What failing at a diet program taught me about body image, pleasure and health

I'm writing this while eating a chunk of fondant with a side of pink moscato. Earlier today, I had General Tso's chicken with California rolls and sweet potato tempura.

I've been dieting. Poorly.

My side job in fashion has contributed to me adding to my wardrobe and thinking more about my personal style and how things fit. So I've been shopping. And I've found myself needing to shop — for bigger pants. When waistbands cut through you like fishing line, it's not comfortable, and it's not a good look, and I've been finding high-waisted super-stretch jeans to be a gift from God.

So I wasn't loving how I looked in clothes, or how I looked out of clothes, and I decided to try NutriSystem. None of my failure is because of NutriSystem — I didn't do the program right, and the food is fine, doable as far as taste goes, but the tiny portions left me feeling so deprived, and even for someone used to frozen food, I was still feeling very bad about all my food coming in plastic packages. Again, part of that is on me, because I should have been adding fresh vegetables to my meals.

I failed because I'm not good at structure. I failed because I enjoy being spontaneous and splitting a bottle of wine and having pad Thai with a girlfriend. I failed because, as much as I get bummed when I'm in a Target fitting room and the mirrors make it really easy to check out my bra fat, I don't want to be thin bad enough to give up things that bring me pleasure. I don't really think about my size or weight much or intensely, except when I get in these phases when I just don't like what I see in the mirror.

There's nothing wrong with my body. My curves are bangin', and while the weight has slowly crept up over the years, I've only really gone up a pant size or so. Which happens. What I really need to worry about is my health, because I know I'm out of shape and would feel so much better — and look better in my tight pants — if I exercised. I used to be super into yoga and it really centered me and made me feel strong and in my body, and it calmed my anxiety. And at the time, I ate whatever I wanted. Clearly, what my body needs is movement, not a restrictive diet of packaged foods.

I may never be the girl who wears a crop top on Instagram. I may never have a "bikini body" or be a size 2 like I was in college ever again. But who cares? I'm a girl who bakes and eats cakes, who enjoys ordering pizza at the end of a long day and whose body is whole and free of illness. I'm also a girl who is whip smart, gives great advice, can tear through craft projects like a boss bitch and who tries to make everyone around her feel great about themselves. So what if I have cellulite and a bit of tummy pudge? There's so much more to me than my weight.

And fuck beauty standards that say you have to be a walking hanger and that's the only option for being beautiful. We're all beautiful, and all can get it.

I think I'm done dieting. I'm not done with trying to improve my habits, but when I want a milkshake and fries, I will damn well have a milkshake and fries, and the extra shake that comes with that? I'm OK with being a little bootylicious.

I think you're ready for this jelly.


ModCloth meets Black Milk Clothing

I've been wanting a brand new pair of wet-look leggings to replace my beloved American Apparel ones, which have lost their sheen and, frankly, were getting pretty tight. I've been watching a lot of SuperMaryFace on YouTube (I discovered her via Guy Tang, who I mentioned in my hair post — she's one of his clients) and she did a haul from Black Milk Clothing. They have great, nerd-themed leggings and are known for their wet look leggings. The ones I'm wearing are the wet-look pocket leggings, which have hip pockets that surprisingly stretch to accommodate your phone. They're a great price, they are super shiny in person, and they do stretch a fair bit. These are a bit tight on the waistband because I am in between sizes and chose the smaller size, but aside from that they're pretty great, opaque even when I bend over, and they come up over my bellybutton easily for maximum tummy minimizing.

I bought two long tops from ModCloth to wear with them. The first is the Secret of Whim top in Charcoal. This is a long, flowy, super soft top and my first venture into on-trend shoulder cutouts. I think it's super sexy yet still modest. The second is the Trusty Travel top in Green Plaid. It also feels really nice, has a more fitted look with a drawstring tie in the back, and is just slightly sheer, so I wore a tank underneath it.

It should be noted that I have a pathological fear of leggings ripping right up the butt and being fully exposed, so even though these feel pretty well-made, I pulled on a pair of fleece leggings under these just in case. But they do feel very high quality, the stitching doesn't seemed strained by my bootyliciousness despite them being a bit too small, and they're decently warm on their own without the second layer.

What do you guys think? I think these outfits are so great and reasonably priced, and I know I'll get a lot of use from these pieces.

Oil slick hair! My first (but certainly not last) foray into fashion colors

If you don't want to see a million iPhone selfies of my hair, look away now!

I recently went to Salon Ivy in Pittsburgh (shoutout to Chelsea, the miracle worker!) with a bunch of Pinterest pics and a sort of vague request for oil slick hair. I looked at swatches of Pravana hair colors, picked magenta, green, blue and purple, and proceeded to get my ends bleached in a sliced ombre then wrapped in foils. Chelsea mixed her own blend of the colors (I think the blue may have been a different brand than Pravana that I don't know the name of, or a mixture of Pravana and something else)
I apologize for the quality of the photos, because like I said, they are iPhone selfies, and if I get time one of these days and great lighting, I'll try to capture the color with my big girl camera.
Me with an ombre fro. Think I could rock this


Final result, backlit

Colorful updo

Through the miracle of Olaplex, my hair is super soft, even more manageable than before I bleached it, and I've experienced zero breakage.

My stylist placed the pink at the bottom because I wanted the look to be subtle for work, then did a layer of green, then blue, then purple. Between, on the sides, we did another slice of pink and another slice of green. That's really evident when my hair is straight, which gives the color a completely different vibe. I love that in some lights you can't really tell and maybe just see a tinge of purple, and in others, it's ba-BAM!

I love this do and it's kind of set off an addiction. I blame Guy Tang on YouTube. I'm all over Pinterest saving ideas. Next I think I'll do rose gold, or maybe that same green all over because I love it much more than I expected. But for now, I'm digging this beautiful set of colors.