Category Archives: pop culture

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!

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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.

Give Women A Break!

This past week held a lot of great news for women — and a lot of news that made me want to tear my hair out! I can’t understand how people don’t see that they’re belittling a whole sect of the population and that they don’t see anything wrong with that!

Yup, I’m on my soap box. Watch out.

First up, the lovely Melissa McCarthy. She earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last week, and I was so happy for her! I was definitely distracted by the beauty of her dress at the event — she looked gorgeous!

via CBS

via CBS

But when I started reading articles about the honor she earned, I started getting angry that all the sources wanted to talk about is that it looks like she’s lost weight. Wait … what? Why is that important? Why is it that no accomplishment in this life seems as important to some people as losing weight? If she had accepted the star and she was the same weight or, God forbid, had gained weight, would the honor be any less cool? No.

Sadly, the headlines in the British tabloids were the worst, as they usually are.

Daily Mail

via Daily Mail

Look at the words they use — “shrinking,” “one of the biggest female stars in show business … even if there is less of her.” And I love that they say she’s hiding her figure “in an unflattering billowing frock.” Really?

Really?

It’s time people got recognized for more than just their size.

Which moves me to my next issue — Tess Holliday. I think it is so, so awesome that People Magazine put her on the cover. Her accomplishments in bridging the gap between straight-size and plus-size models are so admirable, and now she’s on the cover of a magazine that usually touts weight-loss, bikini bodies and moms “getting their body back.”

But why do they have to call out her size, as if this number is the only thing that can describe her?

tess holliday

As Lesley said in her great piece at XOJane.com, her name almost always comes with the descriptor “size 22.” It’s kind of a shame that we can’t just call her model Tess Holliday. Do I need to start introducing myself with my size? Or my SAT score?

I don’t think we should be ashamed of the size we wear or the number on the scale, but I also feel this shouldn’t be THE THING that’s used to describe a person. Not to mention, as Lesley points out in the article, this also invites unfair comparisons. And we all need to stop comparing ourselves to others. 

The third piece of news that had me raging this past week had to do with another number — age. Apparently Maggie Gyllenhaal was passed up for a role because she wasn’t young enough to play a 55-year-old’s girlfriend. And she’s 37. Um … what?

As someone who just realized that this year’s high school graduating class was born the year I graduated high school, I may be a bit age-sensitive right now (ha!). But I just think this is ridiculous. I am grateful to work in an industry where age doesn’t seem to be an issue … but sometimes it is a “perceived” issue — that somehow if you’re younger, your ideas are fresher. Not to mention your salary can be lower, so you’re cheaper to have on staff. But Hollywood seems to have ageism locked up — especially when it comes to women — and it’s sad. Gyllenhaal is a talented actress, and saying she can’t play a 55-year-old’s girlfriend is completely ridiculous.

Finally, I had to address the high-heel fiasco at Cannes. As someone who has a lot of problems with my feet, sometimes heels just aren’t an option for me. And to turn away a whole group of women for not wearing heels seems ludicrous.

Apparently the dress code also includes “black tie” for men, and I know wearing a tie isn’t necessarily comfortable either. There must be a way for Cannes to evoke an air of glamour without having all of their attendees forced to wear what a certain group of people deem is “acceptable.”

It’s amazing to me that with all the strides we make — plus-size models on major runways and in ad campaigns, women like Mindy Kaling running and starring in her own show, are just two examples — that we still beat women down a lot more than we build them up. And the worst thing, in my opinion, is when other women do it to each other. I’m a firm believer in celebrating other people’s successes. And maybe if we concentrate on doing that more, news like this past week won’t be “news” anymore!

amy poehler

Plus-Size Ladies Are Having A Moment

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about some hits and misses in plus-size fashion, particularly for a couple of celebrities, such as Rebel Wilson or Melissa McCarthy.

Well, let me tell you, lately it seems like plus-size ladies are getting it right. Really right. In fact, these women are slaying it!

I was inspired to write this post when I saw the bottom right photo of Melissa McCarthy from the People’s Choice Awards earlier this week. I used to hate when stylists, or maybe it was Melissa herself, I’m not sure, covered her up in way too much drapey fabric. I was like: Show her body! Well, she seems to be embracing her curves more often lately, and she looks amazing!

melissa

Next up is a blogger who I have admired for a long time: GabiFresh. She always looks chic … in fact, that word doesn’t even do enough justice to how fabulous she always looks. I was excited when I learned that she’s releasing her own swim line with SwimSexy at SwimSuitsForAll.com.

 

As she said on her website today:

True to my style, I went for bold colors, fun designs and cool details. There was no watering down or holding back (this happens often when brands make things for our size demo); I simply designed beautiful statement pieces that I knew stylish girls would love.

It’s great that she’s able to help influence what’s available out there for us curvy girls. You’re killing it, Gabi!

Finally, I have to draw attention to a model I’ve been following on Instagram for a while now: Ashley Graham. She is such a great advocate for body acceptance and loving the skin you’re in. She has a video at NetAPorter.com that promotes her personal workout, yet she also promotes a healthy body image:

photo (9)She also has a stunning lingerie collection at AdditionElle.com. (pssssst! Most pieces are buy 1, get 1 40% off right now!) Now is she hot or what?

The reason I’m so enamored with these ladies is that it’s nice to see women who are celebrating their feminism, their sex appeal and shape. They’re not trying to hide — they are owning who they are and proud to show off their curves.

I certainly need to be reminded of my sexiness from time to time, and I’m sure you do, too. No matter our size — whether we’re thin or curvy — we need to stop looking at some magazines or celebrities and thinking, “Oh, I’ll never be as beautiful/thin/sexy as her.” We all need to find role models who we can feel good about supporting and make us feel good about ourselves.

Who do you admire for her body acceptance or ability to just be herself?

 

 

Top 10 Posts of 2014

Happy New Year, all!

I hope today finds you in good health and looking forward to this next year with a big smile, and only a small hangover!

I spent New Year’s Eve curled up on the couch with my husband and some Chinese food, still fighting this sinus infection that’s been lingering around for a couple of weeks. I’m finally starting to feel better, though! And I had a nice surprise this morning when I stepped on the scale, believe it or not! I’m still holding firm at 251, which of course I want to see go lower, but after the yummy meals and Christmas cookies I consumed last week, no gain is a huge plus to me!

I wanted to share with you the Top 10 posts from my blog this year, according to the number of views, and a few thrown in because they were my personal favorite to write. My next post will be about my goals for 2015, including a review of the last 6 months of #stellarmiles and where I see my exercise routine, weight-loss efforts, blogging career and other goals heading this year.

No. 1: Most read post
Calvin Kelin’s So-Called ‘Plus’ Model

photo via Elle.com via Jag Models

photo via Elle.com via Jag Models

No. 2: My short-lived foray into live-blogging for “Jersey Belle”
“Jersey Belle”: A Review By Another Jersey Girl Who Moved South

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 7.38.20 AM

No. 3: In defense of slow runners everywhere!
Slow Runners Are Runners, Too

Two half marathon medals ... so far!

No. 4: One of my favorite things about fall: dressing in layers!
Fall Layering Is Your Friend

shades of gray

No. 5: Continuing my conquest to not look at food as “good” or “bad” and relieve the guilt of eating a treat now and then!
To Cheat Or To Treat

treat

No. 6: A fashion goal of mine for 2015: Wear more skirts!
Let’s Talk About Skirts, Baby

IMG_5697

No. 7: When your workout is so tough, you can’t get your clothes off.
I Got Stuck In My Sports Bra

777a88ca62736d0f59f6519c56ced7a6

No. 8: Looking back in fashion and seeing styles come around again.
Fashion Flashback: ’90s Girl Grunge

cf79c5d2fc5f0ba92ea3183ebee8275c

No. 9: A review of where my fitness journey has taken me over the past few years.
10 Things You May Not Know About My Fitness Journey {Thus Far}

(left) May 2009; (right) November 2014

(left) May 2009; (right) November 2014

No. 10: And one of my favorite posts of 2014!
Don’t Be Afraid To Be The Fat Girl At The Gym

Thanks to friends like Tanya Sylvan and instructors like Kelly Creel, I can learn to focus on myself for a little bit each week.

I Got Those Booties, Booties

This year, the No. 1 thing on my must-have list: gray booties. I’m not sure what it is or why I want them so badly. I’m not even sure exactly what I’d wear them with except … everything. Here’s a few examples of how celebrities have styled gray booties, and a few pairs I think are really stylish (and affordable!).

popsugar

Sarah Jessica Parker

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon

Jamie Chung via everydaylife

Jamie Chung

Katie Holmes

Katie Holmes