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Thanksgiving Fresh!

I’ve been struggling with the budget at home lately. We have a lot of work that needs to be done on the house we are currently in, and none it will be cheap! We are blessed to have all we have, but the things we are facing require us to SAVE! Keeping that in mind, I was getting so discouraged about wearing the same old outfits that I have been wearing since last year to family gatherings this week. I know what you all are thinking: you blog about clothes!?! I do blog about clothing and fashion from time to time, but that doesn’t mean I spend a fortune on it. Also, life changes just as the seasons do. There are seasons in mine and my hubby’s life where we are able to spend more and do more. In this season, we are saving to finally remodel our house and to make some other changes.

So, as I went on with life thinking of various ways to put new spins on what I already had in my closet, I found myself in the right place at the right time. I had a meeting in another city for my job, and afterwards I found myself with about 30 to 45 minutes of time before my next meeting that day. So, I drove in route to my next location, and noticed a Cato’s Fashions. I’ve got a few minutes, so why not stop?! And, I’m glad I did!

I’ve been sleeping on Cato’s for a long time. I think I went in one day about six months ago in search of a specific item, and came out empty handed. I just began to pass them by from that point on. Sorry Cato’s, but we are definitely friends again!

I actually bought 4 items, and links are below. However, I only took pictures for my favorite two items. I will be putting both of these dresses on at some point during the Thanksgiving shuffle.

This Faux Suede Midi Dress was on sale in store for $14.99! It was perfect in every way! The material stretches, and it gives… just in case you were planning your outfit around your meals. I was so surprised, because the dress ran small. I am normally an 18/20. I had to get this dress in a 16. I paired it with some basic accessories. The earrings were on sale at Cato’s, as well – $1.99!



The next dress, I could not find on the website to save my life! Ladies, you may only be able to get this dress in store. And, I wish you luck, because this yellow/orange hued midi dress was only $9.99! I was in heaven when I put this dress on! It runs small. I am wearing a 16 in this dress, as well. If I find a similar dress in my searches, I will definitely share. The earrings are another sale item at Cato’s – $1.99!


Let me just tell you, I am one happy woman! I got two dresses, two pairs of earrings, an Asymmetrical Zip Pencil Skirt ($6.99), A Knit Sweater Duster (Similar Here – Vest), and Lace Up Flats – $7.99 for $50.00! To God be the Glory! Have an awesome Thanksgiving with friends and family! Keep checking out the blog! I plan to post over the Thanksgiving break!

*All photos taken by @VisualbyT

 

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Blessings and Blues

The blog has not had much TLC over the last month or so. I can tell you guys about all the wonderful things I’ve been up to. But, the reality is that all those wonderful tales of time not being on my side; taking care of my home; my job consuming my life; etc. are just some nice explanations to justify my lack of organization and time management. I mean really, could I not have gotten one blog completed in the last month or so?

Well, here I am now! I’ve been all over the place with things – hence the lack of organization. It’s hard to organize your life when you don’t quite know the direction you are going in. It is easy to wake up every morning, go to work, and do routine things. However, if you have a spark inside of you, there is always something tugging at you day and night that creates an uneasiness in the routine. I’ve been experiencing that spark, pull, uneasiness, or whatever you want to call it lately. So, it’s been hard for me to just go through the routine day to day. I haven’t quite figured out the plan or purpose God has for me. I do know that it is more than the routine. I know that whenever I feel that uneasiness in my spirit, I plan to make a move. I may not know where or why, but I plan to move!

Now, let’s be real. A move doesn’t mean I’m changing the world in one post, making a large investment in whatever, or creating a business in a matter of minutes. A move means simply that. I’m going to move. For example, this blog post is a move. Entering the Ashley Steward Model Search was making a move. Trust me, I went back and forth on entering for a week! Everything inside me said go for it, but for some reason the routine was getting the best of me. I made excuse after excuse to not take an updated picture. I used the daily routine as an excuse to justify not having time to take a picture or to do a post. Finally, my husband (@VisualbyT) reminded me on Sunday (the last day to submit entries) afternoon that I had asked him to take pictures for this opportunity. I fixed my mouth to say OK, to get dressed, and to make an effort to get at least one good shot. And, I was truly amazed! The end result are these beautiful shots!

I wore a pair of Eloquii shorts that are simply perfect for me. I really am not a shorts person, but these are not your average shorts. Hopefully, they will be available next spring/summer. However, I do plan to wear them into the Fall with tights. The eyelet detail ads a classiness that works for me. The only con to these shorts is the side zipper. I am sure there is a reason so many plus size brands do this with pants, skirts, and shorts; but, I absolutely hate the side zipper! Someone tell me why? The shorts were true to size, and I had no complaints whatsoever. I wore a peplum top, which has been a part of my closet for sometime now. Instead of a cute sweatheart or pointy heel, I went for a cute ankle bootie. It’s Fall isn’t it?!

I am thankful that my hubby was there to keep the spark alive with a little motivation. Sometimes that’s all we need. I don’t know what the outcome of the Ashley Stewart model search will be. However, I do know that if you don’t move, you aren’t giving God anything to bless. Get moving people! Have a blessed day!

Studio Eyelet Detail Short – Sold Out – Peplum Top (Similar)

Working It Out

Women have a built in ability to simply work things out. No matter how many hours are in a day, or how few resources are available, we seem to just work it out. So, I’m sure any woman can understand my frustration with not being able to simply… work out. Seriously, I have been a human yo-yo with my weight, eating habits, and workout discipline the last few months. The struggle is all too real!

I had begun to doubt my ability to be the strong woman I usually know myself to be. Standing in the mirror saying – “You are wonderfully and beautifully made in His image. You can accomplish and achieve all things, because your strength comes from above” – was no longer holding the same uplifting and motivational boost it once held before. My faith hadn’t changed, but my faith in myself and my ability to push through had definitely changed. Truthfully, I thought it was gone. I wasn’t able to find the motivation to do workouts at 9:00 pm or 10:00 pm like I had done so long ago.

*side note: yes, I say the statement above to myself almost every morning!

The reality is that life has changed for me. We never really think about how external changes effect everything going on inside. I was trying to work out and navigate life like I did years ago. That makes no sense, right? But, it made sense to me when I became frustrated about things not being as easy as before. Of course I could work out at 9 or 10 pm before… I wasn’t a wife and I didn’t have a little one who fights her 8:30 pm bedtime well until after 9:00 pm. I didn’t have the same responsibilities. My job did not demand extra hours of work outside of the traditional 9:00 to 5:00. Things have changed, and the reality is that I will probably never go back to the days of extreme workouts at all times in the night. But, that doesn’t change this one fact: I was not happy with where I was with my body.

Here’s the mantra, “I can and will change the things I can change.” There are so many things that I am not in control of, but these things… what I put in my mouth & how I treat my body… are things I have control of. Though I may not go hard in the gym daily, I do make sure I get some cardio in at least 3 to 4 times a week. If you are a curvy girl, I recommend getting some great workout gear that won’t have your thighs on fire. Recently, I invested in a couple of items from Lane Bryant’s Livi Active line. The signature stretch active knee shorts have been great! I hate that I always have to find some leggings or some biker shorts to wear under my traditional work out shorts to keep my thighs from chaffing and hurting after a jog. Plus, it’s hot outside! Who wants to workout in 90 degree plus weather in leggings?

My frustration has become a form of some acceptance. I accept that things in my life have changed for the good, and that means making decisions that work for me at this stage in my life. My time is limited, and if my workout happens while playing with my little one, it’s a win for the family. I may not burn 800+ calories, but I am being active and spending time with my family. My choices revolve around a greater goal than simply looking a certain way. My choices revolve around my happiness and the happiness of my two loves. I may not be happy with my body, but I’m happy with the choices I’m making to change it now. The results will not be as fast, but the results will be there when they come. I’m working it out for the season my life is in now.

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 LB Livi Active Knee Shorts – Get Them Here

Photo cred: My hubby – TJ Glenn @Goodfella_t1k

A Little Motivation

Your Body Hears

My intentions for the New Year were to be more dedicated to blogging. It’s still January. However, I do feel that I have fallen behind. My hope is that this little page of mine can be a little piece of positivity for someone out there. This blog is a space to share what little wisdom I’ve learned in this short life of mine, and a space for me to reset.

Today, I truly needed a reset. Have you ever just had a day where you wish you could just rewind and start again? The problem with wishing for something like that, is that nothing would really change. We are who we are, and if we don’t change the person, the end result will ultimately be the same. You may think you would choose door #2 the next time, but you wouldn’t.

Then, there comes a day when you actually want to pick another door. You want a different outcome, and the only way to do that is to change something. Change is you becoming different in some way. Change can happen in your attitude. Change can happen in your eating habits. Change can happen in your efforts to work out. Change can happen in a number of ways, but we all have to change to grow. I’ve chosen to really start back working out, and to change how I respond to things that I ultimately can’t change. I have been so sluggish lately, and I’ve gained weight… enough to make me uncomfortable. Honestly, I’ve looked at myself and have said some pretty bad things about this body. I can preach body positivity all day long, but if I am unhappy, I have to do something about it. I would suggest the same to anyone else.

There is a clear difference in being happy in your body, than being unhappy because someone else made you feel that way. Most of the time, women are simply unhappy because we are constantly comparing ourselves to what some other woman, ad, magazine, or man has said is the picture of beauty. That unhappiness is unhealthy, and sometimes we let these things do a good job of making us feel insecure in own perfect bodies.

My need to change comes from an evaluation of myself, and a comparison to my own standards. And, today was the worst. I had so much on my mind. I had to motivate myself to do a 30 minute workout. The 30 minute workout was by far one of my worst and slowest. Everything just seemed to be off.  I got off the elliptical and started beating myself up from that point forward. I kept thinking, “why didn’t you do an extra 10 minutes? Why didn’t you go harder? You will never lose this extra weight?” I kept thinking all the negative things, and totally forgot about the positive.

I forgot that I was actually blessed to see another day. I forgot to be thankful for my little family at home. I forgot to be supportive of myself in the fact that I actually did go workout, instead of just turning around and having another day of drinking wine. I forgot to think on the good, and I let my mind focus only on the bad. And, honestly, I forgot to love myself today. We can have all the good intentions and want to change for whatever reasons in whatever areas. But, change will never be permanent, if you can’t love the person you are trying to be. Love yourself today, and everyday! I hope this is a little motivation for someone.

In the Midst of A Self-Hate Attack Storm with Nothing to Wear!

I was in the midst of a real rut last week, and felt like I had nothing to wear! I went to the closet and looked, and looked, and looked some more… I just kept flipping through each dress, skirt, shirt, blouse, etc. until I just gave up. I had to make a decision! Our baby girl will only sit quietly and watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse so long while mommy gets dressed in the mornings.

I was in a dark place, some of you may know this place, where you are feeling so down about your body and appearance that you just can’t see the good right in front of you. I only had nothing to wear because I was in the midst of a self-hate attack! It’s hard to pull out of a self-hate attack. How can you pull yourself out of something that you think is true in that moment? I felt like I didn’t look like the image of myself that I had idealized in my head. The funny thing is that I couldn’t tell you what image that was! I just kept looking in the mirror and thinking, “this looks horrible!”

The mind is a powerful thing. Your thoughts have the power to make you believe that you just aren’t good enough some days, and they have the power to make you believe you can take over the world some days! Normally, I have more days where I believe I can take over the world, than the days like the one I was having last week. Finally, I took a step back in the mirror to just see me. I had on a dress that I had worn earlier this summer. I looked back at a picture of myself with the dress on, and tried to see what made today different from a month or so ago… I had gained weight. I hadn’t noticed it in my day to day comings and goings, but I had gained about 15 lbs, and all of it seemed to be in my belly. So, the dress that once looked great, looked horrible because of my bigger belly.

I don’t know about you, but once I know the root of an issue, I can handle any problem! It was like my rut was over! I went back to my closet, picked up a black ASOS skirt that I loved, and just slid it over the dress to see what the end result would be. Like magic, my mood instantly changed and the day could go on! My belly was no longer the focus, and my outfit was complete – just in time too! I had a little munchkin standing at our bedroom door within seconds of the Hot Dog song ending.

I hate that I went to that place of self-hate with myself, because I am constantly trying to promote self-love and body confidence. I guess it was necessary for me to see something I needed to change. If being the best you, means re-shifting back to a more active and healthier you, then do it! I know that is the case for me. I have worked out on and off about 3 times a week, but I can’t say that everything I have put in my body has been in moderation… everything that I have put in my body has not been good, either! I’ve been feeding my body junk, and in turn I have been feeling less than myself. I know that I can change that feeling now, and simply slide a little black skirt over my troubles, until I get it back together!

Blog B&WBlog Leyah - Blue and Black

Anniversary Weekend!

So, my husband and I have been married for 2 years! Yay to love! We dated for about 5 years before we got married. And trust me… Marriage is definitely different from dating! It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been together. Marriage is a game changer! I’m thankful that my husband and I are ready for the challenge, because in the end the good always outweighs the bad!
Tonight we went out, and I decided to bring on the color! Orange you glad I did!

The orange dress is a Cynthia Rowley find at TJ Maxx. There are a number of skater dress finds that are similar at Forever 21. The shoes are a Goodwill find! Yes! Brand New Candie’s for $5.00! The necklace is from Target!

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#WCW for My Daughter

Wednesday = hump day, and I am desperately trying to make it over that hump! I was doing my usual browsing on social media earlier and I kept coming across this: #wcw. This week I’ve seen a number of women posting themselves as their own #wcw. I thought this was silly at first, but then I realized that sometimes (if not all the time) you have to be your own “woman crush.” 

I went through years of my life not feeling as though I was beautiful. Its tough to go through a period of your life feeling as if you are less than others, because you don’t have long hair; you have a little extra weight; or your clothes aren’t as stylish. I didn’t feel like I every truly fit in anywhere. Don’t get me wrong, I had friends. But, I still felt insecure about so many things. Life definitely changed for me. I have a husband who loves me, and a wonderful daughter.

I developed an eating disorder during the last part of my high school years. I was bulimic, and it wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was kind of confusing… I think some people wondered how I could still be heavy, but have an eating disorder. It just didn’t seem to make sense. Well, real talk, fat girls can have eating disorders too! That’s not something to be proud of, but society often associates anything surrounding bulimia or anorexia with skinny women. I remember someone telling me it was OK for me to not eat or throw up my food, because I had so much fat and could stand to lose the weight. Hearing things like that make body issues harder to deal with.

I dreaded my bad habit, but I just couldn’t stop. I felt bad during, but afterwards I would feel as if I had done something toward making my physical appearance better. I felt like I was doing something to help make me more of a “woman crush.” When I was actually crushing my self identity. Every time I went to the bathroom after eating, I was telling myself that I wasn’t good enough. I was telling myself that my superficial view of beauty was more important than my health.

I had to readjust my thinking, and this took years… It has taken me years to break a habit that took all of 5 minutes to start. And now I’m trying to break a number of other habits all for our baby girl. I want her image of herself to be healthy. I want her to understand that her beauty is not measured by any other standard than the one that she sets.

My goal is to never have her hear me degrade myself or my body in front of her. I know that she will hold on to what I do and not what I say. So l want to crush all of my negative habits. This includes jokingly talking about my body, but seriously meaning the lighthearted comments that we as women make in jest.

I NEVER want our daughter to ever feel less than any other person. I do not want her to feel the way I did growing up a little chunkier than everyone else. Right now, at this moment, she is perfect in every way. She’s our baby girl, our heart, and our joy. Her smile makes me smile, and her happiness is all I wish for. I wish for her, a lifetime of happiness. I wish for her, a lifetime of knowing she is beautiful by God’s standards and not the world’s. She is beautifully and wonderfully made in His image, and that is perfection at its best. I want her to be her own #wcw, but not just a woman crush on Wednesday, EVERYDAY!

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