Lady Gaga and I Share Something in Common

Hello Lovelies,

I recently watched a fantastic documentary on Netflix called Lady Gaga: Five Foot Two, which chronicles the recording of her Joanne album, her prep for the Superbowl, and her struggle with chronic pain.

I cried along with her when she was in her doctor’s office, saying “I just need someone to fix me.”

I wanted to stand up and yell that as well.  “Please, just FIX me.”

Chronic pain is one of the most unpredictable, stressful conditions one can have.  I could feel fine one day, but the next can be an entirely different story- depending on what my activity level Is, or my stress factor, how much sleep – or even what I eat.  It’s hard to pin down and tricky to diagnose and treat nerve damage.

What’s the most frustrating part of having chronic pain is that many times I can be like Gaga- working out, performing, dancing- then it hits like a ton of bricks. Strangely enough the sciatic attacks (which feel like fire running up my leg) have happened when doing every day things like grocery shopping. I was literally stopped in my tracks with my shopping cart and had to call a friend to get me. While waiting, I flagged down a store clerk to get me a motorized cart. I was so embarrassed and upset. Not only is this pain messing with my life, but I have to involve others with my struggles.

I don’t wrote this post to elicit sympathy or bring attention to myself.  This is something that I’ve been told that I may need to deal with this for the rest of my life (which I’m not exactly accepting; we’ll see about that). But I write this because chronic pain is something many people are silently dealing with, and some are in real dire need of help. Some have turned to narcotics to try and get through the day and unfortunately end up hooked. Others drink. Some grit through it with basic pain meds. I’ve been dealing with it with basic meds, but I would just love to not have to take medicine anymore.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying all that I can and seeking that something that will fix me.  Lady Gaga- I feel ya, girl.  Hang in there. We’ve got this.  

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Fear of the “What If”

This cute sundress was FREE! Bag, Nine West.

This cute sundress was FREE!
Bag, Nine West.

Hello lovelies,

The past couple of months have been filled with lots of changes, ups and downs, and a recent health scare. I’m a pretty resilient person, however, this latest episode has brought the worst visitor in my life, the What If.

Two days ago, I was trying to pick up some larger pieces of cardboard all at once. My footing slipped, and suddenly a HUGE shot of pain ripped down my right leg. I gasped, and I fell forward. Flashes of what happened to me the last time this happened filled my mind. I ended up having back surgery; I prayed it wouldn’t be the same fate.

Thankful to be standing!

Thankful to be standing!

One visit to the ER and a shot for pain later, I was on the mend again. Thankfully after taking it easy for a day, I felt fine again.

But the question now lingers, “what if?”

I am hoping that this episode was a freak occurrence with my sciatica, but WHAT IF it happens again when…

we go for a hike

swim in the ocean

dance in my kitchen

pick up my cat?

Color dress 4

I don’t like this visitor, Mr. What If.  Living fearlessly pursuing my goals is important to me. To second guess or be scared of trying is something I do not want to begin doing.

Accepting that nerve damage has changed some things for me has been difficult. However, I need to keep Mr. What If quiet so I can focus on the things I CAN and WANT to do.

Like rocking a free dress from Airman’s Attic and going on a date with the Hubby, for instance:) Thought I’d try some dark grey and violet shadow for a new smoky eye, too.

Color dress 2

Breaking away from fear isn’t easy. However, I will not live my life running from it. So, bring it, Mr. What If.

What If….I do everything I dream of? Here’s hoping.

Until next time –

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xoxo Melanie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I’ll Never Be “Skinny” Again

This week, plus size diva Tess Holliday (Munster) made modeling history as being the largest model to be signed to a major modeling agency. Her beauty and talent as a model is what caught the attention of Milk Model Management, and how refreshing is it to see the fashion industry including a more diverse talent pool. Beauty is beauty, after all!

Go Tess!

Go Tess!

When I learned of Tess’ historic signing, I couldn’t help but think if only she and other models like her had been around when I was a struggling young professional actor/dancer, I would have not gone through the madness I did.

When I was a size 8/10 (pictured below), I kept getting small character parts and not being taken seriously as a dancer (I thought).

Size 8 10

As a result, I convinced myself I needed to be skinner to get better roles.  So over the course of a year, I upped my workouts, cut sugar and a lot of fat out of my diet, and got down to a size 4.

Size 3 4 2

Everyone noticed. Suddenly I started to be seen as a leading lady/sexpot type for casting. However, I constantly lived every day in fear that the weight would come back. If the weight came back, would all the attention and roles go away? Convinced that gaining weight would ruin everything, food became the enemy. So I decided if a size 4 was good, a 2 must be better. That’s what the leading ladies in Hollywood wear….

At the height of my madness.

At the height of my madness.

During this time, I was living on coffee, water, protein bars and plain veggies. I’d get up at 6 am and run for 45 minutes before starting the day, then come home and work out again (this time including hundreds of crunches). I’d then go out at night, dancing until the wee hours and drink a lot of booze. If I didn’t follow my food/exercise regimen EXACTLY, I was a failure and add “punishment exercises” the next day.  Little did I realize how miserable I was.

The tipping point came when I went on an audition for a musical. The part called for a lot of dancing, and I was ready. After rocking the dance combinations, those of us who “made the cut” stood in a line before the choreographer and director.

They looked at each of us, quietly whispering (not that quiet, mind you) comments as they took note.

“Good execution, pretty. Need to hear her sing again.”

“Not sure yet. Maybe.”

These kind of comments escaped their little bubble, making all of us anxious. Then, they glanced at me.

“Really good…a bit thick, though.”

I was stunned. After we were dismissed, I couldn’t get the words out of my ears.  I was a size 2, and losing my mind trying to stay that way.

Devastated, I threw out my scale.

Flash forward several years, my weight has fluctuated a bit. After my back injury, I became the heaviest I’ve ever been, but you know what? I don’t care.

I’ve been gradually become more active, focusing on getting my strength & flexibility back. I’ve cut out soda and drink more water. I try to watch the amount of sugar I eat. All I want is to feel healthy. I don’t give a shit what size that will be. No one will ever determine my self-worth again.

So here’s to you, Tess. Thank you for showing us all that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

Fashion to Figure jacket,  H&M sweaterdress (as a top), Forever 21 Plus skirt.

Fashion to Figure jacket,
H&M sweaterdress (as a top),
Forever 21 Plus skirt.

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xx Melanie.

What “Being Fat” Has Taught Me

forever maxi 1

Hello All!

I just celebrated a birthday (I’m keeping the number a secret – for now!) and I’ve been reflecting on the changes I’ve gone through in the last few years.

After a car accident two years ago, I injured my back and my ability to exercise got compromised. My weight went up, my size grew from a size 12 to a 14/16, and I realized that I had become fat.

At first, my size depressed me. I felt unsexy and undesirable. Not being able to go into just any store and find my size added to my funk.

I’m a strong believer that “everything happens for a reason,” and I’ve learned lessons and developed a stronger sense of compassion throughout this chapter in my life.

1. Size Doesn’t Equate Sexiness.

After I discovered blogging and found sites such as The Curvy Fashionista, Daily Venus Diva, and Tess Munster, there are a LOT of sexy, confident, and inspirational curvy women out there. They own their size and make it work. I’ve learned that it’s not my shell that’s sexy; it’s the way I own it! I wasted time during my smaller days obsessing over “needing to lose 10 lbs” versus living in the moment. I won’t obsess any more.

2. Fashion is Still Fun!

True, there are some retailers I can’t shop from now. However, I’ve discovered Forever 21 Plus, Deb, Asos Plus, Elloquii, H&M, and Zara. Thankfully, more retailers are getting on board and adding additional sizes with fashion-forward styles. I’m so glad I can still enjoy clothes!

Werk!

Werk!

3. Don’t Hide.

Fat people (especially women) have been conditioned to be ashamed of their bodies. We don’t want to draw attention, we hide in bulky clothes, and walk around as if apologetic for our size. I’ve learned that life does not stop because I’ve gained weight. I still have a voice and talent to contribute. If someone seems uncomfortable because I’m fat, that’s their issue. I can’t control that. However, I can control how I deal with my weight day to day.

4. Everyone Has Body Issues!

Recently, the Hubby and I went to a cookout that his work was hosting. The event took place by a beach, so naturally a number of people were swimming and sunning. What struck me was the number of body self loathing comments from these fit military people! These weren’t the “competitive” type of body comparison comments (I’m so fat – no, you’re not, I’m fat!), but a sincere wistfulness to look better. I realized we all have our body issues. Isn’t it a shame we can’t “just be”?

So, the takeaway for me is –

Sure, I would like to lose weight. My energy would be better, it’s easier on my back (which is doing much better!), and it’s good for my overall health. I believe that I will end up losing weight as I continue to get stronger. But, I’m not going to stop fully living my life or being happy because I’m fat.

And if I do go down in size, I’m not going to cringe at my pictures or “fat shame” myself. I am still ME!

I hope we all can embrace who we are for what we are!

forever maxi 3

forever maxi 4

forever maxi 6

WHAT I’M WEARING:

Maxi Dress – FOREVER 21 PLUS

Necklace – H & M

Sandals – FOREVER 21

Bra – VICTORIA’S SECRET

Earrings – thrift shop find!

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xx Melanie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Show Must Go On!

Ralph Lauren BW

Does it get any better than having a great event to wear your foxiest dress and perform in front of hundreds of people? That’s what I did last night at the 19th annual TOPPER Awards.

Toppers 2014 trophies

What is TOPPERS? It is the yearly recognition of excellence in military community theatre, with awards that range from “Best Prop Design” to “Best Debut Performance” to the coveted “Best Actor/Actress” trophies, to “Best Play” and “Best Musical.”  Roughly a dozen theatres from around Italy, Germany, and Belgium compete and cheer each other on. It is one GREAT time!

Best Actress in a Comedy, 2013!

Best Actress in a Comedy, 2013!

I’ve had the honor to perform twice as a “Toppers Singer,” which involves learning six songs with choreography. Miraculously, we rehearse only about a handful of times before 11 of us get in front of our peers, either to be cheered or silently judged. Thankfully, we all passed the test and received enthusiastic applause. WHEW.

Remembering words/movements aside, I sprained my knee (yep, the one that’s been giving me trouble!) the day before performing!

So, what do I do? I tape it up, add a painkiller cream (courtesy of fellow singer Annie), and go out there and give it all I’ve got. YES, it hurt like hell to do some of the movements, but as every performer knows, THE SHOW MUST GO ON!

Toppers 2014 medley

Toppers 2014 slow song

Toppers 2014 broadway

Toppers 2014 performing

Fashion wise, I couldn’t work any cute heels, however, I did get to wear this fierce Lauren by Ralph Lauren gown I got on sale from Nordstrom. LOVE the lace and sequin detail!!! (There is a sexy side slit, but my knee is wrapped, so I didn’t show that off)

Ralph Lauren gown

Ralph Lauren 2

After the last award was handed out, pictures taken, and cake consumed, the Hubby and I ended our evening at an “after awards” party, where MORE drinks and laughter followed. 🙂

I’m so grateful for this experience! Hopefully, if I do get to go to Toppers next year, I won’t be injured!

Love, laughter, and shoes:)

xx Melanie

WHAT I WORE (and where you can find it!):

Dress –  LAUREN BY RALPH LAUREN

Necklace – BIJOU BRIGITTE

Flower ring – CHARLOTTE RUSSE

Crystal studs – SWARVORSKI

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Tuesday Shoe Day SOS!

One of my favorites!  Heels, JustFab.

One of my favorites!
Heels, JustFab.

 

Anyone who knows me is aware that I LOVE shoes. I think it’s safe to say I’m addicted. I’ve been known to be stopped cold in my tracks by a gorgeous pair while strolling downtown! Let’s just say if I had the means, I’d definitely give Carrie Bradshaw a run for her money!

Carrie Hello Lover

But here’s a hard slap of reality I’m facing today. I have an old injury to my left knee that’s flaring up, and wearing heels makes it hurt worse. Yesterday, I was feeling all sassy in a newer pair of watercolor print Just Fab heels (so adorable!), and just walking down our stairs made me wince. I actually said to the Hubby, “could you grab my leopard sneaks?”

Now defeated, I am going to have to retire the higher heels for awhile while my knee recuperates.

So, CALLING ALL BLOGGERS AND SHOE LOVERS! SOS!!!

What are some stylish, comfortable low heel/flat shoes I can wear with dresses? I have new skirts and body con dresses that need something sharp!

PLEASE leave brand names, links, etc. I don’t have a ton of time to browse and don’t know what’s good. THANK YOU in advance, I really appreciate it!

Until then, I will put my 4 and 5 inchers in shoe bags, hoping to see them soon. Sigh.

Love, laughter, and shoes…

xx Melanie.

IFB_SEAL_RED

 

 

 

 

 

Pressing Forward with Patience

Ah, Daylight Savings Time…gotta love losing that hour! The time change falls a bit later here in Germany, and I’m sure I’m going to feel that loss tomorrow!

Besides the time change, I’m dealing with changing feelings regarding my body. I started physical therapy last week (I had back surgery this past January), and I was hoping my therapist would give me the green light to start swimming and doing yoga. As a former dancer, I miss feeling movement and working up a sweat, plus those things can get me back into better shape.

However, my therapist doesn’t think it’s quite time yet. “We’re going to do strengthening exercises first, but no twisting movements yet. Be patient, and you’ll get there.”

Honestly, I’ve been patient since June 25, 2012 when a car plowed into ours. Ever since then, my flexibility, my ability to go on long walks, exercise vigorously, and dance has been greatly compromised. It’s like my body has been stuck in a long winter, waiting to thaw out and bloom. Patience is starting to wear thin.

Yesterday, a friend tagged me on Facebook to post a #nomakeupselfie for breast cancer awareness. Even though I am frustrated with what I currently cannot do, I AM HEALTHY AND BLESSED.

I am healthy, and have great love!

I am healthy, and have great love! #nomakeupselfie

Being thankful is something that isn’t just reserved for Thanksgiving. I have many blessings – love, family, friends, pets!  Today I am thankful for all these things, plus being able to express myself freely on my blog.:)

I also love to express myself through fashion and makeup, of course! A little sparkle lifts the spirits. Here are a few pieces I decided to debut today!

Spring accessory1

Spring accessory2

Spring accessory4

Spring accessory3

It’s hard to be patient sometimes, but I am learning the embrace the mantra of, “this too shall pass.”

What is difficult for you to be patient about? Please comment!

WHAT I’M WEARING:

Floral headband – CLAIRE’S ACCESSORIES

Silver bow ear cuff w/stud – CLAIRE’S ACCESSORIES

Floral ring – CHARLOTTE RUSSE

Silver chain w/high heel – JOLLYCHIC

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