It's not really about the boobs

My response to the viral post "My Husband Doesn't Need To See Your Boobs" and why it's not REALLY about the boobs at all. 

Last week, my cousin Taylor texted me a link to a blog post. Written by Lauren from Apples & Band-Aids blog, the post was entitled “My husband doesn’t need to see your boobs.”

In the post, Lauren goes out of her way to say she is not judging any woman who posts her bikini-clad self on social media but does ask if any and all bikini-clad women could just NOT. The photos were a “stumbling block” in her marriage and everything would be so much better if the photos weren’t there. 

Taylor’s commentary was simple. “This bothers me.”

It bothers me, too. 

It bothers a lot of you if this Facebook conversation is any indication. It also CLEARLY bothered a lot of other people too because Lauren shut down the comments section because it had come a place of attack and “hatred.”

Happy birthday to bluegrass redhead!

As you might have noticed, there's been a few changes around ye olde bluegrass redhead.

That's because this month marks the blog's ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!

This past year has been an intense one and I wouldn't have made it without all of you. The community that has built up around bluegrass redhead make me so insanely proud and I can't wait to watch it continue to grow. 

I only hope that I've given as much to you as you have to me over the past year. 

Standing Desks 101

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Sitting is slowly killing us

No matter where you work - whether it be from home or at a traditional office or from the bottom of an ocean on a submarine - chances are you spend a large amount of time sitting. We sit to work. We sit to eat. We sit down at night to relax.

There’s only one problem. Sitting is terrible for you. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, when you spend a large percentage of your day sitting you increase your risk for obesity, metabolic syndromes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. A recent study found that those of us who sat for more than four hours a day in front of a screen had a nearly 50 percent increased risk of death from ANY cause.

In other words, we need to get up out of our chairs.

Standing is the answer

Enter the standing desk, which is exactly what it sounds like. You stand at your desk and work. Instead of hunching over a keyboard, you stand with your feet planted firmly on the ground, you shoulders relaxed at your side, and your head facing straight in front of you.

I started using a standing desk over a month ago. At first, it felt a little odd to not sit down and dive into my work as I was accustomed to doing. However, I found it was much easier to maintain proper posture from a standing position and I immediately noticed less tension in my upper back and shoulders. I also find it easier to focus and move around the room when processing a new idea or concept.

Standing Desk 101

As the popularity of standing desks has increased, so have the options for anyone interested in standing while they work. For anyone who just wants to test out the idea, I highly recommend The Standing Desk 2200, a very clever DIY standing desk addition for your current desk. I built my own Standing Desk 2200 and it has been a great solution for me.

For anyone ready to commit wholeheartedly to standing, there are great options for all budgets with most experts recommending an electric desk that can also be lowered for sitting when your legs or back gets tired.

If a standing desk of any kind seems too extreme, you can commit to getting up and moving around regularly to help lessen the negative affects of sitting. 

#O2OChat Tips for Using Photos in Blog Posts

Today I joined Anna Epp from Life is Good at the BeachDeanna Garretson from Domestic ChickyBridget Ivey from The Ivey League, and Ashley Paige from I Love You More Than Carrots for a #O2OChat over at One2One Network on tips and tricks for using photos in your blog posts. 

We covered lots of ground from whether or not to watermark your images to great photo edition software. So, if you're looking to improve your skills, head on over and check it out!


Leaning In

Last week I went to BlogHer. The largest conference for women bloggers in the world, this conference is big and loud and dynamic and (if you’re not careful) overwhelming. 

I went to a ton of great events. I got to visit with friends. I connected with the teams behind some of my favorite brands. However, the most profound moment came when I sat down at a table with five strangers and opened my heart. 

Saturday morning the conference began with Sheryl Sandberg. The COO of Facebook, Sandberg recently authored Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. I read the book last month while on vacation and I loved it. Sandberg has received criticism for advocating ambitious career tracks that many women simply do not have the options or resources to pursue. 

When I started the book, I was ready to disagree with much of Sandberg’s position. Imagine my surprise when she addressed her critics up front and then set out a passionate and compassionate argument for becoming your own best advocate – no matter your situation. Never once did I feel like Sandberg was judging me for my own off-ramping and I truly believe her personal journey and honest insight has application way beyond the upper echelons of corporate America.

Clearly, I wasn’t the only one because she was treated like a rock star at BlogHer. She came down into the crowd before her appearance and kindly greeted all of us while taking pictures, signing autographs, and collecting business cards. 

But nothing prepared me for what happened next. Lean In the book has inspired Lean In circles all over the country, where women gather to support one another in pursuing career goals. After her appearance, leaders from the organization helped those who chose to stay organize into impromptu Lean In circles.

We gathered in groups of six and right next to me a group of five added Sheryl Sandberg as their sixth. Seeing her sit down and listen as the women shared their goals and frustrations was completely inspiring. 

The only thing more inspiring was what happened at my own group.

A group of strangers we left the session an hour later as sisters. We shared our struggles and our sadness. We made each other laugh and cry. From all backgrounds and experiences, we each opened up and allowed ourselves to be vulnerable. The connection women can create when given the time and space to do so has always been amazing to me. I remember in college spending hours with friends or even mere acquaintances sharing past heartache and future dreams. 

Sadly, there’s been less and less space for that type of connection in my adult life. Everyone is so busy or concerned about what others will think if they share real emotions or insight. However, something is lost when our relationships never dive below the surface of everyday interactions. Something real. Something fantastic. 

The question that at the heart of Leaning In – what would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Watching these women share and listening to what they had already overcome, I can’t say I left ready to tackle my biggest fear but I can absolutely say I left that circle a little less afraid and a lot more inspired and definitely more prepared to lean in. 

Tell me. What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Saying goodbye to the internet?

Last week, Glennon Doyle Melton of the blog Momastery called it quits. Well, she called it quits for 40 days. At the top of her game with hundreds of thousands of readers and a New York Times best-selling book, she said goodbye to the internet. 

The internet, I think – is turning into a compulsion for me. I’m starting to look to it for my own worth. I’m looking to it for comfort and as a balm for loneliness. I’m using it to hide a little from real live people. And I’m using it to numb my feelings. To zone out. All of this scares me because these are all the things I used to use booze for. And these are the things I still use food for sometimes.

I identified so much with her post. I am also a striver - a person who’s shifting definition of success is too often linked to external factors instead of internal motivation. The internet – in particular the world of blogging – can often play to my worst instincts. I see other’s success (including Glennon’s if I’m being honest) and, instead of feeling inspired, I feel like a failure. So, I go out into social media looking for sources of positive feedback and/or plain old distraction.

However, her solution feels somewhat gimmicky.