The Beauty of Black & White

The Beauty of Black & White

When I see myself in a black & white photo, when the lighting is just right and I’m looking elegant and fabulous, I secretly wish that color didn’t exist and that I could look like this every moment of my life.

Don’t get me wrong, I love color; but there is something to be said for the timeless elegance of a great black & white shot! Not only do they camouflage a multitude of pigment related sins (like my rosacea) effortlessly, but the right B & W photo, with the contrast tweaked just perfectly, has this way of making anyone look like an old time Hollywood movie star.

There is a certain mystique – a curiosity about old photographs that I have long been fascinated with. What color was her dress? I wonder what color lipstick that was? Do you think it was red? Yes, red, it must have been red…

So add a little old world glamour to your selfie repertoire! Play around with your black & white photo editing options and let your inner Hollywood shine through!

The Beauty of Black & White

The Beauty of Black & White

When I see myself in a black & white photo, when the lighting is just right and I’m looking elegant and fabulous, I secretly wish that color didn’t exist and that I could look like this every moment of my life.

Don’t get me wrong, I love color; but there is something to be said for the timeless elegance of a great black & white shot! Not only do they camouflage a multitude of pigment related sins (like my rosacea) effortlessly, but the right B & W photo, with the contrast tweaked just perfectly, has this way of making anyone look like an old time Hollywood movie star.

There is a certain mystique – a curiosity about old photographs that I have long been fascinated with. What color was her dress? I wonder what color lipstick that was? Do you think it was red? Yes, red, it must have been red…

So add a little old world glamour to your selfie repertoire! Play around with your black & white photo editing options and let your inner Hollywood shine through!

Olive You

Army Green & Gold

Olive green is one of my favorite colors to wear and I don’t know why I don’t have more of it in my closet. I doubt there is a skin tone/hair color that olive green doesn’t compliment (and if there is, I stand corrected).

This olive green sweater with gold shoulder & elbow detail from Addition Elle is just perfect with a pair of skinny jeans and a cute pair of shoes, such as these leopard print flats with hot pink bows for an unexpected splash of color.

This is a great casual, weekend look that can be worn as is or taken to the next level with some chunky jewelry for a trendy, put-together look that is as comfy as it is cute!

Sweater, jeans, bracelets, watch and ring – Addition Elle

Shoes – Walmart

Necklace, earrings – Aldo

The Perfect White Blouse

The Perfect White Blouse

What can I say? This blouse from Addition Elle is absolutely perfect. There is no other way to describe it. It fits like a dream.  Its high-low hemline drapes in just the right way to show off gorgeous, round hips and it has just the right amount of detail to give it an edge.

I’ve paired it with mixed metal accessories including a chain belt, pewter colored, super-low wedge shoes and a simple cotton, black legging. A minimalist hairstyle compliments this very chic look nicely without adding too much fuss and a lined 90’s inspired lip gives it a sassy twist.

Blouse, leggings, belt, Addition Elle

http://www.additionelle.com/henley-blouse-with-studs/21529352,default,pd.html?start=3&cgid=AE&q=white%20blouse

http://www.additionelle.com/cotton-spandex-legging/723203,default,pd.html?dwvar_723203_color=Black&start=8&cgid=AE-Apparel-Leggings

http://www.additionelle.com/intricate-chain-belt/724352,default,pd.html?dwvar_724352_color=silver&start=4&cgid=AE&q=metal%20belt

Shoes by Rocket Dog

Lest We Forget – Souvenons-Nous

Lest We Forget

Today, as we should each day, we remember those who fought, gave their lives and continue to fight for our country and our freedom. We all lead busy lives, but please take a moment to honour our soldiers and veterans on this day for the sacrifices they have made for us, our children and for generations to come. Thank you.

Aujourd’hui, alors que nous devrions chaque jour, nous nous souvenons de ceux qui ont combattu, ont donné leur vie et ceux qui continuent à se battre pour notre pays et notre liberté. Nous menons tous des vies chargées, mais SVP prenez un moment pour rendre hommage à nos soldats et anciens combattants aujourd’hui pour les sacrifices qu’ils ont consentis pour nous, nos enfants et les générations à venir. Je vous remercie.

Insert Cougar Joke Here

Insert Cougar Joke Here

Rawr!!! Am I right? Haha…

This on trend, animal print, evening look is perfect for date night! These ultra chic leopard print 7/8 pants by Michel Studio certainly steal the show, and are paired stylishly with a solid black, cold shoulder top with gold detail, cognac colored, studded pleather jacket, black & gold leopard head skinny belt, double cross necklace and of course, red flats for a sassy splash of comfortable color. A perfect ensemble for dinner and a movie or for dancing the night away! My hubby DEFINITELY approves!!!

7/8 Pants, Addition Elle

http://www.additionelle.com/michel-studio-printed-7/8-pant/308094,default,pd.html?dwvar_308094_color=black&start=16&cgid=AE&q=pants

Jacket, Addition Elle

http://www.additionelle.com/pleather-jacket-with-studs/724231,default,pd.html?dwvar_724231_color=cognac&start=20&cgid=AE&q=jacket

Belt, Addition Elle

http://www.additionelle.com/leopard-head-jean-belt/309257,default,pd.html?dwvar_309257_color=black&start=4&cgid=AE&q=leopard

Top & Necklace, Walmart

Shoes, Payless

http://www.payless.com/store/product/detail.jsp?catId=cat10088&subCatId=cat10276&skuId=133239050&productId=73330&lotId=133239&category=&catdisplayName=Womens

Our Children, Reflections of Ourselves

Our Children, Reflections of Ourselves

What are we teaching our children when we call ourselves ugly? What are we showing them when we look in the mirror and criticize our imperfections? I had never given it much thought until I started noticing one of my own children putting herself down.

This is my daughter. She is almost 11 years old, gorgeous, a little bit chubby, and is already showing signs of low self esteem. She’s already starting to call herself fat; and not the “I am fat girl, hear me roar” kind of fat… But the “I am worthless because I have a pudgy belly and round hips” fat. I’ve always told her she was beautiful, told her she had value, told her not to listen to those who tried to bring her down; but what had I missed? The answer is, that I had overlooked probably the most important factor of all; myself.

My daughter LOVES clothes, just like me. She loves makeup, just like me. She loves shopping… I think you get the point. It’s obvious that I’ve influenced my daughter greatly. So why weren’t my words of encouragement working? Why was she using the word fat as an insult to her own body? The answer: Because that is what I had taught her.

All those times that I criticized myself in the mirror, sucked in my tummy, called myself disgusting; she was there. All those times that I refused to wear sleeveless tops because I said my arms were too flabby; she was there. All those times that I was depressed because I thought other women looked better than me; she was there… A silent observer, taking in every bit of what she saw.

When I finally realized the answer to my question, it was so simple. I felt like such a failure for having exposed my beautiful girl to all of the things I had tried so hard to save her from. I felt guilty. Through all of my efforts to boost her confidence, she had watched me destroying my own. Not only had I taught her the behavior, but I had also ruined any credibility my words of encouragement to her had had; for how could she take me seriously when I was being such a hypocrite?

The day I realized what I had been doing to her was the day I decided that I would stop letting my flaws define how I talked about myself. I would stop obsessing about what I wanted to change and start focusing on what I liked about my body.

I had already learned to love my face (oh, how many headshots my Facebook friends had been exposed to over the years; smiles, intense stares, and yes, even a few duckfaces). But more recently, because of my reality check, I learned to accept my body for what it was. I stopped wishing I had a flat tummy; I stopped saying ‘if only my ______ wasn’t so fat’. I started truly appreciating my curvy hips, my defined waist and my great legs, among other things. And it was funny, because oddly enough, I ended up liking more things about my body, than not. Through it all. my daughter continued to observe me; and she still does.

She now watches me as I look in the mirror admiring my curves instead of trying to cover them up. She sees me taking pictures of myself and she reads my blog (she is super proud of me, by the way). I have explained to her that I will never let the word FAT insult me or use it to insult myself again and that instead, I will use it with pride. Most of all, I have promised her that I will be a positive example from now on.

My hope is that the damage can be undone; that she learns to love her body the way I have. I pray that she realizes that she is beautiful; that she trusts me when I tell her so and that she never has to spend another moment believing that being fat means being worthless.

Baby girl, this one is for you!!! XOXO

Throwback Thursday – Selfie Confidence

Throwback Thursday - Selfie Confidence

Photo taken in 2008

From a very young age, I started hating myself in pictures. I couldn’t stand how huge I looked next to everyone else, how their flared, low-rise trousers looked so effortlessly cool and my men’s straight leg jeans just didn’t compare. I felt awkward, ugly and embarrassed and made every effort to destroy any copies of said pictures before my mum would have the chance to say ‘What are you talking about, honey? You look fine!’, which was, as anyone who remembers being young, THE single, most annoying thing your mother could say to you, whether she was right or not.

As a teen throughout the 90’s, the nightmare, that was clothes shopping (this topic deserves an entire post all to itself), became a little easier when I was finally mature enough to accept that I could no longer fit into an XL pair of black, stretch pants from a “regular” store and I discovered that there were a handful of boutiques carrying plus size clothing, albeit, geared to a much more mature market than me. But it was a start, and it was definitely better than muffin tops over too tight pants, or only being able to fit into men’s Levi’s, which didn’t have a cute term, like they do today with the “boyfriend jean”. So, while shopping became less frustrating, I still hadn’t found my groove and when I look through old photographs from high school (the ones which somehow managed to escape my clutches back in the day), I would describe my style as a mish-mash of poorly fitting jeans, tear-away track pants, too tight & too short baby T’s, matronly silhouettes of navy blue, brown lipstick and of course, chunky heels with stripper-esque platforms. It was an awkward look, to say the least.

As the years passed, the plus size market evolved. By the year 2000, It became less and less unheard of for a fat girl to sport a trendy look, and less difficult to find the components to put one together. Things were looking up! I was probably at my heaviest weight at that point, having just given birth to my first son, but remember going shopping and finding more clothes I loved, than I could afford to buy! This was a first! I remember thinking ‘this must be what skinny people feel like when they go shopping!’. This time, at least, it wasn’t that I couldn’t have it because it wasn’t made for me.  For once, I was faced with the same dilemma that normal girls my age faced – Too much choice! I still looked awful in pictures, though. Most of them being taken by my 5’1″ mother who was just short enough to take pictures from the perfect vantage point to really capture all the aspects of my double chin. I remember thinking ‘do I really look like this?’… Little did I know how drastically the way viewed myself would change.

By 2003, I had really started taking an interest in fashion and between then and 2006 I had yo-yoed in size and had lost a dramatic amount of weight in a very unhealthy manner, and gained it all back within that 3 year span. I had a second child and another on the way, and I struggled quite a bit at that point with self confidence. Some days I felt great, sexy even. Most days I just felt like I could never be as beautiful or desirable as a thin girl. But I still always made the effort. I always left the house looking good, even if I didn’t believe it at the time. I would soon buy myself a digital camera. How amazing was it, getting your first digital camera, right?!?! I had used one before, but I had never had my own. Once I got it open and figured out what I was doing, I took a picture. A selfie, which I don’t think was even a term anyone really used much back then. It was just of my face. Nothing major. It was summertime and I was on my way out to get groceries with my kids. Anyway, I remember looking at it, and realizing ‘HEY! I look good!’. I really couldn’t believe that I, ME, the girl who always thought she looked terrible in photographs, the girl who most days, felt too fat to be loved actually looked like a pretty, sophisticated and stylish young woman in a picture, nonetheless! Well… Needles to say, I went on a selfie rampage! Never before was it so easy to weed out the unattractive shots and fine tune the angles at which I took my pictures so that my beauty could actually be appreciated in a picture. I started to believe that maybe, just maybe, I was attractive! YES! Through taking selfies and seeing concrete evidence that was indeed a pretty, even sexy young lady, I began to truly embrace the way I looked!

I never stopped taking selfies. I am sure some view me as conceited or self-absorbed, but that is so far from the reality of why I take them. I take pictures of myself because they prove to me that I am beautiful. I’m not talking inner beauty here, I have all kinds of that, and that was never in question. I’m talking straight-up physical attractiveness. For some, that comes easily, but for a fat girl, who spent her life not being able to shop in the same places as her friends, who was teased from an early age and who struggled through a series of personal hardships, if they help me to feel good about myself, then I say, why not!?!? My selfies remind me, even on those days where I truly have a hard time seeing it (which are more frequent than I’d like to admit) that I should never feel like I am not worth being desired just because I wear a size 22. They remind me that I have style, that I am beautiful and that, yeah – You know what?!?! I AM HOT!

I Weighed in Like a Wrecking Ball

I Weighed in Like a Wrecking Ball

In the spirit of Halloween, I give you Fat Miley Cyrus. My children are scarred for life, but it was worth it!  Ha.

Credit to Addition Elle for the comfy and sexy, white, reversible neckline tank and white leggings (which unfortunately you can’t see in the pic) and apologies to my meat tenderizer and anyone who may have seen me twerk…

Oh, and…  “Only God can judge ya, forget the haters ’cause somebody loves ya”  -Miley Cyrus