Posts Tagged: lady tips

Lady Tip: You Never Know What’s Going on In Someone Else’s Relationship

LADY TIPS
Have I ever told you guys about my friend Dan? He is, truly, a fount of wisdom. He is a champion singer, a world-class hugger, and really good at creating joke Pinterest boards to cheer me up when I was stressed out about wedding planning (H’s and my wedding date was NOT INTENTIONALLY 4/20 and it was the subject of much hilarity for everyone).

But also, he gives some killer advice. A few years ago, he offhandedly said something that really stuck with me: You never know what’s going on in someone else’s relationship.

And what did he mean by that? Well, we probably all have a friend who’s dating someone we just don’t get. Maybe your BFF’s boyfriend is super boring, and you don’t know why she isn’t with someone funnier. Or maybe the most motivated person you know is married to someone who has seemingly no ambition. These are both made up examples, for the record. I’m not trying to out anyone’s relationship through my blog like a weirdo. Anyway, you might look at those relationships and think, “Why are they even together?”

But the thing is, you never know what’s going on in someone else’s relationship. Not everyone wants the same things as you! Maybe to you the most important thing in a romantic partner is a sense of humor. But to your friend, that might not matter at all. Maybe the most important thing to her is stability. Or, even though you might not ever want to marry someone who isn’t a hard worker, your friend might be way more concerned with marrying someone who’s good-natured. Or good-looking. Or rich. Basically, you’ll never understand what other people see in each other, and that’s okay. It’s easy to look at a couple and think, “Why in God’s name are they together?” I mean, I’ve totally thought that before. But love is strange, as the music of the past tells us.

Of course, this goes both ways. Sometimes the people you think have the best relationships actually have the worst ones. Something I’ve discovered is that the people who are the most demonstrative on social media are usually the one with the most problems. For example, I once knew a guy who was always writing over-the-top sweet things on his girlfriend’s Facebook wall. They were a totally cute couple, and I figured they had a perfect relationship. I even felt bad that my boyfriend didn’t write sappy things on my Facebook wall. But then one day I heard him arguing on the phone with his girlfriend, and I found out that he only wrote those things because they got in constant fights and she wanted public validation to make their relationship seem healthy. Which is, obviously, messed up. Facebook should be a place to post pictures of your pets and confuse your relatives with sarcastic statuses, not a place to stabilize your relationship.

Basically, you never know what’s going on between two other people. It might not make sense to you, but it makes perfect sense to them. And if you need any more great advice about relationships…get your own Dan. I’m not letting you have mine.

Lady Tip: Stop Hanging Out With People Who Aren’t Nice

These sheep know what I'm talking about.

These sheep know what I’m talking about.

Maybe this sounds like “no duh” advice to you. Why would you hang out with people who aren’t even nice to you? I don’t know! And yet I’ve done exactly that, multiple times in my life, and I see other people do it all the time. Yes, there are definitely times when you have to hang out with people who aren’t nice to you, like if that person is your classmate or coworker and you truly cannot avoid them. But if you can get away from them? Cut them out of your life ASAP.

I was really lucky to grow up with a super close group of girlfriends who always have each others’ backs. I’ve known some of them since elementary school, and although we have different opinions on things and we’ve certainly had disagreements in the past, they are the people who I know I can 100% count on in any situation. But as I’ve learned in the years since I graduated from high school, not everyone grew up with friendships like that. There are people who think that friends are supposed to make you cry, or make you feel bad about yourself, or pick fights with you. If you read a lot of advice columns (as I do, because I LOVE them), people are always writing in with questions about their “friends” who are actually not friends at all. Friends are supposed to make you feel good about yourself, not terrible.

Unfortunately, it took me awhile to learn that. When I was younger, I didn’t get that there are people who will treat you the way you demand to be treated. And if you don’t have any self-esteem and you’re weak, they’ll take advantage of it. I used to have friends who would sigh when I walked into a room, roll their eyes when I said something stupid (which was often!), and purposefully try to exclude me from things. It was extraordinarily painful. Instead of thinking, “This is not acceptable treatment. I don’t deserve this and I should say something about it,” I just felt worse and worse every day. I didn’t even tell people about it because I was so ashamed, and I thought it was surely a reflection on me. I mean, listen, I know I’m an annoying person sometimes–that’s very evident on this blog–but no one’s annoying enough to warrant that sort of treatment. So I just took it, for a really long time. I don’t think I’ve ever felt worse about myself in my life.

Eventually, I was able to cut people like this out of my life completely. Now I can see that this really, really wasn’t normal. People always have their own reasons for treating you poorly, and they’re usually not about you. Maybe they’re feeling bad about something in their own lives. But that’s still no reason for you to take it. If someone who calls him/herself your friend is making fun of you, purposefully excluding you or others to make him/herself feel better, cutting you down, talking shit about you, or in general just being mean…stop hanging out with that person. There’s no way around it. If you really value this person’s friendship, talk to him/her about it first. But if the crappy treatment keeps up, forget it. This person is not your friend.

Now that I’m older and (sort of) wiser, I absolutely do not tolerate that sort of behavior. If I even get a hint of someone doing “mean girl” shit, excluding others, or trying to put me down, I am over it. Which is not to say that I don’t accept apologies or change my mind about people! I totally do. I get that everyone has bad days (or years), and I’ve certainly made my own mistakes. But in general, remember that people treat you how you tell them to treat you. If you accept any sort of abuse, they will keep delivering it. You should only be friends with people who truly want to be nice to you and lift you up, not be mean to you and tear you down.

In closing, enjoy this quote from Kate Nash, who puts everything I said much more succinctly:
kate nash gif 1

kate nash gif 2

Image via Unsplash

Lady Tip: Everybody Should Meal Plan

LADY TIPS
The alternate title for this post was “Meal Planning: It’s Not Just for Mormon Mommy Bloggers.” Nothing against Mormon mommy bloggers…clearly they know what they’re talking about when it comes to slow cooker recipes. But I feel like some people just think of meal planning as something you should do if you’re a harried mother of three. Well, I might not have children but sometimes I FEEL like a harried mother of three on the inside, you know?

Meal planning is awesome no matter who you are. It’s not only a way to save a ton of money (you waste way less food and go to the grocery store way less often), but it also decreases my anxiety by a TON. Just knowing that I’ve already planned out my dinners for the week is, for some reason, a huge stress reliever. I mean, why do I stress out about what I’m going to have for dinner, anyway? Clearly I know I’ll be getting food SOMEHOW. But whatever. The point I’m trying to make is that meal planning is awesome and everyone should do it, whether you’re cooking for five people, two people, or just yourself.

I get that some people don’t eat sit-down, full “dinners” every night. I don’t think you have to. But I grew up in a house where we ate a very traditional, home-cooked protein-starch-vegetable dinner every night, so it’s what I’m used to and it’s how I like to live my life. I feel much more centered and healthy when I’m eating balanced, full meals. And I’m not suggesting that you have to eat at a table with proper china and silverware. H. and I usually eat in front of the X-Files or New Girl (classy!). But just the ritual of having a full meal to look forward to every night is really important to me.

I do about 98% of the cooking for me and H., and before you tell me that this is a sexist distribution of labor, let me tell you a few things:

1. If I left cooking up to H., we would have chicken nuggets for dinner every night. He does NOT care about the quality of food he puts into his body and he just eats processed carbs/proteins constantly if left to his own devices.
2. H. is not super comfortable in the kitchen, which is something I’m trying to work on slowly, but right now he definitely doesn’t have the confidence to go “off recipe.”
3. Most importantly, H. does the cleaning. Which is awesome, because I hate doing dishes more than just about any chore. I would rather cook than do dishes any day.

So meal planning is something that’s basically left up to me. Lately a couple of people have asked me how I meal plan, so I thought I’d share. It’s definitely not anything ground-breaking or exciting, but just like packing your lunch, it’s one of those things that I think everyone should do to make their lives WAY easier. Here are my tips for meal planning:

1. Be thinking about food…well, constantly.
There aren’t a lot of times I’d recommend you be more like me, but this is one of them. I’m thinking about food ALL THE TIME, so when it comes time to decide what dinners I want to eat all week, I generally have a few things in mind. I read a lot of food blogs and I love looking through cookbooks (right now I’m into Dinner: A Love Story), so I bookmark/pin/copy the recipes that look good.

2. Get a routine.
Every Sunday morning, I plan out what I want to make all week based on what recipes I bookmarked, what we have in our cupboards, and what I just feel like eating. I don’t like to buy more than one cut/package of meat per week, so generally I plan a couple of vegetarian dinners and a couple of recipes that make use of one roast or something. For example, I might make slow-cooked pork on Monday night, then use the leftover pork to make a soup or something on Tuesday night. Okay, so these tips are pretty basic, right? “Use leftovers!” Gee, thanks Kerry. But you’d be surprised how many people don’t do this! And if I’m making something sort of expensive (like anything that involves beef or necessitates buying a lot of new ingredients), I make sure my vegetarian meals are extra cheap. Soups are the best for this.

Anyway, after I make my list of everything I want to make, I make a list of all the ingredients I need to buy. I organize my shopping list by section, because otherwise I get really stressed out. And that leads into Sunday morning shopping. H. and I like to go when all the moral people are in church. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you go shopping on Sunday afternoon after all the moms get out of church. Those women are gonna clear out the produce section. You need to beat them to it.

3. Sunday prep.
I only do this when I’m being REALLY organized, but it helps SO MUCH if I can chop/pre-cook things on Sunday for the rest of the week. Again, duh. This is pretty obvious.

That’s pretty much the easiest, right? Here’s my meal plan from last week. I planned this out on Sunday and more or less stuck to it. I don’t use recipes all the time, but I tried a few new things last week so I linked to them.

Monday: Slow-cooked pork with balsamic glaze, crispy potatoes, broccoli slaw
Tuesday: Pork and sweet potato hash with avocado and fried eggs
Wednesday: Black bean and quinoa soup
Thursday: Chicken cutlets with roasted potatoes and brussels sprouts
Friday: Take-out. No cooking!

These dinners all gave me plenty of leftovers for the next day’s lunches, they used many of the same ingredients, and a lot of them used things I tend to have in my cupboard anyway (beans, quinoa, potatoes). We really don’t spend too much at the grocery store, which gives us a little more leeway when we want to go out, which is often. Nothing’s gonna get in the way of me and trying a new restaurant.

What about you guys? Do you meal plan? What’s your dinner strategy? Let me know!

Lady Tip: Don’t Call a Woman By the Wrong Name

LADY TIPS

As you may know, I’m a married woman. My professional (writing) name has always been and will always be Kerry Winfrey, but my legal name will probably change sometime in the not-so-distant future. Changing your name is really inconvenient and also a big decision, so I’ve been putting it off. But in the meantime, I don’t mind if people address me as Ms. Winfrey, and I don’t mind if people address me as Mrs. My-Husband’s-Last-Name. People may also address me as Miss Jackson, if they’re nasty. I don’t mind having multiple identities, like Clark Kent. But the thing that really, really bothers me? Like, makes me smoke-coming-out-of-my-ears mad? It’s when people refer to me by my husband’s FIRST AND LAST NAME.

I truly, truly do not understand this phenomenon. Last time I checked, we were living in the year 2014 (please tell me that’s still the case, otherwise I have bigger problems than names). Why is it even a THING to refer to a woman as “Mrs. Bob Smith”? I get that that used to make sense when, like, women couldn’t own property or make decisions. But guys…I can vote now. I’m still a person. When my dad “gave me away” at my wedding, that wasn’t meant to be taken literally. And I’m PRETTY SURE I didn’t magically assume my husband’s first name when we got married. How weird and confusing would that be?

I don’t even mind being referred to as “Mr. and Mrs. My-Husband’s-Last-Name.” It’s the inclusion of his first name that gets to me. It’s like it completely erases me, like H. just absorbed me or I became his conjoined twin when we got married. My first name didn’t disappear just because I got married.

This whole thing has made me realize how important it is to call people by their correct names. Although I don’t care if people call me by my husband’s last name, I know that’s a huge annoyance for other people. Basically, here’s a good rule to keep in mind if you don’t know how you should refer to someone: ask. It is simply bad manners to disregard a person’s preferences about what she wishes to be called. There’s no quicker way to make a person feel insignificant than to willfully butcher her name.

I know some women don’t even care about this. If so, more power to you. I’m glad you’re so zen about it, because I’m totally not. But honestly? It never hurts to ask.

Lady Tip: It’s Okay to Care About Money

LADY TIPS
A few months ago, I posted a Creative Ladies interview with Stephanie Georgopulos, and among plenty of other smart things, she said something that stood out to me: “When I was younger, I thought most writers were poor and that it was supposed to be romantic, and I’m sorry but… I don’t think there’s anything romantic about being broke.”

It got me thinking about how often we tend to think of creative careers as these things that involve deep integrity but absolutely no actual money. You know, the whole “starving artist” thing. People who take on commercial work are sell-outs, while people who are totally destitute are the real artists. Caring about money–I mean, really, actually caring about it and actively trying to make more of it–is somehow seen as being at odds with living a creative life. Like as a creative you’re supposed to, I don’t know, sustain yourself with inspiration and sunshine instead of food.

Well, come on. We can admit that’s bullshit, right? Caring about money, and being really motivated by it, isn’t something to be ashamed of. What other career is like this? Are bankers like, “Oh, I don’t even know how much I’m making. I’m just in this for the joy of it!”? I doubt it.

Personally, I care about money a lot. It’s one of my main motivations to work hard and keep trying. Yes, I’m definitely motivated by things like personal satisfaction and the wonderful feeling I get from writing something I love, but I also don’t want to be broke. My list of life goals includes “Publish a novel,” but it also includes “Make sure my parents don’t end up in a terrible nursing home,” and “Never have to worry about paying my rent or mortgage.” Frankly, I’ve seen what a bad financial situation can do to people, and I don’t want myself or my loved ones to die broke, in pain, and alone.

There are some parts of my writing career that I do purely because they’re fun and interesting, like my HelloGiggles column or working on my personal writing. But a lot of the things I do are because of money. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy them. I do. I’ve had (many) jobs before that I did for money that I didn’t enjoy. I can assure you that doing something you ENJOY and ARE GOOD AT and getting paid for it is vastly preferable to just showing up at a not-so-fun job and waiting for your paycheck. But “doing what you love” doesn’t mean you have to be totally ignorant of the financial value of what you love.

I love it when writers talk about money, because too often we pretend writing is this weird thing we all do because our hearts are overflowing with words. It’s cool if that’s how you feel! But writing is a job, too, and you shouldn’t apologize or feel bad because you’re “too commercial” or “selling out” or working at a day job. Just listen to some Drake songs about money and pretend that he’s singing them about you. I’ve adopted Big Sean’s line in All Me as my personal motto: “I got 99 problems, gettin’ rich ain’t one.” Not that I’m rich (hahahahaha SORRY, just having a good laugh at the thought!), but sometimes it feels good to pretend to be a ridiculously wealthy young rapper.

You might not be a doctor or a lawyer or a stockbroker, but there’s no reason you can’t be motivated partially by money. This is a job! You shouldn’t feel weird for treating it like one.