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10 Spring Break Staycations

By Cheyenne Baccary

Spring break is right around the corner! A week off from classes to do whatever you want! Well, almost… If you’re like me, you probably don’t have the money to take a trip to Cancun or Miami. But that’s okay! Because I compiled a list of ten Spring Break Staycation ideas that will make spring break at home feel like a real vacation.

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  1. Throw a Macaroni and Cheese Party

Invite all your friends to cook their favorite mac and cheese recipe or a recipe they’ve been wanting to try and have them bring it to the party. There are so many ways to make macaroni and cheese! You can stick with the classic or make a vegan version; the possibilities are endless! And who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese?! For more inspiration, check out this link to the Food Network’s website of 50 ways to make macaroni and cheese: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/articles/50-mac-and-cheese-recipes

  1. Go to a super fancy restaurant and just order dessert

You know that super fancy restaurant in your hometown everyone has been wanting to go to? Ordering a full meal can be pricey…so don’t! Just order the dessert! The dessert is the best part of a meal anyway. Plus, it gives you a reason to get all dressed up and go out with your friends. Not to mention that the dessert is amazing!

  1. Have a classic movie marathon

One of the things I love is classic movies. There is a certain magic and timelessness to them. If you haven’t had a chance to see any of the classics yet, this spring break is the perfect time to do so. Hint: Some of my favorites are Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Don’t Bother to Knock.

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  1. Volunteer

Find somewhere local to volunteer at. You could give blood or help an elderly neighbor clean their house. Whatever you can to do help someone in the community, do it! It will bring great joy to that person and bring joy to you for helping someone else. Also, if you make volunteering an ongoing thing, it looks really great on a resume.

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  1. Be a hometown tourist

Explore your hometown like you’re a tourist. Go to all the local museums and restaurants. Take selfies in front of local landmarks. Just go out and do all the things someone who isn’t from your town would do. Google things to do in your hometown beforehand; there may be attractions that you didn’t even know of!

  1. Binge watch Netflix

Whether it’s a show you’ve been wanting to start or a show you’ve been watching, spring break is the perfect time to binge watch. Chill out in your pajamas with your favorite snack and spend your spring break watching all six seasons of your favorite Netflix show.

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  1. Have a clothing swap

What better thing to do on spring break then to do some spring cleaning? Clean out your closet and invite all your friends to do the same. Then invite all your friends over and go through what each other no longer wants. Then- voila!- you and your friends have a whole new wardrobe all for free. Whatever is left over can be donated to a women’s shelter.

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  1. Go to a local pet shop and play with the animals

Playing with puppies and kittens!? Um, that sounds like the best spring break ever! Google your local pet shops and visit them all. Take pictures and post them to Facebook and help them find “furever” homes.

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  1. Do a DIY

DIYs can be a ton of fun! Search Pinterest for a DIY idea that interests you. It could be a dreamcatcher or homemade bath bombs. The possibilities are endless of what you can create.

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  1. Read Christ Centered Girls and Girlz 4 Christ Magazine

Spring issues are coming! Click here to get a free subscription to Girlz 4 Christ Magazine. The spring issue drops on March 20th and is jam-packed with fashion tips, volunteer projects, and other ideas to make your spring break the best ever.

And there you have it, some awesome fun spring break ideas from a Christ Centered Girls writer! If you try any of these make sure to take a picture and tag us on social media! We want to see how much fun you guys are having! Blessings!

 

 

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Taking My God for a Walk

If you check out the Winter 2016/17 issue of Girlz 4 Christ, you’ll find this review in our “Books for the Journey” article:

Our spiritual journey is an internal one. It doesn’t need a trail or driving directions. But sometimes, a physical journey reinforces the importance of a spiritual one. That’s what Tony Collins discovered. As a Christian book publisher from England, Tony decided to take a long-overdue Sabbatical. He chose to spend this time walking the Camino de Santiago: a 490-mile stretch starting in Southern France and reaching across Spain.

Along the way, Tony encounters people, sights, memories, pain, and new experiences. He documents much of this in this new, unique memoir.

Each chapter covers a day or two on this pilgrimage trail, originally created by Christians in the Middle Ages. Tony also documents the internal journey he had on the Camino, plus the adventures of staying in hostels, visiting dozens of small Spanish towns, and getting stuck in bad weather!


While reading this, you may just want to take a walk with God yourself!

Before I went to Europe in 2015, a family friend lent me a copy of “The Way”, a movie about the Camino in Spain. This was my first time hearing about this pilgrimage trail, but it certainly hasn’t been the last! During my pre-international-flight checkup, the nurse practitioner told me she was taking a month off to walk the Camino de Santiago. In Paris, I found the starting point for the longest route of the Camino. When I made it to La Alberca, Spain, I learned there was an offshoot of this trail going through the town, so it was a spontaneous privilege to be able to walk it. While volunteering at Pueblo Ingles, I learned that one of my fellow “Anglos” from Australia was walking the Camino after our week of volunteering. The Camino de Santiago isn’t exactly on my “bucket list” of adventures, but if I’m to thru-walk any trail, it will probably be this one!

Because of these small experiences in time related to the Camino, I was excited to find out that a Christian memoir was being published of a man’s experiences and memories on the trail. Taking My God for a Walk: A Publisher on a Pilgrimage is certainly an ideal armchair adventure! 

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Merry Christmas from Girlz 4 Christ

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21 KJV

Merry Christmas from all of us at Girlz 4 Christ Magazine!

We have a few Christmas gifts for you…

-We are giving away a copy of Girl Defined! Click here to enter. 

-Any year-end gifts to further the ministry of Girlz 4 Christ will be rewarded with a free copy of Girlz with Goalz. 

-If you don’t currently receive Girlz 4 Christ Magazine, we want to give you a free digital subscription! 

-Click the PureFlix image in the left sidebar to get a free month of movie and TV show screening.

-You’ll find even more just by poking around our social media and website, like deals on modest clothing, movies, and books. We even have resources for youth leaders and parents!

Thanks for a great year. We hope your celebration of Christ the Savior is filled with joy, peace, and love.

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How to Write for Magazines

So you wanna be a writer? I did too.

 

I grew up wanting to be a writer. When I was seventeen, I found writing guidelines for a magazine I enjoyed reading, as well as an article about how the magazine business works. I followed the guidelines, wrote an article, sent it in… and got rejected! But I didn’t give up. I expanded my reach, writing more articles for more publications. Several months later, I finally got to see my name in print. I was a writer!

I still freelance write for many publications to this day. Now that I am an editor, I am contacted by many teens who are following the same path I did at their age. Since I’ve seen both sides of the magazine industry, as both a writer and an editor, I’ve learned a lot over the past several years. I wanted to encourage these young people who are eager to write and get published, but also produce a professional magazine. If you follow these seven steps, you’ll be well on your way to providing editors with content they want to publish, regardless of how old you are when you decided “I want to be a writer!”

Step 1: Find Some Magazines to Write For
Make a list of magazines that focus on topics you’d be interested in writing about. You want to have several options, and at least some of them should be smaller publications. You can’t expect to have your article accepted into a major national publication, especially on your first try. You may need to do a web search to discover more magazines that you might have a writing interest in.

Get familiar with each publication on your list. Every publication has a unique style and voice that they would like their writers to have. Getting a description of the magazine’s style is not enough; you must read the magazines to get a true feel for their voice.

Many magazines have a sample issue found online. These can be helpful for getting a basic idea of the type of writing they use. It’s best to get a better understanding by reading different sections of the magazine in multiple issues. If you cannot buy the magazines, go to the library to see if they have any copies available. If they’re not at your library, check out a neighboring library. Although you may not be able to check out the magazines, anyone can stay in the library and read them for free. It’s even a common practice for some writers to thumb through an issue inside a bookstore! You could also try borrowing magazines from friends and family. The more recent issues you read, the better. Some magazines change their style over the years, so you want to stay up-to-date.


Step 2: Get Writing Guidelines
Before you get to step two, you should have checked out the websites and social media for all the magazines you want to write for, in an effort to familiarize yourself. Go back to their websites and look around for their writing guidelines. Sometimes, it’s in a tab in the page menu. Often, it’s located in the footer. It may even be hidden in the “About” or “Contact” page. There are times when the guidelines are not readily available online, but they provide instructions on how to obtain them. And there are times when they cannot be found at all. If that’s the case, look at all the contact options, and pick the e-mail address that you think has the best chance of getting a response in the appropriate manner. (The graphic designer won’t know what to tell you regarding writing. On the other hand, an editor-in-chief may lose your e-mail in the hundreds they receive every day, but a department editor can get back to you more easily.)

Some magazines offer a 10-page PDF that explains every last detail of what to write, down to want font to use and whether or not to use an Oxford comma. Other publications make it short and sweet, with nothing more than a word count and where to send the piece. Regardless, read these guidelines- multiple times! While some magazines can be forgiving about certain minor infractions, you don’t want to lose your opportunity to be published over something that could have easily been avoided.


Step 3: Craft Your Article
Once you know what’s expected from you as a writer, it’s time to be a writer and write! If you’re reading this in the first place, you probably enjoy writing because you already know the basics. So we won’t go over grammar and other rules here. However, if you do need some extra assistance with this, take a course or ask for help from a teacher or fellow writer.

Finish your article, and then check it against the writing guidelines. Is your piece within the proper word range? Is it broken down into subsections with appropriate headers? If the magazine requested a certain kind of formatting, did you do that? Do they need a bio line about you?

Also check your basic writing rules to make sure the piece reads clean and professionally. You may have a great point to make, but no one will ever be able to read it if the editor has a hard time finding it among misspellings and errors. For newcomers to the magazine industry, the title “editor” can be misleading. It is not their job to proofread your work; it’s yours. They are more focused on determining whether a piece is suitable for their publication, and possibly adding or cutting parts to better fit.

One major no-no that you don’t want your writing to get involved in is plagiarism. Never copy and paste words from the internet! Most websites have a hidden indicator that you probably never noticed, but an editor will be able to tell with this indicator that it has been copied. If you must use a direct quote, make it brief and include information on where you found it. Even with a research paper, the majority of the content should still be your original work.


Step 4: Submit 
If your article is crafted and final-drafted, get ready to send! In the writing guidelines, you may have found deadlines. Many magazines don’t have set deadlines since they continue to publish their magazine year-round and year after year. However, if your article is about current events or has a seasonal slant, or even if it adheres to a magazine issue’s theme, you’ll want to make sure you meet the intended deadline, and a few days early if possible. If there is no established deadline for seasonal material, make sure at least three months in advance.

Check back with the writing guidelines to see if the magazine wants a completed article or a query. A query generally means that they don’t want you to send more content than they have time to manage. Instead, you need to write them a convincing query letter that explains why your article would be ideal for their publication. You’ll only need to send the completed article if they write back asking for it.

If a query is not requested, then send the complete manuscript. But check the guidelines to see if they want you to e-mail the article as an attachment or in the body of the text. Some publications have submission forms on their website. There are even a few magazines still out there that only want to read what you send through snail mail!


Step 5: Practice Patience
After you hit that “send” button, you may hear back from the editor after a few minutes. But more than likely it will be several weeks, or maybe even months, before you hear anything back. Resist the urge to follow up on a daily basis. If the writing guidelines state how long it normally takes for the editors to get back to you, and it’s been longer than that, it may be okay to write a short note asking for the status. But be aware that in most cases, the only thing you’ll get back is a rejection notice. If they really want to use an article, they’ll take the initiative.

Know that getting a rejection letter is not a bad thing. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. In fact, in a lot of cases, the reason for rejection is because of something completely out of your control. They may have written everything in-house, or they may have had a lot of freelance writers who wrote for that particular need. You could even be rejected because the magazine is going out of business! Sure, there may be something you need to change about your article, but don’t automatically assume that it’s bad writing or that you shouldn’t be a writer. Even the best writers have been rejected. Think of it this way: you can only get a rejection letter if you’re a writer!

Whether you receive a rejection letter, or you’re still waiting on the verdict of your article, don’t spend this waiting time idly! Remember that list of publications you’d be interested in writing for? Look up writing guidelines for another one of those and keep yourself busy with a new piece. Realize that if you want to write full-time, you’ll probably be expected to create a new piece every work day. Professionals don’t wait around to hear back about their piece before they write another, and neither should you. You could even submit to the same publication if they have a new theme or deadline coming up.

Step 6: Follow Rules and Follow Up
It can be nerve-wracking to open up a response to your writing. There are several options of what could be inside: they want to use it, they don’t want to use it, or they need certain criteria to be met if they’re going to use it. Again, don’t get discouraged if they can’t use your piece at this time. But don’t respond back to them asking for reasons why they won’t use it, or if they know of a publication that will better appreciate it. Although you may occasionally get pointers, asking for them makes you come across as whiny and unprofessional. Editors are not your personal writing tutors. Just accept the fact that they won’t accept it and move on. Down the line, you may be able to work with them once you have more experience under your belt!

Sometimes you will get an acceptance on spec. This is especially common if you send a query instead of a finished piece, although you may also get this if they request certain edits from you. Writing on spec just means that they aren’t guaranteeing publication at this point. They’ll come to that decision later on. If they did request that you change some things, do so and return your piece in a timely manner. Don’t try to defend that your piece is perfect as-is; the editor knows what’s best for their publication. Virtually all work gets edited anyways, but in this case you just have the opportunity to provide some extra input!

If you get an acceptance notice, there will probably be some paperwork or some sort of agreement that follows. If you’re getting paid for this, you’ll have to provide personal information so that they can keep their bookkeeping and taxes accurate.


Step 7: See Your Name in Print
Congratulations! If you follow the above six steps, you’re a magazine writer! It will just be a bonus the day you get a copy of a magazine with your name inside.

That day may not come so quickly, though. If you write for a website publication, you may see fast results. But traditional media can take longer- sometimes more than a year. You already practiced patience, and now’s a time to use this skill in practice!

Sometimes, articles end up fitting better in a different issue, so it may not be published in the month you were expecting. When it does go into print, share it with your friends and family! They’ll get to read your work, and you’ll keep a good relationship with the magazine so that you can write for them again!

Now that you have a better idea of how the freelance writing process works, put it into action! How about writing an article for Girlz 4 Christ Magazine? (Start step 1 by signing up for a free subscription!)

If you’d like more personalized training for publication writing with a real magazine editor, consider taking Girlz 4 Christ’s course, “Writing for Publication“. This one-day class can accommodate groups of any size, and every participant will leave with a ready-to-submit article!

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The Christian’s Christmas Shopping Guide

It’s almost Christmas! While you keep an eye out for gifts to give to those you love, think about how these gifts can also share the love of Christ. This is a holiday to celebrate His birthday, after all! We’ve collected some suggestions that can fit everyone’s tastes and budgets.

Movies

Everyone loves a good movie. However, what you consider a “good” movie may not be what a friend or relative likes. And unless you take inventory of their movie collection, you may risk buying them a DVD that they already own. So what’s a girl to do?

Give them a video streaming subscription!

With a streaming service, the gift recipient can enjoy whichever movies and shows they want. If you give them a month-long or year-long subscription to PureFlix.com, you’ll give them more than just something to watch. You’ll give them access to wholesome and faith-based features! And just as a bonus, the first month is free!

Since you can’t really wrap up a streaming service, try giving the recipient an envelope filled with recommendations of films to stream. If you’re looking for godly suggestions, or even want to consider getting DVD copies, check out our picks for Christian movies and shows!

Books

Books are always a popular gift-giving option. We recommend getting a book for everyone on your shopping list. But at an average of 15-20 bucks a pop, this could easily overdraw your budget. Don’t overspend; use these ideas instead!

We can personally recommend Tyndale Rewards for those who want to stretch their dollars. When you sign up for this program, you have the opportunity to earn points by answering questions, reviewing books, and other simple, quick activities. After just a few minutes on this site, you’ll have enough points to redeem a Tyndale book or product!

If your gift recipient likes all things digital, then getting them an eBook may be convenient for them. Plus, eBooks often mean less of a cost for you! Did you know Girlz 4 Christ has eBooks? In fact, for a limited time, when you support Girlz 4 Christ with a gift of any size, we’ll send you a digital download of our latest book, Girlz with Goalz. This is a great book to jump-start your New Year’s plans.

For some suggestions on both hard copy and eBooks, check out our reading list!

Clothes

For a sister, mom, or bestie you know well, clothing can be a great gift. Buying clothes does mean that you need to be pretty familiar with their sizes and personal style preferences, so getting them something you know they’ll love really shows that you put a lot of thought into your gift.

Fashion can be fun, but don’t sacrifice trends for modesty! What you wear can reflect Christ in your life just as much as what you read or watch. For modest clothes, accessories, and other fashion items, check out this directory for gift ideas for any girl or woman!

Experiences

You know that the best things in life aren’t things. Why not give a few gifts that reflect that? You may still want some things you can wrap in paper or place in a stocking, but have those be representative of something even better.

We’ve already discussed movies and shows, but if you pair that along with a movie night with your family or friends, that could create an experience to remember! Instead of just giving a book, get the same book for yourself so you can form a book club and talk about what you’re reading. Even better, get yourself and your friends a subscription to Girlz 4 Christ Magazine. That’s a free gift that’s really invaluable! If you e-mail us, we can even send you a printable gift certificate to give to your friends for free!

A very memorable gift experience can come in the form of a gift card. Perhaps you can score Groupon tickets to a local attraction. Or you can get a gift card to the recipient’s favorite store and spend an afternoon shopping together. A gift certificate to a restaurant can be a special experience for anyone. Since we know gifts like these can easily get pricey, we have a plan to keep your costs down, and even get some of these gift certificates for free! If you join Swagbucks, you can get a rebate for all the shopping you do through them! You can also earn points through surveys, web searches, and other activities that will eventually land you free gift cards!

Need any other Christmas shopping ideas? Let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to help you!

In order to help us Christmas shop for our friends and family, we included a few affiliate links in this post. These won’t affect you in any way, but we do appreciate it when you use them!

 

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This One’s for the Parents

Here at Girlz 4 Christ, our main focus is to reach girls around the world in the name of Christ through positive and appropriate media material. But we know that this couldn’t be accomplished without the help of loving, caring, adult role models. I’m talking about the parents. (This includes the adults who have stepped in and taken a parental style of role for youth who need it!)

Girlz 4 Christ relies on these parents to spread the word about our free magazine subscriptions, and to keep this ministry funded. We interact on our Parentz 4 Christ Pinterest board and provide resources on our Parentz 4 Christ webpage. But now, we have a new resource to help you help your daughter navigate uncharted, terrifying territory: dating!

As the editor of Girlz 4 Christ Magazine, I had the opportunity to get involved in the blog tour for Daniel Anderson’s new book, The 10 Myths of Teen Dating. Regardless of your personal beliefs or family rules regarding dating, this is a must-read that can apply to all young adult relationships.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect these 10 myths to be. Would they just be the author’s personal opinions that ends up feeling like a list of dos and don’ts? I was pleased to find out that while each myth may be controversial, they are verifiable by both statistical data and Biblical truth. Each myth also builds upon the previous ones, which really ties the book together. From “If I Had a Boyfriend I Would Be Happy” to “Serial Dating and Living Together Will Help Me Stay Married”, these myths are counterbalanced by truth in a loving way.

Because I’m guessing that at least a few teenage girls will end up reading this review, I’d like to recommend that they read this book as well. While it is geared towards parents of teen girls, everyone could glean something from this book. I actually noticed at my local bookstore that they accidentally displayed this book in the teen section instead of on the parenting shelf, so I guess I’m not alone in this! The 10 Myths of Teen Dating was written primarily by high school teacher Daniel Anderson, but also includes pieces by his daughter, Jacquelyn Anderson. Getting the “younger” take from her perspective made each chapter well-rounded. Even if girls end up not reading this book, it could still make a good gift for a parent. I promise that this parenting book isn’t filled with strict suggestions that will make your life miserable; honestly!

Daniel Anderson’s experience as a parent, teacher, and mentor of teens shines through in each personal example he gives. This includes mistakes he’s made that we can learn from! Whether your daughter has never been on a date or has made a series of poor choices when it comes to boys, The 10 Myths of Teen Dating can pick up wherever your family is!

Note: Girlz 4 Christ was provided with a complimentary copy of this book in order for us to be able to give this honest review. 

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Final Preview: Girlz 4 Christ Summer 2016

The Summer 2016 issue of Girlz 4 Christ is coming Monday! And we’ve jam-packed it with so much to check out!
Meet two of our international readers, from Italy and Australia.

 Get the inside scoop on new book releases, including Life Just Got Real by Sadie Robertson.

 Get some tips on how to deal with those awkward moments, including some of the G4C staff’s most embarrassing stories!

 Enter to win a copy of Kimberly Rae’s book, Abnormal Results.

 Learn the good of going to see a counselor and what to expect with your first appointment.

 Meet Lauren Scruggs Kennedy, a Christian woman who isn’t letting a missing eye or arm stop her from moving up in the world of fashion journalism!

 Find out more about Duck Dynasty’s youngest married couple with our exclusive interview with John Luke and Mary Kate Robertson!

 Find out if you should watch the newest documentary on Netflix, Poverty, Inc.

But you can only get all this and more when you subscribe to Girlz 4 Christ Magazine. Subscriptions are 100% free, so there shouldn’t be anything stopping you from clicking here and signing up right now!

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Throwback Thursday: Our First Issue!

In the midst of celebrating five years of Girlz 4 Christ Magazine, we decided to take a look back to our very first issue. Wow, things sure have changed!

//e.issuu.com/embed.jsIf you liked this, you’ll LOVE our current and upcoming issues! They’re bigger, better, and jam-packed with even more for Christian girls around the world! Click here to get a free subscription!