Mandy Boyle

NEPA-er with Moxie. Writer. Sometimes Actor. Nerdy Girl.

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Scranton Street Art

Thinking, Saying, and Doing

You’ve probably read or heard about The Secret.

You might practice in the law of attraction or work at manifesting positive intentions.

You could be the Dalai Lama, who I’m convinced probably knows something we don’t based on that delightful smile and inner glow he has.

We all want to be happy and to feel satisfied.

We want purpose and meaning.

To be mindful. To drink green juice and hug more often.

Have enough gut bacteria to be regular.

Sweat less, feel better.

I was having a challenging moment. I felt stressed and needed something to listen to while I took a bath. Tub filled and ready to loosen the death grip of my muscles, I turned to TED Talks.

I’ll listen to TED Talks while working or when I can’t sleep. It’s a favorite pastime when I’m sick or immobilized for any particular reason. It’s what I listen to when I need both calm and inspiration.

Here’s what I chose:

As a professional communicator, inconsistent blogger, and occasional actor, I spend most of my life trying to speak so that people will listen.

Sometimes for personal gain, other times for entertainment, and most of the time for the benefit of others.

But what struck me most about this talk in particular was the idea of action versus intention.

As he notes, we all fall into bad habits of speech. Gossip, negativity, excuses and the like.

But do we ever really have the intent to do it?

Are there times when you just have to use, endure, and explore these “bad habits”?

His talk empowers us to make better choices with our speech and to fill the world with honesty, authenticity, integrity, and love. This isn’t just positive thinking – this is positive doing.

Sounds great, right? Sounds like you can handle it. Sounds like it’ll come easy. You just need to put your head in the right place.

Or not.

Mark Manson, a writer I really respect, talks about the power of positive thinking in his latest post, “The Staggering Bullshit of ‘The Secret’“.

His assessment is that in order to really be a human being, you can’t be ignorant to negativity. Your development as a person will be – and should be – a process that will cause you pain. It’ll make you stronger, more aware, and self-sufficient.

I tend to agree with him. I think this is where a lot of the self-help stuff out there falls short.

Sure, it’s great to fill the world with positivity, but you have to be able to deal with the shit stuff too.

I’m a firm believer in karma and that what you put into the universe comes back to you. I’m one of those people that dabbles in manifesting positive intentions. But I’m also guilty of excuses, gossip, and negativity.

And that’s okay. We probably we all are. We’re human.

The tips in the talk are great for filling the world with more good stuff. That’s all about doing and hey, we need action. We human beings are lazy bums most of the time.

But I think if you want to speak and be heard, you have to listen. Like, really listen. Garbage and bullshit and all.

That negativity? It might bother you to the point where you do something or start to feel something where before there was just pleasant numbness.

The excuses? They can remind you of your own responsibilities.

I guess what I’m trying to say with all this is that I think we should pair the positive action with realistic thinking. Use the tips to fill the world with better speech but be human enough to really listen, even if it’s the crappy stuff no one likes.

And do the vocal warm ups if you can.


Who Remembers Napkins?

LOADS of progress on the wedding front, folks.

The Mister and I met with our venue and we made some progressive decisions. The menu, the linens, the cake, the start and end time, the bar, the beers, the napkins…this wedding, it has everything.

The meeting lasted about an hour and when it was over, we both felt exhausted.

Who knew choosing napkin colors would take so much out of you?

Okay, not really, but it’s part of a greater problem: decision overwhelm.

Planning a wedding is like getting put on a beach and asked, “So, which grain of sand are you going to go with?”

There are a thousand options for everything. And that kind of sucks.

It sucks because it puts the focus on all of these THINGS instead of the getting married deal, which is the most important part.

I don’t remember the napkins I used at the last wedding I attended. I don’t remember what colors were used. I remember what the food was like, how much fun we had, and how lovely the bride and groom were. I remember how cute the flower girl was as she danced and twirled.

Thinking back further to the last three weddings I’ve been to, the themes are all the same: I remember the food, if the music was good, how beautiful the bride and groom looked, and how much fun we had.

(Note: our loved ones throw some damn fine parties, too.)

When thinking about what we wanted in our day, the things we remember about weddings were the things that were most important, so that’s where we’re putting more of our energy.

But damn, being offered 15 different color choices for napkins is a little crippling.

I picked burgundy – because it looked nice with the champagne tablecloths and fit the carpet and upholstery in the event space.

And that’s all I really have to say on the subject.

If you’re planning a wedding, don’t worry about the napkins. They won’t be remembered and it’s one less thing to worry about.

Just have a good time – it’s going to be wonderful.



Observations from a Few Weeks on MyFitnessPal

I finished my first few weeks of using MyFitnessPal (consistently).

A little backstory…

After taking a desk job in college, I started to put on weight (as is the custom in America). It was inevitable. Couple that with getting my first apartment with the Mister (which meant way too much cooking and eating accompanied by Netflix binging), and you’ve got a deadly combination. Truly.

About a third of us (maybe more) are obese in the U.S. alone. It’s crazy to think about. We eat a lot of garbage and we don’t move as much as we should. We opt for convenience. I’m guilty of it and chances you are too. But, there is hope. You can eat better and move more. You can make better decisions.

Right now, I’m participating in a weight loss challenge with my coworkers as a way to get me motivated into taking better care of myself. Making said better decisions.

And I’ll be real for a second: I want to like the way I look in my wedding dress this October.

We all have tools for getting healthy. Some of us join a group like Weight Watchers. Others follow a regimented diet or exercise plan. We try coaches, use apps, keep food diaries – all good things. I decided to start using MyFitnessPal to aid me on this particular journey.

A few weeks into using MyFitnessPal to track my food and exercise has been…enlightening.

The man in the center? On point. Photo by: Faces of Ancient Europe

First, I noticed that my portions were way out of whack. Like most people, I was overeating (even on the healthy stuff) but not paying attention to portion sizes.

I also noticed that my sugar intake was pretty high, mostly due to choosing fruits over veggies to snack on or include in meals. It was something I didn’t really think about until I started actually looking at it. Over time, it adds up.

Another thing I learned? I tend to eat the most and be hungriest around lunch time during the week while I’m working. On the weekends, I end up eating less or even fewer times throughout the day.

I crave dairy quite a bit. According to the medical experts on Pinterest, it means I might need more calcium. Or it could mean that I just like dairy.

MyFitnessPal is pretty nifty, but there are some things that are missing.

For one, I wish it tracked more nutrients so that I can know if I’m getting enough vitamins and minerals (cough, calcium, cough) – not just fat, sugar, protein, sodium, and carbs.

I also wish it could give hugs.

I could use more hugs while doing this.

Losing weight is hard, guys.

On the bright side, the people I work with are fabulous and we’re all supporting each other. We have an email distribution list where we can share tips, recipes, and motivation. We keep in touch on Facebook and check in on our progress at lunchtime. We encourage each other.

That kind of an environment makes it possible to do some great things – and I’m not just talking about losing weight.

But yes, MyFitnessPal, get on the hugs part. KTHXBYE.



Have You Ever (Actually) Kept a New Year’s Resolution?

Over the past week, I’ve talked a lot with friends, family, and co-workers about making resolutions for 2015.

When I was a kid, everyone in school got into making resolutions, but they really didn’t last long.

As I got into high school, college, and beyond, I realized that I’m just really not great at making that sort of a commitment to myself and keeping it. It’s sort of sad really, because if I would’ve stayed true to the resolutions I made as a kid, I would’ve been a lot healthier, a friggin’ millionaire, and probably curing cancer somewhere.

Alas, adulthood has descended upon me and thankfully, I’m not really getting myself down about resolutions. I feel like I do a lot better with making small promises to myself and trying to do little things every day to reach my goals. For example, putting procrastination aside to do something that’s been bugging me, or taking the time to actually get rid of the clutter that’s built up in my car/closet/life.

In 2015, there’s a lot happening. The Wedding (#teambrandy). Theater performances (including one the weekend of Jan. 23, 24 & 25, if you’re interested!). Another BlogCon. Code Camp. Exciting things at work. Friends. Family. Life. Eating. Sleeping. A mud run with my MoH. Lots of great things.

I’m going to approach 2015 with positive intent. Try to manifest some good energies and whatnot. Be grateful and present. Let go of any bad juju.

Today, while spending time with beloved friends and fellow theater ensemble members, I got the chance to do Alexandra Franzen’s Commitment worksheet. It was a very cathartic exercise. It felt good. I feel a little lighter. A bit more ready to take on the weight loss challenge that starts tomorrow at work. A lot more excited about what the year has in store.

Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t make or keep a resolution. Try focusing on something positive instead. Those little victories that happen every day but we rarely stop to appreciate.

You’re doing good, kid. You’re doing good. 


5 Weird Things I’ve Done Past 9:00 p.m.

I saw a writing prompt somewhere that got me thinking about the topic of this post.

We all do weird things that we probably shouldn’t do at an inappropriate time.

For me, the witching hour where I can either fall asleep or fall off the deep end lies somewhere in the neighborhood of 9:00 p.m.

Most nights, 9:00 p.m. is the time when I make one of three choices:

  1. Read for a bit before bed.
  2. Catch up on something I’ve procrastinated on.
  3. Fall down a Netflix/YouTube/Buzzfeed/Internet rabbit hole that inevitably ends with me still awake at 11:30 p.m. and Brent annoyed at the light my phone throws.

But, I’ve also caught myself doing some rather strange things at 9:00 p.m. that probably weren’t good choices at the time. Or they were just really frigging odd.

What did I do? Well, here’s a sample of 5 things I chose to do after 9:00 p.m. All true stories.

  1. Paint a mirror. This one is actually quite recent and started off innocently enough. I went down into our basement to switch laundry from the washer to the dryer. On my way down the steps, I noticed an old mirror that I had saved, thinking that I’d eventually paint it. Well, that night seemed as good enough as any. I switched the laundry, cracked open some paint, and went to town. It needs another coat. Now I just have to figure out where to put it.
  2. Taxes. Two years ago, I got the urge to get my taxes squared away and couldn’t wait until morning. I TurboTax-ed the shit out of that evening. In retrospect, it was dumb because I was tired and had to redo part of it (thankfully, I waited until the next day to actually submit them and double checked my work). As you can tell, I’m pretty wild.
  3. Clean out my car. Anything automotive after dark (unless it’s essential) is probably not a good idea. One summer evening, I was struck with the idea to get my disaster zone of a vehicle decluttered. Even with a flashlight, there was much cursing. Then there was Rubbermaid tub of said car clutter sitting at the top of my stairs. For a week. Or three.
  4. Cook chicken. Why, yes! Who wouldn’t want to prepare chicken for the next day’s dinner that far ahead? Bust open some bird and make your kitchen smell like dinner right before bed. Does wonders for your sleep cycle.
  5. Researched a major lifestyle change. Every now and then, I get a moment where I start contemplating life’s big questions. What am I doing with my life? Am I doing what I should be doing? What is my purpose? You know, the normal shit every 20-something decides to think about before falling asleep. So, then I start reading about living in a tiny house, or entrepreneurship, master of library science degrees, Ph.D. programs, paring down your possessions to just 100 things, hostels and how cheap it is to move to XYZ city/state/country/planet, chakra balancing and completely clean eating, copywriting and branding wizardry, writing plays, yoga retreats where you eat vegan food and do nothing but work, meditate and stretch in spartan accommodations with like-minded folks. Hours later, I’ve got 10 windows open on my phone, countless bookmarks, frustration, and that feeling that everything I’m doing is somehow pointless but still I do it anyway.

 Rabbit holes, people. Rabbit holes. 

 (and of course, write blog posts.)

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