A wonderful opportunity for cookies and a coat

You won’t believe it, but this gorgeous Gold Flower Cape Coat needs a home. It’s the only one as it’s one of the sample sale items at the Masato Jones website, which by the way is filled with further gorgeous and amazing pieces, from dresses to t-shirts. It’s a good thing my husband has no idea or I’d lose credit card privileges.*

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I was shocked to learn that she’s been waiting for over a year to find her forever home. She once thought she’d found it, prancing around on a runway, showing off her gorgeousness, wrapped around a lovely person who could have been hers. And then she was alone again. Lonely and on offer. I’ve noticed many people on Twitter comment on how lovely she is but still no takers. I don’t get it! She’s not for everyone, she’s a size 12/14, and she’s dry clean only, but what great coat isn’t dry clean only anyway?

I believe that it’s just an accident of circumstance that she hasn’t been sold yet, similar to the 40 year old gorgeous, sensitive man who’s never been married. Like this coat, he’s just not been noticed by the right person somehow because everyone is out there looking too deliberately instead of just being open to these wondrous possibilities that present themselves at the oddest moments. We search, we buy, we try, we discard and repeat. Instead, we should be open to what the universe is showing us! Like this moment, here and now.

I’d like to offer a deal to whoever buys this beauty. Send me a photo of yourself in this coat and I’ll post it here to this blog. We can be friends and I can make you some cookies or something too. Who likes chocolate chip cookies? My husband loves my recipe because there’s a bit of a mocha flavour to them. You’ll love them too. Buy the coat, send me a photo and I’ll post it and send you some cookies. Or just buy the coat and forget the cookies. But why?

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Any takers?

*That was a joke. I’m an adult and no one controls me thank you.

Disclaimer: Masato Jones has not compensated me in any way for this post. I am genuinely shocked that it hasn’t sold for over a year and I would buy it myself if a) I had any money and b) I thought for a minute I could wear it for more than 30 seconds before being smeared with some kind of yogurt or cream cheese by a child of mine.

Hearts and roses

I’m not a very pink and frilly kind of girl. In fact I used to protest pink and frills completely. Anything too girly and I would reject it without a thought. I tend to reject anything that I’m told directly or indirectly I have to do. When I was younger I’d gladly cut off my nose to spite my face in many ways just to prove I could do what I want. I’m a little more discerning now.

I still have issues with pink and frills for little girls. That’s all you can find in most places that sell kids clothes; pink, purple, frilly and girly. There’s nothing wrong with being girly if you decide that’s what you like but when pink is all that’s available for little girls what is that teaching them? We spent so much time trying to convince everyone that women should be equal and just as it’s almost here, we separate the girls from the boys and show them just how different they really are. It’s a post in itself really and believe me it’ll happen because it’s one of my touch points.

Anyway, I’ve actually grown to like pink for myself sometimes, as well as flowery things and hearts and occasionally a few ruffles and frills here and there. Usually in a fusion kind of way, paired with something less traditionally girly. Here are a few of my favorites:

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First up is this simple but lovely vintage heart bracelet by Iridescence. As it’s not too complex it can be paired with just about anything in the world from jeans and a t-shirt to an evening gown. It could become a total wardrobe staple in an instant. 

butterflyhat

I love this Butterfly covered straw hat by Betsy Hatter, its just so gorgeous and whimsical. It kind of looks very girly at first glance with the flowers and butterflies in pinks and purples and might be a bit too much on a dress like this:

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Found on Etsy here. But maybe not, now that I think about it. I think some people could really rock those two together. I was thinking more like this though:

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Here’s the link to that one, it doesn’t go anywhere sadly but it’s just the kind of thing I had in my head. The thing about the butterfly hat is that it is so versatile. It can be anything you want it to be; soft and sweet, loud and quirky or totally in your face bold. It’s all in how you present it!

A bit of a switch in gears:

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This cake by Time for Tiffin is one of my faves. So sweet with the doll and the hearts, I’m left speechless. I sure couldn’t bring myself to cut into it though!

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I found this on Pinterest and it links to a site where I can’t find the original. Oh well. Just a bit of eye candy I really enjoy looking at even though it’s quite girly.

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I own these, they’re from Iridescence again. You can’t see from the pic but they have these little crystals in the tops so they sparkle too! I love them because they’re a touch of character when you’re not feeling like making a huge look-at-me statement.

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Here they are!

And lastly:

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I quite like this Marilyn Monroe Sugar Skull t-shirt. There aren’t any hearts or flowers in it but it’s Marilyn right? So it’s a bit girly by default.

What do you think about frills and flowers? Yea or Nay?

Blog your heart out

I saw this over at Sophie’s Plus Size Wonderland and decided to tag myself because it might be fun and interesting.
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1.Who/what encouraged you to start blogging?
I’ve always wanted to write and so always wanted to blog, but I never knew what to blog about. There are so many blogs out there I didn’t know what I could say that would add to the conversation. My interests are really varied, from fashion and design, to politics and feminism. Also, baking, weight loss, psychology, child development, entrepreneurship and more. I started Indie Party People in January and soon realised that the alternative things I wanted to be writing about most was fashion and design. I’m adding social commentary because I want to and I think it fits. So, the answer to the question is: myself.
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2. How did you choose what topics to blog about?
I sort of just answered that. I’m letting it develop organically really. I want to share the beautiful things I love and my opinions that surround them. I will try not to go too far away or get too serious. I do have a tendency of getting a bit serious about serious issues but I’ll try to reign myself in.
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3. What is something most people don’t know about you?
Since I was 18 the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do was be self employed. I’ve spent a lot of free time reading about self employment and starting a business but never felt “ready”. It’s not about wanting to be rich (though who would turn that down) but about wanting control of my actions, having varied responsibilities and being creative. There aren’t many jobs that tick all those boxes.
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4. What three words describe your style?
Relaxed, edgy, alternative. But not really because I don’t stick to one style. I like lots of styles from glitter glam to almost goth. I’ve never been able to choose what “my style” really is. Maybe the best three words to describe my favorite style is: “varied eclectic selections.”
5. What do you love doing when you are not blogging?
I love: taking baths, reading books, taking walks, drinking wine with my husband, spending time with my kids. In that order. Just kidding!

I saw this meme on Facebook and it really pissed me off

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I realise its supposed to be all empowering and shit. It was written by a life coach who wants you to go out and grab life by the horns! No excuses! Just do it! Right? Right.

You are responsible for every choice you make. Of course. You should make the best decisions you can and try not to get lazy, give up or make excuses. You should feel able to make changes in your life because there is a big wonderful world out there full of interesting things to do.

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Milan fashion week, Emilio Pucci, Spring 2014.

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But if you’re feeling like crap because nothing seems to work out for you, maybe it is your parents or the economy or a conniving colleague. This proper academic article concludes that “Adult well-being is strongly linked to childhood experiences.” And this one says that “Negative or traumatic childhood experiences within the family are associated with an array of psychosocial problems in later life.” This includes physical health problems, mental illness and drug problems. So, indeed, your parents are big part of who you have become and your happiness right now. It doesn’t mean you should let that stop you, we all have our challenges and we all have to work hard to overcome them. But it is ok to think that maybe it may have been easier had you had a happier childhood.

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Similarly, the economy is complete crap right now. I personally do not think it’s going to get much better. In fact I think it’s going to get much worse over the next 20 years and further. There are not enough jobs to go around. Technology is a wonderful thing, it’s how I get to do this and learn so much and connect to so many people. But it is taking our jobs left, right and centre. This article in Wired magazine explains how robots will have all of our jobs someday. Its a ridiculous take on how we’ll cope because I don’t think we will, I think we’ll end up with 75% unemployment ala Elysium. (Great film by the way, add it to your list if you’re into sci-fi). My point? Right now and in the future there are people whose lives are kind of sucking because of the economy. Maybe if they had better parenting they’d be better at budgeting or interviewing or working hard. Instead they had the experiences they had and it informed their minds the way it did.

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I just love this outfit, that’s all.

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The idea that we’re all on a level psycho-social playing field is total bullshit. Some people have to try harder than others. Some people for some very real psychological reasons find it harder to go into work everyday and stay there than you do. It doesn’t make you better, it makes your life easier. Appreciate that rather than judging them.

Sometimes it is your age, the weather or an argument. So don’t belittle the very real struggles that people have to cope with. Life is hard, there are causes to our ills and reasons for our hardships. Don’t let it stop you from fighting on, but don’t be disheartened if you’re finding it difficult.

Body Image and Me

I have battled with body image and my weight for over five years now. Twenty pounds is about all I ever wanted to lose. When I met my husband I was in a bad place mentally but I had a skinny model thin body. Once we started dating I started eating more normally and probably had a few too many restaurant meals. Since I’ve been in the UK I have researched weight loss and learned more than anyone ever needs to know. I’ve dieted and starved myself, I’ve run and I’ve lifted weights. The fact is my body is used to being the weight it is now and going lower is painfully hard work. Every time I try, I have a reasonably successful time until I get to the same point on the scale and then something happens to make me stop. I get stressed and snap or binge or whatever.

I had gained like 5 pounds here and felt sooo huge.

2008. I had gained like 5 pounds here and felt sooo huge.

In the last post I talked about the affect of the women you look at on your own body image. I discussed a new study showing that looking at different sized models affects what we consider attractive that very moment and I must tell you, I have experienced this in my own every day life. The office I work in is full of young, thin beautiful women, while I tend to float around the high end of normal and into the low end of overweight. Seeing all these skinny girls used to make me feel like a large, seriously unattractive amazon woman. I don’t think it’s just me either; it’s not uncommon for a new starter who is average size to lose a noticeable amount of weight within the first year. However when I was on maternity leave and not exposed to them every day I began to feel quite good about my body. I began to feel average and adequate as opposed to unusually large. (That might not sound good but average and adequate are much better than the stuff going on in my head previous to that!)

2008. Getting married in Las Vegas!

Losing weight is stressful on the body and you have to try to pamper yourself in every way possible including and especially sleep if you want to lose fat. I have never been in a non stressful place in my life here in the UK. First it was my job and now it’s my kids. I love them but they are hard work! Also I don’t have time for much sleep these days. So I’m not trying very hard right now to do anything other than not gain more…

Scratch that. I’ve been on a serious eating rampage for the past month or two and I need to cut it out. I always start out so well. I had my youngest daughter in March and started my post pregnancy diet in May. By October I had lost a good amount of weight, certainly all I had gained in pregnancy. Then I hit the ubiquitous magic number, had a stressful moment and freaked out. I intended to continue on my diet plan and just eat a bit more but that didn’t work out. I am either on the diet or OFF the diet. I didn’t really go overboard all that time though, until around the middle of January. I went back to work part time then so maybe that’s why I’ve obviously (to me) put on a few pounds.

2014. I can’t find any recent full body pics of me.

In any case, I am going on a “healthy eating” diet. I am not going to count calories (yet) I am just going to focus on mostly healthy foods. No sugary desserts, no takeout and no fried foods. I must eat some vegetables sometimes! I’m sure that will take care of 4 – 5 pounds. We’ll see what happens from there.

What I learned about body image is crazy

If you’re going to talk about fashion, I think it’s only right to talk about body image as well. When I started a bit of research about body image for this post, I didn’t know that I’d find such amazing information not only about body size and health but what can be done about all the unreasonable expectations.

I wish everyone was on board to replace women’s unhealthy expectations and social norms. Sadly, not everyone is yet. There is a lot of support out there and it’s growing every day, but its just not enough. Personally just by being fans of Upworthy and Toward the Stars on Facebook I’ve noticed my own internal dialog becoming a bit healthier, sometimes. Or is that because I have two small kids and no time to obsess about my abs anymore? I don’t know, a little of both I guess. (But it’s probably not true that I never obsess about my abs. Shhhh.)

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There are 1.1 million young people with eating disorders in the UK and two thirds of girls 13-14 are apparently unhappy with their bodies. The incidence of obesity is growing, but also perfectly normal sized and shaped young women are devastatingly unhappy with their bodies. I was, and sometimes – sometimes often – still am one of them. I have done all sorts of reading about weight loss and body image and even though I know intellectually it doesn’t matter, that doesn’t change how I feel. Which is why we need to change things!

Did you know that studies have shown people are healthier in the overweight bmi category than the normal or underweight ones? Seriously! This is not intended to shame anyone who is underweight, we all do the best we can, but this is how skewed our perceptions, values and self-worth are. Most women would rather be underweight than over weight even though it is far more unhealthy. And it’s not about just knowing the truth, though that can help in the long run. It’s about the whispers in our heads.

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Everyone knows this is the medias fault, and that “the media” just says they are just showing us what we want to see! It’s an awful self propelling feedback loop and it will take some serious conscious effort to push ourselves out of it. But it can be done. I’ll tell you how in a minute.

This Psychology today article, Media exposure and the perfect body talks about how in the 1950’s a psychologist theorized that we “rely on external models to form our self perceptions,” so it’s not exactly new. We decide what we like based on what everyone else likes. Beauty is cultural. We’ve all heard of the places where they prefer abnormally long necks or foot binding or any number of different kinds of fashion adornments. 

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I say, we can decide to like something different.

Interestingly, this new study agrees because it shows that our perception of beauty is fluid. Researchers showed very skinny models to one group and bigger models to a second group and in a second part of the test, as you would guess the group who saw the smaller models judged a smaller bmi as beautiful while those who looked at slightly larger models judged a slightly higher bmi as more attractive. Sadly everyone still chose underweight bodies to represent beauty but the fact remains just being exposed to different models for one minute affected their judgement. So if we can convince more and more companies to show us more diverse body types we can affect the cultural perception of beauty.

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 If we can stay aware of the messages we are receiving and try to choose the messages we buy from carefully then slowly we can change the cultural messages toward and about women. Clothing companies that show different sized and shaped models are the first thing to look for. Then look for magazines supporting the cause. Hollywood will follow suit, eventually. And over time, we can change things.

If you care to.

*Further reading: Ourbodiesourselves.org has a list of websites and organisations trying to create positive change for women (and men) and body image. Have a look.