Beach Bumming

With the holiday and “last” summer weekend upon us the beach has been on my mind. There will be many people heading to some sort of body of water this weekend (myself included) whether it be the ocean, a pool, lake, or pond. Unless you have the luxury of your own private sanctuary you aren’t going to be alone. There will be many other families, friends, and lovers trying to enjoy their long weekend too. I know, the last thing we want to do it worry about other people on our time off but we can’t escape the reality. Wherever you may find yourself this weekend, there will be other people around you and it’s only right to respect their time and space as well. With a few small tips it’s actually pretty easy and it will make yourself look pretty good (and who doesn’t like that?) because unfortunately there are many selfish and oblivious people out there that have no respect whatsoever for others. I put together a quick list of a few guidelines that I try to follow when I’m at the beach, collected after experiencing many annoying and joyless beach trips. Hopefully this will help you vacation with more ease and confidence this weekend and many more weekends to come.

1. Before you stake your spot pay attention to your surroundings. First, try to leave a considerable amount a room between the other people on all sides of you. I understand that some beaches have limited room and even more so on busy weekends but try to make an effort to spread out. There are very few people who like being in arms lengths of people they don’t know, especially for long periods of time. I’m sure you don’t like it either, so why make everyone’s day miserable? People like to feel like they have a space that is all theirs. Have a particular spot that you like? Make sure to get there early to claim your spot instead of trying to squeeze in later. Being closer to the water, bathrooms, or snack bar is not worth the hassle of the huffs and puffs of other people around you. You should also pay attention to the wind and tide. You don’t want to sit too close to the water if the tide is due to come in soon. You can potentially lose your spot and may not find another one, or may need to squeeze somewhere else you really shouldn’t be. The wind direction is very important for those with umbrellas. As you can imagine, its not fun to get smashed in the face with a beach umbrella during a nice afternoon nap, especially if that beach umbrella is not yours. Just be aware and you will be fine.

2. Be cautious. If you are wearing flip flops or any type of sandal/shoe that isn’t secured tightly to your foot you should remove them as soon as you step onto the sand. Most sandals kick up a lot of sand as you walk and no one likes a whole pile of sand to the face- yuck! It’s also important to be cautious when shaking out your towel whether you are packing up or just re-adjusting. You make not realize it yourself but a lot of sand sticks to your towel and will get carried in the wind to the people next to you and maybe even beyond that. Take your towel to an open space and then shake it out.

3. There is no reason to yell- unless there is an emergency of course. Your voice carries on the shore so even if you think you are talking in a normal voice everyone around you can hear what you are saying. I don’t know about you but I really don’t care which muscles are sore, what you ate last night, or how horrible your job is. I go to the beach to relax, not listen to other people’s gossip.

4. If you are using a radio or speakers keep the volume low, just loud enough so the people you are with can hear it. Honestly, the best solution is an iPod and headphones but I realize that for larger groups people want to be able to socialize and hear each other without earphones getting in the way. So, if you do have a radio going just be mindful that other people may not want to hear your music. Also keep in mind what type of music you are playing, especially if you are in a heavy family populated area with children around.

5. Don’t smoke at your towel. The wind carries the smoke and you are in very close proximity to other people. Some people have allergies, asthma, and others just simply don’t like smoke blowing in their face- understandable. If you need to smoke find an empty spot on the beach, go for a walk, or head out to the parking lot.

6. If you want to get some exercise in with a football or frisbee pick your spot wisely. I hate having to constantly pay attention to those playing around me to ensure I don’t get slammed in the face. I want to close my eyes and relax or read a book. I don’t want to go home with a bruised eye or broken nose and I doubt you want to cause that to happen to someone else. Getting some exercise while at the beach is great, just pay attention to where you choose to do it.

7. If you are at a beach where dogs are allowed, keep your dog leashed. Not everyone thinks your dog is cute as you do. Also, don’t feed other animals. This includes other people’s dogs and the seagulls- ESPECIALLY the seagulls!!! If you like getting swarmed by seagulls then good for you but I can promise you that very few other people share that joy.

8. Lastly, clean-up. Before you leave your spot at the end of the day make sure all your trash is picked up and disposed of in the proper place. Beaches are beautiful, wonderful places but they won’t be for long if we don’t take care of them.

See, I told you (women love being right). These are all very simple things that only require minimal common sense. You can still enjoy your vacation the way you want to while respecting other fellow vacationers at the same time.

Enjoy your long weekend, get some sun, and relax. I will see you all next week!

If you enjoy reading this blog, please help me build my Facebook and Twitter following by liking my page (Lipstick Confidence) and by following me: @LConfidence.

#GenYproblems

Searching for some inspiration right before the weekend, I came across some great articles about my generation of women. It completely validated why I write this blog and put me in a really good mood (well, mostly). So naturally- I had to write about it.

It’s no secret that women haven’t always had the equalities, sense of worth, or opportunities we have now. Some women never dreamed of holding a man’s job because it just wasn’t possible. Being twenty-three years old and coming from an all-women’s college I rarely ever think about this. I have never said I couldn’t do something, didn’t deserve something, or wasn’t capable of doing something because of my gender. I always assumed and hoped that other women (of all ages) felt the same way. In reality, it’s really only my generation that has this mindset and as happy as that makes me it also makes me kind of sad at the same time.

In a recent study by FleishmanHillard, Heart Magazines, and Ipsos MediaCT they found that Gen Y women (born between the early 1980’s and  early 2000’s) see themselves as equal to their male counterparts/co-workers in the work place. The best part? This isn’t just in the United States. Women all over the world are perceiving themselves this way. The study was conducted with 1,000 women and 500 men in the U.S. along with 3,000 women from UK, France, Germany, and China. When participants were asked if they would describe themselves as smart, 70% of women said they would while only 54% of the men from Gen Y said yes. We certainly need to take a moment and celebrate how far we have come. The values and mind-set in which Gen Y women have been raised are clearly working. Growing up, we were never denied anything. We were always told we can be whatever we want to be. I honestly don’t think I ever heard the words, “No, you can’t do that. You’re a woman,” growing up or even today. This proves that women were never less capable than men. We have just been forced to believe we were. It was engrained into our brains to the point where we actually just started to believe it. Men had their role, women had their role and that was the end of it. If you were a women you took care of the house, raised the children, and maybe picked up a secretary, nursing, or teaching job. It was normal, natural- nothing wrong with it. Now, young women are going way beyond any such standard. And the fact that they actually feel and truly believe they can do so and deserve it at the same time is the best part. What’s the difference between Gen Y women, Gen X women, and baby-boomer women? Absolutely nothing. Except what we were taught.

Yes, this is all good news but we aren’t completely done here. These same women also admitted that there are still wage inequalities. More then 80% of the women involved in this study said that men are still paid more, often for the same exact job. The women did attribute part of this to the fact that men are better at negotiating and asking for salary increases but in my opinion- we shouldn’t have to. Why is there this inequality in the first place? Why does having female anatomy parts automatically make you less qualified, leading to a smaller salary? Because we won’t fight? Because we are too passive? I don’t totally buy it. Every person doing the same job should be paid the same salary. End of story. Yes, I understand there are different education levels, people have been in positions and with companies for different amounts of the time but the base salary should all be the same. We shouldn’t have to beg or ask for equal treatment. If we are qualified enough to be hired, we should be qualified enough to get a fair salary.

Another disturbing result in this survey was that 50% of the women that participated said that men resent the advances that women have made in the recent years. We may see ourselves as equal- but do men? In my experiences I have certainly thought so. I guess I am extremely lucky, I have never been made to feel inferior by a man because of my gender. But, if 50% of these women have had this experience then I can’t deny it- it’s still very much a real thing. The women that came before us had to deal with the same prejudices. This is nothing new and unfortunately I don’t think it’s going to go away anytime soon if this many women are still struggling with this discrimination.

This brings me to the question- what has really changed? There is one thing that is different this time around. Our attitudes. Women are no longer accepting this mindset. My generation is breaking down this barrier by believing in themselves. We now know we are worthy and know we can do anything we set our minds too. We can do anything anyone else can do and we won’t except “no” as an answer. But, this is only the first step. Should we consider the fact that women are finally thinking of themselves as equal to or dominant to men a success? Yes, I think so- but how far is that going to get us? The world needs to see women in the same light as we see ourselves before anything can really change. Pay inequality or resentment because of your accomplishments is not conducive to reaching true gender equality. There needs to be a huge social/cultural change before we can see true equality, especially in the work place where males and females work closely together, competing for the same jobs. We believe in ourselves- now can the rest of the world?

It makes me extremely happy to be part of Gen Y and know that my other fellow female peers feel the same way I do. We are so close- we need to keep empowering each other, supporting each other, and reaching out to those who need a little more help to get to where we are. I am proud of where we are today and I can’t wait too see where we go in the next 20, 50, 70 years.

That’s my weekend wisdom for you- enjoy! My intellectual side needs a nap, or perhaps a glass of wine…

Ten Ways To Become A More Confident You

As you have probably already noticed, it has been quite a while since my last post- over a  year. I let life get in my way of my goal to maintain and grow this blog. I was so enthralled in post-college life, planning a wedding, moving into a new house, and starting a new job that I completely forgot about me. Yes, this past year has been a really great one and tons of really fabulous things have happened to me. But, that doesn’t mean that I should neglect the person I was or the goals that I had prior to this “new life.” I’m really glad I finally came to terms with this, instead of constantly tucking this blog into the back of my mind every time I remembered how long it has been. Although I recognize where I went wrong, I still need help. Goals are not easy to maintain and that’s why we set them. We can’t expect to meet every goal we set for ourselves- what’s the fun in that? But, we can certainly try. In search for help, I surfed the web and read a handful of articles about how to achieve the goals you set for yourself. As I was reading, I complied my top ten list of the most helpful advice that I found and I would like to share those with you here. It’s always nice to know that you aren’t the only one struggling and that there is someone out there willing to help.

1. Don’t put off your goals. You may already have a goal in mind that hasn’t left the ‘idea’ stage yet. Let’s say your goal is to lose ten pounds, or save enough money for a new car, or perhaps it’s to get an ‘A’ on your next paper but you keep thinking of excuses to delay taking control of your goal. You may think, “Oh, I can just do that tomorrow… or next week.” There might be a big party this weekend where you want to be able to eat whatever you want or your favorite musician might be coming to town and you desperately want to buy tickets. But, why put off what you can do today? Even if it’s the smallest of steps- do it right now. You still have two days until that party, eat right and exercise then you can enjoy yourself guilt-free. Put $5 into your “car fund,” it’s a start. I can’t even tell you how many times I have thought about this blog in the last year. Every time I had a different excuse/reason why I should do it next week. Well next week turned into a year and here I am, feeling incredibly defeated. There was no reason why I couldn’t compromise and write a shorter post every other week instead of a longer post every week. At least I would have been writing something.

2. Try to put your goals first as often as you can. I realize there are going to be times when something comes up and your goal may have to be sacrificed a little but don’t make it a habit. It’s O.K. to say “no.” If you had a plan to go on a run after work but your friend calls you during the day to make plans to meet for dinner after work, suggest meeting for a late dinner so you can still get that workout in. It’s Friday, you just got paid and you had a plan to put a large chunk of that money in your new car fund but your friends want to spend the night at the casino, instead suggest something more low-key like drinks and game night at your place. Don’t let other people’s needs and desires get in the way of your own desires.

3. Be specific and take small steps. Don’t just say you want to lose weight, give it a number. Want a new car? Decide on what type, make, or model. For me, instead of saying that I want to write a blog post this week I pick my topic before hand. Knowing what I’m going to write about, thinking about it for a few days, then sitting down to write makes my goal seem ten times easier. You should also break your main goal down into many tiny baby goals. For example, I want to lose 2 pounds in the next two weeks or I want to save $100 this month. It makes your goal seem less daunting and gives you something to focus on in the short term.

4. Know your strengths and use them. If you have a weakness for chocolate but you enjoy working out, run an extra few laps around the track because you know you are going to have a piece of that Hershey’s bar later. I know that I won’t get any writing done on the weekends, it’s my downtime and I just want to relax. So I publish posts at the end of the week. Giving myself all next week to write a new one.

5. Plan ahead and give yourself deadlines. Most of the time, we know when events are going to occur in our lives. You have your best friend’s wedding next month or your going on a cruise vacation in the Fall. Eat right and exercise plenty until that big event. You deserve to enjoy yourself. If you work hard then you can fully appreciate that reward. Maybe you have a student loan payment coming due in a couple months. Skip the dessert or extra drink at dinner, save your cash so you don’t have to crack into that car fund to pay for it. When I know I’m going to have a busy week or I will be away, I write two blog posts in one week and save the second one for my busy week. All I need to do is click “Publish” and there I did it- I reached my weekly goal without much effort at all.

6. Do something your proud of. Have a goal to go law school or medical school? Stop and think a moment, is this something that you want to do? Or are you being influenced by friends or family? If it’s not something that you truly want to do, then don’t do it. There is no greater feeling then accomplishing your goals but I promise you won’t get that feeling if you aren’t truly excited about what you just accomplished.

7. Wash away negativity. Every time a negative thought comes into your mind- let it go. You only lost a half a pound this week? So? At least you lost something. You couldn’t save any money this month? So? At least, you didn’t lose any money. Don’t expect to hit every goal- it’s highly unlikely. But do keep pushing through, what’s the worst that could happen?

8. Seek help. There are very few things in this world that we can do completely alone. If you are struggling, ask for help. Ask a friend to be your gym buddy. Seek advice from a friend who saved up for their new car last year. How did they do it? Don’t be ashamed to get help, it’s a lot better than the alternative.

9. Consider new opportunities that arrive. We all have a plan about how we want to achieve our goals, but what happens when something new arises? We tend to let it pass by just because it simply wasn’t in our plan. Your local fitness class center is running a special on classes? Sign-up! It may not be in your current running workout regime but maybe it will be more effective for you. You won’t know unless you try. Perhaps a local store is looking for seasonal or weekend help? Try it out, if you hate it- quit. That extra money could serve as your gas or grocery money letting you save more money from you real job for your new car. You never know, you may really end up liking the job or meeting some new awesome people.

10. Evaluate your progress and your goals. Did a certain technique not work for you? Did you notice that you slacked off in morning workouts versus evening workouts? Try to avoid hitting the gym in A.M. Adjust your daily habits to benefit your goal, not hurt it. You need to evaluate your goals themselves as well. Maybe you set a goal to lose ten pounds in six months. But, you are well into month four and you have only lost a few pounds. Adjust your six month goal to five pounds and try to hit that mark instead. The feeling of success will encourage you to keep going instead of giving up.

I know this a boat-load of information to digest but it is all totally doable. You may not get it on the first try, but try and try again. You aren’t alone- I know I will certainly be trying over and over again.

Follow me on twitter @lconfidence and “like” my new Facebook pages- “Lipstick Confidence” AND “Lipstick Lit.” I post more than just my blogs there, or at least trying to…. progress people, progress.

Living Life, and Loving It

Hi readers! I’M BACK! After over a year of being MIA and getting my life together I realized I missed this. I have lost track of my goals and what I’m passionate about, but none of that matters anymore. All that matters is that I’m here- right now.

Quick update since so much has changed since I last wrote. I do think it is important for readers to know something about the person behind the words.

I was lucky enough to land a job in the publishing industry last July, only 2 short months after graduating college, and I have been loving every second of it. I have learned so much and it makes me feel really great to do something I love everyday. My fiance and I bought a house together in November which has been quite the experience so far. Who knew being a homeowner was so much work? 😉 There’s bills to pay, dishes to clean, floors to sweep, and endless laundry. Not to mention the weekly lawn chores to be done such as raking, shoveling, and weeding. All that aside- I love my new house. It’s absolutely perfect for where we are in our lives right now- great location, great size, and just about any amenity we need. Lastly, our wedding date is quickly approaching- October here we come! There are a ton of details to tie together that are making everything become a reality. As excited as I am about my wedding day (who doesn’t like a day completely centered around them?), I can’t wait for life after the wedding. I am so excited to just live life, focus on ourselves, our house, and our careers while not having to plan the biggest event of our lives. That’s all for now, folks!

My “welcome back” post will be up sometime next week- off to a wedding this weekend.

I also started another blog- a book review blog. Please check it out- Lipstick Lit. I feel completely revived!!