Things I Love Thursday: 31.5.2012

I know it's almost Friday, which makes writing a Things I Love Thursday post seem a little silly, but I've had a rough week so I could use that injection of positivity. Maybe you could, too.

I'm getting used to new meds (it seems like I'm always saying that, in the past while...), so my body has been moody-- stomach aches, dizziness, migraines, and worse anxiety and insomnia than usual-- and that's making it hard to do anything but sleep. I haven't been all that productive, and that makes me feel guilty and stressed and frustrated with myself.

But no mood lasts forever and side effects always dissipate, so I remain optimistic.

Even on the worst of days, there's something to smile about, and even if it's tiny, it's worth noting. So here goes:

♥ Organizing my hair accessories into mason jars ♥ The stack of brand-new glossy magazines by my bed. ♥ Cherries and strawberries ♥ Upcoming plans with my best friends Blue martinis Mad Men ♥ Revlon Lip Butter in Raspberry Pie

What made your week?

Simple&Chic in Atlanta: What I Wore

It's been a while since my last What I Wore post, so I thought I'd share my favourite outfit from my trip to Atlanta.

Even though I've been home for a month (!!), I can't stop thinking about Georgia. Many of the places I visit have something special about them, but so few give me butterflies. Georgia is one of the latter.

Maybe it's the state's long (and, I admit, often horrifying) history that fascinates me, or the huge Barnes and Noble I found, or my love of Gone With the Wind. Whatever it is, I already want to go back!

About these photos: On a lazy day at the historic Highland Inn, in Atlanta's lovely Poncey-Highland neighbourhood, I set up my tripod and lounged in my room. I hoped for a relaxed, pin-up, simple&chic feel, and am so happy with the results!

What I Wore:

Top: Winners
Leggings: Joe Fresh


Moisturizer: Yves Rocher
Eyeliner: Annabelle
Lip balm: EOS

C'est tout! Simple & chic!

Full disclosure: I have no affiliation with the Highland Inn; I just had a great experience!
All photos by Rebecca Esther

What is Health At Every Size (HAES)?

Health At Every Size is a system which focuses on intuitive eating and pleasurable physical activity as a replacement for dieting. HAES states that weight does not cause health issues.

There’s nothing more empowering than realizing you don’t have to be part of society’s War On Obesity or maintain the “perfect weight”!

5 Ways to Adopt the HAES Lifestyle:

1 Enjoy your food because you’re hungry and because it tastes good.
2 Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.
3 Exercise because it’s good for you.
4 Don’t exercise simply for the sake losing weight.
5 Love your body.

Read more about Health At Every Size here.

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Related Links:

| 7 Easy Body Image Boosters | Body Shaming Hurts Skinny Girls Too |
| 5 Reasons To Be Body Positive |

Things I Love Thursday: 24.5.2012

Is it Thursday again, already?!

This week I made some new friends, got a bunch of books in the mail and learned to use a steam cleaner. I continued to work on my soon-to-be-released body image ebook, bought a bright blue flokati rug and helped lots of readers feel good about themselves.

It's definitely been a good week! How was yours?

♥ Soft pillows ♥ Bright yellow crop top ♥ Waking up to lovely emails ♥ Invitiations to burlesque shows ♥ The "fish sticks" episode of South Park. OMG so silly! ♥ Cheese blintzes for lunch with my dad and brother ♥ Teal manicures ♥ Online shopping at 5 am ♥ One of my best friends got into nursing school! I'm proud of you, Chana! ♥ Oreo ice cream for breakfast ♥ Pasta that's perfectly cooked for lunch ♥ Air conditioning!! ♥ Red lipstick ♥ Deep-fried anything!

What's on your list this week?

Photo credit:

Emetophobia (Yesterday's Panic Attack)

I stumbled off the bus and ran for my life, across the street to a deserted curb. Digging my fingernails into my palms, I gasped for breath, my heart racing.

Was I going to die here?

Was I going to go crazy?!

I threw myself to the ground, sat cross-legged and clutched my purse. I rummaged for my container of pills and grabbed a tiny blue one, shoving it into my mouth.


Just as I swallowed the Ativan, I started to wretch, my throat burning and my mind screaming "it's the end of the world! it's the end of the fucking world!" until it went black, my head making contact with the building behind me just a little too roughly.


Okay, so I'm alive today. That means it wasn't the end of the world. But for a good hour (that felt like an eternity), I was certain it was.

I suffer from panic disorder. This was a panic attack. One of the symptoms is stomachache. And it escalated, because....

I'm emetophobic. I have a severe, clinically diagnosed phobia of illness and vomitting.

Even typing that 'v' word I feel a little (read: a lot) queasy.

This phobia is something I've struggled with all my life.

Every single year of my existence, flu season has been torture. Unless you have a phobia like this, you have no idea. Every moment of the winter, I'm petrified. 'If I sit next to her on the bus and she's sick will I get sick and throw up and panic and die?' Or 'he just coughed so he's got a cold and he's going to give me his cold and when he gives me his cold I'm going to start coughing and coughing makes me anxious and I'm going to cough to hard and it will make me throw up and then I'm going to implode!' On and on it goes.

When people complain about getting over a stomach bug, I try to be comforting and happy for them but inside, I feel nauseaous and anxious.

When I go to the movies, even amazing Oscar-worthy movies like Bridesmaids, I have a great time until the scenes with 'jokes' about puking. Then I feel like I'm going to puke. So I excuse myself, attempting to calmly say I have to refill the popcorn or visit the bathroom, when really I'm going to run for the exit and sit outside the theatre and teach myself to breathe again.

When I go to the doctor, she can't use a tongue depressor or take a swab of my throat because that scares me. And I haven't been to a dentist in years. For a while I couldn't even brush my teeth for fear of being ill.

No one in my life understands. A few of my friends and my mom try, they really do... But then they say "I know you don't like vomit but this is really funny...". I'm sorry, it's not that I "don't like" it. No one in their right mind "likes it". It's that I have a panic attack when you mention it. It's not funny. I'm not overreacting.

Just ask Howie Mandel or the International Emetophobia Society. This is a real illness. It's not a prank. It's not a box to tick on your Tumblr 'lol omg I haz these phobias!!1!' quiz.

I can attest that this is not an easy thing to discuss. I've struggled with it for 20 years (that's my entire life) and have never written about it, despite the fact that I write about practically everything. I don't even talk about this with my closest friends and family because I'm terrified they'll ridicule me. I only once opened up about it to a therapist.

So if someone in your life suffers from this (or any other) phobia, take it seriously. Even if you don't understand it, be compassionate. And for the love of God, fast-forward that Bridesmaids scene.

7 Easy Body Image Boosters

I wrote this article last summer for Love Twenty Magazine, and am reposting it today because boosting your body image never goes out of style.

If you've been a reader for a while, I hope you find it just as helpful as you did the first time around.
If you're a new reader, this is a great article to start out with. Thanks for joining us!


Healthy eating, exercise and sense of style are all essential, but if a girl doesn’t feel good about herself, what’s it all for? Feeling good about yourself isn’t as difficult as it seems (especially on bad days) and I want to help you get in the habit of feeling confident and beautiful. Try out these tips!

1. Practice makes perfect, right? The more you compliment yourself, the easier it will get.

2. Write out a list of all the little things you like about your appearance. For example: I have fabulous legs. My arms look awesome when I wear sleeveless tops. I love how my eyes pop when I wear bright liner. On ugly days, go over your list for a boost!

3. Find a go-to clothing item that you always feel great in — be it a perfectly tailored pair of pants, sky-high heels, or a little black dress.

4. Spend as much time as possible around people who make you feel good about yourself and as little time as possible with the ones who bring you down.

5. Check out the Health At Every Size (HAES) movement. HAES embraces the fact that we all have different sizes and shapes and health is more important than fitting society’s beauty ideals.

6. Cover your walls with photos and magazine clippings of your body image role models. Think of women who are comfortable with their figures, no matter what they look like. Emulate their confidence. Ideas to start your collection: Lizzie Miller (plus size model), your best friends, Christina Hendricks, Beth Ditto, Lady Gaga.

7. Remember to eat healthy and exercise, at least most of the time. Work in lots of fruit and vegetables, water, and long walks or time at the gym — along with a slice of chocolate cake, glass of wine or lazy day in. Health is about feeling good, just like healthy body image is about feeling good about your body, regardless of what society says it should look like.

So, beautiful, which tip is your favorite? What would you add to the list?

Link Love 18.5.2012: Stretchy Hands & Classic Movies

It's Friday, sugar! Time for our weekly roundup of the best of the web.

This article from The Onion is brilliant. Future U.S. History Students: 'It's Pretty Embarrassing How Long You Guys Took To Legalize Gay Marriage'.

8 Classic Movies Every Girl Should See

Great advice from the When I Grow Up Coach: How To Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable.

The Illustrated History of the Platform Shoe is a good read for fashion history buffs.

Remember those sticky, stretchy hands you could buy from a vending machine for 25 cents? Enjoy!!

Now that he's almost an adult, Mr Bieber is pretty freakin' cute!

I find names really interesting. Maybe you'll enjoy this, too. 100 Most Popular Baby Names of 2011.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Image: Amanda Jenssen

Things I Love Thursday: 17.5.2012

After an awesome weekend in Buffalo, it's been nice to spend a few days doing nothing but catching up on sleep, chores and errands. Not exciting, but quite pleasant.

The highlights:

School. I'm taking a course at University of Toronto. It's part of the Freelance Certificate I'm working toward, bit by bit. It's a really great program and I definitely recommend it if you want to hone your writing skills while studying part time.

Embracing the single life. There are times when it's lonely and difficult, but this week I've really enjoyed my independence.

My article was featured at Datingish! Thank you, readers, and thank you, Xanga staff.

Deep fried green beans Late-night streetcar rides Francine from American Dad Whole wheat pizza with pesto, veggies and goat cheese Waking up to sweet, unexpected texts from friends Sweet tea. Ice cold & lots of it! Buying much-needed wardrobe basics Bright yellow shoes Getting compliments on my manicure Catching up on my RSS reader

What was the highlight of your week?

Snapshots: Mother's Day Weekend in Buffalo, NY

Hey, gorgeous girls! I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Here's a little glimpse of mine, plus some tips for trips to Buffalo, NY.

Buffalo is a great destination for Southern Ontarians who want an affordable trip that's almost but not quite a "staycation". Buffalo offers a taste of the United States without forcing you to spend hundreds on plane fare and hours on travel.

This made Buffalo the perfect location for the special Mother's Day weekend I planned for my Maman.

We left on Friday afternoon, arriving in Buffalo just in time for dinner.

Clockwise, from left: Hangin' out on the porch. | Lake Erie. | Deep-fried green beans at TGI Friday's.

We spent Friday evening, all of Saturday and much of Sunday reading in coffee shops, exploring stores we don't have in Canada (TJ Maxx!) and enjoying each other's company. It was the perfect opportunity to have fun and ensure we came home refreshed.

In addition to making silly faces, we had some amazing southern food at Cracker Barrel, a family favourite!

Clockwise, from top: I love this City of Buffalo sign! | Gorgeous architecture in Williamsville. | Serious face!

I wore head-to-toe pastel on Saturday. Loved it! | We spent a few hours at Barnes and Noble, enjoying magazines, feta and spinach-stuffed pretzels and frappuccinos. | I'm so excited about this purchase: nail polish in bright colours from TJ Maxx.

On the way home to North York, we stopped for Mother's Day dinner at Jack Astor's in downtown Toronto.

Have you ever visited Buffalo from Toronto? Share your experience!

Neon, Bookshelf Porn & Foxes on a Trampoline: Link Love 11.5.2012

Happy Friday!

I'm off to Buffalo right now, so I leave you with the usual long list of fabulous links to enjoy. Have fun!

10 Things You Might Not Know About Gone With the Wind. This is an especially interesting read if you're a fan of both the film and the book.

Here are some photos of Brigitte Bardot and Picasso hanging out... No big deal!

Women Laughing Alone With Salad is so funny and ridiculous that nothing more needs to be said.

Hey girl, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are in another movie together.

Apollo 11 Astronauts had to fill out immigration and customs forms. Could you imagine having to declare moon dust?!

So cute! Foxes discover trampoline.

Are you curious about the history of neon?

Bookshelf porn!

"Sexuality shouldn’t define you. It should be part of who you are". Jessie J on her bisexuality. [NSFW site]

The Budget Babe shows us how to get this look: Christina Hendricks' Mint Cardigan and Coral Pumps. Love it!
Have a wonderful weekend, beautiful! And happy Mother's Day!

Image: Dita Von Teese

Snapshots: Gingerbread Mickey, Palm Trees & Short Shorts! [Becca in Florida Spring 2012]

I had an incredible time in Florida! Here are some snapshots from my trip.

Clockwise from top left: Candy Cauldron in Downtown Disney, Florida. They have amazing raspberry-white chocolate cookies! | Enjoying a Mickey gingerbread cookie in the sunshine. | Florida iPhone wallpaper from Paper'd. | In 80+ degreeF weather, you'd better have a cute pair of shorts!
Left to right: I spent lots of time in the hotel pool. | I developed an addiction to sparkly nail art, clearly. This is teal from Yves Rocher, beneath a glittery blue by Revlon. | I love palm trees! | Sipping delicious peach raspberry iced tea at Olive Garden.

From top: Crumbs cupcakes are the best! I had a vanilla coconut one at the Greyhound Station in Washington DC. | Self-shot photo-op! | My hotel in Orlando, FL.

Many more photos to come!

Have you ever been to Florida? Share your snapshots in the comments!

DIY Manicures Changed My Life

As a kid, I'd bite my nails whenever I was nervous. As I got older, I'd pick at my cuticles during panic attacks, completely unaware of what I was doing until my fingers were bleeding or infected.

But this isn't a post about dermatillomania (though I have been meaning to write one). It's not about bad habits from childhood, either. It's about how changing one little item in my beauty regimen has boosted my self esteem.

After an entirely sucky period in my life, I was left drained and insecure (especially in my appearance). I felt ugly more often than I felt acceptable, and I could probably count the number of days I spent feeling pretty on my hands.

I struggled my way back to self-love and self-confidence, but some days are still a battle. That's why the little things I do to make myself feel happy and beautiful are so important.

I recently began painting my nails; spending hours selecting a shade of polish, painting on coat after coat, covering it in glitter and admiring my handiwork. It's been worth it. This tiny change in how I take care of myself physically (and, I suppose, splurge on nail lacquer from time to time) makes me feel good.

What little something do you treat yourself to for an ego boost?

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"This Is the Future of Music": Amanda Palmer to Release First Full-Length Album in 4 Years

Amanda "Fucking" Palmer hasn't released a full-length album in over four years.

She's been independently releasing EPs at her bandcamp page (to the endless support of her fans), but an entire album hasn't been seen... until now.

Amanda and her band, The Grand Theft Orchestra, just finished recording a brand new album ("my best fucking album to date"), and have set up a kickstarter where you can donate to the cause and get some great music in return (for as little as a dollar!).

"This is the future of music"-- and Amanda wrote the soundtrack.

Vogue Introduces "Health Initiative"; Still Thinks You're Too Fat

Vogue (and its 18 international editions) pledge to implement their "Health Initiative": using "healthy models" in their magazines. Here are the criteria:
1. We will not knowingly work with models under the age of 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder. We will work with models who, in our view, are healthy and help to promote a healthy body image.

2. We will ask agents not to knowingly send us underage girls and casting directors to check IDs when casting shoots, shows and campaigns.

3. We will help to structure mentoring programmes where more mature models are able to give advice and guidance to younger girls, and we will help to raise industry-wide awareness through education, as has been integral to the Council of Fashion Designers of America Health Initiative.

4. We will encourage producers to create healthy backstage working conditions, including healthy food options and a respect for privacy. We will encourage casting agents not to keep models unreasonably late.

5. We encourage designers to consider the consequences of unrealistically small sample sizes of their clothing, which limits the range of women who can be photographed in their clothes, and encourages the use of extremely thin models.

6. We will be ambassadors for the message of healthy body image.

What worries me most (among the numerous misguided notions the above list represents) is that "healthy", to the fashion industry's standards, ergo society's standards, means 'thin, but not "too thin"'. So Vogue's models will be size 2 instead of 00.

Health At Every Size has proven that one does not have to be thin to be healthy. So to truly be "ambassadors for the message of healthy body image", Vogue better feature models of all sizes-- yes, from 00 to XXXXXXXXXL & everywhere in between.

I'm not counting on it.

Link Love 4.5.2012

It's Friday!

These DIY scrubs look scrumptious, especially the lemon sugar one!

Be a badass, not an intern. Really amazing advice from Jen Dziura

Jim Parsons and Kristin Chenoweth announced the Tony Nominees this week.

Demi Lovato is coming to Toronto this July!

Toronto's Revue Cinema just turned 100. Check out the vintage photo at the link.

Photos of cats plus anticipating spring's arrival is smile-inducing!

I really enjoyed last week's Mad Men Likeability Index.

Though I wish it were more in-depth, MediaBistro's interview with Dan Savage is a good read.

Like Pinterest and Tumblr, Instagram has decided to ban "thinspo". This article does a great job of explaining that getting rid of the tight-knit pro-ED community online won't make the people in them healthier; they'll just feel displaced and isolated. Instead, a more positive alternative should be (but hasn't been) put in place. "People who are struggling need to feel like they’re not alone... When you eliminate a community for people, you have to provide a positive alternative. We’re saying thinspo is dangerous, but we recognize [these groups are] providing a sense of community, and we want to fill that void." 

I just adore Hillary Clinton, don't you? I mean, these photos!

Fashionable Ducks... Because apparently in Australia, this is a thing?!

Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project) interviewed Jenny Lawson aka The Blogess

Good tips for thrift shopping.

This DIY Flower Crown is just darling!

Image Source

Unemployed? Maybe it's because you're fat!

Qualified? Professional? She should get the job!

I've been struggling to get job through the past few years.

Jobs are harder to come by when the economy is not doing well, and a young university student with minimal work experience is not going to be first choice employee. However, research has shown that in landing a job, for some, weight is a larger factor than ability.

Society's prejudice against larger people permeates the workplace, leading fatphobic employers to hire unqualified thin women instead of their larger, well-qualified counterparts.

All because of body size.

“I used to get hired very easily when I was thinner. Now if I get called in for an interview, I never hear back. They assume I’m going to be lazy and not get the job done. I try extra hard to look put together, but it’s occurred enough times that there’s no question it’s about my weight and not my skills.” (source)

Just like a 'distaste' for certain cultures, races or genders, this is discrimination.

The time to stand up for ourselves is now. Here's how:

If someone is clearly abusive towards you because of your size, call them on it. 
Be as ostentatiously, fabulously, confidently fat as possible. Wear bright colours and wild prints if you want to. Wear high heels and tight pants and short skirts. Look good, feel better, and ignore anyone who tells you otherwise.

Everyone has the right to a successful career, happiness, and respect, regardless of the way they look.

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Unforgettable Mother's Day Ideas

Mother's Day is May 13th this year... what do you have planned?

I'm taking my Maman to Buffalo (her favourite city) for the weekend. She and I are very close, so spending time together seems like the perfect gift, especially if it's accompanied with a handmade card and maybe frappuccinos on a flowery patio or a couple of her favourite tank tops in summer-y colours.

If you don't have any ideas for your mother's special day, never fear!

Here are a bunch of ideas for your Mother's Day gifts and celebration:

Token of Your Love

If you seek a sartorial gem, fun tchochke or sweet memento, try one of these:

♥ A pair of luxe silver or gold earrings. She'd never buy them for herself.
♥ Chocolates and flowers are classic for a reason. Thoughtfulness goes a long way: treat her to her favourite blooms and be sure to include a handwritten card.
♥ Pick up a colourful basket at a craft shop or dollar store and fill it with fun and frivolous treats that all fit a theme: cats, spa or Parisian, perhaps?

Oh, Glorious Day!

Give her an experience, not an item.

♥ Make an amazing dinner for just the two of you. Light her favourite scented candles, play some cheerful tunes and surprise her with a bouquet of flowers. 
♥ If you live in different cities, get her a prepaid long-distance phone card or a Skype membership. Plan a virtual mother-daughter date: each rent the same movie, pick up some chocolate cake and a bottle of wine, and enjoy while you're on the phone. 

♥  Go to a Broadway show or concert. Tickets are often affordable if you book well in advance (it's something to look forward to!) or go to an amateur production.
♥ Spend a day out on the town together. See a movie, go to the restaurant you two love best, do some shopping or people-watch over frozen hot chocolates.
♥ Get mani/pedis together, or have a spa day at your home or hers. Wine, chocolate and trashy magazines are a bonus!

Uniquely Hers

Mama always said it's the thought that counts, and what better way to show her she's on your mind than to make a special treat, just for her?

Write her a beautiful card or poem. Tell her how much she means to you. 
♥ Homemade beauty products are just this thing! This DIY loofah soap looks scrumptious.
♥ How cool would it be to see your mom rocking the shoes, necklace or top you made just for her?

Indie, Handmade

Short on time, or not artistically-inclined, but still looking for a gift that no other mother in her circle will have?

An art print. I love this one.
A year's subscription to the Goddess Circle (it has a special area for Mama Goddesses!).
♥ A fabulous outfit, accessory or objet d'art from an artisan on Etsy or at a local craft fair.

What do you have planned for your mother's special day?

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