#PrincessBootCamp – Cinderella Week Inspo

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Movies and music are where I tend to draw the majority of my inspiration. And Disney is a treasure trove of both. Starting with music, here is my complete playlist for Cinderella Week available on Spotify! I used it for my stair runs and throughout the week to keep me thinking happy fairytale thoughts. Play from start to finish for a musical story telling or shuffle it up. Your choice!

 

There are plenty of Cinderella movies and adaptations out there to watch during Cinderella Week that will keep you in an Ella state of mind…

Here are my favorite ones:

Cinderella (1950)

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Obviously we have to start at the very beginning, a very good place to start! In 1950, Cinderella made her debut on the big screen as Disney second resident princess. And her tale has lasted decades! And while there are plenty of lovely remakes on this list, this classic telling will always hold a place in my heart.


Cinderella (2015)

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As far as adaptations go, this live action remake that came out in 2015 is absolute perfection. Lily James was just coming out of her Downton Abbey success and was primed for a great role! And she got it in Cinderella. With an accompanying prince in the form of Rob Stark himself (Richard Madden) playing the dashing and ever so handsome Kit. Where the cartoon glosses over the nuances of a relationship built in a night, the live action fills in the space beautifully and offers an extra chance encounter to get sparks flying. This deserves it’s place in the Disney vault! Though I can’t end this blurb without saying something about Cate Blanchett’s evil stepmother. She puts a shudder down your spine with just a look. The true mark of an excellent Disney villain!

Rogers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella (1965)

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Diving right in to the musicals, we have Roger + Hammerstein’s 1965 Cinderella featuring Leslie Ann Warren. This musical actually debuted on TV in 1957 with none other than Julie Andrews. This is not my favorite Cinderella musical adaptation (look to the next entry for that one) but it is enjoyable and the chemistry between Leslie Ann Warren and her Prince Charming, Stuart Damon is delightful!

Rogers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella (1997)

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Let’s first by talking about the year 1997. I was in the 8th grade and Whitney Houston was my idol! I had every Brandy CD and loved Seinfeld. This musical had everything I could ever want. It was cheesy as hell! There’s no way that Whoopi Goldberg + Victor Garber = Paolo Montalbán, but who cares when you’re an 8th grader with a love of all musical things. This movie caught me at the exact right time in my life and will continue to hold a place in my heart!

Ever After

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I love, love, love this more realistic telling of the Cinderella story. Drew Barrymore plays the poor, orphaned Danielle who has been living with her horrible step family since her father’s death. Angelica Houston nails the role of evil stepmother. And Dougray Scott plays the very charming prince. Her dress at the ball was a serious prom dress goal for me. This came out in 1998 when I was in the 9th grade.

The Glass Slipper

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The Glass Slipper is an adaptation that falls through the cracks for a lot of Cinderella fans. It stars Leslie Caron as a very different kind of Cinderella. She is much more of a tomboy who is very unhappy with her lot in life. She meets who she thinks is an apprentice in the palace, but who is in fact the prince. Given that Caron is an excellent dancer, there’s some great dance numbers in this one and Michael Wilding’s Prince Charles is…well…I know I keep saying they’re all charming, but they are and it’s sort of a requirement, isn’t it!

A Cinderella Story

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Oh Chad Michael Murray, you beautiful specimen. In 2004, Hilary Duff was in the midst of her Lizzie McGuire fame and Chad Michael Murray was smack dab in the middle of his One Tree Hill fame. Which made for the perfect pairing in this teen high school comedy about two students at either end of the popularity spectrum at school, falling in love through IM/text and never seeing each other’s faces. Until he asks her to meet him at the school dance at midnight. She shows up as Cinderella, he shows up as Prince Charming, but will he discover that it’s really the “Diner Girl” under all that glamor. Yep, I love this one too!

Cinderfella

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I’m pretty biased when it comes to Jerry Lewis movies. I was raised on them! And this adaptation of Cinderella in the form of Cinderfella is a favorite. Poor Fella is orphaned as Cinderella’s often are and left to the ministrations of terrible stepmother and stepbrothers. But he’s got a fairy godfather who’s gonna help him meet the princess. Lewis is an expert physical comedian. My favorite part in this movie is a dance scene he does in the kitchen. Love it!

Ella Enchanted

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Ella Enchanted was based on a book of the same name, so I get a very mixed reaction to this one from people. I happen to love it. Anne Hathaway plays Ella, a girl who was given the gift/curse of obedience by her fairy godmother when she was a baby. When her evil stepsister figures out her secret, she’ll use it against her. When Ella meets the handsome prince who she is determined not to like (but ends up totally liking), she’ll do all she can to save him from the consequences of her gift. This movie has a great cast: Minnie Driver, Hugh Dancy, Lucy Punch, Vivica Fox, Parminder Nagra, Eric Idle, Steve Coogan and the one and only Cary Elwes as the evil Edgar.

If the Shoe Fits

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Well, if you’ve never seen this one, you don’t even know what you’re missing. Rob Lowe plays a famous fashion designer, Francesco, who is looking for his perfect muse. Jennifer Grey plays an assistant with big dreams to design the shoes for his fashion shows. But she gets no notice from him till she tries on an enchanted pair of shoes that transform her into the perfect muse for Francesco and hey, a love interest too!!

A Cinderella Christmas

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This one has got Hallmark Channel Christmas movie written all over it, though it is an Ion TV original. I’ll let the blurb from the website speak for itself, “At a holiday masquerade ball, fledgling event planner Angie Wells and wealthy playboy Nicholas Karmichael, who needs to marry to retain his inheritance, meet and fall for each other anonymously. While Nicholas tries to locate the girl of his dreams, Angie must choose between pursuing her lifelong dream of running a business or following her heart.” This one has merit purely for the handsome Peter Porte who plays the wealthy playboy Nicholas.

Aladdin

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Aladdin is very much a Cinderella story. A poor boy of low circumstance has a magical companion who assists him in changing his appearance so he can go meet the beautiful princess. It’s far more in depth than the classic telling of Cinderella and the genie is by far, my favorite character in all Disney canon. But I added this one to the list for it’s Cinderella overtones and because the movie itself ranks high on my Disney list as well.

Sabrina (1954)

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Ah, Sabrina. Not exactly a Cinderella story, but the template is there. A simple chauffeur’s daughter falls in love with the youngest son of her father’s wealthy employer. She goes off to Paris where she is transformed from a gawky girl to a beautiful woman, there’s even a memorable dress involved. This one has a twist, because it isn’t the younger son who turns her head in the end.

Sabrina (1995)
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See the notes from the 1954 Hepburn/Bogart edition, because this is a faithful adaptation of that movie. Except it has the ever handsome Harrison Ford as Linus Huckabee and the transformative Julia Ormond as Sabrina. Greg Kinnear rounds out this cast as the younger brother who first steals Sabrina’s heart.

There are plenty of other Cinderella adaptations to choose from, but these are my favorites. Which is yours?

#PrincessBootCamp – Cinderella Week Fitness Plan

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As I mentioned in my Meal Plan Post, Cinderella is an easy Princess to find fitspiration in. She is a hard working girl. And we know she’s fit cause she didn’t even break a sweat running down all those stairs, in high heels no less. Well…high heel!

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Here’s what I did for Cinderella Week in regards to a fitness plan. For all 8 weeks of #PrincessBootCamp I challenged myself to work out at least 4 days a week. I could do more, of course. I could even do smaller workouts on some days, but if I got in 4 days of fitness, I considered it a win.

In order to create some variety for myself, I created this list of Cinderella inspired activities to choose from:

-Stairs

-Deep Cleaning (house, yard, garage…whatever you can find)

-Ballroom Dancing (classes, DVD’s, You Tube videos)

Doesn’t matter which activity you choose to do. You can pick all of them or just one that you find yourself enjoying. Me? I chose to do all the activities as much as I could throughout the week. Whenever I had some extra time on my hands I was running the stairs to my apartment or doing a Dancing with the Stars DVD. Anything to keep myself motivated and stay in a Cinderella state of mind.

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Gym memberships are really expensive, and Cinderella simply didn’t have one in her budget! So instead, I offered my cleaning services and in turn got a serious workout in. I felt good about helping my parents (a very Cinderella thing to do) and I burnt major calories organizing, weeding, moving boxes, sweeping, etc.

Princess Boot Camp Cinderella Week Fitness Blog series Ballroom Dancing

Finally, I took a ballroom dancing class at my local Arthur Murray. I explained to my instructor what I was looking to accomplish and he was so game to teach me the Waltz and Viennese Waltz as well as discuss why Cinderella might have been exposed to those dances specifically. He was also very sad there was no Latin Princess that I could come back and do another lesson for. (Obviously he’s never heard of Elena of Avalor, but unfortunately, she’s not on my list this time around.)

Like I said in my post yesterday, I gave up the scale for this whole 8 weeks and started trusting my body to tell me what it needed, how it felt, what kind of progress we were making together and after week 1…I felt pretty great!

Clean eating had flushed out a lot of the bad stuff that I’d been relying on and broke the hold sugar had on me. I know the first couple pounds are the easiest to lose, but I took that feeling and held on tight!

#PrincessBootCamp – Cinderella Week Meal Plan

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Starting is always the hardest part with it comes to a new fitness plan. At least for me it is. Months of eating poorly and choosing Netflix over any strenuous physical activity had left my body in very poor shape. I live in a 2nd floor apartment and stairs were quickly becoming my nemesis.

At the start of 2017, I chose the word “Believe” as my word of the year. I picked it at a time when I was having trouble believing in anything, myself least of all. But I saw this challenge as a chance to start believing again. And for the next 8 weeks, that’s what I did. I dove into #PrincessBootCamp with both feet and I started to believe that I could do things I hadn’t done in a long time, believe that I could do things I’d never tried before!

As I said in my introduction post, I’m in a different place than I was when I was an #AvengerinTraining and repeating what worked then simply wasn’t an option. So a new series was born.

Week 1 I focused on Cinderella.

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Cinderella is the story of a girl who loses her mother, then loses her father and is left in the care of her evil stepmother and stepsisters. She is basically held captive by these uncaring women and with little love or compassion, is left to a life of slavery and cruelty. Her socio economic status makes it impossible for her to break free from this household.

Being the kind-hearted, optimistic young women she is, Cinderella takes each challenge as it comes to her and never lets it make her cruel or bitter herself. She is a hard worker who spends plenty of time dreaming of what could be. Does she dream of princes? Yes. But given her situation in life, and her view of the palace, can you blame her? It’s a tangible representation of the life she could have, if only…

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Photo by Cristina Fowler @thelittlestfowler

Cinderella spends her days in the kitchen cooking for her “family,” in the garden working her fingers to the bone. She does the chores in the house and she makes sure everything is in working order. If there is back breaking work to be done, it falls to Cinderella’s slender shoulders and do we ever hear her utter one complaint in most of the movie adaptations? One bitter invective? No, we do not. This Princess is kind and persistent and she does not let the circumstance of her life change her kind heart. Now, that is something to aspire to!

In an effort to channel Cindy for this first week of #PrincessBootCamp I created a meal plan for the week based on what a 19th century peasant girl might have been eating at the time. My shopping list looked like this:

-whole grain bread (the cheapest kind)

-butter or low cost jams

-oatmeal/porridge

-eggs

-inexpensive cuts of meat (ie: ground beef, chicken, whatever is cheapest at the market)

-greens (brussel sprouts and spinach)

-apples, blackberries, raspberries

-water, water, water

-tea

Monday through Saturday, I adhered strictly to the above list and DID NOT DEVIATE…can I tell you what a win it was to make a plan and stick to it. Even for 6 days. It was a bloody triumph!!! Now the amount of food I ate from day to day varied. With an elevated level of activity, some days I needed more energy than others. And since all the food on my list was good stuff, I felt perfectly fine not counting the calories and just trusting my body. I also gave up weighing myself for the whole 8 weeks. In fact, I encourage you to do the same with any fitness plan you take on. That scale becomes a crutch very quickly if we let it. Don’t let it!

On the seventh day, I let myself go to the ball and I indulged in a delicious piece of chocolate cake from my favorite place in Winter Park: The Briar Patch. In order to fully embrace your inner Cinderella, you have to accept that home girl probably got her eat on at that ball, despite what we see on screen! I think she would have taken the chance to taste something delicious at some point in the night. Even if she was short on time and dazzled by a handsome prince! Think what you want…I choose to believe in the power of cake!

Next up: Cinderella Week Fitness Plan

That Which We Call a Cheeseburger… #PrincessBootCamp

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I stepped on the scale and the scale was angry that day, my friends. Maybe the scale isn’t a morning person. Or maybe the scale was mad that I’d stepped on his back and asked for him to show me something nice. He didn’t. He showed me a mean, angry number. A number that may be perfectly fine for someone else, but a number I’ve never seen looking back at me before.

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Photo from Watchfit.com

Usually seeing a number I don’t like on a scale’s face incites me to action. I go out for a run. I discover a new fitness class. I do yoga. I skip a meal. But on the day in question, in December of 2016, it was just depressing, hard to see and really upsetting. I wondered to myself “How did this happen?” And that evening, when I went through the Burger King drive-through, on my way home from work… #1. I ordered the cookies for dessert, cause at this point, why not. And #2. I immediately knew how this had happened.

My dissatisfaction with my own life turned into finding satisfaction in chocolate cake and morning donuts. I’d think to myself: “Food, Food, wherefore art thou, Food?” “Food, O you the god of my idolatry.” “That which we call a cheeseburger, by any other name, would taste as sweet…”

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Photo from Bacontoday.com

The fact that I was reciting Shakespeare to my cheeseburger was concerning.

It boils down to this…I was unhappy. And cheeseburgers…oh man, they made me happy. Don’t get me started on chocolate chip cookies. I could have written a damn love song about them.

I let the circumstance of my unhappiness cloud my judgement, my discernment. And at some point I stopped loving my body and started abusing it. Using it as a doormat for my dissatisfaction.

And then one day, as I was stuffing my face with processed foods and refined sugars and watching Cinderella for the 20th time, I had a thought. An idea. A spark that I hadn’t felt in a long time. Creativity rearing it’s beautiful head and reminding me that it was still there inside me, even if I had decided to try and abandon ship…it had never left my side.

That day #PrincessBootCamp was born. And now it’s time to show you that journey that I took towards a healthier life, towards a body I worked hard to have, towards self love and a brighter outlook on life.

If you’ve never read about my #AvengerinTraining series: Check it out. I based this Princess series on the template I’d created for myself back in 2014. It worked so well that time around. And I have to tell you…(Spoiler alert!) it worked even better this time around!

Look, I’m always gonna struggle with my body. Some days more than others and the older I get, the less those thoughts ravage my mind. What works for me today may not work tomorrow. When I’ve tried to repeat my #AvengerinTraining program (that I also made up) it hasn’t worked. For some reason with fitness, lighting rarely strikes the same way twice for me. Back then the Avengers kicked my ass into shape! And now it’s time to let the Princesses have their shot.

There’s a narrative out there that Disney princesses are damsels only. That the majority are looking for love and nothing else in life. That perhaps little girls shouldn’t grow up with princesses as their role models. Seems like a personal choice to me, so I won’t speak to that. All I’ll say is that I grew up with Disney princesses as role models and you’re about the hear the good and the bad about each one. Because just like human people, Disney princesses have flaws and faults, but they also have redeeming qualities and attributes that we can aspire to. It’s a both/ and situation. At least it is, in my humble opinion, which you are certainly welcome to take or to leave. (*wink)

Here’s a breakdown of what the next 8 weeks on this blog will look like. I’ll be going into more detail as we go along, so if you want to give any part of it a try, you can. But first consult an actual fitness or medical professional, cause I’m not one!! I’m just someone who tried something that worked.

Week 1:

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Week 2:

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Week 3:

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Week 4:

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Week 5:

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Week 6:

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Week 7:

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Week 8:

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Each week is based on a different princess. The food that they might have eaten, the activities the might have done. They are scheduled based on release date. Not all princesses are represented (no Belle, no Snow, no Jasmine, no Tiana) I only had so much time on my hands, so I went with the princesses I thought I could build workouts around and let’s just admit that Snow White…not much fitness going on there!

I hope you enjoy what’s about to follow. And if you have any questions, my virtual door is always open!

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Mawage

The Impressive Clergyman: Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.

I’ll admit…when I was younger, I dreamed often and deeply of my one perfect, future wedding day. A day surrounded by friends and families and pretty colors. A day I’d have lost all the unwanted weight for. A day I’d driven all my bridesmaids crazy to get to. A day where my groom might reconsider the whole endeavor, but ultimately go through with it, cause no one calls off a wedding on the day of a wedding. It’s quite rude, you know! Ok, I didn’t actually dream of all that.

My dream wedding looked a lot more like this:

I’m not even joking! I had this “Doglass Fairbanks and Catrina Meowford” Lisa Frank design on a trapper keeper and I carried it around all the time and referenced it anytime the discussion of weddings came up. It was part of little Lizzie’s recipe for her perfect wedding day.

Ah yes…that one perfect day. Some say it’s the “happiest day of their lives.” Which used to make sense and now seems incredibly strange. I don’t think I have a “happiest day of my life.” Not because there haven’t been a plethora of happy days or because I am unmarried female. Only because I think that’s a statement best saved for the twilight of life. Lots of people get married at a young age. My parents were married when they were 22 and a lot can happen in 36+ years of marriage (including but not limited to, having a rather fantastic daughter. And also a son who is almost, but not quite as cool as said daughter. *wink!) Seeing as a wedding is only the starting point, isn’t it safe to say that a bride and groom might just be starting a life full of different sized happy days? Maybe I’m overthinking it.

But things like this lead me to think that there is too much hype about the wedding day and not enough hype about the marriage…Do you have that friend that just keeps posting her wedding photo over and over again, even though it’s, like…10 years later? And it isn’t even her anniversary or anything? We get it, JOAN! You’re unhappy and want to remember the good times! Find a recent picture of your happiness already or make a new memory. Cause…it’s getting sad!

Ok…cause all the “cool” kids are doing it. Here it is…the only living picture of me in a wedding dress…

From the years 2007 – 2012 I worked at Kleinfeld Bridal. You may not know the name of the store, but you might know the show that is filmed there, “Say Yes to the Dress.” After that I went on to work at Pronovias for a summer, another wedding atelier. I was in 14 weddings and I moonlighted as a wedding planner for a while. When you work with brides and plan their big days and hear their stories and peddle shiny, poufy, lacy concoctions…you dream of your own wedding. So little Lizzie wasn’t the only one who was planning ahead. It was as recent as 2012 when I could be caught in a wedding daydream. Goes to show how much a person can change in 5 years.

I guess I need to say this, cause there could be plenty of evidence to the contrary…but, I don’t hate weddings. I actually really enjoy them. Free food? Check! Free drinks? Check! All night dance party? CHECK!! All things I love! Add getting dressed up and great hair and you’ve got yourself a recipe for fun. And I have found enjoyment in every wedding I’ve ever been to/in. Whether I’ve been the wedding coordinator on purpose or by accident. Whether I’ve been the one lacing up the bride’s corset. Whether I’ve just gotten to sit back and watch one play out, like a holiday special of Boy Meets World. Or whether I’ve been standing right next to the bride in the dressing room, at the altar, in the bathroom 3 hours later. It’s all been a ride.

I’m just not entirely sure it’s a ride I want to take for myself. Does that get me a lot of strange looks from a lot of little old ladies…yep! Does that mean I never want to get married…nope! It just means that if I do it, it probably won’t be the “happiest day of my life.” It means that it will probably look nothing like I ever wanted it to look like when I was a kid, or when I was in my 20’s, or hell…5 years ago.

But there’s one thing that hasn’t changed, gentle reader…I still think Lisa Frank designs a helluva wedding dress…

Fashionable

I love fashion. I have loved it my whole life. From when I was a little girl in the 80’s wearing 4 pairs of socks stacked on top of each other to the 90’s when I experimented with wearing my skirts over my pants to my college years when I studied Apparel Design and Technology at Florida State University to now where I can be found sharing my fashion sense here on my blog and on Instagram!

I used to dream of being a big time fashion designer living in New York City, dressing models, cutting fabrics, making the hard call about sleeve lengths. Or even transitioning over to print and working at a fashion magazine. My fashion design role models were Zac Posen, Norma Kamali, Vera Wang and Dolce & Gabbana.

When I graduated from college, I immediately headed off to the big city to make my dreams come true. I got an internship at LaROK, moved into the first apartment that came along in Brooklyn and started to live those big dreams!

The internship was 4 months long and in those 4 months, my love for fashion never died, but my interest in continuing to work in the industry started waning. I had a few friends at my internship that weren’t eager to rip my small town heart out of my chest and feed it to the gods of fashion, but they were the exception, not the rule.

It’s no secret that the fashion industry is competitive, cutthroat and very much an industry where it pays to be out for number 1.

Does that sound like me to you, gentle reader? Guess how many people in the fashion industry count Star Wars as their favorite movie…let’s just say, I didn’t encounter any. And being a nerd? Well, that wasn’t exactly de rigueur, by industry standards at the time.

Star Wars Darth Vader sweater styled by Star Wars

I quickly adopted the tell-tale black wardrobe popular with the New York fashion scene. Something that still baffles me to this day. As one of the fashion capitals of the world, how is black their go to color? There’s a whole rainbow to work with, people! Find a new hue!!

All this to say that sometimes dreams are just that and they have no place in the real world. Causing a big shift in how I viewed my life once the dreams of being a fashion mogul faded.

I went on to work in the bridal industry, as a nanny, in a preschool, in social media and now I’m a worship leader at local church back in the smaller town I started out in. Somewhere in the midst of my life, this little blog was born.

I never thought I’d enjoy writing as much as I do (though the signs were always there…I always loved the essay portion of exams and doing book reports.) Life is a big twisty bobcat pretzel and if you fight to take the twists out, then you’re sort of missing the point.

I sometimes think about that alternate universe that spun off when I made the choice to move to New York and work in fashion. Somewhere out there, there’s a version of me that has dedicated herself to sleeve lengths and runway shows. She’s sacrificed Christmases at home, friendships with real people and eating a healthy diet for the more glamorous life of a famous fashion designer. She dresses Beyonce for the Met Gala and goes to fancy parties. But she doesn’t write and she doesn’t go to Star Wars conventions and she definitely doesn’t lose time thinking about her future mutant powers and what her superhero costume might look like.

I don’t say this lightly…alternative universe Liz is so basic!!

Used Cows and Crumpled Flowers

Let’s talk about sex.

A very personal topic, to be sure.

And I’ll be straight with you, internet. I’ve never had it. I didn’t have it on prom night or experiment in college. I didn’t have a Bradshaw-esque one night stand in New York City or make a really bad drunken decision. (Well, that’s not true. Bad decisions were made and alcohol was involved, but still…no sex.) I didn’t have a long term boyfriend who I wanted to share that with. And through a series of events, romantic missteps and my own personal choices I have kept my V-card. Sometimes not for lack of trying to change that status, to be even more honest with you (why stop now.)

Most of the time it’s been a decisive choice I’ve made not to share that with another person. But I have to tell you…the literature out there (Bible notwithstanding) is quite poor on reasons why a man or woman may choose to not have sex before they’re ready, interested, married, old enough, smart enough…the list of reasons goes on. And the advice about having it isn’t any better!

Let’s start with the worst advice out there and work our way through it!

“If he’s tastes the milk, he won’t buy the cow.”

Let’s keep being honest here…boys aren’t being told that they are cows that have to protect their milk. The double standard surrounding sex has been around for a very long time. Women wear white on their wedding day to signal the purity coming to the marriage bed…where’s that declaration from the groom? Not only is it nowhere to be found…it’s frowned upon for a young man to be sexually pure after a “certain age.” And women? Well, we cows have to protect our milk or no respectable man will want to…buy us? Who thought this was a healthy narrative regarding sexuality? I’m not sure when this phrase was born, but I know it’s long past time for this one to die out! And yep, I’ve had had someone tell me this before!!

“If you have sex your ‘flower’ will get crumpled.”

I think the TV show ‘Jane the Virgin’ handled this one really well. But for real…virginity is not a flower. It is not something that can be trampled or crumpled by consensual sex with another human being. There are plenty of ways that sex can go wrong. But deciding to have it is not the end of your world and you certainly shouldn’t be made to feel like a tossed gardenia after making such a choice. And what about people who didn’t make a choice to have sex…are they damaged goods too? Think about how harmful that phrase is to someone who has been raped!!

“You should wait because of the other person.”

This has always been one of my least favorite reasons to wait. Personally, I don’t want a pregnancy scare…I don’t want STD’s…and I don’t want the emotional attachment that comes with having sex (no matter what anyone says to the contrary) and all that has nothing to do with some imaginary future partner that I am definitely not waiting around to find. So the idea that a pivotal life decision should be made for anyone other than me, myself and I is just as absurd as the idea that I’m a prized cow with precious milk that needs protecting.

“Lady in the street, freak in the bed.”

Let’s not pretend that conservatives who believe in waiting for marriage are the only ones who’ve mishandled information about sex. The liberal side hasn’t done a great job either. The idea that a women should be one thing when you meet her and another thing when you sleep with her is ludicrous. And are men supposed to be gentlemen in streets, but turn into animals in the sack? This one is silly at best and dangerous at worst. If I’m a lady in the street, then you take me home and I Fatal Attraction you…is that supposed to be sexy? And what about those of us who are what you see? Yeah…I say no to this one!!

Look…sex is a messy topic. (This much we can all agree on.) And parents, pastors, teachers, politicians, news anchors, celebrities, liberals, conservatives…everyone has a hard time talking about it. I can’t blame them for that. I have a hard time talking about it too. Writing this post about sex on a blog that my friends and family read…uncomfortable. But it’s important and what I want to do is share with you what I wish had been shared with me when I was younger.

Here’s the really personal part…another reason I’ve never had sex is because it terrifies me. Can you blame me? I can’t let my flower wilt! I can’t let the milk spoil! I can’t lose my purity because that scares the “good guys” away! And even if I decided I wanted to have sex, I have to be one thing when a guy meets me and another thing when it gets intimate.

Here’s what I think…since you came all the way over here to my mind palace…Sex is good, great, exciting, WONDERFUL! I believe God made sex. I think it’s ok to want to have sex. The when, the why, the how… that changes from person to person. And if you are religious, then your beliefs may play a very important role in your decision making process (mine do!) One of the most important parts is that the people involved in the decision to have it are on the same page and should agree about having it. And above all else, we as a society should stop using phrases involving cows, flowers and freaks to describe it. Enough already!

For the love of all that is good…we have to change the way we talk about sex for future generations. We just have to!

Online Dating

It was my first foray back into the “wonderful world of online dating.” Actually, it was my re-introduction to dating after a very long time…period. And boy, was I rusty!

I flexed my dating muscles by downloading 2 of the most popular dating apps: Tinder and Bumble. Basically the same thing in different clothes. The Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde of dating apps, if you will.

 

Bumble dating app nerd bloggerDr. Jekyl…the seemingly normal, mild-mannered better half, who promises some semblance of humanity, but is secretly cooking up serums to hide the evil within.

Tinder dating app blog post

Mr. Hyde…the maniacal other half, not even bothering to hide in the shadows while it’s “nice guy” exterior is shed to reveal the inner beast!

In truth, neither app is to be trusted. And if you’ve ever had a good experience on one of these apps…more power to you, but you are the exception, not the rule!

But out of all the recommendations I was getting for online dating (and there were plenty) these were the two I decided to try. There was very little commitment to jump in and the minimalistic profiles appealed to me.

One of the things I hate most about online dating sites is the lengthy amount of information you’re given to sift through about a person all before ever meeting them face to face. And let’s be honest, some people may not look great on paper, but have great personalities. And some may look stellar on paper, but are rubbish in person. It’s a crap shoot.

So I had high hopes that at the very least, it was going to be a worthy social experiment.

IT WAS NOT!

I got ghosted by 2 separate men. One of whom I’m still not sure if he stood me up or if I stood him up. The other who asked a question, which I attempted to answer, then dropped the mic and never followed up. Why ask in the first place??

But the pièce de résistance has to be Ben. Ben was a Hyde in Jekyl clothing. Seemingly nice, unassuming, had been hurt by love and was looking to move on.

This is how the whole thing went down with Ben…

-A couple texts back and forth

-Interest was piqued

-Ben suggests we go for a hike in the woods

-I suggest a less secluded location (I’m not about to get human trafficked!)

-Reluctantly Ben agrees

-We make plans to walk around Park Avenue and get some ice cream

-Ben asks what I’ll be wearing….then offers “helpful” suggestions as to what i might consider as an option…

“How about stilettos, teased hair and a leather studded jacket?”

Yep, you read that right. Ben suggested I dress as Sandy from Grease, but not Sandy as she normally dressed throughout the whole of the movie. Sandy at the end of the movie, when feeling as though she isn’t “bad girl” enough for Danny Zuko dresses in stilettos, teased hair and a leather studded jacket to make sure she doesn’t lose her man!

Grease Sandy online dating blog post

This, ladies and gentlemen, was the actual suggestion Ben made to me. Because who wouldn’t want to show up on a date looking like that. Wonder if he was planning to show up in a letterman’s jacket or T-birds jacket.

We’ll never know because that was the end of that. I texted back saying I was not interested in going on the date, wished him well and blocked his number. I don’t ghost people, but I also don’t go on dates I no longer want to go on!!

Maybe you think the reaction to his suggestion a bit extreme, but it says a lot about what he thinks about women. And…no thank you!

After a couple other missteps on these apps, I decided enough was enough and deleted both of them. What I thought was going to be a fun experience turned out to be more excruciating than I was willing to put up with.

I was under the misconception that these dating apps would take you out of the text conversation hell hole that other sites put you in. But it just ended up being question after question with no follow through. Not to mention the number of guys who wanted boob shots and extra photos of me. I can only imagine what they would have done with the pictures if I’d had a much lower self esteem and had sent them.

Faith in humanity was at an all time low after this experience. But it did teach me a valuable lesson about online dating, or specifically these apps that promote a culture of hooking up and one night stands…it’s not for me.

Fitness

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “fitness” I immediately think of physical fitness. Working out, doing yoga, going for a run, doing planks, going to spin class, eating quinoa and kale and flax seed paste. (Ok…ok, I never ate flax seed paste!) Even when you Google fitness, it’s pictures of gyms and weights and really well-muscled human beings that show up. But what about mental, emotional and spiritual fitness.

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We, as a culture, need to adjust how we think about a person’s fitness. If someone is overweight and looking to lose a few pounds, we know just what to recommend. We share our favorite recipes and the tricks and tips that worked for us. But try and talk about mental or emotional fitness and…crickets! Not a lot of people offering their favorite prayers or the therapist that really helped them through a crisis.

What a disconnect from how the human body functions. Again, I don’t know about you, but when my mind isn’t right it throws everything else into a tailspin. And not the good kind of Tailspin!

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Let me tell you about 2016. I was the heaviest I’d ever been. Weighing in at over 200 pounds, which for my body frame and height is not the worst I could be, but it was the worst I’d ever felt physically. Guess what was going on mentally…spoiler alert, it wasn’t rainbows and puppies!! It was a difficult year and there were times when I prayed God would just release me from my life. Yeah…you read that right.

My mind was not in a good place. My emotional and mental fitness took a toll and it was very apparent in my physical fitness as well. My smile had disappeared and there was no way I could get up and care about myself enough to go for a run or cook myself a healthy, balanced meal.

The people in my life tried the best they could. But I was embarrassed and thought I should be more “grown up” and able to handle the stress that seemed to be piling up on me. Guess what…I couldn’t. And no amount of “suck it up, kid” mentality could fix it! I was sinking and the world had little to offer in the way of help.

Ultimately, I am a woman of faith, so my reliance on God and His plan for me is what brought me back to who I truly am. Not everyone has that. And not everyone can see clearly in those moments. How are we working to make things easier for people struggling with the darker corners of their mind? How are we showing that we care just as much about mental health as we do about the physical?

I gotta say, I think we’re getting better as a society at “allowing” mental illness to be something important and something to not be ashamed of. But don’t get me wrong…we still have a long way to go!

If you feel like the stress of the world is piling up and the hope you have seems to be waning, reach out!! Reach out to me, your local church, a mentor or someone you trust or call this hotline: 1‑877‑SAMHSA7 to figure out some next steps you can take toward mental fitness! It’s important! And someone cares!!

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