The 365 Day Challenge: Fad Flops

Anyone else feel exhausted when they look at social media sometimes? Not only are people showing off their best lives through manicured outfits, curated travel, and perfected angles, but they’re also pushing product constantly. Whether it’s a new miracle diet or skin-perfecting face wash, people are always looking for the next big thing and brands are keeping their products in front of us with influencers who are essentially paid to like their products. But there’s another side to this level of consumerism – as I like to call them, “the fad flops”.

I can’t be the only one who’s given in to the social media-driven impulse purchase only to be disappointed by the results. Even with countless reviews, it’s hard to tell what the truth is. Plus, we’re all unique, so your skin combination differs from mine, your body might love red onions while my body absolutely hates red onions. So one product may work miracles for one person and totally bomb for another. To top it all off, it can be hard to tell how to actually use the product when researching online, even if there’s a video to demonstrate, that clothes look different on the models and the products are placed perfectly.

If you can’t tell, I have lots of experience with “fad flops”, making it tough to trust my increasing dependence on the online shopping world. One recent “flop” I experienced was with the charcoal toothpaste fad. Anyone else tried this stuff out? It surfaced first on influencer accounts and subsequently on some media sites I follow, proclaiming it could whiten your teeth easily, without the harsh effects of whitening strips. At the ripe old age of 30, the strips actually hurt my teeth now, like 24 hours of discomfort after I put one on – what happened to the good old days when a girl could just whiten her dang teeth! Anyway, after reading some reviews that screamed success and watching this absurd video of a girl demonstrating how to use this charcoal wonder, I decided to give it a shot.

It was a disaster. The charcoal concoction came in a little circular tub in powder form (which I knew going in because of the video), and it got literally everywhere. There were little black specs all over my bathroom, my teeth were stained black until I re-brushed them with regular toothpaste and used mouthwash, and it did NOT whiten my teeth. While I tried to dedicate myself to using it over several weeks, hoping my teeth would at least get whiter for the pain that it was, I ultimately gave up before the whole tub was gone. Epic fail. And I’m going to assume I’m not the only one who’s had this experience – I consider myself pretty capable and this fad just was not working with me at all. So why isn’t anyone talking about the products that *don’t* work? Is it because no one is paying them? Sure, maybe I tried the exact wrong charcoal toothpaste and maybe for some it has worked, but I’m sick of seeing all the success stories pile up in my search results, burying any kind of negative feedback.

In a world where we’re inundated with products, influencer messaging, and paid ads, how do we know what’s true without actually trying it ourselves? Maybe it’s time to start showing everyone more about real life instead of just showing them the “miracle successes”. After all, no one is perfect, and maybe we’re all just looking for a little more human connection while we virtually stare into other people’s worlds through our phones. Start sharing real life with me, won’t you? Maybe we’ll prevent the next person from trying out an epic “fad flop”.

The 365 Day Challenge: Trying Something New

Growing up I always saw my mom hunched over on her knees with her nose in her flower beds. I’d come and go, not appreciating to the full extent the hours she spent making our house look beautiful inside and outside. I just assumed that the countless flowers, bushes, and herbs surrounding our house magically reappeared every year as lovely as ever without any effort. Well let me tell you that is utterly false.

After years of hopping from one apartment to another, I’ve finally settled into a home that has room for all the beautiful things my mom used to work so hard on – flowers, bushes, and herbs, oh my! But walking in to my first Saturday afternoon spent gardening I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I literally went to the store and picked out the flowers I thought were pretty, not kidding. While I considered the signs shouting “annual”, “perennial”, and “6 hours of sunlight”, it didn’t really matter all that much to me as I snatched up piles of white, purple, and pink flowers. I even picked up a lavender plant with a vision of myself delicately snipping some lavender to add to a bouquet on our dinner table someday. I figured the best way to try something new like this was just to dive right in and give it a shot.

After hours of arranging, measuring, planting, and pruning – not having any idea what I was doing, just hoping it would turn out okay – I proudly showed my display to Jake (my boyfriend) who was slaving away on our backyard deck and patio. He commended me on a job well done and I felt immense satisfaction for trying something new, even if I wasn’t sure I could actually keep the flowers alive.  Later on I told Jake’s mom (an avid, experienced gardener) about my triumph, mentioning my lavender plant, and I quickly found out from her that lavender plants grow WAY bigger than I anticipated. With her experience, she had tons of tips and tricks to give me as I start to explore the world of gardening.

While I can report, after 3 days, my flowers are still alive, I had to uproot my lavender plant and move it to an area where it could spread out. Who knew that lavender (and apparently rosemary) can explode into a large bush if you tend to it correctly? There’s just so much more to learn. After all, it’ll take some time to see if I’ve got the green thumb, so at this point I’m just trying to make sure my flowers survive the week.

So what’s the moral of this story? Trying something new can be fun, so don’t be afraid if you don’t know everything before you jump in. Even if you make mistakes, being humble and asking for advice is okay. You’ll never know everything and sometimes the best way to learn is from those around you. Granted, this meant I didn’t write at all on Saturday, but I believe it’s important to try new things because you might discover a passion you never knew you had – it’s okay to have more than one!

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The 365 Day Challenge: Passion Isn’t Simple – Week 1 Review

Okay. So I should have admitted when I started this challenge that it wouldn’t be easy. When I decided on taking time to dedicate to my passion (writing) every single day for the next year, I didn’t mention that it’s harder to stick to on weekends, when traveling, or when you’re overwhelmed with just general life stuff.

Some days I have a jam-packed schedule, other days I obsess over cleaning the house, and then there are other days I might just want to binge Netflix/cuddle my dog and not even think about writing. But these days, full of distraction or lack of motivation entirely, are the days I should want to write on most. While it may be tough to prioritize, I’ve found that times when you’re furthest away from your passion, due to doing day to day life, are exactly when you need to find time to do them. Even if my to-do list has an endless number of tasks on it, I’ve found that taking a step back to put myself in a “writing timeout” allows me to relax for a brief time and brings clarity to the clutter in my brain.

I’m just a week in to this 365 day challenge and 2 days of that week were a struggle to sit down and take time to write. I can guarantee that there will be many, MANY more days that are difficult and maybe some days where writing just isn’t in the cards, but committing to this challenge has encouraged me to stick with it. That may mean writing two sentences for my book or simply finding an encouraging quote or editing what I’ve already written. And that’s okay – it’s enough.

Speaking with others about the topic of passion is also encouraging. It’s important to remember that you’re not the only one who gets frustrated when you can’t find time for your happy place on a manic Monday. It’s also exhilarating to talk about your passion with others and celebrate their passions because when we all actually take time to do what we love it makes us a little bit more whole for the special people in our lives. So what did I learn from my first week?

Week 1 Lesson – Pursuing your passion isn’t always simple and that’s okay.

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