Don’t Hate Me Cause I’m Beautiful

Within the past few days, a couple articles have come out that have caused some tremendous backlash against the author. The U.K.’s Mail Online (admittedly not the most reputable of news sources, and quite possibly filled with inane garbage) published two articles written by a woman named Samantha Brick.

In her first article, Brick laments just how difficult her life has been when dealing with other women because of her looks. She details the ways her life has been positively impacted (getting stuff, attention from men, a general ease of life), but then continues on to describe the “fact” that all women she come in contact with essentially hate her because she’s beautiful, a feeling she states lies entirely in jealousy. She peppered photos of herself throughout this entire article.

I’m sure you can imagine the backlash, and most of it was attacks on her physical appearance.

Just a day later she posted a second article that, in a nutshell, says, “See? I told you.”

This whole debacle (she was discussed on Good Morning, America today, from what I hear) has been incredibly thought-provoking for me.

I have absolutely no issue with a woman being confident in her looks. I think it’s incredible if she can stand in up in the wake of the media onslaught of what is considered beautiful and STILL believe she is gorgeous. Having that self-confidence makes a woman more attractive to me.

What I find off-putting is her sense of arrogance, entitlement, and an over-arching assumption that just because someone is being a bitch to her is because of the way she looks, or if a man does something for her it’s because he thinks she’s hot. That type of attitude is incredibly unattractive. Not only that, but there is a certain air of “if this doesn’t happen to you, obviously I’m prettier than you,” as though physical appearance is a competition among any and all women.

I don’t think so, Tim.

It seems as though she’s failing to realize that beauty is one of the most subjective qualities out there. I think Olivia Wilde is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. I know multiple people who disagree with me. Brick saying that all women dislike her because they all think she’s too pretty is such a blanket statement that it indicates a lack of awareness about how people in general view things.

From my own point of view, I know that there are people who find me attractive, having been told so (which, I will admit, is an ego boost). I also know that there are people who will disagree with that sentiment. Honestly? It doesn’t matter. How I view myself is in no way related to how others view me, and how I view myself can change from day to day.

My friends would say the same about themselves (and some did this morning when I asked them what they thought about this topic).

The thing is, my female friends are incredibly beautiful. I, as they say, roll with pretty bitches. They can walk into a room and instantly command attention. You know what, though?

They are compassionate and down to earth and friendly and loyal and absolutely hilarious.  They are confident and well-spoken. They are well-liked by women AND men because they aren’t stuck up, they aren’t self-centered, and they aren’t treating any outing we all have together as a competition over who can get the most free drinks from guys or who can intimidate the most women.

Maybe Brick needs to be more aware that her attitude, the self-serving way she views the world might be why women dislike her. It could possibly be that she seems to sneer down upon those she considers less attractive. I find her unattractive due to her arrogance and what seems like an unwillingness to even consider the possibility of other reasons she’s treated poorly.

I will say, though, this type of thing makes me incredibly grateful for the awesome friends I do have. They truly are incredible.

Bright Copper Kettles and Warm Woolen Mittens

So here’s what’s fun. I went back to the first time I posted something like this and realized that the list I’ve been compiling in my head today is nearly identical to the one I wrote three and a half years ago.

Some things don’t ever change. However, I’m sure I can expand on some of them. This time I’m skipping the rhyming part.

More of my favorite things:

  • Pedicures and flip flops
  • Pretzel M&Ms
  • Seamless harmonies woven into increasingly brilliant pieces of music
  • Email chains with some of the best friends I’ve got
  • My favorite koozie¬†and the amazing friend who gave it to me
  • Rolling the windows down, turning the music up, and driving far too fast
  • Skyping with some of my favorite people
  • Songs that make me dance every time I hear them
  • The Charlie Brown Christmas tree I was given this past year
  • The anticipation that comes from knowing my next half marathon is just over two months away
  • #11in11
  • Having a coworker walk in this morning and immediately hand me a bottle of the new Bud Light Platinum just because he “knew I’d like to try it.”
  • David Beckham
  • Smooth legs sliding into cool sheets
  • My friend Alison’s three year old
  • Bright colors
  • Shorts and t-shirts on a run in January
  • Being able to tell the days are getting longer
  • When the curls actually stay in my hair
  • Hot tubs
  • My sisters
  • That unexpected hug from a friend that lets you really know they care
These are a few of my favorite things.

Up in the Gym Just Working On My Fitness

The other day, Josey posted about her postpartum determination to finish the Couch to 5K program. She asked me in her post about how I chose my lifting/workout routine that helped strengthen my knees before my half marathon.

I told her that I’d get a post up if I got my shit together that day. Clearly, I did not do so. Fail on my part.

But since I’ve been meaning to post about the whole fitness thing anyway, I figured now was as good a time as any. Thanks, Jos, for the motivation.

I haven’t actually written anything about running in a couple months, and back then I was incredibly gung-ho about the race series I had just signed up for. Let’s recap. I ran the 10 mile race on Christmas Eve. I kind of died for a couple weeks with the sickness nonsense. I got back into the gym two weeks ago. Running has all but disappeared from my workout plan. I skipped the 20k race (spent the entire day on my couch), and this past Saturday I was supposed to run a half marathon. Yeah, I lifted early in the morning then went to the Lake and got pretty damn schnuckered instead. I make good life choices. I have been back to lifting though, and lately I’ve been lifting REALLY HARD, just because that’s my way of stress release, of mentally working through things that clog up my brain. I’ve been sore for the last two weeks, because every day I lift, I push harder and harder.

As the Frostbite Series draws to a close (a 15k on Feb 4 that I still haven’t decided if I’m doing, since I don’t know if I could physically handle 9.3 miles in less than 2 weeks), I am realizing just how close the next half marathon is (April 15, for those keeping track).

Back when I signed up for the first one, and again this time, I am putting lifting at the top of my priority list for making it through. I absolutely attribute my ability to finish that race to the strength training I’ve been doing. That aspect of training started as just a fun class to take, but ended up being the key to my success. I recognize that one, I’m not an expert, and two, not everyone has the options available to them that I do, but I feel like there are definitely some items I could contribute.

The particular lifts that have helped me more than just about anything have been the squats and lunges that I do. Josey, this could be something you could do even while you’re holding little Miss Stella, since holding her could be considered adding weight to your lifts, even if it is only 10lbs or so. I’ve found that squats, either weighted (small handweights or a bebe in both hands) or just utilizing one’s body weight, have been helpful when it comes to hamstring and quad strength, and lunges, both stationary and moving, help the glutes and calves.

With squats, it is important to make sure that at the low end of the exercise your knees don’t shift further forward than the ends of your toes. As we’re told regularly, it’s like hovering over a public toilet at the bottom of it. Thighs end up at a slight angle above the knee, or just parallel to the ground, making sure to not go lower than that, with your butt pushed back. I prefer to use a wider stance with my toes turned just slightly outward, keeping my body weight centered, but that’s something everyone can adjust based on their comfort level. At the low end of a squat, weight should be in the heels. If it is, a person should be able to wiggle their toes when they’re at the bottom of the squat. I’ve found that it’s incredibly useful to change tempos during squats so as to take the momentum out of the lift. That disrupts muscle memory and forces the parts of the muscle not normally used to adjust and grow.

It helps me to lift to music, as I can use it as a way to count the timing of my squats. Down for two counts, up for two counts. Down for three counts, up quickly on one. Down for four, up for four. Down for one, hold for one, up for two. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, stay in a low squat and only come half way up for three counts, resetting to a standing position on the fourth. It’s all about comfort level, though. A person’s body will tell them when they physically cannot do something anymore, and surprisingly enough, that cutoff is actually further past what one’s mind will tell them they can’t do.

When it comes to lunges, moving lunges are simple enough. Start at one end of the room, take a large step forward, and lunge down to where your front leg is parallel with the ground. Push up with the front leg and step forward with the back. Repeat all the way across the room, and back if feeling adventurous. The purpose of a lunge is to work the front leg, not the back, and it’s important to keep the heel of the back leg off the ground. Standing lunges can be done with the same mindset as squats, weighted or unweighted, and utilizing the same tempo adjustments.

Though both of these sound absolutely basic, and some of you are probably going “duh, Ann, we’re not fucking stupid,” it’s amazing what kind of an impact they can have. They can be the difference between finishing a half marathon versus having to quit half way through training because of joint issues.

The one final thing that had a huge (and surprising) impact to my running was my core strengthening. Every single class that I take at the gym has an ab portion to it, and building that core strength not only has built my muscles so I stand up straighter (remember the strutting post? Yeah, this had a lot to do with it), but it also helped build my endurance throughout my training. It is very easy to google or Youtube ab workouts, and even just three sets of 12 full situps after a running workout will help more than doing nothing.

It’s important to remember that running is not based on just leg strength. It’s an exercise that requires muscles all over your body. The stronger all those muscles are, the easier running will be. Along with that is one’s own comfort level. I push myself incredibly hard in certain workouts because I like being sore after, feeling like I’ve actually done something. A lot of that pushing is a mental battle however, and the change of a person’s mindset is a lot different than changing a physical habit.

Wanting to change something is not always the same as committing to changing that thing and then following through with it.

I love running and working out. I love the feeling that I get from that adrenaline rush. I love the sense of accomplishment that comes from being able to look back at something and go “look how much I’ve improved.” I’ve especially come to love that the most basic moves have had the most visible impact on how I look and feel and what I’ve become physically capable of doing. I’m by no means a fitness guru, but I’ve become pretty damn comfortable with what I know, what I can contribute.

I love helping people reach their goals, too. I’ve promised my mom that when she gets to the point in her own Couch to 5k journey of actually running the race that I’ll travel up to her and run it as well. I want to be able to do this for everyone, but I think it would be just as much help to offer that support. I’m willing to do that. If you’re new around here and want a helping hand, let me know. I’ll help anyone in any way I can. That I promise.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Ok, so I try to not put much of my sports stuffs on here, since I have a different platform for such things, but this past weekend was just beyond amazing that I can’t not tell you about it.

The Cardinals site in the same network I have my Blues site with was given press creds for the Cardinals Winter Warm-Up over the weekend. Out of the three writers for the site, two live in the Quad Cities, the other lives in Arkansas. So I got to go.

I might have squealed when I found out.

It was a lot of work but was quite legitimately one of the coolest experiences I’ve had, so I feel the need to share. Well, that and linking all my posts here will give me a simple way to get back to them.

Before I get to that, I had to share my favorite Twitter conversation from today. The crush Kevin mentions is mildly detailed here.

Anyway, here’s a list of all my posts for the weekend. I loved getting to meet players and feel like a legitimate reporter. Pretty fucking spectacular weekend.


Chris Carpenter and Rafael Furcal
John Mozeliak
Lance Lynn, Matt Carpenter, Tyler Greene
Adam Wainwright
Matt Adams, Brandon Dickson, JC Romero
Jason Motte and Shelby Miller
Jon Jay and Daniel Descalso
Mitchell Boggs and Jaime Garcia
Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman
Allen Craig and Kyle McClellan
Mike Matheny
Kyle Lohse and Carlos Beltran
David Freese and Skip Schumaker
The Cool Down post

I’m still walking on air after this. I love that I had the opportunity to do this and be around my favorite team. So awesome. So, so awesome.