happiness is a warm friday.

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.
– John Lennon

Happy weekend, lovelies!

things i love thursday! (october 13, 2011)

Hey, hey, hey, friends! It’s Thursday. The weekend is SO CLOSE, y’all. So close, in fact, that I can smell it. It smells a little bit like freedom and roses. But this week hasn’t been half bad.

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Customer service week. Heck. Yes! Lots of ice cream in my belly. Nom.
  • Double date wit Zack and Sammie. Tres adorbs.
  • Winning Harry Potter Clue for the first time in my life!
  • Seeing Walker’s face when Dan and I showed up at the Buddy Walk. So. Great.
  • Buckets of beer.
  • Sleeping in on Sunday.
  • Food Network.
  • This guy‘s message on Sunday.
  • Hugs from my bestie.
  • Hearing the hubs say, “I ain’t cookin!” which meant we got to go out to eat on Sunday despite our perpetual destitution.
  • Celebrating Kyle’s birthday the best way we know how!
  • “Have you ever seen Hilary Clinton eating a waffle?”
  • Words with Friends.
  • Mac at the Mock with Libby. So. Good.
  • Surprising the Hookers with a baby shower! Yay for baby Hooker!
  • Shopping for baby things. Ugh. SO CUTE. Everything’s so… SMALL.
  • Reading in the sunshine.
  • Lots of Mexican food.
  • Being asked to play keys in Lori’s IMPOSSIBLY EPIC cover band!
  • Getting shout outs and encouragement from the bestie. She’s super smart.
  • Hitting snooze a countless number of times for extra cuddles.
  • The cats. Sleeping. Soundly. With. Us. (Just for one night, I’m afraid. After that, they reverted to their overly active nocturnal selves.)
  • Chipotle.
  • Talking to Catie on gChat! Hoorah!
  • You know. Life.

That’s all I can think of. What about you? What made you smile this week? There is always something to be happy about. 🙂

uglies.

I used to hate on young adult fiction like it was my job, mostly because the only exposure I had to it was the Twilight series. (And before you’re all, “But Lindsay, you’re obsessed with Harry Potter,” I’ll have you know that I think that Harry Potter transcends “young adult” and is just “literature” or, more specifically, “a masterpiece.”)

But earlier in the year, Emily begged and pleaded for me to read The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. After a few months (and a handful of friends my age pushing me to read them) I finally caved and borrowed the books from a friend. I assumed it would be at least moderately enjoyable, but I didn’t anticipate loving the series. I thought it would be an easy, fun read and an equally accessible way for me to form a deeper connection with one of my students. The Hunger Games series turned my world upside down. The books were incredible. They instantly became my favorite series after Mr. Potter’s. So I guess I’m a YA convert now. (However, I would argue that because of the nature and content of the series, the only thing “young adult” about it would be its main characters. But. That’s irrelevant.)

After I finished The Hunger Games, Emily suggested I read The Uglies Series, comprised of four books (Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras) by Scott Westerfeld next. Because I was so deeply impressed by The Hunger Games, I didn’t even ask to borrow the books — I stormed a going-out-of-business sale at Borders and got all four of the books for $25. (Oh, side note: my birthday is in December and I still don’t own The Hunger Games series. I mean. Just a heads up.) Anyway. Here they are!

Emily didn’t go into much detail about the series. She gave me her 13-year-old-girl synopsis, which means she told me about the characters and why “they’re cool,” but as far as the overarching plot, she didn’t divulge much. (Perhaps she did that on purpose?) At any rate, I’m almost done with the first book and, while the writing is significantly less engaging than Suzanne Collins’ or J.K. Rowling’s (but certainly light years beyond Stephenie Meyer’s) the storyline is one that I am glad is geared toward teenagers.

According to Wikipedia:

Uglies is a 2005science fiction novel by Scott Westerfeld. It is set in a futurepost-scarcitydystopian world in which everyone is turned “Pretty” by extreme cosmetic surgery upon reaching age 16. It tells the story of teenager Tally Youngblood who rebels against society’s enforced conformity, after her new found friends Shay and David show her the downsides to becoming a “Pretty”. They show Tally how being a “Pretty” can change not only your look but your personality. Written for young adults, Uglies deals with adolescent themes of change, both emotional and physical.

I don’t want to give anything away (because you should read them!) but in the book, the reason everyone undergoes this operation to become “pretty” is because back in the “rusty” time (aka, present day) those who were considered “pretty” were treated better than those who were “ugly.” They got better jobs, better opportunities, and were respected more in society.

Right on!

Check out an excerpt from the book that literally made my jaw drop. Two of the characters, Tally and Shay, are flipping through “old” (again, present day) magazines, when they come across an overly airbrushed and dangerously thin underwear model:

“What on earth is she?”
“A model.”
“Which is what?”
“Kind of like a professional pretty. I guess when everyone else is ugly, being pretty is sort of, like, your job.”
“And she’s in her underwear because…?” Tally began, and then a memory flashed into her mind. “She’s got that disease! The one the teachers always told us about.”
“Probably. I always thought they made that up to scare us.”
Back in the days before the operation, Tally remembered, a lot of people, especially young girls, became so ashamed at being fat that they stopped eating. They’d lose weight too quickly, and some would get stuck and would keep losing weight until they wound up like this “model.” Some even died, they said at school. That was one of the reasons they’d come up with the operation. No one got the disease anymore, since everyone knew at sixteen they’d turn beautiful. In fact, most people pigged out just before they turned, knowing it would all be sucked away.
Tally stared at the picture and shivered. Why go back to this?

Um. Crazy, right? In this series, Westerfeld is straight-up challenging society’s view on beauty, and he’s doing so in front of an audience of those who are arguably the most deeply affected. I am extremely encouraged by this. For once, the media is actually doing something productive concerning the growing problem of self-image, eating disorders, and beauty standards in the world. I’m pretty stoked.

Have you read or seen anything lately challenging beauty standards?

tuesday tip — find a mentor.

Hey diet cokers. How was your weekend? Good? Fantastic?
Mine was pretty crappy to be real with you. Dan and I were going through some stuff and blah blah blah marriage is like sandpaper and makes you better but it kind of hurts a little bit blah blah blah BUT. There was one blinding highlight: I got an email over the weekend that rocked my world.

I was asked to be someone’s mentor.

And not just anyone’s mentor. Someone whom I’ve known personally for AT LEAST a decade, informally for longer, whom I adore and admire immensely. Someone beautiful. Someone intelligent. Someone I hold in extremely high regard.

While I’ve never been asked to be a mentor before, (I feel like I’ve been invited to be this person’s date to a responsible-adults-only prom or something, naturally themed “Getting Our Shit Together!”) I’ve asked countless other women (in not so many words) to mentor me and I honestly never thought I’d be on the other side of that equation. I always assumed my history is too blemished, my present too pock-marked, to actually make a difference in someone else’s life. But getting that email was like watching the wild train of my insecurities come to a screeching halt. My words and input actually matter to someone else. So much so, that they’ve asked me to intentionally pour more of them into their daily life. Wowzers.

TODAY’S SELF-LOVE TIP: FIND A MENTOR.

Again, I’m no expert on this “mentoring” thing. I’ve only been doing it for, oh, roughly three days so far (via just as many emails, probably.) But, like I said, I have plenty of experience being a mentee. And with the right mentor (no pressure, Self) it can be so unbelievably life-changing.

So. How do you find a mentor?

First of all, you’ve got to have some sort of relationship established. You can’t (or, rather, you shouldn’t) just sit in a coffee shop and people watch until a particularly “mentor-ish” person walks in and then ambush them with a free cup of joe and say, “Hey, I bought you this coffee, will you sit and drink it with me while I tell you about my life and the ways I’d like to grow?”

As well as being a relational connection, this should be a trustworthy person. Don’t seek out someone you aren’t sure isn’t going to spill your beans. Similarly, you should be able to trust that, if they agree to mentor you, they will hold up their end of the bargain and not totally disappoint you.

Finally (this might seem like “duh” but whatever) choose someone you wish to emulate. Someone whose life choices are those you would like to make. It’s always good to like your mentors, but if you choose on simply based on the fact that they’re fun to hang out with, you should reevaluate your goals for that relationship. If you just want to hang out and have a good time, just be closer friends with that person! It will still be beneficial to you. But if you desire personal growth and challenge, seek out someone whose life you’d be proud to call your own.

diet coke 12-pack: week of october 3, 2011

Hey hey hey, diet coke junkies! Your weekend is about to start off with a sentimental bang, with a tribute to the fantastic Mr. Steve Jobs at the top of this week’s 12-pack. Enjoy!

THE LINKS!

That does it, kids. Have a great weekend. See you soon!

❤ Lindsay

things i love thursday! (october 6, 2011)

Ohhhhh hi there, bloggy blog. How are you today? Me? Oh, not so great actually. This week has been quite stressful/awful/bad. BUT. There is still light amidst the darkness. And here it is!

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Making music with my friends.
  • Challenges and communion.
  • Sleeping in.
  • A clean house! Even though it took us all day!
  • Seeing my friends play music.
  • Sammie pulling up a chair and striking up a conversation with me, even though she did not know me at all.
  • Peach tea.
  • Serving.
  • Dinners at home.
  • A day of healing and rest.
  • “A Night Under the Covers.”
  • Frozen yogurt with Emily and Dan.
  • Meetings over margaritas.
  • Being able to vent to my best friend over internet messaging.
  • The live stream of Catalyst back stage.
  • Naps outside.
  • The gorgeous autumn weather.
  • ANDREA!
  • Hashtags.
  • Customer Service Week.
  • Ice cream.
  • You.

Phew. I did it. What about you? What do you love this week? Isn’t it so much easier to be thankful when the weather changes?

tuesday tip — consume wisely.

If you’ve got a spare 8 minutes lying around somewhere (8 minutes that, I assume, you haven’t already wasted on Tumblr or Pinterest) watch this trailer for Miss Representation, a documentary on the media’s representation of women in America.

Miss Representation 8 min. Trailer 8/23/11 from Miss Representation on Vimeo.

As a Mass Media Studies major (I went to college, did you know?) I’m the first person to be privy to the amount of media each of us consumes each day. From billboards to magazines to television shows to commercials to movies to music to whatever else, we are inundated with messages like the ones shown in the trailer ad nauseam. But the thing that really caught my eye was the statistic that says that the average American teenager consumes an average of over 10 and a half hours of media each day. That’s insane. That is, quite literally, almost half of all the hours we have in the day and, depending on a person’s sleep schedule, the overwhelming majority of one’s waking hours.

These or our teenagers. Our daughters. Our sons. Our future.

I’ve written before about how I’m absolutely no help when it comes to grocery shopping. All I do is gaze desperately into pages and pages of tabloid magazine garb, all to suddenly find myself crawling my way out of a body-hating depression while my husband has to single-handedly line up and pay for all of our groceries. And, like I said, I’m a person who is already aware of the effects of the media on our perception of the world. What does this mean for those of us who do not know?

Naturally, after watching the trailer, I came to the conclusion that I’m never having kids. I won’t. I won’t bring my precious babies them into a world that will jam this skewed message about women down their throats. Oh crap, I thought. What if I accidentally get pregnant?!  Then I decided that if I accidentally get pregnant, I’ll snatch my babies up and run away to the woods somewhere and form a community a la The Village minus the creepiness and never let them know of the horrors of the outside world.

Then I remembered that I’m ridiculous.

It makes no sense for me to tell you to run away or lock yourselves up in a closet and avoid media all together. Even though that would most definitely put a band-aid on the problem we have developed in this country, it certainly would not fix it. Whether we acknowledge it or not, something is wrong with this picture. Running away from reality is the last thing we need to do. We need to stand up to this problem, look the media in the face, and let them know how wrong they are.

TODAY’S SELF-LOVE TIP — CONSUME WISELY.

Since, unfortunately, living in this world means consuming media, we’ve got to learn how to consume wisely.

First of all, avoid those triggers. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Once you know what triggers negative self-image, you can begin taking steps toward defeating those triggers and robbing them of their power over you. If reading fashion magazines puts you in an overwhelming funk, or makes you swear off calories forever, don’t read them. You can acknowledge their existence without consuming them. And, when you do so…
Talk about it. If you feel icky about a certain message that’s being communicated in the media, chances are, that message is icky. Your feelings are real. They are valid. Tell other people about how you feel about advertisements, or episodes of Two and a Half Men, or whatever else. Open up the conversation. Ask those around you what their opinion is on the matter and, if necessary, challenge their viewpoints (without having to drop a dollar in the Douchebag Jar, of course.)
Give context. If you’re in a position of influence to the younger generation (parents, teachers, youth leaders, counselors, older siblings, etc.) don’t be afraid to address the issue with these impressionable people. Just because they’re younger than you doesn’t mean they’re not mature enough to handle it. If nothing else, I’d guess they’re already feeling the effects of these negative messages and could benefit from your older and wiser influence.

The media is pushing out a very real message to our society that our teenagers are consuming almost the entirety of their waking hours. Don’t let the media have the last word on our kids’ self-worth.