Thursday, January 22, 2015

Finding Great Plus Size Swimwear

Let's find attractive plus size swimwear together, because it wasn't always so easy: I remember being a size 10 and shopping for a swim suit in a department store for Spring Break. I had lost some weight and looked forward to finding a two piece to show off my smaller waist, back, hips and ass.

plus size swimsuit, plus size bikini, robyn lawley
This is how I pictured myself in the store's suits, sans surf board
So as I grabbed swim suits to try on, I was hesitant to think the small cup sizes of 10, 12 and 14 might fit, but remained optimistic and hoped it was an optical illusion that would correct itself once on my body.

It didn't. The cup sizes were too small, creating the awkward boob arm fat; and many of the bottoms stretched across my hips too tightly, yet loose in the middle, clearly not fitting my body well. And I didn't turn around to see the fabric digging into my shoulder blades and back, which I could feel.

I looked in the mirror and hated what I saw, fabric digging into my skin, creating bulges that weren't supposed to be there. I preferred the way I looked naked, as the ill-fitting suits made me feel so uncomfortable and unattractive. And super-sized.

I gave up the ghost of thinking I could wear a bikini that day--weight loss, size 10 or not and resided to buying a one-piece black swim suit that I disliked, but felt covered up what I didn't (yet again) like about myself.

It took me a long time to realize body types, not sizes, dictate how your clothes fit. And up until now swim suit designers have done a piss poor job of creating flattering, sexy swimwear for plus size, curvy, fuller bust, hips (whatever body type you are). We all deserved options that crafted suits to accommodate larger busts, curvier curves and more material where it counted.

It's a new day. Here are some great options I've found for the plus-size woman swim suit shopping:

 
plus size swimsuit, plus size bikini, robyn lawley

Swimsuits For All: This site optimizing the idea that plus-size swimwear can be as fashion-forward and sexy as any size. Has very cute options at reasonable prices.  Ok, ridiculously reasonable price, as in a quality bikini for $40. And whether you are looking for all-out sexy, or something more classically beautiful, this place has it all. And the bikinis come in a range of styles (high waisted for a retro look and tummy concealing), one-pieces, tankinis, you name it. Sizes ranges from 10-24.

Simply Be: Also a great option. SimplyBe has a larger size range (8-28), and many styles ranging from conservative to more modern, but also higher prices. In my opinion, if you aren't looking for a very trendy, sexy, or intricate pattern, this is the site for you. You can find a great suit here on this website, shifting through the many options. Prices will be higher, but they are lower than what you can find at a Macy's or Nordstroms.

torrid, plus size swimsuit, plus size bikini, woman swim wear


Torrid: The sassy staple of plus-sized edge. Torrid has the sex appeal and modernity to make you feel on-trend as a plus size woman. There are stores and online shopping options available, as the above two choices are online only. They created their own style-sheet, good or bad, ranging from 0-5. I have owned two Torrid suits previously, and while they were both cute, they disintegrated and color faded quickly due to chlorine and the sun. As this option is more expensive than SFA, and on-par or more of SB, I'm ready to try another option before I buy another suit from here. That being said, they do have cute styles if you need to find an in-store option.

My Two Cents: As being burned by Torrid's quality control before, and ready to find a more stylish two-piece option (I have a long torso and one piece's always fit awkwardly on me) I am going to try Swimsuits For All. Getting a hot suit for less than $50 makes it worth the try.

Happy shopping! The struggle is real.

Jean

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Times When I Should Have Been Batman

I think there's a little Batman in all of us -- yes, even the girls (hold your double entendre). But the Dark Knight isn't just dressed to kick ass, he's also stealthy, sneaky, direct, aggressive and clever. Those are helpful qualities in life's troubling times.

Batman, dark knight, winning lotto

Here are a few times in my life that I should have been Batman. Because damn did I screw things up:

When I was drunk and thought I won the lottery: 

I went to a Christmas party at a friend's older sibling's apartment when I was 18. Amidst the hipsters and musicians who were too authentic for mainstream audiences (read: Sucked and couldn't book a gig), I felt uncomfortable being at the dimly lit party where everyone rather pretend to understand 19th century philosophy than get a real job, because giving in to the man was bullshit. (I worked at the Gap during this time, and had an angry, bearded stranger tell me I was bullshit because I folded clothes to earn money, instead of living off my parents until I could make money off my craft.) Yeah...

As the night carried and the circle of people I thought I could have reasonable conversations with dwindled, my friend and I drank cheap beer and tequila shots. Lots. By the time we did the Christmas grab bag gift exchange, I accepted my gift and tucked it away, resolving to look at it when the room stopped spinning. My friend and I headed home, sobering up at 4am with some pizza and water.

As I slinked back into my parent's house--Christmas vacation-- the sun was beginning to rise. However, it was still dark enough for me to run right into my father, unknowing as he was heading to the kitchen to make his morning coffee.

"Ah! What are you do, don't sneak up on me like that." I yelled, in mid-judo chop stance.

My father eyed me suspiciously. "It's almost 6am. Where were you? And why do you have alcohol?" He reached into my Christmas gift bag and took out the bottle of Grey Goose vodka, which had a lottery ticket taped to it.

"Oh." I looked at the bottle in his hands. "I was at a Christmas party. It was a gift. I'll go now." I grabbed the neck of the bottle, hoping to pull it out of his hands and run up the stairs to my room.

He held onto the bottle. "You got a lotto ticket. See if you won."

I grumbled. "Ok." And pulled the ticket off the bottle of vodka I was now sure I'd never see again. Without giving the writing on the ticket a glance I began to scratch it with my keys. One Lucky #7 turned into 5. I gasped. I finally looked at the writing on the ticket, I won $20,000.

"Oh my god! I won $20,000. You can keep the damn vodka." I felt giddly, not fully sober yet.

My dad looked at the ticket in my hand. "Can I see it?" I handed him the ticket.

He looked at the ticket, scanning the front, and then turning it over to the back, chuckling. "You won $20,000, but you can't redeem it except at the North Pole in the year 3000. They gave you real vodka, but a fake ticket."

I was still drunk enough to not care much, appreciating the humor. "Those hipsters. Whatever, I should have known. Night dad." I left him with the ticket and the vodka, hearing him laugh to himself, and smelling the scent of ground coffee as I made my way up to bed.

If I would have been Batman, I would have paid more attention to the writing on the ticket, scaled the wall of my parents' house so I would have snuck in unnoticed and saved myself the trouble of being bested by a hipster. Batman would never have let that happen. Damn.

batman, dark knight, winning lotto, locked in bathroom

 

Locking Myself in the Bathroom in a Palace: 

Capricorn and I went to a big party last summer, overlooking a house on 12 acres of land that rivaled the Sistine Chapel in terms of design and artwork. The house has a racquetball court, indoor pool, theatre, salon, full wine cellar -- it's a palace, not a home.

The palace had something in common with many homes: a half bathroom, tucked away by a stairwell, equipped with small sink, mirror and toilet that guests often use when they've had one too many Heinekens and need to pee right now. I was that guest.

The door to the small bathroom had a sliding, folding door with a doorknob in the middle, like one might see for a closet. It hinged in the middle, forcing me to push the door in, in order to slide it on its track and gain entry. Once I figured out how to operate the door I rushed in.

After finishing, washing my hands and smoothing my hair in the mirror, I sighed a breath of relief and turned around, ready to join the party. I could hear jazz music coming from the outdoor pool deck. I reached for the handle, pushed the door hoping to see it slide easily on its track and let me out.

This is not what happened.

The door wouldn't open. I pushed and pushed. The door rattling, stuck, refusing to let me out. Panic began to sink in. Why was I cursed with a small bladder.

I took a step back, told myself to breathe and think about the situation logically. I would call Capricorn, explain where I was and have him try to open the door. I pulled my cell phone out of my purse. No phone service.

My zen moment escaped and I returned to grabbing the doorknob, pushing frantically. I heard footsteps outside the door and banged on the slated wooden door planks, hoping someone would hear me and come help. When banging didn't work, I tried yelled. "Help! I'm stuck in here. Help." [silence, footsteps walked away] "Help?" I was on my own.

Out of frustration of my potential savior abandoning me, I decided to hell with being gentle. Palaces were meant to be renovated.

I pushed the doorknob as hard as I could, adding my body weight to it as I leaned against the door. I lost my footing as my feet slipped on the marble floor, falling against the sink, pulling the doorknob back with me.

The door opened, folding on its hinges towards me and sliding open on its track. I had pushed the door open to get into the bathroom, I needed to pull it to get out. I gasped.

If I would have been Batman, I would have remembered how I entered the secret bathroom, making my escape seamless. Or, I would have used the grappling tool and tore a hole through that door, escaping before anyone knew what had happened. Batman has cool gadgets, all I had was a cell phone with no service.

I think there's times in our lives when we could all use a little Batman. When did you need to channel the Dark Knight? Jesus gets a lot of attention, but Batman has Alfred; I'm not sure the Holy Ghost offers the same kind of commitment.

Not the Hero You Deserve,

Jean

Friday, January 2, 2015

No Resolution: The 12 Months of Fear Project

Whether this is your first time reading my blog, or more, you might not have guessed that I am pretty much afraid of everything. 

I used to be a wild, unplanned spirit whom did as she pleased. Fear was an after thought. Then life happened. Bills, effects and empathy. If left to my own devices I choose the path of least resistance.
Except I hate that. Because I don't feel like myself.

resolutions, new year resolution, 2015, weight loss, drink water, green drinks

To become more self reliant, I've decided to start the 12 Months of Fear Project. Each month I have to identify and conquer something I'm afraid of. Even if it's uncomfortable.

JANUARY: Drink a green drink every day. Drink at least 6 glasses or water. Turn down desserts and high-fat foods. Do not eat something as a method of self-soothing stress or hurt feelings. Don't lose certain number of pounds, but lose one dress size.

Why am I fearful? Because I'm sure I'll fail, so I don't want to try. I stop myself from making a commitment. I've been dealing with this scenario for 6 months, so it's time to choose to ignore fear and do it anyway.
Maybe that's why resolutions fail - we expect to do one thing all year. Maybe if we made a new resolution each month, our success rates and levels of confidence would be higher.

Here goes nothing; if you've got something you're working towards changing, feel free to share. I'll share my progress in posts this month.

Ciao,

Jean

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, lovely readers!

It's not too cold in Chicago and I have a lot to be thankful for. One of those things is you, my readers who keep coming back, commenting and sharing. I appreciate you greatly and hope you are having a warm and fuzzy with your friends and families.

When I started this blog back in 2012 I was recently unemployed, scared how a woman with an English degree was going to find a career in marketing and social media -- what I really wanted to do. Instead of immediately going back to school and spending money I didn't have, I started Wanderlust Guide.

And from there I took my passion of writing as a platform to learn coding, SEO and social media basics that I applied to my blog. I attended webinars and marketing events. I made it my mission to talk to people like me who loved to write and share AND use that great experience as a self-teaching experience.

So, in 2014, I have to take a step back and be proud. I learned how to code when I thought it was terrifying and out of my league. I created and executed my own marketing plan. I have a social presence.  And most of all, I feel confident doing it. My anxiety and fear have been lifted because I proved to myself I could do it.

So thank for reading and sharing with me. I mean that sincerely. Follow your passion and ignore people who tell you it's too hard. Prove them wrong. Prove yourself proud. XOXO

Merry Christmas,

Jean

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What Happens in a Disney World Bathroom

What happens in the bathroom, stays in the bathroom. Unless you're in a bathroom with me, because I might blog about it. Coming off a fun-filled holiday at Disney World with Capricorn, I've gathered enough witness testimony to declare: I think the atmosphere in the Women's bathroom is drastically different than the Men's bathroom.

disney world bathroom, disney world, kids on vacation


Every bathroom I ventured into had women complaining about hunger, humidity, male cohorts not wanting to stop to eat, bad children, tired feet, hunger and did I mention hunger?

Capricorn's report of the male bathroom? He shrugged, said it was a bathroom and men don't really talk to each other, maybe just some logistical directions from fathers to younger kids about hand washing and peeing.

In case I am just a keen observer (wanted to be a cross between Nancy Drew and Murphy Brown my entire life), I'll let you judge for yourself:

Housekeeping
Two little boys (ages 4-6) banged on a series of bathroom stall doors (including mine) multiple times, yelling: "Housekeeping! You need more towels?" As their mother coached another child inside a stall, who screamed back, "Boys, stop it! Stand near the sinks and don't touch anything."

My guess is their stay at Disney World was the first time they heard housekeeping knocking on their hotel door. The knock that gives most adults not wearing pants a cold chill, in hopes that we remembered to lock the deadbolt. I did not request more towels.

Hooked on Phonics [Drugs]
A little boy, about 4 years old, who started out humming the opening bars of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," became bored with his carol and became to scream MARIJUANA over and over again as he activated the automatic sinks.

As I was waiting in a long line just to get into a stall, the constant flow of running water started to frustrate me. His mom was changing his younger sibling at the changing station. Her embarrassment was noticeable, as she gasped and said, "miho, ven aca!" [son, come here.] The little boy started to say "marijuana" slower, enunciating his syllables and smiling at his mother, obviously proud of his grasp of a difficult word.

Careful what you say around your kids, folks. Because they'll say it loud and proud in public.

walt disney world, disney bathrooms, restrooms
Credit: disneybabiesblog.com

When Your Kid Outsmarts You
In the late afternoon I walked into a bathroom at the Animal Kingdom that I thought was empty. A few minutes later, I heard shuffling in the stall next to mine that scared me, as I was in the Animal Kingdom and I couldn't see any feet.

I was confused. Then I heard a thump and saw a pair of pink shoes with light-up soles appear in the stall next to mine. I felt at ease, it was a child. Then, the uneasy feeling returned: what was this little girl doing by herself in a bathroom? I'm a grown-ass woman, now that I knew it wasn't a wild animal, I couldn't with good conscious leave this kid alone without telling Disney staff; she might have gotten separated from her family.

Before I opened my mouth to say the usual something that would sound hopefully responsible and not kidnappy, a woman's voice rang out in the bathroom near the entrance, "Alison, are you in here?" *she saw the little pink shoes* "Honey, you have to tell mommy if you go to the bathroom. You can't just leave the shop."

Alison: Sorry mommy. Had to go.

Alison's mom: Do you need me to come in?

Alison: NO.

Alison's mom: Let me in.

Alison: *silence*

Alison's mom: Alison, open the door.

Alison: I'm ok. Fine *after rustling, opened door, mom assumingly came in, door closed*

[Meanwhile I should mention I got a little pee shy and just wanted the pair to leave]

Alison's mom: Ok, finish so we can go. The bus is here.

Alison: *silence* the lights in her shoes started illuminating again, shining on the glossy finish of my stall wall.

Alison mom: Go use the potty. We gotta go.

Alison: No.

Alison's mom: Then let's go. You have to wash your hands first.

Alison: I... I gotta go. Just a few more minutes

Alison's mom: Ok. But go so we can make our bus.

Alison: *giggle*

Alison's mom: [pregnant pause]... Did you tell mommy you have to pee so we would miss our bus?!

Alison: *giggle* We could stay and go on the dinosaur again.

Alison's mom: Oh, that's it! Let's go. *lots of shuffling, left the bathroom, Alison did NOT wash her hands afterall*

hungry, hangry, pug, disney world, vacation hunger


Fucking Feed Me
This isn't just kids. If I walked into a Women's restroom, someone, somewhere was talking about food. Or crying about it: They didn't have enough to eat at breakfast; They just had the best meal ever; They were hungry AGAIN and didn't want to admit it to others in their party; They were crabby, they were hungry and they wanted someone to fucking feed them or they were about the explode.

If I didn't just eat myself, by the time I left the bathroom, I was hungry. I was weak and gave into the psychosomatic power of convincing myself I needed to eat something. And you wouldn't like me very much when I'm hangry (hungry/angry). Thanks a lot, ladies.

Maybe Disney implants mystery hungry-mongers in Women's bathrooms to spike the hungry levels of their female guests.

I'm on to you Mickey.

Well readers, I only have experience with the Women's bathroom, but I don't see these kind of shenanigans happening as often in the Men's. Am I wrong? Feel free to sound off in the comments.

Be Good to Each Other,

Jean