October 14, 2010


I live in Chicago, and ketchup is a four-letter-word out here. I grew up on the East Coast, and ketchup was on most restaurant tables, but here in the Midwest, you have to ask for it - and it gets delivered begrudgingly.

So for today, I'm going to ... wait for it ... catch up (bad joke, I know) on a few orders of business from last week - awards from Debbie and Amy. You ladies are an amazing source of inspiration for me, and your support is invaluable!

First, Debbie's - thank you, Debbie, for the Very Inspiring Blogger award!

Three things that I would change about my looks if I could:

1. My hair. It's super thick, and I know a lot of people would think that's a blessing, but to me, it's frustrating. It takes forever to make it look nice, so I usually don't try. I've mastered the messy ponytail. I wish it were more manageable, or at least a nice, easy style.

2. My arms. I'm very self-conscious about most aspects of them ... like the jiggly tops and the hairy forearms. My dad's family is Italian - my sister Lisa got the olive skin and dark hair, and I got hairy arms. Sometimes life isn't fair. It's not excessive, I don't look like a wolfman. But it's enough to make me hide my arms as often as possible.

3. My calves. They've been supporting so much weight for so long that they're pretty big, and unlike my thighs (and the rest of me), it doesn't feel like there's much to be lost down there. I'm hoping they shrink even just a little.
And second, from Amy - the Fall 2010 Favorites award. Thank you, Amy!

Seven things that inspire my life:

1. The past
Looking back at where I've been and learning from it the best I can.

2. The future
Looking ahead to where I'd like to go and what I'd like to do, and what I can do today to make sure my dreams are realized.

3. My little brother
Everything he says is innocent, honest, and full of pure love. He loves me no matter what I weigh, and I'm so grateful for his truths.

4. Success stories
I love hearing other people tell stories in general, but hearing about someone beating the odds or working hard to achieve goals and then succeeding? I melt.

5. Stories of failure and defeat
In the same breath, I really love hearing about people's setbacks - if they've learned from them. Cautionary tales, if you will. To hear someone say "I tried hard and won" can be amazing, but "I tried hard, failed, then got back up and tried again" can be even better.

6. Seeing the lightbulbs go on for my students
Complain though they do, nothing beats the instant when a tough concept becomes real to them (that second when they finally "get it") and you can totally see a change in their facial expressions. Those are the best moments - for them as language learners, but also for me as their instructor. It means I must be doing something right!

7. Nature
I know it sounds silly, but there's something really peaceful and calming about the way nature works. It's miraculous and awe-inspiring. And nothing can make you feel smaller than trying to picture yourself in comparison to the size of the universe!

[[ Aaaaaand, at 9:30am, I realized I forgot to pass them on. Yikes! Early mornings are not my forté. I'd like to give the first one to Ann and the second to Jess! Thank you so much, ladies, for being you! Thank you for sharing your stories and offering such fantastic support! ]]


Life as a Caterpillar said...

This is a wonderful post- you are always so positive and i love that about you.

Your blog inspires me :)

Amy said...

I would definitely change my hair for the EXACT opposite reasons. My hair is so thin it's ridiculous, and I seem to lose a lot of it too, so I'm terrified to wake up and be bald one day. I don't want super thick hair but I do wish it was thicker. Most people are shocked when they feel how little amount of hair I have.

I am the same for my arms... even at my smallest they always seem to be bulky. My mom is the same way. It makes wearing tank tops hard.

I love all your inspirations... and you're right about nature, it can be very inspiring!

Anonymous said...

Let me offer some advice...whether you wanted it or not..LOL.

I have thick wavy hair but with the right hair products and hair tools, you can manage your hair with no problem. I use shampoo, then a conditioner, then a leave in conditioner spray after I towel dry it, then I apply a straightening syrum, and blow dry followed by a few passes of a straight iron or curling iron. It sounds like a lot but from shower to out the door, including makeup, I can be finished in 40 minutes.

I am part Italian and I have (had) dark hair on my arms. I went to an all-girl catholic high school wondering why I was the only girl with hairy arms. It's because the other girls shaved their arms. I shave my arms now and let me tell you, I don't know anyone that doesn't. That's the secret. So smooth and once you shave and put lotion on....so soft!