The Secret Beauty Regimen for Your Best Self

I don’t know about you, but personally I have tried many, many things that I thought would make me feel “beautiful.” I have done many things which range from coloring my hair, to straightening it, curling it, using different serums on my skin, lotions, hair extensions, eyelash extensions, contouring, tanning, foundation, blush, shimmer, highlighting. You get the idea. If you are a normal person living in the first world, chances are you have dabbled in some or all of these as well. We live in a world which is constructed for us- from a very young age we grow to admire celebrities and people who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars (and sometimes much more) to simply look beautiful. We see extreme examples of where women go to great lengths to look like a body type they are not by getting plastic surgery, wearing corsets, getting injections etc. Now I am certainly not judging those people- I am simply pointing out the great lengths, pain, and vanity we all go through in order to make ourselves look and feel physically beautiful; some more than others.

Once night, recently, I was having trouble sleeping. So I started scrolling through different videos on Facebook. Once one video ended, another would start automatically without my choosing. Then, the rabbit hole of beauty products, demonstrations and consults began. I started watching one by one as different women, men and children started “selling” different things on Facebook Live feeds. It was like walking into an undercover infomercial. Of course I knew that these people were selling something even if they weren’t outwardly saying it; others were holding live auctions of clothes, makeup, jewelry, and even… wait for it… Pearl Parties!

Even though all of these categories were all separate, the common denominator of all these things was very much alike: If you buy/use ________, then you will feel _______.

Think about it for a second, because this can pretty much apply to anything. If you use this eyelash serum, you will feel beautiful. If you wear these clothes, you will be your best self. If you do your makeup this way, then you will feel confident. I’m sure we can all agree that this is true to an extent; that we have all been there, felt those feelings while pulling out our credit cards to make a purchase. The truth is none of these things are inherently bad. But if we rely solely on physical appearance and possessions, what exactly happens when we don’t have those things anymore? What happens when your physical beauty fades? What happens if you don’t have those clothes or products in your possession? What if your money or your job to provide your money was gone? You are simply left with yourself and your thoughts

Without all of these physical things, how do you still feel beautiful, confident, secure in who you are? Well you don’t- not right away. You have to get to the very core of who you are,  and search. Rely on something bigger than you- your higher power- to know that you were created just the way you were with NO mistakes. The same creator who made the entire universe also decided that you were needed. Every step you have made, every mistake, every blemish and every decision was pre-planned. Yes, YOU were created to be exactly you, just as you are. You with your height, your weight, your personality, sense of humor, loves, desires, moods, conditions, and accomplishments. None of those variables were made by mistake. The only variable that can really change within you is your desire and your drive to be internally beautiful. If you make that choice, intentionally, every single day then you really ARE BEAUTIFUL! Please don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Whether you have accomplished a lot or a little, one of the biggest personal battles you can win in this life is loving YOU for who you are, with all of your perceived flaws and imperfections. If you have truly found peace with your own beauty, regardless of how the outside world views you, then you, my friend, have accomplished more than many people, past, present or future.

Share this with someone who needs to hear this message today!

The Best Beauty Regimen You’ve Never Considered

I don’t know about you, but personally I have tried many, many things that I thought would make me look (and feel) “beautiful.”

I have colored my hair, straightened it, curled it, gotten a Brazilian Blowout. I have used different serums on my skin, many lotions, hair extensions, eyelash extensions, contouring, tanning, foundation, blush, shimmer, highlighting. You get the idea.

If you are a normal person living in the first world, chances are you have dabbled in some or all of these as well. We live in a world which is constructed for us; from a very young age we grow to admire celebrities and people who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars (and sometimes much more) to simply look beautiful. We see extreme examples of where women go to great lengths to have a certain body type (that they were NOT born with) by getting plastic surgery, wearing corsets, getting injections etc.

Disclaimer: I am certainly not judging those people- I am simply pointing out the great lengths, pain, and vanity we all go through in our society, in order to make ourselves look and feel physically beautiful; some more than others.

Once night, recently, I was having trouble sleeping. So I started scrolling through different videos on Facebook. Once one video ended, another would start automatically without my choosing. Then, the rabbit hole of beauty products, demonstrations and consultations began. I started watching one by one as different women, men and children started “selling” different things on Facebook Live feeds. It was like walking into an undercover infomercial. Of course I knew that these people were selling something even if they weren’t outwardly saying it; others were holding live auctions of clothes, makeup, jewelry, and even… wait for it… Pearl Parties!

Even though all of these categories were all separate, the common denominator of all these things was very much alike: If you buy/use ________, then you will feel _______.

Think about it for a second, because this can pretty much apply to anything. If you use this eyelash serum, you will feel beautiful. If you wear these clothes, you will be your best self. If you do your makeup this way, then you will find a spouse or get a good job. I’m sure we can all agree that this is true to an extent; that we have all been there, felt those feelings while pulling out our credit cards to make a purchase.

The truth is none of these things are inherently “bad,” and life is not that black and white. But if we rely solely on physical appearance and possessions, what exactly happens when we don’t have those things anymore? What happens when your physical beauty fades? What happens if you don’t have those clothes or products in your possession? What if your money or your job to provide your money was gone? What if your fame or popularity evaded you?

If all the things in your life that made you feel good went away, then You would simply be left with yourself, your thoughts and your character.

Without all of the physical things/possessions, how do you still feel beautiful, confident, secure in who you are? Well you don’t. At least not right away.

You have to get to the very core of who you are,  and search. You have to rely on something bigger than you- your higher power- to know that you were created just the way you were with NO mistakes. The same creator who made the entire universe also decided that you were needed. Every step you have made, every mistake, every blemish and every decision was pre-planned.

Yes, YOU were created to be exactly you, just as you are.

You with your height, your weight, your personality, sense of humor, loves, desires, moods, conditions, and accomplishments. None of those variables were made by mistake. The only variable that can really change within you is your desire and your drive to be internally beautiful.

If you make that choice, intentionally, every single day then you really ARE BEAUTIFUL! Please don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Whether you have accomplished a lot or a little, one of the biggest personal battles you can win in this life is loving YOU for who you are, with all of your perceived flaws and imperfections. If you have truly found peace with your own beauty, regardless of how the outside world views you, then you, my friend, have accomplished more than many people, past, present or future.

Share this with someone who needs to hear this message today!

3 Steps to Taking Back Control

Most of my inspiration comes from observing my son. He is small (14 months) and not yet fully developed, so he struggles sometimes with daily activities; it’s so funny to think about how the struggles of a little one are not much different from the struggles of an adult. While their struggles may seem more rudimentary in nature (and almost always are) the basis for which adults struggle is almost always the same.

Today I found myself thinking back to last Tuesday morning, when I watched my son using a fake remote control to try to change the channels on the tv. I chuckled to myself about how he thought he was in control of the tv, but really it was just an illusion. I thought to myself, “is this often how I feel? In control but really not in control?” The answer was: yes! We all go through this process: Trying to control something which we are powerless over yet we fail to recognize it.   

How often do you find yourself trying to find that perfect job? Or trying to make someone like you? Trying to change or fix someone who doesn’t want to change?

I used to find myself doing this [more] often. I would find myself in situations where I thought I had control and would work myself into stress and anxiety trying to obtain the outcome which I wanted. The truth is this: we are not fully in control of the majority of things in our life. Many believe that there are bigger things at play: The universe, a higher power, God.

But all of that is not to say that we cannot control anything. We have a choice of the actions we take, the words which we choose and the situations we put ourselves in. But for those things which are mostly out of our control, we do have some influence over our reaction to those things.

Not following? Let me provide you an example.

Example: You take a job with a large company, and you do your best to meet your performance expectations and show up to work consistently. Several years later, the company lays off employees based on tenure with the company. Although you are probably better at your job than some of your more tenured peers, you are selected for the layoff and you lose your job. In this case, the layoff was out of your control. But your reaction or the way you respond to this is not out of your control.

Here are 3 Steps To Taking Back Control:

Step 1: Accepting that we do not have full control over life.

In our example, it is easy to feel down on yourself. Especially if you have worked very hard to get where you were in your life, or if you are a provider for your family. Instead of simply reacting with your first instinctual response, first, you must accept that you did not have control over this event in your life. No matter what you did differently, in the above example you were still the newest person and unfortunately the decision of a large company put you into this place. Once you spend some time thinking on the situation, and acknowledge that you did not have control over this circumstance, you can move on to Step 2.

Step 2: Process Before Acting.

Before going on a 2-day bender, or laying in bed for a month, try to process (talk about) the situation.  Processing about a situation takes away its power over you. Sometimes when we tend to stuff our feelings (primary emotions), and our secondary response (secondary emotions) to those feelings can come out [example: you can feel sadness which is a primary emotion, but if you don’t express the sadness you can express it outwardly with anger which is a secondary emotion].  You can process the situation with a close family member, spouse, friend or even a therapist if you have one! By accepting that you did not and do not have control over the situation in Step 1, and talking about the situation in Step 2, you can then adjust your actions moving forward by focusing on the things which you do have control over.

Step 3: Shift Your Perspective

Now that you have followed Steps 1 & 2, you have not only taken the power out of the looming issue at hand by talking about it, but you have also acknowledged that it is out of your control. You can now feel free to shift your perspective (in the therapy world they call this a “re-frame” of the situation). During this step, you can make a choice to look at the situation differently. Before, you may have thought that it was the end of the world, or maybe you would have scrambled to find a way to control the situation above; your efforts would have proven fruitless. Knowing all of this, your shift in perspective should come easy!

No matter the situation, there is always a different way of looking at things. By following these steps, you can be sure that your contemplative efforts are sure to provide some relief to your feeling of lost control. By shifting your perspective and seeing your circumstances for what they are rather than a raw, emotional reaction, you can take back control of your thoughts and feelings!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I am not a therapist. I am simply providing my own perspective and sharing what has worked for me. If you feel that you are in a situation which requires the support of a therapist or doctor, please search for resources local to you; if it is life-threatening, call your local emergency number.

 

What Kind of Diapers Should I Buy?

So you’re a new mom. There are a ton of options: disposable, cloth, organic, sensitive, overnight, swadlers, movers, groovers etc.. It is literally one of the most overwhelming things. I have heard from different mothers that different types of diapers work for different babies. I even have a friend who said that she used different types for each child. Some mothers say that certain brands work great for girls and others work great for boys. I cannot tell you what will work perfectly for you, but I can tell you what has worked great for me.

The best advice I can give you as a new mother, is to have a diaper raffle for your baby shower. Offer a drawing for a $50 gift card to whoever brings a small pack of diapers. It doesn’t have to be a gigantic pack. Ask for a variety. In this way, you will be able to try many different types of diapers for your little one.

For my son, it happened completely by accident. We tried the Pampers Swaddlers which are actually pretty pricey. Then I pulled out a package of Pampers that were labeled a little differently. They were blue and did not have an “indicator line” to show when there was a need to change the diaper. I thought maybe someone brought me an old package or something that was discontinued. Boy was I wrong. I put that diaper on my child and that thing held up better than any Costo, Target, Huggies or Swaddler combined. It was called “Pampers Baby Dry” Recently, my son wore one all night to sleep, and then took a big poo in it before I could change him. There was NO BLOWOUT! Don’t take my word for it. Try it out for yourself.

Reducing Fear of Childbirth

INTRODUCTION

First and foremost: If you are a first-time expectant mother, this article is for you! My recommendation for the first step of getting ready (emotionally and physically) for your birth plan is to: please, please stop asking your friends about their birth experiences, unless you know they were great. I promise you that most of what you hear from other mothers will scare you. This article is meant to do the opposite. So if you want to find some resources and reassurances about giving birth with lots of support and helpful techniques, keep reading.


MOTHERHOOD RITE OF PASSAGE

There is some sort of stigma that we have in the motherhood community that causes us moms to scare others who are getting ready to have a child; it’s almost like a rite of passage. I don’t know what makes so many women want to share their downright horrible birth stories with other women who are expecting a child, but if you are guilty of this you know who you are (and please, please stop it!). I’m sorry if your birth wasn’t a good experience. I really am. But not everyone is destined to have a bad experience. By sharing these scary stories, we can negatively affect an expectant mother who is already probably tripped out about giving birth, and it is sure to add to the stress and difficulty of the overall process.


MY BIRTH STORY

When I tell people that I gave birth without an epidural, most people look at me with bewildered looks on their faces. For my first child, I went in with a simple plan: I wanted to go as long as possible without intervention, but I wasn’t opposed to an epidural. As it turns out, I didn’t end up needing it– and I had a great birth! What’s funny is that I don’t like sharing my birth story with people, because so many women get angry at me for my positive experience; however, I am not apologetic for having enjoyed giving birth.

What I do want to do is share how I got to be so comfortable going into labor and share the resources which prepared me. I am not a doctor, but in my *limited* experience I came to the conclusion that a good chunk of our labor experience is defined by our emotions during and about the labor and birthing process.

*Note: For some women there are complications and anatomical challenges which do, indeed, cause for a poor labor experience. Many times these complications require the use of medicine. I am in no way shaming any woman who has had a complication and needed medical intervention. I was fortunate enough not to need any intervention, and I am simply sharing how (in my opinion) your emotional perspective can help (or hinder) your delivery experience.

MY GOAL IS TO HELP YOU

You may think what I am saying is a load of bull, but if you read up on what I am about to share with you, I have a feeling you may be swayed in a positive way. I don’t benefit from sharing this information with you. Literally my only goal here is to help you get the information you need to have a more relaxed and easy labor.

Currently, there are mothers contemplating their own birth plan; maybe you are one of those mothers. If so, I write this for you.


RESOURCES THAT HELPED ME

When I was about half way through my pregnancy, it started to occur to me that I would have to do some research and preparation for labor. During my research, I started to feel unsure about the situation and anxiety slowly started to creep in. Luckily, I have one very cool “hippie” friend who gave me what I now think is literally the best book for preparation of delivery.

The book was called “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth,” written by Ina May Gaskin. Ina May is a midwife who has chronicled her experiences and helped to provide education on childbirth. She has delivered hundreds of babies, and so many of those deliveries were done naturally, without intervention. This was a very foreign concept to me.


THE MEDICAL MODEL TODAY

It recently occurred to me that the majority of people I know today have had some type of intervention during their delivery whether it be an epidural, Pitocin, forceps, vaccum, c-section etc. Ina May goes on to explain how the medical model in our country today pushes these processes and even makes the natural birthing process more difficult on women because of the pressure put on them by having intervention processes in place (i.e. “if you don’t push that baby out in an hour, were taking it out!” Anxiety provoking, right?).

Now, I am not saying that you should give birth in your bathtub at home without any help. In fact, I am a huge proponent of depending on a healthcare provider to oversee pregnancy and birth. What I am saying, though, is that I think women are not given the chance or even enough time to naturally deliver their children– in fact we are programmed to learn about these intervention techniques from our doctors, our friends, the internet etc…

But if you educate yourself on alternative options, you may find that there is enough information about how your body is programmed (for thousands of years) to do what it was built to do without these interventions. I hope you will consider these resources and educate yourself on the natural birthing process. I wish you luck!


LINKS

• Ina May Gaskin: http://inamay.com/

• Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth: https://g.co/kgs/i8Kofk

• Ina May’s Ted Talk:

 

 

 

Learning to Live Small and Love Big

Our world is so focused on possessions and accomplishments, that we sometimes lose sight of what life is really about. Live Small Love Big is focused on minimalism which sometimes requires us to rewrite our story as a culture. As parents, we can help our children by giving them less rather than more by teaching them to play with imagination rather than to consume media. We can show them that sometimes DIY can save money and be a fun learning experience. Finally, we can model that learning to cook some meals at home can be a great way to spend quality time while not shelling out a ton of money for just one tasty meal. Above all, loving your family, and your neighbor is our motto here; we like to model that by serving others and this blog is a way to share all of that knowledge. Welcome and enjoy!

5 Baby Shower Pro Tips

“Oh thanks aunt Margaret, I’ve always wanted **insert terrible gift** for my child.” you say, feigning a smile. This is an example of a gift you received which was not on your registry, and probably something you will never use.

If you are like me, I never know what to say in these situations, and I certainly don’t want to be rude– so then I just end up keeping those extra or unwanted gifts so as not to rock the boat!

I had a friend give me a few tips which I found to be genius pro tips which in hindsight I wish I would have paid closer attention to in order to help the baby shower go the way that you want it to and to get things that you will actually use.

1. Don’t tell the gender of your baby:

This seems like an odd thing to do, especially if you are very eager to know the gender yourself and also to share with everyone. The secret behind this is that when well-intentioned family and friends purchase clothes, toys etc… they will be unable to get gender-specific items, making it difficult to shower you with things you may find that you don’t like. They are forced to get you items from your registry. Everyone wins!

2. Don’t Open The Gifts At the Shower:

While I was at my shower, I was made to sit down and open up EVERY. SINGLE. FREAKING. GIFT. After I was done, everyone pretty much got up and left afterwards. I was really bummed that my time was spent laboriously opening up gifts (something I would have preferred not to do, and people probably had no desire to watch). I would have rather just spent my time visiting with friends and family which is SO much more important to me!

After the baby shower I had a friend give me the best advice for my next baby: I could leave a disclaimer on the invites explaining that rather than opening gifts, I would rather spend time with family and friends visiting. That way, you don’t have the pressure of opening 893240928340 gifts at your baby shower, and people aren’t offended since you notified them ahead of time! Bingo, bango, bungo!

3. Hold a Diaper Raffle: 

Offer a prize (mine was a $50 Visa Gift Card) for one lucky winner at the shower. The admission was a small pack of diapers. Generally a small pack will run you under $10. In this way, you are generating an activity for the guests to take place in, as well as getting some sample packs of diapers for you to try out on your little one when he or she arrives. This was literally the best thing that I did for my shower and I was so glad I took my friends’ advice!

4. Have the Guests Write Their Addresses:

This one was new to me, but I went to a shower recently and the host past around pre-stamped envelopes and asked all of the guests to write their name and address on the return section. This way, the mom would be able to write the thank you card, place it in the envelope and send away! Cool idea, right?

5. Provide Food!

Wait, did she just say to provide food? Um, yeah, I did! I once went to this shower where there was food, but it was SO poorly planned that most of the food was picked over after the first 30 minutes, and what I did end up eating was not the best food I had tasted. You have to remember, ladies, not everyone enjoys being at a shower, so you have to make it worth everyone’s time!

About Me

I am a millennial and a mom to one with an affinity for helping others. I like to organize stuff. I like to share things. I like to help others. I want to use my blog as a tool to equip others to be successful in as many ventures as possible, and even open minds to new ideas. Whatever knowledge I have or obtain, I organize and share. Live Small Love Big is my platform for that.

Learning to Live Small and Love Big

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