Women Made of Metal

Today marks the end to yet another Women’s History Month and I thought a great way to end the month would be to highlight some serious girl power that is found in my favorite music genre – metal. Yes, the metal community is predominately male, with women treated as a novelty meant to be seen and not heard,  but women continue to make their mark in spite of it all, from leading bands to even being the subject of songs.

So here are just 5 songs sung by (and in one instance about) metal queens that I have had on repeat for most of this month that have inspired as well as motivated me. I know that metal is not everyone’s thing but I invite you to turn your volume up and rock out a bit.  \m/><\m/

1. Roots by In This Moment

American gothic metal band, In This Moment and their lead singer Maria Brink are my current obsessions. (Honestly, the more I read about this woman the more I love her and want to list to everything she has ever recorded.) It started when I put my friend’s Beats headphones on and heard the chorus of their song, Joan of Arc , from their 2017 album, Ritual – a concept album about the Salem Witch Trials. It was amazing and the only reason that song is not on this list is because Roots just has this feeling of compete defiance in spite of every challenge and/or person that attempts to bring you down and that is extremely empowering. Even if metal is not your cup of tea, I highly recommend you at least give this song a chance.

Favorite Lyric:  …I’m stronger than I ever knew, I’m strong because of you…

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I Hosted a Resume Party!

By now it is pretty much common knowledge that 68% of  American women wear a size 14 and over. However, one thing that isn’t included with this statistic is the economic disparities that come from work place discrimination based on weight and size. According to a 2016 study by the Census Bureu, workers who are heavier than the average are paid $1.25 less an hour and over a 40 year career, they will earn up to $100,000 less before taxes than their thinner counterparts.   As you can imagine these numbers just get more complex and disheartening once, gender, race and ethnicity comes to play.

It was with all this in mind that I decided to host a resume party – an informal gathering for the purpose of getting resume feedback and discuss goals, and other career development insights. Originally this was just going to be simple. Just a few of my friends in my living room, probably talking over some pizza, however, once I started writing out the “guest list” I realized that this needed to be a bit bigger than what I was planning. Of the eight people that were to be in attendance, six of us are influencers building and maintaining our own individual brands, be it for beauty and fashion, fashion illustration, food or makeup artistry, while also doing  out best to prosper in our traditional careers outside of that social media sphere.

You can’t have any kind of party without snacks!

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My Two Cents: Body Positivity vs. Influencer Weight Loss?

Back in December, I spent some of my holiday break  going through my Facebook blog page DMs from readers (yes, I actually make time to read and answer those) and this was one of the ones I had received:

I’m not going to lie, the question took me off guard to the point that I failed to formulate an immediate answer. So I simply wrote back that I needed some time to process this a bit, promising that I would cover this topic on the blog as soon as I could.

Weight loss is such a touchy subject. Understandably so as it triggers a lot of difficult memories and emotions for many of us, especially if you are a woman. As someone who grew up being constantly criticized, bullied and even publicly humiliated for my weight, I still cringe a bit when Weight Watchers is brought up in conversation. (For context I was gifted a membership to that program by my Great Aunt when I was 9 years old and subsequently continued to do so until the day I turned 18, but that’s a story for another time.)

I came into plus size fatshion through the body positive movement and I know that for some people its the opposite. This was back in 2009, before it all went mainstream and body positivity, as it applied to plus size bodies specifically, was more along the lines of size acceptance. I was 19 and had a history of leaving the mall in tears for not being able to find anything that I liked that fit and was actually affordable.  I told myself that I hated fashion but the truth was that I hated the fact that the fashion industry just wouldn’t work with my body.  I believed that in order to have things like respect, love and nice clothes, akin to that of my thinner peers, I would have to lose as much weight as possible first.

Me at 19 vs. Now

That’s when I stumbled onto The Big Girl Blog by Cece Olisa. It was purely by accident, as I had been online shopping for plus size club clothes since I had been invited to a party that called for that kind of thing. I kept reading post after post and ended up finding other similar blogs that covered topics such as dating, fashion and, of course, body love and body positivity. Motivated by what I read,  I started to unlearn the negative “lessons” that had been instilled in me and learned to love and celebrate the body I have. Continue reading

‘Tis the Season to… Manage Holiday Anxiety

Its no secret that once October rolls around I get on a holiday high. Yes, Halloween marks the start of the holiday season for me. Call me weird if you must, haha. Typically the holiday season for me is spent cleaning, reorganizing, shopping and decorating with some commitments with friends and family sprinkled into my already busy work schedule. It’s a lot! So you can see why I honestly I roll my eyes when I see articles about “How to Have a Stress and Anxiety-free Holiday” that are published once the season begins because realistically there really is no such thing. The best thing you can do is manage it so it doesn’t affect you as much. Which is why I decided to take some time to share 5 tips for managing holiday anxiety. I hope that it is helpful to those who may be struggling like I am right now.

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Quellie and Lena Try…Aqua Zumba

So here’s a bit of a little known fact about me for you all: I tend to stay away from doing much exercise in the fall and winter. Why? Well I know the reason may seem superficial to many people but it is because of my hair.  When the temperature starts to dip below 60 degrees I make a point to straighten my hair, be it with a roller-set or using my Instyler. As much as I love my natural curls, I started this cycle back in college as I found that having my hair straight in the fall and winter just made it easier to manage. While the overall time it takes to get my hair from curly to straight is not as bad as my curly routine, it is a lot of work that can easily be for naught if I so much as perspire a bit or let some water, like rain or snow, touch it.

Thus any strenuous physical activities, like exercising, are regulated to the warmer months in spring and summer when I go back to my natural curly hair routine. But even then gymtimidation keeps me away from  and using arm and leg weights while playing DDR at home can get pretty boring after a while. Which leads me to this post.At the start of the summer I did some research to find some out-of-the-box exercise classes preferably in water because let’s face it, summers in NYC are the worst. Thanks to Google I found out about Aqua Zumba. As someone who used to go to Zumba classes (on land) twice a week, I found the concept interesting so I mentioned the idea of giving this a try to Jonquel of Jonqel Art as well as to two co-worker friends of ours that have built in gym days to their weekly schedules. They all immediately jumped at the idea and we bought our first time passes for the following week. Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

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