Love is Accepting your Partner, flaws and all

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.

Forgiving Our Partners their Flaws

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.

Seeing and Accepting our own Flaws

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.

Don’t take it Personally 

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.

You’re probably tired of hearing this but it all comes down to
communication

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.

Why I Invest in Sephora

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.

Before you even get to the product, the service itself has a dollar value

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.

You have to find products that feel good to use

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.

Better Products Look Better

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.

Sephora’s Point System is Actually Pretty Good

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.

Take a deep breath #realbeautybabe  You deserve a less complicated relationship with your beauty routine

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?

Who needs a “summer bod” – I need a “summer brain”

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:

  • Walk outside (when the temperature is bearable)
  • Go to the Gym (for the happiness, not for unhealthy body goals)
  • Make plans with a friend
  • Volunteer somewhere
  • Try something new (like a yoga class, or any kind of class)
  • Go somewhere you’ve never been (even if it’s not far)
  • Watch a new tv show
  • Create something – anything
  • Rewatch a favourite show or movie
  • Read a book

What’s your fave way to boost your mood when you’re feeling down?

Polyamory: You have to have Humour

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.

Beauty Talk for the #realbabebeauty queens

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!

 

Let’s Talk About “The Weight Loss Resolution”

It’s that time of year again! Just days ago untold numbers of us pledged to ourselves – and perhaps our families, friends & followers – that we would change our habits with the intention of losing weight.

I kinda get it. I mean, for years and years I pledged along with the rest of them. I always used January 1st as the beginning of an imagined weight loss journey. Doing so came with a lot of negative side effects, like writing off the progress of the previous year and chastising myself for every goal I’d missed.

I can only speak for myself here, but these resolutions never really stuck. Or rather, the weight always stuck far better than the resolution.

So what’s with the mass desire to loose weight and why do so many of us keep failing?

I think the key is that most of the time these resolutions are reflecting the marketing of gyms, health food companies and sports clothing brands. We’re focused on looking a certain way and being able to make trendy statements about our lifestyle. We want to be in the club of super food eating, 0 calorie snack carrying, on-brand fitness gurus.

It’s not really about eating healthy for the actual health benefits, it’s not about how we’ll feel or the energy we’ll have. It all comes from superficial status symbols instead of a genuine care for our bodies.

I think that’s a big part of what has always been missing for me in my weight loss journey. I got the message to go to the gym and to eat a certain way but it always came from outside. It came from marketing, blog posts, health magazines and the like.

What if instead of simply saying we have a resolution to lose weight we had a resolution to nourish our bodies and paid attention to what our bodies actually wanted?

Not simply eating this “superfood” or that “negative calorie snack” because we were told that’s what we should do but instead exploring and experimenting to find what really feels good and gives us energy, strength and health?

I imagine this kind of mental shift is where the real change happens. Not in what we’re told to do but in what we feel good doing.

What about you? What are your resolutions and how are you planning to turn resolutions in to reality?

Making Relationship Resolutions

We spend these last weeks of the year trying to set ourselves up for a great year. We talk about weight loss and career goals. We start planning and prepping and getting excited. If you’re like me you get obnoxiously excited about setting up your new planner. Well, Wednesdays are my relationship post day so here’s a question:

Do you have relationship resolutions?
Here are 5 Relationship Resolutions for a happy, healthy and romantic year:

Don’t focus on what’s “wrong”

This is hard but ultimately good for all your relationships (Yes, that means the friendships you value and even robust relationships with coworkers). When we focus on something we give it increasing power and significance. By focusing on the things that bother us, the things that upset us, any longer than necessary, we slowly let them define our relationship. We start to see the less attractive qualities as defining our partner or partners. We allow our friends tone known by what we don’t like, instead of why we’re friends in the first place. We create resentment.

When you find your mind constantly circling to something negative turn and face it, address it and mentally close that train of thought. If it keeps coming up remind yourself that it was dealt with. That’s really key, though, do turn and face it. It’s not useful to ignore and push away things that bother us. The key is to be able to calmly say to someone “Hey, this is something that’s bothering me but I value what we have and so I want to work on creating positivity.” In your own words, of course. This gives you both an opportunity to speak on the subject and hopefully make the right decisions to alleviate the irritation.

The sneaky truth about “thinking positive” is that it takes a lot more effort than we ever talk about. We say “think positive” all the time but we don’t talk about doing the work. Once you’ve been able to address what’s bothering you, give yourself permission to let it go and focus on what’s going well.

Remember to Date Each other

This is kind of the flip side of not focusing on whatever feels “wrong”. No matter where you are in your relationship – dating, living together, engaged, married – remember to date each other.

The thing about this advice is that it’s really just a reminder to think of each other and let yourself enjoy all the happiness, and infatuation that you felt in those early days of dating. I like to do this for Tom with really simple things. Like surprising him with mini cheesecakes I came across when I stopped to get an afternoon tea. it’s not a big fancy date night. It’s simply a little something that tells him he was on my mind, even in the middle of my day while he was at work.

As relationships get more serious it’s easy to let the infatuation evaporate because we feel like it doesn’t have a place in the conversations about bills, families, and daily life. But love – infatuation and unreasonable affection for one another – is what separates adults in a relationship from adults with a functional partnership.

My ex and I became a functional partnership without even realizing it. We let go of the flirtation and infatuation and let the day to day operation of our household become the only thing we ever talked about. We didn’t leave space for loving and sweet nothings. It was so subtle but a definite contributing factor to the death of our marriage.

Make time for Each Other

It doesn’t have to be like a “date”. Going out for dinner or to do things is nice. However, it’s not really about that, is it? It’s just about making time to make each other a priority.

Sometimes when we are going to be home, just having a regular night, we think of it as not having plans. We look for something else to do with that time. Somewhere else to be, someone else to see. We choose to go out with our friends or go to an event.

Sometimes we have to just see that open time in our schedule as booked. We have to enjoy that obligation-free time with each other and protect it from the incessant need to fill our calendar with “something else”.

This also means putting down the phone, switching from a show that takes all your focus so you don’t talk, and giving each other attention. The “how was your day” kind of attention. You don’t expect your job, your hobby or anything else to flourish without dedicated time so why would you expect this of your relationship?

Celebrate and Support Independence

Relationship advice tends to tell you how to be together. I want to remind you that you should also celebrate and support independence. Encourage each other to pursue hobbies and things that fuel your soul. In this, don’t make your partner feel you don’t notice their individual wins. It’s okay to say cheer them on without getting outright involved.

Be okay with the fact that there is happiness that isn’t shared. Be okay with your partner loving something that you don’t.

Let them talk to you about it and express their happiness without making them feel guilty for loving something that isn’t you. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be in the bleachers, cheering like crazy – metaphorically speaking (Or not metaphorically, if it applies). You should be there, even if behind-the-scenes it’s not your thing.

Take the time to find your own hobbies and interests, too, and celebrate being a whole person who loves another whole person.

Never (Ever) Air your Dirty Laundry 

My mother gave me some really great advice as a teenager. She told me that the reason I should never air the dirty laundry in my relationship is because I am in love with someone, so forgiveness is part of the deal but for all the friends and family I might vent to when I’m mad, that isn’t true.

I can go running to friends or my mom or whoever and tell them all about how upset a partner made me or some stupid thing they did. At the end of the day I’m going to go home and forgive my partner because that’s how relationships move foreword. Also, because I love my partner. Even when they tick me off I know the love is so much bigger than the moment we’re in and in the private moments between us that nobody ever sees we’ve built something that is so strong.

That person I vented to, though… anyone who saw the dirty laundry… they aren’t in the relationship. They don’t have any reason to forgive. I just make us look bad and my partners reputation isn’t fixed by my forgiveness.

Keep what happens behind closed doors right there behind closed doors.

What are your relationship resolutions?

Let’s Stay Connected

2019 Preview

Can you believe we’re already here? Prepping and planning and celebrating the arrival of 2019?

I can’t. It’s been a crazy year and I am so excited to tell you about just a few of the things I have planned for the upcoming year.

I hinted in my review yesterday that I am planning to do a little beauty blogging. I said I wouldn’t be a beauty blogger buuuuut I have always love make up. I just felt like I didn’t have anything to add to the beauty blogging sphere. Yet I think I might have something to add, after all?

More on that later.

I’m also working on an awesome content calendar full of beauty posts and everything else. That means more frequent posting for you. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to be specific! There’ll even be themes. Mondays will usually be beauty and lifestyle posts, Wednesdays will usually be relationship related and Fridays will usually be fitness Fridays.

I’m a little addicted to planning, but that works out well for projects like this!

Most exciting of all: A New Business!

Oh My Mermaid has allowed me a few opportunities to work as a social media manager and build on past social media experiences in the volunteer world. It’s become a bit more than a side passion to be a full blown project.

Fear not – this blog isn’t going anywhere. This brand is just growing to include Seashell Social Media. My specialty is small businesses, like start ups and Etsy shops along with other bloggers and not-for-profits because those are the projects I’ve worked with before and know the most about supporting.

I’ll be launching Seashell Social Media fully in the next week or two but if you’re interested in being a founding client message me to find out about all the perks that come with getting involved now, at the beginning of something beautiful!

Well, that’s all for now – just a little sneak peak of all that’s coming in 2019!

For the last time in 2018,

Carmen

2018 In Review

It’s hard to believe I’ve been working on Oh My Mermaid for a year now. Originally I started developing this project back in January and the 1st post went live January 16th 2018. I posted 3 things that day because I felt the need to get a bit of content on to the website. I didn’t want to welcome internet wanderers to an empty house, after all, when I finally started inviting people over.

I finally launched – as in, started telling people the blog was a thing and building my social media presence – on February 5th.

Since then this project has grown and grown! This year I’ve posted 64 posts here – this will be number 65. Those 64 totalled 50,084 words.

Sometimes blogging can feel like talking in to a void… you take time to create these carefully crafted pieces and share parts of yourself, and you put them out there hoping someone hears it, sees it, reads it… you hope that you have a purpose.

Oh My Mermaid has attracted 6, 615 views from 2,936 visitors. As blogs go, I have room to grow but I could do a lot worse!

I’m so grateful to the 103 people following me on wordpress, 57 people who have liked my facebook page, 163 people who have joined the journey on twitter and the 415 people who are there for me on Instagram. Ya’ll, all of ya’ll, are really what make this project have life.

You have read, commented, and shared with me all year long and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you!

I’ve talked a lot on this blog about my relationship. It’s been an amazing place to share the happiness and joy that has come in to my life since starting to date Maggie and Tom alongside my marriage to Ben. Being able to write about the journey has allowed me to process my own developing relationships and I’ve been so happy to share how our lives are changing and developing.

I shared my very first trip to Pride Toronto with Maggie by my side. I also shared Ben and I’s trip to Blue Mountain, Ontario as I started dabbling in a bit of travel writing.

Don’t worry, we are all planning 2019 trips that I can’t wait to share with you!

I’ve even been able to use this as a place to share my ongoing struggles with fitness and weight loss.

Really, it’s been a lot of #realtalk and 2019 is going to bring even more with a new flare for beauty blogging – something I never thought I’d do! I’m so excited to share some beauty realness with you!

I’ve also been able to share about my developing work-from-home lifestyle with teaching remotely and an increasing desire to follow my entrepreneurial spirit wherever it may lead me.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a little preview of what’s coming in 2019! 😉

In summary, 2018 has been a great year and this project continues to grow. I’m so humbled and grateful to have followers along with me on this journey and I’m so excited to see where 2019 takes this project and our little mermaid minded community! ❤

Thank you 2018,

Carmen

PS. Haven’t caught up with me yet? Find me here:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

And as always, right here on wordpress!

Being “Off Plan” Has Been my Best Fitness Decision in Months

I posted before about loving the Anna Victoria work out plan and about how much the virtual community around that plan made a difference in my fitness journey.  There’s still love in my heart for the virtual fitness community, especially on instagram. I still adore Anna Victoria as a fitness guru but I’ve moved away from following her plan.

I posted about this, too, when I talked about longing for more creativity in my fitness.

So here’s a little update stemming from those thoughts:

For a Beginner, it Has to be About Beginning

That seems overly simple and ridiculously obvious, but hear me out.  Even the beginner plans I’ve tried have a number of expectations.  They tend to look super do-able on paper but in the middle of a work out maybe not so much. Besides that, even when they are genuinely within my abilities there are other problems around success and failure when this journey is just at the begining and so, so fragile.

Being “off plan” might be one of my best fitness decisions yet.  When I followed a fitness plan created by someone else, even if I loved all the components of that plan, it created equal opportunities for failure and success.

If I followed the plan with dedication and discipline I would see results and experience all the joys of success. As someone who loves lists and plans I took great satisfaction in checking off work out after workout, day after day.  I really enjoyed the sense of accomplishment that came with completing first one workout, then one week, then another.  I liked knowing I wasn’t alone but actually participating alongside so many other people subscribed to the same plan.

All that said… each day that I missed a workout or each move I couldn’t physically do in a given workout became a hovering failure.  A bit of a cloud above my head and they added up until they felt bigger than my successes.  As soon as the list of perceived failures grew longer than the list of successes and check marks the cause seemed lost.

Now, like much that is related to fitness, the failure I felt so discouraged by was as much in my head as anything else.  With a little work, I’m sure it could be overcome.

It would have been a worthy cause to overcome those hang ups.  However, I chose instead to rethink my approach to get around the hangups.

What “Off Plan” Looks like For Me

Now I commit to one hour of working out per day. I have very few rules for what that hour has to look like.  It can look the same every day or different every day.  So far it’s the same every day and I’ve been focused on cardio using the treadmill in the garage.

This allows me to be a little gentler with my expectations of myself at the beginning of my journey.  I don’t have the strength, endurance or agility that I have in the past.  As frustrating as that can be, having minimal expectations has given me the opportunity to rebuild while also forgiving myself for what I’ve lost, and what I’ve gained.

So far, moving “off plan” has opened more possibilies and given me a healthier mental approach to fitness.

What has changed your fitness routine?

Carmen