if the shirt fits… wait.

And the winner for Best Angst Face in a Train Scene goes to… Lindsay Shaw in Chicago Trip 2009!

Hate to break it to you, readers, but  next week there will be no FBDC posts. My husband and I will be off the grid (that is, in my hometown-in-law Chicago — if you’re in town, holla) visiting family and friends while taking a much needed getaway from our busy lives here in the Sunshine State. I will miss you, and blogging, but I’m looking forward to a week away.

The first time I went to visit the city of Chicago I was a completely different person. For starters, I was only Dan’s girlfriend. I wasn’t even his fiance yet, let alone his wife. (I also made horrible faces on trains, apparently.) But more importantly, I wasn’t a self-love warrior. I was far from it, actually; a broken shell of a girl whose entire existence was built on a sandy foundation of impossible standards and unhealthy, destructive lifestyle choices. My second trip to the Chicago area was just over a year ago. I had just started my blog, completely unaware that it would explode into a self-love movement just six months later.

As I gear up for my third trip to the Windy City, I’m excited for a lot of reasons, most of which you’d probably expect: not being at work, spending time with my love, getting to be a tourist, seeing my distant friends and family, and going sledding (it’s snowing up there right now, right? Isn’t it always winter in Chicago?)

But this visit also brings about a unique and abstract excitement that is wrapped up in my self-love journey. You see, sometimes, it’s hard for me to chart my spiritual and emotional growth here in Tallahassee. Living day in and day out here, experiencing each moment laden with baby steps toward self-acceptance, can make my journey seem almost pointless and uneventful. Sadly, because the self-love decisions I make each day are relatively small, my progress sometimes appears minimal at best, invisible at worst. I know they’re making a difference. I do. But it’s like wearing the same shirt everyday when you’re losing weight — you can’t tell the difference day by day, but one day, the shirt just doesn’t fit anymore.

That’s the main reason I’m looking forward to this trip. Each time I’ve gone to Chicago, I’ve noticed that my old shirt — my old self — doesn’t quite fit anymore.

It’s baggier in parts, yet tighter in other parts. Some new holes have been worn and some old tears have been sewn back together. Stains have been bleached out and dirt has been washed away. These changes are small and hard to recognize each day. But by removing myself from the familiar and mundane, I can finally see that I’m growing and changing in incredible ways.

So today, I am thankful for removal. I am thankful for vacation. I am thankful for a change of pace. I am thankful for the realization that each and every day, each and every healthy choice, each and every positive comment, is one step closer to redemption. Renewal. Peace.

I’ve gotten so many emails from people who say that some days it’s so easy to love themselves. They tackle the day knowing they’re beautiful and valued, but then a nasty comment from a friend or a mean email from their boss will make them wonder if any of this is worth it. If you’ve ever felt that way, like you’re wearing the same shirt everyday in “self-love boot camp” but not seeing results, be patient. Trust me. One day, you’re going to realize your shirt is two sizes too big and that the progress you’ve made is an inspiration to the world.

tuesday tip — share.


Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t really love someone until you love yourself?”

I’ve heard that phrase a thousand times before. And while I get what it’s saying and agree with the general premise, I (the all-knowledgeable Lindsay Durrenberger) know that it is actually possible to love someone else, even if you don’t love yourself.

I know, because I did it for a number of years.

During the darkest time in my life, the years in which I could never imagine a world where loving myself was possible, my heart passionately beat for others. I had a handful of very close girl friends that I know I really, truly loved. I was also in a real, honest relationship with a boy I loved so much it was almost painful. My heart was so full of love for others that I thought that even if I did get to a place where loving myself was an option, I wouldn’t have room inside my heart for myself. And, usually, I didn’t mind that so much.

Until I got into a fight with a friend or my boyfriend. Then, everything changed.

My self-loathing would take over my entire existence like a really bad stomach virus. My palms would sweat. My pulse would quicken. My stomach would turn and bile would rise into my throat. Oh no, I would think. They’ve figured me out. They know I’m horrible. The jig is up. My broken, ugly self has busted through my kind facade and now, I’m going to lose them. I will be alone. Forever. Like I deserve.

Has anyone else ever felt this way? Or is it just me? Regardless, it sucks. Looking back, I know I absolutely loved my friends and my boyfriend. I really did. But I didn’t love them in the healthy way that can only come from a person who loves him or herself first. The way that only a person who accepts him or herself for everything he or she is, flaws and all, can.

For reasons I’m not really sure of yet, over the course of the past year of my self-love journey, the love I’ve learned to have for myself has completely changed the way I love my friends and husband. Not only do I know full well that a mistake I make or a flaw I have isn’t going to leave me stranded with no one, but the beauty my friends possess has become much more evident to me. Their smiles are brighter. Their hearts are more exposed. Their laughs sound more heavenly. Their skin looks more radiant. Their eyes are shinier.

I can’t really explain it. But I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t hold it in anymore and I have to tell them how wonderfully beautiful and loved they are.


Even though, based on my story, it might seem a little bit backwards, today’s tip is to tell your friends, family, and whomever else you love just how beautiful and wonderful they are. Daily. If you’re like me and you know a bazillion wonderful people, make a promise to yourself to tell at least one person a day how much you cherish them. How much they inspire you. How much their existence enriches your life. After a week, month, or year of this, you will have a clear concrete understanding of just how much love you are capable of giving out. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll learn how to dish out some of that love to yourself.

diet coke 12-pack: week of august 22, 2011

Another week has come and is now making space for the weekend! Some of you may be hanging out with some crazy lady named Irene over the next couple of days. Stay safe, friends! Take it from a Floridian — hurricanes are no joke.

This week’s 12-pack is a bit thin, and for that I apologize. I’ve been feeling pretty rotten the past couple days and staring at a computer does not help. But, alas, what I lack in quantity I make up for in quality. These links are pretty swell. Drink up!


Alrighty! That’s it. Hope you guys have a fabulous weekend with minimal storm damage and maximum love. Xoxox.

things i love thursday! (august 25, 2011)

Life is beautiful. We love until we die.

Oh how true. This life is so very lovely, despite the twists and turns and breaks and burns. I have a lot to be thankful for this week, so let’s get to it!


  • Seeing off Felicite and Jessica. And by “smile” I mean “cry a thousand oceans.”
  • Coming home to Michael Hoffman and consequently home made bread!
  • Sugar-free hazelnut soy lattes.
  • “My name is Lindsay, I’m 25, and my favorite J-Hi moment ever is…”
  • Spending quality time with my j-hi students and leaders.
  • Fun Station laser tag! Even though it was a bazillion degrees.
  • Unexpected hang outs and alcohol consumption with old friends.
  • Apples to Apples. ALWAYS.
  • Spontaneous compliments.
  • Spending the morning with my love.
  • The Breakfast Club bible study.
  • Student Ministry open house.
  • The senior high leaders.
  • Twitter secrets.
  • Hanging out with Trisha, Chrissie, and Angie for wedding planning (even though I can’t tie a bow for beans and am therefore essentially useless, haha.)
  • Going out to dinner with my love.
  • Chips and salsa.
  • Friends’ birthdays! Yay Libby and Randy!
  • Finnegan’s Wake.
  • Blushing.
  • Sacrificing sleep for fun things.
  • Matt, Tyler, and Cherish!
  • Wine.
  • Salmon.
  • Jeopardy.
  • Talking about literature. (And humorously bashing Twilight.)
  • My husband. Seriously. He makes me laugh so much.
  • Wearing my favorite dress!
  • Hot Chelle Rae. (Not even close to ashamed.)
  • My lunch date with Lauren and wonderfully massive salads at Hopkins.
  • Everyone is back in town.
  • Music.
  • Art.
  • Love.
  • Life.

Phew, now it’s your turn! What do you love?

tuesday tip — labels.


I’ll never forget ordering my first small t-shirt.

When I was in college, my sorority got t-shirts made for pretty much every event we held. I always ordered a medium because that was my size and, courtesy of my twisted ED-wired brain, I was always terribly ashamed of it. I was positive that whichever sister I submitted my order to was judging me for being a medium and not a small, and that everyone who saw me in my shirt thought the same thing.

My junior year, right before I was diagnosed with EDNOS, I ordered a small for the first time. I knew I’d lost a good deal of weight, so I was confident (hopeful?) I’d be able to fit into a small. When my shirt came in, I stood in front of my mirror, held my breath, closed my eyes, and tried it on. When I opened my eyes to see that the shirt fit, my spirits catapulted me up into the air onto Cloud 9.  Angels sang the Hallelujah chorus as I pranced around proudly in a small sized shirt. I felt unstoppable. I felt invincible.

And, of course, by invincible I mean relieved that my starvation was finally paying off in a visible way.


A couple months ago (before I tore my ACL) I was in my room getting dressed to go on a run. I opened my t-shirt drawer and sifted through my collection until I finally found one of the several small shirts I ordered myself in college. I held it up to my chest, thinking it probably could still fit, and then I stood in front of the mirror, closed my eyes, held my breath, tried on the shirt, and then…

Oh shit.

The shirt didn’t fit, which made sense, because I’ve gained weight since being diganosed with EDNOS. Duh, I thought. I knew this would happen. I sat down on my bed, my spirits crushed, and didn’t even bother going on my run. Now I have to wear medium shirts and everyone is going to see that I used to fit into small shirts but now I have to wear mediums and therefore I’m fat and ugly and worthless and…


If you’re like me and just knowing that whatever label you’re wearing isn’t small enough, let it go. Not only does no one else on the planet know what label you’re wearing (contrary to popular belief, it’s printed on your shirt, not your forehead) but no one else cares. Oh, and more importantly, labels have no bearing on your self-worth whatsoever. Whether you wear a small or an XXL, a 4 or a 20, you are lovely. You are beautiful. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Imagine what life would be like if that was printed on your shirt. Go ahead. Imagine it.

And now, make it your reality. Mentally replace all of your clothing size labels with words like, “beautiful” and “gorgeous” and “talented” and “incredible.”

Because even though your size labels are only printed on the inside of your clothes for only you to see, these true labels are what everyone else already sees. It’s about time you did, too.

diet coke 12-pack: week of august 15, 2011

Happy Friday, loves! Hope you’ve had an incredible week. Mine’s been quite the rollercoaster, but I’m blessed as always. Hope you enjoy this week’s 12-pack!


Alright, kiddos. That’s all for now. Weekend hard. 🙂

things i love thursday! (august 18, 2011)

Okay. Not going to lie, y’all. Today isn’t super great. Two of my good friends are moving away this weekend, and one of them works in my office. I’m sitting in my cubicle, teetering back and forth between teary-eyed and composed. But, as sad as it makes me to see them go, I am so impossibly happy for them and their new adventures! So today, my TiLT list is dedicated to Jessica and Felicite, and all the wonderful things I love about them. Enjoy. 🙂



  • How cute is she as Madeline?
  • She is wonderfully beautiful and has an amazing style — In the entire year I’ve known her, I’ve never seen her wear an outfit twice.
  • Her laugh.
  • How she can make smoking a cigarette look so bloody cool.
  • The fact that she, like me, is a cat person.
  • Sigmund!
  • The way she loves people from all walks of life.
  • How she talks to her car.
  • She reads. A lot.
  • She’s a fellow newsie.
  • She is incredibly empathetic and a wonderful listener.
  • Her presence on IM. (It has gotten me through many a bad day at work.)
  • Spontaneous wine/beer nights after work.
  • She sweetly indulges my husband’s weird television choices when she comes over.
  • Free pizza.
  • Long talks on the porch.
  • She has a Harry Potter time turner tattoo.
  • She has made me a better person.
  • She is moving to New York City, one of the coolest cities in the world, to undoubtedly change more lives.



  • Her face is illuminated. Seriously. Not only is she completely gorgeous on the outside, but her sweet, loving, adorable personality shines through to make her even more beautiful.
  • She rocks a side-pony.
  • “I Love Santa!”
  • The fact that despite not knowing me but for a few weeks, she took care of me after “The Gincident” in London.
  • She also remained friends with me afterward and even hung out with me when we moved back to the States.
  • She finds pure joy in everything around her.
  • She’s relentlessly generous.
  • She always brings food to my house. Always. Even if I’m cooking her dinner, she always brings food.
  • With one board game, Things, she did a total 180 on how our friends do get-togethers.
  • She sub-let my (totally crappy) apartment while I was working in London and even offered to cat-sit!
  • Her hair is FANTASTIC.
  • She also reads a lot.
  • She’s the eternal optimist.
  • She introduced me to one of my favorite TV shows, How I Met Your Mother.
  • She gives everyone a chance. Everyone.
  • She made us blast Christmas music and walk down Oxford Street in December.
  • Sometimes her midwestern accent comes out. It’s adorable.
  • Despite us being busy as people in the adult world, she’s always always ALWAYS made an effort to make time to hang out with me. That means so much to me.
  • She has never, not once, made me feel bad or guilty about being myself. She’s loved me at my worst; she truly, honestly has a gift.

Okay. I’ve succeeded in crossing over from merely being teary-eyed to having a full-blown mascara malfunction. I should probably stop here. Felicite and Jessica, good luck in New York and Miami respectively; you two are both special, wonderful, beautiful people to me. I am so blessed to know you.



catherine, duchess of photoshoppington.

Okay. So my headline needs work. Whatever — deal with it.

Last weekend, Dan and I went over to our friend Ashley’s  house to hang out. Ashley’s a professional photographer (probably the best I’ve ever seen, by the way, and I don’t say that because she’s my friend — I say it because it’s true!) and we somehow got on the topic of outrageous Photoshop disasters. Then, Ashley pulled up Photoshop on her Macbook showed me just how easy it is to edit and morph images of people to make them look completely different. It blew my mind. I know Photoshop is powerful, but to see it in action is baffling.

If you’ve been paying any attention to the world at all, or have been following my blog for any length of time, you know that 99.9% of the images you see in magazines are Photoshopped. Maybe it’s desensitization to the issue, I don’t know, but I don’t get the urge to blog about each and every image I come across, pointing out all the obvious ways the image is distorted. I’ve just grown to accept that Photoshop isn’t going away and, if anything, it’s becoming more and more widely used. Sigh. I don’t like it, but it’s not like one little blog out there is going to change anything.

But every once in a while, a magazine will go way too far and piss me too far off to not talk about it. Grazia did that for me this week. Check out these magazine covers from Grazia, showing the same exact image of Kate Middleton.

Left: Australian Grazia. Right: British Grazia.

Image source: Jezebel

Grazia! What are you doing? That’s the SAME. EXACT. PHOTO. How did you think no one would notice?

Okay, so seeing these images initially made me angry for the same reason all Photoshopped images make me angry. Someone out there took a picture of another human being and decided she wasn’t thin enough so they just had to edit her waist down to an impossible size. And publish it for millions of people to see.

But then I stopped and thought, Holy crap, this is Princess Kate Middleton on her bloody wedding day. First of all, if I found out that my wedding photographer Photoshopped the pictures of my big day to indicate that I got married without a freaking ribcage, I would punch her. But, that glaring fact aside, do any of you reading this remember the headlines surrounding Kate before her wedding to Prince William?

And so many more.

So. Even after all the hoopla surrounding Kate being too skinny, Grazia evidently thought she still wasn’t skinny enough for the cover of their British magazine.

According to the lovely, smart, talented ladies at HelloGiggles, the folks at Grazia responded to the public’s outrage by saying they “reassure all our readers that we did not purposely make any alteration of the Duchess of Cambridge’s image to make her appear slimmer and we are sorry if this process gave that impression.

Yeah. Okay. That story holds about as much water as Kate Middleton’s non-existent stomach.

tuesday tip — triggers.

A word to the wise: don’t go grocery shopping with me. I am no help.

When Dan and I go shopping, I try my hardest to help out. I’m really great at making the list, but my helpfulness stops there and I end up just taking up valuable aisle space. Dan takes my list and actually goes to retrieve all of the items, while I simply bark out on which aisles they can be found. Then, to add icing on the grocery-shopping cake, I totally space out at the checkout counter. My eyes glaze over, and I zoom in on the magazine racks, taking in headline after intriguing headline on each tabloid. As my poor husband piles our groceries onto the conveyor belt by himself, I turn into a magazine-flipping zombie. I read about celebrities I don’t even know. Celebrities I don’t even care about. What is she wearing? What movie is she in? Who’s her new boyfriend? Where’d she get that bikini? What is that–

“LINDSAY! We’re leaving!”

My trance is broken by an undoubtedly irritated husband who has just purchased, bagged, and carted all of our groceries on his own.

“Oh. Right. Uh. I knew that. Sorry. Uh. Coming.”

The magazine phenomenon seems harmful at first; apart from feeling bad for holding Dan up and offering up no assistance at the checkout counter, I feel pretty fine. But twenty, thirty, forty minutes later, something changes.

“What’s wrong?” Dan asks.
“You look… sad. Is everything okay?”
“Oh. Yeah. I just. I feel really fat and ugly right now.”
“Why? What happened?”
“I don’t know, but I wish I looked like [insert the name of the celebrity on the cover of the magazine I looked at earlier.]”


I don’t know why I seemingly come down with amnesia each time we go to the grocery store. The outcome is always the same, but like a dog that keeps eating its own poop and hoping not to throw up, I can’t help but consume images in magazines and hope they don’t make me feel bad about my appearance.


Triggers. We all have them. Maybe your trigger is magazines, too. Celebrity gossip sites, perhaps. Romantic comedies, maybe. Or, maybe your trigger is a person who talks badly about their body around you. Maybe it’s an abusive partner. Whatever it is for you, it is imperative you recognize it to become healthy.

In a perfect world, I would rid the planet of these trashy magazines that cause me to think poorly about myself. I would call up Publix and Winn-Dixie and Walmart and Kmart and Retail Store X and use my endearing charm to convince them to burn magazine shipments on delivery. Then, I’d live happily ever after in my tabloid-free world! But, as you are well aware, we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a broken world where avoiding our triggers completely is unfortunately impossible. All I can do is recognize that tabloids are a trigger for me, confront these magazines, and steal their power.

Tabloid magazines, you are just paper. You have no power over my self-worth.

You can do it, too. Analyze your life and find out what it is that can set your mind in a negative whirlwind. Sometimes it happens so fast, we don’t even realize it. But it is so worth it for you to work to discover what triggers your negative self talk. Recognize your triggers and then rid them of their power.

Negative people, you are just insecure about yourself. I am beautiful.
Advertisements, you aren’t a representation of reality. I am real, and I am lovely.
Abusive boyfriend, you just want to have control over something. You can’t control me or my body.
Fitting room lighting, you’re trying to make me look bad on purpose. You’re failing.
Scale, you are just an electronic box. You have no dictation over my health or beauty.

Once you are able to take control of your triggers, they lose their control over you. And oh, how freeing it is.