Bathing Suit Anxiety – Body Talk

bikini
What can I say about learning to love your body that hasn’t been said before? We all know that numbers shouldn’t mean a thing. That self-deprecating and depriving yourself of food only leads to stuffing your face in front of the TV. That the media is bad. That being healthy is more important than being skinny. We get it. 

But do we remember it when me most need to?

Next week I leave for a week-long vacation at a Jamaican resort with my entire family. Excited doesn’t begin to explain what I’m feeling inside. The beach is my happy place.

Yet, here I am again, close to tears, as I try on my various bathing suits. A wave of rage and hate rolls over me as I scrutinize every inch of cellulite, every stretch mark, and every extra inch of fat that hangs over the thin layers of spandex. 

I’ve come a long way since I was the 22-year-old girl who ate under 500 calories a day, glued herself to the treadmill for hours and thought maybe she might be worthy of a happy life if I was just 115 pounds.

In the past 10 years I’ve grown out of my need to achieve the “perfect” body. I found happiness in my 150 pounds, in life and in love and matured. 

But then why does that starving girl take over my body while I’m in the dressing room of Old Navy, pinching at my hips and thighs and telling myself I look disgusting? She makes me feel like the girl writhing on the couch in pain on Sunday morning, complaining of the worst hangover ever and exclaiming, “I will never drink again!”. Yes you will. 

No matter how many inspirational quotes on body image and self-love that we pin on Pinterest, no matter how strong and muscular we make our bodies, no matter how often we flaunt about self confidently, that self-doubt always finds a way to creep back in.

I fill my head with these thoughts because when I’m trying on bathing suits I picture the perfect woman lounging on the perfect beach.

You’ve seen her too. she’s in every single advertisement, commercial, magazine, weight loss article, celebrity gossip magazine. She’s ingrained in our brain since childhood, haunting us, telling us, ” I have it all! men want me, women was to be like me. I rule everything and I’m so happy!”

Lies. Deep down we know she’s lying to us, right?

She’s not happy. Being happy means that you must feel. And she can’t feel because she’s merely an object to be admired. A pretty little thing for us all to gawk at and admire. Her toned legs and perky breasts are no different from a sand sculpture on the beach. 

No one looks like her on the beach. The beach is messy. If she were real, she’d be smothered in greasy spf 50 sun tan lotion, with sand lodged in places unmentionable. The wind and salty air will have created a rat’s nest of her hair. (Seriously have you ever seen “mermaid curls” on the actual beach?) She’d be bored out of her mind trying to sit and look pretty, missing out on all the fun. 

By comparing ourselves to her we are participating in self objectification.

We are viewing ourselves as objects, making it impossible for us to be anything but. We are socialized to think we will always be less than if we are not perfect. Perfect isn’t for humans. 

You know what makes me feel beautiful at the beach? Playing in the waves, body surfing, sailing, getting lost in a good beach read, acting silly with my husband at the swim up bar, running on the beach. This is what makes me beautiful.

Yet  those thoughts never cross my mind while staring at my reflection in the dressing room back at home.

While trying on your bathing suit, focus on all the fun you will be having in it, rather than what your reflection is telling you. Step away from the mirrors and reflect on your memories and hopes of adventure instead. 

I always stress before a vacation but once I’m on vacation I’m having way too much fun to be bothered about the way I look in my bathing suit.
 
So I must limit the time of scrutinizing of myself. I’m not an object to be studied. I should stop the examination after I discover a suit has a nice pattern or color, covers the pieces I want covered and will stay put while I’m swimming and running. I must stop treating my body in a bikini like an object and more like a vessel for allowing me to have fun. 
 
I don’t want to bring home memories of regret of sitting in my beach chair agonizing over my stretch marks and fat rolls. 
I want to remember how good those multiple desserts at the buffet tasted and the endless frozen drinks cooled me down. I want to remember acting like kids again in the ocean with my siblings and husband and the the way my husband looked at me over cocktails.
 
I want to remember the way the sun and the ocean air and the fun with my loved ones made me feel simply beautiful.  
 
Mr. Thomas & Me

Being Critical is Exhausting, Cheers not Jeers

supportive hand holding

We women can sure be mean to each other. Mean girls don’t die out after high school (and hey happy 10th Anniversary Mean Girls!). Don’t lie, we’ve all done it. The cocktail infused gossip fest that starts with one little dig and then escalates and escalates until it seems like you and your girlfriends are ruthless dictators cackling your heads off at the expense of another woman (sometimes even another friend! gasp!)  

Last week when I was driving home after such a gabfest I couldn’t help but think, what was the point of that? What part of that conversation lifted us up or made our hearts sing? Did we learn anything new about each other or ourselves? 

I tend to be a positive person, constantly reminding myself and other to “find the positive” and to “choose happiness”.  I know I annoy Ryan sometimes because I can hear him right now saying, “Sometimes I just want to be negative and be upset!” And that’s the problem, isn’t? Misery loves company. Negativity is like a fatal virus, it just takes one tiny comment for an outbreak to spread. Pretty soon we’re spewing out negative comments because that’s what everyone else is doing. Well, like The Lion King taught us, life is one big circle, and pretty soon that negativity is going to be coming right back to you. 

We need to stop tearing each other down and instead start lifting each other up. Sit back and think about all the time and energy you spend on hating on other women, whether you’re jealous, being critical, or simply tearing another woman down. Now, picture if you used all of that time and energy to lift up other women. Ladies, we hold the precious power to build a community of strong-minded and bold loving women. Yet, we’d rather isolate ourselves. 

Take yourself back to the last time someone gave you a positive compliment, comment, or gesture. Didn’t it just make your day? Pass it on!  We all want empowerment. Together, we need to build it. Together we can be resilient. Imagine what we could accomplish if we were all full of positive encouragement everyday. 

As bloggers we have the opportunity to build a community and to inspire with words. Last week I took part in Ashten and Amber’s Happy Hour Hangout and had the opportunity to meet a lovely group of women including the all around beautiful and inspiring Casey from Aslan’s Auspicious Albany Adventure does a weekly link up called Jeers not Cheers that asks bloggers to spread the love and encouragement by sharing their recent favorite bloggers and blog posts. Love it! 

Cheers not Jeers
Today I wanted to share with you some of the recent posts that I wanted to pass on to others because they either touched my heart, inspired me, or made me laugh. 

Emily from Ember Grey inspired us all to Just Do You. The blogging community can be a weird place, I find myself constantly doubting what I’m writing and sharing and if I should be doing it at all. Emily reminds us to follow your own heart and write for yourself, in the end your true self will shine through. 

Erika from All Things E is a beautiful writer that always seems to be living inside of my head! Last week she wrote, Love Thy Neighborhood about how loving where you live can have a huge effect on your happiness. I’m currently in the works of writing about how I fell in love with my current home city, even though I never could ever picture living here. Now it’s home. 

Marquis from Simply Clarke shared one of her favorite marriage lessons in 1 Question to Ask Your Husband Every Day. Her words reminded me that we need to pay more attention to the day-to-day interactions of our marriage, even if you are A+ communicators, small feelings or needs can easily fall through the cracks. Sometimes people need reminders that you are there for them, all the time. 

Sara from Life as a Hughes shared her post I’m Not A Fashionista or a Foodie, humorously writing about how she doesn’t necessarily fit the description of a typical blogger. This spoke to my heart as I believe there are zero rules to living life, except those your write for yourself. Life can so easily put us in boxes. Sara shared the fact that she’s just going to keep doing her thing and won’t try to fit into a trendy mold. 

Spread the love people! Please comment below and share any women that are inspiring you lately! 

xoxo Katie

Life is Begging Me…

the color purple“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.”  – Alice Walker, The Color Purple

I once heard that you can only live a successful life if you only allow yourself 3 main priorities. This week, my business and personal life chose them for me, leaving my writing and blog on the sidelines. I’m taking some time off from the blog this week. I’ll be back next week.

Be sure to notice and admire all that is going on in your world, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I was reminded this morning that I’m in control of the beauty and when you find it, it’s blatantly clear that this world was made for love.

xoxo Katie

 

Before You Get Married Be Sure To…

wedding dress fitting

Hello friends, I’ve been meaning to write posts about my wedding day for months now. I kept thinking I had so much time, but I can’t believe that it’s already been 8.5 months! I thought I should start documenting our wedding events before our one year anniversary comes, so, let’s get to it!

I’m starting with an important wedding dress tip which I learned the hard way. Brides – I hope you can learn from my mistake!

wedding dress romantic

I got engaged on December 4, 2012 and got married on June 2, 2013. Those 6 months were equally the most exciting and most stressful months ever. I had so much fun planning every detail of the wedding with my mom and relished the engagement season with Ryan.

wedding garden birdcage

Things were going pretty smoothly as we sailed toward our wedding date. My mom and I were highly organized, armored with countless spreadsheets and to do lists, trying to guarantee that all elements of the weekend would execute perfectly. It worked! All the tasks were getting done on time and every last detail was falling into place.

That was until 3 days before the wedding when disaster struck, proving that no plan, no matter how organized you are, is ever safe proof.

It was the Thursday before my Sunday June 2 wedding and my mind was in 50 billion different places. I was 60% excited to finally have this day arrive and 40% anxious about everything going off without a hitch. I left work mid afternoon and began hurrying around finishing up last minute items. I wanted to finish everything before my Maid Of Honor came over to learn how to bustle my wedding dress.

Ah the wedding dress. The main focus of the wedding. (Besides the lovely couple that is.)

wedding dress fairytale

I was head over heels in love with my dress. I searched high and low before I found it. I don’t even want to think of all the dresses I tried on. After awhile they all started to look the same to me and I just about gave up before a stylist recommended I slip on one more. At first glance I started to cry. That’s how they tell you you know it’s “the one”. My dress was the perfect combination of classic elegance and fairytale whimsy – perfect for my Secret Garden wedding theme.

garden wedding dress

I had been to three fittings and at this point the dress fit like a glove. I was excited to put it on again and show my best friend (and MOH, Kay) who hadn’t seen it since we first picked it out. My mom had drawn an intense diagram of how to bustle the dress. Apparently it was very complicated, I could never see anything going on back there. All I knew was that the dress was very heavy and the long train had to go somewhere once the ceremony was over or else I’d need Kay to walk around with me all evening carrying my dress.

lace up back corset gown

The three of us, as giddy as can be, started the process of getting me in the dress. A major operation in itself. My dress had a lace up back and I had to hold onto an open door, Scarlet O’Hara style as my Mom and Kay laced up my corset back gown.

lace up back wedding gown

I’d hold my breath and pray for my ribs as they tugged and pulled. Fifteen minutes later I was in my dress. We all ooohed and awed and I could barely contain my excitement as I started at my reflection. Everything still looked and fit perfectly! I was going to be getting married in this dress in three days!!! I started to feel all the emotions swarming in.

bride checking out wedding dress

Next, my Dad wanted to practice walking with me. He was more anxious about making a mistake than I was! We lined ourselves up and said out loud, “okay so it’s going to be right, together, left, together, right together and so on”.  We gave each other a little hand squeeze. We got this. My mom pushed “play”on her cell phone and Canon in D, my wedding march song, started to play. We started walking down the hall way, just like we would be walking down the aisle at my wedding in three days.

Until I realized I couldn’t.

Every time I took a step forward my foot would get stuck in the skirt of my dress. In order to walk without tripping over myself I had to left my leg up as if I was marching and kick out my dress a little before moving my foot forward. Underneath my layers of tulle I was performing the routine of a 70-year-old Rockette dancer. I looked over at my mom with wide eyes that said it all. This was not going to work. I am getting married in three days and I can’t walk in my wedding dress.

wedding shoes

There was no hope for a home remedy. The dress was going to have to be trimmed, one way or another. And yes, I did have three fittings. And yes, I had worn my wedding heels during the fittings. And yes, I walked around a bit in the dress during those fittings. But only a bit. The seamstress worked out of her home and I walked probably a maximum of 5 feet in one room.

Ladies, if you are getting married, you must practice walking, as if you’re walking down the aisle, before you leave your final fitting. Crucial. I wish someone had told me that.

It was 10 p.m. on a Thursday night. I was in full panic mood. I know I was past the point of anxiety because I didn’t even have the will to cry. I had two days to fix this, and one day was Saturday which was full of wedding  rehearsal events. My mom called our seamstress. She didn’t pick up. We left her an urgent message basically begging her for any kind of help. My mom also reached out a close friend who does a little sewing, she volunteered to help but was also very busy.

After months of careful planning and management, I went to bed that night not knowing how this crisis was going to be fixed. I could barely sleep and had visions of me cutting the layer of tulle off of the dress myself .

At 7:15 a Wedding Miracle occurred! My angel of a seamstress called at 7:20 a.m. to say that she was free anytime that day to fix the dress. Hallelujah. I re arranged my day and my maid of honor and I visited my seamstress on Friday afternoon. She took off about 2 inches and I spent 10 minutes practicing walking and dancing in the dress.

Everything worked out perfectly.

wedding sparkler send off

On my wedding day, my dress fit like a dream and no falls, trips, no hopeless Rockette dance moves occurred. Thank goodness for my miracle of a seamstress. So brides, be sure to practice walking, dancing, running, whatever you plan on doing in your dress, in the shoes you intend on wearing. This tip should be printed in every bridal dress shop!

Did you have any last-minute dress drama?

xoxo Katie

 

DIY Chocolate Face Mask

diy chocolate face mask, oatmeal honey

My skin has taken a beating this winter. The cold is never-ending as is the dryness. Even though I was applying face moisturizer twice daily, my face was always dry, flaky, and screaming for help. So, I decided to try out an all natural face mask and stumbled upon this moisturizing chocolate facial recipe.

I was sold after the word chocolate. A nourishing skin treatment that is also edible?! Sign me up!

This mask is super easy to make with only four ingredients you probably already have at home:

diy chocolate face mask ingrediants Each of these ingredients provide nourishment to your skin. I would have never thought oatmeal would be beneficial to my face, but check these benefits:

Cocoa: Chocolate and cocoa powder has the amazing power to lift your moods and lower stress levels. Cocoa contains rich anti-oxidants that help repair damaged skin and help smooth out imperfections.

Honey: Is a great anti-bacterial agent that helps open up pores and deeply cleanses.

Oatmeal: Is a gentle on the skin and acts as a healing agent to many skin irritants (burns, poison ivy, bug bites, sunburn). Oatmeal is a powerful exfoliant and removes dead skin and clears pores.

Cream (sour cream for me) Moisturizes skin and diminishes fine lines.

To make, mix together:

1/4 cup cocoa

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons of sour cream

and 3 tablespoons of crushed oatmeal (I put mine in the blender).

chocolate face mask

Once mixed, generously apply the paste to your face. I really felt like I was mixing together a batch of cookies and wasn’t too keen on applying this mess to my face. As you can see, I look like something that crawled out of the swamp and is ready to attack village children. So just do it!

Once the mask is applied, lie down and relax for 20 minutes and let the chocolate mixture work its magic!

diy chocolate face mask

I loved smelling like dessert and was instantly relaxed. Best part of it being all natural? You’re able to sneak a lick or too!

After your 20 minutes are up, gently remove the mask with a luke warm towel. I must admit, this part was a little messy. It took a good handful of paper towels and face towels to completely remove all of the paste.

Once I was all cleaned off my skin felt fresh and clean and soft. For best results, complete this mask 2 times a week.

What do you think? Will you try out a chocolate face mask? Perfect for a girls night in and I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate that nourishes both your soul and your skin?

xoxo Katie

Use Your Voice (vlogging like a boss)

Well, I did it! I did my very first video vlog. I really wanted to take on this challenge because I like to think of this blog as a personal wine or coffee date with friends. I wanted to share my voice and for you to see more of the  “real life” me.

Like I imagined, it was terribly awkward talking to myself on my webcam and I sound VERY serious. I managed to only have one mind blank, so laugh your way through that one. YouTube will always get the last laugh and pick the worst screenshot possible to use. But, I did it, and it really wasn’t as bad as it seemed after I started talking.

I decided to vlog about the power of using our own personal voices. If you don’t show respect and confidence in yourself and your own thoughts, why would should anyone else? Check it out and then enter to win an inspirational bracelet below!

I wear my “Be The Change” bangle from The Shine Project: Threads to remind me that I am in control of my own story, that I hold the power to make the changes I want to see in my world. I love Threads (they help at risk youths attain their goals of going to college and establishing careers and being who they want to be!) so much that I decided to giveaway one of their “Be The Change” bangles to one of you!

Threads giveaway

Enter below and remember to tell me what YOU want to change in your personal life in your comment!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

xoxo Katie

My Make Up Favorites

I’m no make up expert. Hell, lately it’s a miracle if I make it to work with having applied moisturizer and a hint of eye liner. (Don’t worry, I usually have the office to myself).  I still don’t know how to properly apply concealer or foundation – I generally stick to eye make up and rocking a red lip.

So, stop reading if you’re looking for professional or scientific make up help!

But, if you’re an average girl who likes learning about new products or seeing what others do, stick around!

I love learning what other “normal” people’s make up routine is. I prefer an honest review from an average person instead of the over did girl at Sephora trying to sell me something that would break my bank if I purchased it annually.

Here are my g0 to pieces of make up. I have a few other shadows and fancier bronzers that I pull out when I’m feeling fancy, but on an average day this is what I use:

mary-kay-timewise-age-fighting-moisturizerMary Kay Time Wise Moisturizer

I lather this NON slimy moisturizer on my face twice a day (three times during this dry winter). Love that it has SPF and an anti-aging element.

MAYBELLINE Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Treatment

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser and Dark Circle Treatment

Next, I roll on this light concealer. The product comes out of a sponge like device and rubs easily into the puffy circles under my eyes. This helps get rid of any small bags caused by drinking too much wine or only getting 5 hours of sleep. Don’t expect miracles, but it doesn’t a pretty darn good job.

maybelline dream-fresh-bb

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB 8-In-1 Beauty Balm Skin Perfector

So BB creams are all the range. I wasn’t using ANY foundation before I picked up this gem a few months ago. I don’t use it every day, but when I do, I love how light and fresh it feels on my skin. It evens out my coloring and doesn’t make my skin look cakey at all.

toofaced eye shadow primer

Too Faced Shadow Insurance Primer

I would never put on eye shadow without putting on this primer first. It makes my eye shadow last ALL DAY. No creases, no fading, no smudging.

mac eye shadow plummage Mac Eye Shadow in Plummage

I’ve been using Plummage for 9 years. I could praise Plummage all day-  I don’t know what I’d do if MAC discontinues this color.  I use an eye liner brush and use a small bit as eyeliner. It’s my favorite piece of make up.

sephora nano eye liner midnight black

Sephora Nano Eye Liner in Midnight Black

If I want to add additional eye liner I smudge this on. It definitely has a more “smudging” effect rather than a liquid liner. It’s great for smoky eyes.

s1345404-main-hero

 

Too Faced Eye Shadow (generally smoky palette)

Next I add a little eye shadow. I generally put a small layer of a smoky dark blue right above my eye liner. I follow that by covering my entire eye lid with a medium hint of brown. I finish off with a dab of light beige or pink shadow in the middle of my eye lid.

diroshow mascara

Dior Show Mascara in Rich Black

I have short, pale, thin eyelashes. I have found no other mascara that can make my lashes look so full, long, and dark. When I first bought this mascara it was a game changer. Yes, it’s a little pricey, but worth it.

Make up forever aqua rouge Make Up Forever Aqua Rouge Lip Stain

This stuff is magic! I love lip sticks and swore of gloss a few years ago. (I can’t stand the stickiness or getting my hair stuck in it!). This lip stain applies like a gloss but feels like a stick.

I was introduced to it when picking out a lip color for my wedding. It lasted my entire wedding day. Even after many kisses, tears, cake eating, and drinking my color was still very present. I now wear it as my go to lip color. I love the pomegranate pink and iconic red.

There you have it! Please share some of your favorites, I’m always looking for new tips and new products.

xoxo Katie