Dear Younger Self,

What do you think your life would be like had it come with a step-by-step handbook? Would you follow every direction, or would you say, “I don’t need this, I’ll just wing it?” In a few short years or months, you will be a college graduate. Being young is fun but it’s unfortunate that these are the prime years of making mistakes and learning a series of life lessons. I often find myself wishing I could go back in time to tell my younger self a few things about how to deal with this thing called life and what to do when you’re faced with adversity. Right now, you’re in high school and for some reason there were times when you cared too much about what others thought of you. Why? Now at 23 years old there are some things that I would like to go back and tell your young high school soul.

Here are the top ten things I wish I could go back and tell the younger self.

1.) Accept Yourself as You Are: Not everyone is going to like you and that’s okay. Your opinion of yourself is the only thing that matters. Don’t waste your time caring about what other people think of you. Their opinions have nothing to do with you but more of how they see themselves. If you’re happy with yourself that’s all that matters…period!

2.) Life Is a Journey: You’ll learn more about this in college after failing a class and having to retake it and spending an extra year at your university. There will be many road blocks and detours. You may not have the same friends forever. However, you have to understand that you must let go of the things and people who no longer serve a purpose in your life in order to make room for the things and people who actually matter. Life moves at a rapid pace, so don’t get stuck in one place. Move with it. Trust me, it will be worth it.

3.) Stay Curious & Take Risks: This world is huge and there are over seven billion people in it. Don’t wait for other people to do things with you, take a shot at traveling alone. Do not stay in your comfort zone, all the opportunities are on the other side. Stop playing it safe and learn to be a risk taker. That’s where all the magic is.

4.) Forget the Social Norms: Live life the way you want! Stop being the person everyone else want you to be. People will disapprove of your tattoos & piercings. That’s okay, it’s your life. Don’t miss out on your purpose because you’re too busy living for everyone else instead of yourself. Again, if you’re happy with yourself that’s all that matters…period!

5.) Be Grateful: No you may not have had the perfect life, but you are alive and healthy. Don’t dwell on the past and don’t worry about the future. Everything will work itself out when the time is right. At the end of the day, “You are happy,” because you are equipped with everything you need to be successful, but you have to be the one to tap into that potential and use it.

6.) Stop Being a ‘Know It All’: Sometimes you can be pretty stubborn, but don’t worry you get that from your mother even though she’ll probably deny it, because she’s stubborn and that’s what stubborn people do. The truth is you don’t know everything, even if you think you do…you don’t! Write down every piece of good advice people give you and incorporate it in your life. Always be a student at life because there’s always something to be learned.

7.) You Are Not Alone: Sometimes in life it’s normal to think you’re the only person going through something, but you’re not. We’re all connected in some way and someone is waiting to be inspired by your story.

8.) Luck & Coincidences aren’t real: Maybe in a sense of winning the lottery, but I once heard Oprah say. “I don’t believe in luck, that ‘luck’ is when preparation meets opportunity,” I’m starting to believe this. There’s no such thing I think as being over prepared. If you put 100% into everything you do and do it well when opportunities present itself it’s only natural for good things to happen.

9.) Surround Yourself with Good People: This one can be tough! Often times we allow the amount years we’ve known a person to determine whether or not we should stick around. Whether it’s a friend you’ve known your whole life or just met in college, if they’re not being good to you let them go. Find people who will support you and your “bizarre” dreams. Stand up for yourself and be assertive. Remember you are the person that teach people how to treat you.

10.) Know That Everything Happens for a Reason: Although it’s hard to believe this, it is the absolute truth. Every obstacle that is placed before you are there to prepare you for what is to come. In order to get where you want to be it is absolutely necessary for you to experience failures. Please for the love of Justin Bieber have a lot of PATIENCE, everything happens in due time.

Now I would like to hear from you, don’t forget to comment below a piece of advice you would give to your younger self if you had the chance.

Halloween in a Hurry

If you are like me, you love Halloween because it is one of the few occasions you don’t have to buy gifts for someone or bring some kind of dish. You just dress up and have fun. This holiday doesn’t require one to be with family, and encourages one to just go out and have fun, fun for all ages from trick-or-treating in the neighborhood as a kid to doing a Halloween pub crawl as an adult. It has everything from costume parties, contest, to random events.

If you are still like me, then whenever Halloween comes around it either sneaks up on you, or you just do not have the money available. So, how does one dress up for Halloween when it sneaks up on you, and you are on a budget? Listed below are a series of budget friendly ideas.  I tried gathering the most unique and fun ideas I could find.

 

It’s Raining Men

  • What you will need:
  • Umbrella
  • Set of male portraits
  • Scissors
  • String
  • Tape

 

As the pictures suggest it is simple, just cut out the faces and tape string to the back of the portraits. Hint: If you have fishing wire you can use that instead of string. Next you open the umbrella and tape the other end of the string to the edges of the umbrella.

 

            Group Guess Who

  •             What you will need:
  •             Cardboard/ thick poster
  •             Scissors
  •             Markers
  •             String
  •             Tape
  •             Red or Blue Shirt
  •             *Paint Optional

Make a frame out of the available poster or cardboard by using the scissors. In this case a sturdy white poster would work best. Next you can paint or draw the ‘Guess Who” title and name onto the frame. Hint: If able, you can print the title and name out, and simple cut and paste it to the frame. Measure the inside width of the frame with the string, cut it, and then tape it to the inside width. This step will allow the frame to balance on your head without having to use your hands. Next pick a plain red or blue shirt to wear and you have your costume. You can try to style your face to look like a genuine Guess Who character but you could also use your name and go as yourself. It’s Halloween so it’s all up to you, and this idea is great for groups.

Brawny Man

  • Red Plaid Shirt
  • Blue Jeans
  • Brawny Paper Towels

Alright guys, this one is for you. If you have a red plaid shirt then all you need to do is buy a thing of Brawny paper towels and there you go. All you have to worry about is losing the paper towels throughout the night, but if someone happens to make a mess, then you are a man prepared.  Hint 1: If you lose the paper towels and have an ax at hand you can be a lumberjack. Hint 2: If you lose the paper towels and add a tool belt then you can be Al Borland from Home Improvement.

            Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn

  •             Black or White Dress
  •             Jewelry
  •             Make-up

Both of these lovely ladies are great by themselves but this is also a great idea for that best friend costume. It’s simple if you have a black or white dress already on hand. Just add a few accessories, do your hair and makeup and you have an elegant costume ready to go.

Jelly Belly Unisex

  • Clear Trash Bag
  • Printed Jelly Belly Logo
  • Clear Tape
  • Scissors
  • Multi-color Balloons

Start with inflating the balloons. Then take the Printed Jelly Bean logo, cut and paste it to the front of the clear trash bag. From their cut yourself some arm and legs holes, reinforce the holes with tape. Hint: If you want a more secure hold tape to yourself, but I recommend wearing leggings/pants and a longer sleeve shirt. Once the clear bag is secure begin putting the balloons inside the bag. Once that is complete fix the top to where it looks good and is comfortable.

            Emoji Time

  •  Yellow Poster
  •  Scissors
  •  String
  •  Markers
  • *Extra Paper
  • *Glue

This is a great solo, group, and unisex costume. And it requires minimum work. Have a yellow poster, cut it into a circle. Take the markers and color in the desired emoji face. Hint: If you do not want to risk discoloration, then color the pieces of the face on plain white paper, and then copy and paste it onto the poster. Once the face is complete poke two holes at the top of the face and thread the string through. Essentially, you are going to wear the face as a necklace. Not the string on both ends secure with tape. Make sure to wear all black underneath and you are good to go.

Darla the Fish Killer

  • Ziploc Bag
  • Nemo Cut out
  • Tinfoil
  • Makeup
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Hair Ties
  • Clear Tape

The amazing thing about this costume is it really doesn’t matter what you wear clothing wise. You cut and paste Nemo to the outside of the Ziploc bag fill with water and stick to the side. Next you add freckles to your face and put your hair up into high pigtails. After that, you take the tinfoil and roll it up and curve into a circle. You can curve the tinfoil around the ears and wear it similar to how you wear glasses, or you can pin the tinfoil to your hair. That’s it. That is all you have to do it and everyone will realize who you are imitating.

Ace Ventura Pet Detective

  • Blue Jeans or Khakis
  • Hawaiian Shirt
  • Hair Gel
  • Note card
  • Markers
  • *Sunglasses

Another simple costume for the guys. The biggest thing you will need is a Hawaiian button up shirt and we all know someone who has one of these shirts. You will need hair gel to give your hair that swirl, but other than that all you need is the note card and markers to create the Ace Ventura business card. Hint: Yes, he is seen with red pants but blue jeans will work fine. The message still comes across clear. Sunglasses are optional.

Sims Character

  • 2 pieces of green stock
  • Wire
  • Head Band or Hat
  • Glue

This costume is great for those who really don’t want to dress up, yet still want to be part of the part. You can dress like your normal self and put on the diamond and you instantly transform into a sim character. The costume is then enhanced if one takes on the role of a sim character. The plumbob diamond can be homemade. If you are like me and you are a visual learner then the DIY tutorial is down below.

Identity Thief

  • Hoodie
  • Name Tags
  • *Sunglasses

Grab your favorite hoodie and the name tag labels from Wal-Mart. Write random names on the name tags and stick them all over the hoodie. For an added effect try different writing styles or get your friends to help you out. Sunglasses are optional.

 

My challenge to the faculty of Texas A&M University-Texarkana.

I challenge you to dress up like Hogwarts Professors. So, call upon your inner wizard or witch and let us all have fun this Halloween. TAMUT community, feel free to dress up like Hogwarts students!

Life of a College Baseball Player


Andy Verke Jr.

5am alarm goes off, you want to hit snooze but you know you can’t because you still need to grab a snack before morning weights at 6. 5:45 am you’re in the gym stretching with the position guys because Coach Jones always says “if you’re not 15 minutes early, you’re late!”. It’s about 7:15 am and while people are starting to wake from their nights sleep you are in the empty cafeteria getting breakfast, showering, and getting ready for day of classes.

From 9-1pm you’re busy with classes and only 15 minutes in between each class to grab a small bite to eat. Class is done for the day but you still have to go back to your dorm room, change then head to the field for early hitting at 1:30.

For the next 3-4 hours you are dialed in on baseball and paying attention to the details. During those 3-4 hours you will have a bunt scrimmage, situational hitting scrimmage, batting practice, and conditioning. Star drills… The consequence of not paying attention to detail. So what is a star drill? It is when you start at home plate and run to the center field wall, back to home plate, down the right field line to the foul pole, across the outfield to the left field foul pole, and finally back to home in two minutes and 20 seconds or less.

It’s approximately 5:30pm and you are finally done with practice and have to head back to the dorms to get dinner, shower, and gather your things to go to the library. After your dinner you head to the library to study for test, do your homework, and complete any projects you have. It’s 11pm and the library is closing but you still have to finish some of your homework, so you go to the study room in the dorms and complete your homework for the night.

By the time you get done with your homework it’s 12:30 and you have to be up in four and a half hours to do it all again.

It takes a lot of discipline and sacrifice, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

Athletic Budgets

Rebekah Drennon

Middle School Jeremiah Crawford. Abandoned by his father, lives with his grandmother who does the best she can, a detention regular who barely passed his classes. High School Jeremiah Crawford. Varsity athletics all three years, he doesn’t even know the definition of junior varsity. All State Football Player his sophomore year, all district basketball player, baseball player, track star, and B Honor Roll. Jeremiah Crawford. Currently a junior at Mineola High School, and one of the top 3A recruits for college football.

I am sure most of us have participated in some form of athletics during our lifetime. This could be anything from football, to tennis, to cross-country. I am also sure that sometime during your participation in this activity, you have heard someone say that too much money is invested in this area and that budgets should be cut.

Athletics is so much more than wearing cute uniforms and winning medals. High School athletics to Jeremiah is, and I quote, “My lifeline, probably kept me out of juvie.” Athletics is beneficial to school systems, and the budgets should most certainly not be cut. Athletics improves academics, students who participate tend to be healthier, and athletics teaches good morals.

 Our first benefit of athletics is that it improves academics. Now, wait a minute. Don’t sports take up a ton of time? The answer to this is yes. So, if sports take up time, wouldn’t that mean students have less time to focus on school? Yes, and no. A study done by the University of Missouri accessed April 2nd on MUhealth.org- talks about skill sets that are directly relevant to classwork. The study shows that sports require “memorization, repetition and learning. The determination and goal-setting skills sports require can be transferred to the classroom. “From this study we gather that the skills learned on the field and court can also be applied sitting at a desk. These skills help student athletes learn how to focus and, therefore, they can pay better attention in class and receive better grades. As you can see, even though time is taken up by these events, the quality of time spent on academics is actually enhanced.

Students who participate in athletics also tend to be healthier. We all know, obviously, that it helps decrease the amount of obesity. So that is not what we are going to cover. What you might not know is studies have shown that participating in physical activity prevents diseases.

According to the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Sport for Development accessed April 2, 2016 – “Physical activity… contributes to developing healthy bones and efficient heart and lung functions.” Athletics helps prevent chronic diseases including cardiovascular, diabetes, cancer, and depression.

We have seen how athletics improves academics and health, but one of the most important qualities to me, is that athletics teaches students good morals.  Athletic Director Joe Drennon from Mineola ISD has been coaching for more than 25 years. He said, “Athletics is a big part of a student’s life in the fact that it helps prepare them for the real world and teaches them how to earn their way everyday. That nothing is a given. It teaches them how to be thankful for their victories, and learn from their defeats.” After almost every sporting event fans observe both teams shaking hands and telling each other good job. This might not seem like a big deal, but one of those teams didn’t come out top. They had to learn how to accept their defeat and move forward. They had to learn how to improve so they could fix their mistakes and compete better the next time.

As you can see, athletics is more than just throwing a ball down a field or kids “looking cool” in jerseys. And according to the National Federation of State High School Associations accessed April 2, 2016 – “more than 7.6 million high school students, 55% of our student population, participates in athletics.” The funding going towards athletics provides for more than just sports. It provides an opportunity for students, some like Jeremiah, who would have otherwise taken a completely different path. He is on the fast track to college, whereas in middle school, he wanted nothing more than to drop out. Athletics provides classroom enhancement, health benefits, and good morals. So before you think about cutting athletic budgets at your local schools, remember the 7.6 million, remember the benefits, and remember Jeremiah.

Danger: Chemical Agriculture!

Allison Hall

A problem facing modern society remains the use of chemicals in agriculture. While they provide some benefits, the negative aspects far outweigh the positive. Chemically modified agriculture poses a threat to humanity by contaminating livestock, poisoning plant life and contributing to the international phenomenon of global warming.

Modernly, farmers and livestock owners use growth hormones and other chemicals to rapidly grow animals to disperse the meat in bulk and quickly. These methods are used not only to help the animal to grow but also to bump up the speed to which they grow to profit both farmers and corporations. These chemicals pose not only a threat to the animals but also possibly to the people ingesting it. If the thought of humans ingesting excess growth hormone does not terrify you, then the idea that factories use substances such as ammonia to sterilize meats should. The real points are the idea that these animals do not get the proper treatment and care that they deserve and the ingestion of this meat could result in dangers. Most chickens raised for their meat lack the ability to walk or see by the time they are slaughtered for profit. These steroids have the capabilities of working on humans the way that it works on any other mammal. It is impossible to tell whether the hormones in the meats eaten are natural or not. According to Renu Ghandi and Suzanne M. Snedeker, authors of “Consumer Concerns about Hormones in Food”, “… it is not possible to differentiate between the hormones produced naturally by the animal and those used to treat the animal. This makes it “difficult to determine exactly how much of the hormone used for treatment remains in the meat or the milk.” This obviously raises questions, such as whether these added hormones are contributing to ailments such as cancers or obesity.

In relation to the contamination to meats, plants are suffering as well. Genetic engineering, pesticides and weed killers are being used to kill insects and weeds and enhance plant growth; however, it is being done in excess and at times not even hitting the intended target. Instead, it partakes in run-off which adds to the contamination of both water outlets and, yet again, animals. These chemicals travel from the plants to other location via rain and normal hydration methods. Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring says, “… chemicals sprayed on crop lands or forests or gardens lie long in soil, entering into living organisms, passing from one to another in a chain of poisoning and death.” Not only does this harm animals, but it harms animals that, once again, humans consume. This is not the only draw back to chemicals in farming. As far as chemically modifying plants, it would have the same effect as modifying animals. These growth hormones and chemicals are present in food consumed by man. The effects may not be drastic immediately, but a slow build up is sure to be a problem.

It is no secret that the earth’s atmosphere has been altered in ways that could be both artificial as well as naturally produced. In fact, Carson wrote “The most alarming of all man’s assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous lethal materials.”  These chemical contaminating, pesticides in particular, contribute to global warming. They increase the carbon levels in the atmosphere which plays a hand in the rising heat levels. Carbon creates this sort of blanket that traps in heat. With no escape the rays from the sun bounce around in the earth’s atmosphere and cause rising heat levels. Yes, other things have become a problem in this regard, but in trying to fix the issue, chemical agriculture should be looked at.

In conclusion, using chemicals in our agriculture lessens the health accountability for both our animals and plants while also playing part in the demotion of atmospheric stability. It may, at this point, not be a possibility to completely outlaw the use of chemicals, but alternatives could be found and in the mean time the use of these chemicals can be lessened.

Your Own Photography Business

Hope Hawley

As a college student I know it can be hard to work and go to school full-time. Let me tell you about an option that you can do on your own time that works around your school schedule 100%. This option will also help you by building your skill level and introduce you to something that for most becomes more than just a hobby. Now how do I know all of this you may ask? Well, I’ve been doing it for a long time — about 6 years now.

Now you may be wondering what this working option is, the answer to that is photography. I recently lost my job and I started doing my own photography again and it has been amazing. I have been able to focus on school and still bring home the bacon. Photography is always in high demand because there will always be holidays, birthdays, and events — and people who want their pictures taken. Now if you’ve never done photography, don’t jump the gun — let me give you a few pointers to help you get started.

The first thing you need and really the only thing that will cost a little money is a camera. There are numerous brands of cameras, but I prefer Canon. The T3i and T5i are two of the best cameras in my opinion. Yes, these are expensive, but there are ways around paying full price, plus you can make the money you spend right back once you start taking pictures. My best advice is to go to your local pawn shops and look, because chances are they have some for sale cheap or negotiable. Before you jump straight into taking pictures I advise you to take a few tutorials about your camera and get to know it, and really become familiar with all of the buttons and features.

The next most important thing is backgrounds or locations. Some people do the whole paper backdrop thing but I think it’s a 1,000 % better if you take pictures outside with natural backgrounds. So what I suggest is picking a day that’s nice outside and just driving around your town and finding places that you think serve as good scenery and backgrounds. You could even take your camera and take pictures of them to see your lighting with the different times of day and locations.

Finally, you really just need to get your work out there. I would offer a few free sessions and then advertise, advertise, advertise. A good way to do this is social media. When you post some of your work on Facebook you get your name out there and more people will start booking you. Now you do have to come up with a price scale. There are many ways to set your price points so I’ll leave that to you.

Photography is something that will always be around whether it be used digitally or through print. This is something that you can do and you are your own boss, you set your schedule, and you determine your pay. It takes some time to get good at it if you want it to be your life long career but it’s worth it.

All Work and No Play

Leslie Arietta

Being a 22 year-old college student with one year left to graduate means that I have to spend my time wisely. Many college students in their 20s can relate to the exact lifestyle I live. Some college students have all the free time in the world and others have to plan accordingly to fit things in their schedule. My life is literally all work and no play.

There are many events to attend on campus of Texas A&M University-Texarkana that are happening now and the near future. These events include super lectures, talking events with special guests, activity events, intramural sports, and collegiate sporting events. There is an event occurring on campus at least once a week. If you have time it would be a great opportunity to attend an event because it could be beneficial for your day.

Unfortunately in my situation I do not have a lot of free time to be able to attend campus events and get involved. My focus in life right now is school and work. I am currently taking 18 hours of class and on top of that I work at least 35 hours a week at my job. For some college students, the college life is all fun and games, but for my college experience it is about getting my degree and being able to pay for my education.

Coming from California to Texas I have learned to be independent and take care of myself. I currently pay for my own tuition through scholarship, loans, and out-of-pocket costs. In order for me to pursue my degree I must have a job to support myself by paying my bills and providing necessities.

In the beginning of the semester I was beyond stressed because I had no time for anything unless it was school related or work related. I did not have a fun life while people around me had plenty of leisure time. Now in the middle of the semester I have learned to appreciate the way my time is spent. Sometimes you have to work hard now in life in order to have a successful future and that is my life motto to get me through this semester. It is no longer about my life now, but it is about my life in the future.

If you are a current college student who is going through the same experience my advice to you is to take a deep breath. The college life is about building a lifestyle for yourself that can help you be successful in the future. It is okay to have a lifestyle of all work and no play, but remember to give yourself a little break when possible so you do not have stress. The key to stay motivated is to get organized and have a plan and all this hard work will pay off in the end. Appreciate your success that you are building now.

Lifting Yourself

Derrick Flowers

Most people take interest in something during the early stages of their lives. Church, music, sports, and food are just a few examples of things people might take interest in. That was not the case for me though! Growing up I was always considered a fat kid although I was athletic. I just was not happy with the way I was put together and I knew that was not how I wanted to look for the rest of my life. When I was in the ninth grade I was introduced to weightlifting and conditioning as it was a mandatory part of the football program at my high school. It was at that very moment I knew I had struck gold with something.

Working out and conditioning can be somewhat therapeutic for some people. Of course there will always have those individuals that dread the thought of working out, but for those who do not dread it can be extremely beneficial. Working out can be broken into two separate, but equally important parts. There is the physical part which requires exercise and conditioning of some sort, but there is also have the nutritional part of it. In my opinion getting in shape is actually seventy percent nutrition and thirty percent exercise. Think about it like this, if your car runs at maximum performance when you use supreme gas you cannot expect to put regular gas in it and it run the same as before.

It is understandable that some people have various reasons as to why they do not workout. Whether it be low self-esteem, health ailments, or lack of motivation. I cannot make anyone work out, but I can tell you that if you have the desire to workout you should definitely give it a try. As stated earlier, working out can be somewhat therapeutic for some people. Not only that but working out also puts you at a greater chance for a longer life. I am not professing to have found the fountain of youth, but that is a proven fact. Getting active supports almost every function in the human body.

Another common reason why some people are intimated by working out is the fact that there are so many different machines and equipment to use. I experienced this issue first hand when I first started working out. There are all of these big, sweaty, and intimidating people around you pumping serious iron. That would frighten most people who are new to a gym, but I am here to tell you that anyone can do it. First things first, it is mostly about confidence. Even if you are not the strongest person in the gym going in there with a clear and concise mindset will allow you to benefit just as much as more seasoned gym rats will. Secondly, have a plan. In today’s world almost everyone has a smart phone, so you can go to the app store and download a workout app. Lastly, stay to yourself in the workout room. Several people use the gym as a place to congregate…that’s how you get off track. Take your headphones or ear buds and tune out all distractions.

Everyone loves vegetables and fruits right? What about the thought of cutting processed foods from your diet entirely? I know the thought of that will frighten people for sure! As stated earlier in the essay, in my opinion nutrition is seventy percent of maintaining a healthy body. Processed foods, anything from the shelf, need to be cut drastically from your diet. As hard as it may seem, I promise you will benefit from it tremendously. Not only will you realize you have more energy by eating healthier foods, but you will also see your body start to change. Three key things you must know from the nutritional aspect: Drink water, replace desserts with fruit, and eat lean protein.

In conclusion, weightlifting and conditioning are two great ways to ensure a healthier lifestyle. Along with eating the proper foods it is almost guaranteed that you will not only look better, but you will feel better as well. It is never too late to start preparing yourself for a healthier lifestyle!

A Stitch in Time

Allison Hall

Commonly, sewing is said to be boring, and too much work, but, in reality, it’s beneficial and easy. The machine tends to be the scary part, but in actuality a switch is flipped to turn on the machine and light, a pedal is pushed, and hands are kept away from the needle. It only takes slight guidance for fabric to stay on track under the needle. Things such as the  patterns for your project and the speed of the needle and/or machine work on a level scale meaning that if something seems too difficult there are typically alternatives to that process.

The sequence can be lengthy, but fun if you make it your own. It usually starts with cutting a pattern, which can be store bought or self-made, cutting the patterns from the fabric, and then lining the fabric edges up so as to know what to sew together. When it comes to the act, the only major technical things in relation to the machine are the needle position, stitch width, stitch length and seam length (seam meaning the stitch combining your fabric). All of these are located on the machine and are spelled out fairly simply. For needle position, stitch width, and stitch length it’s only a matter of choosing what suits you or what is listed on the pattern’s “how to” chart. You would then move the dial to the corresponding number, letter, or symbol, depending on the machine’s details. When it comes to seam length, the machine is marked with measurements to indicate how much fabric should be from the edge to the seam and most of the time that would be entirely up to you. One of the greatest things about sewing is that a lot of it remains up to you.

Aside from the machine, there is also hand sewing, which, admittedly, I don’t know all too much about, but I do know from experience that it is just as much fun and easy. Typically with hand sewing it will take much longer and there are a lot of things you cannot do with it that you could do with a machine like fixing certain holes or sewing anything bigger, such as a purse or a shirt. However, both are fine ways of art and relaxation.

If the incredible ease of sewing is not convincing enough, consider the benefits. Creating garments for oneself tends to be cheaper than purchasing them in the end, and everyone likes to save money. That’s part of the reason that it’s for everyone rather than specific groups. Another reason remains that there’s nothing particularly feminine about clothing or the making thereof. Everyone wears them and sewing would not be here if it were not for men. In fact the first patent for a sewing machine was made by a man, Thomas Saint, in 1790. Relative to gender roles and self-expression, it is also valuable that so many things can be made by means of sewing. Creation ranges from underwear to full outfits as well as everyday items like pillows, wallets, or teddy bears. Patterns for all sorts of things are rather easy to find. There are tons of free pattern designs all over the internet. Pinterest is a very good website for finding unique patterns. It shows a wide variety of sites where patterns are available. There are certain patterns that you will not be able to find free online, but the different options ensure that there are always possibilities of finding an alternative.

The possibilities of individuality and self-accomplishment are endless. You have the ability to design anything and eventually, once acquainted enough with the skill, you may even be able to create your own patterns to follow. Along with that, or maybe even before, you could use specialized machines that allow for even bigger accomplishments. There are some that do astounding things just short of sewing for you and are highly technical, calling for great detail meant for the expert seamstress, seamster, or tailor; however, there are also machines or even handheld equipment that make it fun, like buttonhole accessories, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Some machines even act as easy to use embroidery machines (embroidery meaning that it has the capabilities of stitching designs onto the project). In most cases these machines are only technical as far as having touchscreen capabilities, therefore, you would just put in what you wanted the machine to design onto your fabric and watch the magic happen. There are patches, buttons, trinkets, and so much more that can be added to whatever you want, therefore making it a successful product made by you to be proud of, which is truly the benefit of sewing.

It is something simply done that can produce vast amounts of self-gratification as well as prove to be useful in future endeavors. If your destiny does not call for needlecraft then it is at least one more thing you can say you have under your belt, or maybe even use as a lovely conversational piece. Who does not like to have a fun fact or at least a comment on something seemingly arbitrary?

Patti Labelle Served Humble Pie

TiAna Marshall

With the holiday season come many traditions, most of which center around the kitchen. My own family begins the celebration with a night full of cooking and laughter. Everything is made from scratch from the dressing, down to the perfectly baked sweet potato pie. The recipe has been in my family for years passed down from generation to generation, and is the best loved. This tradition is one that we share along with other families, however, it may have a new spin in some homes thanks to Ms. Patti Labelle.

Patti Labelle is known for many things including her amazing voice, and her equally amazing kitchen skills. The singer has published multiple cookbooks, sharing her love for food with the masses; however, her sweet potato pie has taken over the world, thanks to a video gone viral. Patti Labelle sweet potato pies began to disappear from Walmart shelves rapidly. The distributor reports selling one pie every few seconds. Bet reports the pies sold a whopping $2.3 million dollars in just a week.

So who is really to thank for this overnight success?

James Wright, a YouTube sensation, created a comedic video reviewing Patti Labelle’s sweet potato pie. Wright literally sang praises about the pie and the video spread quickly reaching over 3,000,000 views and counting. But the video caused more than just escalating sales, it also created a great pie debate.

Patti Labelle claimed all the fame associated with her pie, and though it was reported that she gave Wright a phone call, she denied him helping with their success. The sweet potato pies have been on shelves for years; however, sales had never been that high until after Wright posted the video. The Twitterverse was not having it though and quickly rallied to Wright’s side, creating memes tearing down Patti’s pies. Morning radio shows also showcased their support of Wright, calling Patti out for denying his help for the pies.

Patti Labelle quickly admitted to Wright being the primary reason why her pies sold and continue to sell so well. Just as all fads come and go, there is no denying one thing: the world has a sweet tooth, and Patti’s sweet potato pies are there to satisfy it.