Women Judging Each Other at the Gym

One common reason I hear for people, especially women, not to engage in physical fitness is because they are afraid people are judging them. Now, if I've learned anything during my time on this little blue dot, I have learned that people afraid of others judging them are often the ones doing the most judging. I work out at home at the moment, but not out of fear of judgement, just because it is more convenient and having a work out instructor tell me what exercises to do is a lot cheaper than hiring a personal trainer. We also have an elliptical/cross trainer in our house, so at the end of the day, it's really only about 20 paces from the elliptical to the shower, and then another 8 to my bed to binge watch Dance Moms.

But I used to work out at a gym and would do it again if it were convenient for me. Because through my life I've developed an attitude of not caring what others think (for the most part, it still gets me every once in a while), I never really thought twice about people at the gym judging me. Sure, I've been a little embarrassed when trying to figure out how a machine works and I'm 99% sure I'm doing it wrong, or self-conscious when the guy lifting weights is obviously trying to plot his next move to hit on you (while you're both a sweaty mess), but mostly I just do my thing, put on my tunes, get my fitness on and then go home. I guess I don't think about what other people are doing at the gym (apart from the 80 year old man who used to wear a blueberry blue sweatsuit with matching sweatbands with his headband--but mostly I'm just giving him props because he's like 80 years old and coming to the gym), so I'm not really spending my time worrying what other people think of me.

Okay, there is one exception to my rule of non-judgement: when I lived in Budapest for six months and I found there was this tiny subculture of Hungarian men at this particular establishment I visited who came to the gym in flip-flops and lifted really heavy weights. In the end, though, I wasn't making ascertains on their character, simply worried for the accident and subsequent trip to the hospital that was waiting to happen.

All too often, though, I see Facebook statuses where (mostly women, I'm honestly not sure men even notice this kind of thing) randoms at the gym are called out for wearing a full face of make-up to the gym. In a culture where women are expected to look good at all times, it is always bizarre to me that we then try to bring the same women down a peg for "following the cultural rules." It's like the juxtaposition of men who want a thin girl, but also a girl that can eat the same amount of food he can (spoiler: my boyfriend is 6'6" and I'm 5'1"....if he and I ate the same amount of food I would be obese in two months). Or the guy who says he wants a naturally pretty woman, but then balks at what women look like without make-up. Or the people in college who feel the need to openly make fun of women who wear heels or skirts to class. Last time I checked, feminism was about the freedom to wear a skirt and heels to class or sweatpants and tennis shoes and both of those choices being okay.

Really though, why does it affect your day so much that you need to make a Facebook status or a tweet about Susie Q at the gym and her make-up? Maybe she has three kids and has to rush to the gym after work to get in her workout and doesn't have time to take off her make-up. Maybe make-up makes her feel more confident when she's doing something physically challenging. Maybe she is trying to pick up on random men at the gym. Maybe she just wants to look her best at all times. So what? Does that affect the quality of your workout?

As women, we are often conditioned to compete with one another. When a guy we like comments on a girl being pretty, we have to find her flaws and reason that she's, you know, not that pretty. I've even seen famous female YouTubers and Bloggers get their pictures submitted to TheDirty just because they are attractive and successful, and someone somewhere feels that much better for a nanosecond about themselves because that horrible Nik guy doesn't deem them a ten (who does he even think is a ten, anyway?).

Why should we care what other women do, especially when they are trying to make a concerted effort to improve themselves? Maybe we should all just be a bit more supportive of one another. Besides, we're all a sweaty mess at the end of a workout anyway...and if that woman looks glamorous doing it then props to her.

Digital Missed Connections and YouTubing

It's not really a secret that I've always wanted to do YouTube videos, but I've always been a bit shy when it comes to doing them. So, I'm challenging myself and actually going to do them for a full year.

You can find my first vlog here:
And you can see the rest of it at https://www.youtube.com/AnnaVlogs23

What's going up consists of beauty videos, advice, writing, make-up, general videos and vlogs. I'm trying to rope Luke in to doing a character as well...so we shall see!


And now, bringing you an oldie but goodie in the adventures of online dating. I don't want to be a smug relationshipped person, but I am so glad this doesn't happen anymore, even if it is entertaining.

The major function of this blog is to simply present to you weirdos I encounter online with little to no commentary. After sending most of these crazy posts to friends (and one ex who shares his peculiar online foibles as well...although as a man he seems to get far less of these entertainers) and posting a few on Facebook, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and start a blog. These are far too good not to share with the world. 

As a fairly open person, I think I attract a lot of different types of people (platonic and otherwise). While I find this a mostly positive trait, there are many times when it just gets weird.

Like this guy, who apparently thought insulting a woman in every way possible about sensitive topics was the way to her heart. 

He steps up to the plate and hits a home run without even warming up with this opening line:

Some helpful advice all single girls in their late 20s should hear--especially via a Dating Website.
Followed by a competition where he seemed to be the sole participant:
Then a description of his future wife and why she will never age:

Add some more creative insults about my deplorable appearance: 
An invitation for me to commit suicide because I'm so ugly:
His pièce de résistance:
Oh, but I am so stupid. All of that was just verbal foreplay. He actually just wants to go on a date--with little old me?! Cheeky little sausage.  What a seductive game of verbal chess that was!
Let's take a further look into what makes this witty wordsmith tick:

 It appears last night was his night off from his 6 day a week habit of sleeping with fertile, nubile young women, so you'll have to catch him again next Thursday if you're still single and ready to mingle with this gem of a gentleman (but don't be older than 22!). Although, I did just log onto my account and he seemed to be online tonight....very strange. Two nights free in a row? Must be a terrible dry spell.

Getting Ready for Summer--Collective Haul

Since I'm on a self-imposed clothing ban, I thought I would gather everything I've purchased in the months leading up to summer. I'm not allowed any more clothes until June, when I can get two dresses and one pair of sandals.

Although I'm currently living in the UK, where it never really gets warm, I'm going to be spending two weeks in New York and a month in Poland where I'm sure to be boiling.

Here are some things I've picked up over the last few weeks with a link to their product (if available).

Handbag, H&M. Pretty big for me, but it holds everything and is great for spring! £36

Coat, H&M. £39.99
Lace top, H&M. £14.99
Oversized sunglasses, ASOS. £10
Crochet Shorts, New Look (via ASOS). £11
Linen Shorts, ASOS. £20
Sandals, New Look via ASOS. £10

Dress, River Island. Out of Stock
Bikini, ASOS. Top £10, Bottoms £6
Playsuit, Boohoo. £10 (for a bathing suit coverup)
FTC Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any of the parties mentioned.

On the Road Again

One of the things that I love, up there with writing and history, is traveling. Over the past few weeks I've been all over the UK: Southampton, London, Amsterdam, York, Darlington....I'm a little bit exhausted just thinking about it. Southampton seemed to have been so long ago that I'm not even going to write about it...but I will write a bit about Amsterdam and York/Yorkshire.


Amsterdam holds a very special place in my heart, for two very specific reasons. Firstly, I did my MA in Amsterdam for a glorious year. Although we didn't really integrate into the Dutch society (although I have Dutch acquaintances, Holland is notoriously difficult to integrate into as an expat, so foreigners often stick together), I made some amazing friends from right next door (literally, two girls from my hometown who I had never met previously) to friends from the UK, Canada, Germany and Austria, to name a few. Most of my friends who lived with me in Amsterdam have now left (save one who moved to The Hague and one who has a Dutch mother and still lives in Amsterdam), but I was able to see two of my girls from that year. 

The second big reason I love Amsterdam (despite the fact that it is GORGEOUS) is that I study Anne Frank. My PhD thesis/dissertation (depending on what country you're from) is on Anne and I teach a course on Anne Frank. Her diary has always been special to me since I was a little girl, so it's a wonderful honor to be able to not just study her but to be able to go into the archives at the Anne Frank Huis. 

My visit to Amsterdam was short and sweet (and my boyfriend got to join me for the last two days), but I am itching to go back.

A bicycle built for four on Herengracht

Our hotel for the last night. We had to go into the kitchen to get to our room!

Delftware on display in The Hague

Amsterdam....I LOVE YOU


Yorkshire is one of my favorite places, mostly for literary reasons. The Secret Garden and Jane Eyre were two of my favorites growing up and just being in Yorkshire makes me feel a little more like I've stepped into a Victorian gothic novel. 

During my time in York, Luke and I stayed in the city centre near the edge of one of the city walls. We were able to bring Eugene (my shih tzu) with us, which was a huge treat. He stayed in our hotel room and slept on the bed. Luke went home, I went to explore Darlington and Richmond in Yorkshire and then I stayed with a good friend of mine, Hannah, who goes to school in York.

View from the top of the Keep in the Richmond Castle

Richmond Castle

View from inside the Richmond Castle

Luke on the York city walls

Me looking positively evil at the York Castle Museum

Hannah in the York Castle Museum

York Castle Museum's Victorian street

Royal Georgian Theatre in Richmond

Royal Georgian

Richmond Castle ruins

Richmond Castle gardens

Keep of the old York Castle where 150 Jews died in 1190

Euge and Luke pulling away from London King's Cross

 Beauty Finds in Amsterdam and York

For some reason, I've always been able to get almost all of my beauty products from Bath and Body Works, despite the fact that I live 3,000 miles from the closet outlet. However, as I've now entered into the world of sugar scrub and am venturing out in lotions, I've made some awesome discoveries.

I was never a huge fan of the Body Shop, but I went in there to get a sugar scrub I could take on the road. Instead, I fell in love with one of their signature scents, and it is available in the UK, US, Holland...pretty much everywhere. As the British would say: RESULT. I bought a €15 tub of lotion (I KNOW) after they gave me a sample of it in store, and I'm in love with the Cocoa Butter.
Perfect scent for those who like a touch of sweetness without overpowering
Also, one just couldn't go to York without mentioning the Yorkshire Soap Company, a little one of a kind shop in York and Hebden Bridge. They no longer allow photographs in the store (I'm not exactly sure why), but they make all of their own soaps to resemble cakes and sweets....and they smell delicious. And now I'm going to picspam you with some soaps I took pictures of last year in their store and pictures from their site:

I had gotten things there before as gifts, but never for myself. So, this time I decided to throw some caution to the wind and buy something for myself.

What did I get?

A beautiful raspberry (my scent and fruit of choice!) soap cupcake. It smells delicious and I've been using it after my body scrub, but I have to say it isn't the most practical thing in the bathroom, especially if you're like us and don't have a soap dish. But here she is before use.


Eugene and I passed through London back on our way home from York. I was dead tired, but a friend from college and fellow sorority sister was in town, so we had a salad from Chop'd and a brief catch up. I couldn't stay too long because I was about to fall over, but it was surely nice to see a familiar face after all of these years.
To be honest, it was a bit jarring how American her accent seemed to me, when before it had always just been the way everyone from home talked. I'm assimilating....this is scary!

© Anna in Wonderland

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