Eating disorders (EDs) affect millions, yes millions of men, women, boys and girls of every race, religion, ethnicity and nationality worldwide! Despite the fact that so many suffer, so little research and funding has gone into the treatment of EDs compared to the other illnesses out there. EDs are the number one killer of any mental disorder and males and females alike are dying everyday due to complications from their EDs. Although there is a high prevalence, specifically in America, EDs are still an incredibly taboo topic, which is why so many of its victims go untreated. Today I want to break the stigma, if only for a moment, and talk about these awful disorders. This year’s theme of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is “3 Minutes Can Save a Life”, which is encouraging screenings for those who could potentially be at risk for developing an eating disorder or for those who are already exhibiting disordered eating behaviors.
There are a lot of misconceptions about what an eating disorder is, so let’s break it down with a direct quote from the National Eating Disorder Awareness website:
Eating Disorders are real, complex medical and psychiatric illnesses that can have serious consequences for health, productivity and relationships. They are caused by both genetic and environmental factors. EDs are bio-psycho-social diseases; they are not a fad, phase or lifestyle choice. In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life. Eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and OSFED (other specified feeding or eating disorder).
People struggling with an eating disorder typically become obsessed with food, body image and/or weight. These disorders can become very serious, chronic and life-threatening if not recognized and treated appropriately. The earlier a person seeks treatment, the greater the likelihood of physical and emotional recovery. (http://nedawareness.org/sites/default/files/school_guide_nedawareness2016.pdf)
It should come as no surprise to you that the majority of those affected by EDs are women and girls, given the society we live in, but men and boys certainly suffer as well. The website goes on to list how eating disorders develop, the symptoms and the general treatment process, and while I’m not going to list all of that here in my blog, I encourage you to check the site if you believe that you could be at risk. Most eating disorders develop between adolescence and early adulthood, but one can diagnosed as early as preschool and suffer through old age. I also want to point out that there is nothing “beautifully tragic” or “glamorous” about having an eating disorder. The media seems to enjoy romanticizing these types of illnesses, trying to make them trendy and even cute, but there is absolutely nothing cute about having an eating disorder. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Those who suffer can sometimes have a very difficult time recovering because of the mental hold that EDs have over their victims. That being said, recovery is a choice and recovery is possible! The road to recovery from an ED can be lifelong, but once one finds themselves free from the worst parts of their ED, they can live a happy and fulfilling life.
If you suspect that you or someone you know could have an eating disorder of any type, I encourage you to get screened or talk to your doctor or someone that you trust who can help. Raise Awareness the rest of this week by wearing purple!
If you were a child growing up in the 80’s or 90’s, there’s a chance that Barbie dolls were a staple in your playtime activities. Personally, I always had an affinity for Barbie, especially the black ones with “poofy” hair to which I felt I could relate because I was black with curly “poofy” hair. I remember driving my dolls around in their Barbie car back around the house, picking up other dolls along the way. I remember playing with my neighbors Barbie Dream house, which was the most magical thing I could ever imagine. Barbie and I have some fond memories, and it was only until I got older that I realized how problematic she was.
There has been much debate, over the years, about Barbie’s influence over young girls and the correlation between girls who play with/potentially idolize Barbie and girls with low self-esteem and eating disorders. I think many of us have probably seen the articles and studies that show if that Barbie were a real person, her proportions would be so out of alignment that she wouldn’t be able to stand up and would probably spend most of her life in the hospital. Studies have also shown that girls who view Barbie dolls versus girls who view more “average-sized” dolls have lower self-esteem and poor body image. In my own experience growing up, I never looked at Barbie and said, “Oh that’s the type of body that I want” because I wasn’t necessarily that type of child, but that doesn’t apply to everyone. Plenty of girls idolized and idealized Barbie as the epitome of physical perfection, and some adults have even gone to extensive and expensive lengths to duplicate themselves into a real life Barbie through plastic surgery. I’m not typically one to judge, but I am concerned for those that go through measures to try to become something that literally is not real. She’s a doll.
Okay Gigi so why are you on this Barbie-hate rant? Well if you’ve been keeping up with the news, you may have seen that Barbie recently revamped their company by including Barbies of different shapes, sizes, and shades. (http://www.barbie.com/en-us?utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=Barbie_Pure+Brand_Exact_Q4+Dawn&gclid=CLCshKDG_coCFVQ2gQod2MYIcg&dclid=CMWPkqDG_coCFcoKNwodcuINNw) I could not be more excited! A new generation of girls (and boys) are going to grow up seeing representation of themselves in dolls. Obviously Mattel still has a long way to go, as they have not yet included dolls with disabilities, unlike Makies, a British company that manufactured dolls with differences, but it’s a step in the right direction, I believe. Barbie has been around for nearly 60 years, and although the majority of those years have not been very inclusive, it is clear that Barbie’s creators are trying to spruce her up a bit. Society is changing, and change starts with our children. It is important for them to have a clear and positive sense of self. Children crave representation whether they consciously know it or not, and they benefit from seeing themselves in their television shows and toys. There’s still much work to be done in the toy department, but I’m happy to see small improvements such as these.
Don’t be alarmed! My clothes are still on; the weather is cooling down so I need to cover up, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still be sexy! I’ll be honest, the word “sexy” is not really in my personal vocabulary, but it may be in yours, so keep reading. During the summer, everyone can dress in what we typically believe to be “sexy” clothing, but what do we do during fall and winter? Should we just abandon all hopes of being cute and chic and bundle up head to toe in itchy wool until spring rolls around? NO! I wrote an article earlier about fall fashions and how one can still be fashionable and sexy without showing all the goods…because it’s honestly too cold for that. Now I’m tackling the winter months because they are fast approaching and I realize that some of us don’t think we can still be sexy while being covered. We can!
When I googled “winter sexy”, the only photos that came up were girls dressed in fur-lined bikinis and boots and while someone out there may say, “Hey that’s hot!”, it’s really not practical or realistic if you live in a town with legitimate winters. Santa Claus hats paired with a bra, panties and a scarf is not “winter sexy”, it’s hypothermia. So let’s talk about how we can stay covered and warm, but still be alluring and fashionable in our attire.
If you’re more girly, think about investing in a sweater dress or two. They can be an A-line shape or more form fitting and are super cute and also super warm. Throw some leggings and boots on and you’ve got yourself a great outfit. Leggings in general are a fashion must-have, especially if they’re fleece-lined! A long sweater with leggings is one of my favorite go-to’s. I work with kindergartners, so I need fabric that is flexible and stretchy and leggings are exactly that. Plus, they’re trendy and come in so many patterns and designs. Be not deceived though: Leggings are not pants! Let me say that a little louder for the people in the back. LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS.
Another winter staple that can be super sexy depending on how they’re worn are boots! Boots are a super sassy item that can be dressed up or down and can definitely bring out your inner diva. Because of my job, I don’t ever wear heels, but a pair of leather boots with a heel is very sharp and still keeps you warm. Warmth is key here, friends. It’s cold out in these streets, and no one has time to prance around in stilettos that expose your entire ankle/foot to the frigid air. Boots are the way to go this season, and if your boots are lined with any type of fur, you can probably pull off that “cute-girl-who-skis” look.
Just because it’s colder outside doesn’t mean you can’t still be cute. Less is not always more, especially when it comes to clothing, and especially when it’s chilly. Sexiness, first and foremost, comes from within, but if you’re someone who likes getting dolled up and feeling sexy on the outside too, go for it! Play around with layers. Throw on a beanie. Strut in some boots. Show off those curves in a long-sleeved dress. Do it all while still dressing practically for the weather and not like the Google-girls online who are probably freezing while half-naked in the snow! Health first, sexiness after! WORK!
When's the last time you felt good about yourself? I mean like felt good on the inside, like inside of your body? If it’s been a while since you’ve felt your best, in a health-related way, take a look at your diet. What are you eating? What you put into your body will be reflected on the outside. Of course, for many of us, this is common knowledge, but to others, this may be a foreign concept. I’m no health guru, but I know a little bit about how one’s diet affects…well…everything! And I know, firsthand what can happen when you don’t put good things into your body. Your body is a temple, the Bible says so, so you should treat it as such! I’m not going to go through and make a list about what every type of food does for you, you can research that on your own, but I want to talk a little bit about my dietary experiences in the hopes that you can take away some information and transfer it to your own life.
I write a lot about my college experiences in my blog posts because that was the period of time when I was officially on my own and had to figure out a lot about myself. During my second year of college, I became a vegetarian because I wanted a lifestyle change and I thought that removing meat from my diet would satisfy my desire to change something. You would think I suddenly became super healthy and only ate salads and tofu, but in reality, it was more like pizza, fries, cereal and cookies. As a result, I gained unnecessary weight, my hair started falling out, and I was sick more often than I should have been. College can be a rough time food-wise, and although my school was known for having an extremely diverse selection of healthy/vegetarian-friendly cuisine, I wasn’t taking advantage of it. It was too much effort to cook or walk all the way to one of the dining halls, so I settled for the unhealthy foods that I had easy access to and suffered the physical consequences of it. But you don’t have to!
Since we were kids, we’ve been taught about the food pyramid and the importance of balanced meals, but so many Americans end up throwing that information by the wayside when it comes to their own diets. As a nation, we put so much junk into our bodies that our obesity rates are disgustingly high, and people are dying everyday from complications related to their weight and food intake. Overeating and under-eating are both dangerous from a medical standpoint, but also from a confidence standpoint! How can you feel confident in yourself if you’re not being your best you? Your best you is the you that eats healthy servings of fruits, vegetables, proteins, grains, dairy (if you’re not allergic) and drinks plenty of water! I can’t stress how important it is to drink water. I love juice; actually up until September 20 of this year (I’m not ashamed), I only drank juice, but I’ve recently begun drinking water as my primary beverage and I can already feel a change. I’m more alert, I’m using the bathroom more regularly, my skin feels good, and I feel good! If you need to add fruit to your water to sweeten it, do so! Just make sure you’re getting that H2O into your body somehow.
After I graduated college and moved back home, I was able to eat more balanced, frequent meals. I haven’t been legitimately sick in over a year, whereas when I wasn’t eating right I was sick every month, literally! I never felt my best. Now, I have several servings of fruits with my breakfast and lunch, servings of vegetables with my dinner and I keep track of how much protein I’m getting (about 40-50 grams a day) since I am still a vegetarian. If my body could talk she’d say, “Thank you!”
If you’re not someone who eats healthily, I urge you to start small. Don’t shock your body by suddenly making a huge dietary change. Add a piece of fruit to your lunch, cook a meal if you’re someone who eats out a lot. You’ll notice a difference in how you feel, physically and how you feel about yourself. Your confidence will probably increase, too, because confidence is about loving yourself, but also taking care of yourself.
Well, it’s official! My favorite season is upon us: Fall! Hoodies, boots, football season and pumpkin spice lattes, but I’m not necessarily here to talk about all those “basic” essentials that make fall as anticipated as it is. I want to talk about some fashion necessities that could spice (like pumpkin spice, get it?) up your wardrobe as the weather cools down from the summer heat.
1. Leather Jackets
Leather jackets are a must have for the fall months. Now of course, this doesn’t mean that you need to go out and get a $250 leather jacket from the highest of high end department stores; a “pleather” jacket, aesthetically-speaking, will do just fine! I’m actually overdue for a good leather, or leather-looking jacket, so most likely I’m going to either pay a trip to my favorite thrift shop or to Marshalls because they both have great quality products for even greater prices! Not only do they keep you warm, but leather jackets are a great way to pull your whole Autumnal look together while at the same time making you look too cool for school!
I’m not a huge scarf connoseuir, if I’m being honest. I actually don’t own any fashionable scarves because I don’t like things around my neck, but if you’re someone who doesn’t mind that feeling, scarves are the way to go! Usually paired with a jacket or a sweater, scarves often give you that cozy fall look. Scarves also add to the ever-popular layered look that is super trendy as summer closes.
Unfortunately wedges season is just about over, and as sad as I am to say goodbye to my precious sandal wedges, I’m still excited to start pulling out my boots. Ankle boots, mid calfs, knee high, doesn’t matter, boots are perfect for fall! Suede and leather textures/fabrics, especially in boots, is definitely a fall must-have! Paired with leggings or a pair of skinny jeans, dressed up or down, they look great on any and everybody!
Sweaters are perfect for fall because they can stand alone without a jacket as the weather cools down before it freezes. Personally, my favorite type of sweaters are the ones that I can pair with one of my summer tops, which falls in line with the layered look. You’ll usually catch me sporting a tank top with a warm cardigan overtop starting mid-September through October. I end up saving a good sum of money with buying just a few interchangeable cardigans and not having to revamp my entire wardrobe for the cooler months.
5. Warm-toned makeup
If you’re someone who enjoys wearing makeup and playing around with colors, consider switching up your makeup routine or look by adding more “fall-friendly” colors in to your palette. This is the first autumn that I will legitimately own any makeup, so I’m excited to test things out on my face. I plan on wearing some darker, more earth-toned lip colors as well as eye shadows. Many makeup gurus exchange their corals and bright pinks for mauves and browns. My summer colors were bright and noticeable, but for autumn, I’m investing in more golds, nudes and neutrals.
I truly love this season! The fashion is comfy and cozy, but can definitely still be fashionable and fun! Enjoy the first days of fall!
How many of us have heard the phrase, “Real women are/do…” followed by what is usually nonsense? Often times these types of statements are about women’s bodies or presentation and how “real” women do or don’t do certain things to their bodies and should be commended for that. How about, “real women don’t degrade other women?” Today I want to talk about the beauty ideals surrounding makeup! There’s been this idea floating around that women who wear makeup are somehow less valuable, less authentic or less confident than women who don’t wear makeup. And that bothers me!
Recently, in the last few months, I’ve become very interested in makeup. I love watching makeup videos, observing contouring techniques (thanks Kim K!) and buying new products. This newfound hobby has not always been a part of my life though. I was once someone who believed that women who wore makeup were hiding their true selves, and maybe for some women, that is why they wear makeup, but makeup should be used to enhance one’s natural beauty not hide it. I used to trash talk girls at my school who caked on products because I felt like they were so insecure that they had to hide their faces. I am so ashamed of the person that I was, but I’ve learned with time that makeup is a mechanism by which women can flaunt their features and bring out specific traits that they want noticed. For example, I’m learning to love my lips and when I want to bring attention to them, I wear lipstick. Since the start of the summer, I’ve become a lipstick junkie. My collection is certainly small compared to true makeup gurus, but I’ve acquired quite a few shades that boldly enhance my lips and make them look pretty. This is not to say that I don’t like my lips without lipsticks and glosses; I like them so much that I want to show them off!
I’ve watched a lot of makeup transformation videos in that past few months that show how makeup can truly bring out one’s natural beauty. If someone has prominent cheek bones, highlights, bronzers and blushes are often used to enhance that feature. If someone has distinct, bright eyes, different eye shadows, liners and mascaras can bring out one’s eyes or eye color. With this perspective, I understand why so many women love makeup so much. It’s part of the reason that I have recently begun to invest time and energy (and some mulah) into my appearance with the use of makeup. I like the idea and concept of intensifying different facial features on any given day or occasion. Don’t get me wrong, my confidence doesn’t falter if I don’t have makeup on, but I can understand the women and girls who feel immensely more confident with a made-up face than a bare one.
There are many women with skin disorders or heavy acne who use makeup as a means of boosting their confidence because they don’t want to feel isolated due to something out of their control. Society often views individuals with skin issues in a negative light, and although our confidence shouldn’t be determined by society’s beauty standards, it is understandable, under certain circumstances, that some women may want to invest in various coverups and concealers to avoid judgement and negative attention.
With all of this being said, what I want you to take away from today’s blog is that, when it comes to makeup, you should do what makes you feel happy and feel your best. If you feel at your best and most confident with no makeup, a little makeup, or a face full of it, go for it! Makeup can be a great tool for some, but perhaps a “no thank you” for others and that’s okay! But don’t knock down someone else because their beauty routines don’t align with yours. Everyone feels confident in different ways and aspects of their lives and if makeup is yours, awesome! If not, awesome! As always, love yourself and your face because it’s yours!
If there is one thing you should know about me it’s that I LOVE shopping! I probably go shopping every other week just to pick up a few items that would enhance my wardrobe. My shopping habits are probably borderline obsessive, but we’re not here to talk about that today. Today I want to give you all a few tips on how to shop when your wallet tells you not to shop. Because let’s be real, most of us don’t just have a bunch of extra money sitting around for frivolous shopping expenses. I certainly don’t, although based on how many clothes I’ve acquired the last few years, it would seem like I do, but that’s because I know how to “ball out” on a budget!
Most people still envision shopping as spending a weekend afternoon at an overcrowded, over expensive mall. And for those who are wealthy enough and have the time and patience to do so, that’s shopping for them. But for me, someone who often only has a few extra dollars lying around, shopping means going to stores like Marshalls, Ross, TJMaxx and Goodwill (Yes, Goodwill, like a thrift store) and finding good quality clothes for great prices. I have walked into Ross with only $30 and come out with 5 dressy, work appropriate tops! Other places would barely give you a pair of socks for that price, but I’m not going to mention names. Recently, Goodwill and I have been reacquainted and I’ve been purchasing large amounts of clothing for under $30. I found a $5 designer skirt that had originally been marked at $89.50. Talk about a steal! There is definitely still a stigma in some social circles about thrift store shopping, but the clothing that is donated and put on the racks is in great condition and many times from higher end stores like Ann Taylor, The Limited, and Black and White. So if it wasn’t clear, my first tip is shop designer quality, but not designer prices!
One of my worst shopping habits is not keeping track of my spending when I’m grabbing clothes from racks and ultimately checking them out. My greatest fear is having my card declined in front of a bunch of people in line behind me. Most likely, this would be a result of not knowing how much I’m spending in different stores and just happily swiping away, thinking everything is fine. My next tip is bring cash! If you take out or bring a certain amount of cash and more importantly, leave your credit/debit cards at home, you know that you’re on a fixed budget and you’ll be less inclined to go over the top with the shopping.
If you’re opposed to shopping at Marshalls or other similar stores, then my next tip is for you! Not many people know this, but if you ask the sales clerk, “Are there any additional discounts today?” as he or she is ringing up your things, there’s a good chance they’ll say yes! Many times, stores won’t advertise some of their sales, and many more times, you can end up getting 25% off your items just by asking at the register. Macy’s is notorious for having secret sales that no one knows about (That’s the magic of Macy’s).
My last tip is to hit the sale rack! The sale rack is truly the place to be when you’re out shopping. The new arrivals at any given store will often be overpriced and marked down within two months whereas the sale rack usually has great discounts for the same clothing that just a few weeks ago was double in price. My favorite sale rack is at DSW because I can find designer shoes for up to 80% off! I’ve gotten shoes that were originally close to $200 down to about $20, which is insane! Scope out the sale racks before you start grabbing things that are out of your price point. You can get double the amount of shoes you want!
Shopping can be a tiring, tedious activity if you let it, but if you’re willing, try out a few of the tips listed above. I guarantee you’ll want to shop til you drop!
Everyone wants "flawless" skin, right?... Well find out how I try to keep my face smooth as a babies bottom... lol
Don't Forget Your Confidence
According to our picture here, Pooh does not appear to be ready for the summer. How is he going to go into summer looking like that? Well Gigi, I kind of look like that! But I’m going to get my body looking right for the summer. That’s all good and fine to want to get in shape-- because let’s be honest, Pooh doesn’t appear to be in the best shape--but you shouldn’t have to feel like that just because its summertime. Of course the sweaters have come off to make room for tank tops and T-shirts, and the long, thick pants are packed away in exchange for capris and shorts, but why do we feel the need to suddenly go into “work-out-dieting overdrive” when the temperature rises? One could argue that society has conditioned us to believe that in order to wear warm-weather clothing, we have to shed our winter fat and begin all of these unhealthy, unrealistic diets to get that hot summer body. Would you believe me if I told you that a summer body is just your body?
I’ve noticed a trend in commercial advertisements that promote weight-loss products and gym memberships. Typically, right after New Years and also at the start of the summer, diet pills and work-out gear are at an all time high. Recently in my own inner circles, I’ve seen friends and family suddenly start exercising and eating less like there’s no tomorrow. Again, I think exercise and eating healthily are both very important and essential, but it should never be taken to the extreme that some take it to during the warmer months. The body that you were blessed with should not have to be drastically altered just because your arms or legs are showing more than they were a few months ago. You should love your body and treat it kindly no matter what the weather.
My body from this past Christmas versus my body as I type this article is virtually the same. I’m not going to deprive myself of the snacks and meals that I love (and I really love snacks) simply because I’m wearing a different outfit and less of me is covered. In past summers, I’ve felt so insecure about how toned my calves were or if my arms were flabby, but this summer, I’ve realized that strangers don’t actually care how other strangers look. Often, they are too self-absorbed in their own insecurities that they don’t notice the flaws that you may think are obvious. So just as I rocked my sweater dresses in the winter, I’m going to rock my sundresses in the summer. And I’m not going to concern myself with society’s preoccupation with the “summer body” nonsense. Your summer body is your everyday body and it’s beautiful because it’s yours!
Have you ever been in a fight? When I say fight I don’t mean an argument where there was yelling, screaming and cussing. I mean a real fight where fists were flying, weave was tossed around and it had to be broken up? That’s a real fight! Correction! That’s a real HOT mess, because ladies don’t fight. Well, we are not supposed to fight, not physically. What if I told you I could teach you a way to fight without using your hands or hurtful words? Allow me to let you in on a little something. When your friend makes you mad or when someone gets on your last nerve and you are two seconds from giving them a piece of your mind this is what you do…CHILL! Yes, chill! Take a breath, or two, or three or five, say a prayer and do nothing! In 2 Corinthians 10:4 "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary they have divine power to demolish strongholds. For example, let’s say your friend said she was going to do come over and help you with a major project and she never did! You cancelled plans, and changed your whole schedule because your friend was going to come over and help you. She said she would be at your house at 10am sharp! 12pm, your friend hasn’t shown up yet. 2pm, no call, no show. 5pm, nothing! She finally calls you at 6:30pm and tells you that she missed her boyfriend so much that she just had to go and see him today! She shows up at your house at 9:00pm and crashes on the couch. You keep your cool up to this point but when you start to talk about your project she starts to fall asleep. In between her naps she yells, “Can’t you just shut up for about 30 minutes. I told you I would be here when I could and I’m here, but I’m really tired and your killing my vibe.”
What would you do? Snatching her by her hair and kicking her out of your house is not an option! Here is how you fight without laying a hand on your rude, careless and selfish friend. You take it to God in prayer. Pray to Jesus! She obviously is dealing with a lying spirit. The word of God tells us that our weapons are not carnal. You have weapons just not physical ones! You can’t see them or touch them. The weapons you have are prayer, praise and worship! Before you go to God for anything you should get in the habit of giving Him praise. Tell Him how great He is (praise)and thank Him for a few things in your life. Also, tell Him how much you love Him (worship). In this situation, you probably wouldn’t remember to give God praise and worship. Your first response would be to yell back. Instead you can say, “Help me Jesus.” I believe God will give you peace that will prevent you from going to jail. You will get your help (just remember to thank Him later).
In Deuteronomy 32:35 it says that vengeance belongs to God. That simply means that God will repay all of those who did you wrong, who hated on you, talked bad about you and even those who hit you. Sometimes He will even let you watch. But the point is DON’T SEEK REVENGE! Don’t try to attack or repay wrong behavior with more wrong behavior. Trust God! Put your confidence in God, knowing that He will fight your battles. Remember there is always a way of escape. You can walk away, pray, ask Jesus to give you strength! You have many options. Which one will you choose? It takes a strong, confident young lady to walk away from someone yelling and acting a complete and total fool. But guess what? You are a classy girl. You are a young lady who respects herself and her reputation No one can say that you are a wild monkey. You won’t get posted on World Star or Media Take Out.
I don’t mean to be cliché but LET GO AND LET GOD! Put your faith and hope in Jesus. There is nothing too hard for God. So the next time someone gets you to the point where you want to knock them out; fight with confidence by calling on God. Remember you have options!
*Don’t forget your confidence
PS. You are too cute to be fighting. ;-)