In the middle of the health saga, I got an email from my youngest brother, Matt, that simply said,
“I think you need a trip”
I knew instantly he was right. Traveling has always been a great source of inspiration, reflection, and plain old happiness for me. I hadn’t had much of that lately and it was time to schedule something to forward to. I clicked on the accompanying travel deal link he’d sent and turned to my friend/co-worker, Sullivan, sitting next to me. All it took was, “Want to go to Ireland?” and before long, we were off.
I don’t delude myself into thinking anyone wants a play-by-play of our vacation. Instead, I’ll give you short highlights from our three cities.
Overall Impression: Charming and upscale. They spare no expense in Copenhagen! They burn candles at the table, set out fresh flowers, and wear real furs. The food is made with the same touch and tastes incredible.
My Favorite Thing: This meal. Smorrebrod: An open face sandwich paired with homemade schnapps.
Also, biking through the city.
Overall, if I had to pick one favorite spot from the trip it would be the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. Standing on the edge gave me exactly the feeling I flew thousands of miles to experience.
Since it was winter we had the cliffs all to ourselves. Sure. We were covered in rain, but it was totally worth it. I highly recommend traveling in December over July.
Aside from skipping the crowds, you get to see all kinds of Christmas Spirit! It’s unreal.
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen
I had such a blast with Sullivan. We turned to each other on several occasions and said, “Is this real life?!”
We are overdue for a DecemRED Giveaway update!:) This time of year is insane, right? I can’t figure out how moms get everything done. Anyway, I’ve been wearing red lipstick literally everywhere I go for a little over two weeks now. Here are a few highlights:
Places I Loved It
Meeting friends for dinner
The Riskiest Place I Wore It
Job Interview (although I did read wearing a splash of red increases your chance of getting hired b/c it shows confidence and strength.)
Places I felt Ridiculous
Anywhere before noon
What I’ve learned
I look less like the walking dead in red lipstick
It’s a lot like high heels in that you feel pulled together all the time
It’s super annoying and has to be touched up constantly
Favorite Red Lipstick Moment:
My level of red lipstick enjoyment has everything to do with my environment. There are places where a bold lip is appreciated, and places where it is not. In general, getting “dolled-up” for any type of active sport is not ideal. You can understand why I mentally had to prepare myself for wearing it to my sister-in-law, Jenni’s birthday party at a rock climbing gym.
When I arrived, I did my best to forget I had it on while searching the gym for the birthday party. I’m 99% sure it was all in my head, but I felt like the sporty girls in their earth toned yoga pants were judging my bright red lipstick. Once I found everyone, Jenni waved a big hello and introduced me to her climbing friends. They were all super athletic and the kind of girls who are beautiful without makeup. I should also mention that they are amazing climbers and I’m not very good…..I like doing things I’m good at…… I like looking the part… I don’t think I’m alone in this.
Feeling uncomfortable, I tried to explain myself right away and reminded Jenni about my blog challenge. Then she did the best thing- she said they’d ALL put on red lipstick for the climbing day! The others were into it and one girl admitted she’s secretly been wanting to try it for some time. I gladly passed my tube around and the fun began! Since we were all in it together, our bright red lips weren’t out-of-place and we all agreed we looked better climbing with it on;) More importantly, I noticed the uncomfortable ice was broken, I made instant new friends, and felt closer to my sister-in-law.
Thanks to Jenni, what I thought was going to be my toughest challenge ended up being my favorite day of all! It reminded me of a time a few years ago when my family took a trip to Alaska. Jenni and I decided it would be funny to wear bright lipstick with our sweatshirts to this fancy wine tasting thing. Since neither of us wear a ton of makeup, we played it up and laughed at ourselves the entire time. It is one of my favorite memories from the whole trip.
In nearly every story I’ve received this month, one of you mentions something about a prior fear or hesitancy over wearing red lipstick. It turns out most of you have been waiting for an excuse or simply needed someone to do it with. And like my new climbing friends, the challenge has given us the opportunity.
It’s crazy that something as small and insignificant as lipstick could bond people or help us make new friends, but I see it all the time. It’s the moment in the silent bathroom line when one stranger says, “I love your shoes” and instantly we all start chatting and remember we’re on the same team. It’s how as a female you know you’re “in” with a new a co-worker after she asks for some reassurance on her new haircut. It’s not actually the clothes, or the hair, or the shoes that connects us, it’s the shared vulnerability. We become friends when we admit our insecurities to each other. With all the pressure to maintain an image, look perfect, and compete all the time, having another girl ask, “Do I look ok?” or say “You look great in that” truly goes a long way.
Thanks for sending all your stories! My friend Bree even wrote a blog of her own about her day in red lipstick! Click here to read it. It’s not too late to join in the fun! Hashtag #decemred on Instagram or post on facebook:) Each post gets you an entry for a 31 Bits necklace.
Also, I want to tell you that Jenni helps lots of men and women feel great about themselves every day. She co-owns a fitness business called Rough Fit in Tustin that goes far beyond other boot camps by helping people make fitness a way of life. My favorite part is that you are actually part of a team with other people and everyone rallies together to reach their goals. If you are in the area and wanting to make some changes in the new year, definitely check them out!
Today begins a short series of blogs on Christmas carols. Short, since as you can see, I’m only just beginning now. I LOVE carols (I am the obnoxious co-worker that doesn’t mind playing them eight hours a day beginning in late November) but my reason for these posts is that I’ve found, often hidden beneath the jolly arrangements and melodies, are some of the most powerful statements about Christ and His love for mankind. My hope is that what we often miss while singing, will be noticed in reading.
Oh Holy Night
O holy night,
the stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of
our dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world
in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared
and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope,
the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks
a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees,
O hear the angel voices!
O night divine,
O night when Christ was born!
O night divine, O night,
O night divine!
Led by the light of Faith
With glowing hearts
by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star
Here came the wise men
from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus
in lowly manger,
In all our trials
born to be our Friend!
He knows our need,
To our weakness no stranger;
Behold your King!
Before the lowly bend!
Behold your King! your King!
before Him bend.
Truly He taught us
to love one another;
His law is love and
His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break
for the slave is our brother
And in His name
all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in
grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us
praise His holy name!
Christ is the Lord,
Oh praise His name forever,
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim
His pow’r and glory
Isn’t it incredible? In addition to beautiful lyrics, the song has an inspiring story of its own. “Oh Holy Night” or “Cantique de Noel” was a french poem written by a man named Placide Cappeau in 1847. Using the gospel of Luke as his guide, Cappeau sought to capture what it would’ve been like to be at the birth of Christ. He wasn’t a man of faith, so to speak, but when he was only eight, he and a friend were playing with a gun when it went off, shooting him in the hand. The doctors were unable to save Placide’s hand and he lived his childhood and adult life as an amputee. I can’t help but read the lines, “He knows our need, to our weakness no stranger” and wonder what it meant to him, personally.
The song was later translated into English in 1855 by John Sullivan Dwight, a pastor from Massachusetts. He was an abolitionist and loved the lines, “Truly He taught us to love one another; his law is love and His gospel is peace. Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother and in His name all oppression shall cease.” The song spread like wildfire in the North during the Civil War.
On Christmas Eve 1906, using a new type of generator, a young Canadian professor named Reginald Fessenden spoke into a microphone and a man’s voice was broadcast over the airwaves for the first time in history. The very first words ever heard were from the gospel of Luke, “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus…” Men and women as far South as Norfolk, Virginia were in shock, having never heard anything like it before. When he finished reading the Christmas story, Reginald picked up his violin and played, “O Holy Night” making it the first song to ever be played on the radio. The program was transmitted using naval ships on New Year’s Eve and heard as far away as the Caribbean.
As exciting and fun as the holidays can be, I’ve noticed the season has a way of heightening our awareness over the things we have, or things we lack. Depending on our circumstances, it can be a joyus time of gratitude, or a time of sadness for what is missing. Some smile as they look around a table full of loved ones, while others can’t help but notice the empty chairs left by those who are absent. None of us can read the news without seeing how this Christmas will be painful for so many all over the world. I imagine it’s hard to see the lights and hear the music without feeling a bit resentful over the call to “be of good cheer.”
I love “O Holy Night” because it reminds me that Christmas isn’t first and foremost a festive party; it’s the moment God came to earth because we needed Him. Christmas is a holiday for the needy. It’s for the desperate, the lonely, the lost. As the song says, the earth was dark, pining, and weary until Jesus came. For the first time, in what are some of the most compelling and meaningful words ever written, “the soul felt it’s worth.”
Whether you are celebrating the end of a wonderful year, and I hope you are, or a particularly difficult one, I pray the message of this carol fills you with hope and peace.
Time for my first giveaway! This one is for the ladies. Men, you are welcome to play along. I don’t judge…but I’m assuming most of you won’t.
My DecemRED Lipstick Challenge is the culmination of a few different thoughts swirling in my head:
I’ve been thinking a lot about the topic since my Halloween Post.Where does it come from? Why do women feel the pressure to be pretty? Why do I sometimes like beauty and other times resent it?
Since Red Lipstick is a quintessential beauty go-to, I thought wearing it might be an easy and interesting lens with which to explore the topic. I don’t know what I’ll get out of the experience, but I have a feeling some insights will surface. Plus the holidays are the perfect time to get fistive and kick it up a notch:)
Few fun facts about the color red:
Red means “Beautiful” in Russian.
Seeing the color red can make your heart beat faster
Why should guys have all the fun? There are some nice parallels between beards and red lips. Some guys love the excuse to show off their hair growth hormones, while others feel self-conscious about their lack thereof. Women have similar feelings toward embracing a bold lip. A few of us have been waiting for an excuse to try it, while others hate the idea all together. An elite group of you already wear red lipstick and must find the whole idea silly.
DecemRED is a simple and fun way to interact with my readers outside of the blog! I get excited just thinking of us doing something together in the “real” world. Especially those of you I don’t get to see that often or have never met in person.
I’m going to wear red lipstick every day for the month of December. (Yes, I’m starting a few days late. Yes, I’ve been wearing it the last few days). I have to wear it everywhere. No excuses. I’ll periodically blog about how it feels, reactions, and insecurities, etc.
You can play along by doing the same! You don’t have to wear it every day to join in. Try wearing red lips out for one day, a week, or the whole month. If you have followed my blog or liked my facebook page, you can enter into a drawing every time you:
Send a pic of you in your red lipstick- post to the facebook page, Instagram (@olivemepost #decemred), or by email at OliveMePost@gmail.com
Send me a story of your experience. It doesn’t have to be long, just a few sentences about how you felt or what happened.
I lead a small group of amazing girls on Thursday nights and I adore them! Maggie attends and has already joined the challenge. Her story is below:
I didn’t have any red lipstick besides some super old stuff from about 5th grade that I used for dress-up. So I went to Wal-Mart with my mom to buy some (whilst wearing my super old lipstick of course). I found a red lip stain by Maybelline and decided this would be better than the lipstick.
. I took off my lipstick and put on the lip stain in the car on our way to the next store. I don’t know if you have ever used lip stain but you are supposed to put it on clean lips and you have to let it dry before you put the gloss on top. I didn’t do either of these things. As we got out of the car my mom says to me, “WOW that’s bright. When December is over you can put that in the Halloween stuff.”
Thank you mom. Now I feel ridiculous.
. In Best Buy four different workers asked if I needed help with anything. I’m not saying it was the lipstick, but really? Four? At the television section of the store another young man asked if I needed help with anything. I said no but my mother proceeded to ask him a question. The entire time he was answering my mother’s question, he was looking at me! ( Not going to lie, this made me feel pretty good).
After shopping, we went to dinner and this is where the lip stain drops the ball. By the end of the meal the color had chipped off around the outer edges of my lips and it looked disgusting! Over all, I honestly can’t decide if the red lipstick made me more self-conscious or more confident throughout the day. It definitely had its moments and I felt more noticed but at the same time I was constantly thinking about my make-up.