left us taking a walk instead. That wasn’t a problem though because we just wanted to enjoy the fresh air and each other's company on such a pretty day.
The gravel trail stretched on as we walked and talked. Each passerby waved or smiled as we passed, which was a lot since the trail was so busy. It seemed like everybody in the area was out enjoying the last hour of sunshine that day!
The warm weather inspired Adina, Molly, and I to talk a lot about summer: our “bucket list” of ideas to accomplish and our overall personal growth goals we hope to hit this summer. And, of course, we talked about how tan we wanted to get (which I’ll never achieve), all the while swearing we’ll work out routinely.
We walked a solid 5 miles on the Katy while enjoying each other's company before it started to get chilly out and we called it quits. 5 miles may not seem far, but it's longer than it sounds, trust me!
Being outside on the trail with my friends was a great way to reconnect and spend a great Saturday together. Now that I know I like the Katy Trail, I plan to spend more time exploring it.
Hopefully, I will see you on the Katy soon!
Eternally Thankful for My Family
A big New Year's resolution of mine was to take time to be grateful for something everyday. As I've been trying to uphold my goal, I find myself constantly being grateful for my family.
Some of you may know that I’m lucky to be a part of a big family of seven - The Heiens - and our names all start with the letter J.
My family gives me so many reasons to be grateful, although sometimes it is more like a blessing in disguise.
With my busy and hectic life, it can be easy to get caught up in everything and miss out on the little things. Taking time to step back and appreciate my family is incredibly grounding. It is something I want to continue to do beyond this current year.
My parents are my backbone. What would I do without them? I can’t thank them enough for their support in everything I do. They are amazing. They come to my sporting events and support me in school. Currently, they are helping me with deciding on college. Of course they put a roof over my head and food in my mouth. For all of this, and more, I'm eternally grateful. They care and love for my siblings and I. We couldn’t ask for anything more from our parents.
I’m lucky to have all the siblings that I do. Out of the five of us, I’m the second oldest. I have an older sister Jaden. In fact, she is a former Blue Jay Journal TV staff member. She was in this class for three years. I also have two younger sisters, Jaelee and Jazlen. Last, but not least, is the baby of the family, my brother Jaxen.
I wish I could describe how each of my siblings are special and different in their own ways, yet I love them all the same. How I can love them all so much and equally remains a mystery to me. They teach me what a true bond is, while still managing to be brats at other times. The age gaps (three years between each of us) have little influence on our relationships, because when we are all together, we all treat each other the same. I hope that never changes between us.
For the rest of our lives, I know that I have these six other people if I ever need a smile on my face, or guidance during a difficult time. That feeling of knowing I have my family and they have me, is a great one. I’m going to keep being grateful for my family even after this New Year's resolution ends. I hope reading this blog made you feel grateful for your family, too.
Until next time,
Two of my Favorite Things:
Fashion and the Planet!
Generating over 16 billion tons of waste in 2016, the clothing and textile industry is currently the second-largest polluter of the world. Whoa!
As an avid resale shopper, I always felt that I was reducing my contribution to the waste, but I was unaware of the extreme amount of waste the fashion industry creates. I couldn’t help but feel I had some responsibility in this.
When the WHS Environmental Club (which I am a member of) held a clothing swap, I knew it was a great opportunity to reduce textile waste and spread awareness to others, while getting and giving cute clothes!
I have been into fashion for quite some time now (check out my blog post from earlier this year, My Fashion Fits My Personality) and resale shopping has been a big part of that. Because I buy clothes often, I go through my clothes about three times a year and donate old or unwanted clothes. Those items of clothing either go to my sisters or to a resale store, rather than being thrown away.
However, it’s safe to say I am not part of the majority by doing this. Of the 16,890 tons of textile waste generated in 2017, 11,150 tons ended up in a landfill. This amount is devastating. The percentage of recycled clothing could easily match this if people took the time to donate, trade, or recycle their clothing. As a matter of fact, almost 100% of textiles are recyclable.
On the morning of December 11, the WHS Environmental Club gave students and teachers the opportunity to swap clothing to not only refresh their wardrobes but to help our planet. They made it a quick, easy, and fun activity.
The clothing swap was open to anyone at WHS and we had a lot of participants! Each person brought in one to three articles of clothing. Those who contributed, could go through the clothes and choose something they liked in return. People were so excited!
The clothing swap was so cool to witness. Some people tried on their new clothes while complimenting others and talking about the good outcome of the swap. I felt a sense of camaraderie, too. We had all came together for the same reasons; the planet and clothes. My two favorite things!
After the swap was over, all leftover clothes were donated to a local charity in Franklin County. Not only did I get new items, but I know that someone in need will receive something, too.
Next time you’re going through your clothes, don’t contribute to the waste. DONATE!
Until next time,
Discovering Myself Through Art
I found myself in Room 1321.
In Introduction to Visual Design, I was able to create and design with so many different mediums that allowed me to truly express myself. Art has been my favorite class so far at WHS.
My sophomore year I enrolled in Introduction to Visual Design with Mrs. Schuster. On my first day, I knew I would love the class as soon as I saw the door covered in a mosaic pattern with various little objects and jewels. Inside the huge art room was art from previous years covering the walls, cabinets and even ceilings. Paints lined the back counter, and there was a huge container of colored pencils (my favorite). This was the classroom for me.
What intrigued me most though, was the variety in the projects we did throughout the year. With each project, I got to explore a new medium and make it my own. Mrs. Schuster encouraged us to put uniqueness into each project and she gave us the space to be creative.
I took this in full stride. With every project I thought, “How can I make this different? How can I make it more me?”
This led me to thinking, well, what is “me”?
This brainstorming process is still reflected in all my work. I created and added to my personality based on how I create my art.
In a lot of my projects, I incorporated similar aspects around the main project idea. Some of my favorites include space, nature, and a monochrome or analogous color scheme. I use these to represent a part of me.
Making my art reflect me, made me love my art and myself!
A year later, I still paint and create projects often as a way to express myself! I will forever name Intro to Visual Design my favorite class at WHS!
Create something new today,
Greta Thunberg is on a Mission
to Save our Planet
“We’ve become too loud for people to handle.” - Greta Thunberg
At just fifteen-years-old, Greta Thunberg began protesting outside Swedish parliament for climate change. In under a year, she has become internationally recognized as one of the youngest environmental activists ever. She is responsible for the movement, now called Fridays for Future, that includes thousands of youth who strike for climate change instead of attending class on Fridays.
This movement has been spreading across the globe, giving kids everywhere the platform to stand up and be heard. Greta started a chain reaction of voices that continues to get louder. One of her main goals is to give kids, just like her, a voice in this incredibly urgent crisis instead of being ignored for not being an adult.
One of Thunbergs’ biggest struggles is not being heard by politicians due to her age. During her U.N. Climate Summit speech, Greta stated, “So we have not come here to beg the world leaders to care for our future. They have ignored us in the past and they will ignore us again. We have come here to let them know that change is coming whether they like it or not. And since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken a long time ago.”
Greta is preaching her right to take action, whether adults listen or not!
Greta has spoken many times in front of highly-regarded people with no fear. She shows us all that just because she is young, that does not mean she will stand down.
Greta has accomplished some amazing things. She spoke at the United Nations Climate Summit, the World Economic Forum in Davos, given multiple TED talks, and has been named one of the world's most influential teens in 2019 by TIME magazine. Add to that list starting her own climate change movement which has spread to over 120 countries. As I mentioned earlier, each Friday, more teens (as well as adults) join her strike. She is currently on her 59th week of Friday strikes.
In order to bring even more attention to the cause, Greta sailed from Sweden to America on a boat designed to be emission-free to reduce her carbon footprint. Unlike others, she practices what she preaches!
This is only the beginning for Greta Thunberg. The continuing of Fridays for Future is huge and will only keep growing. I for one, am actively waiting to see all that she will accomplish.
She has inspired me to be more environmentally cautious. This is our only planet and the time to act is now. The youth of the world care about our future every single day, but Greta gave us a day to all come together and get loud about it! As Greta says, we will be heard!
My Sense of Fashion Fits My Personality
A sense of fashion has always been something that I’ve held in high regard. Ever since I can remember, dressing and presenting oneself has been important to me. I grew up with my mom, a hairstylist, who always dressed good for work. She has a good fashion style, although she does get a lot of tips and ideas from me. She sparked my interest in fashion. My older sister, Jaden, also influences me in fashion as well. My best friend, Molly, and I also bond over our fashion styles. Being able to share clothes with them is a huge plus (even when we fight over who can have what at times).
I’ve always been in touch with my sense of fashion, but this year especially, I’ve really tried to embrace my style and continue to push my limits to express myself. I feel that clothing is one thing that is solely my choice, so why would I not want it to represent me?
I love shopping in general, but shopping for clothes really opens up my creativity. The whole time I am looking for new pieces, I am throwing together outfits in my head and coming up with different ways to wear different pieces of clothing and accessories. It’s therapeutic for me whether I end up buying a haul, or just two pieces. I won’t buy anything unless it calls to me. I have to love it. My mom taught me that. It helps me be less indecisive, which isn’t the easiest thing for me!
My favorite way to buy clothes is thrifting. Each piece is unique and it makes me feel more unique by wearing it. I can get a variety of fits and styles from thrifting, and this helps me tap into my creativity. I love to make “weird” pieces fit my personality.
My sister once was teasing me about my different style, but assured me that it was “very Joie.” She knows that I have so many different aspects to my personality, that it only makes sense for my style to have variety as well. I love making it a “challenge” to see if I can make an outfit with a piece that is admittedly out there.
The most important part of my style is that I have fun putting the outfit together, and it represents me. I continue to find myself as I grow and change, so I am sure that my style will, too!
Ready or not, Junior Year!
With summer sadly ending, I’m spending more and more time thinking about this school year; my junior year. How is that even possible? Time has flown by so fast.
I’ve always been one that dreads the end of summer, but I am also excited to go back to school and see what the new year has in store! It’s bittersweet for sure, but this year I’m especially taking time to sit back and contemplate (maybe overthink) my hopes for this year.
I have heard people say that junior year is the hardest. Now, whether that is true or not, the idea is definitely implanted in my head. As much as I have been anticipating this school year, you can bet I’ve been doing some worrying, too. Becoming an upperclassman involves becoming more responsible and well-rounded, as well as starting to plan my future. That is scary, even though I know that I have a huge support system behind me that will help me not get lost in the fears and remain focused on the great things to come!
This year I am taking huge strides for my future by taking multiple classes that will prepare me for my career. I hope to become a nurse. It will be my first time taking any medical-related classes and although the medical field is intimidating, I’m excited to finally dive into something I have such a passion for.
And, of course, this is my first year in Blue Jay Journal TV. Sure, it is nerve-racking at times, but I’m so ready to join this family! Trying something new is something I look at with a positive mindset. I know that everything is always as good as you make it.
As much as I do love trying new things, I’m happy to continue doing some of the things I have grown comfortable with such as golf, basketball, and soccer. This is my second year of golf and I’m looking forward to really shaping myself as a player and learning even more about the game. For basketball and soccer, it’s time for me to step up and be a leader. I simply can't wait to play the games I love.
As big and scary junior year can seem, I’m ready to begin it and see where it takes me! Who knows, maybe it’ll be my best year yet?!
Nature is Calling
“One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken.”
I have never found this quote to be untrue. To me, the happiness we obtain solely from nature is astounding and essential. The connection that humans share with nature is so crucial to both us and the planet, that the amount of people that look past it, leaves me mind-baffled. There are many things I cannot live without, but nothing will ever top the complex beauty of nature and the happiness I get from being outdoors.
Everyday when I wake up, the first thing I do is open the curtains and let the sun flood my room for my many small house plants. Just like that, I’m already grateful for nature before I even step foot outside. Whether it be sunny, rainy or cloudy, I will find something outdoors that is beautiful to me. It can be as simple as the trees blowing in the wind or the sun finding a gap in the clouds, and it will make me happy.
I think that humans get used to overlooking nature or obsessed with changing it. It’s becoming too rare for us to stop and take nature in, and observe how much it truly affects us. Like humanity, nature is ever evolving and unique. I’ve never been one to take it for granted.
Being outdoors is how I find my peace and clear my head, allowing me to connect to myself and stay grounded. I always say, "Nothing helps me calm down or puts me in a better mood than simply going for a walk outside." I’m constantly pestering my friends to take walks with me. They might call it boring, but I believe it is the ultimate pastime. Nothing beats fresh air, pretty plants, and trees.
As someone that is constantly looking towards nature, I realize just how much it has shaped my personality and everyday life. I’m constantly combining things I love to do with my love for the outdoors. For example, photography and photo editing allow me to capture and play around with the uniqueness of nature. My camera roll is full of sunset pictures! I’m always inspired by nature in my art and I enjoy making pieces that are organic and colorful like the outdoors.
Beyond art, my passion for sports also allows me to spend time outside and makes playing games and attending sports practices that much better. Spending time with my family or friends outside always leaves me grateful, both for the people around me and nature.
Essentially, so much of what I do and who I am is because of, or thanks to, being outside. I could never live without it.
Until next time,
Constantly playing sports and running late.
Known for speaking up and intend on keeping it that way. Being outdoors is when I’m truly happy.
Learning to live life in the now.