Bikini Bodies

Bear with me guys, this might get a little rambly and off path a little, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about weight. Not necessarily weight…more like (mainly) women’s unhealthy obsession with weight. But I don’t even really think weight is the issue…it’s more what we look like, how big or small we are…why is there such an emphasis on our size? Why is this a thing? Like at what point did women start deciding that their value comes from how they look on the outside instead of the content of their character?

“If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.” – Maya Angelou

I don’t think I fit the societal norms here, to be honest. I am big, plus size, overweight, obese, morbidly obese, fat, whatever term you use for describing my size…however, I have NEVER seen myself as big as I actually am. I am confident in my body. Is it harder to do some things physically because of my size, I’m sure it is, but I wouldn’t know because I’ve never been the super tiny girl. I’ve always ‘had some meat on my bones’. Was it harder when I was dating, to be bigger than other girls my age? Nope, I never had trouble getting asked out or getting male attention. Do I have low self-esteem or self confidence because of my size? No, not really. I don’t find my self-worth in my dress size…sorry, not sorry that I don’t see myself as less than because I don’t fit what society has deemed as attractive and worthy all because the scale is a higher number than you are comfortable seeing.

Is this to say that I don’t place value on taking care of myself or eating healthy and moving? Heck no! What I am saying is that I don’t think it’s healthy for one to be so consumed with eating healthy and exercising for the sole purpose of losing weight as opposed to eating healthy and exercising because it’s good for you, no matter your size or the number on the scale. I’m pretty healthy, I have no medical issues that are typically attributed to being overweight (high bp, diabetes, circulation issues, high cholesterol) but people don’t see our medical records when they look at us, do they? They just look at me and see how big I am and automatically assume I must consume all the unhealthiest of foods and do nothing but sit on my butt.

weight does not determine worth

As I’ve scrolled through each of my social media accounts lately, it has struck me that even the most ‘healthy’ and fit, the thinnest people I know still aren’t happy with their bodies. Why? Who is telling you that you aren’t good enough? Why are you letting them? This isn’t even about body positivity to me right now. I do want every body to feel good about themselves, but when I think about it, I want everyone to feel good about themselves because they are happy in their life and relationships and career. I am definitely not trying to knock people who are proud of themselves for being the healthiest, most fit, strongest they have ever been because they are taking the time to work and push to accomplish things physically to test themselves. I think that is amazing and awesome! I just worry about the women who are out there killing themselves to attain a smaller size or smaller number on the scale just because they think that will make them happy or make other people happy.

“Work out because you love your body, not because you hate it” – Katie Goulet

I have many friends who have expressed feelings of not being confident to even wear a swimsuit, let a lone a bikini, because they have a belly, or thick thighs, or are just bigger than what society has told them is the appropriate size to be right now. Each time, the thing that comes to mind is how to get a bikini body….have a body, put a bikini on it, now you have a bikini body. I recently took this to heart and purchased a bikini. Not a tankini like has been my go to for the last 10ish years…but an actual bikini. And I love it. I feel confident in it. It makes me happy to wear it. And I hope that when my daughter sees me in it, she sees that she too can wear whatever makes her feel confident and beautiful and doesn’t let other peoples opinions get into her head and ruin her self image.

For a really long time, I followed the crowd – must lose weight so I can be more acceptable to everyone around me, must hide my body because no one wants to see a plus size woman in anything that shows any skin, must perpetuate the cycle of self hate because that’s what society tells women is normal behavior…I thought I was so fat, I thought I was unattractive, I thought I was unhealthy, I thought my value was tied into the number on the scale. In all of these old pictures of me, I thought I was so huge compared to my friends…what the hell was I on?! Looking at them now, I see a beautiful woman who was healthy and was the same size as all of her friends! All those years I spent hating myself, my body, because why?…I don’t even know at this point.

Do I say all of this to say that I never have moments of weakness now when I see a picture of myself and think, wow am I really that big? No, I totally have those moments but they don’t define me. The number on the scale doesn’t define me. I don’t have a single desire to lose weight so that people will find me easier to look at, or more worthy of their attention. I have a desire to be healthy and to work on loving all of myself, flaws and imperfections included. I’m not willing to hide for anyone anymore. My wish for every woman I know, is that she would see herself and love herself, as is. Stop the self hate, start loving yourself so we can stop the cycle of teaching our children to hate themselves if they don’t fit whatever society has deemed acceptable. <3

ELF Skincare Review

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this blog post were purchased by me, with my money, this is NOT a sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts are 100% based on my own personal experience.

Hello beauties! I wanted to talk a little about skincare today. The older I get, the more I’m paying attention to the skincare products I’m using and focusing less on the makeup products. If you don’t have great skin, all the expensive makeup in the world is not going to hide that fact, so I’d rather focus a little more on skincare first, make sure the canvas is the best it can be before we paint it up with the art that is makeup, you know what I’m sayin?

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I had been seeing people all over the beauty community talk about the ELF Skincare line sold at Walmart or Target, wherever ELF products are sold, but I was reluctant to try it because I had a routine that was working well. I am not someone who gets a lot of breakouts, as long as I’m thoroughly cleansing and moisturizing my skin, generally the only time I get breakouts is when I’m pms’ing (ah the joys!). I generally stick to the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ when it comes to skincare, but after hearing so many good things the ELF line, I decided to give it a try. The products are all pretty affordable, I think they are around $12 for each product in the line.

I picked up the daily cleanser, serum, and moisturizer. Personally, I use them in the morning and have a totally different set of products that I use for my nighttime skincare routine.

elf skincare

Overall, I really have liked this line for a couple of reasons:

They are super gentle – I don’t feel like my face is being scrubbed raw, the scent is pleasant and not overwhelming.
They are not greasy or heavy – When you apply the serum and moisturizer, they are not sticky or tacky or heavy.
My skin feels really clean and hydrated after using these products.

I love finding products that work well with my skin, that are really affordable, and are easily accessible. As I’m getting older I find that the less scented and harsh the products are the better my skin does with it. I’d love to hear what skincare products you use and why you love them, leave me a comment with your favorite makeup remover, that’s something I’m still on the hunt for!

My Baby’s First Concert

Oh. Em. Gee. You guys! So last month I had the opportunity to take my daughter to her very first concert. I was lucky enough to be invited to attend a Demi Lovato concert with Hot Chelle Rae opening for Demi. We were also invited to a backstage pre-show party with Demi! How’s that for a first concert experience ever?! I know, nothing I ever try to do will top this first experience, but I’m ok with that!

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Back in June I was presented with an opportunity to take my daughter to a backstage party with Demi Lovato hosted by Hallmark.  Leading up to the show, Hannah was so excited she couldn’t sit still.  We had to pick Daddy up at work before we headed to the concert so we were of course listening to Demi and HCR on my iPhone while waiting for him.  Girlfriend was gettin’ down with her bad self 😉

Once we dropped Sean off at home and changed our clothes we headed out for our girls night downtown, baby!  We were both pretty excited to experience something so cool together.

So you are probably wondering how we managed to score this awesome opportunity, well let me tell you about it!   Hallmark has this awesome new product called Textbands and have teamed up with Demi Lovato to get the word out about them.  Textbands are pretty cool, you wear them on your wrist and can type a message into them and by bumping fists or giving your friend a high-five the message you typed on your Textband magically appears on their Textband! 

So, when we got to the Comerica Theatre in downtown Phoenix we went to will call to pick up our tickets and passes.  As soon as they were in hand, a Hallmark rep greeted us to show us where to go.  There was no chance of getting lost trying to find the party because there were Hallmark reps positioned all along the way directing us.  Major bonus points to Hallmark for this!  Once we checked into the party we got our Textbands and were given instructions on how to work them.  We met up with a few of our friends, other Arizona Bloggers Sara from Clever Pink Pirate, Wendy from Choosing Love AZ, Kara from AZ Thrifty Mom and Becca from Our Crazy Boys.  We were all directed to the backstage area where Hallmark had put on quite a spread and being the awesome blogger I am, I completely spaced on taking pics of the spread.  Yep, I know.  #bloggerfail.

Anyway, there were bean bags all over the floor for everyone to sit on and of course the food and drinks to enjoy before the show.  After a little bit, the people from Hallmark had us all line up to meet and get a photo with Demi and once we had all done that we took a seat again.

A little bit later, Demi came out with a guitarist and played a few songs for us.  It was super cool!

Once the backstage party was over, we all made our way down to our totally AWESOME seats.  Hannah and I were in the 15th row, really close to the stage.

Hannah had seen all these teenagers taking crazy face pictures and of course had to be like the big girls, so she wanted me to take a pic of her like this…

Once the show started, Hot Chelle Rae came on and put on a really fun show.  I knew their songs from hearing them on the radio, but I have to say I am a big fan now having seen them live.  Really engaging and a lot of fun to watch perform.  Hannah sang along with me and everyone else in the crowd and she cheered and screamed and seemed to get the hang of what it means to be at a concert pretty quick.

Now, I wish I had some cool photos of Demi actually performing, but every single picture I took while she was on stage was crap.  The lights were so bright on her you can’t even see her, like at all in the pics.  You just see these insane lights shining on the stage.  lol.  Another #bloggerfail.  Even without the great pictures of Demi performing I can tell you, she was awesome.  She had great energy and really connected with the crowd by talking about her struggles with self-harm and eating disorders and just letting her fans know they are not alone and to reach out for help before its too late.  Yes, this mama teared up.  And I cannot hear Skyscraper without almost bawling.Every.single.time.
After the show was over, Hannah and I made our way home and spent the next 2 days trying to get our hearing back to normal and of course telling all of our friends about what an awesome time we had and about the Hallmark TextBands! 
Now, how about a giveaway!  Hallmark is giving 2 of my lucky readers their own set of Textbands!