Tori Lynn

On Self Growth

Time vs Beauty

What should be written on every woman’s mirror

I attempted to curl my hair today.  In the past I have used curling irons, and other times I’ve rolled my hair in rollers before bed.  Last night I tried both.  After my shower I took the time to put all of my hair up in rollers before sleeping.  That took a total of 45 minutes.  Granted I am not experienced, so it took me a bit longer, but I still feel like it was a time-suck and I could have spent it reading my book before bed.  I really thought it was going to be worth it when morning came.  After I started to take out my rollers this morning, I used a curling iron to just add touches to my ridiculously springy curls.  That took me a half an hour.  Half the curls did not hold (all were in the back so I looked like I was rocking a mullet).  The other half was frizzy and awful.  I tried to pin it back, or throw it in a ponytail.  Neither would hold my new afro.  I almost stuck with pigtails, but I looked far too much like a cocker spaniel.  It took me another 20 minutes to tuck all my little pieces into a bun, and pin back all the bits of shorter pieces in the front.  Over-all I spent close to two hours trying to do my hair, and I had not even looked at my makeup yet.

I go to a class every Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  Almost all the other women (and some men) in my class are always beautiful and put together.  I got to thinking, how long do they spend each day doing their hair, putting on makeup, picking out the perfect outfit, and perfecting the “I’m sweet, but I still come off as confident and slightly intimidating” look.

The end result

I weigh about 165-170lbs.  I hold my weight well, and I seem proportionate.  This time last year I was only a few pounds off from being 200 and you could never have been able to tell.  I’m definitely not skinny, and If I try to run you can tell I’m not in shape, but overall I’m pretty happy with my body, and I know my boyfriend is too.  My skin is not flawless, I have larger pores around my nose, and I break out a little when I have my period.  I have large, gorgeous blue eyes, and I hardly ever wear mascara on them.  When I do, I feel like a goddess and that I can take on anything life throws at me.  Unless it makes me cry, then I’m screwed.

Makeup free and I still love myself

I like how I look, and I wonder how much better I could look if I dolled myself up like the girls I see.  When I attempt I turn out more like a clown and have to wash it all off

anyway. But if it takes me two hours to do next to nothing, how long do the pretty girls in class spend to come out the way they do?  I wonder if I could have that time to read or take up something good for me, like yoga, or (god forbid) I could exercise a little.


Let the small ones go

Like so many other people, my email inbox is consistently full. Most are emails from magazines I don’t get anymore, or from stores I can’t afford to shop at. Most of my family and friends contact me through phone or Facebook, and I very rarely have anything of any importance using up my inbox space. Today I did what I’ve always dreamed of doing… deleted all of them. I can be a bit of a hoarder… nothing extreme of course; I just hate getting rid of something I haven’t read yet.

Inbox 1790

Inbox 1790 (Photo credit: Tidewater Muse)

What I wasn’t expecting was the sense of liberation I got from purging myself of all the unnecessary emails. I feel free, like nothing is tying me down. It was only a click of a button and I feel like a different, more whole, person.

Cleaning out my inbox is something that has always been on my to-do list that has never gotten done. Somehow harnessing the “fuck this” attitude has helped me relieve myself of needless stress. I always want to fix things if they are broken, but maybe the moral here is to just let some things go. I had every intention of reading all of those emails. I wanted to read them all, and then delete them if they were of no use to me.

Maybe I need to set priorities in my life. Instead of trying to read all of those emails, and having that loom over you every day, just dump them and use that energy towards something more realistic and productive.

Going New Places

I have always wanted to travel. I want to meet different types of people and learn about other cultures. It is very important in life to experience something different from what you are used to.

My goal for this winter was to go on some sort of trip every month my summer job was closed. As of today, I have planned every month.

Nosferatu (1922)

Nosferatu (1922) (Photo credit: twm1340)


On the 20th I am going to Salem Massachusetts. I have never been there before, but I expect it to be very interesting so late in the month. I will be visiting Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery, Witches Cottage Candlelit Walking Tour, and going to the Witches Cottage Haunted Show.


On the 3rd I will be taking a bus to NYC and visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I have never been here either. Last time I was in the city I was with my mother, brother, and boyfriend seeing The Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. As much as I love my family, I am looking forward to visiting without them.


On the 8th I am Returning to NYC with Josh to see the Rockettes again. Seeing them last year was one of the most amazing things I’ve experienced. I had never been to a show so big, watching people so incredibly talented, and It made me feel like the world was such a wonderful place. I feel so lucky I get to return again this year and see it all over again.


I am braving the cold and going to Quebec on the 19-20th. I would be seeing the Ice Hotel, The Chateau Frontenac, and dog sledding.


The most exciting trip is in February. Josh and I saved up to be able to go on our very first cruise. From the 10th to the 17th we’ll be on a Royal Caribbean ship swimming with dolphins and para-sailing.

English: A beach on Coco Cay, an island leased...

English: A beach on Coco Cay, an island leased by Royal Caribbean International, in the Bahamas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I strongly urge anyone reading, who is a student, to take full advantage of any trips that school offers. Other than the cruise, all the trips are through my college, and were surprisingly cheap. There is too much out there to just sit around home thinking about it all the time. If you ever get the chance to go somewhere new, or meet someone interesting take it.

Don’t get Overwhelmed

No matter if things are good or bad you have to just keep on going. One day can be awful, the next can be great. Or even this morning can be great and 5 minutes later take a turn for the worst. When you are stressing out and freaking out (like all of us do), the trick is to stop, take a deep breath, and figure out what happens next.

Your house burned down, you’re in laws are visiting, you’re way behind in school work, your apartment is a disaster area, you have no clean clothes, the dog is sick, or you have no idea what’s for dinner with a screaming child in the next room.  There is always something that can stress us out and make us shut down.  Some people thrive on pressure. Those were the people who did nothing all week-long and then crammed for a test Friday and passed it with flying colors. Other people cannot keep their head on straight with more than one thing happening at a time. It doesn’t matter what kind of person you are, the process is always the same.


Overwhelmed (Photo credit: rightsandwrongs)


The first thing you need to do is stop.  Turn off the television, walk out on the porch, pull over the car, or put your mother on hold.  Take a deep breath and figure out the worst problem you have now.  Even if a billion other things are going on, try to only pick out the most important thing. If you focus on what needs to be dealt with the most, then everything else will be simple with that weight off your shoulder.

Get a piece of paper

Not a notepad on your phone of computer, but an actually clean sheet of paper.  Batteries can die, apps can take too long to open up, computers can crash, and you can always forget to save.  If you need to clear your mind use a real piece of paper.  You will not have to worry about any of those problems, and I feel like whatever I’ve written is more solid when it is in my handwriting on something I can hold.

Depending on the problem or the length of your list you might need a whole sheet.  I use index cards, and I have a mini legal pad that I write everything on.

Think of the problem you singled out earlier and write it on the top of your paper.  At the bottom of your paper write the outcome, and when it needs to be accomplished by.  Big project due next week? Dinner done in an hour? Or you’re moving to a new place 2 months from now and want to make sure you’re getting your security deposit back? Write it down.  In between those two things write everything you would need to do to accomplish it.

Now do it

Looking at the little steps everything should seem much more manageable. The important thing is not letting yourself become overwhelmed.  I personally do not believe in god, but I love this quote I hear sometimes saying that god never gives us more than we can manage, or something else along those lines.  I believe that there is nothing that we can’t manage.  It might take some people longer, or they might have to try harder, but you can do anything.


If it can go wrong…

I worked a minimum of 50 hours a week since April first.  I’ve finally gone back to school after over a year off.  I’ve gotten my life a little more figured out and my life seems more on track.  I worked very hard on my own well-being and making sure that my relationship with Josh stayed strong through trying times.  I wanted desperately to reward myself and do something I’ve always wanted to do.  I decided to throw a party.

Here is how I imagined the night going…

People would arrive and there would be an Indiana Jones poster on my door with a sign saying “now playing” above it.

They would walk in and the living room would be completely cleared out. You could not see the kitchen because a red curtain would be covering the doorway, and there would be a table by the wall that had a concession stand sign above it.

On the snack table I would have paper plates, napkins, pizzas, popcorn (everyone would get their own plastic bucket that said popcorn on it), all the normal movie theater candies, sodas, plastic tumblers (that everyone also got to keep), soft pretzels, and nacho cheese.

I would have made film out of aluminum foil and black construction paper and lined the walls with it.

In the back of the room I would have a projector set up, and speakers that would give everyone the ultimate movie viewing experience.

The movie would be amazing, and all the guests would be lying or sitting on the ground with pillows and cushions.  On their way out the door they would all get their very own Indiana Jones whip.

I invited just shy of 20 people, and it was going to be a wonderful time.


Here’s what is actually happening:

Four people are attending. My sister, her husband, one of Josh’s friends, and only one of my friends.

The projector cost more than expected, but at least it arrived on time.

I have no decorations, including signs and posters.  I bought an abundance more whips than people who will be coming, so that was a waste of money.

And oh yeah… we can’t clear out the living room.

What is the point of a projector if we won’t be lying on the floor? Why did I spend so much money on what was supposed to be such an exciting party if no one is coming and we’re just going to be sitting around in our plain old living room?

It is the night before the party, my boyfriend is asleep, we never got around to dusting the living room because it took so long just to pick everything up, and I’m crying because we have nowhere to put any of the furniture and Josh doesn’t even see the point of moving all the furniture out anyway.

It would have all made sense, and been a great time if we had 5 times as many people coming, but we aren’t.  The way I see it, this was a complete waste of money, time, and happiness.

A Roadblock

First… a story.

One of the goals I listed at the beginning of the year was that I wanted to move into a new apartment. Currently, I live with my boyfriend and his brother, and I would really like to get a place with just my boyfriend. This was an idea we threw around for months before he agreed that we could move this summer… after I had saved up a bit more money. A month ago we decided that late April or early May would work, he just needed to talk to his brother (who I don’t get along with very well), so that his brother could start thinking and have a plan of his own for when we move out.

Josh (my boyfriend) is very concerned that his brother won’t think of plan and will get screwed when we leave.  I thought the obvious answer was that we could help him talk to people and figure out what he was going to do, and I was under the impression that Josh was doing just that. Until tonight. I asked him what his brother’s plan was, and if there was anything I could do to help. As it turns out he hasn’t even talked to him about us leaving yet.

It is so incredibly frustrating to think that you have a handle on things, and that as long as you take the right steps you can reach your goal, and then find out you haven’t moved an inch.

What do you do when you’re ready and working on something, but someone else is not?

Was he avoiding asking because he’s not really on the same page as me? Did he not talk to his brother because secretly he’s not ready to be on his own with me? What is it that he was afraid of, and what can I do to help?

The Power of Volunteering

Everyone knows that volunteering is a good thing. It helps out people in need and it makes you feel good inside. I’ve started to look at convention and meeting planning as a possible career path for myself, but I’m having trouble getting started and finding out how to get experience.

Duh, volunteering!  No matter what your plan is in life, I bet you anything you can find a place to volunteer that would be on your path and look very good on a resume.

How to get started:

  • Look for non-profits in your area.  Most have websites that list contact information.  Shoot them an email describing exactly what you want to do, and how you can help them.
  • Check your local papers and check community events coming up. If there’s anything you think you would want to be a part of, go to it.  At the end when whoever is in charge is less busy, approach them and tell them you want to help out with the next one.  Make sure to give them your card and get contact information from them.
  • Still in school? Join a club! Any extracurricular activity looks great, and with the support of your high school or college you can do a lot.
  • Look online. If you live in a bigger city it’s probably listed under one of these sites;

  • There are also animal shelters, retirement communities, food banks, and homeless shelters that are always looking for help.
  • Don’t forget to follow-up. If no one emails you back right away, try again! Make an impression.

Resolutions Already Fizzle?


Image via Wikipedia

So many people don’t like making new years resolutions because it seems like hardly anyone follows through on them.  I say that it wouldn’t be that way if we got back on the horse when we start to fall behind.  I’m sure I’m not the only person who stops working hard on their plans for this new year after the first few days you don’t drink enough water, you skip the gym for a week, have one more last cigarette, or your new organization system goes to shit.

Why do we quit?  We could quit because our dreams are much harder to meet than we thought.  There could be something that sets us back, like not getting that internship you worked for, or a death of a loved one.  I quit because I doubt myself.

The number one reason why we don’t meet our dreams is because: once we take a break, and something doesn’t go as planned, we don’t know how to start back up again.

It’s easier on New Years. That whole “new year, new you” sounds amazing, and you never hear anyone say “one o’clock, new me”.  People like starting points. We always pick the new year to change ourselves, or our birthdays.  That is putting too much pressure on ourselves to become new people, which makes it all the more disappointing when what we dream of doesn’t happen right away.

Start new anyway. If you feel better with a plan you can always make it the beginning the next week, or if it’s the end of the month, make it next month.  I would suggest anyone wanting to get back on the horse should make it tomorrow. The longer we wait, the harder it is to get back on track.

Find your fire.  To help scale back the number of misadventures we have, everyone should have a form of motivation.  Luckily for us, we have the internet, so even if you can’t think of anything to keep you motivated, you can hop on your favorite search engine and look something up.

Here are some methods I use. Changing my password on my computer. I read in January’s Cosmo a few tips on the subject, and my favorite was changing your computer password.  You type it in everyday so it’s a good way to keep drilling your goal into your head.  Pick ‘8cupsofwater’, ‘lose20lbs’, or ‘smokingkills’.

You could even make like my two favorite broke girls and create a vision board.

Or, if you have steps you want to take to meet your resolution, I recommend making a goal binder, like I outlined in another blog. ( )

Just do it! No one is going to hand you everything you’ve ever wanted. The only way to do things is to actually do them.  We’re wonderful people, and we can do anything we put our minds to.

Introducing…. THE GOAL BINDER… *everyone cheers*

three ring binder

Image via Wikipedia

How do people meet their goals?  Achievements can’t just happen.  You have to have a plan. That’s why I bring to you… my goal binder!!!!

A goal binder is this brilliant thing I have that keeps track of all my goals, and how I plan to meet them.  For example…

One page is one of my short-term goals; to clean my room.

My goal: Clean my Bedroom

Friday January 6th

  • Bring out all the dishes
  • Move all the dirty laundry off the floor and put into the hamper

Saturday January 7th

  • Clear off the tops of all tables, dressers, and the windowsill

Sunday January 8th

  • Pick up all trash from off the floor

Monday January 9th

  • Finish cleaning off the floor

Tuesday January 10th

  • Vacuum
  • Dust

Now all these things could probably be done in one day, but when I map it out like this it seems less like a huge project, and I don’t have to spend too much time in one day working on it.  I can spend the rest of my day working, or doing whatever else needs being done, but by the end of Tuesday I’ll have a nice clean room.

This is the same kind of setup I want to do for all my other goals, no matter how big or small.  I’m going to start with my career path.  I’ll make a goal sheet in my binder for finding out what I want to do, and set my goal path from there. I’m very excited at the prospect of creating this forward momentum in my life now.

I’m curious about how everyone else plans out their goals.  Do you just wing it? Or do you have a binder too? Post a comment on ways to improve my planning, or tips on how to keep from getting discouraged.

New Years Bug

I had one of those “this is the first day of the rest of my life” moments.

I could not get to sleep last night.  My boyfriend was sick, so he was tossing and turning.  I was feeling pretty defeated because my attempt at exercising left me with very sore legs, and I couldn’t beat my computer at chess, even with it set to beginner.  Every time I closed my laptop to give myself a chess break, my mind went a hundred miles an hour thinking about where I am in my life.

I’ve been in a happy relationship for over two years, who I’ve been living with for over a year.  I got a new job, which is going to help me straighten out financially.  I have little to no idea what I want to do to make a living in the future.  I just feel ready for that next step in my life.  Everyone always thinks of bettering themselves but no one actually does it.

My list-orientented mind is craving a check list of everything I want to accomplish in 2012…

  • I want to get my license.
  • I want to figure out where I want to go with my life.
  • I want to move out of the apartment I’m in.

I set up this blog last night because i knew I wanted to document something.  I just wasn’t sure what.  Becoming a better person seems kind of vague as far as goals go, but I plan on making a plan for everything I want to accomplish, and share my plan here. Hopefully writing about it will help me be less likely to withdraw.

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