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Dear Reader: Happy Thanksgiving!

by Vaun Thygerson
Contributing writer and mother of three

Smizing (not a typo) is more important now than ever! This term is where you smile with your eyes – you “smize” – and with our mouths being covered with masks most of the time, mastering this art means more these days.

Coined by popular TV personality Tyra Banks, smizing is a term where she says the best way to truly smile so your whole face lights up is to bring that happiness to your eyes. In 2012, she came to Bakersfield as the keynote speaker for the Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference and she taught all of us in attendance how to practice this life hack. She told us not only will this look improve our photographs, but it will make us feel more confident. It really does work!

I am a smiley person. I genuinely like to smile, and to be honest, not being able to smile at people and not seeing others’ smiles has been one of the hardest parts of the mask requirement for me. This is where the smize comes in. I’ve been practicing the smize with a crinkle of my eyes, so that people can feel like I greeted them with a smile, even if they can’t see my mouth.

Smizing is my new tradition as we embrace our new normal in life. Julie Willis also has found a new tradition in her family: camping. In the Humor at Home article, “Creating New Traditions: Camping During a Lockdown,” on page 17, she writes about how they turned their living room into a campsite complete with tents, sleeping bags, and suitcases. This fun adventure had the entire family loving this new way of camping.

As the Fall leaves change and we roast s’mores over a roaring fire, wrap up in blankets while we watch football, and wear our favorite boots and sweaters, I like to remember that November really is the season of gratitude. In Hello Happy Mama, Janelle Capra’s article, “Give Thanks,” she writes about how inspired she was when helping her son finish a gratitude journal for his online school. As an eight year old, she says it’s important to learn gratitude early, and how it’s a lifelong skill that we can all use. She asked his third-grade teacher, Mr. Josh King, why he assigned this journal exercise to his students. To read his amazing answer, turn to page 12.

November is also National Adoption Awareness Month and it’s an important to find ways to support all children. In Callie Collins’ article, “Be an Angel for a Bakersfield Child: How One Non-Profit is Making a Difference for Foster Children with Volunteers Like You,” on page 10, she writes about National Angels, Bakersfield Angels. This non-profit serves as a grassroots partner for the Kern County Department of Human Services. Although not every family can foster or adopt, there are many ways that everyone can help support a child in need.

The Holiday season is upon us and it might look a little different this year, but the meaning remains the same – this is a time of gratitude. This month you can start new traditions, help people in need, and smile (or smize) along the way.

The Dalai Lama said, “A simple smile. That’s the start of opening your heart and being compassionate to others.”

As shown on WikiHow.com, here are the five steps to smizing:

1. Loosen your shoulders and relax.

2. Pick a focal point.

3. Laugh a little.

4. Practice squinting your eyes without moving your mouth.

5. Apply light eye makeup, if you want to.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Tags: Maternity, Parenting, Party and Entertainment

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