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body confidence Photo Shoots

What I have learned this Year in Loving My Body

While this past year has brought me low health wise, I have gotten the opportunity to meet some amazing people, which has led to some amazing photo magic. Last month, the amazingly talented Luscious D put together an empowering photoshoot entitled: I am More than Enough. The concept included a mannequin for each model to …

pin up tips Plus Size Pin Up

Creating a Pin Up Look For You

Lindy Bop Wiggle Dress and Unique Vintage Blouse
The past few weeks have been absolutely insanely busy for me and my family. We had a conference, followed by dance rehearsals, and an unexpected plumbing issue. Specifically, our main bathroom’s sink sorta exploded leaving a watery mess. Luckily, we have been already working on remodeling that bathroom or it could have been way worse than me losing my precious vintage makeup case to the incident. (I am still a little sad about that but happy that my makeup is still intact.) At any rate, I found myself sorta slacking in the making time for me department.
I figured since we were going to be in an a beautiful old theater that maybe I should look the part. Also, pin up hair, makeup, and style all helps me relax a little and feel more feminine. Plus, I had a little one that was performing for the first time, and I thought if I looked a bit extra, then she could find me in the audience easier. As I am still sorting inventory for my new pinup clothing business, I thought I would see if there was anything that might fit my mood. There was this Lindy Bop wiggle dress. I tried it on with no intention of actually keeping it. However, the girl who stared in the mirror back at me was curvy and gorgeous. How have I missed not seeing how amazing I look in something like this? While I am very body positive, I think I sometimes fail to expand past the usual dress. If you are like this, I encourage you to try something on outside of your comfort zone, damn what social media says!
I found a cute hat. It has two clips inside of it, so it fits on my head without sliding off. It is perfect for the pin up that has hair struggles. Then I finished it off with a blouse from Unique Vintage. I felt sophisticated the whole night. It must have shown because I got so many compliments on it.
When creating a pin up look for you, think of ways to accentuate your curves. While I love flouncy swing dresses, this particular look allowed me to show off my body in a different light. Also, work with your comfort zone and level of expertise. I have been learning how to do my own pin up makeup better. I pay special attention to my eyes and must have about a dozen different red lipsticks. However, hair is not my strong suit. My hair drives me nuts and does not want to work with me. That is where a hat like the one I wore works. I curled my hair and let the hat do the rest.
Lindy Bop Wiggle Dress
Also…don’t forget the shoes. While you should have gorgeous shoes (that will probably hurt like heck) for pin up pageants, I always have a pair of less pageanty shoes for before the pageant or to wear for events where I will be on my feet a bit. As much as I love looking the part, I am miserable if my feet hurt. I found these shoes a while back at a consignment store, and they are my absolute faves!
Creating a pin up look you love should be about your personality and should also be fun. What is your favorite pin up look? Also, if you found this interesting or educational, don’t forget to share!

Photo Shoots Plus Size Pin Up

Why you should not be ashamed to love yourself

 
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When this photo showed up in my feed a few days ago, it made me smile…not because of my expression, but because of seeing how far I have come since then.
I like to think of myself as a body positive activist. However, even I have times where I doubt myself and pick myself apart. It feels like society is set up for self-hate. With summer upon us, my Facebook feed has been flooded by self-hate memes for not having a “beach ready” body and having arms that are too fat to be seen in public. There are so many women that are going to spend this summer either miserable and sweating because they are wearing layers because they are afraid someone is going to make fun of their bodies. There are women that will not go to the pool because they have been programmed by society to feel that they need to be able to present the “perfect body” in order to enjoy some sun and splash time.

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Sadly, two years ago, I could not see how awesome I looked in this picture!

Why do we do this to ourselves? No matter what size we are, we are not going to be everyone’s cup of tea! Even if I wake up tomorrow magically skinny, there will be something else about me that I am supposed to hate, according to haters on the internet. I don’t feel that I owe it to the internet to not enjoy the summer because of ridiculous standards. I spent years not wearing tank tops or cute dresses. I refrained from wearing a swimsuit in public because I was afraid of what some ignoramus might say. Do I know that I am fat? Yes, yes I do. Does it make me worth less as a person? No. No it does not.
I know I have said it before, and I am going to say it again. Whether or not, we get down to the perfect size, it is okay to love ourselves as we are right now. It is okay to be you. It is okay to enjoy life, and honestly, it will make you feel better about yourself. The more we bash ourselves and put ourselves down, the more we are just feeding into other people’s expectations. If you want to lose weight, that is fine. I am not saying you should not. I am saying that you should not think less of yourself because your weight, your butt, your boobs, your arms, your tummy, or (insert anything here) does not fit the mold.
This summer, I challenge you to be bold. I challenge you to hold your head high. I challenge you to hold yourself to different standards than what we are being brainwashed to believe. Wear what you want. Do what you want. Be what you want, but above all…LOVE YOURSELF WHILE DOING IT!
*All photos were taken by Victor Devilbliss with MUAH by Making Faces Professional Make Up
 
 

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Don't Let Society Dictate Your Worth

I saw this meme going around Facebook asking, “Why is every other girl my age 1000% prettier than me?” It broke my heart. As someone who has dealt with body image issues in the past, I just want to hug these girls that think this and say that you are just as beautiful as the other girls.

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Nope Nopety Nope Nope

With social media being so prevalent in our every day lives, more and more of us are subjected to this kind of bull shit every day. There are the stupid challenges, like the one where the perfect body size is dictated by whether or not you can touch fingers when you put them around your waist. We are inundated with fad diets and afraid that if we wear the wrong thing in public, we may end up on someone’s Tumblr account for being a beached whale.
The thing is that beauty is a relative term. The things I might find beautiful, others may not. When we let society dictate that only one type is beautiful…whether that be skinny, fat, or somewhere in between, we are telling everyone else that they are not. We are all beautiful. Each one of us is unique. Just because you do not fit into someone’s box of what beauty is doesn’t make you any less spectacular than you are.
It is high time that we as women start to remember this and fight back against society’s shaming. We need to stand up against the magazine articles and ugly media. We need to support our skinny sisters and our thick sisters. We need to stand together and tell society and the media to take their standards and shove them up their asses. It is so easy to criticize ones self. Next time, you start thinking you are not worthy, remind yourself that you are awesome and go flaunt your stuff. If someone doesn’t like it, well they are the ones that have their own issues to work out, not you.
Go out and be awesome. Spread the word, compliment one another, and let’s end this shit together!
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plus size fashion

What pin up is…and isn't

My ascent into the world of pin up has been a gradual process the last three and a half years. My first session was supposed to be a one time thing, and a little over three years later, here I am writing a blog about my pin up adventures and fashion choices. I am trying to build up my pin up name, and so far, I have gotten to do promos for a few photographers and was the Facebook cover model for a small clothing company a few years ago. My next goals include getting published in magazines and joining pin up volunteer organizations to help others.
However, not all of my experiences have been positive. While many of my friends and family support me, some do not…maybe because they perceive it to be dirty or maybe because they don’t understand what it is all about. That is why I thought I would take the time to discuss what pin up is for me, what it has done, and what it is not.

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Average day pin up look. Don’t I look fabulous?

If you ask a lot of my pin up model friends, they will tell you that pin up is a cheap form of therapy. It is completely true. Because I have gotten into pin up, it helped me battle depression and get through the loss of two pregnancies. Going to shoots helped me want to get out of bed and shower. The feeling post-session was enough to get me to want to do the whole shower and dress thing regularly when nothing else really did. Sure, I could have gone to therapy, but when it all comes down to it, even talk therapy wasn’t enough to make me give a shit some days. Pin up got me through the first part of my pregnancy that stuck. My friend Nicole told me about an amazing photographer named Victor Devilbliss, you may know him as the creator of Retro Lovely Magazine. They got me through the nerve-wracking part of my first trimester by getting me all prettied up and taking my picture. We were going for a pregnancy reveal as part of the theme. However, those two were among the very few people privy to the information that I was pregnant and knew that some of the photos might not have ever seen the light of day if I lost that one too. The way they made me look and feel that day gave me a high of a sorts to carry me through a rough time.
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Still the coolest baby announcement ever!

Pin up is about freedom, the freedom to express one’s body, sometimes in ways they thought they never could. If you look at three-quarters of the pictures in my portfolio, I would have to tell you that I never thought I would have ever done them…not because they are dirty or risque, but because they have forced me to look at parts of me I considered as flaws and turned them into beauty. We are in charge of our own bodies, the types of shoots we do, and who we choose to share our photos. Some of us do this for our own satisfaction. Some of us have chosen to share our art with the world. I am one of those in the latter camp because I want other women to see that they are beautiful…no matter what the size…or flaw they think they have. I truly believe beauty is all around us, and even if I help just one woman to learn to love herself, than it is worth it to me.
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Some people try to make us feel dirty and say that what we are doing is pornographic. It is not. Some models do nudity. Some do not. It is personal preference. It is their bodies, their business.It does not make it dirty though! Pin up is a form of art. If you look at art through the years, much of it involves naked people. Don’t shame us with your misconceptions. Don’t sully the work we do or the goals we are trying to accomplish by our art. I am proud of my pin up work. I am proud of my fellow pin up community. They are some of the most supportive, generous gals you would ever want to meet. I love the photographers that I have gotten to meet. Pin up has allowed many of us to live out fantasies of being someone posh or being a fairy tale character. It allows us to dig deep into our imaginations and lets us be whatever we want to be.
Pin up is art. It is an art I love. It is an art that has given me my life back. It is an art that has shown me I have a voice for things in which I am passionate, and I will use that voice to fight stereotypes and to keep on my quest of becoming awesome!
Until next time loves!
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plus size fashion

Dare to Wear

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Last week I decided to challenge myself to dig deep into my closet and wear the things that have been hiding in the back. Mostly, they have been hiding there because I have been afraid to wear them. We all have clothes like that: we buy them because we think they look cute in the store, or maybe it was on sale. Then we take it home and put it far, far away from our sight because we are afraid to wear it but can’t bring ourselves to return it. We have our reasons. Maybe we are afraid it isn’t flattering, or we might get ridiculed. However, I am changing my stance about the back of the closet stuff, if I can’t wear it, I can’t have it!
My first dare challenge was the plaid pencil skirt from Torrid. I bought the skull sweater and plaid skirt combo a few months ago. I tried the combo at the store back in the fall but couldn’t bring myself to purchase it. When I found them both on clearance a few months later, I decided I should try it. However, after I got them home, I put on the sweater and happily wore it everywhere all winter long, but the poor pencil skirt got the closet. Last week, the weather was a bit cool for a few days, so I got them both out and strutted my stuff.

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Skull Sweater and Plaid Pencil Skirt from Torrid

After wearing it the whole day, I decided that it was far too comfy to go to the back of my closet. I looked awesome, and I will be wearing the combo again next time it is chilly!
Next up, is the purple kimono looking top from Lane Bryant. I got this around my birthday and have worn it maybe once before last week. I paired it with capris (which often look like regular length because I am so short. While I was not thrilled with the pairing, I may try this top again with something else that would be more flattering.
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Top from Lane Bryant. Bottoms by Torrid. Shoes thrifted.

For my next piece, I upped the ante and went bold! I decided to wear my tutu skirt. I got this one at Rue 21, but they have really pretty ones at Society+ that come in a variety of colors and lengths. When I bought this skirt back in December, I was so excited. However, I let some trolls trashing other plus size models in them deter me from wearing it. This weekend, I had a girls only day with my daughters, and I decided to wear the skirt. I did not get one negative comments. What I got was a lot of women telling me I rocked, and some little girls who looked at me in awe! I would say that is a success. I want to find a short sleeved crop shirt or perhaps a body suit for next time. However, my tank top did just fine for the other day.
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Tutu by Rue21. Tank by Lane Bryant. Sandals by Lane Bryant.

Finally, for date night, I decided to dare myself to wear the most daring, formfitting dress in my closet, a little black dress from Forever 21. I bought this not to long ago but was nervous wearing it. Well, the mister thought I was HOT! He couldn’t keep his hands off me. (I know, you don’t want to know that, but hey, this is my story, so yeah!) I paired this dress with this awesome belt from Torrid. It was amazeballs!  All of my flaws were on display. I didn’t care. I felt like a queen!
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Dress by Forever21. Belt by Torrid. Shoes thrifted.

I am currently going through my closet to get rid of things I know I won’t wear. If you have things in the back of your closet, I dare you to get them out and wear them! If you cannot bring yourself to do that, consign them or donate them. They are taking up valuable closet real estate for something special!

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Don't wait to feel beautiful

Some years back, a friend of mine was telling me about her friend who did boudoir shoots. She made it sound luxurious and pampering. Naturally, at the time, my response was that when I lost the weight, I would do it. I lost some weight after that, but the idea of having myself photographed scared the shit out of me. Of course, I passed.
When I decided to do my first pin up shoot, there was an element of sexy in there that scared me. I only did it as something to give my husband for Valentine’s Day. I was having a hard time, and I was at my heaviest. I brought a modest wardrobe selection. By the end of it, I was in a shirt and fishnet tights. I hadn’t really planned on showing anyone the photos until the sneak peek by the photographer came out. Holy Crap, I was gorgeous! It was the spark that led to a lot of lifestyle changes. I started exercising again, dressed better (actually dressed the way I wanted), and looked forward to seeing my photo again.

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Just a shirt and some fishnets! Photo by Relentlessly Making Faces. MUAH by Making Faces Professional Make Up

When I finally decided to take the next step and create social media accounts for my pin up and alt photos, it was one of the scariest things for me to do. I knew I was opening my body up for criticism. However, I knew it was the right thing to do. I have a message to share about how we need to love ourselves as we are…tall or short, thick or thin, whatever we are.
One of the biggest objections I have had from women about doing the kinds of photos that I do is that they need to lose weight first or be different than what they are to make it work. You don’t. You are beautiful just as you are. You need to love yourself as you are right now because whether you lose the weight you want to lose or become the person you want to be, you aren’t going to be any better for it.
Yeah, I would like to drop a few sizes. I exercise. I eat healthy. It is slow goings. However, my body is this amazing thing. My body survived the torture of many years of an eating disorder. It survived being hit by a car. It survived childbirth. It survived miscarriage. It survived depression. It is freaking amazing. My body is a rockstar!
So I choose to love it. I choose to embrace myself for better for worse, and while I am at it, I want to share the message with others that it is okay to love yourself and think you are beautiful because you are!

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That time I got Fat-Shamed at my favorite place to buy produce

There is this cute little Mennonite store I like to buy produce near where we live. I go there because I love to shop local and support local business owners. I can also find dry goods and get good deals on produce, which is great because we go through a lot of fruits and veggies in this house.
Anyways, the other week I decided to go there on a Saturday with my kids in tow to get some apples and a few other things. I have never been there on a weekend and have never seen the place so packed. The only space left to park was partially taken up by another vehicle. I saw the driver was still in the car, so I rolled down my window to ask if he could straighten his vehicle so I could park too.
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Apparently the guy must have anticipated that I was going to ask him to straighten his car. He was double parked for goodness sake in a full parking lot! As soon as I rolled down the window to ask, he started yelling at me. He was yelling, “You better get your ice cream you fat f*ck! Go get your ice cream, you fat f*ck.” Over and over, he kept yelling that. Mind you, I had two kids in the car. I wasn’t being nasty when I tried asking him to move. I was taken aback and ended up yelling at him back. Maybe he thought I would be humiliated enough to drive away so he could stay double parked. I don’t know. I do know this though…
…He couldn’t possibly know what size I was. I was in an SUV and all he could really tell is that I have big boobs. Whooptie doo. The best he could come up with was calling me fat. All it proved to me and my kids was that he was a big jerk that can’t park. Also, I didn’t even know the place served ice cream until that day, and I have been going there for small groceries for a few years. Of course, now that I knew that, I just had to get ice cream. Man, was it good! I know that my kids thought he sounded ridiculous. I discovered sidewalk chalk in our car the other day, and they said it was so they can make a “special” parking spot for people like him in the future. Also, I know that he doesn’t define how I see me. I define how I see me, and I like me. I don’t remember what he looks like because his looks were so unimportant to me. However, I do remember his ugly attitude. I have dealt with ugly attitudes like that in the past. In the past, I may have hid afterwards and felt shame, but now, I just don’t. I am beautiful for who I am. Random strangers with ugly hearts cannot dictate what I am.
I think what made me sad about the whole thing is that being called fat could possibly be the worst thing he could think of. There are many things worse than being fat. I might be overweight, but I am losing weight. Even if I wasn’t, it’s not the worst thing in the world. However, people like that seldom change. They will almost always carry an ugly heart with them. I would much rather be fat than have an ugly heart.

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How Pin-Up Gave Me My Confidence Back

The first time I ever did Pin-Up, I didn’t really want to be there. I thought it would make a nice gift for my husband, but honestly I wasn’t feeling up for it. I brought mostly things that I could use to hide my body. I was ashamed of myself and the heaviest I had ever been. My husband and I had been trying for a baby for a while, and I got pregnant only to miscarry some months later. Something in me kinda snapped, and I had a hard time coping. I spent most days in my pajamas. I really just no longer cared about myself.
When I got to the place, I pretty much admitted that I didn’t want to show anything off. I laid my cards on the table straight off and just wanted to get the whole deal over with. Then Nicole started working her magic with the makeup, and when I saw the girl staring back at me in the mirror, it wasn’t the same girl that came through the door. This girl was HOT! I put on an outfit and let Kristina start shooting. I felt myself relax, and by the end of it, I was still in fish nets, and the pants I brought to hide my legs were still in my bag. I still didn’t think I would look great in photos, but I felt empowered. I felt so sexy that I went home and told my husband that we needed to go out because it would be a shame to waste my beautiful hair and makeup. By the next day, the photographer posted a teaser picture on her Facebook page of my shoot. I could hardly believe that it was me!

My first Pin-Up shoot Photo: Relentlessly Making Faces MUAH: Making Faces Professional Make Up
My first Pin-Up shoot
Photo: Relentlessly Making Faces
MUAH: Making Faces Professional Make Up

Something about these pictures made me see myself in a different light. When I saw myself, I didn’t see the depressed, fat girl that I thought I was. I saw someone who was hot, who totally owned it. I saw a beautiful woman that I wanted to be.
The next few months that followed were stressful. I ended up almost closing my business. I got pregnant again, only to lose that pregnancy too. However, I started caring about myself again. I started eating better. I started exercising. It helped me cope with the bad things that were going on. I changed my wardrobe. I started wearing things because I wanted to wear them, not because I thought it would cover my “flaws.” Not only did I wear shorts in public, I wore short shorts. I got cute rockabilly dresses. I bought form-fitting shirts.  I went on dates with my husband. I did another pin-up shoot. It was a mother-daughter theme. The designer of the dresses I wore for the shoot liked my photos. He used me as his cover model for his Facebook page. It made me feel super-awesome. Plus I got a free dress out of it, which was also cool.
I still have my flaws. Currently, I am still trying to work on my post-baby body as I had a baby at the end of last summer. I may never lose all the weight I have wanted to lose. I eat right. I exercise. I have come to terms with the fact that I may never be skinny. However, I love myself. I have my moments where I am hard on myself, but when I look in the mirror, I can always find something I love. I dress for myself these days and not for what I think society thinks I should dress like because in the end it doesn’t matter what society thinks of me. I am the one who has to live with myself, and I want to like me as I am. If I can’t like me right now, it won’t matter if I ever get to be that “perfect” size. I still won’t be happy.
I think as women we are all hard on ourselves and each other. We need to love ourselves as we are. We need to take care of ourselves, and we need to make peace with ourselves too.
What do you do to make yourself feel good and to give yourself confidence?