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:


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.





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


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


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

Copyright © 2014 Lady J
All rights reserved

Monday, June 30, 2014

Turning Thirty: Making Fun of Myself

Well... It happened. I'm 30 now.

Instead of being a big baby and complaining about the death of my twenties I am going to be happy and grateful.

I'm a quirky, tenacious mofo and I'm going to be hot till I'm dead. This is my new mantra.

On the days that those words don't work, I'll look at this picture and realize I've come a long way, but my moxie was always strong.

And in the end I think that's what we need to really remember and protect: our moxie.


I'd like to explain this picture by saying I was really into the idea of becoming the next cat woman and loved my dollhouse. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Fault In Our Failures | Finding Success

We've all had those times when social media seems to remind us of how well everyone else is doing -- their new jobs, great hair days and beautiful significant others show up in our Facebook timelines. And if you are lacking in any of these areas, well, the feeling of inadequacy hurts.

But that's just one piece of the puzzle. As a cognitive bias known as Self-Enhancing Transmission Bias dictates, it's human nature to share our successes and keep our failures quiet. Put your best foot forward.

What we don't think about it is the sharing of our failures, the showing of vulnerability, is what connects us to one another on an emotional level. It can also be the push someone needs to try again, because they know they aren't alone and most people don't get it right on the first time.

I think failures are important.They serve as real examples of job tips and tricks. And I also think success is largely an accumulation of failures with the strength to keep and the wisdom to know how to do better.  

In the spirit of starting a honest dialogue of sharing failures that lead us to success, I asked a few friends to share some of their greatest failures that lead to success.

1. I Got Kicked Out of College: I was aimless. I was wandering through school, not knowing what I wanted to major in and taking as many Gen-Ed classes as I could. Lack of motivation and depression lead me to not showing up to classes, missing assignments and eventually failing an entire semester and wasting my own money. Overcrowding at a public university stopped me from being able to get into many of the classes I needed to move on. I felt so stuck.

When the letter came in the mail that I was "dismissed" from the University, I felt fear. I knew I was better than that and I was going to figure out how to finish school somewhere else, because this school obviously wasn't for me. But for the first time in a long time, I felt motivation.

So, I went to community college and got straight A's in Summer school and for a semester until I earned enough credits to attempt to transfer to a better university. I wrote a letter explaining my previous bad behavior, obtained letters of recommendations of professors I had done well in their classes, and was attempted to a private university, paying for it by student loans.

Two years later I graduated with honors. While I'm not proud of fucking around and wasting my own money, I got myself out of a dead-end situation and ended on a positive note. That failure was worth it, I don't know what would have happened if I hadn't gotten kicked out and moving on was the only option.


2. I Got Fired: I got fired from a job I hated and thought was beneath me: Working as a personal assistant. I was so sick of getting coffee and running stupid errands I thought I was invisible because a monkey could do my job. Turns out not a monkey, but a college student could and DID take my job for less money.

The main complaint my previous employer had? My poor attitude. And she was right -- I was miserable doing menial tasks and making shit money that I walked around like a pretentious zombie. I wasn't strong enough to just quit, so I stuck around until I got fired. The woman I thought couldn't function with me decided I was replaceable. That was a large slice of humble pie.

But I tallied up all the skills I learned, emailed some networking contacts I had met, and started interviewing for jobs I actually went to school to do: Communications. Now I work in an office with people I respect and enjoy and am grateful for my job, even on the bad days. Getting fired was the best thing that happened to me. Keep going.



3. I Was Honest About My Miscarriage: I became pregnant when I was 19 years old. It would have been my ex-boyfriend's baby, who was my ex-boyfriend at the time of conception. When I found out I was pregnant I was very scared and felt ashamed of myself, sleeping with someone who had broken up with me and having sex with him as part of a ploy to keep him in my life.

Whether it was stress, or just not meant to be, I had a miscarriage. I had been pretty sure I was going to get an abortion because it didn't feel like the right time to become a mother, especially to a father who wasn't a man I wanted around. But the truth was I hadn't had the initial consultation yet. I was very scared.

I was sad about the miscarriage, but I was honest with myself: an abortion had been an option, this was an incredibly sad moment in my life, but for whatever reason this wasn't the time I was going to become a mother. It felt odd to think about the baby that might have grown up, but I think even if I had, had the abortion it would be natural to wonder what might have been. So I didn't dismiss thoughts when my mind began to wonder about a potential baby. I gave myself a time to mourn, but knew moving on to make better, healthier choices for myself in all walks of life would be the lesson learned.

I wasn't a monster for considering my options. I was a scared girl and I owed it to myself to be more mature and healthy from this point on. I took myself and life more seriously, not living by "YOLO" and thought my actions through. Also, I stopped thinking sex equaled love, and only chose to do it when I wanted to, for the reasons of pleasure, not hoping to rope someone back into a relationship.


4. I Gained Weight: I was never a thin person, but I was relatively healthy and always felt attractive for my size. But somewhere around 22 I gained about 60 pounds. It crept up on me from poor diet choices as I had always been a person that went to the gym, but I never knew what I was doing once there. Gaining weight completely changed my outlook on the world, as I no longer felt attractive and didn't care about the clothes I wore or the way I looked. I lost my sense of self and looking at pictures made me cringe. I had failed big time.

So, one day I decided enough was enough. I started eating vegetables. I started paying attention to the exercises I did at the gym. After the first month I had lost 25 pounds and felt remarkable. I found a way to lose weight after seeing the number on the scale stay the same for so long.

A year later I have lost 70 pounds. I still have more to go, but now I know I can do it. Lately I have regressed a little, given in to eating more sugar, but summer has motivated me to get back to eating well. You can always find success if you don't give up. Wake up and start new. If I had never failed, I wouldn't know I could pull myself out of a dark place. While I didn't enjoy being fat, I like knowing I have it in me to make it better.



Wow. Ok, those are deep failures that lead to success stories. I don't know about you, but I feel motivated. Right now I could use it as I'm turning 30 next week and reflecting on what I accomplished in my 20's. Big transition for me.

Even though there isn't any humor in this post (which is my normal sentiment), I think it's important to take a step back and self reflect. While I understand why we want to highlight our strengths and good times, I think there's something beautiful in admitting the times we struggled and found out way out.

Feel free to share your failures (and successes!) in the comments. I'd love to hear them.

Hugs and Kisses,

Jean
Copyright © 2014 Lady J
All rights reserved
Copyright © 2014 Lady J
All rights reserved



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Sex Doll At The Zoo Rides Again

I witnessed Lars and the Real Girl come to life. Again: This is an update to my Sex Doll at the Zoo post because... I saw the man again! Him and his latex lady love were well, enjoying a stroll near the rhinos at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago [suburbs].

I watched him wheel her wheelchair past other patrons amongst the fuzzy yellow goslings waddling in the grass. Without a care in the world. The doll was properly dressed in a loose-fitting pink floral dress and black flats for the balmy 75 degree weather. A baseball cap protected her skin from the blistering sun-- but clashed with the rest of her feminine wardrobe. I couldn't help think that was more functional rather than fashion. No one likes a melted girlfriend.

sex doll, companion, dating, blowup doll
She's back... I smell like Tupperware, take me to the Opera!
Seeing this man again was like a mirage. At first I wasn't sure it was him and then I saw the doll's eeerily smooth skin and blank expression as she was wheeled past me. They were back, enjoying a beautiful day at the zoo together.

I was surprised. But then I thought, why does this bother me so much? The man is clearly lost in his own world of fantasy. He's barely interacting with anyone -- it's the bystanders that are interacting with him, inquiring about the doll and asking indirect questions about her "use." If anything, we're the pests.

But, I couldn't shake the feeling that he wanted the attention. The focus was on him wherever he went and he didn't have to lift a finger or start up a conversation with anyone. When Madonna first started her career, she said she wanted to get everyone's attention and worked hard to achieve that. She wasn't really sure what she had to say once the attention was given -- but she knew she wanted it.

Could this man be of the same vein? He wanted attention, along with his doll companion fantasy, so he put himself in a public place with a shocking image to force others to notice him?  I realize I'm stepping into psychological grounds I don't have a degree in to expertly discuss... but it seems basic: The doll is a vehicle for him not to be ignored, but at the same time remain passive, as he himself isn't acting out.

Either way. Him and the doll are here to stay. They like the zoo and so do I. So we'll have to learn to get along together.

For backstory, here's the original post:

I was waiting for Capricorn to get back from the bathroom, headed towards the nearby giraffe-safari area. Saw man near the giraffes. Then I saw his life-sized doll in a wheelchair.


lars and the real girl, sex doll, ryan gosling

Doll's face was a little misshapen. Her mouth forming the familiar O shape of comical blow-up dolls. Sitting in a wheelchair a few feet back from the man at first (I later realized it was probably difficult to push her chair over the wood chips). He kept turning his head over one shoulder, speaking soothingly to his doll about how beautiful the baby giraffe was. Giving her a play-by-play of the giraffes' activities.

I am a pretty open-minded individual, but this startled me. A movie is one thing, but a grown man who takes his doll to the very public zoo scared and fascinated me.

Here are my first thoughts:

1. Does he know she's not real? As in, deep down, he knows she's silicone, but he's deep in the fantasy that she can hear and respond to him. That she's his companion and taking her to the zoo was something they would both enjoy. Or, is there something wrong and he hears the doll responding? My mind raced.

2. Does he want the attention? At this point there were a group of middle-aged women standing off to the side, whispering in hushed tones and looking first at the man, then at the doll. Did the man want to be provocative, or is that not the point of taking the doll in public?

3. Am I supposed to feel scared or sad? My first reaction was sadness. Whether it right or wrong to judge another's sexual preferences (or to jump to the conclusion that this was indicative of a sexual preference), I felt bad for the guy. He seemed docile. He was speaking lovely over his shoulder to the doll, remarking how cute the giraffes were -- I didn't think he was scary or a bad guy. I felt that he might be a lonely man, who somehow decided that obtaining a life-sized doll was the best route for companionship.

The women left. Before I could think further, a voice stopped my thoughts. The man, who I could see out of the corner of my eye as we both leaned against the wooden railing of the giraffe exhibit said, "You have pretty hair."

This was my expectation.
I shuttered. His voice was louder than when he was speaking to the doll and I could see that his face was turned towards me. What he said isn't what scared me, it was the fact that most people will greet you with a version of "Hello," hoping to start a conversation-- he went straight with the observation. Scared had won and I decided it was time to fucking go.

monty python run away. monty python

So I left. I walked right past the doll, hearing only the rapid crunch of wood chips under my feet.

Once I was by the bathroom area, I felt another twinge of sadness. What if that was the first time that man had tried to talk to a female in awhile and I responded by basically running the other way?

Since Caps wanted to see the new baby giraffe and was a little curious about the doll, we headed back to the area. I told him about the interaction -- and my pathos of sadness versus feeling scared about the scenario. And whether or not I was embarrassed by being scared of a man telling me I had nice hair.

He had a difference of opinion: No. You are too nice and always try to feel for people, whether they deserve it or not. What he wants to do is his business, free country. I get sadness, but I more so see issues. I can't imagine spending time with a doll.

Once we returned back to the wood chip pathway leading to the giraffe area, I saw the man, posing next to his lady love doll. The middle-aged women had returned and requested to take a picture of the couple. The man was laughing, happy, and crouched next to the wheelchair, leaning his head in towards his doll. In between snapping pictures the middle-aged women were asking questions, the man laughing as he answered and ran a hand through her hair.

My rejection did not bother him. He was fine. And from the looks of things, he was loving the attention. Our interaction did not phase him. And now I was wondering if garnering attention was part of his plan all along.

We left, spent some time with the kangaroos and went home. The man with the doll still bugged me. The feeling of creepiness had won and I just wondered what kind of a person chooses a doll.

I did what any curious person did: I hit the internet.

sex doll, where do I order a sex doll
Hi, let's be friends. And I will never nag you to take out the garbage.

I decided to avoid "sex" all together and just google "life size doll." What I found was a European company who wanted to make it ABUNDANTLY CLEAR that these dolls were for sex. And at an average price of $5,000.

There were other websites, too, leading me to believe there's a market for such things. You can buy one from China for the low wholesale price of $100 -- with shipping. Some of them from China were disturbing--very young looking. While I am reserving judgment over whether or not adult dolls are ok, those are NOT ok. NOT OK, CHINA

This is a real business. To order one of those dolls is to truly pick a partner; you can customize assets, faces, colors, characteristics, you name it, you get to choose it. Like a jacked-up version of Match.com. A departure of the adult industry, toting itself as a way men can create the perfect partner.

As a woman, I find that a little insulting--some prefer the cold company of a perfectly-formed doll over a living, breathing woman? These are sexy? What's going on here?

Whether my shock was right or wrong, it's a lifestyle choice. A part of me would have loved to learn more about the man who decided to buy a doll and keep her like a girlfriend, but the other half of me was too scared. Scared was strong that day.

Now when I'm at the zoo, I wonder if I will see him again.

What do you think? Should we care if we see life-sized dolls? We've made leaps and bounds with accepting alternative lifestyles, should dolls be the next wave of equality? This is my first encounter.

Night,

Jean