Instagram Isn’t Real

by: Alicia M. Blanco

IG

You are beautiful.

…without a filter.

Which leads me to this:

I LOVE me some instagram… it’s honestly my social media of choice. I love looking at pictures and posting pictures…

but it isn’t real! Not all the time.

Stop scrolling through it and comparing yourself to someone’s best version of themselves. You can bet they are ALSO going through some tough stuff, just like you. No one ACTUALLY posts the sucky stuff that’s actually going on.

It’s always a “booked it!” (after not booking five jobs before that one) and “selfie!” (which probably took over 70+ attempts before getting the right angle AND editing it with the right filter) and “on vacation, again!” (its like, where did they get the income to afford to go there, and there, with them, and those people, so often, and I’m over here trying to pay rent?)

I read an awesome blog just a few weeks ago called “What I Instagrammed vs What Was REALLY Happening” and it was soooo HILARIOUS and TRUE. So here it is. READ IT!! So damn good. Applause! I am so obsessed with great blogs. When I see a good one, I can’t help but to repost it. I just want to share the love and keep the wave going.

Imagine a world with no filters… just 100% honesty, transparency, realness.

Something tells me the statistics in depression would decrease if people didn’t have so much comparison throughout their days.

“Stop comparing your behind-the-scenes stuff to everyone else’s highlight reel.”

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Split Waves on THE DRESS

by: Lisa Blanco Matthews

THEDRESS

O.K. so this whole #TheDress debate, or whatever it is, actually really annoyed me at first. I apparently missed the entire thing due to a thrilling Phoenix Suns overtime win over Oklahoma City Thunder last night (that’s in other news).

Therefore, when my sister, Alicia, asked me to write something about it #ForTheBlog, I was completely lost to say the least. “A dress? The color? What about it? How did I miss something when you’re the one in Dubai with limited WiFi.” I digress.

After extensive research and digging deep…REAL DEEP… I found that there actually is a great message behind this entire white, gold, blue, black ‘debate.’ Yes my friends, there issomething worthwhile here. Let’s get philosophical.

You may be choosing a side or color here, and it may stir up a heated conversation amongst co-workers, friends or spouses. Maybe you just CAN’T AGREE because CLEARLY the dress is white and gold! AMIRIGHT?

Well, whatever color you may see it’s all about PERSPECTIVE to me. You see what you want to see. It’s your RETINA, your DEPICTION…it’s YOUR OPINION.

I believe YOU choose what to get out of it. You’re in control. If you see blue and black then that’s what it is…stand by it. That’s the beauty here. It’s not about finding the actual color out of this mystery dress, it’s about ACCEPTING if someone’s view is COMPLETELY different than yours. And that’s O.K.

So can we agree to disagree on this and continue our conversation about AZ’s finest…llamas?

The Ripil Effect – NEW APP!

by: Alicia M. Blanco

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Remember that one time when you gave up your seat so that someone else could sit down? Or the time you were feeling really generous and left a generous tip for your server?

Surely you can think back to the time you went out of your way to extend a helping hand for your neighbor or when you gave someone a really nice compliment, just because.

If you’re like me, you’ve often wondered how the rest of their day went after what you did for them. Sometimes I find myself thinking, “I really hope they had a great day today and that my small gesture turned things around for them. I wonder if they paid it forward…”

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Similarly, I know that when someone does something nice for me I always hope they know what a difference they made in my day. I want to encourage more behavior like that- and it makes me want to do the same for someone else.

This is why I am SO excited that The Wave now has its very own app that will be able to answer these very questions instantly with your smart phone. You can literally track your kindness across the country and all over the world. Instant gratification!

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Creator Charley Johnson:

“The Ripil app was born from an idea of wanting to make kindness an everyday thing for billions of people and in a way was that easily accessible for this generation. The app is still very much in the early stages of development so we appreciate as much feedback as possible as we look to expand it and watch it grow! We get our news from Twitter, we connect with family and friends on Facebook, and with Ripil we wanted to create a platform that spread kindness and inspired more good in people throughout the world with the click of a button. With the app you can plug in what you did for someone, or what someone did for you and then track it throughout the day and over the course of time. The more people who have it, the more interactive it will be! A wave starts off with a small ripple in the water, and it builds over time. This is what we want to see happen with KINDNESS.  It may start off small like a ripple, but the more people who catch on and participate will be part of a massive movement, like a WAVE. Imagine if your random act of kindness landed in the life of someone contemplating taking his or her own life…We believe kindness is something that needs way more attention and focus and we know Alicia and The Wave agree with us.  Having an inner beauty blogger like Alicia whose main focus is to make people feel good on the INSIDE, along with her Miss Inner Beauty pageant, her passion to help more people conquer depression and her desire to see more random acts of kindness performed each day showed us what a great collaboration we will have working together towards a kinder world.”

“Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you know is fighting some sort of battle.”

Waving Goodbye – 5 Things Joan Rivers Taught Me About Happiness

by: Alicia M. Blanco

2006 Gala of The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

Well, Fashion Police on E! will never be the same and neither will the world. Today we lost a woman who filled a room with so much light and laughter. She was known for being a trailblazer, wild and crazy, an icon, a bit neurotic, nipped and tucked, uncensored, without a filter, uniquely hilarious… but she was also known for mastering a trait we all hope to obtain in our lives- happiness.

Over the span of her nearly five decade run in Hollywood, Joan was constantly quoted saying how genuinely HAPPY she was in her life. She was madly in love with the industry, even with all of its insanity and setbacks.

It’s important to note that she didn’t always have such a happy state of mind…

After her husband suffered from a heart attack which resulted in the depression that led to his suicide in 1987, Joan also began to feel the sting of depression when her career plummeted. E! News journalist Ken Baker shared that at one point, she candidly told him in an interview that “she seriously contemplated suicide herself and what stopped her was her Yorkie ‘Spike’—she actually had a gun and she was going to do [it] and she said the Yorkie jumped in her lap to stop her.”

Chills much? So glad I just got myself a Yorkie! (Joan would’ve wanted me to say that.)

Joan used that incredibly dark time in her life to propel her forward into happiness.

So it made me think even more deeply on what it means to be happy and ways to be happy.

Here’s what I came up with.

5 WAYS TO BE HAPPY:

1) Have a job you love – the more and more I learn about life, the more it becomes clear that people need to start doing what they love and not what ANYONE ELSE wants them to do. According to Joan, her parents “went insane” when she told them she wanted to be an actress and go into show business. Some of you are going to have to break your parents hearts tonight and tell them you’d rather do x instead of y. #sorrynotsorry but you better do it. Joan’s career lasted almost 50 years. Can you imagine doing something you hated for that long? Yet imagine the joy if its something that you passionately love. Priceless.

2) Have a best a friend – whether it’s your sibling, your roommate, or your dog – have a best friend who can always be counted on for an uplifting conversation, and a hearty laugh. Who you do life with is important. (Btw – it’s a proven fact that animals really do bring so much joy and bliss to life. Heck, Joan’s dog ‘Spike’ literally saved her life!)

3) Transparency – Joan Rivers had 16 plastic surgeries throughout her lifetime and she wasn’t shy about letting the world know it. She was blatantly honest and confident about it and everything else. All. The. Time. She also admittedly suffered from depression and contemplated suicide earlier on in her career and I think she was able to overcome her depression because of how honest she was about it. There was no pretending with her. I can’t stress enough how healing it can be to share your story rather than pretend you’re perfectly fine. Additionally, SHE DIDN’T CARE WHAT PEOPLE THOUGHT ABOUT HER OPENESS, LOOKS, OR ANTICS. And she made that perfectly loud and clear, too. Bingo.

4) Laugh. A lot. – Melissa Rivers, Joan’s daughter, said that her mother’s greatest joy in life was making people laugh. Laughter is contagious. When you put more effort into making others laugh and smile, it will always come back to you. I once heard that people who laugh more frequently live longer. I don’t know the science, but I’m willing to bet it’s true. For example, I’m not sure if you read my other blog about “The Secret”, or not, but part of The Secret talks about “laughing diseases away.” It sounds weird, I know, but one woman in the book/DVD was diagnosed with cancer, yet told herself the cancer was gone and spent months ONLY watching funny movies without taking any medicine. Within months her cancer was gone. (Cue sci-fi music.) Now, I certainy don’t recommend going without medical treatment, but you get the point…laughter is great medicine too.

5) Acknowledge Depression & Don’t Pretend You’re OK if you’re not. TALK IT OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM! – I know this last one may surprise you but I truly believe that success is made sweeter by the moments in life that sting a little bit. You learn to appreciate the good times when you have something to compare them to from your journey. Joan didn’t always have raging success. In fact, she had a lot of setbacks, like being fired from every job she had in the beginning of her career, suffering with bulimia, a strained relationship with her daughter Melissa, watching her husband suffer with depression and then committing suicide… I meannnnn, what a list! She recognized those dark chapters, acknowledged them for what they were, and then used those times to help others with her story. She even went on to say, “you can turn things around.” – no matter how crazy life can get…

…and her life was a living example of exactly that; a transformation with a dash of crazy – and isn’t that what life is all about?

May she rest in peace and may all that she taught the world about laughter and happiness live on forever.

(P.S. I’ll bet that Joan Rivers and Robin Williams are making God laugh together in Heaven!)

Joan Rivers | 1933 – 2014

ALS Bucket Challenge

by: Alicia M. Blanco

ALSpic

I have a confession to make. Up until two days ago I had NO idea what the now famous “ALS Ice bucket challenge” was…. and I didnt even know what ALS stood for! All I knew was, based on social media, it was suddenly the “it” thing to do… and yet I had no idea why.. I just kept seeing videos popping up of people pouring water on their heads and then challending three or more additional people to follow their lead and do the same… And because I’m not one to jump on bandwagons very easily (like those dumb email chains that tell you that you’ll have bad luck for seven years if you don’t forward it to ten peope).. I sort of filed the ALS challenge into the same category.

I will say that I was totally impressed that it became such a huge wave on social media though!! J-Lo, George W. Bush, Lebron James, Taylor Swift are just a FEW of the celebrities who also participated. Like I always say, it just takes one person and an idea to start something BIG. Millions of dollars and TONS of awareness big.

So then I got challenged. And that’s honestly when I began my “research” to see what exactly I was being challenged into doing. Here is what I read.

I learned it was to raise money for Lou Gehrig’s disease which is also known as ‘amyotrophic lateral sclerosis’…(aha…. so THAT’S what ALS stands for)…and why didnt they just call it the “LGD ice bucket challenge”? – because I’m pre-tty sure more people are familiar with the words ‘Lou Gehrigs disease’ anways but that’s none of my business…

anyways!!

I think it’s great that we’re all coming together for a good cause. All It took was one person and then BAM, more and more people started to ride the wave too.. AND LOOK HOW HUGE OF A WAVE ITS BECOME!!!

If I was going to do it, I would totally do it Charlie Sheen style. Homeboy straight up dumped a bucket of CASH over his head instead of water. Brilliant. He even said “let’s face it, ice will melt… but this money is going to actually help people.” HOLLER!! Such a good idea. If you havent seen it, check it out HERE.

Obviously it was only a matter of time until all the memes and GIFs starting popping up making fun of our country for wasting so much water while other countries are in dire need for it. #merica #charity So, good job Mr. Sheen. In this case you are in indeed #winning

So those are my thoughts! People are so funny on social media these days. Things are so trendy and hot topic-ishy until something more trendy comes along. And in the case of charities, i’m allllll for trending the pooh out of charity! I just hope theres a genuine heart in all the ice bucket participants. I worry that many partake in the challenge just so they will have content to post on their instagrams and facebooks. I hope I’m wrong!

Do your research. Read about the causes that you want to serve, promote and advocate!

Here’s just a few of the charities I love, support and have worked (or still work) for in LA and AZ:

Chances for Children
Go Red for Women
Susan G. Komen
Miss Inner Beauty
Andre House
Adopt-a-Family program

And honestly there’s like a zillion more. I’m a bit of a charity-addict. That’s why I support The Unite4Good Foundation which supports and celebrates ALL of these and more as a collective team and effort.

Waving Goodbye to Robin Williams

by: Alicia M. Blanco

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I just love this picture of him. It’s crazy that behind his one of kind smile and his contagious laughter was so much pain. It still doesn’t seem real to me. Its taken me several days to even accept it and gather up the composure to write this blog. How could one of the funniest comedians in the whole wide world who made me laugh my entire childhood, commit suicide? It’s just not fair. He’s gone. Just like that. No warnings. No signs. No goodbyes. I mean sure he’d had issues with drug abuse in his past, but he was over and done with all of that now, wasn’t he?? He had the ability to make all of us laugh so hard our stomaches hurt. He was the man.

That’s why this sucks SO bad— the fact that while he spent his whole life making everyone else laugh and feel alive, inside he was broken, depressed…and ultimately dying. He ended his life in such a tragic way and it broke hearts around the world. I know my heart is truly broken…

This is exactly WHY I want to see a huge wave of random acts of kindness. YOU have the potential to save someone’s life just by being kind to them, asking them how they are doing, (like REALLY doing), complimenting their smiles, encouraging them, spending actual time with them, writing them a handwritten note, ANYTHING. I can’t help but to wonder when was the last time someone had genuinely asked Mr. Williams how he was REALLY doing. Ugh.

It’s wild to me that someone can give off the impression that everything’s okay, just like Robin Williams did, when really they’re screaming on the inside.

WE NEED TO STOP ASSUMING!! Just because someone seems okay, maybe they’re really NOT.

I personally know a lot of men and women who appear to be happy, but yet have candidly opened up to me and let me know that they’re not as happy as they portray to the rest of the world. And I think that’s really brave of them to be so honest with me. With the world of social media we live in, it can be really hard to admit that there’s an inner battle going on. Maybe Robin Williams didn’t want to admit how depressed he was. No one likes to be judged… especially when they feel pressure to uphold a certain upbeat image. We live in a world of filters. We gatta look and appear to be at our best, right?

In reality, life is a journey of ups and downs though… and sometimes the journey includes a lot of heartache, rejection, unsuccessful attempts, shut doors, “no’s”… all of which can feed depression, mental illness, and even trigger suicide. It’s just a downward spiral and if we don’t start doing something about it, small as it may seem, we’ll continue watching people lose their battle to the disease. Because that’s what it is you know… a disease.

I’ve always just been told that no one wants to talk about it and that instead, we should read some self-help books, take your meds, “get over it”, “look on the bright side” and “count your blessings.” …… and while that all sounds like positive steps moving foward, it’s also just not the easiest thing to do when you’re suffering in the dark. As someone who has had to be in extensive conversation with mental hospitals, doctors, social workers, insurance companies and beyond, I can tell you right now, there is MAJOR work to be done.

I’ve been wanting to start this movement in the way we think and talk about (and conquer!!) depression for years but I always felt like there was so much shame on the subject. Even personally: I have a very close relative of mine who has suffered with manic depression bipolar disorder (just like Robin Williams) since he was 16yrs old. At this point in time I don’t have his permission to disclose his name or share his full story, but I’m hoping that I will in the very near future.

I can’t sit back and see another secretly unhappy person end his or her life when it could’ve been prevented by love.

So let’s keep going with this HUGE wave of random acts of kindness everywhere! I know the wave may start off small, but as more and more people catch on and begin to pay it forward, I honestly believe with all my heart that we can truly change lives and even SAVE LIVES by helping the silent sufferers of the world feel better, feel loved, feel seen, and to cope with their darkness.

Afterall, we are called to be a light in a dark place.

Thank you Robin Williams for being such a light in mine.

xo,
Alicia