Tag Archive: love yourself

On Self-Improvement

Every year or so I get on a kick of some sort and I get all gung ho about it and I post about it all over social media and buy a ton of books or supplies to assist with the kick and ….. I would get sort of embarrassed when my ardor for that particular pursuit cooled. I would feel like I failed somewhat because I didn’t achieve whatever absurd goal I had set for myself. I would hesitate to share my next BIG IDEA with the world because I didn’t want people to think “here goes Betty, again with the self-improvement that she’ll never follow through with”.

Here’s the thing about self-improvement: IT IS HARD. I mean, anyone could tell you that. And that’s why many people don’t even really try it. That’s why a few weeks ago when I embarked on my newish self-improvement campaign, I didn’t really want to talk about it to people, I felt silly, I felt thwarted by my own attention span before I had even begun!

However, recently I realized something extremely important about my little crusades of self-bettering: I succeed even when I think I’m failing.

Let me elucidate so you don’t roll your eyes at my cheesiness and move on (as I would, before I decided to try to stop being such a negative nancy). If you take a look at Betty at 20 versus Betty at cusp-of-35, you’ll see an entirely different person. I think most people would say they’ve changed quite a bit in fifteen years. Many of the changes I’ve undergone took a ton of hard work. I was an angry teenager. I just was. There’s a laundry list of reasons that contributed to that anger; when you really break it down to the core root of the problem, it was because I was unhappy. Wildly, horribly, destructively unhappy. I’ve changed most of that thinking in the past 15 years. I didn’t merely wake one morning and decide that I was a better person. The changes were gradual and each victory hard won, even when I didn’t recognize that I had won at all. I’m not talking about only my mental state of being either – physically I’ve made many improvements.

For example, at 27 I would have told you that water tasted “weird”. I refused to ever drink it. I drank soda or, when I thought I was being healthier, juice all day long. Around 28, I decided I would start drinking 3 liters of water a day. For about two months, I did just that. I carried a giant water bottle with me everywhere and I was in the bathroom peeing every twenty minutes. Gradually, the water consumption tapered off and I forgot that I ever made the decision to drink that much of it. Did I fail? I thought I had. But wait! I drink water every day now. I drink water rather than soda or juice. I have a glass of water at my elbow at all times. Do I drink 3 liters? Nahhhhh. I don’t track how much I drink any longer. Yet, I’ve established a healthier habit and I do it without thinking about it! I call that a win, right?

Or how about when I decided I was going to EAT HEALTHY about five years ago? I ate fruits and veggies constantly. I purged all junk food from my house. I stopped eating out entirely. This lasted until my first McDonald’s fries craving and I gave up. Failure? Nope. Before that particular self-improvement stint, I had a twice a day fast food habit. I carried chocolate with me everywhere I went. I binge ate packages of chips. I didn’t know what a vegetable even was. Now, fast food is a rare treat. I eat veggies at every single meal. I LIKE them even. I’m not the healthiest eater that I know but I’m also not the unhealthiest. Another small victory over my own bad decision making!

Exercise? Remember that kick last year? Shh, stop laughing at me. I AM the couch potato. I flunked PE every year. I never wanted to exercise and I hated the thought of sweating. I spent about 4 months exercising religiously, didn’t think I felt or saw an improvement and quit. Fail? Nah. I do yoga nearly every day (even if it is just a super lazy stretching session) and the beagle and I walk at least a mile on cold or hot days and two to three miles on nice days. I’m no Olympic athlete, I’m also not the total and utter couch potato I once was.

Mental health wise? I saw a therapist for years upon years in my 20’s. Talk about an embarrassing thing to admit. I never wanted people to know about it, even when I was studying psychology myself and preaching the value of therapy in bettering your outlook on life. It felt like I was admitting that I was broken to say that I saw a therapist, that people would judge me for it. Hell, they DID judge me. I WAS sorta broken. I didn’t have the tools to glue myself together and become a whole person. I had not learned useful coping mechanisms for dealing with the world, people, failure, death, relationships, etc etc etc. All of the tools that you learn in childhood that help you to interact with and handle the world, I had not been taught. I had been taught that chaos is normal, acceptable, and all that there is in the world. I had been taught that I couldn’t trust anyone but myself. These are all unhealthy ways to interact with the world. So, when I was 20 and again at 24 and again at 28 and yes, again at 34, I saw a therapist. I talked about my fears. I learned coping mechanisms that are healthier. Sometimes, no matter how much you resist, you can’t fix everything by yourself and you have to rely on help from others.

Ya picking up what I’m putting down? My point is that I’ve never truly failed at any of these things. I’ve taken good healthy habits and incorporated them into my daily life, even when I didn’t realize I was doing so! One out of every five trick or habit that I’ve tried to teach myself actually sticks with me. I’ll never be that health food advocate who works out for hours every day and is an extrovert that loves and embraces socializing. Nope, not me. Maybe though, just maybe, I’ll be 1/5th of the way toward a healthier, happier me at the end of my current self-improvement kick. That’s not half bad.

I'm never giving up coffee, though.

Style Inspiration – Katharine Hepburn

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One of my all-time favorite style icons is Katharine Hepburn.  Not only was she smart, independent, sassy, and funny – this woman OWNED her style.  During the 40’s and 50’s women primarily wore dresses and overtly feminine clothing.  Not Katharine.  She wore men’s suits with playful little twists, button down shirts tucked into high waisted pants, and loafers.  Oh, the loafers!!  I love her look.

Not to mention, she was stunningly gorgeous.  She stayed beautiful until the end of her life.

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AND she could preach some self-love, let me tell you.  She was unabashedly, totally and completely, all about loving yourself and following your heart.

Yes, yes, and yes.

Want to copy Katharine’s look?  A white oxford shirt, high waisted slacks, and a pair of Eastland loafers are all it takes to be effortlessly cool and gorgeous.  Try to stick to classic cuts that flatter your figure, don’t be afraid to shop in the men’s section, and avoid low cut blouses. It just wasn’t her style ;).

The most important rule of all: LOVE THYSELF

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There’s a new movement toward self-care and self-love in recent years that I find extraordinarily uplifting.  There’s one rule that I wish everyone everywhere would embrace:  LOVE THYSELF.  Second, but close to that, is love others.

What, exactly, is self-care?  Self-care is simply recognizing your needs and addressing them.  This is more of a challenge than it sounds for many people, but most especially it seems to be a problem for women.  I know so many amazing women that are so busy juggling families or careers or art or relationships or a combination of any or all of the above, that they forget to take a few minutes to address their own needs.

Most articles that I’ve read address self-care and self-love as if they are two entirely different ideas.  To me, however, they are one and the same.  If you don’t love yourself, you won’t take time to care for yourself.  If you care for yourself properly, you’ll experience more self-love.

Self-love does not mean narcissism.  Narcissism is an inordinate fascination with oneself, an excessive love of self.  I’m not encouraging that at all.  I’m encouraging you to LOVE and LIKE yourself.  These are key components in every intrapersonal relationship that you have.  If you can’t like yourself fully, you can’t expect your partner, or your children, or your boss to.  Confidence is truly beautiful and a person that likes him or herself will exude confidence.  Life’s little and big challenges are easier to tackle when you have confidence in yourself.  Rejection is easier to handle.  Everything in life is easier when you like yourself. I cannot preach this concept enough – it is vital to take time to really, really love yourself.

Let me step down from my soapbox for a moment here….I get it, it’s not easy to love yourself all of the time.  You don’t just wake up one day and say “Eureka, I love myself in every way!!”.  Self-love is a daily process, a work in progress.  That’s why self-care is so vital.  Daily self-care routines are the building blocks upon which self-love is built.

One of the features that I’m the most excited about working on for this blog is “Self-Love Advocacy“.  I will be your personal self-love advocate and cheerleader.  We will learn about, practice, and preach self-love together.  Every week, I will share interviews with other self-care advocates and inspirational women that have motivated and inspired me in my personal life.  I will share tips and ideas for self-care.  I will host giveaways for self-care products.  I will share my own struggle and journey toward self-love.  I’m so excited to be going on this journey with y’all!

Please, email me (geekbettyvintage@gmail.com) or comment with any requests of features that you’d like to see, your own story, or self-care tips that you might have!

 

 

Personal Style Files: Afternoon at the Winery

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What I Wore:
A sunny autumn afternoon at the winery, reading “Lord of the Rings”, and watching my boyfriend’s band play some tunes.  I’ve had this dress for years, as well as the belt.  The hat is a new addition and one that I think I’ll be wearing as much as possible this fall.  I love any opportunity to throw on a hat (and keep the sun off of my face).

What’s your favorite fall accessory?

Developing Your Personal Style

There are certain people in this world that are born with that special something, that je ne sais quois that can’t quit be defined in one word but the closest you can get to it is STYLE.  We all know at least one or two of these people.  We admire them, hell maybe we even envy them a little.  Never fear! Even if you weren’t born innately stylish, it’s never too late to begin to develop your personal sense of style.

My style motto is simple:  If you love it, wear it!!

Now comes the disclaimer – not everything you love should be worn. I know, I know, it’s contradictory.  The key is finding items that you love that fit you well, looks good, are quality, and can be worn for years no matter what the current trend is.  Trust me, you can find classic pieces that you love.

The first step is to forget about trends.  Trendy does not equal stylish!!  Now, I’m not saying trends are never stylish.  Occasionally, society as a whole embraces a trend that is actually good.  Think about a trend in this way, though – could you see a woman 30 years ago pulling that off?  What about 30 years from now?  What about YOU, NEXT YEAR?  Tribal print leggings? Can you imagine Marilyn Monroe coquettishly curled on her sofa, perusing a novel in neon print leggings? Yeah, me neither.

Good style is about classic, lasting, basic pieces.  You want to build your wardrobe around these pieces.  You can throw on some trendy accessories or add a trend top here or there every season.  I like to add a scarf in a fun print or trendy top with a classic skirt and boots.  It gets easier when you get a clear picture of what you want YOUR style to look like.  You can imagine any item added to your wardrobe and easily discard what doesn’t fit. And think about those stylish people that you know.  They probably have the same philosophy.  I bet they’ve got a few standard classic cuts and shapes that they wear all of the time.

Another important element of good style is fit.  You might absolutely love A-line dresses, but if you’re a curvy girl like me, it just doesn’t work.  I have found that my shape looks wonderful in 50’s vintage or inspired dresses. Anything from the 70’s, however, just doesn’t cut it.  The 70’s were for tall, skinny, leggy women.  I’m short, curvy, and ….well I’ve got legs but they aren’t long.  It’s better that I stick to styles that showcase my good attributes – my hourglass figure and the shape of my legs rather than the length (err, or lack of) of them.  Sticking to clothing shapes from the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s works well with my figure.  Figure out what does and doesn’t work for you and STOCK UP.  If you find a wonderful cut that looks great and flatters you, buy it in several patterns and colors.  Buy classic patterns and neutral colors that can be mix and matched and worn during different seasons.

I also love patterns.  It’s hard for me, as I get older, to restrain my pattern love.  In the past, if it was bright, gaudy, and had a design on it – I was wearing it. I didn’t care if it fit properly or looked good.  I have discovered that pattern is a-okay, even when trying to dress stylishly.  The easiest way to incorporate pattern is with accessories.  A bright polka dot scarf can liven up any outfit.  I love plaid, polka dots, and floral more than anything.  You can mix and match these patterns as well, as long as you stick to neutral or complementary colors.

Speaking of color – I LOVE bright colors.  Always have, always will.  Go ahead and wear that bright pink top or orange pants.  But make sure you have a “base” color that is prevalent in your wardrobe.  I picked this tip up years ago from a former boss that was a knockout older woman and always looked like she spent hundreds of dollars on every outfit.  She told me that the key was to pick a color scheme and stick to it.  You can easily thrift and pick up bargain items in these colors to supplement your wardrobe.  It also makes shopping for wardrobe basics much easier.  All of your classic, expensive, well taylored pieces should be in this neutral colors.  That doesn’t mean you have to stick to black or white.  My colors are navy, tan, and grey.  I have dozens of simple pieces in these colors that can be mix and matched and paired with bright fun patterns.  Trust me, it makes shopping much easier.  Decide what color works with your hair and complexion and start to build your wardrobe around it.

One of the best books I’ve ever found on the subject of dressing stylishly is “The Little Black Book of Style” by Nina Garcia.  Buy it here.  I don’t know who Nina Garcia is.  I don’t follow fashion that closely (like I said, trends are useless to me).  However, she has a great list in this book of wardrobe staples that can be a starting point for someone that wishes to develop their personal style.  The only issue I take with most “high fashion” books or advice is that they always recommend products that are absurdly expensive.  I don’t think the average woman is about to drop $500 on a pair of shoes.  If you’re like me, your clothing budget is about $500 for the year….or for a few years.  It’s important not to look at these tips and stylist tricks as set in stone.  Take what you can use from them and make it work for you.  The book recommends having a little back dress on hand and I absolutely agree that you should.  Do you need the name brand sunglasses listed, though?  Nope.  Is the style of sunglasses a good idea to emulate?  Yup.

Being stylish, more than anything, is about expressing yourself and being confident.  Just because a model wore it, or because it’s popular, that doesn’t mean you should or could wear it.  The more you love what you are wearing, the more able you will be to carry yourself with grace and dignity.  More than anything else, LOVE YOURSELF and have fun.

Next week, we’ll look at dressing for the changing seasons.