Lifestyle, Parenting, Publications, self love

FabUPlus Summer ‘18 Digital Issue Giveaway

So excited to share with you Loves a FREE digital copy of FabUPlus Magazine’s Summer 2018 issue featuring my article Breastfeeding: There Is No Shame, featuring original images shot by House Of Winter.

The article delves in to the stigma formula feeding Mom’s face in public and my own personal experience with medical professionals .

Click the link for your very own copy:

FabUPlus Digital Issue

Now, hopefully you Loves headed over and collected your own copy and meandered back this way for a bit more of an in-depth plunge in to the topic of this plus size mom who was unable to breastfeed and was shamed as a result.

Three months after giving birth I was unable to continue producing breast milk, I was pressured to take prescriptions to induce lactation (that irritated an intestinal condition I deal with on the regular and mind you I was also healing from a c-section) that never worked and even tried herbal remedies (tea that tasted like I was licking the forest floor yuck- which is saying something because I LOVE tea!), I just couldn’t produce it. Mentally I was devastated – I was so prepared to be apart of this group of women who took part of a tradition that has been happening since the beginning of time.

Then you factor in the hormones and changes my body was still going through after giving birth and then having to visit my OB or my daughter’s pediatric doctor: each visit would be bombarded with posters encouraging breast feeding, having to deal with every nurse asking repeatedly why I didn’t breastfeed my child and how much healthier it would be for her if I did, and I’d have to endure this speech and pressure until finally I’d be able to get a word in and tell them I physically couldn’t produce breast milk and boom! End of conversation. Beyond frustrating.

I also had to deal with several public instances where I was told by a fellow shopper that I was “poisoning” my daughter and she’d end up unhealthy and fat like me. I had a cashier judgmentally ask me, “Haven’t you heard how bad it is to feed your baby this stuff?” And I’ve had acquaintances of friends feel free to comment about my lack of health awareness feeding my daughter formula – lack of health awareness meaning I’m fat of course. Insert biggest eye roll possible!

With every frustration I faced I had my daughter’s healthy smile to beam back at me, for every nay-sayer that we encountered my daughter just proved them wrong with every milestone she hit and surpassed, and honestly, that’s the best mute button I’ve encountered to silencing people’s judgements when it comes to parenting.

I’m interested in hearing from my fellow parents: when it came to feeding your little one did you experience any shame or societal pressure for your choices?

Share your experiences below and I’ll make sure to join in on the convo!

Until next time my Loves,

Kat XO

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Plus Size Fashion, self love

Anxiety & Bondage

The most basic definition of anxiety and it’s resulting symptoms can be summarized by stating that a person can experience intense and extreme persistent worry and excessive fear about everyday situations resulting in a higher heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, and exhaustion. Now, if you actually experience anxiety you know that the above statement is more like a sugarcoated way of briefly describing the tip of an anxiety ice burg.

Anxiety symptoms can range from a debilitating fear of leaving the home, to mumbling and social fumbling, black spots behind the eyes and fainting, cold sweats, over heated, nausea, sweaty palms, nervousness, crying, anger and agitation, and depression. These are just a few symptoms and for many people they experience these at different levels and to different degrees. There are prescriptions you can have prescribed as well as working with a therapist that can all help with anxiety and dealing with anxiety.

Now, one of the techniques/tricks/tools I’ve learned while dealing with my own anxiety is that bondage wear can help drastically cut down on any social anxiety I may be experiencing while out at events or social functions where there are large crowds. As a public speaker and someone who is use to big crowds it may sound funny to hear that I experience anxiety about these situations, but like many of you – I do.When I’m in a heavily crowded place my anxiety can start to go through the roof – I worry about taking up space, I worry about bumping in to others, I don’t want other people bumping in to me… the list goes on. And I’ve found that bondage wear helps; a collar/choker, or wearing a harness over the clothing or under drastically cuts down on the anxiety. Why? Simple: for me it feels like I’m in a constant embrace. I feel secure and safe. Which then translates to my entire being that we’re good; my posture straightens, eye contact is no issue, body bumps are no problem, my confidence feels boosted, and having that constant embrace makes me feel almost invincible. Like I could take on the world and do it confidently because I’ve got that support in place.

How many of you Loves experience anxiety attack’s? I’m right there with you. My heart beat will pick up, I’ll start getting the nervous sweats, my skin feels like it’s got creepy crawlers scurrying about, my vision tunnels and it can feel like I’m drowning – catching my breath at that point almost feels impossible. A harness actually helps me deal with this: having the constant reassuring pressure on my chest helped to anchor me and by focusing on that slight pressure I’m able to concentrate not only on the moment at hand but the situation at hand; part of my social anxiety is caused by the constant what if’s in my head (tripping, saying something stupid and embarrassing, outfit disaster). So a harness, for me, is like a reassuring hug that say’s “Hey – stop future tripping bitch you got this!”

Now Loves, I want to point out that scientifically there is also backing that engaging in BDSM activities (Yes, even just wearing the bondage wear) leaves people with lower levels of stress and an increase in cortisol levels which could be attributed to the non-judgmental environment while also experiencing physical intensity and letting go of expectations leaving the person feeling free and therefore releasing tension and anxiety. Often compared to the sensation of a “runner’s high” or mind space of a yoga practitioner.

So in summary; it’s not just about the pleasure but about the feelings the bondage wear can create in the wearer, it’s about feeling secure and safe and allowing that item to help create a sense of safety within yourself.

Huge shout out to my bestie Tami of House Of Winter for shooting this set and Bawdy Love for sponsoring this amazing harness Hecate set, this set had me feeling like a sexy goddess safe and secure in her own skin!!

Had to throw in there that this article was inspired by @iharterika and the incredible work that she does!

And last but certainly not least lol my hubby for just being him (Yes, that’s my husband in the set with me).

Until next time my Loves,

Kat XO

self love

Fighting Seasonal Depression

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I have to tell you Loves, every year around this time I experience seasonal gloomies (meaning my depression/seasonal affective disorder rears its ugly head with the oncoming change of winter season). My drive and motivation go out the door, I have no will to socialize or post on my media because it just feels too forced, my patience and tolerance reach an all time low, and I tend to hermit myself inside and cut out the outside world. And honestly, I’m ready to pull myself out of it and rejoin the land of the living by deciding to write about it! So I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks of mine to that have helped me deal with this gloomy time of year for anybody else who may be experiencing this as well.

Revamp Wardrobe: First clear out and donate anything in your closet that doesn’t fit! Trying on clothes that don’t fit have negative side effects to your mental health so get rid of those “just need to loose 10 more lbs” outfits. Now, as a small family with only a single income our budget can get pretty tight so I’ve found two easy ways to reinvest in my wardrobe; first up is fabric dye – an easy and wonderful tool to change those warn garments from old to like new! I tend to use R.I.T. fabric dye, you can find in most grocery stores or here: Fabric Dye

I’ve also found that changing the length of a garment can also dramatically change the appearance so by using a little double-sided fabric tape you can easily change up a garment any time you choose! My favorite product to use is Sticth Witchery for this particular wardrobe revamp! You can usually find this in craft stores or this link here: Fabric Tape

Reach Out To Friends and Leave The House: This one can definitely be difficult, it’s one of the harder steps for me to take when I’m stuck in the blues, so this is why I think it’s so important to include. It’s easy to seclude yourself but the truth is when you’re feeling down like this the comfort and company a friend or family member can provide can only help your frame of mind. Go out for coffee, meet up at a park for a walk, or stop at your favorite restaurant for dinner! Now notice I mentioned activities that involve leaving the house? Why might you ask? Because you need fresh air and warm sunshine, it’s been proven that these two elements can help influence you in the right direction towards a positive frame of mind.  Not quite ready to venture out? That’s ok too. Try bringing the inside to you, like maybe purchasing a plant or if you have no green thumb like me lol succulents? Having a little green inside will definitely help your mood by brightening up those surroundings!

Treat Yourself: Now before you go buying a whole new wardrobe I need you to know I’m not just speaking about monetary items to splurge on for yourself, don’t get me wrong if you’ve got it splurge away Honey! BUT I’m talking about carving out an hour a day to take a little YOU time. This can mean reading a book, face mask session while soaking in the tub, a visit with your therapist, meditating, walking your dog at the park, even just a nap from your chaotic life can do wonders when you’re feeling stressed and over worked. This step has become vital for me, as a new mom I began to feel like my identity was being overrun and there was only a mom there. This kind of negative thinking didn’t help me or my family, so with a little help from my wonderful husband I carved out a little time for myself every day and I’ve spent that time reconnecting with hobbies, friends, and rediscovering my passion – one hour at a time 😉 One way I like to pamper myself? I give myself a little manicure and will paint my nails in a fun shade that makes me happy, one of my favorite polish brands to use would be EMMA V.S.N.P.
As you can see I love the colors lol which is why I’m wearing two!
You can shop the link here: Nail Polish

Tidy Up: I tend to be horrible with this one, when I’m down and just feeling blue I have no desire to clean so the chores tend to build up and then who doesn’t get even more depressed surrounded by messes? So cleaning up your living space is essential. I tend to go nuts with organizers, so I’ve included the link for my favorite bathroom organizer for you Loves. Clean out the clutter and junk, dust those shelves, do those dishes and laundry, and don’t forget to open up a window or two to let in that fresh sunlight.

A little something to help the de-clutter process: Rolling Storage Cart

Make The Conscious Decision To Work For Happiness: It’s never easy to just “buck up” when you are dealing with issues like being stuck in a funk, and honestly when people tell me to do this and I’m experiencing this issue I feel it’s downright insensitive. What you can do is make the honest effort to pull yourself from that funk. It’s downright easy to wallow in misery, don’t put yourself through that, feel your pain and acknowledge it. Then make the decision that today will be better than yesterday and put your all in to making that statement a reality! It won’t always be easy but know you are worth every effort.

Those of you who may also be suffering from SAD, what has helped you?
Kat XO

*The links above are affiliate codes which means I will earn a small commission which will help me to continue providing future content. Appreciate y’all!*

self love

Thirty & Thriving: How I Plan To Embrace A Bolder Wardrobe

If you happened to peek in to my closet about 90% of what I own happens to be in the color black. This isn’t a bad thing but this truly got me to thinking. As a plus size child I was always taught that darker colors are the wiser choice simply because they are slimming and more “flattering” for a fat body. So of course when clothing was suggested the darker shades took the top and the brighter tones got shoved to the bottom. It was a way to minimize my appearance to appear less big. Hell of a thing for a child to have to consider but that’s beside the point.

Now when you look around my home you’ll see tons of color! From artwork to photographs, furniture (my living room set is green for goodness sakes) my tattoos, and even down to my occasional shift of hair color (I like when my hair is pink almost as much as my natural red)and nail polish… which happens to currently be a bright electric blue. I Love Color. So why then doesn’t my wardrobe reflect this? In a moment of self reflection I began to wonder: Do I really truly love to wear the color black that much or has my brain just been rewired to make clothing in this color my top choice to make myself appear “smaller” because of the constant reinforcement that fat bodies have to be slimmed down?

Well Loves, I don’t have an answer for you yet but we’re going to figure this out together. Every year on my birthday I try to make a promise to myself to work on an aspect of self growth – so what better promise to make to myself for the big 3-O!! For the rest of this year I plan on forcing myself to choose brighter shades of color and resist the temptation to buy everything in black lol! You may be asking why I plan to do this and I’m gladly going to share my reasoning with you : if the reason my wardrobe is 90% black is truly because my brain has been conditioned to choose the more slimming shades as a result from the pressure from diet culture and bullying then I need to reclaim that part of my brain and rewire it to re-include color back in my wardrobe. Think about it – that’s a huge portion of fashion choices that I unintentionally removed myself from because my brain wasn’t thinking correctly. And it’s time to take those choices back.

Kind of like when I started calling myself a fat babe. For years I would take the word Fat as an insult. A truly low blow word that would bring this toxic feeling of inadequacy and shame to me. When I reclaimed this word I reprogrammed my brain to reject the idea that this word had any negative power. It’s a word that describes something and it doesn’t have to be negative or positive so why not use my own power to make the word FAT a positive one?

I plan on exploring new brands, new color options and bold choices to ring in my Thirtieth year on this earth and I hope you Loves will join me!

Kat XO

Shop “Beach Don’t Kill My Vibe” top & Mustard Yellow Shorts here : TORRID

Parenting, Publications

Breastfeeding: No Shame – FabUPlus Summer ‘18 Issue

Recently I had an article published in the latest issue of FabUPlus Magazine that addressed a topic I’d like to expand on here… There is a TON of talk about women who breastfeed; should breastfeeding be allowed in public, should women face shame for feeding their children in the same way it’s always been done, should women be forced to cover up while breastfeeding, is breastfeeding the preferable choice to formula. The list goes on… But what I don’t see is the discussion about women who just plain out can’t breastfeed and the pressure and stigma they face when they can’t produce for their child.

In quick summary the article touched base on the pressure I faced from medical professionals, random strangers condemning my choice of formula, and the utter devastation I felt when I stopped lactating three months after my daughter was born. I encourage you Loves to run to the nearest Barnes & Noble or the link above to get this issue!! With that being said… I’m going to expand on each area here below. But first a little cuteness before we dive in to the ugly!

Three months after my daughter was born I stopped producing breast milk and felt like such a failure. Now mind you, the month prior my supply was already dwindling so I began to stress about it which everyone will tell you only makes matters worse. So I go to my O.B. (who is fabulous and never tries to shame me about my weight) and explain my concerns, she suggests this herbal tea that has helped other mothers with similar issues. I literally Amazon that stuff while I was still in the parking lot, two days later I start drinking this god awful forest floor tasting tea 4x a day! Nauseating. Which was a bummer because I genuinely like most kinds of tea.

Back on point: my third month and daily forest mulch tea drinks and BAM no more breast milk. Go back to my O.B. feeling panicked and upset, my husband and I had decided on breast milk and that’s what our plan had been (I’m a planner and organizer so when the plan derails so does my anxiety), and ask her if there is anything else I can do? So she prescribes this pill that for two short weeks worked but also caused my intestinal condition to worsen – so no more pills. Which left me with no way to breast feed my daughter.

I felt like a failure as a mother, never did I consider I wouldn’t be able to continue doing what countless other women have done for their babies. I felt shame that my body was somehow lacking. And every time I went for one of my daughters check ups I had to deal with nurses badgering me to ‘make the healthy choice’ for my baby. Throwing in suggestions on how to improve my lactation, rude questions about what I was eating as if my poor “diet” choices where preventing my breast milk from escaping my fatness (all that crap we plus bodies consume on an hourly basis of course – insert heavy eye roll) and tactless questions on my apparent choice of diet for my baby. Add in my hormones and I was one HOT MESS.

I’ll never forget how my husband found me on the bathroom floor crying because I couldn’t pump a drop of breast milk. Very gently he collected me off of the floor and brought me to stand over our daughters crib and told me to look and see how healthy she was. That I didn’t fail her but instead was making an effort to make sure she was provided with every vitamin and nutrients she needed, which in this case was formula, while giving her so much love that there was no way she could be anything BUT healthy.

So I made a new plan. If I couldn’t breastfeed then I’d still make sure my daughter was receiving everything she needed and more with the added formula. My daughters doctor was thrilled with her health and her growth. Which meant so should I. I began to let the anxiety go and forgave myself for being human. Some of us just can’t breastfeed and there is nothing wrong with that. And even if you can and decide not too, there’s nothing wrong with that either.

Mom to Mom – If you ever have the unwanted opinions of others barging in to your day just tune them out (or my approach – telling them to kiss my fat ass). My child is healthy and happy and that’s all that matters.

Breastfeed. Don’t breastfeed. There is no shame.

Ok parents I want to hear those crazy encounters with strangers – you know the kind I’m talking about, the kind of encounter where they impart their unwanted bat-shit crazy “parenting wisdoms” to you.

Example: as I was purchasing the formula for my daughter the check stand clerk promptly told me that as a fat person she understood that I didn’t understand I was feeding my daughter poison and it was her “moral duty” to inform me as such. I politely told her that my daughters health wasn’t any of her concern and that she should put that effort in to becoming a person who minds her own business and judges other less. The look on her face was priceless! Talking full on jaw hanging open, eyes wide and filled with shock and rage, and the utter indignation of being put her in place by a fat woman was seriously the highlight of my day.

So share those parenting gems below and let’s all have a bit of a laugh!

Kat XO