Social Media and Self Help, Part 2

Welcome  Last month I shared some dilemmas I’m facing with social media.   I find myself torn between the need for it to grow my business and keep in touch with distant friends, and the fact that I fight comparison or negativity issues while using social media.  Yesterday I wrote about my love for self-help books and a few tips I’ve acquired for my social media dilemma.  I’m going to elaborate on that briefly today, and share a cake “painting” project I completed this week.

Food For Thought  I cannot recommend the book Why Her? enough!  (written by Nicki Koziarz and published by B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN) It’s such a great book for any woman or girl who finds themselves struggling with comparison, whether it comes up on a daily basis or just once in a while.  It was reassuring to know I am not the only one facing these struggles, and better yet, there are solutions!  I especially appreciate how the topic of social media as a source of comparison woes was so clearly addressed.  The key piece of wisdom I took away from this section was also one of the six truths the author outlined in her book.  It’s actually a piece of advice we can apply to many areas of our life, whether comparison, anxiety, or any other struggle.  This truth states: See it like it really is.

It’s sad, but I often view the world through my “grass is greener” glasses, meaning everything on “her” side looks better than what’s on my side.  It’s no wonder we’re all battling cases of compare-itis, with all the social media platforms and filters aiding us in making our lives look picture-perfect.  I’m guilty of this myself.  We only want to post the pictures that are going to get the most likes and positive comments, not the pictures that reflect the other 98 percent of our reality.  When everyone in my feed is posting pictures from their beach or mountain vacations, I don’t necessarily want to share that the only place I went was the grocery store and post office.  When friends post pictures of themselves getting pedicures or spa days, I’m not really into posting about cleaning the bathroom in my ten-year-old ripped t-shirt and cut-offs.  Oh, and that friend on the beach vacation has no problem posting a photo of herself in a bikini, where I’m likely to only post headshots, especially if a swimsuit is involved!  But the point is, my Facebook friends aren’t always at the beach or hiking in the mountains.  They have to clean the bathroom and go to the grocery store also.  There are moments they don’t look model-perfect either.  So, when I find myself slipping into comparison mode as I scroll through my newsfeed, I need to remember, see it like it really is!  For every Instagram-worthy photo that makes it to my feed, they probably had a few dozen moments they preferred to keep to themselves and not share on social media.  And here’s the really crazy idea…while I’m thinking how lucky she is with her happy family photos or perfect beach vacation, someone else is looking at my social media posts, thinking I’m the lucky one.  Have you ever thought about that?  It’s all about perspective, and yes, contentment.

Now before you go and tell me it’s not that easy, I’m already aware of that.  There are people in my social media feed, a few I think of specifically, and everything about their life looks absolutely perfect.  Perfect house, perfect cars, perfect clothes and make-up, perfect swimming pool, perfect vacations, perfect outings with their kids, oh, and perfect kids, too. Seriously, it all really looks too good to be true.  Yet I know these people and I know they really have all of these things and experiences and they’re not making any of it up.  But we know perfection doesn’t exist, right?  I mean, not here on earth anyway.  So do they truly have a perfect life?  No, I need to see it like it really is.  They have bills to pay.  They have sickness and medical emergencies.  The “check engine” light comes on in their cars, too.  They have jobs that bring stress and tight schedules.  They have disagreements with their spouse.  They get irritated with their children at times.  Because it’s real life, not a tv show or fairy tale.

This is the big take away I want you to have from today’s discussion.  Are the people in your social media feed indeed real people?  That’s probably a yes, right?Then they are subject to the same stresses, struggles, mishaps, and mistakes you and I are subject to in our everyday, non-Instagram-worthy lives.  And while we’re seeing it like it really is, what is it about your life that is so much better than what you give credit for?  Chances are, not everything in my life, or your life, is as bad as we might think while wallowing in the pit of comparison.  Self-help books can be great at overcoming obstacles in our lives, as long as we’re willing to help ourselves by seeing it like it really is.

Today’s Scripture  Remember to put everything into the light so you can see it like it really is.

Today’s DIY  I didn’t really want to call today’s project a recipe, because it’s just a box cake mix, some cans of vanilla frosting, and food coloring.  It’s more of an art project using food!  Today is my husband’s and my fourteenth wedding anniversary.  To commemorate the occasion I made us an anniversary cake where I “painted” a Smokey Mountain scene with frosting.  We honeymooned in the Smokey’s and absolutely fell in love with the area.  We can’t get back there right now, so I opted for this cake.  He saw it last night and loved it!  I will say that when I posted a picture on social media, some people could not tell what it was supposed to be, so no, it’s not perfect!  This was my first attempt at painting a cake with frosting.  It was fun, but I know some areas I could improve.  Today I’ll share the steps for how I made it.  I’m always eager to hear your tips, too, so feel free to leave them in the comments section.

Cake Painting
Using paste food colors as my paint palette, I was able to mix into white frosting and create a painted scene on this cake for our anniversary.

 

You will need:

1 box cake mix and ingredients for baking it (I used a store-brand chocolate cake that we are fond of)

3 containers of ready-to-use vanilla frosting (you will probably have some left over)

Paste food colors in black, blue, and green (I used Wilton brand colors)

I also recommend using frosting spatulas for this project.  You will need bowls and spoons for mixing the frosting colors.

If I had planned ahead, I would have bought some candy rocks, the realistic-looking ones, and added to the base…maybe next time!

cake decorating tools
some artist’s tools for cake painting

 

First, bake your desired cakes.  I used a box mix, prepared according to package directions for two 8-inch round cake layers.  Frost the entire cake with vanilla frosting, including a small amount between the layers, making surface as smooth as possible.  Mix a about a half cup of the white frosting with a tiny amount of blue color, making sure it’s well combined.  Mix about a half cup of the white frosting with a slightly larger amount of the blue coloring, mixing until a darker blue color has formed.  Mix about a half cup of the white frosting with a small amount of the black color until a gray hue has formed.  Place some of the light blue color in a piping bag or bottle with a medium-hole writing tip in place.  Outline a mountain shape onto the cake.  Using one of the frosting spatulas, carefully blend out the line to fill in the background mountain element.  Repeat this same procedure using the darker blue color, as in the pictures below.

Use the gray icing to make the foreground mountain.  Using the frosting spatulas to fill in the color will help it resemble brush strokes like in a painting.  Be sure to pull down the colors of your mountains down the sides of the cake.  Don’t worry if some of the white frosting from underneath pulls through, this just adds to the “smoky” mountain effect.  Go back and add some “tuffs” of clouds by placing a tiny amount of white frosting on a knife tip and swirling it onto the mountain scene.  Mix about a quarter cup of vanilla icing with a tiny amount of green color.  Using same piping bag and tip, add some zig-zag pattern evergreen trees to your mountain scene.

 

`