Off The Shoulder, And A Little Leg

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I recently cashed in on a great sale at Torrid, and I threw this dress into my shopping cart thinking, “I don’t know about this off-the-shoulder trend, but let me give this a try.”

Well, I’m in love.

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Is it possible to be in love with a dress? When it has a romantic floral pattern, a sweet swishy skirt and adjustable straps to make the bare shoulder look easy to wear, yes. Yes it is.

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I paired this dress with a fun rose gold necklace and coordinating earrings, and tan suede sandals with a stacked wooden heel, adorned with studs that give them just a touch of edge.

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This is my “it’s too freakin’ hot to take photos outside so posing inside my dining room and front entryway will just have to do” pose.

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Torrid Floral Chiffon Cold Shoulder Dress, $58.50 | Nine West Josefine Open Toe Sandals, $89
| Charming Charlie Filigree Flourish Bib Necklace & Earrings, $6.99

Have you tried the off-the-shoulder trend?

Check out two of my friends and fellow fashion bloggers who have rocked this style as well: Jeniese of The Jenesaisquoi, and Christina of Pink Lux.

Ashley Graham Doesn’t Owe You Anything

The body shaming Ashley Graham endured last week by her fans, who are upset with her for supposedly losing weight, is itself shameful. As fans who love her for her body positivity, how they can engage in making judgmental comments about her weight baffles me.

Whether she’s actually lost weight or not, which she has not confirmed, is besides the point. I thought the body positivity movement was all about feeling comfortable in our own skin and having control over how you feel about your body.

Ashley Graham via Swimsuits For All, the model's collection of plus-size swimwear

Body shaming Ashley Graham doesn’t do the body positivity movement any good. via Swimsuits For All, Graham’s plus-size swimwear collection

The body positivity movement is not about judging others for gaining or losing weight. It is not about judging someone whose body has changed — whether it’s gotten bigger or smaller or more muscular or someone has had weight-loss surgery or plastic surgery.

The point of body positivity, in my eyes, is to not shame anyone for his or her body shape or appearance, for any reason.

What Ashley Graham decides to do with her body is her business. Just like if I decide I’m not happy with my weight as it is and I want to lose weight, that’s my prerogative. Or if I just decide I want to start eating more healthfully and exercising more, and weight loss is a byproduct of that, that is also my choice.

My feelings about my body are what’s important. Not anyone else’s feelings or judgments or society’s preconceived notions about what my body should look like.

I understand that plus-size women who may be unhappy with Ashley Graham’s weight loss are probably feeling that because she is one of the most popular plus-size models, and she doesn’t weigh as much as many plus-size women. They may feel that it isn’t fair for her to represent herself as one of “us.” There’s no doubt about it that there is still size discrimination in the plus-size clothing and modeling industry. Not all sizes are represented in advertisements or magazines, even when they sell clothing for larger women.

But those false representations do not fall solely on Ashley Graham’s shoulders. And her body is not owned by her fans and shouldn’t be owned by her industry. She is a person, a human being — that’s all any of us want to be seen as.

For most women, and men, too, you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If you don’t work on losing weight, then you’re portrayed as gluttonous and lazy. If you are proud of who you are, no matter your size, then you do lose weight, you’re seen as conforming to society’s idea of beauty.

I don’t think Ashley Graham owes it to any of us to stay one size or another, to lose weight or not lose weight. She needs to feel good in her own skin, just like we all do.

So please stop body shaming someone who has helped the fashion industry see plus-size women as valuable contributors to this creative world and to the economy. There are other role models of all sizes who are doing this, too, and they deserve a judgment-free zone, as well. Just like we all do.

What I Want Now: Summer Sweatshirts

You’re probably thinking, what the heck are summer sweatshirts and why does a woman from Alabama, where it’s 90 degrees every day and doesn’t cool down at night, want one?

Well, luckily for me I will be on vacation in a few weeks where the nights turn cool. I can’t wait to throw on jeans and a light sweatshirt and zip around the lake on a boat with my family at dusk.

Ah, daydreams.

So, when I started seeing lightweight sweatshirts while engaging in some online retail therapy, I started thinking about cooler temperatures, layered clothing and snuggling under warm fabrics.

Here’s a few choices for you if you want to get a jumpstart on fall shopping, or if you, too, have daydreams about upcoming vacations where it cools down at night.

Old Navy is great for activewear, and you can stock up on basics to mix and match with printed leggings or the yoga pants you can’t get enough of.

This is a pricier option from Melissa McCarthy, but I like the details of the frayed edges and the thumb loops (see the same on the Old Navy option above).

The Gap always feels like the best place to find classic Ts and sweatshirts, and continuing my pastel picks with this sweet cotton candy pink hoodie seems fitting.

Sometimes It’s Just All Too Much


I’m sitting in a cafe and Debbie Gibson’s “Only In My Dreams” is playing on the radio, and I’m having to channel every bit of energy in my body to not burst into tears. 

No, Debbie Gibson doesn’t usually elicit tears. But all I can think about is being in the back seat of my parents’ car, singing along to this catchy pop song with my sister, doing little dances and turning to each other each time she says “ah, aha.” 

It was a simpler time. No bills. No jobs or homes to take care of. We were fed, clothed, with a roof over our heads and hugs and kisses before bed at night. 

We were lucky. Blessed. And we didn’t know how much. 

Now that I’m older, I feel like I’m mourning those years lately. Mourning the time before the world came crashing down around us every day. All day. Every time you turn on the news or open your Facebook app. 

Between personal trials, such as the death of my beloved grandfather earlier this year and the hard times my paternal grandmother and grandfather are facing right now, not to mention the violence that seems to scream at us every time we turn around, it’s all feeling like too much. 

I try to take deep breaths. I try to count my blessings — of which there are so, so many. 

But I also internalize a lot of the pain I see. The loss, the anger, the suffering. I know I’m not alone in this. I know we’re all feeling it. It’s mentally and physically exhausting, the weight of what’s going on in the world. 

It’s making me cry to ’80s pop songs, for goodness sake. 

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to turn a blind eye to it — I won’t be apathetic or ignorant to what’s going on in the world. 

But I will counter each horrible image, each piece of bad news, with goodness.

I will surround myself with photos of my loved ones — their smiling faces and fun memories. I’ll think of my nieces and nephews and my cousins’ and friends’ kids and the hopes and dreams I have for all of them. 

I’ll think of the dreams I want to work toward, and the strength that all those who I’ve lost give to me to reach those goals. 

And I’ll help. In whatever way I can, I’ll try to make someone’s day brighter, the load they carry a little easier. 

It’s all I can do, I guess, to bring a little light and hope and happiness into what we’re all feeling right now. 

I hope you will do the same. We’re in this together. 

Body Shaming By Playboy Model Dani Mathers Is Insecure AF

This has to be the only explanation why this woman would resort to body shaming.

Still, it’s no excuse.

I read yesterday on Revelist.com that Dani Mathers, the Playboy Playmate of the Year last year, reportedly took a photo of a naked woman in her gym’s locker room and then shared it on SnapChat. She said: “If I can’t I unsee this then you can’t either,” according to The Daily Mail.

WTF?

As Revelist.com said, you would think that someone who models naked would celebrate the human form — but apparently she has ideas about what types of human bodies she wants to see.

Not to mention, this woman was in a women’s locker room in a gym. While not completely private, I would argue there’s an unspoken agreement about any locker room that makes it clear that it’s not a public space — as in, you have no right to take photos of other people there!

It’s my opinion that any woman who has to tear down other women and make fun of someone else’s appearance must be insanely insecure. Because she is so unhappy or worried about her own appearance, she makes fun of others to make herself feel better.

I would’ve thought this 29-year-old would’ve left this kind of immature behavior behind in high school. But even then it’s unacceptable.

After enjoying a lunch with girlfriends yesterday during which we all stated how much we loved Jennifer Aniston’s article on HuffingtonPost.com that lamented society’s pressure on women to look a certain way, it was disheartening to hear of a woman treating another woman this way.

In her reply to the SnapChat leak, Mathers says: “I chose to do what I do for a living because I love the female body and I know body shaming is wrong.”

Then she goes on to say she thought the SnapChat was a private one between herself and a friend.

As if that makes it OK.

As Revelist.com says: “if she says she’s ‘not about’ body shaming, then why is she still sending people inappropriate (and violating) pictures like that, even privately?”

Preach!

It infuriates me when women make derogatory comments about other women — we still have to fight for equality in so many ways these days, why would we want to make it more difficult for one another to be ourselves, to be happy in our own skin?

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Sometimes the things we do and say in jest, as a joke, says more about ourselves than anything else. It shows a person’s insecurities and true character.

I would hope that more women can share sentiments like Aniston did, someone who from the outside may seem to have everything that society deems is what a woman should have — a thin body, beauty, talent. Still, she expressed feeling pressure to fit into society’s idea of what women are “supposed” to look like. (She also had some badass comments about society’s other expectations for marriage and motherhood — seriously, read this article!)

Angela George

via wiki: Angela George

Aniston said: “We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone. Let’s make that decision for ourselves and for the young women in this world who look to us as examples.”

Let’s pay attention and heed the words of women like Aniston.

Women who hate on other women should be ashamed, and they should spend some time thinking about what it is they don’t like about themselves that causes them to treat other women badly.