Love Yo’self

Brace yourself for a sweeping generalization:

We ladies are all kinds of crazy.

I know I sure am.

I know I’m not the only one who brushes off compliments like they’re unwanted charity work, yet holds on to negative comments [and thoughts] like they’re the golden gospel written and hand delivered by Jesus Christ Himself.

Am I right? [I know I'm right.]

Why do we think it serves us to dwell on the negative? Surely, we can’t think it will help with self-improvement. Can we? That sounds like a sick, sadistic form of motivation if you ask me.

[I've been guilty of it, for sure.]

BUT!

The good thing, I’ve learned, is that we’re all in total control of how we feel. Sure, it might not always feel like it, but I assure you – we’re the sole Conductors of our own crazy trains. We’re the only person responsible for driving ourselves straight towards Negative Nancyville.

But what if we switched gears and did something even crazier than holding onto negative thoughts and energy that don’t serve us?

How about we love ourselves?

Dare I suggest: embrace ourselves?

I’m not talking about just the pretty parts of ourselves. The parts that we Instgram or blog about. All parts. The parts that make us feel “less than” or “weird” or “self-conscious.” Normally those aspects are the ones that other people admire about us; we’re just too weird to see it.

So, I’m challenging you.

Yes, you, to turn that crazy train around and do something positive for yourself. Not to sound all zen and tree-huggy, but if we only harbor the negative, that’s only what we’ll receive.

And you know what? I think you deserve all the love and happiness and positivity the world has to offer.

Really, I do.

Transformation Tuesday

Last night, I sat on the floor in an empty bedroom of our house and read through over 20 of my old journals. My handwriting morphed from huge bubble letters, to heart-dotted i’s and loopy y’s, to awkward cursive [that made me feel sophisticated], to the penmanship I recognize today.

journals

I cringed as I read the recount of a 6th grade pool party. That summer day came flooding back almost instantly. I had felt so confident in my new tankini [the kind with boy shorts - so hawt] only to end up feeling like I needed to die, because I laughed so hard that a piece of sausage [which had been lodged in my pallet expander] shot out of my mouth and hit one of the cutest boys ever, right in face.

I haven’t eaten sausage pizza since. Come to think of it, he probably hasn’t either.

I laughed and felt an odd since of playground pride as I read about the time I stood up to a bully who stole my best friend, Lauren’s, lunch money. Or about the time she got left behind after a school assembly in 4th grade. After voicing my concern, the teacher retraced her steps and found her locked in the lobby of our gym. With a purple gelly roll pen, I berated myself for not going to the bathroom with her, because “at least we would have been forgotten together.”

She was my perfect opposite, so goofy and delicate and shy, which is why I think we fit perfectly together for so many years.

It makes my heart hurt, in a bittersweet sense, to remember and appreciate a former best friend. A friendship that disintegrated not because of any malice or ill feelings, but only because we let life happen. I don’t regret much, but not keeping in touch with her tops that short, short list.

I stumbled across a saved letter from Danielle, a girl who probably doesn’t even remember me, telling me she looked up to me. Why? Because she thought I was pretty, I had met N*SYNC and because I stood up for people.

This proves that in 6th grade, mature priorities are almost developed.

danielle

I came across letters that I wrote to “my future husband” and even now, I’m still debating if I want to show them to Cory. But maybe I will, because they’re proof that he’s who I’ve been waiting for my entire life.

Last night I received a beautiful, bittersweet lesson. Unknowingly, I’ve taught myself that it’s the mundane things, the small moments which may never receive a second thought, that mold you into the complex, fascinating person you are today.

 

The Two Most Important Things for Having an Awesome Wedding Reception

File this under: things no one tells you.

The programs. The favors. The food [sit down, buffet, heavy hors d'oeuvres?!] The seating chart. The decorations. The centerpieces. The table cloths. EV.ERY.THING that must be considered to have thee most perfect wedding.

Thanks a lot, Pinterest.

When you’re in the depths of wedding planning, every detail seems painstakingly crucial. Like, your first dance song and what kind of granola bar to put in the welcome bag for your guests at the hotel are on the same level of critical importance.

 first dance

I’m here to tell you to slow down, crazy. Slow down. 

While all the cutesy things are appreciated in the moment, no one will remember them. Sorry. Truth is, you might not even remember them.

Like, what did my centerpieces look like? I don’t really remember off the top of my head. What I do remember is crying over them because Cory and I couldn’t agree on anything. Or our bouquets, for example - I can only remember the colors.

colleen

But exactly what they looked like? Um, not really. But at the time, they were SO IMPORTANT. [insert eye roll here]

I think all us girls can agree that after you’ve had your own wedding, or if you’re lucky enough to attend some weddings while you’re wedding planning, you kind of become a wedding critic.

In a, hmm – I see what she did there, critic. [And sometimes a what the fuck did she do there? critic]

As a seasoned wedding critic, I’ve found that there are only two things that truly matter when it comes to hosting a fun, memorable wedding reception.

Music and Booze. 

Clearly, the venue, the food, the and fluff matter. Duh, of course they do – but not nearly as much as the music and the booze.

dance

I’ve been to over-the-top weddings and backyard weddings and I’ve had equal amounts of fun, because both had great music and free liquor.

People like dancing. People like free drinks. People like dancing with free drinks. [I despise dancing, but at weddings, I'll put that hate in the corner.]

At our wedding, we didn’t spend money on favors (seriously, because all I could find in the favor department was pure cheese) so we considered our open bar the “favor.” As much as everyone would have liked a wine glass with Cory & Colleen 8.6.11 engraved on the front, I think free liquor for 6 hours was more appreciated.

bruce
[One of my favorite photos from the reception. Everyone's faces over Bruce's dance moves gets me every time!]

I know in tons of wedding books and magazines they say to allocate 20% [or whatever] of your budget to flowers or stationary or something else that will die or be quickly thrown away. But go with me on this one – music and booze. That winning combination will create the best memories for years to come.

Oh, and skip the champagne toast. By that point, everyone already has a drink, so it [the champagne and the money] goes to waste. And that’s alcohol abuse if you ask me.

On Deciding to Leave Facebook

So, yesterday I realized how pathetic I am.

I decided to deactivate my Facebook, and it was, like, way more difficult than it should have been.

Cory deleted his Facebook a few weeks ago, and I’ve been teetering on the fence ever since; wanting to follow suit, but not ballsy enough to actually do it.

I mean, I have gotten to the point where I spend time looking through other people’s Facebook pictures and profiles and knowing things about people I shouldn’t know.

People who I used to know intimately are now just pictures and status updates that show up on my computer screen. If we have let go of each other in real life, why are we still disconnectedly connected?

I need to be more about the real connections.

cory

I got to the point where, if something fun or cool or exciting was happening, I felt the compulsion to tell the Facebook world about it.

Like, why am I subconsciously looking for validation from people who aren’t really people in my life?

And why am I not having real conversations with people who are real people in my life?! For example, I adore my cousins, and I like the shit out of their Facebook statues and pictures, but when is the last time I called any of them?

The answer is too embarrassing to admit, and I refuse to live in a world where everyone is “too busy” for a short phone call.

But! All of that still wasn’t enough for me to be like Hey, crazy, step away from the Facebook. 

I realized that scrolling through Facebook wasn’t some mindless activity when it had gotten to the point where I found myself comparing other people’s joy and excitement to my own joy and excitement.

My life is pretty fucking awesome, but I let other people’s adventures and experiences subtract value from my own.

penny

That’s just sad, and that’s not the kind of person I like being.

So, do I think Facebook is terrible? Not at all. I just think it makes feeling happy and confident a little harder than it should be. Am I giving up Facebook forever? Probably not. I just feel the need to step away, and I sure as hell don’t have enough self control to just not look at Facebook.

I’ll be honest, getting rid of Facebook kinda sorta definitely felt like getting rid of a body part. Maybe not a body part that you’d totally need to function, but more like a pinky finger.

Everyone can get by without a pinky finger, right?

 

Things No One Tells Engaged Girls

My wedding day was one of the best days of my life for many reasons, but mainly I think it was because all I cared about was getting married. 

I was a laid back bride for the mot part, but I had a few “moments.” Most notable: the 20-minute conversation about white vs. ivory napkins which ended with something like,  Are you fucking kidding me?! They’re the same!! Someone else just make the GD decision! Where was the cake tasting everyone kept talking about?

As wedding season begins and my third wedding anniversary approaches, I felt that it was time to share my Things No One Tells series.

My first installment shall focus on being newly engaged.

Things No One Tells Newly Engaged Girls

First off, I don’t mean to be harsh, but no one cares about your wedding nearly as much as you do. Really. No one. 

Don’t get mad at me, Bridezilla. I’m trying to help.

You don’t want to be the girl who only talks about herself for the year leading up to the wedding, do you? We all know her, and we all know she’s obnoxious. You want to avoid the identity shift from woman-with-goals-and-achievements to Bride. It’s tough, but I believe in you!

Once the shock of The Proposal sets in, choosing your bridesmaids is probably one of the first things you’ll want to do. But I encourage you to not jump the gun. If you’re going to have a long engagement, wait a few months. You don’t want to regret a bridesmaid. I see it happen all the time. Tragic, really.

When it does come time to choose a wedding party, always keep in mind why you want those women by your side on The Big Day.

bridesmaids

I say that, because nothing can kill a friendship faster than you letting their identities shift from Best Friends Forever to Wedding Slaves.

If you somehow believe in your twisted mind that your friends (who have lives and jobs and hobbies outside of being your bridesmaid) are supposed to bend over backwards for you and your perfect day, those girls will become sick of you and kick you to the curb faster than you can post honeymoon selfies. I know you’re marrying your best friend, but trust me when I say that your girlfriends are your soul mates. Don’t be a bitch.

elevator

During your engagement you’re bound to be celebrated more than once. Be a gracious bride, and do not expect anything from anyone. If someone is willing to throw you a bridal shower or a bachelorette party, your only job is to be the happiest, most thankful person in the room. Please remember that those people don’t have to do any of that for you.

shower

Being engaged is fun and exciting, but with countless wedding magazines and Say Yes to the Dress marathons, it’s easy to lose sight of the end game: marriage. Don’t let the engagement serve as a “time out” from nurturing your relationship. Keep dating, keep flirting, and keep having conversations that don’t revolve around The Wedding.

Oh, please refrain from calling your fiancé your hubby. It makes people throw up in their mouths a little bit.

 

Break Up with Your Makeup


When I write about self-confidence and body image, it’s common for people to think about weight and the size of their jeans. Right?

But for me, my SKIN can largely make-or-break my self-confidence. Some weeks my skin is really good and some weeks it’s really bad.

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Whenever I have breakouts, I tend to pick and pop zits. TERRIBLE, I know! It’s a nervous habit that I don’t even realizing I’m doing until it’s too late. As a result, I have some awesome scaring on my chin, neck, and side of my face and I try to cover them with makeup all the time.

Up until I was about 21, I prided myself on being one of those girls who didn’t need makeup. My skin was clear and even-toned; no red spots or scaring. Take me baaaack!!

Recently, I wept to an esthetician and she told me that a “hormone change” happened in my body, which normally causes zit on the chin, temples, and neck. Apparently typical for woman in the 20′s. Damn it.  

no makeup

But I preach self-acceptance and self-confidence here, so I was more than willing to break up with my makeup for a few days. Yes, I was nervous. Yes, I felt self-conscious. But you know what? I got over it.

No one barked at me or shielded their eyes (unless that’s what you’re doing due to the above photo), and I live to tell the tale.

You know what’s coming next, don’t you? Of course you do.

You know I’m going to challenge YOU to go without your makeup safety blanket. Not for for.ev.er., but just for a day every now and then. Rather than always trying to conceal, try letting your skin heal.

I bet you’ll even feel good when you do it. (You might feel really good if you win their sweepstakes and get to walk down the red carpet at the Emmy’s.)

For those of you who battle with facial redness caused by rosacea, check out Mirvaso, a topical gel that helps treat this skin condition. For all other skin care treatments, check out Galderma Laboratories.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Important Safety Information – Mirvaso® Gel
Indication: Mirvaso® (brimonidine) topical gel, 0.33% is an alpha adrenergic agonist indicated for the topical treatment of persistent (nontransient) facial erythema of rosacea in adults 18 years of age or older. Adverse Events: In clinical trials, the most common adverse reactions (≥1%) included erythema, flushing, skin burning sensation and contact dermatitis. Warnings/Precautions: Mirvaso Gel should be used with caution in patients with depression, cerebral or coronary insufficiency, Raynaud’s phenomenon, orthostatic hypotension, thromboangiitis obliterans, scleroderma, or Sjögren’s syndrome. Alpha-2 adrenergic agents can lower blood pressure. Mirvaso Gel should be used with caution in patients with severe or unstable or uncontrolled cardiovascular disease. Serious adverse reactions following accidental ingestion of Mirvaso Gel by children have been reported. Keep Mirvaso Gel out of reach of children. Not for oral, ophthalmic, or intravaginal use. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Virtual Blog Tour

A few weeks ago, THIS LADY emailed me about tagging me in this Virtual Blog Tour that’s been making it’s way around the blog world.

Like yellow cars, I hadn’t seen one of these “tours” until she pointed it out, but now I can’t stop seeing them. Thanks a lot, Presley ;)

You know I love silly little surveys, but this one is different because it gives the read a look into how and what the blogger is doing. Anyway, here we go!

yo

What am I working on?

I feel like the only thing I’m not working on is keeping the baseboards in my house clean.

Professionally: I have a career that I genuinely adore, so that’s something I’m always working on. I started as an intern at my company, so it’s been a fun ride to get where I am today. A blessing/curse of mine is that I’m never fully satisfied, so I’m currently working on pursuing a few certifications related to the EAP field in hopes of continuing to move on up!

Personally: I tried to make this sound less cheesy than it is, but it’s impossible: every day, I’m constantly asking myself how I can be better than yesterday. A better person, a better wife, a better friend, sister, daughter, employee, etc. Some days I’m not better than the day before, but that’s okay. That just means I have to try again tomorrow.

Blog: This blog is my favorite hobby-turned-small-business. Writing is a passion of mine, and I get such a kick out of the fact that other people want/like to read what I write. I’m working on a redesigning the blog and I have a few little campaigns on the books. Gasp! I make money from blogging. Get over it ;)

How does my work differ from others of it’s genre?

I don’t think I’m special or different, really. Maybe it’s because I’m not of the Everyone Gets a Trophy generation. Honestly, I think my use of the fuck word tends to separate me from the pack, but that’s about it. I’m just like any other blog, besides the fact that I rarely give a shit if what I say offends you.

Why do I write what I do?

I have countless notebooks filled with thoughts that span from my pre-teen years to my life now as an old married lady; but the reason I write this blog is because everyone needs someone to relate to, don’t you think?

I’m neurotic and weird and sarcastic and honest and I have a twisted, self-deprecating sense of humor, and I think people get that about me. I started this blog for so many reasons, but I continue this blog to be an advocate for the average. I feel douchy using the word inspire but I simply want to motivate others to like themselves, accept themselves and feel good about themselves.

How does my writing process work?

I get an idea, and then I write about it. It’s that simple.

I’m not a photographer, so I’m not editing pics all the live long day. I upload them from my iPhone. I feel like I’m the only blogger without a DSLR 39387534 camera. Oh, well.

I’m normally making fun of myself or someone else, so I guess my process is: living life? And if something funny (or totally embarrassing) happens, you bet I’ll write about.

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Now it’s MY Turn to Tag!

Georgia from Georgia Trying Something New

Georgia Brown is an expert of nothing and a sharer of everything. She lost 50 pounds, transitioned to a vegan diet, and started Georgia Trying Something New as a way to prove that eating healthy and working out can be fun (though some days she can’t convince herself #NetflixMarathon). She is an advocate for feeling great at any weight, and living your best life, whatever that may mean for each individual. She currently works in theatre, and is currently trying to find the balance between “ommm” and “GO.”

You can follow Georgia on GTSN Instagram // Twitter // Youtube 

Courtney from Sweet Tooth Sweet Life

I’ve been blogging for a little over 4 years, and both the blog and myself have evolved in ways that I would have never imagined when I had first started. I just turned 30 this year, I’m a full-time working mama to my 10-1/2 month old son, Lucas, and wife to my high school sweetheart of 15 years. I rarely turn down a dessert, I love a good beer, and I’m slowly working on getting back into a solid fitness routine after having to take a break to regain my health and getting pregnant (you can read all about my experience through this series of posts). Stop by the blog anytime, and you’re likely to see pics of my baby, random eats, and me attempting (aka, struggling) to balance everything!

You can follow Courtney on STSL // Instagram // Twitter // Facebook

 Be sure to check these ladies out. They have great blogs, but they’re both also friends of mine! Happy reading! :)

Negative Body Image Knows No Body Type

If you’ve been reading this blog for more than a week, you know that I have struggled with body image issues. Like so many young females, today’s society made me believe I was supposed to look a certain way to be beautiful, and that I certainly wasn’t supposed to love myself if I didn’t meet those standards.

weirdo

Standards, like, not being a weirdo. Definitely don’t meet that qualification.

I got some flack for the post I wrote about gaining weight. People wrote emails and posted negative comments on the internet about how I am “too thin to complain about gaining weight and struggling with body image issues.”

……?

For three and a half years, I’ve tried to use this platform to normalize things from mental health to body image to being a weird human being; but clearly, I’ve got a ways to go.

Speaking in societal terms, I’m average; even leaning towards the thin end of the spectrum. As a recovering body-hater, it’s taken me years to realize this.

The point of me, a normal-border-line-thin girl, writing about body image issues is to prove that this type of struggle doesn’t belong to one body type.

BR

my thick eyebrows used to make me SO self-conscious!

That’s right! Negative body image knows no body type. The only requirement for having body image issues is having a body.

Secondly, if someone thinner than you opens up to you about her struggles with her own body image you might roll your eyes and say to yourself, “God, if she thinks SHE’S fat, what does she think about ME?”

I can assure you, friend, that she doesn’t think anything about you.

Did you get that? It’s not about you.

Negative body image doesn’t care if a girl is thin, fat, round, stocky, lanky, black, white, or purple. It doesn’t matter how you a see a girl, it matters how she sees herself. Let her own her struggles. It’s impossible (not to mention, RUDE) if you tell someone how she is supposed to feel. 

If she opens up to you about her struggle, just listen.

Lastly, remember, if (if! if! if!) she’s comparing herself to you, I can guarantee that in her mind, she’s not measuring up to the beautiful person she thinks you are.

Weekend Wrap Up: Wedding Season Beings!

This weekend was a fun whirlwind! Bobby and Whitney were in town, so all was right in the world. Normally, we enjoy laid back visits when we’re together, but this weekend we had a college friend’s wedding on the books.

Cory and Bobby were both involved in the wedding party, so they had to arrive early in the afternoon, which meant Whitney and I did, too. We adequately prepared to keep ourselves liquored up occupied all afternoon before the festivities began.

whit

 

The wedding was a BYOB event, and that’s really something I can support. When I got ready to pour my first drink at the reception, I started to do so under the table.

When someone looked at me like I had just punched a baby and asked what I was doing, I was like, Oh, right! This is allowed! And then the drinks started flowing freely. It was a beautiful thing.

wine

It might be just me, but I get a little overzealous with anything that’s mini-sized. When I saw all different mini wine bottles at World Market last week, I felt like I had hit the BYOB jackpot and bought, like, ten. They were plastic, too! How could I resist?!

It was a win-win, my friends.

It was a really a win-win-win because we got to spend the weekend with two of our absolute favorite people. Whenever we get to spend time with Bobby and Whitney, we’re reminded just how lucky we are to have such true friendship in our lives. It’s a rarity, am I right?!

group

Starting Out



Throughout college, I felt like an adult. I mean, I lived in an apartment off campus, I could  totally eat whatever I wanted at the dining hall, and I could drink beer. Friends, the freedom was endless.

Adulthood was all but conquered. I had it figured out.

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the face of someone who clearly has everything figured out.

It wasn't until my Senior year, mere weeks before graduation, when I realized college was the set of training wheels for Adulthood.

College was a safe, pretend adult bike ride. If I tried to get gutsy with my balance, trusty syllabi and my parents were there to get me back on track.

Thinking back to graduation, I still get butterflies. I was so nervous. I had no idea what the future held (duh) - I didn't have a job or acceptance into graduate school, I didn't know how long I'd have to live with my parents, and most importantly, I didn't know what my future with Cory would be.

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I'm Type A to the core. I hate when anything is up in the air. I prefer everything to be tightly and neatly cemented to the ground. Always.

As I walked across the stage, I caught sight of my favorite professors and I felt the tears well up. I know what you're thinking - Colleen! They graded you and made your life difficult for 4 years! Why cry?!

I cried because Longwood is tiny, and the relationship between students and professors is a special one. Those several professors met me as a scared 18-year-old freshman and helped mold me into a confident 22-year-old college graduate (even if I had no direction, they had me convinced I'd find it somehow ;) )

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I found my family soon after the ceremony, buzzing with excitement, ready to take a million pictures. For a moment, the oh-crap-what-happens-next feeling had evaporated. It was just a frenzy.

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It was when I finally met up with Cory, in front of the building which housed my major, that I felt calm.

As we stood there smiling for our parent's cameras, Cory began telling me that as our chapter at Longwood was ending, he couldn't help but start the next chapter without me by his side.

It was there, on the campus where we met, in front of the building in which I had spent countless hours, with our closest family members watching - he proposed.

proposal

In an instant, I went from feelings of anxiety about Real Adulthood, to looking forward to it with every fiber of my being, knowing that I'd have my best friend by side through it all.

We may not have it all together. We may still be starting out. I may I still have that weird paranoia that one day someone is going to pull the curtain down and say Ah-ha! She's only pretending to know what she's doing!

But I think that's how the Freshman Year of Adulthood feels for everyone. And it's good, knowing we're not in it alone.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by State Farm via Mode Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of State Farm. 

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