Month: April 2013

Who Watches the Watchers?

Before I even get into the substance of this post, I will award major cool points to anyone who can identify the origin of the title! Last week, I stumbled across the article, "Pictures of People Who Mock Me", a photojournalism project by Haley Morris Cafiero, a photography professor at the Memphis College of Art. Through this project, she records images of strangers' reactions to her size in public. Of the project, Professor Cafiero states: "I have always been aware of people making faces, commenting and laughing at me about my size. I now reverse the gaze and record their reactions to me while I perform mundane tasks in public spaces." In doing so, she ends up with images like this... [caption id="attachment_6124" align="aligncenter" width="620"]source: http://haleymorriscafiero.com/ source: http://haleymorriscafiero.com/[/caption] ...and this... [caption id="attachment_6125" align="aligncenter" width="580"]source: http://haleymorriscafiero.com/ source: http://haleymorriscafiero.com/[/caption] Oh geez. In looking at her pictures and reading the article, several thoughts came to mind.... Thought #1: I am never going out in public again. I'm sorry but looking at these pictures made me fa-reak out! It's one thing to suspect that people might be giving your a side-eye because of your extra poundage, but to actually have it documented? *passes out in shame* Thought #2: People are jerks and, yes, sometimes your feelings will be hurt. In the Salon article, Professor Cafiero says, "I don’t get hurt when I look at the images....I’m fine with who I am and don’t need anyone’s approval to live my life." She goes on to share that a 15 year-old girl from Belgium wrote to her and said that the images made her "feel better and not care about what others think and live my life." *long slow blink* Ok. Let's unpack this a bit. I think it's awesome that Professor Cafiero is unmoved by the strangers' negative reactions toward her. (And it's not just in the pictures...if you read the article, she talks of comments being made, gestures like strangers slapping their stomachs as she's eating, etc.) But I wonder how long it took her to arrive at that place...perhaps the fact that she was able to turn her experience into art made the difference? I dunno. I'm not saying that she should be ashamed or that generally people should wallow in shame or self-pity...hardly! BUT, is it fully genuine to say that you don't feel angry, sad, hurt, upset, etc. by these anonymous acts? I guess Professor Cafiero (and the young lady from Belgium) came to the conclusion that it doesn't do you any good to worry because critics will be there no matter what. Actually, she pretty much says as much: "Though I did go through phases of food restriction and over-exercise, I came to realize that I shouldn’t punish myself for something I can’t control. Self-criticism is a waste of time." More power to her! Thought #3: Is she seeking negative attention on purpose? As I was looking through the pictures in Professor Cafiero's project, I couldn't help but notice that, while it's clear that people are mocking her in some of the pictures, in others strangers are literally just looking...not in disgust, not even necessarily in curiosity. They just happen to be looking in her direction. In discussing this article with a friend who also struggles with weight, she noted, "It's sort of like seeing a particularly short person...you wouldn't necessarily make fun or think mean thoughts about them, but you would notice them simply because they are shorter than the average person." This made me wonder if, in some cases, she's purposely trying to draw negative attention to herself and/or looking for something that isn't there? This lead me to my next, related thought.... Thought #3.1: Isn't this something a little makeover could fix? Yes. I know. This is all kindsa wrong of me to say/write, but the fashion/style blogger in me just couldn't help it. As I looked through the pictures, I noticed that in many of them, Professor Cafiero seems to be wearing ill-fitting clothes or posing in an awkward position. She also doesn't seem to do much with her hair. Once I realized this pattern, the very first thing I wanted to do was ship her off to Clinton and Stacy. Now, Professor Cafiero says "I look worse with tons of make up and products in my hair." But, this isn't about trying to mask yourself behind a pharmacy's worth of products. That is only another extreme reaction to the issue - a reaction that I know all too well. And no, I'm not saying that plus-size women should have to doll up every time they stop out of the house in order to be accepted. We should all have the freedom to be who we are. At the same time, though, I am a firm believer that if you go around looking like a schlumpadinka, you will be treated like a schlumpadinka. Who knows - maybe the reactions would be the exact same if she had on a professionally styled outfit with perfect hair, makeup, and shoes. It's hard to say. The roots of weight prejudice run deep and, clearly, it is nothing that people are afraid to hide. At the end of the day, I think this is an incredibly courageous project. What do you think about all this? Do you fear being mocked in public? Have you experienced it? Do you think Professor Cafiero has the right attitude or is she covering something up? Do you think she's purposely seeking negative attention? While you are pondering these questions, I will be in timeout in the corner.

Monday Morning Memo – Whose Instructions Are You Following?

monday morning memo “Most of our thoughts are based on our history and our conditioning. Most of us follow instructions given to us 10 or 20 or 50 years ago by people we wouldn’t ask for street directions today. No matter how old or young you are, change is possible. It’s really possible. This moment, this very second, matters in terms of where you are placing your attention.” - Geneen Roth Whose instructions are you following in your life? Is it the overbearing parent who told you that you'd never be good enough? Or maybe the old boyfriend who always cheated on you, yet somehow convinced you that you were lucky to have him in your life? Entering into your sacred space - that place of vulnerability, where the *real* you, warts and all, exists - is a true privilege. While you cannot change the past, you do have the power to change the present and to write your future. This week, let's surround ourselves with people who lift us up and toss out those old instructions from long ago that were never even correct to begin with! Have a terrific week, ladies!

What Are Your Calming Rituals?

At the spaAs I continue to pursue healthy curves, I've been doing a lot of introspection as to why I have the extra weight. After all, as many psychotherapists and health experts will tell you, the weight is not the problem...it's just a symptom of your problem. I know that I use food to deal with my emotions - whether I'm happy, sad, lonely, bored, excited, whatever the mood or occasion, my answer has always been food. Now that I'm beginning to get in touch with the reasoning behind my emotional eating, I've begun to ask myself, "What are some simple, low-cost ways I ease tensions, relax my nerves, and otherwise indulge myself that don't involve food?" Unfortunately, I haven't had (or, more accurately, made) much time to indulge in what has always been a calming experience for me - reading. Usually, after a long day of meetings and writing at my desk, the last thing I want to do is read . . . even if it's just pleasure reading. My eyes (and brain) are just too tired. Instead I've been turning to my other old standby - a good cup of tea. No disrespect to Captain Picard, but sometimes "earl grey, hot" just won't cut it. Chamomile, chai, mint...there are so many different flavors to enjoy! Also, using a tea pot of stove-boiled water is SO much more calming than just a mug of microwaved hot water. I'm thinking about incorporating some aromatherapy into the mix. while I don't "believe" in aromatherapy, per se, it doesn't hurt to keep nice smells around you. Personally I am a huge fan of lemongrass and peppermint. Finally, relaxing in comfy loungers or my dressing gown from Oh Cheri. What about you? What are some of your calming rituals? A bubble bath? Smooth jazz? A glass of wine? Share in the comments section!

Do You Know What Time It Is?

Why, time for a giveaway, of course! The temperatures are slowly rising and summer will be here before we know it! In addition to getting our bodies right, it's also so important to make sure your face is ready for those hot, sweaty days when it will make little sense to wear more than a little makeup. Although it was listed last, one of my key steps to stay-put summer beauty is starting with clear, healthy skin. There is nothing more beautiful than walking around confidently with a clear, clean face! Therefore, I was delighted when the folks at EpiCare contacted me about doing a possible review of their Spa Sonic. Now, you know that I already love my Clarisonic, so instead of passing up the offer, I decided to pass it on to YOU! On May 1, Curvy CEO will be giving away a Spa Sonic Skin Care System Face and Body Polisher! SpaSonic From EpiCare, Ltd.:This is the perfect at-home spa set! Relax and beautify with the Spa Sonic Skin Care System Face and Body Polisher. It works to deep cleanse your face and body.The Spa Sonic an affordable, waterproof device that’s ideal for use in the shower or at the sink. It operates with 4 attachments (all included): a small brush for the face, a large brush for the body, a pumice stone attachment for rough areas (elbows and cracked heels rejoice!), and a facial sponge for micro-dermabrasion and reduction of fine lines. The Spa Sonics’ penetrating action promotes rapid absorption of skin care products and leaves skin toned, supple and smooth to the touch. Made with Clear Skin Technology, the Spa Sonic brush heads were specially designed by dermatologists, to deep clean while gently exfoliating. The product is the perfect addition your beauty regimen, and makes a great Mother’s Day gift! To enter, all you have to do is take each of the steps below! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday Morning Memo – Curing Your Inner Shopaholic

monday morning memo "Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough." - Oprah Winfrey Lately, I find myself reading memoirs of women who made a fortune and then lost it. First, there was Peace and Plenty: Finding Your Path to Financial Serenity, which I blogged about here. Last week, I finished up The Bag Lady Papers: The Priceless Experience of Losing It All, in which the author and former magazine editor discusses how she rebuilt her life after being a victim of Bernie Madoff. Now I'm reading Geneen Roth's Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations About Food and Money, which discusses how she, too, was a victim of Bernie Madoff and the similarity between our relationships with money and food. As I read these books - and also watch tv shows like My Shopping Addiction, You're Cut Off, and Princess - it gets me thinking: Why DO we overshop? In some instances, we convince ourselves that if we don't get something NOW, we won't be able to get it later. (Now, for the plus-size shopper, this sometimes can be the case as some stores only carry a handful of items in plus-sizes. Or, designers only make so many cuts of a certain piece of apparel.) I know that for me, the overshopping can be a form of compensation or even a defense mechanism in the face of stereotypes about fat, black women. I know that all of this talk about LESS shopping probably sounds odd coming from a fashion blogger . . . especially since I plan to post yet another shopping guide very soon *wink*) But, with the economy being what it is, we really have to get a hold of ourselves. And, just like we won't find what we're looking for in the refrigerator, we won't find it at the mall, either. So, what's a fashionista to do? Well, first and foremost, I think it's better to have a few high-quality, classic pieces that will last forever as opposed to several cheap pieces that will overwhelm your closet and clutter your life. By saving for those essential pieces and/or those items that you *really* want, you can pursue them with resources in hand and without the need to rely on plastic. So, let me pose these questions to you: Why do YOU think we overshop? What are some ways we can soothe our inner shopaholics?

How to Style a Fitted T-Shirt

Well, the warm weather has FINALLY arrived! Hallelujah! As I look around and start dreaming of summer - warm nights, outdoor concerts, etc. - I get really excited about ditching the pants, tights, hose (yes, even my beloved pantyhose) for sandals, maxi dresses, and skirts. I'm also finding myself really digging all of the graphic t-shirts that are popping up at places like Torrid, Old Navy, and Forever 21. (I've also had my eye on the rhinestone, curve-celebrating shirts offered by ThicknessTees.com for a minute now.) But, when it comes to shirts like these, I often find myself in a quandry as they tend to be rather fitted . . . and don't leave much coverage for the backside. (And if you know me, you know that I'm ALWAYS looking to cover my backside.) So, I got to thinking, "What are some ways to style a fitted tee that compliment my curves?" And I came up with this....
How to Style a Fitted T-Shirt
You still get to wear denim through the jean jacket, but swapping the more traditional blue jeans for a maxiskirt gives you coverage, comfort, and, I daresay, a little more flare. Funky shades and floppy hat are optional. What do you think? Will YOU be rocking fitted, graphic tees this summer?

#PrayForBoston

prayforbostonThoughts and prayers for the victims and loved ones of the attack in Boston. Sending love to everyone in Beantown.

Monday Morning Memo – An Oldie But a Goodie

monday morning memo "No! Try not. Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda I love this quote from one of the greatest movies of all time, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. I completely agree with this sentiment. I don't know about you, but "I'll do my best" usually translates into "I'll do as much as I think I can for as long as I feel like it; after that, I make no promises." Now I am a big believer in the concept of kaizen - introducing slow, small changes over time to produce high quality outcomes. But, often times, the concept of kaizen or small changes can be an excuse just to continue to do what you've been doing all along, with perhaps a slight change here or there. This week, whether it's our health, our finances, our work, or our relationships, let's really, truly try to do what we set out to do. Let's make Master Yoda proud. Have a wonderful week, ladies!

Curvy CEO Reviews The Ahh Bra

It's late. You can't sleep. So you flip on the tv. Amid the watered down no longer funny edited versions of romantic comedies or gross-out teen comedies, you find yourself overwhelmed with ads for items that you just can't find in stores. Instead, you have to call an 800 number within the next 10 minutes in order to get the special discounted price. As a notorious shopaholic, I often get sucked in by these enticing ads. In the past, I've had mixed results with items I've ordered during these late night insomnia attacks. While some were massive hits (hello WEN!), others...not so much. My most recent purchase from tv (you know, outside of QVC or HSN) was the Ahh Bra. If you're not familiar with the Ahh Bra (and you have to say it, "Ahhhhhhh" otherwise it doesn't count), check out this quick commercial:

The Ahh Bra was created by Rhonda Shear. You all remember her from Up All Night back in the day. Given that I first came to know her through late night comedy bits encasing random movies on late-night cable tv, it seems only appropriate that I was re-introduced to her while watching, well, commercials encasing random movies on late-night cable tv. I must admit that I was a bit skeptical when I put in my order. As one of the commenters on Youtube noted, "um...that looks like a regular sports bra." But, as someone who is, ahem, blessed with a chest, I am always on the lookout for bras that offer support, comfort, and lift. My verdict on the Ahh Bra? Two out of three ain't bad. I actually had my first occasion to wear the Ahh Bra when heading to an early morning Work Your Curves session. [/shameless plug] I was just about out of clean clothes and in a hurry to get dressed and head to the workout. While I have plenty of t-shirts and sweats, I only have a handful of sports bras. I was about to panic when I remembered that I had just ordered the Ahh Bra and it had arrived earlier that week. Relieved, I tore through the packaging, put it on and headed for my workout. During the workout, I found the Ahh Bra to be extremely comfortable. No digging into my shoulders or my sides at all. It fit really well and the girls did. not. move. However, while it provided support in terms of keeping things in place, it did not provide me with any lift. Like none.  So, while I will definitely keep using the Ahh Bra for exercise purposes, I would not wear it as part of my regular wardrobe, unless I wanted to look like...well, I had saggy breasts. That is just my experience. Perhaps you have had a different experience with the Ahh Bra? Even if not, what other bras do you recommend - for sport or otherwise. Share in the comments section!

Clever Ways to Rock Colorful Trends

With Spring weather finally peeking out from the horizon, bright, bold colors are taking over fashion. (I am especially loving all of the neon popping up everywhere!) However, if you work in a buttoned-up, corporate environment, you may find it a challenge to add these trends into your professional attire. Here are a few clever ways to integrate colorful accents into your work wardrobe!
Color Pop
 
Embrace accessories! A bright scarf. Colorful flats. A bold statement necklace. These are just a few ways to add a pop of color to your wardrobe without allowing the color to dominate your look. (As always, be careful - you want to pick ONE bold accessory...anything more and you run the risk of looking too trendy and fashionable...not necessarily what you want to go for in the office.)
Remember: Fast Fashion is your friend! Let's say you fall in love with bold, striking color...you love it, but know that you won't get a lot of mileague out of a piece of apparel that color in the long term. (I mean, really, how long do we expect neon to be all the rage?) Instead of investing tons of money into buying major pieces, why not rely on good ol' fast fashion? Target, H&M, Forever 21, and other places can allow you into indulge in a bold cami or necklace without breaking the bank. Colorful cosmetics! We all know the power of rocking a bold lip. But what about trying some colorful eyeliner? Or perhaps a unique shade of nail polish? For about $8, you can add a colorful twist to ensemble. These are just a few suggestions. What other ways do you like to add color to your work wardrobe?