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

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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
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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
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*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.

Review: Shea Moisture Body Products


Today I’m taking a moment to cover a rather underappreciated category of beauty products: bath and body items. I’m typically a handmade soap kind of person (the kind that other people make, anyways), so I felt keen on exploring the avenue of bath and shower-time pampering just a bit more.

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Shea Moisture is a drugstore brand that caught my eye. They come in pretty packaging and scents of all variety, but I chose the coconut and hibiscus because it was light, floral but not overpowering, and already vaguely relaxing. The sticker on each item touts their cute origins story, as well as a list of no-no’s these beauties are free from. *Ahem* No parabens, phthalates, paraffin, gluten, propylene glycol, mineral oil, synthetic fragrance, synthetic color, DEA, or sulfates. And also–NO animal testing. Nice!

So how did they fare in my extensive trials? Good, for sure. Better than great, and just shy of grand. For the affordability factor, they can’t be beat. Each one ranges from $7-$10, and typically, they seem to be on sale. There was a nice one running when I stopped in, so I got all of mine BOGO 50% off!

SheaM3The best product, in my opinion, was the Dry Oil Mist. The label proclaims that it is for “brightening and toning”, but really, it’s just a quick, awesome way to add moisture to your skin. Phenomenal to spritz on in the morning, or just after a shower. This is probably my favorite item because it absorbs with such ease. Fantastic as a finishing touch to keep legs and arms silky smooth.

The Hand & Body Scrub was selected for my guy. He has issues with dry, sensitive skin, and whole-body exfoliating seemed to be the way to go! I sampled this once in the shower, but personally, I found it a tad too abrasive. For myself, the Foaming Milk & Body Wash was much better. Ultra rich and creamy, working this into a good lather makes me feel like I’ve stepped out of the spa every time!

SheaM4Back to the scrub. For a person who has rougher, drier skin, this number seems to work wonders. My boyfriend swears by it now, actually preferring it to the body wash (which is apparently too slick for him to really do anything). The first ingredient in this, and what it is largely made of, is sugar. Now I’ve never tried a sugar scrub at home, but I’ve heard of the exfoliating benefits of sugar before, and this stuff really takes the cake! Since using this, my boyfriend has noted less irritation, less flaking, and healthier skin overall. As I said, it is very abrasive, so it may not be for you if you already have naturally soft skin. But for the end results, it’s definitely worth a try!

Almost every product in this line contains a combo of vitamin E, coconut oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, olive oil, and aloe–all ingredients your body will thank you for. They smell heavenly, and leave you feeling refreshed and renewed. If I had to suggest just one item (an impossibility!) I would have to say to give their massage oils a try. Longest lasting product I’ve found, slightly warming, and sooo indulgent. Try this on yourself or a partner and be amazed. You can thank me later. 😉

Rating: 4.5/5
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Review: Yes To Grapefruit – Eye Cream

I’m not one to purchase anti-aging products.

YTGThis dark circle correcting eye cream is the closest I’ve come. Yes To Grapefruit is a worldwide brand that, despite coming from Israel, is now as easy to acquire as taking a trip to your nearest pharmacy. I snagged this on a whim while running out for tissues. Glad for the cold to be over, I thought I’d now report what I’d found. A bit of good and bad.


YTG2I don’t have huge under-eye problems. My boyfriend, in fact, was quite insistent when I dropped this in the cart that it wasn’t something I needed. However, being inches from a mirror every morning grants me quite a good view. And while my eye area isn’t awful, it is something that I’d like to improve. That in mind, I was kind of hoping that for $13, this tiny little tube was going to be my miracle salvation. That wasn’t quite the case.


Here’s what I like:

Upon first use, I did notice a slight difference in skin pigmentation. In fact, almost immediately, my eye area began to look brighter. I was *astounded* with this change, and took it as cause to keep using it.

The product has a scent that is rather neutral to my senses; earthy, may be the right way to describe it. Licorice root is responsible for the smell, and while it won’t be for everyone, I found that it was for me.


YTG5The product comes in a squeeze tube that is easy to procure a tiny bit of product from. The cream itself is smooth and feels as though it should be hydrating. It absorbs easily into skin and leaves a light tingling sensation behind. This fades after a moment, and your skin will tighten lightly and take on a more youthful appearance. Sounds good so far, right?

Here’s what I didn’t like:

Drying under eye area and increased appearance of creases in makeup.

Limited effect/lasting power.

Worsened dark circles.


Unfortunately, this product works just above sub-par immediately after using it, and as punishment makes tired eyes a more prominent occurrence. After using this nearly a week, I can honestly say that other than adding unnecessary fragrance to my skin, it hasn’t done a thing. I suppose it’s nice to perk up your appearance if you’re leaving the house in a hurry; but I just don’t see a purpose for regular use of this item. I’m kind of disappointed, and I won’t be using it again.

Rating: 2.5/5
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Ladybug on a Cloudy Day

Today was so busy I barely had time to catch my breath.

Here’s everything at a glimpse. Step 1: Ladybug Lipstick by Mac

LadybugL   MacLadybug   LB2
I’m not one to commonly wear red, but I picked this little beauty up the other day as a personal challenge at a more daring look. Mac cosmetics are great quality; let’s just say it and get that statement out of the way. Back to this shade in particular… Ladybug is a nice vibrant color which seems well suited for both paler and darker skin tones. Takes a couple passes to get a solid coat, but I’m in love with the shade for that POP! Also, I could see working this into a great retro 50’s look.

Goes on smooth, easy to apply, fun to wear. The only downside I experienced was that this is a very sheer color, which means it goes on light and rubs off at the slightest contact. I found it fading after about an hour of wear, and unless you carry some gloss (or more lipstick) to reapply, not a very flattering look in the end. I don’t know about you, but I prefer my lipstick long-lasting!

Onto more fun stuff…

BathJoy BathJoy2 BathJoy4 BathJoy3
The bath got a facelift today! Before pictures have been excluded to save you from going into shock. Needless to say, it was a cluttered, bare mess before. And now it’s worth stepping into! Props for finally settling in, albeit four months later. 😛 Total reno was $117 at Target. I’m thrifty–so sue me.

Getting organized was a resolution for me, and keeping all my dailies close at hand while not scattered on top of each other is a big step! Unsure how things will go as more makeup gets added to my collection, but for right now, every polish and extra eyeshadow is finding storage down below.

sushi
The day ended with a well-deserved date night after scouring the streets for apartments. Interestingly enough, all of our looking was for naught. Turns out, we won’t be having to move after all. More good news! I love this location. And let me just end by saying, I’ve got a grab-bag full of goodies I’ll be covering on my blog in the days to come. A few simple products that are readily available, and some highlights I’m very excited to share with you all! Look forward to that and have a great night.

♥ Jenn

The Short Hair Stigma: Learning to Love Your Locks

I had already decided to grow out my hair. Two weeks ago, while staring at my reflection, I turned to my boyfriend and said: “It needs to be long.” I still remember the moment I finally chopped it all off. It was only last summer, after all. And I’d only been waiting to do it for years.

The comment didn’t help any. “Heyy boys…” our bartender greeted. It was so hilarious at the time, I had to stop myself from laughing. My boyfriend didn’t say a word. It was a while after, as we were leaving from our lunch date that I realized that the comment had bothered me.

Short Hair    Short Hair 2

Truly, it shouldn’t have. I’ve made the mistake of buying into other people’s opinions before. You never end up anywhere fun living like that. And I loved my hair; still love my hair. It had been a long time in the making. A choice I’d been talked out of numerous times by stylists who all thought they knew better. A pixie wouldn’t “fit my face”. I should just try something chin-length instead. I’d done it all before, and never been happy with the result. So when I finally let myself have it, when I stopped taking no for an answer, I felt amazingly free. The cut looked fantastic, and beyond that, it was sexy!

Having short hair has this instant effect of helping you stand out in a crowd. It’s so simple to look put-together, cute, and trendy all at once! And honestly, I spent so much less time getting ready in the morning. The downside of being a girl and cutting off all your hair is that people tend to jump to some pretty wild conclusions about you. I’d gotten the lesbian comments more than once; the disapproving stares from older people, or better yet–men. But none of it had ever fazed me.

Until the moment I realized… I was done having short hair.

This would have made for a much more interesting movie…

The problem with going super short is, it’s not as quick to get it back as it is to take it off. It’s something you go into knowing, and yet it still doesn’t change the urge you get the instant you decide you want something new. I no longer wanted short hair. I wanted longer hair again, more freedom to straighten, curl, and style. Up-do’s and beachy waves! I wanted it all back. And the terrible thing was, I wanted it now. Not mid-length hair, either; but down to your chest, flowing locks – which sadly, just don’t come overnight. Believe me, I’ve hoped I’d wake up like Harry Potter, but alas, no such luck.

The thing about making a decision for yourself is that you know you’re doing it for you. It’s something you’re already set-on; eager for, so to speak. But hearing others emphasize the things you lack that you’re working to reclaim… it’s super discouraging to say the least. I felt like a conformist. Like I was changing who I was to please the generalized public opinion. And that’s the worst feeling when all you’re trying to do is fulfill your desires. How had I suddenly grown ashamed of what was on my head? Because of something a man in a bar said, offhandedly? That simply couldn’t be the case. My boyfriend (the only person who matters) thinks I’m the hottest thing on earth, and he tells me so, every damn day. So what was going on here?

In simplest terms, it’s our own insecurities that leave us vulnerable. The moment I decided I no longer looked my best with a cropped ‘do, every oggle and backhanded comment became a missile aimed straight at my face. We leave ourselves open to attack when we’re uncertain of ourselves, and the biggest lesson I learned here is that standing by your choices also sometimes means living with them. Even if it also means suffering through something largely uncomfortable.

In the meantime, I’m just going to soldier on; see my hairstylist frequently, and have some fun experimenting with hats and head scarves! The upside is, I’ve never looked at my hair with so much potential before. This is going to be a truly great time to accessorize, and frankly, I can’t wait.

Stay strong, ladies! And remember, whatever you wear, to do so with confidence.

♥ Jenn