What is wedding costuming?

A few weeks ago, I posted out on my social platforms (@charisweible on Instagram and @chariscostumes on facebook) that I was now accepting wedding costuming clients. I got such overwhelmingly good feedback- I was blown away by everyone’s kindness. A few days later, I called my dad, and asked if he had seen the post. He said “yeah… we couldn’t figure out what that means. Are you going to do Star Trek Weddings now?”

Oh, Dad… so supportive, but always finding the questions I didn’t even think of.

So in case you’re also confused about what I mean when I talk about wedding costuming, let me fill you in on what that means to me and how my brain got to the idea.

Wedding costuming by Charis looks like this: I will help you look amazing on your wedding day. I can help brides pick out what they want to wear for every step of their wedding process- engagement photos, rehearsal dinner outfit, hair and makeup clothes, The Dress, reception dress, honeymoon wardrobe. I can do this for anyone involved in a wedding (or really any special event!), whether you’re a bride, a groom, a parent, etc.

There are several different ways to do it, and I hope you’ll get in touch if you’re interested! For example, I’m talking to one client who wants me to look at a dress she has already purchased, adjust the fit if necessary, and help her pick out the right shoes and other accessories. I’m putting together a look book for a second client, from there, I might go ahead and purchase for her, help with fit, etc.

I can also walk through from beginning to end, working with you to choose things that will make you look and feel beautiful and confident.

wedding costuming 1

I hit upon the idea after being in and around several weddings. I’m going to let you in on a big secret: weddings are essentially a theatrical production. There are so many moving pieces, it’s stressful, there’s a firm deadline, the details need to be perfect, there’s even an element of performance at most weddings. When I was my sister’s maid of honor, and later an impromptu wedding day of coordinator for a friend, I remarked on this to several people, but then didn’t really think much more about it.

For the next five and a half years, through a LOT of life changes, every now and then I would find myself thinking about the wedding industry. I knew there had to be a business opportunity for me in there somewhere, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. It’s not pure alterations on wedding dresses (something I am still very hesitant to do). It’s not leaving clothes behind to get into event/party planning or event coordination.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I was driving home from work, tired, trying to figure out what the next step is for me professionally. I like my job at Kings Island, but I also know that it isn’t where I want to be for the next twenty years. I probably don’t even want to be there five more years. I’ve dreamed of being my own boss for years, but I also knew I didn’t want to leave the area I live in, and that meant that being a full time freelance costume designer was probably out- the market just isn’t big enough. So what was it? What was I going to become? How could I use my skills and talents to serve more people, and keep myself from going absolutely crazy?

Have you read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert? If you haven’t, you should. (I’ll review it fully for you soon). Well, anyway, I was reading Big Magic, and she was talking about how ideas float around, trying to be brought to life.

 

bigmagicpb-720x1024

So there I was, driving home from work, trying to figure out what this might look like, and the idea SLAMMED into me. I could almost feel the physical force, I swear. I was on the phone, and I had just pulled in my driveway, and I ran into my sewing room, grabbed a post-it and wrote down “wedding costumer??”. I finished my phone conversation, and my brain got busy dancing with the idea. What did that mean? Could it make me money? Did I need it to? How on Earth would I get started in that?

I chewed on it for almost a week. And then, one Sunday at the Packard Museum, I thought to myself, Well, the worst that can happen is that no one jumps on it. Putting a couple of posts up can’t hurt, and you could even delete them if it’s embarrassing. So I threw a post up, and it did pretty well. 24 hours later, I had appointments with two different women, who have both commented about what good timing it is and how excited they are.

I’m pretty excited about the idea too. It feels like a good marriage (puns always intended) of my skills with costume design and my desire to help people. And also, I don’t talk about this very often, but I love love. I think love stories and weddings are SO beautiful, and I’m excited about the opportunity to be a part of people’s weddings in a way that will make them feel so confident and sure of themselves.

So! If you’re getting married and you want any amount of help in the wardrobe department, I hope you will get in touch! My space is currently very limited and will fill up very, very quickly, and I wouldn’t want you to miss out!

Until next time,

xoxo Charis

 

Superhero Action of the Day: share this with someone you know who’s getting married, would you? It’s hard work bootstrapping a little business, but I know I have a great team behind me! Then, let me know what you think of the idea. If you’re married, would you have liked having this as a part of your wedding experience?

LET ME KNOW!

 

 

10 things to help you rock September

Can you BELIEVE it’s September already? Seems like just yesterday it was February (sorry… bad inactivity joke)

In any case, it’s a great time of year for new beginnings! If you’re a student, you’re fresh back to school. If you’re out of school, you might be wrangling tiny humans and getting them into a classroom. But even if you aren’t at all connected with the school schedule during this chapter, it’s still a great time to assess where you are and what you need moving forward.

I’ve had a lot of time to come up with ten new products, but these are all things I’m using currently that I love.

Once again… no money involved here, just my honest opinions!

  1. Instant Pot– I bought this for myself on Amazon Prime Day, and although I’m still learning the mysteries of the Instant Pot, I am obsessed already. It’s so easy. The food is so good! It’s so quick! Expect to see more about it soon!!10 things to rock September
  2. Goal Digger podcast– I won’t lie, finding this podcast is a big part of my new found motivation! I listen to Jenna every morning, and if nothing else, she makes me believe these dreams of mine are possible. If you have any dreams of having a side hustle or owning your own business, you should be listening to this!10 things to help you rock September: www.superheroliving.blog
  3. Panera Souffles I KNOW these are not necessarily a healthy breakfast option, but oh my gosh are they delicious!! If you’re looking for something a little different for breakfast, you have to try one.                           10 things to help you rock September: www.superheroliving.blog
  4. OPI Iceland collection I picked up a bottle of “Icelanded a bottle of OPI” recently at TJ Maxx, and I’m loving the color. It’s super neutral, which isn’t my go to, but I’m feeling it right now! It’s kind of a purple-y greige, and it makes me feel very polished and put together. 10 things to help you rock September: www.superheroliving.blog
  5. Dia Box I started getting a Dia Style Box this Summer, and I must admit, it’s been fun. If you don’t know, Dia boxes are curated personally styled boxes of clothes that get delivered once a month. Dia caters exclusively to plus size women. I really enjoy getting my boxes every month, although I have to be honest- I send most of the clothes back. Often I like the pieces, but they’re just too expensive for me. Still, it’s fun to see the things they pick out, the quality is generally very good, and I like keeping track of what’s stylish. 10 things to help you rock September- www.superheroliving.blog
  6. Kroger Clicklist Wherever you buy your groceries, I imagine there’s some kind of a pick up option- or there will be soon. Y’all. This is a game changer. If you’re busy like I am, this will save you SO MUCH TIME. It’s totally worth the nominal ($5) charge. I can pick out exactly what I want in my Kroger app, then they gather it all up, bring it to me at my car, and I drive off. I can schedule when I want to go and get them within a one hour window. Seriously, it’s so easy, I feel silly when I actually go inside the grocery now. BIG time saver. 10 things to help you rock September
  7. P3 protein packs These are such a great on the go snack or light meal! They come in a lot of different varieties, so I don’t get bored, and it’s so nice to be able to throw one in my bag in the morning and snack on it on my way to the gym after work, or if I get low energy during the day. 10 things to help you rock September
  8. Aerial Silks I expect I’ll do a full post on this sometime soon, because people always have a bunch of questions about it, and frankly I’m kind of obsessed. Here’s the quick rundown though: there’s probably a fitness studio near(ish) you that teaches it. I do NOT have great upperbody strength, but this is totally helping! YES, it’s super fun and exciting. But also, YES, it hurts. I routinely get weird bruises. However, I’m absolutely LOVING it. It’s a totally different type of challenge, unlike anything I’ve ever tried before, and seriously, it is so fun! It’s all women at my studio, and it is such a warm and supportive group. The biggest issue (other than the physical strength) is the mental game- it takes courage to flip yourself upside down holding a piece of fabric! However, it’s helping me trust myself, and that’s beautiful too. 10 things to help you rock September
  9. storyworth Story worth is a serveice that sends a question to the recipient every week, and after a year, it prints the answers, binds them, and sends them to you in a book! I bought a subscription for my grandmother this spring for Mother’s Day, and yes, it was a very thoughtful gift, but also, it has been unexpectedly great to get her answers in my inbox. I can really hear her voice in the answers and I know that will be precious to me forever. If you’re looking for a meaningful gift for a loved one (it’s definitely aimed at older people) it’s a perfect fit. 10 things to help you rock September: www.superheroliving.blog
  10. Mint Who among us doesn’t need a better way to manage money? I know I do!! I like Mint because it’s by quicken, so if you already have a Quicken account, it will share some info. Also, they make it pretty easy to add all your bills, accounts and assets, and then they remind you how you’re doing. I’m definitely still a beginner, but it’s working for me so far! I think I’ve shared about this one before- but it’s so good, it’s definitely worth re-mentioning!

10 things to help you rock September- www.superheroliving.blog

The Relaunch

Hey Supers!

It’s been a minute, right? I know- I started this thing, and then I really, really dropped the ball. I have a thousand excuses, but it boils down to this, at the heart of it:

I wasn’t sure I had anything relevant to say. I was in a serious season of self doubt and hardship- I tried to share some of that with you, but then I felt like this space was getting really negative, which isn’t really what I’m about. So instead of figuring it out… I stopped writing. I took this off my plate. I took some time to figure myself and this brand out.

I know that that probably hurt my growth potential and followers. I know a lot of you have been asking for more posts. (And I SO appreciate that!) But you know what? I think it was probably good for me. It was good for Charis, the human behind the words here. IT was good for my Superhero Persona, who needed to spend some time on a digital mountaintop thinking and doing some mental training. I get it, it was risky if I want this little space to take off (which, who knows, I’m still just thrilled when one person reads this, so maybe it doesn’t matter AT ALL) but I just felt like, if I don’t have anything positive to write about it, then what’s the point??

Now I hear you asking “What have you been doing since February?”

Here’s the round up: I designed three shows, one for Chaminade Julienne High School, and two for the University of Dayton. I went on vacation to Logan, Utah to see two of my absolute favorite humans. (Adventure post soon!!) I went back to work as the costume shop manager for Kings Island, which has occupied the vast majority of my time in the last 5 months. I started doing some volunteering at America’s Packard Museum once-ish a week. That’s been kind of a weird off shoot for me, but I actually really look forward to it every weekend. I moved into a house, and I’ve just been so busy getting the house the way I want it. I started taking some classes in Aerial Silks and Lyra (aerial hoop), which is a journey in physical and mental strength unlike anything I’ve worked on before. I went back to the boxing gym- you can find me there 2-3 times a week right now, and I can see the progress so clearly. I walked a long hard road with a friend who needs me. I made new friends. And I spent a LOT of time thinking about the kind of person I am, and want to be. I spent a lot of time examining the smoke screens I’ve been throwing across my personality: things like overly formal, careful writing (and living). Not truly trusting the process, not truly living full out. Not forcing myself to live up to my potential.

The relaunch: www.superheroliving.blogThe Relaunch: www.superheroliving.blog

The Relaunch: www.superheroliving.blog
The cast of Kings Island’s Gravity, costumes by Genevieve Beauchamp

The relaunch: www.superheroliving.blog

And then I got inspired again to be here, in this space. To chronicle the journey, but also to try and help other people figure things out for themselves.

I won’t pretend to have it all figured out. I don’t. None of us do. I am afraid, and frustrated, too busy, and stressed. But I’m also so grateful for this life that I get to live.

And here’s what I know, deep down in the pit of my soul, where I always find the truth: when I live in that abundance, life is so good. When I trust that the Universe (which is the same as the Force, Spirit, God, and the Creator) wants what’s best for me, and that all I have to do is trust, the Universe comes through. Every time. And it comes through in ways that blow me away. I have gotten such concrete examples of the Universe taking care of me, that I don’t have any other choice than to have faith that it will be there for me.

With that knowledge, I’m free. I’m free to create and explore. I’m free to take off on any adventure I want. I’m free to live in a way that honors myself and that incredible guiding force, the Universe. I’m free to pursue the things I find passion and joy in. I’m free to be my most true self, regardless of who she is, because the Creator of the Universe does not make mistakes. And so as long as I live in a way that honors self and It, I’ll win, every time.

I hope that doesn’t sound too hippy-dippy or woo-woo to you, because I truly believe that it’s the foundation of superhero-dom. This is what gives us our superpowers. Because I AM a superhero, and so are you. All you have to do is plug in to that energy and watch yourself take off.

So! Here’s what you can expect from me, moving forward. I’m not going to promise you that I will post every day- I won’t. I’m not going to promise you that it will be all rainbows from here, and you’ll never see a post that examines the darker parts of life- you will. But I’ll be here regularly- I’m going to shoot for 2-3 times a week. The blog will focus where it has always focused: improving life and superhero skills. But very generally, I’ll stick to the following topics:

  • Work (including some new ventures I can’t WAIT to tell you about!)
  • Relationship with self and others
  • Making and creating
  • Fitness/nutrition
  • Adventures

Or, to put it in superhero jargon (because WHY NOT):

  • Missions
  • How Not To Be A Martyr (they all do it. it’s dumb. Let’s not.)
  • Invention and Genius
  • Training
  • Adventures (because that’s exciting enough on it’s own)

I don’t mind telling you, I’m a little nervous about this. I’m scared I’ll let you down again. I have TONS of fun ideas for posts, and my most earnest intention and prayer is to write like crazy so that we can continue to connect through this space. But one of the things I’ve been learning this year is that I don’t have to know what the next year will look like- I know what today looks like, and the Universe has the rest of it figured out. I’ll know when it’s time. I trust that this little blog is a part of that plan. And so, I’ll continue to trust that this will work out, that I’ll have the ideas, the space, the words, and the time.

So if you’re happy to see this new post, could you let me know? Could you like it, leave me a comment here, or on facebook (@SuperheroLiving) or on Instagram (@charisweible)? Could you share this space with a friend? I could use some support from my team as I jump back in here, and I KNOW you all have my back.

In the meantime, I’ll see you soon.

xoxo,

Charis

The Relaunch: www.superheroliving.blog

 

Superhero Action of the day: Give me thumbs up somewhere if you’re happy to see this place grooving again! I’m excited to be back with you- and I hope you’re excited about it too!

 

Mysterious Motivation

It’s the end of January (I know, where did the time go??). I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. And cold. And feeling like maybe it would be nice to climb in my bed and stay there for a week.

Honestly, this whole month could be titled “The case of the mysteriously vanishing motivation”. I went to the gym last night- for the second time this month. My apartment needs cleaned, I need to go to the grocery, the litter boxes need cleaned and my fitbit is dead. Happy Tuesday!

If you’re feeling any of this, don’t despair! I’ve scoured the internet and found some ways to reel Motivation back in so we can get more done- even in these cold dark days of January!

 

  1. Find your “why”: You hear this a lot in fitness and weight loss groups. Coaches will tell you that your why is what you hold to when you just don’t feel like working out. Full disclosure: this one is really hard for me. I don’t feel like I have a huge, overwhelming “why”- certainly not one that sustains me during motivation slumps. A lot of people say their kids, for instance, and that doesn’t work for me. So! To help us all out, here are 20 reasons why:

    -better sleep
    -better stress management
    -clearer skin
    -fit in my clothes better
    -more confidence
    -unsupported handstand!
    -vintage clothing
    -visible muscle definition
    -not winded at the top of the stairs
    -I only get one body
    – big “physical dreams” (mountain climbing, marathon running)
    -better mood
    -not held back by size or strength limitations
    – to be a good example
    -to become more disciplined
    -better focus/more productivity
    -to prove to myself
    -I refuse to undo all of my previous hard work
    -I’m too young to feel this old
    -Because I love this body

Obviously, these are mostly fitness related, but you get the idea!

2. Surround yourself with motivation and look at it all the time! I would encourage you to stay away from things like “You’ll never look good naked fat” as that’s just body shaming and ugly, but things like “eat like you love yourself” will only help you!

3. Be. Patient. No matter your goals, they will take time- that’s what makes them worth working for!

4. Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is truly the thief of joy. Don’t let it take yours. This is so hard, with social media everywhere and everywhere you look, someone else’s perfect life is on display. Remember that it’s just a display and that your story isn’t theirs. It doesn’t matter what others have, because you’re a superhero.

5. Believe in yourself. No matter your goal, you have to believe it is possible before you can work on it. Every morning I think to myself, “you can do this, Supergirl”. It’s silly, but it helps!

 

Also, I made this goal tracker sheet for myself, and I think it is helping. If it’ll help you, you can print it out and do what you like with it- just don’t sell it, please!

 

GOAL TRACKER

 

Superhero Action of the day: Make a list of the things that will keep you motivated! Refocus, and then go out and crush those goals.

Take time to be grateful

I feel like recently, I’ve been a mess of things that are difficult, and that’s bleeding into my writing here.

As you all know, last year was very difficult for me, but I’m not really the kind of persona to wallow in that.

And y’all, things are so good right now. I’ve got the right amount of work (and money!) for maybe the first time in my adult life.

My relationships, while not wrinkle free, are pretty healthy and happy.

It’s cold, but I have the things I need to stay warm.

I’m even doing ok at the eating well thing (although I am still struggling with getting enough exercise!)

And all of this has got me feeling just so grateful. I’m so thankful to be here, doing work that I love and work that I like. I’m so thankful for each one of you reading these posts and encouraging me.

I’m so thankful for my family, the friends that feel like family, and the coworkers and students that bring me so much joy.

I’m so thankful for this body that gets me through 14,16,18 hour days like a A CHAMP.

And the funniest thing happens when we dwell on gratitude instead of on negativity. I find that I am just generally happier. Gratitude and negativity both breed like rabbits, and we get to choose what we’re overrun with.

I hope you choose gratitude. I know not every day is your new best day. I know there will be days where you just don’t feel like a superhero. I know, because I’ve had them. I’ve lost relationships, jobs, family members. I’ve gained weight, lived on fast food, and been less than awesome to the people I work with.

And I’m thankful anyway. It’s not because someone always has it worse. It’s simply because I am thankful. I’m thankful for my life.

And I hope you are too.

If you’re not, here are a couple of things that might help:

  1. Try getting up in the morning a tiny bit earlier and listing out the things that are going well for you- even if it’s just that you’ve managed to get out of bed.
  2. Make a list of the things you have to be grateful for and keep it where you can refer to it constantly (phone background, anyone?)
  3. Start a gratitude journal.
  4. Take a walk. Outside, even in the cold. And when you get warmed up enough that you start to feel alive even though it’s so cold, be grateful for a body that lets you do that.
  5. Find a charitable organization to give to or donate your time. I’m not sure why this works, but it really, really does.

 

I truly believe that being a superhero means having a healthy body, mind and spirit, and gratefulness is a big part of that- I hope you’ll learn to practice this if you aren’t already!

 

Superhero Action of the day: What are you grateful for? I want to know!

Five ways to reduce waste

Hi Superheroes!

Today we’re talking trash.

I mean it! But not like that- superheroes try not to gossip.  No, today, we’re talking about making less trash, and being kinder to our planet.

This is so important- but I get it, no one wants to go through 40,000 extra steps OR spend a ton of extra money on being green. So here are a few of my favorite, easy, cheap ways to be nicer to the planet and reduce your waste.

  1. Carry a water bottle. This one is kind of obvious, but it’s so important. Not only will you be better hydrated, but those plastic water bottles are YUCKY. If you’re like me and addicted to seltzer water, a soda stream machine is worth the investment! I fill up two one liter bottles before I leave in the morning and I have water all day- without a drop of waste! Much better than my case of soda cans, even if I was recycling them!
  2. Take your own grocery bags or ask for paper. Again, fairly familiar, but again, it makes a big impact! Look out soon for a tutorial on making your own bags out of an old t-shirt- that way it’s even free! If you do get plastic bags, find a recycling center that will accept them and get rid of them responsibly.
  3. Try to buy for longevity, and not convenience. Stick with me here: although you might pay a higher price point up front, when you can afford it, buy quality stuff. This is especially pertinent to things like clothes, electronics, etc. If you can get more than one use/year/etc, out of an item, you’re keeping that item out of the trash a little longer. You’ll actually save money in the long run, too! I know it isn’t always feasible, but when we can, it helps!
  4. Try composting. This one is a little trickier, but there are several good ways to go about it. First of all, if you’re a gardener, you probably already know about composting, and you may even have your own bin or pile- that’s amazing! If, however, you live in an apartment, like me, or in a city, or have no interest in gardening (also me), fear not! You can still get some mileage out of all those food scraps! There are programs starting up all over the country that provide you with a bin and then pick it up when it is full, using it on community gardens, for the city or in other ways that are beneficial to the community. OR, you could take a look around your neighborhood or ask family, friends and coworkers. For example, I save all of my food scraps and then put them in my neighbor’s compost bins. I feel good doing something to give back and he gets the benefits of healthy gardens in the spring and summer. Plus, I sort of made a friend doing it! Win-win-win.
  5. Join a community initiative. Whether it’s adopting a highway, doing a parks pick up day or starting your own trash pickup as you walk around your neighborhood, find a way to do your part for your community. WE all make a lot of trash. The least we can do is keep it where it belongs.

 

There you have it! 5 super simple ways to live a little greener!

Superhero action of the day: What did I miss? What are some other ways to give back to our community and world? Let me know- I love hearing from you!

So This is Where We Are: Accepting Setbacks

Hello, Superheroes!

I hope your humpday went well! I started my most recent work gig this week, and I must admit, I’m tired! It’s less physical than my job at the amusement park, but man, I am tired at the end of the day!

And sometimes that means I have to just accept the fact that I didn’t get everything done. I didn’t get a blog post up. I didn’t get to the gym. I didn’t.

But sometimes that also means accepting that I can’t. Sometimes that’s easy. I cannot run a marathon (yet.) I cannot go without sleep (though I try). But sometimes, admitting that I can’t do something is really, really hard. Especially when it is something I used to be able to do.

I’ve recently taken on kind of a quiet challenge. Even if I don’t do anything else physical all day, I’m doing 10 pushups a day for 100 days. On January 1, when I got down on the floor and did my pushups, I wanted to cry. I did them from my knees and they were still really, really hard. How can it be that 10 pushups are so hard for me right now? 10 pushups from my toes used to be relatively easy for me. And now I can’t even contemplate that. Now 10 pushups from my knees leave me winded and feeling exerted.

I was embarrassed. Ashamed. Frustrated. Disappointed with myself.

But the more I think about that battle in particular, the more I can just accept that this is where I am right now. I haven’t been able to focus on my body goals recently. And as much as I try, I can’t always juggle all of the things I wish I could. I haven’t been able to carve out time for the gym, or for boxing.

I went to my first yoga class in a long time a couple of weeks ago, and it was so hard.

But that’s where I am right now.

On the other hand, my career stuff is booming- so much so that I haven’t been able to focus on the Etsy store I started thinking about last Summer. But this is where I am.

Because here’s the thing: all stages of life are temporary. Happy with where you are? I hate to tell you, but in all likelihood it is temporary.

Ready for a change? Good. Not only do you get to choose it, but where you are currently will change. And that’s a beautiful thing.

I may not be able to do ten pushups from my toes right now, but I’m working on changing that. Because where I am right now does not define where I will be forever, or even at the end of this 100 days. I don’t have to know what my life long physical fitness goals are to be able to say that I want to be stronger in 100 days. Heck, I don’t even have much of a goal for the end of the 100 days. I just want to try it and see what happens. I will tell you I have a goal of being able to do a handstand by my birthday, and the pushups are going to help with that, but other than that, I don’t know right now.

I have a goal of figuring out how to jam 2 exercise classes a week into my schedule starting February 1. Right now, I’m cold and tired every minute I’m not working, and so, that has to be enough.

Because this is where I am right now.

If you’re struggling with the idea that you aren’t doing enough, or if you’ve experienced a setback recently, I would encourage you to think to yourself, right now, “This is just where I am right now”. Then take a deep breath, and let it out slowly. Feel any better? I hope so.

And remember, my superheroes: where you are right now will never, ever determine your final destination. If you’ve been knocked down a rung or two- the good news is you can climb back up.

 

Superhero Action of the Day: If you’re feeling like some areas of your life have been neglected or set back recently, take a minute and list one positive thing for each of them. And then take a deep breath- and start climbing.

diversity, change, & love

I was going to talk about the beauty of diversity tonight- being that it’s MLK day today. I was going to wax profound about how if we could all just treat each other as, I don’t know, human beings, with the compassion and care that that merits, the world would be a better place.

I was going to tell you all about the joy I find in going to a multi racial church, working in multi racial schools, and having friends of other races.

Don’t get me wrong, I think all of that is valid. And I think those are beautiful things to aspire to. And it IS a true joy going to a multi racial church, teaching in my urban schools and having friends who are different than me.

But the problem America is facing is just so large. Racism is insidious. It sneaks and slips into corners when you aren’t paying attention. It is so ingrained in some of us, I have heard people say things like “I’m not racist, (uh huh, sure, keep talking) but black women are ugly”.

The people who say these kinds of things really do believe they aren’t racist. Let that sink in. Most of the time, people who say these things believe that they aren’t racist.

I would know, I’ve been one of them.

Don’t get me wrong, #blackgirlmagic is real and people of color are just as varied as people with less melanin in their skins. And they are beautiful. Light skinned, dark skinned, all women are lovely creatures- no matter our race.

But I have said things I’m not proud of, in retrospect.

This is where, I think, the dialogue around racism that’s happening right now can be a two edged sword. On the one hand, talking about these things is the only way we’ll ever make a change. Exorcise the demon. All of these social injustices hide under people’s refusal to see them, and in order to chase them out, we have to talk about them.  On the other hand, though, who’s voice do we listen to? If what I really desire to do is stand with people of color and say ‘enough is enough’ to racism, how do I police myself against micro-aggressions? Whom should I ask about what’s acceptable and what’s not? Who can I trust to pull me aside and say “hey girl, just so you know, that comment wasn’t cool” And when that happens, can I be sure that I will respond with a “thanks for letting me know, I’m so sorry I upset you- I’ll do better in the future!”?

Is it really the loudest voice that has all the answers? You know the one- the facebook friend who posts nothing but politics and the negative experiences they are having. How can I be sure that she has all the answers?

I guess my point is that no matter the fight- racism, sexism, political change, we need to choose our mentors carefully. And when we make those choices, I hope we are brave enough to engage in conversations with those people about what they think the path to change is.

And of course, we need to watch our words and our minds. Can we learn to be proud of who we are without denigrating someone else? Can we agree to learn from each other instead of ripping each other to shreds?

If what we desire is equality, respect, compassion, and dignity from each other, can we start by offering it? Even to those against whom we are morally opposed? Can we agree to swallow hard and say “you are different than me, and I like that about you” instead of “you are different than me and that makes you wrong”?

One of the things that breaks my heart regularly is how ugly people are capable of being to one another. Hate gets spewed back and forth, on both sides of every issue until no one can stand up at the end with a clean conscience. It’s gotten so bad for me personally that I have had to make the lamentable decision to almost completely not engage- especially online. Not because I don’t agree, but because I have to protect my heart from that color of ugly. That’s been a hard choice, but I can’t join in with the name calling and the mud slinging.

So instead, I choose to listen more than I speak and spread love. Love to my students, on whom I have the most direct impact. Love to the members of my church. Love to the cashiers at stores, and love to the people in the gym. I can’t figure out another healthy way to do it.

This isn’t a post with a single actionable item in it. I don’t have any of the answers. This is hard stuff to talk about, think about and act on. I hope that it makes you think, though.

The way you treat people matters. All people. Every interaction. Online, over the phone or in person, it matters. And if we ever want things to change, we’ll have to start by changing ourselves.

 

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The reason people don’t achieve their goals

Hi loves.

Can I just tell you- sometimes life is so hard. And even when it’s good, it’s still… like, expert level. And sometimes we’re just not ready for expert level, right? Sometimes I could use some time on beginner mode.And the truth is that life- like most things- is rarely all good or all bad. Sure, we all have stormy periods. Times when it seems like nothing will ever go right. But for the most part, life is more complicated then that. Some days are amazing, some are terrible, most are less exciting. Parts of your life are going so well- and other parts are crumbling. And it’s hard to know how to feel about that. I’m really happy with my career right now… but my home life is struggling. I’m feeling really close to some of the people in my life… but I have a few relationships that are struggling- either in their own lives or in our relationship.

Sometimes it’s hard to know which way is up.

And I think that’s why most people don’t meet their goals.

I don’t think it is because they are lazy, or because they just didn’t want it bad enough. I don’t think it’s that they don’t set good goals. It’s the minutiae of everyday life that will get in the way of greatness. I was joking around this fall with my mom about understanding why important and famous people have personal assistants. I want one, and I’m not famous and only of marginal overall importance. But man, the stuff I could get done! How productive could I BE with a personal assistant and a maid? It boggles the mind. It seems as if my days get so cluttered up with the day to day tasks of being an adult I hardly have any room left for superhero-ing. And I don’t just mean blogging. I love the writing, but more importantly, I want to practice what I teach. If I’m sharing recipes with you, I want to have tried them and verified that they are, in fact, amazing. If I’m posting ways to keep your house clean, wouldn’t it be magical if mine was?

If I’m talking about meal planning… shouldn’t I be doing just that?

If I’m setting goals, and encouraging you to do so… what happens if week after week… I don’t hit mine?

Does that make me a hypocrite? Ineffective? A failure?

I don’t think so. People will tell you life is a journey. So if we keep with that metaphor, then really, you can’t fail at it. There will be times where the road is smoother than others. There will be times when the going is easier, there are plenty of rest stops and a great playlist. And there will be times when you miss your turn, lose your way, the car breaks down, you get car sick, or run out of snacks.

It’s all ok.

The biggest fix for this, I think, is to try to live fully in every moment, and not worry too much about the long term result. Being goal oriented is wonderful. Being single minded is… tricky sometimes.

But also- cut your day to day clutter. This is a message to myself as much as anyone else. But if you can make life easier, do that for yourself. Use subscription services. Use a crock pot. (Or Instapot, I have my eye on that one!) Find the balance.

And also, know when to be gentle with yourself. That’s ok too. Some days you’re an Amazon warrior, slaying goals and taking names.

Other days you’re going to need to sit quietly and say “ok. Maybe tomorrow”. And that’s ok too.

So the number one reason people don’t fulfill their goals?

Life. Life gets in the way. But the people that do meet them? They find ways to blend the two.

The difference between dreams, wishes, goals and plans

Hi Supers!

How’s everyone doing on those New Year’s Resolutions? Or do you not want to call them that? That’s fine too. There’s a lot of stigma around that term- and a built in expectation that we’ll all fail out by the end of the month.

What if you didn’t have to?

What if you could develop a system to help you succeed at whatever it is you want to do this year?

Good news: it is totally, completely, 100% possible for you to achieve all of your goals this year.

Bad news: you will have to work for it.

Resolutions are really just goals. You’re resolving to do something. Planning to do it. Making a goal of doing it.

Goals are “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result”. Seems pretty familiar, right? Here’s what that definition won’t tell you: A goal is more than a plan, dream, or wish.

A plan is “a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something”. Plans tell you the steps. Plans are firm. Plans help you prepare. A fire escape plan. A financial plan.

A dream is to “contemplate the possibility of doing something”. You think about it. You build Pinterest boards about it. You visualize it. A dream vacation, a dream job, dream house, car, or partner.

A wish is when you “feel or express a strong desire or hope for something that is not easily attainable”. We wish upon stars. We wish for big things: world peace, Christmas presents as children.

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Dreams and wishes are similar in that in both cases, we are devoting some significant brain power to something without any thought to forward momentum. There’s no plan of action. There’s no urgency. “Someday I’ll run a marathon” is not a goal; it’s a dream. “Someday I’ll be brave enough to be good at public speaking” is not a goal; it’s a wish. Don’t get me wrong, I want you to wish and to dream. Dream big. Wish for things you can’t hardly picture. Dream about the future, your career, your financial status. Do all of that.

Dreams and wishes, though, are what we build plans and goals out of. They’re the building blocks. The meat and potatoes of a goal. You’ve got to have them, or there’s no substance. But they aren’t the whole meal- and certainly not the fork, which is how you get those meat and potatoes into your life.

Goals are plans with dreams. Think about that one for a minute. If your dream is to be a runner, for example, in order to make it a goal, you have to make a plan. “I want to be a runner” has no momentum. How will you know when you are a runner? How long should that take you? This is where your plan comes in. Sit down, and really bite into that dream. How will you know when you’re a runner? Is it when you can run one mile or 26? Is it when you get your first medal or get under a certain time? In this example, we’ll say that I’ll know I’m a runner (fulfilling my dream) when I run a marathon. So now the GOAL becomes “to run a marathon”. But our goals should also be on a timetable. If all I say is “I want to run a marathon before I die”, that gives me (I hope!) lots of time to procrastinate. If, however, I say that I want to run a marathon this year, well, I’d better get cracking. So now the goal reads “I want to run a marathon during 2018”. Now that’s something!

From there, we can break the goal down into bite size plan chunks: I will run a 5k before Easter, or I’ll run a July 4 half marathon. I like LOTS of bite size chunks (or mini goals). It makes the whole thing seem less overwhelming and scary.

So, to recap: first step: dream with all of your heart and creativity. Wish for things. Get BIG. Think of things that scare you and excite you all at once. Then think about how you can achieve them and make them a reality. Set a time limit and a specific way of achieving that dream. And then find the action steps to get you there.

I’m not a math person, but maybe the formula looks like this:

Goals= plans(dreams+wishes)

So with that in mind, let me tell you a few of my goals for the new year:

  • I want an unsupported handstand before my next birthday (November)

to that end, I have decided to commit myself to 100 days of pushups and planks, as well as reinvigorating my yoga practice and periodic tries at my handstands (supported, for now!)

  • I want to be debt free (except maybe a mortgage payment?) in ten years.

I’m saving a little bit every week so that I can start paying extra on my debt. I’m also cutting unnecessary expenses where possible.

 

I hope this helps you realize that you can achieve and earn all of your dreams. It is totally possible. But you will have to work for it! Thinking about the things you want is great. Going and getting them?

That’s Superhero Living.

Superhero Action of the day: What are your goals? I want to hear all about them.