Can We Stop Calling Ashley Graham “Plus-Size”?

So in case you haven’t heard, there’s a big uproar over Sports Illustrated featuring a voluptuous, buxom beauty on the cover. Ashley Graham. Ashley Graham!! The 28 year old size 16 model was selected to show her shape off to the magazine’s 20,000+ regular readers. And as you might imagine, this has created quite a stir. Here she is, looking fabulous in this untouched cover shot.

And she’s not alone. Another gorgeous lady who’s been corralled into this category made the issue as well. Robyn Lawley, a size 12 blonde bombshell, makes an appearance looking absolutely phenomenal, and far from “Plus”. As some have noted, Lawley actually beat Graham to the punch of being the first “Plus-Size” model to grace its pages, making it into an issue of Sports Illustrated previously.

In interviews, both girls expressed dissatisfaction at being labeled as “Plus-Size”. Recently, Lawley expressed further unhappiness at the term, claiming that her curves were being used as a publicity stunt. And she’s not completely wrong. The announcement has blown up all over social media, and as exciting as it seems, it may not be the revolution we all were hoping for.

“With my ItalianVogue cover [in 2011] for example, there’s only been one, and it hasn’t happened again. I think American Vogue has only featured Adele. I think it’s probably going to be coming. But it can’t just be one issue every five years, and everyone yipping and yawing and getting excited, and then nothing happening afterward.” -Robyn Lawley, Allure magazine

Both models are outspoken about body positivity and acceptance at all sizes, and practice what they preach in their design careers. Lawson has created a fantastic line of swimsuits catering to larger sizes. And Graham has her own lingerie collection, which proudly proclaims:

“I AM STRONG. I AM BEAUTIFUL. #IAMSIZESEXY”

My question is, when can we stop calling Ashley Graham and girls like her “Plus-Size”, and start accepting them as normal instead? These women are sexy and successful; and the only “Plus” thing about them is in their patience, and the attitudes they hold towards fashion, beauty, and what it means to be a woman. Sexy isn’t a size. You aren’t a size. You’re not a label or a number, either. It’s time we set aside the scales and measuring tapes and started appreciating ourselves rather than trashing and belittling. While I still may be unhappy with the term, the fact that this is happening is cause for celebration. Beauty comes in all forms, and it’s time we started showcasing it. And to all you haters out there, try not to get down on someone else just for loving themselves, just the way that they are.

“We’re making girls lose weight to fit samples, rather than the other way around. We should make the clothes fit the girls. I find it remarkable, because beauty comes in all shapes and all sizes. It always has and it always will. And if you’re looking at catwalks, it’s not diversified at all. It’s the same body type [one] after another. I’m sick of it. I don’t see myself being represented in fashion, and I love fashion.” -Robyn Lawley, Allure magazine

Where Does Confidence Come From?

Today I thought I’d start with a prompt I didn’t have an immediate answer to:

Where does confidence come from?

Confidence, an unassuming little word, encompasses and impacts more of our daily lives than most of us would probably care to admit. But what is confidence? Where can we find it? Can it be bottled, captured, or taught? And why does it matter…?

Confidence can be seen from a mile away.

If you’ve ever looked in the mirror, given a speech, or had to work with a team, then you likely already know the basic concept here. Confidence, in the best terms that I can describe, is the assuredness in one’s own thoughts, being, or actions. And it really is so powerful and so important in achieving our dreams, because it lifts us up into a state of believing in which anything is possible–as long as we are driven and determined (ie: Confident) enough.

Confidence can be seen from a mile away. It’s in a person’s smile, their stride, the way they dress or how they behave around others. Confidence makes us better individuals, because instead of turning to dark or bitter thoughts, we gravitate towards the positive in life. Yes, confidence itself lives in the very realm of the positive, and it’s always waiting there, for whenever we happen to venture on by.

I don’t suggest trying this.

You don’t need to be flawless–or fearless–to be confident. You don’t even have to be confident all of the time (I know I most certainly am not). Confidence, like all things in life, has its cycle – its time and its place. Some of us have too much (raise your hand if you know someone); others could use a bit more (give yourself some credit!). But I wanted to delve more into the finding of confidence here, and how we can work to build and maintain a healthy dose of it.


Step One: Say Good-bye to Your Negative Nancy.
Each of us has a negative voice in the back of our minds; usually a fearful, timid little voice, whispering “What if’s” and “should have/could have’s” in our ear. And believe me, it’s not a bad thing. In fact, that worried little voice just might function as a survival instinct. We rely a lot on our perceptions to tell us what (and who) is a danger to us. So the first step here, is really, learning not to be afraid. A confident person isn’t a person who won’t recognize dangers or experience fears, but rather acknowledges all of these, and then chooses to express that they themselves are unthreatened.

You should definitely be like this kid, though.

I hate to go off on a tangent here, but consider if you will for a moment the behavior of dogs. If you see a dog that is barking at everyone that walks past, lunging at other dogs, and not listening to its owner, you might just assume that it is either badly behaved, or aggressive. The fact of the matter may be though that the dog is merely scared and not reassured of its owner’s leadership abilities. Neither of them have any confidence in what they’re doing, and so the dog goes on the offense (another survival instinct). In contrast, a confident dog owner will provide greatly needed direction for their pooch, and a dog that has a confident owner is going to be more self-assured in their actions as a result.

It’s all about attitude – which brings me to my next point.

Step Two: Fake It Until You Make It!
If you’re not naturally confident in a project, a person (yourself), or a situation, the very best thing that you can do is pretend that you are anyways. Stand up straight, pull your shoulders back; you can smile or keep a calm countenance – whichever you prefer. The important thing though is to tell yourself (and others) through the use of body language that you are assertive… that you really know what you’re doing. Confidence inspires confidence. And what I mean by that is, if you appear relaxed and assured in your circumstance, it will help other people to feel more at ease as well. If you seem to have a firm grasp on what’s going on, you inspire others to feel confident in your character and your abilities.

It’s really a positive, self-rewarding system.

Step Three: Embracing a Better You


Human beings are truly incredible creatures, and our ability for adaptation and change is nothing short of remarkable. Have a trait you don’t like? Guess what: you can change that. Unhappy with your personability or how you present yourself to others? It’s all something you can work on and improve. Anything, from our behaviors to our personalities, can be re-shaped and molded into something exciting and new. And this can definitely be applied to our topic of choice.

The biggest step you can make in coming into a brighter, happier self is changing your mode of thinking. Try to compliment yourself, quietly or out loud, as often as you like. Reward yourself with praise when you know you’ve done well, and don’t be afraid to accept praise from others. The instant we accept that we can be as amazing as we want to be, the whole world just opens up to us. As if to say: “Here it is! Anything and EVERYTHING you could want is at your fingertips. Please, just reach out and take it!” My advice? Take it. And don’t let that little demon called doubt try and hold you back.

Roar and thump your chest. Get a little proud of who you are and what you’ve accomplished. And if there are things that you still want to accomplish, go out there and do them! When you erase limitations from your mind, you put yourself in the very shoes of Confidence itself. And nothing is better than being the very thing that you want.

 

News!

I got a new car! And a dog! And a job driving for UBER!! Okay, so that last one wasn’t me. But I’m excited enough for my fiance that it feels like I’ve been blessed with this amazing new opportunity. Consider this a check-in, check-up, update, due date, LONG overdue synopsis of my life.

So, makeup and fashion have taken a slight back-burner to the rest of what’s going on. But my passion for health, beauty, and confidence have not waned, friends. Oh, no! If anything, taking a reprieve from a couple of things (like my old job and horrible, beaten up car) have refreshed me in an indescribable way. It’s funny how much what you do and what you drive can impact your mood. It’s almost comparable to the influence of what you put on every morning.

Bonus news? I’ve lost weight. About a 60% paleo diet and some serious yoga and strength training are getting me in the best shape of my life, and I’ve never been happier. We’re right around the marker where I’m cracking down, getting serious, and taking this baby all the way. Wish me luck, and lots of sweatproof foundation. Speaking of, review coming soon for some phenomenal face makeup that I just can’t stop raving about. Wear it to the gym, wear it in the rain, wear it when it’s 100 degrees outside– with this stuff, it doesn’t matter. Wait for the review. If you haven’t tried this brand already, you simply must. Well, that’s all for now.

Ta lovelies! TTY Soon.

Jenn

Review: Pura D’or Dandruff & Acne Treatment

Hey guys, long time no post. This is mostly my bad (Okay, it’s ALL my bad). But as an olive branch, I come bearing reviews. Please, reserve your fruit throwing for after the article.

This week I’m doing a throw-back on the benefits of Argan Oil by covering a few products from my favorite carrier of the stuff: Pura D’or. I received some very generous samples of both their Dandruff Shampoo and Acne Treatment, and trust me when I say, you’re going to want to hear these results.
ArganShampoo

The main feature here is on the stellar shampoo and conditioner I was lucky enough to try from this amazing brand. While I don’t suffer from scalp issues myself, my guy is prone to some pretty severe flaking, and nothing we’ve tried has been able to remedy this. I know it’s something he’s expressed embarrassment over before, and so off we went with the all-natural approach!

As I said, I was already a fan of Pura D’or before discovering that they had an extended beauty line. All of their products are free of SLS, parabens, and other harsh chemicals, and contain only the purest, organic ingredients. The shampoo comes in a bottle more resembling a vat–16 oz in size and fitted with a pump for easy use. And both the shampoo and conditioner offer an inviting aroma. The conditioner, while not dandruff specific, is very rich, and smells strongly of lavender. We both loved this scent. The shampoo maintains an invigorating peppermint smell, which my boyfriend was less than fond of. If you take your showers in the morning, as I do, this is a great way to wake up your senses!

ArganShampoo2The products are very clean feeling, and don’t lather up as well as many commercial brands. I felt that they were actually infusing my hair with awesome nutrients, instead of just coating the follicles in crud. Following the first use, I noted immediately a healthier, shinier appearance to my hair. The Argan Oil which I often use post-styling to add life back to my heat-damaged locks became unnecessary on days that I showered, as all of that goodness is already right there in the bottle.

And what about my guy, you ask? Well… I had him adhere to the dandruff treatment for over a week, and he had some pretty impressive things to say about it in the end. For starters, his flaking has greatly diminished, and he is now able to both style and maintain his hair with ease. He adores the fact that we’re not putting any toxic chemicals into our skin. And his locks have never been quite so soft and touchable as they are now. He loves the confidence it’s given him. I love that he loves it.

On the satisfaction scale, I could not be more pleased. I never expected such long-lasting, fantastic results.

Rating: 5/5
5star


ArganAcneThe pièce de résistance though has to be the Acne Treatment I have now proudly added to my routine. Consisting largely of all natural oils, a few drops of this stuff is tough enough to clear up my biggest blemishes. I was shocked when, after applying the night before, my pimples had completely disappeared by the following morning! Apparently it works by controlling sebum to treat and prevent breakouts. However it works, it works like a boss!

I simply could not live without this little miracle any more. It’s not only improved my skin and reduced redness, it has replaced my moisturizer altogether. Instructions state to add 2-3 drops to trouble areas up to twice daily. I use it about once, on average, and a few dots is enough to spread over my entire face. It does have a very oily consistency, which I’d say is the only thing I may not like. However, my makeup goes on smooth over it, and even seems to absorb better into my skin. Living zit free… and here I thought I’d found heaven in a cheesecake.

Rating: 4.5/5
4starhalf


*FTC Disclosure: The above products were gifted to me by Pura D’or in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own, and do not in any way represent the opinions of Pura D’or.

Update: Overload

Just a quick note to let all readers know my posts may be a bit sporadic in coming. Obligations have reared their head, and between my two (three?) jobs and other responsibilities, I’ll be cutting back. Ack! Not what I want to have to write, and probably not what you want to hear. Dang life–always getting in the way. 😉

I realize this is a little late in coming as it’s already been awhile since my last post. However, better late than never is a motto I now choose to fall back on. So! Please expect a review and some fun free-writing in the following days. And beyond that, I’ll be here… reading all your lovely blogs and (sporadically) maintaining my own.

Thanks so much guys!

♥ Jenn

Why You Should Sing Badly

“Oh no, I don’t sing.”

I hear this so often. Along with the matching comment, “I don’t dance.”

Personally, I know I don’t sound like Celine Dion and I may never be Dancing with the Stars, but marching to my own drummer has been a life-long resolution of mine; even if, as Nietzsche said, others can’t hear the music. Life isn’t a party, it’s a flipping parade. We share our stage with so many other bright stars, and because of that, we tend to lose sight of our own spectacular selves. We lose the fun-loving freedom of our youth. Growing up, for so many, equates to giving up.

I don’t quiet down in a car full of strangers. I belt loud and proud, smile stamped firmly on my face. And generally, that kind of attitude is contagious. Before you know it, a whole room has joined in. Freedom to be ourselves is supposedly apparent in our current society. To a degree, at least; until it becomes too uncomfortable for others to bear. It’s so odd to me that as we grow older, we are required to “mature”. Not just mentally or emotionally, either; but in a repressed kind of way. As if aging is a reason to become reserved and surrender all spontaneity.

I burst into laughter wherever I go. I try not to dampen my personality just for the sake of others. And yes, sometimes I get a dirty look or three for deigning to be happy in public. Ridiculous! 

The short time I’ve been in this world, the one thing I’ve observed universally is people trying to control each other. I’ve been hurried along and told to slow down–instructed to seize opportunities of my youth and commanded to wait. Whatever decisions I’m making always seem (in the eyes of one person or another) to be the wrong ones. And at 25, I’m done taking orders. Please leave all life advice with my secretary. I’m no longer available to take calls.

Get silly, before you forget how! Pack a bag and go on a freaking vacation. Buy something outlandish, just to let yourself have it. Storm through each day like there’s theme music playing just for you–and never let anyone take away your will to let go and have fun. If you’re not out there taking risks, what’s the point anyways? Don’t. Hold. Back. If I could give myself one gift to claim at the end of it all, it would be the memories I’d went out of my way to make, despite everyone who told me I’d regret them. Those things you worry you can’t or shouldn’t do… they’re the ones you’ll always be grateful you did.

WANTED: Nike Free 5.0 N7

WANTED: Laced or unstrung. Reward if captured. Report directly to Jenn.

I don’t know how many of you are fitness enthusiasts–but the Nike Free line has been my heaven on earth (or foot, I suppose). I have a pair of the old 5.0’s in coral that are my go-to runners and have seriously upped my game! Soft, flexible material that moves with the natural motion of your foot. Great grip and a design that helps propel you forward with ease. I didn’t need another running shoe; and I was content on wearing those until they were dead. Until I saw… the newest 5.0 trainers.

With much elation, let me announce that the Nike Free 5.0 N7 Women’s Training Shoe is finally here! I’ve been waiting for these suckers for weeks. The design, the pattern, the colors! It’s everything I could crave in a trainer, with the same great concept that made me fall in love with my other 5.0’s. Plus perfectly geared for weight lifting, basketball, or other adventures. And now of course here I am, without any fun money remaining! Ah well. The wait will make it all the more sweet.  ♥

What about you? What sports related accessory have you been dying to get your hands on?