Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Brett Manning

Photo by Catie Wilson

Brett Manning works hard during each lesson. He strives to help others accomplish their goals.

Brett Manning is one of the most amazing and sought after vocal coaches today. Brett has taught the likes of Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, and Keith Urban, just to name a few. Located in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee, Manning’s studio is constantly filled with aspiring artists and singers. Brett Manning Studios has grown to be one of the most credible vocal coaching studios out there. BMS has certified vocal coaches in Italy and Australia, as well as many cities across the United States. Brett created a method of teaching that used different sounds to help develop one’s vocal technique. In order to help as many people as possible, Manning developed a vocal program called Singing Success, that teaches and helps people better their craft, or even learn how to sing. It is filled with the different vocal exercises that he teaches to his students in Nashville.

Brett Manning has over 20 years of vocal experience. He was also a judge on the CMT music television reality show, "Can You Duet." Brett teaches students of all ages. Gabrielle Solair has been studying with Manning for 16 months. According to Solair there are many things that make his teaching style unique.

Photo By Catie Wilson

Gabrielle has gone from a singer to an artist, from her lessons with Brett Manning.

“ The way Brett has so much knowledge, and that he prepares you mentally for everything,” says Solair,“He tricks you into singing notes that you knew you couldn't hit. He is always positive and has patience when he is teaching. Brett's technique is fun. Brett makes singing more enjoyable”

Vocal coaching is simply put just the art of helping a singer better his or her craft. According to, “Singing teachers often have several different roles: helping students to prepare for examinations; assisting students in building up a repertoire of sheet music and backing tracks; working with groups in rehearsals prior to public performance; they can be involved in coaching individuals for a particular role in a play or musical.”

The majority of vocal coaches teach the exact same way. They cling to the piano scales and the "do re mi’s" to coach their students. Brett Manning’s approach is much different. Brett created a way to coach that is unlike any out there.

Manning travels to different cites and holds vocal training seniors to train voices and help diagnose the issues that today’s vocalists’ are having. Brett can hear a person sing and automatically diagnose what issues they are having with their voice. According to,, Brett would help the singer’s problem almost instantly.

“It could be a simple tilt of the head while leaning back on a certain note or phrase. It might be a vibrant, strong level of comfort while singing the mix. It could something as subtle as articulating consonants while singing so that words are better heard and understood.”

Brett has helped his students with more than just singing. He has helped teach some students how to write their own music. He has also made it easy for people as home to just go to his You Tube site and observe a lesson. According to, Brett has helped many people who do not have the opportunity to buy his tapes or come to Nashville to have a chance to learn his method of singing.

Brett in not just an amazing coach, but he is also a great performer himself. He has developed a six octave vocal rang that is quite impressive. He has made a huge impact on me personally. I have been studying with Brett Manning since July. He has become my writing mentor. He is in the process of teaching me how to coach. I would love to teach others how to sing. After watching him inspire so many people, it has just opened my eyes. It helped me see that people with a passion are willing to do the hard work that is necessary to make it. It would be so neat to help others accomplish their dreams.

Photo by Catie Wilson
Brett has created several vocal training programs.

Brett has become a true friend to me and Gabrielle. He has helped us to both develop our voices, and taught us to reach for the stars.

Brett explains why he wanted to be a vocal coach.

Brett names a few of the reasons why he loves his job.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Jeremiah Braudrick

Jeremiah Braudrick is not your typical youth pastor. Although he is different in many ways and has faced obstacles in the church, Jeremiah won everyone’s hearts. With a sleeve of tattoos on his arms, at first glance you would never guess he was the youth pastor at Bethany Free Will Baptist Church in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Jeremiah also has a background in the marines. He has seen first hand in Afghanistan how God can change a life. His love and passion for the youth ministry is so apparent when he speaks. He may not fit the mold of a youth pastor, but he does not let that get in the way of serving the Lord.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

SOP-Concrete Jungle

These photos were both taken from the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. To me they show not only the beauty of the city, but also the dreams that can come true here. It is such an enormous place, but it can make a girl feel so small. It is a place of unique diversity that brings people together.

Photo by Catie Wilson

Photo by Catie Wilson

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The P Word

Decisions, decisions, decisions. College is all about making the right decisions. It seems to be something that college students face from the moment they begin to apply for college up to the moment they graduate.
With all of the decision-making that occurs in the first few years of college, many students loose sight on many if the things that make them genuinely happy. Jason Rider, a former University of Oklahoma student knows about this first hand. Graduating with a degree in Journalism with a minor in Film Studies, Rider knew he wanted to find a way to make his major his own. While in college, he searched how to incorporate his passion for film into his live for writing about fashion. This according to Rider is what made his successful. Rider is now a fashion editor at the New York Times.
Photo by Catie Wilson
Jason Rider explains to a panel of OU students,who were visiting the New York Times,his past
experiences,and the steps he took to gain success.

In a discussion with OU students, Rider explained the importance of getting back to your roots and pulling out the things that you are truly passionate about.
Even professors are encouraging students to find their passion. Kathryn Jenson White, Journalism professor at the University of Oklahoma believes that your passion can help to get you an internship, or even land you a great job.
Kathryn Jenson White discusses the topic of passion with Jason Rider, a former OU student, who is now a fashion editor at the New York Times.

For women this can be extremely hard. As young women in this day and age, it can be difficult to pick out the things that make one unique. With all the pressures of this world it can be a tedious job to even find out what one’s passion is. Women tend to over think things and forget the things that make up who we are. However, finding something that makes feel excited to go to work and grow can be extremely important when determining one’s future.
This P word, or passion, is a thing that once you find out what it is, can change your life forever. It can make your working experience better than you ever thought. It can set your work apart from other employees. It may even help you score your dream job.
There are many ways to find your passion. You can make a list of all of your hobbies or interests and narrow the list down to the ones that you spend the most time partaking in. It can also help to talk with friends and family to get their views and opinions. It always helps to talk to others to learn about the things you may not see.
For more information on Jason Rider, check out his blog at,

Sunday, November 8, 2009

No Fear...Persevere

Photo by Catie Wilson
New York City is the city where dreams are made of, but many people have to work very hard to get there

One of the biggest fears of young women graduating from college is finding a job. With the way that the economy is today, this fear has grown substantially. Many women feel that since the economic crisis, that they will have a harder time finding a job.

Recently a group of Journalism and Public Relations students from the University of Oklahoma traveled to New York City to tour a few Magazine Companies.

One of the Magazines, Parents discussed the issues of finding a job upon graduating college.

The thing that made it interesting is that the panel from Parents Magazine was made up of all women. Each of which were very successful editors that have established many things. They understood how eager young college women felt when thinking about a job. They ladies from the magazine offered some very good advice to the OU students.

Photo by Catie Wilson

The Panel explained how important a resume was, while the OU students eagerly wrote down notes.

Jane Nussbaum, the Senior Editor at Parents explained that it is very important to find out what your passions are.

“When I am looking at a resume I want to see that they are passionate about something,” said Nussbaum, “It lets me see that they have a voice, whether it be in fashion, writing, or whatever.”

The panel also explained that it was crucial to be involved while in college. They explained that it could truly prepare you for the real world.

They also explained that people needed to be informed, and talk to people who have the career that you want. Each woman on the panel named a time that they shadowed someone, just to learn more about the profession.

The women at Parents were very encouraging and hopeful about the jobs for the students graduating this year. They explained that as long as you work hard and show that you are willing to do what it takes your future could be bright.

Work hard, persevere, and who knows maybe someday you will end up in New York like these ladies did.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Women Shaking Up the Work Force

Photo by Catie Wilson

After graduating college women have to make the decision to either settle down of join the work force. Some women want to do more than cook, do the dishes and change diapers.

Young women in college are constantly thinking about next big step they need to take to reach their future career. From trying to join all the right organizations, to perfecting her resume, and even trying to get an internship, women in college are always trying to take the steps they need to get their dream job.
Women have come a long way since the early days of women’s suffrage in the 1920’s and the women’s liberation movement in the 1960s.
Nearly half of the women in today’s workforce are women. That is quite and achievement. This is quite a change from just a generation ago. In 1967 women made up only one-third of all workers in it the workforce. Even though women have taken great strides to get to where they are today, there are still there are still many doors to knock down.
California first lady, Maria Shriver, is not only a very successful woman in her own right, but she also wants to do all that she can to help women. She wants to encourage women to She has worked vigorously to bring to light the areas that woman are still lacking when it comes to women equality. The Shriver Report is a study by Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress that in Shriver’s own words is a report that "Presents an accurate and detailed portrait of American women and families at this transformational moment in our history. ”
This is very encouraging for the young college women that are soon to be graduation from college. Entering the workforce can be challenging for just about anyone, but it seems that women may have a few more things to think about. In the Shriver Report, the idea is brought up that women just out of college are still having to decide rather to settle down and focus on starting a family, or to enter the workforce and put the other things on hold. This is still something that is on the minds of many women, rather they realize it now or not.
Shriver also looks at the difference in pay between men and women. It is surprising that in today’s society women continue to be paid 23 cents less than men for every dollar earned in the United States. According to the Shriver Report, nearly 4 in 10 mothers are primary breadwinners, bringing home the majority of the family’s earnings, and nearly two-thirds are breadwinners or co-breadwinners, bringing home at least a quarter of the family’s earnings. The report also looks at the positives aspects of being a woman in today’s society. Women today have the opportunity to hold a position of authority. There are many different jobs that a woman can choose from.
University of Oklahoma senior Candace Hudson is a public relations major. She is near the end of her college career, and is now thinking about the next milestone in her life.
“After reading the Shriver Report, I now have hope that I will be able to have a stable and fulfilling job,” said Hudson I feel that there are still obstacles that women have to overcome in the workforce. I am so happy to be a woman living in today’s society, but I there are times it can be frustrating."

Hudson explains her frustration with the double standards in society that women face today in the labor force.

For more information on the Shriver Report and Maria Shriver’s findings visit,

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

National Love Your Body Day

Photo by Catie Wilson
Many girls today look to fashion magazines to tell them what is beautiful. This has become very harmful for young women that measure their worth by the size of their waist.

In today’s society women are bombarded with images of pin-thin models, and air brushed photos of celebrities. It is hard to escape these images. It is easy to see how young women that is maturing and developing at this time can be insecure about her body. Many college age girls feel that the media has had a major impact on creating this type unrealistic beauty.

On September 25, 1998, thousands of women’s right activists took part in the first ever “Love Your Body Day”. The activists wanted to bring to light all of the harm that the images of women in the media have caused women in society, and to encourage women to celebrate and love their bodies.

The National Organization for Women Foundation organization is passionate about furthering women's rights through education and litigation. Affiliated with the National Organization for Women, the NOW Foundation since 1998, has worked year after year to help women embrace their bodies. They created the National Love Your Body day to challenge the practices of advertisers, and of the fashion and media industries.

Last Wednesday, October 21, 2009, people all over the United Stated took part in the 12th annual Love Your Body Day. The campaign that is pushing to get rid of all of these fake images, and for women to see what real beauty is has grown to be very successful.

Many women in colleges across the United States are struggling maintain a good and positive body image. That is one reason why so many have participated in the Love Your Body campaign. Having a positive body is difficult for women of all ages, but in particular the young women transitioning into adulthood.

It has been said time and again that women try to compete with each other. This can also play a huge role in the destruction of a young woman’s self image.

Elizabeth Vo, a junior at the University of Oklahoma believes that this peer pressure is what causes many issues for young college age women.

It seems that the NOW Foundations’ work is paying off. There are some brands, such as Dove that has tried to uncover the lies that the media has forced on society. It seems that that many young girls are growing up with this false idea of what is truly beautiful. It is important to show young girls growing up in today's society the importance of loving themselves the way they are.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Show Your Stress Whose Boss

Photo by Catie Wilson

Bills can be on of the biggest stressors of young women in college. Bills on on top of

homework can be overwhelming.

Stress is something that we all have to learn to cope with. No matter where you are in life, whether you are twenty-one or sixty-one, you have stress. Men and women have many of the same stressors, but there are also many different ones as well. They also handle stress in different ways. For men stress is just another thing they can conquer. For women stress can really influence almost every part of her life.

The stress of a young college student can be very excruciating. From the numerous papers, to painful midterms and finals, the stress seems to be never ending. Not to mention all of the stressors outside of school. This stage in life can weigh heavy on a young woman. Many young ladies feel so overwhelmed with college life, that it could cause them to withdraw from others, isolate themselves. Learning to juggle schoolwork, a job, and a social life can be challenging.

What are we supposed to do with this stress? Do we let it all build up sending us to a depressed state, or do we learn how to deal with it?

Some girls like to treat themselves to something relaxing in times of stress. That is the case for college junior Briana Fagan, who is majoring in Biology and a minor in Chemistry.

“The way I deal with stress is by pampering myself every now and then,” said Fagan. “ I love pedicures, or even just making time for friends to get away for a few hours. That is my favorite stress reliever.”

In high school we experience stress, but it seems that in college the stress is on a whole other level. One must take on other responsibilities such as having a job and paying bills. Paying the bills is something that can terrify any young girl. There is always that fear of not making the payment on time. Many girls in college find this to be more of a stress stimulator than the schoolwork. Many dread having to make all of the big decisions such as choosing a major, choosing a roommate.

“ I think I'm more stressed now in college,” said Fagan. “ I understand what I'm working towards and what a bad grade can do to my GPA which directly effects my future. I also worry about how I am going to pay the bill that is lying on my kitchen table. ”

It should not be too surprising to find that many college girls think that having friends to relate with, and that they can vent to, can help ease stress. It helps to have others that know what you are going through and can relate.

Life can be full of joyous times. It may be unpredictable, and you may not always be able to understand it. Stress is going to happen, but if you learn how you deal with stress best, it can be just a little bump in the road. We all have those times where we just want to crawl under a rock and hide. Women are strong and capable of anything. Look stress in the eyes, and show it whose boss.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Think Pink

Breast Cancer is something that all young women should be educated about. Understanding and making sense of the disease can be overwhelming and confusing. October is the National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Even though women should get checked throughout the year, the month of October is used for making others aware of Breast Cancer, what is actually is, and how to possibly prevent it. October is also when many companies and organizations try to raise money for Breast Cancer research.

Photo by Catie Wilson

Susan G. Komen for a Cure, is an organization that was started in 1982 and has played a major role fight against breast cancer, From making people aware, changing how they talk about and treat this disease and helping to turn millions of breast cancer patients into breast cancer survivors. Komen for a Cure has had many victories. The Komen Race for a Cure is one example of how this organization has helped in the advancement of breast cancer awareness.

This is a time for young college age women to become aware of how breast cancer could affect them. It is a time to learn the facts and the risks about this disease. According to the Komen for a Cure organization, a young woman should have a clinical breast exam at least every three years starting at 20, and every year starting at 40.

Many organizations such as churches, universities, and even local business are trying to help get people involved and active in the fight to cure breast cancer. Whether it is by sponsoring a team in the Race for a Cure, or holding their own fundraiser, people are trying to raise money for research.

One type of fundraiser that is aimed toward young women is a Scrapbooking event called, ScrapPink. Bethany Free Will Baptist Church in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma has held their all-day scrapbook event for the last 3 years, with proceeds benefiting the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.

With just a twenty-five dollar cover charge, the women can scrapbook from nine in the morning until nine in the evening. There are a variety of local vendors that have booths with various craft items, including any scrapbook supply needs that they may have during the day. It is a time to raise money for breast cancer, while participating in their favorite hobby.

Camille Gniech, a member of Bethany Free Will Baptist Church, started ScrapPink in memory of her mother that past away from Breast Cancer.

“I want to raise money for research,” said Gniech, “I feel that scrapbooking is a good way for women to play a part in the fundraising. It is something that many women love to do.”

Photo by Catie Wilson

There are several other ways to get involved in the fight against breast cancer. To check out what is happening near you go to

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Shop Til' You Drop

Last Wednesday, the student union at the University of Oklahoma held a warehouse sale containing some of the hottest labels around. It was a college girl’s happy place. From jeans to coats, the sale had it all.

photo by Catie Wilson

Held for one day only, the sale brought in a huge variety of clothing, jewelry, shoes, and handbags from several vendors such as Urban Outfitters and North Face, just to name a few.

Photo by Catie Wilson

According to some of the girls at the sale, it was worth missing class over. With prices that were slashed down nearly half the original price, it could bring a smile to any girl’s face.

OU junior, Whitney Ortega was one of the many females rummaging through the racks of clothes.

“I am a college student, so I don’t have much extra cash to just spend on clothes,” said Ortega, “When I saw how much these clothes were on sale for, I knew I could afford it.”

Ortega, like many young independent college girls, works hard for her money.

“I work three jobs, and I have to make good grades to keep my scholarship, so any sale like this is amazing,” said Ortega.

Photo by Catie Wilson

Many other women were feeling like Ms. Ortega on that special Wednesday. According to an employee of the sale, 75 percent of the shoppers that day were females. He went on to explain that while, the sale remained steadily busy all day, you could tell that these women came ready to shop.

The University of Oklahoma has held previous warehouse sales like this one, so people were excited to see the sale return.

College students’ are used to living on a tight budget, so warehouse sales are a good way to save money. People in general love getting cash breaks so the opportunity to get some new clothes and save a few bucks is always welcome.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Friends Forever?

Many of us have been told that in college you will find out who your real friends are. In college we find ourselves with a new independence.

Photo by Catie Wilson

We begin to search for something that feels familiar. This search can create a sense of loneliness and despair. The separation from everything that we once knew can cause one to do one of two things. We can stay in their comfort zone and not reach out, or we can get involved on campus and create new relationships.

College is about finding out who you are, growing up, and learning how to stand on your own two feet. This can often be a long and challenging road, but it is one that must be conquered. It does not matter if you are enrolled in a prestigious university, or the community college in your hometown, when it comes to finding friends, as women we face many of the same obstacles.

Jessica Brooks, a student at Tulsa Community College, has felt this feeling of despair many times. With only three semesters left at TCC, she has made new friends, lost friends, and even rekindled some old friendships.

Photo by Catie Wilson

“I think that it is true that in college you find out who your true friends are,” says Brooks, “ I have had many friends move away, and the ones that I keep in contact with will be my friends for the rest of my life.”

Brooks, like many girls going through this change, has learned that if she puts herself out there, and makes herself available she has more of an opportunity to connect with girls that know how she feels.

“My first semester of college was one of the hardest times in my life. Even though I was in my hometown, I felt so out of place and lost,” says Brooks, “ I just knew I had to meet some new friends.”

There are many ways that you can connect with other girls at your university. You might have to step outside of your comfort zone, and it may require a little bit more of an effort,but it is worth it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

We're All in this Together

Photo by Catie Wilson

Growing up is hard to do. It is inevitable. It is something that we must all go through. From learning how to do our own laundry to learning how to pay the bills the transition into adulthood can be bittersweet.

For women this change can be a little more difficult. As a college student myself, I am currently going through this transition. So far it has been a little bit of a challenge for me. I am learning how to handle the feeling of being on my own. It has been so eye opening to learn of all the other women who feel like I do. It was nice to know that I was not alone.

The University of Oklahoma has a few organizations that try to ease the pain during this stage of life for women. One of these groups is the Women’s Outreach Center. Since 1999, the WOC has been dedicated to helping students’ become aware of the issues facing women. They have done so by holding seminars on issues important to women, and addressing issues that disproportionately affect women such as equal pay, sexual assault, dating violence, breast cancer and eating disorders.

Kathy Moxley, the Coordinator of the WOC at OU explained to me that one of the things the WOC does for students' transitioning into college is offer an opportunity to volunteer and connect to others on campus.

“Sometimes getting involved with a campus department helps to make connections and feel purposeful,” says Moxley “We also provide referrals to other resources on campus such as counseling or career services.”

Photo by Catie Wilson

It is difficult to go through this rough ride alone, so it is my goal for this semester to find the key things that will help ease the pain of growing up. Being a woman can be challenging in and of its self, but add a job, homework, and bills on top of it, and it can be more than a single girl can handle all at once.

I know personally that the WOC has helped me to cope with growing up and all the things that come with it, so I hope that many of you will take a look at what the program had to offer. Check them out at:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

SOP #2- Coffee Shop Music

Photo by Catie Wilson

This is another SOP photo. It is at one of my favorite coffee shops. I can here the music playing just looking at this picture.

SOP- Evening at the Park

Photo by Catie Wilson

This picture was taken at a park in Tulsa. To me it signifies simplicity and relaxation. It makes me want to sit on a park bench and read a book.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

PWOP- Music of the Heart

Photo by Catie Wilson

From music to family this photo is a description of me. It symbolizes the some of the things that make me who I am.