So I’m going to try a new monthly feature in which I recap what I’ve been up to over the last month and share some of my Fab Finds, Favorite Things, wish lists, works in progress, and other miscellany. Let me know what you think!
This June was a super adventurous month for me! I did like one hundred and one things that I’d never done before and stepped – no, LEAPT out of my comfort zone in big ways.
One of the first big risks I took this month was to buy and actually wear a ROMPER! This may not seem like a very big deal to many people, but for me it took a huge amount of courage to wear short-shorts and a one piece that left me feeling rather exposed. I can’t remember the last time I wore anything that fell more than 2-3 inches above me knees – not even swimsuits. I used to have to wear shorts or long swimskirts because I was just that uncomfortable with my own thighs.
Did you hear that? I said “used to.” That’s right. I used to feel so much shame and self-consciousness about my cellulite, my stretch marks, my ugly knees, and above all – the dreaded fact that my thighs actually touch each other. I felt like people were going to stare at me and say nasty things. It even got to the point where I wouldn’t go swimming, I would just sit there stewing and sweating trying to cover myself up while everyone else I was with went in the water and had fun. It was awful. But then something happened when I put that romper on, people. I’m not trying to be over-dramatic or anything but it was a pretty magical moment. I put it on and I loved it and I wanted to wear it and I didn’t care what anyone else thought. Then the day came that I actually did wear it…and no one stared, no one sneered, no one slurred nasty things about my fat dimples. I couldn’t believe it! Turns out that I am my own worst critic, and once I was able to shut myself up I experienced a sense of freedom that I haven’t felt since I was a little kid.
Having said all that, I’ll admit that I’m still not a big fan of my thunderous thighs. Like anything in life, body acceptance is a journey and it’s just as important to celebrate the milestones as it is to reach the destination. I learned this month that the only way I’m going to grow or learn anything is to try new things and to take some risks here and there.
And as if the universe was listening, out of nowhere came an opportunity to do something crazy and unexpected and totally out of my wheelhouse: the beautiful and multi-talented Voluptuous Leah invited me to participate in a body positive beach photo shoot at Lake Champlain. You heard me correctly – a BEACH photo shoot. That meant me being professionally photographed in a swimsuit. I was instantly frightened but I knew I had to do it!
I’d never been further than Brattleboro in Vermont, so I was really excited for the chance to travel. I don’t get out of CT often and when I do it is always an immense pleasure! My bestie Megan and I decided to make a gals weekend getaway of it, and she found us an adorable airbnb run by John and Karen in Jericho, about 20 minutes outside of Burlington, on a working horse farm in the Green Mountains. (HIGHLY REC!)
We had a great night out on Church Street, eating a scrumptious meal at Sweetwaters and then meeting with Leah for margaritas at El Gato. We found a dude in a truck making A-Maize-Ing fresh kettle corn and Megan bought approximately two metric tons of the stuff which we promptly set about trying to eliminate. Back at the farm, I saw more stars than I have ever witnessed in my entire life. It was an absolutely magical day.
The next morning we had kettle corn for breakfast, packed up the leftover 1.5 tons of it, said goodbye to the horses, and set off towards Lake Champlain. We stopped at the Bagel Deli to get sandwiches to eat picnic style once we got to the beach and I was swear this was one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had in my life. Maple whole grain mustard oh my gawd. Go to there and eat all the food. On the way we passed by a Creemee, which I’d never experienced before, so of course we had to stop. Megan got maple which I guess is some sort of weird Vermont tradition but I’m a chocolate kind of gal so I went to town with toppings!
All of this sounds like I’m having a blast, and don’t get me wrong I certainly was having fun, but all while eating tasty food, shopping at quaint farmers markets, and consorting with horses, I have this tiny hyper-anxious voice in the back of my mind reminding me that I’m going to have to take off my dress and reveal myself in all my glorified shame in a swimsuit in front of almost a dozen people, one of whom will be photographing my mortification. So yeah, I was having lots of fun but I was also having a low and slow panic attack the entire time I was in the state of Vermont.
We finally arrived at Leddy Park, Lake Champlain and I was blown away by its beauty. It’s so huge and beautiful and fucking majestic. Megan and I sat on a picnic table overlooking the water with an amazing view of the mountains and New York state where we ate our delicious bagel sandwiches. (I had hoped it was Canada but after conferring with Google maps we realized we were on the wrong end for that. Still pretty tho.)
Once Leah arrived, we all realized that we were not the only ones to come to the beach that day. Oh yeah. There were dozens of people sunning in the sand and even more playing in the water, which instantly quadrupled my anxiety. But we were there on a mission and it was too late to turn back. I really do have to thank Megan for being so supportive and giving me the extra push I needed to be brave.
The photos haven’t been released yet so I won’t say too much about that other than it was a pleasure to work with photographer Sarah Gottschalk and to meet the other babes that were also involved in the shoot. For me personally, it was an incredibly liberating experience. The random people who were there at the shore seemed very supportive, and several interested spectators came over to ask about what we were doing. In that sense, I gained a lot of confidence being in such a tolerant and accepting environment. It was also fucking exhilarating to swim in the cold fresh mountain waters of Lake Champlain and to feel no shame about it!!!
I’ve been back for a little over a week and I’m just now beginning to fully recover from the trip. It took a lot out of me, mentally and emotionally but especially physically. I’m glad to be back curled up on my own couch and sleeping in my own bed, but I already miss the fresh mountain air and the copious stars.
As much as I’ve been giving myself time for rest and recuperation, I’ve also given myself time for a little retail therapy. I thoroughly despise the politics behind consumerism, but I absolutely love to shop. My dad instilled a love for the thrill of a good deal in me as a kid going from tag sale to tag sale (or “garage sale” as we always called them back in Indiana,) and as an adult bargain hunting has become one of my greatest passions. I love me a good thrift store but Target is my true happy place lol! Most of my monthly budget went to Vermont, but I picked up a few treasures and trinkets here and there.
Check out some of the fab finds I’ve discovered this month!
First things first is lip balm. ALWAYS. It’s one of the few things that I hoard. I found a new Burt’s Bees tint that I’m currently having a dirty sloppy love affair with: SWEET VIOLET. It’s a lilac-hued pink that is ultra moisturizing and gives a perfect summer pastel pout.
In an effort to up my makeup game, I decided to try an eyebrow pencil. Eyebrows are like the Thing these days and I’ve been trying to grow mine in a little after years of plucking. I didn’t want to invest in something super pricey since I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, so I tried the $2 Taupe Instant Lift brow pencil by elf cosmetics. Who would’ve thought a little color on the brows could have such huge impact??? I am so pleased with this pencil and I totally recommend it. I’d love to hear what you think of this product if you’ve tried it in the comments below!
Also new this month are two flavors from my favorite fragrance factory, Demeter. Summertime is perfect for my two staples, Dirt and Grass, but my sister recently educated me on their $3 sample vials and $6 mini splashes so I was excited to try a couple new scents. Wet Garden smells like Dirt and Grass mixed with rain and flowers so of course I love it! The Basil smells exactly like what basil smells like – green, a little tangy, and a little spicy. Can’t wait to try more!
I found the cutest cactus-print bandana and retro-style round sunnies at Walmart of all places! Their $5 sunglasses selection is on fleek right now people. Go get some! And then grab yourself a cute cacti kerchief for less than a dollar while you’re there too!
I’ve really been digging pastels this month, so I wanted to find a simple blush/nude-ish nail color for my little piggies. If I could afford it, I’d go the route of Queen Elizabeth and I’d choose Essie Ballet Slippers pink. Although I may act like a motherfucking queen, I am in fact not one and as such cannot afford Essie nail polish lol, so I went with Sinful Colors which I think is decent and fairly priced. They describe their color Easy Going (300) as a “chill, pale accent pink” and I am totally enamored with it!
I came across this really beautiful fan at my local dollar store and I couldn’t resist. I have several hand fans but this one is certainly the most sparkly addition to the collection!
And last but not least, I found this cute AF ice cream cone cup in the $1 section at Target. OMG. Do you see this? LOOK AT IT!!! It’s just too freaking adorable. I bought one to keep my makeup brushes in but for a buck each this would be so cute for serving summer treats and drinks at a cook-out or a party. I might have to go back and buy like six dozen more.
One thing I was not able to find this month that I have been desperately searching for is a perfect pair of red jelly shoes that don’t cost a million dollars. Forever21 had a simple style that already sold out and so far the only peeptoe jelly flats I can find are used and overpriced – like those almost $300 pair of Givenchy pvc-chain strappy sandals.
I’ve also been eyeballing a turban. What do y’all think? I figured for bad hair days it would be a cute retro look so I wouldn’t have to worry about hairstyling. I know a plain solid color would be more versatile, but I can’t help but adore the rose applique on the green one made by etsy seller Craftasy or the black floral from another esty shop, KatrinaHats. Surprisingly Walmart has a huge online selection of turbans for under $15, like that neon flower print! So hard to choose!
I suppose I could try making my own DIY turban, but I’ve got my hands pretty full right now working on a hand-embroidered denim jacket for Megan’s daughter’s 2nd birthday – which is coming up quick so I need to finish that STAT! Not to mention that I’m still over the moon about how my DIY embroidered sun hat turned out so my next project needs to be equally awesome. No pressure though.
Next month I’ll have photos from the VT shoot, lots of thrift scores to share, maybe even a recipe, and I’m going on our annual family vacation to the Rhode Island shore so there will be lots to talk about! See ya then!