Tag Archives: bella

The Plus Size Problem: Revisited

Written By Kacee Eddinger

February is Body Awareness Month. To celebrate, I want to build off of one of our previous articles, “The Plus Size Problem.” Both the plus size problem and the Body Positivity Movement both go back further in time than you may realize.

The Body Positive Movement began fifty years ago, alongside second wave feminism, as the Fat Acceptance Movement. It started as an effort to combat social and legal inequalities surrounding those who do not conform to a slimmer body type. This movement led to the promotion of healthy ideals regarding different body types.  Societies like the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) and Health at Every Size(HAES) were formed.

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Since then, designers have created fashion lines dedicated to plus size clothing.  Despite setbacks due to the diet and exercise culture of the 1980s, the Fat Acceptance movement did not disappear. In fact, a new group, The Body Positive, was created.

Seeking to teach everyone to cherish their bodies regardless of size, the group has added the term, “Body Positivity” to our vocabulary. Although “Fat Acceptance” is still an important movement, this group encourages everyone, including skinny individuals, to value their appearance.  It advocates against the pursuit of an ideal that cannot be achieved instead of asking the general public to attempt to conform to it.bpm3

Still, there is a misunderstanding in our culture regarding body acceptance.  In a recent interview with Barbara Walters, Jennifer Lawrence said, “I just think it should be illegal to call someone fat on TV. I mean if we’re regulating things like sex and cigarettes and cuss words, because of the effect it has on our younger generation, why aren’t we regulating things like calling people fat?”

Much was said about Lawrence’s quote, from news stations, to blog posts, and many lauded the movie star for speaking out against fat shaming.

I didn’t hear about Jennifer Lawrence’s talk with Barbara Walters until the media storm around it had died down.  However, in a discussion with my friend regarding body positivity, I realized that Lawrence’s statement just missed the mark. My friend told me she thought my body was beautiful. “And it’s so nice to cuddle with people who have an extra layer to them!” she added. She was paying me a compliment, which I took, but I could hear dancing around something with her word choice.

“You know,” I said. “You can call me fat. It’s just an adjective. For me, it’s the same as saying I’m tall, I have brown hair and blue eyes. I am fat.”

For a long time, this was not so. From a young age, I was called fat as an insult. Fat people on TV and in movies were invisible or made out to be jokes. Nobody outright said it, but diet infomercials told me being fat was wrong. Everyone in them said they were so much happier now that they were skinny. My mother never called me fat, but has encouraged me to diet since I was nine.

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Being fat has never been easy. Since discovering body positivity, I have learned to love myself for who I am AND for how I look. I have found encouragement from those who told me I was both beautiful and fat– the two did not have to be separate ideas. Now, being fat is very much a part of my identity. That’s where Ms. Lawrence’s words fell a little short for me.
While Lawrence was trying to speak out on bullying and name-calling, she still implies in her quote that being fat is shameful and equates it with cancer-causing cigarettes. The truth is that identifying someone as “fat” should not be illegal, but fat shaming should be. Fat people should not be ridiculed for being fat, no more than a person with blonde hair should be ridiculed for being blonde. However, too often people are humiliated by others because of their appearance.  Instead, they should be encouraged to love their bodies; regardless of race, size, hair

color, etc.  It is important to emphasize this to young women—so they spend their lifetime loving themselves, rather than trying to conform to a standard that no one can achieve. It is up to each individual to stand up for body positivity and end “fat shaming.” Our responsibility, as women, is to support one another for who we are– not for who society tells us we should be.

 

 

 

 

 

DIY: Love it or List it?

Written By Beth Herman

I’m obsessed with home renovation. HGTV’s Love it or List it is among my favorite TV shows. It’s fun to sit in your living room watching Susan, Dennis and their two kids eat dinner in their Racine Wisconsin garage, while their kitchen gets torn apart and rebuilt. Then, decision time: will they stay in the newly renovated house, or sell and buy a new home?

Sometimes life imitates art—or at least television. When we bought our house in 2004, it desperately needed updating.  Hoping to sell in 2012, we took the plunge. Under the guidance of our realtor Denise, we brought in a kitchen company and contractor, who renovated the master bath and replaced everything in the kitchen except the windows and floors. Eliminating the wall between dining room and kitchen provided clear ‘site lines.’ (Who wants to be in the kitchen cooking when all the fun is in the dining room?)  The estimate was three to four weeks.  It took seven.

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Before

The Reico rep said it was one of the most dramatic renovations she had seen, and she wasn’t exaggerating. In place of white Formica, we got sleek granite countertops, ‘espresso’ cabinets, and two times the storage. The master bath, two dark small rooms of 1980’s vintage, became one huge bright space (my husband calls it the Halls of Congress) with a window, skylight and large seamless shower.

After washing dishes in the guest bathroom, storing boxes of pots, dishes and dry goods in the living room, or hiking down to the guest bath in the middle of the night for seven weeks, the carpet still had to be ripped out and replaced. Seven days later, the house was finally completed.

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After

We were thrilled, exhausted, and suddenly facing our own Love it or List it moment. Finally, a home with serene spa-like master bath and a kitchen/dining room space worth showing off.  Our first dinner guests arrived with champagne, an hour after the last workman drove away.

In the end, we decided to love it. I dreaded telling Denise, but thankfully, she was more than gracious.  “There’s always next year, she said, “and in the meantime enjoy!”

When I called her this January to her say, “we’re ready,” she was thrilled.  But alas, there was more work to be done. The master bedroom needed repainting, and the maroon shipbuilding wall paper had to come out of the first floor laundry room.

More renovations? I thought wearily. But I couldn’t argue.Years ago, I painted the bedroom myself. Harvest gold, the color choice of the previous owners, was covered with aqua; walls, trim and doors, creating an underwater effect.

This year, instead of a team, we used one guy. Ron, who had done tree work for us. He estimated three days. It took six. Sometimes his 19-year-old daughter came to help. The bedroom, now a soothing white trimmed in screen grey, matches the rest of the house. My dark little laundry room has a new floor, soft grey walls, a new toilet and vanity.

This time, we chose to list. I hope our house sells quickly when it goes on the market, but not too soon. I want to enjoy my new laundry room. At least for a little while.

Beth Herman is a writer and artist based in Charlottesville. She would love to hear your renovation stories, scary or smooth.

Lapis Blue: The NEW Color of Valentine’s Day

Written by Breckenridge Charapich

Special holidays often make us wonder, “What on earth should I wear?”  February is the month of romance and love, which includes all things pink and red.   People expect you to dress head to toe in one or both of these colors on Valentine’s Day.  Whether you are styling your date night outfit or a fabulous look for a night on the town with the girls, you want to stand out in a crowd. This year, surprise everyone with a unique outfit combination that is far from expected. For a look that is sure to be remembered, try wearing the color lapis blue. A few shades different from royal blue, it compliments every skin tone and hair color. Although it is eye catching, it is not over the top. Paired correctly, your Valentine’s outfit will look as it should– sexy and put together.  

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Instead of adding a red statement piece, try some not so subtle red lips with a lapis blue dress and gorgeous gold heels. The red lips will make heads turn and the blue and gold will cause all eyes to gaze in your direction. Because the color works for everyone, it’s the fit of the top, skirt, or dress that should be the focus. Use subtle detailing to draw attention when the light hits you.  Find a piece with a bit of peplum or even some beading in silver or white. The little details can make any outfit stand out in a crowd.

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If by chance you aren’t able to find something with some extra detailing, a statement necklace is always the way to go. Be fearless.  Try something with a little bit more color, like a fun neon necklace, to add some contrast to the outfit. Neon is an unexpected addition to the blue, but will enhance the look you have created. Now that you have some ideas for the perfect outfit, go search your closet.  Better yet, treat yourself to a little shopping trip. Get ready to look fabulous and have fun on Valentine’s Day, no matter what you have planned!

Posh Pad: Wild Illumination

Written By Caitlin Cheatham

I have been hoarding away this massive hull of a tree trunk for three years.  The wood is beautiful, heavy, and richly textured.  I have been carefully assessing it, and trying to figure out what to do with it because it is too beautiful to throw out.  I acquired it when I worked at Anthropolgie in visual merchandising.  At the end of every installment, the “found” materials were always discarded.  I was surprised when I was the only one that jumped at the opportunity to snag this log. Ha!wildillum1

It really is beautiful enough to be hung alone, but I thought that, with a little candle light, it could be even more enchanting.  Candle light is an easy way to upgrade a room from ordinary to sultry and soothing.  My next step was to find the vessels to hold the candles and figure out how to suspend them.  Naturally, I went to the one place that makes all projects make sense–the hardware store.

With a little help from the sales associate, I found some brass wire and brass colored screws.  He had a lot of great ideas that hadn’t even crossed my mind.  He suggested that instead of mounting the handle holders right up against the wood, maybe I should dangle them and show the brass wire.  That way, it would appear more whimsical and not so “placed.”  I took his advice and bought a couple packs of brass wire and eight brass screws. 

Next, I was off to JoAnn Fabric’s, the one place that has almost everything.  I found votive candle holders in a set for around $8.00 and some votive candles.  The materials errands were finished and now it was time to put them to the test. The hard part.

I cut my wire into the desired lengths with wire cutters and wrapped each votive, securing them by twisting the wire on either side.  The twists also created loops for easy hanging.  Then, I evenly spaced my screws with a drill and hung each votive. wildillum3

Wallah!

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.  The hardest part is finding the perfect place to mount it. 

 

Product Spotlight: 800razors.com

Ladies, let’s be honest: shaving is not fun.  In the short term, it is less expensive than waxing or laser hair removal.  Of course, once the hair is gone, most of us feel better.  For whatever reason, smooth legs give us the confidence to rock a gorgeous skirt at the office or on a first date.  That doesn’t change the fact that every step leading up to the finished product is often a chore.

I have always believed that shopping for razors is a lot like buying hair dye in a box.  The women on the packaging look so happy and beautiful that you convince yourself the experience will be nothing but pleasant.  Then you get home, and after attempting to use it, you discover you are allergic to the chemicals in the hair dye.  Your scalp is itchy, and your hair is more orange carrot than blonde bombshell.

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I have never been good at buying razors, and I am often surprised at how many times you can succeed in accidentally wounding yourself with one.  Additionally, like many women, I have very sensitive skin.  So, my pretty little bare legs are often subject to razor burn—which is not pleasant, nor is it pretty.  All of these factors make that moment of buying a razor incredibly stressful.  I wander through the aisle with other bewildered women reminding myself, “This is a necessary evil.”

Recently, I stumbled upon 800razors.com, and I’m going to be completely honest with you—I was skeptical.  They advertise a razor and 12 replacement cartridges for $19.95, with free shipping no less!  The description claimed the razor was comparable to a Venus razor.  That was the hook for me.  If it was that cheap and could compare in any way to the only razor that had ever made the act of shaving remotely bearable, then I had to give it a try. 

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It only took a few days for my first order to arrive.  I typically put off shaving for as long as I can.  However, I had to try it out as soon as I got home.  I was excited to discover that my initial skepticism was incorrect.  The razor is phenomenal.  There is a little strip around the razor that has aloe in it, so your shave does not even require soap!  Seriously, even for people like me with sensitive skin.  After my shower, I had nice pretty bare legs without razor burn.  

Needless to say, I am done going to the store for my razors.  So, if any of you bewildered women in the razor aisle wish to escape with me, go to www.800razors.com and sign up for your first delivery today.  Let me know if you like them as much as I did, or if you have any go to beauty products that have changed the way you get ready in the morning! 

Email editorial@beckmediagroup.com or comment below!

The Plus Sized Problem

Body positivity and fat acceptance have never been an integral part of the fashion world. When an industry is built to thrive from shame, it often reflects the current societal expectations from the majority. Stores everywhere cater mostly, if not entirely, to women of “straight sizes.”  That is, women who fit into sizes 0 to around 12. Trying to find trendy, affordable styles for larger women is a quest that often seems impossible. Most of these stores order very few pieces of clothing in the upper ranges.  Even plus sized models that are used in their ads or campaigns look to be more on the smaller side when compared to the diverse body types of the American woman.

Professionals are trained to eliminate fat where it exists because it is not considered marketable. For instance, Target recently opted to use a pregnant model in order to show off plus size wear, instead of just hiring a plus size model. The American obsession with thinness is so rampantly widespread that “fatshaming” is becoming a cultural norm. Young people are being bombarded with billboard campaigns insulting and degrading overweight children.  Young girls are constantly flooded with edited images of their favorite stars, giving them unrealistic measures to attain. When children’s anti-obesity ads are created, they often use a lot of children of color as well, even going as far as Photoshopping thin child models to look as if they were overweight behind demeaning advertisement text.

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In a recent interview with Barbara Walters, straight sized actress Jennifer Lawrence stated “I just think it should be illegal to call somebody fat.” I believe the main issue with this statement is that it perpetuates the stigma that “fat” necessarily equals “bad.” We are facing consequences of being culturally ingrained with this mindset daily. Going to any store and being able to find your size represented is an example of thin privilege. Being able to say statements like the quote above is an example of thin privilege. As another thin woman, we do not have the authority to deny or dismiss words that aren’t meant for us. Fat isn’t/shouldn’t be a bad word, but Lawrence is inherently saying it still is unacceptable.

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On the bright side, there has been a lot of recent movement towards reclaiming the word “fat”–not as an insult but as a positive identifier.  The fashion world has been steadily advancing the availability of cute and quality plus size clothing to be distributed to the masses. Eden Miller became the very first plus size designer to have her own runway show at the 2013 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York, showcasing models sized 12 to 24 in her collection of bold printed dresses. Rick Owens’ fashion show in Paris showcasing his 2014 Women’s Spring/Summer collection featured four step teams to model the line. This gave a new diverse and genuine look to the fashion industry that has never been represented before, as most of the models were Women of Color ranging in all sizes. Rockstar and fashionista Beth Ditto walked in designer’s Jean-Paul Gaultier’s 2010 Spring/Summer runway show and has even launched her own edgy clothing line for women sized 14-32 that was carried by the plus sized clothing store Evans. In Manhattan, Full Figured Fashion Week, a concept developed by former plus size model Gwen DeVoe, finished its fifth year with a bang.  It drew attention from hundreds of fashion bloggers and some lesser known celebrities who would occasionally walk in the runway shows.

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Visibility and representation of body diversity in the fashion world and the media, as a whole, is too important. Without which, many women who are unrepresented in the media available to them will continue to feel less than other women. We are making small steps towards body positivity and acceptance and hopefully, we won’t stop now.

Sassy Scrumptious Salads with Liz Bushong

Serve up Stunning Simple Salad’s with One Vinaigrette for a Healthy New 2014!

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Turn over a new leaf in 2014 with this trio of sassy but easy-to-put-together healthy salads. Three different salads presented three different ways using one tangy vinaigrette. These no-cook colorful salads offer a variety of fresh greens rich with disease-fighting antioxidants. With their pleasing variety of flavors, colors, and textures, these salads are the foundation of healthy eating.

Lettuce begin the new year with the Tomato Melon Feta Salad. For this colorful salad, medium thick slices of ripe watermelon and firm red and yellow tomatoes are layered and sandwiched together like silver dollar pancakes or columns of crackers. Small cubes of feta cheese, salt and pepper complete the stacked wonder. Balsamic vinaigrette is drizzled lightly over the salad for a flavorful mix between the sweet and acidic taste of these fruits. Your palate will perk up with this unexpected pairing of fruits. According to Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, a tomato is a fruit. “The fruit is rich in lycopene, which may have beneficial health effects.”

The Cucumber Wrap Salad has a beautiful presentation. We eat with our eyes and this salad really alerts the senses. This salad looks complicated but it is easy to prepare. A seedless English cucumber is mandolin-sliced horizontally, and curled around to form a self-serving bowl. A handful of crisp baby spring mix is layered inside the cucumber, and other garden fresh vegetables are then added and positioned to create this one-of-a-kind salad. The tangy balsamic vinaigrette is served on the side and may be drizzled on the salad to the guest’s personal taste. Edamame, walnuts or pecans, blue cheese crumbles, steamed snow peas and sliced gala apples complete this simply-stated salad. You will be cool as a cucumber creating this salad for your next ladies luncheon or brunch.

The final salad in this dynamic trio is the Salad of Mesclun Greens and Baby Beets. It consists of a combination of mixed greens, shaved vegetables, and cubed beets all served with bagel croutons. A splash of the balsamic vinaigrette brings out the artful essence of this salad. You will enjoy this delightfully light and crunchy combination. To make this the main course, just add protein such as grilled chicken strips, flank steak, salmon, tuna or shrimp.

Presentation for a salad or any meal is important. To keep yourself motivated to eat healthy, be sure to set your table in style by using glass bowls full of the organic fresh vegetables and fruits that you have put in the salad as your table centerpiece. Packaged herbs like dill, mint, chives, and oregano make a beautiful statement as one or two elements of the centerpiece. Cut watermelon slices and graduated bowls of fruit and berries can serve as the light dessert after your salad course. Be creative and have fun!  

Salads are satisfying, health promoting, disease fighting, and include the best fresh ingredients from farm stand or grocery store finds. Serve up one of these tantalizing healthy salads for your family or just for yourself.

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Food for thought: Just happened to turnip some nutritional information about a few ingredients in salads, such as edamame, apples and leafy greens.

“The United States Department of Agriculture states that edamame beans are “a soybean that can be eaten fresh and are best known as a snack with a nutritional punch”. Edamame and all preparations of soybeans are rich in carbohydrates, protein, dietary fiber, and micronutrients, particularly foliates, manganese, and vitamin K”.

The nutritional benefits of an apple are remarkable. “Apples can be found in the Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Apples, featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart.” www.whfoods.org . “Spring Greens Help You Detoxify Naturally, according to Medea Galligan, MS, Nutrition, AADP CHHC, RYT, with healthy lifestyle concepts blog.

“The health benefits of eating leafy greens can’t be overemphasized. Salad greens are loaded with vitamins A and C, as well as several of the B vitamins. Just one cup of these greens provides 70 percent of the daily recommended intake for vitamin A and 20 percent of the DRI for vitamin C. Salad greens are also a rich source of iron and calcium and numerous trace minerals including magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale also are good sources of vitamins K and E.” –

healthylifestyleconcepts.healthcoach.integrativenutrition.com/blog/2013/03/ SpringGreensHelpYouDetoxifyNaturally

 

Liz Bushong- Serve it up Sassy Recipes

For more recipes and ideas go to lizbushong.com

 

Salad of Mesclun Greens, Baby Beets and Bagel Croutons

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5 ounces mesclun or spring mix greens, washed and dried
2 medium sized beets, steamed, peeled and diced into ½ inch cubes
16 individual sliced chives
2 carrots, peeled and shaved with vegetable peeler or mandolin
1 English cucumber or cucumber of choice, washed and sliced to ¼ inch
2 plain bagels, or bagel of choice, cut in small pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
4-6 ounces thinly sliced smoked Gouda, rolled tightly
Balsamic Vinaigrette or dressing of choice

Wash greens and spin dry. Plate the greens in the center of plate. Shave peeled carrots, and then roll strips tightly to form a curl, position carrots as desired on greens. Slice cucumbers, dice the beets, and roll the cheese, position as desired on greens.

Cut bagels into small bite-sized pieces using kitchen shears. In small zip lock bag, place soy sauce and olive oil mixture, toss croutons in this mixture to coat. Bake on baking sheet at 500 degrees for 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully not to burn croutons. Remove from oven and place on top of salad.

Serve Balsamic Vinaigrette in a separate dish or drizzle salad with dressing.

Garnish salad with X crossed 4 chive stems on each salad.

 Yield: 4 small salads

Tomato Melon Salad

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2 medium firm ripe yellow tomatoes, sliced ¼ inch
4 ½” thick sliced of watermelon, sliced melon in rounds
2 medium firm ripe red tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch
1-(4 ounce) package crumbled –or block blue cheese, or feta cheese
Balsamic Vinaigrette or light dressing of choice
15 steamed pea pods for garnish

Stack yellow tomato, watermelon slice and red tomato one on top of each other. Add crumbled blue or feta cheese and drizzle with vinaigrette. Garnish plate with pea pods.

Yield:  4 small salads

Cucumber Wrap Salad

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1 English cucumber, sliced horizontally into thin strips
 2 ½ cups Organic small leaf greens
10 tablespoons Edamame (soybeans) & snap peas steamed and cooled
15 thin slices of Gala apple with skin
10 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles
5 tablespoons chopped pecans or nut of choice
Balsamic dressing-recipe follows or purchase

  • Slice cucumber into very thin strips.  Curl into a medium sized circle. Cucumber will stick to itself if you overlap ends. Fill cup with greens, layer apple and pea pods stand on ends in back of salad.
  • Add blue cheese and nuts to the left side of salad. Add soybeans to right side. Serve dressing in separate bowl.  Make it Yours by adding whatever salad toppings you enjoy.  Balsamic Vinaigrette page 36.

Serve it up Sassy on individual white salad plates.  You cannot pick this up to eat, must be plated.

 Yield: 5 mini salads

 (This vinaigrette is for all three salads- 3 salads 1 vinaigrette)

Balsamic Vinaigrette                                                                                                           

½ cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey
3 teaspoons minced garlic
¼ teaspoon celery salt and pepper
1-cup extra virgin olive oil

  • Whisk together first 5 ingredients until blended. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Blend well. 
  • Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
  • Serve on any green salad as well as Cucumber Wrap.  Can also be used as a veggie dip.

 Yield: 2 cups

 

RECIPE DEVELOPMENT, FOOD STYLING, PHOTOGRAPHY, AND ARTICLE SUBMITTED BY LIZ BUSHONG

 Helping You Make a Statement, Make it Sassy, and Make it Yours! ®

Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. She makes elegance easy for her audience and encourages them to add their own Sassy touch to make it unique. Liz is famous for creating her own version of a beautifully presented tablescape – which she calls a Sassyscape ™ -and she also creates magic beyond the dining experience. In 2009, 2010 and 2013, she was selected from thousands nationwide to be part of an elite team of 75 professionals entrusted with decorating the White House for the Holiday. In 2011, she was part of seven-person team selected to decorate the Tennessee Governor’s Mansion for the holiday.

To purchase her cookbook, find recipes, cooking, and decorating demonstrations/ideas go to www.lizbushong.com, www.facebook.com/lizbushong, and twitter @lizbushong.