Tuesday Beauty Tips: Do You Feel Like a Hamster on a Wheel?

Published in: Beauty Tips

I managed to get to bed early last night, but I didn’t fall asleep right away. Tucked under the covers, I let my mind wander (and wander and wander) for more than an hour, and it was actually kinda nice. 🙂


Does this happen to you? — Do you get the feeling there just isn’t enough time at the end of most days to decompress (when did our to-do lists get so long?!?)? I think it might be why I feel stuck in a creative rut.

This “stuck-ness” happens to me every once in a while, and it isn’t limited to creativity. Have you ever gone through a time in which you felt like a hamster on a wheel, like you were repeating the same tasks, mistakes or bad habits over and over again? I have, more than once.

Last night, as I lay in bed, I tried to think of ways out of my rut and remembered something that’s worked for me before: writing an inspiring list.

This morning I asked friends on Twitter to share some of their inspirations…

By using a list of things (quotes, songs, people, pets, paintings, poems, books, precious memories, flowers, collectible coins — whatever they are) that move me as jumping off points for even MORE ideas, maybe, just maybe, I’ll find a way out of my rut.

It’s free and easy if you’d like to try it with me. 🙂 All we need is something to write with and a seat someplace quiet for a few minutes.

Step One (there’s really only one step): Write a list of things that inspire you.

Sometimes I find it easier to start with my eyes closed, and I don’t think you have to put a lot of deep thought into it, either. If something moves you in any way, add it to your list.

Here are some of the things on mine…

The ocean. I love the scents, sounds and colors of the ocean and how I feel when I’m there — at peace and one with nature. And when I’m in the sea, my body and soul feel weightless, free, like I’m connected to everywhere and every thing.

Impressionist art. I find the soft brush strokes soothing, and the colors appear to float in the air before my eyes.

Dope lyricists. I’ve been listening to Wale (pronounced Wa-lay) practically 24/7 since Thursday. The beats are great, but his lyrics are even better (recommended if you like Kanye and/or KiD CuDi). His songs tell stories and remind me of why I like blogging — because it’s like opening a doorway into someone else’s life and letting them step back into yours.

Traveling. I get a kick out of seeing new places and experiencing new things, even the parts that involve language barriers and getting hopelessly lost.

Driving down to Key West in Florida, November 2009

Positive people. While the list of things I’ve done wrong in my life reads like a novel, one thing I got right was marrying El Hub. His optimism warms my heart like a ray of sunshine. Aww, so cheesy!


TIP: Even if your list doesn’t make a lick of sense to you now, keep it for a while, and let it simmer. It could plant the seeds of ideas in your head that grow up to be the trees you climb to get out of your rut. 🙂

Sending you extra love and good vibe-age today…

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. If you feel like it, please share your list of inspirations in the comments.


Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 43 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Aw what a great post! This post itself is very inspirational!!!! =)

    Some things that inspire me: the book The Secret, traveling and discovering new places, and good music.
    .-= Kajal Couture’s last blog post… Lush BB Seaweed Face Mask Review =-.

  2. Jen says:

    Hey Karen,

    Great post! I’ve been feeling unmotivated as of late as well (starting to meander my way out of it, thank goodness), so this is really helpful.

    Here are some things that inspire me:

    Photography: Browsing through Flickr explore is one of my favorite pastimes. It makes me wanna grab my camera and wander around town taking pictures of random things.

    Driving by myself late at night: I like to drive out east to Makapu’u side. Turn off the radio and talk to myself through things. If it’s a clear night, sometimes I’ll pull off to the side of the road and stargaze.

    Music: of any kind. Whatever moves me. The radio, YouTube, songs my friend sends me (he lives in Spain, so usually I’ve never heard it before). I still play in band, and even though I grumble about rehearsals, sometimes I feel like band is my escape, where I don’t have to think about academics, I just have to do something I know I’m already good at (shameless plug, but I’ve been playing for 11 years, I better be somewhat decent!)

    This blog!: I don’t mean to sound like I’m sucking up, haha! But I love visiting here every day, just to read up on beauty news, get inspirations for different looks, or even read posts like these! As silly as this sounds, you’ve inspired me to make my bed every morning, LOL! You’re right, it does make me feel like I’ve accomplished at least one thing in the day. And my bed looks so much neater 😛

    Hope you have fun reading that wall of text! Have a good one 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for sharing your list, Jen. I found it really inspiring. I really need to take long drives more often — there’s something so relaxing about being able to just “be” and have your thoughts to yourself, you know?

      And can I just say I’m so jealous you’re in band? It’s been years since I’ve played with a group, but sometimes I miss it.

      • Jen says:

        You’re welcome! I love taking long drives, especially on straight highways so you don’t have to think much. I don’t love it when I have to fill up gas though…

        This is my last semester in band, and I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself! Eleven years, man! Although, if the band goes on a trip next year, I’m definitely coming back to play 😀

        • Karen says:

          That is a long time! You’re so lucky to have music in your life. Maybe you can play in a community orchestra? I had a friend who did that and loved it.

          Oh, and speaking of long drives, one of these days you’ll have to drive the 1 in California. There’s a few curves, but it’s beautiful.

  3. Sarahc says:

    Because of you Karen I make lists like these all the time! 🙂 These Tuesday tips are some of my favorites.

    My list: my family for being so strong, my cat for being so loving, myself for never giving up, and the smells of a fresh pine needles and wet grass.

  4. Catherine says:

    Aww. I’m going to do this once a week or so now. I feel like a hamster most of the time!!
    .-= Catherine’s last blog post… Valentine’s Day Fun in San Francisco Part 1 =-.

    • Karen says:

      I hope you’ll get a chance to chill out a little soon! Maybe after graduation?

      • Catherine says:

        Aww thanks! I hope so! SO and I are talking about some kind of graduation vacation trip but nothing’s really set yet since neither of us know where we’re going or when we’re starting yet. And unfortunately both of us will still have to move and I have to have a summer job.

        Happily, I think we’re just going to stay home and veg for most of Spring Break though. I know it sounds sad but most of the trips we go on with friends I end up napping by myself for most of the time since I don’t know the people we go with and I can’t really partake in their drinking activities (I’m pretty much allergic to alcohol).
        .-= Catherine’s last blog post… Laura Mercier on HauteLook! =-.

      • Karen says:

        I bet you get stuck being the designated driver, huh?

  5. Michelle says:

    I love your list Karen- when I am super stressed and feel like I can’t go on, my body aches to be in Montery on the beach- I know that connected feeling you are talking about I think 🙂

    My list of things that inspire me- well when I need inspiration I think of my mom, who fought breast cancer, and my sister who is graduating medical school at the top of her class. Then there is my Fiancee…his unfaltering belief in me keeps me going those long nights of studying while worrying about work…and however *weird* this may sound, I turn to your blog and one other blog for laughs, ideas, and smiles.

    You really make a difference, in case you ever wonder 🙂

  6. Steph B says:

    The ocean is a big one for me too. I like to joke that I run on hydropower. Since I don’t live right next to the ocean, sometimes I just need to do a day trip to recharge the batteries. Hmmm…maybe this weekend. Winter beaches rock!

    Poetry. And I have to read it out loud. I wrtie too but that only works when I’m already inspired, lol!

    Baking and cooking. I’ll flip through cookbooks (I read them like regular books!) and see what catches my eye. I can get lost in the precision of baking and the comfort of kneading. I can use someone else’s inspiration to jumpstart my own and pretty soon I’m leaving the recipe behind.

    I love your shot of US-1 through the Keys. They have been an inspiring place for me for years. My first scuba dive after I got certified (24 years ago!) was in Key Largo. My last job had me going to Key West every other month for meetings. I used to look forward to picking up the car in Miami and making that fabulous drive.

    • Karen says:

      I like reading cookbooks like regular books too… especially before bed!

      You were so lucky to have to drive down there every other month for meetings. I loved that drive! Just miles and miles of blue… it’s so breathtaking. El Hub and I turned off the radio, ate candy and talked the entire time. ‘Twas a lot of fun.

      So, do you still scuba dive? What’s the most amazing place you’ve gone diving in?

      • Steph B says:

        I do still dive but nowhere near as often as I used to. When you do it as part of your job (when I was doing research) it makes it a little less fun. My favorite place was American Samoa. We had to go to the village chief and ask permission to dive on his reef. It was spectacular. The whole afternoon we never saw another person out on the water. And what’s not to love about giant clams?

        • Karen says:

          Isn’t that always the case? Everybody wants to do what they love, but when what you love becomes work it changes… sigh.

          I bet those clams were amazing… they must be so trippy to see in real life! I’ve always wanted to try diving but I have a bit of claustrophobia. Surfing and snorkeling is cool, but the thought of being under so much water makes me a little nervous, oy oy!

          • Steph B says:

            My mom is the same way. She got certified because both my brother and I dive. Her certification dives were in zero visibility. She had no problem with that. Then my brother and I took her to Key Largo for a “real” dive and she couldn’t do it. I think everyone should try to either snorkel or dive at least once. It really changes your perspective on this planet. It would certainly help marine conservation efforts if people could really see and experience the stuff we’re talking about like they can with land conservation.

          • Karen says:

            I agree. I’ve only done limited snorkeling in Hawaii (just in two places, Hanauma Bay and Shark’s Cove on Oahu), but being underneath the water felt like entering a whole new world.

            What kind of job do you do now? I know you mentioned earlier in one of the Monday polls that you were wanting a new gig. Do you still do marine-related stuff?

          • Steph B says:

            I’ve been working in government in marine related programs for the last 12 years. Last year I went back to school and have been doing freelance consulting since graduation. I’d like to get a full time position with a non-profit or foundation that works to improve governance. I figure I’ll be some environmental organization’s best volunteer!

          • Karen says:

            That sounds very cool! I hope something full time opens up for you soon. It’s nice to work for yourself, but it’s also nice to have the stability of a full-time paycheck!

  7. Devs says:

    Thank you do much for doing this post! Sometimes we all need a little help in doing the simple things in life, like inspiration. When you are young you feel like you want to do anything and everything, and as you become older, your failures catch up to you, and ruin your imagination. But you just need to jumpstart it back up.

  8. DonnaN says:

    My inspirations:

    • the smell of fresh-cut grass
    • Van Gogh’s “Starry, Starry Night”
    • watching a sunset
    • any music by Keali’i Reichel
    • taking a moonlit walk in the snow with my dog
    • the smell of freshly-washed sheets drying on the laundry line
    • black and white photographs
    • the warmth of my husband sleeping next to me

  9. melanie says:

    this was great. thank you for the idea. i’ve been very down lately, struggling very much and this idea helped me. i started an inspiration list and it turned into a list of things and people in my life that make me smile, even for just a second. I’ve put it beside my bed and reading over it makes me very happy =]

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Melanie. I’m glad to hear that the time you spent reflecting helped you feel a little better. I hope things get easier — we all go through times like this in life; please, please remember that it will get better. Take care of yourself!

  10. marisol says:

    Hey there I am… hee hee

    I am liking this Wale song. I am going to check out more of his stuff.

  11. Glosslizard says:

    Aikido gets me out of my hamster wheel, we usually start with about 3-5 minutes of meditation before bowing in and stretching, and then just moving the body without having to think about errata feels so good!

    I’m also inspired by:

    Cats – they know how to live and love
    Crowds – I love being in a big group of people who are sharing an experience (whether they know it or not), it energizes me!
    Small beauty – a pretty beetle or a blooming flower, there are amazing things all around us if we take the time to look!
    Outrageous people – goths, punkers, Lady Gaga, the ones who are never self-conscious and don’t care what the rest of us think about their looks, I wish I could do that! 🙂
    Music with a fierce beat – self-explanatory!

  12. Karen B says:

    This is the kind of post that I’ll surely come back to when I don’t feel inspired.
    For me it’s usually music, all kinds, every kind. There’s music for every mood I have, every thing I want.
    There are plenty of other things such as pictures, fashion (being a lover of Belgian fashion it always delivers interesting images) and my friends 🙂
    .-= Karen B’s last blog post… Polyvore =-.

  13. Sonja says:

    Hello Karen and thank you for a lovely post!!

    I do this from time to time- write little things that make me inexplicably happy and inspire me to move on.

    Family is alway no.1. I am blessed with amazing parents and have to thank every day that we have so much fun and jokes and laughter together (when I was a teenager everybody wanted to move in with them, they were more popular than me).

    My friends- they are crazy, funny, miniature disasters-prone, intelligent and they make me try to be a better person.

    I live in a beautiful ancient city, that yes, turns to a little annoying village from time to time, but the people and the mentality and the sea and the ruins that it was built upon-I’ll always have a home to return to.

    The sea!!! I have been surrounded by it all my life, since my grands lives on a tiny island, and I live near the sea too- the smell, the color, the peace- it is my energy.

    Travel- ever since I was old enough to travel on my own, I made it my rule to take at least once a year trip out of the country on my own. I’ve meet some wonderful people that way, so many different cultures and it has truly enriched me- seeing the world is fun&intimidating in the same time, but it works like a recharger for me- the memories give me inspiration to keep going on my way.

    Books- boooks boooook–ever since I was a kid I’ve dreamt of having my own library-and book by book I’m approaching that goal. And of course music- I’ve always been surrounded by it and I hope to God I will be for as long as I live.

    Other than that, little things inspire me- a prefect cup of my coffee (Nescafe cappuccino classic+espresso mixed in), a friend who finishes your sentences, a blank week of doing nothing in a overly busy schedule that will be spent by watching tv series (Dr Who-recently-LOVED IT), the cat that looks adorable while sleeping, some good fashion blogs (thecherryblossomgirl.com is awesome), make up+blogs, a perfect rainy day…

    wow, this was a long post, sorry, but I guess i think about this a lot!!

  14. NINA says:

    When winter gets me down (it does and it did really well this year):

    I listen to good music.

    I flip over photo albums (online and real ones) and look at pictures of the spring and summer.

    I drag me and the Hubs to art galleries and the outdoors – even when we have to bundle up to do so.

    I look at fabrics, crafting materials and stuff like that.

    I go to the grocery store – somehow that comforts me a lot.

    Weird things, mebbe…

    • Karen says:

      Nina, hopefully the sunshine is right around the corner for us. I think spring is going to be all the sweeter!

      That’s cool that you like to look at fabrics and craft stuff. Do you sew?

  15. Summer Staff says:

    I loved this Post, Karen. I know this is a ‘makeup and beauty blog’ but I think peacefullness and life inspiration are the BEAUTY of life, so this post ties in perfectly! Latley, I have been finding inspiration by when things in the house get hectic, crazy or I am just feeling plain stressed, I throw on my coat and boots over my PJ’s and go on the trampoline in the yard, and lay down. I just search the sky for things. I found the beauty of the hundreds of tiny branches branching off from branches from branches on the trees, sprinkled with snow. I also found many little things- like leafy twigs and berries – frozen in cubes. It was gorgeous; like that ad for Clinique where it’s some cream and it’s a blossoming twig in an ice cube! I find my inspiration from nature.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge