Top Ten Things to Get You Out of a Funk

So you’ve found yourself in a funk. I’m not talking about depression or anything serious that requires slightly more professional attention; I’m talking about PMS or just plain being in a bad mood, whether you know what caused it or not.

1. Exercise. I don’t care if this is yoga, dance, running, whatever is your jam, just move. As Elle Woods told us all “Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, happy people don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t”.

2. Clean…you will feel incredibly accomplished if you adult-up and clean part of your house. Clean your room, your bathroom, your kitchen, the living room…use cleaning products…it makes you feel like you did something

3. Make your bed. Now some people do this every day…I’m not one of those people. If my bed is make, I feel like a productive member of the human race.

4. Treat Yo Self. This is my life philosophy. Life is short, if you can afford to, treat yo self with a special food treat or something. Retail therapy is always good therapy. Tight on money? Go to the library and get yourself a new book or movie.

5. Take a bath. I live by my bathtub, there is a huge stack of books and comic books there, I usually have a cup of tea or a glass of wine with my bath and there is ALWAYS some sort of LUSH Cosmetics product there to lift my spirits.

6. Laugh. Whether this is accomplished through listening/watching standup comedy, reading a humorous book, hanging out with a funny friend or watching a funny movie, laughter literally releases happy chemicals into your brain and you will thank yourself for this later.

7. Go some place fun. You can do this either with a friend or alone. I’ve done both. For me, these places include, Starbucks, Walt Disney World (a good ride on my favorite attraction paired with a hug from a character usually does the trick) and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (or really anywhere in Universal).

8. Read a book. Take a break, sit down and read a book. i recommend an old favorite that transports you back to a wonderful time in your life or a magical place totally outside of the world. The first Harry Potter book is one of my top 5 choices, along with the Hobbit, Anna and the French Kiss or Looking for Alaska. (Looking for Alaska will induce tears if that’s what you need, a good cry).

9. Make something, bake something, cook something, build something, do one of those weird Pinterest projects you pinned ages ago! I tend to enjoy it more if I can eat it but to each their own.

10. Take a nap. Sometimes you just need to sleep it off. Put some good, calming music on and just sleep it off. You will likely feel better when you awake.

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So You’re Not a Morning Person?

So, if you’re reading this I’m assuming that you, like me despise getting up early in the AM more than more horrid things you can think of. Like me, you probably feel sub-human before 10am and feel sorry for the people that you encounter this early. Before the caffeine of your morning coffee (sometimes soda) hits your blood stream, you don’t feel quite alive, you feel like you’re seeing the world and experiencing it like someone trying to see without their prescription glasses. People often mistake you for hungover, despite your sad lack of drinking the night before. If this sounds like you, here’s some tips for fooling the world and yourself into believing that you are a fully pulled together person, even before 10am.

1. Get 8 hours of sleep. I know this isn’t always possible, but at least try. If it’s not, remind yourself that you got far less sleep in college and you will get through the next day without killing someone else or dying yourself.

2. If you use a conventional coffee maker, and by that I mean, not a Keurig, time it to make your coffee so that you can pour and go.

3. Better yet, have it make you two cups, one to drink as you get ready and one to drink on the way to work. Set all your fixings up next to it, your mug for home, your travel mug for the car and your creamer, flavoring and sugar.

4. Pick out your clothes in the evening. Put yourself together a super cute outfit before going to sleep so that A) you actually look forward to putting your outfit on B) you know you look fierce when you walk out the door even if you don’t feel fierce.

5. Eat something!!! I always feel significantly better once I’ve eaten something. Now this is partly due to the fact that I have low blow sugar and I become what’s known as “Hangry” when I don’t eat and you should probably keep your distance until I’ve eaten if you want to keep your head.

6. Use some products in the shower/at the sink that make you wake up. I use citrus body wash and an exfoliating face cleanser that invigorates the skin and makes you feel much more alert! I recommend Angels on Bare Skin or Ocean Salt from LUSH Cosmetics as well as their Dirty or Happy Hippy shower gel.

7. Use a mouth wash that wakes you up…and bring some gum. Mint obviously wakes you up, but if just your toothpaste doesn’t get you alert and focused, get a super intensely flavored mouth wash and you’ll be sure to be alert…and if you’re going to drink a bunch of coffee…bring some fun or the mouth wash strips…your co-workers will thank you for it.

8. Do a super short yoga flow. Do something that gets your blood moving, if you’re like me and you hate mornings, running is probably not your activity of choice. Yoga is gentle movement, a gets the blood flowing without getting the heart pounding. The inversion of the forward bends will get the blood to your head and you’ll feel much better.

9. Make your breakfast and lunch the night before. I assume at this point that you’re more functional at night than the morning. So take the time at night to make your food the next day something you will want to eat. Don’t just throw a frozen meal in your lunch box, though I’m guilty of doing so myself. Get some decent food together. Make yourself a smoothie or an iced coffee and throw it in the fridge that way once your face and outfit look flawless, you can grab and go.

10. Set up funny alarms on your phone. On the days that I know it’s going to take more than one alarm to get me up, I set alarms that remind me of what I’m going to have to miss if I don’t get up. For example. Alarm 1: 6am “Get up…now” Alarm 2: 6:10am “No yoga for you…enjoy your tight muscles” Alarm 3: 6:15 “Great…your going to be tight, and now you don’t have time to shower…hope your co-workers enjoy your greasy hair and stench”. On days when my wake up time isn’t quite so early, I have Jarvis from the Iron Man films wake me up. It’s an app you can download to your smartphone and he’s really quite polite and you feel significantly less awful about the fact that you have to get out of bed.

Book Review: Parlor Politics by Catherine Allgor

In her book Parlor Politics: In Which the Ladies of Washington Help Build a City and a Government, Catherine Allgor does exactly what the reader expects her to do. She goes through several examples, the most detailed of which is Dolly Madison, of women who were equally as influential in Washington D.C. and its evolution of the city Americans see as their capitol today. Allgor limits her study of the women of Washington to the white, upper class in order to more accurately describe a certain, powerful section of the private sphere. Catherine Allgor points out that those working behind the scenes in Washington, the wives of the men with the power, were just as integral to the development of the city and the government as the men they were married to.

Allgor does a lovely job of describing how un-lovely Washington D.C. was in its earliest days. People who were traveling into the city often asked where it was when in fact they were standing at the heart of it. It was up to both the men and women of Washington society to create the society the city is now famous for as well as to create the base of what would be an incredibly strong government. The gender role reversal that Allgor describes is what allowed this to happen. She argues that the ones doing all of the political work was the women, while the men maintained the image of disinterestedness and attempted to avoid corruption. The women were the ones forming the groups and campaigning on behalf of their husbands or brothers attempting to gain them positions of power. They often hosted lavish dinner parties and social gatherings and passed them off as such instead of the political escapades that they really were.

One of the biggest aspects of Allgor’s argument is that gender as a societal construction functioned as an ideology. It “can be manipulated and shifted to help shift mechanisms of power” (http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=5033). Seeing it as an ideology allows gender to be a driving force behind the development of Washington as a hot bed of political gossip, power and ideas. Due to the actions of the women of Washington and their lobby groups and their use of the private and public sphere to manipulate American politics, the politics of the city became based upon networking and allegiance to certain people. The women that Allgor describes use their domestic role in the home and the nature of their role in society to establish a culture in American politics that remains even to this day.

Allgor’s argument is very well supported. Not only has she analyzed the women who have always been thought of as politically influential, first ladies Abigail Adams and Dolly Madison but sisters of politicians and women such as Margaret Bayard Smith, who while not the wife of any president, got swept up in the whirlwind that was the structure of Washington society. She explains in the first chapter, how important the relationships in Washington were and how politics and ideas were constantly the talk of the town. She describes how, despite its unfinished architecture and small town feeling, Washington was charming in its own way and had the beauty of an old European city. Allgor provides a plethora of evidence to support her story and her argument. She provides detailed diaries of the women that she profiles as well as detailed accounts of the parties that they hosted at their homes. She sorts through the tedious accounts of the lives of the women constantly portrayed in the shadow of their historically famous husbands. She does this in order to get to the bottom of their influence over Washington and how they managed to acquire such an amount of indirect power.

I am quite convinced by Allgor’s argument. Based upon her evidence and her examples of influential women presented as part of the argument, I do not feel that Washington could have prospered into the flowering political center of American culture without their feminine touch. I believe that if the men were expected to keep up the persona of being disinterested in politics and keeping up this appearance in the public sphere, then it was only natural that the women took over in the private sphere and managed to reach their influence into the public sphere as well. However, while the book is well researched and well supported, Allgor does not try particularly hard to stay objective. She clearly supports the women and appreciates the fact that they challenged their typical small town domestic role. They were afforded the opportunity presented by the unique development of the nation’s capitol to express their opinions to one another and put their ideas into practice via the influence they had over their husbands.

Allgor’s presentation of a different outlook on the development of political life in Washington allows for a much deeper understanding of the Founding Fathers. For example, while John Adams was an influential man on his own and in his own right, in accordance with Allgor’s argument, Abigail Adams was a huge influence over his political behavior and was as much a presence in his presidency as he was. Allgor does a great job of exploring different presidents from different eras of early America. She enables a student of early American history to examine how Abigail Adams, Dolly Madison, Louisa Catherine Adams, Peggy Eaton affected Washington politics, both for the better and for worse. While Louisa Catherine Adams and Dolly Madison were a political force in the betterment of Washington, Peggy Eaton, while she was in a position to take on a position of power in Washington, fell prey to the other women of Washington. She was judged by society of Washington for acting as a femme fatale; she was in the position to take on most of the feminine power in Washington, due to the widowed state of the President. The Washington gossip circles engulfed her and called her such names as a tart and other insults not commonly used in civilized society.

Allgor presents a compelling argument that as important as the founding fathers were to the development of Washington politics, their wives and the other women of the Washington lobbying circles, were equally important. Some of the most prominent women making a difference in the newborn capitol were Dolly Madison, Louisa Catherine Adams and Peggy Eaton. However, the women on the sidelines of politics were equally important. Their actions surrounding politics enabled their husbands to maintain the public demeanor of disinterestedness in politics, while they promoted their husbands through indirect political actions and appearing as politically supportive wives to the most powerful men in the country. “Remember the ladies” Abigail Adams remarks, and Allgor allows the reader to understand not only that they should be remembered but what they are to be remembered for.

Hiatus…Sorry About That!

Hey readers! Sorry about that ridiculously long hiatus I accidentally went on! I received a full time employment position and needed to learn how to balance that out with everything else in my life including a side part time job teaching dance! But fear not friends, I am still here and I intend to continue blogging! If you have been following my twitter or instagram, you can see that I have been plenty active in the Disney Parks community! I will be giving the world a blog dedicated purely to my Disney adventures shortly! Thanks for hanging in there if you did and if you didn’t I totally understand! I shall be posting a book review of a book I read ages ago later tonite, so stay tuned and keep Sifting Through Shelves!