Archive for the ‘Columns’ Category


In Columns on January 6, 2012 at 7:46 pm

By: Rose Snipes

     Teenagers can always be seen with their cell phones, usually texting. Although teens can become almost obsessed with texting, there is something good that comes out of it. The National Cancer Institute has come up with a new Smokefree T-X-T program.

The 24 hour service is free, and it helps young teenage smokers via text messages to stop the habit of smoking by sending helpful advice and encouraging tips. A lot of teens may have a hard time quitting, may be unaware of the consequences or just feel unmotivated to stop, but with the tips and advice, the institute hopes the smokers will feel more encouraged to quite the harmful habit.

Smokfree T-X-T is a free app. Photo courtesy Bing Images

Erik Augustson, a behavioral scientist in NCI’s Tobacco Control Research Branch says, “With 75 percent of youths between the ages of 12 and 17 owning a cell phone, there is immense potential for mobile technologies to affect health awareness and behavior change among teens.”

The teenagers sign up and choose a reasonable date for quitting, and the messages are sent for up to six weeks until their quitting day. If the texts are not enough, there’s a website where teens can chat and encourage one another to quitting smoking.

An app called QuitSTART will be launched for the smartphone in early 2012 and has an interactive guide for delivering tips, monitoring attempts at quit, and helping by tracking cravings.

Hopefully the text apps will inspire and provoke teens to make the right decision for themselves. Help spread the word, and if you know any family members or loved ones who smoke, tell them about the smokefree T-X-T program or give them the website


Salon Inspired: Eye color accents

In Columns on January 6, 2012 at 7:46 pm

 By: Samantha Lepore        

When applying makeup it is important to remember that practice makes perfect. Photo courtesy of Google images

Sometimes all a woman needs is a touch of mascara and eyeliner to achieve a striking, elegant look, but for special occasions or the need to spice things up a bit, eye shadow can do wonders. Whether you purchase your makeup from a department store or a superstore such as Wal-Mart or Target, picking eye shadow can be mind boggling. With so many different brands, colors and formulas, it can be difficult to decide which is best for you. I prefer Maybelline’s powder eye shadow because the colors are highly pigmented; it is long wearing, cheap and can be easily blended. Eye shadow can enhance your beauty, but can also take away from it is as well.  It is important to know that not every eye shadow will look good on you; that is why it is important to know what pigments flatter your eye color and skin tone.

            For the girls with brown eyes, you have it the easiest. Brown eyes are the most common eye color in the world, and it goes with most pigments, such as browns, bronzes, greens, grays and bold colors such as purples and pinks. Blue-eyed beauties should never wear blue eye shadow to match your stunning eye color. It will take away from your eyes natural beauty, so stick with grays, pinks, peaches and browns. For those with green and hazel eyes, you are at the highest risk to choose the wrong eye shadow pigment. Purples, pinks, turquoise and olive greens are best for this eye color.

            Eye shadow does not only affect the appearance of your eye color, but also your skin tone. For those who are very pale, avoid very dark, harsh colors, for this will only make you look lighter, so try neutral tones and lighter colors. For those with darker skin, be cautious when using light colors. Sometimes if the eye shadow is dramatically lighter than that skin tone and if it is not applied and blended well, it can look quite atrocious.

            When dealing with any eye shadow pigment, eye color and skin tone, there is always one thing that will compliment your eyes and face in any situation: mascara, and when dealing with mascara, stick with black. The deep, dark color of the black will give the illusion of longer, thicker lashes. With brown and color mascara colors, this can make your lashes look like you put on eye shadow after applying mascara, which gives lashes a dusty unattractive look.

            If you cannot achieve the brilliant eye shadow styles of your celebrity idols right off the bat, do not worry. Practice makes perfect, and the longer you use makeup, the more you will learn about it, such as how to apply it, when and where to use it, etc. Eye shadow, along with all other makeup, was meant to enhance and elicit beauty, not hide it, so take time learning about your makeup and thinking up new, diverse styles. After all, everyone wants to look their best.

Yoga: Common myths exposed

In Columns on January 6, 2012 at 7:38 pm

By: Morgan Deal

The idea that you have to be flexible to do yoga is most likely dreamed up due to the fact that most pictures of yoga poses show advanced yogis twisted into “pretzel poses.” Photo courtesy of Google images

           Yoga has become an increasingly popular form of exercise, and along with the popularity comes rumors and misconceptions about the practice.

            Myth number one: you have to be flexible to do yoga. This myth is most likely dreamed up because of the fact that most pictures of yoga poses show advanced yogis twisted into “pretzel poses.” However, this myth is far from being true. When a lot of people start practicing yoga, they are often not very flexible. Take the simple act of touching your toes. When I first started yoga classes, I couldn’t even touch my toes! After practicing yoga for over a year, I am able to not only touch the floor, but am working on getting my palms to the floor.

            Myth number two: yoga will help me lose weight. This is a very complex topic, as weight loss is the result of many factors: a healthy diet, one’s lifestyle, etc. The most obvious benefits of yoga are improved flexibility and stress relief/relaxation. Yoga also tones and strengthens muscles, and can be used as a tool to lose weight, if used in the right way. There are a wide variety of different styles of yoga. A more gentle class focusing on holding poses for a few minutes at a time is not likely to help weight loss. Conversely, a different style of yoga that is more active, such as astanga or vinyasa, increases the heart rate and results in burning more calories. Depending on yoga as your only form of exercise will not help you lose weight in the long run, however. In order to effectively lose weight with yoga, pair your practices with a cardio workout like biking or running.

            A big part of weight gain is your mental state. When we feel negative about ourselves, some people tend to develop bad eating habits that can cause an unhealthy weight. Practicing yoga can improve self confidence and lead you to make healthier decisions all around.

            Myth number three: yoga is a religion. A lot of the time, yoga is associated with spiritual practices such as meditation, the religions Buddhism and Hinduism, and some have even thought that it is a religion in itself. While followers of these religions once made yoga a part of their practices, yoga is not strictly theirs. Anyone from any religion is free to practice yoga, and make it their own. However spirituality, meaning self awareness, discovery and realization, is an important part of yoga. In today’s word, people can become perfectionists, and worry themselves with petty things. It is through the spiritual aspects of yoga that we can fully relax and find peace. “In essence, spirituality deals with our relationship with that which is beyond us as individuals. This is a relationship with something greater than we are with a creator, or a source of being that we have come from before our birth, and where we will go after death,” Dr. Swami Shankardev Saraswati, medical doctor and psychotherapist, says.

            Common myths and falsehoods about yoga can make people wary of starting a yoga practice, but yoga can be a great tool to improve one’s physical and mental well being, if they are willing to let it be.

Fashion: Men’s edition

In Columns on December 16, 2011 at 8:23 pm

By: Tinsley Tullos

It has come to my attention that the boys ofFortMillHigh Schoolare unaware of how to dress properly. Dressing nicely is simply a means of taking pride in oneself, and not at all a girlish statement. With such a limited selection of fashionable men in our school, the standards of dressing well have resulted toa Ralph Lauren Polo, accompanied by dark-washed jeans and a pair of Nike air maxes. Really students? Get creative. Considering there are about twenty or so “best dressed” boys, or boys who make an effort, if you dress well, I know your name.

I am guessing there are about zero guys who keep tabs on the latest male fashion trends at the moment, so I have done the research for you. With this season being rich in colors, textures, styles and fabrics, it will surely be a hit for all who attempt. Darker colors, such as navy blue or black, are being showcased in military style trenches and accessories. Wear these with a pair of slacks and dress loafers.

Yes, I am conscious about the “preppy” disease going around the boy’s locker room, but it needs to stop. Ralph Lauren is nice and so are bow ties, but if one is going to wear them, then one needs to get original.  Bring out the true preppy style with comfortable sweaters and bright shaded blazers from designers like D&G and Tommy Hilfiger. One can pair his Ralph Lauren and bow tie under the sweater or blazer and then add a pair of corduroys and wacky shoes.

“Gray to the world, It matches ev-vur-ry-thing.” The color gray is classic; it can be coordinated with bright hues, black and/or white. Use it as a go-to shade for any type of style, whether business or casual. Along with gray, there is also a large availability of light brown hues that can be accessorized with a bright red scarf (yes, a man can wear a scarf without looking too girly) or a teal pair of socks.

Show us girls something sophisticated, perhaps with refined suit or workwear pieces. Double-breasted jackets, large pleats and square pockets are all a part of this season’s standard of class. Look for leather embellishments and hard metal scraps; the more manly, the better. 

I am also pretty positive that none of you would be up for wearing velvet, fur or calfskin, so here is an alternative. Try mixing just a small piece of velvet or even a few leather bits to any aspect of your outfit. These items can be hidden in any structured blazer or casual pair of shoes.

Loose tailoring and chunky sweaters are also on the list of hot spots for this season, but something I think most of you would bring shame upon at just one attempt. Try these suggestions, but just in a better-fitted way. When embarking on this stylish makeover, look for pieces that actually fit and pieces that will not be too much of a challenge at first. If you find a clothing item that lies nicely, by all means, go crazy with it. Did you find the right size in that solid shaded sweater you have been eye-balling for quite some time? Get the one next to it with a moose and lodge pattern. If the garment fits well, and you have confidence in it, than you can also have confidence that it will look good. Do not combine both an extreme top and bottom at once though, that is a no when it comes to untried males.

Yes a male dressing well often has a negative connotation, but it is only because everyone else is afraid to do so. Stand up, dress well and inspire other males around you. Do not make me have to write a second male fashion edition.

Yoga: Have a stress free holiday

In Columns on December 16, 2011 at 8:05 pm

By: Morgan Deal

Pigeon pose is another popular hip opener, but is more intense. Photo courtesy of Google images

            With everything to worry about from buying and wrapping gifts to baking holiday cookies, the “most wonderful time of the year” can easily become the most stressful time of the year. There are many ways that yoga can help reduce stress and help make the holidays run smoothly.

            Most holiday stress is all in our minds. “By turning down the volume on what I call tape loops – mental samskaras – you can get in touch with a more blissful place inside,” Timothy McCall, M.D., says in his book Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing. Yoga is a great way to learn how to calm your mind in tense situations and focus, as well as live a more peaceful and accepting lifestyle. Even something as simple as practicing deep, even breathing can calm a person down quickly, as irregular breathing is both a cause and result of stress.

            Our world today is filled with sound, and it can seem that there is never a quiet moment. Even when we are unaware of sound, studies suggest that a noisy environment can alert the body’s stress response system. Taking the time to go through simple yoga poses, such as the ones described below, in a quiet place can do much to calm someone down.

            Tension is created in the hips from stress, making the hips one of the tightest muscle system in the body. Sitting down in desks all day prevents our hips from getting the rotation and extension needed to keep them flexible, and sports like running and cycling de-emphasize hip flexibility. While hip openers can be extremely challenging, if practiced regularly, one will soon see the benefits physically and emotionally. One of the most simple hip openers is to simply sit cross-legged and walk your hands out in front of you. Hold the pose for about ten seconds, then cross the other leg on top and repeat.

            Probably the quickest way to use yoga to relax is to go into savasana, or deep relaxation. Also referred to as “corpse pose,” savasana appears to be just lying on the ground. However, it is much more than that. To truly be in deep relaxation, one must tune out all outside distractions – noise, discomfort, and even negative thoughts. Allowing oneself to let go is very therapeutic and instantly makes a difference in stress levels.

            When practicing yoga, the most important thing to remember is to pay attention to and respect your body. A pose, such as a hip opener, should never feel painful. If a pose feels painful, that’s a sign that you have taken it too far, and need to back off. When done correctly, yoga can be a fantastic way for people of all ages to release stress year round.

Relationship reality

In Columns on December 16, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Look at them like you actually care about what they’re saying, and actually listen to what they say as well. Photo courtesy of Drew Marshall

By: Trevor Ottley

                Guys, relationships are a difficult thing to grasp for some of you, and I understand that, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk about it. A lot of girls think that all guys are uncaring, self-centered idiots who know nothing except for how to talk and play sports. Well, I am here to tell you guys how to make that stereotype disappear. 

                First, you have to know how to talk to a girl without making yourself look like a complete tool in all aspects. Look like a normal person when you confront the girl. Don’t lift your head high in the air and broaden your shoulders. You literally aren’t accomplishing anything by doing that, other than looking ridiculously idiotic. Look at them like you actually care about what they’re saying, and actually listen to what they say as well. Sure, you might hear a lot of complaining, but you have to know how to deal with that if you want to be in  a good, healthy relationship.

                Second, know what your girlfriend is really trying to say to you. A lot of the time, for some odd reason, girls tend to say things that are exactly the opposite of what they really mean. For example, if you are getting ready to do something with your friends, and she says, “You don’t have to stay if you don’t want to,” then she really means: You better not go and you better not choose your friends over me. Also, if they suddenly get really quiet and turn away from you, something obviously isn’t right, and you need to do something about it. A good remedy to cure their sadness is to just go up to them and hug them, or give them a kiss on the cheek, or even better, do both! It usually takes a few minutes, but you have to be patient with them, which leads into the final, most important part of relationships.

                Guys, you have to know how to be patient with your girlfriends and realize, no matter how much you don’t like to, that the girl has most of the control in the relationship. Just think about it. When have you ever been happy when your girlfriend is angry at you? It is very rare and it probably means that your relationship isn’t doing so hot. The only way to make situations like that better is to be patient with them and try to comfort them as much as possible. Girls love to get compliments, so just tell them they look beautiful and say something nice to make them feel better.

                If you really think about it, relationships really aren’t that complex of an idea. Just know how to understand them and then you should be in a nice, healthy relationship with the girl of your dreams. Now, don’t use this to your advantage and become a Barney Stinson. That isn’t the way to go. Just keep in mind that girls are very complex beings and take a lot of patience, but in the end, they are worth your while if you find the right one like I have.

Life Lessons

In Columns on December 16, 2011 at 7:50 pm

By: Danzig Decsy

             Let’s face it. Sometimes being a student is simply a little too stressful, especially for upperclassmen. If you’re anything like me, living the scholarly life can sometimes make you feel like you’re trapped in a violent whirlwind of homework, chores, finances, friends, relationships, college plans and family matters. Some people can handle these situations rather well, but for me, sometimes even the thought of juggling my not-so-peaceful lifestyle aspects can muster up an aching headache and a restless mind. This has led me to realize the importance of alone time and my growing concern for those individuals who have yet to reach this realization.

Typically, when I’m by myself, I tend to participate in activities that I enjoy. Photo courtesy of Drew Marshall

             Some people may claim that they have such tight schedules, that they don’t have time to be alone, but I encourage them to reconsider. Sometimes the time-consuming typhoon that is high school life can seem inescapable, but if you set your priorities straight, you can find yourself enjoying your own company relatively quickly. It’s simply a matter of getting what must be done out of the way first. Completing important and difficult tasks early can put your mind at ease and take a huge weight off your shoulders. But, as we all know, something like that is always easier said than done.

             Once you have reached the point where the first priorities have been met, the world has become your oyster and deciding what to do next is up to you. Personally, if I felt that I had enough time to spare at this point, I would probably take advantage of the fact and proceed with my alone time.

             Typically, when I’m by myself, I tend to participate in activities that I enjoy. For the most part, I like to play music on my keyboard and guitar while singing at the top of my lungs. I consider this to be a super-effective way of releasing energy and stress, leaving me in a calm and collected state. But music isn’t for everyone. You could go outside and breathe in the fresh and cool autumn air. Exercise has been proven to relieve stress as well, so moving around periodically can definitely help. Your idea of reaching relaxation may be entirely different, and you may find the idea of sitting on the couch while watching television to be your gateway to personal freedom.

             The overall idea is to find what makes you happy and do it more often. Sometimes we just need to get away from it all and get to know ourselves. But if we don’t prioritize our lives, alone time could become unattainable. Keep in mind, however, not to abuse your “me time.” When used correctly, it can be very satisfying. But when used incorrectly, it can become meaningless.

Salon Inspired: Visibly flawless skin

In Columns on December 16, 2011 at 7:50 pm

By: Samantha Lepore

Applying lotion before makeup everyday helps preserve foundation and keep skin moisturized. Photo courtesy of Google Images

         No matter what gender you are, everyone would love to have visibly soft, smooth blemish-free skin. This can be hard to achieve, especially during adolescence because of hormones, stresses and oily skin.  Having good habits such as eating well, washing your face daily and moisturizing can help in avoiding blemishes and damaged skin, but still many are left with this burden. Luckily for girls, we have makeup to assist with this problem although some girls improperly apply makeup. This can make skin look even worse than when no makeup is applied.

            There are many things to consider when purchasing facial makeup, beginning with your skin tone. Presently, makeup companies produce hundreds of different colors and shades of foundations, concealers, powders, etc. Having the right color of makeup is vital for a natural look.  It is also important to moisturize daily with a face lotion after washing your face. Many face washes, especially ones aimed towards acne prevention and reduction, contain salycic acid which can be very drying to skin. Dry skin is very difficult to work with when applying makeup because makeup can often make it look worse.  Not only does lotion keep skin soft, but it also serves as an excellent base for your foundation. The lotion will allow your foundation to easily glide on and stick.

The first thing to use when applying face makeup is foundation. Foundation is the base for beautiful, even-looking makeup. Depending on your skin type, you may need foundation with sheer, medium, or heavy coverage. Since foundation is a complete necessity for a perfect look, I prefer to go to department stores and purchase my foundations. It may be more expensive, but it is definitely worth the money. Makeup brands such as MAC, Sephora and Clinique offer an assortment of liquid, powder and cream foundations that have buildable coverage. They also have specialists that can help you choose the right product and shade for you. Concealer is a must for those with multiple blemishes and facial imperfections that cannot be covered with foundation alone. It can also come in handy for dark circles under the eyes and quick touch-ups throughout the day. After foundation and concealer are applied, it is time for powder. Powder is one of the last touches that helps perfect and preserve your facial makeup. It is best to apply this with a brush, not the applicators that come with the powder. Using those applicators on your face can not only cause blemishes, but also can cause your makeup to be cakey and uneven. The last touch is your contour color, such as blush and bronzer. During the summer I use MAC’s Bronzing powder in Refined Gold for a sweet, sun-kissed look. I use wine and pink colored blushes during other months for a more natural look. Blush and bronzers are applied to the cheek. I typically start on the inner part of my cheek and blend the color outwards to avoid lines and streaks.

          Using the tips above can help you achieve more natural and flawless looking facial makeup. Yes, makeup is used to hide blemishes but keep in mind that the makeup we put on our face can also cause them by clogging pores. To minimize this effect, always wash your makeup applicators before use and remove makeup and wash your face every night to get rid of impurities and left over makeup from that day. It might be a hassle but beauty is one of a girl’s greatest accessories.

Christmas traditions

In Columns on December 16, 2011 at 7:47 pm

By:  Sharicka Harris

Surprise!  Christmas is only a few weeks away, and everyone is getting ready.  It’s time for Christmas lights, decorations, and presents.  All children gather their Christmas lists, and usually it’s filled with electronics and toys.  Christmas is the best time of year to give and receive gifts from family and friends.  Every year for Christmas, stores like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Sears, and others have “Black Friday” to get expensive things for a cheaper price.

Christmas is not like any other holiday; you get to have anything and everything for which you’ve asked.  Everyone has that tingly feeling when presents are set under the Christmas tree; it gives them the urge to just unwrap one present to see what it is.  Christmas is not always a time to have gifts, but to spend time with others.  This time of year, all stores have plenty of shoppers and lots of stuff on layaway.

For traditions, most families do it differently; some families leave cookies and milk for Santa the night before, open up one present at midnight, or just don’t even celebrate Christmas at all.  Everyone gets excited because they are anxious to see what they have received.  Christmas gifts are important to children.  On Christmas Eve, all families join together to get prepared for Christmas morning with a big breakfast.

In my mind, Christmas is the most fun/best holiday; it’s not celebrating the time with your family or presents, but it also celebrates another year of Christ.  Christmas is a time of caring for someone by giving him/her a gift.  Most people like Jamecia Harris say, “Christmas is a very exciting holiday to get anything you want, and I’m thankful for all the gifts that I have under the Christmas tree.”  Dazha Miller said, Christmas is the best holiday because of the gifts, the smell of my grandmother’s cooking, and the good times to see family from out of town.”  So, Christmas is a wonderful holiday to celebrate, and it’s almost here.  During Christmastime, most everything that was expensive has dropped down to a cheaper price to make Christmas a lot more affordable for all families.  Buckle up and strap down, because Santa’s coming to town.

Fashion: Travel taste

In Columns on December 2, 2011 at 8:10 pm

By: Tinsley Tullos

As the holiday season approaches, so do the miles of travel. While packing can be a pain, choosing a travel outfit can be just as dreadful. I found that, like most cases, layers work best. One can easily accommodate to any climate of destination. Layers work for most any means of travel.

As the holiday season arrives, so do the miles of travel. I found that, like most cases, layers work best for most any destination. Photo courtesy of Google images


Scarves are a must-have when traveling by plane. If one’s outfit is just a tad bland, a scarf will add some spice. With adjustable overhead ventilation systems offered above seats, the temperature aboard aircrafts is often just right. While this may prove true, airports are generally chilly and therefore require an extra layer for example: a scarf. This accessory can also transform into a sweater-like shawl depending upon the thickness. 

Yes ladies, I am sure whoever is waiting for you at the gate is someone with somewhat of an importance to you but please dress accordingly to the duration of your flight. One does not always have to dress in stretchable exercise clothes, but keep the dolled up look minimized to a pair of nice slacks and a blouse and/or blazer. One can take a blazer with just a simple undershirt beneath and pair it with a pair of classic denim for a versatile look, both classic and effortless. A scarf is a great addition to this look as well.

Shoes, shoes and more shoes. Connecting flights are frequently on the opposite side of the terminal which tells you to prepare your walking shoes. Tennis shoes are not the most popular choice among many young women today, but there are plenty of comfortable walking shoe styles currently available. I would like to call these styles “secret shapeups” because of the high-top, jeweled and bright-hued effects to the clunkers otherwise known as tennis shoes. One can add a flat riding boot to the previous outfit choice for a sophisticated travel look.

Trench coats are all the rage among older groups, but not very ideal when it comes to the bulk and climate control offered. What I find best is a smaller version of a standard trench coat, something more along the lines of a cropped and adaptable jacket. A coat I find most helpful is one with a color that can match most any outfit, a zipper along with additional buttons, large pockets, cuffed sleeves (with the choice of a short or long sleeve) and a detachable hood.

Other types of transportation have temperatures that are generally fixated around the traveler, thus reduces the need for several layers. Instead, one should bring the garments she knows she will need at the time of destination arrival. One also has frequent stops compared to that of an aircraft, in which case also reduces the need for stretchable exercise clothing. Again, dress exactly as your intended destination’s climate.

Fight the hassle of choosing your travel outfit by following the steps listed above. One should change up her travel taste with just a smidge of packed on layers. Never regret a fashionable travel decision, chose outfits at night, and remember; always pack a carry-on outfit.