How To: Get out of a rut

I know I’m not the only one who feels stuck sometimes: like I’m not moving forward, stagnant… some days I just wake up feeling gross, fat, alone, etc etc like every other human being. The point is not that we all feel this way occasionally (although it’s true and doesn’t mean you have low self-esteem because you don’t always wake up like this), but that it’s possible to change your attitude and feel better.

The following is a list of things that make me feel better and ready to face the day. Any combination of these (or none of them) may work for you. Here we go:

  1. Get out of bed as soon as you wake up. I have a tendency to want to stay in bed all morning. Sometimes it’s fine. Sometimes it makes me feel gross. Get up as soon as you wake up, then make the bed immediately. This will make you feel better.
  2. Shower and shave. There’s something so calming about cleanliness. Shaving always makes me feel so clean!
  3. Go somewhere. Going out with friends is a way for me to feel a part of society and not alone. You never want to go, because it’s easier to stay at home and wallow, but make yourself and you won’t (probably) regret it!
  4. Go somewhere alone. Sometimes you just need to get out of the house. I recommend taking a book to a cafe.
  5. Get a good workout. Just one good workout will improve your spirits. I mean a good one, though–where you push yourself and really try!
  6. Try a new routine. Mix it up! Try a different perfume/lotion/shampoo. Don’t just do things you always do in a different order (although that would help too), try something new. Add a jog to your morning routine. Buy new foods. Eat something different for breakfast! On that note:
  7. Cook a meal. Even if it’s just for you, there’s something so rewarding about creating a beautiful and delicious meal from a few ingredients.
  8. Take a chance. Doesn’t matter what it is. Do something not just new, but that you would never do normally. Ask a guy on a date instead of waiting to be asked. Wear that dress you never thought you could pull off. Be daring, darling.
  9. Put the phone down. Take just an afternoon/evening to turn off your phone and enjoy no electronics. Really try to connect to the people around you.
  10. Smile. Find something to laugh about. Don’t have anything? Fake it. You’ll feel it soon enough.

My favorite quote when I’m feeling a bit depressed is something I saw on a tweet from Lea Michele. Her boyfriend died recently, so I found the advice especially meaningful:

Fullscreen capture 12282013 52917 PM.bmpThis is one of my favorite quotes. It hit me so hard, I wrote it on my mirror! There are a million things you can do to shake the bad feelings away. Find your own way of doing things and make yourself happy! ❤

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Like an Animal

Animal Tank

I usually don’t wear animal prints, because I attach this stigma to them that says “cheap,” and other things that just generally surround the opposite of “classy.”

I’ve decided, though…who cares? Go a little wild, go a little crazy.

Do the things that you want to do and just be free!

I say this because recently I did something adventurous and fun and then I felt guilty for it…even though I didn’t do a single thing worth feeling guilty over. I realized that my childhood/teenage restrictions of “NOT ALLOWED” still grip me sometimes. And that made me mad!

I really wish I didn’t let the fear of “not allowed” (whether by society, or personal inhibitions) keep me from doing all the fun stuff I could be doing. So I’ve vowed to change that, because we simply just don’t know how much time we have left–and I’m tired of being so careful! Even when I did my one adventurous act of packing everything I own in the back of my car and moving to California by myself…I still was so careful. I just need to relax and enjoy life, and worry less.

Raise A Glass To What Your Future Holds

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Perspective

Idaho Falls LDS Temple

Life is all about perspective. Yesterday, I went to a Peace Forum that talked about survivors of sexual assault and how the culture is different here in the bubble that is Utah. A woman came and spoke, Dr. Niwako Yamawaki, who is a psychology professor at BYU. She did a really good job and had some really interesting research on sexual assault and rape. It’s kind of a heavy topic and I pretty much always leave feeling heavier when these things are discussed, but it was really good for me to hear.

Some of you may know that my plan in life is to do humanitarian work, mainly for women, so going and listening to people tell their stories was almost surreal. Of course, we’ve all read about these horror stories, but to see real people sharing their real stories, was scary! Dr. Yamawaki shared some statistics, one of which was that 31% of reported sexual assaults in Utah are those committed by family members of the victim.

My mother works in criminal law and as I was telling her about how it felt to hear all the stories, she told me how to work in this kind of environment, you really have to remove yourself emotionally. I’ve always been extremely empathetic, so trying to look at everything clinically and not let it upset me…I thought I would be able to do it, but after last night, I’m not so sure.

There are so many people struggling out there. I feel so fortunate to be where I am, and I asked my father yesterday why it is that I have all that I do while other people are struggling all around. He said something interesting, that I believe–something along the lines of “some people are prepared to help other people.”

Read more on the event I went to last night here.

Keep up-to-date on my new postings by following me on Twitter. You can also contact me through my website here, email me at brittany@lacelollipops.com, or send me a message to my Facebook. Thank you!

Letters to the Future

Letter to future spouse

I found this letter in one of my old journals from high school. I forgot all about it, but it was a letter I did during a church activity, just for fun. I have no recollection of what’s in the letter, but from the “to Hot Stuff,” I imagine it will be teenager gold one day.

If I remember correctly, the point is to open it after I get engaged to make sure that I’ve picked the right person, or something. It doesn’t make much sense because once you’re engaged, a letter you wrote yourself when you were like 15 is bound to contain a vastly different outlook on what kind of person you wanted to marry. I’m pretty sure my top requirement was good-looking and a sense of humor!

If only, if only, a sense of humor and good looks was enough.

Also, a thing that’s annoying, is that who knows when I’ll ever open that! I like more certain gratification, so when I started my most recent journal, I decided to write myself a letter not to be opened until I fill up every page. Since it’s like my 3rd or 4th journal, I have no doubt I’ll actually do it.

The reason I do it, is to fill the letter with things that are important to me, then see how much things have changed when I finally open it! Here’s what the letter contains:

  1. My list of Favorites (movies, books, TV shows, songs, moments, people, lessons, quotations, achievements)
  2. Important Questions & Feelings (unanswered questions, current predominant emotions, view on the world, what you enjoy about today, what are you thankful for)
  3. Goals & Aspirations (what you pursue, vision of your future life, what your looking forward to, hopes for future self, how do you want/expect to be different when you read this again)
  4. A Day in the Life… (how is everyday life, typical day at work/home/school, daily interactions, everyday habits)
  5. Highlights of the Year (what funny facts to remember, 10 best/worst things that happened, describe the year in one sentence, in one word)
  6. Advice to Myself (advice, most recent lesson you don’t want to forget)

It’s really a fun letter and I’m excited to see how much I’ve changed when I finally read it! I wrote it August 11, 2012. It’s already almost been a year and I don’t even think I’m halfway through my journal!

I encourage you to write yourself one of these letters and set a specific goal to yourself as when you can open it. Ideas:

  1. When you achieve your weightloss goal
  2. When you graduate middle/high school or college
  3. When you have your first child
  4. When you start your business…

The list goes on. Set a goal, then write a letter to yourself that you can read when you accomplish it! It’s a great motivation and reward.

Keep up-to-date on my new postings by following me on Twitter. You can also contact me through my website here, email me at brittany@lacelollipops.com, or send me a message to my Facebook. Thank you!

A Hair Trick

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I learned a new and nifty trick for curling hair with a flat iron: the more hair you use for each curl results in bigger curls. If that’s not any news to you, then forgive me for just learning about this and being so out of touch. AND HERE I WAS, about to buy one of those super wide irons. Don’t even need one. Tricks of the trade, my friends.

Also, would you like a list of things that make me feel bad about myself/motivate me, complete with PICTURES? Look no further than the Health & Fitness section of Pinterest.

Keep up-to-date on my new postings by following me on Twitter. You can also contact me through my website here, email me at brittany@lacelollipops.com, or send me a message to my Facebook. Thank you!

Unhealthy Eating Behaviors and their Remedies

I just weighed myself for the first time in a year. I didn’t realize it’d been a year, but yes. It’s been almost exactly one year. I have gained almost 10 lbs since I moved back to Utah from California. 9.1lbs to be exact.

I exercise way more than I did in California, it’s just that I ate like a bird because I never had enough money to buy anything substantial! Isn’t that sad?! I lived on avocados, toast and oranges. Oh, how things have changed.

Oh, how they need to change again. I just need to find that happy medium.

This semester, I’m taking a fitness class for fun, just a one credit class, and one of our homework assignments was to study unhealthy eating habits. I have a lot of these. Here they are, according to my textbook:

  • Overeating, when seeing a certain restaurant, entertainment, or at events
  • Binge-eating certain foods and beverages; or when very hungry; or when feeling certain emotions
  • Choosing food portions that are too large or too high-calorie
  • Eating too fast; everything on the plate even when no longer hungry; leftovers because it’s “a sin to waste food;” while watching TV, reading, or doing other passive activities; throughout the day; or when not hungry
  • Overeating when stimulated by the sight, smell, nearness of food, in social situations, or at the persuasion of family and friends
  • Eating as a reward
  • Skipping meals, but overeating at dinner or later in the day.

Luckily, there are more solutions than there are problems, in a handy-dandy A-Z list:

Preface: my only problem with this list is under “Q,” and their quote “nothing tastes as good as slimness feels!” It’s only a step away from Kate Moss’s declaration that anorexics have taken as their own sort of motto (just Google “nothing tastes…” and you’ll see it). SOOOO, I’m going to suggest amending that to say “Nothing tastes as good as healthiness feels!” Silly, silly fitness book.

Solutions to Overeating (click to see the PDF)

Solutions to OvereatingSo let’s all vow to do better. Overeating = bad. Finding a balance = good. Also, sorry for the 3 of you that look at the blog regularly. It’s already the 8th and this is only my first post of the month. You don’t want to hear my excuses. Have a healthy weekend!

Keep up-to-date on my new postings by following me on Twitter. You can also contact me through my website here, email me at brittany@lacelollipops.com, or send me a message to my Facebook. Thank you!

Can’t Always Feel It

**Excuse me while I give myself a pep-talk.**

You're Never Alone

I have a tendency to hold up all my feelings and pretend like I am happy all the time. It’s not because I feel pressured to be the perfect happy woman, but it’s because I have a hard time letting people in past a certain level–so it just is easier to default to happy-go-lucky (which I usually am anyway).

For the record, that whole keep-a-wall-up is  intensified when people give me an incredulous look and ask “WHY?” when I say I don’t like to just share my feelings with people. IT’S BECAUSE OF THOSE PEOPLE that I feel like I have to carefully pick who I confide in–then usually end up choosing no one. I have very surface level relationships with people, but I crave close relationships. I think everyone does. I just have to find the right people to have those with.

It would also help if people didn’t back-stab, lie, cheat–if they didn’t respond with disinterest or judgmentally, but that’s an impossible expectation.

So I’m working on it, because ignored feelings are unresolved feelings. And because it’s better to open yourself up and suffer the idiots than to just keep it all bottled.

As a result, a new goal is to let people in a little more. Vulnerability and stuff, you know. And to respond better when people do it to me.

Keep up-to-date on my new postings by following me on Twitter. You can also contact me through my website here, email me at brittany@lacelollipops.com, or send me a message to my Facebook. Thank you!

Not Motivated

My new goal: print out some signs that say this and put them places.

I feel like I’m constantly fighting being motivated.

IT’S A REALLY FRUSTRATING FIGHT, because I know what I want out of life, but some days I just don’t have the self control to achieve the little things that will lead to the big things.

For instance:

  • getting up at a reasonable time
  • doing my homework
  • going to class
  • paying attention in class
  • studying

…these are the biggest struggles and stresses in my life. I realize that the fact that these are stressful are because I let them become such.

But I’m tired of letting my inaction control my life.

So today, I’m giving myself 3.5 hours in the library to finish everything I can on my really long to-do list, then I’m going to continue to be productive. On my mirror at home, I’ve written myself a reminder to “recommit every day,” because every day is a choice to move forward and better ourselves. Every day is an opportunity to do something better than yesterday. You can quote me on that.

Okay, I should go focus now. That in itself will be an accomplishment, considering the people across and to the left who clearly misplaced their inside voices elsewhere–and the girl across from me with her headphones in that apparently doesn’t realize she’s humming out loud.

Wish me luck. And go be motivated.

Keep up-to-date on my new postings by following me on Twitter. You can also contact me through my website here, email me at brittany@lacelollipops.com, or send me a message to my Facebook. Thank you!

100 “Girly” Things

I recently saw a pin on Pinterest (clearly, where I spend much too much time) linking to the blog “Straight Up Glam,” with a beginning list of “100 girly things to do” when you’re bored. Another pinner commented that it was one of the most degrading things they’d seen, so I decided to take a look. Heads up: this is a long, ranty post. I am passionate about this topic, though, and would love to hear your thoughts as well.

Fullscreen capture 252013 44325 PM.bmp

Just from the “About Me,” I could tell this blog isn’t meant to be any sort of deep–which is fine–but after perusing through the first 10 suggestions, then up to her most current list of 50, I was generally appalled at this blogger’s definition of “girly.”

It’s like, think of every stereotype you’ve ever heard associating women with silliness, frivolity or complete shallow materialism–and that is what her list entails.

A few things before I tear apart her lists:

  • I have no problem with femininity (as should be obvious). I don’t believe that in order to be “equal” to men, we have to dress or act like them; however,
  • I firmly believe that the widely accepted generalization of women as vapid, emotional, damsels-in-distress is furthered by such vain, surface level expressions of what girls/women ought to be doing with their free time.
  • I don’t think the activities mentioned in themselves are wrong, I just feel it’s wrong to identify the word girly as pertaining to self-indulgent material-worship. A better name for her list might be “100 things to pamper yourself.”

As I went through the list again for this post, I made a list of the few “not bad” suggestions and the downright appalling suggestions. Keep in mind, these are all her suggestions for what to do in your free time:

The Not-So-Bad:

  • Sign up for dance class/lessons
  • Make your own _________
  • Be a tourist in your own city
  • Learn to sew
  • Plant a garden
  • Yoga

These are (out of fifty) the only ones that stuck out to me as actually a) requiring a useful skill, b) adding to the value of self in a non-material way, c) providing opportunities to learn and grow as an individual. STILL, the author clearly has distinct lines in her head about what girls ought to do and what boys ought to do, as if there’s no crossing-over allowed. Also, being a “tourist in your own city” is the only one out of 50 that suggests anything outside of one’s home or yard–unless you count trips to the various salons she suggests to maintain a sightly appearance.

The Appallingly Demeaning:

  • Having a “girly playlist” that encompasses the bubblegum pop of our generations, including poster-child of women: Madonna’s “Material Girl.”
  • Gossip. …Yep, just “gossip,” listed as an actual suggestion
  • Finding your signature perfume, so you can be remembered like the other girls you know
  • Tying “pretty bows” on your hangers
  • Buy a set of tools–but all in pink!

I could go on listing the suggestions that literally made my jaw drop and my blood boil, but those above are some of the worst. I almost don’t know where to start with this list! Firstly, I suppose I could start with the horrific idea that there are many among the female population that see these suggestions and might actually spend a few hours trying to get the prettiest bows around all of her hangers!

Such menial, pointless wastes of time almost hurt to think about. I can maybe understand doing these activities in a group setting, while bonding and  talking–maybe, but to suggest a girl sit around and try out dozens of perfumes to find the one that personifies “her” is a colossal waste of energy almost unfathomable to me under any circumstance!

And the photos she finds for these are something else entirely: for the tool set  the tools look almost like a toy set–and definitely look like decoration rather than anything to get real use out of.

Imagine walking into the life of a woman who has bows around all of her hangers (that sit hidden under mountains of clothes in her closet), whose every possession is decorated with rhinestones, and who sits around gossiping and painting (and then re-painting) various parts of her face and nails during her free time. At best, I’d smile with a crinkled nose and say “aw, how cute.”

You just can’t associate that type of person with maturity or take them seriously–and the idea that women should act like this is absurd.

I still can’t believe “gossip” is listed as something to do in your spare time. Gossip is degrading, indulgent, and destructive. Always.

Gossip quote Eleanor Roosevelt

It’s like people don’t understand that we, as human beings, should be trying to be the best people we can be. Why? Because it brings us and others the purest happiness that we can have–not the fleeting, fading happiness that comes from material possessions and appearances. To me, it’s difficult to see how one’s conscious could allow for such behavior.

Here is my main problem:  just as men don’t strive for “boyishness” (a term basically synonymous with immaturity), why would women seek/want/strive to be more “girly?” Pampering yourself occasionally is one thing, but a female that spends her free time trying to find her “perfect red lipstick” or “bedazzling” is not only stooping to demeaning stereotypes of women, but her lack of meaningful actions contribute nothing to society or the betterment of the world. This behavior contributes to the reason women often feel unable to be happy until they modify themselves to fit what they think everyone else wants to see from them. This is why young girls grow up to believe they are only worth as much as they’re liked by others.

“Prevailing myths imply that [women] are of lower importance than men, that we are generally sweet but uninformed,” [1] and women are the first ones that need to be convinced of the untruthfulness of these myths! Entitlement, excuse, apathy, enticement and general worldliness really shouldn’t be passed on to the younger women of the world–so might I suggest my list of 100 Things Girls Should Do In Their Free-time, starting tomorrow.

Keep up-to-date on my new postings by following me on Twitter. You can also contact me through my website here, email me at brittany@lacelollipops.com, or send me a message to my Facebook. Thank you!

Healthiness and Hunger Games Nerdiness

I knew this girl in high school that was probably one of the skinniest girls I knew. And she was just genetically superior in a lot of ways. All that girl ate was vending machine food and like, boxes of pizza at a time. She never gained weight, either, but I was totally jealous and wanted to look like her!

I think it’s safe to say we all have a pretty messed up definition of healthy. What is healthy? What does a healthy person look like? Well, I Googled it and the image search pretty much held a bunch of pictures like this:

So apparently, to be healthy, you have to eat only fruit, be able to wrap a measuring tape around your waist a few times and look good in that ridiculously lacking outfit. IF YOU DO, then you’re healthy.

WELL, here I am to prove you all wrong. According to the dictionary, being healthy means:

Healthy definition

So that’s terribly less complicated than we were all expecting. Being healthy means not being diseased. I actually laughed out loud when I read that, because I think most people’s definition of healthy would be something like:

You eat x amount of [each food group], you exercise x amount of time per week, you have x% body fat and you meditate in the woods. And don’t have psychological issues.

While all that stuff surely contributes to being healthy, it definitely is not the line of where healthy starts. I think simply not having physical diseases is a bit too lax of a definition, so let’s add in “in good health.”

Medical dictionaries suggest being healthy is when we’re functioning optimally, or at the best we’re capable of being at the time. So that means to be healthy I should, at this moment, be able to compete and win in the Hunger Games? And everything below that is just unhealthiness, apparently.

Who knows, maybe that is how we ought to be: completely ready for any extreme physical or mental test. That seems unrealistic. Although this is one of my favorite things I’ve seen on Pinterest/the Interwebs:

(Although all the real fans know most of the Districts were completely malnourished and it took BRAINS to stay alive too.)

But in all seriousness, I think that being healthy means caring about your body and treating it well. Everyone has different definitions of that, I realize. I just think that assuming I’m not healthy because I don’t look like Jennifer Lawrence is detrimental.

It’s totally fine to want to look like all the superfit Hollywood types, but I think it’s important to differentiate between being healthy and being fit.

Yes, I could do without the thunderthighs and ALL that junk in my trunk–and I actually do want to be more fit, but I know I’m healthy now and that is a huge blessing and a giant +1 to my fitness goals. It’s much better to start knowing I’m already healthy, rather than thinking I’m just a big fatty who has to start from square zero.

{I would not go to this birthday party, for the record. What the heck kind of party would this be? “Oh, you all get to show up, we’ll stuff your face, then make you do all sorts of exercises until you wanna puke, then one of you will get cake. Heads up, it’s rigged and the birthday girl gets the cake. And she gets to physically harm you in the ‘games’ because it’s her birthday. Sign the waiver on the back to RSVP!”)

I also think it’s important to incorporate mental health into this whole “being healthy” thing. Google so kindly pointed out that feeling fit and healthy are part of actually being healthy. If you work out all the time and never quite get satisfied, that’s unhealthy mentally. I look back at pictures from when I was probably in the best shape ever and I say “OH MY GOSH I was so skinny and thought I was so fat!” And that takes all the fun out of being in good shape–if you don’t even realize it.

So whatever, y’all. Just do what you want and wear what you want and own it and if you exercise and you actually end up losing weight–whatevs. It’s all about how you feel, guys.

“Common sense tells us a pound of muscle and a pound of fat have to weigh the same, but they do differ in density. This means if you look at five pounds of muscle and five pounds of fat side by side, the fat takes up more volume, or space, than the muscle. That’s important when you’re on a diet and part of your goal is the lean look of muscle, not the flabby look of fat.

So why do people say muscle weighs more than fat?

“I find people make this statement when they put on weight,” says Stusek. “One person will say, ‘I gained three pounds and I’ve been working out.’ The good-friend response is, ‘It’s all muscle.’ And while this is a very comforting thing to hear, it’s just impossible to gain three pounds of muscle in a week. It is common for exercisers to lose fat and gain muscle without a change in body weight, so I understand why people often get frustrated.”

The first step in a successful diet and exercise program is to banish the idea that muscle weighs more and is therefore bad. In fact, Stusek recommends tossing out the scale altogether.

“I try to get people to think about how they are feeling, how their clothes are fitting, and how their body has changed,” Stusek advises. “It’s a hard thing to do sometimes. The focus should not just be the number on the scale. If we only did things to make ourselves weigh less, we wouldn’t necessarily be healthier.” [1]

There you have it. Happy New Years and don’t forget to make realistic resolutions.

(Also, if I have to pretty much torture myself to look like I want to look, I totally want to do something like this.)

Keep up-to-date on my new postings by following me on Twitter. You can also contact me through my website here, email me at brittany@lacelollipops.com, or send me a message to my Facebook (show your support and send me a like!) Check out my Pinterest, too! Thank you all so much!