Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This Post Is Not What You Think It Is.

Girls don't just simply decide
to hate their bodies.
We teach them to.

Ladies and gents, Miz. Jo is getting ready to break bad on the interwebs. Are you ready?

I ran across that quote the other day and automatically had to save it. How our society is raising young girls is something that I feel very strongly about and hope desperately that we can change. Low self esteem, self worth issues and eating disorders are rampant in our perfection obsessed world. And the two main things that are fostering these unhealthy views of the female form are photo re-touching and cosmetic surgery. Two things that have nothing to do with reality. No one is teaching our children that the photographs in magazines and catalogs are all digitally enhanced and perfected. No one is pointing out how many bodies are surgically produced. All of this "beauty" that our world is ingesting in gluttonous proportions is all fake. And little girls think that they are supposed to grow up to look like super models, actresses, pop singers and porn stars. And little boys expect them to do the same.

This disturbs me. Greatly.

But there is something else that is starting to disturb me even more.

I found that photo up there on Pinterest. Lovely, isn't it? Wouldn't most women love to have an ass like that? And that is the exact reason that someone pinned that photo. As inspiration. But some of the comments I am seeing on photos like this are really getting under my skin. On this particular photo someone had commented that the model looks "scary thin". That her shoulder blades jut out too far. That her waist is smaller than a child's. Another photo that I saw was a before and after photo of a young woman after some serious health and lifestyle changes. She had lost a bit of weight and gained some beautiful muscle. Her weight was down to 110, but she looked healthy and fit. Regardless, the readers started bashing her for being "too small". Quoting what the "healthy" weight was supposed to be for someone her height. And, worst of all, saying that she looked better before.

Okay now. This is where my blood starts to boil.

Nothing in me wants young girls to think that they need to look like a Victoria's Secret model. Nothing in me wants them to feel like they need to get breast implants and liposuction to be beautiful. But telling them that being out of shape and unhealthy is more beautiful than being strong and taking care of themselves is just absurd! This entire issue is about being mentally and physically healthy, isn't it? Well, guess what? Not working out and not making nutritious food choices is dangerous, too. True. We can't all look like super models. But we can all work hard to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. And I personally believe that this is what we need to be teaching young girls to do. There is a blurry line drawn between what society proclaims to be too "fat" or too "thin". But every single body out there is different. And what is healthy for one is not always what is healthy for another. Despite what department store clothing may suggest, we are not cookie cutter people. We did not all come from the same mold. We are as varied as the stars.

And this is where it gets personal.

Why do the "too skinny" comments disturb me just as much as the "too fat"? Well, because I have always been that "too skinny" girl. I am 5' 7" and weigh anywhere from 107-112 lbs. depending on the day. The charts in the doctor's offices have always preached that I was "too skinny". I have never worked out in public, nor do I talk about working out because I get fussed at. People roll their eyes if I skip dessert. Ditto if I order a big salad instead of a pasta dish. I have never turned down a dinner roll that I didn't hear "yeah, like it's gonna hurt you. you could stand to put some meat on your bones." And so, I have always tried my hardest to "put some meat on my bones", in the form of muscle. My nutrition choices are based on what makes me feel better and perform better. And my workouts are to insure that I always stay strong and capable instead of soft and frail. I have always had a very healthy body image and therefore always tried to make responsible and wise decisions regarding my body. It's a good thing that I have always took the snide remarks and quizzical looks in stride. Otherwise, the teasing about my skinny arms and flat chest could have driven me mad. But I have always chosen my health over what society keeps yelling at me. I have never been told by a doctor that I needed to gain weight or quit working out. The charts may say otherwise, but I am a healthy weight for my body design.

Now, I don't know the girl in that picture. I can't tell you what she had for breakfast or how many hours a week she works out. But I can bet that she isn't "scary thin". She has a nice full booty. And see those dimples and that dent at the base of her back? That usually comes from good muscle tone. If she were too skinny you would not be seeing that. If it is a good practice to inform girls that some people are just made bigger and that their healthy size and shape may never be a size 2, then it is only fair to acknowledge that some people are made smaller and their healthy size and shape may never be a size 6. Both are equally valid.

Girls are told exactly what every single aspect of their being is "supposed" to look like. From their hair to their cheekbones to the shape of their nose. From the size of their breasts to the size of their hips. For heaven's sakes, people. They are even doing cosmetic surgery on women's genitals. When will it stop? When will we all figure out that there is no "perfect" formula? We are all unique and special and that is what makes us beautiful. Our differences. Teach young girls that their bodies are not supposed to look like the artificial versions that they see on television and in magazines. And men! Your role in letting women know that natural is beautiful is even more important than ours. The same encouraging words can be much more powerful coming from a man than coming from another woman.

But please......Please! Please! Please! Please! Please!...... don't ever tell a female that striving to be the best version of herself that she can be is not beautiful. Being healthy is not about what we see in the mirror, although positive physical results are an encouraging side effect. Being healthy is about the myriad of benefits that come with it. Vitality. A sense of accomplishment. Strength. Self worth. and yes. Beauty. Because the human body is a beautiful thing. The more you love and respect it, the more beauty you will find in it.

This is what we need to be teaching.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Just a Thought

I saw this on Pinterest and just couldn't resist. Coincidence? I think not.

Hope you are all having a lovely weekend.

xoxo Jo xoxo

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Hotness

God invented hot pink.

Just so you know.

Is Blogger still being screwy for anyone else? I still can't log in from the log in page. They need to get their act together.

Oh! And, by the way. It's nice to know I'm not the only girl out there wearing a guy's cologne. Looks like the perfume market is missing something in their female offerings.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Good Scents

Let me ask you a question.

Do you think it's odd for a woman to wear a man's fragrance?

As far as perfumes go, I have a few favorites that I absolutely adore. Burberry is at the top of my scent list. Burberry the original, that is. It's an odd scent that does not appeal to everyone. But it makes me happy. It's the one I wear for myself. You know. The one that I could care less if anyone else likes. It makes me smile and makes me feel like I have a secret.

I also keep a bottle of Victoria's Secret Vanilla Lace, which I like to layer with other scents, particularly Lacoste. A touch of vanilla is always a good thing in my book. And a bottle of Gap Grass rounds out the permanent collection.

It's not very often that a perfume sample from a magazine will sell me on a scent. There have been many that I liked and wore around for a day and then never crossed my mind again. But one has stopped me in my tracks recently and I can't get it out of my mind. It's haunting, almost. I have been trolling through my magazines looking for more of it. And here's the kicker. It's the men's version that I like best.

Issey Miyake's L'Eau D'Issey Pour Homme, ladies and gents. It is breaking my heart. I want it. It is calling my name. But is it strange for me to be wearing a guy's scent? The Florale version is beautiful and smells like roses. But the Pour Homme is seriously making me weak in the knees.

What do you think? Could I get away with this? Would you consider a scent made for the opposite sex? I mean, honestly, I'm gonna buy this regardless of what you say. But I still want to hear your thoughts on it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The World Didn't End

Hey, friends! So, it looks like the people saying that the world was going to end were wrong. When are they going to figure out that you can't predict the end of the world? God said so. Quit trying.

But since we are all still here, I thought I would fill a little request. You know I'm not real big on posting pictures of myself for no apparent reason. But Dawn asked to see my new haircut and my nails. So. Because Dawn rocks and posts pics of her great adventures all the time, I figured that I could at least share a little snapshot of myself. (she asked nicely)

I couldn't get a great angle on the hair. It's shorter and punkier than the last time. I love it. Even if I do look like a boy in a baseball cap. And the nails are the coolest dark aubergine color. I've talked before about how I lean towards fall colors in the summer and summer colors in the fall. Well, this color is an all time favorite. It's N.Y.C. New York Color (cause I'm a cheapo) in Manhattan. Yes. Nail polish for under 2 bucks. And its pretty awesome.

Stay tuned this week to see if I finish any projects. And if I don't, I expect you guys to send out a lynch mob to kick my rear into gear.
Until then............. hugs and tons of sunshine to you all.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

{Happy Weekend}

It has been an interesting week, folks. My mom and I finally had a little sit down with my cousin to discuss the details of her wedding cake that we will be making. The wedding is July 1st. I promise to take pictures (of the cake). I actually (randomly) had a gallery suggest that I get some work together and present it to them (all because I was wearing a necklace that I made). I have piles of dyed fabric cut out to make a whole new run of bucket bags and totes (with leather bottoms!). I got a fresh haircut. I painted my nails (I know. Crazy, right?). And I have been feeling a great urge to paint.

This urge to paint is what I am most excited about. It has been so long. But you see that quote up there? Yep. Someone has touched part of me other than my body and seemed to have awoke the sleeping creativity inside of me. I feel like proving myself. Even if only to myself.

So maybe this weekend will involve some painting. Maybe some more sewing. And, hopefully, plenty more dreaming. Here's to a productive weekend, my loves!

*pic from lookbook.nu
**quote from darling Jen. Bits of Truth.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

To Dye For

Last Wednesday, when the sun was actually shining, I decided to have myself a little arts and crafts field day. A few months back I bought a pile of white cotton canvas with the intention of dying it to make some new bags. I put it off and put it off (because I'm really good at that) until the moment finally hit me. And, let me tell you, it was a blast! I even took pictures so I could share it with you. Aren't you the lucky bunch? I'll even give you a play by play just in case you want to try this at home.

So. I started out with several yards of white fabric. I had already washed and dried it (very important). It took all of my good pots and bowls to mix all six of the colors I had picked out. Each dye is dissolved in four cups of hot water with a good heaping tablespoon of salt mixed in. Be sure to have some good rubber gloves and a wet towel handy for wiping your hands between colors. My tools of choice were some cheap kitchen sponges and a few angled paint sponges.

You'll want to put down a plastic drop cloth for this. The dye will soak right through the fabric and into whatever is below. So please, don't get crazy and try this inside your house. That is a bad idea.
This is not your normal dip dying process. What I did was more like "drip" dying. I dripped and wrung out and swirled and splattered the dyes however the heck I found fit. It was sort of hard to be reserved. Of course, the messier I got, the better the fabric looked. Who knew?

Once I was finished, I let the fabric lay in the sun until it was completely dry. Completely.
I actually folded them up and waited a few days to complete the next step. Like I said, I'm good at putting things off.
But at some point in time, you have to wash the fabric to get the residual dye out of it. Now, being that I had several different color combos and some puddles of serious color on this fabric, I hand washed each pattern separate. In my kitchen sink. In luke warm water, folks. And then rinsed it in cold water until the water ran clear.

Ta-da! Pretty watercolor fabrics!
I wrung these babies out and threw them all in my washing machine. Turned the dial to "Rinse" and let the machine do the last step. Final rinse and spin. Then to the dryer.

It was the most fun I have had in a long time. I felt like an Arthur Morgan kid. (you would get that if you lived around here) Maybe I shouldn't mention that I was in a bikini and barefoot on my back porch, throwing fabric dye around. ;) But it all turned out beautifully and I have been cutting out bag patterns today. I'm excited to see how they look all sewn up.

This would be a fun project to do with older kids. Its very messy and you have to be careful, so its not really little kid friendly. Cotton fabrics work best. Always pre-wash; it helps the fibers take the color. Have fun with the painting process. I can't wait to do it again and try some different things. I really do recommend hand washing the fabrics before tossing them into the washer. Be aware that the colors are not going to be exactly what you expect. The concentrated dye and the random application can yield darker or lighter hues depending on the colors you choose. If anyone decides to try this, let me know. I would love to see what you come up with!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Profound Thought of the Day

I've been doing way more thinking than is really healthy these days. I guess maybe I have finally reached an age where I more fully understand myself than I ever have before. Maybe I have found a breathe of fresh air and feel like I need to make some changes in my life. Whatever the reason, my brain has been doing more calculating than it has done in a long time. And, as usual, if we are thinking about life, we are sure to run into the subject of love.

I have always been a little cynical about love. I don't really look at love in the same light that Hollywood does. I don't believe in fairytales. And to be quite honest with you, I'm not totally sure that I believe that two people can love each other equally.

I would really like to believe that it is possible to be in a relationship that makes both people the best version of themselves that they can be. And it would truly thrill me to believe that it is possible to have a relationship where both people are fully themselves, never having to change anything about their personality or preferences. But, alas, I have yet to see such a relationship.

It is my honest opinion that people tend to hang way too much on the word "love" itself. Love is a great thing, yes. I love love. But (here goes the profound thought part), love is not what makes a great relationship. (Oh. I can hear the crowd mumbling amongst themselves.) Simmer down. Simmer down, people. It's true. Just hear me out. A romantic relationship (for lack of better terms) is not based on love.

You do not have to respect someone to love them.
Yet, respect is one of the most important parts of a good relationship.

You do not have to trust someone to love them.
Yet, if you do not have trust in a relationship, it will surely crumble.

You do not have to have a similar moral code with someone to love them.
However, if you do not have similar morals in a relationship, you are headed for trouble.

You do not have to be physically attracted to someone to love them.
But, come on, let's face it. You need to be physically attracted to the person you are in a relationship with.

This is the real kicker, right here.

You do not really even have to like someone in order to love them.
Ah, but just try having a relationship with someone that you don't like.

You see, love really is NOT all you need. You need more. We all need more. And for any of you out there who are mumbling about that feeling that you get in your stomach, the butterflies and racing heart. That is not love, my dears. That is infatuation. And you cannot build a relationship on that, either. It makes for a good fling. But if you are going for the long haul, you gotta have more than butterflies.

I realize more and more these days that compatibility is one of the most desired things in a long term relationship. Being able to understand the person you are with. Having the confidence in and respect for each other to be able to communicate and grow. When going into a relationship, keep in mind that there is usually something about yourself that you are going to have to give up in order to be with this person. Look real hard. We normally always end up sacrificing a part of who we are to be with someone else. Is it a part of you that you can live without? Be honest with yourself.

I'm not trying to be mean spirited and rain on any one's parade. I'm just trying to be real and honest and maybe even helpful. Love is a many splendored thing. And we all need love. But love is not all we need.

*painting by me.

A New Leader

New York/Paris/Milan is the most fashionable place on the blahda, blah blah blah, yaddah, yaddah. Yeah. I'm sick of hearing it. Whatever. I think you guys have some catching up to do. The real style icons are in Moscow.

Just happened upon mskstreetfashion the other day. Let me just say..... the ladies of Moscow have got it going on. Every one of these looks are kicking some serious ass.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Penny for Your Thoughts

I am not even kidding here. Not for a second. I have ALWAYS said that if I ever get to build a house of my very own that I am going to lay the foyer in pennies.

Someone stole my idea!!! And it looks AWESOME!! Seriously, how cool is that?

It looks as though they are planning on laying them out and then grouting them like you would do tile. I always thought that if I were only doing a small foyer entrance that I could actually set them in resin. That way it could be buffed and polished. And the best thing is, it's cheap. It costs only pennies! Haha. I crack myself up.

What do you think?

*found on the incredibly time consuming Pinterest site.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Oh, Baby

Can I justify eating almost an entire pint of Banana Split ice cream with the fact that it has fruit in it? No? I guess that means that I owe myself one hell of a workout tonight.

Folks, my attitude has been a bit less than sparkling of late. I'm sure this is really no surprise, now that I think about it. Let's face it. I'm not exactly winning any congeniality points in life. Anyway. I keep posting the address to my blog in my Etsy profile and then taking it down again. I've done it over and over. I'll think for a second that I may draw a few new readers. And then..... I'll want to post something that I don't want everyone and their mother to read and I'll take the address down again.

I just deleted it yet again.

Sometimes I just need to get things off of my chest. And I prefer to not have my family members and any other curious little monkeys snooping around in my business. How is this different than sharing it with all of you? Well, partly because all of you show up here on a fairly regular basis. You chime in on my rants and offer advice when I lose my mind. You guys are great. You aren't here so that you can tell the girls at the hairdresser what I have been talking about. You are here for ...... well, honestly, I'm not sure what you are here for. But I totally love you for being here.

This past weekend has been a bitch for me. Actually, the last few weeks have been quite testing. You see, Mother's Day (of all things) tends to be a sore spot between my husband and I. Why, you ask? Because my husband would give anything in the world for me to be a mother. And I do not have any desire, whatsoever, to ever be a mother. None. At all.

Please. Spare me the speeches on what I bad person I am; how I am so selfish; how I'm too vain; how I have no idea how amazing it is; how I would be such a great mom; how beautiful our baby would be; and any other argument that you can possibly think of. I HAVE HEARD THEM ALL. Seriously. I really have.
And I don't doubt in any way that I would be a great mom or worry that I wouldn't love it. For God's sake, people! Why do they say "Oh, you would love it". No Shit. Of course I would love my own child. But it's kinda like sex. You have no idea what you are missing until you do it. And I have NO desire to do it. (have kids, that is. I have plenty of desire for sex)

It all comes down to a very simple fact. My body, mind, heart and soul do not want to be a mother. It is not there. And I cannot make it be there. And this whole situation pretty much breaks my heart and exhausts me like nothing else.

I told my husband way back at the beginning that if his desire to have children was stronger than his love for me, then he should go ahead and leave and find a mother for his offspring. But, no. He declares that he loves me and always will, despite everything. And I have to live with his spells of not talking to me for days at a time. Arguments. Guilt (for some reason). Shame (because others inflict it). And a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that knows that my husband may stay with me, but he will always resent me.

There is really nothing that I can do except trust the Lord and hope that the big picture makes sense at some point. Although, I have a hard time understanding why He would put two people together that just seem to get more and more different from each other every day. I guess there are no quick answers.

I feel so detached.

But I also feel a little better now that I put that out there. Thanks for listening.

*photo from Inked.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Ahhhh. May. The month of steady sunshine, planting gardens and a nagging desire to take a trip to the beach. It is also the month of my wedding anniversary. Tomorrow, the 3rd, will mark five years of marriage for me and hub.

Wow. Five years. Seems unreal. The first year of our marriage was spent apart. He was in Iraq fighting the war. The second was more like most people's first, I think. The third year was the year from hell. We came so close to splitting up that year. It seemed that we couldn't get along to save our lives. My depression came back. He drank a lot. But things got better. After we walked up to the edge and looked over and realized that if we jumped there would be no looking back, we made it work. We tried harder. We tried to remember why we even liked each other to begin with. And now, after five years, I look back at our relationship and it just keeps surprising me.

You know, marriage is a bitch. Let's just be honest. Some days are wonderful. Some days you just want to rip each other's throats out. And it keeps on changing. He wants to believe that some day I will change my mind about not wanting to have kids. I want to believe that some day he will quit acting like a pouting 12 year old every time he has to mow the yard. Sometimes the seven year age difference makes me wonder what the hell I was thinking. Sometimes I realize that the immaturity is exactly what I need, being that I am sort of a kid myself.

It all comes down to this...... It is what it is. Marriage is like every other thing in life. Sometimes it's great. Sometimes it sucks. And there is one thing for certain, we can never know what tomorrow will bring until we get there. So here's to life and a five year anniversary. Have yourself a drink tomorrow in my honor. But don't get too wild. ;)

*photo from la la lovely.