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

Plus Size Fashion

Where is the Body Diversity when it comes to Photography Art?

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I have a bone to pick with designers/creators/costumers: where are the fat bodies at? I’m not talking about slim bodies in fat suits or making a joke out of plus bodies. No, what I’m referring to are the stylish campaigns like we see with high fashion events and magazine editorials. Now a dear friend of mine would tell me to stop complaining and do something about changing this situation – so Tami (my bestie and go-to photographer) of  House Of Winter   and I decided we would do just that! I’d provide the voluptuous body and Tami not only created the head piece but she also customized the swimsuit…oh, and she did my makeup! Now I would like to point out that Tami has been creating amazing looks and costumes for me for five years now and as a photographer and designer she is all about shooting all shapes, sizes, and walks of life and has been creating her art for many years!

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Every element of this image from the pose to the costume to the background to the way she shot this image and edited it; it truly is a work of art and *gasp* it’s on a plus body! So I decided to pick Tami’s brain and get her input as a creator and fabricator – What gives? Why do we not see more plus bodies in these fantasy/costume editorials, why do so many designers and creators leave out the plus? And her response wasn’t a surprise. It’s not so much about the cost of the extra fabric or materials (because it’s very small), it’s the amount of effort that goes in to costuming a bigger body: patterns have to be adjusted, embellishments take more time because there is more real estate to cover, and designs HAVE to be tweaked to make the fit right. So you may be asking yourself, what’s the big deal with having to add a little extra effort in to creating a look for a plus body?  It took Tami almost the same amount of time to create this look as she did for a size 2 model also shooting this series, she had to spend a little bit longer on my suit only because there was more fabric to cover. Now, this might not ring true with other designers or creators but it does make a little sense when you consider “mainstream plus fashion” labels and how a lot of the times the patterns are very obviously not altered in places they should be and how many brands are all about the fast way of getting that money by cashing in on the BoPo community and truly not caring or considering their plus customers. A topic for another time 😉

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Now I’m not saying there aren’t other photographers and designers out there creating beauty with bigger bodies, there are, but what I want to see is a body like mine in artistic campaigns and editorials that are introduced to mainstream media. I want to see runway shows with size 24 models rocking the runway with as much coverage as the VS Angels runway show, I want to see elaborate designs for plus size bodies and I want it to be in society’s face. Fat does not mean we are not beautiful. Plus size bodies deserve just as much adoration as thinner bodies and we are not going to allow to be hidden. So here I am changing the situation with the help of one incredibly talented friend, and we will continue to do so. I can only hope that with the body positive community demanding change that we will get to that point.

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I’d love to hear what you Loves think – do you think we don’t see more plus size beauties in campaigns like this do to the extra cost, the extra effort it takes, or is it a bit of both? Disagree with me? I’d love to hear why!

Kat XO

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P.S. Hey Disney! I am so ready to be animated in to a princess – well Queen, I think we nailed the Queen look and I think the world is ready for a plus size Disney figure next to Ursula. What?! A lady can dream can’t she?

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

Uncategorized

Wardrobe Remix: Three Looks, One Item – Torrid Yellow Floral Chiffon Kimono

One of my favorite misconceptions to set straight for readers is that once I shoot in something I’m done wearing it… Completely wrong! I’m the type of person where I will wear something once and then style it differently and wear it as many various ways as possible. Then I sometimes alter, dye, or hem a garment just so I can continue getting more use out of it! So one of my new features on the blog I will begin to post regularly will be the wardrobe remix – taking one garment and styling it three different ways and throwing in a few styling suggestions here and there.

This feature I’m wearing the Yellow floral chiffon kimono from TORRID (Shop Here) .

The first styled look is laid back causal. Summer time for me is a pretty social season, I spend a lot of time at outdoor events, friends get together and hosting a few dinners myself. Now do I need to get all decked for a brunch on the back deck patio? Well, I could lol but I’d prefer to be casual. Which is what we have here…

Jean shorts with lace embellishment paired with a red bra for an extra hint of color and of course this floral beauty (All items from this look shopped from Torrid)! No accessories but a high ponytail and minimum makeup to complete this stay at home host look.

The second styled look we have is just the right amount of professional mixed with summer appeal – perfect for a picnic and day spent at the park with the family or luncheon out with the ladies. I love rompers but if I know I’m going to be in the sun for awhile I like to have a little something extra to cover up with to keep my sensitive skin from getting sunburned and this light weight kimono is perfect for just this reason!

Paired with the kimono I’m wearing a one piece romper and simple suede flats, high ponytail and Michael Kors sunglasses. Now I might add an oversized purse and understated necklace to this ensemble to step it up that extra notch. And when showing this much leg I’m always a fan of anklets.

Third look is what I like to call “date night” ready! A lil’ vavavoom to amp up the sexiness: heels to add a little extra lift and shape to those calves, bangles to add that little extra sparkle and the perfect low key updo so your not sweating the night away in the summer heat! When I’m running out for date night with hubby and we’re keeping it simple I like to keep my outfit the same speed as our activities. And not to mention were usually running out of the house in excitement because a good babysitter is rare lol so that usually means a low key look I can throw together quickly while still looking fine 😉

Keeping with the simple low key theme for these looks I paired black leggings with the kimono, black pumps, swept my hair in to a messy bun and added bangles and black faux diamond studs to complete this look. Simple, summery, with a dash of elegance. (All items for this look shopped from Torrid.) Now for this look I would probably throw in a chic clutch and maybe add a little extra hair flower to my hair to bring that low key look up to a little something extra!

I hope you Loves enjoyed this wardrobe remix and stay tuned for future sets!

Kat XO

To shop for the Yellow Chiffon Floral Kimono or more click the link here : TORRID