When we talk about comparison in the fitness world we usually think about comparing ourselves to others. There’s lots of reassurances out there like “You are your only competition” and “Just be better than you were yesterday” to help us take a step back from it.
But I don’t just mean that we’re glancing at the numbers on the treadmill beside us and secretly trying to beat them. I mean the practice of before and after pictures as well as the ever-growing fitness community on Instagram.
See, it strikes me that even if we preach not comparing ourselves and posting our fitness journeys for our own sake there’s still something bigger going on.
Do we really think that comparison isn’t like, %70 of what’s going on outside the fitness sphere on Instagram? As a regular practice, we follow brands, influences and celebrities who we admire. We covet their clothes, cars, homes – their whole lifestyle.
So when the account we’re following is a fitness-specific influencer or celebrity can we truly pretend we aren’t comparing and coveting their fitness based on their body in posed pics and workout videos?
Now, I will acknowledge here that fitness influencers are probably doing the most out of any influences to help their fans achieve what they have. You admire my abs? Here’s an ab workout I like. You want my perfect booty? Here’s my booty routine.
Sure, they make money off their fans desire to be like them but at least they seem more likely to share the how-to than other influencers.
You don’t see a lot of other influencers breaking it down for you how they got what they have and how you can too. They just profit off your admirations as the likes and comments roll in.
Even with the before and after photos I mentioned earlier we’re encouraged to engage in a detailed comparison of ourselves to ourselves. While that’s a little healthier than only lusting after the results of others, it still feeds into a comparison mindset when considering our current fitness and future goals. I think it’s an awesome practice that we reflect on our own progress and success. We still have to talk about it, though, when we talk about comparison.
The biggest problem, for me, is that a lot of the influencers who encourage comparison either with before and after photos or just putting themselves out there in a way that forces you to compare where you are compared to their fitness journey, do so to sell products.
The fitness fam on insta is overflowing with “positive vibes” and “support” but a lot of companies are successfully harnessing the community for comparison, admiration and sales.
It definitely makes me a bit bitter to see “fitness influencers” or “fitness models” selling detox teas, certain supplements and diet programs. Like, this is why we can’t have nice things, ya’ll. Too many people harness the power of community for marketing and misdirect our well meaning support.
I wouldn’t call for the end of the fitness community on insta because so much good does come from it – I think we, as fitness focused accounts – might just have some work to do to reclaim our community.
The Beauty Industry as a whole has a very profitable interest in convincing everyone that beauty is super complicated and that it requires a lot of different, consumable products that will keep you coming in for refills freakin’ constantly.
Truth be told – there’s a lot of misleading crap out there designed to get you to buy and to help you justify purchase decisions as necessary when they’re not.
Next week we’re going to talk about taking back control of how you engage with the industry but this week I want to focus on saying no to junk.
I’m talking about reinvented products like make up applicators or brushes, skin care tools that do the same thing as the ones you already own, and my personal fave – things that do nothing OR that do what you already do with your hands.
Let’s look at Jade Rollers, for example. Not only did these things seemingly come out of nowhere, but a lot of them appeared with huge price tags. They have Jade or some similarily valued material as a “roller” on a handle so you can massage your face with it. They allegedly have benefits such as improved circulation, reducing under eye puffy-ness and helping products absorb better into your skin.
It all sounds awesome and you can see how it makes sense if you squint at it long enough.
Here’s the thing they aren’t talking about though: You don’t need a Jade Roller to massage your face. You have…uhh, hands. Take any cleaner or moisturizer you like and spend a few extra minutes massaging it into your skin. All the Jade Roller really does is force you to take the extra time to focus on massaging your cheeks and skin. However, it’s not a necessary component in the equation of facial massage for improved circulation and all the benefits that come it.
This is what I mean when I talk about beauty trends that sell you junk. They market a product as if the product is required to achieve certain results when in reality it’s not the key to said results at all. Beauty bloggers, and beauty companies that claim they’re here to improve your beauty results could of just told you the secret was in good circulation and that facial massage would help improve your results. Then they could of offered you tools to make massaging your skin easier or to vary your routine but they didn’t. They just claimed you had to have the jade roller.
I hope I can keep up with the junky trends just to bring the #realbabebeauty squad real talk and get passed all the crap we’re told we need in order to be beautiful.
The other example I like is make up brushes. Someone is always reinventing the wheel in this department and claiming that their brush, which may or may not look a lot like every brush that came before it, has magically better results.
Save your money because that’s a lie. Find a way you like for putting make up on your face – make up brush, sponges, those buffer-brush things, and then ignore all the reinvented wheels. Let ’em roll on by.
Take yourself somewhere beautiful with all the money you did’n’t let the beauty industry suck out of your wallet.
They say attitude is everything and from school, to business, to relationships “they” might be on to something.
When I read about other polyamorous relationships and the ideas behind polyamory a lot of the time the biggest lesson is accepting everything about your partner without wishing they would change.
I have been lucky to always be in relationship where I felt accepted and have been reassured about the acceptance if ever it seemed to be in question. Today I want to share a few ideas about what this kind of acceptance looks like.
Everyone is flawed, in some way. We’re only human, after all. We have a natural urge to help and fix. We imagine that we can make our partner happy by making them be more perfect in our eyes. In reality we cause a lot of stress, doubt and damage this way.
Instead, remember that your partner is human and if you chose them their flaws can’t be so serious or worth picking a fight over.
A lot of the time the “flaws” we see in others are extensions of our own insecurities. We start to nit-pick and get frustrated when we want our partners to somehow puzzle piece in to our lives in a way that corrects everything we wish we could change about ourselves.
When we practice acknowledging and forgiving ourselves for the things we don’t favour in ourselves it becomes easier to do this for other people.
It’s hard to believe, maybe, that not every thought in your partners head is related to you. This comes up with the idea of attraction to someone else, for example.
Thinking someone else is attractive can be just that. Your partner sees another human and thinks they’re attractive. It’s just a reaction to that person. It’s not a statement about you, your attractiveness or your participation in the relationship.
I struggle – as many of us do -with always wondering if every action or thought is somehow related to me and if I’m being a good enough partner. Hint: Nope. It’s not all related to me and that’s okay.
Very few parts of a relationship happen in total isolation or silence. If there’s something you’re working on – like being more accepting or embracing different parts of yourself and your partner – talk about it!
A lot of confusion and misunderstanding is avoided by just mentioning the things you’re thi8nking about and working on, even if you’re not asking anything of your partner.
We all know it’s true that most of what can be bought at Sephora can be bought elsewhere for less. Affordable brands line the aisles of any drug store and one has to wonder how different the products can really be. I mean from one concealer recipe to the next, from one mascara to another, is it worth the price jump to pick up the designer brand in a Sephora?
I think so. Today I want to share why. Many beauty bloggers share the pros and cons of products from all price ranges in specific reviews for “X brand Y product” but they don’t always share, over all, why their best looks come with a such a pricey list.
I do want to acknowledge that being able to choose a pricey product is a position of privilege. I prioritize this cost in my budget to make it work and I’m here to share why I do so.
Once upon a time I thought shops like Sephora were for girls and boys who really knew what they were doing. Like, they were maybe trained make up artists or at least more successful at learning from artists on youtube than I was. I thought Sephora was all about those make up users. I didn’t really feel I fit in.
In reality the staff at Sephora know those products and how they correspond to different needs. They aren’t trained like that for the pros who also have that knowledge. They’re trained to help us – #realbabebeauty squad. When I walk in and say I’m struggling with something like finding a full coverage foundation that doesn’t cake, or a brow product I can use blind, or a face wash to win a battle with my hormonal acne… I know I can trust the staff there.
When I ask the same questions at a drug store I usually get anecdotal answers. “My friend also struggles with… and she loves…”, “I use this and I swear by it!” and so on.
But at Sephora I hear more reassuring things like “This product line contains ingredients x, y and z which are known to help with sensitive skin.” or “This brand can be used this in this way for…”
The knowledge the staff have is reason enough to pay a little extra. When you don’t know all the answers you can place a lot of trust in the staff to help you out.
I tried to go back, okay? I thought hey – I could probably save myself some money if I just bought mascara at shoppers instead of Sephora.
Two hours later with red, itchy eyes I swore I’d never cut my budget in that way again.
If you use more affordable products and don’t have side effects like flaking make up, itchiness, redness, soreness or anything else then I salute you. However for me, this isn’t the case. I have super fair, super sensitive skin and when I sacrifice the quality of my products I feel it (and see it!)
Even some brands at Sephora cause problems for me. Sephora, though, will let you exchange products and work with you to find the right one. When I brought back an expensive foundation that reacted poorly with my skin and made me look diseased they gave me full store credit to find a better formula.
I denied this for a long time but in recent years I’ve come around. Some girls can make anything look pro but I don’t have those skills.
What I lack in skills can be made up for with products that look good to begin with.
That’s it. This one’s pretty simple.
As every point system should be, this one is designed to recognize regular customers who are spending a lot on the business. Right from signing up you earn points and at milestones like $1000 spent in one year you get big perks.
That sounds like a lot – once upon a time I thought I’d never be that level. But I’m here. I did give my card to friends a few times so I know some of those points came from their purchases. Even without those purchases though, the side effect of shopping at expensive store is that spend-based loyalty programs are genuinely rewarding.
You can get your make up done, pick up free samples and even attend exclusive events.
It’s not worth shopping there only for the loyalty program but the loyalty program goes a very long way to making me feel appreciated for my decision to frequent the store.
At the end of the day Sephora has made my relationship with the beauty world 1000x healthier. I shop with more confidence knowing if a product doesn’t work I can come back. I get answers from staff I trust. And I get the perks of investing in myself both in my results and in the beauty rewards program.
There a lot of complicated decisions to make in life. There’s a lot of things that can’t be made easier. Why not invest in this and make this one thing a little less complicated?
Well it’s January and everywhere gyms are advertising solutions for your resolutions and playing off our programmed desire to be in shape and looking a certain way for winter getaways and the coming summer months.
If only they could advertise a solution for the winter blues, instead.
I mean, it’s true that exercise is a known mood-lifter and promoter of balance for related endorphins. So I suppose in an unintended way they are advertising a way to beat the blues.
Except that it’s really just a side affect of working on your body goals, as far as the ads are concerned.
Don’t get me wrong – I’d love a hot summer bod that matches all those ads but what I need more right now is a happy summer brain.
As many of you will know seasonal affective disorder or S.A.D (perhaps the most appropriately named mental health affliction) comes with depression symptoms throughout these cold months. This happens as a result of short days and less access to sunlight along with a greater tendency to stay indoors due to cold temperatures. Our bodies and brains, accustomed to sunny summer days outdoors, really feel the lack of sunlight, fresh air and movement.
In that spirit, here’s a list of ways you can look after yourself and feel a little less blue:
What’s your fave way to boost your mood when you’re feeling down?
People tell us all the time they just couldn’t do what we do because they’d be jealous. We definitely understand that! Don’t think we never feel a little green. The secret is we handle it differently (or try to handle it differently) than we would if we were monogamous.
My best advice: Try replacing jealousy with humour. As long as you trust your partner or partners and know, all emotions aside, that you trust them completely you can start to break down jealousy and embrace other reactions.
I emphasize trust here because ultimately I believe it is the cure to jealousy. Jealousy usually emerges with thoughts about someone breaking the relationship rules or putting some other aspect of their life over you. It happens when we think either we have been wronged (broken rules and boundaries) or we’ve been denied something we deserve (like priority or time, etc).
If you don’t trust your partner, if you truly believe they would break that boundary or that they would make choices that hurt you knowingly, it will be impossible to turn off that feeling of jealousy and mistrust.
If you do trust your partner, though, if when it comes down to it you don’t really believe they could do those things then it becomes possible to answer jealousy and replace it with other emotions.
My recommendation? Humour.
Particularly with polyamory or any open relationship structure you’re going to find yourself in situations you never imagined. You’ll have conversations about the moments you share with other partners, and if you habitate you may even walk in on those moments. It’s the reality of making the relationship choices we have.
Living this lifestyle is going to be a lot more challenging in the long term if each time these unexpected situations occur you react with anger and jealousy.
Instead, laugh at it, a little. Laugh with each other about the surprise of it all and support each other through the unexpected encounters.
Remember that you define your relationship boundaries and part of deciding to involve more people in your life should be a mutual mental preparation for all the consequences of overlapping relationships.
On a final note – don’t feel like you have to deny the existence of jealousy. It’s a totally normal, human emotion and it should be acknowledged. However, when you feel jealous you have some choices about what to do with that jealousy. I recommend humour instead of anger so that the role of jealousy can be reduced and you can prevent it from defining your relationships and the relationships of those around you.
All right babes, can I call you babes?
Let me tell you a story. You know how Sephora advertises that they will teach you how to use the products and whatnot? Yeah, I’m the girl they’re advertising to.
I have less and less shame about going to my local Sephora and telling them that I want to use this product or that but need some help. Most recently I flagged down one of their staff and asked her to help me with contouring. On multiple occasions, I’ve asked them to teach me how to use different brow products so I could find one easy enough that I can literally do it blind (#glassesprobs).
Things like crazy perfect brows and ultra-defined cheekbones kind of exploded on to the beauty blogs and all of a sudden they were everywhere. Everyone I knew was adding a little extra and looking gorgeous and I had no idea how. I tried experimenting on my own but quickly realized I was in over my very-pale head. Every time I tried applying anything contour-wise it looked too dark on my cheeks. I looked more like I’d been in a fight than anything else. And I looked like I lost that fight.
You don’t even wanna know how learning to do my brows went. Honestly, I wasn’t bad at making each of my brows look great but they looked like they belonged on different faces. Evenness was a problem.
Now I’ve been all about the real talk on this blog. Y’all know I’ll always be honest with you from my love life to working from home to fitness. Once upon a time when I started this little mermaid project, I said “Nope, I’ll never blog about beauty” but lately I’ve started thinking more about it. I see all these bloggers out there killing it with gorgeous makeup tutorials and I love that they’re doing such great work for their blogs. However, there’s something missing. Where are the makeup blogs for people like me? When I look at these super glam beauty bloggers I don’t see someone I can relate too and I don’t feel like I can learn anything honestly because they are in another class of skill and talent.
Now don’t get me wrong – I know a lot of that is in my head. I’m sure if I really studied it and tried I would find that it’s a little more accessible than I think. I want to put something out there though that is truly for all the girls that give up easy when makeup gets complicated. I’m here for you! I’m one of you!
The reason I said I wouldn’t blog about beauty is that I didn’t feel qualified. Then again – maybe I am qualified for a certain kind of beauty blogging.
The truth is I love makeup. I do really enjoy experimenting with new products, trying new techniques or new styles. Sephora is a super happy place for me. That being said, I’m not super good at makeup. I can’t transform my face to look like someone else and I refuse to make it more complicated than it needs to be (I’ll get into that in my next beauty post.)
Today I have a big question for you: What do you want to see in a beauty blog?
Are the big questions I can try and answer?
Are there products you want to know more about?
Are there certain looks you’d want me to try and post?
What do you want an averaged girls perspective on? =) Comment and let me know!