Phrases I Hate

“Act your age.” “Ladies don’t act like that.” Those two phrases were ones I dreaded hearing when I was growing up.  I never truly understood what they meant, but now I am older, the context of those words make me cringe and upset. Why?

Because we direct them at girls. We expect them to mature faster and be quieter, more “ladylike” in demeanor. Their enthusiastic energy gets toned down, their “tomboyish” attitudes and activities looked at as something weird, or a “phase.”

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There’s a famous saying, “Well behaved women seldom make history.” To me, it means not being quiet when people are hurting.  To not accept poor treatment. To rise above expectations. To DO YOUR OWN THING, regardless of age.  I am in my mid 40s and still like amusement parks. I listen to everything from Rihanna to Skrillex and jazz too. Wearing crazy leggings makes me happy, and yes- my hubby is 12 years my junior. Some people might think I haven’t “grown up,” but on the contrary, I’m growing in experiences. If we stop trying new things, taking risks, or sharing an opinion, then you have stopped experiencing life.

So, to my fellow “ladies” out there: Stop apologizing for your ideas. Don’t second guess yourself.  Trust your instincts. Say what you mean.  Be brave and DO YOU!

Until next time,

Love, laughter and shoes-

xoxo, Melanie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Taking My Life Back From Depression

Hello Lovelies,

This post is a departure from my usual fashion/beauty chatter, but I want to share my journey with you. If I can offer hope to someone in the same situation, then this entry is worth it!

The panic attacks began sometime in early 2001. I was in a supermarket, just doing my normal shopping, when suddenly everything around me felt unreal. My heart started beating quickly, I broke out in a cold sweat, and I just felt….terrified. Am I having a heart attack?!! I was only 30; this couldn’t be happening.

And as soon as I grabbed on to my cart and took a deep breath, the weirdness disappeared and I felt okay again, though shaken.

However, over the next year these episodes would continue. The worst one happened while watching a play. “The Fear,” as I could only explain it as, took over me quickly and I sat in anguish, wanting desperately to leave the theater. I couldn’t understand it. What was happening to me?

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I had a lot on my plate during that time. My final year of graduate school, an impending divorce, and uncertainty about the future. Perhaps all the stress was building to a climax with the panic attacks.

Over the next several years, I battled the attacks. The good news? These weren’t happening in random places as much. The bad news? They happened mostly when I drove. Talk about a BAD time to have a panic attack!

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Finally I had enough. Though I wasn’t thrilled about taking medication, everything I had tried was not keeping the attacks at bay. I tried meditation, reducing caffeine, positive self talk…these were just temporary fixes. I got started on Lexapro and after a short time, the panic attacks stopped. I could drive without worry!

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Something shifted this year. After about six months living in Guam, I started feeling restless, edgy. My sleeping habits got out of whack. I had a brief feeling of “The Fear” aura, which luckily, I made stop before it snowballed into a full panic attack, but I knew I had to check this out.

I saw my doc and she upped my dosage. However, now I felt….heavy. Felt like I was walking in slow motion, thoughts would come and go quickly, and had the worst time trying to wake up in the morning.

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I couldn’t understand why I was feeling so down. I’m in FREAKING GUAM, one of the most beautiful islands on the planet! The sun, the beach, the laid back lifestyle – these are things I love. I have a good job I enjoy; a wonderful husband, two adorable kitties. What is weighing me down?

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My doc switched me to Wellbutrin. Now….I FEEL EVERYTHING. Maybe a bit too much (I almost bawled my eyes out in a restaurant!), but hopefully things will even out as I adjust.

However, along with the meds, I realized I needed a professional to walk me through this mental maze. I have to know what exactly what kind of depression I’m dealing with, the issues surrounding it, and how to manage the tougher moments. I have a therapist now. It’s a little scary and weird to open up to a stranger, but in a sense that’s what I would do as an actor. Though, telling the truth as a character versus unloading my thoughts to a stranger is completely different!

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Along with meds and therapy, I am serious now about nutrition and fitness. I’ve eliminated (or severely reduced) processed foods and watching my calorie intake. I do a lot more walking and yoga. The movement is challenging sometimes because I still have back issues, but I’m finding my way.

Clinical Depression is not just “the blues.” People who suffer from it can’t simply “get over it.” We know we have blessings in our lives. We know other people have worse situations than our own. These feelings we get don’t come from a logical place. It’s a chemical imbalance, and it’s very frustrating at times to figure out how to treat depression, since there is not a “one size fits all” diagnosis.

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Thankfully, the depression I deal with is not severe. I am hopeful that the intervention I gave myself will keep this illness from getting worse.

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I will win!

If you are suffering, or know someone who is, don’t be ashamed to seek help. 

Love, laughter, and shoes-

xo, Melanie.

 

 

 

 

More Boob, More Problems

Hello lovelies,

As many of you have probably noticed, I am a large breasted woman. I’ve been this way for most of my adult life. For the longest time, I wore a 36 C, then all of a sudden in my late 30s, they expanded to a 42 D. I blame the Hubby. I think he has a Jedi Mind Trick to do this.

My hubby loves me for me. I am very blessed.

Though breast enhancements continue to thrive, as any bountiful babe will tell you, more boob means more problems. I’ve come to the point where I’m seriously considering a breast reduction, much to the Hubby’s chagrin. Here’s just a sample of what I deal with all the time:

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Back Pain. I have a double whammy in this department, as I have nerve damage in my lower back from a car accident. Standing in long lines are not fun. Neither is wearing huge balloons on my chest, adding to the strain. This is the number one reason I want these reduced!

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I’m a Walking Hazard. Unlike my smaller sisters, my boobs have been known to be deadly weapons. When in a grocery store, I wince when I have to reach up to grab something because I’m probably going to knock over a few items in front of me. I also have to sit away from a dinner table to make sure my gozangas don’t knock over glasses!

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Working Out is a Joke. Jogging is absolutely out of the question. Doing Zumba or any kind of jumping around aerobics involves two heavy duty sports bras and a prayer than I don’t pull a breast muscle (which has happened, by the way). I might suffocate if I try doing Downward Facing Dog. If I hope to get into better shape, these big girls need to go!

Buying an Affordable Bra is Impossible. Problem one: Most stores don’t carry sizes above a 40. Problem two: I will count on having to spend at least $50 to get a decent, well fitting bra. The $20 Playtex ones are useless, plus ugly as hell.

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Fashion Can be Tricky.  Button down blouses? Forget about it. I haven’t worn one in six years. Any top without stretch is not going to happen. Plus anything lacy, includes ruffles or bows, or satin is not happening with large breasts. Strapless? Yeah, right!

Ariel Winter...Good for you girl, but I can't do that to myself.

Ariel Winter…Good for you girl, but I can’t do that to myself.

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Trying Not to Look Like a Porn Star. Every day, I constantly walk the line of “am I showing too much cleavage?” Don’t get me wrong – I own who I am. However, for anyone to take me seriously, I have to watch the cleavage factor. Funny how we celebrate big boobs, but when we have them, we’re encouraged to cover them up. I. Can’t. Win.

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Sleeping Comfortably. On my back? Nope. I will suffocate myself. On my side? My boobs smash together. On my stomach? I need to place a pillow just the right way so I don’t feel like I’m being squeezed.

So ladies and gentlemen, wish for large boobs. I get it. They look fabulous! However, I can do with a little less va-va voom and more comfort! Here’s to my Big Boob Girls, “hang in there!”

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Until next time!

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xo Melanie.

 

 

 

New Launch – Target x Who What Wear

Hello Lovelies!

Can you believe it’s February?!! It’s the season for love, and I’m focusing on new looks I love! The first I’m loving is the new collaboration between Target and the editorial site, Who What Wear.   I’m applauding that Target is understanding that we curvy gals need modern, basic pieces at affordable prices. I love Elloqui as much as the next gal, but my budget allows only sale items from them. With Target X Who What Wear, I can get basic tees, jeans, work -worthy tops and skirts all under $40. 

Here are a few of my favorite pieces so far:

No frumpiness here!

No frumpiness here!

CUTE A line skirt!

CUTE A line skirt!

I need that trench in my life.

I need that trench in my life.

The collection isn’t flashy at all, but it is sharp and can be mixed easily with lots of pieces, which is what we all need, right?

Thanks to Marcy Cruz at Plus Model Magazine for turning me on to this collection!

Until next time –

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xo Melanie.

2016: New Experiences, New Obsessions

Hello Lovelies!

How was your holidays? As soon as we’re winding down from all the shopping, wrapping, travelling, and eating (!), it’s time to usher in a new year!

I’m starting off 2016 with a new look! Behold my PURPLE hair! I decided it was time to do something bold and I LOVE this color!

Time to switch things up!

Time to switch things up!

But why am I wearing a scarf when I live in Guam? Well, the Hubby and I decided to take a week long vacay to Seoul, South Korea for Christmas! We got a taste of winter like temps (without the snow) and experienced true Asian culture for the first time.

Look at the size of that rock!

Look at the size of that rock!

Korea is well known for fashion, cosmetics, and yes – amethysts! One of the places we stopped at during a tour is a amethyst jewelry factory, and for a fraction of what we’d pay in USD (likely around $700), I had a custom made ring created for under $300! Merry Christmas to me!

Totally unique!

Totally unique!

One of the sites I enjoyed the most was going up in the Seoul Tower. Although the journey begins with a LONG line to get into a cable car to the site, it’s so worth the view once you get to the top. Our timing was perfect since the sun was beginning to set, creating a gorgeous view over the city.

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I also loved the windows of the Tower. Cities of the world wound around us, and I was excited to find a window with cities we’ve visited!

Hello Berlin, Paris, and London!

Hello Berlin, Paris, and London!

Another attraction Korea has become known for is its cat cafes! As a “crazy cat lady,” of course I had to visit one. The place we visited, Hello Cat, served coffees and teas and lots of purring kitties for us to pet and spoil. This lovely gray striped tabby, Willie, made fast friends with me:)

Sweet Willie!

Sweet Willie!

What a cute coffee! Almost a shame to drink it!

What a cute coffee! Almost a shame to drink it!

Of course, I need to talk about the COSMETICS AND SKIN CARE! However, that is going to be in my next post because I went on a huge buying spree, and there’s LOTS to share!

What are YOU wearing for New Year’s Eve? I rocked a black jumpsuit, a sequined Calvin Klein jacket, and Dereon glittery booties for a Christmas party. This look would be fab for NYE as well!

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Until next time!

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xo Melanie.

 

 

 

Coming Out Day: Owning Who You Are

Hello lovelies,

For many of my friends, Coming Out Day is a time to celebrate their authentic selves. To not hide who they truly are.  Being proud to say they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.  I am proud to be a supporter of their celebration!

For me, Coming Out Day is so much more than this. Many of us are “closeted” in some way.  Afraid of not fitting in, fearful of ridicule and criticism. For a plus size woman as myself, the one thing I’ve kept closeted is my weight.

Not today. I am owning that as of this week, I am 217 pounds.

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I am overweight. I accept this fact. I am aware that it’s not good for me to carry this excess weight on my frame. However, I am not going to be ashamed of myself.

My hubby loves me for me. I am very blessed.

My hubby loves me for me. I am very blessed.

I’m not defined by my weight. It has taken me years to get to this mindset, as I used to think I was fat, unattractive, and unworthy at 135 pounds. I thought, when I am 115, then I will be happy.

WEIGHT DOES NOT CREATE HAPPINESS! When I was in my size 2/4 days, on the outside I seemed happy. In reality, those were some of the most anxious, self doubting days of my life. I believed that if I gained weight, people would stop taking me seriously.

I lived off of protein bars and coffee to stay this thin. Always afraid of the scale.

I lived off of protein bars and coffee to stay this thin. Always afraid of the scale.

The thing is, now, I know I need to shed some weight to avoid becoming diabetic, taking pressure off my lower back, and decrease my risk of a heart attack. I am proud to say I am taking steps in the right direction to address these factors.

Hubby is really getting good at pics!

Hubby is really getting good at pics!

Weight goes up and down. My attitude and love for who I am should not be attached to what the scale says.

Own who you are. There’s only one YOU, so celebrate! 

Love, laughter, and shoes-

xo, Melanie.

 

 

What #BeautyIs…

Hello lovelies,

What is beauty? What do you consider to be beautiful? I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea lately, mostly because so many women and girls are subjected to a marketed ideal which for many, is unattainable. As a beauty and fashion blogger, I am committed to writing about and showing diverse versions of beauty. Maybe if more of us did, we can combat the  unrealistic, photoshopped messages and embrace who we really are!

Beauty Is…

  1. Trying something new.
The awesome Carmen.

The awesome Carmen.

My dear friend Carmen, who is already an accomplished actor, director, and ballroom dancer, decided she wanted a new challenge and a new way to get healthy. So, in her late 30s, she picked up a whole new sport! Fierce.

2. Creating Your Own Trend.

The unique and awesome Jakey!

The unique and awesome Jakey!

Jakey (another dear friend!) has always followed her own lead in fashion. She’s worked every hair color you can think of, can pull off just about any style, because she’s fearless!

3. Making Your Life Happen.

My beautiful cousin, Jax.

My beautiful cousin, Jax.

Though she had a steady job and was doing well in her hometown’s college, Jax (real name: Jacqueline) wanted more. She took a risk, aimed high, and ended up becoming an Editor in Chief of a major college newspaper. She’s also about to graduate and launch a new career. Well done!

4. Not Settling for Less Than You Deserve.

My BFF of several years, Debby.

My BFF of several years, Debby.

Debby is practically my sister. We’ve been best friends since age 4, and we’ve seen one another through all kinds of ups and downs. A couple of years ago, she was in a miserable relationship which had practically stolen her bubbly lightness and joy. Though it was difficult, she summoned the courage to leave the man who brought her pain. By not setting for someone who did not appreciate the beautiful person she is, she now has a wonderful relationship! Don’t EVER settle. You don’t know what you are missing out on!

5. Celebrating Your Body, Your Spirit.

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Bikini, Forever 21 Plus.

Bikini, Forever 21 Plus.

So many of us wait until we’ve got the “perfect body” before we’ll put on a bikini, wear a swimsuit, or even go to the beach. I haven’t worn a bikini in 15 years, and I’m tired of waiting. Let’s not let media decide how we should feel about ourselves. Be proud to be you!

6. Facing the World Through Challenges.

The lovely Beth!

The lovely Beth!

Recently I learned that Beth, one of my high school classmates, is facing cancer. Though her prognosis is good, she is still dealing with the harshness of chemo. I love that she put herself out on Facebook with a red lip and a sparkle in her eye! Get ’em, girl! You’ve got this.

Beauty is not what comes out of a bottle, a syringe, by an Instagram filter, or off a clothes rack. It’s truly how we see ourselves and how we treat the world around us. Let’s celebrate what truly #BeautyIs!

Love, laughter, and shoes-

xo, Melanie.