Yesterday my family came together to celebrate a belated father’s day and my sister-in-law, Brittany’s, birthday. Typically I show up very, very casually dressed because my family likes to go out on the lake on the boat, but yesterday I had received my first order from Colourpop cosmetics, and the new makeup inspired me to look a little nicer than I usually do.
I am trying to venture out a bit with makeup. A couple years ago when I went to FFFWeek with Brittany, she convinced me that eyeliner is okay to wear. Haha, I really thought it looked like too much (and in North Carolina, most people keep things extremely casual with very natural makeup styles). Now I’m nudging my way into wearing lip colors that are a little more attention grabbing. I’m slowly doing this. Colourpop‘s products definitely fit their name, and I thought the lip color was a little too vibrant, but looking at the pictures now it seems fine, and I’m realizing I’m mostly limited by the way I’m used to seeing myself versus what actually looks fine.
Speaking of limiting the way I see myself, I’ve been blogging for almost 6 years. Granted, the last few years have only had sporadic posting, but I’ve seen a lot of pictures of myself. Brittany was helping me take pictures, and I realized I still only pose in certain ways and feel uncomfortable taking pictures that are beyond smiling at the camera. This is another thing I want to allow myself to be and do without feeling insecure. It may seem small (and kind of silly), but it’s linked again to the way I limit the way I see myself, so why not expand that.
As for the outfit, I’m wearing one of my favorite tops I’ve purchased this summer. A bardot style striped top from Torrid. It has navy stripes and can be worn more off the shoulder than I’m showing here.
I added this orange-red bag from Old Navy and sunglasses from Urban Outfitters. Warning, if you purchase this bag, it has a bad smell due to the way it’s manufactured (I’m guessing). Prepare to air it out for a couple days before wearing it out.
By the way, family party = dog party. How cute are they?
So lipstick and new poses, baby steps to get back on track with trying things I like but am insecure about. Such tiny things that remind me that positive body image is a constant work in progress.
Growing up on the lake, I am pretty realistic about swimsuit looks. I always love seeing the glammed up styles from bloggers who have caftans, hats, and jewelry on when heading toward the pool, but when my swimming sessions often are with my siblings, who have absolutely zero patience for over primping, then I know my looks have to be much more simplistic. Usually my swim look is a cute swimsuit + a pull over tube dress from Old Navy + sunglasses + the closest shoes to the door. That said, I wanted to find something in between the overly casual and the glam looks that I adore.
Enter in the “Wild Child” dress from plus size Indie brand Zelie for She. Super comfortable and easy to wear, but the fabric elevates this maxi to be more than just a casual, every day piece. I’m in love with this print, which is shown in more detail below. I also like that if you go more toward glam, various lipstick colors can easily go with this, along with many jewelry styles. This dress comes in a “one size fits all”, which I was nervous about. I decided to go for it since the shape widen out from the top, but I do think I am close to the top size. It just fit my bust and shoulders, but would fit someone larger on the bottom. Oh! And it has pockets!!
I also love it without the belt for a breezy, flowy look. I like how without the belt you can see the stripes and the short brush strokes on the print. It has the perfect amount of transparency for a good balance between seeing your swimsuit underneath but also mostly showcasing the dress itself.
Swimsuit shopping is always a little frustrating. I am a good bit larger at the bottom of my torso/bum, so finding a swimsuit that fits top and bottom and is long enough in the torso is like trying to find the needle in the haystack–or as big of a haystack as it can be when plus size swimsuits are already limited!
I really liked the ties on the front of this Torrid swimsuit. If you’re concerned about them opening, they are sewn so that they will not open. In fact, you can’t space them out even if you wanted to. I really liked that this suit was so long in the torso. I could probably have even more length and it would have fit fine. There are some downsides to this suit. The built in “bra” does not work for me at all. It’s too loose under the bust, and the closure on the back comes apart easily (under the swimsuit fabric but is in there for support). I think I will cut the back bra closure off because it serves no purpose for me. It would have been a better product had it been a typical bra closure. I chose to wear a bra under this suit, which does not show on the outside. I personally don’t mind doing this, as it’s something I’ve had to do since I was young. There’s also boning on the sides that is made out of plastic. You can actually see it on the suit to the sides where it peaks out in an angle. The plastic bends and then makes a shape that isn’t there. I might cut those out too, since it would just lay on my natural shape without those. Even though the suit isn’t perfect, I still really like the style, and it’s a little more fun than some of my past suits.
So this is my in between swimsuit look — not fully glammed up and not super casual. Of course the clothing items themselves are only one part, so make up and hair can easily shift an outfit into the style you want. If you want more swimsuit looks for inspiration, check out the Instagram feed for the Golden Confidence Pool Party that happened last week (which sparked my inspiration).
One of the most exciting things about plus size fashion at the moment is that new lines and collaborations keep popping up. When hearing about each new place to shop, my inner teenager who had only 2 places to go to gets really, really excited, but if you’re above a size 22/24, so many of these new opportunities are still out of your reach. Because of that, I get even more excited when there’s a new line that goes beyond a size 22/24. Enter Lovesick, a sister brand of Torrid. They advertise themselves as sizes 10-26; however, many of their tops and dresses are available in a size 5, which is comparable to a size 30. I decided to try multiple pieces, and as a definite size 4/28 top and dress size, the 5’s were too big on me and the 4’s fit perfectly. I decided to purchase the dress below in a 5 because it seemed straight cut and I was worried about the fit on my hips, but I definitely could have sized down once to have it fit slightly more to my form.
In the last few weeks, I’ve had a similar experience happen maybe 3-4 times. I’m engaging in someone’s words, media, and art. I’m thinking alongside them and interested in what they have to say. Then, BAM! They make fun of fat people or make stereotypical or false comments about fat people—basically they make me realize that they are not my kind of people. They believe “truths” about fatness that I disagree with wholeheartedly. They see fat bodies, fat bodies like mine, as worthy of ridicule, shame, or pity.
At what point do we decide to disengage with people we like because they make it apparent that they can’t stand our bodies? This is something I’ve asked myself multiple times, ranging from people with whom I have a relationship to people I just find interesting.
I have a love-hate relationship with Target. It’s one of those stores that frustrates me constantly with its mediocre-at-best plus size clothing selection, while also pleasantly surprising me with the occasional awesome piece. Shopping in the store isn’t exactly fun either. Target said they were revamping their plus section, and they did to a certain extent by coming out with the Ava and Viv line, but actually shopping in the store is the same: racks mixed in with clearance and maternity racks, few styles actually in store to try on and purchase, etc. After a little hunting yesterday, I found this black and white striped maxi dress hidden in the racks, and yet again I was both glad for and annoyed at Target.
Maxi dresses are my go-to in spring and summer, but they are often sleeveless or too formal. While I love sleeveless dress for outside events and to throw over a swimsuit, I usually want some type of sleeve for work or for other indoor activities. Because of this issue, this dress really appealed to me with its long capped sleeves. I usually only find plus size clothes that are 3/4 length sleeve, full sleeve, or sleeveless, so this is a nice in-between: long enough to be comfortable and different enough to stand out from other pieces in my closet. I also liked the horizontal strip at the end of the sleeve.
I also liked the sporty feel to the dress with the tie at the waist and pockets. Sporty isn’t a word I’d typically use to describe my wardrobe, so this was as “sporty” as I probably would go. I plan to wear it with colored tennis shoes once I get them in the mail. I assumed at first that the tie would be too low on the waist for me, but I enjoyed the shape it created.
I am slowly building up my tolerance to accessories. I value them aesthetically, but rings and necklaces get on my nerves when wearing them. One accessory I can get down with is a good purse. A colorful, patterned purse goes well against this black and white dress, and I liked that this Aldo purse had a small amount of stripes to tie back into the dress. I think most purses would go well with this piece. You could stick to a neutral or put in a pop of color to have the piece stand out (similar purse here).
I love the ease of this piece, how put together you can look with minimal effort, and how comfortable it is to wear. I even got a compliment on it within 2 hours of putting it on — it’s just a piece that does stand out.
This is one piece that I’ll go out on a limb for and say it’s worth searching out the racks (or saving your peace of mind and ordering online :)).
I started wearing make up in middle school, just simple things like lip balm and blue eyeshadow :-p. About 15 years later, I finally feel like I’m starting to get a hang of this make up game, mostly due to finding the right products for my face and a little help from youtube. I thought I’d post my favorite products for you to see, and risk never having someone love me again because of the faces I’m making here.
Step One: Starting a base
My biggest issue with achieving a look I want is the dark circles under my eyes (which always lead people to ask me if I’m sick or tired), and blue-ish tones under various parts of my skin (yay for being Italian). The blue-ish tones are an issue for people who have PCOS as well. I always start my make up process with a CC cream, which is a color corrector product. I have blue, yellow, red tone — all over! Almay’s CC cream is very light, and while it does even out my tones slightly, I mostly use it because it has the right amount of moisture for my skin and sets a good base. I love the way my skin feels after using it. I apply this with a wedge sponge.
Step Two: Concealing dark spots
The CC cream does not, however, cover the blue tones on my face. I have tried so many concealers. Read that very slowly because my search for a good concealer really was a multi-year struggle. But I found one!! That I LOVE! I finally broke down and went into Sephora and explained my issues with my blue tones. The person who helped me let me take a sample of Benefit’s Erase Paste in Fair and their brand’s color correcting product. As soon as I started using the Erase Paste, I knew it was what I was looking for. The consistency is kind of pastey. It’s a little sticky, and that works well for getting it to not just come right off as you apply it. I put it under my eyes, above my upper lip, and chin, and then I use a cheap beauty blender to even it out. You can put this on heavier or lighter depending on your need. Again, LOVE this product. It’s awesome!
Step Three: Applying foundation
I’ve used different kinds of foundation. I’ve tried Bare Minerals powder foundation, and then their liquid foundation. I saw that a good number of youtube vloggers were using Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation Stick, and I was looking for more coverage and decided to go for it. I had someone in Sephora color match for me, which worked in my favor because I would have bought one that was too light. I like that this product can be applied lighter or heavier. Right now I put a swipe on both cheeks, chin, and forehead, and then I use a brush to blend it all over.
Step Four: Warming up
I used to just want to cover blemishes. I would only use concealers and foundations, completely washing out any color from my face. I learned that when you make a base (foundation), you have to add back color, which is why so many women do contouring. I don’t often use the Mary Kay Bronzer because it is pretty strong, but sometime I will use it for slight contouring. I mostly use this Physician’s Formula Bronzer in “Healthy Glow” (almost out in my pic!), and it just adds a little warmth back to my face without it being too strong.
Step Five: Blush
Blush is the product that I have the hardest time with in determining what is too much or too little. I remember my mom telling me that I needed to wear it (again, I used to wash myself out with just foundation), and so I started wearing it. It surprised me that this Sephora blush in a pink-orange color looked most “natural” for me when wearing it (Color 05). It matched my own natural blush. I sometimes apply this and then need more or need to rub a little off. Hmm.. make up is hard sometimes.
Step Six: Eye focus
I don’t often wear eye shadow or eyeliner, but if I do want eye shadow, I reach for this really easy bronze color from Mary Kay. I’ll admit that I was skeptical of Mary Kay (I am about most companies who have this seller model for some reason), but I really like some of their products–this being one! It’s their cream eye shadow in iced cocoa, and I really like the consistency as well as the pigmented color. I also really like their mascara. Mascara was also a hard thing for me to find. I used Bare Minerals for a long time, but their version started clumping really easily and didn’t make my eyelashes pop. I now use Mary Kay’s Ultimate Mascara, and I don’t plan on finding a new mascara any time soon.
Step Seven: Final touches
I don’t really do lipsticks or lip glosses. I get annoyed with them or the color looks off on me. Lip balm is my go to, though. I really like Burt’s Bee’s Tinted Lip Balm. I’m wearing Red Dahlia here, which is their darkest color. I also like their Rose color (brighter red) and their Zinnia color (orange/coral). I also included images of two other products I sometimes use: NYX highlighter and Make Up For Ever Microfinish Powder.
I am in no way a make up expert, but I am happy to say that I have found things that work for me — a make up look that makes me feel good and matches how I like to look. I am still open to finding good eyeliners and blush tips or any other great finds you’ve come across, so if you have any, please leave them in the comments!
P.S. Please say you still love me after seeing these pictures
The past month of my life has been a whirlwind of activities. Between finishing up the semester, having a heap of grading to complete, attending a bunch of events, and trying to make time for sleep, I was exhausted and a little concerned about my long week of traveling. I was looking forward to these trips for awhile, but I hadn’t considered that I would have been so busy leading up to the trips. My apartment was a mess, I was having to stay up late at night to pack — yikes! Luckily, I did make it on the road, got through some storms on the way, and ended up having a good time.