Last Day of Summer!!!

Today was the last day of summer.  According to almanac.com, the autumnal equinox brings the fall season to the Northern Hemisphere on September 22, 2014 at 10:29 p.m. eastern time.  The word equinox comes from the Latin words for “equal night.”  The fall and spring equinoxes are the only days of the year in which the Sun crosses the celestial equator.  From here on out, the temperatures begin to drop and the days start to get shorter than the nights.  These mark the changes in season.

Time to put away the shorts and the sandals until next year!  For the last day of summer, here are a few last outfits with shorts and sandals.  These will have to tide you over until the weather gets warmer in the spring.

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Zunie Pink & Navy Polka Dot Hi-Lo Chiffon Top from Dillard’s and Cherokee Girls’ Shorts in Navy from Target

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GB Girls Pink and Blue Chevron Blouse from Dillard’s and Cherokee Girls’ Shorts in Navy from Target

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GB Girls Cut Out Blouse in Jade from Dillard’s and Mossimo Supply Co. Junior’s Bermuda Shorts in Olive Green from Target

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GB Girls Paisley Peasant Blouse from Dillard’s and Mossimo Supply Co. Junior’s Bermuda Shorts in Olive Green from Target

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Disney Inspired Princess Tiana Rhinestone Shirt from Etsy and Mossimo Supply Co. Junior’s Bermuda Shorts in Olive Green from Target

My 100th Blog Post!!!!

Guess what today is?  You guessed it!  It’s my 100th blog post!!!!  I am so excited.  I can’t believe I’ve written 100 entries.  That’s a lot of writing!  I had wanted to write a blog forever, like for six months or something like that.  I don’t keep a diary, but I really like to write.  And I have a lot of things to say, but not a lot of people to say them to.  So, I begged my parents to let me have my own blog.  It took them a while, but they finally said yes.  The title of my blog is “What Ainsley Likes” because my name is Ainsley and I write mostly about things I like.  My mom said that she named me after a character on a TV show that she used to watch called The West Wing.  Ainsley is an English name and it means “my own meadow.”  She said that she’d never heard the name before and thought it was really pretty.  It also reminded her of my sister’s name.  My sister’s name is Ashley.  It’s also English and it means “from the ash tree meadow.”  So, our names are very similar.

My favorite things are fashion, dance, books, and arts and crafts, especially origami.  These are all things I’ve been writing about in my 99 other blog posts.  But, I don’t just write about things I like.  I also write about what I am thinking – about other people, about school, about things going on in the world.  So, I guess in that way, my blog is kind of like my diary and I really wanted to share it with other tween girls like me, who probably wonder about some of the same things that I do.  I started middle school this year.  It takes some getting used to and I am still working on it, so I’ve written a lot about that in my blog.  I play the clarinet in the band, which also started this year and is taking me a while to get used to as well.  When I grow up, I would like to be a writer like John Green and a ballet dancer like Misty Copeland.  There’s no reason why I can’t do both.  I love to read.  My favorite book is The Fault in Our Stars.  I read the book and saw the movie.  I dance at my city’s ballet studio and this year for the first time I auditioned for The Nutcracker and I got a small part in it.  I am really excited about that.

I love, love, love to dress up and wear cute clothes!  My favorite things are dresses and leggings.  I love shoes too – flats, boots, and Converse Chuck Taylors!  I also have a thing for tutus, of course.  I am a dancer and I am going to be a ballerina!  I am very close to both of my parents and my grandma.  My sister graduated from college last year and she moved into her own apartment, but she came with us to Disney World this summer and she takes me places and buys me things.  My brother, Jacob, is in high school and he is a really, really, really good saxophone player!  He’s really, really, really annoying too!  Ha. Ha.  I have a dog named Ziggy.  He’s a shih tzu and he’s a Mr. Prissy Pants, without the pants, of course.

I also like to write about people, the kids that I go to school with and the ones that I dance with – mostly other girls.  I talk a lot about how they treat each other and how I’ve been treated.  I wonder a lot about what makes people so mean to each other.  I have a blog post about “mean girls.”  I want other tween girls to know that if they go to school with girls who are mean to them or they are around you on a sports team or in some other activity that you do, it’s okay to call them out on their behavior.  It’s okay to let people know if you don’t like how they are treating you.  Don’t feel like you have to put up with it because they won’t be your friend.  If they were really your friend they wouldn’t treat you like that in the first place!

I’ve had my share of mean girls to deal with, but I’ve also had a lot of good friends over the years – in school and at dance.  I’ve never had one or two really, really good friends though.  I’ve spent a lot of my time out of school in dance and I hardly ever have any free time to hang out.  I think that’s one of the reasons why I have never been super close with anybody, like a true best friend.  Sometimes it makes me sad, but then I think about what I am doing and why.  A lot of my friends wonder why I dance so much.  I do it because I love it, and I’ve set a goal for myself.  It’s a goal that I won’t achieve unless I put in the work to make it happen.  I feel lucky that my parents support me because it takes up a lot of time and costs a lot of money to be involved in dance the way that I am.

Finally, I talk about myself – what I like about myself and what I don’t.  I think that’s another topic that tween girls can relate to, or teenage girls, or grown women for that matter.  There’s always somebody on TV or in a magazine talking about body image.  It’s one of the things that make girls bully other girls.  It’s one of the things that boys use against you to tease you about.  And apparently it makes girls and women do crazy things like starve themselves and become anorexic or get a lot of plastic surgery.  And in my “culture,” if culture is even the right word to use, how we look seems to be something that we are always dealing with.  Like, what I mean is that I am African-American or black and there is a long history of racism and discrimination against black people in America.  And in America, for years and years people didn’t really look at black girls and women as pretty.  I think that’s changed a lot from how it used to be because we have Michelle Obama and Beyonce and Gabby Douglas and a lot of other successful black women to look up to who are very pretty.  But, even Gabby Douglas got teased about her hair and she won the Olympics!  Hello?

The state I live in is like less than 10% black, even though the city I live in is around 15%.  I guess there is diversity here, but it depends on where you live and the things that you do.  I go to school with quite a few other black kids because the area that we live in has changed since I was really little.  There are way more on this side of town than there used to be when I was in kindergarten.  But places like in dance, there are only a few, and it gets down to one or two the older you get, so I am often the only one.  Sometimes, I feel different.  My skin is not really brown, it’s like yellowish-tan and people ask me all the time if I’m mixed.  My hair is different too because it is pretty long and thick.  I talk A LOT about my hair on my blog.  Most of my friends are white and they ask a lot questions about it.  Last year my dance company did a competition dance based on Peter Pan and The Lost Boys.  I was cast as a Lost Boy so I basically played a Native American/ Indian.  We had to wear our hair in two French braids and our dance teachers braided our hair.  Now, I have just as much hair as the white girls in the group.  Actually, I have more than almost all of them.  But, when one of my dance teachers braided my hair, she said that it was “greasy and gross.”  It’s like I wanted to say, “Honey, I’m black!  Black people have dry hair, so we put oil on it!”  She was rude and she singled me out to be mean to.  And I was the only black girl in the Company so I guess she wasn’t used to dealing with black people’s hair, but if that’s the way she thought of me, then do they expect other black girl’s to come to their studio to dance?  Then this year, the same dance teacher and another girl at the studio were “black-itizing” people’s names.  I was sitting right there during a break and they were taking people’s names and changing them to make them “sound black.”  My name is Ainsley and it’s English.  It’s not “black!”  Why would they do that right in front of me?  They just kept beating me over the head with the fact that I am different than them.  My mom talked to the studio owner both times, but she just kept saying that the teacher was sorry and didn’t mean anything by it, but she never actually apologized to my face.  And she’s still at that studio and I bet she’s still doing the same things.  I left that studio this year, not just because of this, but it sure didn’t make me want to stay.

And on the same subject, a lot of the black kids at school also make me feel different, especially the girls.  Here we go with the girls again!!  They say I talk too proper.  They say I dress prissy.  They say I am always trying to be the teacher’s pet.  They say I hang around the white girls too much.  They say I’m not black, that I think I’m white.  Well, since my mom is black and my dad is black, I am pretty sure that makes me black!!  I make good grades and I am smart.  I like the way I dress.  I don’t get in trouble at school and I might be prissy, but hey, so what!  I think I am a nice person and I try to be nice to everybody.  My mom told me that she was treated the exact same way when she was younger.  She said that it lasted all the way through college, but got better the older she got.  She is teaching me to be strong and to stand up for myself.  She is teaching me to be myself, no matter what other people think or say.  She is teaching me not to let other people make me doubt myself.  She says, “Shake those haters off!  They don’t like you because they don’t like themselves!”  As girls, we let body image, skin color, type of hair, the clothes we wear and all kinds of other things make us doubt ourselves and then we turn on each other and try to make other people feel as bad about themselves as we feel about ourselves.  That makes me sad too and so I write about it.

I hope everybody who reads my blog likes it.  I hope that you keep reading it and follow me and tell other people about it.  I hope that if you know any tween girls you will tell them about my blog.  Maybe they will read it and find a cute outfit that they like or a book that they haven’t read or a blog post about how to deal with mean girls and rude people.  Maybe they will read a post about how to be confident and how to love themselves and maybe it will inspire them and make them feel better about who they are.  Thank you for celebrating my 100th blog post with me.  In the coming months, I plan to write 100 more!  Keep reading and sharing.

Love, Ainsley

More Hanna Andersson Dresses !

You know how I love my Hanna Andersson dresses!  But remember a while back when I said if you find an outfit that works for you, you should buy it in more than one color.  Well, that’s what my mom did again.  I also have the same dress in pink.  I wore it during the first week of school and blogged about it a few weeks ago.  Here it is again in two other colors.  When the weather gets colder, I plan to wear it with a long sleeved t-shirt or turtle neck underneath (maybe in a color that matches the color of the bow on each dress) and I can keep on my leggings and wear boots or I can wear jeans underneath.  Stay tuned to see all the cute outfits I make using this versatile dress.

Dress: Take a Bow Dress in Happy Green and NavyHanna Andersson
Leggings: Knit Leggings in White – Justice
Shoes: Keds Women’s Champion Seasonal Solid Oxford in Bright Green and Keds Women’s Champion Eyelet Fashion Sneaker in Navy Amazon.com

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Rude People!!!

Last week I posted a picture of a sunset for 100 Happy Days on my Instagram account.  One of my “friends” posted a comment on the picture that said, “TBR you got that black girl hair.”  TBR stands for “To Be Real”.  When I saw her comment, it made me sad.  I tried to think of what in the heck she meant by the comment and I wanted to believe that maybe it was a compliment; but deep down inside I knew it wasn’t.  She was being rude – a mean girl.  As a matter fact, I blogged about mean girls back in July and one of the girls that was the inspiration for that post was this same girl who wrote that comment on my Instagram!  I should have known.  So, after thinking about it for a while, I responded to her comment with this:  “Not sure what you mean (insert her Instagram name here).  Also not sure if you’ve noticed all these years, but I AM BLACK!!  What other kind of hair would I have other than ‘that black girl hair?’  What kind of hair do you have?”  Well, she didn’t respond.  She actually deleted her original comment.  Then later on another one of my 100 Happy Days pictures, she apologized.  I’m glad she apologized.  I actually thanked her for apologizing and told her that I wasn’t mad at her.  But, come on!!!  She should never have had to apologize in the first place!  She never should have made the rude comment!  Whatever happened to treating other people like you want to be treated!  If I had been my usual self and said nothing to her, she would have left the comment and never would have apologized.  She was being a bully and here I was hoping that she had changed now that we are in middle school.  My mom encouraged me to respond, respectfully, but to respond and I’m glad that I did.  But her original behavior still makes me sad.  Oh, and I forgot to tell you that she is also a black girl who wears her hair in braids most of the time and most of the hair that she wears isn’t even hers!  She bought it somewhere.  Hair weave, anyone?  I’m not ragging on those who wear fake hair, but if you’re familiar with my blog, I talk about hair A LOT, my hair specifically, but black/African-American hair in general.  And if you are gonna walk around wearing somebody else’s hair, why in the world would you make rude comments about my hair?  Just saying!

Okay, on to another subject.  On Saturday, I went to a dance convention.  I was one of the first people in the ballroom.  It is a huge convention center/hotel ballroom with space in the center to dance (sometimes a stage for the instructor), and chairs all around the walls of the ballroom.  I found a seat that wasn’t taken, put my bag down, and sat in a chair.  I changed my shoes, got warmed up, and went out to the center of the ballroom to find a space to dance.  When I returned between classes to change shoes, I found a group of people sitting in and around the seat that I had picked out and my bag had been thrown in the corner.  What made it worse was that I saw the group sit down when I was out on the ballroom floor dancing and the rude person that tossed my bag into the corner wasn’t a tween dancer like me, but it was an ADULT!!!  And then she sat down in my chair.  Can you say RUDE??  Not only is the room full of dancers, but if you pay an additional fee, parents and dance teachers can sit in on classes as observers and this grown woman plopping her big fanny down in my chair and throwing a little kid’s bag into the corner was an observer and a RUDE one at that!  I told my mom that the next time I got to a dance convention, she has to come into the room and be an observer and protect my bag from rude people.

I think that the girl who posted the mean comment on my Instagram picture IS a mean girl.  She was being rude on purpose and I feel this way because I’ve gone to school with her since kindergarten.  I know her and I have seen her act this way before, towards me and towards others.  I don’t know the woman at the dance convention who threw my bag and took my seat.  All I know is that her actions were rude.  I know that people are different and that just because you are an adult it doesn’t mean that you have the best manners.  It doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person, but it isn’t a good example to set for your kids either.  I wish that everyone would remember to treat others the way they would like to be treated.  Practice good manners – even for the small things, like commenting on someone else’s hair or finding a seat in a crowded ballroom.  The world would be a better place if people were less rude.

Continue to Challenge Yourself!

Hi everybody.  Today I spent the day in a town about 2 ½ hours from mine at a dance convention.  If you don’t know what a dance convention is, it’s where a bunch of famous choreographers/dancers/dance teachers come to teach different age groups and dance levels of dancers in a variety of dance styles.  Sometimes, they have dance competitions with them.  I have attended two dance conventions in the past, with my former studio.  One of them was out of town and we spent the weekend there.  This one I found out about from my new ballet teacher at my new studio.  My new studio isn’t a competition studio, so they don’t have the usual recreational dance company made up of students who take classes there, the kind of company that goes to competitions and conventions.  Instead, it is a ballet focused school that prepares pre-professional dancers for careers in dance and runs a professional ballet company.  My teacher comes from both worlds, so she gets me.  I have moved away from constant exposure to several different dance styles to focus on ballet.  Sometimes I miss some of the other dance styles and I don’t want to lose all of the skills that I’ve learned, but I know that ballet is the foundation of all dance.  My teacher told me that if a dancer has a really good foundation in ballet, then they can learn all other styles of dance.  She told me that she learned how to tap dance in a couple of weeks when she was hired to dance on a cruise ship and she’d never even tapped before!  But she was able to pick it up enough to be in the tap numbers that they performed.  Anyway, I attended today’s convention just so that I could keep up with everything that I’d learned in dance so far.  I took five classes today – jazz, hip hop, ballet, musical theater, and something called street jazz.  I was kind of nervous about going to a convention without being a part of a studio that was attending the convention.  I didn’t know anybody there and wasn’t with any friends.  Sometimes you can feel all by yourself, even in a room full of hundreds of people.  When I got there and started dancing, it was all good, though.  I learned a lot.  I was challenged.  And I had fun.  The ballroom that I was in was packed!  There had to be 500 or 600 dancers at the whole convention.  My mom and my dad drove me down.  We got up at 4:00 a.m. to get ready (well, they did, I woke up at 5).  We left the house at 6:00 a.m. and they stayed at the convention center all day while I was in the Tween Ballroom dancing.  They sacrifice a lot to help me to achieve my dreams.  They were there in the lobby when I came out during our break and during lunch.  I am happy that I went.  The ballet class was my favorite, of course.  Street jazz was the hardest.  The combinations were so fast!  In all, the convention was great and I’m glad I went.  I’m still learning every day to overcome my fears and to challenge myself.  Everybody should do the same.