Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Apparently They Hate Me In Kansas

dita von teese, peach quote, not everyone will like you, sexy
Dita said it best. Be the best peach you can be.
One of the first things you'll discover in marketing is the root word: Market. People of Kansas, WTF? (I'll explain later)

You need to know, who is your market? Your audience. Even if we like to think of ourselves as purely writers and artists, marketing matters because we want to reach people.

 Apart from the cold, hard, money-hungry strategy, there's a more emotional lesson to learn: Who do you appeal to, and who isn't going to like you. Because not everyone is going to like you, no matter how hard you try. Those are the people you must not engage and walk away from.

Sound familiar? I feel like this is something parents tell us as children, and at one point we may have believed them. But as soon as you're working on something you are passionate about, we seem to forget this lesson. We hate the idea that someone disagrees with our thoughts, our art, with us. The childhood lesson is lost, and through the anonymous magic of the internet, our haters' voices are stronger and meaner.

But it is a good thing  that not everyone will like you: because you should remain you, not a vapid people pleaser. Edges and opinions people disagree with spark commentary, middle-of-the-road waffling bores people.

You shouldn't twist and conform to appeal to everyone--that's how politicians get elected and then verbally crucified for being ineffective and disingenuous *cough OBAMA cough*. Or how we make fun of Miss America contestants for their non-answers to simple questions.


I'm writing this because I see many bloggers I know revamping their content to try and attract new readers. While it's good to grow, if you are rewriting yourself to attract a different readership, your content is probably not as true to you, and therefore less marketable.

As a woman blogger who writes about sexual health, or plus size content, I get a few "You must be an ugly, insecure, daddy-issue having whore. I can't believe you write about that."

It hurts my feelings in the moment I read it. But then I realize I put out something that inspired someone so much they felt the need to take time to write me. So, ha, I won. You read my work. I'm not sure what happened to you to make you such a judgmental troll, but Jesus loves you. I'm sure your mom does too, perhaps you should call her.

So, to my blogger friends: Don't change. Be weird and bold. Ruffle some fucking feathers. Because people will love your content. They will identify with your words and pictures and the stories you paint, nothing needs to be watered down. It's your house -- if they don't like it, they can leave.

For some reason, much of my displeasure commentary comes from Kansas. So, to the state of Kansas -- let's be friends, bro. I'm lovely once you get to know me. Promise

Hugs and Kisses,

Jean

P.S. Once upon a time in a moment of great sadness, as one of my articles was ripped apart and I was called every mean name you can think of by people who I didn't know, I actually emailed the Bloggess and asked her how she handles the hateful trolls who cast shade her way. I find her blog inspirational, because that lady is fucking amazing and quirky AND funny, which is sadly a mix that is sure to rub some uptight people the wrong way. Yet she does it with grace.

You know what? She emailed me back. She took time out of her day from writing and loving Hailey and driving Victor and their army of animals crazy to write me a lofty email about how I should delete negative comments, go with the positive, and know my blog is my house and I run this how I see fit.

So, Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess. Thank you for being as genuine and kindhearted as you are funny and sharp witted. You're a great woman.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Summertime Update - Totally Not Like KISS

Hello Readers,

Just like the band KISS, I need a break once in awhile. Unlike the band KISS, I will not be embarking on four (?) farewell tours and manufacturing coffin merchandise. Seriously


coloring, growing up, fort, depression
No, this isn't an option. I checked


I just need to soak up a little summer and get my mojo back. We all need our mojo.

Be well. Finding my spark.

See you soon,

Jean

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

4 Plus Size Dress Looks For Less

For me to create a post that includes full-body pictures is a big deal. Because I like to keep my privacy as much as I like to talk to you all.

I'm still in the middle of my weight loss, even though I think I will always be a plus size woman; but I have areas I wish to tighten and tone. My usual response would be to hide until I obtained my idea of perfection. But that's not healthy. I should be open about where I'm at and document where I end up. 

An issue I have had is that as I continue to become healthier,  the size I wear changes. Depending on the designer I can fit anything from a size 12 (M) to a size 16 (XL). Also being a budget makes me not want to spend retail price on ANYTHING, especially if the item isn't going to fit in a few months.

So, what's a girl to do? Shop clearance. Shop smart. And never pay full price. Here's a few plus size dresses I got for less.


1. Ralph Lauren dress, ROSS for $30. Size 12. Retail price $96.
The best part? The dress has boning to hold its structure and follow the curve of my body without becoming too sheer or too tight. This dress is nice enough for a formal event, but sassy enough for a night out -- I've worn it to a Bachelorette party, New Years' Eve and friend's Opening Night at a new Theatre. 


2. Lace skater-style dress, Sears $12. Size L. There's no designer-name attached to this dress, but it's a double-lined, lace overlay. Upon joining their "Member Mobile Club" the dress became $12 instead of 15. It's a great casual dress, a bit flowy at the bottom, making it perfect to wear out with a flirty feel. I've worn it to street festivals and a night out for dinner and drinks.

plus size, plus size dresses, plus size outfits, plus size woman
  

3.Ralph Lauren dress, ROSS for $17. Size 12. Retail price $78. This dress has lace detail over the straps (my hair is partially covering it up) and a keyhole back in the same lace design. It has a slight sweetheart neckline and mini-skirt length. I have a long torso, so it might sit lower for most woman. I love this dress, I bought it the night before a friend's wedding, when I was frustrated and ready to give up. I had been to Macy's, Nordstorm's, Saks and Francesca's that day and couldn't find anything I liked in my size for less than $300.


4. GUESS dress, Carson Pirie Scott for $59. Size 14. Retail price $98. I love this dress because the color is vibrant and the small fringe detail gives the dress interest. It has a zipper in back and fits my body well. I bought it during Caron's Goodwill sale, combining a 20% coupon with a $25 off $50 promotion. I wore this to Capricorn's graduation and on my 30th birthday adventure.

plus size, plus size dresses, plus size woman

So, it's a start. Each of the dresses has a different look for the occasion at hand. I know some people preach buying one great quality dress and keep revamping it--and while I agree with quality-- I don't think you have to accept paying full price. You can get multiple looks that make you feel and look great, on your budget, during your weight loss journey.

Today, the pink GUESS dress is a bit too big, so I am going to have it taken in by a seamstress friend so I can keep wearing it. With other dresses I would try adding a belt. I'm not ready to discard any.

Please feel free to add your shopping-weight loss tricks in the comments! We're in this together :)

Hugs and kisses,

Jean

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Find Plus Size Workout Clothes

Finding plus size workout clothes can be difficult. Being plus size and working out can feel like you don't belong amongst the hotties in crop tops. When I started I felt self conscious, so I tried to find cute workout clothes to make me feel more attractive while I set out on the journey to get fit. I thought, if people were going to look at me I at least wanted to feel like every part of my body I wasn't proud of yet was covered.

But, I didn't want to wear flow-y clothes that made me feel heavier or more unattractive. I needed to find the sweet spot in between. And not spend a lot of money since my size was constantly changing as I lost weight. Little did I know that was easier said than done. 

Here are my picks for some great workout gear that won't cost a fortune:

plus size, workout, clothes, leggings, getting fit, plus size workout

1. Leggings: A cropped pair and ankle length. Especially when I am doing cardiovascular workouts--my body moving fast and bending, such as on an elliptical machine--the last thing I want to deal with is the folded-over material on my yoga pants bunching up, or my loose-fitting pants moving. For me, and I think a lot of people, the tighter feeling of a legging is more comfortable. I like the slight constriction of the fabric keeping everything in place, as I don't have to think about my thighs or ass jiggling. (I can't believe I just wrote that) And it's nice to have more than one pair, so you can alternate without having to do laundry as frequently. Get a pack of two for less than $30 OneStopPlus.



plus size, workout clothes, sports bra, big boobs


2. Sports Bra: Underwire and a clasp are your friends. I've written about the battle of finding a good sports bra before. Me and sports bra have a love-hate relationship. I love the expensive ones while they last, but hate the price and the fact that it's hard to own more than one "quality" one at a time, creating a lot of laundry. Surprisingly, I was at Walmart with my guy and saw the above sports bra on sale for $5. It can in a DD actual bra size, had underwire, thicker straps and individual cups. I thought I'd try and with very low expectations. I worked out on an elliptical tonight and was VERY pleasantly surprised. I felt supported but not suffocated by too tight of a band or the uni-boob feel. This one is a diamond in the rough find, I'm going back to buy a few more! Get one for less than $12 or less Walmart.


Nike driFIT, tank top, womens, kohls, plus size


3. Tank Top: Long enough and keeps its shape. Similar to the closer feeling of leggings, I prefer a tighter fitting tank top when I am working out. This choice has less to do with vanity and more about I like the feeling of my breasts and stomach area held in a bit. The problem I've had is I have a longer torso (I'm 5'8), so finding a tank top that fits both of those requirements can be difficult. The Dri-FIT tanks give me support and length to get through my workouts. Also, they do hug the shape of my body nicely, so I feel more attractive in them. Get one (or more) for only $18 Kohl's.

target, shirt, women, clearance, plus size, workout


4.  Basic, Cheap T-Shirts: Lightweight and cotton. Hey, I know tank tops aren't for everything. But, if you're trying to lose weight, chances are you don't want to remain the same size anyway. You can find cheap clearance t-shirts at Target during every season of the year. Get a v-neck that shows a bit of decolletage to make you feel sexy. Get one in a color that makes your eyes pop. Get one with a pretty pattern or slogan. Whatever makes you feel comfortable and happy can be found at a great price. Most clearance shirts range from $4 - 10 Target.


workout sketchers shoes womens



5. Slip-On Workout shoes: Breathable, yet stylish and supporting. When I have my leggings on, I don't like the look of socks/shoes. I feel like it breaks up the length of my leg even more, something I'm self-conscious about. So, these shoes are perfect as they are slip on, breathable with fabric and supportive enough to make it through my cardio or strength-training workouts. Their price is reasonable if you compare them to some of the higher-impact shoes available. Get them for $54 DSW.

Well there you have it -- my top picks for plus sized workout clothes. I included the prices because I think it's great to feel good and pay reasonable prices, especially since many of us will become a smaller size as we continue to work out. Good luck out there! You can look great for less no matter what you're doing. Please feel free to share what works for you in the comments.

For more on plus size fashion, check out my posts about Finding Plus Size Jeans on a Budget and Finding Plus Size Job Interview Clothes on a Budget.

Get it, girl,

Jean 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Secret Stuff We Do When Home Alone

Imagine you're home, it's just you and you know no one will be showing up anytime soon: What do you do? Which behaviors do you change (hide?) when your significant other or roommate leaves?



I wanted to know, so I took a survey.

Here's the secret stuff I found that people do when left on their own:

Danielle: 27 year old female, lives with older sister -- I chill out. It's wonderful. I love her, but she's like a whirlwind and I just freaking enjoy some peace and read. I'll fall asleep watching the History channel and I eat sausage and bacon pizza because she's a vegetarian, so I don't have to worry about getting a pizza that works for both of us.

Nadja: 32 year old female, living with a roommate -- I walk around naked and sleep on the couch to watching movies. I like sleeping on the couch, but I don't like wearing clothes to bed, so I can't really do it when my roommate is home. She's a prude! 


Me: 30 year old female, living with fiance/ no kids -- I become a little paranoid and think every sound is a serial killer. I also listen to music loudly and sleep in the middle of the bed. All mine!

Cooking: If it is just me, I don't. I live off of a diet of arugula, grilled chicken, coconut water and too many sushi dinners. Maybe potato chips because I don't usually buy them. I only cook when he comes back, or if a friend is over for dinner.

Lana: 30 year old female, living with fiance/ no kids -- When my fiance is out of town or even just working the over night at the vet clinic and I have "me" time I do all the things I normally compromise on.

I watch my stupid WB shows that she won't watch (supernatural, the Carrie diaries) or the history channel, and I order sushi (she can't even stand the sight of the stuff). I sleep in the middle of the bed with two cats and a pug so I don't get lonely. I also read a lot. When Kelly and I are home together, which isn't as often as I'd like since our work schedules are both weird I always feel like I need to do things with her, spend time with her, enjoy her company. Which means solo activities like reading that new Steven King book go on the back burner. And I'm completely ok with that. I want to spend time with her. But sometimes its nice to curl up with a spicy tuna roll, a new book, and that WW2 documentary without feeling guilty.


Jenna: 31 year old female, married with 2 young kids -- When my husband is on shift (24 hours every 3rd day), I sometimes do the thing he hates the most...eat in bed. Its ice cream though, so in my opinion it doesn't count. It drives him nuts. And sometimes if I sort the laundry on the bed at night, I will get distracted w the movie I'm watching and end up just moving it all to his side and going to sleep it eventually gets put away.

Kylie: 26 year old female, married / no kids -- Every time my husband isn't home I make frozen French toast sticks and pour tons of syrup all over them and have a glass of milk. Childhood favorite.

April: 30 year old female, in relationship / no kids -- Wax my 'stache.

Carla: 33 year old female, lives with girlfriend / no kids -- I miss her. That's boring, right? I do! Oh and I eat Oreos like a motherfucker.

Leia: 3- year old female, live with boyfriend / no kids -- I sleep diagonally in bed or sneak the dog on the bed which he doesn't allow. And I always deep clean the house when he's not home so he doesn't get in my way.

Dana: 37 year old female, live with boyfriend / shares kids with ex-husband -- Are we being honest? Masturbate. Whenever. I NEVER want to get caught doing that. Or watching porn, I'm a lady.

Rachel: 29 year old female, married / 3 kids -- This is too funny because we ALL change when our significant others are away! I get to watch my chick flicks, hang out with my other mom friends more and drink a little more often than usual. Being a mom I also have to juggle the kiddies by myself but that also means not necessarily making 'real' dinners...mac n cheese, peanut butter and jelly, cereal....you get the idea. I don't have to worry about when he'll be home so I can have the house clean and dinner ready I'm also a HUGE bed hog! No cats or crafts in my bed! It's me, me ME!

Natalie: 28 year old female, lives with male roommate / no kids -- I go out with girlfriends and paint the town red and let my dog sleep with me. And I put a knife under my pillow, don't judge me.

Anya: 28 year old female, lives with roommates / no kids -- I talk to myself (in French, English, or Russian), listen Russian music and sing, walk in my underwear, i spend a lot of time pampering myself (bath, body lotion, and everything else)

Capricorn: 31 year old male, living with fiance / no kids -- I think I spend less money when I go out. (Which is funny, because I told him I think I spend more money.)

David: 30 year old male, married with two young kids -- I order a lot of pizza. I've ordered pizza twice a day from the same place before, because I wanted different toppings. I feed the kids their healthy food, but for me it's pizza. Luckily she's never been away that long, so I didn't eat myself sick or gain a ton of weight.

Tracy: 31 year old female, living with roommate / no kids -- I walk around naked and watch Netflix.

Karen: 30 year old female, lives alone, spending 1/2 week with boyfriend / no kids -- I SLEEP. We haven't found the best way to sleep together yet, I like a fan on, he hates it. I sleep with the tv on and I'm trying to stop when he is over. When he's not around, it's me, my fan, and the tv all night.




What's the verdict?
Bed and food issues! The majority of surveyed participants noted that their sleeping and eating arrangements change when their significant others were away. We sleep in the middle, with pets, or with projects. There you have it. I wonder if this equals better sleep, or just different.

When it came to food, we either opted to eat more comfort foods or didn't cook at all. I guess it's a guilty pleasure :)


Do you do something entirely different when you're alone? Tell me!


Sleep well,

Jean

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