Finding the Right Fit (GIVEAWAY)

28 May 2015

As I discussed in my last post, I am learning to show my body love and grace. One way I do this is by be active in ways that feel right for my body and my personality. Since I live about a mile from my office, I enjoy walking to work every day. Occasionally, I might go for a short jog (I'm slow, but enjoy the movement of jogging and enjoying the scenery). Now that Summer is approaching, I intend to do more hiking (my personal fave). Once in a while, I might do yoga or strength training, depending on how I feel. 

Thing is, the activities I listed are what feels right for me. They fit me. I've come to learn what doesn't fit me: sports (of any kind), cycling (my knees would kill me), and weightlifting (just no). It's good to know what doesn't fit me, so that I can focus my time doing activities that I actually enjoy. When I find the perfect fit, I am so much more inclined to be active.

One thing that is not the perfect fit for me right now is belly dance. I am taking a hiatus from dance for now, as I simply do not currently have the passion for it that I once had. I know I will return when the time is right, but for now, I'm danced out. 

At this time, I am excited to get back into the great outdoors. I can't wait to explore the forests and mountains that surround me. One thing I love about hiking is that I can bring my dog and a friend along, and turn it into a full experience rather than just a workout. Not only that, but connecting with nature helps me recharge my batteries. It is good for my soul. Therefore, hiking is the perfect fit.

Speaking of a perfect fit, I need the right bra for my physical activities. Given my recent weight fluctuation, my cups have been overflowing and I have been in dire need of new bras. I will post soon about my recent day-to-day bra shopping experience, but here I want to focus on sports bras.

I recently had the opportunity to attend a media preview of Title Nine's FitFest bra-fitting event. The timing of this invite could not have been more perfect. At the event, I met with a "bravangelist" who helped me test out some different sports bras. Now, I'm a bustier gal, so finding my size can often be a challenge, but Title Nine carries not only my size, but larger sizes as well. My braveangelist found four different styles for me to try in my size, and to narrow down my choice, I took each bra through a bounce test. There were bouncy balls and jump ropes ready for us to try out our bras.

What makes for a good fit for a sports bra? Since I am "boobalicious," I like a bra with underwires and some amount of compression. I want to know that my boobs won't smack me in the face when I go for a jog. I should be the one doing the bouncing, not my boobs. In addition, it helps to have a bra that displaces the pressure from my shoulders, and I tried a few bras that did a great job at that.

In the end, I went with the Panache Marvel, which is an awesome name for a bra. It has a molded cup with underwires that keep my breasts lifted and separated, as well as a panel along the top of the cups that keep my breasts in place (as opposed to allowing them to bounce up). This bra fit me perfectly, and it held up well against the bouncy ball test.

Have you found your perfect fit in terms of activity? What do you look for in a sports bra? If you'd like to test out some bras and find your perfect fit, I highly recommend the Title Nine FitFest.  Here are the details for attending the FitFest in Oregon:


Alternately, you can enter my very first giveaway! See details below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*DISCLAIMER: This is a sponsored post. Title Nine provided me with the bra and goodies, and is providing the fitting and bra for the giveaway. All opinions are my own.

Loving My Body Through the Changes

26 May 2015

In the 7 or so months during which I took a break from my blog, my body experienced a somewhat significant change. Specifically, I've put on a little bit of weight. This is the point where I get a little TMI for some, but I intend to talk about it here because I think it is a discussion that should be normalized. I'm talking about birth control, its effects on the body, and how I have learned to appreciate the changes it has brought to my body.

To give a little background, I went on the pill about six years ago in order to control the intense cramps and pelvic pain that I experienced every month leading up to my period. I had gotten to the point where I was better off staying home from work for the day when my cramps were at their worst. I would take 800mg of ibuprofen and try to get through the day as best I could. As if that weren't enough, I had also begun to experience pelvic pain in the week prior to the cramping. This pain meant that any time my bladder was even slightly full, I had to rush to the bathroom because of the intense pressure. My boss even yelled at me for going to the bathroom too often, but that boss was not a very nice person. In the end, I took my troubles to the gynecologist and she put me on the pill.

For five years, I took the pill every day to keep everything in check. I skipped the period week in each pack so that I was on the pill continuously- having a period still caused me problems. One of the unexpected benefits of being on the pill was that my weight went down, and stayed down. I was at my thinnest and felt pretty good about it. It felt good (and weird) to be called skinny. I had never been skinny before, but I became accustomed to it.

Eventually, I began to identify myself as thin. This means that I became much more fearful of gaining weight. Whereas growing up and in my early twenties I identified as fat, my late twenties and early thirties were closely tied to being thin. Therefore, when my pelvic pain began to resurface despite being on the pill, I was afraid of trying an alternative form of birth control for fear of gaining weight.

In the end, I chose to make a change because I knew my body needed it. I switched to the implant, which is great because it means no more remembering to buy and take pills. But the change in birth control lead to a few more changes in my body. Not only do I have to deal with periods again, but I have gained some weight. 

Dealing with this change has not been easy, but I'm learning to choose a more positive perspective. Therefore, instead of referring to my body as having gained weight, I am saying that my body filled out. My breasts are fuller, and my hips are more round. I am softer. I look more womanly, in my opinion.

This change in my body has caused me to think a lot about why my identity and my body are so entwined. Looking back, when I made the gradual change from being obese to being skinny, I had a hard time disassociating myself from what I call "fat girl thoughts." Despite having lost so much weight, I still felt like an elephant whenever I would walk down an airplane aisle. I was so used to taking up a lot of space that I never adjusted my mindset. It wasn't just the space I took up, either. I still compared myself to girls who were skinnier than me, never quite feeling that I was truly thin. But still, after several years of being thin, I eventually began to cling to my new thin identity. I was terrified at the thought of gaining weight.

Part of my fear of gaining weight was because I associated weight gain with failure. I was afraid of how other people would view me- that because I could not maintain my weight, I would be viewed as "less than." I also feared disappointment in myself, for having worked so hard to lose the weight before, only to gain some of it back. It doesn't help that society rewards weight loss and demonizes weight gain. I received a lot of positive reinforcement for my weight loss and for simply being skinny, but even putting on five pounds, I've rarely been told I look good, or, god forbid, even healthier (which I personally think I do).

Ultimately, I choose to embrace the changes that my body is currently experiencing. I am not my body. I am a soul inhabiting a body, and that body will go through countless changes throughout its lifetime. My soul is what matters, and my soul is beautiful. This body of mine is beautiful in its own right, so I will try to show it a bit more grace. Instead of focusing on what I dislike about the weight gain (no longer being able to fit into my favorite clothes), I will focus on the beauty of the change. My breasts have filled out again and my hips are rounder. The softness of my body reflects the softness of my soul (I know that sounds cheesy, but its true). My sensitive nature has manifested itself in this body, and I am absolutely lucky to being living this life in this body.

What I wish to leave my readers with is this: love your body. Treat it well and show it some grace. Fat or thin, you are not your body. Your body is simply a vessel for your soul. I know that it is difficult at times to embrace the body you have, but when you do, you will feel that much more alive.

Coucou - Anybody Home?

21 May 2015

Heya, remember me? It's been quite a while since I last posted anything here. Time has really eluded me these past 7 months. Work has kept me busy, and when I haven't been working, I've either had other things going on or have been too exhausted to want to even process my thoughts by typing.

In fact, I'm still not entirely sure I've processed my thoughts, but I'm going to try, and I'm going to do so by tackling the big one here: why I haven't been blogging for the past 7 months.

I lost my writing mojo. I no longer had the heart for blogging. My work life was suddenly much more fulfilling than it ever had been before. My social life took off. That's a terrible paragraph- let's give each thought it's own paragraph, like a good writer.

I lost my writing mojo. Writing has not been a necessity for me for the past 7 months. I used to crave writing, needing that release of putting words to print. In order to process my thoughts and feelings, I needed to share my story with others online in order to find some common ground. With my new job as of one year ago, I've been surrounded by people with whom I can share my story, and no longer felt the desire to do so via my blog.

I no longer had the heart for blogging. This is a big one, and the one that will be the driving force behind what this blog will look like going forward. Because I had consumed myself with blogging prior to my current job, I was constantly reading blogs, reading about blogging, and interacting with other bloggers both on- and offline. I noticed some trends in the blogging world that I felt ran against some of my values. Blogging began to feel too commercialized, too much about materialism. Even if it wasn't about buying certain clothing brands, or buying into certain style trends, there was the consumerism of blog design elements or blog ad space. It started to feel very shallow to me. If there's anything my readers know about me, it's that these still waters run deep, and I care much more about the heart and soul of things- and nothing for status.

My work life was suddenly much more fulfilling that it ever had been before. I currently work in a job where I feel like I make a positive impact every day- if not directly, then indirectly. I definitely still have my ups and downs and (major) insecurities, but I are deeply about the work I do and the company for whom I do it.

My social life took off. Not only have I attended work happy hours, and hung out with work friends after work just because, but I also have found someone with whom I enjoy spending pretty much all of my time. Roughly six months ago, we began dating, and we've been pretty much inseparable since. I never thought I could find someone who I never tire of, but here we are, enjoying every moment we have together.

So what brings me back? 

A little bit of inspiration from my partner-in-crime, as well as a little bit of desire to get back to my creative roots. I've been writing pretty much ever since I learned how to put pencil to paper, and can't go for terribly long without expressing myself in words, quietly. I've had a few brief conversations recently with my boyfriend about writing, and my wheels have been turning ever since. We also recently decided to start a blog together, which got me excited about my personal blog again. They are vastly different ventures, with different purposes, but I look forward to sharing both of these with whomever cares to read.

In the end, I have a voice that I feel compelled to share. What I have to say may not be cool, and it might go ignored, but I can at least sleep peacefully knowing that I have said what I felt to be true in my soul.
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