hyp·o·crite (noun)

9 Mar

…a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.

Okay, guilty. For those of you who have previously read this blog, or for those of you who scrolled to the bottom and started with my first few posts, you know what I’m talking about. In my defense, I did delete my Facebook for a solid couple of months in the fall but since you were probably directed here via Facebook, you can see that the hiatus didn’t last for long. I could try to justify myself in saying that in this generation Facebook provides a convenient and casual link between first-encounters and phone numbers which I really really needed to make friends in a new town, but then I’d also have to grab a shovel because it was only a few months ago that I was bashing the idea of social networking.

Acknowledgement of hypocrisy aside, I have decided that this is still going to be a really interesting blog about bettering yourself as a person and random cool things I feel like I should share — but for argument’s sake I’m going to modify the whole “social networking and surfing the web are evil” mantra and go with a gentler “social networking and surfing the web are good in moderation.”

Today, a friend of mine asked me what I’m giving up for Lent. Being Atheist, I hadn’t given it any thought. Apparently, deciding what to give up for Lent can be a struggle for some. So, to start spring off with a bang, I decided to make a list of things you can give up for Lent! Enjoy.

1. Taco Bell’s pseudo-meat delicacies: Okay guys, I get it. Your wallet appreciates the 88 cent deal. But I’m not so sure your body appreciates the 88 percent deal that Taco Bell’s got going on — I’d like to know who the brainiac was that thought bragging about 88 percent meat in their commercials would make my mouth water.

2. Giving up really cliche things for Lent: a specific type of candy, alcohol, Facebook — I mean, I could be wrong seeing as how I’m not very well-versed in the religion department, but isn’t Lent supposed to be difficult? Why not try coming up with something specifically tailored to yourself and your own vices? If giving up alcohol and Facebook is hard for you, let’s be honest… you’ve got a bigger problem on your hands!

3. Texting: we text because we’re afraid to be put on the spot. It’s easier to craft an eloquent response via text message than to respond immediately to someone on the phone. We’re losing genuine contact and interaction with the people around us. Why not try giving up texting for Lent and call your friends and family instead

4. Trying to beat this impossible quiz: no, seriously… don’t waste your time. It’s. Not. Possible.

5. Being judgmental: we all do it. We judge people at first glance, at first interaction, and even after knowing them for years. We judge how they look, how they smell, what they do, how they act, and what they say. You want something difficult to give up for Lent? Try this one on for size.

6. Justin Bieber: do I really need to explain?

7. Watching shows like Jersey Shore: not a single one of those guys is good looking, and what the hell is so exciting about TEE SHIRT TIME??

8. 5 Degrees: In Eugene, it’s cold till like… May. At least that’s what I’ve been told. My apartment’s electric bill has skyrocketed with the climate being colder, and I’m sure yours has too, unless you’re already eco-conscious! By giving up 5 degrees and cuddling under a blanket instead, you’re saving money and energy.

9. Drunk Facebooking/texting/dialing: …. it’s embarrassing, right? What better thing to give up for Lent than humiliation!

10. Jesus: wait! Hear me out. I’m thinking, Lent is when you’re supposed to give up something you love. If you’re practicing Lent, it would be safe to assume that you love Jesus. Therefore, isn’t it arguable that giving up Jesus for Lent would be an excellent candidate for sacrifice?

Welcome back :)

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A Little Self-ish Today

16 Sep

You know what’s lame? Everyone and their mom recognizes these words, but if I asked you to define the differences between them, could you? Probably not. And if you can, then congratulations. Go get yourself a cookie. Here they are:

  • Self-Esteem
  • Self-Confidence
  • Self-Respect

Self-Esteem is pride and satisfaction with oneself. Someone with high self-esteem is confident without being obnoxious or conceited, open and assertive about communicating their needs, not devastated by criticism, not easily defeated by setbacks, and not overly concerned about what others think. Don’t have it? Get it. Here’s how: Celebrate your strengths and achievements. Everyone makes mistakes — forgive yourself for yours. Everyone has weaknesses — forgive yourself for those, too. Change the way you talk to yourself (I always like to ask myself: “If you talked to others the way that you talk to yourself, do you think they would still be your friends?” If the answer is no, consider being more kind to yourself. As the saying goes, we are often our harshest critics). Don’t hold unreasonable standards for yourself. And lastly, instead of constantly criticizing yourself for your faults, try praising yourself for the parts of you that are beautiful.

Self-Confidence is a positive perception of yourself that allows you to have faith in your abilities. Someone with high self-confidence is a go-getter; they pursue their desires because they believe in their own capacity for success. Don’t have it? Well, don’t just sit there on your ass feeling sorry for yourself. Go get it! Here’s how: Be ambitious. Set goals for yourself. Learn to communicate: ask for what you want, and hear advice and counsel. Be loving and kind: nourish healthy relationships, and detach from relationships that don’t allow you to feel authentic. Be open to change. Be optimistic. And f it’s staying true to yourself or pleasing others, stay true to yourself.

Self-Respect is your acceptance of yourself, your character, and your conduct. People with high self-respect do not criticize themselves for who they are, but rather understand that they are human beings that make mistakes and have faults, and accept themselves as such. People with high self-respect are not so concerned by what others think of them, because they are content with themselves. If you are an excellent hockey player, allow yourself to believe it on your own instead of getting overly excited whenever someone pats you on the back and says you’re amazing. Sure, it’s nice to hear. But a person with high self-respect does not need compliments in order to accept and approve of themselves.

If you find yourself deficient in one or more of the areas listed above, well… apply the techniques I’ve so handily offered and do something about it! You, my friend, are your own worst enemy. You don’t need others to love you in order for you to love yourself. In fact, it’s the other way around. You need to love yourself before you can love others and they can love you. So get crackin’ :)

Loaded Questions

10 Sep

I drove 8 hours today. Do you know what your brain feels like after you drive 8 hours? If you’re from my generation, then you’ve probably played with Gak Splat (remember that gross green shit in a plastic container, that feels like play doh and flubber got their grind on and then popped one out?), and you know.

So I’ll keep it brief tonight — for my sake and yours. I have a challenge for you:

Stop sitting around feeling sorry for yourself, and take charge of your own life. Most people don’t really know how to do that. I used to be one of them, but now I’ve got a leg up on all y’all… and this is the part where you’re lucky, because I’m about to help you kick your mind into high gear (partly so that I can give my own a damn break)! When you’re done reading this, you’re going to go take a gander at these questions and give them a good hard thinking. Try to come up with some answers for yourself, and if you’re not too lazy, I might even suggest going so far as to write down both the question AND your answer. They’ll come in handy next time you’re feeling like him. Seeing some of these questions is going to suck, but that’s the point. They really make you think. When you read them, if you don’t like the answer that comes to you….

Do something to change it.

DIY: Inspirational Wall Frames :)

8 Sep

By Kim Smith

So a few weeks ago, I found these wall collages by artist Kim Smith that are more than a little awesome. They cost $20-30 a pop to purchase (and probably a little more after shipping) so I decided to just do my own little knockoff for about $10, and it turned out great! These frames are awesome gifts for friends (trust me, they love ’em) and cute decor for a college apartment or what have you.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • An old or stupid book (it looks better with yellowed pages — if you want, use Sarah Palin’s book and tea-stain it)
  • Scissors
  • A ruler
  • Glue
  • A wooden 5″ x 5″  frame — it can be basic or fancy
  • Ribbon(s) of your choice (you will use this to hang the artwork..so make it pretty)
  • Colored Sharpies
  • Paint
  • Staple gun

Okay, first things first. Go online and find an inspirational quote. It’s better if it’s short. Mine, for example, says “don’t judge yourself through the eyes of others” because I tend to let it hurt my feelings if people say unkind things. It’s best to choose a quote that will encourage you in some way. If you’re a bitch and willing to admit it, maybe choose one like “goodness attracts goodness” (I gave this one to my friend for an entirely different reason — she’s a very good person. But that’s beside the point; we’re talking about you and pushing yourself to grow), or if you’re reeling from a breakup and feeling hopeless, maybe “believe in love” is a good one for you.

Got one? Okay. Now it’s time to come up with a background. For my own, I cut out a ton of celebrity eyes like some maniacal creep and made a collage. But that’s just me.

  1. Measure a 5 x 5″ square onto a sheet of printer paper using your ruler. This will be the size of your collage.
  2. Choose material for your background; think outside the box. What suits your quote? Old book pages, fabrics, magazine cutouts… all three?
  3. Tear the materials — they look cooler that way — and arrange them collage-style inside the square. Then glue them down.
  4. Then, if you used book pages, spice it up a bit by drawing on it with colored sharpie. Swirls, hearts, stars, bass & treble clefs..whatever shakes your fanny. Don’t overdo it though.. you don’t want too much going on, otherwise the quote won’t stand out.
  5. Type your quote out on the computer and choose a font. I prefer typewriter. Print it out and cut it out, and glue it to the center of the collage.
  6. Paint your frame. You might want to use a coat of gloss finish to give it a more chic appearance — otherwise it will be matte and pretty obvious that you did it yourself. Let dry.
  7. Measure the ribbon. How long do you want it to be? The craft will be hanging by the ribbon on a nail in the wall.
  8. Use the staple gun to secure the ribbon to the back of the frame. You might need a hammer to make sure the staples are tight.
  9. Cut out your collage, and put it in the frame.
  10. Hang it somewhere you’ll see it :)

From Internet Junkie to Fun and Spunky (it’s the only word that rhymed with Junkie..)

6 Sep

So naturally, when a person realizes that they have no life, they go looking for one. And when I realized that all I do is sit around on my ass (which is growing at an alarming rate) doing absolutely zilch with my time, that’s exactly what I did. Of course, going from being an internet junkie to just not being one is somewhat akin to dumping drug habits cold turkey; it’s a pain in the butt, and virtually nobody can do it. That’s why I developed this brilliant plan: with my facebook deactivated, I had all of this free time to learn new things and do fun stuff. But learn what? Do what? I almost Googled “fun things to do” (talk about being desperate) …. but then I found a solution. StumbleUpon is like, the coolest invention ever. I know what you’re thinking: “What the hell, Jess! You said this was all about getting a life and getting in touch with the real world and all that crap, and here you are advocating for another timesucking internet invention?” Yeah, basically. …. No, I’m just kidding! It’s all part of the story. I deleted my facebook and then I decided to see what kinds of cool things I could find on StumbleUpon. Even though I think people should spend a minimal amount of time browsing the internet, I’ve gotta say, SU is a great way to find articles and fascinating tidbits of information that really interest you–so if you’re bored at bedtime or something, sure. Check it out. Anyway, I digress. Back to the story: Stumble helped me to develop a few concepts that are pretty important if you plan on breathing some life back into yourself. They are:

1. Educate yourself. It’s more important than you think, because the older you get, the less impressed people will be when you know the entire storyline of Grey’s Anatomy or Lost but have no concrete understanding of anything of substance. I hate politics and current events with a passion. I don’t know what it is, but I find it about as interesting as I find the fact that the sky is blue. If you’re like me, do what I do. Watch The Colbert Report — it’s at least hilarious, and can kind of keep you somewhat aware of current events. Read books. If you have a special interest like me (I’m obsessed with people and their behaviors), read articles. I read Psychology Today every day. If you don’t like books, watch the history channel or Animal Planet or something, who cares.. the bottom line is, you’ve been in school for most of your life and it’s about time you’ve got something to show for it.

2. Appreciate the arts. No one’s telling you you’ve got to drool over the statue of David or a bona fide Jackson Pollock; hell, I wouldn’t. Art History was the single most painful class that I ever had to sit through, but that’s not the point I’m making. Here, I’m referring to “arts” in a more general sense — things like painting, photography, music, or crafting. There is so much art in the world, and practically nobody sees it. Take this, for example: Sand Animation, Ukraine\’s Got Talent. Like, are you kidding me? Isn’t that just jaw-droppingly awesome? That’s the kind of art I’m talking about. The kind of thing that everyone knows exists but takes for granted. Think of photography: until I started Stumbling, my perception of photography was just “whatever”… it’s just pictures. But after coming across several different series of photos by extremely talented photographers, I saw things that took my breath away. And have you ever noticed how beautiful traditional, classical music really is? That some people are gifted enough to create such beauty with their fingertips? Amazing. So when I say appreciate the arts, I mean stop taking them for granted. And maybe, if you’ve got the balls and the patience, invest yourself in something that interests you. Learn to play the guitar. Take up painting. Write a story. I don’t care. Just stop taking life for granted and take advantage of the incredible noggin you’ve got inside that skull. It would be a shame to let it go to waste.

3. Get Up Close and Personal. Seriously, cut the texting, facebooking, twittering, and IMing crap and get personal. That’s the problem with people these days — do you have any idea how much of communication is nonverbal? Let me tell you. Although there may be newer information on the subject as of late, the most commonly understood information stems from the research of Dr. Albert Mehrabian from UCLA who found that 7% of communication comes from the meaning of the words spoken, 38% of communication comes from tone of voice, and 55% comes from nonverbal cues. Since texting and social networking is written only, that means that tone of voice is also null and void. Guess what, people? That means that 93% of what you are trying to communicate through texting, emails, and social networking is open to interpretation because the person you are chatting with only has a few of the puzzle pieces. Communication is complex, and relying on texting and emails is sort of ridiculous. Think about all of the times that you’ve been offended by something a person said to you, or vice versa. It’s almost always through media, isn’t it? So here’s your solution: get personal again. CALL people so that you can hear their voice. Go SEE them. Spend time with people and nurture real relationships instead of wasting your time with all of the superficial nonsense Facebook and texting have to offer.

4. Get Creative. Make stuff. I kid you not, it is the best, and most rewarding, way to spend your time. You will feel entertained and accomplished! Thanks to Stumble, I’ve become a HUGE fan of DIY projects (Do It Yourself). They are a great way to save money and have really cool things to decorate your house with. If you’re a tech-savvy guy with a lot of spare time, check out this gem. Yeah, I’m serious, you can make that… I mean, I’m not about to try, but if you’re at MIT or something, I say go for it. And if you’re a girl, peep this awesome website called P.S. – I made this…. Those are just a couple of examples, but Google can guide you to TONS more websites with awesome cool ideas for DIY projects that are fun and easy. And also, because I want you to like me and keep reading my blog, I’m going to post entries with the ones I tried and loved and step by step how-to instructions. You’re welcome!

Calling All Procrastinators

6 Sep

I want you to read this article by Timothy A. Pychyl, Ph.D. :

Facebook — A whole new world of wasting time

And ask yourself, do you have a problem? If the answer is yes, you should probably think about detaching yourself from Facebook altogether for a while, but for those of you who can’t (and I know all too well how embarrassingly difficult it is), here are some clever ways to help prevent yourself from using Facebook as a procrastination tool:

  • Have your roommate or someone you trust temporarily change your password until you are finished studying, and then change it back.
  • Disconnect your internet temporarily.
  • Deactivate your facebook temporarily. YES, this is possible! Let me squelch the rumors once and for all, as someone who has deactivated her facebook: When you deactivate your facebook, ALL of your account is saved exactly as-is; your photos, posts, comments, status updates, info, notes, etc. will all remain saved on the Facebook database FOREVER, so when you’re ready to log back on, everything will be waiting for you just as you left it. Now, personally, I find that a bit disturbing, but to each his own, right?
  • Don’t use a computer, period. That’s kind of hard though, in this day and age.

Deactivate. I dare you.

6 Sep

I’d like to think you’ve saved us both some time by reading the “about” section of this blog, but let’s be honest… that probably didn’t happen. So, I’ll take advantage of my dear friends copy & paste, and explain to you in greater detail what this blog is all about. Oh, and just an FYI — Before I got sucked into the abyss of the unproductive time consuming monster that is Facebook, I used to write. And guess what? I was good. And believe it or not, I was funny! But, like so many other people held captive by this social network and the refresh button, I lost interest in my passions. I lost my individuality and my voice. The good thing is, it’s like getting back on a bicycle after a few years: you’re a little wobbly at first, but eventually you’re soaring effortlessly. You’re probably starting to wonder what my point is. And I just realized that I don’t really have anything better than “I suck at writing right now, but if you stick with me, I promise to get funnier and more interesting!” …..Please?

If you’re reading this sentence, then I’m patting myself on the back, because either my writing isn’t as shitty as I thought it was, or you’re just a really nice person (in which case, you should be patting yourself on the back). Are you excited? You should be, because I’m about to tell you why this blog even exists, and how it’s going to change your life — if you let it. Here’s the deal:

I’m just your average twenty-something girl floundering my way through a world that revolves around social networking, a college student’s #1 excuse to do absolutely nothing productive whatsoever. Around a month ago, I realized that I’m basically no one. I’m a big fat nothing with a pretty face and nothing inside to show for it. When I was younger, I used to read, write, draw, ride horses, play soccer, swim, run cross country, learn, paint my nails, play piano… And now what do I do? NADA. Absolutely nothing. What is my problem?  What do I live for? Where is my pulse? After more than 5,000 status updates, 1,076 pictures, 997 amigos, over a million comments, and and embarrassing number of hours per day, I realized what the issue was and decided it was about time to end my toxic relationship with facebook and focus my time on something a lot more intriguing: the real world. I know, right? Well, that’s my plan, and I’m sticking to it. Try to answer the question “what do you like to do in your free time?”. If the only answers you can come up with are lame ass ones like “tv, movies, friends, internet, family, shopping” and/or if you spend more than twenty (yes, twenty) minutes on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr–whatever–a day, I have a challenge for you: Deactivate. Or, if you can’t bring yourself to do that, at least make an effort to cut back on your usage. For Christ’s sake, GET A LIFE. I’ll help you!

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