Posts Tagged: friends

Lady Tip: Make Friends With People Who Intimidate You

women trophies
By now, you’ve read Ann Friedman’s article on why powerful women make the best friends, right? In it, she writes about how some of us (even feminists) have the sorta gross tendency to avoid making friends with women who seem too cool. Too put together. Too important. Too intimidating.

She uses Kelly Rowland and Beyonce as an example. Kelly is successful, talented, and glamorous…but how does she compare when stacked up next to Beyonce, one of the most successful, talented, and glamorous women in the world? Who would want to be compared to that?

Friedman writes, “When we meet other women who seem happier, more successful, and more confident than we are, it’s all too easy to hate them for it. It means there’s less for us.”

And I get that. Personally, I used to totally avoid women I saw as too smart, confident, and successful. Not because I thought they had something I wanted, necessarily. No, it all goes back to my weird self-esteem. I always assume I’m the dumbest, worst-dressed, least-accomplished, most boring, least-liked, and least-attractive person in the room. I mean, always. So when I was presented with a lady who just seemed together, someone who was smart and funny and (this part is important) confident about it, my first instinct was to run like the wind! Flee! Find a corner where I could huddle in shame!

But then I realized that, of course, the lady friends I already have are extremely smart, accomplished, and awesome. And if they’re so fun to be around, maybe I shouldn’t write off every women who displays this crazy thing called “confidence” in her abilities as someone who would never want to hang around with lame old me. Maybe, instead, I should actually try to be friends with that person and, you know, be a normal human being.

To be honest, I probably really am the least-accomplished person amongst my lady friends. They are incredibly smart and funny and they always dress really well. They have multiple degrees (including PhDs), killer jobs, knowledge of things I can’t even begin to understand, and they do cool things like “start kitten fostering programs” or “join roller derby teams.” And they’re adventurous and hilarious and did I mention really, really well-dressed? I mean, I can’t compete with that. I just sit in front of my laptop all day. But I’m fully convinced that just knowing them makes me a better, more awesome person, and I want to actually try to get to know more awesome women instead of assuming I could never be friends with them.

We should all let our friends build us up, not make us feel worse about ourselves, you know? Smart, accomplished women can introduce us to new things, teach us about stuff we don’t know, and just make us better people. What about you guys? Do you love having an impressive group of powerful lady friends? And do you have the same hangups I do when it comes to meeting confident women? Ugh, self-esteem, you guys!

Image via Flickr

I Had a (Book-Themed) Bridal Shower!

bridal shower table
I try not to talk about my upcoming wedding too much on here, but the truth is it’s kinda taken over my life lately. It’s only about a month away, which is causing me A LOT of stress. I plan on writing about the (not very fun, for me anyway) process of wedding planning soon, but today I wanted to tell you guys about one VERY fun aspect of getting married: the bridal shower!

Here’s why I liked my bridal shower: I didn’t have to do anything. Seriously, I just showed up. I’m lucky that my best friend/maid of honor also happens to be one of those people who’s SUPER great at planning things (unlike me), and she threw what will probably go down as the best shower in the history of showers. The only worry I had about it was that no one would show up (I didn’t want to invite very many people, because I didn’t want to obligate people to buy gifts, but then I got super concerned that I’d invited too few people and it would just be me and Cat and my mom in a room), but almost everyone could make it! I knew Cat could handle every other detail like a boss, and she did. Seriously, guys, this bridal shower was book-themed. The favors were bookmarks with a Lorrie Moore quote on them. I don’t think it could have been more awesome.
bridal shower bookmark lorrie moore

Also there were books covered in tissue paper and quotes from books (and Winnie the Pooh).
brial shower flowers

Oh yeah, and Mama W. made a cake that looked like a book.
bridal shower cake

As you can tell (by, you know, looking at this blog), I enjoy pink and yellow, so I was all about the color scheme. Also, Cat doesn’t hate me so she didn’t make me play any stupid bridal shower games. We did play The Newlywed Game, which I always actually love at showers, and I learned a lot about H. Namely that he thinks my nose is cute (?) and he can’t remember the first or last movie we saw together. Enlightening!

I will tell you all, though, that parts of the shower were awkward, and I think that’s true of any shower. Mainly I’m talking about opening presents while everyone watches you. When you’re no longer a child, there are blessedly few times you have to do this. Basically, it’s limited to bridal and baby showers. You know why? Because it’s weird! I genuinely loved all of the wonderful gifts my friends and family gave me, but it still felt so weird to hold them up in front of a group of women and say, “OH LOOK AT THIS! I LOVE IT! THANK YOU!”

Also, it’s just a strange experience to have a lot of people you know from different places all in one room. Like, your college friends and your aunt and your future mother-in-law, just all hangin’ out. It’s not bad, but it is unusual.

To be completely serious for one damn second of my life, my shower was a really special day, and I’m so glad I got to spend the time with some of my favorite ladies. You guys know how much I love positive all-female environments (a lot). Everything was wonderful, thoughtful, and beautiful, and I loved it all.

Oh yeah, and in case you wanted to see how attractive my friends are, here’s a picture of all of the girls I’ve known since high school. I also have a picture that includes my college friends, but that picture is on my mom’s camera and when I asked her to send it to me, she said, “I don’t know how to do that. Ask Alex.” Classic Mama W. But look how attractive!
bridal shower girls

Wedding Weekend and This Week on HelloGiggles!

I didn’t get a chance to post about this week’s Young Adult Education because I was busy attending a wedding par-tay in lovely Bloomington, Indiana all weekend. My college friends Liz and Chris got hitched, which meant I got to hang out with a bunch of wonderful old and new friends for a couple of days. Here are couple of pictures, courtesy of Christine and Carrie:

It was a really special weekend! While I was gone, my post about Caddie Woodlawn went up on HG. I wrote about a particularly embarassing childhood moment caused by Caddie herself. Check it out here!

My Best Friend’s Wedding

I still have at least one more Bridesmaiding post to do (I’m not even to the actual wedding yet! I still need to teach you all the things I didn’t know until after the fact!), but in the meantime, here’s the video of Catherine and Isaac’s wedding. Our friend Chad is a top notch videographer, filmmaker, photographer and more! I suppose you could call him a Chad of all trades. Anyway, he filmed Cat’s wedding and made this lovely highlight video. The song is “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds and it was their first dance.

I cried a lot that day. It was a really emotional experience for everyone; I’ve never seen so many people cry at a wedding (to be fair, before this I’d only ever been to 4 weddings). I even started to tear up just now, watching the video, and this was probably the fourth time I’ve watched it. It was a lovely, personal wedding that I’m glad I got to be a part of. Please note my cameo appearance as “Girl Waving a Streamer Like a Crazy Muppet” when the bride and groom are leaving the church.

Lady Tip #1: Bake A Little Something For Your Guests

I’ve discussed my love of self-help books in the past. Whether they’re about work, writing, happiness, what have you…if it’s about self-improvement, I will probably read it/listen to it in my car. We can get into the (weird, cynical, and completely unwarranted!)stigma around self-help books later. I know that, for me, they’ve been an enormous help. Over the past year, self-help books have helped me change my attitude towards myself and actually start accomplishing the things I’ve wanted to do my whole life. It’s kind of amazing!
Anyway, since I’m constantly listening to podcasts about creativity, reading books about achieving your goals, listening to audiobooks about writing and reading generically positive “you can do it, girl!” websites, I thought maybe I should share with you guys the things I’m learning. Hence LADY TIPS, which I like because it almost sounds dirty, but I don’t know why. Like, I’m not even going to let my brain go down that path to figure it out. If I found some nugget of wisdom through a book, website, or podcast I’ll link to it, but today’s Lady Tip just came from my own life. That will be rare, because I do not often learn from either my mistakes or my successes (end self-deprecating aside). And anyway, who do I think I am, Oprah (oh, hold on, it’s still going)? We’re just talking about the things I’m doing to make my life better/be a better friend/produce more/write more.

Lady Tip #1: Bake a Little Something For Your Guests

I don’t keep snack food in my house. I know, it sounds like a nonstop party around here…no snacks AND no TV? Who wants to visit? Since I don’t want any hungry guests to rummage through my cabinets and be like, “Umm, I guess I’ll eat this can of beans?” I always try to bake a little somethin’ somethin’ if I know a friend is coming around.
My ultimate model of hospitality is my mom. She will drop everything to make a person feel at home. Even if that means making one of her famous turkey-bacon sandwiches at 11 p.m, or even if that means buying ingredients she would never normally have in the house for someone with a dietary restriction. You will, guaranteed, always leave her house with a bag of cookies or a plate of food.
I’d like to have at least a little bit of that welcoming warmth in my place, even though I definitely can’t compete. So I always try to have something baked when people show up. Brownies, cake, cookies, it doesn’t matter. Sometimes I forget or run out of time, and I always regret it when that happens. It’s a quick thing you can do for a friend that says, “I’m glad you’re here!”
Of course, it’s important to make something your friend can ACTUALLY EAT. Very important! For example, I know Lauren doesn’t like broccoli (I KNOW!), so I would not make broccoli cookies for her. I wouldn’t make broccoli cookies anyway because those sound gross. Just kidding, I would totally make them! Please send any and all broccoli cookie recipes to welcometoladyville(at)gmail(dot)com!
My gal pal Jayne came over this weekend, and she is not a Sugar Eater. I wanted to bake something sweet she’d be able to eat, so I remembered a recipe I make often when I need a quick cookie. There are only four ingredients: peanut butter, sugar, an egg, and vanilla. I remembered seeing Paula Deen’s recipe for these cookies, which used sugar substitute. Bingo! I decided to use natural peanut butter to go with the unnatural sweetener.

Magical Peanut Butter Cookies
from Paula Deen

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar replacement, plus extra for doing those fun little fork criss-cross things (Paula recommends Splenda)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large baking sheet.

In a mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, 1 cup sugar replacement, the egg, and vanilla, and stir well with a spoon. Roll the dough into balls the size of walnuts. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet. With a fork, dipped in sugar replacement to prevent sticking, press a crisscross design on each cookie. Bake for 12 minutes, remove from the oven, and sprinkle the cookies with some of the remaining sugar replacement. Cool slightly before removing from pan.

Note: I typically make these using real sugar, and I personally prefer them that way. But then again, I’m a big ol’ sugar eater. They were a little crumbly this time around, but they got the job done.

Yay for cookies!