Commentary #3: “10 Things Every Woman Should Know By 25”

I have a love-hate relationship with these types of lists. On one hand, I love them and think they’re great. On the other hand, I have great disdain whenever I see a new one (cue the eye rolling) and think about how the female population is being put into a box, so to speak. More on that later.

Considering I just crossed the threshold into my late-20s, I thought I’d look at this list and see where I am in terms of what the writers at this flagship/legendary magazine believe I should be.


 

I’m going to post the short list here — “10 Things Every Woman Should Know By 25,” according to Cosmopolitan:

1. Get a Clarisonic.

2. Cut the social fat.

3. Stop judging your friend’s dickhead fiancée.

4. Buy a full bed!

5. Stop not knowing when your period is coming.

6. Not everybody has to wear foundation.

7. Make the transition from talking shit to doing shit.

8. Invest in a black blazer.

9. Date a type of dude you would have never dated before.

10. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. Stop worrying.


Here’s my take on these 10 things:

1. I’ve seen Clarisonic in the department stores. I’ve received the sales pitch and how beneficial it would be to my face, especially at my age. So, unless you want to shell out well over $100 for this “toothbrush for your face,” fine by me. Personally, some good face wash and a washcloth (heck, I normally use my hands in the shower in the a.m. and over the sink in the p.m.) have worked me for YEARS. I was blessed to not have terrible acne, and I’ve learned through lots of trial and error what products are best for my face. I currently use a combination of Clearasil and Clean & Clear.

Photo Credit: mojosavings.com

Photo Credit: mojosavings.com

For the record, I recently purchased a Clarisonic-like device from nomorerack.com for a lot less than the name brand. However, it’s been sitting in my linen closet, unopened, for over a month and a half because I haven’t finished using my current product line-up. I’m certain I’ll get around to using it, but I believe in finishing what you started in terms of products. Also, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

2. This one was interesting. I’ve done this a couple of times with Facebook, mainly because my friends list was well over 1,000 people, and that was slightly insane to me. My advice: Go through your friends list at least once (it doesn’t matter what age you are though) and determine who you talk to/interact with and who you don’t. You’ll likely be surprised about how many people are in the latter category. Plus, if you un-friend them and they decide that they want to better their friendship with you because of it, that’s great.

3. Ah, engagements and weddings. Wonderful, crazy times. The point of this one is simple: Treat your friends with respect, and that ALWAYS includes their S.O./fiance/spouse/partner. Fake it if you absolutely have to in their presence.

Please also apply this rule to your friends who are single – Please stop judging them about whether or not they’re dating, or even looking for someone. I’ve been on both sides of this coin, and it SUCKS. For the love of humanity, be kind and don’t be a nosy neighbor, so to speak.

4. This list was originally published in September 2013, and I remember first reading this around that time. For this one, at that time, I shook my head and scoffed a little. I was in my apartment then, and sleeping just fine on the twin bed that carried me through nearly 15 years of my life.

Fast forward to moving back home in May 2014, and I asked my parents if the queen-size guest bed could be in my bedroom. They agreed, and everything changed. I started sleeping better! I have more room! I don’t feel like I’m still in college. You are not limited to a twin mattress!!

5. I laughed at this one. For me, I have always known when my period is coming, thanks to being on some form of birth control since before I was a teenager.

Clarification: My periods were absolutely terrible in the beginning – I put my poor mother through hell. We quickly knew something was wrong, so we went to the doctor and they advised that The Pill would help regulate everything. I think I started around age 11 or 12, so it’s second nature now. I was mortally embarrassed in the 7th grade – One of the blonde cheerleaders had somehow found out that I was on The Pill and then asked/yelled (in front of the entire grade), “Laura Beth, are you pregnant?” I realized later that it didn’t make any sense, but at the time, I wanted to melt into the floor.

6. When it comes to make-up, I’m like my mom; I’m very minimal. I only use foundation or concealer if I have a bad breakout, which is usually during my period. I realize that many of my friends aren’t as fortunate, and I feel sorry for you!

My make-up routine is very simple:

Daily moisturizer with SPF: Clean & Clear Morning Glow

Photo Credit: bourbonandgloss.com

Photo Credit: bourbonandgloss.com

Mascara: Cover Girl Natureluxe

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

Photo Credit: http://www.amazon.com

Eyeliner – I like Bonne Bell and Mary Kay, but the Dollar Tree has some great options, too!

My advice: Take care of your face (see #1) and add some mascara every day – It makes your eyes look more open. And, whatever you do, absolutely wash and moisturize your face before you go to sleep each and every night – I’ve heard of ladies getting terrible eye infections from not washing off their make-up, plus your skin will be softer!

Anything beyond that, go for it!

7. Guilty as charged. We all do it. I love this one because of this: “We talk shit because it’s easy, comfortable, and cathartic – but nobody will know, and nothing will change, until you speak up.” PREACH!

But seriously, go live your dreams. Save some money. Travel the world. Go back to school and get that degree you’ve always wanted/needed.

8. This is one of the easiest ones! I have one from Kohl’s (Apt. 9). I have a matching black skirt too, and when I wear it at work, I get tons of compliments. Don’t go to Starbucks for a couple of days/weeks, take $50 or so and go get one. It’s professional and stylish!

9.  I speak from experience here. The three guys I dated B.A. (Before Al) were all from my church. I expanded my social horizons first by taking the plunge into IB in high school, and then again when I went away to Longwood. Despite all of that over so many years, I never realized that such an amazing man would literally be in my own backyard. Before Al, I had never been on a true “first date” – I fell into dating the other guys because we were in church and youth group together.

Al wasn’t raised in the church, and that was so refreshing for me. Sometimes you just need the slightest change in perspective (and possibly a persuasive younger brother – Here’s looking at you, Nick!). Take a risk. Go out of your comfort zone – You never know what you’ll find.

And here we are, celebrating 4 YEARS next week!!  I can’t believe it.

10. Again, guilty as charged. It’s so hard not to worry – There is so much that stresses us out. But I’ve seen the ill effects of worrying – How it makes people physically sick and debilitated. As the list says, “Everything will work itself out.”

Your world won’t end if you get drunk one night and your friends have all the ridiculous stories to share – It was just one night. Life marches on. You’ll laugh at yourself down the road.

Your world won’t end if you can’t find your dream job right now – Be brave and take the part-time job at McDonald’s or Michaels or the local day care or Bath & Body Works for their seasonal staff. Who knows what might happen? Working somewhere is so much better than sitting at home, no money and bored stiff – Trust me!


Well, there you have it. Is there anything that Cosmo missed? Let me know!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

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Commentary #2: Apologizing

I came across an interesting infographic on Facebook yesterday. It was a simple background of what appeared to be lined journal paper with a quote – See below:

Photo Credit: lessonslearnedinlife.com

Photo Credit: lessonslearnedinlife.com


As I pondered this, I thought back to earlier this week. I tend to get very emotional during my time of the month, and I mean more so than usual. My mom can read me like a book, and she can always tell when it’s that time – I get upset over the littlest things and it feels like all the secrets come out. When I was a teenager, I put her through hell month in and month out because of my meltdowns. Wonderful woman she was, and still is, she always took the time to comfort me and talk me through it.

Photo Credit: hahasforhoohas.com

Photo Credit: hahasforhoohas.com

Case in point: On Monday morning, I got frustrated because I started to feel pain in my left arm/elbow during my workout with Al. I was pissed because I knew I couldn’t finish the workout, and I was disappointed in myself. My emotions were running the gambit at 5:45 in the morning, and it wasn’t pretty. As we were getting our stuff to leave, Al looked at me and remarked with a laugh that I looked like I was going to cry. Well, the tears came within seconds. I wasn’t sobbing, but I was noticeably upset as we left the gym and headed to our cars.

I remember wiping my tears away in the parking lot and telling him that I was “sorry,” that “I didn’t want him to see me like this.” He assured me that it was okay, and that for next time I just needed to adjust the angle to do that exercise correctly. He also made me laugh, something about how I smelled and I needed to go home and take a shower. Oh humor is so wonderful!


So I did the exact opposite of what the quote says. And when I first read that yesterday, I felt guilty at first. Then I picked my head up and realized that I’m strong. I shouldn’t have to apologize for my actions, words, thoughts, etc. There are certain exceptions to that statements, of course, but they’re fairly obvious.


When I shared the quote on Facebook, my friend Justin commented, “At first when I read it I thought it would say ‘Never apologize for speaking your mind and being truthful, even if it will offend someone.’ … I thought that because I’m very prone to doing it …”

Justin’s comments made me think about my own habits. I’ve apologized countless times for speaking my mind and being truthful, especially if I thought or knew that something offensive was coming out of my mouth, or from my fingers when writing/typing.

I don’t consider myself an offensive person – Many of you who know me know that curse words very rarely come out of my mouth, and it’s even more rare when writing/typing. But I’m being literal here.

Justin’s point, and mine, are very similar – No one should feel like they need to apologize every single time they open their mouth or post something on Facebook or online. Your opinions are your own, and sticking to them/not backing down is a sign of strength, much like your emotions. Also, the truth hurts sometimes! If every person was more truthful/honest/open with someone else, the world would be a lot better (in my opinion).


It’s well-known that women tend to be more apologetic than men. I think this is directly related to our emotions. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’m seeing more guys admit to apologizing for their actions and words. I find that very interesting! However, I stick by my views that no one, regardless of your gender, should have to constantly apologize!


This post made me think of something else – The “sorry, not sorry” phrase.

I’ve used it, and I can’t count how many times I’ve seen it used, especially in hashtags.

I’ve also spoken it a couple of times, and it’s felt kind of weird each time.


My wish is my readers realize that it’s OKAY to be sensitive, emotional, having an opinion, and honest! Speak your mind – You never know what you’ll do/change/impact unless you open your mouth!

 


Happy Friday, all! The weekend is almost here!! Safe travels if you’re hitting the road or traveling another way for the Labor Day weekend.

Photo Credit: nationalharbor.com

Photo Credit: nationalharbor.com

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #3: Confessions

I took this idea from a dear friend and sorority sister, Amy. Check out her blog!

Like Amy, I found this exercise to be therapeutic. It brought an incredible sense of relief and peace as I started to pour them out on paper.

Like Usher croons, these are my confessions:

1. I confess that I’m very content with my life right now. And I kind of feel guilty about it, knowing that so many people around struggle day-to-day. In spite of the guilt, I’m very much at peace, unlike my feelings a few months ago!

2. I confess that I feel like I’m not as supportive as a daughter, friend, and girlfriend as I should be. I’ve worked very hard to love myself and pay attention to me, and not everyone else all the time like I used to. However, I feel like that I’ve been selfish.

3.  I confess that my true passion is writing. If I could quit my job and write full-time for the money that I make now, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Heck, I’d do it for less money! I love writing on this blog and I would be over the moon if I’m able to publish at least one novel in my lifetime. For now, though, as I work and get through my paralegal degree, I resign myself to write as much as can and faithfully participate in National Novel Writing Month every year …

4. I confess that I relish, thrive, on alone time. I’m definitely an extrovert, no doubt about that. But after a while (several hours is starting to become my upper limit, but it truly depends on who I’m with), I need to close the door behind me and be able to breathe again. I secretly hate the fact that I don’t have an office at work, I just have a cube. I wish, just once a workday, that I could close a door!

5. I confess that, related to #4, I’m terrified that my alone time will simply disappear and never come back when Al and I get married. I was virtually by myself for 10 months in my apartment, and that was fantastic. Now I’ve been by myself in Mom and Dad’s house for a significant portion of the summer, and I don’t want to give it up!

6. I confess that I’m struggling to keep the momentum going to finish my paralegal degree. I know that I’m doing the right thing by going slowly and not overloading myself with full-time school, but it’s been immensely frustrating to see my credits add up little by little. I wish I was able to take a full load like I did at Longwood, but then I wouldn’t have the time or energy for other beautiful things in my life.

7. I confess that I’ve altered my Sunday morning routine, almost as quickly as I wrote the blog post about it. I went on a mission trip the week after I wrote that post, and it re-awakened my senses. In the span of a week and a half, I knew that I needed to go back to church. And since I have, my life has changed for the better.

8. I confess that I want to travel. I wish I could take an extended leave from my current life and just up and travel the world! I have been blessed to have been able to cross the Atlantic several times before the age of 25, but I don’t want to stop. I desperately want to see all 50 states, and visit all of the lighthouses in the U.S. at some point.


 

Happy Friday! I hope everyone has a great day and an awesome weekend!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #1: “Five Reasons You Should Have Sex with Your Husband Every Night”

I first came across this blog post via The Huffington Post earlier this week. I’ve always considered myself to be an objective person; however, I’ve struggled with reading things literally rather than figuratively / objectively for a long time (though I’m improving).

When I first came across this headline, my initial reaction was to not read it at all, simply based on the wording of the title. I was of the opinion that having sex every night with your spouse is a bit overbearing / demanding / selfish. If you’re able to do so and want to do so, then great!

I began thinking about the future, down the road when Al and I say “I do” and start our married lives together – Sex is an integral part of a marriage and appears to be a key ingredient in the recipe for success / happiness within that union. Plus, early on in most marriages, daily sex (or more than once a day!) is traditional / expected / certainly desired – It’s not called “the honeymoon phase” for nothing!

However, despite all those thoughts in my head, my curiosity was peaked. So I clicked.


What I found was a compelling, personal take on sex and a very open stance on her marriage. That takes guts! Heck, this woman started the story in her archives, so to speak – She opened the post with a flashback to her 16-year-old-self. If she’s anything like me, that had to be slightly painful. Who really wants to reach back and talk about themselves as teenagers?

*shudders*

I wasn’t getting manicures at age 16, but her words echoed with me. The first serious relationship with a boy had come and gone for me by that age, but, being a Christian, sex was the farthest from my mind, as I was vowing to save my virginity for marriage.


Of course, I always try to see the different sides to each story that I come across – There’s at least two sides.

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

 


On the one hand, I can see how frustrated those women in the nail salon would / could be with their husbands. Let’s face it, when it comes to sex, typically, men want sex more than women want it, and more often. I think this is because sex is one of the most basic ways that men can express themselves and be fulfilled. Women tend to have a variety of ways to satisfy their needs in addition to the basic physical kind; there’s emotional satisfaction (i.e., girlfriends who we can talk to for hours about anything, including sex!), spiritual satisfaction, and so on. I’m certainly not saying that men don’t have emotional and spiritual needs, because they all do, in their own way; but the physical need in terms of sex is one of the most dominant in the male gender. I hope that makes sense!

As humans, especially in today’s world, we all have ridiculously busy lives – School, job(s), family, friends; the list that demands time from us day in and day out never seems to stop. On top of that, life stages such as marriage and the addition of children, among others, certainly change the outlook and perspective on sex.

Another point Meg made is the subject of body image. This is critical. If you don’t love yourself, how can you expect to let someone else love you, much less marry you, for who you are? I get that those women in the nail salon had kids constantly in their hair, stresses, and struggling with losing baby weight, yada-yada-yada.

I’ve been there with the body image issue – At this point in my life, I have finally learned to love myself. I have made peace with my body, my image, my identity – I am Laura Beth and I love Laura Beth for who she is. This comes after enduring an abusive relationship that lasted three of the four years that we were together, from 2006 through 2010; and then everything doing a complete 180 when I had the pleasure of first meeting Al, who has always loved me for me, from day one. That’s so huge, and I appreciate him so much for that – Thanks, baby!

With that said, I recently came to terms that I wanted to improve my lifestyle. I have gained roughly 20 or so pounds since graduating from Longwood in 2011 due to the initial months of unemployment and job searching at home, plus all the jobs I’ve had since graduation (except for a month-long stint of banquet serving at a local hotel) have been at a computer behind a desk. Instead of hating my image in the mirror every morning (although I will raise my hand in guilt that it’s happened a couple times), I decided that I would re-join the local gym, start tracking everything I put in my mouth, and add some kind of movement every day if at all possible. Al has also contributed to this effort by gifting me a FitBit; I love it!


On the other hand, I can see (from personal experience) how both people, whether they may be dating, engaged, or married; deserve to have their needs filled, whatever those needs are – That’s basic respect. No one should be denied fulfillment, whether it’s physical, sexual, spiritual, emotional, etc. It’s not right, and not fair if one person isn’t willing to do that for the person that they claim to love and cherish, and all the other cheesy romantic lines – I’ll spare you.

Case in point – Somewhere between 2009 and 2010, I started to realize my relationship with “The Jerk” was not fulfilling. A significant part of it was I wasn’t willing to have unprotected sex with him, and I stood by that even though he attempted to do just that one night — Absolutely terrifying.

I gave him everything I felt he needed – and I gave too much of myself. For THREE YEARS.

I realize now my needs were increasingly ignored and I was slowly, painfully manipulated into a robot, a puppet. He controlled me. Finally, I got so desperate for someone of the male gender to give me what I wanted — Love; appreciation; respect, not constant criticism; just a tiny bit of physical affection (Read: a kiss on the forehead, interlacing fingers – No sex!!) — that I found myself sneaking away from The Jerk to spend as much time as possible with two guys – One at school and one at home – who were more than willing to pay attention to me.

Side note: Nothing happened beyond flirting / strong crushes with the two guys. Over time, I felt increasingly guilty because I was still committed to The Jerk. I broke off the friendship with the one at school entirely, and toned down relations with the one at home. The Jerk eventually found out about both friendships via blatant privacy invasion, jumped to conclusions, and scared me out of my wits through intimidation, panic, and assaulting me in the early months of 2010. I broke up with him that summer.


Holy cow. Sorry. That was a massive tangent!

My point in all of this is —  In a relationship, especially when/if you marry the person of your dreams, the one that you want by your side to spend the rest of your days with you on this earth, you have to pay attention to each other’s needs, and be respectful of them. Constantly. That’s one piece of the puzzle that makes these things work!

Photo Credit: community.lithium.com

Photo Credit: community.lithium.com

If one person says they want to wait to have sex, whether if it’s “until they’re ready” or until you’re officially married, showing that you love this person is respecting and honoring that opinion / desire / choice.

The same principle applies when the relationship / marriage becomes sexual, As Meg says in the post, “Leave the dishes in the sink and the floors unswept. They will wait.” Respect and honor your significant other’s / partner’s / spouse’s desire-need to have sex with you. It doesn’t matter if it’s daily, weekly, monthly — Whatever works for YOU and YOUR RELATIONSHIP, period! (Don’t let anyone tell you differently – This is strictly what’s best for you and your S.O./partner/spouse). The bottom line is to make sure that if you’re having sex that you’re willing to have sex. You can have some excuse days along the line, but above all, don’t leave your relationship and the one you claim to love hanging. Denial / rejection is the worst! And, what the heck, maybe initiate it once in a while too!


This goes without saying (and may come up in a future post!) — Whatever you do: Don’t chart it! … and then be dumb / ignorant / selfish enough to send said chart via email to your spouse. You know, the one that you vowed to have and to hold, to love and to cherish? Yeah, that one.

*facepalm*

I see a divorce, or serious marriage counseling at the least, on the horizon!


 

Along from the obvious fun, sex has been proven more than once to be healthy, it shows care, love, respect, and just screams “Daggone it, I’m attracted to you and I’m excited about it!”

I’ll leave you (very) early this Saturday morning with some words from the great Marvin Gaye:

“Let’s get it on”

“And when I get that feeling, I want sexual healing” 

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

My Family’s Famous!

Just kidding. But I do have great news to share, along with an important cause.


 

Some background info: One of our local news stations, WTKR NewsChannel 3, has the slogan/tagline “Taking Action, Getting Results.” With that, the “People Taking Action” award was conceived a while ago; it’s probably been several years now.

Here’s the lowdown on the format: Anchorman Kurt Williams “ambushes” the recipient for the ultimate surprise. The recipient gets recognized, the nominator reads the nomination on camera, and the recipient receives a framed certificate, a $100 gift card from partner Southern Bank, and a NewsChannel 3 “Taking Action” pin.

Check out this recent “Taking Action” story: Stranger steps in to pay woman’s vet bills


Cool story, right?

Well, my family was involved this past week. My wonderful mother, Karen, nominated my extraordinary father, Jim, for his work organizing blood drives at our church, Aldersgate United Methodist Church (AUMC), for the last 14 years. She put my phone number on the nomination and mentioned that they might call, and they might not, but we had our fingers crossed.

A week goes by, and we were preparing for our 83rd blood drive that was scheduled for Saturday, August 2nd. On Thursday, July 31st, my phone rang. I answered and a man was inquiring about the blood drive on Saturday and when the best time was to come in. I explained to him that the flow (no pun intended) of the drive varies. I asked him if he wanted to make an appointment (they’re honored first so you’re not stuck waiting a long time to give!)

He paused and chuckled. “Well, I’m not looking to make an appointment, I’m just trying to see the best time to bring a camera in.”

Light bulb. I freaked out, realizing I was on the phone with legendary anchorman Kurt Williams! He was calling to tell me they wanted to give my dad the award!

My boyfriend Al will tell you – I was so excited when I got to his house later on, I was literally jumping up and down!


Anyway, fast forward to Saturday. I was on pins and needles all morning long (again, no pun intended)! I’ve never been the best about keeping secrets. The only people that knew about this whole thing was Al, my mom, and my work supervisor. I got up early to help my dad set up the drive, and I thought his choice of a red polo shirt and khakis was spot-on. He says he didn’t have a clue what was coming, but I’m not so sure!

My phone rings and I dash out to the parking lot to meet Kurt and the cameraman. My mom pulled up a few minutes later, we did a quick rehearsal/run-through of the plan, and then we all walked in, camera rolling.

Drum roll, please … Here’s our time in the spotlight!


Let me know what you think. My dad certainly deserves this, he has worked this mission/passion so selflessly for over 14 years. He is so gracious and humble. Kudos to Kurt and our awesome cameraman, whose name unfortunately escapes me (!!), thanks for a great segment.

I’ll leave you on this Wednesday with a few quick facts about our blood drives and how YOU can help:

  • AUMC has held 83 blood drives over 14 years, since April of 2000
  • In those 83 drives, our church has helped collect 5,116 units of blood
  • One unit (pint) of blood can save up to three lives
  • Do the math – Our church has potentially helped save 15,348 lives!
  • There are several ways to give – Whole blood, Double Red, platelets, plasma
  • To give, you only have to be 16 with parent consent, 110 pounds, and in good health
  • There is most likely a blood drive in your area RIGHT NOW!

Currently, the American Red Cross is in URGENT need of blood. The summer is historically a low season for blood donations, and the horrible winter storms that we had affected so many drives, so the Red Cross has been dealt a double-whammy.

If you are able, please consider giving!

Please visit the American Red Cross website to learn more about giving blood and how to find a drive in your area.

As always, if you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them!


Photo Credit: redcrosschat.org

Photo Credit: redcrosschat.org

Give the gift of life. Give blood.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂