Tag Archives: body

Because Every Body is A Work of Art

Yesterday on the hairpin* I came across this video and had to share it.

I’ve already written a post about why comparing women’s bodies to fruit is dumb, but comparing them to artist’s works might be even stupider. Because when the girl in the video says she is a “Matisse” I immediately think of this image:

Obviously Matisse has some gorgeous paintings of frolicking women, but like most artists, he has a wide breadth of work and painted many different subjects of all shapes and sizes. So honestly, I prefer the fruit, at least they’re standard shapes.

I also just don’t get this campaign. I get that they did research and learned that women don’t like to be compared to fruit (duh), but did they take it one step further and ask them if they like to be categorized at all? And are these undergarments coming in artists names instead of sizes? Like instead of being a size 8 are you just a Rembrandt? I’m confused.

How about this, maybe we don’t compare women’s bodies to anything and they can just be you know, bodies? And then we can all like wear clothes that fit us and dress ourselves without being told that our shape category doesn’t allow us to wear gaucho pants or double-breasted blazers or whatever the hell we feel like. Maybe we’ll look stupid because everyone knows a Modigliani should never wear ponchos, or apples should wear belts with everything—but whatever. Even if we’re blissfully unaware of what paintings and fruit we resemble, we’ll probably be happier.

*If you don’t know what the hairpin is you should check it out. It’s probably one of the funniest lady-centered blogs out there. It’s not preachy or self-righteous at all, which is a breath of fresh air, and it consistently makes me spew my morning coffee all over my keyboard—and that’s no easy feat.

2 Comments

Filed under acceptance

Celebrating 100 Darts

Ok, so I guess it might not be all that exciting for anyone but me, but I was pretty surprised to see this was my 100th post. I thought a little celebration was in order—which really means taking a look back at some highlights from the last 100 posts. I’m sorry if this is like when TV shows have a “new” episode, which is really just clips from old episodes, but I always secretly kind of liked those shows.

My Lovable Lipsticks post still reminds me that I should wear lipstick more often, it can be a great way to change-up your everyday look and try something new. I’ve been planning a blush post for a while, so you can expect that somewhere in the next 100 posts.

My nail polish ode is one of my favorites, it was so much fun to do, and my collection has since been weeded out and replenished, so there will probably be another one of these in the future!

What else happened in the last 100 posts?

I got angry about fashion magazines calling me a fruit:

I talked about popstars:

…and body image/acceptance:

I admitted my deep fear of dressing rooms:

…and my frustration with finding an exercise routine I could stick to:

I got married and talked about it a lot:

I wondered what the hell a “conventional beauty” was:

…and what “good hair” was:

And in June I started the feature ‘Beauty in the Movies’ as a way to explore films that showcase prominent, interesting, female characters (since there unfortunately aren’t too many out there). Since it started, ‘Beauty in the Movies’ (and sometimes on Television) has featured some pretty great films, and I hope to feature many, many more. Check out the 25 ‘Beauty in the Movies’ posts by clicking on the thumbnails below!

 

 

 

I’m really looking forward to the next 100 posts, and I want YOU to help me! Send me your suggestions for posts, or movies, or questions that need answering (I am compiling a Q&A post and hope to do an eyeshadow tutorial once I reformat my persnickety Flip camera) remember—there are no stupid questions!


More than anything I want to thank all of you for reading, without you I don’t think I would have had the motivated to keep writing, so I bestow on all you readers the most magical and wholehearted of thanks and good wishes. This blog has introduced me to some awesome, beautiful, intelligent, amazing people and I can’t wait to hear from more of you! Here’s to all you readers!

Kisses!!

xo

Justine

6 Comments

Filed under acceptance, cosmetics

The Going Away Outfit, and The Trouble With Dress Shopping

Ok, so it’s not really a going away outfit for me as much as it is a brunch the next day/going away outfit, but I’m calling it my “going away outfit” anyway. I like the idea of it, it’s a bit of a throw back, a little retro, a bit traditional, but practical too. Years ago brides would buy their outfit as part of their wedding trousseau and change into it before they left for their honeymoon while the wedding was still going on. Maybe I just like the idea of buying a new outfit, but I keep thinking about Shelby’s little pink suit in Steel Magnolias, and Cameron Diaz’s character wears one at the end of My Best Friend’s Wedding too—maybe it’s Julia Robert’s who’s responsible, but either way, I like the idea.

My wedding ends at 1:30 in the morning so I won’t be changing into anything but pajamas afterward, the next morning there will be brunch though, and then the fiancé and I are going away for the weekend, so as far as I’m concerned, the occasion calls for a cute outfit.

The going away outfit is usually a suit, but the problem is, it’s hard to find suits that are cute and feminine, and if I did find a cute suit I would probably either never wear it again (and I already have an expensive dress I’ll never wear again) or if I did ever wear it again it would be to an interview, and that would just take all the fun out of it. So I thought I’d look for a going away dress instead.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been having any luck, sometimes finding dresses can be exceptionally hard. It seems that everything is either a party dress, a work dress, or a sun dress, anything else is really hard to find. My mother says it’s because in your twenties you end up in-between the juniors section and the ladies section—that theory is reserved for mall department stores, and is also completely true. All the stuff in the juniors department seems flimsy and ill-fitting, and most of the stuff in the ladies department is best suited for the office or the MOTB (that’s mother of the bride in wedding speak). So what’s a girl to do? Not shop at department stores I guess.

I checked out Anthropologie too, and maybe it’s just me, but it seems like their clothes (especially dresses) just keep getting more expensive and less wearable. Everyone knows that Anthropologie has a tendency to take a perfectly lovely article of clothing and stick a weird flower or pom-pom on it and ruin the whole thing, I’ll do a whole post on it one day, but right now all I can say is they have a lot of weird expensive dresses. When you need to find something it’s impossible to find it, but finding cute dresses seems harder than usual recently.

I only have 29 days more to look, and I’m generally sick of the state of available dresses. That seems like a crazy complaint, but the more I trek around to stores and click through pages online, the more I’m convinced that dresses only come in three categories.  You could draw the conclusion that the fashion industry only sees women as one of these three archetypes—business woman, party girl, or cutesy teen, but maybe it’s a supply and demand thing. So what I’m wondering is, do other people have this problem when searching for dresses? Is it just me who hates spaghetti straps or low backs because I have to think about what bra to wear with it? Or who feels like every dress is either too short or too frumpy? Anyone else who longs for tailoring and fit without sacrificing personality and femininity? Maybe I’m just crazy, but I’m also a lady who loves dresses, and I’m fed up with my lack of options.

Anyone have suggestions—perhaps a favorite store I haven’t thought of? I’d also appreciate any insight into why dresses have to be sleeveless, because that’s something I’ve never understood, who wants to have to search for a sweater after all that dress shopping?

7 Comments

Filed under shopping

A Wedding Miscellany

I’m sorry to do another wedding post, but I have them on the brain. I am breathing, eating, and sleeping weddings recently. Whether it’s putting together my wedding play-list, ordering candy for our wedding candy bar, or painting bridal card boxes for others with upcoming nuptials, it’s a huge part of my life right now.

I’ve written before about the stress of planning a wedding, but there are so many things to keep track of that you can’t keep your mind from running all over the place, so this post might be a bit scattered, and I apologize for that.

All of the illustrations featured below are from an adorable little book my mom bought for me when I got engaged—it’s called The Little Big Book for Brides, and it has all sorts of cute advice, customs, and strange facts you never knew about weddings, here are some examples:

“Feed a cat out of your wedding shoe for good luck”—hmm, kind a gross, but I could try it!

“If in October you do marry , love will come but riches tarry”—this doesn’t surprise me at all, sounds about right actually. Darn.

My favorite part of this book is a whole long excerpt from an article entitled “The Instruction and Advice for the Young Bride”, it was published in an 1894 newsletter and it will blow your mind! For example:

“One cardinal rule of marriage should never be forgotten: GIVE LITTLE, GIVE SELDOM, AND ABOVE ALL, GIVE GRUDGINGLY. Otherwise, what could have been a proper marriage could become an orgy of sexual lust.”

Cracks. me. up. Here’s some more sage advice:

“Clever wives are ever on the alert for new and better methods of denying and discouraging the amorous overtures of the husband. A good wife should expect to have reduced sexual contacts to once a week by the end of the first year of marriage and to once a month by the end of the fifth year of marriage.”

I hope you’re listening ladies!

Moving on, today I am officially starting my pre-wedding diet. I know, I wrote a whole post about how I wasn’t going to let the pressure get to me and I wasn’t going to starve myself, but here’s the thing; I went for my final dress fitting and things changed. The good news is that the dress fits perfectly—too perfectly. It fits so perfectly that breathing is a bit of a problem. If I had money to spare I’d probably just let it out a little, but money is an issue, and the cost of alterations on bridal gowns are astronomical. So in the interest of saving a few hundred dollars, I have to cut back on my beloved cheese, ice cream, fried anything, and all the rest of my favorite foods. It’s just for a month, so I can handle it, and I just need to keep thinking about all the food I won’t be able to eat on my wedding day and my inability to dance if there is no room to move in my dress as motivation. So for the next month I’m counting points, snacking on carrot sticks and praying that come October 29th, I can breathe, move, dance,—and eat comfortably.

To those of you who are getting married soon, or planning on getting married soon, or have some kind of big party or event to plan in general, here is some advice—start planning now. Months ago, even a year ago, I kept poo-pooing things “oh, we have time” I’d say, and now I wish I could go back in time and knock myself upside the head. Not only do I wish I had taken care of some things earlier, but also, spending money in small bursts over a year is far easier than doling out large amounts all at once. So, if you see something you like—whether it be a wedding dress or favors, buy it, or at least bookmark it now, you’ll thank yourself later.

So, right now I have to order my favors, and research hairstyles and follow-up with the florist, the hotel, the venue, and so much more, and every phone call will hopefully soothe a bit of the madness, but really all I can hope is that I fit into that dress and actually get to eat some of my wedding cake, and of course, cheese.

9 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Body Hair: To Wax or Not To Wax?

Alright, so I have this dilemma—that’s probably a bad way to start a post about body hair, but stick with me, the problem is I’m wearing a tea length dress at my wedding and my legs will be visible. So, for the first time in my life I’ve been thinking of getting my legs waxed, which I find terrifying. Being forced to think about this dilemma has really gotten me thinking about body hair in general, and all the painful, expensive, decisions that go with it.

I’ve only ever had my eyebrows waxed and I can’t say that I loved it, with the lasting redness and localized breakouts it caused, I’ve mainly stuck to tweezing. I can only imagine that waxing large areas of skin is far more painful, and also pricey, but for my wedding it does seem somewhat appropriate. My main goal for my wedding day is to not have to think about too much, low-stress is the goal, so even something stupid like shaving my legs could become a disaster.

I know there are people out there who wax on a regular basis, some who wax everything all the time, and I have to say I find the subject both fascinating and unnerving. What it makes me wonder about specifically, is why our culture feels so strongly about ripping all hair out from the root in what can be a sometimes excruciating procedure.

I totally understand that we have hair in places we might not want it, and that eliminating it, or shaping it, can lend to the attractiveness of our appearance, but I think when all body hair (and other people’s body hair) becomes cause for ridicule, things have gone too far. I shave my armpits, maybe not as thoroughly in the winter, but I prefer it. I’m not sure if it’s due to a real personal preference, or a result of habit. From the time I’ve had hair under my arms I’ve been shaving it off. Sometimes I think about what it would be like to let it grow in all the way, but frankly, when it gets past an inch, I feel compelled to shave it down again. Women who don’t shave their pits usually get some absurdly generic label slapped on them, like “hippie”, or “feminist”, or “European”, but why should shaving your armpits (or your legs) be any different from filing your nails, it’s simply a personal choice.

For most women, the act of hair removal is as commonplace as shampooing, it’s expected to the point of annoyance. I completely understand women who have laser treatments and electrolysis to remove hair so that they don’t have to worry about it anymore. Because that’s my main issue with hair removal—having to worry about it at all. I have a beauty routine, I moisturize, I exfoliate, I deep condition my hair, and I don’t really mind any of those things, I actually enjoy them, but for me, excessive hair removal has always been where I draw the line. It’s not just the pain, I can handle the burning wax, the awful sneezing that results from eyebrow plucking, and the inflamed skin, it’s the upkeep that makes me crazy. It’s the fact that the hair grows back, sometimes so quickly it’s shocking that nature could be so cruel.

When a celebrity dares to neglect the removal of visible body hair, they’re not only ridiculed, but added to photo galleries to be remembered for their foolish transgression for all internet history. For this reason, it’s become quite clear that body hair is disgusting. To show body hair is to demonstrate a flagrant disregard for your own hygiene, despite the fact that it naturally, and persistently, sprouts from all of our bodies. While looking for images for this post I was shocked at how offended some were at a celebrity’s follicular “neglect”.

Not shaving your legs or pits isn’t like deciding not to brush your teeth or wash your hands, there isn’t anything un-hygienic about having body hair. In fact the removal of hair is far likelier to result in “un-hygienic” results—such as rashes and infections, so why all the hatred?  When I saw Mo’Nique at the golden globes instead of thinking it was disgusting I thought it was awesome that she could stand there looking gorgeous, happy, and confident, hairy legs and all. It wasn’t one of those “Celebrity Oops” moments where they catch a starlet in pimple cream, this is a woman who just doesn’t like to shave her legs, and says “so what?”, pretty admirable if you ask me.

Despite my admiration of Mo’Nique, I don’t think I’ll be going the hairy legged route on my wedding day, call me a conformist, but I’m not there yet, maybe one day though. For now, I need to decide whether a leg wax is in my future.

I’m curious to know how other women feel about hair removal. I’m not condemning or condoning either practice, but it seems important to understand why we do it, why we suffer the pain or choose to avoid it, and why either choice should be the business of anyone else but you. So share your opinions—oh, and if you have any advice or experience on the leg waxing dilemma, I’d love to hear that too!

9 Comments

Filed under acceptance

Beauty Grab-Bag: Lush, Sparkle, & Kittens

So for this week’s Grab-Bag I have a few fun things to share. Firstly, my parents were recently in Quebec and my wonderful mother brought me back some Lush goodies (they’re cheaper up there because you don’t have to pay the import tax), including a new cleansing lotion called 9 to 5, and I love it.

It’s made with almond oil and dove orchid extract so it makes your skin really soft. It’s also supposed to be a make-up remover, but if you wear a lot of eye make-up it’s not strong enough to get all of it off. As a cleanser it’s really nice. I usually use a cleanser you have to rinse off with soap, but this one just needs to be wiped away with a face towel—and I tell you, it’s gentler on the skin. So far I’m really liking it.

Another great recent Lush product (recommended by my sister) is this Coconut deodorant powder. I’m a bit powder crazed, so when I saw this was a deodorant I was a little disappointed, but when I found out you can use it like a powder, and it has smell stopping deodorant-like properties, I got excited about it. It smells really nice and coco-nutty, similar to Lush’s trichomania solid shampoo. For the summer, just to be safe, I’ve still be using a real deodorant along with this powder, but I think in the cooler weather I’ll be able to use it alone. Also, as much as we like to pretend it’s not true, we sweat in other places but our underarms—and for the particularly dreaded boob-sweat, this stuff really works wonders!

In a post last week I discussed my search for purple wedding flats, well I found a pair, but they’re not purple. I was at DSW, and I came upon these. They were the most comfortable pair I tried on. Obviously if they were in purple it would be ideal, but silver kind of works too, I just can’t decide if I should keep looking for something similar in purple, or just stick with these.

They were $60, they’re gray suede, and they’re a perfect mix of cute (with the bows) and dress-up (with the sparkle). These pictures don’t do them justice, the sparkle is really nice, and since my dress is tea length and fifties inspired, the pointed style works too.

What say you readers? Keep looking or keep these?

Another recent purchase is this MAC eyeshadow, the color is ‘filament’, it’s very shimmery. It’s the first real eyeshadow I’ve bought at MAC since I stopped working there. I used to only buy the palette size, but for everyday use the palettes get unwieldy and it’s nice to have some that are stand alone. It’s not a new color and it sort of looks like fairy dust, which is appropriate since tomorrow for Beauty in the Movies we’re saying farewell to Summer with a bit of Shakespearean magic in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


Oh right, I promised kittens, my sister recently adopted a couple, and they’re excessively cute, one of them is a Maine Coon named Thora and I think she’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Her paws are enormous, which only add to the cuteness. I didn’t get a good pic of the other guy, so I’ll save him for another day.

She’s pretty darn cute isn’t she?

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for Beauty in the Movies, and also don’t forget to tell me about your best beauty buys!!

5 Comments

Filed under shopping

Whoops! Elle Actually Does Care What I Have to Say

There is some back story to this post, it all started with one of my first posts on this blog. I wrote about a letter I sent to the editors at Elle about how pissed-off I was about a piece of advice given by their resident advice-giver, E-jean. You can check out the original post and the letter I wrote to the editor here. You can also check out the angry rant I wrote after I received the July issue of Elle, and not only had my letter failed to be included, but there were zero negative, or even lukewarm, letters printed at all. As you can tell by that post I was pretty annoyed at Elle and fed-up with magazines in general. So when I received my August issue, I tossed it on the coffee table without glancing at it, and there it sat—until yesterday.

I had a lazy Sunday, I was blown out from attending Meatfest the day before, it’s an annual BBQ and ode to succulent, fattening, tasty meat held by my sister and her boyfriend. I ate a “bacon explosion” which consists of bacon, sausage, and cheese, all rolled-up, covered in spices, and smoked until delicious. I ate lamb chili, and tried hard to forget I was eating baby sheep because it was so damn amazing. I ate a lot, and for the occasion I made cornbread covered in bacon, and I ate some of that too.

Anyway, I overindulged, and I spent the next day recovering. My day involved a few accidental naps, some aspirational internet shopping, and a lot of in-depth vegging. It seemed a good time to finally put a dent in the accumulation of magazines on my coffee table. I grabbed the August Elle, and after reading the same old crap about Drew Barrymore and some boring stuff about home hair color, I flipped to the “letter to the editor”, or “mail bonding” as they call it, page to see if they had any less-than-positive readers this month. A negative letter caught my eye, and I spotted the name “E.Jean” and thought “Alright! At least someone got to have their thoughts about this lady put in print”. As I continued reading the letter sounded strangely familiar, and I almost fell off the couch when my sluggish meat-infused mind put it all together and I saw my name in print. I squealed, and then I thought “whoopsie! Maybe I should have held off on my little rant”.

Here it is, highlighted in pink, click the image to view it larger.

I can’t say that I’m not a bit embarrassed, but I’m really glad they printed my letter, so thanks Elle! That being said, I stand by most of my rant, but I may not cancel my subscription just yet because I’m still a total sucker for pages like this:

Pretty isn’t it? A good makeup collage can mend all wrongs (well not really, but it doesn’t hurt). Makeup is the only thing in the pages of Elle that I can even remotely afford anyway, so I have to hold on to something. I’m super psyched that Elle published my letter, and I hope that if enough people continue to speak their minds, I’ll actually be able to relate to some of the stuff they publish. For the moment I can say that I enjoy looking at the cosmetics pages, and maybe one day Elle will catch-on that most of the women who read their magazine would like fewer items that are “Priced upon request” and more that are available at say Forever 21 or Macy’s.

As for Ms. E. Jean, I still think it’s about time for her to retire, and if Elle needs a new advice columnist—well, I’m currently available.

12 Comments

Filed under acceptance

Beauty Grab Bag Fun-Time

Looks like this might become a regular post. As I spoke about yesterday I’m feeling the wedding stress, and also it’s just fun to post about random things together.

Last week I brought you Winston the cat, this week I bring you Maru.

Maru is from Japan and if, like me, you’re an internet cat video aficionado, you probably already know him, but his videos never fail to be funny and adorable. You have to watch until the end to see his astounding box sliding abilities, it’s worth it, promise.

Box Jumping!

Alright, I have another little treat today, my friend Jessica has a good beauty buy to share. Here is a pic of her loot.

Here’s the story in her words:

“I got it at Bendel’s—was planning on just buying powder in a summer heat makeup emergency but they talked me into Fig body souffle, debuting exclusively at Bendel’s this week. Then to my surprise—all the stuff on the right came for free, pistachio scrub, lip gloss, foundation primer, a travel size mini powder of the one I bought, in a cosmetic pouch.

I love everything—and my favorite is the scrub it smells ridiculous. I will totally buy it again. They got me, and I’m glad!”

God I love free samples too, and this is an especially good set. I should point out here that I want to encourage (really encourage) people to send in their good beauty buys, because I know you have them, and I want to see them, and so does everyone else! They don’t have to be from Bendel’s, they can be from the drug store, or Sephora, or wherever you are surprised and delighted by something—a deal, or a product, or whatever, and send pictures!

While we’re on the subject of cosmetics, here is a new launch I’m very excited about. Combining two things I love, MAC and Disney villains, check out the MAC venomous villains collection!

These collections aren’t available until September 30th, and I’m a little disappointed that Ursula from The Little Mermaid didn’t get her own collection, I mean come on! The dude from The Princess and the Frog gets a collection, but no Queen of Hearts, or evil step-sisters either—seriously?

I am however jazzed for the Maleficent collection:

And the Evil Queen too:

I’ve loved the Disney Villains since I was a kid, I always thought they were more interesting than the princesses—well except for Ariel. When I was in 10th grade my friend Kevin bought me this mug at the Disney store for my Birthday, and it’s still my favorite mug!

Also, it’s August which means Fall is coming. So recently I can’t stop thinking about cute jackets and boots, it always happens this time of year. Here is a quick collage from polyvore. I really want a new fall jacket, I want one every year though, here are some cute options.

I don’t want summer to end, but I keep getting little flashes of how nice it feels to be cozy in a  pair of boots and socks, or maybe it’s just that I still wish I could go back-to-school shopping every year, or maybe it’s because fall is my favorite season. Whatever the reason, I love picking out cute new fall clothes, even if I can’t buy them, they’re so fun to look at and dream of jumping in piles of leaves!

Meet me back here for Beauty in the Movies tomorrow when we head back to the 90s for Reality Bites, grunge is SO hot right now—and don’t forget to send me your beauty buys if you’d like to have them featured! Don’t be shy!
Autumn boots and coats by justinez featuring TopShop

Waterfall Jacket
110 AUD – generalpants.com.au
More Don’t Ask Amanda jackets »

Joseph mega check tweed alcor jacket
95 GBP – flannelsfashion.com
More jackets »

Quest Blazer
$100 – modcloth.com
More blazers »

We Who See Lace-Up Boot
$128 – urbanoutfitters.com
More We Who See boots »

Frye Dorado Riding at Zappos.com
$498 – zappos.com


5 Comments

Filed under cosmetics, shopping

The Stress of Weddings

I’m getting married in 79 days. Writing that feels scary. I feel like it wasn’t too long ago that I had months to plan, but now it’s all come down to these last 79 days and suddenly I feel like each day flies by in an instant.

When I first got engaged everyone kept saying, “oh you must be so busy with the wedding” and “you’re probably so stressed out” and I kept wondering what the big deal was, it seemed so easy. We were so ahead of the game, we got engaged in June, I had my dress ordered by July and the venue booked by August, all that done with more than a year to go. There really wasn’t much to do after that—until now.


I know I’ve done a few other posts about weddings, but I can’t help having them on my mind, and in less than three months I’ll be married and I won’t obsess over them anymore, promise. I hate that I’m obsessing over this wedding at all, but it becomes a huge part of your life and for at least a few months, it occupies most of your thoughts. It had seemed so far away for so long that I can’t believe how close it is now, and it’s pure anticipation from here on out. In the next couple weeks all those final arrangements are being made and people are going to be asking me a lot of questions about things I’m not sure I know the answer to. For example, “what color would you like your chair covers”? I actually asked if I could just have the chairs without the covers, but you can’t, so I don’t really care what color they are. Details like that don’t worry me, I know all those trivial little details won’t really matter, and if they do matter to someone, I’m glad it’s not me. I’m more concerned about the weather, or nervously laughing during the ceremony, or not being able to walk in my shoes.

There is also all this stress about changing your name, I’m not sure why some women chose to keep or change their names, but needless to say it’s an incredibly personal choice. Since I am one of seven granddaughters, with no grandsons, I always thought I’d keep my last name. I like it, and it never occurred to me that I would want to change it. In spite of all that, I think I’m going for the hyphen, because I like my last name, but I like his too and it just feels right, much like the way it felt when we decided to get married in the first place. It will however involve paperwork, which brings me back to the stress.

When you’re involved in a wedding there’s a whole bunch of stuff to keep track of, and it’s not that these things are terribly hard, there are just a lot of factors working together. You have people coming from all over, you have to arrange a hotel, and transportation, and of course the guest list and seating chart. If you can afford to hire a wedding planner that’s fabulous, but if not, it can become a full-time job. While some of us can shake our heads and think, “that’s crazy, when I get married I’m doing ___ or ___”, you never really know until you start researching and planning for yourself. Trust me, these things can snowball, that’s how they work. Not to mention that even uttering the word wedding gets you charged extra on everything from flowers to music, people know there is money in weddings, and even a restrained event can cost you dearly.

People don’t seem to understand how expensive weddings are, especially in and around big cities. Getting married in Manhattan, or even the outer boroughs, can cost double what it would anywhere else. When we first got engaged I thought we’d have one of those beautiful little weddings you see in Real Simple or on Theknot.com, you know with ball jars as vases, mismatched table cloths, and everything handmade from etsy or by someones mom. I thought “we’ll be thrifty, we’ll be simple and different—do a buffet, rent a tent, it will be sweet”, and  you know what I discovered? It costs twice as much to have an event that appears laid back, quirky and handmade. Maybe if you have a lot of land, or a lot of people willing to help, you can do it on a low-budget, I’m not sure. I was shocked to see how much less expensive it is to have your wedding at a catering hall, and that’s what we chose, because I can’t spend all my time stressing about this, and I don’t want anyone else to either. It might not be a custom experience, but I’ll know that the people we’re trusting to hold our wedding have done this before and do it all the time, they know what they’re doing, and I don’t.

Getting married itself is stressful enough, all the pressure that “wedding culture” puts on to it just adds fuel to the fire. Even if you walk down to city hall and exchange vows in front of witnesses, it’s still a stressful event, because it changes your life even while things stay the same. The ceremony is deeply significant, whether you have a big party or not, that moment you exchange vows you’ve entered into something new. My name will change, all the sudden—boom, new name. I’ve seen it on facebook, and in the office, one day someone is Jane Doe and the next week she’s Jane Smith, or Jane Doe-Smith, and even though it’s the same person it denotes something has changed. In my post about my incredible bridal shower, I spoke about how the wedding craze that consumes America loses sight of what weddings and marriage are all about, I think the same thing happens when you get caught up in the planning.

I’m really excited to marry my fiancé, and I can’t wait to celebrate with all my family and friends, there will be so much mirth, so much enjoyment in just 79 days, I can’t wait. What I need is to keep telling myself that the stress will pass, and things will fall into place, it will be perfect in its imperfection. The favors won’t be elaborate or custom-made, the cake won’t be gourmet, and some people might think the ceremony is a bit different, but all that stuff doesn’t matter, because as long as all the big stuff comes together—we’ll be married at the end of the night, and that’s the least stressful part of all.

9 Comments

Filed under acceptance

The Mythological “Perfect Bra”

Last week I wrote about boobs and how frustrating it can be to walk around with them attached to you. Breasts can be a constant burden, and in order to deal with them, somewhere along the line, the bra was invented. Compared to its predecessor, the corset, a brassiere would appear to be far less constricting and vastly more comfortable. Unfortunately though they’re still a constant source of torture for most women.

The way I see it, there is a holy triad of awful-to-shop-for items; jeans, bras, and bathing suits. The only reason I find bra shopping the least painful, is because I’ve pretty much given up. No, I haven’t been going bra-less, (though I would if I could) I’ve just settled for a brand that’s alright, and I deal with it. I’m sick of everyone from shop assistants who are toted as “miracle workers”, to Oprah telling me what size bra—and what kind of bra I should be wearing. Especially when after spending way too much money, and way too much time obsessing over it, I still haven’t found a bra that works for me. I’ve tried Victoria’s Secret, Olga, Bali, Natori, Calvin Klein, Wonderbra, Wachoal, Lilyette, and dozens of others. I don’t expect miracles (it’s underwear for god-sakes!) but I would like ample support, and not to feel like I’m wearing a torture device everyday.

I’ve been measured for bras three times. Once it was in Paris, which resulted in a purchase of one of the prettiest bras I’ve ever seen, but also hands down the most itchy and painful. Maybe in France you’re just supposed to suck it up and deal with it, or go bra-less. I’ve been told I was a 38B and a 32DD and neither of them were anywhere near comfortable. The variation in those sizes has led me to believe this whole thing is just a ploy to make money. I’m not sure if Oprah is in on it, but I’m disappointed in her. It’s not easy to find a good bra, and it’s not cheap either. I’ve found myself very frustrated while watching Ms. Winfrey expound the wonders of getting your bust measured, because it used to bring me hope, now it just pisses me off. The 32DD that I purchased actually bore welts into my back, I couldn’t believe it. I knew I wasn’t a 32, I had never worn less than a 34, but I let that saleswomen convince me that I had been misguided all my life and that with one $45 purchase everything would change. When you get measured, I swear they always tell you you’re a dramatically different size than you’ve always been, that way you get excited and buy a new expensive bra—it’s devious. I’ve learned my lesson and now settle for cheap, comfortable bras that don’t fit perfectly and require many wardrobe adjustments and, forgive my language, it’s a total pain in the ass.

The perfect bra is elusive, maybe you’ve never found one and are constantly in search of it, or maybe there was a bra somewhere in your past that seemed so flawless you constantly seek to find its match. It’s depressing that in order to appear “decent” women have to invest large amounts of money in a garment that is both painful and difficult to find, wouldn’t it be nice if they were subsidized? The real problem is we’re just all too different, no two breasts are ever the same, sometimes even if they’re on the same body.

My breasts are two different sizes, that’s a very personal and uncomfortable thing to admit, but I’ve learned that as women, we don’t talk about this stuff enough and if we want our voices to be heard (yes, even if it’s about bras) we need to speak up. So I’ll admit, one of my breasts is a C/D and the other is a D/DD, it’s not even noticeable, but it effects bra shopping and I know for a fact there are other women who have this problem. Tons of people have two different sized feet, so yeah, some of us have the same problem with boobs, that’s life. It’s also just one of many problems women encounter in search of a good brassiere. Some of us need a bra with extra padding, or thick straps, or generous coverage, or maybe we’d like one that actually managed to look somewhat attractive and didn’t make wearing scoop neck tops impossible—and heck, maybe some of use would like all those things at once.

A bra has to be form-fitting, it has to be precise or you get pinching under your arms or spillage over the cup, and then there are straps that slip or bands that rub. After years of wearing bras, and trying them on and being measured for them, I’ve come to this conclusion; we needs bras in more sizes, and those sizes need to be more available. I know it’s expensive, I know it’s hard, but I also know there is an enormous market for it—North American women spend $16 billion a year on bras, for real. I know so many women (myself included) who have sunk at least hundreds of dollars into the search for a perfect bra without success, so someone needs to start researching (any architects out there?) and come up with a new system, because I think this one has failed.

Bras distribute the weight of the breast in such a way that the pressure ends up on your back and shoulders. Even if you don’t have large breasts a bra can contribute to shoulder and back pain, there’s also research which shows wearing a bra may actually make your breasts sag faster, because the pectoral muscles atrophy from lack of use—I don’t know if I buy that one, but maybe I’ll start working my chest muscles more often, just in case.

Wearing a bra makes me feel more pulled together, I feel rebellious if I leave the house without one, but I’m not sure whether that’s because I’ve been wearing them so long, or that it actually feels strange to have my boobs out there with no restraint. I often feel bad for my breasts, all smooshed into a skin-tight garment, tucked and squeezed until they fit a shape utterly different from their natural appearance, it seems unfair and I think they deserve better.

Do we need bras, or do we wear them to appear appropriate? I understand the need for modesty in everyday situations, but why do they need to be so painful? I’m still waiting for the solution. I currently have the same bra in several different colors, and most of the time I feel like I’m popping out of it, but if I go up the next size (either cup or band) it’s way too big. I’ve worn supportive bras that lifted and separated my breasts until they were no longer recognizable, and no longer looked sexy or attractive with the added bonus of making it impossible to wear even modest necklines without bra peek-age. On the other side I’ve had bras that made my breasts look great, but also looked risqué even under a t-shirt. The search for the perfect bra may never end, but I continue to hope for that miracle invention, a bra that supports, pads, and comforts, while also appearing attractive. It shouldn’t be that hard, because boobs are pretty damn sexy all by themselves, and maybe we could work with that.

7 Comments

Filed under acceptance, health, shopping