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senior girls sessions

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Ways to Encourage your Friends

Recently, we shared a blog about protecting your mental health, and the steps you can take to preserve your sanity and your health during stressful times of your life (hello, senior year!). We also wanted to share information today about ways you can help encourage a friend going through a hard time, whether that is a mental health crisis or a difficult situation in their life. Part of being a good friend is sticking together in spite of life’s ups and downs, and during some of the worst times as well as the great ones! Here are four practical ways to help a friend in your life who is suffering:

Source: Pexels

Source: Pexels

-Listen without offering advice: It can be hard not to interject advice into your friend’s life, especially when you feel you have a good solution. But often what they need is just simple listening and someone who will be there for them. Ask if they’d like advice before offering it, so that it lands on open ears and helps them feel heard. Also remember to set aside time if they need to talk, in a coffee shop or a quiet place where you can listen without distractions.

-Bring them a care package: What things make your friend happy? Do you know their favorite restaurant or coffee shop? If you’re able to, bring them a care package of some of their favorite items or food and leave them on their porch during a difficult time. It can really cheer someone up to know you’re thinking of them. Here are some ideas of things to include: smoothie or coffee, a cute mug, socks, candy, a movie, a magazine or book, hairties, video games, cards, notes, a journal, gift cards, etc.

-Make them a priority: Make yourself available to be a good listener, and let your friends know they are a priority in your life. Make sure that you balance your other commitments, and never allow yourself to become a doormat, but if your friends know you are there for them, they will be more likely to come to you for help. Ways to do this would be: setting aside time each week to see a friend or two, answering texts and calls when you are able, and listening without texting/being distracted when you are together. Check on your friends who are going through a hard time, even if they aren’t reaching out to you. Sometimes, it is too overwhelming when going through difficulty with family, health, or school to reach out to anyone for help.

-Encourage them to get outside help: If a friend is dealing with depression, health problems, or other issues where outside help might be useful, encourage them to reach out to a counselor or other trusted adult. Go with them if appropriate, and if they need support. Remember to keep their issues confidential (unless they involve harming themselves or others and you need to tell someone), and don’t share their personal problems as gossip. Let your friend know there is no shame in getting help!

Being a good friend takes intentional work, and practice. Being there for your friends will make you into a more compassionate person, and the people in your life will know you are someone who can be trusted!

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Grace | Class of 2019

I’m always scouting out fresh locations for my seniors. I never want my seniors to think they will only get the same exact spots as their friends, although of course every photographer has their favorites. When I came across Binders Gardens, I knew I had found a true gem. It is a wedding and an event venue in Needville, Texas, and filled with the most gorgeous greenery and little walking areas. I knew it was the spot for Grace, this beautiful and fun senior from Lamar Consolidated High School. She’s one of my Class of 2019 seniors, and she has a personality that has so many facets! I’m not sure I’d ever get to know everything about this lively and delightful young lady, but I enjoyed trying. She is involved in the yearbook committee at her school, and describes herself as “kind, loyal, and aware”. Grace really loves music, especially the hit songs by Pharell and Selena Gomez (who is her favorite celeb), and reading. One film that really impacted her in recent years was the war biopic Dunkirk, about which she says, “Seeing that movie showed me that the events were real, and how war effects the people involved. Also, how war can bring people who love each other together.” Besides reading and seeing movies, she also enjoys swimming and working out in her spare time. 

“I hope in twenty years, I will be remembered for being kind to everyone and staying positive”, she explained, “I really look up to people like my mom, because she deals with a lot, but she always makes sure that my brother and I are happy, and being the best that we can”. When it came time to plan and design her senior session, Grace shared that she wanted to look very natural, and I made sure her images captured her authentically. I hear pretty often that seniors really want to maintain their personal style and look, and I’m all for it. Sure, we all like to get glammed up sometimes, or maybe you want a more formal or boho look, but no one wants to look back on their senior photos and say, “I didn’t look like myself!” I think meeting Grace and doing her senior session (and getting to know what a spunky and smart gal she is), really helped me shape a shoot that shows the real her. Every outfit she brought also showed her taste in fashion and I loved seeing how her personality played into her choices.

Contact us today to schedule a shoot of your own!

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Five Ways to Prepare for your Senior Year

Yeah, we know you just wrapped up your junior year, but that senior year is just around the corner! It may be hard to believe, but that summertime feeling just may be giving way to another emotion: stress. The key to truly enjoying your junior summer and senior year is to prepare for all the obstacles and challenges yet to come, and help you maximize your free time by getting started early on. Here are five ways you can prepare for your senior year, right now:

Get a great planner; Since nearly everything is digital these days, you might think a paper planner is a bit outdated, but studies show that writing something down helps you retain the information. We love the Life Planner ones by Erin Condren, because they are so pretty and useful, but there are other more affordable options as well that are under $5 (we found some at Walmart and the dollar store). Pick up some highlighter markers as well, so that you can color code events, deadlines, and more.

Get a mentor: Yes, your parents or guardians are an invaluable resource and support, but it also helps to have someone who has recently gone through senior year. Find a friend or support person who has graduated in the last few years, and who is wiling to answer your questions and guide you through the process and the things you may need to do. If they're willing, try to meet them for coffee or lunch a few times during senior year to help keep you on track and listen to ideas or offer advice!

Start pinching pennies and buying things you'll need: It's really tempting to put off a budget or purchases for college until senior year is over, but spreading things out will help even out your expenses. We recommend making a large list of things you'll need for college, and buying an item here or there, when you can afford it. You'll be well on your way to everything you need, by the time your senior summer starts. Some starter items would be: iron and mini ironing board, storage bins, bed risers, laundry hampers, and under the bed rubbermaid containers!

Exercise: That freshman fifteen is real! So, staying healthy leading up to your first year in college is really important. Your body will be conditioned to stay fit and help keep your weight in a healthy range. It is also great for your metabolism to exercise, even through the stress of such a busy year. Try getting a buddy to begin running with you, or try to walk every morning before school. If that's too early for you, you may consider joining a gym that has a student discount, and setting aside time to go each week.

Plan those college trips early on: You can often view colleges and learn about them, early on in senior year, and avoid missing important school deadlines as well. Contact each of your prospective schools and find out when their available dates begin, and plan them out with your parent or guardian. Don't forget to request time off work if you currently have a part time job!

These ideas should help you prepare for a senior year filled with less stress than your classmates, and set you up for success! Don't forget to come back to the blog for more advice on handling junior and senior year, and how to document those important years with Creations with Jewel!