self-love on valentine’s day
happy friday, every one! i hope you all had an amazing week and have fun plans in store for the weekend.
valentine’s day is next week, so naturally that’s what we’re gonna talk about today… but i didn’t make a gift guide… i don’t have any unique valentine’s day date ideas… there are tons of posts like that out there and i feel like doing something a little different. so, instead i want to talk about the importance of self-love on valentine’s day and why it’s so important… whether you’re single, dating, or committed.
self-love. it’s one of those buzzwords that’s all over the wellness world. i know… it sounds cheesy AF, but there’s a reason you’ve been hearing it everywhere. and that’s because it’s effing important. why?
because you have to love yourself before anyone else can. you have to treat yourself with respect if you want anyone else to treat you with respect. you can’t expect to have an amazing, loving, supportive relationship with someone else if you don’t have one with yourself first.
it’s a pretty straightforward concept. it’s kinda the sibling of the golden rule, right? “treat yourself the way you want others to treat you”… i like that.
here’s a few examples of what happens when you put yourself first and show yourself some love:
- your health and happiness levels will go through the roof
- your relationships with others will improve
- you’ll gain a true sense of who you are, not who you’re “supposed” to be
- you’ll set boundaries for yourself and others [aka you’ll take less sh*t from people]
- you’ll stop sabotaging all of the good things in your life
- you start to realize the role you play in manifesting your experiences… both good and bad
so, regardless of what your “status” is on valentine’s day this year… as justin bieber once said… baby, you should go and love yourself. [the context is different here, but whatever, any excuse to quote the biebs, amiright?!]
have valentine’s day plans? that’s great! but you should still make a conscious effort to appreciate yourself. it’ll set the tone for your relationship and how the person you’re with treats you, whether you’ve been dating for 3 weeks or 3 years.
if you’re single, buy yourself that necklace you’ve been eyeing for ages or go to dinner at your favorite restaurant. if you don’t do nice things for yourself, how can you expect anyone else to ever want to do nice things for you?
personally, as someone who’s single on valentine’s day this year, i bought myself a new pair of sneakers and am getting a [much needed and way overdue] massage tuesday after work… then i think i’ll crack open a bottle of wine and catch up on summer house…
and i cannot wait.
how are you going to show yourself some love on valentine’s day? would love to hear your ideas in the comments below!
i went without make-up for 1 week + this is what happened
make-up. one of the things i love to hate and hate to love. i’ve never been one of those girls who cakes on the foundation, chisels out her cheekbones a la kim kardashian, or even knows how to create a smokey eye [but if you are, more power to you], and i’ve always taken a pretty simple approach to my make-up routine. i try to stick to as few natural products as possible… bb creme with spf, a little cheek stain, mascara… done. maybe a little more than this for a night out… but you get the idea.
part of the reason i don’t have a very extensive make-up routine is because i’ve been blessed with pretty clear skin. i never experienced acne the way some people do, but i’m human, after all, and still get the occasional breakout. also, it’s safe to say that i’m not always [re: never] good about taking my make-up off before working out, or before going to bed after a late night… not exactly the best approach to skincare.
… and over the past couple of months, i started seeing exactly the type of things you would expect when you’re working out and sleeping with your make-up on… breakouts… dullness… weird discoloration… and for the life of me i couldn’t find a way to “fix” any of it.
all of this obviously frustrated me… a lot. i started thinking about going back to using face wash and lotions that are full of harmful chemical ingredients… something i’m totally against… but, at least those types of products tend to work… right?
because using these types of products go against just about everything i stand for, i decided to do a little experiment first. what would happen if for a week… just one whole week… i stopped wearing make-up completely, and allowed my skin to breathe… all day every day?
sound scary? it was. make-up has become a crutch for so many of us. i always joke that i can’t go anywhere, including my own kitchen, without having at the very least bb creme and mascara on… and i have friends that are notorious for showing up to go hiking… yes, hiking… in full make-up. i wish i was kidding. i really do.
so, i went for it. no make-up. one week. here’s what happened:
day 1: fully uncomfortable. i felt like i had to give just about everyone i came in contact with a disclaimer that i was purposely going make-up free for a week because i was aware of how bad my skin was, and ask them to not judge me. in retrospect, this is pretty sad… but kind of where we are as a society, right?
day 3: okay, wow, i definitely feel like my skin looks terrible, but this is exactly why i’m doing this. my skin needs a chance to breathe and heal itself. but still, this effing sucks.
day 5: oh, sh*t! all of these blemishes are starting to clear up, aren’t they?! great, this is working.
day 7: damn. my skin hasn’t looked this clear in months. and not only am i noticing the difference, my friends have noticed, too! that must mean things have seriously improved. the blemishes are just about gone, i can actually describe my skin as “glowing” rather than “dull”, and you know what else…
… i feel more confident. weird, right?
after i went without make-up for a week, i realized that it literally doesn’t effing matter. it just doesn’t. my friends didn’t give af when i told them i wasn’t wearing make-up, they didn’t judge me [and they wouldn’t have judged me even if i hadn’t asked them not to]…
… and if they had judged me… then that would have been an entirely different conversation.
this post has turned out to be waaaaayyyyyyy longer than i expected it to be, so, here’s the moral of the story. make-up is great. i’m not giving up make-up. i’m not alicia keys, and this isn’t a new way of life for me. i enjoy using make-up and always will, but i do plan to use less make-up, especially on a day-to-day basis. my daily routine is going to consistent of the bare minimum: bb creme with spf, cheek stain, mascara, maybe a little colored lip or highlighter. easy peasy. nights out? events? i’ll go all out when i feel like it.
this little experiment has taught me that wearing a full face of make-up every single day is just not necessary… unless i want it to be. going forward, i’ll be much more comfortable not only wearing less make-up, but wearing no make-up on the days where i wake up a little late, or my skin needs a break… or when i just don’t effing feel like it.
and never forget: it’s not about whatcha look like, it’s about the kind of person you are. anyone can make themselves look pretty, but if they’re a sh*tty person… that’s way harder to change. and no one likes a sh*tty person.
want to try going make-up free? do it! and then tell me about it! i’d love to hear how it goes… so email me! firstname.lastname@example.org.
let’s talk about food-shaming
in the day and age of body positivity, self-love, and balance, it’s [unfortunately] still very common for things like body-shaming to happen on a regular basis. just look at the comments on literally any celebrity’s or blogger’s instagram feed and you’ll see people telling them they’re too fat, too skinny, ugly, too made-up, not made-up enough, dressing too slutty, dressing too conservatively… i’m getting annoyed just typing all of this out, so i’m gonna stop there.
while body-shaming gets a lot of press, one thing that’s a little less talked about is food-shaming. food-shaming is essentially the same thing as body-shaming, only instead of targeting the person, it’s the food that the person is eating that’s being attacked. which basically ends up turning into a personal attack… even if it’s in a roundabout way.
not sure what i’m talking about? food-shaming typically sounds a little something like…
“you’re eating that?” or…
“do you know how many calories are in those?!“
“ew. this wrap is disgusting. i can’t believe you’re still eating it.”
“what is that smell? it’s your food?! i’m literally gonna throw up.”
so, what’s the big deal? people have different tastes… it’s all a matter of opinion… right?
the problem is this: a lot of people feel bad enough around food as it is. they’re so wrapped up in trying to decipher the whole “dieting” thing that they can’t keep straight what foods are “good” and what foods are “bad”. they don’t know if they should count calories… or track macros… or cut sugar or carbs or dairy or gluten. they don’t know if they should go vegetarian… or vegan… or paleo.
or maybe, they had a bad day and just want to eat some effing ice cream.
not only is it confusing, many people feel massive amounts of anxiety when it comes to eating… regardless of if they show it or not. maybe they’ve tried atkins… they’ve tried the south beach diet… the ducan diet… and none of those worked, so they went vegan… and that didn’t work either… so they gave up, and are simply doing their best to try to figure out what will work for them [remember, it’s different for everyone].
or they were craving pizza and decided to just eat a damn pizza. some people listen to their cravings and act on them. crazy, i know. [and no, this doesn’t mean they’re weak. it just means they listen to their bodies.
if you haven’t already guessed… i’ve been there, and it’s effing stressful. the last thing i need is someone commenting on my carb intake or how i should be eating this instead of that… or how disgusting they think the food i’m eating is… that last one really bugs the sh*t of me.
the solution here is actually really simple and goes back to something we all learned in kindergarten: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
this might all sound silly, but i can tell you from firsthand experience that negative comments about what i’m eating [especially in the moment] really make me uncomfortable. they make me feel as if i should be embarrassed by my food choices… and sometimes, it’s bad enough to make me just want to stop eating all together. and if i have felt this way, as some who generally doesn’t give af what other people think of me… and also as someone who loves food… there’s a pretty good chance other people feel the same way.
if you follow a vegan diet and you’re at dinner with your friends and someone orders a steak, don’t tell them where the steak came from. if you don’t like the sandwich you ordered… and your friend is eating the exact same thing… don’t eat it. and don’t comment on how “effing gross” you think it is. that’s food-shaming at its finest and it’s not cool.
[disclaimer: i’m guilty of this kind of sh*t, but have been working on biting my tongue and keeping my opinions to myself lately.]
it’s time for all of us to get off of our pedestals and just worry about ourselves. i get it, your intentions might be good and you might be coming from a caring, loving place… but, even if you do mean well… just stfu and mind your own business. unless someone asks you for advice… you’re opinion on what they’re eating just does. not. matter.
just worry about taking care of yourself and being mindful about what you’re putting into your own body.
have you ever been food-shamed? or food-shamed someone else? how did it make you feel? share in the comments below!
book club: mastering your mean girl
a few weeks ago, i announced that i would be launching a “book club” series here on bananas + bellinis, and i could not be more excited to dive in with my first official review for mastering your mean girl by melissa ambrosini.
mastering your mean girl definitely falls into the self-help or personal development category, and based on what i’m all about here at bananas + bellinis… and my own personal struggle with body image, self-confidence, and just generally being my own worst enemy… this book really, really resonated with me.
just to give you a little bit of background, melissa ambrosini is an author, coach, and speaker who defines herself as an “ambassador of choosing love over fear in every moment”. yea, she’s pretty badass, and after years of following her on social media, i was lucky enough to attend an event she hosted in venice a few months ago with a couple of my girlfriends.
not only did we receive a copy of mastering your mean girl, but we also got to meet melissa, and spend an evening in safe space with other women who can relate to her journey, and hear all about exactly how choosing love over fear and silencing your mean girl… you know her, she’s the voice in your head telling you you’re not smart enough, pretty enough, rich enough, skinny enough to do xy and z… can change the entire trajectory of your life.
of course, choosing love over fear is one of those things that’s waaayyyyyy easier said than done. i mean… if it was easy, wouldn’t we all be doing it? melissa doesn’t deny this truth, and even states:
“my journey is far from over, though — i choose to keep learning, growing, and evolving every day. i choose to keep mastering my mean girl every second. and i continue to choose love over fear in every moment.”
and she’s right. this isn’t one of those books that you can read, put into practice once, and be done with. choosing love over fear, and telling your inner mean girl to go eff herself when she pops up is something you have consciously do day in and day out… for the rest of your life. i know that i’ll be revisiting this book… whether in bit and pieces or in full… for years to come.
the other thing that i really love about melissa’s approach is that she stresses the importance of taking care of yourself. i’m all about self-love and self-care, from the inside out! when we love ourselves, we want to take care of ourselves, and when we’re taking care of ourselves it’s easier to love ourselves… it really goes both ways. she encourages everyone to take a very balanced and holistic approach to wellness, something i can clearly get behind!
on top of this just being a great read, melissa also includes “inspo-actions” throughout the book… places where you’ll pause, reflect, and actually implement what you’re learning along the way. remember, choosing love is something you have to consciously do, so actively doing this throughout the book helps to show you how and where you need to apply this approach to your own life, based on the battles you are fighting with yourself.
all in all, in you’ve ever struggled with stress, anxiety, body image, or self-worth, engage in negative self-talk on a regular basis, or are just trying to find a better way of living, but don’t know where to start, i suggest grabbing a copy of mastering your mean girl and diving in a.s.a.p… you definitely won’t regret it!
the only thing you need to be bikini-ready
well, it’s that time of year. memorial day has passed, we’re in the month of june, and everyone and their mother is scrambling to get “bikini-ready” in time for the official kick-off of summer.
typically, when we talk about getting ready to rock our swimsuits at the beach all summer, a few topics tend to come up:
- crash dieting
- low carb/low calorie diets [or other fad diets that encourage some form of deprivation]
- excessive cardio
any of this sound familiar? if your answer is “no”… i don’t believe you.
let’s face it: when it comes to getting in shape, we’ve all been guilty of trying to find the quickest fix, the fastest way to see the results we’re looking for… not the healthiest of game plans? oh, well… right? … wrong.
real talk for a sec: do the things mentioned above work in pursuit of a “bikini body”? absolutely. but, do they also create lasting results, and make you feel good in the process? f*ck no.
so, everyone, i hate to be the bearer of bad news, but cutting carbs, counting calories, running 10 miles every day, or doing a 7-day juice cleanse are all giant wastes of your time. sure, you might drop the 7-10 pounds you’ve been holding onto since the holidays in time to hit the beach next weekend… but as soon as you slip-up [aka decide to enjoy life and live a little], those pounds will sneak back up on you quicker than they disappeared.
so… if you’re in panic because you’re not “bikini-ready”… there’s a solution:
be confident. yep. that’s it. if you’ve got confidence in yourself, you’re ready to hit the beach and rock that bikini [or one piece, whatever strikes your fancy].
when you’re putting yourself down… it shows. our insecurities tend to scream for attention, hoping that others will either sympathize with us [“ugh, i know. i feel so bloated and gross today, too.] or shower us with compliments to make us feel better [“what?! omg, noooooo, you look sooooooo skinny!!”]. not only will you feel bad, but everyone around you will know it. there’s no fooling anyone.
on the flip side, when you’re confident, you glow. your energy is positive. it’s contagious. and when you aren’t focusing on your “imperfections”, no one else is either [and if they are, it’s because they’re projecting their own insecurities onto you]. when you’re not all hung up on whether your stomach looks flat enough or if your cellulite is visible, you’re able to live in the moment… you’re able to live your life.
that old saying, “when you look good, you feel good” goes both ways… and in this case, “when you feel good, you look good” couldn’t be more applicable.
so, instead of promising to wake up to run 5 miles before work every day this week, or to only eat vegetables for the next two, i encourage you… no, i dare you to take a different approach to getting ready for summer this year.
if you’re thinking: great, kelsey. “be confident.” easier said than done… back it up and let’s chat. it’s easier than you think.
when you notice a negative thought coming to the surface, take a step back by closing your eyes, and breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth deeply a few times. pause. relax. let the negative thoughts go, and invite positive thoughts in… give yourself a compliment or two… list off a few things you’re grateful for… anything you need to do to flip that switch.
finally, before you open your eyes, ask yourself what’s really important in life… losing 5 pounds [that pretty much no one is going to notice anyway], or living each day to your fullest, and being your healthiest, happiest self?
even if right now you don’t believe yourself, you gotta fake it ’til you make it. take these steps every day, in every moment when you’re feeling down on yourself. practice makes perfect. it won’t come overnight, but i promise it’ll be worth it.
stop hating on yourself, embrace yourself for who you are [while going after your goals in a way that’s healthy and manageable], put on that bikini, head to the beach [or pool, or backyard, wherever you find yourself!] and rock it all. summer. long.
how have you been able to overcome the pressure to feel like you have to be perfectly “bikini-ready” this year? share in the comments below… we’re all in this together.
love + light on valentine’s day 2015
happy friday, loves! i hope your week has been amazing and that you’re all ready for the weekend [i know i am]! valentine’s day is tomorrow and i’ve talked about it a lot over the past week. i shared some gift ideas and talked about the importance of not stressing over this holiday regardless of your current “situation”. i’m not hating on valentine’s day at all, i’m just not worrying about it, and you shouldn’t be either!
don’t put any pressure on making tomorrow the best day, like, ever. honestly, my most memorable and fun valentine’s day was spent with two of my friends getting drunk, attempting to go out [and failing miserably], coming home early, changing into sweats, and eating drunk food while watching the office until we fell asleep.
it should only be about making the most of the day, whatever that means for you. relax. go out. cook. watch netflix. ho to yoga. hit the gym. drink some wine. book yourself a massage. plan a trip. do you. and don’t let anyone tell you there’s something wrong with that.
so, that’s my spiel. i’ll leave you with just a little valentine’s day inspiration…
happy valentine’s day!
peace, love, light + xo’s,
image #1 courtesy of glitter guide
3 reasons why balance is better than perfection
in my early 20s, being “perfect” was something that i strived for. this desire manifested itself most prominently in my quest for the perfect body through a strict, vegan diet that eventually morphed into orthorexia. while i had the best of intentions, i became so obsessed with being perfect and healthy that i completely lost sight of who i was, how to take care of myself and how to enjoy my life… the biggest problem was that i didn’t even realize it.
eventually, as quite often happens in these cases, i reached a point where i just couldn’t do it anymore. i was exhausted, stressed out and just generally miserable, even though i had reached a weight i considered “perfect” and had the healthiest diet of anyone i knew. i decided to seek help and was able to work through my issues in a way that was healthy, productive and sustainable. in the years since, my goal is no longer to be perfect, but to be balanced. i work to maintain a lifestyle that makes me happy, keeps me healthy and doesn’t create unnecessary stress in my life. do i have my moments? of course. who doesn’t? but, the difference is that now i know that happiness is achieved through balance, not perfection. here are 3 reasons why balance is better than perfection:
1. balance doesn’t allow for “cheat days” because it’s impossible to cheat. when you are working around the clock to maintain a perfect diet and avoid “bad” foods, a well intentioned “cheat day” can easily turn into a full-on binge where you inhale every cookie within a 10-mile radius because, “it’s okay, i’ll be good the rest of the week”. when you’re balanced, you eat the cookie if you want to eat the cookie no matter what day of the week it is. you skip the gym to go to happy hour with your girlfriends if that’s what you want to do. and you know what? it’s fine. one cookie or one skipped gym session isn’t going to derail everything you’re working for. eating every cookie in the tri-state area? that could cause some problems.
2. balance alleviates stress and anxiety. letting go of the idea of perfection is seriously liberating. as soon as i stopped trying to be perfect, the feeling of anxiety that always consumed me was just not there anymore. i could go about my day without spiraling into a panic over what i was eating for lunch, when i was going to be able to make it to the gym or if the shirt i was wearing made me look fat. when you’re not stressed out over trivial things, you can focus your energy on things that are important, like spending quality time with your friends, getting work done productively and accurately and pursuing hobbies that you are interested in.
3. balance is sustainable. when i was attempting to maintain a strict vegan diet, i had this terrible habit of getting drunk, housing an entire pizza and spending the next day mentally bashing myself and swearing that i would never do it again. i’m sure you’ll be shocked to find out that it did happen again. many, many times. what can i say? i love cheese and was forcing myself to completely avoid something that i really enjoy, all in the name of trying to be perfect. now, i maintain a mostly vegan diet and when i feel like having a slice of pizza, i eat the damn slice of pizza and i rarely go overboard. when you deny, deny, deny all the time, you’re bound to overdo it when your self-control eventually wears thin, and this goes for anything, not just food. perfection is not sustainable over a long period of time… listening to your body, however, is.
so, here’s the thing. “perfect” doesn’t exist. and the chances of you being happy, healthy, enjoying life and maintaining the lifestyle you’ve created in the pursuit of perfection are slim to none. you’re allowed to be obsessed with green juice and yoga while also being obsessed with pizza and taking naps. i am. and not only is it okay, it’s normal and nothing to be ashamed of. once you let go of the idea of being perfect and find a level of balance that you can maintain, your life will take on a new form and you will be the happiest, healthiest, most perfectly imperfect version of yourself possible. i promise.
if you’re struggling to find and maintain healthy balance in your life, i can help! as a part of my health coaching practice, i help my clients to develop healthy habits that allow them to live a happy, healthy life in a way that is realistic, maintainable and allows for those necessary indulgences every once in a while. If you would like more information, email me at email@example.com to find out more about my services and to schedule your free initial consultation!
photo courtesy of steph brescia photography
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