Today I’m thankful for…

For the perfect bowl of oatmeal…

For the sun shining outside the window 

For being surrounded by my loved ones and family:

For a pain-free morning

For being alive – something so priceless we so often take for granted

 

What are you thankful for this morning?

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This week I will…

– Dare to love myself as much as I love others.

– Make at least one stranger smile

– Eat ice-cream

– Enjoy the moment

– Get enough sleep

– Say “no” to the silly voices in my head.

– Not sweat the small stuff

– Take a few minutes each day to be thankful for all I have

What will you do this week?

Banish body bashing

I’m not sure id if Woman’s Day is celebrated all over the world (I don’t think so) – but we sure are celebrating it is this country. All day I’ve been seeing girls parading around with roses and yellow tulips. And although I didn’t get a flower, I got chocolate and a “free-pass” from a test today and that’s good enough for me.

So in honor of womans day, I wanted to do a post honoring women.
I’m not sure if it’s caused by society at large or the westernized culture we live in, but I feel like us women are expected to be extremely critical of ourselves. We are expected to groom and primp like there’s no tomorrow, and still never be satisfied with our results. We are expected to deny ourselves little pleasures in life (like my lab partner who turned down her woman’s day chocolate, because she is on a diet), force ourselves to extreme feats – all in the name of beauty.

But what is beauty really?  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – it’s a very cliché saying, but it rings so true. Have you ever met someone who would be considered “plain” or “normal” judging from a purely physical standpoint, but that had such an outstanding and loveable personality that it actually made them more attractive? I have a few friends like this, and when someone else made a crack about one of their flaws I felt offended – because their imperfections were totally drowned out by their wonderful personality, to the point that the only way to describe them would be beautiful. Unfortunately the sad thing is that even though we can appreciate and recognize these traits in others, rarely are we able to see them in ourselves. We do so much negative self-talk on a day to day basis, that it’s almost impossible for us to see ourselves as other’s see us.

I’m going to take a personal example here. While looking through some old pictures of myself I stumbled upon one that always seemed to make me cringe.
Although this may seem like an ordinary photo to you, the point in time that it was taken was critical. I remember being having VERY bad body image at this point, and I think it was taken just before my second ED relapse.
To be honest, the first things I did when I saw this picture was pick out the flaws. Wasn’t that hard to do, because I found myself subconsciously looking for them. It’s actually a reoccurring theme with me that instead of looking for the good in my outward appearance I looked for the flaws. Anyhow, here’s what I found.

But then I decided to take another view point and look for what someone else might find attractive about this picture. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy and took longer than I expected, further reinforcing the fact that this is something I should be doing more and more of in my life.Here’s picture nr 2.

So in honor of womans day, let’s make an effort to see ourselves as others see us, and look for the frills and not the flaws. Dare to look in the mirror and say “Hey there beautiful” – because that’s what you are! Dare to be confident in your traits and the things that make you unique. Dare to love yourself, because only then can others really love you.

Right here, right now I challenge you to name 5 things you like about yourself .
I’ll start:
I’m a good listener.
A have pretty eyes.
I have a nice smile.
I am a hard worker
I care about other and try to put their needs above my own.

Now your turn 🙂

Have a great day!!

Things I’m loving this holiday season.

Hard to believe it’s all almost over :(. I spent the holiday’s trying to finish up my internships at I kindergarden, so I’ve been out almost 8 hours a day. I don’t mind much, other then I’ve had to skip my home breakfasts – and I miss my oats (yeah, I’m weird :P)!

It’s been a total ED test, because I’ve been eating foods I haven’t eaten in years – and so far it’s ok. Some days my stomach is messed up, or I end up overeating because my meals aren’t balanced properly – but I take it all as “real life training”. You can’t eat healthy and the way you’d like to 100% of the time – you’ve just gotta take it as it comes and work with what you’ve got.

Anyhow, today was a slighly dramatic last intership day – but it’s over! And since I like keeping it positive around here, let’s talk about the things I’ve been enjoying this holiday season.

Holiday banana-oatmeal pancakes (ala Kath)Image

Ginger-bread topped oatmeal

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Experimenting in the kitchen:

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(“Blondies” based off this recipie – but I subbed the peanut butter for a banana. I don’t know if they tasted much like a real blondie – but I do know I couldn’t keep myself from eating them 😛 )

At home dinners:

Oh She Glows chickpea bites, with brown rice, peanuts and a carrot/cabbage salad.

Stealing my little brother’s gummy bear vitamins

Biscuits and hot chocolate with a dash of chili pepper (I promise it tastes amazing)

What are you loving this holiday season?

Life is as beautiful as you make it.

In life there’s always going to be stress, worries and problems. No matter where you live, who you are and what you do – things are never perfect. During difficult times we tend to compare ourselves with others who “have it better” – they don’t have to work as hard (or at all) their lives seem to be problem and stress free. We tend to wish we could change things we have no control over – our work environment, the people we interact with, our problems and sometimes even our personality. We want the “picture perfect” life portrayed in movies and books – a beautiful life.

The truth of the matter is life is as beautiful as you make it. There’s no such thing as the “perfect” home, life or work environment. Yes sometimes it’s convenient to live in that delusion, because it gives us “right” to feel a little bit of self pity about how hard things are. But if we would only open our eyes to see how wonderful and beautiful our live ALREADY is – I’d dare say we’d be a whole lot happier.

In the face of another week of stressful exams and days filled with nothing but studies, today I decided to look for things that made my life beautiful – and here’s what I found

–          a stranger holding open the door for me for a good 2-3 minutes because he saw me walking up ahead

–          the sun shining down on me as I hurried in between classes

–          the PERFECT cup of hot cocoa

–          a boy sitting next to me during an exceptionally boring lecture smiling at me and then passing me a crossword puzzle because I looked bored (although I couldn’t solve it :P)

–          a juicy, crispy delicious apple

–          a long, luxurious hot shower

Simple things, little things, every day and common place things added up to make today seem extraordinary and special. But was it really? Perhaps if every day I took more time to look for the things that made me happy, the sad and the ugly wouldn’t matter so much anymore? Maybe I could learn to really appreciate my life for what it is – a wonderful adventure waiting to unfold.

So I challenge you all to one day look for all the things that make your life beautiful. It doesn’t take an exceptional amount of time and effort, but I promise you it will do a lot to change your perspective

 

 

 

 

 

Appreciation Wednesday – My family

It’s time for a new “appreciation Wednesday post” (all the background on these posts are found here). I have neglected them for a while, but it’s time to get back into the positivity groove. One thing I am and always will be greatful for is my family. I come from a BIG family – I am the oldest of seven siblings the youngest of whom are 3 years old. We go through ups and downs, and there are times they all bug the heck out of me and I’d honestly want nothing more then to be rid of them for a few days- but I love them with all my heart.

Growing up in a family like mine means a few things:

  • no sleeping in (it’s noisy from about 6:30 AM at our place)
  • I don’t know the meaning of the word privacy. Everyone wants to know everything about what you’re doing, how you’re doing it and who you’re doing it with 🙂
  • If you don’t hide your food it won’t be there the next day (I’m not kidding on this one)
  • I learned how to cook at age 8, I’ve been taking care of kids since I was 6 and I have been the “second mommy” since I was 12
  • I know how to budget, do bulk grocery shopping, change baby diapers and run a household and I’m only 18
  • It means my mom occasionally asks me for advice in house matters
  • I’ve been told I’ll make a “perfect wife” since I was 15
  • It means I don’t watch soap operas or sit coms because I have one happening live 24/7
  • It means long lines to the bathroom first thing in the morning, not to mention the 5 minute army showers (if you’re lucky enough to get any hot water.
  • A “quiet family dinner” is an oxymoron
  • Family photos are great fun because they always take a minimum of 30 minutes to take, and there’s NEVER one that a) someone isn’t making a stupid grin in, b) someone has their eyes closed, c) everyone looks ridiculous in but everyone has their eyes open and looks halfway human

Case in point:

  • This is a family picture from 2008 - we've kind of given up on them since then :p

In short it’s lots of laughs, screams and a few tears – but it’s one hell of an adventure living at our house. And there are some things about it I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Besides – if I didn’t have them around there would be no one to eat the nasty chocolate navy bean spread I made, or be the guinea pigs for my new recipe experiments.

And how can you not love these guys anyways?

 

Especially when they announce to you that they’ve (and I quote) “decided to love you” 😛

Although I’ve decided the same about them a long time ago.

 

C’mon, be sentimental with me : what’s something you love about your family?

 

 

Appreciation Wednesday – My upbringing

One thing that you guys should know about me is that I love travelling. I’ve been lucky enough to grow up in a family that was constantly on the move (pretty much all of my siblings were born in different countries) and so I had the opportunity to see a lot of different things and experience various cultures.The countries I’ve lived in include: Russia, Hungary. Poland. the Philippines, Czech Republic – and I’ve visited many more.  The fact that I had a somewhat unusual childhood (I never spent more then a year in one school, I didn’t have any “childhood friends” that I grew up with, and coming back to my “home country” always felt a little odd) is something I am actually proud of and wouldn’t change even if I could. I think that my life would have been so much more boring and ordinary, had I not had the opportunity to experience all that I did. I also feel like my world view is a lot more expanded then other people my age that grew up in the same town their whole lives and went to Egypt once on vacation.

Here are a few pictures of the places I’ve had the opportunity to live in :

A jeepney in the Philippines (the prime means of public transportation)

Charles Bridge - Czech Republic

Can anyone guess where this is? Moscow!

Budapest at night - pretty isn't it?

I think your upbringing has a big part to play in who you are. I don’t belong to the group of people that believe in blaming absolutely everything on their past, childhood and upbringing. Yes, these things do influence you, but ultimately YOU CHOOSE WHO YOU WANT TO BE. Blaming other people is the easiest thing to do, the hard part comes when you have to face up to your own actions and say – “I messed up”. But that’s kind of off the topic.

Another thing I am proud of about my upbringing is that I was brought up in a family where a healthy diet and lifestyle were highly encouraged. This means I grew up having veggies served at both lunch and dinner, and snacks generally consisted of fruit, nuts and occasionally leftovers from previous meals (yah, my parents were saving like that :P). Sure, I remember my parents buying me a doughnut on the way home from school, or packing some cookies into my lunch box from time to time. But these were definitely “special occasions” rather then day to day occurences.

 

My most favorite salad as a kid - grated carrot, apple and raisins

Exercise was also something that was highly applauded in my family. According to my parents the more time we spent outdoors burning off our energy the less we spent at home causing trouble. I don’t think our health was the deciding factor in why we were encouraged to play sports, but I’m sure it came into the equasion at some point.

I have to say that I do thank my parents for giving me a good background in healthy living. I think I might have taken it a step further then them at this point (my dad for instance believes that butter is the best condiment to EVERYTHING), but I can never relate to the people who grew up without knowing what a vegetable is (“What’s that green thing on my plate?”) So all I can say is “THANK YOU MOM AND DAD!”

So all that to say – this week for appreciation Wednesday I wanted to appreciate these parts of my upbringing that make me who I am today. I think I have a childhood to be proud of, and that something I appreciate about myself.

What was your favorite “healthy food” as a kid?

What is something about your childhood/upbringing that you’re proud of?

Appreciate yourself!

For most people appreciatation is assosiated with thanking someone for something they’ve done for you. To some people it means taking time to acknowlage the positive qualities of others in some way. But when’s the last time you stopped to do the same for yourself? When’s the last time you appreciated something about your personality, looks or upbringing that makes you unique and special.

That’s right you ARE special. It doesn’t matter if you wake up in the morning with your hair flying every-which way, big bags under your eyes and scruffy pijamas. Most celebreties that we look up to as a symbol of beauty look just about the same first thing in the morning. It doesn’t matter if your job requires you to sit at a desk all day, filling out seemingly endless sheets of paperwork. YOU are an unique, unforgettable person.

So c’mon, be brave enough to say this with me – I am beautiful. Say it again, like you believe it this time – I am beautiful. And with time I hope both you and I will come to see and truly believe this, because it is the truth. And I think the first step in believing is stopping to take the time to appreciate to things that make us unique, special and one-of-a-kind.

I won’t try and lie and say I am the person with the highest self-confidence around, because I’m not. Actually, to be honest, I have always battled negative thoughts about myself. This wasn’t just related to my looks, but everything – my personality, achievements and accomplishments,  my plans for the future and outlook on the present.

However I’ve decided to change all that. So each Wednesday I will be picking a part of “myself” to appreciate that I will be sharing with all of you.

A part of me tells me this is conceited or proud on my part, but that’s not true. There’s nothing wrong with liking something about yourself. For some reason in todays world it’s much more accptable to be talking about what you don’t like about yourself then what you do like. For instance women (and men, mind you) will sit around for lengthy amounts of time complaining about their weight, thighs, skin, complexion and what have you, and it is considered 100% socially acceptable. Occasionally the conversation will go on for hours, with each person contritely sharing their own personal flaws and how they intend to overcome them (lose weight, get this or that surgery done, buy this or that insanely priced beauty product) Yet if you so much as dare to mention something you do like about yourself (especially if no one else has mentioned it first) a silence will fall over the room it’ll take a moment before someone akwardly attempts to change to topic. Not only will you feel that you have made the worst faux-pau in history, but there will be some whispers and hushed voices immediatly after you leave the room.

I think this trend needs to change. We should be able to confidently say – “I like my hair. It’s beautiful and healthy and I really think it suits me”  and have another person chime in “You’re right, you do have great hair. I love my nails, I hardly have to do anything to take care of them, and they look great”. These are some pretty superficial examples, but do you get the point?

But before we expect people to appreciate the good qualities in us we need to appreciate them in ourselves.

So here’s something I like about myself : my eyes.

 


My eyes are usually the first characteristic that stands out to people when I first meet them (I’ve been described many a time as the “girl with blue eyes”) and generally it’s what I’m remembered by. I’ve been asked several times if they are contacts (I love saying no to that, how boring would it be if they were?) and I actually got an offer as an eye model at one point.

And as a closing thought:

What’s one thing you appreciate about yourself – it can be looks, personality, anything?

Why do you think it’s more acceptable to complain about what you don’t like about yourself, instead of talking about what you do like?