Channeling Amy Schumer’s Boldness

I’ve heard a lot of talk recently that some women feel part of the reason why women are encouraged to be thin is so that they are “diminished.” As Amy Schumer said in her recent interview in Glamour Magazine: “For women, we’re taught to eat less until we disappear. And trained to believe that if you don’t look like everyone else, then you’re unlovable.” Man, that’s harsh.

via Glamour.com

via Glamour.com

But sadly, so true. Growing up, I always felt I stood out as the chubby one. I shrank myself behind prettier, thinner friends, letting them shine in the spotlight because I didn’t think I was supposed to do so. I didn’t date much at all, honestly believing that guys wouldn’t be interested in me because of my size.

It took time, way too long, in fact, for me to realize that I am allowed to shine. I am lovable, no matter what I weigh. I had kind, supportive people in my life who helped show me that. And I learned a lot just by growing into my own skin and accepting myself for who I am.

It’s still a work in progress, don’t get me wrong. I am not always fearless or full of confidence, that’s for sure. In the past five or six years, working on my health has helped me become more confident. And it is not because I am trying to shrink myself or fade into the background. It’s not to succumb to society’s narrow definition of what is beautiful.

Instead I am finding strength in my own physical and mental strength. I am finding it in the motivation to work out, the energy I get from eating healthy foods and drinking a lot of water. I feel good when I can handle a hard spinning class or run 3 miles.

Working on my health has helped me feel good about myself, but strong women like Amy, Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey and many others have also helped me learn how I want to present myself to the world. I’m learning that you have to want to work on these things for yourself, not to meet someone else’s standards.

Getting healthy or maintaining your health isn’t about size. At least not for me. And it’s certainly not about being small so that I’m not a burden on anyone — God forbid my presence is a nuisance simply by being a woman and being a plus-size woman at that. To that, I emphatically say: Fuck you! (Amy inspires me to curse, too.)

Being comfortable in my own skin is all about me. It’s all about being the person I want to be for my husband, my family, my friends, and myself. And there’s a lot of boldness in recognizing that!

Posted in Acceptance, Body Image, Body Positive, Confidence | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Alabama Bloganistas: Let’s Talk!

Bloganista-defined

I am very excited because in a little more than one week I will have the opportunity to gather with an amazing group of women to gab about blogging — my favorite subject next to what inspiring outfit Beyonce recently wore!

via The Daily Mail, Beyonce in Manhattan on July 2 in a figure-flattering and very on-trend striped dress. That structured bag, though!

via The Daily Mail, Beyonce in a figure-flattering and very on-trend striped dress. Love how her heels mimic the trim of the dress. And that structured bag, though!

Just like Beyonce puts in hours training for a tour, anyone interested in blogging needs to put in some time learning the ins and outs of the blogging biz. The See Jane Write Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design is the perfect place to do so.

mini con graphic

The Mini-Con will be Aug. 1 at the Vestavia Hills Public Library from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Lunch, snacks and more are included with your ticket (buy your ticket here!), and you will hear from a variety of bloggers, including myself! I will speak on the “Blog Like A Boss” panel about addressing body image issues in addition to fashion and fitness and how my professional experience has helped my blog, and vice versa!

To get us pumped up for the Mini-Con, Javacia, the founder of See Jane Write, is hosting a mixer at Collage Designer Consignment in Vestavia from 6-8 p.m. this Thursday, July 23. The event is free, but please register here. And get more details about the special offerings for the night here! I plan to be there by 6 p.m., so I hope you will introduce yourself — I know I plan to try on some clothes, too, so let’s shop!

If you’re a blogger in Alabama, I can’t express how valuable last year’s Mini-Con was for me — learning more about blogging but also making wonderful contacts with inspiring women. I hope you can join us on Aug. 1!

Posted in Alabama, Birmingham, Blogging, Clothes, pop culture, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Romping Around At Old Navy

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time then you know one of my favorite places to shop is Old Navy. This isn’t a sponsored post, by the way, I just happen to love their clothes!

And I especially love their good deals.

Last week I bought my first romper, and I am in love. It’s a lightweight fabric, which is perfect for summer in Alabama, and while it definitely shows off more of my shoulders than I usually do, I feel comfortable in it. I especially love it paired with a short-sleeve cardi, to deal with the air-conditioning!  
 This romper is a size XXL and while it’s a little loose, I felt more comfortable in it than something more form-fitting.
I also found this peplum blouse in the clearance area and snatched it up immediately. Admittedly, I have far too many black-and-white blouses in my wardrobe, but they come in so handy. You can pair them with any color, with skirts, capris, jeans, etc. Paired with a brightly colored necklace, you can dress this blouse up for work or make it casual on the weekend.  Here are a couple items I did not purchase, but I really loved!

This dress is so sweet. I love the blue-and-white color palette — it’s so airy and beachy. The cut of this dress is super-flattering for any body shape. This is the XXL size, and I think it fit like a glove. I may go back and grab it soon! It could easily pair with a cardi or a jean jacket come fall.  I also loved this printed T with the cool cutout in the back. Little details like this can take a casual shirt for weekends up a notch and express a little something extra. This shirt comes in the opposite coloring, too — predominately black with white accents.

 Here’s another item I left at the store that I am still thinking about: soft pants. I’ve been coveting a pair of palazzo pants since last summer and these are very similar to the ones I had found at TJ Maxx and then sadly didn’t buy. My issue is: what do I wear with these? A plain T-shirt seems too casual — I’d feel like I’m wearing pajamas! So a structured shirt seems logical … but what? Any ideas? There’s still a sale at Old Navy going on, so I hope you find something you’d like to have to spice up your summer wardrobe!

What’s your go-to store for budget-friendly clothes?

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Building Community With The Makeshift 5k

I want to say a big thank you to everyone who participated in the #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k on Saturday!

javacia

I had a great time walking with Javacia, the fearless leader of See Jane Write and my blogging guru. I kept one eye on Facebook and Instagram and was so excited to see all of your posts coming in, and those that came later in the day when the temperature was cooler.

collage

I have to say, what I have loved most about organizing the Makeshift 5k is building a community of people who want to cheer each other on as we work on our fitness.

This event started out as a way to keep my walking/running fitness level up in between larger “official” races that I like to do. But budget-wise, registering for a 5k every couple of months at $30 a pop just wasn’t going to happen. So I wanted to set a regular date for myself to get walking/running, and then I thought, why not invite readers, family and friends to join in?!

Thankfully you have all responded so positively, and it’s definitely something I want to keep going!

I know we all need a little push sometimes to work on our fitness. It’s not easy to squeeze in workouts with our busy schedules. But having a goal like a 5k can keep us focus and motivated. It’s been working for me, and I hope it works for you, too!

So get ready for the next #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k coming on Sept. 26! Hopefully it will be cooler then in all parts of the country, and we can enjoy getting our run/walk on together!  

Mark your calendars for Sept. 26, and check back here for more updates!

Posted in exercise, Fitness, Running, Walking | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Summer Whites

I definitely have one thing lacking in my wardrobe: whites!

I think I’m scared of them. It’s probably leftover from my childhood, during which I promptly spilled anything I was eating on my shirt or pants or dress. I think I’m a neater eater now, but the idea of trying to bleach out guacamole from a new white blouse makes me nervous!

Still, this time of year especially, I envy those girls in pretty white sundresses or white jeans. They look so fresh and crisp! And I love the way metallics and pops of turquoise or bright orange liven up an all-white ensemble. So I’ve had my eye on a few white pieces that I thought I’d share with y’all!

Get ready to do some shopping (and buy some bleach!)!

How do you like to wear your summer whites? Did any of these pieces catch your eye, too?

Posted in Clothes, Fashion, plus-size, Style | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

#stellarmiles Makeshift 5k This Saturday!

IMG_7242

This Saturday, July 18, is the next #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k!

Here’s all the deets:

When: Saturday, July 18, 7 a.m.
Where: If you are participating with me IRL, we will meet at the start of Lakeshore Trail on the Green Springs side. Meet me in the parking lot near the soccer fields. If you’re joining in virtually, can’t wait to see your pics on Instagram!

And don’t forget to RSVP on Facebook with my event page!

How The Giveaway Will Work: Make sure to post a photo of yourself or scenery from your run or walk by 12 p.m. CT on July 18, and use the hashtag #stellarmiles, and you will be entered into a drawing to win a prize pack from me!

It is going to be HOT here in Alabama on Saturday, and probably wherever you are, too. So this week, make sure you drink plenty of water in the days leading up to the run/walk. Also, bring a water bottle to keep on hand with you while you do your 3.1 miles. If you’re joining me in person, I will have some waters and snacks for after the Makeshift 5k!

Two important points I want to make:

1. Please, please join us if you walk or run — don’t feel pressure to do either one! This race is done at your own pace, in your own zone. This time around, I think I will mostly walk as I haven’t been running as much lately. The next 5k will be a run for me for sure, but I always want to welcome people who walk and run. Keeping that in mind, if you’re working on your distance and can’t quite do 3.1 miles yet, please join us anyway and stick to your own distance. The more the merrier!

2. Please note that I am not a trained professional at all when it comes to running or holding races. This is simply a get-together among readers to work on our fitness and cheer each other on. If you’re not sure you can do this 5k safely, please consult with your doctor and think about holding off until the next #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k, which will be announced soon! It’s always best to train and prepare if you haven’t done a distance like this before.

Any questions, please email me at stellarfashionandfitness[at]gmail.com.

Can’t wait to run or walk with y’all on Saturday!

Posted in exercise, Fitness, Running, Walking | Tagged | 1 Comment

Be Like Serena: Don’t Fear Your Strength!

My legs are strong.

me bikini

Sure, they’re not perfect. Some may see them as too thick, or see the cellulite or scars and think, “How can she be so proud of her legs?”

But I am proud. Six years ago when I first started working out on a regular basis, my legs weren’t as shapely as they are now. My calves weren’t as muscular. I couldn’t do as many squats or run as many miles.

These legs have carried me through two half marathons, a few 10ks and more than a dozen 5ks. They stick with me through long walks and propel me while swimming laps. They keep me cycling at spinning class and do some fancy footwork at Zumba.

They hold me up while I carry my niece, and walked me down the aisle to say “I do” to my husband. They travel with me to sight-see in foreign countries, or Southern cities with my best friends.

While I may fight with my own self-esteem sometimes, one thing I will always be proud of is the strength of my legs.

So you can imagine my anger when I read this weekend about The New York Times article discussing Serena Williams’ physique and how other tennis players avoid getting as muscular as she does.

I about near screamed.

It’s insulting to diminish a woman’s accomplishments in any field by commenting in any way about her physical appearance, but especially to disparage her figure.

An athlete, whose job it is to be a strong player, should never feel she can’t gain too much muscle for fear that she won’t look feminine enough.

She should never fear being strong.

I was so happy a couple of weeks ago when there was such a positive response to Amanda Bingson’s appearance in “The Body Issue” of ESPN magazine because here’s a woman who isn’t afraid to be strong, and who doesn’t care how society perceives her body.

She accepts herself for who she is and loves her body.

“I don’t look in the mirror and think ‘slim,'” she says. “I look in the mirror and I’m like, ‘Whoa, beast!'”

Serena is also an amazing example for young girls because she has dealt with people commenting about her body for far too long. And she keeps a great perspective about it:

“I learned to be proud of my curves and to embrace my large boobs and my butt,” she told Fitness magazine. “It’s all about loving who you are and realizing that you’re beautiful.”

It’s infuriating that when a woman achieves the pinnacle of her career, she is still criticized for her looks. Instead of focusing on her achievements, articles are written about her body shape.

We should celebrate the hard work these women put in to make their bodies strong enough to achieve these amazing athletic feats. No one should ever think that too many muscles makes you less feminine. Just like one’s body size or shape should not factor into one’s measurement of success.

I am going to celebrate the strength of my legs, and I hope we can learn to hail the strength of these women.

And never fear being strong.

Posted in Acceptance, Body Image, Body Positive, Confidence, pop culture, Sports | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment