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Balcony garden {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com}

I so want a garden this year and the spring weather this weekend that is gone by today got me all inspired. A quick pinterest search and I’m FULL of ideas. People have some quite unique things! Here are a few:

Gorgeous, yes??? How’s that for some Monday motivation full of sunshine and bright colors?

I think this year we’ll start a bit simpler than some of these, since neither of us are experienced gardeners. In fact, I think I’ve killed most things I’ve attempted to grow. BUT. I really really really love fresh green stuff, I want at least an herb garden, and some bright fun flowers would be awesome. Our balcony get’s a lot of direct sun so I’ve got some researching to do.

Any gardening tips?
Have you grown a balcony garden?
What’s you favorite thing to grow – or favorite fresh-from-the-garden food?


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{PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} Lunch Date, cafe, coffee

Let's go out {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com}
I need to know where this is. Meet me here. The bright colors and sunshine are killing me.

I am in serious need of a coffee date.

Not because I like coffee. Tea is more my style. But because I need some “friend” time.

It’s draining, this whole “new city” thing. Most of my conversations are with people I’m getting to know. And going to places I haven’t been. And trying to figure out where in the heck do I find this?? (Insert various random things from the last couple months).

I miss being around people who really know me, you know? (I will say making a cross-country move with a partner makes it 1000 times easier. At least Jon and I are lost together!)

This blog knows me pretty well by now. Maybe better than I want it to through some “never-to-be-published-but-need-to-write-my-thoughts-out” posts. And since you and I are pretty much internet BFF’s by now, I’m just going to pretend we’re out to lunch together.

I’d tell you how I’m probably going to run another 10k this spring instead of a half marathon. I’ve had trouble finding a half that I can still register for… and honestly the thought of more serious training right now doesn’t make me all that happy. In prepping for the 10k I can continue working hard on my speed but not worry about building mileage again. There seem to be more half’s scheduled in the fall, so I’m looking at May 10k and September half mary.

Maybe a couple more sprinkled in, but I think I’m immune to the “racing bug” so this seems perfect.

If you’re into blogging I might also bounce some re-branding ideas off you. Not a serious re-branding… in fact that’s maybe the wrong way to put it. More that this blog has evolved since I started it and I want to update my about sections to better represent what PPA is now. It’s all still a jumbled mess in my head so I’d try to define it more concretely by talking it out and getting your feedback.

I might tell you how much I really think I belong in London and should be best friends with Jenna Coleman, Matt Smith, Andrew Scott and Benedict Cumberbatch. Or how about this: probably I should just be pals with all the BBC peeps. If that doesn’t work out I’m positive JLaw and I would be serious BFFs or I could get a job as one of Brad and Angie’s army of nannies because I think they’re both class acts.

I can’t help it you guys! Movies are my favorite (plus the greatness on TV these days; anyone else excited for Vikings and Game of Thrones soon??) and I can’t just leave it at “oh! She’s that girl from that one thing!” I kind of need to know everything about an actor I like. Don’t check my search history. No but really. It’s embarrassing.

If things get serious I may venture into politics/faith/advocacy stuff. But probably not. It’s been a period of serious introspection and mulling and “good LORD, world, get your shit together!” and trying to get an idea where I fit and frankly, that’s exhausting. Except if you get me slightly started in this general area of conversation be prepared for an avalanche. Just saying, you’ve been warned.

Finally, since we’re at lunch in real life, I’d tell you how amazing it is to see you and that you should totally visit again. What’s the point of moving to a new city that happens to be a really cool one if friends don’t come visit and explore with you? Ok, there are lots of excellent reasons to move, I know, but new adventures with old friends might be one of the most fun. Consider yourself invited! We have two air mattresses and a metro card with your name on them. Waffle breakfast? Homemade pizza? Lot’s of free stuff to do? Anyone?

What would you tell me about if we went to lunch?


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when motivation hurts {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com
when motivation hurts {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com

I’m taking my normal “gear myself up for the week” post a different direction today. Let’s talk about some of the harmful motivation on Pinterest and Tumblr and then how we can better evaluate the images we share.

As a note, I found all of these images by searching “motivation” on Pinterest. I have purposefully not linked them back. I also searched for motivation tips either showing or directed at men because I fully understand these concerns are not limited to women as portrayed in the images below. The search resulted primarily in scantily clad woman (surprise) and the few images of men that included quotes or tips were actually pretty good. We could take a lesson on the types of messages that should go on pictures of woman too.

1. Pain and guilt

The problem here is obvious. Pain tells you “hey, something’s wrong here, I might get injured.” Not listening to pain is how I’ve damaged my knees and pulled muscles. Learn the difference between pushing through a tough workout and ignoring serious signals from your body.

And know that breaks are good! We don’t need to feel guilty about a rest day or rest week, or time off to heal from injury or to recover from illness.

2. The wrong reasons

I could get on a very large soap box here and write about how I cringe each time I see the thousands of images like these, but I’ll keep it brief. To make someone like you more is pretty shitty motivation. To play upon someone else’s insecurity and/or make them jealous is even worse.

These also fuel the idea that we have to attain a certain type or level of fitness to be “hot,” attractive or worthy of jealousy. Absolutely nothing about this message is positive or motivational.

3. Hatred

These images encourage body hatred, plain and simple. Just look at that list! Collarbone, hip bone, thigh gap. The final “do it for yourself” point looks thrown in to make the image not that horrible. Or the top right: cry over a body you hate. And the bottom left image is a plain lie. Many of us can never be that in months because our bodies aren’t built that way.

I don’t want to judge body hatred itself. It’s a real emotion many of us – myself included – face every day! “Motivational” images that play on those insecurities do not help us work through body hatred in the least.

Positivity goal

As much as Pinterest and Tumblr are full of unhealthy “motivational” posters, there are plenty of great ones as well. I just encourage you to take a little time to evaluate before sharing:

• Does the image make me like myself?
• Does the tip sound like something my doctor would recommend?
• Would I give this advice to someone else / my child / a friend?

My plan going forward is if I can answer “no” to any of these questions I won’t share the image. Please join me in a commitment to sharing positive messages and encouraging healthy views of our bodies. 🙂

Have you ever felt discouraged by a “motivational” image or tip?


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YOU GUYS.

I have been obsessed lately with fashion blogs and fashion on Pinterest and… the lack of fashion on my wardrobe. Ugh. Normally I don’t care all that much and with limited spare funds for shopping exploits, it’s easier to make do. Plus, my non-fashionista self has an irritatingly hard time selecting and pairing pieces.

But! Jon and I have planned a joint shopping splurge in the near future – hopefully SOONER than later *wink* – and I can’t tell you how excited I am to not only get rid of and replace much of my closet (honestly, I still have things from college; maybe before college) but also update Jon’s wardrobe. Giddy!

Alas, the time has not yet come, but I’m trying really hard to plan. Too often I impulse buy just because something is on sale and not necessarily because I love it or because it will last. And I’m pretty awful at shopping with the rest of my wardrobe in mind. The worst thing ever is getting home excited about a new piece and having nothing to wear it with. So I’m trying to be proactive while I bide my time (let’s be honest, I don’t actually want to plan and think this much) until shopping extravaganza can begin.

Ok, also, despite my big words, we don’t actually plan to spend a gazillion pennies. But it has been years since either of us were able to put a whole lot of effort or dollars into quality clothes and I, for one, think its past due. Jon is along for the ride. 🙂

Anyway, I’m switching up my fitness or life motivation to fashion inspiration this week. And HALP! I need advice, tips, ideas, style tips, anything. I’m creative enough that I want to say I’m pretty good at fashion stuff… but that’s just not the case. Here’s what I like: skinny bottoms; loose tops; short skirts; lots of color; not afraid of patterns but I have zero concept how to mix them; absolutely ok with sparkle; some structure but not too much; a “whimsy” feel; nothing fussy and definitely comfort reigns over all else.

Single #1 fashion tip; ready, go!

Also, what is your favorite store to shop at?
Do you have a “style” you’re drawn to?
Favorite fashion blogger or Pinterest board?


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A dark side of health bloggers {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com}
A dark side of health bloggers {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com}

My bubble of “healthy-living bloggers are such a supportive and positive community” was just popped.

As happens so often on the internet, I was caught in a rabbit trail that led to me to Get Off My Internets, a forum site dedicated to venting and skewering bloggers. I then spent more time than I want to admit reading through forum pages of some big healthy living and running blogs.

I am ashamed.

I only scanned the forums for blogs I know. Many of them are long gone from my personal reader for various reasons. I even agreed with a lot of what I read. Or at least ended up agreeing. The power of suggestion went something like this: Oh yeah, I guess that is annoying. It always bothered me when {blank} wrote {blank}. Now I know why. Even worse: I understand how {blank} could be irritating, but I never noticed. Except now I will. Every time.

It seems I have avoided a dark corner of the internet until now. I understand discussion and disagreement on the internet as a form of social learning and development. Previously private conversations now play out on a grand scale online. Hello comment sections! Many times I learn more scanning through comments than I do from an article itself, despite some horrible things people say behind online anonymity.

Some of the forums hit on important questions, like “do healthy-living blogs encourage disordered eating and workout obsessions”? Um, yes. I would love to have that conversation!

Do fitness blogs encourage workout obsessions? {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} Do health blogs encourage disordered eating? {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com}

Other comments raised concerns about whether specific bloggers are actually healthy. This isn’t really anyone’s business besides them and their doctor… but I’m willing to give a pass here with reservations. When you read a blog for a long time, you pick up trends. When a blogger starts to take a seemingly negative turn, regular readers notice. Is this worth discussion in a public forum? I’m not convinced, but it does raise some concern that a blogger with a lot of social influence could hurt readers in the process.

What made me hang my head in shame was the general bitching:

• “I hate how she writes with. so. many. periods.”
• “All she does is whine and complain, I can’t stand it.”
• “I’m so tired of reading how she’s the perfect Christian SAHM who gets to run every day.”

And the kickers that get a rise out of me so fast:

• “I never thought she had a great body anyway.”
• “She thinks she’s way better looking than she is.”
• “Why does she always wear pants like that? They make her legs look awful!”

EXCUSE ME??

….

There are no words. I’ve been staring that this screen for several minutes and still don’t have anything short of a full-out scream fest in response.

The worst part is these forums are often started and maintained by other health bloggers. People who [should] sure as hell know better. Who [should] understand how much those words really matter. It is pretty evident in the forums that many of the bloggers themselves keep tabs. So not only are we bashing and shaming these people, we’re doing it knowing they are likely to read it. And we’re announcing that its OK to belittle someone with such a lack of basic respect.

The solution is stunningly simple: you don’t like a blog anymore, don’t read it. The opinions you can keep to yourself – or at least behind the privacy of email with friends, not a public forum. Good gracious. If you can’t say something nice…?

My happy online corner of beautiful people accomplishing extraordinary things full of encouragement and support just had a dark shadow creep in. Pardon me while I go watch these adorable goats playing. And some JLaw funny moments. Maybe some Benedict Cumberbatch clips. I need to find a happy place again.

Your turn:
Are these forums valuable?
What serious conversations should fitness/health/lifestyle bloggers be having?
Am I simply overreacting?


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