The power of music

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Music, an everyday concept that we often take for granted. It is everywhere, all around us, and we’re often not even aware of it anymore. Yet, it is the one thing that connects us as human beings. Like Hans Christian Andersen once cleverly pointed out: “where words fail, music speaks.”

Music is a form of language that is commonly understood by every human being on the globe.

  • It brings joy, comfort and liveliness into the world.
  • It can communicate emotions like no other.
  • It can create mutual understanding between people from different social backgrounds, ethnicities and social classes.

Music inspires. That, to me, is the true beauty of it.

To celebrate this form of art and to encourage amateur and professional musicians to step out of their comfort zone and perform in public areas all over the world, Fête de la Musique (World Music Day) has been introduced.

World Music Day - June 21Over 108 countries and 726 cities around the world yearly participate on 21st June and offer free concerts and music events in streets, parks, squares, public and commercial buildings. It is the perfect way to get together and to enjoy music styles of all sorts. At the same time, it promotes the connection between city centers and rural areas, not leaving anyone out.

For amateur musicians Fête de la Musique is the perfect opportunity to reach out and let other people hear what they have to offer. Even for professional musicians it is a great chance to get a feeling of what it is like to perform in front of a different backdrop than the usual concert hall. The events during this day also promote the encounter and exchange between amateur and professional musicians.

And I just had to show you this example. A flashmob in the Copenhagen metro that I saw recently.

Fête de la Musique was established by the French Minister of Culture, Jack Lang, in 1982. He discovered in a study on the cultural habits of the French, that five million people (one child out of two) played a musical instrument. This was the beginning of his dream to bring these people out on the streets and make music accessible to everyone. And it obviously worked! Starting in France, the event soon spread out across the world and still gets picked up by new countries every year. If that isn’t an indication that music is important, I honestly don’t know what is.

To see where Fête de la Musique is celebrated in your area (and how you can participate), visit their website!

Comment below and tell us what music means to you!

- Maaike (UDI Research Assistant)

Josh Dallas NAHS charity fundraiser

Hello Ugly Ducklings. 

Today’s post is dedicated to our great friends, partners, and favorite people from the Charming Angels community and the fans and admirers of actor Josh Dallas from the tv show Once Upon a Time.

Last year we united forces for our first charity competition, where we had the support of these wonderful people. With their help, we raised $600 for Mental Fitness Inc!

Now, we want to help them spread the word on their new campaign in favor of Josh Dallas’ high school’s theater department.

They’ll do a series of raffles starting on June 9th and you only need to donate a small amount of money to participate and get a chance to win one of these!!!

Josh Dallas Charity Drive

Item from Lot 1 – Novel signed by Josh

Josh Dallas Charity Drive

Item from Lot 2. Complete Season 1 DVD signed twice by Josh

Make sure you read all the instructions over at their website: Josh Dallas NAHS Theater Dept. Charity Drive.

If you can’t donate money, then there’s something that’s free and super easy to do: tell others about this, so more people can help and support this great cause.

Stay awesome Ugly Ducklings. And thank you!

Swan Out,
- Marie

30 days of hope project

JUNE is HERE! That means that #30DaysOfHope begins now!

Ugly Ducklings, we know that through this community we have helped, support and encourage lots of people, and both our lives as well as theirs have been touched by the positivity and the advice that we post here.

Two of our dear friends from when we got this movement going, Zachery, and Amy  -who are part of the Once Upon a Fan website- came to us to get this thing going. What better way to bring each other up than with #30DaysOfHope? 

So come! Don’t miss this for the world! Remember to follow us on Twitter, @UDucklingsInc, as well as @TheZachVan, and @Amylia403

30 Days of Hope

Skin Cancer Awareness month

get your moles checked to prevent skin cancerWhen people hear the word cancer they can’t help but feel a little scared.

Even if they haven’t suffered from it themselves the chances of knowing someone who is living with or has died from cancer are big.

People do a lot of things to help others and to protect themselves: they raise money for cancer research organizations, they do self-examinations of their body, they get vaccinations, but what about the little things like,

  • Not staying out in the sun for long periods of time between 10am and 4pm
  • Avoiding getting a tan, and UV tanning booths
  • Maybe just remembering to use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually and each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of other commont types like breast cancer.

It is said that one in five Americans will develop it in the course of a lifetime. So, why aren’t people doing everything in their power to stay safe during the sunny days?

Because they want to hide their natural pale skin.

They go through desperate -and dangerous- actions to get what they want without thinking twice about the risks. But why do they so desperately want a tan? Having a tan isn’t something society has brought on.

Yes, people who go get a tan might have gotten inspired by seeing a specific celebrity and want to get it themselves, but in style, there’s nothing that says you have to have either a tanned or paled skin.

Both are in style.

Melanoma

Jennifer Morrison, moles removedIn November 2011, actress Jennifer Morrison did an interview with US Magazine called “25 Things You Don’t Know About Me: Jennifer Morrison”. Most of them were fun facts about her, but number 22 was more serious.

“22. I have seven scars from having moles removed.
One was a melanoma, six were precancerous. Get your moles checked!”

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and these cancerous growths develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations (genetic defects) that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.

Continue reading

It’s International Day Against Homophobia

Be true to yourself What better way to be part of this important day than with an interview with these girls?

The road to equality is still a rocky one but if we all keep talking about respect, and tolerance, we may gain some extra yards quicker.

We had the amazing chance to chat with actress Andrea Verdura, and her beautiful girlfriend, Angela, who talked to us about being gay, finding true love, and most importantly being true to yourself.

Here’s our pop quiz part of the interview (and just wait until Andrea gives us a surprise when she answers what her favorite fairy tale is!)

And, for our second part of the interview, here are some of the things they had to say…

  • People never think that being heterosexual is a phase.
  • Straight men make comments like they think they can change you.
  • Any kind of change starts closest to us and then it spans outward.

Their advice, their outlook towards life, and their future projects just made us forget that homophobia even exists! Let’s keep in our minds that we can also make part of the change, ugly ducklings.

Leave us a comment and tell us what you loved the most about our chat. And if you seek any kind of support from the LGBT community, you can check our Resources page.

Until next time Ugly Ducklings…
- Swan Out!

I am an introverted person, and it’s okay

Introversion. A strength, not a weakness

In honor of May being Self-Discovery month, I wanted to share a recent discovery that I made about myself.

I’ve never been a very social person. Most of you might not know this, but I am a very quiet person. I’ve been this way my entire life, and it’s not that I’m shy or depressed or antisocial, I just prefer not to talk. I’m more of a listen-and-observe kind of girl.

Growing up I was always made fun of for being quiet. From 5th grade all through high school, I was labeled as “quiet girl”.

About introverted peopleI was always looked at differently just because I didn’t like talking. I lost the majority of my friends, because they thought it was un-cool to hang out with someone who didn’t talk or initiate conversation.

Everyone that I knew, including my family made it seem like being quiet was a bad thing. Not once in my life, including today, has a person told me that it was okay to be quiet, that it was okay to be me.

I started believing what everyone said. I thought for the longest time that something was wrong with me, that not being talkative was bad, I thought that maybe I would just snap out of it one day, but it never came.

Then, a few weeks ago, I made one of the most empowering discoveries about myself that I’ve ever made.

I was on Pinterest, I was looking at a bunch of inspirational quotes when I noticed one that really hit me hard. The quote was talking about Introverts.

Fact about an introvert person

I was completely moved, yet confused when I read this. How was being quiet an art? I always thought that being quiet was a bad thing. I wanted to know more, so I began researching and looking up more quotes.

I started with looking up the definition.

What are introvert people like?

Introverts (for those who don’t know) are people, who are very quiet and reserved. They are more interested in self-knowledge or self-understanding. Instead of going to a big social gathering they would prefer to stay at home and read a good book.

I couldn’t believe what I was reading, I felt like I had a disease my entire life and I was finally finding out what it was. This one sentence had described my entire life.

This glimmer of hope began to build in me, at realizing that I was not alone.

Famous people who are introverts

I also discovered that many of the world’s most famous and greatest people were introverts.

  • Albert Einstein
  • Steve Jobs
  • Emma Watson
  • Audrey Hepburn
  • Warren Buffett
  • Rosa Parks
  • J.K. Rowling
  • Ingrid Bergman

Here are some more famous people who are introverts.

Continue reading

Recovering from alcoholism, and an eating disorder

Sitting ducks with Robyn Cruze

April is about to end, and besides raising awareness on autism, sexual assault prevention, and child abuse prevention, it is also the time of the year when organizations around the world want to remind people of the danger and damage that alcohol has on a person and their families.

Ugly Ducklings Inc is truly proud to present this podcast, where we talked to Robyn Cruze, who might not ring any bells to many of you, but, when you listen to her you can see the superhero that’s inside her.

Some of the strinking things that she mentioned are:

  • “When my mom told us she was going to die my whole world came undone (…) and I really felt like the eating disorder served that for a really long time”.
  • “I thought my feelings were going to kill me”.
  • “I was viewing my beauty through other people, and I just did not measure up”.
  • “My eating disorder had many phases. It had multiple personalities”. 
  • “When people started calling me ‘Robyn blobbin’ I immedately understood that my body was betraying me, so I went into restriction”.
  • “When we want to start recovery we really need to identify those people that are non-judgemental”.
  • “The more I shared my story with the people that I trust, the more support I got, the more encouragement I got”.
  • “When we can own our story, that’s when we find our purpose, and our passions“.
  • “I’m on the ground, in fetal position and my little girl Lily, she was 3, she came in and said to daddy: ‘Daddy, I think mommy needs a band-aid“.

Every word she said, every thought she shared with us was inspiring. And you can listen to it here:

There is hope. There is ALWAYS hope. 

Interview with singer, songwriter Kerrie Roberts

Sitting ducks with Kerrie Roberts

We sat down with Christian singer songwriter Kerrie Roberts a few nights ago and had the honor of sharing some of our time with this amazing artist.

Today she released her new single Come Back to Life and we actually dedicated part of our conversation to this beautiful, touching song. Also, keep reading because we are launching a new QuackNTest today!

We started with our already famous Swan Revealed questions:

We then moved on to talking about What Are You Afraid Of? and Come Back to Life, and we addressed the issue of suicide prevention and how important it is to keep talking about it and working towards stopping it. 

And in the last part of our chat, Kerrie confessed what has been the “Ugly Duckling story” behind her life story, telling us which have been the obstacles she’s faced and overcome in her career, as well as answering some of your questions!

Let us know in the comments below which was your favorite part of the interview, and don’t forget to participate on our latest QuackNTest!!

What are you afraid of? QuackNTest

In honour of our interview with Kerrie Roberts, we wanted to post a question to you all, dear ugly ducklings. What are YOU afraid of?

And better yet… what are you doing to overcome that fear?

Write us to let us… be creative! We want to know what you do to overcome fear – who inspires it? What steps do you take?

Send us your entries by May 4th! And here’s the best part… Kerrie is going to pick the winner!

Please limit your entries to 500 words (+ any visual aids you’d like to use!). Send it to uglyducklingsinc@gmail.com, and let us know if we can blog them!

Prize:Kerrie Prize Pack, including her CD Time for the Show

Thank you Kerrie for your time.

Keep spreading love Ugly Ducklings

Whole Life Challenge

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Hello Ugly Ducklings!

We are so excited to announce that we are going to be playing a really fun health and fitness game as a community called the Whole Life Challenge. It’s a game that measures your ability to see how much of a difference you can make in your body, fitness, and lifestyle habits over the course of eight weeks.

We invited crossfit guru Heather McKearnan of Crossfit Santa Fe to talk to us about the Whole Life Challenge so we can spread the word and so all you Ugly Ducklings can learn more about it and how to get involved! In our interview with Heather, she explains how the Whole Life Challenge got started and what exactly it is. Listen to the full interview below:

Doesn’t it sound amazing? I am personally pumped for the challenge – and I can’t wait to get an Ugly Duckling group started! If you are interested in signing up, click HERE to join our team (and remember, the price goes up this Friday April 25th, so be sure to join before then)! Once you’ve signed up, be sure to send us an email letting us know so we can all support each other!

We want to thank Heather for taking the time to come on and fill us in on this amazing opportunity to take control of our health, fitness and well-being. Check out our Swan Revealed with Heather to find out more about her below:

Have no doubt that if you join the challenge, you will get lots of support from many different sources (including Marie, Heather & I and the rest of our assistants and community!)

Would this really be a challenge without a bunch of people making countless excuses on why they can’t participate?! While you can rest-assured that this challenge is for anyone of any age and fitness level, we played “The Excuse Game” with Heather so she can speak to some of the things that might be going on in your minds right now! Check it out below:

Have no doubt that if you join the challenge, you will get lots of support from many different sources (including Marie, Heather & I and the rest of our assistants and community!) Check out the Undisputed Fitness website and click HERE to join the challenge! Let us know if you have any questions, or comment below and we will be sure to answer them!

 

swan out

 

 

 


Please read: At Ugly Ducklings, we are committed to promoting healthy lifestyles and the emotional well-being of everyone. We believe this challenge can be used as an effective tool in taking control of one’s life and use community, accountability and motivation to make difficult changes to your habits and lives. We in no way intend for this to be a triggering experience for anyone struggling with an eating disorder, disordered eating or any other physical or mental health issues. We strongly urge anyone who may be worried about this to consult their care team prior to joining the challenge: this challenge may not be appropriate for everyone, and we acknowledge that. Be sure to check out our resources page for more information about eating disorders and how to get help.

Sexual Assault Prevention Month

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This month is Sexual Assault Prevention Month and we wanted to ensure that we included dialogue about this important topic on our blog; over the next few days, we will be posting a few blogs, resources, etc, for Sexual Assault Prevention Month.

aloneWe wanted to start by sharing two blogs from The Manifest Station; we’ve shared Jennifer Pastiloff’s stuff before and recently, she featured an eye-opening story about sexual assault followed by a powerful essay regarding the culture we live in and women over-apologizing. We think all women should be aware of these things and feel empowered to take action to prevent them.

Please read both blogs below and comment, letting us know what you think (please take note of the trigger warnings at the top of each post).

Please also be sure to check out our Resources page to find help if you are struggling.