Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What Would Your Warning Sign Say?

Have you heard the quote: If you had to wear a warning sign, what would it say?
 
warning label, warning sign, secrets, confessions

That question sucks. Few of us want to admit what our biggest issue is. But self reflection is important. So, what is your worst trait? The thing you know exists about yourself, but you don't know how to change it, or maybe you don't want to change it.

Mine is simple: I can't ask for help. There is a part of me that must figure things out. I cannot bother another person to help me because a part of me believes I shouldn't -- they'll say no, or lose interest and I'll have to deal with that painful revelation. So I don't ask in the first place. Also, I must be self-sufficient, because people come in and out of our lives so I have to fix it all on my own. It can make things very difficult for me and the people who love me.

So, in a new twist of things, I set up a survey to let my readers share what their warning sign would say. Completely anonymous and free from judgment. Here's what they came up with:

1. Selfishness.

2. Sharp tongue that cuts to the truth.

3. I'm afraid of following my passion.

4. I try hard to gain someone's love and then once I have it I try less hard, knowing they are mine, and try to gain new approval. Makes me feel accomplished. Fuck

5. I have a hard time setting boundaries and cutting toxic people out of my life, even when I know I'm being used or mistreated. I'm a people-pleaser. And maybe part of it is that I want to show people, even awful people, that there are people who will care about them even at their worst, and maybe one day they'll stop being such an asshole.

6. I'm jealous of everything. I don't share.

7. I'm mean and I wish I could change it. I think of mean comments and pick people a part. I feel bad later.

8. I ask people for help all the time and I never take their advice. I think I do it for the attention, but I do whatever the fuck I want regardless of their help.

9. I cheat on my wife because it makes me feel attractive to have girls want me. I get really into a new girl, enjoy it for awhile, do the lovely stuff, fucking, and then lose interest. I drop them. My wife doesn't know I don't think. The girls whinge, but I don't want a relationship with them. I should stop but it makes me feel too good.

10. I have a shitty job. I haven't done anything about it and I fucking hate it and have no money. I just want stuff given to me.

11. I'm really lazy most of the time.

12. I hate my parents.

13. I'm scared of everyone and everything so I don't go out alone. I will stay home lonely instead of trying something by myself.

14. I don't eat a lot when I'm with my boyfriend or friends and pretend to eat really healthy. but will order large pizzas and eat the whole thing by myself. I love to do it. I'm not fat, but I know it's messed up. I don't plan on stopping unless I gain weight.

15. I am pretty sure my girlfriend is cheating on me so I have been stealing money from her for over a year. Just a little at a time. I love her and want her to stay, but if she leaves I know I will be ok financially.

16. My girlfriend and I are lesbians but I still really like guys. I pretend not to because it upsets her.

17. I let people walk on me. Some people don't deserve your love but I keep hoping this time will be different. Eternal optimist.

18. I only like helping pretty people at work.

19. I am bad with money. I will be 35 years old next month and have no savings.

20. I hate fat people. I work out really hard and eat good. I don't understand how they let them get like that and give up. I can't respect the laziness.

21. I don't like kids. I love my pets so much I can't stand when people say it's not like having a kid. I don't want a kid who will grow up and be needy and cost money. My dogs are amazeballs.

Well, there we have it. Some of these were surprising to read. I didn't set up this survey to judge anyone, but I think it's fascinating the things we know about ourselves that aren't "normal" or proud of. It feels good to say it out loud sometimes. To everyone that participated -- THANK YOU! Whether you want to change, or just wanted to say it for therapeutic purposes, I hope it helps.

Night night,

Jean

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