What to do when a storm knocks out your power

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Lightning strike (flickr/Dan (catching up))

Summers in Oklahoma (and surrounding areas) are a fantastic time. They bring about allergies, picnics, lake-side fun and, of course, the ever present danger of tornadoes (and other severe storms).

The other day my neck of the woods was thrashed by a thunderstorm that produced “115mph winds” and a small tornado decided to go through the east side of town, according to muskogeenow.com, (I live in Muskogee, OK during the summers).

My house, along with the surrounding two blocks and the countless others in the city and surrounding counties, were out of power for four days. Sure, it doesn’t seem that bad but when you’re with 60+ kids in a boiling bowling alley for a few hours it’s miserable.

Also, I don’t know about where you live but, Oklahoma summers are disgustingly humid. Three nights I almost suffocated while trying to sleep.

On the first night I was electric-less I made a list of things my family could do:

  1. find flashlights, if your phone is your only flashlight try and limit the use as much as possible and only if you know if you can charge it again or if it’s an absolute emergency.
  2. play card games, they make the time fly and it gets your mind off of your current situation; they’re also pretty cheap.
  3. write something, journal out your frustration of not having power and access to video games and Netflix
  4. nap, if sleeping doesn’t help pass the time then I don’t know what will
  5. sing some songs, it’s my automatic reaction when I’m scared or nervous, it helps keep the boogeyman away
  6. hide & seek in the dark, or sardines if you’re in a big enough area
  7. take a shower, if you’ve never taken a shower in the dark now is the time to do so, unless it’s lightning outside (I’d still probably do it)
  8. listen to music, hopefully you’ll fall asleep or you be too enraptured by the melodies to think about anything else

Do you have any other suggestions for when the power goes out?

How society effects you as a person

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Barbie (flickr/ horantheworld)

A thought crossed my mind the other day: when we’re “being ourselves” are we actually being ourselves or are we being how society taught us to be?

I asked a few young adults what they thought on the matter –

“I know that society influences our perceptions of ourselves in an inescapable way, but there is a wholeness that I feel when I am truly being myself that I don’t have when I am just being what I am expected to be,” Kacee Dunn, 20, said.

Kacee believes that there are two sides of who she is, the one where she can relax and act the way she wants and the other, needs to live up to what society deems “right.”

There’s a fine line between what’s right for us individually and what’s right in the eyes of the world. We live in a place full of hypocrites and we feel that it’s normal to criticize what others do in public while we do it in private, or when we see someone who is different from us (society as a whole) we think that they are in the wrong.

“I believe that I am being myself when I best live up to society’s standards in my own way,” Cate York, 19, said.

There is a guideline that’s easy to follow; do what everyone else is doing, or your rendition of it, and you’ll be fine. Stay in the box or, when the time comes, you can jump out of the box when everyone else does.

We have social media and reality TV to thank for that. Even though we can trace societal influence way back it has grown so much over these past few years alone and that influence can hurt people and it can help people.

Those that feel like they aren’t good enough or that they can’t succeed in life can be inspired by those that have pushed through their fear and decided to share the story.

Society has shaped us into what we are. It’s “inescapable” and practically law but it brings together people that would never be together if we all did our own thing.

What do you think about the path society pushes us down? Is it more harmful than helpful?


You can follow Kacee Dunn on Twitter: @dkdunn29

You can follow Cate York on Instagram: @ayeeeitscate

You can also follow me on Twitter, @maddysjones18, and on Instagram @maddysjones18

Freckle-mania // Have fake freckles made a comeback?

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Freckles (flickr/ Anastasia Massone)

Freckles, angel kisses, beauty marks, whatever you choose to call them; are making a giant come back.

They’ve always been a way for women to age themselves down and to look more girlish rather than cougarish. It’s a makeup effect that still works for some and still shocks others.

Kylie Jenner shared a photo the other day (like forever ago) and she showed off her natural freckles and (probably) thousands, if not millions, of her fans decided then and there that they were going to become part of the Freckle Squad.

Freckles do add a touch of sun and the outdoors as well, they instantly make you look more tan than you already are and that’s always a bonus.

So why not try it out? Grab a soft brush and some light brown eye shadow (or choose an eyeliner pencil) and have fun transforming your face a few years back.

Black nail polish: empowering or unbecoming?

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Black nail polish (flickr/ ProcrastinatingPolishr)

Black nail polish has been popular since Lauren Conrad circa 2006 and that still inspires girls in their twenties today.

To some it adds a bit of badassery and it makes them feel cool and put together while for others, it’s simply a fashion statement that looks good with their skin tone (darker colored nail polish look great on both tanned skin and pale skin).

When I asked fellow college students their reason for wearing darker colors (specifically black) they all answered the same: it looks good. I wanted to dig a little deeper and I found that the real reason they choose these colors is because they feel empowered by the black nail. Also, no one said anything against black nail polish or darker colors, they all enjoyed them and used them in a basic rotation.

It’s almost a taboo, because girls are “supposed” to have girly nails with the colors pink, red, purple and baby blue being just a select few of the stereotypical shades. Black nails, though in style now, are different and they’re noticeable even if you don’t intentionally show them off. Black nail polish also hides some impurities our nails might have and they can elongate your fingers and make them look even more feminine.

This gives #blackpower a whole new meaning.

What do you think of black nail polish? Is it empowering for women to wear it or is it an unbecoming trend that needs to be forgotten?

4th of July

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Fireworks bursting (via Maddy S. Jones photography)

Today is America’s Independence day and a cause for rednecks, and the like, to blow stuff up. I, for one, love shooting fireworks and I enjoy the camaraderie that this day brings.

My family has lived in the same place for over ten years now (which is pretty good for us) and  for the past couple years we’ve finally been one of the lucky ones to be invited to a 4th of July Shindig.

It’s great fun; food, fireworks, kids trying to be cool with fireworks. It’s a blast to sit in a lawn chair and look up at the night sky and see what’s new in the world of fireworks.

The sound, the colors and the reverberations in my heart always leave me wanting more and I’m sad when another “America Day” is over. I’m also sad because I’ll have to wait another year to take pictures of fireworks. Actually, that’s how I got into photography.

This time last year I grabbed my parents’ old Konica digital camera and I shot some really nice firework pictures and since then I bought a Nikon D3200 and I’ve had a few shoots with people and I’ve shot a bunch of events for the O’Colly and APO (my service organization at OSU).

I hope your day is as special as mine! Happy Fourth of July!