Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Behind the Scenes with BoPo Babes: ModernDayRomeo92

Welcome to my new blog series! I will be going behind the selfie sticks, tripods, and self timers with some of my favorite body positive babes. I suspect if they're not your favorites yet, they will be soon!

Tevin, aka @moderndayromeo92 is an American Eagle Outfitters in store stylist and freelancer with a Stylist where they work on anything from celebrities to editorial shoots. He only recently found the body positive community. Someone suggested that he tag his Easter Sunday outfit with #bopo and within a matter of minutes he received more traffic on his page than ever before. “People responded so well and it made me happy that the comments being made were about confidence - that's a big thing for me. I always want to inspire others to be confident to be the best person they can be for themselves and those around them.”

 He may not have been following the bopo community online, but Tevin has always been an advocate for self love. “I definitely would say I was all about self love and body positivity (before social media). In high school I was a part of the dance program and so much of my life centered around that and although I was big then too I always strived to not let my weight hold me back. I remember the first day being nervous about changing my front of the other guys and my dance instructor giving me tough love and saying get over it.”

Dancing has a central theme in his self love journey. “(In real life) there's no hiding behind angles to contort your body to look a certain way like they do in photos and the words you write with every post don't quite sound the same. But the truth is it 100% better. I use my body (to promote the bopo lifestyle)! I love to dance, in the classroom or on the dance floor and I don't care who watches me! I tell everyone that one of the most liberating things I ever did was take off my shirt at a club and just dance.”

He has quickly fallen into the bopo way of online life. Someone he looks up to in the community is Kelvin Davis of @notoriouslydapper. “I may have fanboyed just a little meeting him in between shows at men's fashion week.”

And like all our bopo babes, he doesn’t let the negative comments he may receive phase him. He said beyond blocking them, they don’t really make a dent in his day. His motto is to “be a pillar of positivity in all aspects; don't feed into negativity, shine your light upon those situations. People will always take notice of a perspective that is of good will! Your body is your body don't let someone else's perception of beauty dictate yours!”

If he’s having a bad body day, something we can all relate to, he turns to family and music. “I do have them a lot more frequently than you'd think. I share those thoughts with my sisters and my boyfriend. Usually a quick dance break helps too and it's great cardio!”

Working in fashion gives him a perfect platform to speak about inclusivity. “I realized that in popularity comes responsibility. From the time I started working at American Eagle Outfitters I made it my responsibility to be an advocate for the guy who isn't the average size sold in store no matter his body type. I wanted to be the guy who makes these guys comfortable with coming in to shop to start building that connection with the brand and them. To look a guy in the eye that I know is feeling discouraged about not finding his size I can share my story my struggles with him. I can be that person they feel they can trust to explain their insecurities and desires for how they want to be perceived.”

Lightning Round

Favorite Happy Song?
  • TAYLOR SWIFT SHAKE IT OFF! I'm a huge Swiftie
What’s a movie that never gets old?
  • Mean Girls! I can recite entire monologues from that movie!
What’s a book you could read repeatedly?
  • The entire Gossip Girl series
Favorite ice cream?
  • Party cake!! (Fun fact I don't really like cake other than in ice cream,ironically my mother and my boyfriend are both bakers!)it.
Favorite brick and mortar store?
  • Macy's Herald Square specifically they have a little more of a selection of brands that feature items in my size!
Favorite online store?
  • American Eagle sadly I have to purchase my size in most items online despite working in the store
Favorite drink?
  • Bulldog it's a frozen margarita with a beer bottle in it!
Do you have any hobbies?
  • I enjoy anything art related. So I paint, draw, sculpt, work on the pottery wheel, act, sing, dance and sometimes write poetry. It keeps me grounded and gives me a peace of mind like no other!

Check out the rest of the series HERE.

Until Next Time,
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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Last Minute Halloween Costumes

The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture which is where Halloween gets it's beginning. Costumes were worn in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or appease them. These days, costumes are worn to be someone else for the day - your favorite character or someone a little sexier than you normally dress. It's a day to have fun and feel free. It's also a great day for casual racism.

Most people don't intend to offend with their Halloween costumes. I used to not give a second thought to wearing something as long as it was pretty. And I never thought companies would openly sell racist costumes (it's 2016, how could they), but racism runs deep in our country. If you don't consider yourself a racist 364 days of the year, you don't want to choose such a fun night to wear something offensive.  We've all made mistakes, but now that you know - let's avoid cultural appropriation. Find out more about casual racism on Halloween HERE.

Halloween is in 8 days. If you don't have a costume planned yet - I'm here to help you out! And in my list you won't find anything racist or basic!

Snapchat Filters
    • Galaxy Filter:
    • Hipster Panda
    • Watercolor Pop Art
Cinema provides ENDLESS inspiration!
    • Chanel #3 from Scream Queens 
      • Pink fur, ear muffs, and if you're going season 2 a candy striper headband!
    • Harry Potter is always a good choice in my opinion.
      • Luna Lovegood is a special character. Add Spectrepecs and a Quibbler to read to push your costume to the next level.
    • Men In Black
      • Do you have a suit? Sunglasses? You are in a man in black. Go shoot some aliens!
    • Derek Zoolander
      • Paint on those killer cheekbones and smize your heart out!
    • Bob's Burgers - Tina Belcher
      • Black bob wig add a yellow barrette, light blue t-shirt, blue skirt, hightop socks, and Converse! Add your black Wayfarer glasses, some extra confidence, maybe a horse adorned notebook and you're good to go!
    • RuPaul's Drag Race
      • Alaska
      • Trixxie Mattel
      • Miss Fame

    • Witch - we know you have a fab all black outfit now pop on a witch hat and grab your Swiffer! Everyone else wearing all black will be a cat - almost guaranteed.
    • SuperFan - wear all your favorites sport's team gear!
    • I was Cinderella and I only had to buy three pieces - wig, dress, and slippers!
    • Hippie - Floral crown, loose clothing, and a peace sign!
    • 90's Queen - luckily these pieces will be easy to find since they're back on trend! Flannel, platform sneakers or jellies, dark lips, ripped denim.
    • More ideas from 2015 HERE - including Tinkerbell, Ke$ha, and zombie prom
What are you going to be for Halloween? Let me know in the comments below!

Until Next Time,
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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Behind the Scenes with BoPo Babes: Josie_Landry

Welcome to my new blog series! I will be going behind the selfie sticks, tripods, and self timers with some of my favorite body positive babes. I suspect if they're not your favorites yet, they will be soon!

Josie, aka @josie_landry is a self-described “unapologetic activist and ally for body positivity, intersectional feminism, LGBTQ rights, & black lives matter.” She has gained a following of over 2,000 in her short time online.

Just last week, marked Josie’s one year anniversary since starting her transition. It’s been a year since she began living her authentic life. “Transitioning was literally a matter of life or death.  I have always known since I was very little that something wasn’t correct.  As this was quite a long time ago and transgender wasn’t really a well-known topic at the time I struggled a lot to figure myself out.  After years of depression, to the point that I was starting to go on disability from work for months at a time, I was at a rapid decline in mental health.  After many long hours of discussion with my wife, we decided that it was time to go forward with it.

When I was trying to identify myself, the majority of information that I was able to find was from other Trans folks who shared their stories; so I wanted to share mine to both help others and also as kind of a visual diary. Starting my transition last year was a momentous step in my life and it was something that I wanted to document. Somehow along the way it became about body positivity, which is interesting seeing as how the whole idea behind transitioning is to completely transform my body. Somehow along the way I learned to love my body and as it is transforming into the correct body I am learning to love it even more.”
As Josie said, Transgender was not a word I had heard often before Laverne Cox or Caitlyn Jenner became "mainstream". I will admit, I was woefully uneducated. So before we go any further I’d like to provide some education for y’all. 
Transgender people are people who have a gender identity, or gender expression, that differs from their assigned sex at birth. Transgender is also an umbrella term: in addition to including people whose gender identity is the opposite of their assigned sex, it may include people who are not exclusively masculine or feminine (people who are genderqueer, e.g. bigender, pangender, genderfluid, or agender). 
Gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder (GID) is the dysphoria (distress) a person experiences as a result of the sex and gender they were assigned at birth. Treatment for a person diagnosed with GID may include psychotherapy or to support the individual's preferred gender through hormone therapy, gender expression and role, or surgery. Though, not all individuals chose to undergo any type of “treatment” or physical change at all.
Being transgender is independent of sexual orientation: transgender people may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, etc., or may consider conventional sexual orientation labels inadequate or inapplicable. The term transgender can also be distinguished from intersex, a term that describes people born with physical sex characteristics "that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies." 
Now, back to our bopo babe.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Advocating for Unhealthy Bodies

I feel like I'm on a tightrope talking about the issue of health and body positivity. I truly honestly love myself, but I don't feel like I'm at the place I want to be for my health. As Roxane Gay put it "I don't want to pretend that I'm OK with it (being fat), and it's not judging anyone else. It's just that I know the realities of living in my body. I know how irritating and how exhausting it is to, for example, climb a set of stairs. And so I don't need to be thin, but I want to be in better shape. I want to have more stamina. And I honestly, because I'm vain, want to wear cuter clothes."

And it's like, not that I'm not okay with being fat - I've been a size 18 or larger for the last nine years, basically my whole adult life. But just a year ago I was doing 5Ks and now to walk a few blocks uphill is a struggle. That's a big change in my health.

One of my main issues is that I eat mindlessly when I’m bored. I also eat when I’m sad because the food tastes good and makes me happy (that’s my logic at least). Sometimes I feel depressed and when I think about how much I’ll have to change my lifestyle to be healthy that makes me more depressed. I make meal plans and talk about goals and then it rains or I get sick and I feel like all is lost. I just give everything up completely and binge on all the things.  I have a lot of guilt associated with food. Not because certain foods are good and bad, but because I knowingly and consistently put unhealthy things into my body because it's "easier" aka mindless. I know how to take care of myself, but sometimes it just feels unattainable.

What I’ve always wanted my whole life was to love myself and just be happy. Those are not goals you achieve and move on from. They're not something you ever "finish". Every day comes with decisions and roadblocks. I've learned a lot about loving myself in my 27 years. Loving yourself is not dependent on your size, the status of your health, the amount of “cute” clothes you have, how good you look in selfies, or anything physical really. Self love is loving your body, your mind, your spirit, your entire being. You are beautiful, but you are also so much more than your body. You are so much more than the world can see by looking at a picture of you. Loving yourself is treating yourself as a friend. It’s being encouraging along the journey and realizing the journey is forever because we never stop growing.

It's important while you're growing, learning, and changing, to educate yourself and surround yourself with things that will further your journey in the direction you wish to go - to positivity. Things that are not body positive do not contribute to self love.


Hold up. I've been wanting to talk about this since Corissa aka FatGirlFlow got all that hate from her video last month. Dieting is not body positive. Dieting is, according to Websters, restricting oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight. Dieting is not sustainable. Being healthy is about incorporating nutritious food choices and more activity into your life, without the pressure, restrictions, and guilt of dieting. You can lose weight and be body positive, but losing weight will not make you body positive.

If I get my shit together, start eating more balanced meals, start walk/jogging 5Ks again, and stay the same weight - I will be pleased. I will be healthier. If I lose weight because of a lifestyle change I make to become healthier - I will be pleased. There will be no goal weight. There will be no pills or fasts or "quick fixes."

For fat women specifically I feel there is this overwhelming urge to defend your fatness with health. I see a lot of posts from women in the body positive community saying “call me fat, but I exercise every day” or “you can say what you want, but my doctor told me I’m healthy.” Even Ashley Graham's response to not wanting to be called plus size - "The things that I don't necessarily like about it is all the negative stigmatisms that go with the word plus-size -- you're fat, you're lazy, you have no drive, no determination, you're constantly eating," she explained. "Honey, I work out. I work out three days a week. I lift. I do barre. I do it all." Well, I don’t have that defense. I am unhealthy and I still love my fat body.

My self love and body positivity are not determined by the status of my health. Unhealthy bodies are good bodies too. You do not have to be healthy in order to be considered worthy or beautiful. No matter what "body activist" Ashley Graham would have you believe. But that's a whole different blog, literally - clink the link.

I am not a healthy person. I am not telling you that because I am proud of it (see above). It is a fact, just like the fact that I am fat. I am a fat unhealthy person who loves herself. As a fat woman this feels like a thing I should be ashamed about. I think to myself that if I were smaller, no one would mind if I was unhealthy because they wouldn’t be able to tell from the outside. When you’re fat and you have an eating disorder people compliment you on your weight loss. No one asks how you lost it unless they’re looking for tips of their own. People expect you to be counting calories and working out two times a day when you’re fat. If you're overweight, you should constantly be trying to not be. We're taught that fatness isn't supposed to be a permanent state.

As stated above, I have my own issues with health and my relationship with food. Maybe you have a complicated relationship with those things too. But what I know for sure is that you do not have to be a perfect person before you're allowed to love yourself. You don't need to reach a certain weight or a certain level of mental health before it's okay to love yourself. If you don't love yourself now, you're not going to magically just because you lose weight. When you apply that same thought process to someone else it sounds insane. "Yeah, mom I really love you and all, but actually it looks like you gained some lbs since we last talked... Ooh, I actually don't respect you at all now."

No. No way. No how. You wouldn't talk to your mother or your best friend or your boss like that.

Also, here's some people talking about health and bopo much more eloquently than me.

Being Body Positive and Weight Loss
Why Dieting Can Rarely (If Ever) Be Body Positive
The Danger of Praising Weight Loss
Diet Culture and Capitalism
How to Stay Body Confident and Lose Weight

Until Next Time,
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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Behind the Scenes with BoPo Babes: curvycottoncandymane

Welcome to my new blog series! I will be going behind the selfie sticks, tripods, and self timers with some of my favorite body positive babes. I suspect if they're not your favorites yet, they will be soon!

Melissa, aka @curvycottoncandymane, started her Instagram page just over a year ago. She quickly got to the heart of the bopo community and has amassed over 24K followers! She grabbed my attention in the sea of bopo babes with her cotton candy colored locks and got me hooked with her positive energy! In the real world, she uses her perky disposition as a school teacher – inspiring young minds every day. She expands her love of teaching to the bopo community, sharing personal stories and her unique style with the world.

“Finding the body positive community on Instagram changed my entire life, and that's no exaggeration. Never before had I ever seen or heard of other women who not only accepted their bodies, but LOVED them! I was awestruck. All I'd been taught previously was that I was supposed to hate my body until it finally conformed to the societal ideal of perfection. And boy did I! My body was enemy #1! The internet connects you with people from all over the globe who are finding ways, despite the garbage being hurled at us from every angle, to celebrate life and beauty in every way. Find and follow those who inspire you personally. Look at as many different bodies as you can. After doing this your stretch marks don't feel as abnormal anymore, your cellulite and rolls become a normal part of being a human, and your purpose in life will become greater than trying to shrink.

My main source of inspiration was Anna @glitterandlazers. I actually knew her from our university days where we lived in the same apartment complex. I'd been following her on instagram for quite some time and she inspired me daily. I began to think, "If she can love herself this much than dammit, so can I!" I had just moved from Utah to Washington and had made some pretty major life changes, the main one being leaving The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I felt personally empowered and wanted to continue nurturing that new feeling. I was discussing the idea of starting a plus size fashion/bopo instagram account with a cute boy (who is now my amazing boyfriend) and he encouraged me from the moment I brought up the idea. He also happened to be my first follower. :) So buoyed by my new found confidence and some loving encouragement I set my phone on a windowsill and snapped my first picture.”

Over a year after posting that first shot, her body positive journey is going strong.
“It's easy to put on a glossy veneer online and seem like you're body positive 100% of the time. That simply isn't true for most of us. I still have dark days and nights like anyone else. I think it's important to try and be transparent online so that there is no huge disparity between your online content and your real life. I still struggle removing my wrap at the pool, I still struggle wearing short shorts on a hot day in front of a group of people. But the important thing is that I continue to do it and that feeling of inner turmoil decreases every time I do. (My Instagram) keeps me motivated to keep loving myself and (hopefully) it motivates others as well. Body positivity has no end date for me. I won't wake up one day and just be done because I've reached the end. There is no end. It's a continuous path that I must mindfully walk everyday.

I've made it a habit to experience my body at least once a week. I lie in bed naked and run my hands over my bumps and lumps and feel the grooves and wrinkles. Or I stand in front of the mirror and trace my stretch marks. I take photos that are only for me. And it's amazing what a change in attitude can do. I did these same things before out of self-loathing and pity. I do them now as a form of worship and celebration. Positive affirmation is real and powerful. I choose every day to love myself, to love the body I've been blessed with, and to spread that love around in the hopes of inspiring others to love themselves too.”

Sunday, October 9, 2016

September Favorites

  • The Good Place
  • RuPaul's Interview in GQ and RuPaul's Drag Race
    • "A lot of people are stuck in the idea of themselves as a victim. Or as a starving artist, or as someone who’s not good with numbers. That perception of yourself is what holds you in place." - Quote from GQ interview

  • Warm fall colors are what I'm gravitating too recently. Throw in olive and some merlot/berry and we're all set with my wardrobe!

  • My trip to GA & SC! To hear about it click HERE.
  • I'm moving house again. Our lease is up at the end of November so we're on the house hunt yet again and my life will involve lots of packing here in the near future!
  • My Fall Bucket List - see my list HERE and get your FREE printable!

What are you guys loving this month?
Maybe I'll love it too and it will be on my October list!

Until Next Time,
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Friday, October 7, 2016

Our Trip to Beaufort, SC

Recently Myke and I took a trip to visit family in Beaufort, SC. There were a few gems there that I knew I had to share with y'all in case you ever made the trip down south. Chartered in 1711, it is the second-oldest city in South Carolina, behind Charleston (which is only an hour and a half away). It's right on the border of Georgia as well, being only an hour away from Savannah, GA. Beaufort has been the setting or the inspirational setting for several novels by long-time resident Pat Conroy and a popular filming location for major motion pictures, including The Big Chill, The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini, Forrest Gump, Something To Talk About and G.I. Jane.

I would recommend absolutely going to Scout Southern Market to get a tea float. It sounded strange to me which is why I knew I had to have one! You select sweet or unsweet tea and to float is sherbet - lemon, peach, mango, or strawberry! Ten out of ten would get again and again. We spent some time down by the river, taking a river boat tour (which touts dolphin sightings, but we missed out) and watching the birds. The Antebellum style homes were beautiful to see and we also went to the ocean one night! A hidden gem we found was the Kazoobie Kazoo Factory and Tour! Hidden in a small warehouse, we learned about the history of kazoos and heard all different types of whistles & kazoos! All in the all, I sincerely recommend this southern island area to visit!

Click (READ MORE) to get my food guide and slideshow of vaca pictures!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Behind the Scenes with BoPo Babes: uominidipeso

Welcome to my new blog series! I will be going behind the selfie sticks, tripods, and self timers with some of my favorite body positive babes. I suspect if they're not your favorites yet, they will be soon!

In the body positive world the main focus is on bodies with breasts; however, male presenting bodies face heavy criticism as well especially if they are larger. Alessandro aka @uominidipeso is on a mission to bring self love into the every day conversation of not only men, but everyone in Italy - nay, the world!

Plus size clothing options are limited enough as an American female, but if you look around for plus size men’s wear - you’ll see the struggle is real. Allesandro says in Italy, it’s hard to find any options at all.

 “Since September I and other 6 Blogger Italian we will be the team with its hashtag #BodyPosiTeamIT with which we will try to expand their circle and help people as possible. Italy is by no means a Body Positive territory as they pretend. Here it is even difficult to get dressed. A woman wearing a size 34 (European 48/American 14) is considered fat and when exposed is covered with criticism and insults. We Bloggers and activists, like you, Italians, every day we try to change something but it's not easy because any event and any proposal always behind the profit.”

When he started his blog and Facebook page in 2014 he said he “immediately realized that with photos and testimony (he) could help a lot of people and it was so.” With the addition of social media into our everyday lives, connecting with like-minded individuals is easier than ever. If you’re looking for self love inspiration, it’s literally just a search away.

“Online you can direct your pictures and messages, and the success is greater because it more precisely strikes a part of the audience who likes the theme. In contrast in real life, for example, when I happened to speak on TV and theater, well not everyone agreed with my words, and it still makes little effort conquer the audience with our ideas.”

“(Body positivity) enters my life every day through the people I meet through conversations with friends and colleagues through Facebook chat between the boys of #BrawnSquad: ZachMiko, Kelvin, Troy Solomon etc .. and undoubtedly Kelvin - NotoriusDapper because we have the same thoughts, we addressed both on the same street and I love his way to show and encourage people towards #bodypositive. Other people can improve their body positivity by using the internet to look for men and women for inspiration, looking for images and phrases that can help and especially by getting in touch with other people across the world living the same situation.

To be part of the community is a great pleasure because it means that something beautiful and positive I'm doing it and it is also a symptom of pride because without knowing I'm helping other people. The goal is to bring more people to this concept to try to change something in our society.”