It is sometimes strange to think that in 2017, we still have work to do to ensure equality. We have come a long way but we still have more to accomplish. We can look back and remember so many inspiring and influential women such as Susan B Anthony, Rosa Parks, Anne Frank, Mother Theresa to name a few. There are even more girls and women currently paving the way to an even brighter future. Malala Yousafzai, Emma Watson, Michelle Obama, Ellen Degeneres, Melinda Gates. These women and SO many more make a difference every day. But, it's not just the ones in the spotlight that do so. It's the women surrounding us. It's the women who care for their families every day. It's the doctors and nurses who care for us when we or our loved ones are sick. It's the women in our communities volunteering or starting businesses or succeeding in the corporate world. It's the neighbor who donates her time to the homeless, the teacher shaping our future generations, and the friend who stays at home to raise their children. It's our sisters, mothers, daughters, aunts, wives, friends. It's YOU and it's ME.
So, today, on International Women's Day, let's celebrate our strengths and our resilience. Let's embrace our weaknesses and our so called flaws. Let's do what we can today and every day to make even a small difference in those around us, in our communities and in the world itself. Let's also not forget to thank the men who support us.
One of the things we have learned so far at our photo shoots is that almost every girl or woman (and we've photographed over 100 now) can pick out many flaws about themselves. The two hardest parts of participating seem to be choosing positive words to describe themselves and actually feeling okay in front of the camera. There are a lot of comments such as, "well, this is my bad side", "can you make me look skinnier", "I smile weird" and many more self-depracating remarks.
We came across this video from a woman in Australia. You may have seen it before. It is a perfect reminder, just like the shoots have been to us, that it doesn't matter how amazing a woman is and it doesn't matter what type of body she has, she will criticize herself anyway. That needs to change. We should all embrace ourselves in every way and if we feel like we do need change, we should do it only because it is truly making us happier and/or healthier.
Take a few minutes to watch this.
Here's a challenge for you. Take a moment to look in the mirror every day and say, out loud, at least one positive thing about you or about your body. You'd be amazed how you're view starts to change as you start saying these positive things out loud.
We think you're all amazing.
Nicole & Kiera
It's true! Recent census data confirms that still today, women make #78cents to every dollar that men makes. To earn the same amount, on average women must work a full extra day each week to be equal. It is time for change. We challenge you to wear red today to symbolize how far women and minorities are "in the red" with their pay.
The National Committee on Equal Pay has launched the Equal Pay Day Campaign to keep the conversation going! To learn more visit: http://pay-equity.org/day.html. Share our image using #78cents and tag @shecampaign and most importantly, if you are empowered, contact your local House of Representative or Senator and encourage them to co-sponsor bills to change the wage gap.
This picture has started some great conversation. Everyone seems to love it. We've even had people talk about what it made them feel or what they thought about when they saw it. We LOVE that. We want to hear your feedback. We want to know what that picture means to YOU. Mary McManus shared her insight on her blog, Journey Well.
Please share with us below what you think of this image, what it makes you feel, what it represents to YOU!
Here's what it means to us and the she. campaign.
It’s not about the hydrant, but what the hydrant represents. It’s rough around the edges, it has blemishes, it has obviously been through a lot. It's not your typical red hydrant. It's UNIQUE. It’s like US and YOU. We have lived through struggles. We have imperfections and scars. We aren’t perfect. But, we stand tall next to those struggles, imperfections and scars showing those things didn’t knock us down. Instead, they made us more determined to throw those red heels on and rule the world!
Nicole & Kiera
First off, we are so unbelievably thankful for all of the support and love we are getting through this amazing campaign! We just wrapped up the second of our initial round of full day photo shoots. We’ve had many laughs and have made wonderful connections with every single person who has come through. Kiera's cheeks are still sore from smiling so much! We are so humbled by each and every one of the beautiful females we have met who have bravely shared their stories with us and have had their portraits taken.
We can't wait to share the images and stories we have captured. They are so inspiring. We feel blessed that people want to share their deeply personal stories with all of us. Here are some subjects people are writing about.
2. Women who have started groups or businesses to help others
5. Teen pregnancy
6. Business success stories
7. Body Image, both from feeling overweight to underweight and everything in between
8. Women who have always felt great about themselves
9. Health issues
It has been interesting to hold these shoots. We’ve had very confident people who actually feel pretty comfortable in front of the camera. We’ve also had people tell us they feel awkward. We assure them that we, too, feel awkward in front of the camera. We’re used to being behind it but lately, we are always in front, doing test shots of each other or playing around in the studio. However, we still find it hard. Once people hear that, it helps a bit. We then make sure we find ways to connect with each person. We ask questions, get to know them and do our best to make them feel comfortable. The feedback has been great! These women who start out feeling awkward, end up laughing and enjoying themselves and that is beautiful to us.
Another interesting challenge is asking people to come up with three positive things about themselves. We had one women look at our word bank and actually say, "these are too positive, they aren’t the words I thought of before". Wow. We want girls and women to look at a list of positive words and have trouble narrowing down which ones to use, instead of having trouble picking any out. There’s something powerful about getting them to dig deep and think about themselves in a new way. The words they’re coming up with are awesome and we hope by giving them their images with the words, that they really identify with each one.
We are touched every time our participants express how excited and inspired they are by what we are doing. We are also getting the opportunity to capture groups of friends and groups of family together. We encourage you to get your friends and family involved. You end up having fun with those you love while also getting some beautiful images of you together that you can treasure forever. And what's more powerful than individual females showing who they are? Females standing together, empowering each other.
Last week also ended on an incredibly high note. Someone who believes in our potential gave us our first $5,000 towards getting she. off the ground. Words can't describe how unbelievably thankful we are. We can't wait to change the world. Stay tuned in the next few weeks when we release round 2 of our she. T fundraiser and launch our crowd funding campaign! Help us by sharing and spreading the word! We really appreciate it!
We still have many of you to photograph and many more stories to share. This is only the beginning and we look forward to many more photo shoots and making a difference. Thank you all for continuing to support she. and everything it stands for.
Nicole & Kiera
Enjoy some of our behind the scenes shots from our she. photo shoots.
It’s Women's History Month and we’re saluting some of the many incredible women who have helped pave the way for equal treatment of women and have made this world a better place. Susan B. Anthony is our first empowered woman.
Susan B. Anthony was born February 15, 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts. She was brought up in a Quaker family with long activist traditions. Early in her life she developed a sense of justice and moral zeal. After teaching for fifteen years, she became active in temperance. Because she was a woman, she was not allowed to speak at temperance rallies. This experience, and her acquaintance with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, led her to join the women's rights movement in 1852. Soon after, she dedicated her life to woman suffrage.
Ignoring opposition and abuse, Anthony traveled, lectured, and canvassed across the nation for the vote. She also campaigned for the abolition of slavery, the right for women to own their own property and retain their earnings, and she advocated for women's labor organizations. In 1900, Anthony persuaded the University of Rochester to admit women. Anthony, who never married, was aggressive and compassionate by nature. She had a keen mind and a great ability to inspire. She remained active until her death on March 13, 1906
Here are our 8 favorite Susan B. Anthony quotes.
1. "Woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself. "
2. "Organize, agitage, educate, must be our war cry."
3. "Failure is impossible."
4. "No self respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party that ignores her."
5. " No man is good enough to govern any woman without her consent."
6. "There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers."
7. "We ask justice, we ask equality, we ask that all the civil and political rights that belong to citizens of the United States, be guaranteed to us and our daughters forever."
8. "The day will come when men will recognize woman as his peer, not only at the fireside, but in councils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall results in the highest development of the race."
It's Nicole. I got the idea for this blog post today. I've developed the healthiest habits I've ever had in the last 6 months, ironically while I deal with a chronic health issue. I have always eaten fairly healthy and worked out, but it wasn't always as consistent as it should be and I wasn't finding what I really loved. As well as I ate, I now realize it was not the healthiest I could be. I have come to realize that I never really learned how to truly be healthy inside and out when I was young. We had health and gym classes and things like that, but I wasn't taught about what the food I put in my body really does and what things I should do to keep my body and mind well inside and out. Now, I know. I have learned a tremendous amount about food and I feel so much more aware of what we put in our bodies and what it all does, good and bad. I developed a new workout routine based on strength. It took me 34 years to find my healthiest habits. Some of the suggestions below, I've done my whole life, but some, I have not. Help your children find them early and let them carry them through to a healthy and happy life.
Kids have a ton of energy inside of them. They need to get it out. That's especially true now that they spend more time in the classroom and less time outside at recess or gym class. They need movement. Some need more gentle movement, others need intense movement. In addition to movement, teach them other healthy habits involving eating, mind/body connection, and hydration.
Here are some ideas from my time as a nanny, coach, and a teacher of things you can do with your kids. And, in the process, you will get some active time and develop healthier habits yourself!
1. Start your kids young drinking a lot of water.
Kids (and us adults) should mainly be drinking water and a lot of it. We all know this, but we don't all practice it. Change that for your kids. Get them in the habit early. I have always drank water and never liked juice, soda, and milk. But, that's not typical of most people. If they don't like drinking it, add a splash of organic 100% juice with no sugar added to give it flavor. Give them water first thing in the morning. We all are dehydrated when we first wake up from being asleep and not having any drinks for so long. Get them their own special water bottle and carry that around with you filled with water. If they want some other drink like milk, tell them they need to drink one full cup of water first. You all know this, but try to avoid juice, soda and sugary drinks (even gatorades and such). I was always aware of how bad sugar could be, but through what I've learned recently, it's so much worse and I have the major digestive disorder to prove what it can do (and I didn't consume a ton of sugar).
2. Introduce Yoga:
Find a good kids yoga video and see if they take to it or maybe find a kids yoga class. Today, I went to visit a friend and her grandchildren. The youngest, who is 2 1/2, has taken to yoga. Her nana told me about it and how cute it is to watch her. So, a little bit after I arrived, I asked her if she liked yoga and asked if she wanted to show me. She held my hand to pull me along with her to get her mat. Her nana put on the video she uses (Kids Fit Yoga on Demand-Comcast) we set up next to each other. We did some of the video and then did our own poses. The video gives names to the poses that kids will relate to. "Auntie Cole, I'm an airplane!" Can you stand it?? Anyway, at 2.5 years old, she is focused and loves going through the poses. I used to also do this with a 5 year old I nannied. I found a different video on demand that had yoga for kids. We would do it in the afternoons to calm down and she loved it. Yoga is a great way for them to learn to soothe and calm themselves.
3. Find their interests:
Will all kids love yoga? NO. I have to admit, I don't love yoga. I used to. But, I find I get more fulfillment and mental clarity through strength training with weights and some sprints. Everyone is different. Maybe your child likes to dance around. I mean, really, I've rarely met a child who doesn't like to dance. Back when I first became a nanny (outside of the all the nannying I did in my own family), I watched two girls, one who was just turning 2 and the other wasn't born yet. We started our day every single day with dance parties. I would encourage them to dress up in their tutus or they could stay in their pjs or regular clothes. I would put on different CDs (some were just classic kid songs, some were kid friendly pop songs) and we would spend a good half hour or more dancing around the playroom. It was a great start to our day.
With the other girl I nannied that I mentioned above, I would do dance parties with her and her brother at the end of the day during the winter. One of our favorite songs to sing and dance to was "Say Hey" by Michael Franti. We'd also use serving spoons or brushes as microphones. Get imaginative. I would come up with the craziest dance moves and it just made them more excited. It was a good way to get out the energy they had from being stuck inside all day because of the cold and snow. During the warm weather, we would be out all day. We'd go to the park and climb and have "races" or go bike riding/scooting.
For dance parties, use both slow and fast songs. Some good songs and albums:
For the Kids: this is awesome because it has regular singers singing kid songs. Great for adults and kids!
Michael Franti: Want your kids to listen to positive music that's also upbeat? This guy is awesome.
A World of Happiness
Just Dance Kids albums. These are all great. There are a bunch of them and they have pop and rock songs that are made kid friendly and sung by kids.
The key is: Find what THEY love to do. Introduce them to many activities. Some other suggestions: tennis, soccer, playing catch, just chasing each other around. It can be anything as long as they're moving. Kids have lost a lot of their outdoor time due to longer school days and increased schoolwork. You need to find it somewhere for them.
4. Cook with them.
Come up with a plan to do this even just once a week. Choose something healthy and teach them about it. Or, something like a treat (cupcakes) but try to substitute some ingredients for healthier ingredients. Tell them what the ingredients will do for them. I used to make smoothies for the kids in the morning when I made my own. I would allow them to help me put the ingredients in the blender. I would use milk (the kind of milk will depend on what your child can/will drink. I used almond milk a lot and sometimes regular milk for them), frozen mixed berries, spinach (yes, spinach and they were fine with it once I explained how strong and energized it would make them and they realized it had no taste when mixed with the other ingredients), and a banana. Their involvement in the process helped make them want to try it more. Another great smoothie is milk, banana, some peanut or other nut butter and even add in a bit of dark chocolate so you can tell them it's a treat. There are tons of healthy and easy recipes to make with kids. Find a good blog or cookbook for this.
Make eating meals fun but also nutritious. Give them a couple (not too many) options so they feel involved. Meals and snacks should be healthy and colorful. Kids love color. You can not only use it as a way to teach healthy eating, but to work on colors as well! Maybe you make a rule that the kids need to have one green food at each meal. The earlier you start these habits, the better. Kids are picky, but did you know that if you put the same food in front of them multiple times, they'll eventually try it? Also, give incentive. When introducing a new veggie, I used to tell the kids that the veggie had to be tried and eaten before they got the other food (their rice or pasta or meat, whatever else there was that they wanted). I was consistent and clear that this was the only way to get the rest of the meal and there was never a problem with it. Sometimes, they wanted a little salad dressing or butter on the veggie or even a little ketchup. Whatever works!
6. Read every day.
Make it a routine. Before bed is a great time to do this to wind down. You can read or if they are reading, let them read. Also, encourage them to read on their own and not need you every time. I used to do this with the kids either for the older one when the younger was sleeping and I was cleaning up from lunch or something. It was quiet reading time for 20 minutes. Or, if I was cooking dinner, it was time for them both to sit and read together.
7. Practice positivity.
This is good for you and them! Look in the mirror and describe positive things about yourself and have the child do the same. You can then start a conversation of what else is positive about them. Point out things they do very well and have them repeat you. Teach them to give compliments to others. If they have siblings, have them point out positive things about them or about you.
8. Minimize screen time.
As someone who nannied for a long time and has many children in my family that I took care of from full time care of 3 toddlers for years to helping with my sister from birth until she went to elementary school, I know that you cannot realistically avoid screen time all together, especially in the day of iPads and iPhones. I mean, how would you ever get anything done or get 5 minutes to yourself? As long as they are watching something educational or playing a game that is beneficial, screen time isn't awful. However, a lot of screen time is. It overstimulates them and creates many other problems and bad habits. Teach them to do other things to occupy their time. I find kids now have no clue how to just play by themselves. Playing by themselves without adult guidance is crucial. It helps them develop some independence, creativity and imagination. You can direct them such as "now it's time for you to play by yourself. Here are some ideas. You can build with blocks, play with your kitchen and use your dolls, color, (and so on)". Make it routine. Kids love routine. I used to have the kids play together or do individual activities for 20 minutes in the morning while I prepared everything we'd need to go out for the day. Then, when we got back and I was preparing lunch, another 20 minutes and again, at dinner. One they start doing it, they will actually do it more and it's making it so you do not need to put the iPad in front of them but also do not have to be constantly entertaining them.
Send us pics or post them on social media and tag us of you and your kids doing healthy activities. Let's inspire others! Use #sheisme and #sheishealthy and make sure to tag us so we see them! IG: @shecampaign Twitter: @she_campaign Facebook: she.
Imagine if everyone felt good about themselves? What if we didn't let others get to us and if we didn't let stress get to us? How happy and peaceful would we all be? Here are 11 easy ways to change your thinking and feel good about YOU.
1. Make an intention: Wake up in the morning and take a moment to make an intention for a great day ahead.
2. Compliment yourself: When you look in the mirror, point out at least one thing you like about yourself. Take a moment to focus on that one thing and tell yourself why you like it.
3. Trust your instincts: When you are faced with a decision, take the time to dig deep and trust that you know the answer.
4. Don’t let life stop you: We all face hard times. Every single thing that happens is part of this thing called life. Don’t let it stop you. Keep going. Take the emotion aroused by those hard times and channel them into positive projects, thoughts, and actions.
5. Pay attention to your thoughts: When you notice yourself putting yourself down or thinking negatively, don’t be hard on yourself. Just notice it, accept that it is okay, but make the choice to turn it around. If you think a negative thought about yourself, stop and think a positive one instead.
6. Love Life: Sure, some days aren’t great. But, for the most part, life is pretty good. You have family, you have friends, you have love. Make the decision to love your life as it is, with no expectations of what it should be. Enjoy it.
7. Live in the present: Worrying about the future is useless. We have no idea what will happen tomorrow, next week, next month that could change our lives. So, why do we worry about it? Instead, enjoy the moments right NOW. Don’t miss out on living today by trying to live too much in the future.
8. Create a vision board: Vision boards are great. You can create it by hand, do it on our computer, or even use Pinterest. If there are things you want from life, from your career, from your relationships, for YOU, put them where you will see them every day. Set those goals and envision having them. Then, find the ways, small steps to get there. Create your life exactly as you want it.
9. Don’t let others offend you: We all know that when a person has a bad day, they can take it out on others. We also know that sometimes, people are just not good people. So, why do we let them get to us? Remember that another person’s anger, sadness, etc isn’t about us, it’s about them.
10. Face your fears: Make a note of the things you’re afraid of. Look at that list, figure out ways to overcome those fears. Maybe you’re afraid of switching careers. Maybe you have a fear of flying. Everyone has fears, but they should not take over and control your life.
11. LOVE YOURSELF: You do not have to be anything or anyone others expect you to be. You can be who and what you want. Finding love for yourself not only helps you but it helps your relationships with everyone else in your life.
Practice these 11 things and we guarantee you will feel better about yourself. We know from experience. :)
Nicole & Kiera
This most personal blog post I’ve ever written.
I have written this in my head a million times. I have tried to write it on paper even more. Every word I have written has been deleted at least once and sometimes the words I feel just won’t come out. I have felt paralyzed by fear. I have been afraid to hurt other people’s feelings by revealing who I am and what has made me, me. It wasn’t until last week, when I was at the Inspire Photo Retreat in Portland, Maine, that I learned an incredibly freeing lesson from Anne Almasy:
"The things we fear will disconnect us are actually the things that connect us."
In a relentless journey to embrace my authentic self and to help foster a better world to live in, I am putting my truth out there. So here goes:
I was born into a loving family, to a mother who desperately prayed for me and wanted me in her life more than words will ever be able to describe. Unfortunately, she was in an abusive marriage with a man who didn’t value her. My mom also didn’t value herself. She jumped head first into a relationship she thought would fulfill her dreams. She married a marine who she thought would provide her with a beautiful family and allow her the chance to see the world. She was 20 when I was born.
Alcohol, physical and emotional abuse took that dream away. When I was 3 years old, we were stationed at a military base in Japan. My biological father was having an affair with a married woman. He wanted a divorce. It was time for us to leave. It was just a few days before Christmas. My mom was 23 with two toddlers, no job, a high school education, and no place to go. We landed in the US and my mom found an apartment for us to start over in. As tough as it may seem, this was the best Christmas of my life.
In my memory, we had nothing. Our new home was a large, dark, and nearly empty house with a scary monster tree casting evil shadows into my room. It had no chimney for Santa to come down. But inside this house was also a small light, a glimmer of hope still burning in my mom’s heart. A hope for a better life for us. My mom taught me the most valuable lesson of my life that Christmas.
Just because things don’t go according to your plan, it doesn’t mean tomorrow won’t be different. Live your life with a positive attitude and focus on the good that you do have in your life. We had our health, we had each other, we had a package of hotdogs and the "Little Mermaid." We were going to be ok, and we were.
However, some days I struggle to find the positive message that the universe is trying to show me. I feel paralyzed by what I assume other’s think of me.
Here’s what I think other’s think of me:
Here’s what they don’t know:
I don’t always smile. My smile is my greatest asset, but it is also at the same time my biggest weakness. I hide behind it and use it as my security blanket to protect myself. I smile when I am hurt. I smile when I am sad. I smile when I am overwhelmed, insecure and afraid. I smile when I am happy, when others smile, and when I can’t think of anything else to do.
I am truly happy. What I have is enough for me, and you’re right, I couldn’t do this without my husband. However, life hasn’t been and isn’t always easy for me. It has taken years of hard work, struggle, risk, loss, pain, doubt, and working through fear to get here. Life has never been and will never be handed to me on a silver spoon—and I don’t want it to be.
To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, “life is about the journey, not the destination.” After nearly falling off the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, and being hit by a cab in Boston last year, I have learned from my near death experiences to cherish every moment of my life. I have witnessed friends be diagnosed with horrible illnesses at young ages, and have even seen friends die far too soon. My goal is to live everyday to be a better person and to help others embrace the beauty of all that life has to offer, no matter how long that life is.
I do have a shit ton of friends. I love people. I love meeting people, connecting with people, and helping people. However, with “a million friends” it’s hard to maintain meaningful relationships. I am working hard at finding a balance where I can foster more genuine relationships with “my people,” you know those people who are there for you no matter what and those to whom you would be there for no matter what.
Dunbar’s Theory states that humans reach a cognitive limit on the number of people with whom they can successfully maintain a stable and meaningful relationship. That number is 150. I think my life will feel fuller when I focus on finding and embracing my 150. It’s on my to-do list (thanks Anne!)
My inner light from my soul is infectious. It’s true. I see it in the way that people look at me. I hear it from those that I surround myself with. I feel it when I connect with people. Helping those around me fuels my inner light. Right now, my biggest challenge is accepting the light I receive from others when I give to them and see them get happy. Sometimes, I feel guilty for the feelings I receive back, like it’s something I am selfishly doing so that I can feel better about myself. I need to work on accepting and realizing that this is the “give and the take” that makes the world go round.
I have a bigger purpose out there right now and I am so looking forward to my journey of overcoming my fears of putting myself out there and being more real. Through she., I have read countless stories from individual ladies sharing their reality, their truth. It gives me inspiration, hope and strength to continue to feverishly work to make the world a better place.
So there it is. I have so much more to share, and maybe one day will!
A big part of she. is sharing stories of girls and women. These stories can be anything from simply what makes them who they are to something they have overcome or something they are proud of. We are starting to add people's stories to our site. You will be able to visit our "meet she." page and click on an image to read more about the awesome people we have been capturing. Our first one is Meghan.
When my friend Jen and I were talking about "she." one day, Jen mentioned a friend of hers and how maybe I should talk to her about having her picture taken and sharing her story. She told me Meghan was going through treatment for breast cancer and had a very positive outlook in how she was dealing with it. I, of course, said, "Yes. Please reach out to her and have her contact me if she is interested." She did and Meghan was very willing to be part of "she." We exchanged a few Facebook messages in which I could already tell I was going to love her and already felt completely inspired by her. When talking about the photo shoot, I told her to wear anything that made her comfortable and that it should look like "her", something she'd wear any other day. She then told me she wanted to do both in her wig and without, which of course, I loved. Last Sunday, we met up to snap some photos. We chatted for a bit first and then had some fun capturing this amazingly beautiful woman. You can see in the images how her positive attitude and personality shine through her eyes despite what she is going through.
Please visit "meet meghan" to read her beautiful story of positivity through an extremely difficult time. It is truly inspiring.