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Friday, November 21, 2014

Barbie did not distort my body image.

The new "average" Barbie {via}
I loved playing with Barbies growing up. In fact, as much as I hate to admit it, I probably played with them a little too long. I loved making up life stories for these little plastic people and entering a fantasy land on a daily basis. They were always different characters, with different jobs and families, and my friends and I would play for hours with tiny purses, shoes, and clothing sprawled around the room or hallway.

I will admit, I've had my fair share of body image moments. As a dancer, I hated how I looked in my leotard and remember cringing while staring at my awkward adolescent body in the mirror. I wasn't tall or skinny like most dancers are, but yet I still had a passion for dance and I wanted to be there. Up until middle school, I only danced 1 or 2 times a week and then in high school, it went up to 5 or 6. I guess you could say I was in shape and "fit" in relation to how much I worked out but still, I wasn't happy with my body. 

Did Barbie cause that?

I remember trying to diet in middle school by writing Weight Watchers point values on my sandwich bags; just random numbers, not actual proportions relevant to the program. Maybe it was for attention or maybe it made me feel better, I'm not sure. I also wore a rubber band on my wrist and snapped it anytime I wanted junk food or candy. I don't even know where I heard or saw that but I thought it would help me control my bad eating habits. 

Did Barbie cause that?

Fast forward to college and I was terrified of gaining the Freshman 15. I partied multiple times a week but I began to watch what I ate, very closely, and try to workout to compensate the beer intake. My college is also "famous" for skinny girls and a high percentage of eating disorders, however that wasn't what was causing my unhappiness with my body. I compared myself to no one but the naked girl I saw in the mirror each day. If I didn't like how she looked, it was no one's influence but my own. 

Did Barbie cause that?

My anxiety kicked into high gear after college; I believe it to be a combination of uncertainty, stress, a bad breakup, and an end to the plan I had worked so hard to build the past four year. College was over? Now what? Could I still go out and drink on the weekends? How did "real" people balance work and play? Would I have friends to do things with? I missed my friends from college and more than just that, I missed living with them. My anxiety caused stress which in turn, caused me to gain weight. And then gaining weight caused me more stress and looking back, probably depression. I hated how I looked and I was so unhappy with so many other things in my life. 

Did Barbie cause that?

I understand the point of this new Barbie; people want it to look more "real life" and show little girls that real women aren't that size, tan, perfect, blonde, etc. But for as much as I played with Barbies, none of those thoughts ever went through my head. I'm all for Barbies of different races, ethnicities, size, shape, etc, but I don't agree that the Barbies are the reason for eating disorders or distorted self image. Or that little girls look at them and think that. I looked at my Barbies and just saw people to channel my imagination and creativity through. Not perky boobs, a tiny waist, or flat stomach. 

Kids are naive. And that's the way it should be. They should get to be little for as long as we can keep them little because it happens too fast. You blink and you're in middle school, high school, college, getting married, and starting a family. Would I purchase this doll for my daughter? Sure, if she wanted me to. But do I think the "traditional" Barbies are bad and that they're going to cause her a lifetime of distress from thinking she needs to look that way? Absolutely not. They're dolls... and innocent children don't see much past that. 

I think these lessons should be taught by us, not the dolls. Does a child need a Barbie with stretch marks or cellulite stickers? How about we just let them see our bodies and show them that it's normal to have these things? Children love their moms; showing them what a real person, someone they love, looks like, will be far more effective than seeing it on a doll that they're playing with. And to be honest, some girls may not even notice what they're looking at until they reach a certain age. 

Do I fear that my daughter may one day grow up with the same distorted body image or thoughts of self image that I did? Maybe. But there are ways around that; teaching her about the importance of eating healthy, exercising regularly, and living an active lifestyle. Do I think my future 5 year old will analyze the size, shape, and appearance of a Barbie? No, I don't think so. I do think she will see women on TV or in magazines when she gets a little older and wonder why she doesn't look like that. And at that point, I will explain why. 

In my opinion, Barbie isn't causing young girls to think they need to be perfect. I think there are a ton of other things in society doing it. But even then, I never looked at a magazine and thought "I need to look like that!" I wanted to be happy and feel good about myself and that was a place no one told me I needed to be or decided for me. It's where I felt good and comfortable and what I wanted to work for. 

So did Barbie cause that? No. She certainly didn't. 

What are your thoughts on this new "average" Barbie? Do you think eating disorders or body image disorders stem from Barbie?


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Combat boots and a CLE update.

OASAP sweater c/o// Fleece lined leggings (some store in the mall)// Target purse// Combat boots c/o Rack Room Shoes// Express sunglasses//Sugar Pig Boutique scarf//Photo credit Amy Hess Photography

Do you have a pair of boots that you live in during the winter? For me, it was my Uggs. But now that I'm a Georgia resident (which is still weird to say), there are only a few months where I need super thick fleece lined boots. So to transition from fall to "winter" (if that even exists in GA), I wanted to invest in some combat boots that could be both functional and trendy. 

I love that these boots can be worn so many different ways. You've seen me pair them with jeans but I also love them with leggings and oversized sweaters. I think most people think combat boots and think they're less feminine than other shoe options, but I think they're totally wearable with almost any type of outfit. I think I may even go as far to say I would try them with a tulle skirt or fun top... But I'm all about experimenting :) 

It's crazy cold up here in Ohio, y'all. I've only been out of the midwest for 11 months and I am having a hard time adjusting! But hey, I said I wouldn't complain because those super humid summer months in the south are absolutely unbearable. So although it's cold and the wind absolutely sucks, I will take it over the heat and humidity. And I will stay indoors and look at the pretty snow from the inside. 

The kids have been doing really well since we've been here; it's amazing to see the behavior change in Nolan when he has a) a male around and b) more attention. Because as much as I try and split my attention between the two kids, it's hard to give it to them both all the time when they need it. Paislee has had a little trouble sleeping because let's face it, diva child still wakes up 2-3 times a night in Georgia. So I didn't expect this to be an easy transition. Hopefully within a week, we can get some much needed rest! 

The drive was insane; it rained the entire way and then started to snow when we got closer to our destination. Thank God my mama flew down the day before and was there to help with the drive. Apparently I'm blind and can't see out of my contacts anymore. Time to schedule an eye doctor appointment... But the kids were terrific considering they were in the car for 13 hours straight and I was never happier to get out of a car. I'm sure they felt the same..

We have a lot of fun things planned this weekend and next week for the holidays and I can't wait to see everyone! It's hard to find time to see everyone while working around nap times, work schedules, etc so we are trying to pace ourselves and not overwhelm the little ones. But it just makes us all so happy to be here :) 

Hope you're all having a great week :) XO


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How do you measure success?

Clothing, jewelry, and shoes: Robin's Nest Clothing Boutique and Gifts
Hair and makeup: Brooke Corley Hair Designs
Photo credit: Amy Hess Photography

I struggle a lot with my path in life sometimes. I'm a Type A personality; I'm driven, stubborn, hardworking, and independent. When I graduated college, I accepted a job for passion, not money. But soon enough, bills won over daydreams and I set out to look for something else. I moved to Cincinnati and tried my luck there, but my anxiety got the best of me and I became homesick. I moved back and worked at a tanning salon until I could find something permanent and actually enjoyed what I did. But knew I couldn't do it forever. 

And then out of the blue, a job presented itself and I took it. It was decent money and for awhile, I enjoyed it. But then I grew to dislike it and it became something I did to pay the bills, not something I loved. But I knew that a lot of people felt the same way about work and maybe one day, I would find a job that I loved.

And then I met Zach and the craziness began. Right off the bat, we were moved to New York, where I planned to look for a job and start a career. However the army and apparently God had other plans; Zach was scheduled to deploy and I was pregnant. I had decided to move home to make things easier and while I was there, I worked for my old boss at an after school program. 

But eventually, I had to move back to New York when Z was scheduled to come home from Afghanistan. But this time, I had a newborn on my hip. How would I find a job then? Would I find a job to balance out the cost of daycare? I had always said I would be a woman with a career, not a career woman, but at this point I was neither. I sat back and watched everyone else get promotions and land their dream jobs and what was I doing? I had not a clue of my path at that point. 

And to be honest, I still don't. I'm not sure what I want to do or where my passion lies. I love writing and I love marketing but how will I even compare to a candidate that's had years of experience. By the time I return to work full-time, I will have been out of college for a decade or so with only stints of jobs here and there. And although I sometimes treat my blog as a business, will any employer see it that way? Will I ever find my niche and have a career? 

I'm not entirely sure. I don't have an answer to that and it scares me. I don't know how long we'll be in Georgia and then what our plan will be after that because even if we have a plan, it doesn't mean it will work out that way. I went to college and got a Bachelor's Degree for a reason... but will I ever use it? Will it be worth anything by the time I go back to work? Will I find a job I love? 

I may be naive or somewhat of a dreamer, but I want a job I love. I want that whole "love what you do and you'll never work a day in your life" thing.. but how realistic is that? How many people love what they do or simply do it to pay the bills? 

I love being a mommy and right now, I'm trying to focus my energy on the kids and the blog. But I can't help but feel like I'm coming up short in a professional respect. How do you measure success? In awards? Promotions? Salary? Happiness? I'm not sure. And I'm not sure I will have the answer to that for a long because until our lifestyle changes, I won't be certain of my path in life. 

A career may come when all of this is said and done and who knows, it may never happen. And maybe the idea in my head is completely different than how it will play out.  Maybe I'm not meant to have a career but rather focus my energy in other places. I'm not really sure. But I guess all I can do at this point is worry about the present and focus on what I do have rather than what I don't have. A loving husband, two beautiful children, nice things, my health, my blog, and so much more. And for those things, I'm extremely thankful and I guess in turn, "successful". 

How do you measure success? Do you feel like you're successful? Do you feel like you need a career outside of the home?