Are You Ready For The Summer? Are You Ready For The Goodtimes?

Guilty Pleasure Song. This Is So Summer Material.

 

Suns out Buns out:  a cute, kitschy phrase I’ve put on Facebook the past few years come the first reallllll nice day of spring. This past weekend I hit up Lake Champlain with some friends to bake in the sun. Clearly, I’m the pastiest of the bunch and was in dire need of some vitamin D 😉 Jokes, jokes.  Looking back at the photos, I realized how relaxed I was compared to every prior summer when it was time to don a bathing suit. I wouldn’t say I’m a girl who’s in constant battle with her body, but the few insecurities I used to have are beginning to fade away. In the past I used to rely on ‘the girls’ to get me through the summer afternoons. However, boobies are all genetics and nothing to be terribly proud of; it’s not like you gain any size by logging in hours at the gym (if so then I must be getting slipped some mean ‘roids.) Instead, I was confident in my arm muscles that I can thank yoga and sporadic push-ups for. My legs I owe to the beastly hill I have to climb every day, and the many hours a week I spend scurrying around at the Goodwill. And even though my stomach isn’t rock solid, being forced to rid myself of gluten (and with that a lot of processed foods) has eliminated the bloat that used to plague me. It’s a great feeling to see yourself heading in a positive, physical direction because of the work you’ve put in. Your mamma and daddy’s genes will only get you so far.

Remember that "creepy" pic of Madonna's arm muscles? I'm channeling it! It's the angle; I got your back 'Madge'

 

Ohkay. So, maybe mine aren’t as intense!

 

Lets see. Peace sign. Duck lips. Soooo stereotypical college girl 😦

 

"What a beautiful sunny day....omg...what happened to the sun?"- White Chicks

And with this change I’ve noticed, I also look at other women in a healthier manner. Instead of being jealous of someone with a naturally thin waist, I’m more apt to go “damnnnnn” when I see a girl who has powerful, sculpted thighs from running up all the hills Burlington has to offer. Or I admire the woman I see in yoga class who has insane back muscles from years of a dedicated Ashtanga practice. That’s not to say it’s bad to be born naturally thin, or naturally flexible, or naturally whatever, but I think there is a lot to be admired about someone who has made changes ranging from minor edits to massive transformation in a healthy and practical way.

The first sunny days are when people start to realize they’ll be spending ample time in minimal clothing—no more winter boots and layers to cover yourself up in– and  lot of magazines will be pumping out “Best Summer Body EVER!!!!” articles.  Unfortunately, it can be very hard to summon up a healthy mindset in 2 months that will carry you through the summer. A lot of people will immediately try to go from a pizza lifestyle to no refined this, no sugar that, no white anything in one day and burn themselves out before the end of May.  Truthfully, this process should take months to let your body slowly adjust to the changes of diet and the added stress of exercising, which will help keep you from falling back into your old habits; I often have to remind myself that it has taken me nearly 15 months to reach this diet high in fruits, vegetables, some meats, and minimally processed foods. However, there are some steps you can take.  They might not get your dream body, or best body EVERRR by June, but you’ll be much healthier and you will see changes.

Diet: You know I’m a firm believer in the importance of diet when it comes to how your outsides look.

1.)    Start incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your life.

2.)    Start a eating a HEALTHY salad 3-5 days out of the week. Check out this older post on the art of salad making.

3.)    Start to limit your alcohol intake. Heavy drinkers will be surprised how much weight they’ll lose if they stop hitting the bottle hard on a regular basis

4.)    Drink more water! For the most part we’re always in a constant state of dehydration, and we’ll often mistake thirst for hunger!

5.)    Limit fruit juice intake, unless it’s freshly squeezed from a juicer. As delicious as fruit juices are, they’re generally packed with lots of added sugars.

 

Exercise:

1.)    If you haven’t exercised in awhile, build up slowly!!!

2.)    Start by working out 2-3 times a week. It may seem “pathetic” to not be in the gym ever day, but it will disheartening if you start out saying you’ll go 5 days a week and never making  it there.

3.)    For the college student, HIIT (high intensity interval training) is a great method because it doesn’t take hours. It involves a mixture of cardio and weight bearing routines, so you’ll be doing double duty.

4.)    Make sure you’re giving your muscles adequate time to rest! Aka: don’t do sit ups every day.

5.)    Here are some of my favorite sites: Blogilates, ZuzkaLight (I’ve moved on from Body Rock, since I didn’t like the direction it was going, but the BR website does still feature Zuzana’s older videos), and Random Abs.

 

These habits shouldn’t just be whipped out when you have to pull on a pair of swim trunks or bikini bottoms. They should be with you during fall and winter as well.  And remember, even if you had the hottest body in the world, there are still going to be people who’ll find something negative to point out, so get healthy for yourself. And to be honest, not everyone is going to be looking at you at the beach. They’ll be playing football, and reading magazines, and trying to get all their bits back into their bathing suits when a big wave totally owns them out of nowhere. Your confidence is what will shine through, and you’ll be able to spend the day actually having fun instead of worrying about your body.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

I didn’t win best dressed in High School for nuttin’

You know my thoughts about wearing sweatpants to class. Unless you’ve been up all night with the worst sickness imaginable, and are dutifully dragging yourself to an 8am, it just shouldn’t happen. Dressing nicely makes you feel good. It’s like an instant dose of confidence to get you through the day. And trust me, you don’t have to have a big budget in order to look cute. 90% of my closet is second hand clothing from the Goodwill or Plato’s Closet. Here’s one of my favorite outfits, which employs awesome layering and accessories.

I build my outfits from the pants up. These are my favorite pair of jeans, which I got from Plato’s Closet. They’re City Girl jeans and you can find them for $30 at Macys. I’m a big fan of the skinny jean cut because they slide easily into my boots, and I can cuff them instead of getting them hemmed.

My boots are actually the most expensive part of the outfit. They’re Bandolinos and are the perfect boots if you live in a wet part of the country. The leather is soft, but sturdy, which means you don’t have to condition and shine them every time you step outside. Knee high boots look flattering on all legs. I notice boots that are above the knee or hit mid-shin have a tendency to knock a few inches off of someone, and at 5’3 I take all the inches I can get.

 

I’m also a wicked big fan of cardigans. This one is my absolute favorite. It’s 100% cashmere and I snagged it at Goodwill with my 30% employee discount; Cha-Ching! Magazines talk a lot about pieces that can go from day to night, but you should also look for items that can transcend seasons. This sweater is not too hot for the summer or too cool for the winter. Under it I’m wearing a men’s Landsend shirt. Men’s shirts are great because the arms are a little longer and wider, which makes casually rolling the sleeves a lot more comfortable. If you have a smaller frame, but big breasts, it can be really hard to find a button up that flatters your figure and accommodates the girls. The buttons either gape or you’re swimming in the fabric. Finally, the longer length of the shirt is great for people who wish to wear leggings, but want a little more bum coverage.

Oh, why hello. Just feeling fly.

 

If I had worn this outfit with my leggings, I probably wouldn’t use the belt. That’s because you need to keep a ratio of loose to tight articles of clothing. But since I wore jeans, the belt really cinched everything together. I’m personally a fan of the smaller belts. To me big belts say ‘I’m really trying to create a waist.’ I feel your pain, girl’s with non-existent waists, as I go straight down, but the skinnier belt is subtler. Plus, you’re more likely to find one with quality leather compared to those nylon ones with shiny, pleather buckles.

Finally, we come to the accessories. Since this outfit is pretty compact (aka: not to billowy) I didn’t want to wear a big scarf to distract from the form and my faux waist. Instead, I decided to go with a delicate necklace. This necklace is actually made up of mala beads, which I handmade during Yoga Teacher Training. Believe it or not, it was a 4 hour, incredibly arduous task. I needed full concentration, as arts and crafts were never really my forte.

Holla for my mala!

 

Dressing well is really the delicious cherry on top. I eat well, which is has a huge bearing on my body’s shape, and I exercise to keep everything where I want it to be. Of course I don’t want to cover my body in drab clothes! I want to give it the respect and showcase it deserves, and you should too! Dressing fly makes you feel like this:

I'm ready for my close up!

 

And what in the world is better than that?!

 

New York & Co Cardigan: Normally $8.00 ($5.50 with GW discount)

Bandolino Boots: $110 on Sale from $160!!!

City Girl Skinny Jeans: $11

Men’s Landsend Shirt: Normally $4.99 ($3.50 with GW Discount)

Leather Belt: $1.99 @ GW (I didn’t have my employee card. No discount for me that day. Good thing I wasn’t breaking the bank!)

Mala Beads: Blood, sweat, tears. Priceless.

Watch: $10 Rite Aid. I always break watches & sunglasses, so I buy them cheap.

 

So, for the love of all things snazzy, peel yourself out of those sweats and into something fabulous! ❤

Jocellyn

Saturday

I love Saturdays. Not only is it the first day of the weekend, but it’s typically a day Chris and I spend window-shopping on Church Street. Thanks to the Presidents Day sales we did more shopping than perusing. We put on our cute outfits, linked arms, and sipped Starbucks Mocha’s as we shuffled in and out of stores. Disclaimer: I’m totally not a Starbucks cult member, but when you get a free gift card you consume those 400 calorie drinks with exponentially less guilt and shame.

I urge you to carve out some you time or couple time to do indulgent things. That might be getting a monthly massage, sitting alone at a coffee shop, taking naps with your beau (naps with a “snuggle-buggle” are so nice), or resting in a bubble bath with a glass of wine while watching some Netflix (don’t fall asleep; don’t drown; don’t electrocute yourself.)

Skirt- Pacsun $11. I’m excited to wear it out! I’m generally not one for loud prints, but I’m a huge fan of tribal designs and my squat sculpted derriere, so I like to whip out something flashy every now and then. Shake what yo mamma gave ya!

Shirt- Pacsun $4.98. Its a large mens top.  I love the bagginess. It’ll be great during Spring over some cute leggings or jeans cuffed up.

Hair oil- $24. This beauty business was having a out of business sale, and I scored a 30% on this big bottle. It’s not Moroccan oil, but it seemed similar. My ‘fro has been terribly dry lately!

Lipstick- $3.97.  4 shades from Urban Outfitters. Originally $18. I’m loving all the colors.Pucker up, sweeties.

As someone who buys a lot of stuff from Goodwill, it was nice to have a few brand new items. I also got some new mascara (lipstick and mascara are all a girl really needs, if any makeup be necessary) and this awesome, cheap leather watch (which is loudly ticking away on my bedside table.)  Rule #100: Retail therapy, much like Beer Tears  (or Wine Whines, in my case), and Ben and Jerry’s binges are perfectly acceptable if they only happen a few times a year.

Me and Alexa pre-Rusko.  She got me on the glitter band wagon and I’m personally loving this scarf-do I’ve got going on. Needless to say, as much as I still love Dubstep, Rusko was completely high-school packed, and I felt slightly embarrassed dressed up in brightly colored clothes like all the non-legal hooligans. Sigh, guess you gotta grow up a little sometimes.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

 

Location, Location, Location

I’ve come to terms with my quads, I enjoy squeezing my arms which have developed thanks to yoga, and during the Summer I often distract myself by playing with the bulge on my flexed calf. But there is an area I’m always a tad weary about. It’s my stomach. It is where I tend to store extra fat. I’m kind of a dude, actually, since women have a greater tendency to accumulate excess fat around their hips, thighs, and butt; Dear god, for once can’t that extra slice of cake go to my butt cheekies?  Alas. In fact, I get a little neurotic about my stomach area. Most days I do the whole bit where I stand in front of the mirror, pinch, and frown, turn to the side, and pinch again. Chris, being the dutiful boyfriend he is, will comment that he loves me no matter what, but it still doesn’t take away the concerns, which stem not only from aesthetic consideration, but also health factors. Unfortunately, where you hold your fat matters, and stomach fat can cause a whole mess of maladies.

Let’s break down the two layers of fat. The first is subcutaneous fat, which is just below the skin. Subcutaneous fat is the kind of fat people dislike for vanity reasons. But the fat doesn’t stop there. Moving into further layers of skin we reach visceral fat. Ew, it’s a word that sounds so similar to gristle (and it’s not to far off.)  And believe me, visceral fat should make you go “ewww” and “ahhh!” Visceral fat hugs your organs. And this isn’t a loving kind of hug. It’s the type of hug your big brother will give you that crushes your bones. It can affect your cholesterol levels and raise your blood pressure. Here are some of the other negative side effects excessive visceral fat can have on your body:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/belly-fat/WO00128

 

It gets a little trickier. Just like I discussed Skinny Fat several blog posts ago, sedentary men and women who are naturally thin may also be at risk of carrying visceral fat. Because it’s not as apparent as someone with a “beer belly”, a thin person wouldn’t know they carried any unless they were to undergo a high-tech MRI. But why go spend the money when you can realistically audit yourself with a few simple questions. Do I work out regularly? Do I eat healthy food? Do I practice portion control? If you don’t do any of the above and do fill yourself with greasy foods more than fruits, vegetables, etc., then there is a good chance you might carry some visceral fat. No more playing out of sight-out of mind!

Thankfully this post isn’t all doom and gloom. Like most diet related health issues, they can corrected with time and patience.  For one, practice portion control. This is much easier to do if you are able to cook your own meals or chose the food you eat at a dining hall rather than eating out a restaurant; don’t you just hate how the meals are too big for one sitting, but are two little if cut in half? Conspiracy, I tell ya!

Here is a good way to portion control your meals for your body size, because you use your own hand as a “yard stick.”

Proper Portion Sizes:

1 serving of lean protein= Palm of your hand

1 serving of complex carbs from whole grains: 1 cupped hand

1 serving of complex carbs from Fruits & Veggies: 2 cupped hands together

(Source: The Eat Clean Diet by Tosca Reno)

The next thing you need to do is get off your lovely behind and start working out. Sigh, this goes for me as well… I feel as if this goes without saying, but don’t, don’t, don’t for the love of all things common sense crash diet. In fact, studies have shown that crash dieting can encourage visceral fat. Exercise smart. If you feel that you really need to work on that area you have to push a little harder than someone who wants to maintain. Walking briskly and worth purpose (no feet dragging here!) for 30 minutes, six times a week will help stave of accumulation. Bring that walk to a jog, start lifting weights, and/or try out some HIIT and you’ll blast that gunk away!  And there are so many YouTube trainers out there with certifications and free workouts, so there’s no need to plunk down dollar bills on a gym membership.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to lose my stomach fat for vanity reasons. But at the same time I realize exercising and dieting in a safe, slow, and appropriate manner will also keep my unseen organs healthy, which is what really counts.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Look what I did last night! One giant step for me;one dying breath for visceral fat kind!

 

Links to check out

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/belly-fat/MC00054

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/belly-fat/WO00128/NSECTIONGROUP=2

http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/06/12/20/the-two-types-of-fat—-visceral-and-subcutaneous—-and-which-poses-the-greatest-risk-to-you.htm

Natural Skincare: Lip Exfoliate

Surprise! I said I wouldn’t write on Mondays, but I can squeeze in a quick post that I think is most important for these brutal winter days. All this cold/dry weather has been murdering my skin and kisser. My lips were so flaky that I started resembling the crack-head from Dave Chappelles skits.

Sexy can I, right? Thankfully, I remembered a home-made sugar scrub which is perfect for lips and it doesn’t involve any measuring!

 

Crack-Lips Be Gone

–          Put a few  pinches of sugar into a bowl. The bigger the sugar crystals the better. I’m a big fan of turbinado sugar, but since nasty lips are a serious, need to be handled now issue, regular table-sugar is fine.

–          Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the sugar. My lips really needed a  good sloughing, so I made my sugar to EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) favor the exfoliating sugar.

–          Add a touch of honey. Most people have honey that is s squeezable or dribble-able, but I have pure honey which is much thicker, though great for toast. I kept trying to warm and liquify it to add to the other ingredients, but it kept seizing up and forming a clump once it hit the cold EVOO.  Alas, I left the honey out. Aka: I ate that sugary clump when no one was looking; waste not, want not.

After everything has been mixed to your satisfaction, dab a finger in the mix and apply it to your top lip. Make like you’re brushing your teeth. Pretend you are smacking your lips together after you’ve put lipstick on. Rinse, add to the bottom lip, and repeat.  My lips were noticeably softer, less flaky, and I didn’t get irritated. Tonight I’m going to do one more round and see if I can get the last bits off, as I really like wearing lipstick and flakes+lipstick is a huge no-no.

 

Peel away (all those dead cells)

❤ Jocellyn

 

BREAKING NEWS!

I’m not done yet. I was about to click “publish” when mi amour ventured out to the living room to harass me. So, not sure if I mentioned this, butttt, I’m really obsessed with the Shit Girls Say videos…and the million parodies that follow; Shit Black Guys Say kind of (cue middle school flashback) “owns my heart.” Chris has been a willing passenger seat viewer, but tonight he introduced me to this gem. Eat your heart out.

 

 

Morning Yoga

I just watched this video this morning, and apparently it has been making rounds in the yoga world.  A lot of yoginis are up in arms about it, saying it objectifies women. There where the obvious arguments that it was using sex to sell. I personally think the person shooting avoided a lot of obvious crotch shots, and the few butt-cheek ones didn’t bother me. The difference between sensuality and sexuality is a fine line.  There were arguments that the disheveled bed with a male in it suggested something lewd. Okay, I’m totally whistle-blowing that one.  In case you haven’t slept with someone, the bed sheets are going to be messed up regardless of frisky business or restless nights. Sheets are not designed in a way that both can be satisfied!; Alas.   Many of the opinions are valid, aside from the sheet one, but in all honesty I like this video  more than the more recent Yoga Body Calendars by Jasper Johal. A little back info: before his yoga shots only featured a few bare breasts. Now practically all are pushed out for view, except for the famous Kathryn Budig’s.  I think the female body is a wonderful thing. I think the male body is a wonderful thing. But, like everyone, I have my opinions of when someone is trying to make an extra buck by selling sex.  When I think of what makes a yoga body powerful I think of muscles. Breasts kind of just hang there. It bothers me a little, but not enough to make me stand up and shout, and frankly not everything has to. Indifference is often touted as laziness, but at times it’s a perfectly fine emotion. What  are your thoughts? PS: I really do love the rest of his work, just not that “stuff.”

For me this came across as a fine example of a super strong and beautiful practice. It did, however, make me envious in a few ways.

1.) Envious that I don’t have a dedicated morning practice– I’m working on that this week!

2. ) Envious that my apartment isn’t that nice– Some day I’ll go J.K Rowling with a book and have a nice New York apartment  😉

3.) Envious bra companies don’t make cute lacy things for big breasted women– Breast reductions are kind of expensive.

Peel away ❤

Jocellyn

Look. Touch. Move

There, I came up with a much better name for the poorly titled blog post: mirror, mirror; touch my body; move it. I wouldn’t say it’s up there with Eat. Pray. Love, but I’m making small gains.

Today’s topic is all about healthy vanity and getting off the couch. Here’s a little back story. When I was 14 months old I was adopted from Haiti by a white family from a very white area. I think there may have been one other black girl, so from day one my parents have always doted over me. I admit that I was a damn cute baby—diaper ad baby cute—and adorable young one, so I’m sure my parents and peoples’ kind words weren’t lies, but I think being the only black girl encouraged them to make sure I knew I was beautiful, as I had no one else to really look up too. That being said, it was probably the catalyst to my vanity. I adored looking in mirrors when I was younger, and it is habit that I’ve carried into adult hood (it has slowed down the past few years.) But I believe it is something we should all do more of!

Typically, when we have body issues we avoid looking at ourselves and wear baggy shirts and pants to cover our insecurities. Ladies and gents, I encourage you to take off your clothes—even your skivvies—and look at yourself naked. Get to know your body: the places you dip, curve, bulge, pucker, or are bony. I guarantee you’ll find parts, possibly quirky ones, you absolutely adore. It’s kind of clichéd, but I think being naked is one of the most fabulous things, and if you’re lucky enough to be rooming with a  boyfriend/girlfriend, or have a single dorm room, then take advantage of it! On the flip side, you’ll also find places you don’t like, but you may make peace with them. I have 2 examples. For one I hated my breasts. Since age 7 I used to pray for boobs and one year it was as if the god (and you know how I love my various gods) of titties came down and was all “allakabam!” By high school I was a solid D; bathing suit shopping was– and still is– a nightmare. And for many big breasted women, you can probably agree with me that most big breasts are not like silicon enhanced ones. I’m not super saggy, but I wouldn’t say any porn agency would be casting me for “Huge, Perfect Melons 4—Grocery Adventures” But guess what: the more I started forcing myself to look at them the more I accepted their shape and realized they were fine. The same thing happened with this cellulite dimple I had. I used to hate it, but I realized that no matter how healthy I am it’ll always be there chilling on my left thigh, and I kind of like it.

Step two. Make like a body builder and touch your body. Flex your arm muscles, wimpy or bulbous, and see how they feel. Squeeze your calves. Feel your cheekies. Rub your tummy—trust me, it ain’t my favorite spot either, but looking and it and touching it has made me realize what diet and exercise habits change it negatively and positively. We’re tactile creatures, right?

Step three. Move your body. I’m talking about getting up and dancing. Try out different activities and figure out what ones work the best for your body type. Running is out of the question for me. I feel like a wheezing oaf and my knees constantly ache, but dancing and yoga class feel natural. So what if you have two left feet—experiment with swimming; have you ever heard of someone tripping while swimming?  I personally think everyone should try hula hooping. You’ll certainly learn how to move that body and get a surprising cardio workout! Check out Sharna Rose, a hoop celebrity. She’s kinda amazing.

Me hooping in 2010 during my raver days

Learn to love the little (or big) things about yourself. I get that we all go through small phases of hating our body, but try not to let it affect you for a long time. Are you upset because you’ve gained a few pounds? If you know your body well (and can be honest with your habits) maybe you are meant to put on a bit of weight. But if you know you have been slacking on your care then turn that discouragement into fuel to eat better or workout a little harder. There is definitely a sense of pride in understanding your body.  It’s the one thing we are stuck with for the rest of our lives, so I think we should owe it to ourselves to rise above hating it.

Peel Away<3

Jocellyn

Natural Beauty

Ladies & gents, I’ve fallen absolutely in love with this new skin care product I’ve “discovered”. Want to know my secret for damn-fine, baby-bottom soft skin? Coconut Oil! For a long time I’ve been using run of the mill products to clean my face. One day while we were on a brunch date, my facially flawless friend Madeline told me she’d been using Coconut Oil every few days for her face. I happened to have a tiny bit left over from using it to moisturize my hair, so I figured “why not try?” Of course, I was skeptical at first since it’s oily. At the time I was using conventional cold pressed oil, and although it made my skin feel nice I wasn’t 100% on the bandwagon.  I was perusing the internet when I found an article of someone insisting that organic, unrefined Coconut Oil was far superior for face care needs.  I’m easily hooked, so I dashed to City Market to find a jar. Enter Spectrum Brand Organic, Unrefined Coconut Oil.

The organic kind was only a dollar more than the conventional, and unlike cold-pressed oil which looks kind of “marble-y”, unrefined oil looks creamier. It also has a stronger smell, but it disappears within five minutes. A little certainly goes a long way! My skin has never felt softer and more luxurious. When I went home for Christmas my mother even noted my skin tone had evened up and took several scoops for herself. I do notice that every so often I get a tiny zit here or there, which didn’t happen on my ingredient-heavy Olay Cream, but they are a lot easier to dispatch! I’d rather get one pimple here and there using a one ingredient product, than never getting one with a chemically charged product. At $10 a jar this wasn’t a bad purchase, and since it doesn’t dry out my skin I don’t need nearly as much. Win-win.  If you do decide to buy this go with the fat, short jar over the tall, slim jar so it’s easier to scoop out. Since I’ve had such good luck with this natural cream, I’ve decided to try making a natural face cleanser as well. I want something that I can store in the refrigerator, and after a bit of searching stumbled upon this recipe by Maddie Rudd.

“Coconut Cleanser

A moisture-rich and nutritious treat for your face

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp glycerin (You can find vegetable glycerin at a healthy living store. You can also put it in a bottle with some water and spritz it on your hair! It’s especially nice for afro-wearin’ ladies)
  • 2 tsp water

Instructions

Melt ingredients together over very low heat. When liquid, remove from heat and beat as mixture cools. Store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator to maintain thick consistency. Massage over face, rinse, pat dry.”

For a bit of added exfoliation I’m going to throw in some whole flaxseed. This is too exciting! Maybe once I finish my toner pads I’ll try making some of my own and same goes for my St. Ives exfoliate which has a few more uses.

Now, Peel away those impurities and dead skin flakes—yummy—with natural, safe, good for you products.

❤ Jocellyn

Buyer Beware: I do realize that I’m someone who has been blessed with pretty good skin. I’m not too dry, too oily, too acne prone, etc. Using just coconut oil on my skin hasn’t bothered/clogged my pores. If you think you have skin like me then go ahead and try this method. However, I’ve read many comments that coconut oil made the skin of acne prone people worse.You know your body better than I do, so you be the judge.

Real Women have…Vaginas? And a lot of other parts, but not necessarily curves

I think this might be a controversial post, and trust me I’m a little nervous about writing it because I try not to be an intentionally controversial person. But since I’m writing a blog on being healthy mentally, physically, and emotionally, this is a topic I simply cannot beat around. It’s the term: Real Women.

The first time I ever heard this phrase was at age 11 when the movie Real Women Have Curves was blowing up. The implication of this phrase seems very clear. In order to be a real woman you have to be all badda-bing badda-boom in all the right places. However, the underbelly suggests something a little darker.

If you don’t have hips…you aren’t a woman.

If you don’t have  weight to throw around…you aren’t a woman.

If you don’t have large breasts…you aren’t a woman.

If you are thin…you aren’t a woman.

I think you get my point…This idea is further pushed by images of modern day models.

It’s true that in magazines you don’t see many people over a size eight, but that doesn’t mean every thin model photographed throws up, isn’t living a fulfilling eating life, or should be put down for not being born with T&A, and hips that Lucille Clifton would write poems about. Larger kids are often teased growing up. Guess what, thin kids are teased as well, and I’ve read articles of several models feeling like odd ducklings growing up. Telling someone to “go feed that girl a burger” is just as mean as telling someone “lay off the Twinkies.” The common ground between big women, average, women, and thin women is that they are all people and all susceptible to hurt feelings.

This idea of “Real Women” being bigger can also be detrimental to someone’s health. I’ve mentioned this before, but unfortunately as the obesity rate in our country rises, we move further and further away from knowing what a healthy person can look like. People who want to take control of their health and limit themselves to not eating junk food every day are commonly teased.  As a black woman, I’m fully aware of the term thick. There are many healthy (black, white, and in between) women who have thick thighs. I’d say the lovely actress Gabrielle Union fits into that bracket, and although I don’t’ know her living habits she appears to be in very good shape.

 

However, you get a lot of this too.

Photocredit: Lipstick Alley

Yes, your thighs are “thick”, but this probably isn’t healthy. A lot of the times when people glorify this term they are justifying what can be overweight, unhealthy body types, and this isn’t good either!

You can be on the “bigger” side and healthy. We all know this gem.

 

You can be a waif and healthy. Check out model Chanel Iman below.

Teen Vogue. Model: Chanel Iman

And just as there are larger, unhealthy people, there are those who are dangerously thin and unhealthy

The Late Isabelle Caro

It was hard for me to find a photo of a model I know (I don’t really follow modeling too intensely) that was actually dangerously thin. There are a lot of blatantly edited photos to make someone look anorexic when they really aren’t, but this is French model Isabelle Caro who died last year from a lifelong battle with anorexia. She did a modeling campaign to bring attention to anorexia in the modeling industry. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for encouraging digital artists to Photoshop as minimally as possible. And I think agencies that employ couture runway models (as these tend to be the most thin) should encourage healthier eating practices and not push girls to lose unhealthy amounts of weight. But we shouldn’t let one job market dictate how we  treat people who aren’t badda-bing badda-boom.

A term like this pits females against each other, when instead we should be working together to create positive change.  The phrase “
Real Women” alienates many women who aren’t curvy and can make them feel unworthy. Ironic, as isn’t that how people who use the phrase “Real Women” also feel in relationship to the magazine media? Instead we should think this way:

Real women have hips…of all sizes.

Real women have weight…that settles in genetically predisposed places.

Real women have breasts…of all shapes, sizes, and locations (perky, saggy, they’re all good.)

Real women are thin…and athletic, and pear shaped, and curvy, etc, etc.

Real Women…Aim to get to know their body better every single day and help take it to the most realistic, healthy place possible in a safe and supportive manner.

…So it doesn’t have the same ring to it, but I think it’s a mantra we should all start living by!

Peel Away

❤ Jocellyn

Ps: Here are some great places to check out for motivating female images.

Oxygen Magazine, Muscle & Fitness Hers, Fitness RX. Yup, they’re all body-building magazines! Modern day female body building is broken down into 3 categories. There’s figure, which is a bit more muscular, Fitness (tends to be made up of former dancers and gymnasts), and Bikini where the muscle tone is apparent but more subtle. These women work really hard for their bodies by exercising hard and smart and eating super well.

 

Blogger Ciara Gale. I follow this girl. You should follow this girl. She has great style, a killer work ethic, and a body that you should be envious of…for .2 seconds until you realize that she started out at ground zero too and you can achieve the same things!

Another place to look: duh, around you. Okay, here comes the sassy-Jocellyn: don’t always depend on media to please your every expectation. Look around you to see women and men of all shapes and sizes. There’s your best bet.

Fresh to Death and Dressed to Digress

Happy New Years everyone!!!!

I skated into 2012. Literally. The streets were so icy in Burlington I had to walk almost a mile downhill on the grass. I was praying to all sorts of embarrassment gods to take pity on me. Apparently, it worked. Continuing on with the body image series, today I’m going to discuss dressing well and the immediate changes you’ll feel when you’re out and about in public.

I’m going to slap it down real hard and real fast. If you are 20 years old it is no longer appropriate to wear baggy boyfriend-esque sweats to class.

Credit: Collegefashion.net

Especially if it’s a 1230! Sweats are what you do Freshman year as you walk around town proudly displaying your college. I get it. The prints were cute and colorful, and, lyke, omg the teacher should be impressed I made it to my Friday class after a ragin’ Thirsty Thursday. Passive-aggressiveness aside, by sophomore year you should be trying to make yourself presentable for class. I wouldn’t say I’m a hardcore fashionista, I adore clothes but I’m way to0 broke to develop a designer habit that isn’t second hand (thank you Goodwill job), but I appreciate how good clothes and dressing well can make you look and feel great.

For starters, what you wear tells the world the level of respect you have for yourself. It sounds kind of harsh, but it’s true. You probably don’t feel too happy with yourself or your choices if your schlepping to class in sweat pants because you were too hung over to bother with clothes. And I totally understand the need to dress sexy sometimes—don’t all girls?—but there is a line, and a pretty obvious one at that, between classy sexy and trashy sexy. If your entire wardrobe is overly cleavage bearing tops then you’re sending a message that you only want to be known for you assets. And I can say this with confidence because, regrettably, in high school I was that girl and I couldn’t possibly figure out why boys couldn’t respect me outside of physical relationships. Well, I sure didn’t act or dress like I respected myself, so why should they? Cold hard truths. Have some respect for yourself!

Senior year: This dress should never have been bought!

What you wear also sets the mood. If you’re going to class in sweat pants you’re immediately in sleepy-time mode, which obviously isn’t conducive for learning. A teacher will  notice if you take the time to get dressed to come to their class. It shows them you care about how they perceive you in a pseudo-professional setting. Plus, you’re just prepping yourself for life after college where you actually have to dress professionally all the time. Don’t you think you’ll feel more confident going to job interviews if you’re already used to dressing to the nines compared to other people who are just getting the hang of it? You’ll look like you’ve been doing this your whole life and they’ll look like kids playing dress up in their parents slightly too large clothes.

The good news is, is that dressing respectably and fashionably doesn’t mean dressing in one particular way. You can still maintain your style. Here some tips.

Be honest with your body type: If you have stallion thighs, runners calves, and big hips then skinny jeans might not be your thing. The only reason my very non waif-like thighs get away with it is because I have zero pelvis. I think Chris has wider hips than I do! But at the same time I know that my calves (well, entire lower body) have absolutely no business being in ultra-skinny jeans like Cheap Monday’s. Even if the style is in, you won’t look hot if your body type isn’t meant for it.

Find your style and stick with it: I’m the type of gal that rarely strays from dark colors. I feel comfortable in then. People always tell me how lucky I am with my dark skin tone that I can wear yellows, oranges, and pinks without getting washed out, but I just don’t feel comfortable in them. Red is the brightest I go. If I had it my way I’d be living in France where everyone wears all black. I adore wild tribal prints, like the kind you find at Urban Outfitters, but whenever I wear them they just don’t seem me and I immediately feel uncomfortable. You can admire styles but not wear them.

Go Classy Comfy: So I admit I poop all over the sweat pant look, but that doesn’t mean I dislike comfort. I just have a (not so secret) weapon…LEGGINGS! I realize people are either for leggings or against them, but if you want comfort then a pair of thick black leggings with a cardigan and nice top will do the trick. Life gets even better if you add a warm circle scarf. But make sure you buy quality leggings. Those $12 ones are tempting, but will rip really fast. I’m a huge fan of leggings from Express. I got a pair for $30 when I was going into my senior year of high school and they’re still going strong almost 4 years later. Thick leggings also won’t be see-through. Woo, baby, I have seen so many thongs, butt cheeks, and embarrassing granny panties from girls who don’t realize they’re giving a free show; shame on their friends for not saying anything.

Sophia from Modern Family. Well, at least she has a very nice derriere

Wear clothes that fit: Don’t be trying to squeeze yourself into jeans that no longer fit you. You aren’t going to look sexy with a muffin top and you’ll be wildly self conscious. Donate snug clothing to second hand stores if they haven’t worked out in over a year. Do away with the  “maybe if I lose a few pounds I can slip into them again,” mentality, because if you don’t you’ll just feel worse. Besides, wouldn’t you want to treat yourself to new clothes after reshaping your body instead of slipping back into your old duds?

We've all been there. Let's not return!

With the New Year finally here go peel into your closet and decide what you still love or no longer need.

❤ Jocellyn