January 25, 2011

These Shoes are Made For Walking....So Why Are They In The Back Of My Closet?

Gear and Outdoor clothing are frequently on the brains of many of my friends. Whether they work in the Outdoor Industry or are outdoor enthusiasts (or both) I know they're always excited to see what's new and what to add to their collections. At this time of year winter gear is still being purchased and the spring and summer wishlists are being made. Many of us don't "need" new gear or clothing. It's hard to justify items and sometimes we accumulate so much that it sits in the queue.

This was recently the case with me and trail shoes. I had four pair. Now, no, it's not a lot but it's more than what I truly need. I have two pairs that get worn frequently and two that were waiting to be used. The shelved pairs are both great shoes, I just thought I would wait until the current shoes are done then move on to the next. Then I had a friend in need.

A friend was going on an vacation that included hiking and spending time in the great outdoors. While my friend is active and energetic she is not what she would describe as an outdoorsy lady. Knowing how expensive good trail shoes can be, especially if you never know if you'll use them post trip, I offered her a pair of mine.

After the trip she told me she loved them. If she had tried to do the trip in tennis shoes she wouldn't have been comfortable. She told me she wants to try to get outdoors more locally and with the right shoes she would. I almost cried when she told me this. I remember, as a late bloomer it wasn't so far ago, when I first branched out into the outdoors. I didn't know about appropriate clothing for climate variances or what the ten essentials were. I had no one to show me the ropes or lend me gear. I just worked through trial and error.

So the shoes are hers. They're doing so much more good on her feet then they were sitting in my closet.

Now I have to ask, how much gear or clothing or musical instruments or art supplies or any other stuff have you accumulated that just waits to be used? I know we think "I spent so much on it though!" or "It will fit again someday" or "I know I haven't touched that guitar in three years but some day I will". Chances are if it's been hanging out more than a year or more than what is seasonally appropriate without being used, you're not going to use it. Someone can. Someone will.

Consider taking stock of what you have and aren't using. Do you know someone who would benefit? Ask them if they want it. Maybe you know a non-profit that could use it like a women's shelter or outdoors organization. Maybe you'll just take it to your local non-profit supporting thrift store and be done with it. Bottom line, give it up and you'll feel good knowing that it has a much better use of being used than it ever did in your closet. Just maybe in the process you'll be opening up a world of opportunity to someone who didn't know where to start.

January 19, 2011

The Best Winter Product I Always Forget About:
Kiss My Face's Hand Alert

I have seriously dry skin. The Colorado climate only makes it worse and the winter weather makes it painful. My hands and feet suffer the most. Sometimes I think a mani-pedi is the answer but my dry skin is also sensitive. With sensitive skin the products used in salons can make the skin feel worse. Then I finally remember Kiss My Face's Hand Alert. From this point forward I am vowing to always have a tube and not forget about it again.

I love this product because it is an intensive moisturizer with the yummy scent of Rosemary Mint. When I have it on people actually ask what perfume I am wearing, it's that delectable. However, that is not my favorite feature. My favorite part is the 2% Alpha Hydroxy Acid. I use the lotion on both my hands and feet and the AHA works to exfoliate while moisturizing. You're not just trying to rehydrate dead skin cells, rather getting them out of the way and moisturizing the new cells.

The moisturizer also contains a sunscreen, SPF 8. Hands are one of the first parts of the body to show signs of aging so a little sunscreen everyday is helpful. The only downside is that it tends to leave a little white residue that you can't feel but can see. Apply sparingly until you figure out what amount is right for you. As with all Kiss My Face products the lotion is made from organic plants and herbs, not tested on animals or made with animal ingredients. It retails for about $8.99 (though I usually find it closer to $7). You can buy it online or at local stores like Whole Foods and Sunflower Market.

January 12, 2011

One from the Archives: Confessions of a Reformed Bitch - The Making and Tempering of the Mafia Side

It's been a hectic few weeks and a bout of the winter flu hit. I have been a little cranky, a little moody, and my temper hasn't been normal. I went back and read this post from September 2009. It was a good reminder of where I came from and how to not head back in that direction. For those of you who haven't read this yet, it's a little insight into me. For those who have, thank you for being my friends and taking the time to get to know me and allowing me to be present in your lives.

Much love,

Confessions of a Reformed Bitch - The Making and Tempering of the Mafia Side

You know how when you were little there was the bully at school and your parents always told you, "He only picks on you because he's insecure"? Well the same can be said of that snarky bitch. I know because that bitch was me. Now I can already hear some of my friends jokingly say "What do you mean 'was'?" but I am going to let that slide. Because I will concede we all have our moments of snarkiness and ill behavior but I am talking about really difficult to deal with bitchiness.

Now I certainly wasn't born a bitch but I was always very sensitive. Being an only child without siblings to pick on me I was easily flustered when teased. In addition to my already delicate nature I had the trauma of a dog attack complete with scarring and was thrown into Gifted and Talented class in Kindergarten. So while other little girls were known for their beauty or charm or talent I was known for a few scars and my brain. I got picked on and teased often. As early as fourth grade I developed aggression disguised as assertiveness to handle the pain. It's so much easier to give people a reason to dislike you, like being snarky, hard to approach, condescending, and dark, than to let them choose their own reasons.

As I grew into my high school years the approach became more dramatic. That's right, I became Gothic. I was more than content to have people think I was an evil witch or blood drinking vampire wanna be than to let them in and make up their mind whether or not to like me. While I softened up a bit my senior year in anticipation of college I still kept my edge. In college I realized people were as quick to judge as "adults" as they were as children and adolescents.

Rather than take the high road and evolve into someone who I felt comfortable with I became the bitch. In classes I was a know-it-all, in social interactions I dismissed anyone that bored me, and I prided myself on being verbally scathing. I associated myself with a very close knit group of people who allowed this behavior to continue. Upon graduation I not only had the bitch thing working for me but also that naive recently graduated entitlement that some people in their early 20's get. Then life gave me the smack down.

I realized most of my relationships were superficial. I would have "best friends" that last six months and then I would be quick to judge something they did and never speak to them again. My romantic relationships were also lacking. I became somewhat of a narcissist and then I was alone. Nobody wanted to play my reindeer games. Finally I realized being the bitch is a sad place to be, an ugly place to be.

The first step was to admit I had a problem. Quite simply I didn't like myself. Part of this stemmed from depression suffered since puberty and part of it was the monster I made myself. Not to say I didn't have a good heart but it got overshadowed by my brash callous nature. I didn't want to be the girl that was hard to approach. I didn't want to be hurtful. I wanted to find happiness, find peace, share my light and not my dark.

So through quite a few years of work in therapy, self-assessment, through discovering yoga, and true friendships based on common ground rather than common hate I have become the Cupcake. I still have a Mafia side, but rather than channel that tough edge into the negative I use it to find my strength in challenging moments. Being tough isn't about being a bitch, it's about rolling with life's problems with grace and resilience. I am so honored to now share my life with such amazing people both in real life and my online communities. At times when the bitch tries to creep back in having such amazing people in my life reminds me of how far I have come and I love you all for it.