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Ask Sherry: How do you deal with self doubt and why I’m such a bitch

You asked, and I am answering every Friday once I have enough questions!

You can ask any question using the form here.

Why are you such a bitch?

I prefer the term “confident” instead, thankyouverymuch.

And if you could narrow it down to where — work, life, that would be helpful in giving you specifics.

In general, it’s probably because I’m someone who likes to get things done, and done well, and if you are not on board with my plan of how things should be, you better get used to it, fast.

That may come off to some as being “bitchy”, but in men, it’s “confident”, “assertive”, and all traits of being a “leader”.

How can I tell if shoes are worth resoling or are even able to be resoled?

If you paid a lot for them or if you really REALLY love them and want to wear them again and again (forever, basically), then get them re-soled.

They are ready when you can see the wooden or thick base of the heel after it has worn down.

Note that all Frye boots have to pretty much be resoled from the start. I find the wooden base always shows.

You can read my review of Frye, Aquatalia & Tory Burhc boots here.

How do you deal with self doubt? Personal and career.

I crush it with a lot of pastries and cover it up with endless, useless shopping.

In all seriousness, with self-doubt, I get hit with this “do I really know what I am doing” every 3 months or so in my personal life (as sometimes evidenced in my Week of Money Posts), and in my career only when I am on the bench and not on a contract, then I start to really doubt myself and my abilities as in “why the heck am I not working?“…

To actually deal with it though? Oh man…

Personally, I tap into my network of friends. I don’t have many who are young mothers with children at this age, but I do know a few, and I ask them when I have questions. When I feel like I am not being a good parent, a good mother, or a good partner.

It is not much as justifying my actions (that is partly it, let’s be honest), as it is to validate that I am NOT THE ONLY ONE who is feeling like this, and then to obtain advice on how to manage the situation.

Career-wise, it goes away when I get hired for a contract, and then I am reminded and renewed with a sense of confidence that tends to be pretty self-insulating.

I mused about this with my partner and one of my very best friends, and we have come to an agreement that I am a rarity in this regard for a woman.

Most women, are somehow, always doubting that they know what they’re doing, self-imposed Imposter Syndrome I think they call it.

For work, I am the opposite. I don’t doubt myself often, I’m actually sort of overconfident and that helps buoy me when I feel less than sure of myself.

The only way I managed to get this ridiculously oversized inflated sense of self started from when I was younger and is related to a few of things:

I’m naturally like this…

When I was younger, I was very much the opposite of who I am now. I was shy, I was not confident, the only thing I knew was that I was smart, quiet and worked hard. All good qualities but not popular ones.

Something changed in me in my last year of high school and I thought: “I am who I make myself out to be. I don’t want to be this person, I want to be someone beautiful, incredible, charming, kind, generous, well-read, personable …etc… so .. why don’t I just.. be that person?“.

And with that resolve, I changed almost overnight in my perspective, and let my true self emerge….but I think it was always partly latent inside my personality, I just had to allow it to come out.

Since then, I have always had a sense of confidence, healthy self-love, and ego.

I would call it healthy, not egotistical because I don’t think I’m the Queen of the World and no one can touch me, but I do know and feel deep inside that I am good at what I do and I get validation (quietly) from observations and from my partner who has seen me work and kill it.

I was personally encouraged my whole life

Not in a terrible “everyone is a special snowflake” sort of way, but my mom would always look at me with genuine pride and admiration, unprompted not knowing my deepest fears, and say: “How beautiful you are” (even when I felt like I was not, and very fat and awkward), or say “How did you ever turn out so smart coming from someone like me!?” (when I felt stupid and dumb)…

So….I have had excellent support and encouragement from when I was a child from my parents, my siblings, and friends.

Sort of like a “think and it shall happen” situation, the more you tell a child that they’re smart and hardworking, the more they become smart and hardworking, and that, looking back, is what happened to me. I’m sort of doing this to Little Bun right now, emphasis on the hardworking part, rather than smarts.

I take time to see what I do have

In my deepest moments of self-doubt and regret, all quietly being squished down deep inside with a never-ending supply of pain au chocolat, I do take time to look at what I have accomplished personally, in love, in family, at work, and financially.

That, all keeps me going. That light of what I have accomplished, and even if I am not This Person or That Person, I am ME, and I have done amazing things.

I try and distract myself after I acknowledge it

I acknowledge it, and try not to dwell on it. I start cleaning my closet, I start organizing my tasks, my papers, scanning things, shredding items, reading books…. you know, all that.

I don’t dwell on it. If I have to, I blast some serious bass beats kind of music and dance to it. Beyoncé is my go-to for songs, but I also like Taylor Swift, and other great bands or singers such as Aretha Franklin, or even Drain STH.

Anything that lifts my spirits.

When I do feel good and confident about something, I make a note

When I feel like I have killed it, I make a note to remind myself about it in the future when I feel low. I remind myself how far I have come, what I have accomplished, and how if I fail at this, or don’t do well, it is not a detraction of my past accomplishments.

I’m on the journey, I’m still learning and that is all a reflection of how great I am (but also recognizing my flaws and working on them) while being majorly confident as much as I can to mask the shakes I may feel.

For health reasons, I need to wear 100% all cotton panties (other than a lace edge or trim). Unfortunately, most of the ones I find look like grannies or at the other extreme, a wisp of fabric that covers nothing. The few I’ve found that are mid to high rise, and high cut leg, are too sporty- Jockies- or cost $50 each –
Akras (really???).Can you help?

These would fit your bill and cost $28 each, but you can also find them in a 3-pack for $80 which brings down the price to $26.67 each.

They are hands down my favourite. Otherwise, I’d say you can try Old Navy — I found some 100% cotton ones there once …a long time ago.. but they tend to stretch out and not wash well, so you buy at your own risk.

If it helps, I own those panties recommended above, and through daily use, washing machine abuse, they have lasted a solid 5 years (I bought 6 pairs). It’s well worth it, and if you wash them gently in delicate in an underwear bag and leave them to dry, they’d last a lot longer…

Could you please tell me what type of bed and mattress do you use now?

I have back pain and I’m not sure what kind of mattress I should buy – one made with coils / individually-wrapped coils, memory foam, latex?
Among many other posts of yours, I enjoy the ‘Sherry’s Home‘ section.

I am still on a cotton futon, all day, every day! Have been for the past 10 years because ever since I tried it, I have not looked back.

If you simply cannot stomach the idea of sleeping on the floor (my partner has serious back pain too and this is the only thing he could sleep on comfortably now), I would say go for memory foam. Individually wrapped coils seem to aggravate the back, and it seems like a very sturdy, firm foam mattress would be your best bet.

As for back pain, you did not ask, but I shall give some advice unsolicited — take it as you wish and with a grain of salt. I do not suffer from back pain, but my partner has spent his whole life seeing doctors and doing everything under the sun to “cure” his back pain and this is what he has said has helped:

Basically you want to keep your spine aligned, and to not have it twisted as you sleep.

Very soft beds, tend to not support your back properly as you sleep, and your back and spine twists on a soft bed (it sinks down with your weight), which aggravates the nerves in your spinal cord which causes your back to seize up in pain to protect the nerves.

Even very soft couches, chairs.. he avoids sitting on anything that could misalign the spine. As uncomfortable as it is, a hard, firm stiff seat is what you want, as well as NOT slouching and keeping a strong core active.

Your body’s back pain is simply just reacting to you putting your spinal cord in “danger” of being severed (or so it thinks).

Other tips for back pain:

  • Daily yoga — for real! Poses: Balancing Table Top, Cat, Cow, Side Planks.. anything to strengthen your back muscles would help immensely, so that your muscles grow strong and protect your spinal cord which lessens the chance of you activating your body’s survival mechanism to “lock up” your back in pain to scream: RED ALERT, RED ALERT! Your spine is in danger! Even I feel the great effects of yoga on my back.
  • Sitting up straight
  • Having a strong core — Abdominals don’t get enough of a workout and aren’t strong, but they are the real core to keeping your back pain away
  • Losing weight — He put on 30 pounds and immediately felt back pain almost daily until he lost it
  • “Flossing” the nerve — this sounds so weird, and it makes you dizzy, but daily exercises in flossing your back nerve, will help keep pain away — there are lots of Youtube videos on this but the exercise my partner does is to hold on to an open door jamb with a good strong grip at either side at shoulder height, and then lift one leg, and swing it as hard as you can back and forth without forcing it to go up high as you can — height is not the goal, the swinging without effort is hte key…. while alternating with your head up and down. So as you swing your leg forward, your head should bend forward , and as your leg swings back, your head should be tilted back and looking up. Do this swinging exercise 20 times per leg, per day. You should feel slightly lightheaded and dizzy if done right.

@Sherry’s Home Posts — How kind of you to say so! I have no idea what else to post for my Home stuff, nothing has changed. If you have ideas, holler at me.

My living room still looks like this and toys get regularly recycled / donated / sold:

Where do you keep the (original) boxes of electronic devices, like laptops, cameras, phone, etc.? Do you even keep these boxes (in case maybe you would like to resell those items in the future or maybe transport them if you moved)?

I’d love to tell you I am super organized and I have these labeled by type of device, year purchased, with the receipt neatly tacked onto them, in clear storage bins, but I honestly do not keep any of this. I don’t bother because while it would be nice to have the box if I plan on reselling them, or to transport them nicely, the cost of having to see this clutter hang out in my home or closet, for a potential “may sell day” that may come, is too much for my minimalist-leaning soul to bear.

If I FEEL like I would sell it in the near future (unlikely), I keep the box. More often than not, it all gets tossed unless the box is a very nice quality and could be handy to hold other things like papers, and so on.

For instance, Apple products have great, white cardboard boxes that make perfect trays.

I use them to hold blank paper for my printer (stored as the perfect height underneath my printer stand), and I use them as hallway trays to hold my keys and papers.

They are in my mind, “free”…… after having paid thousands for the products, that is. 😛

I often get foot blisters from shoes. I’m not sure if my foot skin is too sensitive or I wear the wrong shoes. How can I choose comfortable shoes? Could you suggest any materials or brands? Thank you.

What kind of blisters? Back of the heel blisters? Front of the toes? I need more info please.

For back of the heels, I ALWAYS get blisters if:

  • I wear shoes that are too loose
  • I wear shoes that are too tight
  • I don’t put Dr. Scholl’s heel grips on every. single. pair. of. shoes. I. own. I know I sound like a crazy person, but… it is what stops my heel from blistering
  • Something is chafing them — a little stupid ribbon, a seam INSIDE the shoe in the wrong spot, or the shape is just wrong for my foot. Specifically THESE ONES, but they only seem to be available in Canada (wtf?), so it’s time to make friends with a Canuck (like me!) to get your paws on some. Or, email me. I can help you out in a pinch and ship you a few.

Comfortable shoes always include:

  • As natural as possible materials — cotton, leather…
  • In the softest material possible — suede for instance is way comfier than smooth leather
  • AVOID PATENT LEATHER unless it is high quality stuff or be prepared to have to suffer through blisters to break them in
  • In the right size although I buy half a size smaller as a 6.5 in some shoes like the Banana Republic flats & then I “break them in” to my right / comfy size which is a 7
  • Always feel the INSIDE of the shoe to make sure it is one whole piece of fabric, with no seams
  • Avoid buckles or straps — anything buckle-y or strappy just gives more places to have friction points on your feet and cause blisters

As for brands, I need more info on what kind of shoe you want. There are lots of comfy shoe options out there, but if I told you: Birkenstocks in the Arizona model, you may cry out in disgust.

For flats, I have been surprised by Banana Republic ballet and Banana Republic pointed flats* (but they don’t last long, they wear out quickly either the trim or the bow), M. Gemi for their Bolla Ballet flats, and Karl Lagerfeld Destine pointed loafers — his Leroux ballet flat isn’t bad either but it is very much a BALLET flat, as in there is no support. I also found Intervalle flat shoes super comfy.

*Another note on BR sizing. I am a US 7. In their smooth leather shoes, I buy a size 6.5. In their suede, I go down as far as 6 because it stretches after a month or two of continuous wear. They ALL have heel grips on them at the back.

We are visiting montreal for 3 days with our 20 months toddler in mid October. Any recommendation on places to visit and things to do :)? Thanks!

Oh man.. I’m taking my hat off to you for traveling with a 20-month old. Toddlers are in a strange transitional period of wanting to walk around and be independent (and squealing HARD when they don’t get their way), and yet are still babies who need to be carried.

I did do a sort of post on this already: Sherry’s Tourist Guide to Montreal Eating & Visiting…. but I want to add a few highlights / notes:

1. Bring a stroller and a baby carrier

You may not be able to use it in the metro stations (okay, almost all of them except the interchange ones and Place D’Armes near Old Montreal), but for the rest of the time, depending on how heavy your toddler is, you may not want to carry them strapped to your front all the time, although October is very cool right now and they’d probably act as a body warming device of sorts.

Little Bun hated and loved the stroller, but his ultimate was the carrier. He was so portable with the carrier until.. he became extremely NOT portable (read: heavy AF).

2. Be prepared to walk & be familiar with the metro if you don’t cab everywhere

Cabbing for me is a luxury so if you are anything like me, and will take the metro a lot, I suggest buying a pass for the week / weekend and using that to hop on the train to go distances. You may think: Oh it’s just one stop, but some stops are farrrrr apart from each other or way up a hill. Like.. STEEP enough to feel like you’re on a hike.

I don’t know what your traveling preference / pace / style is like…

…but this is what I’d do in Montreal if I only had a few major stops to make in 3 days:

Visit Jean Talon or Atwater Market

Atwater is more tourist-y and tourist-friendly, Jean Talon is a “real” market for the locals but it is dang far away …

I had these satay skewers there for instance, but for October the Satay Brothers have moved back to their restaurant and closed up the stall @ Atwater:

Atwater is located quite centrally at Lionel-Groulx interchange (yes, there’s an elevator and escalators, a real dream!), and is a nice market to stroll around, pet the different squashes and pumpkins, nosh at the bakery, etc… (although I very much prefer the Mamie Clafoutis bakery down the road from there for pastries and sweets; the bakery at Atwater is only good for savoury breads at best…. google it if you are near Atwater or read my guide)

Visit Mont Royal and walk up to the chalet (hello, stroller!)…

The view is quite nice from up top and you’ll be right in the smack of autumn which means the changing leaves are pretty, and it’s a nice walk up to the top following a winding trail. You can then hang at the chalet but I’ve never eaten anything there, so I’d pick up some sandwiches and a drink before making the trek, then picnicking on the grounds or on the steps and looking at the view.

Also what’s nice at Mont Royal is everyone hangs out on the hill and watches the cars go by. My toddler was REALLY into cars, so it was prime viewing for him. Plus there are some foodie-ish near that area in the Plateau you can hit up. Use Yelp.. I may be quite outdated with some of my food recs now.

Visit Old Montreal

The charming cobblestones, little stone houses, the quay nearby, the food trucks all over the place, the carriages with real horses clip clopping through the streets is all toddler catnip. It’s also just nice to be there.

Visit the BioDome [Optional; skip as you wish]

I feel obligated to point out the BioDome but they are going through some renovations right now so the penguins are not on display with any snow.

Nevertheless, it is a nice place to visit as a family for a day outing, you get to see animals, and walk the grounds with different plants and flowers….

I took Little Bun there on an outing as a toddler but he was not into the animals at the time.. I feel like he was too young for it, but I leave that up to your discretion to decide if your toddler is more active / interested in such things than my then-toddler was….

Other than that, that should take you a good 3 – 4 days to do…

Does your bed have a headboard? Do you prefer beds with or without a headboard?

I don’t have a “bed” per se that would require a headboard. I sleep on a futon on the floor, kind of like this, but I put two King-sized futons down and they span almost the entire floor in our master bedroom.

This bed below is Little Bun’s future bed:

See: Back Pain question answered up above or read these posts:

If I did have a classic “bed” in the sense that it’s a mattress on a platform, I’d probably want the headboard to avoid the mattress from sliding away from me as I lean up against the wall.. just a thought.

Still have a burning question?

You can ask any question using the form here and all of my previous Ask Sherry posts are here.


  • liteadventurer

    I wish there was an easy way to test out a Japanese Futon. I currently sleep on a Tempurpedic, which is awesome and much better than the conventional mattresses I slept on in the past, but the idea of the futon is intriguing. I hear there’s a huge quality difference between the authentic ones and the cheapos.

  • GYM

    Wow there are a lot of questions that you answered in depth here! The first question is terrible though and I can’t believe someone wrote that!

    Anyway, that is very sweet that your mom would say such things to you! My mom would tell me when I was younger that I should be a air stewardess (nothing against flight attendants!) because then she could get discounted flight tickets.

    Your living room looks amazing. I hope to do that and make sure there’s not a pile of toys everywhere once baby GYM is older.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      1. Hey you get what you get on the ‘net

      2. Our mothers say the darnedest things. I will say that she is VERY encouraging of all of us. She truly is. I aim to be like her. And more patient.

      3. My Little Bun is older and it still looks empty. People sort of can’t believe I have a child until they see some of his things…. like his toys, or some random baby-related thing.

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