Rainy day

It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring…

Went to my last lecture in college (which randomly is civil engineering); it was 10am and I barely managed to drag myself there in the rain but so proud of myself haha

Just got back and stuck all my sheets in the washer along with my regular laundry, using all three washers in the laundry room right now…

Now to work out while I wait, then clean, then have a movie/dinner date with my friend!

Somehow rain = productivity today, which is usually not the case for me.

Dominique Ansel Round 3

First cronuts (although I actually preferred the DKAs), then chocolate chip cookie-milk shots, and now…waffogatos?

“Cronut creator Dominique Ansel has an amazing new invention for the Summer: the Waffogato. In his words, it’s a “vanilla ice cream waffle with Belgium waffle bits, slightly salted, and topped with maple-syrup espresso poured on top. As the ice cream melts, little tapioca pearls are revealed and float in the melted ice cream espresso sauce.””

Looks like he’s going strong with the inventions to get over that mice shutdown scandal. Maybe it’s a good thing I won’t be back to New York until late August…

Confession

It’s really sad when you take amazing pictures of other people and they take really bad ones of you.

If I feel this way when I’m nowhere near professional, I can only imagine how my really talented photographer friends feel.

Also, note to self: stop getting led into conducting extensive photoshoots just for your friends, it’s really, really exhausting and you hate it. You only like it when it’s a group thing, not when you’re the hired photog, esp. because you aren’t actually being hired/compensated and you are not a professional.

A series of lasts

This week is the last week of classes in my undergraduate career.

Tomorrow is the last senior pub night of the year.

Today was my last Communiversity.

Next weekend will be my last houseparties and lawnparties.

This spring is the last time I’m guaranteed to see the flowers bloom on campus.

These are the last few weeks of my living in this room that I’ve inhabited for the past two years.

I didn’t think I would be nostalgic; I’ve been very ready to move on and recharge.

Even so, these last moments are starting to hit me. They seem to suddenly be accumulating at an accelerating speed.

Here’s to making the most of my last moments here and getting a much-needed boost in appreciation.

The Confidence Gap?

I read an article in the Atlantic about the confidence gap between men and women, and there was a test in there to see how confident you are. (Article: http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/04/the-confidence-gap/359815/ Test: http://theconfidencecode.com/confidence-quiz/)

I took the test, and here were my results:

High Confidence

Thank you for participating in The Confidence Code Assessment!

You are now part of one of the first research studies related to women and confidence and we’re excited to work together to gather insight that will help women around the world embrace confidence in their lives.

Based on your responses to this quiz, you have higher than average confidence

What does that mean?

You probably feel up to most challenges, and are likely to embrace more risk and action than most. You feel you can solve problems or make things happen.

Most of the time, you are able to cope and deal with just about any challenge life throws at you – both key attributes of confidence.

How can you work to keep your confidence up?

But even those who are fairly confident often experience periods of self-doubt. Or perhaps you feel confident in most areas, but still feel more nerves than you would like before a speech. We believe there are a number of things you can do to keep your confidence at a high level – some may seem basic, but they can be transformational. 

Sleep, move, share

We may sound like your mother but it’s true. A lack of sleep and exercise produces an extremely anxious brain. (We’ve tested and retested the theory, and there’s no getting around it.) Being close to our friends boosts our oxytocin levels. Guilt-free girlfriend time is healthy. 

Also, find time to meditate. A calm brain is the ultimate confidence tool. You will increase the ability to control your emotions and feel clear and calm about your goals.

Practice making decisions.

The ability to make decisions big and small, in a timely fashion, and take responsibility for them, is a critical expression of confidence, and also leadership, according to all of our most confident women. Even if you make the wrong decision, they say, decide. It’s better than inaction.

What’s the worst that can happen? You could fail – but the costs of failure are nearly always worth the risk that comes with trying something just outside your comfort zone.

Make a list of decisions you’ve been putting off, big and small. Cross off two each day. Keep track of the consequences. 

Missteps really do provide accelerated opportunity for growth, as well as a chance to tap into another internal resource: self-compassion. As the research shows, practicing self-compassion provides a sturdy emotional safety net, one much stronger than our traditional concept of self-esteem. Self-compassion, centers on the acceptance of our weaknesses. Instead of saying, “I am not a failure,” it’s more useful to say, “Yes, sometimes I do fail, we all fail, and that’s okay.” It’s extending the same kindness and tolerance – the very same qualities we find so much easier to afford our friends – to ourselves, while coming to terms with our own imperfections.

Focus on others

Now that you’re cracked your confidence code, pass it on. 

Women support each other, but sometimes what a friend or colleague really needs is a push. All those Hallmark, ‘you’re the best’ might not be working so well, anyway. 

A few years ago, University of Waterloo psychology professor Joanne Wood conducted a study that found positive self-statements such as “I’m great, I’m perfect, and I am lovable” can actually do more harm than good. Wood and her team conducted a study in which they asked participants to answer the ten questions in the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. They then separated the participants into three groups depending on how they ranked on the scale. The people who scored lowest on the Rosenberg scale were deemed low self-esteem while the highest were put in the high self-esteem group, and those in the middle were labeled medium self-esteem. The people in the lowest and the highest groups were then randomly assigned one of two tasks. They either had to continuously repeat to themselves the statement “I’m a lovable person” for four minutes, or they had to write down their thoughts and feelings for a period of four minutes. Woods results showed that the people who’d been in the low self-esteem group and were assigned the “I’m a lovable person” mantra felt worse about themselves after repeating the phrase compared to the low self-esteem people who’d had to write down their thoughts and feelings. Wood believes the findings resulted from the gap between what participants were told to feel and what they really felt. Repeating empty statements only served only to underscore how far they felt they were from an ideal state of mind. The whole exercise made them feel like a double failure.

So, rather than repeatedly telling your friend she’s great, try encouraging her to take action instead. Often, it takes just one suggestion – one comment from a friend or co-worker. “You should consider that city council seat.” “I’m sure you could handle the supervisory job. You should go for it.” We can help each other most by giving each other permission to act. One little nudge might be all we need.

And ban perfectionism in your daughters.

Striving to grab the good girl ring as a child sows the seeds of trying to be perfect as a woman. Girls internalize the lesson that they need to get everything right to reach the top of the class, which leads to perfectionism. But this ends up smothering achievement. Perfection is the enemy of the good. It’s also the enemy of confidence.

– Praise her moderately, not excessively. Saying “Well done for working so hard on this” is much better than “You are the best student ever.”

– Help your daughter feel satisfied when she’s done her best, regardless of whether she’s done better or worse than others.

– Show your daughter you aren’t perfect either. When you make a mistake, don’t hide it. Then show her the world didn’t end just because you messed up.

I sort of wish I’d had this advice about how to encourage your friends before; now I know where I was going wrong with some of my friends. Hopefully I’ll be able to remember and apply this in the future!

The irony of friendship

I’ve experienced a LOT in interpersonal relationships, especially friendships.

There’s many things I could say and am still figuring out, but here’s my random tidbit of the day.

There seems to be an irony in that with the friends who aren’t worthy of you, you could always be struggling and making extreme efforts to keep the friendship but still lose it over something inane; something that may not even have been your fault.

The worthy friends will forgive and forget easily even when you actually did do something wrong.

Plus, overall, the good friendships feel effortless even when you’re doing/going through hard things, while the bad ones drain you even with the little things.

Or at least that’s how my life has seemed to play out these past couple of weeks.

If only we could know for sure before all that effort has been wasted on the wrong people…Is it just me who has always had trouble with that? I always seem to ignore the warning signs when I feel endlessly drained by a relationship.

In any case, one thing for sure is that availability is not the only standard of whether that friend is worthy or not, and it may even be the worst standard. The always available friend could just disappear in your time of need, or you could always be there for each other but just be exhausting each other. One lesson thus learned the hard way.

To be revisited.

Back to Ballet

ballet shoes

I did it! I finished my first full workout since I submitted my thesis, which means it’s been 2 weeks since I last worked out.

I’ve been off of my daily ballet conditioning workout for about a month, and only worked out for a week in the past month because of thesis crunch + recovery, but I’m planning to resume my daily routine now that I restarted today.

My workout routine is a combination of 30 minutes of active warmup and 60-90 minutes of ballet conditioning.

For the ballet conditioning, I use the Custom Workout option on Mary Helen Bowers’ Ballet Beautiful (I have a monthly subscription.) You can select different options, but I use the Fat Burning option, and you get 3 weeks worth of variations every month, and the routines are updated every month.

I love Ballet Beautiful because it combines pilates-esque strength training with ballet-inspired cardio and basic ballet stretching. You basically get everything you need in your routine, and Mary Helen Bowers actually recommends not doing other workouts other than light walking/swimming because they can target muscles that you don’t want if your goal is to get a lean dancer’s body.

Note: Ballet Beautiful isn’t intended to be real ballet even though there are some ballet-inspired cardio workouts. It’s technically ballet conditioning, which is what dancers/ballerinas do to train and get in good shape so they can dance at their best.

I won’t lie, the workout is TOUGH, but somehow there’s no dread factor because I enjoy it so much. All you need is enough space for a yoga mat, which makes it perfect to do in my dorm room. I spread a yoga mat and a yoga towel to make a soft surface for the workout and wear regular workout clothes with ballet shoes I got on Amazon. The ballet shoes are optional for the strength training, but for the cardio videos, wearing them helps me with some of the moves, especially the tendus and the jumps.

I’m a little soft again after not working out for a month, but back when I was on my daily routine, I did Ballet Beautiful for 6 weeks straight and my body was TRANSFORMED. I’ve always suffered from a lot of fat (esp. visceral fat) in my midsection, and even when I was thin I had a lot of abdominal fat, but Ballet Beautiful made my midsection flat for the first time ever in my life. I saw my parents over spring break and they were shocked by the change. In addition, it made my legs long and lean, making my thighs seem longer, and the saddlebags I always had around my hips just disappeared. I would say that the biggest transformations happened in my stomach, hips, butt, and legs, and my arms/back were a little slower, probably because the back is not really a focus in this regimen and the arms because I just have a lot of arm flab. Compared to when I did Pilates Reformer classes daily for a month and a half, I would say that for belly fat and legs Ballet Beautiful is far superior, while my arms and back were what changed drastically when I did Pilates.

I know MHB says not to do much else for that perfect ballet body, but I plan to start walking around campus after dinner now that I have lots of time in my post-thesis life and enjoy the warm spring weather, too. I also plan to go back to yoga if I can since it’s more about the spiritual/mental/emotional benefits for me. But I know that I’m definitely going to keep Ballet Beautiful my primary workout and continue even after graduating! The convenience, enjoyment, and results all keep me addicted to BB. I also plan to go try real ballet classes for the first time since I was 10 years old this summer in Korea after graduation.

Loving my ballet slippers and the sweaty, refreshing feeling of a good workout! xx