Wednesday, February 25, 2015

#iamimperfectlyme Week 1

Today marks 1 week that I have been doing my #iamimperfectlyme challenge! I thought I would write a post about how things are going so far and what I hope for the future. 

So far this challenge has been a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. I imagined that by the first week I would have the whole jar filled! However, I only have about 8-10 papers in the jar, which I think is very good! I feel like girls are constantly surrounded by images telling them that they have low self-esteem and that we need to fix it. This week has made me think, what if those images are actually causing people to think that they have lower self-esteem than they actually do? I've noticed this week that I definitely don't think as many negative things about myself as I thought I do. 

I don't want you to think that this week has been a walk in the park, though. My negative thoughts have hit me at all times of the day and sometimes it takes so much effort to notice what I am doing and put a stop to it. 

Above is one of the thoughts I had that struck me the most. I was sitting at my friends and had turned to talk to him and draped my leg over the arm of a chair or something, I don't remember anymore. I immediately looked down and thought how fat my leg looked. That really surprised me! Obviously if my leg is over the arm of a chair with pressure being put on my thigh the muscle, flesh, fat, etc is going to spread out. It's natural! It surprised me how much unrealistic notions about beauty have pervaded my subconscious. 

In fact, most of the thoughts in my jar are about my body. When I look back on it now it seems so silly to me! I do yoga almost every day of the week, I go to the gym to lift weights/run 2 times a week (the most I can fit in my busy uni schedule), and I eat a very healthy pescatarian diet (I eat fish/seafood but no meat). I've always thought that I was comfortable in my body and was confident about the way it looked, but this week has really opened my eyes to what I think about myself. 

As my challenge goes forward I hope I can catch the thoughts I have more quickly and find solid reasons why they are wrong. I hope that when the 40 days are over I will have a better body image and overall understanding of my self-esteem and what I truly think about myself. 

I'm going to keep letting you guys know about this challenge, but it might not be every week! I hope that, even if you aren't doing the whole challenge yourself, my posts will help you. Think about what types of things you think negatively about yourself and see if you can come up with reasons why those thoughts are wrong. Trust me, you will surprise yourself with your own inner strength! 

P.S. the tea of the day is Oprah chai ^_^

Monday, February 23, 2015

Things That Made Me Smile #3

There have been lots of things in the past few weeks since I did the last post like this that have made me smile. Here are just a few highlights!

Valentine's Day. I've never had a date on Valentine's Day but I've always liked the holiday. Mostly because of the chocolate; because let's be honest, that's why everyone likes the holiday. I also like it just because everyone is generally happy and feeling all lovey which makes me really happy. We decked out our apartment in decorations and had some friends over for a party the day before and it was so much fun!

New books. I found a Barnes & Noble gift card from Christmas in my wallet so of course I had to go pick up some books. I opted for some educational books in topics that I'm quite interested in. I just started Eating Animals and I'm already loving it!

Fancy luncheons. I went to a lunch for a scholarship that I received this past Wednesday and it was so nice. I forgot how much I like going out and getting nice food served to me that is presented well. Also, I like free food, so that was a bonus!

Brunch. Brunch needs to become a weekly Sunday thing. I enjoy it way too much to only do it every once in a while. My new life plan is to have some sort of brunch each Sunday. Who wants to join me?

What things have made you smile recently?

P.S. the tea of the day is Oprah chai ^_^

Sunday, February 15, 2015

#iamimperfectlyme: My Lent Project

I am not a particularly religious person. I grew up in a Methodist church but like many teenagers drifted away from religion as I became busy with school, sports, and friends. When I went to Japan I had no real connection to Christianity since so few people practice in Japan. After my year in Japan I felt even less religious. Japan is a very secular society where religion is so intertwined with culture and history that many people don't think of themselves as religious even if they observe Buddhist/Shinto holidays. However, I've always really liked the idea of Lent. 

Lent is a time when Christian believers prepare through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement, and self-denial for the coming of Easter. It lasts for 40 days, from Ash Wednesday until Good Friday ( 

I don't remember doing much for Lent before high school. I knew when it was Lent but I don't think my church had any special practices during this time. Some of my friends in high school were more religious than I was and would give things up during Lent. I found the concept fascinating and I started joining them, not for religious purposes but as a way to test myself. I wanted to see if I could live for 40 days without chocolate, dessert, meat, etc. 

This year as Lent started approaching I began considering what I wanted to give up. I felt bored giving up food since I have a very healthy diet and wanted to challenge myself in a different way. That's how #iamimperfectlyme was born. 

I decided that this year I was going to give up negative thoughts about myself. It's easy to say that you will do this, but I wanted a way to track myself and really hold myself accountable. My friend suggested that I get a jar, and every time I have a negative thought write down on a piece of paper why this thought is wrong and put it in the jar. At the end of the 40 days the jar will be filled (or hopefully relatively empty!) with all the reasons why the negative thoughts I have about myself are false. I absolutely loved this idea so I took her suggestion. I also decided to track my progress on both my blog and Instagram. 

I'll be writing blog posts throughout Lent discussing what the project is like and any problems I run into. I'll also be using the hashtag #iamimperfectlyme on Instagram to give daily doses of the challenge. I would love if you guys would join me! I don't want anyone to feel like they have to be Christian to do this challenge since that's definitely not why I am doing it. If you are Christian and want to use this as what you give up for Lent, please do! You also don't need to feel pressured to do the whole challenge! If just using the hashtag every once in a while is what you want, then do that! I would love to see everyone's pictures on Instagram using my hashtag and how it applies to your lives! I'm going to start using my jar on Wednesday but I'll start using the hashtag on Instagram probably today! 

Do you guys practice Lent? If you do, are you giving anything up?

P.S. the tea of the day is green tea (again) ^_^

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My Favorite Memories from University

I decided since I'm almost done with uni (and since my friend Katie requested it) that I would write a post about my favorite memories from uni. I have absolutely loved my years here and I am so sad to see them go! Here's why I loved them so much!

1. Study abroad. During my third year I went and spent the year at Keio University in Japan. I don't want to say that this was the best year of my life since every year is special to me. However, this definitely was a year I will never forget and I learned so many things from it. Growing up I never took trips outside the country. My family isn't wealthy, so our family vacations were camping trips mostly around the Midwest US with a few bigger trips (like Disney) thrown into the mix. Therefore, leaving the country for the first time, on my own, for a whole year, was a huge step. I'm so glad I didn't think too much about it and just took the leap! 

2. Making all my new friends. I'm from Minnesota so when I decided to go to a small, private school in Illinois it was understood that I wouldn't know anyone at school. The same thing happened when I went to Japan for a year by myself. I was extremely lucky when I took these two steps that I made so many amazing friends. Even though there were some hard times being so far from home, I wouldn't trade the friends I have made for anything. 

3. Leaving home. This sounds really negative but trust me, I don't mean it in a negative way! I learned so many things when I left home and had to figure everything out for myself. I was already pretty independent growing up, but leaving home took that to a new level. I feel completely comfortable going to the hospital alone, going through airports alone, doing all the housework that needs to be done, etc. I really feel like I wouldn't have understood any of this if I lived 2-3 hours away from my family. I know that my family will always be there for me if I need them, but now I know that I don't always need them. I am capable of taking care of myself. 

4. Living with my best friends. Sometimes when I think about how outgoing I've become during my years at uni I am still amazed. I truly believe that this is because I was living with my friends. We were always doing something together and I was always meeting new people through them. I have so many memories of crazy, silly late nights with these girls; things that never would have happened if I just went home at the end of the day. 

What are your guys' favorite memories from uni? 

P.S. the tea of the day is green tea ^_^

P.P.S. I have an exciting project coming up so look out for a blog post about it this weekend!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Let it Snow!

This past week we got a bunch of snow in Illinois. Luckily we didn't get as much as some parts of the country and it was only enough to make everything pretty and white! 

This past week in uni was a bit stressful and the work got piled on so it was nice to be able to sip some tea and look out at the beautiful snow while I was finishing all my work.

I've also been loving this candle. I light it when I'm studying or later at night when I'm relaxing or doing some yoga. My room is pretty small so it fills up my room really quickly and makes it smell so good!

How did you guys feel about all the snow? I hope everyone kept safe and warm when the storms hit!

P.S. the tea of the day is green tea ^_^