New town and New oportunities…My Job Hunt 2015

We finally got moved with my HUSBAND’s company (We are married now!!). We are still in the comfort of our Midwest roots, but in an area much larger than we have ever experienced. Can you guess where? Kansas City! We are really enjoying it so far. I say so far not as a negative Nancy, but as a newbie. We have only been here about a month so we haven’t explored much or met many. This really is a neat area and I cannot believe how much is going on right around us. We are by anything you could dream of doing! It is a nice change.

I will say I seem to be facing the same issues as before with not knowing anyone in the area. In this market it is all about who you know and I don’t know anyone. I did transfer with the retail company that I was working with before, which is a blessing. I still really want to get into a career that is more focused around my degree. I want to put my education to use and make my student loans seem worth while! I am hopeful. Well, most of the time. Sometimes those rejection letters from a job you really wanted sting a little. I miss the economy that made getting an interview not almost impossible. If they met me and decided I wasn’t a right fit it would be easier to accept. It’d be easier than the fact they based their decision off of a resume they probably didn’t look at or a cover letter they definitely didn’t read. Those resume search engines aren’t very forgiving when it comes to the key terms they are looking for.

One of my biggest fears being out of college over a year now is that my lack of degree specific experience since graduation is destroying my future career. I don’t expect a handout or pity. I just wish someone would take a chance and look at my potential. Instead of thinking, “Oh, she worked retail. Next!” maybe say “Hey, she was actually working.” Life doesn’t have a handbook. I wish it did. I did what I needed to do to pay my bills and be with my soulmate, so he could take a once in a lifetime opportunity. I wouldn’t change any of it. Well, maybe I would tweak it just a little. Actually, no I wouldn’t! I believe God leads us where we need to be even if we don’t understand the reason why. Anyways, that could be an entire new blog topic! I may have “just” been working retail, but I was doing a DANG good job! I met so many customers and learned so much about great customer service over the last year it is crazy!

I do have a passion for good customer service. There is something so rewarding about helping someone have a great experience or improving their day. Even on those days you don’t want to smile at one more person, but you do, it is rewarding. You force yourself to smile from ear to ear and ask them about their day. You listen to them and you learn about them. It makes it more than “just” retail, it makes it worth while. It isn’t just a job it is a choice. You choose to make sure your customers are treated well. You choose to make them feel more like a friend than someone who shops at your store. I wasn’t just working each day I was learning. I was learning about my fellow human being, which is a beautiful experience.

I was learning about how third shift was getting so hard on him as he got older. About how she was kicking cancers butt and was thrilled to be able to do her own shopping. How my mini customers loved to peak over the wall at the girls whipping up lattes in hopes of getting free chocolates. About how a shopping trip kids free felt like a vacation. Or how about becoming a nanny wasn’t what she expected she’d be doing, but she loved how it prepared her for mommyhood. Then there are the times you feel for your customers. Like when my customer fell knocking out her front teeth and she couldn’t wait to be able to fix it so she could smile again. Or times of joy like meeting extra mini customers for the first time and watching them grow into chubby little babies. I could go on for days about the people I met and the stories they shared, because I was learning. I really really was!

Add a comment January 19, 2015

Time is standing still while moving at the speed of light.

Hello! I know it has been months. I apologize for my absences. It has been both a wonderful, exciting, and terrible period of time. Hmmm…where to start? Okay, I will start at the point my online “life” came to a screeching halt. That would day was February 14th, 2014. That was the day I said “YES!” I said it happily in love at the Las Vegas Stratosphere. I said “YES!” to my boyfriend of four years, who I have loved through good, bad, no job, new jobs, graduations, and big moves. Of course, once our Vegas trip ended I came home to mountains of planning for our big day, which we set for almost exactly six months from the day I said “YES!”. And let me tell you I have planned events, but this is a whole new ball game.

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Tony aka my fiance (I just love saying it!) and I are blessed, but we are far from rich! We had an amazing and expensive trip to Vegas, which is something we were never able to do before we graduated college. I am so thankful for that trip, but our pockets were aching. To help save money I decided to do as much DIY for our wedding as possible and I think I have done that! Most of my planning is done. I have everything scheduled, a photographer booked thanks to a friends advice! I have a videographer thanks to a classmate from college and I have all my decorations made. I have made signs, bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, and other odds and ends. There was a point in time where my life revolved around working and crafting, so that is part of the reason for my absence from social media….even my personal Facebook has not seen much action (this tells you a lot!).

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The next reason is, because Tony and I had a major loss in our lives about two months ago. Our wonderful, one of a kind, sweet little puppy, Libby, was hit and killed by a car. Our hearts absolute broke. It truly was one of the worst days of my life. I still can’t believe it to this day. I know she was “just a dog,” but she was special. I may sound crazy, but I know in my heart she was an angel who was taken back to heaven. There is no other way to explain that day. The short version of the story (so I don’t get weepy) is that we were headed to a church event. We were already running late as she stood in the yard as we packed the car. She was never a runner so I wasn’t worried, but then she just took off. Still not worried I laughed as Tony  chased her. While giggling about the odds of this as we are already late I had a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach. I grabbed some cheese and got in the car, because she’d definitely come back for a car ride. I rounded the corner and saw Tony kneeling on the ground across the street and I knew what happened. I screamed. I weeped. I fell a part. This may not sound strange, but it was. Right before she ran she looked back at me like “see ya later.” Tony followed her and he knew deep down what was about to happen. He said she seemed to be chasing something that no one else could see. It was the morning after her first birthday. A birthday that was fully celebrated with singing and cake! I felt silly as I put a party hat on her the night before, but I had these intense feeling like it was something I HAD to do and I am so thankful I did.

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The next reason for my absence has been this confusing time in my life. I moved to MO for my fiance’s job, which I am so thankful for, but that meant putting my career on hold. I just didn’t realize to what extreme. I didn’t know anyone here or have any connections like I did before the move. I tried organizations to make connections, but people just weren’t as involved here in Communications. I applied to jobs like crazy, but “good” jobs were hard to find and again I had no connections. I took an almost full time retail job, because I had to have something. I thought to myself this is temporary and kept applying, but only a couple months after moving to MO we found out Tony’s job is getting cut. That was a shocker! We knew moving could be in our future, but we just didn’t see it happening so quickly. His job was getting cut, but there were still lots of opportunities within his company in other states. Through various meetings here and there we only had a vague idea of what was going to happen to his position. We just knew we were going to move. I quite applying in town, because I didn’t think there was a point. We may have to move at the drop of a hat, because we were asked to move here in a three week time period. Now, after no move and almost ten months later, I am sort of regretting that decision. I may have lost out on a lot of meaning full experiences. I am thankful for the job I have, but it has nothing to do with my degree. Did I make the wrong decision?

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I can’t answer that. What I do know is that in the next few weeks we should be finding out if we are moving two hours from our current location or fourteen hours to Texas. It is exciting and scary all at once! I am thankful for the job I have, but hope that I didn’t totally ruin my chance at a dream job. The last few months have been crazy! I have been confused and I have been hopeful. Time has been moving lightning fast while standing still at the same time. I am not where I want to be in my career, yet. I have been stuck in limbo unsure of what to do, where to look, where to apply, because we had no clear idea of where we’d end up. No matter what state we get I am ready to know. I am even more ready to start my life with Tony, our new pup Abel, and to start getting back to the Laynie who was excited about her future!

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Add a comment June 16, 2014
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Social Media, dun dun duuuuun!!!

Social media is a tool for communication. Communication that is convenient, instant, fun, informative, and the list goes on, but is it all it is cracked up to be? I truly am not sure. Social media is a relatively new idea. I remember making the big switch from Myspace to Facebook in high school (which was only a few years ago, I might add). I was rooted in my Myspace ways, so Facebook seemed like some new crazy idea…no personalized background images or music selections, what?! Now, as I check my Facebook everyday I can barely remember those Myspace days (I digress). My question is with each new social media trend (Twitter, Instagram. Snapchat, etc), and its enormous impact on our day to day lives, is it fulfilling its full purpose? (Oh, and this, too) Is its importance to us good? These questions will never be fully answered, but here is my take on it. 

I think that the ability to communicate with friends and family with just one click of a mouse is great! Having a brother that lives in Japan, on a TOTALLY different time zone, I see how easy it makes staying up-to-date with each other. I see how easy it is to keep up with friends from high school, who you may not talk to every week, but still care about. I see how easy it makes sharing photos that would be very costly to print and send via mail (you know 49 cent stamps). 

I also see how social media is an amazing marketing tool for businesses. It is a great way to share new products, promotions, and information. It is a great way to build a relationship with existing or new customers. It is also, a great way to fix bad relationships. I myself have reached out to business after a bad experience via social media, which gave them the chance to fix the problem. These interactions kept me as a returning customer. Basically, social media is serving a productive purpose in both our personal and professional lives.

…But is it? Hmm, I say it is 50/50. Having a parent who didn’t grow up with social media (or even computers for that matter) I can see both sides. There seems to be a lot of negative that comes with social media. Constant connection is the first issue. Do we really need to be connected at all times to others who we may or may not like? Do we need our own lives to be judged 24/7 by what we put on social media? I think the impact this has with other’s views of us and our own views of ourselves means we don’t need that constant connection. There is actually a disorder that is focused on how social media causes the fear of missing out. It creates jealousy for what others have and do. Sadly, most of the time we don’t realize that those things are an idealized version of what people want us to know about their lives (and also of our own lives). That is exactly my second issue. I think having an idealized sense of self puts an extreme amount of pressure on a person. It is like always having to be doing 100% above and beyond what is expected of you, which is exhausting.  

Then their is the fact that the current youth are growing up on social media. They are missing out on the joy of running barefoot outside, calling each other just to talk, and the simplicity of only being bulled at school. (I am not in any way advocating bullying) What I am saying is, gone are the days of only being bullied in person at school, now students have to go home and face continued bullying from behind a screen. What makes this different? People have no filter online. Their isn’t the fear of what someone will do or say when you harass them in person. It makes saying hurtful things even easier. It also makes bad decisions last forever.

Those inappropriate pictures you took in your youth that you thought were so funny you just had to post, may have just caused you to lose that dream job. That hurtful and threatening comment you made on someone’s “wall” will never go away. Even though you aren’t a 14-year-old bully anymore that doesn’t mean that at 25 years old that comment won’t come back to haunt you. I believe in using your best judgement at all times; some people just take a little longer to discover what best judgement is. I live by the statement, “Don’t post it unless you want your grandmother to see it.” Sometimes, I feel like I am one of the few who listens to that rule. Maybe as the shock factor wears off people will start using better judgement when posting on social media, but my gut instinct tells me it will only get worse.

What are your thoughts on the positives and negatives of the social media take over?

 

2 comments October 23, 2013
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Looking to the future

Image from ashleyellis.com

I truly cannot believe that August is here and almost half way through. How does time move so fast? I guess moving, getting a puppy, and searching for a job can do that. It really doesn’t feel that strange not going back to school in a week, but I think that is a good thing. I was ready be done with my undergraduate studies and move somewhere new with new opportunities. I must say I am really enjoying my new town and the people in it, but sadly, the communication opportunities here are proving few and far between.

You may be wondering if I am worried about what the future holds for me? Truthfully, some days yes and some days no. (Could I be anymore vague?) There are days where I get caught up thinking what if you don’t find your dream job here? What if you don’t make enough money for bills and student loans? If I get caught up in worrying I don’t think about the positives that are in any struggle. If I don’t find my dream job here there is always 49 other states to experience with new opportunities. Thankfully, this isn’t that crazy of a thought due to my boyfriend’s job being located all over the United States. As long as I can convince my dad and and my boyfriend to follow me if I have to move, that is what truly matters.

What if I only work part-time? This would be financially tough (that is for sure!), but I can make it work. I am so blessed to have a father who is putting a rough over my head as long as I help as much as I can and do my share. I also have a wonderful boyfriend who searched for a job for six months after graduation, so he understand the situation I am in. Is there any good in working part-time? Actually, yes! I would definitely learn to use and stick to a budget, it gives me time to search for my dream job, and it gives me time to focus on the one career I want most, but have put on the back burner. I have always wanted to write a book. Writing a book takes a lot of time; and working, school, and life had kept me from accomplishing this. If I am working part-time for a while, I have no excuse not to reach for the stars.

My dad tells me not to worry since he hauled junk for six months after he graduated before he found his big boy job. I guess I am not in as bad as shape as  my worries want me to feel. I just have to look at the positive, pray about it,  and know there is always another opportunity hiding around the corner sometimes it just takes time to see it.

Add a comment August 13, 2013
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The new addition to the family!

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Meet Liberty aka Libby! Tony and I went to pick her up on July 1st and she is such a blessing. After having an amazing ten years with my Missy I was very nervous to get another pet. I was excited, but nervous. What if she wasn’t the right fit for us? Before we arrived to pick her up Tony and I said a little prayer that we would know, which puppy was right for us. I had originally intended to get Libby’s sister, but Libby picked us. As soon as the owner opened their pen Libby jumped out and put her paws on me. I picked her up and she almost fell asleep instantly. I figured that was the answer to my prayer!

We have had Libby for a week now and I am truly impressed with how well she is doing. She is only six pounds at 12 weeks and she is very well behaved. Don’t get me wrong she can be ornery like any puppy, but she is a good girl. We have been very lucky with only two accidents in the house. (Fingers crossed that there aren’t many more!) I would say that so far the hardest part is crate training at night. She isn’t a fan of it and does do some whining, but she will get there. It will just take time and patience from both of us!

I have been really lucky with Tony and my dad helping me take care of this little girl! My dad has been great about watching her during this busy 4th of July weekend. I hope that by the time she is six months old I will be able to leave her home without fear of coming home to a mess, so that my Dad doesn’t feel like a permanent puppysitter! I think that the next thing we need to start working on is learning to sit and stay. We may even enroll into a puppy training course. Overall, I think Libby is an excellent addition to our family ❤

Check out a few more pictures of one of the cutest puppies in the world:

She loves to sleep!

She loves to sleep!

The day we got her!

The day we got her!

I told you she loves to sleep!

I told you she loves to sleep!

Happy Independence day from the both of us!

Happy Independence day from the both of us!

Add a comment July 8, 2013
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The highway from hell…

I went on vacation last week to Florida, which meant a lot of hours in the car there and back. I must say, it was scary! I wasn’t scared at all with how my Dad or boyfriend drove, it was everyone else. I have decided that how people drive nowadays reflects many people’s’ attitudes. They only think about themselves first.

I am sure for many this sounds like a harsh judgement to make, because it is just speeding, right? I wish. Instead it is speeding, no turn signals, and just a blatant disregard for others safety. I cannot believe how in one day of driving we experienced multiple close calls. There were people texting instead of paying attention. There were multiple cars passing without a turn signal so they would almost hit each other. There were semi-trucks tailgating!

There were two really scary incidents. First, the car next to us wanted to pass the truck a head of them so instead of looking over before trying to pass they just swerved into our lane. Thankfully there was no car next to us so my boyfriend could swerve into the other lane to keep from being hit. Second, there was a car that didn’t want to wait for the traffic stopped due to road construction so they decide to use the right emergency lane. Not only did they use the emergency lane, they were going at least 70 mph and then swerved in and out of traffic!

I honestly find it very sad that people care so little about the people around them. They would rather risks lives to get where they are going faster. I hope that people start realizing how dangerous the decisions they make behind the wheel really are.

Add a comment June 9, 2013

The Covering House

DSC_1074Hello! I am sorry it has been so long since I have posted something. This last few months have been a whirlwind to say the least. I graduated from college two weeks ago, after completing my senior assignment. That is in fact what I wanted to focus on for this blog. I am going to try to condense a busy semester into something readable! Okay, so for my senior assignment I worked along side four other communication students to create a PR campaign for a local nonprofit. The nonprofit we were assigned to was The Covering House.

The Covering House is a local St. Louis nonprofit that provides a place of refuge and restoration for female minors who have been sex trafficked in The United States. They provide education, health services, and counseling for these girls. They are currently trying to raise funds to purchase a safe home to give these girls a place to heal. The work that this staff is doing is absolutely amazing! The passion they have to put an end to human trafficking is contagious.

The biggest fight The Covering House faces is that so many Americans are unaware that this is an issue here, let alone in the St. Louis area. It is in fact a major problem both in the States and in this area. The internet is making sex trafficking easy. It is becoming one of the top crimes with 300,o00 children being forced into this industry each year. The average age of a female being forced into prostitution is only 13 years old. That is when children should be blooming into a teenager, not being prayed on and abused. Think of how much children develop mentally at that time and how sex trafficking could effect a child’s self esteem. It is just heartbreaking.

My senior assignment group and I decided to hold a trivia night to raise funds and awareness for the organization. We knew that  trivia nights are extremely popular in this area and that we could use it as a chance to educate our guest. All of our promotional materials featured statistics on this issue. We also titled our event Ask Me About 13, because this slogan is already used by The Covering House. We wanted people to be able to easily relate our event back to the organization. We needed to help the organization create strong ties in the Metro East community by helping the community members become aware.

(Here is an example of our promotional materials! This was featured on our Facebook event page.)

We used media and personal connections to gain support for our event. A story on our event was featured in two newspapers, several online event calendars, and we were able to get a local celebrity to be the MC. That was one of the most exciting parts of our campaign. Captain Mac Douglas from WIL 92.3 agreed to be our MC, which also allowed us to be featured on The Cornbread Show! To be able to have a local figure help us gain attention for the organization and our event made us feel like our hard work was paying off!

We were so blessed to have the support of local businesses. All of us divided and conquered in getting donations form local businesses for prizes to be featured in our prize baskets. This was a great way to help motivate the community to participate in our event. There were over $1,000 in prizes donated to us! It makes my jaw drop when I think of how much support we received. We featured pictures of the prizes on our social media accounts to get our guests excited about the event and to convince more to come. We also had items donated for a silent auction! Our event also featured door prizes and a 50/50 raffle. Really, who wouldn’t want to be at this event? (It was so much fun!!)

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One of the best parts of our event, in my opinion, was when Dedee the founder of The Covering House spoke during intermission. She featured information on the issue of sex trafficking and on the organization. We wanted to make sure our guests paid attention so the round of trivia directly afterwards was dedicated to the facts Dedee shared during her speech. This worked out really well since 99% of our teams scored a perfect on that round! I couldn’t have been happier with the success of our campaign and event. We worked our tails off for one of the most deserving nonprofits in St. Louis. I am so happy that I was able to be apart of this!

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How successful were we? We had 21 teams filling the 25 tables we had set up! That is honestly more than any of us expected. We helped the Alton women’s group Zonta connect with The Covering House. We helped Dedee secure two interviews about the organization  We helped the organization gain inquiries on how to volunteer.  We educated the Metro East community members on this issue, which helped the organization strengthen their support in the Metro East. And last but not least, we raised a total of $2,385 to help The Covering House reach their goal of purchasing a safe home.

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Not only did I get to help a cause I believe in, I was also able to learn so much about hard work, perseverance, and public relations!

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Please take a minute to learn more on this organization, because they need your help to put an end to sex trafficking! You can also follow their WordPress blog!

Add a comment May 21, 2013

Au Naturel!

This is a warning, if you do not want to read a blog about blemishes than you should probably skip to the next one. For those of you who have struggled with breakouts keep reading! I have struggled with breakouts since high school and I am now a senior in college! It is frustrating! At times my breakouts have been so bad that it has left scaring on my cheeks, which can really wreck hazard on your confidence.

I have tried just about any solution out there to get rid of my breakouts. I have tried Pro-Active, prescription acne medicine, benzyl peroxide topical creams, salicylic acid topical creams, and the list goes on. Some have worked for a for a short while and others not at all. I got tired of being on prescriptions, because it didn’t seem like something that would be good for me in the long run. Next, my doctor recommended birth control. This really did make a big difference, but again I didn’t think the possible health effects of long term use was worth it.

What did I try next? I thought maybe after being totally off of everything my body would be able to get rid of the breakouts on their own, because I wasn’t a teenager anymore. Well, I was wrong. As soon as I stopped the birth control pills it came right back. This left me just trying to keep my face clean, cleaning my makeup utensils on a regular basis, and using wipes that said for sensitive skin. Oh, and feeling very self conscious!

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The other day my dad was reading the paper and there was a section on the benefits of honey and cinnamon. Interested, he kept reading and it said mix the two into a paste for treatment of acne. He told me about it and I said, “Hmmmm, maybe it would work. Hey, it is worth a shot!” The article said to put it on your face at night before bed for two weeks and it will stop the problem at its root.

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I have been using this for three days now and I saw results after the first day! I am not exaggerating. Within one day of use I saw my blemishes greatly reduce in size. I am excited to see what it is like after two weeks, because I think this really might be my new go to for breakouts! I recommend letting it dry before you go to bed, because it is sticky. Also, don’t sleep with your favorite pillowcase since the paste is brown. Oh, and you may not want your crush to see you in it, because it looks a little silly!

I hope it works for you like it has for me! I will report back at the end of two weeks to let you know if it is too good to be true (I sure hope not).

Here is what the paste looks like over the blemishes:

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Good news! This concoction really works! With a day or two of wearing this through the night the size of breakouts are greatly reduced! I will be using this from now on! I hope you have just as good of results as I have!

Add a comment January 27, 2013

Gone, but not forgotten!

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On November 3rd, of this year, I lost my dog, Missy. On November 3rd 2001 I lost my mom. As you can guess November 3rd is not my favorite day. I don’t want to focus on what I have lost, but instead what a wonderful 10 years I had with my Missy. I remember the day we got her like it was yesterday. My dad kept saying we didn’t need a dog and that we were just going to go look at her. When we got to the animal shelter this happy little faced dog came up to us with her tail wagging. My dad and I fell in love with that little dog.

After, only being with Missy for a few minutes another family came in so Missy went to go great them, because friendly was her nature. The family asked if she was available for adoption and luckily we had called ahead about her so the owner said, “Sorry, this family is here to see her.” At that moment my dad turned to me and asked if I wanted her and of course I said, “YES!” We bought a collar and a leash right there at the shelter, filled out the information, and she was our’s to become a part of our family, and that she did.

Missy was around 7 months old when we brought her home. She was full of energy and had a personality all of her own. She looked like a little lady with her bushy tail and happy face, but she loved to run and roam the 10 acres of land we owned. I spent countless hours chasing her with my golf cart, which was something we both enjoyed. For a little 18 lb dog she could sure run fast as the golf cart was no match for her. She liked to have fun, but could become your cuddle buddy with a flip of a switch. She was good like that, because you could be rough-housing with her one minute and the next scoop her up for a hug and she instantly knew the difference.

She may have only been a dog, but to us she was so much more. Missy was a part of our family. After my mom passed away it was just dad and I. Our little tiny family needed that little doggy to be whole. She brought us so much happiness over the years. My dad and I both miss her so much. The night she died my dad drove her three hours so I could be with her. She held on for those three hours so that we could all be together one last time. When I got to her I just held her in my arms and told her how much she meant to us. She passed within 20 minutes of us all being together.

I will always cherish the years we had with her. I really cannot imagine what those years would have been like without her. I think they would have felt incomplete. I know for sure they would have been boring. I am thankful for every hug she gave me! Well, doggy hugs. When I would get home she would hop up on my bed, come up to me, and put her head and face against my chest, so I called those her “hugs.” I will miss laying in bed at night with her cuddled up next to my legs. I will miss the happiness she brought to my dad and I.

I am thankful that she had a healthy ten years. I am thankful that it was my family that brought her home that day. I am thankful that god knew she was just what we needed to make our little family feel whole again. I am thankful that I was holding her when she passed. I am thankful that a little dog with a bushy tail could make such a difference in my life. She will always be missed.

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2 comments December 8, 2012
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What has happened?

For those of you who have followed my blog, you know that I have defended Justin Bieber, because he is a talented young star who seems to set a good example for his young fans. Sadly, after watching some of the American Music Awards I may be changing my mind. Bieber was wearing a chain necklace, a backwards cap, and baggy pants. Not only where they baggy, but while performing he was doing the infamous crotch grab to just enhance that “thug” style. Really?!

Justin Bieber has had the world at his finger tips since he was very young due to his hard work and he is from Canada…it is not like he is some “gansta” from “the hood.” Who is he trying to fool? I think it is awesome that someone who is as talented as Usher is his mentor, but does that mean all the sudden he has to start acting like he is a hip hop star? No, it doesn’t. Instead why doesn’t he present himself like a respectable young star?

I know that if I had young children, with Bieber’s new attitude and image, I wouldn’t want my children idolizing him. Instead of showing that he is a talented and well mannered young man he looks like a “tough” guy with a larger than life personality. This was sort of a theme of the AMAs this year. I did enjoy when Luke Bryan presented Bieber with an award, because he looked at Bieber like he was acting like a phony, which he definitely was. Lets just hope this is just a phase. If it isn’t, I think Bieber may face a lot of critics.

3 comments November 20, 2012

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