Category: life advice

On Being A Plus-Size Girl In A Skinny Girl World

This guest post comes to us via the lovely Mara, who blogs (almost) daily over at Medicinal Marzipan, can frequently be found rabble rousing on facebook or you can shoot her an email at medicinalmarzipan[at]gmail[dot]com. Don’t hesitate to hit her up with any of your body image questions or comments!In a world overrun with messages and images dictating how you are supposed to feel about your body, what size it is supposed to be, or what you are supposed to wear, it can often be extremely difficult to harden your resolve and decide to love your body regardless of your size. The truth is, no matter how much you weigh, we are all under the a constant stream of input about our bodies, and we all take them to heart in our own unique ways. The difference then exists not in what the rest of the world is telling us to be, but in how comfortable we allow ourselves to be in our own skin.

You can make the conscious choice to love yourself, unconditionally, no matter what your weight or size. By removing these conditions, you are able to move more freely, open your heart to heightened self-esteem and self-worth, and be kind to yourself no matter what anyone else thinks about your body. This is not the easiest thing to do, but there are a few steps that you can take to make this journey towards loving your body easier.

1. Buy clothing that fits.
Buy clothing that not only fits, but also makes you feel good about yourself, makes you feel presentable and attractive, and represents the way you want others to see you. This means that you have to allow yourself to going up a size, or two, when you need to – without criticism or judgment. Buying clothing that fits you will remove the constant daily reminder of I’m so fat. I don’t deserve ______. I’m not worth ______. that you feel when you are getting dressed in the morning. You ARE worth looking your best.

2. Treat your body with the respect that you would treat a friend or family member
say nice things, let it know that you are grateful for all that it does for you, for carrying you around in the world. Eat food that makes you feel nourished and energetic. Make time and space for movement. It is very difficult to hate your body when it is motion, when you can truly feel how strong it is.

3. Drink enough water.
This may seem menial, but when you don’t drink enough water you can feel stuck and lethargic. You get sick more easily. Your brain doesn’t move as fluidly as you might like. Drinking enough water makes your skin glow and your body feel more capable. That said, also, get enough sleep – it is much easier to fall into a rut when you are exhausted.

4. Refuse to engage in negative self talk.
This is not always the easiest of tasks. From childhood, women are taught to relate to one another in regards to their perceived flaws – “oh my calves are GIGANTIC!” “YOUR calves?! Would you look at my _____.” Picking on your body can be a easy go-to as a conversation filler, but it is remarkable how quickly those thoughts make their way into your heart and contaminate your thinking about your body. Make a choice to be nice to yourself. Tell yourself that you’re beautiful. Tell others that they are beautiful. If this concept seems foreign – fake it. You will be surprised one day when you realize that you have taken these “fake” compliments to heart.

5. Immerse yourself in a body positive culture.
True, there are plenty of people out there just waiting to tell you how GIGANTIC you are or how much you need to change, but there are also many resources, companies, blogs, friends, and lovers who want to love you exactly the way you are. Surround yourself with positive people. Find products, clothing companies, and activities that reinforce your love for your body, exactly as it is.

6. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Run, jump, skip, hula hoop, dance with reckless abandon. Do things that put a huge smile on your face, and remind you of a time where you felt more comfortable in your skin. Have fun. It is amazing how difficult it is to engage in negative body image patterns when you are too busy doing the things that you love to do and that make you feel good about yourself.

How do you feel about your body? How do you keep your body happy?

How To Love Your Life Even if You Hate Your Job

Do you hate your job? Almost everyone works a job they hate at some point. Click through for 5 tips that will keep that bad job from infecting the rest of your life. >>

This fantastic guest post comes via the very cool Amanda Lee whose site is now totally defunct and off the air. But credit where credit is due!

So you hate your job. Welcome to the club.

I started work this week. And by “work,” I mean “the job I’m doing to pay my school tuition, but that I by no means enjoy in the slightest.” And I’m apparently not alone at all in employment dispassion.

I have a friend who’s been steadily searching for a job for the last eleven months. Still others are waiting tables and letting their bachelor’s degrees gather dust. And some are beyond depressed at being grossly underemployed in jobs where their creativity is left to stagnate. Their work is rote, rudimentary, and unvarying from day to day.

The situation is pretty universally bad. In fact, I’d say that less than ten percent of my friends are actually content with their employment situations. For the rest of us, working is a daily exercise in learning to cope.
Luckily, we’re learning. And learning well. And it’s making us better and more focused on Getting Excited and Making Stuff. I’m terribly lucky to be close to some of the most driven and creative people ever. I’m picking up some of their habits to help me get through work every day.

Here are 5 ways to cope if you hate your job (like I do)

Remember why you’re there

Maybe your benefits rock. Maybe your tuition will be reimbursed, or your meals are free. Or maybe your pay scale leaves a ton to be desired, but you’re learning a new programming language or adding a handful of amazing projects to your portfolio. Or maybe you’re just glad to pay rent without much strain.
Whatever it is that brought you to that job in the first place, keep it in mind whenever you start telling yourself how much you dislike it.

Don’t let work be your absolute foremost priority

Yes, I know. You have a habit of eating, and you don’t want to stop doing it. Your job is what allows you to continue eating. I understand. But if you hate your job, it doesn’t make any sense to allow it to take up the biggest chunk of your time, effort, and headspace.
Don’t bring it home with you. Don’t allow your job to eat into whatever you’re doing, thinking, or consuming outside your obligatory forty hours a week. Remember that your job is a means to an end [see above], not the end itself.

Find a way to do what you want to do outside of work hours

Even if it’s not paid or prestigious, stay in the habit of being creative. It can be so easy to let your piano gather dust every night, or not to open the novel you’re working on for weeks on end. You put off finishing that poster design project.
Because if you do, before long you’re going to be lying when you call yourself a designer or a musician or a writer.

Seize control of wasted time during the workday, and use it to do what you want

This is my favorite thing ever. Between answering phones and writing up reports at warp speed, I’m sketching fashion figures in the margins of my TPS Reports. I’m knitting under my desk and wandering the neighborhood during my lunch hour to shoot pictures. I’m writing out blog posts in longhand.
One of my best friends spends his downtime at a web design firm learning the rudiments of 3-D modeling so he can use them in his video installation projects. He’s writing letters to galleries where he hopes to have shows. Do this. Do this every day.

Give yourself a deadline for moving on and make it happen

This means being an adult about your finances and making sure that you have savings to weather whatever downtime you might have between gigs. It means staying in and working on your portfolio at night instead of going out with your coworkers.
It means not getting sidetracked by any guilt-based or fear-based reasons you might want to stay just a little bit longer. It means promoting yourself and your creative work. It means taking your career seriously, not just being a dilettante with a tedious habit you half-ass your way through.
Stop making excuses and just do it. If your job is unfulfilling, you’re never going to grow to like it. Click To Tweet So why don’t you do something you love instead?

Do you guys like your jobs? If not, how are you handling it?

P.S. How to quit one job without another one lined up

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

The Truth About Dreams Vs. Opportunities

Who would win in a cage match of dreams vs. opportunities? Which one is healthier, more doable, and more sustainable? Click through for a pep talk about ambition, taking chances, and making shit happen.
Who would win in a cage match of dreams vs. opportunities? Which one is healthier, more doable, and more sustainable? Sarah Storer has an opinion.

A few years ago, I applied for a fun, stunty project – to live off Groupon for a year. 

And when I found out that I wasn’t selected, I had a lot of very sweet people ask me if I was okay.

As in, “are you surviving the emotional trauma of not being selected for this opportunity?”And without hesitation, I could say, “Yes, I’m completely fine.” Sure, I was a little disappointed—I knew I had done a good job, and that I could’ve rocked the assignment—but sad? Upset? Wistful? No, not in the least.

In fact, my reaction reminded me of a friend who was an actor in New York. I asked him how hard it was to wait for those roles he really, really wanted, and he said, “You literally have to get to the point where you’re working so hard, that you don’t remember what you auditioned for.”

He recounted the time he did land that dream role, and when the call came through, he had to remind himself who was calling and why.

He realized the difference between dreams and opportunities.

His dream was to make a living as an actor, each audition was an opportunity to make that dream happen.

A few years ago, I knew what I wanted in life, but I had no desire to work for it. I knew I had some talent, I’d had people tell me they thought I could “make it”, and I had all the internal tools to get what I wanted, but I wanted it handed to me in a neat little package.

So, when opportunities arose, I saw them as the means to make my dreams come true. I had nothing else to fall back on. When those opportunities passed me by, when I was said “no” to, I took it personally, as an affront to me and my aspirations, because it’s all I had going for me.

And then it hit me. No one will make my dreams come true but me. No one. I had a choice to either stop dreaming or get to work. So, I began to work. And work, and work, and work.

Suddenly, opportunities became stepping stones instead of walls for merciful benefactors to hoist me over.

Not only could I now say “no” to opportunities if they weren’t completely in line with my end goal, but opportunities could say “no” to me. And guess what? It didn’t hurt or wound because I finally figured it out: Opportunities don’t make me. I MAKE my opportunities. Click To Tweet

And even without being selected for that project, or being asked to write that guest post, or having an article rejected, my dream hasn’t died because it’s an organic thing that doesn’t stop being when there’s a hitch.

So why does it matter in the grand scheme of things?

Your dreams don’t matter if you’re not willing to work for them

Who cares if you want to win a Tony if you’re not willing to take a dance class? Who cares if you want to take over the blogosphere if you’re not willing to write. every. day. or open yourself to the community mindset of this neck of the interwebz?

Who cares if you want to be a designer but you don’t pour over color charts, bookmark your favorite designer’s portfolios, or render that first sketch?

No one will hand you anything just for being your talented self (though yes, talent does help). If your dreams don’t matter to you, they won’t matter to anyone else.

Your life will be filled—FILLED—with opportunities

But will you be ready? Can you show up for that last-minute audition with a prepared routine? Will you be ready to dash off that 300 word essay at a moment’s notice? Whip out your design portfolio when you just happen to run into that textile big-wig at a bar?

When you’re not ready, opportunities carry more weight…they are the be all to end all, they are your LAST CHANCE. Don’t wait for that last chance. Be ready now.

When you don’t see an opportunity, make your own

One of the coolest things I’ve learned in the last year is the power of ASKING. It’s okay to ask…to ask for that guest spot on a blog, to ask to sit in on a class, to offer your services for free to that business. “No” is not such a harsh word when you learn to never equate “no” with “stop”. Make it happen, don’t wait, get out there, pound that pavement…catch my drift?

I wanted to share this with you all because I am super excited about the next six months of my life. I feel like they will be full of fantastic opportunities, new steps, and hard, hard work. Please continue to join me for the ride…I’m glad to have you along.

We want to hear from you! What opportunities are you creating for yourself this year? 

P.S. Track your efforts, not your accomplishments

Photo by Geran de Klerk on Unsplash

People Want To Help You

People are constantly trying to help you. And if they’re not, they’d probably be happy to … if you just ask.
This guest post comes to us from one my very first Internet Friend: Alexandra Franzen
It’s easy to get jaded. It’s difficult to trust. But a lot of people — people you know very well, people you barely know at all — want to help you.

Why? People like being helpful. It makes them feel happy and useful. Click To Tweet

Your boss wants to help you develop your professional skills.

Your mom wants to help you find true love.

Your BFF wants to help you remember that one time in San Bernadino when you had the Best Burger Of All Time and then saw The Dukes of Hazzard before the Nocturnal Wonderland rave.

Your utility representative wants to help you manage your monthly bills.

Your local S.C.O.R.E. branch wants to help you start a successful small business.

Your pharmacist wants to help you understand your dosage instructions.

Your favorite DJ wants to help you discover new music.

People are constantly trying to help you. And if they’re not, they’d probably be happy to … if you just ask.

Kinda awesome, huh?

Who can help you? Who are you going to help?

P.S. Life has big plans for you.

photo by suhyeon choi // cc

Your new clear skin ‘cocktail’

Looking for a clear skin cocktail? Wondering what to eat or drink for clear skin? Click through for some DIY skincare you can drink!

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a cocktail you could drink for clear skin? Well, there is! Sort of. My beauty editor friend Elizabeth is here to share her best skincare secrets.

Today’s recipe comes from my gorgeous friend Christina Holm-Sandok, whose creamy complexion recently began behaving badly. “Worse than during my junior year in high school!” she declares. Oi. At the suggestion of another friend with annoyingly perfect skin, Christina started drinking a raw apple cider vinegar concoction each morning.
After five days she started to see improvement, and her skin just keeps getting better. Meanwhile, I can personally vouch for the fact that she does not smell like salad dressing. The theory behind this concoction is that apple cider vinegar promotes alkalinity in the body, which inhibits inflammation.
And inflammation, dear readers, is the cause of pretty much everything that ails us. If you’re still skeptical about drinking the kool-aid, so to speak, I highly recommend this illuminating read. Bottoms up!

Apple cider vinegar clear skin ‘cocktail’

2 tablespoon Braggs apple cider vinegar (raw/organic)
Squeeze of lemon juice
Touch of honey (optional)
12 ounces of water
Combine all ingredients. Sip throughout the day, preferably before meals, or chug the whole thing if you can’t stand the taste. It’s actually kind of growing on me.
What are your favorite beauty DIYs?
Photo by Jennifer Schmidt on Unsplash