Curating Confidence

I unfollowed someone on instagram who kinda made me feel bad about myself. On a normal day, with standard exposure to the rest of the world, I feel good about my life. But this girl? Her photos shattered my confidence daily.

I didn’t really know her, she just wrote for an online magazine and so I ended up following her after I liked one of her articles. But whenever she included herself in a photo, she looked stunning. And it wasn’t like she was always made up, sometimes it was her “morning coffee” photos with no makeup and hair in a bun. STILL STUNNING. And…I can deal with that, I know some women are stunning. I’m friends with a lot of stunning women. I’m okay with that. But her boys (ALL BOYS) were always clean and wearing nice clothes, even when playing ball in the yard. THEY NEVER WORE T-SHIRTS! How does that happen? And her casual shots in her home always showed no clutter in the background. And she had a vacation home. And gorgeous bedding and a HEADBOARD. SHE HAD A HEADBOARD. I’ve never had a headboard.

I found myself looking at her photos and then feeling like shit because I never look that nice, my kids are never that stylish, and there’s always tumbleweeds of cat hair rolling in the background of all of my photos.

This is my "just woke up" look.

This is my “just woke up” look.

Sometimes we just have to recognize that some influences are not authentic influences and they set us up with unrealistic ideas of what our lives should look like. This is why I try not to look at magazine covers on the checkout lane. Even the ones that just show pictures of organized pantries. THIS IS NOT REAL LIFE. That cover is not a vision of what my future could look like if only I could afford to shop at Pottery Barn. Even if I could afford to shop at pottery barn my pantry wouldn’t look like that because I just don’t prioritized “make my pantry look nice” anywhere on my domestic “To Do” list. YET! Those covers tend to make me think, But should that be a priority?

My grocery store puts these plastic guards in place if a cover has adult-themed copy or if maybe an outfit is really revealing. (I have no idea who decides what gets covered.) But you know what I want them to shield my eyes from? THE BATHROOM SINK PHOTO. Whose bathroom is that nice and clean?

Just like we’re all trying to reprogram our daughters not to look at the girls in bikinis on magazines as the only definition of physical beauty, I’m trying to reprogram myself from believing that without those cute oven mits from Anthropologie, my home is inadequate.

(Full Disclosure: I totally have beautiful oven mits from Anthropologie. BUT NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO USE THEM. They are for decoration only.)

I find that bullet journaling is the same way. If you dig into the #planneraddict hashtag of instagram, or even #bulletjournal (although we’re a MUCH smaller group) you’ll see all of these days mapped out artistically and I think Wow. Maybe I could make mine that pretty. But then I remember my handwriting is varied and often illegible and my pages are many times filled with random grocery lists or calorie counts. (I don’t count calories most days, but some days I do when I’m just curious.)

Monday. After.

Monday. After.

Tuesday. Before.

Tuesday. Before.

I start my days off with neat and organized lists and pages and I really focus on my handwriting and then as the day progresses (Tuesday’s handwriting is already deteriorating and it’s only 5am) the days get more sloppy and doodles pop up and organization of lists gets thrown out the window.


Some people are always going to be perfectly manicured and their planners are going to look like works of art and their dining room will look like the seasonal cover page for Real Simple. But then the rest of us? The rest of us are even lucky if the dining room furniture is all in the dining room. (The other chairs are more comfy for crafting! Also! The senior citizen dog sometimes has small accidents so the steam mop is always out!)


Someone recently said that we shouldn’t curate those unattainable influences out of our lives, we should simply teach ourselves as seeing them for what they are and learn not to feel bad about ourselves. The personal trainer with the six-pack abs and the $200 workout outfit should be something we can look at without feeling fat and ugly. But…I’m not that enlightened. Sorry. When I see that girl in her athleta outfit doing yoga with the Manhattan skyline behind her? I look down at my muffin top and my race t-shirt and think I’m gross. So I unfollow the “fitfluential” girl because she doesn’t inspire me. She makes me feel ugly.

In a perfect world we’d all be secure in our messy dining rooms and our scratched out To Do lists and our free workout clothes and we could look at the perfectly coifed and decorated and styled people in our lives as works of art. But very few people are that well-rounded and that secure with themselves. So, if you’re like me? You have to just stop looking too hard at how perfectly folded those hand towels are in that magazine photo. You have to unsubscribe from the website that gives you daily workouts from a perfectly toned brunette. And you have to unfollow the writer on instagram with the seemingly perfect life.

Someday maybe I’ll be enlightened enough, and secure enough in myself, to see those influences and not hate myself. But today is not that day. I want to be proud of myself and if small exposures here and there shake that pride? Then they’re out. Until another day when I’m more secure in my status as Girl Who Spills Something From Every Meal On Her Outfit Every Day.

Kim is killing it

Making a morning person be productive in the evening is a challenge.

Donnie got frustrated this weekend when he discovered his barber shop (are they called that anymore?) was closed on Sundays. “Maybe you can go one day after work this week?” I suggested. “I don’t like doing anything after work.” OH MY GOD. ME NEITHER. I HATE DOING STUFF AFTER WORK. WE ARE PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER.

But seriously. I hate doing stuff after work.

It’s no secret that my most productive time of the day is when the rest of the world is sleeping. I wake up naturally early and hit the ground running. Well, I mean, I go straight to my desk and blog…but THEN…THEN I hit the ground running. I do laundry and dishes and pack lunches. I often run 5-6 miles. I’m the Queen of Getting Shit Done before the sun comes up.

But after work? I do not want to do CRAP.

Of course, soccer season has started so the whole Go Home And Put On My Fuzzy Houseslippers thing is impossible. I always schedule one quick trip home to let out my dog, and usually gather soccer gear up, and then it’s to the fields. But I hate doing stuff after soccer! I don’t want any errands needing to be done after soccer. I don’t want to do housework. I don’t want to wash my face or clip my toenails. I want to come home, put on my houseslippers and veg out.

BUT! BUT! BUT! The last week or so I’ve actually been much better about this stuff. I’ve gotten really behind on housework which means if – by some miracle – someone wants to see our house, we have a shit-load of cleaning to do first. (We ask for a large notice because I work far from home but need to get my dog out.) But if I want to get caught up it requires a large block of time, like at least 2 very focused hours. But I don’t have 2 very focused hours! So, what have I done? Broken down the catch-up items into a list of 7 and I’m just going to do one a night until I’m caught up. Last night? Clean Wesley’s room! Tonight? Clean Nikki’s room!

(Yes. I know they can clean their own rooms. But it turns out their method, once the rooms get this bad, makes my life MORE difficult because it’s more about hiding stuff that I’ll not be able to find later.)

Once I’m caught up, I’ll try to get back into the habit of spending that one-task time every night doing the general maintaining that we’ve been neglecting because…and here’s where I bring it back…I HATE DOING ANYTHING AFTER WORK.

I do feel like trying to break my Binge Before Bed habit and my Nightly Beer habit helps allow for more productivity in the evening. Full bellies and beer buzzes do not inspire you to do much of anything. Last night I did a run while Nikki was at soccer and evening workouts are very rare for me. Then I came home and helped Wes with his homework and did dishes…all before doing that one Catch Up task before bed. I was more productive last night than I have been the entire months of evenings before, so obviously something is working.

BREAKING NEWS: Late night binging and beer drinking does not promote productiveness.

But, man. I still really just want to come straight home after work and put on my fuzzy houseslippers and sit down and read. Or veg out in front of a movie. Or go to sleep at 6pm.

Any other morning people have the same struggle? Being a functioning adult in the evening when your energy surge comes at 4am?


Achievement Level: Nude Bra

No one should wake up at 3am on Labor Day.

This was what was going through my head at 3am this morning. I am going into work today because I have a lot of catch-up to do from last week and the office will be nice and quiet, but I don’t have to get there by 7am like I normally do, and was kinda hoping to run first so…

No one should wake up at 3am on Labor Day.

I tossed and turned for awhile thinking about financial collapses caused by hackers, apocalypse-causing viruses, and being trapped on Mars…


Finished watching: Mr. Robot
Finished reading: Station Eleven
Currently reading: The Martian

I dozed of for awhile trying to do that whole “relax every part of your body starting with your toes” thing that sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t, and finally got up for the day at 5am.


IMG_9491I did two amazing things this weekend. First? I took an idea I saw somewhere on the interwebs and made it even better. I saw a closet-door shoe holder used to hold water bottles, but I modified it a bit to also hold things like our blinky lights or headlights or running gels and water bottle holders. (Click the picture to see it bigger.) We have cabinets for our bottles but they take up a lot of space so this clears up some of that space and then puts the gels and the blinkies all close to the bottles which makes more sense than keeping everything in different places.


IMG_9508The second amazing thing I did was BUY A NUDE BRA.

Here’s the thing. Every time we have to get dressed up for something I have various panic attacks over what to wear or how to wear makeup. (I own mascara which I wear regularly and some eyeliner that I always TRY to wear on special occasions but never quite get it right. AND I OWN NO OTHER MAKEUP.) Sometimes I panic over what purse to carry (my normal purses are very utilitarian) or how to fix my hair (my hair is so variable based on the weather) but it is NEVER EASY. This weekend we were going to a wedding and Donnie bought a suit and looked amazing which put all sorts of pressure on me.

I can’t have you looking like a damn magazine cover and me looking like the schlumpy girl who lives under the bridge and talks to pigeons.

I found some clearance jewelry and shoes and a non-clearance blouse I kinda liked to go with a skirt I had but the blouse was sheer and I have never ever owned a nude bra.

Full-disclosure: I wear sports bras 95% of the time. I only wear “regular” bras with certain dresses where the straps of the sports bra don’t work right. I HATE REGULAR BRAS.

But – this was sheer and you’d be able to slightly see anything I wore under it so I needed it to NOT be obviously a sports bra and it needed to be as close to my skin color as possible. So, at age 40, I bought my first ever nude bra.

This feels like something I probably should have always had as an adult female but…you know…I still have free-range eyebrows (“Free-Range Eyebrows” – the title of my upcoming memoirs.) and don’t own high heels so I tend to march to the beat of my own female drummer.

I felt very proud! Think of all of the outfit possibilities there are out there waiting for me now that I own a nude bra! THE WORLD IS MY OYSTER.

I know it’s hard to surpass my amazingness this weekend, but did you come close? I mean – maybe not “Nude Bra” close…but “Organizing Running Gear” close? My awesomeness is a little unattainable by most standards.


Sometimes You Can’t Choose Joy

I uploaded this graphic that I made to Facebook yesterday.


Sunday was rough. I had gone non-stop on Saturday…Soccer to race volunteering to meeting with a family member getting married who I’m doing programs for to bedtime. But then Nikki was up at sick at 1:30’ish Sunday morning sick with a raging headache. I took care of her until I left to go cheer/work at a local race. So, I was tired, but I had the opportunity to spend several hours watching people face a horrible day of weather to STILL toe the start line of a triathlon, and then finish under blue skies and sun. The amazing bravery it took to start and then the pride at the finish, I was focusing on that to find my joy. And I needed that because I was exhausted and came home from the race to try to catch up on housework in case I’m next in line for this illness. But I kept thinking of my friends who showed up at that race in the pouring rain and thunder, waited until the storm passed and then under ominous skies and facing wet roads, they jumped in the water to start the triathlon and I just felt AMAZED at the tenacity of humans and was just thrilled and happy even though I was tired and stressed.

I found my joy.

But you know what? Some days you can’t find the joy.

And on those days? These type of graphics piss me off.

I do try to find the joy in every day, but I also have Depression Days and Anxiety Days where those two things are too powerful to overcome and these stupid memes with sunrises and flowers that tell me that it’s MY choice to be happy? Make me want to throw the laptop out the window.

My friend broke her foot once and then couldn’t do a race. And no amount of running shoe meme telling her, “Just get out and run!” was going to be able to inspire her to do the race. And those running memes are EVERYWHERE. They tell you that you regret runs you DON’T do but you never regret runs you DO run. But she couldn’t run. Because her foot was broken.

And some days? Depression and Anxiety are my broken foot. But the problem is? Many don’t see it that way. Many who don’t fight these type of ailments think it’s just a power of MIND OVER MATTER! Choose Joy! And on good days when I’m winning the battle? I can choose joy. And I’m lucky that I can do that most days.

But many days? I can’t. I can’t just choose joy. And it’s not mind over matter. It’s depression or anxiety in charge of that day, and trying to will joy through those days is like trying to run a marathon on a broken foot. No amount of Mind Over Matter will help.

So, please know when I share these things out on Facebook I know some of you want to punch me in the face. Some of you can’t choose joy, even if you’re surrounded by joy. Because the bones in your foot are still broken and nothing will change that. I have days where my goal is to simply make it to bedtime because then I hope to wake up to a day where my bones are healed. Some days I wake up and know this is a day where I’m in control of my approach to life. But many days it’s my anxiety or depression that are in control. So I just make it to bedtime and hope the next day is better.

But today? Today I’m winning. And even though Nikki is still sick and I’m still tired and stressed and my yard is only half-weeded and my water bill is going to be sky high from all of the lice and puck laundry I’ve done the last two weeks…today I’m in control. Today I can choose joy. And I’ll do that for those of you who can’t. And I hope that the next time I’m not in control, maybe you can choose joy in your day on behalf of mine.

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Creating Well Curated Newsfeeds On Twitter

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Someone asked me recently about what I mean when I reference my “well-curated newsfeed” on Twitter, so I thought I’d explain it because it really does help me keep up with news in a way no standards news site does.

First, obviously, you need a Twitter account. Then you need to create lists. It’s up to you whether you leave them public or private. Here are my lists but I’m not sure how that page looks if you’re not me. I have a “private” list called “FAVES” and the only reason I leave it private is because that title carries a lot of weight. I don’t mean “these are my favorite people” but that “I don’t want to miss any tweets by these people/agencies” so I make sure I stay caught up on that list. Commander Hadfield is on that list and so is the Pope. John Green and Eliah. Al Jazeera and Tyler Oakley. These are just people who don’t tweet a whole lot, but often share out stuff I don’t want to miss so I keep them on that list. And I keep that list displayed in my Tweetdeck all the time.

But then, I create topical lists. I don’t normally keep my LGBT NEWS list showing but I did for this screengrab. But – if we’re waiting on SCOTUS news or something I’ll keep that list showing on my Tweetdeck. I keep the Black Lives Matter list showing every day. I keep my local news and weather showing. And I keep my Huntsville friends showing because I don’t want to miss their tweets.

That page is just always open on my desktop so I can keep up with news alerts or topical reports. I’ve made lists in the past for some of the monitoring of global revolts, usually multi-day events.

Here’s some notes: You don’t have to follow someone to add them to the list. As a matter of fact, unfollowing them doesn’t remove them from the list, you have to do it separately from unfollowing. ALSO: Be active in maintaining your lists, if a news source was great for a few days but then seemed to only tweet about their favorite TV show for the next week? Remove them. There are a gagillion people on Twitter, there are plenty of people reporting live from the area you’re covering, don’t clutter up your lists with people who aren’t really helping you monitor an event.

I did keep a general “NEWS” list for awhile, and I kept some of my favorites: Al Jazeera, Chris Hayes, Salon, WaPo – but official news outlets really kinda have to cover EVERYTHING and on any giving day at least 50% of the crap they’re talking about, I don’t care about. So that list became useless. I started, instead, of following causes. I’ve got a few other lists I don’t keep pulled up every day: Reproductive Rights, Inspiration, Parenting etc. There are SO MANY sources of SUCH GOOD information out there. Don’t look at your twitter feed as one non-stop barage of chaos, break it up into lists. That’s the best way to do it. Every year when the Barkley Marathons occur I pull up that list because it’s one of the only ways to get news out of that event since it’s not really “connected” so to speak. Twitter is a powerful way to get news directly from the source, if you don’t mind a few minutes here and there to filter out the noise.

Do you have any twitter peeps you love for any topic/reason? I follow TONS of comedians and while I don’t have a “funny peeps” list…I think I might go make one…