Friday, January 29, 2016

Just a girl!

Many years ago, a group named Aqua came out with a song called Barbie Girl.  You can find the song here ~~> Barbie Girl by Aqua.  Rather interesting and catchy song that made millions.  In fact, if I go back to my parents' house, I'm pretty sure the CD is somewhere in my room.  Do you think it's funny I liked a song that had absolutely nothing to do with me?

Well, let's think about this - how come so many of us have liked the actual doll that has looked nothing like any of us for all these years?  It has been long said the measurements of the Barbie doll in human sizes were impossible.  Now, other than those few who have taken the knife to try to look like Barbie and Ken (and have still failed in my opinion), no one has even come close.  So, when I started seeing the cover for Time on my Instagram this week, I felt a little bit better.  

I have my collection of African-American Barbie and I've played with Caucasian Barbie in school, but neither of them ever looked like me, and it went way beyond race.  I've never been skinny.  I'll never be skinny.  The smaller I get, the less proportioned my body looks and I start seeing myself in an unhealthy way that say gain weight!  I've been a size 12 and I wasn't cute.  I can tolerate me being in a size 14.  However, I have found I am most comfortable at a size 16.  Let's go a little bit further.  

I'm just under 5'4".  I'm taller than one of my aunts when she wears heels.  I'm considered petite.  I wear size short when buying jeans at Old Navy.  I'm fine with that.  It's just how I was made.  If I buy jeans from other stores that do not carry petite, I have to get them altered.  There is a particular store I buy from where I have to take all my jeans to get altered before I wear them.  Fit in the waist, but even my highest of heels don't do the job to keep them off the ground.  It just it what it is.  

Let's not even get started on my hair.  Even my African-American Barbie had long straight hair.  Even with a perm, my hair has never been long that just below my shoulders.  I used to cut my doll's hair so that she would look more like me.  Today, I'm natural.  I love my fro and I wish I had made the decision a long time ago, but I've been going strong for over 3 years now and I don't see me going back to processed hair.  

So, if I'm an adult and this excited about a doll looking like me, I wonder what a child is thinking?  Finally, something other than custom made American Girl dolls.  Even my Addy doll fro American Girl had long hair!  

To see Barbie with some curves is awesome!  To see a petite Barbie is awesome.  To see a Barbie with my grade of hair is awesome.  And the new clothes - I love!!!  Honestly, it took too long for Barbie to catch up.  Many will argue they are only doing this because their sales have taken a hit over the past few years.  However, I would like to think they actually saw the light and cared enough about the body image being portrayed and that made someone say hmmmm....let's do something a little different.  I like different.  I like to embrace different.  
Now, you know there are some critics that are saying should not have messed with the original.  Well, the original Barbie still exists and if that is what you like, go for it.  But don't you dare take away something from me because it doesn't look like you.  Quite frankly, you don't even look like the original Barbie so why are you so upset about the changes?

It taking baby steps, but plus size people are finally getting to a point where they feel welcomed in this world!  To the companies that are doing their best to roll out the welcome mat, THANK YOU!  Yeah, we have a long ways to go, but this little bit has definitely gone a long way.  


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Undercover

Well, first thing this morning when I get to work, someone said something to me that inspired this post.  I wasn't even in my office.  In fact, I was in the hallway - pocketbook and lunch box on my shoulders.  However, it was really cool to get some morning inspiration.  

I like cold weather, but I know to dress appropriately in the cold weather.  Today, in my town, we basically had two seasons in one day - this morning it was Winter and then this afternoon, it was Spring.  Since it was winter this morning, I decided to wear my favorite beanie.  

My coworker has seen me in my beanie before, but this morning she said is your head cold?  I laughed and shook my head.  But it made me think bad to a time, not so long ago, when I would cover as much of myself as I could because I didn't know how I felt about my body.  

Today, it is so amazing to see these ladies (and guys) celebrating how they look - love handles and all.  Now, I'm not there yet and probably will never be comfy enough to take a photo in my gorgeous Lane Bryant underwear (unless I'm under contract) and plaster is all on social media, but I applaud the people who are there.  Why do I applaud them and not say ew, gross?  It's simple - it's because I know the journey it takes to get there.  Notice, I didn't say I know their journey, I said I knew the journey.  I know it because I'm currently on that path myself.  

It's not something that happens over night and it you want me to be quite honest, it is not something that is going to happen in a matter of months.  However, with hard work (yep, it's just like exercising), you can and you will learn to love yourself.  

I have to mention someone in this post.  It's not something that I do often because I always feel weird about mentioning people I don't know or have never really even interacted with on social media.  The beautiful Whitney Way Thore (@WhitneyWay) posted a photo to her Instagram account last week of her in a two-piece on the beach.  I'm not there yet, but I admire her for being about to do so.  I didn't look at all the comments because there are over 300 hundred of them, but I know that some of them had to be negative.  Grant you, anything you post on social media is subject to negativity, but the fact she was brave enough to post that photo was amazing to me.  

Like I said, I'm not there yet, but because of that photo, Whitney helped someone break out of their shell and put on a two piece.  Honestly, I would love to talk to her about her entire body positive movement (I won't say the name on here because that is her deal and I don't have permission to talk about it - but maybe one day) because she is making great strides.  Because of her photo, someone decided it was time to not be ashamed for not being a size skinny.  (I call it size skinny because no one really knows what number it is anymore).  Her photo probably saved the life of someone.  

Stop hiding, ladies and gentlemen.  We are amazing human beings, all of us, and we deserve to walk around with our heads up high and not looking at the ground because we're trying to avoid the nasty looks people give us.  The best medicine for that is to flash them with a smile.  Now, those are contagious!  

Monday, January 25, 2016

Exercising my right to Zumba!

Here recently, I've fallen back in love with Zumba!  It's the most fun for me when it comes to working out and I don't feel so out of place.  Well, it could really get interesting, but I have a lot to think about.  

Let's start back to about 7 years ago.  This is around the time I was for real about Zumba.  I guess you can say I jumped on the Zumba bandwagon.  I didn't see a lot of results (at first) when it came to my weight, but the inches started coming off almost immediately.  Of course the weight would come.  The instructor that I absolutely adored one day talked to me after class and she told me how proud of me she was because I was keeping up with the skinny people in class.  I took that as a serious compliment!  Seriously!  Before I could even start the class, I had to make sure I took my inhaler and made sure it was close by if I needed it.  In other words, I had to make sure I was close to a wall or window so I had something to put my inhaler on.  She knew all of that!  It was her next statement that shocked me -  you should get certified to teach the class.  I was basically floored because I just kept thinking who's going to come to the Zumba class taught by the big chick?  

Well, that leads us to today.  I have a coworker who wants me to travel to come to her Zumba class.  She said she was going to keep bugging me until I came.  Her class is a bit far for me, but I am willing to give it a try...just to be supportive to my coworker.  However, today she told me you should consider teaching a class.  Then, to add insult to injury (LOL), she told me that I could get a double discount for signing up by a certain time.  

So, I thought of it a few different ways - it could be a fun way to make some extra money.  I know I would be getting a solid workout for one hour a week with a fun group of people.  It would be so much fun!  But then in the back of my mind, even though she kept encouraging me, I wondered will someone actually be interested in taking a class from a person my size?  
I mean, I can keep up, but I would be so terrified that people would take one look at the instructor and and turn away.  However, how will I know if I don't take the chance.  So, it's not something I'm going to think about and make a decision about tomorrow, but it is something to consider.  I mean, I've seen plus size exercise instructors and I've even taken a few classes from them and it was wonderful because I didn't feel so alone.  However, just because they got a warm reception, it doesn't mean I am going to get one.  

What should I do?  I'll, of course, think about it, but I would also like your opinion.  Besides, don't you think it would make for an interesting post every once in a while?


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The gift that keeps on giving!

Disclaimer:  Post is not about religion, but there is a Christian element.  If you feel you may be offended, please stop reading this post.  However, if you won't be offended and just want to see what I have to say (because I'm not trying to convert you to Christianity), please continue reading.

The interesting part about this post is I've been trying to write this post for a few weeks.  Each time I sit down to write it, I find a reason to get up.  Each time I think about writing it, I find something else to think about or do.  Each time an element comes to my mind to add to it, I change the subject.  It's been that serious.  Then, on top of myself thinking about it, my pastor touched on it last Sunday and tonight, something a friend sent to me had the same sentiment.  Needless to say, I feel like I'm supposed to be writing this post.  I've learned as a writer, each time I write something, it's not necessarily for me.  Sometimes, the person on the other end of this screen needed this a lot more than me.  If that person or persons is you, I apologize for taking so long to write this.  

For years, I had this idea in my head that I could be something.  I had my heart set on being a plus model.  I'm supposed to dream big, right?  I even had (and still do technically) have an agent, but they are wanting to push me more into acting and I don't think I am ready for that just yet.  However, modeling, I could do that.  Yes, I know it's more than posing - it's about conveying something on a screen, runway, or paper that help people understand something and want to have the product you are modeling...at least that is MY perception of it.  I could do that!  I do it here, right now, so why not give it a try?  I've tried for years and maybe I just got caught up in the fact I love taking professional photos.  I don't know  But, what I have learned here lately is that modeling is not for me.  Another thing I've learned, modeling is not the only way to make it in the plus industry.

Have I made it in the plus industry?  Not by any means!!!  On the other hand, I am doing my best to make it in the best way I know how - as a writer.  A few weeks ago, we talked about the gift.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that was the title of the post.  Don't worry, I just looked to make sure I wasn't giving you false information.  Well, something has happened since that post that has helped make this gift a bit more clear.  

Recently, I started reading a book by TD Jakes titled Identity.  My small group is studying it and boy have I learned a lot.  Not exactly sure what chapter it is in (it's somewhere in chapters 1 - 3) he speaks about being created to do exactly what you were meant to do in this life.  Not trying to quote his book exactly, but he speaks about if you were meant to be taller, you would be taller.  I cannot remember what all of them were and because I'm not trying to get flagged for plagiarism, I'm not going to list them all anyway.  Plus, I don't want to spoil the fun just in case you decide to read the book.  The part I just mentioned just sticks out to me and you are about to find out why.  

Here's a big of info you might not know about me.  I'm short!  I'm just under 5'4".  After reading that section of the book, it finally dawned on me, maybe I am too short to be a model.  Don't get me wrong, I've had people through the years tell me to not let people tell me that, but the fact of the matter is I'm short!  There is no changing that and I'm pretty sure I'm out of the stage where my body is going to grow in height, but miracles do happen.  
Here's another fact, I'm good at writing!  Not being conceited, but I figured out when I was in the fifth grade when I was forced to write a poetry book.  I did it kicking and screaming, but my teacher said it was on the best books in the class.  That same grade level, I won the essay contest for the DARE program.  In the fifth grade, I was 10.  I'm a couple of decades older, so I can officially say I've been writing for a few decades now.  That passion kept growing!  It got stronger in the seventh grade.  My ninth grade English teacher told me I was one of the best writers she ever had in her class.  She encouraged me to take her creative writing class - I did.  It earned me a spot as editor of the school newspaper, but I had to decline because that particular class was the same period as my physics class and I had to have it because it would help me with my college major.  Need a better understanding of why I choose physics of newspaper editor, check out the link! Click here for the Periscope video!  It's too much to try to explain right here.  

In college, I was blessed to have to write a 30 page term paper because my work schedule wouldn't allow me to do the volunteer project.  Grade on that paper was a 94.  Yes, I still have it somewhere at my parents' house.  Because of my major (civil engineering), the lab reports seemed to be endless.  In my current job, I'm working on a technical report right now.  At my church, I'm on the Editorial Team - in other words, I write some of the daily devotionals that are read by thousands!  Here's the deal - WRITING IS WHAT I DO!  

Don''t get me wrong, it doesn't define me, but it makes me happy.  This entire blog was a leap of faith for me.  Who wanted to know what it was like to live my version of the plus life and see some of my outfits?  Apparently, someone wants to see it because this Spring, we will be turning 3!  I wouldn't keep doing it if someone wasn't reading it.  I have plenty of journals I can write in (and I still do), but I like sharing this part of my life with you.  

I like telling you about how much I love body sugaring because I heard horror stories about getting my goddess waxed.  Don't worry, I've been doing it almost a year and I cannot wait to tell you about my year journey with that method.  I like telling you about my shopping trips (and so do the stores that I give a s/o to on social media).  I like telling you about my outfit selections because some of them are less than normal (or something you would think a big girl could pull off).  Here recently, I've enjoyed giving you a #BackstagePass into the lives of other people making it in the plus industry.  

God didn't give me much height, but He gave me a voice, a mind that sees things differently, and He gave me a way with words.  For that, I'm thankful.  It's not meant for me to be a model and just because I'm a good writer, this blog may never be on a top ten list of blogs to follow.  However, it makes me feel good just to be the author of The Plus Diaries.  I think it makes other people feel good too because you keep reading and I am truly thankful for your support.  Honestly, I cannot thank you enough and I know I don't thank you enough, but I do the best I can.  This blog is my baby and I've watched it grow and it's exciting and scary and crazy all at the same time.  But the fact that I am using my gift and being allowed to use it in this medium beats the madness any day of the week.  

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Bras, panties, semi-annual sale, OH MY!

Well, don't worry, I'm not going to show you my underwear in this post.  However, I will gladly tell you about my shopping adventure that allowed me to get some new underwear today!  

I was on a mission!  Believe me, I had to have something - new bras!  All this week, I knew I was going shopping over the weekend, but the thought of having to buy new bras just really annoyed me.  Well, it really annoyed me because the store I was accustomed to going to...well, let's just say we don't get along anymore.  I don't want to mention them in this post because I don't want to take away from the store I went to today.  However, if you are interested in finding out, just find the post titled, My Farewell to____________.  

Today I had to go to another store.  The last time I went bra shopping at this store, it wasn't a good experience - not because of the customer service, but because I was really discouraged by the color selection and some of them I tried on really hurt.  I have a big chest.  If you follow me on instagram or know me personally, you know that.  I've been in a bra since I was 7.  No, not a training bra, but an A cup.  Well, I don't wear that anymore!   

After a lot of self-motivation, I decided to go shopping today.  Made myself a little bit cute (confidence builder) and went in my mind to just get measured and then come home and order the bras myself.  It's no secret, most stores have more colors online.  Well, I went to Lane Bryant.  

Lane Bryant is one of my stores I shop at, but not often.  For my style, I think it is too reserved.  However, I have found some really cute sundresses.  But, back to today.  

The ladies greeted me and one of them asked me if I was looking for anything.  I took a deep breath and I told her, I'm bra shopping.  She was more than happy to help me.  

I told her my situation about not buying from them for a few years.  Then we went into the dressing room and started the measuring process.  It's no surprise, but I was in between sizes, as far as the number was concerned.  Story of my life, right?  Probably yours too.  She had me try on a bra and the fit was just cray cray on me.  Never did I know that would start one of the most interesting shopping trips I have ever experienced.  

We kept trying sizes she could find in the store.  She was so helpful and made it so I never had to leave my dressing room.  I truly felt like a VIP.  Then, I asked her about 2 certain types of bras that I really love and she was like, we can try those.  She was actually shocked because typically, women with my size chest are only into full coverage bras.  Well, that's not me.  

She found was I was looking for, both bra types!!!!  Then, we made a discovery - depending on what type of bra I was wearing depended on the cup size I needed.  Go figure!  However, once again, absolutely not shocked by that development.  

The lady was so helpful.  Due to the fact I hadn't shopped bras at Lane Bryant in years, I needed some major help.  We tried extenders, we tried different types of bras, we tried different sizes within those types of bras, she even came in and adjusted straps and cups in order to make sure I had the right fit.  Seriously, she is a bra sizing specialist!  

After holding her up for about 45 minutes, it was time for me to checkout!  Painful?  Only because it took so long.  However, because of her personality and her knowledge, I felt perfectly fine buying bras at Lane Bryant again and I am so excited to get my order in the mail!!!  Yes, I came home to order them so I could really sit down and look how I wanted to, instead of having to look across the counter at their screens.  However, I was able to buy me some beautiful new hipster panties while in the store.  

So, basically, what I thought was going to be absolutely horrible turned out to be a wonderful experience.  I'm so happy I went to Lane Bryant today and I cannot wait to get my order.  This might be my coming back to Lane Bryant (at least for bras) and that would not bother me at all.  

Monday, January 11, 2016

500

It's something about Monday.  I mean on Monday, I hit the ground running working out.  Not literally running, but you get the deal.  But today was a bit different.  

Although my work day went by really fast, I was not feeling the whole come in from work and workout thing.  I mean, not at all.  However, I know I needed to do something because Saturday I had a craving for mozzarella sticks and let's just say that craving was more than satisfied.  I don't know what possessed me to go get the sticks, but I needed them in my life.  And then I thought, I'm going to pay for this later.  Later was today.  

Due to the fact I really didn't feel like working out, I set a goal - 500 calories.  I figured that would be a breeze.  Why 500?  Well, honestly, I felt like 200 was setting myself short.  I had kept up with what I had ate today with the help of LoseIt (@LoseIt) and even though I had already stayed under my calories for the day, I wanted to work out because I wanted to burn off some of what I had eaten today.  I really don't like those days my log has me in the red, so that was also extra motivation.  It wasn't going to be in the red today, but I remember those days when it is in the red (i.e. Saturday).  It's not a good feeling.  

Well, I worked out with my goal in mind.  By the end of my workout, I had burned 700 calories.  Yep, I bragged a little bit.  I even posted it on Instagram.  Since it was on Instagram, it's also on Twitter and Tumblr.  Was I bragging?  Nah.  I like to think of it as me reminding myself I can do it, even when I don't feel like it.  Then, if someone is having that type of day and sees my post, maybe I can motivate them too.  

Nothing fancy - just a goal.  I made it.  That's a real solution - step by step. 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Get a real solution

It's 2016.  Well, just over a week into 2016.  How many of you have already stepped off the golden path to your resolution?  I have.  My goal was to work on my road rage this year.  I quickly learned on my way to work one day this week that goal has to be taken one day at a time - preferably on a dry day when the sun isn't shining too bright.  The madness that happens on my drive to the office is just cray cray!  

But back to the topic at hand.  Each year, we all make resolutions that we do not keep!  There are some awesome resolutions - lose weight, get a new job, save more money, etc.  Like I said, all great ideas.  However, how many of us actually make it an entire year?  Well, this year, I decided to make a real solution for myself.  

I resolve to be a better self.  To you that is probably very broad and I admit it is, but it is really amazing for me.  Being a better person means calming my road rage, working out more, reading my Bible more, and making sure to take care of myself before I give myself to other people!  

At my church, we believe in taking next steps.  On Sunday, we had to write down what our next step was going to be.  I wrote my next step was to be a great writer and a great group leader.  I cannot be neither of those things if I am not taking care of MYSELF!  

So, for 2016, I don't care what happens around me or how mad people make me on my drive to the office.  I resolve to stay calm.  I can't be awesome and have high blood pressure because some dumb dumb almost decides to take me and Charlotte (my car) out!  

Here is my plan - love God, stay true to myself, take care of myself, and everything else will fall into place.  That's my real solution!  What's yours? 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Backstage Pass with Massiel Hernandez

There are so many fabulous faces emerging in the world of plus fashion and in the plus industry in general.  One of the people you need to be in the lookout for is the fabulous Massiel Hernandez (@MassielNH).  With her resume including actress, model, and film producer, she definitely will be a name you need to remember!




Hernandez grew up in Jersey City, New Jersey and had a very humble beginning.  She is a proud Puerto Rican and a lover of life.  In fact, one of her favorite childhood memories is how much fun she had during the Christmas season.  Hernandez grew up, but she never lost sight of the fact she was destined to do great things. 

Even though she knew better days were coming for her, Hernandez still had to overcome some body issues.  She was once shy about her body and it took her a long time to be and feel comfortable within her own skin.  Having a strong role model helped her overcome her fears and break out of her shell. 

Once the body shyness left, Hernandez started to make her mark!  Although nervous, her first fashion show was a great experience.  She has been modeling for about four year, but she ironically received her big break through acting.  In fact, you may have seen her on one of your favorite shows.  She has done several indie films.  However, to date, one of her favorite roles was when she played a security guard on “Nurse Jackie”. 

Hernandez keeps a busy schedule, but she always finds time for some fun.  Who doesn’t love to shop?!  She is no different from us when it comes to that part of life.  Although she shops are various places, two of her favorite stores are Torrid and Target!  Of course, Hernandez loves to travel as well.  Her favorite destination is Berlin!  She enjoys the atmosphere and the fashion there.  In fact, if she had one superpower, it would be the ability to fly so she could get to Berlin faster!  How awesome is that?!

Massiel Hernandez is a name that is going to be around for a long time.  She has already
made great strides in the industry, but she is looking to do so much more.  Hernandez is a belly dancing, capoeira loving, strong woman.  We here at The Plus Diaries look forward to seeing her continue to be a success!  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The gift

I've been debating on whether or not I was going to write about this particular topic.  Not because it is not absolutely cool, but because I'm a female and I can only write from a female perspective.  But then something amazing happened at church on Sunday, my pastor spoke about this person during his sermon and it hit me.  I mean, it really hit me because I had the same thought, but just in a different view.  I knew I had to write about it, but I still couldn't figure out how to do it.  I mean, it's Wednesday and the lightning bolt hit me on Sunday.  

A few week ago or last year, however you want to see it, a new winner of The Voice was crowned!  His name is Jordan Smith (@JordanSmithLive) and he has one of the best voices that has ever graced the stage on that show.  He truly had me at Chandelier and I am confident he made Sia proud.  He is the absolute reason this show is called The Voice and the reason why blind auditions are epic.  

If you have never heard of or seen the show, let me help you out with the blind audition part - the person on the stage sings while the coaches have their backs turned.  If they turn around because of the person's singing ability, no matter how they look, they get on a team.  Only after several rounds do they put the voting in the hands of the public.  

Let me say that again - ...because of the person's singing ability, no matter how they look, they get on a team.  Let me make that more clear - ...no matter how they look.  That's the key!!!  Even my pastor admitted that when the camera finally went to the person actually singing, his neck snapped back!  When I saw Jordan, it made me so happy because he was already going to make it on a team, but he had a gift that is not of this world!  

Each of us have a gift.  Me personally, I use my gift to communicate with you.  I love to write and I try to use it in a positive manner.  Jordan loves to sing, but had never been given the chance.  Some might would argue it is because he is not an athletic build with blonde hair...or whatever stereotype you have been taught to believe is better or perfect.  

He's the thing, no matter how any of us look, there is something deep inside of us just waiting to come out.  It can be a song, the best thing you can ever write, the drawing you can put on a canvas, the best sermon you can give, or anything else you can think of (because I know I'm missing a lot).  No matter how you look, you have to stop letting people tell you no because of an outward appearance because they have no clue how amazing you are at what you do.  And when they found out what you do, make sure they never forget your name.  You have a gift.  Go share it with the world!