“I’m not a stick anymore, but I’m doing okay”

“Hey I didn’t know a whale was coming to the pool tonight,” said a little boy to me as I passed a group when I was 10 years old at our local swimming pool– the first person to ever make me feel self conscious.

To sum up some history before we begin…..A few years ago, I took a trip with my close friends Sam, Michele and Zack. We went on a lovely tropical vacation to Punta Cana and it will forever be one of the best memories I will have. I was fresh out of high school and excited for the future. But, one thing was still holding me back and causing me serious torment: the voice in my head telling me my body was wrong. I went on my trip, had a great time and came back home to look through the tons of pictures we took. There was only one thing I could focus on..my weight. I could barely stand to see myself in these pictures. I have always been a junk food queen because of my pickiness in foods that I actually like but I hadn’t realized how far I had let myself go. To others I was ‘normal’ weight but I couldn’t just be ‘normal’. I didn’t feel comfortable. So I started dieting and exercising. From October 2012 – June 2013 I lost a total of 36 pounds. To be quick.. I went to school in the city, stopped working out, drank a lot and ultimately stopped caring about my “fitness”.

My self-esteem quickly plummeted. I no longer felt confident in clothes, my skin wasn’t shining like it used to, but ultimately I felt okay. I was back in control of my life and there was no constant voice telling me to count calories and exercise.

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My first week at college

Fast forward to today, leaving those habits over two years in the past, and I’m doing okay. I still exercise now and then (not everyday) but not to the point of overexertion. I try to eat healthy but I’m human and also I have a chocolate addiction so I’ve gained a little weight. My arms aren’t the rock hard muscle machines that I made them anymore and my stomach has gained a little pudge leaving behind the toned tummy I once had. I can’t lie and say sometimes I don’t get discouraged and even upset about myself but I’ve learned to know my body and I know this will help me become who I want to be.

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Photo on 7-10-15 at 1.43 PM #4

Today (i’ve gained 10 pounds)

I’m not fat, nor do I think I’m fat. I’m a healthy weight. I still get called “tiny” and “small” and guess what? I don’t go to bed starving anymore.

To those who sometimes don’t feel comfortable in their skin.. this is my advice to you:

1. You Can Be Beautiful and Confident At Any Size

I know.. hard to believe this when media is shoving skinny and toned down your throat (and if you ARE skinny and toned good for you, girl!! that’s awesome) but..there are other body types aside from slim and tiny. I am a firm believer in shining from the inside out. If you get yourself in a good place mentally anything is possible physically.

2. Do NOT crash diet.. PLEASE. 

If you want to lose weight the healthy way, put yourself on a natural, whole food diet change. Replace the processed foods America loves for things from nature, or close to nature. I’m talking fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, and low fat dairy. If you stick with these foods and don’t overeat.. I can 100% guarantee you will see a difference in your reflection within a few weeks. ALL THOSE OTHER DIETS OFTEN END IN BINGE EATING AND GIVING UP.

3. Do Not Go To Tumblr and Instagram For Your ‘Thinspiration’

Especially under that hashtag. Most of those girls (and boys) are suffering from real, severe eating disorders and should not be administering diet advice. There is no reason you should eat a total of 200 calories a day (half of which are crackers and diet coke). The pictures you see are seriously ill people and should not be idolized.

4. Understand Your Body Type

Each body is constructed differently. Some girls can NEVER have a thigh gap, sticking out collar bones or that new asian thing where you wrap your arm all the way around your back to your waist to see if your skinny or not (if you don’t know what I’m talking about feel free to look it up). I’m sure there are other wacky ideas for what makes you ‘thin’ out there: Ignore them please and find your own ‘what makes me feel good’

5. Being Curvy is ‘Acceptable’

As sad as it is that we have to wait for something with our image to be ‘acceptable’ in modern society, guess what girls? Boobs, butt and thighs are in.. and bigger than ever (literally). Nicki, Beyonce, Kim and more have been flaunting their good goods and giving us the green light on saying yes to that bowl of pasta and maybe even a doughnut without tons of regret.

So no matter how you look, no matter what you’ve been through (or maybe if you’re going through something now), no matter what anyone has said to you..

  • Realize YOUR beautiful
  • Know your limits
  • Keep yourself healthy
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Frappuchino Crappy Hour — Finals Week’s the Worst.

It’s 4:30 and I’m sitting at Starbucks dealing with the overwhelming stress of the last two weeks of the semester. Who knew art school would induce the want to jump from a moving vehicle? Okay, it’s not that bad.. But I am just WAITING for those summer weeks of freedom from deadlines and grades.

I chose to visit a Starbucks at the absolute worst time: 3:45 during frap happy hour. This Dearborn street location is (unfortunately) right next to a high school so I came at the perfect time to push past a thousand teens just to get a tea and steal their wifi. 

Sitting here I can kind of compare my next two weeks to the employees of this Starbucks during happy hour. Everything is calm, people just come in for their coffee and go on their way, and then the time comes and everything is THROWN AT THEM. Then eventually the calm comes again and it’s all over.

Do you get my analogy? It makes a lot of sense in my head. 

So I’m trying my best to pull it together and come out strong (despite dealing with some serious conflicts that have made it very difficult). 

For those of you struggling with the end of this semester… I’m with you.

Try not to drown yourself in liquor.

Why Every Girl Needs A Shih-Tzu (or dog in general)

Dogs are the best. It’s a simple fact of life that can’t be fought (UNLESS YOU’RE A CAT PERSON, AND IF SO WHY ARE YOU EVEN HERE). They cuddle with you when you’re sad, they’re there for you when theres no one else, and they look up to you like a baby bird to it’s mother.

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More specifically, every girl needs a Shih-Tzu. Mine is named Oliver Twist. He’s my 12-year-old companion and more importantly best friend. He’s the apple to my peanut butter. If he were a human i’d marry him. He goes by the nicknames Shnubs, King, Prince, Barbara, Barbie, Bubz, Ol, and OLLIE. The silly, fluffy little balls of life are the best companions ever.. for several reasons.

1. They are constantly sassy and sort of have a problem with everything. This is an amazing trait; BELIEVE ME. It’s how you wish you could be in life. You wish you could sort of hate everything but at the same time expect everything (some of us do). They just kind of look at you with a stink face even if you just took them on a 5-mile walk and fed them gourmet chicken while massaging their back.

2. Shih-Tzu literally translates to Lion Dog. They’re of Tibetian origin and were used to guard the royal family.. that’s right.. small, little mini, basically harmless dogs were the face of danger when it came to ancient Tibet. The only time I can find this to be true is when my dog is biting and growling at me, which is basically on a daily basis.

3. They’re basically the face of every dog show. The long, flowing hair with a cute little top knot. They were the original man-buns. They are fashionistas til the end.

4. They’re versatile for every climate! No matter where you live, your Shih-Tzu will adapt. You would think with a winter coat on 24/7 they would be pretty hot in the sun, but nope.. They love basking in the sunlight.

5. No matter how ugly they are they are always cute.. even if your friends and family can’t see it, you do! You see the beauty in that crooked-teethed, raccoon-eyed, nugget.

6. It sometimes feels like they hate you even though you’re overly affectionate and love them more than anything. They want to be your best friend only when there is food around. It’s almost like trying to hang with the popular crowd, but the popular crowd says no.. and you keep trying.

Of course, every dog is amazing. Whether you love your Pitbull,  English Bulldog, Labrador Retriever, or Chihuahua it doesn’t matter.. we are all the members of one giant family: Dog People.

Dog people made the world go round.

Respect.

Whimsical Wednesday: Why I Love Not Wearing Makeup (some days)

  It’s no secret that society makes being female quite difficult. There’s the ridicule for our weight, our face (which we ultimately can’t control without surgery), and our behavior. Who is to say how I should act and look? 

I’m my biggest critic, probably like most of you reading this are, and there have been some deep dark parts of my life where I have been completely down about my appearance.

 Growing up, I loved reading fashion and celebrity magazines. I was so dazzled by the beauty I was seeing and couldn’t believe people could look LIKE THAT. I have no problem with the magazine industry, but I can say it played a role in the negative feelings I had about myself. 

For years after this, all the way up until after high school, I struggled. I would pile on makeup in hopes of finally passing as beautiful. My smile definitely hid how I was feeling. I struggled with dieting, restricting myself from almost every food, and over exerting myself in exercise.  My weight drastically fell; I can now look back and admit I wasn’t healthy, mentally or physically. 

Those days are behind me now. I’m in the best place I have ever been.

This leads me into WHY I LOVE NOT WEARING MAKEUP, what you’ve all been waiting for..and why you came. I’m talking about makeup both in the actual stuff you put on your face, and also every other aspect of your appearance. 

Three days a week, on average, I leave the makeup off. There is something so empowering and beautiful about feeling comfortable enough in your skin to show yourself in the purest state. I suggest trying it, and I know this is not an easy task for everyone, at least once. 

I think it’s important to know that I love makeup. I have the Sephora receipts and wedge out of my checking account to prove it. Makeup is awesome. I use it all the time and CANT SURVIVE WITHOUT MY RUBY WOO LIPSTICK BY MAC.

With these trials of being makeup free, I have found myself smiling when I look in the mirror. I will take a selfie bare-faced..and OOOH can you believe it–I’ll post it! 

It may be attributed to growing up, to stop caring what people think, to have a revelation of self clarity, or being too broke to afford it anymore (IM IN COLLEGE, I UNDERSTAND), BUT try to rock your femininity no matter how you look on the outside. Realize your beauty and self-worth and you will shine on the inside and out.

Who run the world?

GIRLS

Do I Attract Creeps (and other concerns from being in the city)?

Just a typical Monday and I survived my long morning commute to Chicago via train. The music in my earphones drowned out the chatter of people arguing with the conductors about why they don’t have a ticket (this happens every time).

I grabbed a black coffee to wake me up from the corner bakery outside Union Station as I waited for my Uber. My first uber cancelled on me (I couldn’t believe it) and I was eventually picked up by Jayc, my very kind driver. He was concerned about my drop off point saying “we gon’ get jumped over there”.

I finished my slow, dragging class and went into my usual panera to sit, not eat, and use their Wifi: The joys of being a part of the technological generation. I was approached at my quiet little table by a boy who asked to sit with me. I passively agreed and looked back at my tablet… But then, of course, he wanted to talk.

I guess I can’t accept friendliness as friendliness in a world where a guy talking to a girl often ends in them asking for your number. He wanted to know everything about my college experience. I just wanted to bask in my loneliness.  Does this make me a cold-hearted wench? I’m not sure.

Additionally, during my panera trip, a homeless man quietly ventured through the restaurant asking for money and food. I have neither so I did the traditional bitchy Chicago thing and ignored him.

During my last year, when I used to actually live downtown, I was involved in some sketchy situations. I was an innocent bystander in a 7/11 hold up. I had a presumably mentally ill man whisper in my ear “y’all gon die” referring to my friend and I; not the most comforting message at 3 am on the CTA. I had a “rapper” come up to my roommate Taylor and I offering us some Patron. I had an insane boy try to kill me because I didn’t want to date him (after one day of meeting him).

Each day downtown provides you with some incredibly interesting stories. There is always something happening and there’s nothing better than fearing for your life sometimes, right? 

5 Ways to Naturally Relieve Anxiety 

Anxiety, Panic, and Depression…. If you’re familiar with these debilitating illnesses you know it sometimes feels impossible to escape. But, know you’re not alone: over 40 million Americans are feeling the same way. Although it may seem like the pharmacy is the one and only oasis..Here are some calming things you can do to naturally relieve yourself:

1. Exercise and Yoga 

Working out releases endorphins through your body that will instantaneously improve the way you’re feeling.. and while you’re at it maybe you’ll get an even more improved version of your already awesome bod. Next time you’re feeling overcome with negative feelings.. head towards the gym or pull up a YouTube tutorial and do it at home.

2. Clean up your Diet

Nobody’s perfect. We all love to indulge in the delicious treats and meals that make us happy. But, believe it or not, some foods can actually enhance symptoms of anxiety and depression. Coffee, chocolate, and other caffeinated foods can trigger panic attacks and uneasiness. Instead try a lightly caffeinated tea.. It will keep you awake but not freak you out. Alcohol may seem like an easy self-mediator, but actually can drive you deeper into intense depression. Try to limit drinking to 1-2 times a week. Processed foods are also good to avoid. Try incorporating fresh ingredients into your everyday meals for gradual improvements.

3. Keep a Journal

Not comfortable sharing your feelings with others? The time will probably come where you will feel able to talk to someone, but until then try writing down the way you’re feeling in a personal journal or diary. This will help get heavy thoughts out of your head and cleanse yourself at the end of each day. Instead of only focusing on the negatives, make a list of things you’ve accomplished and hope to accomplish. 

4. BREATHE

The shakes, the sweats, and the light-headedness.. We’ve all been there at one time or another. If you find yourself in an immediate panic, focus in on your breathing. First of all, make sure it’s happening. Secondly, breathe in slowly on counts of ten and then hold for a few seconds. Slowly let the air out in a small stream. Closing your eyes while doing this can help find your inner calm. 

5. Eliminate Stress Factors

Of course, most of us can’t quit our jobs (unless we are financially stable or retiring) and dropping out of college (although it may sound appealing) will make getting a job a little harder, but there could be other things in your day that have to go. Negative people in your life? If they aren’t family, try your best to push them away. Unhappy with current location? Try to research new places you’ve always wanted to live or maybe even just a weekend road trip for new surroundings. When it comes to college.. Stay on top of your assignments. Falling behind will increase stress and make it feel impossible.

*I am not a doctor.. These are what has helped me*

Comment below with what has helped you or if you’ve tried any of these techniques!