Beauty Talk for the #realbabebeauty queens

All right babes, can I call you babes?

Let me tell you a story.  You know how Sephora advertises that they will teach you how to use the products and whatnot? Yeah, I’m the girl they’re advertising to.

I have less and less shame about going to my local Sephora and telling them that I want to use this product or that but need some help.  Most recently I flagged down one of their staff and asked her to help me with contouring.  On multiple occasions, I’ve asked them to teach me how to use different brow products so I could find one easy enough that I can literally do it blind (#glassesprobs).

Things like crazy perfect brows and ultra-defined cheekbones kind of exploded on to the beauty blogs and all of a sudden they were everywhere.  Everyone I knew was adding a little extra and looking gorgeous and I had no idea how.  I tried experimenting on my own but quickly realized I was in over my very-pale head. Every time I tried applying anything contour-wise it looked too dark on my cheeks. I looked more like I’d been in a fight than anything else. And I looked like I lost that fight.

You don’t even wanna know how learning to do my brows went. Honestly, I wasn’t bad at making each of my brows look great but they looked like they belonged on different faces.  Evenness was a problem.

Now I’ve been all about the real talk on this blog.  Y’all know I’ll always be honest with you from my love life to working from home to fitness.  Once upon a time when I started this little mermaid project, I said “Nope, I’ll never blog about beauty” but lately I’ve started thinking more about it.  I see all these bloggers out there killing it with gorgeous makeup tutorials and I love that they’re doing such great work for their blogs.  However, there’s something missing.  Where are the makeup blogs for people like me?  When I look at these super glam beauty bloggers I don’t see someone I can relate too and I don’t feel like I can learn anything honestly because they are in another class of skill and talent.

Now don’t get me wrong – I know a lot of that is in my head.  I’m sure if I really studied it and tried I would find that it’s a little more accessible than I think.  I want to put something out there though that is truly for all the girls that give up easy when makeup gets complicated.  I’m here for you! I’m one of you!

The reason I said I wouldn’t blog about beauty is that I didn’t feel qualified.  Then again – maybe I am qualified for a certain kind of beauty blogging.

The truth is I love makeup.  I do really enjoy experimenting with new products, trying new techniques or new styles.  Sephora is a super happy place for me.  That being said, I’m not super good at makeup.  I can’t transform my face to look like someone else and I refuse to make it more complicated than it needs to be (I’ll get into that in my next beauty post.)

Today I have a big question for you: What do you want to see in a beauty blog?

Are the big questions I can try and answer?

Are there products you want to know more about?

Are there certain looks you’d want me to try and post?

What do you want an averaged girls perspective on? =) Comment and let me know!

 

Let’s Talk About “The Weight Loss Resolution”

It’s that time of year again! Just 4 short days ago untold numbers of us pledged to ourselves – and perhaps our families, friends & followers – that we would change our habits with the intention of loosing weight.

I kinda get it. I mean, for years and years I pledged along with the rest of them. I always used January 1st as the beginning of an imagined weight loss journey.

I can only speak for myself here, but it never really stuck. Or rather, the weight always stuck far better than the resolution.

So what’s with the mass desire to loose weight? Wanting to be healthier is one thing but I can’t help wondering about the marketing happening to create this trend.

More importantly, can we spin this towards deeper meaning. Instead of simply following the idea that we should more faithfully support the health industry or chase a certain body image could we centre on living more consciously?

I think that’s a big part of what has always been missing for me in my weight loss journey. I got the message to go to the gym and to eat a certain way but it always came from outside. It came from marketing, blog posts, health magazines and the like.

What if instead of simply saying we have a resolution to lose weight we had a resolution to nourish our bodies and paid attention to what our bodies actually wanted?

Not simply eating this “superfood” or that “negative calorie snack” because we were told that’s what we should do but instead exploring and experimenting to find what really feels good and gives us energy, strength and health?

I imagine this kind of mental shift is where the real change happens. Not in what we’re told to do but in what we feel good doing.

What about you? What are your resolutions and how are you planning to turn resolutions in to reality?

Making Relationship Resolutions

We spend this week trying to set ourselves up for a great year. We talk about weight loss and career goals. We start planning and prepping and getting excited. Well, Wednesdays are my relationship post day so here’s a question:

Do you have relationship resolutions?
Here are 5 Relationship Resolutions for a happy, health 2019:

Don’t focus on what’s “wrong”

This is hard but ultimately good for all your relationships. When we focus on something we give it increasing power and significance. By focusing on the things that bother us, the things that upset us, any longer than necessary, we slowly let them define our relationship.

When you find your mind constantly circling to something negative turn and face it, address it and mentally close that train of thought. If it keeps coming up remind yourself that it was dealt with.

The sneaky truth about “thinking positive” is that it takes a lot more effort than we ever talk about. We say “think positive” all the time but we don’t talk about doing the work.

Remember to Date Each other

This is kind of the flip side of not focusing on whatever feels “wrong”. No matter where you are in your relationship – dating, living together, engaged, married – remember to date each other.

The thing about this advice is that it’s really just a reminder to think of each other and let yourself enjoy all the happiness, and infatuation that you felt in those early days of dating.

As relationships get more serious it’s easy to let the infatuation evaporate because we feel like it doesn’t have a place in the conversations about bills, families, and daily life. But love – infatuation and unreasonable affection for one another – is what separates adults in a relationship from adults with a functional partnership.

Make time for Each Other

It doesn’t have to be like a “date”. Going out for dinner or to do things is nice. However, it’s not really about that, is it? It’s just about making time to make each other a priority.

Sometimes when we are going to be home, just having a regular night, we think of it as not having plans. We look for something else to do with that time. Somewhere else to be, someone else to see. We choose to go out with our friends or go to an event.

Sometimes we have to just see that open time in our schedule as booked. We have to enjoy that obligation-free time with each other and protect it from the incessant need to fill our calendar with “something else”.

Celebrate and Support Independence

Relationship advice tends to tell you how to be together. I want to remind you that you should also celebrate and support independence. Encourage each other to pursue hobbies and things that fuel your soul.

Be okay with the fact that there is happiness that isn’t shared. Be okay with your partner loving something that you don’t.

Let them talk to you about it and express their happiness without making them feel guilty for loving something that isn’t you.

Take the time to find your own hobbies and interests.

Never Air your Dirty Laundry 

My mother gave me some really great advice as a teenager. She told me that the reason I should never air the dirty laundry in my relationship is because I am in love with someone, so forgiveness is part of the deal but for all the friends and family I might vent to when I’m mad, that isn’t true.

I can go running to friends or my mom or whoever and tell them all about how upset a partner made me or some stupid thing they did. At the end of the day I’m going to go home and forgive my partner because that’s how relationships move foreword.

That person I vented to, though… anyone who saw the dirty laundry… they aren’t in the relationship. They don’t have any reason to forgive. I just make them look bad and their reputation isn’t fixed by my forgiveness.

Keep what happens behind closed doors right there behind closed doors.

What are your relationship resolutions?

2019 Preview

Can you believe we’re already here? Prepping and planning and celebrating the arrival of 2019?

I can’t. It’s been a crazy year and I am so excited to tell you about just a few of the things I have planned for the upcoming year.

I hinted in my review yesterday that I am planning to do a little beauty blogging. I said I wouldn’t be a beauty blogger buuuuut I have always love make up. I just felt like I didn’t have anything to add to the beauty blogging sphere. Yet I think I might have something to add, after all?

More on that later.

I’m also working on an awesome content calendar full of beauty posts and everything else. That means more frequent posting for you. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to be specific! There’ll even be themes. Mondays will usually be beauty and lifestyle posts, Wednesdays will usually be relationship related and Fridays will usually be fitness Fridays.

I’m a little addicted to planning, but that works out well for projects like this!

Most exciting of all: A New Business!

Oh My Mermaid has allowed me a few opportunities to work as a social media manager and build on past social media experiences in the volunteer world. It’s become a bit more than a side passion to be a full blown project.

Fear not – this blog isn’t going anywhere. This brand is just growing to include Seashell Social Media. My specialty is small businesses, like start ups and Etsy shops along with other bloggers and not-for-profits because those are the projects I’ve worked with before and know the most about supporting.

I’ll be launching Seashell Social Media fully in the next week or two but if you’re interested in being a founding client message me to find out about all the perks that come with getting involved now, at the beginning of something beautiful!

Well, that’s all for now – just a little sneak peak of all that’s coming in 2019!

For the last time in 2018,

Carmen

2018 In Review

It’s hard to believe I’ve been working on Oh My Mermaid for a year now. Originally I started developing this project back in January and the 1st post went live January 16th 2018. I posted 3 things that day because I felt the need to get a bit of content on to the website. I didn’t want to welcome internet wanderers to an empty house, after all, when I finally started inviting people over.

I finally launched – as in, started telling people the blog was a thing and building my social media presence – on February 5th.

Since then this project has grown and grown! This year I’ve posted 64 posts here – this will be number 65. Those 64 totalled 50,084 words.

Sometimes blogging can feel like talking in to a void… you take time to create these carefully crafted pieces and share parts of yourself, and you put them out there hoping someone hears it, sees it, reads it… you hope that you have a purpose.

Oh My Mermaid has attracted 6, 615 views from 2,936 visitors. As blogs go, I have room to grow but I could do a lot worse!

I’m so grateful to the 103 people following me on wordpress, 57 people who have liked my facebook page, 163 people who have joined the journey on twitter and the 415 people who are there for me on Instagram. Ya’ll, all of ya’ll, are really what make this project have life.

You have read, commented, and shared with me all year long and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you!

I’ve talked a lot on this blog about my relationship. It’s been an amazing place to share the happiness and joy that has come in to my life since starting to date Maggie and Tom alongside my marriage to Ben. Being able to write about the journey has allowed me to process my own developing relationships and I’ve been so happy to share how our lives are changing and developing.

I shared my very first trip to Pride Toronto with Maggie by my side. I also shared Ben and I’s trip to Blue Mountain, Ontario as I started dabbling in a bit of travel writing.

Don’t worry, we are all planning 2019 trips that I can’t wait to share with you!

I’ve even been able to use this as a place to share my ongoing struggles with fitness and weight loss.

Really, it’s been a lot of #realtalk and 2019 is going to bring even more with a new flare for beauty blogging – something I never thought I’d do! I’m so excited to share some beauty realness with you!

I’ve also been able to share about my developing work-from-home lifestyle with teaching remotely and an increasing desire to follow my entrepreneurial spirit wherever it may lead me.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a little preview of what’s coming in 2019! 😉

In summary, 2018 has been a great year and this project continues to grow. I’m so humbled and grateful to have followers along with me on this journey and I’m so excited to see where 2019 takes this project and our little mermaid minded community! ❤

Thank you 2018,

Carmen

PS. Haven’t caught up with me yet? Find me here:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

And as always, right here on wordpress!

Being “Off Plan” Has Been my Best Fitness Decision in Months

I posted before about loving the Anna Victoria work out plan and about how much the virtual community around that plan made a difference in my fitness journey.  There’s still love in my heart for the virtual fitness community, especially on instagram. I still adore Anna Victoria as a fitness guru but I’ve moved away from following her plan.

I posted about this, too, when I talked about longing for more creativity in my fitness.

So here’s a little update stemming from those thoughts:

For a Beginner, it Has to be About Beginning

That seems overly simple and ridiculously obvious, but hear me out.  Even the beginner plans I’ve tried have a number of expectations.  They tend to look super do-able on paper but in the middle of a work out maybe not so much. Besides that, even when they are genuinely within my abilities there are other problems around success and failure when this journey is just at the begining and so, so fragile.

Being “off plan” might be one of my best fitness decisions yet.  When I followed a fitness plan created by someone else, even if I loved all the components of that plan, it created equal opportunities for failure and success.

If I followed the plan with dedication and discipline I would see results and experience all the joys of success. As someone who loves lists and plans I took great satisfaction in checking off work out after workout, day after day.  I really enjoyed the sense of accomplishment that came with completing first one workout, then one week, then another.  I liked knowing I wasn’t alone but actually participating alongside so many other people subscribed to the same plan.

All that said… each day that I missed a workout or each move I couldn’t physically do in a given workout became a hovering failure.  A bit of a cloud above my head and they added up until they felt bigger than my successes.  As soon as the list of perceived failures grew longer than the list of successes and check marks the cause seemed lost.

Now, like much that is related to fitness, the failure I felt so discouraged by was as much in my head as anything else.  With a little work, I’m sure it could be overcome.

It would have been a worthy cause to overcome those hang ups.  However, I chose instead to rethink my approach to get around the hangups.

What “Off Plan” Looks like For Me

Now I commit to one hour of working out per day. I have very few rules for what that hour has to look like.  It can look the same every day or different every day.  So far it’s the same every day and I’ve been focused on cardio using the treadmill in the garage.

This allows me to be a little gentler with my expectations of myself at the beginning of my journey.  I don’t have the strength, endurance or agility that I have in the past.  As frustrating as that can be, having minimal expectations has given me the opportunity to rebuild while also forgiving myself for what I’ve lost, and what I’ve gained.

So far, moving “off plan” has opened more possibilies and given me a healthier mental approach to fitness.

What has changed your fitness routine?

Carmen

 

How your Relationship can Weather any Storm

It seems obvious that the days we argue, find ourselves on different pages, and miss each other’s signals are the most difficult days in my relationships.  I mean, duh, right? Nobody likes fighting or feeling like something is just off in their relationship.  It’s unpleasant, uncomfortable and it can feel downright scary when you don’t know how to get back to the good days.

I was blessed in that my parents never fought – well, certainly never in front of me.  If they disagreed or ever felt off-kilter I never saw it. I love this about my childhood and when I talk to people who tell a different story I feel really grateful for the harmony that always existed in my household.  While this blessing taught me a lot, there’s one thing it didn’t teach me: how to weather a storm.

I had an amazing example of what love looked like and what happiness meant but I never witnessed a relationship survive a fight.  I never knew how a marriage could navigate rocky times without sinking or even that a little friction here and there could be normal.

In the first three years or so of Ben and I’s relationship, maybe even longer, we never ever fought.  People who knew us as a couple wondered out loud how we could be so damn happy all the time. I appreciated the praise for our relationship success but I could never articulate how we had achieved it.  For me, it was just natural and normal. It looked like my parent’s relationship and like Ben’s parent’s relationship.  We never had to work at it.

The hard truth is that in those days it might have been easier to live this bliss because life really didn’t have too many serious stresses.  We were in high school and then at University.  We were only just beginning to taste adulthood and we knew then that life was sweet with minimal bills and a lot of time available to spend together.

As we’ve progressed into full-time jobs with more serious bills (ahem, student loans – the very ones that previously made finances so stress-free.) and a lot less leisure time to spend with each other or with anyone, for that matter, we’ve had to face a new and evolving set of challenges.  I think our relationship has faced a couple of unique sets of challenges, actually.

Building a life together brings one set of challenges.  From living together and maintaining the house together, lifestyle choices to mutual bills.  Building a life together has challenges and difficult conversations built in.

On top of that, we’ve had to grow up together. I’ve talked a little bit about this and probably will talk about it again from time to time. As romantic as it is being high school sweethearts if the relationships are really going to last forever there’s some work to be done to transform from teenagers who love each other into adults who function as a team, whose lives work together and who still love each other.

I think we’ve been lucky.  Even with the challenges we’ve faced we really haven’t had to weather too many storms.  That being said I wanted to take a second here on getting through the days we don’t like to talk about.

Finding ourselves lacking harmony some days was really scary because for so long we never felt that way and we didn’t see a lack of harmony in our households growing up so it started to feel like we must really be doing something wrong.  It wasn’t our normal so it felt like a battle neither of us was ready for.

The way we survive and the best advice I can give is simple: love first.

When the love of your life drives you crazy, disagrees with you, makes little mistakes over and over again or just seems to be lacking something you need from the relationship, take a deep breath and love first.

Someone somewhere in something or other I was watching about relationships once said couples have to fight while still being on the same team.  You can be upset with each other and you can ask each other to do better in the relationship but always be on the same team.

When you start to feel like you’re on separate teams in some sort of ultimate opposition everyone loses.

What does that look like?

Sometimes it means pausing the argument to ask yourselves what you want the result to be and finding out if maybe you just have different ways of trying to get to the same place.

This happens to Maggie and I sometimes.  We’re both strongly opinionated, highly organized, goal driven and a tad bit stubborn.  When we see someone else in the pod, particularily each other, veering off the path we really feel we should be on… or if someone asks us to change ours… get ready for a world of resistance and friction.

Then at some point someone asks what the freakin’ point is and we realize we both have the same answer.  We’re trying to force each other to the same destination we’re just trying to get there in different ways.  Realizing we were on the same team and had the same goals the whole time has solved basically any fight we’ve ever had in a matter of seconds.

Fun fact: Want to clear men out of a room? Start an argument with your girlfriend.  Never seen Ben or Tom make themselves dissapear faster than when their women are on the path to disagreement!

Sometimes it looks like creating a compromised vision of how you want it to end so that even though you weren’t fighting for the same thing to begin with you have created a new goal you can both work towards.

Sometimes it means going to bed and seeing how you feel in the morning.

Everyone says you shouldn’t go to bed angry. I sort of agree but I think more importantly you should never go to bed (or anywhere) letting your anger be bigger than your love.

I hate going to bed angry.  It’s a terrible feeling and I never get a good sleep.  But staying up all night depriving yourselves of any sleep at all is going to put ya’ll in a worse mood and move you further away from resolving your disagreement.

Ben and I have never slept in separate beds simply because we refused to sleep together. If we’re not sleeping with each other it’s because one of us isn’t home, because I am only sleeping for a few hours in between classes.  If we’re supposed to be in bed together, we are. Even when we’ve upset each other.

It’s part of putting love first and living the truth that we’re on the same team.  We don’t let frustration and disagreement divide us.

When it feels hopeless let yourself remember all the reasons you’re here.  How did you end up together? How did you end up living under one roof? How did you feel as you laid the bricks one by one and built this life together?  You made a decision – actually, you made a lot of decisions – to get here.

Staying here is a decision, too.  It’s a decision that makes sense with the hundreds and thousands of decisions you’ve made as a couple so far.  But ending it undoes all those other decisions.  Deciding to leave and turn away from love is a decision to remove all those bricks you laid and unbuild this life.

For me, it was worth building and on our worst days, it’s still worth fixing.

Lastly, when I read about peoples worst relationship days they talk about feeling like something is beyond saving.  Another piece of advice in my head that I know I got from somewhere but can’t remember where is that you can build something new.  Deciding that your relationship isn’t working the way it is doesn’t mean you need a new person.  Love is pretty limitless.  When you refocus on love you can assess what parts of the life you built aren’t functioning and focus on rebuilding those and doing better instead of swinging the wrecking ball and walking away.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes relationships end and there’s nothing wrong with deciding that what ya’ll really need is to part ways.  That being said, I believe in love and the way I see it love can weather a lot of storms when you are willing to repair what you’ve built when it gets damaged.

Carmen