brandeelah

I have always thought of myself as a good listener. Always open to different thoughts, possible new ideas. I try my best to keep up with current  events here in the United States and abroad and at times that can prove to be difficult simply because there is so much going  on at the very same time. This is initially what I thought about Netvibes after signing up. “Listening” to the many things going on around the world, or relate to a particular topic can be overwhelming.  However, through using Netvibes  and becoming more comfortable with the information the site has to offer, I am learning how to filter the information so that it can be useful to me, my needs, or the particular topic.

My topic of choice in recent weeks on Netvibes has been “Disaster Preparedness” and there is so much on the internet related to disaster preparedness and disaster relief due to the many recent weather changes and the havoc caused by the weather recently. I am learning that you have to listen to what the rest of the internet is saying and by doing this, this can truly inform the decisions that you may or may not make. So when it becomes time to blog about disaster preparedness, I can be sure to  present relevant and correct information to my blog followers.

  Though brief and short lived, my blogging experience has taught me some things: listen to others, respond to others, and write about things that are important to you. I have come to understand that blogging can help you to reach people that you normally wouldn’t and go places that you probably wouldn’t have the opportunity to go.

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With Valentine’s Day fastly approaching, I more and more excited I am becoming. I decided last year that I wanted to do something different in 2013. I was on 75 North about a month ago and saw a billboard for the ballet show, Dracula, coming to the Cobb Energy Center. I thought to myself, “now that’s different and I’ve never been to a ballet.” I purchased the tickets about two weeks ago. Because I have class on Thursday nights, the girlfriend and I have decided to  celebrate Valentine’s on Friday the 15th.

The biggest question is what to wear? I have googled, and bing-ed, and yahoo-ed this question. I got fifty million different answers. Be comfortable, somewhat dressy attire, anything goes… Usually for fashion advice, I look to various social media outlets including fashion pages on Instragram and Pinterest for what’s hot, what’s cute, and current. Social media keeps me fashionably informed of new looks

While looking through racks of dresses at different stores, I believe I have found the perfect one. The dress is modern, colorful, and as soon as I saw it, I knew that was the dress that I would wear to my first ballet. This is the outfit that I will be wearing this Friday night. I will keep you all posted as to how wonderful the ballet was.20130211_221840

Privacy and social media. Hmm… two words in my opinion that don’t exactly go together. I feel that once something makes it to the world wide web, it is no longer private and now belongs to anyone who has access to it.

I have a great example. My roommate took a picture of the family dog Zoe being mischievous sipping from her straw as a puppy. This picture was taken over two years ago. My roommates’ sister uploaded the picture to her Facebook shortly after the picture was taken. While playing the waiting game of waiting for Reese (my new puppy) to be old enough to go home, I began reading and searching everything dachshund related. One night out of much curiosity and some boredom was searching the keyword “dachshund” on Instagram and low and behold, I found a user’s page with the picture or Zoe with text. Here are the two pictures, the first being the a cropped version of original photo and the second photo in which someone added text:

Zoe sneaking a sip.

Zoe sneaking a sip.zoe sip

This  backs up my previous statement, that once things make it to the vast web, it no longer belongs to you. It becomes a matter of public record in which people can use, edit, and change it as long as they access it. I have especially more recently become extremely leery about posting pictures on any of the social media outlets in which I have a profile. This happened because I (again out of curiousity) search an organization on Google that I became a part of during my undergraduate coursework. I pressed enter and there as a picture of me simply because I am associated with the organization. It helped me to really understand just how easily  pictures can be available for someone to use for their own personal gain or use. I honestly am not that brave nor do i think that I want to be. I can just see it now in fifteen to twenty years when my teenager comes to me and says, “Hey mom, I googled your name and guess what I found…”

Do you believe in soul mates? Do you think that there is someone out there for everyone? Not even speaking in the romantic sense but just the belief that people are connected to you for different reasons.  Now at this point in my life, I can say I have two soul mates  Both I consider to be my best friends. But  I believe that I have truly met my twin soul mate.  In the words of Carol Barbeau,

soulmate- flickr.com

soulmate- flickr.com

twin soulmates are ” people who have shared a special bond of friendship and love with in many lifetimes. You feel that complete, natural and open energy with them.”

We met in 2005 online. A website that you could consider an LGBT version of Myspace. She lived about 30 minutes away and we began to send messages daily. After months of talking on the phone, texting, and messaging online, we decided to met in public place. It amazes me to think how fearless I was back then because now, I would never do anything like that. The initial meeting was fun, she made me laugh, was a good listener, and I felt a genuine chemistry. However, school got intense, I lost her number, and just like that she was out of my life. Labor Day Weekend 2006, my best friend (a type of companion soul mate for me) decided to go to Atlanta for the weekend. In this packed nightclub, I run into “twin” and was able to give a brief hello and a hug. She was there with her at-the-time girlfriend so I kept it very brief. Once again, she was gone again.

Fast forward three years, and again me and best friend are in Atlanta for labor Day Weekend. Up until this point, I had been in and out about 3  relationships which all ended mutually and left me feeling that something was missing. Some type of spark, connection if you will. We were at this all-girl party of about 1,000 women. I saw this familiar face standing a few feet from. Everything in me assured me that it was “twin.” So I took a deep breath and walked over and simply said “Hi. Remember me?” She gave me a great big hug and this time I was sure that we exchanged numbers so that we could keep in touch. I was determined to stay connected. We began talking daily for hours and hours. We figured out that we had both applied to a Master’s program at Georgia State University. At this point I knew it was fate. We later found out through conversation, that there were many times where we were in the same places at the same times.

She started at GSU in January 2011 and I was set to start that August. I made monthly 5 hour trips from Florida to Georgia. She is the first person that I can say I truly dated prior to committing to a relationship. And to this day, eight months officially into a relationship, we still make time for weekly date nights. She doesn’t judge, she supports, she listens, she is the spark I was looking for.

Enthralled. Intrigued. Motivated. Compassionate. Can’t look away. Can’t put the book down. Does it make me sad? Do I think about it after watching or reading? Do I discuss it with acquaintances? These are just some of the thoughts that run across my mind when I envision good story telling. I want to feel like I’m there, like I can relate to or with the characters in the story.

For me good storytelling is capturing my attention from the beginning—and never losing it. For the purpose of this blog post, I will focus more on books. The last page turner’s that I had the pleasure of reading would be E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey series. I read

50 Shades of Grey- flickr.com

50 Shades of Grey- flickr.com

the three novels in the series in about 4 days. I did not sleep, I took them everywhere I went, and did not put the books down until I finished. Now that is what I call good story telling. (I can only hope that they cast the movie correctly.) James paid attention to small details, told the story from both sides, and made you want to skip ahead just to see what was coming next… She wrote the books in such a way, that at times, you felt like you were a fly on the wall in the “Red Room of Pain.” And for those of you, who have read it, don’t say you didn’t!

The books enthralled me, intrigued me, encouraged me to turn the pages and over and over again. A group of my co-workers and I were reading the books at the same time and would have weekly discussions about what we thought was coming next. . I was surprised, I laughed, I gasped, I tweeted about it, and I told everyone who would listen about the novels. The novels also educated me about BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Dominance/submission, and Sadomasochism) and the submissive-dominate relationship. Obviously, BDSM is very a taboo topic, that is, until Fifty Shades came along.
If you can enthrall and educate me at the same, again I say, that is good story telling!

My roommate and I  have been considering getting a puppy for about 6 months now. We have both had dogs growing up and thought maybe it was time to get a dog.  It took us forever to decide on a breed. I can have severe allergies at times so I didn’t want a dog who sheds a lot. We also live in an apartment, so we knew that it wouldn’t be fair to the dog if we got a large dog. After much research and many trips to Petland in Dunwoody, we decided on a Dachshund. Many people know them as the weenie dogs. This breed comes in a couple of color options but I was most in love with the chocolate and tan color combination. They don’t shed too much and don’t grow to be bigger than 15 pounds full grown. My roommate’s sister currently has a Dachshund named Zoe who is 2 years old and it took her about  a year before she would even let me hold her.  So immediately, I knew that I wanted a male dog for a pet. Over the Christmas holidays, I finally found a breeder located near Savannah, Ga. We began to email back and forth about the little guy. My roommate and I have decided to name him Reese after the infamous peanut butter cups because of his color. The breeder contacted me last week and informed me that the puppy is ready for pick up. Now the nervousness has really set in. Will the puppy like us? How is house training going to go?Are we going to spoil him too much? More posts to come along our puppy journey. Here is a picture of  little Reese.

choctan-001

I know that we all have access to different social media sites whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. But I am sure that we all have a friend or two (or know of someone) who has absolutely no clue about just how much is too much? How much of ourselves should we share (or expose) on social media sites? I feel like once my entire family decided to create a profile on Facebook, I almost instantly stopped posting, stopped liking, and stopped commenting on other people’s profiles. It almost seemed as if they were in the room with me while I was on Facebook looking over my shoulder. This instantly made me very aware of my profile on the various social media sites that I was a part of. Professionally, I also knew that I was come to a place in my life where if anyone searched me on Facebook, I didn’t want them to be able to find much. I have a perfect example of what I am talking about.
Last weekend I was the a show documenting the road to becoming a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader. There was a young lady with a lot of potential to make the team and she was dismissed from any further practices. This due to the fact that some where out there on the world wide web, there were pictures of her taken by an ex-boyfriend in which she was undressed and sexily posing for the camera. The directors of the team  told the young lady that this was risk for the Dallas Cowboys that they couldn’t not afford. Her story was that HE was trying to ruin her life, HE has a problem, and HE took the pictures. The directors of the cheer team were trying to express to her and get her to understand that SHE chose to allow him take the pictures and that SHE chose to take pictures without any clothes. This is a great example of the  bad choices that young people choose to make when it comes to social media. Because of some personal choices she chose to make, her professional career as a cheerleader was completely ruined. And many fail to realize that once personal statements and photos make it to the web, there is no going back.
There are times that it seems like many people say and post things for just for shock value and to receive “likes, views, and comments” whether it is positive or negative content. It leads me to wonder, if a potential employer was to google them, what would they find?This also makes me think, why is this important to them? And why can’t they see that it may just be too much?

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