Decisions [to make, already made and not even up for discussion]

One of the biggest mistakes one can make as a blogger, it seems, is failing to plan ahead. Or actually, this is considered [one of] life’s biggest mistake(s): Fail to plan, plan to fail. Following this logic today’s post shouldn’t go live as yes, I didn’t schedule my blog posts ahead of time on the weekend. Assuming I’d have a few hours to finish them in the upcoming days. Well, we’re here and this clearly didn’t work out. In keeping with my statement of honesty I’ll admit I contemplated skipping blog posts – the link lovin’ aside – for another week. Not because I hadn’t been looking forward to returning. Rather, this week unexpectedly turned out to be a mentally draining one and work busier than the past. Yet I know blogging is a source of great joy in my life I don’t want to go without for longer [read: as cheesy as it sounds I missed you guys]. While not with any of the posts I’d planned to publish this week I’m linking up with Amanda to get some random thoughts rolling – it’s been a while.

Thinking-Out-Loud

Is anybody else always seeking patterns or themes in what’s going through their mind? Well, at least the parts that end up written down? As I wrote this post I noticed that tendency again. I can’t deny being slightly chaotic in real life but my posts or letters need structure. Selective OCD? Anyway, the overarching theme of today’s thoughts turned out to be. .. decisions. Those I’ve already made, those I’m contemplating and a few that aren’t even to be questioned. You’ll see what I mean in a second …

  1. So: did you catch the news of the third Bridget Jones movie, “Bridget Jones Baby”, being released? I’m not sure how I missed this before but after watching the trailer [three times] I know I need to watch it. If you’re like me and haven’t heard of the movie before: Patrick Demsey aka McDreamy is starring in it. Now if that alone isn’t reason enough to watch it. .. Fun fact, though: I actually wasn’t a fan of Grey’s Anatomy. But when it comes to hot guys Patrick Demsey still makes the list for me. #definitelydreamy

2. Hashtags are what leads to a second thought that’s been on my mind for a while already: Instagram. Or rather: Instabots. Why on earth some people pay for commenting robots is beyond me [yes, I know it’s in hopes of growing their number of followers but I still find it ridiculous – it’s not all about the numbers]. actually, Here’s the deal and where decisions come in again: all of us with Instagram accounts will know the kind of automated comments I’m talking about. ‘Cool’, ‘awesome profile’, ‘keep up the great work!’ Or just a bunch of random emoticons. How do you react to them? Maybe there’s a blogger’s guide to handling these in style and not look like either a fool or an ignorant jerk. But I simply ignore them and respond to genuine, real person comments only. My actual point here, though, are the many accounts of people who don’t seem to know the truth behind the  [usually bigger] accounts that tell they ‘loved [their] feeds’ or let them know ‘you rarely see such great accounts’. And reply to those in an at times overjoyed manner. Okay, I think you might have caught my drift here. The question is: would you tell those people about the automatism behind the comments? Maybe it’s just me but I feel bad for those people being fooled.

my Instagram feed

3. Foolish – that would be me for eating chocolate at work. Why? Because it’s been more than once somebody noticed a little crumb or smudge of the dark deliciousness adorning my lips or chin. Learn from my mistake: always (!) look into the mirror after you ate chocolate. Because there’s no decision to make about whether or not to eat chocolate.  Or else people like my colleague today might assume you’d hurt yourself without noticing. Nope, no blood there. Just a wild harmless little chocolate addiction.

Mint chocolate II

4. Another decision I’ve been pondering? Whether or not to get a Netflix account for December only. The reason: Gilmore Girls!! I’m just a little [too] excited to see Rory and Lorelai – and all the others, obviously – again. So: should I make that investment? If not I’d have to hope for the episodes to air in free TV at some point but that wait … [read: it’s hardly a decision anymore – unless our internet connection stays flunky because interrupted movie streaming tales away from the pleasure]. Are you going to  [unless you already have a Netflix account, obviously]?

Seeing as I’m writing this very last minute on Wednesday night and staying up late to blog is a decision I’d be wise not to make I’ll finish here. Not without wishing you a happy Thursday, though!

Happiness inducing today: My sister continually texting me pictures of little P. – he’s on his first beach vacation and it’s crazy adorable [sorry, aunt mode on].

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

What are your thoughts on the Instagram issue? Bridget Jones? Or any other thoughts coming to your mind right now!*

*unless they’re robot-generated 😉

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Advertisements

Week in review: Challenges, clumsiness and lessons

It’s time for another Week in Review. Although I’m yet more hesitant to post it as – can I get an extra day for accomplishment, please? – time seems to have passed by with little to cross off the to-do list. Knowing Meg, though, I know she’d encourage me to get listing in anyway. Some weeks are busier, some weeks less. It just means there’s room for improvement in weeks to come.

Week in review

During these past seven days I …

  • Finished the Bloggers Gonna Blog challenge without missing a single day. That alone is an accomplishment as I’mnot usually good at following through with these week-long challenges. The hardest part – as is common in any kind of challenge – was not letting comparison get the best of me and discourage the continuation of the prompts. Photography isn’t my strongest suit – I’m a writer through and through – so seeing everybody else’s pictures made me feel lacking in creativity and talent at times. Refocusing on the community-building effect and realising I still had fun eased my mind. Sometimes it’s really all about shifting our thoughts. [And the pictures in this post will be random ones from the challenge.]

BGB_Instachallenge_all the toppings

  • Slipped into my role as a German teacher three times. It has proven to be a challenge for my patience as I want to accomplish too many things at once, not be too repetitive in my lessons and basically have fluent-speaking students like yesterday. Slow. Down. Not the easiest feat for me but there are rewarding moments that make it worth trying.
  • Tried to learn how to pronounce and write my name in Arabic. I failed though in my defense I need to say I found my ten-year-old judge to be quite critical. I’m letting his guessing on the German articles – der, die , das – count for its effort alone, too, after all. Lesson learned: German might be hard to learn for some but Arabic is a really tough language, too. A pretty one, though.
  • Experimented with a new not-so-sinful truffle recipe that I’m hoping to share with you soon. Once it passes the taste control panel at the job, that is. Lots of store-bought chocolates and homemade baked goods around at all times – the traditional butter, sugar, white flour kind – make for some fierce competition. Keep your fingers crossed for me, will you?

BGB_chocolate

 

  • Prepped a little for another recipe [hopefully]  coming your way soon, too.Tha one upon special request from an as-of-yet still pregnant friend [not much longer, though!]. Don’t worry, though, I’ll do my best to make it a delcious one for myself everybody to enjoy. All I will say for now: balls. Bites.
  • Wrote and published three blog posts. One of them with hesitation about potentially stepping on somebody’s feet again which it turns out I luckily didn’t. Thanks for all of your feedback on the topic!
  • Managed to break both a small bowl and a spice jar [unfortunately containing one of my favourite spices]. I wouldn’t have brought this up if it wasn’t for that old saying of  “Break a thing, mend your luck.” [Geman: Scherben bringen Glück]. Somebody tell me it’s true, please? I need to justify my clumsiness in some way after all.

I may or may not be jealous of my mum’s collection of dishware - which I actually inspired ;).

  • Although recovery means a workout ban I did follow through with a little “exercising” most days. I miss running like crazy and doing some short Blogilates and another channel’s 20-minute routine for fun doesn’t feel like going overboard. It’s hardly intense but I can’t deny I didn’t enjoy to feel my butt burning a bit afterwards. TWSS.
  • Not listed but obviously still in the books was work at my new job and the usual household tasks not worthy mentioning.

Although not looking like much I think some times are more about mental adaption to new situations or the underlying lessons learned. At that, this week probably wasn’t as bad and keeping this in mind is what matters. I refuse to let any day or week pass by as a bad one. Mindset. It’s all about mindset.That being said: Don’t hate on Monday! It deserves a little lovin’, too.

Happiness-inducing today: Lots of time for reading the newspaper – that’s what weekends are for.

 

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
Tell me some achievements from your past week!
When was the last time you broke something? Did it work as a lucky charm [bonus points for saying yes even if it didn’ just to make me feel better 😉 ]?

Why #goals might not be what they seem like

There’s one trend on everybody’s favourite platform for people stalking connecting with like-minded people that makes me cringe. Yes, we’re talking Instagram – endless source of post inspiration for me – and: #goals. In case you’re one of those who haven’t handed their lives over to an app 😉 [it’s too addictive]: #goals is a hashtag used to express admiration for physical attributes, material possessions or any part of another person’s life. Often found as #relationshipgoals [current uses: 1, 626,508 times], #bodygoals or even #lifegoals. It’s a phenomenon that gets me thinking about its influence on our self-worth as well as false asumptions made online.

Let’s pick one of the most popular and the first I stumbled upon months ago [or at least the first I noticed and intially inspired this post]: #relationshipgoals. Sure, the couples in those pictures looks perfect. Usually either dressed in designer clothes or hippie chic but always hugging, kissing, touching and seemingly forgetting the world around them. Only, you know, aware a picture is taken to be shared with countless viewers all over the world. That much for intimacy …

Just remember this before hashtagging #goals or getting lost in jealousy for others’ presumed perfect life: they’re showing their highlight reel. And not only that but a fraction of a second of their highlight reel. The seemingly perfect couple could have gotten into a fight later that day. The very next second that puppy looking all cute and innocent could have run off to do some damage like leaving a little unwanted ‘gift’ somewhere. If Instagram had existed at the time Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were dating they’d have likely been many people’s #relationshipgoals. Yet: later on separated in a messy break-up.

The #goals you’re admiring might not actually exist. The people embodying your goals might not have the lives they portray on social media. Even when somebody posts a million pictures of their day to day life: still not the full picture of their reality. Because there are 86.400 seconds in a day  and every picture captures only a single one of those. What happened right before or after the picture was taken? We don’t know.

There’s nothing wrong with setting goals. It’s only when tagging #goals makes you feel like the ugly duckling next to the Instagram swan. When it Strive for what is achievable in your own life and also notice how much you already have achieved. Grades in school, being a friend others value having in their life, : these aren’t goals as per Instagram’s statistic but these aren’t admirable goals as per Instagram’s statistic but achievements valued by real people in real life.

I’m 99 % positive the people who are many others’ #goals have struggles of their own. Have days of feeling blue. They might not feel they’d reached their personal goals yet. As Katherine recently stated so truly even having it all – whatever that might  in the particular case – doesn’t necessarily feel as good as it looks from the outside. Those who have it all can still feel lonely, lost in a sea of opportunities, wishes and insecurity about life.

While the lives of some people seem admirable to me, too, I can honestly say I don’t want to be anybody’s #goals. Much less many people’s. Because once you are public like – on Instagram or through a blog –  that you’re under a pressure to maintain a certain image of perfection. Have a bad day? Hide it. Breaking up with your long-term boyfriend and trying to  conceal the fact by simply not posting pictures with him for a while? Rest assured people will start gossiping.

Flower

I’m aware most of my readers have left their teenage times far behind and sure, some of those hashtagging #goals on others’ pictures of their flat abs, pittoresque homes and adorable children are probably meant in a joking way. But Instagram is [second] home to many impressionable young girls [and boys?] who might not be all that secure in their identities. What hashtaggin #goals does is not only showing admiration for somebody else’s life but in subtly voicing a feeling of mediocrity on the commenter’s part.Plus, envy for others’ lives isn’t reserved to Instagram or the times you hashtag #goals. Who hasn’t read blogs feeling another person had the perfect job/family/relationship/vacations?

Having goals and comparing is part of life and completely okay. Only not if it makes us feel lesser-than. At the end of the day, the people who are others’ #goals are humans, too. Like you and me. Perfect just the way we are.

Happiness-inducing today: Receiving a letter by a friend living far away.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

What are your thoughts on the topic? Have you noticed the #goals phenomenon? Are you aware of it as bloggers?

Dare to be the unpopular one.

The first Thursday of Fall … can you believe it? Get out all the boots, scarves, fluffy socks and … thick blankets. I didn’t want to leave my bed this morning because it’s cold! Then again, staying in bed is no option [and yes, it gets boring after a while] so while I’m up already I’m joining  Amanda in thinking out loud again. It’s another one of those hardly-edited posts where I let my mind lead me. Daring to follow this path for me as an overthinker but that’s what this post is all about.

Thinking-Out-Loud

I don’t like ketchup. Or mayonnaise [the smell alone makes me gag]. Or aioli. Or mustard [nasty!]. Actually, I can probably count the number of condiments I do eat on one hand.

I don’t drink alcohol. But if you do, that’s cool with me. Just like I won’t judge your diet.

My favourite beverage in the morning? Tea. No coffee in the AM. Actually, no coffee has been seen around here for months.

Pumpkin spice latte? I don’t think so. Which yes, means you won’t be seeing any of my money, Starbucks!

I don’t use Snapchat and don’t understand the hype about it, either. If you do, great, but I’ll pass.

Using Instagram? Sure. But taking pictures of all my meals, 4f4 or shoutouts? No. That’s not my style and I won’t change to please you.

 

These obviously aren’t any shocking revelations that would make anybody kick me out of their house. What they all have in common, though? Most people would disagree or feel differently on at least the majority of these. And you know what? That’s okay. We can’t ever be friends with everybody.

Growing up, I was shy about voicing my opinions or admitting I disagreed with people. It was much easier to ## not speak up at all ## or silently nod. Was it good, though? No. Keeping to yourself and swimming with the tide? Doesn’t allow you to actually grow and discover what you stand for.

ShoesLiterally not standing for it.

The actual reason I’m bringing up the topic is that surprisingly, my most popular posts [and the ones I put most passion into writing] are those where I just let my thoughts flow. No ‘but what if somebody thinks I’m weird?’ or ‘maybe I shouldn’t ….’s . That’s something I’m still learning but it’s seriously rewarding to dare and be different. Last week’s post? If I’d let it sit in my drafts folder for any longer – chances are you’d have never seen it. The feedback I got admittedly overwhelmed me [thank you so much again! Your comments mean the world to me]. And even if I hadn’t gotten as many comments just one or two people telling me how much it resonated with them would have been amazing.

The only hard rules about topics I post is: don’t be a jerk. Don’t hurt others [intentionally]. No political or religious topics [because those do have the tendency to hurt others].

When we dare to be different from the norm, we’ll more often than not discover we’re actually not alone in our ‘weirdness’. Somebody has to make a start to change something in the world or even just make people think, get a conversation started. Be different, be yourself – and be surprised by others’ response. You never know who might secretly share your unpopular opinions and appreciate you speaking up.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Making somebody else happy with good news I had for her.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

No specific questions today but I’m curious to hear your thoughts and experiences on the issue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to think about before you post.

It’s Thursday already!? If it wasn’t for both my calendar and laptop telling me this I’d be in denial.   Either way, after failing to publish my already drafted WIAW post yesterday thanks to no internet connection – me and technology don’t get along well so don’t ask what all I tried to fix it … – I’m following Amanda‘s invitation to think out loud once more. Let’s see where typing a post in a spur of the moment decision leads …

Thinking-Out-Loud

What inspired this post is a multitude of experiences and thoughts so bear with me as I’m trying to work out a clear line. This will very much follow Amanda’s no-script suggestion of Thinking out loud so there we go …

You set a new PR at the gym.

You’re working in an amazing high-paying job.

So you quit sugar, refined flour and all of these other nasty, nasty ingredients.

In short: you have accomplished something in life and are proud. Rightly so. In a world where self-doubt is a prominent characteristic enhanced by many magazines and websites telling us how to improve our [perceived] flaws and always be prettier/happier/[insert adjective of choice] it’s great to see people proud of theirselves and feeling comfortable in their skin. But …

Don’t let your confidence diminish that of others. I will not tell you to hide your pride altogether because like I said: it’s great you’re feeling good about yourself! Yet I think some people are taking their pride and talking about it too far.

favourite magazines

Taking pictures of your ab progress because you worked hard and you’re proud of getting where you are? is Understandable. You couldn’t be more excited to tell everybody on Facebook, Instagram and elsewhere how much better you feel since changing your diet to vegan/paleo/sugar-free? Understandable.

I’m still standing in for my opinion on Instagram: it’s your choice what to post and talk about. But for the sake of others it might be a good idea to occasionally consider if your pride has the potential of hurting others. Seeing too many ab shots or hearing people about their weight loss success while you’re in recovery from an eating disorder [or while ‘just’ recovering from an injury that keeps you from training], trying to gain could be discouraging and lead to unsatisfying comparison. But why are you following these people in anyway, then? <- I personally choose not to follow those people but from what I’ve seen and heard others in recovery say it affected them.

The same goes for people who show pictures of their pedometers/fit bits/Polar watches. If you do it: ask yourself why. What might this make your Facebook ‘friends’ or followers on Instagram feel like? Does the text you wrote aboutyour epiphany since you gave up sugar sound judgemental towards those who like their sweet treats? Is your progress picture potentially triggering?

The takeaway here? Don’t be less proud of what you’ve accomplished. But before you go about sharing your pride all over the place keep in mind how it might affect others. Everybody is on their own journey but it’s hard not to get distracted or discouraged when comparison is lurking all over the place.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Successfully work on a presentation [about Immigration in the US] with the exchange student I’m teaching – both of us were learning from each other which is the best kind in my opinion.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

No specific questions today but I’m curious to hear your thoughts and experiences on the issue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk about Instagram.

Something has been making me sad in the world of Social Media again*. Jumping right in: I’ve been dabbling around with Instagram lately and noticed something … If it was just the occasional person I wouldn’t give it much thought. Yet: I see it happening left and right all of the time. Literally every time somebody posts a picture of themselves – aside from ab shots or body builders/fitness IGs – it comes with a semi-joking caption like ‘okay, ready to loose a few more followers again’. Or in the case of several people even – and this made me sad – the excuse of ‘hope it’s okay to post this.’ Am I the only one who gets thinking about our focus and priorities here?

Here’s what I noticed. And yes, I double-checked. Triple-checked. In short: I kept an eye on this during the past few weeks to make sure it wasn’t a mere coincidence within a few profiles. Let’s take the example of a random profile. What goes on in your mind if you see that a package of storebought pasta gets [decidedly] more likes than the pictures of the [subjective but yes] sympathetic couple behind the account?

Source

* Please note that I’m not generally a sad person :).

Are we really more interested in seeing food picture after food picture than the people behind them?? Their interests? Their hobbies? Quirks? Random things that made them smile?

Along those lines is the issue of people asking their followers what they’d like to see more of. Sorry but really? If I asked and the most popular answer would be ‘monogram-styled bowls of oatmeal and selfies’: would you change your feed and stop posting pictures of your garden/family/whatever else you like to share? Just to please others? Win followers? Loose yourself [allow me to be a little drastic here] ?

No. If somebody enjoys my pictures and captions I will happily welcome them among my followers and check out  their profile in turn – that’s the way to build community. The ‘mission’ shouldn’t be to post for others but yourself.

my Instagram feed
Blog for yourself. Post on Instagram for yourself. Share what’s on your mind or important to you. Like minded people will follow. The remainder? So what. As you might have already guessed I’m not somebody you can ask for ‘S4S’ or ‘f4f’. Nope. If that’s your goal than au revoir, mon ami. We won’t be #instafriends anytime soon. Actually,  about that term friends… you know my take on this.

Don’t get me wrong. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want anybody to follow me. But like I mentioned some time ago in regards to blogging I value quality over quantity. The most important and best part of both blogging and Instagram to me still is the community.Even if a picture didn’t get many likes yet a few people commented sharing their thoughts and opinions that would matter so. much. more to me.

On a last note I’m not judging people who treat Instagram differently than me. To each their own. All I’m hoping to do is remind whoever is sad about a small following or unsure why their pictures don’t get as many likes as others: it’s not about you. You are great the way you are as is your Instagram account.

 

 

Happiness-inducing today: Starting a great new book and reading outside in the sunshine.
Tell me whatever comes to your mind: Do you agree? Disagree? What are your experiences?

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living