In the Name of the Moon!

Many children of my generation (the 90’s) were presented with female empowerment through the Sailor Moon anime. I was introduced to this series through the ’90s American dub which eventually lead me to reading the manga and hunting down the Japanese version (subbed of course). The story follows fourteen year-old Usagi Tsukino (known as Serena to  American audiences via the 90s dub of the anime) and her friends, who transform into planetary sailor soldiers using their powers to protect the Earth from evil forces seeking to destroy it.  As the series that sparked my interest in manga, anime and cosplay (which has only grown in the years since) it holds a very special place in my heart.

So in honor of it being June 30th, the canon birthday of Sailor Moon/Princess Serenity herself, Usagi Tsukino, I’m sharing  a few of the messages and themes from this series that had a profound influence on me as well as a generation of young men and women.  Disclaimer: A version of this post was published on the 4 Real Women International blog site in 2014 but has since been take down.  Also while there are so many incarnations of Sailor Moon (the manga, the 90’s anime, the stage shows known as Sera Myu and the live action series, PGSM) this blog post will only make reference to the manga and the ’90s anime. Continue reading

Turning 29 in Puerto Rico, La Isla del Encanto

Once I heard that the the third annual Su-Style Expo, the premier plus size event for Latinas, would be happening on May 4th, literally the day after my birthday, I took this to be a sign that it was finally time for me to go to Puerto Rico. My mother spent over 4 years there working on her BS in Biology before immigrating to the US and so I grew up listening to my mother call Puerto Rico as her “Segunda Patria” (Translation: Second homeland). Having heard her stories and seen pictures of her adventures there, I dreamed about the day that I would be able to travel to “La Isla del Encanto” myself.

My mother’s birthday is a week before mine and she hasn’t been back since she left in 1987 so I figured that  a mother-daughter trip would also be a great birthday present for her. (And by extension, Mother’s Day present too because that was a week after our trip and I was pretty broke after this, hahaha!) So I bought our tickets, booked the hotel and told her to pack her bags. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so excited.

I had originally planned to do a full-fledged travel vlog complete with a pina colada counter (because there were many, I mean it is Puerto Rico after all), but alas I was having a bit too much fun to take video too seriously. However I still wanted to share a bit about our trip so check it out below!

Day 1 – Travel Day

My mother and I haven’t been on a plane together since 2007 when we flew down to Panama as a family for my great-grandmother’s funeral so it was a nice change of pace to be traveling someplace for fun rather than obligation. The entire time in the airport I caught my mother looking around the airport muttering, “No puedo creer que vamos a Puerto Rico!” (Translation: I can’t believe we’re going to Puerto Rico!)

The face of complete joy at being back.

Even with all the excitement, our first day on the island just consisted of picking up our rental car and settling into our hotel. My mother had to cram three days of work into two in order to get the rest of the week off so she was pretty beat by the time we got to the airport and I had actually stayed up the night before repacking my suitcase for the fourth time so we were pretty tired to do any of the things that I had on the agenda for the day besides getting something to eat. Continue reading

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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+Size Matters – Body Positive vs Offensive Narratives

This  year marks the first time that I’ve made a point to have a Netflix account. It started with me opening what must have been my eighth account under a different email address for another free trail and after I ended up getting charged for one month since I forgot to cancel it, I figured I might as well give this service a try for a year. Thus I too have taken to binge-watch sessions after work well into the early hours of the morning of many shows and movies.

For the most part I’ve taken to watching anime and catching up on shows that my friends were raving about years before, like Sherlock. Yes,  I’m “tardy to the party” but hey at least I’m here now, haha. Anyway, I say all this because Netflix originals were on the very bottom of my “To Watch” list and with shows like Insatiable being  produced by the service, I feel that I was right in not going that route with my new streaming binge-watching habit.

Image result for netflix insatiable

Image Credit: Spoiler TV

Honestly, when the online petition reached 100,000 signatures back in July I believed that the show would never be an option to be streamed on Netflix but obviously this didn’t stop production. Sure this is old news by this point but it still warrants a bit more discussion as it demonstrates the significance of narratives that are presented to an audience – well, at least I think it does.

The basic plot of the show is as follows: a formerly overweight teenager turned beauty queen sets out to get revenge on everyone who tormented her when she was bigger. According to the creator, the show is meant to tackle major social issues attached to weight and fat-shaming through comedy and satire. She has even gone on the record to say that the backlash the show got at the release of its trailer was nothing more than a form of censorship. [Insert eye-roll here] Continue reading