Tag Archives: weight

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.


Filed under Uncategorized

American Apparel: A Moral Dilemma

Years ago, all I knew about American Apparel was that it made nice blank T-shirts, and I had no qualms about it, I liked the product, and that was that. As AA went from being a wholesaler to a retailer, complete with controversial ad campaigns and accusations of sexual harassment, it became hard to separate the product from the scandals. So, what do you do when you like the products a store makes, but disagree with its marketing and think the CEO is a sexist jerk?

Dov Charney sounds like an über sleaze, he has an obsession with 70s pornography, likes doing inappropriate things in the presence of both his employees and interviewers, and is generally a creep who is too deluded to realize his actions are both offensive and unacceptable. If you want to know more specifics about Charney’s escapades, simply go to Jezebel, or any sites in the Gawker universe, and type in his name. There has also been lots of speculation on the state of American Apparel’s finances. They’ve been late on reporting their quarterly reports, stocks are plunging, and sales are down, Charney of course, denies most of this.

I can’t help but think that the old adage “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” isn’t exactly true when your horrible personality and numerous scandals keep a public from wanting to give you money, even when they like your products. On top of all that, I also have the issue that when I walk into American Apparel I instantly feel old, lame, and frumpy—and I’m 26. A store that purposely employs workers who look hip, (I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes at the sales clerk in her over-sized eyeglasses, hugely baggy sweater and jeggings, it’s kinda old at this point, no?) rather than workers who offer assistance, pay attention to customers, and make you feel welcome, shouldn’t really be surprised when nobody wants to shop there.

The problem is, I like American Apparel—not Dov Charney, but some of the products his company makes. I mean, I’ not buying a $50 lace bodysuit anytime in the near future, but I could literally live in the tri-blend t-shirts and pullovers. I have a bunch of sundresses and skirts that are versatile and devoid of the ruffles and beads so often found on everything at stores like Antropologie. There is something nice about the simplicity of many AA products. Unfortunately Dov and his company have further alienated people by refusing to offer any of its women’s products in plus sizes despite offering up to 3XL in unisex and men’s styles. It’s truly upsetting to see a company that has some great products shoot itself in the foot over and over again. I haven’t even mentioned the nail polish, which comes in some really nice colors and costs only $6.

If you’re thinking, “is there anything redeeming about this company aside from soft t-shirts and nail polish?” check out this quote from the AA wikipedia page:

“American Apparel bases its manufacturing in an 800,000-square-foot factory in downtown Los Angeles, California. The company also owns and operates its own fabric dye house, garment dye house, and knitting facility, all based in Los Angeles. American Apparel has decided not to outsource its labor, paying factory workers an average of over $12 dollars an hour. Garment workers for similar American companies in China earn approximately 40 cents per hour. It claims to have the ‘highest earning apparel workers in the world’.”

I’m a huge advocate for promoting manufacturing in the US, I’m repeatedly appalled by how few things are produced in this country, and how much of what we buy is made by grossly underpaid and often abused factory workers in foreign countries. So, here is where the dilemma comes in, give your money to a sexist, skeezoid who gives his workers a fair wage and produces American made products —or give it to a company that has no problem outsourcing its labor and charging you ten times the manufacturing cost (and probably has some questionable CEOs too, only with better publicists and more common sense)? As someone who has lost work due to outsourcing, feels deeply passionate about resurrecting the production of American made goods, and also considers herself an avid feminist, it’s quite the conundrum.

Every time I go into American Apparel I get pissed off, mostly because I like a lot of their products and believe in there manufacturing policies, so I get real ticked when I go in there and feel like an uncool alien intruding on the conversations of the staff, and bombarded by trashy advertisements. But then, I go home and I put on my tri-blend pullover or my black pencil skirt and I’m both comfortable and proud to wear something made in the USA, so what’s a girl to do?

I know that American Apparel is a bit of a hot button issue, perhaps it’s your favorite place, or maybe you wouldn’t step foot in a store with those porn-inspired ads, either way, I’d love to hear what the rest of you think, and if anyone else has the same moral dilemma about shopping at AA.


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.


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


Filed under cosmetics, shopping

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.


Filed under acceptance, health, shopping

Breasts, Boobs, Jugs, Knockers, Whatever You Call ’em—Let’s discuss…

This post was originally going to be about bra shopping, but I decided to make it more basic than that, because as much struggle as I’ve had shopping for bras, I’ve had a lot of trouble just dealing with breasts too, and I have to talk about that first. This subject might seem a tad vulgar to some, but it shouldn’t, because we all have them right? I mean, even men have boobs, so there really shouldn’t be any shame in talking about them, especially since most women have spent a portion of their lives thinking about having them, or not having them, or how to keep them from sagging, or why they grow, or shrink, or provide nourishment, or become infected with disease. Our breasts and our relationships to them make up a large part of being a woman for a number of reasons.

I’m busty, I developed pretty young, I am embarrassed to talk about it, but when I think about it, that seems silly since it’s something I had absolutely no control over. When I was ten my mom finally bit the bullet and told me I needed to start wearing a bra to play soccer, and I know she was long past due in that conversation. I was trying pretty hard to ignore my chest, especially since I was the only girl I knew with visible breasts at that age. It’s why I could never relate to Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret., it’s why I hated that book, particularly because I kept being told to read it. I hated stupid Margaret and how she thought boobs and periods were so great, because I wanted nothing more than to make them both go away so I could go back outside with my super-soaker and play until the street lights came on.

By Jr. High School I had started wearing a minimizer because I was embarrassed of my chest. Finally, I just said “screw it”, and at my ninth grade promotion dance I wore a delightfully goth brocade dress with insane cleavage, and I was proud. That is until I actually got to the dance and saw my peers, then I covered myself with a shawl for the rest of the night, but you know, it was still a statement for me at the time. I wish I had thrown off that shawl and made no apologies for my risqué ensemble, but I wasn’t there yet. I’ve gone through phases of showing and not showing cleavage and usually I feel more comfortable showing less. After working in an office for a few years I learned that if a woman shows cleavage, she is unfortunately not taken seriously at all. Which sucks, because if I saw a woman rocking some cleavage at a meeting I’d think “damn straight, wear that low-cut top, you look awesome!” but at the same time I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing it myself. I know I’d feel the same way about a man who came in wearing incredibly tight pants, I think it’s great, but it’s not for me, and why should I care what someone else wears anyway?

It drives me nuts when people talk about boobs being distracting, because first off—control yourself, and second off, if you can’t look at a woman’s breasts and focus on what she is saying at the same time, you don’t only need to work on your self-control, you need to work on your multitasking. I can do it, I think women check each other out all the time, but then you look away, do it covertly, quickly, and be respectful. If I wear a low-cut top I know some people are going to look, and I’m not going to get pissed off about it, because we tend to hide our parts away so often that when we do show them, people stare, and I understand that. But you can also be polite, there’s a difference between a cursory glance and a glaring, perverted, unapologetic ogle. I hate when I see a girl in the subway tugging at her shirt to hide her cleavage, but that’s why I don’t wear low-cut tops. I hate that there are some people who think showing skin is an open invitation to stare, that it somehow forfeits basic courtesy.

When I do wear a low-cut top, I’m usually not doing it to be sexy, most of the time I do it because I have a cute new dress or top and I just don’t want to wear a camisole under it. Maybe I don’t have one that matches, or it just ruins the line of the dress, or it’s a million degrees outside, or maybe I’m just sick of it! If my boobs are prominently displayed, especially if it’s out in the city, I usually end up regretting it, because I don’t feel comfortable, or I don’t like being stared at. And I’m not saying “oh woe is me, I’m just so beautiful people can’t look away”. If you have ever taken the subway late at night (or even during the day) in any large city, you know it doesn’t take more than a crack of cleavage or a normal knee-length skirt to incite pervy stares.

Obviously a lot of women would like larger breasts, some get implants, or padded bras, and I’m not complaining here, I love my breasts, but it’s other people’s reactions to them throughout my life that have altered my feelings for them. I do like the way my cleavage looks, so maybe I’ll try to show it off more, because why not? I hate that us well-endowed ladies are taught to be embarrassed so early in our lives. I’ll never forget walking down the street in Manhattan with my parents when I was around eleven years old and having a guy shout out “can I get some fries with that shake?” I didn’t even know what it meant, but I knew to be mortified.

I always wonder if women who get implants feel more comfortable showing cleavage, maybe it’s just a personality thing. I hate that I let what I wear be dictated by other people’s reaction to my boobs, but that’s what is considered “decent” and as much as I try not to give a crap what others think, sometimes I just don’t want to deal with worrying about it, so I cover up. I know other women have these problems, I’m sure that small breasted women have this problem all the time too, because it extends to all of us, and it’s not just our breasts either. Somehow showing your body in our society has become an open ticket for tactless torment, and not just by men, there are plenty of women who see showing cleavage as brazen and slutty, and I’m not sure why, I just wish it would stop.

So what’s the solution? Should we all just show what we want, ignore the stares, and screw what everyone else thinks? Should we cover up to avoid uncomfortable ogling? I think it’s a personal choice, but I wish it wasn’t a choice that was so powerfully influenced by the reactions of others, and I can’t help but hope one day it won’t be.


Filed under acceptance

Diet is the New Religion

Have you ever been having a conversation with someone, and it dawns on you half way through that you’re being preached to? Usually the person you’re talking to has no idea that you don’t share the same beliefs as them, and though you’re interested to hear what they have to say, you probably aren’t going to convert. It’s a strange situation, because you have to be polite, even if what they’re saying contradicts your own beliefs completely. You’d think I was talking about religion, or a pyramid scheme, or maybe yoga, but no, I’m talking about diets.

Obviously a diet isn’t just what you do to lose weight, it’s the food you take into your body everyday, everyone has one, and some people think about theirs a lot more than others. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all experienced avid diet discussion, and maybe been guilty of it ourselves. You make a change in your life and it consumes so much of your time and thought that you don’t even realize you talk about it all the time.

Eating is life, without it we wouldn’t exist, but to humans, food is so much more than just nourishment, it’s our culture. How much of your life revolves around food? How many times a day do you think about it? If I look at a bag of potato chips (probably my greatest weakness) and a bag of carrots, my id and ego fight it out, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Who hasn’t had an ice cream binge on a day when you felt like the world was against you? There is nothing wrong with reaching for the carrots or the ice cream, but here’s the thing—it’s an individual choice and it’s not the same for everyone.

What could be more specified than what each person feeds themselves? I personally love olives, pickles, peanut butter, Nutella and mashed potatoes, but I’ve never been a big pasta person, mayonnaise makes me sick, and ricotta cheese does not agree with me. Do I know why I like or dislike any of those things? Of course not! If I could find a way to make my mind crave celery instead of chocolate I would be both skinny and rich, but that’s just not the way I’m wired. If it was easy to curb cravings, we wouldn’t have the very depressing statistic that 75% of dieters gain back the weight they lose. We’re all so individual, so remarkably and amazingly different, that there can be no miracle diet, no sweeping cure, and what I really think more than anything, is that we all need to stop obsessing.

This country is preoccupied with dieting, we can’t stop talking about it, or thinking about it, or judging our families or friends on it. We accept that obsession in other forms is completely unhealthy. We acknowledge that when someone spends so much time thinking, or fretting over one thing there is something truly wrong, but for some reason when it comes to food, it’s not only accepted it’s encouraged. We don’t step in until things have gotten out of control. Maybe the major cause of the so-called “obesity epidemic” is the focus on dieting. There have been many studies which show that taking the focus off dieting and emphasizing living and eating healthy (with room for forgiveness) actually has a greater benefit on people of all shapes and sizes—including overweight people. You know how when you were a teenager and your parents bugged you to clean your room, and the more they nagged you the less you actually wanted to do it? Yeah, it’s like that. We humans are a contrary bunch, and the more you keep telling us we need to lose weight, especially when that is WAY harder than cleaning your room, it really just makes us want to eat a cheeseburger or two.

Ok, so back to the whole diet is a religion thing; religion and diet have always been tied together. Most religions have some form of fasting, and many of them have dietary restrictions as well. There are Jews who keep kosher, Muslims who eat halal, there are Buddhists who try to prevent suffering by eating a vegetarian diet, and there are dozens of others as well. With religion on the decline in the US, it makes me wonder if part of the diet obsession is a need to fill some void. Diet is so practiced, so precise, so important to some people, that it takes on religious significance.

The other day my mom was telling me about a woman who was on a raw food diet, she told my mother that it has cured her son’s ADD and that she was sure it would prevent cancer as well. This woman truly believes the diet will save her, if that isn’t faith than I’m not sure what is. It’s worrisome, because while a devoutly religious person can’t know the truth for certain until they step out of this world, A person who stores their faith in the food they consume will suffer a crisis of faith when some unstoppable disease takes hold of their bodies. If that happens, they’ll have to suffer both the disappointment of years of healthy living, and the pain of illness, I’m not sure which is worse.

The idea that a diet can truly cure any disease has been proven false over and over, and yet people still tell my fiancé that he can cure his type 1 diabetes with a raw food diet, when in reality, going without his insulin for a day could land him in the hospital, or worse. Perpetuating the idea that you can not only diagnose, but cure someone of a medical condition by adjusting their diet (ahem Halle Berry) is just irresponsible and completely dangerous. I want so badly to cure him, and trust me I’d give anything to cure him, but I worry that there is less fact and more self-righteousness responsible for those who preach the wonders of certain diets.

The unfortunate, painful truth is that death is inevitable. I know that’s a total bummer, but it’s an absolute, I’ve struggled with it a lot, and I’ve found the easiest way to deal with it is to accept that it happens, and enjoy what you have. Even if you believe in an afterlife, you still know that you will pass out of this world one day. What worries me about the idea of the “messiah diet” is that it’s not about comforting that morbid knowledge, it’s about buying into a futile hope, and in some cases looking down on others who don’t buy in to it.

I’m all about living life, I have a firm belief that this life is meant to be celebrated, there is so much heartache, so much regret and loss, why do we put more on the pile voluntarily? If eating raw, or vegan, or caveman, or macrobiotic makes you feel great, and you love it, I could not be happier for you, and I wish I felt that way about one particular way of eating too. When your diet turns divine however, when you believe truly that it’s your savior, I can’t help but find that a bit unsettling, because while the belief in god or in religion brings comfort in a time of pain, putting faith in what you eat to stave off the certainty of aging, seems like a comforting delusion that I’d hate to see disappoint.

This post in no way is meant to insult, belittle, or devalue any type of diet, so please forgive me if I have offended. It’s just a discussion, and I’d love to hear some thoughts on it.


Filed under acceptance, health

Beauty Bullseye: Target

I went to Target yesterday for the first time in about a year, and I literally had to force myself to leave because I was spending way too much money. Target is one of those stores I’m never really excited to go to, but then I always end up finding lots of great stuff once I actually get there.

I’ve been annoyed by Target before because I get all psyched about the designer lines (like Anna Sui or Rodarte) and then by the time I get there I can only find one cruddy dress in either XXL or XXS, both not helpful. Then I get resentful when magazines feature their clothes or I see people wearing them on TV and I don’t want to go back, I’m vengeful like that.

When I went this time I was impressed that they had a better price on plain white Hanes T-shirts (for James) than even Costco or Marshall’s—amazing; Six for $10 that’s less than two bucks a shirt!

The thing with shopping is knowing where to get certain things, and while there is some stuff (like jewelry or jeans) I prefer to buy elsewhere, Target has a lot of product smooshed into one store. The one by me is even in the process of adding on a huge grocery section, so they’re really trying to compete with Wal-Mart.

Speaking of Wal-Mart, may I take a moment to talk about it? Looking at the difference between these two stores can be very interesting. They’re major competitors, but to be real, Wal-Mart leaves Target in the dust on this one. Wal-Mart is HUGE, I mean they’re enormous. Each week one-third of the population of the United States visits a Wal-Mart store. Within 10 years after a Wal-Mart opens in a small town it is possible that half their original retail operations, usually “mom and pop” stores, will have closed. Wal-Mart is anti-union, anti-woman, anti-gay, and have recently been in the news for losing a suit filed by a type 1 diabetic who they fired for testing his blood sugar more frequently than Wal-Mart deemed necessary. Which on top of getting him fired, also nearly killed him, and it’s not the first time it has happened either. If you actually start trudging through the information out there on Wal-Mart, it gets really scary. I’m sure most of us know all this already, but they continue to be one of the largest corporations in the world. It seems that they are the living example of evil big business and why it is so very bad. Whoa, that path took me a long way from my pleasant Target shopping trip, but once I get started on Wal-Mart it’s hard to stop, I apologize!

Let me navigate back to my point, Target is the second biggest discount store after Wal-Mart in the states, which means that it is enormous too, so they also do their part to contribute to the urban sprawl. They’ve been criticized for having lead in their products and for failing to be pro-union, but you’re not going to find any huge corporation that isn’t guilty of something, or being sued by someone. Target has made the list of the top 100 best companies for working mothers by workingmother.com, they put a lot of emphasis on the diversity that they actively seek out, and they are the only major discount store that places design and functionality over simply keeping the prices as low as possible. So i know that they’re not saints, but they’re a heck of a lot better than Wal-Mart.

I would much prefer to buy everything from small businesses, but until we start seeing some subsidies for those little guys, my lack of funds will drive me to buy from places like Target, Costco, or Marshall’s. It’s sad that supporting small businesses has to be a luxury, but unfortunately that’s where we are at right now. So back to Target…

You can get a lot of stuff in this store, which I guess is part of the appeal. Especially on a rainy disgusting day, it offers a lot of goods in once place all at a reasonable, if not great price.

I got this dress for $15. Which is good because in the summer just thinking about pants makes me feel sweaty, isn’t it nice that in the summer you can get away with wearing what is essentially a house schmata in public?

This western shirt is really cute and fits over my boobs and hips, but it is still cut nicely and shows fitting through the waist.$17.99, good deal.

I also bought this other top (it’s not on the website so I had to take a picture) and I’m still not sure about it. It is one of those pieces that looks great on the hanger, and then you get it home and it’s not as flattering. I think it would be really cute on someone else but it cuts at an angle on the arm that I’m not crazy about.

What really sold it for me was the cute zipper on the back.

Don’t you just hate when you’re so excited about something until you get home and try it on? Then you have to debate whether to return it or not, this top was $14.99. As I sit here and look down at it on me, I’m very pleased with the way it looks and the feel of the fabric, but when I check it out in the mirror it’s like, gosh darn this is not cut right for me! Come to think of it, I don’t know if Target has fitting rooms, I didn’t see any.

Moving on, I also bought some face blotting sheets, and a cat food bowl, which is cute and pink, but I won’t take a picture of it because it’s filled with cat food now and that would be gross, and also, it’s not that exciting.

I bought Stardust on DVD too because I’m a fantasy nerd, it was $9.99, not bad.

And that completes my thoughts on my trip to Target, I’m sorry I didn’t buy more exciting things, maybe next time!

Who loves Target? Does anyone love Wal-Mart? Do you prefer to do your shopping at smaller stores? Tell me all about it!


Filed under shopping

Finding the Beautiful

I’ve touched on this before and it’s part of the whole idea for this blog, so I wanted to do a post specifically about feeling beautiful. It seems that feeling beautiful and being beautiful are completely different things. You can see a woman in a fashion spread in perfect make-up with glossy hair and thousands of dollars worth of designer clothes, but if you ask her, there is a pretty good chance she will tell you she doesn’t feel beautiful. She might be dying to get home to her cooking, or her husband, or her dogs, or somewhere else that turns the world into a place where she feels like she fits into it, even if she is wearing sweats.

That’s the funny thing about beauty, it happens in the most unexpected of places. I’ve had days when I spent hours trying to make myself look beautiful so I would feel confident (see yesterday’s post), sometimes it works, but it’s an external form of “beautiful”. Then there are days I’ll be working for hours on a project, I haven’t showered or even noticed my hair, and I’m probably still in my pajamas, maybe with a dirty painting apron thrown on top, and I stop to look in the mirror, before my brain even lets me think something else, I feel beautiful. Of course that is a rare occasion, usually I take a whiff of myself and march right into the shower, but it happens. When I have that rare moment of beauty, I know it has nothing to do with the actual face staring back at me, it’s that I’m at a point where it doesn’t matter, because I’m more concerned with something else I love doing.

I think if you asked most women “when do you feel most beautiful?” they would give you responses that didn’t have much to do with physical beauty. After hours of plucking, curling, dyeing, brushing, and smearing on makeup we often feel like we’re in a costume, but we don’t truly feel beautiful, it’s more like playing a part. I’m sure actresses must feel like this all the time, and when they actually might be feeling beautiful, like when they’re walking around with their kids or something, then they get slapped on the cover of Us weekly for the regular “Gross: Celebs Without Makeup” article.

We are conditioned to think that we can’t be beautiful if we don’t meet certain criteria, or at least try our hardest to look like we’re making an effort, but what sucks is that it keeps us from noticing when we actually do feel beautiful. That’s not to say that it doesn’t help sometimes. I’ve watched What Not to Wear and been so moved when you can see someone finally getting to feel beautiful, and it’s all because of external stuff. I don’t think there is anything wrong with feeling beautiful because you’re all dolled-up, there are situations where that is exactly what we need, but I think we tend to forget that there are other things that make you feel beautiful too.

I posed the question to myself, and it can be a hard one to answer. If I have a new outfit that I think looks awesome, or I just got my haircut, or found a great lipstick, it can give me a huge confidence boost and it’s easy to feel beautiful. I feel the most beautiful though when I’m in my element, when I’m doing something I love, creating something, or just singing to myself in my own world. When you notice moments like that, it’s like you catch yourself, and it’s perfect. You don’t need a mirror, or a good picture, or validation from someone else, because you know how you feel, and that’s all that matters.

I know this seems like a small thing, but feeling beautiful is something that everyone deserves, I hate that we narrow down the definition so much that I can’t even remember what it’s supposed to feel like if it isn’t attached to a product.

It’s weird because all these studies show that what really makes people attractive is confidence, and I bet it’s probably true, but that isn’t what anyone is actually selling, it’s just a gimmick. Magazines, TV shows, what they’re really selling are tools that will help you think you’re confident, or give you confidence that is tied to something external. Real confidence is the feeling that what you have to offer is valuable, and that you’re crucial to this world in some way, even if it is small. I think that is the real “beauty” everyone is always talking about, it’s self-worth, and I think so many of us are really lacking in it.

I don’t now what makes confident people confident, I truly believe a lot of it is genetics and personality, but I do think confidence is a journey. It doesn’t happen overnight, it shows up in fits and starts, always being punched back down by our nasty inner voice. When I’m doing what I love, or with the people I love, that voice just drops away.

When you paint or draw, you have to be confident. If I think about that line before I draw it, it’s going to be sloppy. When I just give in and turn off my mind, that confidence kicks in. I think at times we even take that confidence for granted because it comes so easily. I imagine that’s what it takes to be a tight-rope walker, you just have to release all that fear and know that you can do it. There is so much beauty in being able to let go, to give in, and let yourself have the freedom to feel that gorgeousness that can come rushing in. Beauty isn’t something you need to get, or make, it’s something you already have, you just need to find it.

Ok, so that last bit is a little cornball, but I don’t mind. My point is that we need to shift our idea of “beautiful”, because it keeps us from noticing when we actually do feel great about ourselves. I know there is that old adage that if everyone is beautiful than no one is beautiful, but sorry, beauty doesn’t work like that. The whole idea of beauty is something that is pleasing in any way, it has no absolute definition, and it exists in each one of us—old, young, man, woman, tall, short, chubby, or slim, it doesn’t matter.

So I ask, what really makes you feel beautiful? There is nothing to be ashamed of if it is a product, but I want to know for real, what makes you feel like there is beauty everywhere and that you’re a part of it, inside, outside and all around?


Filed under acceptance

Say “Cheese”!

James (the fiancé) and I just got back from having our engagement photos taken. Yes, I know we’re getting married in less than four months so we should have done this a long time ago, but apparently we’re not organized. Anyway, I’ve been panicking about this day for the last week, and now that it is over I can breathe a sigh of relief, until we actually get the photos back, at which time I’ll probably freak out all over again.

Here’s the thing, I HATE having my picture taken. Sometimes I can’t believe that there are people out there who actually enjoy it. Let’s start with a little back story.

My dad is a professional photographer and growing up there were always lots of cameras around, so you would think I would be used to it. I want to say that it has to do with having poor self-esteem, but I think that’s only part of it. Even as a kid, when I wasn’t very self-conscious, I dreaded when we would go to my dad’s studio and take our holiday pictures every year. I didn’t give a darn what I looked like in them, but I hated sitting there with my sister having to stay still, and sit up straight, and not make weird faces, and wear uncomfortable matching dresses, so I think that’s really where the camera and I started our dislike of each other.

At least my parents were creative enough to work with my impatience, that’s me on the left—this photo was not posed.

Sometimes I wonder if I hated the camera so much as a kid, always sneering at it and throwing fits about it, that it took revenge on me as an adult. As a teenager, those yearly photo shoots only got worse, because once I learned to be self-conscious, having to sit there and have my picture taken (with my very photogenic sister) just became unbearable, and I was a total bitch about it. I should take this moment to apologize to my parents and sister for that—sorry guys, thanks for putting up with me!!

I’ve seen people who tuck their leg in, stand up straight, angle their head a certain way and look amazing in photos. I don’t know how they figured it out, or if their just photogenic to begin with, but when I attempt the same thing, I look like I have a disorder. When you aim a camera at me, I immediately get awkward, position my body in a weird way, make a pained face, or all the emotion drains out and I just look stunned. Tyra would be screaming  “smile with your eyes!” because I literally just raise the corners of my mouth without showing any other sort of expression on the rest of my face, I’m being brave here and will show you an example:

I chose a picture that isn’t completely mortifying because I have some dignity, but it is an example of my sad attempt at “picture face”. It’s especially bad because James is exactly the same way! It’s amazing that we found each other, we are both brilliant at unflattering photographs.

In our defense it was really sunny and humid that day.

If it weren’t bad enough that I make strange faces, freeze up, and squint in photos, I’m also as my father says, a “blinker”. To illustrate, I found this old contact sheet he took of me in high school.

Yup, definitely a blinker, not a good look.

When I think about my reaction to having photos taken, and even worse, my feelings once I see the results of those photos, I find myself thinking about the world before cameras. Do you think people had better self-esteem when they didn’t have to worry about being caught on film? If the mirror was my only way to see myself, I know I’d be happier with they way I looked. The camera can be so cruel, and even worse, it captures what must be an absolute truth. Even if you know that it’s just a freeze frame, and that you can’t possibly always look that way, deep down it gets to you, because any way you cut it, it is you.

I always think about Anne Of Cleves. If you’re not familiar, she was the fourth wife of Henry VIII. When Henry was looking for a new wife after he had divorced one, beheaded one, and watched one die in child-birth, he sent his court painter, Hans Holbein the Younger, to paint her in Germany before he consented to marry her.

Upon meeting Anne, Henry felt betrayed and was quoted as saying “She is nothing so fair as she hath been reported”, it was also said that Holbein painted her full on from the front to hide that she had a hook nose in profile. He was forced to marry her anyway, but managed to have the marriage annulled, and moved on his next wife Catherine Howard, who he later had beheaded for committing adultery. Lucky for Anne, being unattractive may just have saved her her head. I guess it never occurred to Henry that if he had less attractive wives, he wouldn’t be so suspicious of them cheating on him.

I mention Anne because I always wonder if she knew why Henry refused her. Did she think the portrait did her justice? Did she have low self-esteem? In the days before cameras we depended on paintings to leave the legacy of our looks, and that duty was in the hands of an artist who could change that image at his will. Now we have Photoshop which does the same thing, only that the original photo, that truth, will always be out there too—which is especially unfortunate for celebrities.

Anyway, I don’t know how my engagement photos will turn out, but we had fun taking them and I have every bit of faith in our fantastic photographer Shira, if I don’t like how I look in them it will be my own issues, not the fault of anyone else. When both of us are happy and comfortable we can look pretty decent.

I’d love to know if other  people feel this way about pictures of themselves, I think most of us do. I’m really curious if there are people who love having their picture taken! Oh, and Kate, who is over at Eat the Damn Cake, has a great post about this same issue, you should check out her take on it here.


Filed under acceptance