Laugh It Off

Let’s set the scene, shall we?

Jim Braddock has beaten the odds. He has proved his critics wrong. He is about to take on a boxer notorious for his deathly moves. Jim and his picture-perfect wife, Mae are having a night on the town when they run into his competitor, Max Baer. As the couple was leaving, Max sets Mae off with a less than tactful comment resulting in Mae dousing his face with a martini. Jack begins to follow his livid wife who is now storming off when Max says:

“See that boys, now he’s got his wife doin’ his fightin’ for him.”

The restaurant sits in a deadly silence anticipating Jack’s reaction. Jack stares blankly. Responds.

“Yea, ain’t she somethin’?”

Laughter erupts. He unintentionally wins the crowd.

The movie is Cinderella Man. Aside from Crowe’s stellar performance and Rene Zellwegar’s humble charm, I’d recommend the movie simply to study the character of Jim Braddock. He is an endearing, courageous, man who [quite literally] fights for his family; and anybody can learn from his example. Let’s focus, however, on his ability to laugh at himself.

Jim Braddock was a renowned boxer who nearly lost everything when the Great Depression hit. He has worldly experience that has equipped him to be able to roll with the punches. Laughing at himself falls under this umbrella.

Why does it matter?

1. When we laugh at ourselves, we become more relatable. In a situation where we’re taught to perpetually have our game faces on, laughing at ourselves makes us human in our coworkers’ eyes.

2.It shows we’re confident, down to earth, and are able to let certain things go. We’re simply likeable and charming.

These are qualities employers are eager to see in potential employees.


A Needle, Some Thread, And A Cup of Joe

I don’t know about you, but my crafty side starts bursting with joy around the holidays every year. The urge to make homemade decorative wreaths, and candleholders, and Christmas cards…anything that says Christmas is coming!

The irony is, I’m not all that crafty. While the perfect, artsy ladies are molding their gravy boats out of clay, I’m attempting to string together an advent calendar with construction paper, Elmer’s glue, and anything Crayola. So when the idea was purposed to sew a stocking, I was a little more than apprehensive. I was promised guidance and emotional support, so I decided to take on the crafting challenge.

The process began.

We decided what we wanted our stockings to look like – large, obviously – and picked our patterns of choice. Braving the cold, we then went to a craft store like Joanne Fabrics to pick out what we wanted them to look like, the fun part. I was going through an intense plaid phase so I went with some plaid fabric for the cuff and a yellow and white stripe pattern for the boot. Next, we were on to the prep work. A word of advice: if you are known to not have much patience, I wouldn’t take up sewing as hobby…the first step in prepping was to cut our fabric to match the pattern, double up the fabric, and pin. After a day of avoiding pins and needles, we began the detailed process of putting them together. After an evening filled with Christmas music and peppermint mochas we had the fruits of our labor ready to display.

I grew up in a house without a sewing machine. We didn’t make anything really from scratch. Trying something so new was refreshing. Now, I have a keepsake from Christmas 2011 forever. Newly engaged or married couples or even whole families could participate in crafts like this one to get in the Christmas spirit, be with loved ones, and enjoy loved ones’ company.


Save That Sweater!

There must be a million moms rejoicing ever since Pinterest came along. The network is constantly overflowing with secret home remedies to better the lives of people everywhere. Like the average pinner, I have my fair share of tricks pinned on my ‘Clever’ board. One I found recently, though, will probably end up in my top 5 best kept secrets for the home.

Have an old sweater that you’ve been meaning to throw to the curb but just cannot seem to part with? It’s been plagued with those little, white fuzzies for a while and it’s almost not wearable; but grandma got it for you the Christmas before last and you love it. There is hope. All you need is a razor. Glide the thing over the sweater until every one of those white little balls is gone. It works. I’ve done it twice; both times I was extremely happy I came across that ‘pin.’

This is an excellent tip for college students or recent grads on a budget. Sweaters are expensive! And if you’re residing in the Midwest, you’re going to need a lot of them to endure the sub-zero temperatures. Fix up the old ones! They will be good as new.


When Sharing Isn’t Caring

“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.” – George Washington

Three dates down and two more planned for next week. You’ve found a great date and any day now he’s going to introduce you as, “my girlfriend”. Butterflies! He makes you laugh, he’s sweet to his Mom, and he’s just so easy to talk to!  You want to tell him everything that’s ever happened in your life and you want him to tell you the same.

So, you do! You tell him things that you’ve never told anyone. Things that are painful, intimate, and personal. The events and moments that made you the person you are today. Details that you would be embarrassed to tell anyone else, but this guy, he just gets you. It’s a little scary, but with every new detail he learns about you, the more you know that he’s perfect… so the more you tell him.

Sharing details about your life with someone who truly wants to listen can be an incredible and life changing experience. For women, connecting and talking with our significant other, and them responding and sharing with us, is one of the biggest ways that we feel loved and emotionally bonded to them. Knowing that someone cares about what you have to say and them feeling secure within the relationship to confide in you – that’s the stuff that lasting relationships are built on.

But when should you start all of the sharing? If you spill your guts to someone on the second date, then three days later they dump you, it’s pretty safe to say that that break up will hit you much harder than if you hadn’t opened up so soon and so much. You shared part of yourself with them? How could they not care after that?

When I first started dating, my Mom showed me the quote, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Good thing to keep in mind. But, how can you start to develop a relationship with someone if you are constantly on guard?

I think the first thing to admit is that if you want to have a relationship with anyone, romantic or not, it’s going to involve some level of vulnerability and with that comes the chance the you will get your heart broken. If you’re supposed to get married, you’re going to get your heart beat-up at least a couple times along the way the way to “happy ever after”. I’ve been guilty of blurring that line between sharing and oversharing a time or two and experienced the heartbreak that goes with it. But in my experience, the heart breaks made finding love that really is forever that much better.

To close this post out I just want to say that if you are in the sharing and learning stage of a relationship – fantastic! Enjoy the incredible experience of connecting with another human being. But, don’t forgot about the future. Think about what you are sharing and giving away in those moments of connection. And, if you are experiencing the heartbreak part of loving someone, it’s okay that you are crazy sad. Cry. Let it out. Know that because you are experiencing the feeling of being unloved and rejected, you are becoming a person who is more capable of true compassion and love.