Why a full open smile?

RoleModel

Why not a closed mouth or partly open beauty smile like the rest of the doll community?

Because Alexis was not designed to be a doll.  Alexis was created to be a friend and a positive impact in the worlds of all who behold her.

Every inch of Alexis was designed with purpose…not beauty, although beauty was achieved, but instead the goal was emotional, psychological, and intellectual.  Via E is a quest to provide amazing fun that builds strong minds.  In a world where fun has moved to the “naughty side” of human behavior, Alexis’ charter counters the trend with a focus on learning and understanding others.  Caring and compassion are nice words but to build these attributes one must be involved in understanding and seeking out information about the people around them.  Right here in the United States we have several different cultures with their own unique roots to other lands and thinking.  The same is true in Europe, South America…everywhere.  To love we also need to understand.

Alexis is a revolution.  She stands to shake up the world of dolls.  The goal is to teach loving of differences vs. loving of our own image.  Self confidence comes from within the mind not the mirror like commercialism would like us to believe. A true smile spreads happiness.  I too love beauty smiles, but instead of inspiring beauty Alexis’ desire is to spread joy and understanding.  So when you look at that broad smile (science calls it a Duchenne smile) know that it was designed for you with all my love and caring so that we may together lay a foundation down that can support a purposeful, fulfilling and happy life.

Below are several articles and a YouTube video on the health benefits of a Duchenne smile (Alexis’ smile.)  I send this post off with hopes that you will allow many, many smiles into your world and then return twice as many. 🙂

 

Psycological Sicence

Some researchers now believe that genuine smiles are not transient sparks of emotion but rather clear windows into a person’s core disposition.

We now know that genuine smiles may indeed reflect a “sweet soul.” The intensity of a true grin can predict marital happiness, personal well-being, and even longevity

The neural data revealed that Duchenne smiles produced greater activity in the brain’s left anterior temporal region, an area with clear connections to positive affect.

http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2010/december-10/the-psychological-study-of-smiling.html

 

Psychology Today

Your smile is a powerful tool. Most people think that we smile because we feel happy, but it can go the other way as well: we feel happy because we smile.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/prefrontal-nudity/201207/smile-powerful-tool

 

Science How Stuff Works

Evidence That Smiling Causes Happiness.
Most other studies on the topic note the cause-and-effect relationship without having a definitive explanation for it. The reason why Dr. Zajonc’s research is so significant in the field is because he proposes a detailed, physiology-based explanation for the cause-and-effect relationship. According to his hypothesis, the facial changes involved in smiling have direct effects on certain brain activities associated with happiness.

http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/smiling-happy1.htm

There’s Magic In Your Smile–How Smiling Affects Your Brain

http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/smiling-happy1.htm

 

Forbes

The Untapped Power Of Smiling
Because smiling is evolutionarily contagious and we have a subconscious innate drive to smile when we see one. This occurs even among strangers when we have no intention to connect or affiliate with the other person. Mimicking a smile and experiencing it physically helps us interpret how genuine a smile is, so that we can understand the real emotional state of the smiler.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericsavitz/2011/03/22/the-untapped-power-of-smiling/

 

Positive Psychology News

Emotional Contagion

This process is also known as emotional contagion[4]. That is, emotions are contagious. Feeling good is infectious, and so is feeling crummy. With this in mind, what change do you want trigger in the world?

Health Benefits of Smiling

<img src=”http://positivepsychologynews.com/ppnd_wp/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/emiliya.jpg” align=”right” alt=”Emiliya” />

Therefore, when you smile at someone else, they smile and you are causing physiological changes within their bodies. Frequent smiling has many therapeutic and health benefits [5], particularly when the smile is a Duchenne smile [6].

According to Dr. Mark Stibich, smiling:

  1. Boosts the immune system
  2. Increases positive affect
  3. Reduces stress
  4. Lowers blood pressure
  5. Enhances other people’s perception of you

Duchenne Smiles

Duchenne smiles are known as authentic smiles because they consistently co-occur with positive emotions [7]. Duchenne smiles are marked by wrinkles in the eyes that resemble crows feet and are associated with feeling excitement, amusement, interest, happiness and joy [8]. (See image on the right in which the top image is neutral, middle picture is non-genuine/mouth only, and the bottom picture is Duchenne/eyes and mouth engaged).

http://positivepsychologynews.com/news/emiliya-zhivotovskaya/200809271036

 

3 Great Apps to Help Children with Emotional or Social Issues

http://www.melbournechildpsychology.com.au/blog/3-great-apps-for-children/

TED

Ron Gutman reviews a raft of studies about smiling, and reveals some surprising results. Did you know your smile can be a predictor of how long you’ll live — and that a simple smile has a measurable effect on your overall well-being? Prepare to flex a few facial muscles as you learn more about this evolutionarily contagious behavior. Check out this short Youtube video of his TED conference presentation.

 

Alexis Letter to Friends — June

Image

June2014

Scholar-Ship Craft for Girls and Boys

Scholar_Ship Craft

What you’ll need

  • Half-gallon carton
  • Heavy duty large straw
  • Tape
  • Cereal box
  • Glue stick
  • Paper
  • Your A Papers from school
  • Crayons or Markers to color your design

My Scholar Ship is a modified version of a boat craft I found online at: http://spoonful.com/crafts/love-boat .

How to make it

  1. Love Boat - Step 1Start with a clean carton. Cut off the plastic spout or tape the cardboard spout shut.
  2. For the bow, cut a 3¾- by 10-inch strip from a cereal box, fold it in half, and tape it in place as shown.
  3. Use tape and a glue stick to cover the carton with paper. Cut a mail slot in the ship’s top to store all your A papers from school.
  4. Use a glue stick to add stripes to the sides  (Be sure to color a design on them first.)
  5. Poke a small hole the deck and insert the straw.  Now tape your best A paper to it making a sail for the boat.

Be creative and have fun!

Don’t forget to send me a picture! Email it to Alexis@Via-E.com Or Post your picture on My Friends’ Stuff Art Board on Pintrest. (You first have to follow the board before I can add you to make your own posts)

A Journey of Passion

IMG_0090Passion may be just another word for crazy and Vision may take many straight to the poor house.  I write to you today about my journey to survive building a business in the middle of a recession.  Why now?  Why not wait for better times?  The answer is fear.

I fear for today’s young.  Media has run amuck and toys are no longer designed for children’s well being.  As an educator of marketing for a highly regarded world-influencing university, I can’t turn off my understanding of what big business is doing to our young.  The mother inside of me hurts and is angry.  It is like watching a movie on the big screen knowing the plot will end tragically.

I’m not grandstanding.  Take a look around.  Pregnancy under the age of 15 is increasing; boys bring guns to school to create mass murder, education has become so expensive that many are now telling our youth that higher education is a poor return on investment—they will be no better off with a college education.  Even our own government is so busy with their own interest they fail to see what will be left for the children.

So call me crazy but I have to do something.  Via E is not about making money…although I hope I can stop having to use garage sales and creative money management to pay my bills…

Via E is about:  EDUCATION – fun learning that will build solid futures, RESPECT – for yourself and others, COMPASSION – for those who need help, LEADERSHIP – because God knows we need more good leaders, SAFETY – a place girls can play where parents know their best interests will always be put before profits.

Miley Cyrus feels she is a good business person because her shocking behavior will sell.  I don’t know which makes me more ill…the fact that she would sell herself in this manner or the fact that she is right—she is hitting the top of the charts.

We have to stop this…one girl at a time.  They deserve better…they are better…Miley is better, she just was never told so and now millions of girls will follow.

I care…I can’t stop from caring so this passion, this vision… even when I’m on my last penny, when I’m so tempted to just get a normal job…  will cause me to fight to make a difference.  I hope you will too.  It won’t be easy but it will be worthy.

Revolution!—Fighting for the right for her to become all she can be.

BoxIt is everywhere: sports, music, dance, various clubs, working environments…a box. A set of boundaries that dictates what is allowed to be contributed.  A select few elected by another group of select few are the gate keepers to who gains access and what contributions can be made within the box.

As a girl my dreams were boundless and energy unrelenting…the box never fit.  As an adult, my goals were merely to use all of my talents to help, build, fix, and achieve…the box never fit.

Raising my four children and watching the box form around them angered me.  How can anyone justify limiting young potential?  Economist will explain supply and demand principals telling us there are only so many spots for talent and creativity, thus only a select few will rise and the rest will reside in the box of the “normal” distribution.

Enough!  There is so much talent, creativity, wonderment and curiosity in each child, each person—we were not created to fit into a box.  We need a revolution!  A talent revolution.  Dare to sing; dare to draw, create, solve, explore…be a visionary.  Refuse the box and live unbound and always exploring.  There is not a normal because each and every one of us is unique with gifts meant to be shared and developed.

We live in a world of boxes and gate keepers and we do need to teach our children how to navigate this reality, but let us teach them that they can create their own path.  Help them to avoid boxes with limits to their growth…find pools of people who believe in the inalienable right for them to be all that they can and should become.

Via E is my kick in the knee to those who build boxes and those gate keepers who dare to say yes to some and no to others.  Via E is a platform for every girl to showcase her talents—a place where there are no boxes.  In just a few more weeks, we will re-launch the Via E website.  Here there are no boxes to be found…just a celebration of her. There are never too many stars in the sky…my dream is to give them space and then sit back with you and watch them shine.

My heart to yours, always…Ellen.

Thankful for the hard times…

I was married at 18 and idealistic about the world.  We were poor but it was a reasonable price for building our own life.  I remember our reclaimed refrigerator, old with rust overtaking the remnants of white paint.   But it was clean and kept the food as if it were new.  My dad painted Cadillac White over the beat-up Toyota that was gifted to us in a show of support of a decision that pained him so.

Casey was the first, a little girl with bright red hair which gave way to golden locks.  Then came Timmy, a boy so sweet he’d melt your heart with one look.  It was their love that made each day one to remember.

The lessons came one after another, a divorce, a subsequent marriage to an abuser and soon I wondered where the girl who was going to change the world went.  How did I get here?  Where was I going?  What have I learned?

Shannon, big blue eyes and a mind faster than lightning itself…the love, the lessons, the hopes for her future to be reflective of more than mine.  Yes being a mom was always the greatest honor, my greatest joy.

I found myself again in my thirties.  Worked hard and never stopped believing that I could do anything I set my mind to.  The path was now much harder, a single mom with two failed attempts of finding the one.  It wasn’t going to stop me.  Every moment with my children made me happy to be alive.

By forty I finished my business degree, climbed to a financial safe ground, married a good man and gave birth to little Nicholas.  This one was my super hero—never a moment without his cape flying behind him.  Black for Batman, red for Superman and a blue cape just to give me a chance to wash the others.  After all the mistakes I made, I was still blessed beyond my fair share.

The economic recession liquidated my banking job and left me with another transition to contemplate.  I knew I had unfinished work yet to do.  I’ve learned so many things.  I finished an MBA, continue to teach for the local university with a passion to build up the young; prepare them for the flurry of decisions yet to beckon them to multiple possibilities.  Choose well, be exceptional, and know you can do anything to which you set your mind.

There is so much talent in each and every child…so much promise.  If they don’t discover it, it will be dormant for a lifetime.  My dream, the job I am fighting for is the chance to create a company that will nurture, give light to the talents and dreams of as many as I can reach.  If they want to sing, let them sing.  If they want to write, let their writings be read by many.  If they want to dream, let them dream that there is nothing they cannot do just as long as they believe.  Then let’s watch them and smile.

Here’s to mothers everywhere.  We are not perfect, but love makes the imperfect perfect to our young.

My warmest of wishes always,

Ellen