Create your balance. Design your life.

No Makeup Monday

No Makeup Monday

Feb 21, 2014

  February 23-Mar.1 begins National Eating Disorders Awareness week (NEDA).  In the United States, “20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating  disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED).”  I am certainly one of them.  As a chronic binge eater, restrictive eater, crash dieter, obsessed and damaged soul, I am joining Monday’s initiative to spend the day without makeup–and post a picture of it. The National Eating Disorders Association says, “Eating disorders are complex illnesses that arise from a combination of long-standing behavioral, emotional, psychological, interpersonal, biological and social factors. As our natural body size and shape is largely determined by genetics, fighting our natural size and shape can lead to unhealthy dieting practices, poor body image and decreased self-esteem.” Furthermore, “Body dissatisfaction and thin ideal internalization are both significant risk factors for the development of eating disorder behaviors like restricting and binge eating. While eating disorders may begin with preoccupations with food and weight, they are about much more than food. Recent research has shown that genetic factors create vulnerabilities that place individuals at risk for acting on cultural pressures and using food to feel in control or manage overwhelming emotions.” This body dissatisfaction goes far beyond weight and plagues us all in one way or another. Whether you go without makeup all the time or if this is a scary first for you (like it will be for me), the idea is the purposeful statement that you do not have to add anything to yourself in order to be beautiful.  We need to embrace and accept our natural selves. Operation Beautiful, a simple and powerful movement close to my heart, started this notion a year ago.  I recently found the Renfrew Center‘s #barefacedbeauty campaign on Twitter.  In connection with NEDA week, Renfrew is asking people send in pictures with the #barefacedbeauty in an effort to help us get used to seeing, and becoming more comfrotable in our own skin. An article about Renfrew’s campaign explains,”We aren’t saying that if you wear a lot of makeup you will develop an eating disorder, but we have found some of our patients...

On Balance

On Balance

Feb 20, 2014

By Mo Breden The last few months have brought me a series of plumbing horrors, followed by financial concerns, followed by a credit card being compromised (which required hours of intervention with the credit card company), and several general “bad things”. During a conversation with my brother, he said, “You have really had a bad time of it lately”, or something to that effect. I started to think about it, and began my usual, ‘Woe is me, ‘I’m living under a dark cloud’, ‘I must have been a very bad person in another life’ dialogue with myself. I’m a fan of the BBC television show, Downton Abbey. There is a character on the show, Lady Grantham portrayed by Maggie Smith. Lady Grantham is the matriarch of the Grantham dynasty and often says things that shock and disturb the people around her, and make me laugh out loud. Last week Lady Grantham was having a conversation with her niece when she stated, very matter of fact, “All life is a series of problems that we solve, again and again, until we die.” And on that happy note, she suggests getting some ice cream. And yes, I did laugh out loud. If we don’t laugh, we are surely doomed. Also, balance has to be part of a happy life. I strive for a happy life. It took me only a short time to look at the problems that I’ve had to solve and the blessings I have received in the very same time period, and the blessings outweigh the problems. Applying the balancing principle has to be a part of my evaluation of my life, each day, without it, I’m living under that dark cloud, and life under a dark cloud is not happy. It’s not easy, in the midst of turmoil to look for the blessings, but they are there, in all of our lives and it is worth the struggle to find them, exactly in the midst, because that is when we need to reflect on and enjoy them the most. If I can pull myself out from under the dark cloud once, I can do it again, and so can you. Look to...

Tiny Pleasures, Big Results

Tiny Pleasures, Big Results

Feb 19, 2014

I pulled into the driveway, a few days ago, during a torrential downpour.  Our broken van blocked the entrance to the covered portion of the drive, of course. I managed to pick up my youngest and get her in her car-seat before the storm started, but I was now facing unloading everything in the rain.  Ugh. Typical ending to this frustrating day!  I started by unloading my paperwork, shielding it with my body, then got all the endless bags, and headed out to get my daughter on trip number three.  By this time I was soaked through, but at least my daughter would be mostly dry!  As I opened her door, she started clapping.  Clapping!!  She was ecstatic.  I pulled her into my arms and she shouted, “Raining!  Raining!!.”  Her joy at this chance to be rained on was infectious.  Even I had to laugh and turn my face up to the rain.  We giggled and bounced all the way to the house. The whole time I was in the rain, all I could think about was misery.  The rain was miserable, my day was miserable, my soggy shoes were miserable.  Yet my daughter managed to approach the situation with not only glee, but anticipation!  Her excitement only built as I unloaded all my things.  She couldn’t wait until it was her turn to get wet!  I’m so glad she wasn’t infected by my misery-guts, and instead passed on her joy. Hopefully, she’ll never learn to dread the rain and react with frantic running and screaming (like we do so often when it starts to rain). On cue, Lauren Bacon’s Weekly Curiosity Experience arrived and held up a mirror to my own experience.  She reacts to  watching a video of a child playing in the rain, “As I watched it, I was reminded of how rarely I allow myself to give myself over completely to the visceral ecstasy of simple things: wet, warm raindrops; the soft warmth of my bedclothes; the unflagging, constant support of the earth beneath me.”  We get so caught up in our own thoughts, our desire to control our day, that we miss out on simple and pleasurable experiences.  In...

“Park Avenue Pollyanna” Charlotte Goldenblatt

“Park Avenue Pollyanna” Charlotte Goldenblatt

Feb 18, 2014

Charlotte Goldenblatt (nee’ York) traditional and old-fashioned has views slightly different than those of her girlfriends on “Sex and the City.” She is a romantic at heart and through the series wants nothing more than the perfect marriage, apartment and family (plus a nice summer home to retreat to). She is conservative and at times extremely uptight, especially on the subject of dating and sex. This causes her and Samantha to bump heads on more than one occasion.  Charlotte is the woman who would sit and watch “The Stepford Wives” starring Nicole Kidman and not be able to understand why any woman would not want to live there because you get to wear beautiful dresses, raise families where there is no crime rate and take part in events in the up-scale community with your friends and neighbors. The micro-chip in the head would not factor into her thinking because Charlotte could be a Stepford Wife without it.  This is week two of “Movie Bad Girl of the Week Television Edition: The Ladies of Sex and the City.” When we first meet Charlotte she is a single girl living in New York City. Her last name is York. She is every bit the lady, dresses very stylishly and is on the hunt not just for sex, but rather, shows an emphasis on romance and love.  She abides by the rules of dating developed in the book “The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right ” by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider (1995). The book suggests rules that a woman should follow in order to attract and marry the man of her dreams. Want a sample of the books content? Here are some of the sections covered: Be a “Creature Unlike Any Other” Don’t Talk to a Man First (and Don’t Ask Him to Dance) Don’t Stare at Men or Talk too Much Don’t Meet Him Halfway or Go Dutch on a Date Charlotte lives by this set of rules and tells her friends that if they are going to have sex with a guy they are dating they need to wait until date number 5 before giving in…if they want the relationship to last. Charlotte...

A Dollar Doesn’t Buy Much These Days

A Dollar Doesn’t Buy Much These Days

Feb 17, 2014

Today my husband and I went to the Florida State Fair. We were there for 4 1/2 hours. We spent nearly 200 dollars. I remember when I could go to the fair as a teen and 20 or 30 dollars went a very long way. You could get in, eat until you were bursting, ride and play games on the midway and buy things to bring home. This got me thinking about how much we spend now versus back in the day. It is one of those times I feel like I am getting old. Here we go: ” I can remember when…” 5 dollars could buy 2 cheeseburgers, 2 orders of fries, 2 sodas and a box of McDonaldland cookies. The idea was that you could get a quick meal for a low price. They were convenient and cheap.  In 2014 the prices in fast food restaurants are terrifying. You can spend almost as much at McDonald’s or KFC for two people as you might at some full service restaurants. I can attest to this after recently going to Denny’s. Mind you, Denny’s doesn’t carry the price tag of Olive Garden but it is a restaurant where you are waited on at your table, your meal is cooked when you order it and served to you on a plate. Now I go in to fast food joints and look at the dollar menu realizing if I want my money to go further I will need to order 2 items that wouldn’t fill up a ten year old and bring a soda from home. I picked up my smoking habit at the ripe old age of 13. I could buy cigarettes for around 80 cents a pack. They were actually sold in vending machines (for $1.00) then too and you did not need ID to purchase although there was one store up the street that would sell them to me because they assumed I was picking them up for one of the adults in my household. Over the years I have watched the prices go up and have probably spent enough money to have retired on. They roughly cost $6.00 a pack now. I...

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