Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cupcakes & Childbirth: A Pinterest Story

I find Pinterest to be the great escape. In a bad mood at work? Spend five minutes on Pinterest looking at beautiful bathroom designs for a house you don't have or exotic vacation destinations for a trip you're not planning and, boom! Instant happy mood. It's the internet version of daydreaming and the great American pastime of lusting after material things you don't need and can't afford. I quickly scan past the overly dramatic life lesson quotes, and the "10 Tips for Throwing a Beautiful Backyard Soiree" and "How to Make your Own Laundry Detergent" pins. Those just make me feel inadequate or annoyed. WHO makes their own laundry detergent and WHY?

Much of my Pinterest scanning these days involves wedding planning. Most of my plans are done, but I only get to do this once. So I'm going to look at every darn wedding pin I can before I get married. Sorry I'm not sorry.

In the midst of bouquets and centerpieces, I'll pin a cupcake recipe (that I'll probably never try) that gets repinned a dozen times. By the way, mediocre dessert recipes will always get repinned 10 times more than that really unique thing you found and were really proud of, guaranteed. Not that this is a competition or anything, but you know what I mean.

And then as I scan past the outfit-I've-seen-repinned-400-times pin and a few thigh-trimming workout pins (don't you wish those worked?), I'll see pins from my mom-to-be friends about having and raising children. Out of curiosity about what I may be facing in the future, I click on them. Sometime later I look up and it's midnight, and I realize I've been reading about childbirth for the last 45 minutes. Why do I suddenly know so much about contractions?!

As someone who likes to do research and be prepared, I am just going to consider this curiosity and weird habit a good thing. If this translates in any way like my wedding planning habits, it may actually serve me well in the future. I had been making mental wedding notes for a few years before I got engaged. I wasn't doing it in a pathetic, pining away manner, but rather as a sensible planner, because I am practical to a fault. In my head I already knew what venue, photographer, and bakery I wanted for my big day...even what song I wanted to walk down the aisle to. And guess what, I'm using every single one of those. Sure saved myself a lot of time.

Unfortunately babies and children are much more unpredictable and difficult than choosing a wedding band or a cake flavor. But that's even more of an argument to read those pins about kids every once and awhile, even though they aren't in my plans for a few years. And thank you to my friends who are doing the baby thing before me. By the time it's my turn, you all will be experts and I won't even need Pinterest. You'll just be able to tell me how it's done. So take good notes!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Five X

Like summer in a cup! So, SO good. I get the unsweet version, but the strawberry puree adds a little sweetness and a lot of deliciousness.

The company that makes this, Freeman, claims it is the "TRUE original dry shampoo." I have no idea if it is, but either way, it works darn well. It's the first dry shampoo spray I've tried that is not sticky. It has a coconut-y smell and comes out almost like powder. It definitely gives you some volume.

I am a sucker for baseball caps. For all you LTB enthusiasts, Pure Barre just came out with this, and it's super cute. It also comes in red.

Designed by Anna Sudit

Between crazy schedules, snoring and other disturbances, this is definitely becoming more common and some are even advocating couples sleep in separate beds.

College Colors Day is next Friday, August 29th. You have one week to plan your attire!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ice Bucket Challenge: No, it's not just a silly viral video craze

Working in news, we cover many worthy causes, but some just really touch your heart. About a year and a half ago, I had to opportunity to interview Suncoast resident Kevin Swan, who has ALS. He started A Life Story Foundation and was on our noon show to promote an upcoming event. It's one of those interviews I've never forgotten and think about frequently.  This horrible disease robs people of their lives way too quickly and much too painfully. Kevin's resilience and determination are an inspiration to me.

Enter the Ice Bucket Challenge. When I was nominated for the challenge, I immediately knew this was a cause I would willingly support. People have been complaining about the challenge on social media, and I get that, because viral video trends annoy me as much as the next person. But this is more than that. Unlike the "Happy" and "Harlem Shake" videos, these dump-a-bucket-of-ice-water-on-your-head videos are actually doing a lot of good. So far the challenge has raised more than $22.9 million for the ALS Association, compared to just $1.8 million during the same period last year. And you don't even have to listen to an overplayed song or watch bad dancing.

 Before: Nice and dry!

In reference to my last blog post, people LOVE to complain about EVERYTHING. Even if you are raising money for charity, people will complain about it. After I took the challenge, some viewers started writing into the station saying it was pointless and we weren't helping anyone by doing this, even though I mentioned many times that I and several others were making donations. Some complained we were wasting water and should think about the drought in California...even though this was done in Florida. I've read several other articles bashing the challenge for various reasons. Some are quite laughable.

After: And I still had to anchor the 11 p.m. news!

But people, the numbers don't lie! In addition to a lot of money, this crazy phenomenon has raised awareness for a disease many may not know about or fully understand. And that is priceless. When you get everyone from Bill Gates to Lady Gaga involved, you know there's been a widespread impact. So cheers to everyone who completed the Ice Bucket Challenge and donated to the ALS Association and other ALS-affiliated organizations. Thank you to DD Dunn for challenging me and to the viewers who wrote in kind and supportive words, including those who called the station inquiring about making donations. You rock!

(By the way, my Suncoast friends will appreciate this: While I was doing some research, I found a Time article that explains the Ice Bucket Challenge had its very early humble beginnings in Sarasota. Read more about that and how the challenge evolved here.)


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Join me in the 10-Day Gratitude Challenge!

 Graphic via Huffington Post

In the grand scheme of life, I feel immensely blessed and grateful. I'm often in awe of both the things I have circumstantially received and those I have worked to achieve. Of all the suffering and hardship in the world, how did I get so lucky? But on a day-to-day basis, I'm not nearly as successful at being thankful for the small things. Too often I fall into the trap of feeling like life is: Wake up, work, repeat. But studies continue to show expressing gratitude can make our lives happier, healthier and less-stressful. Amen!

I saw on Twitter that Huffington Post GPS for the Soul Editor Lindsay Holmes has invited people to join her in a 10-Day Gratitude Challenge. I love a challenge and I'm allergic to quitting, so I am most certain I will complete this! The task is to write down three things you are thankful for every day. Definitely doable! Not only is being grateful good for your health, but research shows the act of journaling your gratitude can up your wellness quotient. It trains us to focus more on the positive, since scientifically our brains are wired to fixate more on the negative. Apparently positive emotions don't transfer as easily to long-term memory. Read more about this here; it's really fascinating!

In addition to your journal, you can also share some of your thankful thoughts on Twitter with the hashtag #IAmGrateful.  I will report back at the end of the challenge with all of the things for which I'm thankful. Who else is in?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Shake Dem Haters Off

TV isn't all that glamorous

People in the public eye have always been subject to criticism. But in the world of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., that is multiplied by 100. It seems the new American pastime is cutting others down, and doing so on a public forum. It's unbelievable how many people delight in other people's failures. I understand that by putting yourself out there, you are willingly subjecting yourself to critics, it comes with the territory, it's part of the job description. But that doesn't make condescending comments hurt any less. I know it's hard to feel bad for celebrities who make millions of dollars and live a privileged life, but at the end of the day, they're just humans with feelings. I'm far from a celebrity and have a very un-Hollywood salary, but even working in local news leaves me vulnerable to the wrath of haters. I must admit the positive comments I receive  far outpace the negative ones, but somehow, the bad ones seem to carry more weight.

These are excerpts from actual emails from viewers. Some were sent to the entire newsroom:

"Haley (sic) may have great credentials but not on screen. We have been watching ABC for 7 yrs since we moved to Sarasota. We have seen many morning anchors come and go. She is one that needs to go. Nothing personal, she just isn't interesting to watch and she waves her hands WAY too much when she talks."

"...Hayley whines...she should take a good look in the mirror and we hope she goes back to Texas."

"Please stop waving your hand around."

But luckily, I get more emails that read like this:

"Just a quick note to let you know how much of a positive nature you have brought to the station since you have arrived."

"Thank you for having Hayley Wielgus on the six o'clock news. She adds such class and professionalism to the evening news."

"While visiting your area sometime ago, I happened to see your broadcast and not only was I delighted by your elegance and charm, but also by your excellent reporting and consummate professionalism in telling your stories. You made my day."      

There wasn't a particular recent incident that sparked me to write this post, but it's something I think about from time to time. Being on the receiving end of criticism has certainly made me think twice before judging others and has completely stopped me from ever writing a "mean tweet." I know it's not kind to talk about others behind their backs, but trust me, if a viewer is watching the news and doesn't like my clothing choice, I'd much rather that person tell his or her family member that instead of writing me a hateful email.

Understand that people on television have the same struggles everyone else has. Sometimes we're tired, sometimes we don't feel well, sometimes (GASP) we wear one of our less-than-fabulous outfits. Sometimes our scripts have errors we didn't catch, sometimes we stumble over our words, sometimes we practice pronouncing a foreign name 100 times and it still comes out wrong on air. Sorry. And since many of us don't have anyone doing our hair or makeup, sometimes we have bad hair days. If I'm having a bad hair day, believe me, I already know that. You don't have to email me. 

However, I do appreciate when viewers email me with corrections. I commend those who take the time to send me nicely-worded note about a mistake I made on air. I take pride in accuracy, so if I screw up, I would like to know, so I can get it right the next time.

It all boils down to those old cliches: It's not what you say but how you say it. Think before you speak. If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

And to those who have written me a complimentary note or come up to in me in person with kind words, THANK YOU. It means more than you know.