Confidence, a work in progress

I want to talk about confidence. Building it, owning it, striving for it, getting it.

Confidence building is one of those things that I am simultaneously proud to say I am working on and ashamed to say I struggle with. What a mess of emotions that comes with struggling with self esteem and being confident. I have had times in my life where I have felt the highs of really owing who I am and the body I am in. Those times weren’t just when I was at my goal weight or when I was running half marathons. I have felt confident and beautiful at 275lbs. I have felt uncomfortable and awkward at 150lbs.

I am self assured in my ability to have quality relationships and I have also been burned by that tenacity. I know, without a doubt, that I am a good person and a fantastic friend. I care deeply and am a good person to have on your side. When I have had to end relationships, or someone ends a relationship with me, it always makes me question what I have done, if I was good enough. I tend to place that blame on my shoulders instead of looking at how the other person(s) was involved.

There are so many facets to self confidence. Body image. Social acceptance/confidence. Relationship confidence. Career confidence. Intellectual confidence. Parental confidence. Good grief! It’s a lot to think about.

As I look at being a strong, confident woman and role model to my two little girls, I have a two main goals I am striving to achieve.

  1. I want to be assured in who I am as a woman and mother. Not perfect. Not compared to others. But being MY best me.
  2. I want to be confident in my body . It shouldn’t matter if I have ten pounds to lose or not . Confidence is sexy and I want to feel sexy for ME. My hubby wont mind that so much either.

I found this quote on Pinterest that I absolutely LOVE and I think it will be part of my work toward building my self confidence.

Confidence isn’t walking into a room with your nose in the air, and thinking you are better than everyone else. it’s walking into a room and not having to compare yourself to anyone else in the first place. Author Unknown

I am such a comparer. It is definitely not one of my best qualities. I am consistently, looking at the successes of others, and comparing them to my own. I am a huge fan of social media, don’t get me wrong, but damn it can sure wreck havoc on my positivity and spirit. But that is on me. I need to look inward, not externally, for applause, for pride and for reminders of how awesome I am. Because at the end of the day, who better to tell me that I am fabulous, but me?!

I find social media particularly challenging when it comes to being a mom. On the one hand, there are lots of people posting about #reallife but more often than not people are posting the highlights of their life. Which makes sense right?! Who wants to post about the crap? But the problem is that some of us continue to compare our behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel. So, try to be mindful of your social media intake, and how you take it all in. Make sense? It’s something I need reminding of all the time. So lets keep each other in check ok? I know I cant reach my personal goals of being confident in my mom-ability, if I keep comparing myself, in an unhealthy way, to everyone else.

Can we talk a little about sexiness for just a minute, please? One of my favorite quotes about feeling sexy comes from Halle Berry, who lets be honest, knows more than a thing or two about being sexy, am I right?

Sexiness is a state of mind. It’s about loving yourself in your most unlovable moments. Halle Berry

Well, damn! Girl has a point! Confidence, sexiness, tenacity, fortitude and fearlessness all have to come from within. So how do we get there? How do we start feeling confident from the inside out? I think it starts with a few things I have already talked about in previous blogs. So lets take a moment to refresh. We’ve talked previously about gratitude and vulnerability. I think in continuing to practice gratitude we can get to a place of feeling grateful for the body we are in and not just because it allows us to live. But feeling grateful for its beauty, the little nuances that make your body uniquely your own. Maybe its a scar, maybe a freckle (or lots of them), maybe its the stretch marks, maybe its your killer calves. But really start looking at your body and be grateful for all of its beauty. In my new fitness journal, each day it asks me to write down something that I am appreciate about my strong body and I have religiously been recording something each day. Even on the days where I’d pay anything to be able to be in someone else’s body. And you know what, it is helping. Some days, I have to be creative because it can be hard to appreciate your body. But I am definitely finding this practice helpful.

Vulnerability practice can only serve to assist with confidence as well. As one of my favourite social worker/authors/motivators, Brene Brown, who says..

Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change. Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen. Brene Brown.

In practicing vulnerability, we are allowing ourselves to be seen. When we lack confidence, being seen is that last thing we want. Therefore, by practicing being seen, we allow our creativity to shine. We will then see change which will serve to be a positive reminder that we can create who we want to be in this world and as we see that come to fruition, we will feel confident in what we have accomplished. Therefore, being assured in who we are. Simple on paper, but more complicated in reality. But it is a practice, so keep on practicing! I know I will be!

Lastly, I talked recently about positive self talk. Linking positive self talk to building self esteem and confidence, is a no brainer. We HAVE to be able to be kind to ourselves, in order to love who we are inside and out. Simple.  If you’re not there yet with the positive self talk, keep practicing. Head on over to Pinterest and look up some positive mantras for you to rehearse. Try journalling your positive thoughts, anything that will help reinforce positive thinking. It’s a personal journey, so find what works for you!

Being confident is definitely key in terms of wanting to live your best life and being your best YOU. Join me on this journey of learning to love myself, by learning to love yourself. Share with me what’s been working for you, what’s not working for you. Share with me when you feel your sexiest, your smartest, your “mom of the year” moments and the moments when you’re needing a little bit of a boost.

You are beautiful, You are amazing and You are worth it!

 

~M~

Sometimes we just have to Push Pause

I had big plans for this week and today especially but this morning I am realizing I need to take a best and push pause for today. I have a few drafts of blogs I want to share with you, I have some personal admin that needs to be taken care of, and I have a mountain of laundry to fold and 2.5 bathrooms to clean. I’ve been fighting off the dreaded school cold bug that my kids have both had but this morning I woke up at 4am with a screaming sore throat! 

As a mom and a wife and as a woman generally, I harbour a lot of guilt when I feel like I can’t keep up to the demands of the day. Ironically, I place most of those demands on myself. I want my kids to have homemade lunches with cute lunchbox notes. I like to get to the gym while my family is at work and school so I don’t miss out on time with them. I prep healthy meals in advance. I try to connect with friends and family via social media and texting every day to stay connected. The list of daily To Dos can be intense. 

Today though, it’s a no go. This morning I’m pressing pause. I’m having a hot tea, laying on the couch and catching up on some reality TV Guilty Pleasures. I am hoping that by resting this morning, I can feel better for the rest of the week and be back to feeling good!

Remember friends, take care of yourself so you can help care for those you love! Love yourself too!

~M~

Sometimes we just have to Push Pause

I had big plans for this week and today especially but this morning I am realizing I need to take a rest and push pause for today. I have a few drafts of blogs I want to share with you, I have some personal admin that needs to be taken care of, and I have a mountain of laundry to fold and 2.5 bathrooms to clean. I’ve been fighting off the dreaded school cold bug that my kids have both had but, this morning, I woke up at 4am with a screaming sore throat! 

As a mom and a wife and as a woman generally, I harbour a lot of guilt when I feel like I can’t keep up to the demands of the day. Ironically, I place most of those demands on myself. I want my kids to have homemade lunches with cute lunchbox notes. I like to get to the gym while my family is at work and school so I don’t miss out on time with them. I prep healthy meals in advance. I try to connect with friends and family via social media and texting every day to stay connected. The list of daily To Dos can be intense. 

Today though, it’s a no go. This morning I’m pressing pause. I’m having a hot tea, laying on the couch and catching up on some reality TV Guilty Pleasures. I am hoping that by resting this morning, I can feel better for the rest of the week and be back to feeling good!

Remember friends, take care of yourself so you can help care for those you love! Love yourself too!

~M~

Sometimes we just have to Push Pause

I had big plans for this week and today especially but this morning I am realizing I need to take a best and push pause for today. I have a few drafts of blogs I want to share with you, I have some personal admin that needs to be taken care of, and I have a mountain of laundry to fold and 2.5 bathrooms to clean. I’ve been fighting off the dreaded school cold bug that my kids have both had but this morning I woke up at 4am with a screaming sore throat! 

As a mom and a wife and as a woman generally, I harbour a lot of guilt when I feel like I can’t keep up to the demands of the day. Ironically, I place most of those demands on myself. I want my kids to have homemade lunches with cute lunchbox notes. I like to get to the gym while my family is at work and school so I don’t miss out on time with them. I prep healthy meals in advance. I try to connect with friends and family via social media and texting every day to stay connected. The list of daily To Dos can be intense. 

Today though, it’s a no go. This morning I’m pressing pause. I’m having a hot tea, laying on the couch and catching up on some reality TV Guilty Pleasures. I am hoping that by resting this morning, I can feel better for the rest of the week and be back to feeling good!

Remember friends, take care of yourself so you can help care for those you love! Love yourself too!

~M~

“Things I LOVE” Thursday : Guilty Pleasures Edition

Today, I need a little fun! It’s almost the weekend and I am being a little self indulgent this morning by wearing my comfiest sweats, a cozy tank and writing this post in bed sipping on a hot cuppa Creme Brûlée flavored coffee. It was a long night with our oldest battling a nasty head cold, so Im going to enjoy my three hours to myself this morning.

What better way to do that but kick back and share with you some of the Guilty Pleasures I LOVE the most?!

These, my friends are in  no particular order and feel free to comment with some of your faves!

SELFIES

Yup, it is true. I love a good selfie! And not just my own selfies, I love other people selfies as much, or even more! I can hear some of you rolling your eyes from here, but hear me out. I have many reasons to love a selfie. Personally, I am usually the photog in my family, so getting me in a photo is difficult. Even more difficult, getting me in a photo I like of my self (see previous blog post on negative self talk). Also, I figure if anyone is willing to take a photo of themselves (myself included), edit it or not, and post it to social media to share with the world, then they must be feeling pretty damn confident in that moment and be loving what they see! Self-confidence is a hard thing to gain and if you have that, even just for a split second, OWN it!

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Disclaimer: if you’re taking NSFW selfies, or your partner wants you to send some nekkid selfies, remember, NOTHING IS EVER SACRED or DELETED FROM THE INTERNET. So please, please post your selfies with safety and internet awareness in mind. 

 

BOY BANDS

I am a true Boy Band lover, no ifs, ands, or buts about it and I will own up to that any day, anywhere! Does it mean I don’t have good taste in music? NO. Does it mean I only enjoy bubblegum pop? NO. Does it mean I like to sing along loudly in my car and embarrass my kids? Yes. Does it mean BSB, NKOTB & NSYNC are on my everyday play list, hell yes! It also means I can do the choreo to many of their most famous songs; that my kids can sing along in the car with me because they know all the words AND that I have travelled A LOT to see them live! I like the cheesy lyrics, the matching outfits, the synchronized choreo and I lived through the era of boy band posters lining my walls. 

If you’re reading this and you are quietly singing “Backstreets Back” or “Tearin’ Up My heart” I know you feel me on this one. If you are rocking out “The Right Stuff” while cleaning your bathroom, we could be best friends, just sayin’.

 

REALITY T.V. … 

…Like, the kind of reality T.V. that you’re not sure you want to admit you watch out loud in a room full of people you don’t know well. You know what I mean, and don’t be judgy! We all have one or two of those what we cannot miss or we will binge watch when we need a fix! So in the name of Things I LOVE Thursday, Ill proudly share with you a few of my cringe-worthy picks! First, I love any show that The Bachelor franchise puts out. I like The Bachelor, Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad and Bachelor in Paradise. I like it all.

Also, I love me some Kardashians. I will watch that show for hours on a rainy day or a sick day. I watch it at the gym. I follow them on social media. Now talk about Selfies!! Its two of my favorite things in one! I truly enjoy their dynamics. I like that each of the family members is sometimes relatable and sometimes I have no idea what they’re even talking about. I watch it at face value. Entertainment. 

I also love music/talent shows like American Idol, X Factor, The Voice and Boy Band. I love watching people finding a way to reach their dreams and I LOVE music of all kinds, so its a win win. Do I cringe when some of the shows show bad auditions? Yes. Do I cry when one of the contestants nails an amazing ballad? YES! I sing along, I clap, I boo, I pick favorites and I cry when a good one wins! You should’ve seen me way back when Kelly Clarkson won Idol….all the tears!

 

STARBUCKS

The thing about Starbucks for me that is a guilty pleasure is that each time I go, its not just about the coffee, its about the whole experience. I like to order my pretentiously delicious, Grande Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte, No whip, extra hot, all they while trying to decide which name I will give them when they ask for my name to put on my cup. And while they are writing my name on said cup, I am wondering if they will spell it right, while secretly hoping they get it terribly wrong so I can tweet about it! I pay using my app, so I can collect starts for more free Starbucks, and secretly judge those who don’t. If I have time, I like to sit with my coffee, which, lets face it,  will need to cool down since I ordered it extra hot. I will usually take a Selfie or check in on social media. Then I start the people watching. And Starbucks has THE BEST people watching people! I sip and enjoy the warm cinnamon flavor and take it all in. Truly indulging in the practice of self care while thoroughly enjoying every last drop!

 

And last but not least….

90’s MUSIC

The music of the 90’s is varied and multifaceted. It is beautifully eclectic. The early 90’s saw everything from the dominating Guns n’ Roses with Use Your Illusions I&II, and Nirvana breaking onto the grunge scene in 1992. You also had literal oldies tracks like Unchained Melody and Bohemian Rhapsody on the Billboard Charts as a result of movie soundtracks introducing a new generation to these classics. Whitney Houston also dominated the early 90’s with hits from The Bodyguard, pop music at its FINEST! By the mid 90’s You had Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey front and centre in Pop/R&B, and Alanis Morisettes iconic Jagged Little Pill on fire winning Grammy of the year in 1996. Rounding out the 90’s was the resurgence of the Boy Band and Girl groups. Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls were skyrocketing towards world wide success (YAY!!) and bringing new girl, Britney Spears along for the ride. Icons like Aerosmith, Elton John and Cher also so mega success in the 90’s with their hits “I Dont wanna miss a Thing”, a remake of “Candle in the Wind” for Princess Diana, and “Believe”. 

Also in the 90’s, bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, Pearl Jam, Sound Garden, Radiohead made huge waves in their genres, while Michael Jackson was still pumping out incredible chart toppers. You had the battle of the rappers like Biggie, Tupac, Puff Daddy. You had Salt n’ Pepa, Shania Twain, Matchbox Twenty, No Doubt, Sheryl Crow, Pink, Avril Lavigne, Destinys Child…… The list of artists and the development of so many genres is incredible and I LOVE it all! It is the soundtrack of my youth and there was literally something for everyone! For me, I LOVED a lot of it, and could appreciate and enjoy most of it! I have many memories of listening to Nirvana and Pearl Jam then later rocking it out to some of my all time favorite dance tracks like “Push It”! I am a 90’s girl through and through!

What are some of your favorite 90’s Jams?

 

I hope you have enjoyed my first Guilty Pleasures Edition. I am sure there will be more of these!!

 

Happy Thursday!

~M~

Confessions of a Negative Nelly

If you know me outside of my writing, or even just from my writing, you would know that most people would tend to disagree that I am a “Negative Nelly”. My friends and family would likely say that I am supportive and positive. That would likely say, that I have motivated them in one way or another or that I am strong and inspirational.

Wow, that might sound that I am a bit conceited or full of myself, but honestly, that is far from true. While I am usually labelled the cheerleader among my friends, colleagues and family, I tend to be my own worst enemy. If I were coronated Queen of something, it would likely be the Queen of negative self talk.

self talk

I am the first one to harshly criticize everything I do from how I look to whether or not I have offended someone with something I have said. I will play over, in my mind, the things I could’ve, would’ve and should’ve. Each and every single day I have to mindfully practice how to peak to myself kindly. I have read varying reports on how many words we say to ourselves everyday and it varies from 30,000 to 70,000. So, lets imagine for a minute that that majority of those words are negative. The impact on our day to day living, our self esteem, our productivity, our anxieties, and our complete mental health, would be astounding. It IS astounding.

I am not a psychologist, a therapist, or a researcher of any sort in this field. But from a personal point of view, here are a few things I have learned about my personal journey, of practicing positive self talk.

1. When I am in a positive frame of mind, I am more productive and more successful in reaching my goals. I can stick to my nutrition and fitness goals; I can reach new heights at work; and I can find a clearer path to reaching new challenges I set out for myself.

2. When I use a positive inner dialogue, I am in a better mood. Hands down. I am a better friend, partner and parent.

3. When I focus on the negatives, they snowball. For instance, if I think I haven’t had a perfect day on my nutrition and fitness plan, and I call my self a failure, I let one day of “imperfection” turn into a week or a month. Its like an “All or Nothing” spiral.

4. When I am feeling positive, the intricacies and challenges of parenting seem manageable. When, I am in a negative headspace, I am impatient, emotional and less consistent.

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As a self identified, Negative Nelly, I feel it important to tell you that just by “trying” to have a more positive inner dialogue, it isn’t enough. It is an exercise, a daily practice. Practice makes perfect right? Well no-one is perfect, but practicing these tools like gratitude and positive self talk, do take repetition and effort. Sometimes, I don’t quite get there. But each day, I show up and I TRY. The worst part is that when I do get into these negative zones, it like quitting the gym. Its so hard to get back there but once you do, your body remembers what to do, and you can get strong again.

The BEST part is that when you are in a good routine of being positive, it too snowballs. Inner positivity grows and radiates outward and spills in to every facet of regular day to day living. And guys, here’s the thing I think I love the most, when you have a moment of slipping back into the negativity, it is OK, so long as you don’t stay there. Having positive and negatives (healthy ones)  in our lives definitely creates balance, but naturally, that balance may occasionally get out of whack. Getting back to a routine of training our minds (like we train our bodies)  to practice positive self talk, can only serve to have an over all propituous  effect on our confidence and successes.

Next time you’re having a conversation with yourself, check in with how it’s making you feel. If you’re feeling like you’re failing; if you feel like you’re anxious or disappointed, reframe what you’re saying. I started my journey but literally searching Google for positive self talk mantras.

If you’re feeling positive, watch that positivity snowball into gratitude and wait for it, MORE POSITIVITY. Its true, I promise!

Some of my favourite positive self talk mantras include:

“I am enough”.  “I am worth it”.
“I am capable of anything I put my mind to”.
“I am strong”.
“I choose happiness”.

It can be uncomfortable at times, to be your own cheerleader and say kind things to yourself, but it does get easier. The coolest thing that I have found is, if you are kind to yourself, you start to believe that you are worth it. You start to believe these mantras and positive things you affirm to yourself. The outcome, well thats the icing on the cake. The outcome is confidence, positive experiences and for me, even lessened anxiety.

In case you aren’t ready to say these things to yourself yet, I am here to say them to you and I hope that you start to believe them. “You are enough, You are worth it! You are capable of anything you put your mind to. You are strong, and You will achieve happiness”.

 

Cheers to you! You are AMAZING!

~ M~

 

 

“Things I LOVE” Thursday

I hope you’re back to check out a few of my favourites this week! Were there any products I shared last week that peaked your interest? I know I got a ton of feedback on Insta and Twitter about the Batiste Dry Shampoo!  Looks like y’all are loving it as much as I am!

Without further a do, on to this weeks picks!

Stationary!

Office Depot can take all my money!

From the time I was a little girl, I loved that late August excitement of going school supply shopping with my mom to get all of the new pristine pencils and the crisp clean note paper. The Binders that had yet to be doodled on and the fresh markers, or crayons or colored pencils that had the perfect pointed tips! I loved it all! It signified the start of somethng new and exciting and it also meant routine and structure. I craved those things then after a long fun summer and I crave them now at the start of the school year, or in January when things need to be freshened up or as I set new goals. I love stickers to help me organize my planner, I like colored pens to categorize what types of appointments I have upcoming. I love the freshness of a new note pad for meal planning or goal setting. I love it ALL!

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Notebooks, stickers and planners! Oh MY!

Bold Red Lipstick

That instant “Put Together” & Sexy Feeling

Ok ladies, who doesn’t feel instantly more glam with a bold lip stick?! For you it might be a merlot color or maybe even a hot pink, but for me it is RED, RED, RED! I think it goes back to the days of “Blonde Ambition Tour” and “Vogue” Madonna, who always looked in charge, fierce and fine when she was rocking her gold lip! It could also be the sultry, sexiness of Marilyn Monroe, who owned a room with her smile. That feeling I get when my make up is on point, my outfit is looking and feeling fabulous and I top it off with a classic, bold red lip, well let me tell you it gives me a feeling of “I will OWN this day”! I instantly feel more powerful, pulled together and hell, sexier! My top three favorites are MAC Cosmetics, Retro Matte in Ruby Woo, SST Cosmetics, Matte, in Passion and Kylie Matte Lip Stick in Mary Jo K!!! Grab your favorite lipstick today, and flaunt it!!

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Feeling HOT HOT HOT!

Turkey Dinner

Homemade, of course, with all the trimmings

 This week was Canadian Thanksgiving, as I mentionned in my post on Tuesday, and besides practicing gratitude, I broke out my inner Martha Stewart and cooked a fablous homemade meal for my family and friends. There is something so rewarding about prepping and cooking a healthy, homemade meal that satisfies the physical want for delicious food but also the emotional connection and memories that certain meals or dishes carry over the years. This year we were away from our extended family and life long friends, but we still wanted that feeling that the smell of a turkey dinner brings to mind during a holiday! So, I spent a few hours in the kitchen and it was glorious! Hard work, but glorious! Not only were our bellies full but so were our hearts and we toasted to our family and friends, new and old.

Wine

Red, White, Sparkling, I love it all!

Cheers! I love everything about wine from learning about how it is made, the types of grapes, the blends of flavor, and the region in which its grown. I love the tasting rooms and walking the vineyards. I like the sophistication of holding a long stemmed glass and the excitement of trying something new. Of course, there a some that I like more than others, but over all, I love a great wine experience. I love a rich Italian Red Valpolicella, or a light fruity Moscato! Back in Nova Scotia, I loved having access to a number of amazing vineyards and wineries right in our own back yard. And here in California, well its like being in the mothership of all wine lands! There is wine as far as the eye can see here! Im starting to try some local favorites and I certainly had a few “must haves” back home. What are your favorites? Share with me! I love trying reccomendations!

Trader Joes Chicken/Cilantro Mini Wontons

Drooooool.

At some point in the very near future, I will have to dedicate an entire “Things I Love Thursday” to my favorite Trader Joes finds, but these are number one on my list these days, so I just HAVE to tell you about them now!! These little bites of deliciousness are so quick and easy to make and you can make just a few or you can cook up the whole bag and share with the family! I am working on some weightloss and healthy eating goals and these fit into my meal plan, marvelously! Added bonus, I can sautee some riced cauliflower and bell pepers and have a delicious, low fat, low carb meal that is quick and filling. The ingredients are simple and while I usually dont do a lot of processed foods, these are fabulous for a busy family on the go!

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So.Damn.Good

So those are the Things I LOVE, this Thursday! Hope you enjoy!!

~M~