Archive Page 2

25
Mar
09

Does our body dictate what kind of person we are?

Tonight, I was walking out of my cultural theory class and I had a conversation with one of my classmates that went something like this:

Classmate: My legs hurt.

Me: Why?

Classmate: I’ve been working with this personal trainer. I’m trying to become a better person.

Me: Through working out?

Classmate: Well, I can’t treat other people right before I learn how to treat myself. 

My first thought, as I suppose you can tell from my immediate reaction, was that going to the gym is not the way that I would love my body. This is because gyms contain 2 things that I dislike most in life: (1) exercise machinery and (2) large groups of women in spandex. 

Secondly, I don’t think there is anything wrong with working out or attaching a certain level of pleasure to it (although I don’t understand it). But, it seems to me that there is something very dangerous about employing it in this context. If we gauge our own ethics by the way we “treat” our bodies, do we then make external judgments about the bodies of others?

Being a vegetarian I feel like I walk that fine line. Although, my commitment to vegetarianism has more to do with my impact on the world than that of my own body I have to be very careful about not making judgment about what other people choose to put into their bodies. 

My classmate, who is also my friend, derives her belief about exercise from a distinctly religious context. She, too, is a vegetarian, because her religion equates diet with the way she treats her body as well as the way she treats the world. She extends this tenet into a belief that working out has some sort of attachment to morality based on this relationship. 

Did I mention that I just got out of cultural theory class? Sorry if my academic brain took over there. The point it that this is certainly not the first time we have all heard this logic before. That looking good by this narrow, exclusionary standard of beauty makes one a better person. And when it is explicit in that way it is very easy to critique because it seems so transparent. But the subtle ways that these ideas permeate our culture at so many levels…That really scares me.I really believe that it is this subtlety that allows violence against people who don’t fit these arbitrary standards to not warrant the sort of reaction that those of use in the fatosphere would expect. 

And because I was not able to share my thoughts with my friend during our short goodbye, I am so grateful to be able to flesh out my thoughts here. So, with that I am going to attempt to recover from the worst flu and get some rest.

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23
Mar
09

Taking a Bite of the Big Apple Part Three: The Serious

TRIGGER WARNING: PLEASE READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

It has taken me some time to get this post up, partly because my thoughts are so scattered, and partly because I’ve had to confront some of my own inner demons. But I think part of my continued healing comes from reading other folks’ experiences and taking the time to face my own.

So, in the first post of the series I told you all about my outfit I wore to an event I went to my first day in NYC. The event was a book launch and panel discussion for an amazing book called The Cries of Men: Voices of Jamaican Men Who Have Been Raped and Sexually Abused, written by O’Brien Dennis.  This book is raw, and I had a rough time reading it. Sometimes, it got a bit too real, too much…sometimes people’s prejudices, which Dennis outlined beautifully, got to be too much for me and I had to put the book down and walk away before I lost all hope in humanity.

But I wanted, no, needed to finish it.

As I listened to Dennis’ story, my heart broke. It broke for him, it broke for other men who share his experience, and it broke for women who have been through this too.

For Dennis, this book was groundbreaking in more ways than one. Men rarely admit to being sexually abused, or hell, abused in any capacity because it isn’t seen as “manly”. In Jamaican culture, homosexuality is frowned upon (a vast understatement, let me tell you), and the publishing of this book basically insures he can never go back home.

As I listened to the panel, my mind wandered a bit.  What makes me so sad is that society is structured to where those who suffer traumatic experiences are not allowed to by societal norms to share what they’ve been through and ask for help. They’re made to feel ashamed, dirty, worthless, the whole nine. They’re made to feel that the abuse was their fault, that they somehow wanted what happened to them.

It ought not be this way. Period. Yet every day another boy or girl, man or woman goes through the exact same thing, and maybe one or two might seek help.

Now, this post is short, because I don’t want to ramble. I want y’all to take my snippet in, go read the book, go read other books like it, and do what I’ll be doing: go find a place and volunteer. Be that shoulder for someone who is being shamed into silence.

And if you are someone who is/has been that person shamed into silence, please, please, don’t go through this alone. There are resources and I beg of you, seek them out and take them.

19
Mar
09

Taking a Bite of the Big Apple Part Two: Shopping

So, this post was supposed to have gone up yesterday, but I got caught up taking care of other things. Per usual. I need to work on my time management.

Anyway.

So, of course the biggest part of going to visit with my two best friends was going to shop. Now, BuddingStarlet and I did the clothes shopping thing before IntellectualFeminist made it to the city because, as she’s told y’all before, she hates clothes shopping. So, on an unseasonably warm Friday morning, we made a trip to the ATM and took a stroll down 125th street in Harlem.

Aside from the various shops, there were many people with their own tables set up selling everything from candles to elaborate blown-glass bongs (BuddingStarlet doesn’t know I really thought about buying one just to set on my dresser because it was so pretty.) I saw books, incense, “designer” handbags, a plethora of black art, Obama t-shirts…you name it, they had it. If they didn’t have it, they’d get it.

Of course, they had Ashley Stewart, Lane Bryant, and the Avenue for the usual plus size offerings. I actually ducked my head into the LB to see what I could see, and I found a beautiful cream, black, turquoise, and orange dress (cream background, black sash and hem at the bottom, turquoise and orange accents) which for some reason I cannot find online.  ETA: Thanks to Christie for putting a linky to a picture of the dress in comments! I still can’t find it online; but should you want to peruse the stores, this is what it looks like:

Let the spring dress shopping officially begin!

Let the spring dress shopping officially begin!

I was happy for the 30% off friends and family discount because let me tell you, I wasn’t excited to see the $69.50 price tag. But that discount, plus the added excitement of no sales tax on clothes in NY, brought it down to a reasonable $48. When I got home, I’d received some new coupons, so I’ll probably get this dress next time:

It's more beautiful in person.

It's more beautiful in person.

I also went to the MAC store to look at the purple eyeshadows, and I picked up two beautiful shimmery shades and a great pink creamsheen glass. And I managed to convince BuddingStarlet to try out some red lipstick…it looked amazing, just like I told her it would! (I wouldn’t be a friend if I didn’t rub it in! 🙂

The day before, BuddingStarlet, myself, and one of her gentleman friends (who I’ll introduce to y’all in the next post) walked around Times Square, looking at the lights, the sights, and of course, shopping. I got the opportunity to see the biggest damn Macy’s I’d ever seen before.

No, really. It’s MASSIVE. As in, we’re walking past, and I say, oh, this is the Macy’s you were telling me about! And then I look back across the street and realize WE’RE STILL WALKING PAST IT. I didn’t go in, because I was afraid I’d buy the whole world. Next trip, though, I’ll have to make a day of it.

We also went to H&M. Now, I’ve been to NYC before, when I was in high school, and I loved the accessories because they didn’t make any clothes in my size. Well, they still don’t make clothes in my size, but they still have amazing accessories. I picked up this beautiful white straw fedora (it’s a man’s hat, but whatever) with a blue striped ribbon trim for $7.90. I tried to find more hats because at that price, it’s totally a bargain, but no dice. It was ok though, because that hat will be in heavy rotation come this summer (BuddingStarlet picked one up too.)

When IntellectualFeminist made it to the city, we had one more shopping trip to go on. She wanted to go to the Old Navy. I, of course, was wary as all of the plus sizes have been taken out of the store. But you know, it’s like 4 or 5 floors of merchandise. Perhaps, just perhaps, this massive flagship store would have something there.

Not. A. Damn. Thing. It’s hard to sour my mood when it comes to shopping, mainly because I am so desensitized to not being able to find my size in stores, but this just pissed me off. All these floors, all of these pieces, not ONE thing for me? WTF? I simply leaned against a railing as BuddingStarlet and IntellectualFeminist looked at jeans. My co-blogger looks at my face and says: “Ah, we’re in protest mode, huh? I understand.” I’d tell the Old Navy to go to hell, but I know that there is stuff on that website RIGHT NOW that I want because on my salary, I can afford it. Bastards. Ugh.

Anyway.

My mood perked up pretty quickly by the time we made it to the bookstore. Not the Barnes and Noble or Borders, but the Strand Bookstore. It is this awesome store full of used books at amazing prices. I picked up a baking cookbook by Dorie Greenspan for HALF the price I would have gotten it in the BN. When BuddingStarlet first told me about the store, I told her I was pretty familiar with them because I think (and I’m pretty sure about this) they also sell books on Amazon too. I’ve gotten many a textbook from them at an amazing price.

So really, as much damage as I thought I’d do, I didn’t do so bad. A hat, a dress, a book, two eyeshadows, and a lip gloss. And I had a ton of fun exploring the city.

Coming up: the serious part of my trip. And y’all know that if serious doesn’t mean the shopping, it’s got to be deep. Stay tuned.

16
Mar
09

Taking a Bite of the Big Apple Part One: Traveling

Hi, Y’all! I haven’t forgotten about you, I promise. I got back from my much anticipated trip to NYC last Thursday, and since I’m just now starting to get over a cold, I haven’t had the chance to tell y’all all about it.

It’s gonna take some time, actually. So I’ll be telling y’all about the trip in three parts: traveling, shopping, and…the serious. I figured I’d save the serious for last because 1) I’m still trying to get my thoughts together, and 2)…it’s serious. Serious things that make you think ought to be put last for impact.

That being said: on to the travel!

Well, I took off on a muggy Thursday morning, and I wouldn’t get to NYC till mid-afternoon. BuddingStarlet and I had an event to attend that night, and I wouldn’t have time to change my clothes before we went. So, what does a fatshionista do? I traveled in my event outfit.

It was simple really. I was wearing this dressfrom Target, with a green cami underneath, black tights, and black shiny patent flats. I belted the dress with a black patent belt. I used the money I got when I took back my beloved raspberry coat  that didn’t fit properly in the arms, and I got a cute grey hat as well (they don’t have it available online).

I ended up going with a black trench coat that my mom scored on sale at Lane Bryant (it too is no longer available online), and it kept me warm the whole trip.

But that dress from Target traveled so well, y’all. Comfortable, non binding, the whole nine. I will give a warning to my taller glamazons out there: even on 5’7 me, the dress was a bit shorter than what I was used to. It’s also a touch sheer, so you’ll want a cami or something underneath so as to not showcase all of your lusciousness (unless that’s what you happen to be going for, to which I’ll say: rock on!)

Outside of the wardrobe, I flew on a new to me airline: Continental. I usually fly Northwest or Delta, but the ticket prices were out of control this go round, so I gave Continental a try.

Now, Northwest is notorious for having itty-bitty seats and too short seat belts, and I was prepared for more of the same. Well, Continental does have itty-bitty seats, but not as small as Northwest, and their seat belts…actually fit comfortably. As we boarded the plane, the flight attendants were pleasant. They passed out blankets and pillows as we got on, and when people looked too cramped, they looked for extra seats and asked people if they wanted to move so they could be more comfortable.

Now, a woman across the aisle from me was having a rough go with her seat belt. She managed to get it closed, but the flight attendant noticed her struggle and asked discreetly if she would like a seat belt extender. (I’ll note here that I have no idea if the woman would have been charged for it, or if every flight has them, but I say it’s a start.) The lady declined, but she, as was I, was quite surprised at the offer. I haven’t seen that on other carriers, and I like that quite a bit.

The second startling thing: Continental feeds you! When I told BuddingStarlet, IntellectualFeminist, and my mom about the meal, they were just as shocked as I was. I figured airlines had stopped that to cut costs.

Now, my first flight was all of 45 minutes, and so we were left with the typical drink offering by way of a snack. But my connecting flight was 4 hours, and I just knew all we’d get was peanuts. Remember, I had an event to go to that evening, and there would be no time for food before we went. So I was prepared to have a grumbling tummy. Imagine my surprise when all of a sudden the card was wheeled down the aisle laden with sandwiches, salad, and…a fun size bag of M&Ms. And, despite every stand-up comic’s opinion to the contrary, it was quite tasty.

All in all, the flight was really pleasant, although I did regret the tights+jersey dress combo (for whatever reason, I had some serious static cling going on, and I kept thinking I was flashing people because the dress kept riding up!)

So, for me, Continental gets a big thumbs up for travel pleasantness. I’ll be riding with them again.

Coming up on Wednesday: the Shopping! I scored some great swag and a book…and I can’t wait to tell y’all about it. Stay tuned!

02
Feb
09

Travel Swag!

Well, folks, on my long list of resolutions was to travel and see friends more often. So, I’ll be flying to the cold, snowy North next month to visit BuddingStarlet, and IntellectualFeminist will be there too!

Did I mention I haven’t seen IntellectualFeminist since I graduated in 2007? Yeah. About that.

Naturally, this was as good an excuse as any to go shopping.

Being a Southern girl, weather down here is…well, spaztastic at best. Last Tuesday, for example, it got so cold there was ice everywhere, schools closed, whole nine. Yesterday? It made it to 75 degrees. I was wearing flip flops and sitting on the front steps with a lemonade.

Texas weather is the best, y’all.

Anyhow, I’m going to New York next month, and to Florida in June, and well, I need clothes since I cleaned out my closet and all. So, I’m introducing y’all to my latest additions, and giving some reviews.

First up: SWAK Designs.

Lesley over at Fatshionista reviewed three dresses for them.  They contacted me and asked me to review some pieces for them as well. Some time ago I told y’all about a dress I wanted to pick up, but sadly, they no longer had my size. So I was stoked to be able to try out some of their clothes.

So Pretty!

So Pretty!

The Desi dress  is the same that Lesley reviewed, and seriously? That dress is made for summery vacations, y’all. I mean, I can’t say it much better than this:

Frankly, this dress makes me stare bleakly out at the frozen heaps of old snow outside my windows and wish I had a beach vacation coming up. It’s that kind of dress. The kind you want to wear stretched out in the sun with an alcohol-laden frozen drink in your hand.

I have the 3x in black and the fit is so great. Plenty of stretch in the arm–I have a hell of a time finding sleeves that fit my arms properly. I cannot wait for the weather to stabilize so I can wear it. June can’t get here fast enough!

Work comfort at its best.

Work comfort at its best.

The Gaucho pant was my responsible pick. I say responsible because these are intended for work. I say intended because they’re so comfortable I want to wear them everywhere. I work retail, so there is a lot of move box, open box, sit in dusty floor, restock, take out garbage, help customer…so on and so forth. When I purchase work clothes, they have to look nice enough for me to not look too bedraggled in front of customers, but be stretchy and comfy enough for me to move around quickly. These pants…are AMAZING. Now, I’ve told y’all before my waist is smaller than my hips, and so have to go up a size in order to accommodate them. I got a 3x, but I could have easily gotten a 2x and still have had a flattering fit (I kept the larger size because I prefer my work gear to be a bit loose.) The best thing? They dress up so easily with just a simple heel and a shirt change. I actually lounged in them yesterday while I watched the Super Bowl. (And no, I wasn’t at work first.) This is a great multi-purpose pant.

Now, I read about eShakti in the Fatosphere, but had never been to the site. One day, bored, I surfed on over there to see what they had, and OMG. OMG! I love dresses, and they have dresses as far and wide as the eye could see. So, after much contemplation, I ordered this dress:

Gorgeous, but they didn't have my size!

Gorgeous, but they didn't have my size!

This is the Climbing Rose Embroidered Dress (and now it comes in blue!); I  just fell in love with this. Unfortunately, they no longer had my size. The lovely people at eShakti promptly emailed me to let me know I couldn’t get that dress, and asked me to pick another I might like. If I couldn’t find anything, they would refund my money, no questions asked. Now, that’s some customer service I can believe in. After some deliberation, I ordered this dress instead:

This will be the go-to summer dress this year!

This will be the go-to summer dress this year!

This is the Embroidered Ruched Sundress (also available in a lighter blue). When I got this in the mail, I squealed with delight. Often, the colors on my computer are way more vibrant than the actual garment. Not so in this case. It is an amazing, vibrant royal blue with cerulean, dove grey, and white embroidery. I ordered a 3x, but with the stretchy (and non-pinchy) ruching on the top, I could have gone a size down and had plenty of room. I’m keeping it because it’ll give me a chance to wear a fabulous belt, , and I just don’t get to wear my belts often. I’ll definitely be buying from them again, because when a company makes me have to grab my Crayola box in order to properly label their colors, I know I’ve found a good thing (I’m SUCH a color junkie!)

Speaking of color, I’m now going to show y’all what I picked up for the NYC trip.

Even though it gets cold here in Texas, I usually don’t need a wool coat. Up yonder, however, I figure I might want a wool coat so as to not lose a nipple or other useful body part. I want to know why in the mauve hell wool coats (or a warm coat, really) cost so damn much. I went round and round and round trying to find a coat at a reasonable price. While this coat from Target isn’t as low as I’d wanted to go, the color won out:

Bright, Beautiful, and Warm (hopefully!)

Bright, Beautiful, and Warm (hopefully!)

I haven’t gotten it in the mail yet, so I can’t attest to fit and warmth, but I have my fingers crossed that it will work out. Otherwise…back to the drawing board, I guess.

Second purchase: Boots. Now, I’m aware I don’t have to buy boots solely for my one trip to NY. Heh. I’m actually buying boots because my other pair met with an unfortunate accident known as Cobalt the Weimaraner. He was a cute puppy, but shoes shuddered at the sight of him! Now, my not-practical purchase was this pair from Lane Bryant:

Just for dressy events, I promise!

Just for dressy events, I promise!

I ordered them in Cedar, and I’m still waiting on them to get here. But I’m sure they’ll work out ok, and will look fabulous with my dress I’ll be wearing to church.

On the more practical side, I’m considering getting this pair of boots from Woman Within:

I want the black pair.

I want the black pair.

I’m still thinking about it. But the more I do, the more I like them.

To round out this post, let’s talk about jewelry! I’ve often heard Etsy discussed around the ‘sphere, but hadn’t had the chance to really check it out. Friday (payday!) I took a look-see.

Love. It. I bought some adorable earrings! I got sundae (yep, as in the hot fudge kind) earrings from this seller (and I’m totally going back for the pink frosted donuts–unless y’all get there first, that is), and happy smiling tofu and happy smiling onigiri studs from this seller.

It’s been some good shopping around these parts, and I wanted to share it with y’all.

Any suggestions for other things I should get before my trip to the frosty North (I did get some sweaters from Old Navy)? Tips for not freezing? You love/hate my picks? Leave ’em in comments!

01
Feb
09

Don’t Watch the Super Bowl? Shop Instead!

Howdy folks! I just figured I’d give some of you non-sports lovin’ folks something to do today.

That, and I wanted to warm y’all up for the huge shopping post coming tomorrow. I’ve been doing some serious shopping, y’all. But, it’s for a good reason! Promise!

Anyhow, if you don’t want to see the Super Bowl, and the Puppy Bowl isn’t appealing either, you could always head over to Sephora and stock up on some things. They have a great sale, with items up to 75% off, and, until February 2nd, if you enter code PLAYPRETTY at checkout, you’ll get free shipping–no minimum purchase required!

For those who are on a tighter budget (and really, who isn’t these days?), Eyes Lips Face has gorgeous makeup for fabulous prices every day. I’ve mentioned them before, but during this recession, it bears talking about anytime makeup is mentioned!

If you’re looking more for clothing than lipstick, head over to Old Navy. Until February 2, if you use checkout code HALFOFF, you can get 50% off of their clearance merchandise. Their partner company, Piperlime, has a sale on shoes, and any Piperlime purchase ships free.

That’s it on this end. Enjoy shopping, the Super Bowl, the puppies (and kittens!), the snacks, or your day off! I’ll see you tomorrow with the first official swag post of the year.

31
Jan
09

Why I Love Kate Harding…And You Should Too!

First things first. I sincerely hope that everyone’s new year is off to a grand start. If not, I hope for only great things from this point on. One of my new year’s resolutions is to make sure that the things and people that have touched my life over the years and continue to do so do not go unnoticed. In pursuit of this goal  I realize what a long list this is but I am confident I will get to everyone no matter how long it takes me. In light of recent experiences I would like to start with Kate.

On Thursday night I attended a book release of the anthology Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape. The anthology includes an essay written by Kate entitled How to Fuck a Fat Woman. I will not attempt to do that fantastic piece justice by summarizing. I can only say, buy the book. Its phenomenal. 

As many of you may know I am a grad student in a gender studies program. I knew many of my classmates would be at the reading and when I found out Kate was coming it gave me a tremendous opportunity. I shared with my fellow feminists: this is Kate Harding and this is why she is so important. I was able to share with them that Fat Acceptance is both powerful and feminist and no one could illustrate my point better than Kate.

Even though I had already read her piece a couple of times by then, I was still completely in awe of Kate’s bravery. She shared her story with a fearlessness that I aspire to have. Afterwards, I had the chance to tell thanks her for writing her blog, and for giving me a platform to share Fat Acceptance with my peers. I hope many of you are readers of her blog, and if you are I implore you to take on my New Year’s challenge and share your thoughts and feelings with her. And to buy her book. (*wink wink*)

I must say that she is so dedicated to the community at the conclusion of our brief conversation she was familiar with this blog and even said to tell fashionablenerd she said hello. A message I gleefully passed along.

To conclude I will leave you with Jaclyn Friedman’s (the anthology’s editor) answer to Kate’s title question. How do you fuck a fat woman: with enthusiasm. 

Have a wonderful Superbowl Weekend.




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