Tuesday, April 4, 2017

In Need of Constant Reassurance

Hello friends. A lot has changed over this year. For starters, I'm married now! Let's be honest, that's the biggest change, and not much else has, other than the fact that I work in retail now and brewing in the back of my mind has been a desire to get back to writing, to photographing, to exploring and documenting my life in a fun way. 

Something that has been on my mind lately is the various addictions I have, and the one I've been loathing the most-- my need for affirmation from other people.

I've been reading books lately, trying to find guidance in my life, a semblance of normalcy as my schedule and life feels like it ebbs and flows dramatically than your average person. Books about finding your passion, finding a career that's right for you, and self help books about how to love yourself, wholly, completely. 

Slowly I've begun noticing I do this really annoying thing where I seek validation from people around me for almost everything. In college, I would often call my friend up and ask her what I should have for dinner that night. Sometimes I would be standing in the grocery store holding two soups and I'd send a text asking a friend, "should I get the light vegetarian or splurge for the hearty minestrone?" I stand in fitting rooms and ask my mom if she likes what I'm wearing, and if she doesn't, I never buy it. 

Getting advice is important, especially when it's serious advice about the future, starting a family, or what kind of dog you should adopt from a shelter. But my constant need for validation and support is unhealthy. 

So I've decided to change this habit of mine. I have started buying things that make me excited, even if they push me out of my comfort zone. I am trying to ignore the voice in my mind that says, "oh I don't want to disappoint x by doing this" or "this person always said I looked ugly when I wear this color." Who really cares, I mean who really cares. I know people have cruel thoughts about me and their own opinions but that is their weakness, not mine. 

So I choose to not let the fear of other people's thought and opinions dictate my life. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Review: J.One Jelly Pack

Wow. No words.

When I was in Korea a few weeks ago I heard about this product called the J.One Jelly pack. It was created from beloved Korean actress Ji Won Ha (thus, the name J.One). She has seriously amazing skin and was kind enough to finally release her "secret weapon."

This product is a bit strange, and in her video on the subject, Ji Won described this jelly pack as a corset for your face. Huh? I thought it sounded kind of strange too. She said it basically pulls everything in and makes your skin feel supported all day. Watch the video below and see how she does it herself! (I like how she says positive things to herself whilst applying the product. I definitely believe this works!)
In Korea this product was only available through her website . I did find it at one beauty shop (like Olive Young or LOHBs) but I can't remember the name at the moment. I liked ordering through the website though because they gave me a free full sized face wash!

Here's what my skin looked like after waking up:
Just after washing. And then, here is what it looked like after applying the jelly pack:
Not a hugely noticeable difference at first. The product is a little gooey and a little sticky. It's hard to describe but it definitely feels strange when you first apply it. In the video she does soooo many pumps but I only do 2, 3 at the most. I feel like 4 is overkill and this is precious stuff to me! You can immediately feel the pull she describes in the video. Your face feels lifted, it's like armor for your skin. It really does feel so unique and incredible. This is one of many beauty multi-taskers to come out of Korea recently. Not everyone enjoys the 10-13 step skincare process and are creating items that cut down on the time it takes to get ready both morning and night.
This is after air cushion foundation has been applied and after I suddenly grew myself some eyebrows. Jk, I have them but they are very hard to see and nearly invisible just like my friend Niyatee told me in middle school -.- I think this product gives me such a nice glow and I love having it on.
Finished makeup look! I adore using this product and I will definitely be purchasing it again. I have to say, if you can buy it while traveling, do it. They jack up the price so much here! It was 23,000 won in Korea (about 20 dollars) and I see it listed at memebox for $35, some places for $42! Yikes. 
Have you heard of this product featured in Vogue? Have any of you tried it? I recommend it, it will change your beauty routine! 

You can find this item here or here.  

Friday, April 8, 2016

Lusting for Lately

Spring has sprung and that means suddenly all of the minimalist beautiful tumblr post I see fill me with envy and I find myself, sadly, without any finances with which I can selfishly buy all the things I want. Spring is so short here in Texas that I'm already dreading the summer I can feel rapidly approaching. For now I will enjoy the beautiful cool nights and mornings and not think about the months to come. 
Lately I've been stressed and excited. I have a big idea for what I want to do with my life, but find myself without the connections or resources to do this. I know it's possible, I just have to decide which difficult path I want to go down. All expensive, all time consuming, but certainly worth it. So for now, I will peruse the internet, tumbling down the deepest pathways of online forums and beauty blogs to find more things I don't need (but really, really want).

 1. Cute storage. I have always loved these kind from Urban. I don't know why I love simple glass/ metal pairings so much, but I do!
 2. I LOVE Diptyque candles, and I remember smelling (I think) this fragrance several years ago at Nordstrom. I told her I wanted something woodsy and not too feminine. I always told myself I would get it after I used up my Hermes one, but alas, that is still very full. I need to remember to wear my perfume every day!
 3. Photo from this website. I really want to read more and this book really interests me. I don't love the NastyGal company, mostly because I think the clothes are for a very limited number of people and I'm definitely not one of them, nor do I really love the styles. But I love the company's CEO. I read a little of this book when I was in the bookstore and I loved her voice, her work ethic, and her frugalness.
 4. This Drew bag by Chloe is so beautiful to me. I love the gold hardware, I love the shape of it, but most of all I love the lock system they have in place. I think this would be such a cute color with my color palette I'm always wearing (think creams, whites, blues, and black). I'm trying to add more color into my life (seriously I'm wearing grey on grey on grey today) so this is a good starting point. Baby steps!
 5. I have wanted a moisturizing, glowy lotion for a while now and I've heard great things about this one. Also fun that you can put it in your hair! I know I'm a pale, white, bed-sheet ghost, but I still want to pretend I can have fun and tan with the girls and you know, I think this oil could do the trick.
6. Photo found here. I am DYING to have shinier, softer hair and I've heard this product is amazing. I'm hoping after a few more Posh sales/ I finally get paid that I will be able to purchase this. I've heard you can wear it as a mask or even over night and it just restores your hair and makes it so shiny and soft.

What have you been lusting after lately? Have you tried any of these products? Comment below!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

What is Being Fat Like?

You know. This is a blog post I've thought about making for so long. For years and years there's a part of myself that I've been hiding from my blog, disguising myself by only showing pictures of my face or very, very carefully posed photographs. But after living in Korea, and after many tear-filled conversations with my boyfriend, it's time to give up the ghost regarding my secret.

I... am plus sized. But you know I loathe the word. I hate that term. It's like, you're not just a person, but a little extra, too! Not petite and waifish... but PLUS sized. So I'm not going to use that term anymore. And I won't say big boned, either. I won't say chubby, I won't say large. Let's just use the term fat and overweight. And before any of this starts, let me say, I don't think I'm ugly. I like my face, and I think I'm pretty. I just hate my body. I mean, I used to hate my body. Now I'm trying to love it. Anyway.

When I taught in Seoul, the first day of me shadowing the teacher I would be replacing, he asked,  does anyone have any questions for Julia Teacher?"

A hand shot up!

Why are you so fat?"

My face burned. I felt ashamed, disgusted, and homesick. I wanted to run away. Why did I make this choice?

The next class, a different teacher I shadowed, a hand shot up!

Do you eat a lot of cheeseburgers?"
Your belly is too big!"
Cows are big and you are big so are you a cow?"
Monkeys are fat you look like a monkey because you're fat"
Is your favorite food cheeseburgers?"
Why is this so soft? My mom doesn't have this."

The comments poured in over the weeks, into the months. Some days I cried. Some days I would just get angry or say, that isn't kind!" I loathed meeting new students. When we had camps" to bring in more students, I dreaded meeting them and meeting that one smart aleck (ALWAYS a boy, not sure why that is) who would make some snide comment about how I looked.

After a while though, I just accepted it. Yes, this is my body. Yes there is a surplus of fat. What else? I started asking my students this question.

Yes I am fat. So? Does that mean I'm not kind? Does that mean I'm not smart? There are so many more important things than how someone looks. Are they a good friend? Do they help their mom?"

When a major Korean holiday came along, all the teachers got to dress up in traditional clothes. I was so excited! I had dreamed of this! But our boss was too cheap to rent Hanbok that would fit Americans. He borrowed them from this thin wife and even thinner aunt. I wanted to wear it so badly. Everyone else was, and it was really my dream to wear one. The string didn't tie across well, the back is exposed. They try clipping it to make it fit, I'm humiliated, I don't even want to see my students. They all look so beautiful that day. Eventually they have me keep the skirt on, held together with alligator clips, and take my shirt for that day and tuck it in. The saddest attempt at Hanbok. All the other teachers looked so beautiful, but I didn't even want my picture taken that day. I hated myself.
Korea is a very image based society. You can see that through all the advertisements that line the streets. You know that because Seoul is a plastic surgery destination, meaning people travel from around the world for cosmetic surgery there. People really care how they look. They put time and attention into skincare, cosmetics, hair care, and creating the right outfit  concept." I liked it, too! I wanted to look pretty, too. Even when I tried, even when my boyfriend assured me, you look cute today!" I didn't believe it. I was so awkward in pictures. You could tell I didn't like my body.
Don't take my picture! I'm not cute."

It was hard living somewhere and sticking out like a sore thumb. Not only was I overweight, but I had shockingly white skin and bright red hair, blue eyes-- none of the trademarks of a traditional Korean form.

When I would walk on the streets people stared. And when I walked with my (Korean) boyfriend, they stared EVEN MORE. And I've been trained to hate myself. Since I was six and in P.E. my friends and I were comparing what parts of our bodies we hated and I said, I like my legs up to... here," a little above the knee. And every year it went down more and more until I didn't like any part of my leg anymore. And every girl has a story like this.

So when I saw foreign eyes staring at me in curiosity, annoyance, admiration, or disinterest, I wanted to crumble. And when I walked next to my boyfriend, I would imagine their thoughts. How is she dating someone like that?" Why on Earth does he like her?" "He could do so much better." These voices assaulted me every day and I constantly had to fight to feel a speck of pride for myself. My hair looks nice today" or my eye isn't acting up today, that's nice."
(Sometimes Koreans are very serious in pictures and I started doing that, too. We love each other, I promise).

Do you know what its like wanting to cloak your body in your surroundings, have it disappear from all view, melt into the ground and have no one look at you because you're already disgusted enough with yourself?
I cried to my boyfriend, who didn't really understand. He had been chubby as a kid, but he started martial arts and lost his baby fat. He knew what being fat was like but he always had confidence. People would say to him, you're fat!" and he would punch them. But their words didn't really bother him or get under his skin like they did to me.

One of my last nights in Korea I was crying (I cry a lot, I guess), I hated myself, I hated my body, all my clothes show that, they hide it, I look down at the ground, I put my body behind other people's in pictures, I avoid laughing too much because I have a double chin. My boyfriend was upset, I hate hearing you talk about yourself like this," he says. He never says, you're beautiful even though your fat." He says, I like your body. I think you're beautiful. I wish you loved yourself."
I promised him when I came back to America that I would work on this. I would push myself to have confidence. I want to do it for him, but I really want to do it for myself. I'm tired of being unfriendly to my body. It's truly exhausting.

I have PCOS. It's really hard to lose weight. But you know what? I could work harder. And I want to. But you know what else? I'm a healthy girl. I may not look healthy because I have excess fat, but I am! I am active and I want to be more active. I don't eat that well... but I want to eat better! I wish people wouldn't compare thinness to health.

I go through instagram, tumblr, blog after blog, and I know skinny is the ideal in western and Asian cultures. I'm not sure about Africa, the Middle East, South America, Australia/ New Zealand or the Polynesian Islands. I don't know the body ideals in those parts of the world. I haven't lived there and I haven't studied those cultures. But all these blogs, all these girls aspiring to be thin... do you think most of them do it because they want to be healthy? I would venture to say your average teenage girl wants to be thin to be attractive, sexual, pleasing in the eye of her suitor.

I want to be healthy. I want to hike and not be out of breath, I want to feel good after a meal and not greasy inside. I want to lose weight so tying my shoe isn't as uncomfortable, and jogging hurts a little less (cause of the stomach jiggle, you know what I'm saying?).

You know what else I want? Overweight people to feel happy about themselves. For fat to be the same as thin in the sense that it isn't a conversational issue (unless that person is putting themselves at risk for death due to an eating disorder). I don't think wanting overweight people to be happy is promoting obesity or unhealthy lifestyles, just like wanting better prisons doesn't make a person support their crime. It's human decency, isn't it?

I'm tired of going to Urban Outfitters, Madewell, Free People, Wildfox and seeing things like

XS, S, M, L

and then going into the men's section of the SAME clothing stores (Urban Outfitters, etc) and seeing


It's a double standard, it's disgusting, and it limits our choices. There aren't enough fun, high quality clothes for oversized gals. We are left with the polyester scraps, the unflattering draping, or the horrendous boot cut jean (no offense to my cowgirls out there). What about activewear? How despicable is it that I go into Nike hoping to find some running shorts only to see they don't go past an XL, and even then, the cut is very small?  I have to resort to searching for activewear online and it's none of the fun stuff, either. It's not the cool cuts like Taylor Swift is wearing in her new commercial. So what, we are supposed to lose weight and get healthy with our oversized gas station t-shirts? Working out and being attractive at the same time is only for the svelte I suppose.

So, I guess. This is me declaring. You may see more pictures of my fat body on here. Or on my instagram or tumblr. You may see me being more vocal about positive affirmations, loving yourself, eating healthy, or my progress (or lack of) with exercise. I might use the hashtag "effyourbodystandards" and other charged things like this.

I hope someone can relate to this. I hope girls who are overweight and in just a white t-shirt and jeans can be viewed as sexy and fashion forward as their thin counterparts. And I hope if you think of anyone this could help, or who would like to discuss a topic in here, that you will relay them back to me. I hope you like that I'm going to post more pictures of myself, and try to be fashionable and happy even though everywhere I turn there are people encouraging me that it's not possible. I hope someday, my dream of having an oversized staff somewhere like Vogue will be possible, and that high quality clothes from places like Dior and Howard Wang and Joes Jeans will be possible. And that going to the doctor's office won't yield a response like, losing weight would help (literally insert anything here)." Let's knock down some wells. But seriously? Can we start being kinder to each other? Let the fat girl dance.
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