Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Did You Decide Yet?

May 1st, to many people this will just be another day, but for high school seniors it's the day that they must decide on where they will be continuing their education. Even though I procrastinated on visiting and applying to colleges, I actually chose my college early and have already sent in my deposit. But for all you procrastinators out there, here are 5 tips, according to The Washington Post, to help you get rid of some of that stress that might overwhelm you this week.

1. Those rejections aren’t your problem.
Even though you may not have been accepted to your top pick, there are plenty other colleges that you did get in to; so stop fretting about being rejected and look on the bright side, you got accepted somewhere else.
2. If you don’t like the college you chose, it’s easy to get another one.
About 20 percent of students who start at one four-year college graduate from another four-year college. Many more start at two-year colleges, then move to four-year schools.
3. Your future success has no bearing on whether your grandmother has heard of your college.
Students accepted by selective colleges but who decided to attend non-selective ones were making just as much money 20 years later as those who attended the selective, brand-name schools. Those prestigious colleges were good at recruiting students who had the character traits, such as persistence, humor and charm, that produced success in life. But students with those qualities who went to colleges rarely mentioned in the rankings did just as well.
4. Your college will have many Ivy League-quality students and professors.
Admissions officers at colleges that reject 80 or 90 percent of applicants readily admit that there is no difference between applicants they accept and large numbers of the applicants they reject. Some of those disappointed but brilliant people, like you, will go to your school and give it the intellectual fizz and take-charge energy you find at the Ivies.
5. Whatever your mood now, you will be happy once you ditch your parents.
 For the first time, you get to decide what you do every day. In just four months, you will be making friends and sampling new experiences in what are likely to be the most unsettling, strenuous and exciting years of your life.

UCA, Making A Difference

As I've said before, a large part of cheerleading, that often goes unnoticed, is helping out around the community. UCA, The Universal Cheerleading Association, is asking squads that attend their summer camps to help raise money for the St. Jude Children's Hospital. St. Jude is one of the world's premier centers for research and treatment of pediatric cancer, treating children from across the U.S. and from all around the world. All research discoveries made there are freely shared with the global medical community.  Also, no child is ever turned away because of a family’s inability to pay, and families without insurance never receive a bill for treatment. And to put how much this program needs money into perspective, it costs more than $1.6 million per day to operate St. Jude, and that comes primarily from donations.

This year, UCA is teaming up with St. Jude to support its life saving mission of finding cures for children fighting cancer and other catastrophic illnesses. We want to help St. Jude kids have victory over pediatric cancer, and we need your team to help make it happen. We're asking each team member to help spread the word about this great cause by sending five letters to friends and family and asking them to make a donation - that's it! If you've already signed up for a UCA camp, here's what your team can do to join in this effort:
  1. Visit UCA's Registration Tracker. Login and look for the Team Up for St. Jude spirited by Varsity logo and click on it to find out more details and to participate in this program.
  2. Complete the fundraising letters and Team Up curriculum at a pre-camp practice or meeting.
  3. Cheerleaders and coaches who turn in at least five letters at camp will be awarded a special

Team Up for St. Jude pin.In Varsity’s partnership with St. Jude the theme is Hope. During this year’s camp season, we hope your team joins us in making a difference in the lives of St. Jude children. We hope more awareness is raised about this cause. And we hope a cure is found!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

High School Competition Squad of the Week

2007 Pinelands Regional Varsity Competition Squad

What I really found interesting about this squad was that they used front tumbling passes like front handsprings and front tucks, which are usualy more gymnastic moves than a cheerleading ones. I also thought it was very unique how they used blow-up letters as signs. Witht his performance this squad was the 2007 New Jersey State Champions.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Prom Is Creeping Closer

It's that time of year again, high school proms and graduations are just around the corner. Which means your mom is going to want to take a million and three pictures of you at each event. Here are some tips from to help you get photo ready for the occasions.

Consider a spray tan
It gives you a nice glow and evens out your skin tone. Plus it's infinitely better than damaging skin cells by lying out in the sun or baking in a tanning bed. DHA, the active ingredient in modern day tanning solutions, works with the proteins in the top layer of your skin to turn it golden brown. Since your upper epidermis is made up of dead cells, they aren't harmed in the process and the chemicals won't be absorbed into your body because they will eventually shed off with the dead skin. Most spray tans fade away in seven days. Get it done two days before your event if you're wearing a light-colored dress; one day before is fine if it's a darker color.

Whiten your teeth
A ton of teeth whitening products are on the market and almost any of them will produce results with some time. The American Dental Association says whitening products work in one of two ways, either bleaching the tooth to change its color or by using physical reactions to remove surface stains.
Whitening strips work well in just a few days by bleaching surface and set-in stains similar to a professional service.

Clear up your skin
 Use a salicylic acid body wash and you should see things clear up in a couple of weeks. If you get a zit three or four days before the party, you have a good chance of getting rid of it with a daily salicylic acid face wash and a benzoyl peroxide topical cream.

Lose the bloating
The best ways to get rid of that extra water weight before a party don't involve skipping meals, taking laxatives or eating grapefruit for a week. Eat foods high in water content such as fruits and vegetables and low in sodium, like lean meats. Avoid processed foods, and snack every three to four hours. Follow this "diet" and you'll have the energy required to deal with mom's shutterbug tendencies AND dance the night away.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Catch The "Go Green Bug"

It seems in today's world that everyone is going green. Recycling, organic foods and fuels, and energy efficient appliances seem to have become all the rage. So why not catch the "going green bug" and take a few easy steps to improve the health of our planet. Below is a list of twelve products you should stay away from if you are trying to go green, thanks to

1. Styrofoam
Carry your own reusable coffee mugs, skip the fast food, and use glass and metal storage containers whenever possible.
2. Plastic food containers with bisphenol-A (BPA)
If you really must use plastic, choose BPA-free varieties (such as those marked with No. 2, No. 4 and No. 5 codes). And be sure to recycle them when you're done.
3. Tropical hardwoods
Don't know where the wood in that magnificent dining table was sourced? Leave it at the store, and look for goods manufactured through certified forestry programs.
4. Aluminum in cosmetics
5. Incandescent bulbs
6. Petroleum-based fabric sheets and laundry detergent
 Switch to vegetable-based laundry soaps and seek out less potent alternatives.
7. Overpackaged goods
8. Paper towels and napkins
There are some messes best cleaned up with paper, but couldn't you use more kitchen cloths?
9. Plastic utensils
Consider some alternative strategies: portable metal mess kits for picnics, or simply washing plastic goods and using them again.
10. Disposable batteries
With all the electronic devices in our lives these days, it makes environmental (and financial) sense to switch to rechargeable nickel metal hydride (NiMH) and lithium ion (Li-Ion) batteries. They're less toxic and save you money.
11. Commercial insecticides
 But there are less toxic and nontoxic ways of controlling bugs, from borax (a poison) to essential oils, select plants, and ways to make common insects feel less welcome in your cupboard.
12. Household cleaners
Baking soda, vinegar and salt are the backbone of a cleaner-and-greener home.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

High School Competition Squad of the Week

Greenup High School 2011 Competition Squad

After this performance, Greenup went on to take 1st place in the Large Varsity, Division II at the 2011 UCA Nation Competition. I chose this squad not just for their amazing stunts and tumbling passes but for their dance. Many squads tend to stick to the cookie cutter, stiff motioned dance routines, but not Greenup. They look like they're having fun and actually enjoy their original dance.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Is There A Top Exercise?

Exercising, whether to stay healthy or drop a few pounds, is on a lot of peoples minds today. It seems that some people are under the impression that there is one type of exercising that puts all the rest to shame. However, according to The New York Times that's probably not the case.

Looking for the best exercise for your body? Maybe it’s walking, running, squats or even the butterfly stroke. Phys Ed columnist Gretchen Reynolds has the answers (sort of) in this week’s New York Times Magazine. She writes:
Ask a dozen physiologists which exercise is best, and you’ll get a dozen wildly divergent replies. “Trying to choose” a single best exercise is “like trying to condense the entire field” of exercise science, said Martin Gibala, the chairman of the department of kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.”
My advise would be to try a bunch of different workout routines and decide which one works best for you. But remember try the workout out for at least a week or two, miracles don't happen over night.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Should Buying A School Lunch Be Mandated?

As a picky eater, I have packed my lunch everyday for the last 13 years of my schooling. If I was told that I would no longer be allowed to bring my own lunch from home, I would be furious. Well according to CNN this is actually happening in a school in Chicago.

Monica Eng and Joel Hood of the Chicago Tribune report that a school on the city's West Side is prohibiting its students from bringing home-prepared lunches to school, unless they have a medical excuse or an allergy.Instead, the children at Little Village Academy, must either purchase lunch from the school's cafeteria, or opt to skip lunch entirely.

I feel this is an injustice, especially at the Little Village Academy. How can a school deny a student a lunch from home? What if the child is a picky eater, like myself, and does not like what the school is serving that day; the school actually expects that child to go a day without food even though they brought something from home?

Principal Elsa Carmona stands by the ban she set six years ago after seeing students pack "bottles of soda and flaming hot chips" for school field trips. Carmont touts the health benefits of the cafeteria's offerings - especially after the Chicago school system tightened its nutritional standards last year to include a greater offering of fiber, whole grains, more dark green and orange vegetables and reduce fat and sugar content.

While I agree the nutrition of school lunches needs to be increased, a school can not ban packed lunches. A child needs to eat and if that means bringing a lunch from home then that's the food that child should be allowed to eat. The mere idea to ban packed lunches just seems way too extreme to me.

High School Competition Squad of the Week

Kamehameha 2010 Varsity Competition Squad

This varsity squad received 1st place in the medium varsity division at the UCA National Competition in Orlando, Florida. This squad starts out very strong in this routine which is why I chose them this week. They start off this routine with a team standing back-handspring, tuck and then go right into a four-in-a-row jump sequence. However, this squad wasn't finished after that amazing showing. Then in their cheer they used pretty much only single based stunts. Lots and lots of single based stunts, which are very difficult for an all girls team to pull off. All in all this is another amazing high school squad, who definitely deserved their first place finish.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Yoga Moves To Tone Your Entire Body

Everyone has that one trouble area they've been trying to tone and trim for years. Thanks to this routine created by Mark Blanchard, the Los Angeles based man behind the popular True Power Yoga DVDs, follow this 25-minute sequence 4 times per week, and in 3 weeks you’ll be much firmer all over.

Start With This: Stand tall with feet together, equal weight on both your feet, arms by sides. Inhale and exhale through your nose 5 times.
To Stretch Your Back And Legs: Inhale as you reach your hands up toward the sky, then exhale and bend at the waist to fold over your legs, reaching toward the ground (hold your calves, if it feels comfortable; shown). Hold for 5 breaths, concentrating on lifting your quadriceps (don’t lock your knees) and letting your upper body hang
To Get Rid Of That Muffin Top: Exhale as you put hands on the ground (bend your knees, if you need to), and walk your feet back to Plank position (shown here). Your feet should be hip-width apart, with your hands directly under your shoulders. Keep your belly firm and hips lifted as you press through your heels. Hold for 5 breaths.
To Tone Arms And Thighs: Inhale as you bend your arms to lower to Low Plank position. Hold for 1 breath.
To Tone Your Back: Exhale as you lower your body to the mat, with hands still under your shoulders and the tops of your feet on the mat. Inhale as you press up through your hands to Upward-Facing Dog, lifting your knees if you’re able (shown at right). Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears, chest open, and fingers spread. Hold for 3 breaths.
To Stretch Your Back And Legs: Inhale as you tuck your toes and push back up into Low Plank, then exhale as you lift your hips and thighs and straighten your arms (don’t lock your elbows), moving into Downward-Facing Dog position (shown). Keep your hips lifted high as you press your heels down. Hold for 5 breaths.
To Tone Your Hips: Keeping your hips square, inhale as you lift your right leg back, then bend your knee and step your right foot forward. Come to standing with your left foot turned out 45 degrees and left heel centered behind your right foot. Face your hips forward and stretch down over your right leg, arms reaching down on either side of the leg. Bend your right knee to 90 degrees, and lift your arms up overhead (hips still facing forward) into Warrior 1 position. Hold for 1 breath.
To Tone Your Lower Abdominals: Inhale as you straighten your right knee, then exhale as you bend it again, twisting your torso toward the left and lowering your arms so that the right arm is straight out in front of you and your left arm is straight out behind you (shown to the right). Hold for 1 breath.
To Tone Your Thighs: Inhale as you straighten your right leg and hinge forward at the hip to come into Extended Triangle pose, bringing your right hand to your shin, ankle, or the floor and raising your left hand straight up into the air. Hold for 1 breath.
To Tone Those Love Handles: Keeping your legs strong and belly firm, inhale and reach both hands forward. Bend your right knee and reach your right shoulder toward it, then straighten your leg as you raise back up (shown to the right). Bend and straighten 2 more times, then turn your chest toward the ground and fold over your straight right leg; hold for 5 breaths. Inhale as you bend both knees, and return to Plank position. Hold for 1 breath. Do steps 3–10 on the left side, then repeat the whole series (steps 3–10 on each side) 2 more times.
To Tone Your Butt And Thighs: From Plank position, inhale as you step your right foot forward, followed by your left. Slowly rise halfway up, lifting your chest and bringing your arms overhead. Sink back into your hips (be sure to keep your knees behind your toes), as if sitting in a chair (shown). Keep your back straight, and tuck your tailbone. Hold for 10 breaths.
To Tone Your Back: Inhale as you slowly return to standing. Exhale as you wrap your hands around the top of your hips and butt with your thumbs at your tailbone. Lift your chest as you gently push your elbows back and in toward each other, bringing hips forward and arching your back. Hold for 5–10 breaths.
End With This: Release. Inhale as you reach your hands up toward the sky, then exhale and bend at the waist to fold over your legs (shown to the right). Hold for 3 breaths, letting your upper body hang like a rag doll.

Is The Grass Really Greener?

The grass is greener on the other side; we've all heard this popular saying, but is it really true. This week is tryout week for cheerleading at my school. Since I'll be graduating this year, instead of trying out I am helping teach the material. While I enjoy teaching dances and cheers, and coaching is a way that I can continue to cheer even after my cheerleading prime has passed me; I would not say that the grass is greener on this side. I would much rather be on of the cheerleaders than the coach in charge. Even though coaching lets me be a part of the sport it doesn't let me participate in the sport, and that's the major reason the grass is actually a little water deprived and starting to shrivel on the other side. After all these uneasy thoughts of having to someday stop doing what I love, I keep getting more and more excited and anxious for the week of Big 33 and to start cheering in college. June 11, the first day of the Big 33, can not come fast enough.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

High School Competition Squad of the Week

North Laurel Middle School 2011 Competition Squad

I know that I usually look at high school squads, but what would a good high school squad be without an amazing junior high program. Well North Laurel has an amazing middle school squad. This group of 12 to 14 year olds are pulling off stunts and tumbling passes that most high school squads can't master. With this routine they were named the 2011 UCA Large Junior High National Champions. This win was their third consecutive NHSCC Large Junior High National Championship.

Friday, April 1, 2011

American Diets Not Working? Try One From France

As obesity becomes more and more of a problem in America, many people are setting out to live a healthier life. And with that healthier life style, Americans are also hoping to shed a few pounds along the way. Well a French diet that has been around for almost 70 years maybe be the solution.

Pierre Dukan has been called the Dr. Atkins of France. Well over a million people there have tried the 69-year-old doctor’s program, a method that promises — like countless diets before and since — no hunger, no calorie counting, instant weight loss and lifelong weight maintenance. The original Dukan diet book sold 3.5 million copies in French and has been translated into 14 languages. Next month, the diet will make its American debut when Crown Publishing rolls out the North American edition of “The Dukan Diet,” its cover featuring a plate with two Eiffel Towers and the words, “The Real Reason the French Stay Thin.”
The diet’s high-protein, low-fat approach is organized into four phases, the first of which encourages dieters to eat as much as they want of non-fatty, protein-rich foods, including oat bran — a key component — washed down with oceans of water. The second stage introduces vegetables, but no fruit; the third brings with it two slices of bread, a serving of cheese and fruit and two servings of carbohydrates a day, with two weekly “celebration” meals with wine and dessert (the diet is French, after all); and the final stage — six days a week of “anything goes” and one day of reversion to strict stage one.
To learn more, read the full report, “Warmed-Over Atkins? Don’t Tell the French,”. However, if you want to know the secrets and specifics behind this diet you're going to have to wait a month to read the book. Maybe you should call Barns&Nobles and pre-order it now, before they're all sold out.

New to the UCA Summer Camp

As a high school cheerleader, one of my favorite events of the season is going away to summer camp. Since my parents don't like to travel, camp was always sort of a vacation for me. Now that spring is approaching and it's time to say goodbye to an old squad and hello to a new one. Because I'm graduating I will no longer be going to summer camp but for all the underclassmen on my old squad, this year at camp will be a little different.

New this summer, UCA will be offering new programs at camp including a new and improved UCA Game Time and Fan Frenzy Day, Champions on the Field and UCA Summer Nights.

Our new and improved UCA Game Time & Fan Frenzy Day includes pre-game ideas, cheers, and choreography to keep pep rallies and school traditions fresh and energized. Squads will also learn offense, defense, and general sidelines with fun contests and optional Fight Song. For attending camp, each squad will take home a play-by-play booklet and planning worksheets.

During the review relay on the final day, UCA will introduce a new program called "Champions on the Field." This is your time to showcase what you’ve learned at summer camp. Squads will collect ribbons for knowledge and speed of performing stunts and material. All squad members participate in this fun activity.

Also new this year, there will a Beach Bash Pep Rally on the second night of camp! Enjoy UCA staff and coach performances, team relay races, hula hoop contest, limbo, staff lip sync, and more! Rally ends with a Beach Club Dance Party!

For more information on UCA camps visit the Camp page. To search or register for a UCA Summer Camp visit the Online Camp Search page.