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

theCURVYcon 2018 Recap

After two eventful weeks I’m finally back with my recap of this years CURVYcon.  I’ll be very honest, I was very close to not making it at all this year due to finances. Yet I have clearly been blessed to have some supportive friends that decided to sponsor my ticket once again. Unlike last year I was unable to attend certain events due to work so I can’t speak of the  Platinum Cocktail Party or the lunch but at least I can fill you in on the rest of the festivities that went on that weekend.

Day 1 – Shopping, Fashion shows and changing the world

The day started with a fitness session with Jessie Diaz of Curves with Moves along wit Beyonce’s background dancers from Coachella. While I didn’t arrive in time to witness the body love dancing I did get to follow it extensively via IG and got to see that my friend Brooke of Madame Finehouse had the time of her life. I did get to walk the show floor to do some shopping and mingling though. I got to finally got to check out Eloquii’s new fall line as well as got introduced to a few brands like Hanky Panky and Smash Shoes.

After shopping until we dropped we headed up to the main stage for the fashion show. This year the fashion show was done by Loft and we got to see some items from their fall line modeled by CURVYcon attendees as well as influencers like Amber of Style Plus Curves and Sabrina. (You can check out the items featured in the show here).

Got to spend the day with Jonquel of JonquelArt.

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Aggretsuko-inspired Summer Casual

 “Aggretsuko” or Aggressive Retsuko is an anthropomorphic red panda who is the namesake and protagonist of the the Netflix anime that premiered this past spring. She is a socially awkward, office worker in her mid-20s taking on the corporate world who is also a death metal enthusiast. As a Sanrio mascot she is as cute a character as the ever popular Hello Kitty, however, this “kawaii” appearance is a major contrast to her love of metal, and her affinity for using death metal karaoke to vent her frustration with her career and culture norms/expectations. The show wasn’t even officially announced by Netflix when I first started getting messages from friends on social media saying, “OMG! Its you!” They weren’t wrong, it really is.

“Underneath this smile I’m metal til I die!” 🤘🏽

And when I saw her redesign for the 33rd Annual Sanrio Character Ranking competition back in June, I fell in love with her outfit because it is totally something I would wear myself. It was simple and inevitably cute, yet it had a subtle feminine edge to it that suggested her metalhead past times. (And before you ask, even with her rise to popularity with her Netfilx show,  Retsuko only came in 20th place for the official ranking competition. I agree, she was robbed. But there’s always next year.) Continue reading

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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The First Sunday in June – BTS of The Ocean’s 8 Project

When we decided to go ahead with this project we did not anticipate how hard it would be to schedule a date for when the photo shoot could happen that would work for all those involved. Originally set to be some time in late-April or May, we ended up having to push it back to the first Sunday in June. Jonquel and I found this to be a bit funny considering that the MET gala takes place on the first Monday in May. I guess you could say we took it to be a sign. We did luck out because it was unseasonably cool day which worked in our favor since we all had to wear jackets,  and blazers, some even had fur and leather as part of their outfits. Jonquel actually fur and leather.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to do BTS vlogs for any blog shoots that I do because of how funny and crazy they often times are so I figured this would be a good place to start doing that. Especially since “The Ocean’s 8 Project” is the most ambitious project to date I’ve ever undertaken. So sit back, relax and check out how we got it all done. (In addition to a short feature in the end as to the reasons “why.” )

Photographer – Kayla K. (@kaylakleinphotography)
MUA – Steph S. (@stephora_beats) Continue reading