Body Positivity

Hey There!

I’ve been hanging out in some weird online spaces lately. Post-wedding, I have next to no interest in scrolling on Pinterest. All it does is flare up my anxiety and make me feel like I need to be following other people’s rules and guidelines for a picture-perfect house and life.

Right now I am choosing to focus on getting my life and house to where I want them to be. Not where everyone else is or thinks I should be.

I’ve been spending time working to improve my mindset and have been taking a break from a LOT of things. If I ever miss a post, please know that I love you, but I’m choosing to be with loved ones or to take care of myself rather than rushing and stressing to get something up.

The places at which I’ve been spending most of my online time are Instagram and listening to podcasts. However, both spaces look completely different. My podcasts are self-improvement and marketing-based. (There’s a lot of woo-woo positive mindset and love yourself happening there.) My Instagram world is heavily focused on vintage and pin-up fashion, which surprisingly also has a lot of positive mindset aspects to it as well.

I think there is some criticism from those outside the vintage fashion community. It is thought to be dominated by women who are unhappy with how they look or their bodies, so they paint and contort themselves with extreme makeup and corsets. Or that it’s purely for the pleasure of men and is all sex and sex appeal.

I don’t really believe any of those things.

For me, I see just as much body positivity and self-love from the pinup models and brands I follow that I do from people who subscribe to a more natural beauty style like Jenna Kutcher who is an aeriereal model. It just looks different.

Loving yourself and how you look and how you feel isn’t solely limited to natural makeup and embracing your stretch marks (and trust me, with hips like mine, I know a thing or two about stretch marks). It’s about embracing whatever makes you feel fabulous.

When I look at professional pinup models or even just other women posting their daily outfits or hair sets, I don’t think it’s oppressive or they’re twisting their real selves into a form only for the pleasure of a man. All I think is how beautiful and happy they look. They feel empowered and sexy. I know nothing makes me feel more confident than an amazing outfit and my red lipstick. I don’t feel fake or untrue to myself. I feel like I’m doing exactly what I want. I’m focusing on well-cut pieces of clothing that accentuate my form and femininity and that is AMAZING.

I love that two cultures I participate in – that seem like they should be so different – both focus and promote the same thing: that it doesn’t matter if you prefer natural beauty or high glamor, just as long as you love you. Do whatever it is that makes you happiest.

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Dream Larger Than Life

Hey There!

Remember when you were a kid and people would ask you what you wanted to be when you grew up? No matter what you said, it was fine.

No one ever told you you’d probably fail or it wasn’t a stable income, what the statistics were or the salary. It didn’t matter how outlandish the job was; you were convinced that is what it would be, and everyone went along with it.

When did we stop believing we could do anything? At what age? What birthday with what number of candles?

I recently did something a little crazy. I won’t say what because it doesn’t really impact this post, but what does matter is that I went back to something I love that brings me joy, and I decided I was going to take a little leap. I pushed down the voices of everyone who had ever criticized me or told me I wasn’t good enough. I banished what I knew mainstream thought processes deem good enough, and I gave myself permission to say, “What if and why not?”

I reminded myself that if I don’t try, the answer will ALWAYS be “no” instead of just maybe the possible outcome I desire. I promised myself that if it didn’t work out (which it didn’t) I wouldn’t let the outcome steal my joy or love or damage how I think of myself.

Guess what? I grew.

What if WE applied those same thoughts to large things in our lives. What could we ALL accomplish if we loved ourselves and each other and helped to lift each other and seek to support from a place of grace and love instead of to corral and pinch everyone into the same mold?

I grew the tiniest amount this week, and I want to encourage every one of you to do something outside of your comfort zone too! Do one thing this week that the voice in the back of your mind says, “Oh, better not.” And no matter the outcome, love yourself that much more for committing and trying.

We have so much potential. Let’s reach for our dreams!

 

Fitting Room Confessional

Hey There,

I went out last night to an awards dinner for work. I’m weird in that I love watching other people get awards. They’re excited and proud, and their family and friends are proud of their achievements. The whole thing makes me smile like an idiot. Even if I don’t know them, I’m happy for them.

This is a fairly fancy event, and I love an excuse to dress up. I am slowly re-vamping my wardrobe into better quality pieces that fit, make me feel fabulous, and can be worn several different ways.

I don’t have any nice dresses at the moment, so I took this opportunity to go shopping. Shopping is great – trying on clothes – not so much. I think we’ve discussed it here, but in the last few years I lost a lot of weight and got down to a size 10 dress. While not a healthy transition, I felt better about my body than I ever had. Then I had a rough year and gained it all back. (Honestly, probably plus some. I don’t get on the scale anymore.)

When I shop, I spend a lot of time in my decision-making process standing in the fitting room. I check the piece out from every angle and debate how it makes me feel. This dress made me feel fantastic. It’s a Calvin Klein black sheath dress with a geometric neckline and a gold zipper down the back.

little black dress moonshine in a teacup
I’m on the right, belly, smile, and all.

While I was in the fitting room deciding if I really could pull off a fitted dress with my extra weight, I decided something. I’m buying the damn dress. My little bit of stomach roll was going to be no worse than any other woman’s at the event and no one was going to be judging me or looking that closely. The next day no one would be talking about how much weight I gained. They’d be talking about the people who received awards. And if they were talking about my belly, who cared? It doesn’t impact how I do my job or love my family and friends. It would just let me know who those friends really are.

I’m thinking all of these things, staring into a ROSS dimly-lit fitting room mirror, when I heard it. Two rooms over, a mother and her adult daughter were trying on clothes for some type of beach wedding they were invited to.

The daughter would try on clothes, and they would discuss it. For a while it was the typical critique: “I don’t like the cut of this. I wish it was navy. I’m not a fan of where it hits. You’ll need to have that hemmed, and so on.” Then the daughter must’ve tried on something the mother really didn’t like, and the conversation changed. Not about the design of the clothes, or the choice of the designer, but the inadequacies of the daughter. “If you want to wear that, you need to really work out. I keep telling you to work out to get rid of that fat. Or invest in some good Spanx because that highlights your fat. And fat isn’t attractive.” My heart broke when I heard the daughter agree. I walked out of the fitting room as they were standing in the aisle. They were both thin, blonde women. The daughter was tall, lean, and beautiful.

I know we’re harsh on ourselves, but I’m working to love my body as it is. I want to work out and eat better from a place of health and nutrition, not a goal number. We need to shift the narrative. We need to change how we speak about ourselves, to ourselves, and to the women around us. I pray I will be the type of mother who doesn’t teach her child she isn’t enough just as she is.

Old Books Are Old Friends

Hey There!

I was chatting with a friend the other night, discussing things in our lives, and our plans for the future.

During that conversation, we discussed objects and the sentimentality behind them. Something you will hear when researching simplistic/intentional lifestyles or organizational tips is learning to understand why you keep something. The suggestion is that you take a picture of the object so you can remember the memories and then let the object go. My friend was relating how she’s had success with this method, but for some objects, nothing can replace how it feels or smells – like an old book. I completely agree.

Old Books Are Old Friends Moonshine In A Teacup

Old books are old friends. You know the characters, the location, how the spine feels in your hand, and the journey you are about to embark on. You want to refresh every detail in your mind with the re-reading. You know the excitement, chills, or comfort it will bring, and you’re excited to spend your time in the world the author created. A good book is one that I can read myself completely into. You know what I mean? Everything around you melts away, and you are there. You smell the air, hear the sounds and the voices around you. Suddenly, it’s hours later; your tea is cold beside you, and you don’t want to be pulled back into real life. When the story is finished, there’s a small twinge in your heart because the characters are no longer with you. A fantastic book will linger.

When I read a fantastic book, I’ll re-run passages in my head, and for just a short while my internal monologue takes on the cadence of the characters. Then slowly, it fades. I’m on my own again and find other things to fill my time and mind. I read other books . . . but then one day, I pick up that old favorite and read it again.

I read some of my favorite books so long ago that I don’t think I can imagine my life without the knowledge of them. Two that immediately come to mind are Gone with the Wind and Anne of Green Gables. I swear I reference Gone With the Wind more than any modern woman should. What are your favorite old book-friends? Let me know so I can meet them.