Saturday, February 26, 2011

What Does Self-Worth Look Like?

I let it slip yesterday that I was spending my Friday night working as a mental health representative at a campus event for undergraduate students. In honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, a campus organization arranged for Amanda Arlauskas, a past contestant from the Biggest Loser, to speak. Given the strict diet and the extreme exercise routine contestants adhere to on the show, there was a concern that some students might react negatively. So, I was on hand just in case. 


Listening to Amanda talk was pretty interesting. During her time on the Biggest Loser she lost about 87 pounds in just a few months. But, she revealed that to lose that much weight in such a short period of time she worked out eight hours a day and only consumed an average of 1,000 calories. It was also interesting to hear her discuss how the competition got to her head. For example, she shared that she became quite paranoid that the other contestants were trying to sabotage her weight loss by putting salt in her food.

While Amanda was very sweet (a persona that no doubt helped her get cast on the show in the first place), there were a lot of things about her talk that I found problematic. For example, Amanda shared, as though it was the most normal thing in the world, that she currently thinks about her weight "every minute of every day" and even dreams about it. She bills herself as an inspirational speaker, but is that really what we want to inspire women to be like?

Another theme in her talk that was actually really sad for me to hear about was the idea that self-worth is largely based on weight. She perpetuated the dumb (and completely false) idea that being overweight is synonymous with having poor self-worth, but being thin is part of having high self-worth. For example, she talked about deciding she loved herself enough to lose weight so that she could wear skinny jeans and men would find her "sexy." REALLY??? I'm honestly not knocking the fact that she wanted to lose weight to look better (I can relate to that), but to say these things with absolutely NO critical analysis of our culture that equates thin with beauty is doing a disservice to every single college woman who goes to hear her speak. Even just a few sentences on the idea that it is possible to feel good about yourself no matter what your weight would have gone a long way. 

i think these women look mighty fine. via the healthy apron.

Another unfortunate trap she seems to have fallen into is the "I'll be happy when" mantra. First, it was I'll be happy when I've lost weight. But, now that she has lost the weight she still isn't happy with the way she looks. Instead, she hopes she will finally be happy after losing twenty more pounds and getting her excess skin removed. But will she actually be happy then or will she find something else that needs to change before she can feel good about the way she looks? 

She spoke for a good 45 minutes, but here is a two sentence run down of her talk - being fat stops you from doing the things you want, like wearing skinny jeans, going to prom, having fun, being pretty, having a boyfriend, feeling sexy, being happy, loving yourself, etc. So, you should love yourself enough to lose weight so that you can have those things.

If I could waive a magic wand and change her speech up, this is what it would sound like --

We live in a society that shames fat women and makes them feel like they can't wear skinny jeans, go to prom, have fun, be pretty, have a partner, feel sexy, be happy, or love themselves. But, all of these things are possible at any weight. I'm happy that I've started eating healthier and being more physically active because I'm less concerned about my health and it makes my every day life is easier. But, now that I've lost 87 pounds and I'm still preoccupied with my weight and still too self conscious to wear what I want to wear, I see that true self-worth doesn't come from a number on a scale or the size of your jeans. 

ANYWAYS, my rant is over. Are you a fan of the biggest loser? What do you think about the show? Do you think Amanda is a good role model? What do you think self-worth should be based on?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Good News!

I've been on pins and needles the last few weeks waiting for an offer and one finally came on Wednesday. The placement I interviewed at on Tuesday offered me a spot and I accepted right away! I'm so relieved to finally have this mess taken care of. I can finally breathe easy and start focusing on other aspects of my life again. 

I'm really excited for next year. I'll be doing neuropsychological assessment with an adult population. So, clients will come in for evaluations for a variety of different reasons, such as traumatic brain injury, dementia, adhd, or neurological conditions. But, pretty much everyone will be there to determine their level of cognitive functioning (e.g., memory, processing speed, language abilities, etc.,). It will be my job to administer the assessments and then write up the results for the patient and their doctor (all under supervision of board certified neuropsychologists, of course).

So, a BIG thank you to each of you. Reading your words of encouragement really boosted my confidence and I think that helped me approach the interview feeling cool, calm, and collected. In honor of my success, I want to share with you some of the inspirational images I've found on pinterest. If you are following me, you know that I have a whole pin board devoted to words and these are some of the images that I have found especially encouraging.




I hope everyone has a lovely friday! I'll be working as a mental health representative at a campus event tonight. What are your weekend plans? Do you have any recent successes that you want to share?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wish me luck!

I know I've been quiet around these parts lately.  Things have been pretty busy and and stressful for me. As part of my program I need to find a practicum position for next year so that I can continue to develop my clinical skills and gain more experience.

You see, becoming a psychologist isn't just a one or two year deal - I'm in a six year program. I went in at 23 and I'll have my PhD when I'm 29, and that is if I get my dissertation done on time and don't take any time off for baby having. In this six year period I'm responsible for completing three full years of graduate coursework, teaching, research requirements, and five years of hands on clinical experience (i.e., therapy). Some years are mainly devoted to one of these endeavors and other years are devoted to all of them. For example, my first year all I had to worry about were classes and my last final year will just be an internship where I get to do therapy full-time. But now, in my second year, I am in classes, conducting therapy at a counseling center, and working on my thesis. I get exhausted just thinking about it!

via phd comics

Even though it is super busy, I really enjoy being a therapist. It is originally why I went into psychology and I'm really looking forward to all the new experiences and opportunities I'll have these next few years. The downside of all of this?

Finding a new placement! Honestly, the application process has been bringing me down :( It is hard not to get stressed out when it feels like my whole future is riding on this. Getting real world clinical experience is a core part of the program so not having a placement is just not an option.

I know this will all be figured out soon enough, but until then please wish me luck!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Relationship Math

Sometimes, being married to a computer engineer is hard. He just thinks differently than me. So while I've done a pretty spiffy job of teaching him by being my crazy self that relationship dynamics may or may not be "logical" or "rational," I think these prints by artist Craig Damrauer would be useful study guides.

Neill's not the only one who would benefit from this relationship math. I can learn a thing or two from these equations also. For example, I know I'm guilty of gently reminding Neill about things more than once or twice and apparently reminding + reminding  + reminding = nagging. oops!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Wonder and Amazement

A post by Jessica at One Shiny Star reminded me to let myself feel more of a sense of wonder and amazement. As I've mentioned before, wonder isn't an emotion I tend to feel much. But, last night in my Community Psychology class we watched a video that amazed me. So, I thought I'd share it with you guys today. If you're a crier like me you might want to grab a few tissues!

I've watched a lot of the It Gets Better videos and they have all amazed me. This one was particularly touching because I think its so important for people in positions of power to come out and speak out against anti-gay hate crimes, homophobia, and heterosexism.


I don't speak about my beliefs much on this blog. I don't particularly like debating and I sometimes its easier for me to not know someone's beliefs than to know that they don't support Gay rights. But, watching videos like this it is impossible not to speak up in support of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual people of all ages. And I'm amazed at the courage and strength Joel Burns showed.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I'm feeling so uninspired lately. The winter blahs mixed with the semester hustle have created an awful case of the I Have Nothing To Says. At times like this I wish I was one of those cutesy fashion bloggers that could just post a photo of their outfit and everyone would ooo and aaah. Of course, I'm sitting here in an old t-shirt and gym shorts so no one would probably get too excited over that.

No wonder I'm not a fashion blogger.

Does anyone want to talk about Teen Mom or the Real Housewives of Atlanta Reunion? Because that's the level I'm at today.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I was so excited this morning to get my confirmation from Pinterest! They actually sent it last night - so I think it counts as a Valentine's Day gift, right? I'm still setting my account up, but let's find each other on there! Will you be my pinterest friend? You can find me by clicking on the little Pinterest badge under my labels on the right hand side of the page. See it? Click it! I'll be using pinterest as a catch all for everything fun, delicious, and beautiful I find out here in never never land (that would be the internet in case there was any confusion on that).

Don't have one? I've got five invites to dole out. Leave me a comment or send me an e-mail if you are interested!

screen shot of the "best of pinterest"

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Have a Lovely Weekend!

The light was so pretty outside of my office yesterday that I had to snap some pictures. Lake Michigan is so beautiful with all of the snow and ice. 

I hope all of you have a wonderful sweet Valentine's day weekend! I'm really looking forward to some much needed relaxation. Neill is traveling to Iowa with his band today for a show and he won't be back until tomorrow. I have such a hard time sleeping when he travels. But, I am really looking forward to our Valentine's Day plans -- dinner at Graham Elliot!

What are your plans for Valentine's day?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Happy Engage-iversary To Us!

On the way home I was writing a post in my head about picture frames. But, who wants to hear about picture frames when there are surprise roses to talk about?

I was so focused on getting to work early today to finish up a project that it completely slipped my mind that today is our engage-iversary! I am so lucky to have a husband who doesn't forget about how special and important February 9th is to us. Not only did he surprise me with flowers, but he cooked dinner, stocked the fridge with my favorite food, and and wrote me the sweetest note.

These past few months I've been amazed at how much I love being married and surprised at how grateful I've felt. Neill brings so much into my life and every day I feel lucky that two years ago - on February 9th, 2009 - he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


psss. I have a secret to tell you. Some Italian food is better than others. And Viaggo is some of the best. Like maybe they put crack in the sauce good. Like using my finger to get every last drop of sauce out of the take out container good. Like you should probably go eat there tomorrow good.

Neill and I had dinner at Viaggio on Friday night with three friends. We got a reservation for 8:00 and after a bit of a wait we were seated in their cozy dining room. I was a wee bit testy at first because as I've mentioned before, I really hate to wait. I'm kind of annoying like that. But, after a glass of wine and seeing the menu I was in a much better mood.

We ordered three appetizers for the table--the meatballs with romaine salad, stuffed artichokes, and fromage fritti. I know what you are thinking - any restaurant that offers a salad with meatballs is probably pretty freaking awesome. And you would be right. And lemme tell you. The Meatballs. Oh The Meatballs. They were ridiculously good.

For the main course I ordered spaghetti carbonara and the people sitting to my right and left both ordered the rigatoni with sunday pork gravy. This is notable because I'm a big fan of stealing bites off other people's plates when they aren't looking. It was a win for me that night because both dishes were complete standouts. My carbonara was rich and a bit smokey and the rigatoni came with big hunks of tender slow cooked pork with a big ol' scoop of ricotta cheese on top.

Damn. It was bomb.

I wish I could tell you about dessert, but we skipped it with the plan to hit up Black Dog Gelato on the way home. Unfortunately, it was closed. But, no worries. We topped the night off with a 99 cent cone from McDonalds. ha. Aren't we classy?

Anyways, I really do think I need to try Viaggo again. By the end of the night we had gone through a few bottles of wine so I want to make sure the food is actually as good as I remember it. But mainly, I want to get my hands on some more of those meatballs.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

An Unlikely Discovery

When I chose to switch over to the blog name Married in Chicago I didn't do much research on whether someone else was already using it or if there were other Married in Whatever City or State blogs out there. So, I was pretty excited when feedly alerted me to a a Married in Ohio blog. This was certainly a good start to a wonderful blog friendship, right?


Turns out that Married in Ohio is a NSFW blog run by a couple in their forties detailing their sexual exploitations - pictures and all! (I'm not going to link to it here because I don't want them to be able to track visitors back to my site). After being totally sketched out, I can't help but giggle at this unfortunate coincidence. Thankfully, the man who writes Married in San Diego keep his clothes on. But, his blog seems to mainly detail the awful arguments he has with his wife. Yikes!

So I need you to do some detective work for me.  Are there any other Married In . . . blogs that I should know about?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Miller Time: The Little Details

Okay. I'll be honest - this post is just a catch all to document some of the little details that went into our wedding.

We ordered our invitations from Hello Lucky and had Nicolas Lama, a friend, design a custom wedding map for us.

Neill and I got matching custom converse made and also gave a pair to each of Neill's groomsmen (minus the "I DO"). Unfortunately, I ordered mine about too big so I don't get wear them. But, it is fun for me to see Neill wearing his wedding shoes!

Here is a picture of my list minute wedding day jewelry from The Left Bank. For the longest time I was planning on wearing pearls, but then the week before the wedding my mom and I took a trip to The Left Bank and I completely changed my mind.

Our lovely and ridiculously expensive Ann Wood cake-toppers. But damn, aren't they freaking adorable? I spent way more time thinking about our cake-topper than I did what jewelry I was going to wear!

The card box, our guest book, the wedding favors, and the little signs to go with them were are official DIY projects for the wedding. We made the card box by connecting two mini suitcases made by Paper Source and cutting a slot on the top for people to slip their cards into.

We designed our own guest book using photos from our engagement session and had it printed with blurb.

And for our wedding favors we put together little goody bags of treats. Guests could choose jelly beans (sweet) or pistachio nuts (salty). We tied each bag with ribbon and a mini-thank you card we ordered from moo cards. We also put together gift bags for all of our out of town guests, but unfortunately we didn't get a picture of that.

And that's it! As you can see, we didn't go crazy with the details. But, we tried to do enough to give our wedding a personal touch.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chicago's Snowpocalypse

The weather here in Chicago really is as bad as everyone said it would be. It is so windy that it is basically snowing sideways. And I heard Lake Shore Drive had to be shut down because the waves of Lake Michigan were so large that they were interfering with traffic. Our normally busy area is completely abandoned and I saw someone riding around on a snow-mobile! There is so much snow that a snow plow truck is stuck in our alley. I'm so glad that I don't have to be outside today! Classes have been canceled and I canceled my clients today too. So, what better way to spend the day than experimenting with the camera on my new phone?

I was excited last night when the snow started. I used my phone to put an effect on this picture and then used Neill's android application, Caption Maker, to add the caption. My excitement dropped once the thundersnow started and a transformer in our alley kept threatening to blow.

I half expected the weather to have calmed down by this morning. But - it is still going strong. I snapped these pictures right when I woke up.

It doesn't look that bad from our balcony, but to give you an idea of how much snow there is there are actually chairs buried under the snow in that last picture.

Hope everyone is safe and warm!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Years Resolutions: January Status Update

With the month of January behind us, I thought it would be helpful for me to check in with myself on how I have been doing in keeping up with my New Year's Resolutions.

1. My first resolution was to work on my thesis. I gave myself the goal of working on it at least an hour a week, which is really the bare minimum, and to put my research first. So far, I think I've done okay on this. I'm not sure if I have really worked on it exactly an hour a week, but I have made headway. I have a rough draft of my results done and I have been doing some research on the best way to do some follow-up analyses.  I want to have these analyses done by the end of February and the results incorporated into my write up.

2. Goal number two was to make more time for my VIPs. I think this has been going okay too. We had my parents over for dinner once in January (one of my goals) and I'm sure I did stuff with my mother on a few other occasions. Yesterday, I also spoke with my aunt and my grandfather - so it just squeaked in for January. Hmm what else? I reconnected with an old friend this month and Neill and I had a special date night. As the semester starts to get busier, I need to stay on top of this and make sure I don't let schoolwork take precedence over spending time with friends and family.

I was actually just reading some research yesterday that suggests that people's general life satisfaction is decreased by feelings of work conflicting with family, while the impact of feelings of family conflicting with work on life satisfaction was quite small. This suggests that while feeling conflicted is in general not too good for you, letting work keep you from your social life is likely to negatively impact general life satisfaction whereas letting your social life keep you from work responsibilities won't have much of an impact. This is good evidence that putting my VIPs first is the right choice - putting work a head of family might lead me to be less satisfied with life! 

3. My third goal was all about being financially secure. I'm going to go ahead and give myself a big pat on the back because I think Neill and I have been doing great on this one. I'm not carrying a balance on any of my credit cards (yay) and we got our emergency fund organized. Also, I started reading The Two Income Trap in an effort to learn more about finances and so far the book has made me think a lot about the downfall of creating a lifestyle that relies on two-incomes. My goal for February is to get my taxes done and make sure to save save save.

4. Another goal I had this year was to focus on being healthy. Before the holidays, I really let my eating habits fall. I was relying on frozen pizza and pre-made chicken nuggets for dinner more than I'd like to admit. Since the new year, I have definitely made an effort to eat healthier. I've upped my vegetable intake and both of us have rededicated ourselves to cooking dinner (not just defrosting it). This makes it easier for me to bring healthy food for lunch. Also, Neill's mom just gave us a bread maker! Now, we can easily make whole wheat bread and avoid all of the chemicals that go into most prepackaged bread. I've also been trying to recommit myself to the gym, but I will admit that this is still a work in progress. Also, I'm still working on only eating when I'm actually hungry/stopping when I'm full and battling an intense love for dessert. (Mmmm dessert) I'd be totaly psyched if I could make some headway on lowering my sugar cravings in February.

So there you have it - my end of month report card and some goals for this month. How are your new years resolutions going?