Friday, June 20, 2014

A Beautiful Photo

My first thought when I saw this photo was when will I learn to smile nicely for the camera?! My second thought: whoa. time to lay off the ice cream. ... what?! It shocked me to hear that in my mind. And even more shocking was saying it out loud to Brian. I knew immediately that I needed to confront these feelings. Luckily, this blog post was posted later that same day. Love the body you have today. This isn't a novel concept, and it isn't something that has ever been that difficult for me...until recently.

Growing up, the majority of my body image issues centered around my face. My complexion was never great-- I was always dealing with a weird combination of breakouts and dry, flaky skin. For the most part, I finally have this under control, thanks to a greater knowledge of how my food intake affects my hormones and how my hormones affect my skin. Oh, and coconut oil. Thank God for coconut oil.

Of course, there were things about my body I struggled with as well. The stretch marks on my inner thighs are a big one. They kept me from wearing short shorts, and made me self-conscious in a swim suit. My stomach was, and still is, another "problem area" for me. Looking at photos, I can see the discomfort I feel in my own body-- arms strategically placed to cover any overhang that would show that my stomach is not perfectly flat, that I am not a board. In the photo above, I was too busy enjoying a game of apples to apples to remember to drape my arm across my lap to hide that overhang, and I saw it immediately when Brian showed me the photo.

The first step to loving the body you have today is to stop bashing yourself...and other people. If you put hate in, hate will come out. If you put love in, love will come out. I know this, and have generally been really good about it. I give so much credit to my mom for raising me to know that beauty isn't just what is on the outside, and I'm sure that is part of why my body image issues take only two paragraphs to summarize. And yet, at 26, when I should know better, when I thought I did know better, I bashed myself for not having a flat stomach in a photo.

Wanting to be in a better place financially has taken me away from crossfit for the last six months. Stressful life changes have brought me closer to ice cream in the last six months. Just kidding. My love of ice cream has brought me closer to ice cream in the last six months. Ok. Maybe a combination of both. Has my body changed in the last six months because of these things? Obviously. But who cares? Two more steps to loving the body you have today are to be awesome now, and reinvent beauty. I'm not in as great of shape as I was six months ago, but that shouldn't make me any less awesome or beautiful. I'm just as awesome when I can squat 135lb as I am when doing 3x10 squat ladders up to 50lb turns my legs into jello. Just as my mom taught me, beauty is what is on the inside of a person, and their body doesn't change that. Choose to surround yourself with people who are inspiring to you because of their inner beauty, not because of their body, and you will be inspired no matter where you are in your health and fitness journey.

When I look at this photo now, I am going to make a conscious effort to focus on the memory. Not my silly face. Not the way my stomach looks. I'm going to look at it and be reminded of an amazing weekend up north with Brian's family. Of a cottage filled with laughter and conversation. Of an apples to apples game that lasted nearly two hours. Of the amazing feeling I had when an ice cream flavor became an inside joke between Lauren and me. That's what makes me beautiful in the photo.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Shop Love

a favorite Curly Girl design

There are few things I enjoy more than really unique, artsy, creative shops. I used to spend payday at Hey, Daisy! in downtown Appleton, always finding *something* that I needed. There were three usual suspects: a cute, flowy dress, funky jewelry, or a Curly Girl Designs piece.

I love, love, love Curly Girl Design. From the whimsical artwork to the joyous quotes, I just cannot get enough. I have given Curly Girl away as presents, but also have a few favorite pieces that have made their way onto a wall in every place I have lived in the last four years. Once I have an office again, I will also be ordering their calendar-- it is by far my favorite wall calendar! I am already planning the pieces I will purchase to decorate my eventual desk in my eventual office...

Another shop I am loving lately is Elle & Co. Now, I don't even OWN one of her Daybook Planners...YET, and I am still totally smitten. There's something about the simple, yet elegant, design that I can't get over. It doesn't hurt that the girl behind the shop, Lauren, is an absolute gem. As soon as I found her blog I knew I was in for a treat! Lately, I have especially enjoyed her series on "purple thumb" gardening. Girl after my own heart, I tell ya!

Are there any cute shops I need to explore and do some window shopping? Lord knows real shopping is out of the question right now, but I still like to look! And make sure you check out these shops-- you never know what you might find!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday's Letters

Dear Brian,
You refer to my moving in with you as being like an extended sleep over with your favorite person. Reason #373 why I like you in my life. Dear Life, Some day, I would like to not have to use the "rob Peter to pay Paul" method for making ends meet each month. Dear Denver Friends, There will be NO good byes. Only see you laters. And I promise, I will see you later! Dear Customer Service Professionals, At this point, I am 2 for 3 with with experiences on the phone. And the two good ones came after three VERY bad ones (one of which was a THIRD bad call). Don't take it personally, but I'm not recommending your companies to friends anymore. Dear God, There are some very exciting things coming up in the next few weeks. I can't wait to see what you have in store for me! Dear Self, Joshua 1:9. Always. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday's Letters

Not an accurate representation of our route, but I still think it's cute!

Dear Denver, It's been real. It's been fun. It's been real fun. But, it's time to move on. You will always have a place in my heart. Dear Trees, Even after the snow on Sunday & Monday, you are almost completed full of leaves. I love how green the city is in this season! Dear MyYogaPro, SO stoked that you went live this week. I can't wait to really dig in to your 16 different Yoga courses! Dear B, I can't wait for our cross-country road trip, and to share every day with you at the super-base! Dear Parents, Thanks for unending love & support. You are the best. Dear Self, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Midweek Love

Because, sometimes, you just need to be reminded that you're awesome and everything will be ok. 

Life is all about the journey. We can get so wrapped up in the mundane that we forget to enjoy what is happening around us, and what is most important. 

The greatest lesson I've learned in the last few years is that I am worthy of every dream I have for myself, but that I still have to work to make those dreams come true. Both pieces of that are equally important: I am worthy. I will work for it. 

Once you believe that, and let go of all of the expectations other people have for you, and free yourself from the need for validation, life becomes a whole lot more enjoyable. And if you are going to be alive, don't you want to enjoy it? 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

{Taking Stock} Part 3

Making : a mess while I start packing
Cooking : meals that use up food in my cupboards
Drinking : sub-part coffee from Starbucks
Reading : Barefoot, a novel that I started a while ago but then forgot about it
Wanting : ice cream from Little Man
Looking: at the unhappy trees from so much snow yesterday
Playing: too much Dice with Buddies
Wasting: the last few sips of coffee (still)
Sewing: pillows for my dad when I was home in March
Wishing: for summer nights around a campfire
Enjoying: the blogging community
Waiting: for money from selling my textbooks
Liking: extra hours at the hair salon as I train new hostesses
Wondering: if my golf clubs and cross country skis will fit in my car
Loving: my amazingly supportive parents (always)
Hoping: for a full-time job
Marveling: at mother nature's capriciousness
Needing: a little more sunshine
Smelling: coffee and fresh baked goods
Wearing: yoga pants and a may
Following: God's plan
Noticing: patterns in life
Knowing: that May 29 will be here before I know
Thinking: happy, grateful thoughts
Feeling: content
Bookmarking: charcoal grills on craigslist
Opening: confirmation emails from prospective employers
Giggling: at goofy faces on skype dates

Part one, part two, inspiration

Monday, May 12, 2014

{Monday Inspiration} Mike Rowe's Job Advice

From Mike's Facebook Page

Well, lookie here! I am starting my own little series on this blog of mine.

Slowly, but surely, I'm determined to make this space of mine more organized. As I get ready to start the next chapter in my life, one that I am certain will be exciting and filled with all sorts of fun changes, I want to be able to document it all. I love looking back on blog posts and remembering moments in time. 

In order to make blogging more of a habit, I'm going to try to do different series so I always have something to write about. Starting today, Monday posts will share something that has been inspiring to me.

This week's inspiration comes from none other than Mike Rowe, of Dirty Jobs fame. A fan asked Mike for advice on finding the right career for himself. Mike's response is honest, realistic, and to the point. As I currently spend a few hours a day applying for jobs, I appreciate this perspective. I may not find a career in my field right away, the first job I get back in Wisconsin may not be "fulfilling" in the way I hope, but if we're being honest, what I really need right now is financial stability, not pure bliss in a career. 

My favorite excerpt from the response:
Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.
 Full story here.