On Sunday, I Write.

A personal weekly blog by Picture This Clothing Co-founder + CEO, Jaimee Newberry.
Posts written in 45 minutes or less.

What Happened with Zia and Snapchat

image source: https://www.funklevis.com/blog/when-influencers-turn-against-you-the-death-of-snapchat/

image source: https://www.funklevis.com/blog/when-influencers-turn-against-you-the-death-of-snapchat/

OK so… I vanished for a couple weeks. Let’s catch up!

In February, I posted a mighty parental post about letting Zia, my ten-year-old, install Snapchat after a very compelling request she made, along with about a week of consideration on the topic. LESS THAN 24 HOURS LATER I was sitting in her principal’s office. I got a pretty vague “we need you to meet with us about Zia” call. I honestly expected it to be about depression, or lack of focus in class - these are fairly frequent comments/notes surrounding Zia in school, stresses that we’re constantly working on. But that’s not what this was…

While I’ve always been pretty good about random, periodic reviews of the girls phones for inappropriate /concerning behavior and content, within the previous two weeks since my last kid-technology review, Zia decided to go “catfishing.” Here’s a good definition of that to save you a Google search if you’re unfamiliar:

“Catfishing’ refers to a scam where someone, the ‘catfish,’ creates a fictitious online identity and seeks out online relationships. These are frequently romantic relationships, and online dating websites and cell phone dating apps are fertile hunting ground for catfish. However, there are also catfish who seek out friendships and other forms of social contact.
Source:
https://consumer.findlaw.com

Let me clarify, we had not even installed Snapchat yet.  

I think I can sum it up in one line from Zia’s browser history:
https://www.omegle.com/ “Omegle, A place to meet strangers!”

Ya. A place. To meet strangers. On purpose. She learned about it from one of the YouTubers she watches pretty regularly (who’s videos are usually annoying and target an older teen audience, but typically fine content-wise. It just takes one little post to go un-reviewed, though.)
And more awesome - the school had to call the police because Zia had created a fake profile and had been having some conversations with two 18+ dudes. Fun times.

She found photos on the internet of things/people to share with them. One of the dudes shared a no-shirt pic with her, but we didn’t find anything “worse”, and while she *totally* shared photos of the inside of our home, she did not share photos of her own face/self, so the police didn’t need to confiscate her phone or take further action.

She told one of these 18+ dudes she was ten, and he still carried on “friendly” conversation with her. Puke-worthy.

Zia seemed to think her prowess as a crafty catfish was pretty funny and shared a screenshot of one of her conversations with a couple of her friends from school - one child was concerned for Z’s safety, shared with her mom, her mom turned the screenshot into the principal at school.  I have personally thanked this mom and Zia’s friends for doing the right thing. These kids and this parent were looking out for others, and I’m genuinely grateful.

With the exception of supervised use of her laptop to complete homework, Zia has been without any/all technology since the moment we walked out of the principal’s office. .Mostly while I figure out how on Earth we rebuild the trust and honestly between us, and NOT just create better sneakiness skills.

I cried on the drive home. It’s sad, embarrassing, disappointing and more than anything, it’s terrifying.
At home, Ken and I sorted through her entire phone and computer history. We were able to pinpoint the start date of all this stuff (less than 2 weeks prior), along with some phone numbers, chat logs, etc.

Z and I had a really, really, really long talk about EVERYTHING. Talks I didn’t think we’d be having for at least a few more years. I explained to her that while one of my biggest fears is that one of my kids goes missing, the scariest part of that fear isn’t finding her dead after having been horribly abused - it’s that she’ll be kept alive, being horribly abused, and never found.

With technology, comes access to everything. Parental controls? Parental controls in my experience have been very all-or-nothing, or impossibly high-maintenance. And kids are smart, they figure things out very quickly. I have worked in tech since 1998 and have more intimate knowledge of tech than a handful of parents out there. I’m grateful for this knowledge and for Ken’s way-better knowledge, because we were able to find a lot of information and talk openly with Z about it. And while it was scary bad, it could’ve been WAY worse, so in that way I have to be grateful that it happened now, and was caught relatively swiftly before it got WAY worse. 

I had to leave for London the following week to speak at a conference, so I asked her if she could just be ten years old for a week with her dad, and we’d work more on rebuilding trust when I returned.

It’s a long road. It’s a balance of sharing some of the darkest realities of horror that exist in our world while also trying to let her know I am here, and she is loved, and how not-shitty her life actually is in the scheme of things. I can see there is a blatant need for attention in her right now, so I’m trying to nourish that in the healthiest way I can.

Probably the most important thing for me right now is to make sure she understands and defines her moral compass and personal values, and the importance of honest and open communication between us.

I’m not a perfect parent. I don’t have perfect kids. We fumble out loud, cuz hey… we’re all just figuring it out as we go.

More catching up next week! Thanks for following along.

<3 Jaimee

Going Back to the Start

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The interesting thing with the idea of going back to the start is that you’re never the same as when you started. You’re different. You’ve changed. You’ve been through stuff, you’ve learned, you’ve experienced.

In my coaching days, one of my clients used the analogy of a high dive at a swimming pool to talk about pushing through things that were daunting. I loved that analogy and ran with it a bit for the sake of thinking through the process of starting new challenges and overcoming obstacles.

You climb the ladder to the highest high dive you see. It’s scary and exhausting, but you climb. Not everyone will climb with you, some will cheer you on from the sidelines, some may laugh at you or call you crazy, some will do their own thing and never even see you. But you climb and eventually you reach the top of the ladder and you slowly walk out to the end of the board. You can see so much from up there. You stand there, staring out, looking down. The fear of jumping grips you. Some get scared and climb back down the ladder. Not you. Eventually, you take a big breath in and you jump. You feel the air, anticipate the cool slap of breaking through the water. When you come up for air, it’s not just air that you’re breathing in, you’re inhaling a huge accomplishment. You did it.

You can repeat this process on the same high dive. The second time it’s still a little scary, but you’ve done it before so you know you’re capable. You can do it over and over. Sometimes the leap isn’t graceful. Sometimes you hit the water wrong and it hurts. You learn from the experience and go again.

For some, this will be high enough. You become a master, you teach others how to do what you’ve done. You push the boundaries of all the variations and ways possible to jump from this one amazing height.

Others crave more, and more will always exist. The need to search for higher dives will overcome you. You’ll search, you’ll find incrementally higher places to climb and leap from. High dive boards, cliff diving, sky diving…

Each time you’re standing at the base of another ladder staring up, it feels a bit insurmountable. As long as we start -one ladder rung at a time and don’t give up -you’ll eventually get to the top. Once you’re there the perspective shifts, the focus shifts.

The climb is a little different each time. Each time you figure out how to get to the top as you go, but you rely upon skills earned from all your previous experience. Each time you reach the top, you’re tired but thrilled by the view. Each time you get that knot in your stomach as you look to the water and you decide if you’re going to jump or not. The closer you get to the edge the more you feel your heart beating inside your throat.

You jump. 

You do it all over again.

-Jaimee

Checking Myself

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It’s January 20, 2019 and I’m not sure if I’m alone on this or not but… 
Are you kidding me? Where has this month gone?

Being as the time is going to fly like this, it seems prudent to revisit my “3 Words” <—that’s a link in case you want to check out my original 3 Words for 2019 post.

I realize that sometimes we set intentions or goals, maybe even resolutions, but come February or March we’ve moved on, because life. I think doing an end-of-month review of my 3 Words might be a really solid way to keep them in the forefront of my mind. And bonus, by writing about my 3 words with some frequency I create little footprints that I can look back upon and acknowledge that some progress was made instead of trying to make myself feel badly for not doing enough.

I know my progress has not been huge and my first instinct is to feel disappointed in myself. As with all things, I can choose how I’m going to feel about where I’m at, and instead of feeling badly for not doing more I’m going to feel good about making any progress at all.

Let’s take a look:

Organize.

I think Ken has made more visible progress on this than I have, and I don’t even think he picked words of intention for the year. BUT I did make some small strides forward.


• The File Cabinet

I’m a pro at starting small. :)
I cleaned out and organized 3 folders in my file cabinet. Sure, I would rather wait until I bring the label maker home from the office to finish (excuses), but I started and those three folders make me smile. I can’t wait for the other 200 or so to be just as caught-up. If I can do only 3 folders a month, this “organize” thing could take a while, but then… maybe if I’m actually doing 3 folders a month, this becomes a tiny fixture of routine in my life and the “overwhelm” part never happens again. Let’s see how this unfolds this year.

• Finances

I got my finances all organized. I’ve never been terribly unorganized financially, but I like getting my taxes done asap, so those are ready for my accountant. I love making financial spreadsheets, it’s sort of a weird fascination I’ve had since I learned how to use Excel way back in the day, so I’ve also plotted out my financial status and objectives for the year.

• My Medicine Cabinet

I have a pretty large medicine cabinet/mirror dealy in my bathroom over my sink. It wasn’t a mess, but it had stuff like gummy nail polish and way-outdated “deluxe samples” of face creams and whatnot. I emptied the whole cabinet, cleaned each shelf and put back only what I use. It’s a small thing but it makes me breathe easier. When I open this cabinet now, I actually smile.

• The Office

We moved out of our small office and into our bigger office. I had no idea how much stuff we had until I saw it all piled in the middle of the floor of our once super spotless new space. We picked up a few more Ikea shelves and started the epic organization project, but we’ve a long way to go on this one. Baby steps!

• Writing

I’m writing! The goal is every Sunday of 2019. If more happens, awesome. So far, there’s not been more and I’m OK with that for now. It feels really good to be doing any at all! The more I do it, the more organized I start to feel.

I would love to say I did a whole bunch of other stuff but this was as far as focused organizational tasks have gone thus far. 

As I write, I’m remembering how helpful it is to breaking items out like this in writing. This was normal for me once upon a time, feels good to strike back up again!

Expand.

I closed out a few things and said “no” to a few other things in the first couple of weeks this month. I also said “yes” to a few things. I’m slowly reaching out to find the edges of this space I’ve carved out. This intention I’ve set for myself to expand is a bit tricky because I feel like I’m learning and trying to figure out exactly what I mean by it as I go. February could be shaping up as a month of making lists. Probably should’ve started that in January. We still have some days left in January… 

Anyway, this one will be interesting to experience and I will continue documenting how it all plays out. Maybe by the end of the year we’ll have something nifty to get excited about and a whole lot of learning under our belt! Maybe we’ll just have a bunch of lists.

Presence.

I’ve had a couple great written exchanges with people I’ve not talked to in years. I’ve worked on little things like leaving my phone in the other room, or just putting it down more often. Zia and I have an ongoing battle of who’s better at Clue.
There are a few people on my list to reach out to sooner than later. 

I feel like I have a lot of growth to do in this area, yet at the same time, I feel like I have some very awesome, meaningful, and mindful relationships. I don’t want to move too quickly on expanding my circle until I know that every person that I view as being in my circle knows they are, and feels they are. I have a lot of work to do on that.

Reaching the end of my recap and looking back on it, it feels more significant to me than it felt when I started this post. Even though my progress was relatively small, it was small in several places and THAT is progress.

Did you set intentions or goals for 2019? How are things going for you?

Little Kids Wearing Makeup

When we launched Picture This Clothing in August of 2016, things blew up virally on the internet before we had a chance to even process what was happening. The internet being what it is, I got to hear lots of rage about what a really horrible, horrible person I was, and message I was sending, to feature little girls wearing makeup on our website. For the record, I didn’t put makeup on the kids on our website.

Here’s the story.

We launched Picture This Clothing as a proof-of-concept back in August of 2016. For proofs-of-concept you do as many things as swiftly and on the cheap as possible just to get the idea out into the world. We still did it with care for quality and detail, but one of the things we did as swiftly and inexpensively as we could was take our own website/product photos. We didn’t hire models or a photographer. I had an iPhone 6 and two seven-year-olds eager to help out.

When we first launched, we only offered dresses. T-shirts are far more complex garments to make (all of our garments are cut & sew, we don’t use pre-assembled clothing), so we figured we’d test the dresses first and see how it went, if things went well we’d add t-shirts, and so-on. Additionally, this concept was born out of a dress I’d made for my youngest daughter Zia from a drawing she’d done, so dresses just seemed to make sense as a starting point.

Zia’s best friend Gigi had spent the night, her parents had given permission for her to participate with Zia in a photoshoot for our little idea. The girls knew it was “picture day”, so after breakfast I asked them to go get picture-ready. In my mind, this meant brushing their hair and teeth. Gigi and Zia interpreted it differently. They vanished for a good hour, I was sidetracked getting the space ready for photo-taking but eventually they emerged “ready” for their big photoshoot…

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Please don’t focus on the creepy butter-knives, we don’t make habit of playing with kitchen cutlery in our home. They asked if they could use them specifically to take “scary photos”, I said yes since they’d done all this fine work on their faces and costumes. Gigi and Zia have been best friends since they met at day-care when they were two-and-a-half years old. This, to me, (sans butter-knives) is a totally normal morning with these two. They play. They dress up. They imagine. They giggle. They dream.

But ya, I had some face scrubbing to do to get them to the point where we could take the photos that were used on the website. I really thought I’d done a pretty good job considering where we started. But there’s always stuff no one sees.

Zia and Gigi were seven in these photos. They use makeup for play, not for self-esteem. I think it’s great.

I welcome all thoughts on kids and makeup!


Jaimee Newberry

Zia on the Picture This Clothing home page on launch day, August 17, 2016

Zia on the Picture This Clothing home page on launch day, August 17, 2016

Gigi on the Picture This Clothing “Dress” landing page on launch day, August 17, 2016

Gigi on the Picture This Clothing “Dress” landing page on launch day, August 17, 2016


My 3 Words for 2019

A few years back my friend Daniel Steinberg introduced me to Chris Brogan’s “3 Words Process” while we were experimenting with our own TinyChallenges podcast.

I sat down to write yesterday because writing (again) is one of the things I want to do for myself in the coming year. I decided that one day out of every week in 2019 (Sundays) I would use my currently-dedicated gym time to write, that way there would be no excuse about not having time - the time was carved out two-and-a-half years ago and healthily maintained as gym time. I didn't foresee a swap-out of one thing for another being the challenge it was. It totally was, though. I did NOT want to get out of bed yesterday.

Once I peeled myself out of bed I decided to write about 2018. I bored myself with my own words and thoughts after about 20 minutes and quickly distracted myself by checking-in on work. 3 hours later I was still working on work things that could've waited. I guess I'm a bit out of practice.

While I'm discouraged that writing didn't feel wonderful and freeing and like the only thing ever that I want to do for the rest of my life, as it used to... this, like many things, will take me some time to rebuild a recurring practice around and I choose to be OK with that. 

I thought about my three words for a long time. At first, I had eight words and it was tough for me to focus on them long enough to prioritize them. I decided that today I will make time. So here's where I've landed (in no particular order). 
...
Organize.
Since the launch and viral chaos of Picture This Clothing in August of 2016, almost everything else took a back seat. At first, the company completely took over our home. Eventually, we subleased a small space near our manufacturer, then in 2018, we took on a lease of our own and it's an amazing space! 

My home, however, has never fully recovered. My mind has never fully recovered. This year I will get a handle on the many bits that feel like a straight-up 10,000 lb glitter explosion. 

Expand.
In prior years it was a goal to make more space in my life. I believe I have done that to quite a solid degree since I started that journey in 2013. Creating space, in my own definition, was about hugging-in and focusing only on what is important. Clearing out the noise. Saying "no" more so that there is space to breathe, feel, and exist with pointed intention. Now it's time to expand mindfully within the space I have carved out. I made the mistake last year of expanding too quickly beyond the space. While that had some benefits, it also had some enormous negative consequences. Hopefully, this has been a well-learned lesson that bears no repeating. 

Presence.
Relationships require cultivating, care, attention, and presence. I want to improve my presence in the relationships I most value. Life is too short not to put more focus here.
...

While I've never been much of a "resolutions" kind-a-girl, I'm a huge advocate for goals and writing things down - for me writing is the clarity of vision that defines doing versus not doing. :) 

Happy 2019, friends!

Jaimee

A very quick recap of 2018:

  • With the exception of slowing down over Christmas break, I continued my streak of going to the gym at least 4 times per week. I’ll hit the 3-year mark of this routine in May of 2019.

  • Got an incredible office space and established our own manufacturing shop (we print, cut, sew, thread-clip, label, pack, and ship every single piece in-house) for Picture This Clothing free of any bank-loans or outside investment.

  • Invited to Shark Tank. Went and failed miserably. It will never air but was a great experience.

  • Experimented a ton (and had lots of fun) with videos for Picture This Clothing.

  • As far as I know, my kids and Ken don’t hate me and I think they’re all amazing.

  • Started speaking at conferences again.