Monday, December 22, 2014

Fat and Fearless: Airplane Travel

So I disappeared for a bit because grad school devours the soul from your life. However, it is Christmas break. This not only means a break from homework and the time to blog, but also time to travel. The concept of fat people on planes has often been a hot topic on the internet. It seems there is a monthly thread on Reddit for fat shaming bigger passengers. It seems that fellow flyers constantly look at overweight people as smelly, lazy, space-imposing burdens. I'm hoping to help alleviate this thought process right now.

As a frequent flyer, the ignorance of many people in these threads or conversations is sickening. Here's a bit of background on me. I fly, on a slow year, over 15,000 miles annually. On a high year I have been known to reach a total of 50,000 miles. I often venture overseas. I am definitely comfortable with traveling, and am constantly trying to improve my comfort while being thrust in the air a mile above sea level in a metal tin full of strangers.

For size, I am anywhere from a size 18 to a size 22, averaging at a size 20, or 2X in ladies. In inches, while standing nude, my hip circumference is approximately 52 inches. My thighs are around 16 inches a piece, so I guess around 32 together. My hips are the widest part of my body as I maintain a somewhat pear-shaped hourglass figure. To give a slightly more average point of view, I will use the opinion of my size 12-14 mother.

First, lets talk about seats, actually, that's really about all we'll be talking about today. Specifically, where to sit.  Nowadays, planes offer some seats near the front that have about 4-6 inches of extra legroom and recline a little further. These often cost about 10% more of your plane ticket cost (for example, on most domestic American Airlines flights, they are $24). Please note, these offer no extra space in leg room, so if you're nice and short like me, they are useless.

As a plus-sized passenger, I have learned through years of trial and error that the best place to sit is the aisle seat.  Even with my wider hips, I fit in a seat with both armrests down. However, it is a tight fit, and even my mother hates the arm rests. Below, I'm going to add two pictures of myself squooshed into these seats. This is where the fearless part of this segment comes into play.

If possible, fly with a friend or family member who doesn't mind bumping hips. This way you can keep the armrest up and not worry about it. However, to avoid bothering them, always book an aisle seat! On many domestic aircraft (and some international), the aisle armrest will lift with the trigger of a little latch on the underside! This means that you can leave your armrest down between you and the other passenger and allow your pleasantly plump self to spill out into the aisle.  Even if it doesn't lift, you can lean into the aisle a bit (keeping a constant eye out for flight attendants with beverage carts) to avoid taking up the space of your seatmate.

Windows seem to be the place where everyone wants to sit, so many of you may be discouraged by this aisle suggestion. I fail to understand this obsession with window seats. First of all, the armrests there DO NOT lift. Even if they did, you're right next to a wall, so leaning space is limited. There is nothing to see out the window. You are so high up, you're above the clouds, and while this can be pretty at times, it also can get monotonous. Finally, the windows are not insulated and this means less climate control. During the winter and at night, windows are FREEZING, and in the summer, you'll be begging for more air than the little fan can allow you. Just, give up the window. And for the love of all that is holy, do not sit in the middle. All that does is bother two other passengers rather than one, and you can't lean, at all.

Try to board as early as possible. Some flights allow you to upgrade to "Group 1" (which boards immediately after first class and loyalty program customers) for ten bucks. Not only does this usually guarantee you space in the overhead bin (I always check my luggage and then use my overhead space for my laptop), but it also lets you sit early. First thing, lift the armrest between you and the passenger next to you. They hopefully shouldn't be on yet. If the decide to lower it, or ask, then say yes with a smile and don't fight. However, just starting with it up may let them see that you need a little extra room. Additionally, take this time to fiddle with the aisle armrest and see if it works.

Once you've dealt with armrests, buckle your seatbelt. It doesn't matter if the rest of your row is there or not, as you'll not keep it buckled. However, do not wait til the last minute to learn that your seatbelt will not buckle, or will buckle very uncomfortably! Sit down. Buckle. If it doesn't work, hit your flight attendant button immediately and kindly ask for an extension. Great news! They aren't going to judge you. I have been so ashamed so many times to ask for this, and they are always so kind about it. In my experience, international flights have smaller seatbelts than domestic (no idea why) and American is the best with seat belt width, followed by United with Delta in the rear. Sorry, these are the only airlines I have flown religiously.

Ok, so you don't think any of these hints will work for you and you just want to buy an extra seat and take up all the room you want. Many times I have said that I wish there were a few rows with seats slightly wider (like they do with the  taller seats mentioned previously) for a nominal fee more. Many people like to respond with "They have this! It's called business class/first class." Ok, first off, first class often costs AT LEAST three times more than coach per seat. If you want two seats, don't go to business class as you'll end up paying more than the cost for just two seats. Additionally, the seats up there are not much wider. There is more room between you and the person next to you, they have much more leg room, and they recline much further, but extra hip room? Not so much.

If you are going to buy two seats, utilize that service to its fullest! Two tickets means you get TWO spaces in the overhead bin and two spaces under the seats in front of you. You paid for it, so utilize that double carry-on capacity. Ask for an extra drink or extra snacks. Spread out shamelessly. Do NOT let someone think its just an empty seat and they can sit there or sit their kid there. PROTECT YOUR SEAT - you paid for it.

Finally, be kind to your flight attendants. Their job is HARD - and they don't work on tips. They wear heels and skirts and have to stay up and sit in even more uncomfortable seats. Smile at them, thank them, apologize to them. If someone complains about your size, they'll complain to the flight attendant, and if you're already on her good side, she'll defend you! Happy travels, my fat and fearless friends! Love your body!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Cooking Corner: Cocount Shrimp with Pina Colada Sauce

I really love cooking.  Hell, I didn't get to my current waist size by hating food!  However, in college I got sick of fast food and decided to start cooking my own, so I would always know what went in it. It can be much healthier and I can count calories better.   And this is how I developed my absolute passion for cooking. It is only stronger now that I live with my mom and have someone else to eat my food. I LOVE cooking for other people.  It also helps that she will help with cleaning.

However, I only started cooking a few years ago, and I couldn't pull any recipes from my mom because they were all casseroles. The only spices she knew were salt and pepper.  Really, her eating habits have changed a bunch since we moved in together as well.  People always ask my favorite dish, or best dish or whatever.  This is when I realized my recipe base was rather slim.  So, I have decided to cook one new recipe each week.  If it sucks, I buy pizza.  If it doesn't suck, I add it to my arsenal.  I now have a list of 20+ recipes on the fridge, one new each week, and mom chooses which one we're doing each week.  Thus begins my new series, the Cooking Corner!

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a professional chef. I got all of my recipes off of the internet or from cookbooks.  I have never been to culinary school and I don't have a fancy kitchen. Essentially, if I can do it, so  can you!  You can make GOURMET foods in your home for MUCH cheaper than a restaurant!

This week was the beginning, and it was Coconut Shrimp with Pina Colada Sauce.  Seriously!  We got half a pound of peeled, cleaned shrimp from our local grocer for around $5.  This and a can of crushed pineapple were the only ingredients that was completely exhausted tonight, so we have left over ingredients for next time of: powdered sugar, sweetened coconut flakes, corn starch, spiced rum, pina colada mix, and bread crumbs.  This recipe was compliments of the food and cooking app on my Windows 8 computer.

First I made the sauce.  Ingredients are
  • 1 cup pina colada mix
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 TBL Crushed Pineapple (drained)
  • 1 TBL Sweetened Coconut Flakes
  • 3 TBL Powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Corn Starch 
  • 3 tsp cold water
Combine all the ingredients until the corn starch in a small pot.  Put on medium low heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently. Then  add the corn starch/cold water mixture, stirring during and after, and let it continue simmering for 3-5 minutes. I then set it aside, as it needs to be served at room temperature.

Finished Sauce

Next it was the shrimp!  First, butterfly the shrimp so that they cook through. For the breading, I got three bowls ready. The first contained 1/2 cup corn starch. The second contained 1 cup plain bread crumbs, 1/4 cup corn starch, and 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes, mixed real well.  The final (which I put in the middle of the other two) was 1/2 cup pina colada mix, 1 TBL powdered sugar, and 3 TBL Spiced Rum.  The dipping process went Corn Starch, Pina Colada, Bread Crumbs, Pina Colada, Bread Crumbs.  This essentially gave it a double breading. Then, into the pot it went!

The Shrimp in the Pot
Now, the recipe said to wait til the oil was at 375. I have no way of measuring this, so I got my fingers wet and threw the water into the oil. If it sizzled, it was hot enough.  Then I did the shrimp, 3 at a time.  I purchased a coolio metal straining spoon thingy (technical terms here) at the grocery store for $8 with this meal in mind. It's probably my new favorite spoon. And for the record, this was the first time I have EVER friend ANYTHING, I felt so ridiculously awesome!  Seriously cheffing it up.  Keep them in until they're golden brown, then put them on a plate with paper towels down until they're dry.

Check out that beautiful golden brown pile
Now, a 1/2 pound of shrimp doesn't seem like much, until you're done breading them and stuff.  This was a LOT.  Mom and I both ate our fill.  For an appetizer they'd easily feed 4-6. 

Unless you're feeding a bunch, don't be stupid and add pasta like we did
Tada! Food! On a plate! And now in my stomach. It was SO good. I love when I cook food and the entire meal my mom is "Mmm"ing throughout the meal.  It feels AWESOME.  Additionally, she had to talk about how gourmet this meal was. Please note, this will make a MESS with all the pots and pans and such. 

Next week's meal? Chicken and Goat's Cheese Pinwheels with Tomato Butter Sauce. And remember, I'm 24 and a grad student in music, NOT culinarily trained. Any questions, tips, or suggestions?! LEAVE A COMMENT! And PLEASE follow my blog.  If you check out the side bar, there's a fancy new facebook link where you can like my page!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Plus Sized in Paris

I hope my amazing readers can excuse my lack of posting for a few weeks. I was on vacation and decided to take my vacation to its fullest, and that included no blog posting. However, this vacation inspired an amazing blog post.

While on vacation, I spent a week in Paris. Of course, I was self-conscious on the plane there.  Paris, land of thin people and supermodels. Paris, land of women who can eat bread non stop and four-course meals without gaining a pound.  I'm not kidding, I got eaten under the table by multiple super thin Parisian women.  These ladies have the metabolism of Gods, or something.  So of course, I was a little intimidated
Obligatory Eiffel Tower Selfie
However, I found something interesting.  I was a sort of hot commodity in Paris. Me, with my size 20 hips, pudgy belly, and cellulite ridden thighs and booty.  However, whenever I made eye contact with a man, he maintained it.  When I gave him a smile, he smiled back.  And, when I noticed this trend, and gave a flirty wink or raise of eyebrows, he returned it and occasionally approached me.  My first night, while getting a crepe at the creperie across the street from my hotel, I had a gentleman lean out his window and beckon me up to his apartment for some, relations.  He was jokingly referred to as my "boyfriend" for the duration of the trip.

Now, you could easily say these men were being friendly. Or maybe they were thrown off by a lady making eye contact. Or maybe they were being rude or sarcastic.  I don't care what you have to say, I saw what I though. I was actually attractive to these men.  Perhaps I was exotic. My well-proportioned curves at a thicker ration was new to these men, surrounded by women who belong on the runway.

I'm not saying I was the only fat person there. I'm saying that I was special.  And dammit, it boosted my self confidence more than ever.  Once, while walking down the street, a man stopped me and said "My God, you are beautiful."  I said thank you with eyebrows raised in shock, and then continued on my way.  I have walked tall ever since.  So half the guys in America are shallow freaks who won't give me two looks.  I am attractive, to some men, even if they're in Paris.  It's ok, I prefer a man with an accent anyway ;).  

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Blog Post Brings Real Life Karma!!

Hopefully by now you have read my blog post, Fat and Fearless: Running.  I went on my Week 4 Day 3 run today. Ironically, early into my run, on the three minute jog portion, I saw an older gentleman sitting out on his smoke break. Older gentleman can either be the nicest people in the world, or the rudest, so I was terrified.  I smiled and popped out an ear bud as I passed. We exchanged "Good Morning"s.  He asked how my day was going, I responded, "Quite Well thanks." He responded "Well it looks like you're doing a lot of good." I felt great and kept running.

I took my 1.5 minute walk break and then began my first 5 minute jog portion.  I knew it would be hard, but I was already encouraged. Slowly, a red, beat up car pulled up, window down, slowed to my pace. I once again popped out the earbud and looked the driver in the eye. I was actually terrified, because I run in the street, and I was afraid this thin, beautiful woman would tell me to get out of the road or something of the sort.  Imagine my surprise when her first words were "I just want to offer you some words of encouragement."  She said I was doing great, I was admirable, to keep going! I ran through my 5 minute jog with a smile on my face and a spring in my step.

I was just finishing my 2.5 minute walk break as I passed another model-esque woman on the street.  She gave me a huge smile and waved vigorously. I, of course, returned it.  I wave and smile at everyone I pass, and I'm pretty sure I had passed her in days previous and she was excited to wave this time instead of giving me a look of confusion and shock. 

My jog ended quietly.  However, I didn't quit, and hit a longer distance than ever before. GO ME!  Then, I came home.  The events of the day really stuck with me, so I wrote a letter to the editor for the local paper about it.  And what happened? I got a phone call from the head editor saying he loved my letter and it would be Letter of the Day on Sunday. He said he got a smile and a bunch of encouragement out of it, and he wanted the rest of the city to do the same.

I think it's more than coincidence that this all happened 2 days after my fat and fearless blog post.  As the amazing Ellen says, be good to each other!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fat and Fearless: Running

We fat people, we know why we're fat.  We know that there are ways to lose weight. Sometimes we don't want to, sometimes we're too lazy, and sometimes we're scared. Why would we be scared? Well, there's one undeniable fact. Fat shamers both want fat people to run and not to run, simultaneously.  They hate that we're fat, so OF COURSE they want us to run. Why the hell wouldn't they? But then, when we run, we burn their eyes with our bouncing blubber and their children are subjected to our flying flab!  Too many times have I seen letters online from "concerned neighbors" that someone would run, or even do yard work, in public while being overweight.

I have surpassed all of these and began the C25K app from  Today I completed Week 4 Day 2. This day includes a 5 minute walking warm up, run for 3 minutes, walk 1.5, run 5 minutes, walk 2.5, run 3, walk 1.5, run 5, cool down for 5.  Despite the pain, the struggles, the torture, I kept going. At times, I yelled at myself not to stop, because I'm a stubborn fat lady, and verbally encouraged myself to keep going!

Before Pic, don't I look excited?
I run in the morning. It's required to beat the Texas heat.  If I don't get out before noon, I don't get out. Today, I even ran in the pouring rain!  Rain ain't gonna stop be!  I am so determined, I will do my run unless it's literally unsafe!  I run with running shoes purchased from the local running store, where they recorded and checked out my gait and then got them specialized to my feet.  My clothes are cheap and loose, as they should be. An awesome sweatband from Target.  I also run with my music and C25K app on my phone, which goes into this coolio pocket thing I bought from the local nicknack shop. Essentially it clips on my sweatpants and acts as a pocket, but is a lot cooler than a frisbee lol.

My C25K music playlist can be found here:: C25K Playlist.  I feel the key to running while fat, or thin, or out of shape, or a body builder is confidence.  I run outside because my severe motion sickness makes me ill on a treadmill.  Every time a car passes me, I look up. I attempt to make eye contact with the driver. I smile and wave. EVERY TIME! Sometimes they ignore me, but the very very few times I get a wave, it makes me do better, it makes me work harder.

I know where the dogs on my run live. Don't worry, they're all contained in fences. But you know what a barking dog can easily sound like?  A cheering crowd. That's right, those dogs aren't barking because you're too close to they're house. They're cheering for you! They want you to succeed! Smile at those dogs. Give them a thumbs up or a little "raise the roof" and keep running.  Their barks will follow you for quite a while, which will keep you running.

With C25K, they use time limits. However, my phone is in my pocket, and time is hard to judge when you're huffing and puffing and in pain. So, when I think I'm going to be needing to quit, I look up. I make a visual goal. That car, that sign post, that bush. It can be anything. When I reach it, I reassess.  Everytime, I know I can keep going until I'm told to walk. So I look up and find another visual point.  Moments after my run, I forget the struggles and the pain and feel nothing but pride

After Pic. Look at that smile, that pride... that sweat...
If you've been thinking about taking up running, do it! Now! Pay those $2 for the App (no, they have no idea I'm endorsing this).  Those $2 may be enough to make you want to not waste your money!  IF you need a good community, try Reddit, it's free, they're so helpful! They want you to succeed too!  And no matter what, have NO FEAR!

Next week I'll be running through Paris. I will be on vacation. I will be the fat girl huffing and puffing through the streets of Paris. And I will do it! Wish my luck!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Is Being Plus Sized the "Norm"?

So I'm chatting on Tinder with this guy. Don't hate me. I'm single and I need to do some sort of online dating to keep my sanity. The man I'm chatting with is a VERY nice man, a few years older than me, with his life together. Quite the refresher in the online dating world. He asked about my hobbies, and I mentioned this blog. He asked what I blog about. I said the main theme is being a plus sized woman in an average world. His response? "You live in America, being plus-sized is becoming the norm." So I asked why I was still persecuted for being plus sized?  And that inspired this blog post.

I live in America. The U S of A. The land of the free and home of the brave. And the hot dog. And the hamburger. And fast food. And processed foods. And high fructose corn syrup. No wonder more people in our country are considered "overweight" than "normal" weight. (However, I have some STRONG words about the BMI system that will be saved for another time).

However, I AM still persecuted for being plus sized. I am a size 16-22 depending on the brand, but really an 18/20 on most days. When I go to a store, these sizes are SOLD OUT! It is impossible to find clothes in my size because so many other women need clothes in my size. And that's when they have a decent plus sized section. Let me tell you how much I LOVE walking into Kohls and the Plus Sized section is one-tenth of the size of the rest of the "Ladies" section. For one, why do we need our own section of all?! Why cant we just be at the back of the regular racks? Is it really so hard to add a few more sizes?  But why is our section so small when so many people need to shop there?! 

And then the clothes themselves. Overpriced, I get it, they're using more fabric, not THAT much more fabric. And then, if you're going to use all that extra fabric, could you PLEASE be so kind as to make it shaped at all in stead of the baggy tents that we're being forced to wear?!  We have curves, more than a lot of the thinner ladies that you're obsessively designing for, so could you perhaps accentuate them a bit? Let us show off the figures that we DO have!

Of course, those are just the stores that have clothes for us. Do you know how painful it is to walk into a store and ask "Do you have clothes for me?" and then to be looked up and down by some random cashier and told "No." Sometimes with a scoff as if I'm stupid for even asking. It's even more painful to know how hardened I've become to that situation, that I'm used to it and it's just a part of life now.

On dating sites, I get looked over because I honestly mark "overweight". Not "could lose a few" or "a little extra". "Overweight". People look at me and assume I'm lazy and lack self control because I've been overweight my whole life. In fact, many people still think "fat shaming" is an acceptable way to encourage weight loss. Healthful food is too expensive for most people to afford, as well as many gym memberships, and ESPECIALLY personal trainers. Doctors ignore my blood tests and the facts about my health to tell me "I'm overweight and unhealthy" simply based on the number of my weight and the way I look. I am healthier than many thin people, and my slow metabolism shouldn't be a factor in that. And no way in HELL am I giving up bread to look your brand of "ideal".

It has been proved that overweight people will be looked over for jobs. AS a musician, I KNOW I am judged while I am up on stage. I had a flute teacher who I was doing a trial lesson with mention my weight. It was terrible. I have worked my whole life to be comfortable with my weight. My family has teased me my whole life. I was overweight as a child. My family called me ugly. I was told no self-respecting man would ever have romantic feelings for me.

So, is being plus sized now the norm in America? Statistically, YES. However, that doesn't mean that overweight people are treated the same way as anyone else.  They're still judged. People are still undereducated about the reason for fatness, overweightness, or obesity. They also don't realize how hard it is to LOSE the weight. I am happy with my body. Let it be known. But I'm always on a quest to BETTER myself, and my body. I have started C25K and I'm eating better. And I've lost very few pound. But I'm healthy. I'm hot. That's what matters. It could take me YEARS to lose weight, and I'll never be a size 0. But no one knows or cares about that. They care how I look now. And THAT is why I'm persecuted for being plus sized.

What do you think? Is being overweight the norm in today's world? Are people becoming accepting of it? Or are overweight people persecuted? Should overweight be accepted like everyone else?!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Let's Take a... I mean... Talk about Naps!

I believe anyone the age of 12 will agree with me, naps are beautiful, rare gifts which should be embraced whenever possible.  One of my most intelligent and respected professors actually has a mantra of three rules of life, one of those three is "Never pass up the opportunity to take a nap." Now when you're only given three rules to a happy life, you want to keep up with them as much as possible. Another was never pass up a bathroom.  The last one... well.. I was usually in a car going through Ireland when he told us and the nap one was number two, so I was always asleep before I heard number three, OOPS!

Now, supposedly kids are supposed to need all this sleep to help with growing and stuff.  Then can someone explain to me why the hell, when my nieces (Aged 5 and 9) come to stay with us next week we'll be going to bed at 10 and they'll be up by 6?!  Seriously, why do children not understand the meaning of sleeping in?   When does sleeping in become a thing?  They also HATE naps! They will fight naps at all costs, and make sure no one else can enjoy a little shut eye in the process!  I remember I once asked the 5 year old to lay down for a nap with me. She said ok, and jumped on the bed for 30 minutes.  HELL TO THE NO! You do not deny a college student of a nap during their holiday!!

I find myself needing naps regularly the older I get.  It's been especially bad this past year, but I think that has something to do with being in graduate school. I get up early for class and stay up late doing homework, and then it still takes an hour for my mind to wind down before I can fall asleep. One of my rehearsals goes from 9-11 at night on Wednesdays! In the middle of the stinking week! So I suppose it's so surprise that, when Saturday comes, I "sleep in" until 8 and then want a 2 hour nap in the middle of the day. I need that little amount of time to catch up from the rest of the week.

Me, personally? I'm a bed napper. It's a habit I got into when I was getting my undergrad and living in the dorms, or with roommates, or couldn't afford a couch that you could nap on.  I feel that you get a better sleep that way you're in the area which you've designated for sleep and your body and brain are ready to turn off and really refresh.  Not to mention I LOVE my bed. I have the most comfortable bed ever and I LOVE my pillows. Really, it's sick how much I love my pillows. I will be in a 5 star hotel and miss my pillows.

But, I guess what I'm trying to say, is we should all take advice from cats and, whenever given the opportunity, take time to lay down and refresh ourselves. If you need a nap, and need to do something else, like clean, really ask yourself if it's an urgent matter, or if a nap could be more beneficial. I often find that after a nap, I am more efficient and still get done all the things I needed. Comment below, tell me YOUR opinion on naps. Oh, and before you take that snooze, make sure you follow my blog!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fat and Fearless: At the Hair Salon

OK ladies, despite our size we all love and yet, secretly DREAD, the hairdresser.  Just one mistake could give us a brand new look, and change is not always good. And if we're actually looking for a different style, well forget about it! We will have to pick through thousands of photos of various women in various cuts, finding one we like and can fit into our daily routine, and then PRAYING that it will look just as good on us as it did on the model, and that our hairdresser can give us an identical cut.

First off, I'm pretty sure that hair salons buy the worst mirrors in existence. I promise I ALWAYS look fatter in the mirrors there than anywhere else. Really, I gain a good twenty pounds in those mirrors, every single time.  Then they put a towel around your neck, and a cape around that towel, pushing all neck flab right up into your chin. Then they wet your hair down and, if you're like me, you look like a drowned rat.  And to go with the fearless part of this post, here is a picture of me in the chair, looking magnificently terrible through this mirror!

Ugh, gross. At least I managed a smile in that picture.  Now I have a few suggestions for making it through the hairdresser fearlessly at any size!  First of all, remember it is JUST HAIR!  It will grow back. If it looks absolutely terrible (which I doubt it will) you can wear a hat, or have an excuse to buy a super sexy wig, or anything! But be daring! It's just hair! It will grow out!  Take a chance!

Remember, your hair dresser has been doing this for years (hopefully) and has a trustworthy opinion.  Straight up ask her what she thinks!  Don't be afraid to be up front.  I have no problem with my size. I'll talk to my stylist and say "I know that I'm chubby, I know that I have a bit of a double chin, do you think this style would work with my face shape?"  For me, I have fine fine fine hair. "I know I have fine hair, do you think it would hold this style?"  Be honest in your questions and you'll get honest answers.  I've been told I don't have the forehead to go without bangs. I wasn't offended, because I've always agreed with that. I keep the "baby doll" bangs because they look good on me. My face allows for shorter cuts, which is good, because the fineness of my hair means I can't grow it much past my shoulders without looking raggedy.

And, even though you stare at yourself in that horrendous mirror and feel gross and self-conscious the entire time you're there, the outcome is always great.  Be sure to ask your stylist to walk you through what she's doing while styling your hair, so the day you get your hair done isn't the only day it looks the way it should!  Be fearless, make it worth it!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Influenster Review: First Aid Shot

Yesterday, I started the Couch to 5K running program.  I was pretty freaking successful, I didn't stop short on ANY of the jogs, and there were times I wanted to. Like I was BEGGING for a walk by the end, but I didn't stop. Add the fact that there was rain and hail at the very end of my run, well, I'm pretty stinking proud of myself. Today, I woke up SORE. My shins, the fronts of my thighs, even up to my abs and back! I mean, it's definitely proof that I worked yesterday!

This morning, getting out of bed brought groans of pain. Boy was I happy that I had received a Fast Relief First Aid Shot Therapy from Influenster in my Surf's Up Vox Box!  This little liquid shot, mine is flavored cherry, promises to take my pain away fast and keep it away for hours. It's an NSAID pain reliever in liquid form. Now I usually use Ibuprofen pills, which work great, but why not see how this works instead right? 

For taste, well, it could have been a lot worse. It wasn't like taking a bite into a fresh cherry, that's for sure. However, it was mostly cherry flavored with a slight aftertaste of cough syrup.  Not terrible, not something I want to drink EVERY day.  But hey, I got it down. Luckily it was very liquidy, no thick syrup texture at all.  So, three stars out of five for the actual drinking of the liquid.

After 30 minutes, some of my pain was completely gone, while other areas were significantly dulled. After an hour no additional progress had been made.  So the verdict? It did the job but I'm not sure its better or even as good as popping two Advil,  but maybe this painkiller just doesnt work for my body.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Weighing In: The Adam Richman Instafight

I am a member of an amazing Facebook group specifically for women. It's called the "Curvy Girl Guide", but all women are welcome because, let's be honest, we ALL have issues with our bodies!  Yesterday, our fearless leader, Brittany, posted this XO Jane Article.  Now I'm a HUGE XO Jane fan, though I don't ALWAYS agree with what she has to say, I believe that as a whole, this site gives women a helping hand and a form of support.

Essentially, Adam Richman posted about his weight loss on Instagram with the hashtag #thinspiration. Now I didn't know this, but this is a hashtag that essentially promotes eating disorders. Now, since I didn't know this, it's probable he didn't either. I mean, let's be honest, it sounds like an AWESOME word for people trying to lose weight. But it's not! It's this terrible thing which encourages bulimia and anorexia.

Now, when a few women tried to point out to Adam that this wasn't the best hashtag to use, he brushed them off, saying that he didn't give a f***.  OK, this is where I have a problem.  Here's the deal, I don't know how Adam is losing weight, but I think it's great that he is. I mean, he needs to do what he needs to do  to make him happy, though I pray that he isn't resorting to eating disorders for this. After all, he is a TV personality and probably a bit of a hero to quite a few overweight people.

Adam is best known for his Travel Channel series "Man Vs. Food" where he ate ridiculous amounts of food and showcased all the restaurants where you could gain 40 pounds in one sitting.  Often it made me sick, but the food always looked DELICIOUS, so really, I was conflicted while watching the show. However, let's be honest, he PROMOTED OVEREATING on his show.  The fact that he was as thin as he was on the show was mind boggling to me. 

So his weight loss is great, but remember, people looked up to him for his ability to eat mass amounts of food. So his fans are probably overweight.  Therefore, as he loses weight, it is IMPERATIVE for him to be careful about how he presents his weight loss, this includes avoiding eating disorder supported hashtags that may give his viewers the wrong idea as to how to lose weight.

I'm not even going to get involved on the fight he had, though I hate when ANYONE suggests another person commit SUICIDE. That is terrible - suicide effects everyone, and that crossed the line.  However, he has since apologized. I just hope that, with this apology, he also attempts to avoid thinspiration in his posts

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Movie Review: Jersey Boys


I went with my mother to see the new film, Jersey Boys, based on the Broadway Musical by the same name. The story of Frankie Valli (with an "I") and the Four Seasons. I have yet to see the musical on Broadway, but I had a radio show on a campus public radio station for four years on which I featured a new Broadway musical every week. One of these weeks I did an entire show on Jersey Boys, for which I did a lot of research since I hadn't yet seen it in person, so I do consider myself familiar with the musical.

Let's begin with things I enjoyed about the movie.  At 2 hours and 14 minutes, it does fall a little short (approximates 15-45 minutes) of the time expected for a full-length show on Broadway, but I still felt that the abridgements made for the movie were minimal and didn't affect the story. The casting for the movie was absolutely fabulous. No "big movie names" were cast for any of the four leads. Frankie Valli was played by John Lloyd Young, who was the first man in the role on Broadway and received a Tony for Best Actor, as well as various other awards, for this role in 2006.  He was obviously the perfect choice for the part.  The other three members of the Four Seasons were played by Broadway actors, most of whom had played their respective part on an American tour of the show previously.  Essentially, the lead roles were familiar with their parts. Additionally, they all had the talent and the training for the part.

There were a few "big names" spotted throughout the film. However, for the most part, they have smaller roles. Christopher Walken has the biggest of these roles, playing the mentor for the boys. The man who owns the bowling alley has been seen in a few television shows. Mostly just very small cameo roles. Besides the director, Clint Eastwood, this movie is basically big name free, as I feel any Broadway musical-based movie should be. If it started on Broadway, it should be cast by people trained and familiar with that environment.

Now for the very few complaints I had for the movie.  We'll start with the smaller of the two. The song "Oh What a Night." It is common knowledge that this is Bob Gaudio's (the song write for the Four Seasons) story of losing his virginity.  However, this song wasn't played until the very end of the film, where Frankie finally finds fame again for one brief moment.  While it seems a pertinent moment, the fact that they included his first night in the movie (though not graphically) gave them the PERFECT opportunity to present this song in its inspirational moment!!

Secondly, in the musical's playbill (I'm not sure about on the stage) the four men each get to tell their part of the story. Each man represents a season (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer).  This gives meaning to their band name, The Four Seasons. However, there is so much more meaning in it. As they switch off who is telling the story, it represents a change of their life as a band.  In a sense, the career and livelihood of the band is seeing a change in the "seasons".  However, the movie COMPLETELY removed this idea.  Not even a quick word at the bottom of the screen that says "Winter" - nothing. I feel this fact adds an extra level to the story that you just don't get elsewhere.

However, the movie was AMAZING. I wish it was acceptable to dance in the aisles of a movie theater, because the music is great, of course. I mean, come on, it's Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons! And I bet you'll be surprised to some of the songs that are theirs.  Rated R probably because they drop the F-Bomb more than twice, but my conservative 60 year old mother was unphased by the swearing and truly enjoyed the film. Take your mom. Take a date. Don't take your young children. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fat and Fearless: Photos

Welcome to another recurring blog series! This one I'm REALLY excited about, I'm calling it Fat and Fearless.  You can be offended all you want by the word "fat" but that's what makes me Plus Sized. It's not bones, it's not muscle, it's not personality, it's fat. I don't have a problem with it, it's soft and squishy and makes me fun to cuddle with. And I'm happy. But a lot of people aren't. To a lot of people, extra fat encourages fear in various situations. But I think we should all feel comfortable to be Fat and Fearless - no matter the situation.  Fearless means living your life happily, and not worrying about a little pudge!!

One of the most common fear-inducing moments with that extra fat comes to being photographed.  We let our concerns about how we look prevent us from documenting the happy moments in our lives. Surrounded by friends, laughing, smiling, and we're busy thinking about how our hips are a little wide! Are you KIDDING ME?!  And I used to be one of those people!

The worst part? As I looked back on those photos, I didn't see the happiness. I didn't focus on the memories. I focused on what I saw as flaws. That damn double chin as I look down at my newborn niece. That stupid underarm flab as I raise my arms in joy.  How big I look as I give my best girlfriend (who is very thin) one last hug goodbye.  How date I let these pictures ruin my memories?!

This is me meeting the AMAZING Stephanie J. Block. I HATED this pic because of how I looked, and I forgot that I was meeting a Broadway Celeb and one of my idols!

Lately, however, I've found myself beautiful. It started with learning how to take pictures of my self, yes, the infamous selfies, at an angle I found appealing. 

The pic where it all began
 I hated my double chin, so I started taking pics of myself at an angle above, so I hid the extra neck rolls. This let me examine what elements I DID like of myself. Despite some neck flab, I have a pronounced chin. My eyes are gorgeous. I have pretty cute little lips!  I also had friends take pictures of me, so I knew I wasn't being pias

Photographed by one of my friends
Hey look, I don't look terrible! I look mysterious. My arms don't even look that fat. I actually really love this picture of me! I think it would work to post on a dating site!  So then I moved to pics that encompassed more of my body...

A full body shot, please don't mind the messy mirror
 HOLY SMOKES! Look at me! I'm not wearing makeup, my hear isn't done, and I'm getting ready to go on a run. And all I see is happiness and a pretty girl. I don't see a flabby belly. I don't even see my pudgy fingers. I see a girl who thought it was fun to wear a sparkly bow when I couldn't find a sweat rag for a run!  Soon the pictures came naturally. It didn't matter if I was wearing makeup or not, it mattered what I wanted to show off

Bought a big bow in a store in Ireland
 The above pic? No Make up. My hair wasn't done. I was staying in a HOSTEL!  And yet, I love it, because I see the joy in my eyes. Next, it didn't even matter if I had FOOD in the picture! Hell, I love food, it gives joy and memories. But before, I feared food in a pic meant people would see more flaws and more fat in my pictures...

ZOMG CREPE! - and I really love my face in this pic.
The streets of Galway, I found a Nutella Crepe, one of my favorite foods ever.  You better believe I was documenting it!  And now? Anyone can take a pic of me in any situation for any reason! I will quit looking at the messy hair or the cankles. I'll focus on the beauty of the MEMORY!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Commode Conundrum

Using the Restroom. Let's be honest, it's something we all do, it's physically impossible not to. This simple fact leads to a few things. First of all, bathrooms are literally everywhere. Restaurants, homes, airplanes, buses, they all have bathrooms.  Additionally, when we are in a place where there miraculously no restrooms or, perhaps worse, unusable restrooms, we often have to get creative in our restroom use. Bathrooms are one of my oddest quirks and often amount to my best stories, so I thought I'd go through four of the situations I find most common for restrooms.


I live alone with my mother and cats.  We have one bathroom in our home. Thankfully, we are very comfortable with each other. Seriously, she gave birth to me and changed my diaper for years, there are no secrets between us. Unless there's company, we leave the door open while using the restroom, for various reasons. Mostly it's because the cats will go nuts and drive us nuts if we close the door. Do you know how hard it is to do your business when there is scratching, yowling, and paws darting under the door. It's ridiculous. Also, we're two women and there is only one bathroom. Maybe she needs to blow dry her hair or put on make up while I'm in the shower.

However, I've heard of people who use the bathroom for solstice. Especially new mothers who just need five minutes to themselves to avoid their screaming children. And trust me, I get it, I could see that happening someday to me, provided I have children. But for now, it's just another room in the house


OK, as comfortable I am in the restroom at my own home, I HATE using the restroom in the homes of other people! I know it can be a solstice, a place of peace, and secrecy for them. Not to mention, they may figure out that I actually use the restroom. I mean, yeah, it's a fact, but for some reason asking permission to use a person's bathroom is forever ingrained in my head as a fearful and embarrassing action.  I may be sitting on your couch clenching every kegel muscle in my body and cursing myself for drinking that can of soda, but it takes a great amount of trust to use your restroom.

Honestly, I think it comes down to a fear of judgement. What if I'm in there too long? What if they hear me? What if they don't think I wash my hands good enough? God forbid I smell up the place or block up the toilet!! Many a time I have gone rushing home after chilling with friends to use the restroom.  This becomes especially awkward because I never like to leave too early.


Yep, it's weird, but I'm SO MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE in public restrooms than at a friend's home. Yeah, they're often gross. And there's really no privacy. People can easily peek through the little holes in the side of the door and look you in the eye as you do your business.  Not to mention the fact that if the lock doesn't work, an inattentive could stroll in on you doing your business.  Yikes!!  However, it's less personal. It's public. There could be twenty other people in there using the restroom with you. 

Now I travel a lot, and I have used many an airplane bathroom. I know that there is a limited amount of restrooms, a lot of people, and no where else to use the bathroom. I go in and get out as fast as possible. Actually, I'm a little prideful of my restroom speed on airplanes.  There are some people who seem to be enjoying their time in there though. Seriously, it's a small and cramped and smelly little area.  A correctly placed thing of turbulence could create a painful bump in an awkward area. What on earth are you doing in there for ten minutes. If two or three people go in and out while you're still in there, it's a PROBLEM man.

Oh, and avoid at all costs pooping on a bus. It's just common courtesy.


Any men who could possibly reading this can just tune out now.  We're going to talk about popping a squat. Rather, I'm going to recall a story from my days at summer camp.  Back when I was a kid, my mom sent me to a yearly summer camp. It was great, I loved every minute of that summer camp... except overnights. Overnights were when we took a hike and, instead of staying in our coolio raised tents with bunks just feet from a restroom, we roughed it by sleeping on the ground with tarps as our only protection and absolutely no restroom.  I loved every part of this, except of the lack of restroom.

I always have and always will suck at peeing in the woods or "popping a squat". Always, ALWAYS, I get it on my lets, on my pants, on my socks, on my shoes. It ends up a mess.  I wasn't raised in a family that camped, so my first year at camp was literally my first time attempting an in the woods urination. But one year, the stars aligned correctly. I stepped away from the camp ground, walked a while in the pitch black, and had the most beautiful, mess free, woods peeing EVER....

...Until the gleam of flashlights started coming towards me, nearer and nearer. In my attempt to get away from the camp, I hit a switchback in the path. And, coming down said path, was a group of boys our age. I pulled my pants up and ran away, my celebration of success quickly lost to the humiliation.

What about you? What are your experiences and your opinions on bathrooms. Do you use your home restroom as an escape? Are you comfortable using the toilet at your friends houses or public restrooms. And really, what are your potty tricks for the great outdoors?!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Surf's Up VoxBox Review: Sinful Colors Nail Polish

As you can see by the badge on the side bar, I am an Influenster. What is an influenster, you ask?  Why it is someone who can't keep their mouth shut and tells everyone about everything they try, just like me!! OK... so maybe that's not the most FORMAL definition, but it's pretty stinking close. They send you boxes of awesome products to try and you tell everyone you know about them!  I am currently participating in the Surf's Up VoxBox!  To see me opening this box and everything contained with it, check out my YouTube video here

I have always been a huge fan of getting my nails done. The problem is, I can't do them myself.  I don't have a shred of ambidextrousness in me.  Seriously, when I try to write my name with my left hand, it looks like a 3 year old in a bouncy castle. Not good.  So when I try to do my own nails, it looks like I killed a jelly monster with my bare hands.  Luckily, I have made an awesome new girlfriend who is an expert at nails, and we had a girls night on Friday to help me try this:

Sinful Colors: Ocean Side

 Sinful Colors has the BEAUTIFUL blue nail polish called Ocean Side.  We sat and did our nails and talked about visiting beautiful beaches in various areas in the world, the conversation was inspired by the color.  The polish is definitely a keeper in my book.  It only took one coat to have a beautiful opaque ocean blue color on my nails. No waiting for it to dry and putting on multiple layers. IT also stayed true to the color advertised by the bottle. Most importantly, it remained unchipped after a few hours of dancing while hitting other people with sticks. Yes, I have weird hobbies.

Check out these nails!!  OK, the picture is blurry and my hands a bloated, but you can really see the color. Besides, do you have any idea how hard it is to take a picture of your hand out in front of you without a cat in the picture? Basically impossible.  Turns out the act of "Hey, look at my nails" is universal cat sign language for "I'm free for petting!!"

So, go check out Sinful Colors today and see if they have a color that will send you to a far away place!! Oh, and if you want to be an Influenster, I have some invites left, so leave a commnt, but be sure to FOLLOW MY BLOG first!  And tell me in the comments about your favorite nail painting memories with your gal pals!!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Mate Traits: Must Love Cats

Every single woman has a list of traits she envisions in her ideal partner. Some of these traits are even considered necessities in order to date the woman!  Whether it's written down or in her head, every woman has one, and she could list at least a handful when asked on the spot.  I have a list too, a long list that will never be met perfectly, but definitely gives me some guidelines. Some of them are rather unique, interesting, and have made me look deep into myself to understand why I want them in a man. This will be a sort of recurring them or topic on this blog known as Mate Traits.

Must love cats.

I am a cat person.  I have had cats my entire life and I don't see that changing any time soon. Currently, I am living with my crazy-cat lady of a mother, so I have more cats than usual. Personally, I technically only have one cat, my little pooper Ransom who loves me and belly rubs and car rides and thinks he's a dog (he's trained so sit, I promise! I hear a video of that could be YouTube GOLD!). However, my mom has 5 cats. That's right, I live in a house of 6 cats. And I don't care. Our house is clean, smell free, and half the time you can't tell because they spread to different rooms and we keep a point to keep our house clean.  Oh, and we feed the outside ferals, Nala (the mama), Gustav "Gus", and J.S. Bach "Jesse B."  (P.S., Nala and Jesse looking for their furever homes, so if you want to share this post or are looking for the cutest kitties ever, comment below!!)

Seriously, he's adorable, take Jesse home now
But my love for cats isn't the reason the man I love must want a cat.  Yes, I want to have a pet throughout my life, and I want my kids to experience the love and responsibility that comes from one, but that is not the reason why my boyfriends must love cats. The fact that they'll be dealing with them while cuddling with me on the couch is also not the reason. The truth of the matter is, I am a cat at heart.

Now stay with me for this one. I can be really sensitive. The silliest thing can make me super mad at you without you even realizing it. Cat. I can be really picky with foods, sometimes the food I loved yesterday I don't want at all today. Cat. I'm a texture eater and the food I'm eating must relate to the mood I'm in. Cat. I will always eat ice cream, whether it's yours or mine or his or hers or no ones, I'll steal it.  I enjoy laying in the sun and just enjoying life. Cuddling will be a hit and miss thing. Sometimes I'll be all over you, and other times I just want to be alone and will constantly push you away. I don't like swimming, but enjoy a long bath. I have a specific spot on the couch and it will throw me off if you take it... I will sit elsewhere and stare at you awkwardly until you move. I get easily distracted and will look away mid conversation if something shiny catches my eye. I will slap you lightly if you tease me, and you will always deserve it. Sometimes I just want to look at people quietly. And, perhaps the most cat like trait, often when I'm staring off into nowhere, I'm not thinking about ANYTHING! Really, don't ask me what I'm thinking about, the answer will not be satisfying, but thanks!

More Mate Traits can be found in the future, but comment with YOUR thoughts. Do you like your mate to like the same animals as you. Have you ever dated someone whose pet you DESPISED? Would you give up a pet for a boyfriend?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Craft Corner: When Life Gives You a Pile of Ribbons...

One of the things I do to supplement my income is babysitting. I love it! I get paid to play with Legos, make food, and then read books after the kids are asleep. Seriously, I sometimes feel like I'm swindling the parents, but they insist on paying me. Ok, SUCKAHS!  But sometimes, babysitting requires a bit of creativity. Like today, when I walked into the home of one of my regular afternoon babysitting homes, we'll call him AJ. The last time I'd mentioned willingness to do crafts with the mom after a successful run of homemade Play-Dough. I entered the home and witnessed this before me:

Yes, that is a pile of ribbons and pipe cleaners. Mom said that she had emptied her entire craft drawer and tells me that she was at a yard sale and got all this in a box for 25 cents! Yeah, it was a steal, but I had to find something to do with it.  OK, great, see ya mom!  I chatted with AJ for a bit, picking through the vomitous pile of red, white, and blue, trying to decide what to do. Ok, EVERYTHING is red, white, and blue here... and it's mid June, FOURTH OF JULY!

Great, OK, we're doing a Fourth of July theme. Still no base for a craft.  Then it hit me.  There are pipe cleaners, which will make an excellent base for a small, simple wreath. You've seen those wreaths made solely of ribbons on Pinterest, right?  So I took two pipe cleaners and put them together in a circle.  Then we used little green wire stuff to make ribbons stay on as we wrapped them around the pipe cleaner to make a base. We tied ribbons on, used shiny silver pipe cleaners to look like 'fireworks', and added a big bow at the bottom.

Mine ended up looking like this:

Yep, I'm 24 and I'm proud of that!  The kids looked way better... In the end, this literally could be a super cheap and fun craft to do with your kids, or kids you're babysitting. Sometimes the best crafts come from a chaotic mess and a need for structure.  What do you think?  What was your best "in a bind, need to do something now" craft or activity with kids?  (Yeah, I need your help here, I'm a babysitter!)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Allow me to introduce myself...

Hello, my name is Cassie. I am 24 years old, working on my Masters Degree, a total music nerd, bookworm, blogger, YouTuber, Tweeter, cat lover, Redditor, product reviewer, fan of freebies... and I'm fat. Whatever you want to call it. Plus sized, curvy, full-figured, bootylicious, BBW, chunky, soft. The fact of the matter is, I'm bigger than your average person... maybe not your average AMERICAN, but I have some weight on the bones.  And you know what, I'm HAPPY!  I'm healthy, and my doctor will confirm it if you want.

I have stuff to say. About a lot of stuff. I'm rather outspoken, and opinionated, and you know what? Why the hell not? I'm very anti that whole YOLO junk, but life is far too short. Live it how you choose. If you want to be the person who is quiet and hides in the corner, do it! But if you want to be the person who tells all about their life to everyone, well then do that too!  Are you a blog reader, not a blog writer? You know what? THAT'S GREAT!! But do it the way you like!

Like I said, I'm about being happy.  I'm happy the way I am. I enjoy food, and I live in Lubbock Texas, which I like to think of as one of the food capitols of USA.  You may not have heard of Lubbock, I didn't before I applied for school here, but it is AWESOME.  Did you know that Lubbock has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the US?  And they're all good.  So food reviews? We'll have them.  Product reviews? They'll be here.  Random thoughts that I have to get off my chest? You better BELIEVE they'll be here.

And check out this YouTube video I JUST made while you're at it, so you can see who I am and what I'm like. Thanks Influenster for the SurfsUpVoxBox!