Let’s (not) Compare

So the other day my husband and I were sitting on the couch and out of the blue my husband turns to me and says, “do you ever think that Facebook is just a place where people…” he started to trail off and so I helpfully inserted, “post only the good things about their lives and never any bad?” To which he responded very emphatically, “YES”.

Um…only all the time.

This isn’t to call anyone out, or to knock Facebook. Social media can be and usually is a good thing – you can catch up with people from your past you’d otherwise never see or talk to, you can get accurate information on a nearby restaurant recommendation, you can share pictures and videos with friends and family…heck, one of my friends used Facebook Live to stream a birthday party for her son! Which was great, considering she lives like twelve states away. There are lots of good applications. But my husband hit on one of the more negative sides of social media: jealousy. How easy is it to check out your old high school rival’s facebook page and compare yourself to everything you see? How many times have you scrolled through your newsfeed, picking out all the things you wish you were doing, or that baby you wish was growing inside your belly, or that wedding you wish you were planning, or that house you wish you could afford? How many times does it make you feel like your life doesn’t compare?

I do it. All the time.

To be honest – there was one point where I had to take a social media hiatus because I was working myself into a fit every time I got online. But as my husband puts it, “you are comparing someone else’s highlights reel to your blooper reel.” Isn’t that the truth? (FYI: my husband is wicked smart.)

What does God tell us about jealousy?

James 3:16 says, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” (ESV)

Adding to that, Proverbs 14:30 tells us that, “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” (ESV)

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be in the midst of “disorder and every vile practice”, and I certainly don’t want to participate in anything that “makes bones rot”! Unfortunately, we know that jealous, envy, etc are bi-products of our sinful human nature. Fortunately, God loves us and forgives us when we ask for it, and if we live our lives for Him, He will helps us with these struggles.

When I start to feel jealousy, or when I begin to compare my life to other people’s, I fall back on the words of David in Psalms 139:

“You made my whole being; you formed me in my mother’s body. I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well. You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother’s body. When I was put together there, you saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me  were written in your book before I was one day old.” Psalm 139:13-16 (NCV)

God made me to be exactly who He wants me to be. He planned my days and He knows what I am going to do, when I am going to do it, and what I’m going to have. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, in His image. How could I compare myself then to anyone else?

I’m not saying it’s easy – some days are much harder than others. But it also helps me to think about all the blessings I have in my life – God has blessed me with a loving husband, a beautiful stepson, a house, a job, a car, a family. God crafted me to be exactly who He wants and needs me to be – and I can rest in the promises of His love.

And to God – we are all his highlights.

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LulaRoe

Soo…sometime in the middle of January one of my girlfriends casually mentioned that she was having a LulaRoe party and invited me to come. My first response was, of course, “Lula-what?” I don’t even remember what she told me it was, something about a clothing line and leggings, but I decided I’d go because 1) she’s my friend; and 2) I love clothes.

I probably should not have gone.

To make a long story short, I ended up buying a miniature new wardrobe and in fact purchased so much that I earned myself a pair of free leggings for being the person who…well…spent the most money at the party. Which is funny considering I didn’t intend to spend ANY money, I was just going for moral support. Plus, I don’t (didn’t) even like leggings!

Anyway. In a nutshell, LulaRoe is an independent clothing brand that specializes in super comfortable clothing – most notably their leggings. The kicker about their clothing is that they only manufacture a certain number of any specific pattern – so their selling point is that if you see something you love, you had better buy it NOW because you might not see it again.

It totally works.

So, being fairly new to the Lula world, I decided I’d share some of my honest thoughts – in no particular order.

  1. It drives me absolutely BONKERS when I hear their leggings described as “buttery soft”. Yes, their leggings are super soft. But for whatever reason (call me crazy), likening them to something I use to grease casserole dishes and cook scrambled eggs just doesn’t hold much appeal to me. Unfortunately it’s like a LLR coined phrase and so I see it ALL THE TIME.
  2. Some of their patterns are, if I may say, UGLY. Obviously beauty is in the eye of the beholder and everyone has their own opinion…but man, some of the items I see make my eyes go crossed. That said, there are tons of patterns that I ADORE and have on occasion spent more time than I will admit here searching facebook groups for a particular pattern. (I’m looking at you, shark-and-whale-print leggings!!!)
  3. Which leads me to this: it’s frustrating that you can’t buy clothes directly from the LLR website – you have to make purchases through independent consultants via their facebook pages. I am now a member of approximately 5,000 lularoe facebook groups and now the only things I see in my facebook feed are announcements on giveaways, shop openings or live parties, or happy memes from consultants.
  4. Not only that, but independent consultants have no control over their inventory, so there’s no guarantee who has what pattern and so you have to make purchases from different people – each with their own varying sales tax percentages and shipping costs, and everyone has their own little rewards or benefits. My case study on this uber-frustrating aspect:

Exhibit A: I purchased clothes in person from one group and they have a “buy 10 items, get 1 pair of free leggings” rewards card. I’m only 2 items away from a free pair of leggings, but I’m not really all that keen on the items this particular group has available and so I may never get that free pair of leggings.

Exhibit B; I joined a birthday club from another group in which I receive 10% off all purchases during my birthday month.

Exhibit C: I bought a pair of leggings from one group and received $5 “lulacash”…which is only good if I purchase something else from that particular person’s shop.

Exhibit D: I bought a shirt from another group and received $10 “lulacash”…which again is only good if I purchase something else from that person’s shop.

So, which technically I am two items away from a free pair of leggings, could get 10% off my entire purchase, AND have $15 “lulacash” to spend…by the time to break out individual purchases from each retailer and then pay taxes and shipping fees…it’s totally not worth it and I’m really not reaping any benefit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the CLOTHING isn’t worth it, but to try to take advantage of all the separate “rewards” is not worth it and doesn’t save me any money whatsoever.

5. All of the above aside, their clothing is darned comfortable. I never considered myself a leggings person before, but I think that was because I couldn’t find a pair that I really liked. These leggings are so soft that I could live in them. Along with the rest of the LLR clothing I now own.

6. In addition to being super comfortable, certain styles of their clothing fit my own personal fashion “style” to a T. I’ve tried trends in the past, but they don’t last. I am classic to a fault, which is why the styles I gravitated towards when I went to that first LLR party were the Randy (a baseball style tee), the Perfect (a longer tee fitted in the top but flows out slightly at the hips), the Classic (a simple tee that works with anything), and the Sarah (a knee length cardigan sweater). I love that all the tops fall a little longer in the bank so to adequately cover my bum. And as long as I’m wearing solid colors or somewhat tamer printers, I can dress them up enough for work and still be 100% comfortable at home. Lastly, if I had to choose one “outfit” to wear for the rest of my life it would be jeans (or leggings now!), a simple tee, and a cardigan. Forever and ever, amen.

Translate that into LulaRoe and I would live in a pair of leggings, a classic tee, and a sarah. Every day for the rest of my life.

I could probably go on and on, but I’ll step off my soapbox for now.

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Whole30 Apple Pie – Maybe?

I’m a little squirmy about labeling this “recipe” Whole30 because of a little thing Dallas and Melissa Hartwig (co-creators of The Whole30) call “Sex with your Pants on (SWYPO).” Basically, the principle of the Whole30 is to reset your body by not eating any grains, legumes, dairy, alcohol, or sugar for 30 days. Most of these are pretty simple, with the exception of one: sugar. On the Whole30, you aren’t allowed any sugar at all – to include things like honey, agave nectar, etc. We all have that dreaded Sugar Dragon – you know the guy, that little sneak who may or may not send you down to the kitchen at 0200 for a couple spoonfuls of Ben and Jerry’s. “Slaying the Sugar Dragon” is one of the hardest things to do – whether you’re doing a Whole30 or not. I could go on and on about the negative effects of sugar – but I’ll spare you.

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For the full explanation of SWYPO, refer to this article. Essentially, it can be summed up like this. Eating something that resembles a junk food – even if it’s made with Whole30 approved or natural ingredients – can still sometimes serve as a junk food. For example, take a look at these recipes:

Raspberry Caramel Chocolate Cups

Paleo Nutella Mud Cake

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

It’s true that these recipes all include paleo approved ingredients, but it’s still junk food no matter how you slice it. And there’s nothing wrong with eating any of these treats as long as you realize that you’re still eating junk food, albeit a healthier version. If you eat something like this every night, chances are that you have not slayed your Sugar Dragon. You’re just being nicer to him.

bearfamilystrong.com | whole30 apple pie

However, the line between what is or is not SWYPO is fairly blurred, which Melissa Hartwig explains in this Instagram post:

Is this “apple pie snack mix” #SWYPO? TL;DR: This is one of those grey areas in which I demand that you take some personal responsibility. The long version:

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Technically, this combination of foods is #Whole30 compliant. There may even be specific situations in which this snack mix is appropriate for your Whole30, like a kid’s birthday party or dessert for a special dinner. If you’ve done the Whole30 enough (and live Whole30-ish in between), you may find a conscious, deliberate choice like this during your program is actually fine, and won’t wake your Sugar Dragon.

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But this is not most people, and likely not your context. Remember the Whole30 is about changing your habits and your emotional relationship with food. Including technically-approved-but-not-at-all-encouraged foods to satisfy your Sugar or Snack Dragon or fill an emotional hole during your program is not helping your cause.

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So why am I not ruling this explicitly off-limits during the Whole30? Some of you think I’m just going soft, and that the “old Melissa” would have banned snacks like this outright. That may have been true. But I would have been wrong.

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It’s not my job to dictate every nuance of your Whole30. I can’t do it for you, and I wouldn’t want to. There are grey areas in everything, including the Whole30. And it’s your job to step in where the official rules leave off, and decide what kind of an experience you want to have.

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Do you want to feed your Sugar Dragon with technically compliant treats for 30 days because it makes the program easier? Then go do that… and own the consequences. Do you want me to tell you, “Don’t eat that, it’s not right for you, you know this?” If you tweet at me, I might… but you already know the answer. You’re all big boys and girls, and it’s not going soft to say, “Here are my recommendations; now it’s up to you as grown-up people to make the right decision.”

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In summary, it’s YOUR program. OWN IT. #melissarants #toughlove #heavyonthelove

This recipe is from @popular_paleo, who has an excellent handle on both the Whole30 and her Sugar Dragon, gets that “context matters,” and encourages you to eat responsibly.

 

Well, that’s how I feel about this Apple Pie “recipe”. I’ve completed several successful Whole30’s and I don’t tend to have a huge sweet tooth in general, and so for me this is perfectly acceptable as a snack – it doesn’t send me screaming down the aisles of the grocery store for a Snickers bar, but it does satisfy me when I want a little something sweet. Plus, there isn’t any added sugar to it and as far as fruit goes, a green apple is one of your better options. Really the only reason I’m calling it Apple Pie is because that’s what the smell reminds me of.

bearfamilystrong.com | whole30 apple pie3

Whole30 “Apple Pie”

Ingredients:

1 small green apple

1 lemon wedge

Cinnamon

Instructions:

Core and slice your apple. Sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with lemon juice. To really experience the Apple Pie smell, add your apple slices to a ziplock baggie, squirt in the lemon and add your cinnamon, and then shake like crazy.

Voila!