Puppy Love and Prison

Shirt and Skirt: Lotus (15% off any online purchase if you enter MODA at checkout), Shoes: Shoe Dazzle, Cuff: Celene Stones (email CeleneStones@gmail.com for your own - mention ModaFresca and get 15% off any order), Necklace: Blue Jane Jewelry (it has my name stamped into it and was a gift from my sweet friend, Krista) Celene Stones and BlueJaneJewelry on Instagram

Hey, Hey, Hey...

Did you spy my dog, Jackson's, head in the first picture? Old Gray Beard himself.

This guy is almost 9 years old, and yesterday I started crying out of NO WHERE thinking about the fact that he is aging and that I will more than likely out live him. I don't know what came over me???  I was petting both of my pups, and I was looking into his face, and BOOM. I just started crying.

I would never have considered myself an animal person 10 years ago. I mean, I would gut someone like a fish for ever hurting or neglecting an animal, but I didn't grow up with animals. I just didn't "get it" the whole, animal/owner unconditional love thing. My mom was a clean freak and she worked outside of the house (about 60-70 hours a week) when I was growing up. She had a lot of kids, not enough money, and no room or patience for an animal on top of all of that. I never thought I'd own a dog. Until, I was sent an email one day.

It was a picture of Jackson's litter at an animal shelter. They were trying to find homes for 9 puppies so they didn't have to euthanize them. I don't know what made me open that chain email, or pay attention to it but something did, and the very next day I drove 45 minutes North to that shelter. Jax was 7 weeks old, and the runt of the litter. I picked him up and he fell asleep on me. I fell in love with that little fur ball. And since that day, he has been my RIDE-OR-DIE dog. He has been with me through some of the worst, most painful, terrifying experiences of my life. He is always happy to see me, knows when I am sad, and makes my life so much better just by being in it. Our dogs make our house feel alive. I never understood how much joy animals can bring, but I get it now, and MAN... do I love that dog (both of my dogs, really, but that Jackson is something special).

In other news...

1. I went to get my hair toned down. Warm up the white, platinum blonde and add some intentional roots. This is what I ended up with after the first visit. My hair genie (aka- my bomb-ass stylist) said it's gonna be a two step process. One to warm up the platinum (a crazy long process when done correctly, or in other words, done so the shit does not fall out of my head)) and another to get it juuuust right. I'm trying to figure out where to go from here. Ombre"ish"? Low lights throughout? Weave? Not sure yet. I know I want to add some more dimension though. I loooooved the platinum, but it is time for a change. I've had it that color since January. That's a long ass time for me. First world problems, I know.

2. I wore this out Saturday night. I met some girlfriends out for dinner and drinks at a swanky spot uptown. This is the most aggressive crop top I have worn to date. I almost chickened out and didn't wear it, but then I was like... Fuuuuuk that noise. I spend between 4 and 8 hours a week doing Pilates. I.AM.WEARING.THIS.SHIT.  I got both the shirt and skirt at Lotus. I like the juxtaposition between the feminine lace of the skirt, and the bad girl leather trim of the crop top. The skirt, says... "I'm a little sassy, but mostly sweet". The top however, says... "hide your kids, hide your wife." And... since it's a midi skirt I didn't want to cut off my leg by pairing it with a black shoe, so I went with nude. When in doubt. Go nude.

Shoes that is (you dirty little minx).

3. Speaking of dirty little minxes. I downloaded "Orange is the New Black" yesterday and had my very first Netflix binge. I watched 4 and a 1/2 friggin' episodes straight. I am hooked. The only thing that sucked was that I couldn't binge eat while I was binge watching. I was sick as a dog (which was why I was laying around all day). But... next Netflix binge, there will be kettle chips involved. Lots and lots of kettle chips. I can't friggin' wait. Maybe I'll sprain my own ankle so I can just check out of life and watch Netflix until I get bed sores?

This is my sweet love, Jackson.


The Struggle Is Real...

Dress: Vestique, Shoes: F21, Earrings: Lotus, Bag: H&M, Watch: Michael Kors
Have you ever seen a picture of yourself and thought... "Well, that does not accurately reflect who I am on the inside??" Or, more realistically, thought... "Whaaaat theeeee fuuuuuuuk??? IS THAT HOW I look??? Like... in real life????????"

The person in that picture does not look happy/healthy/energetic/confident. Or worse... maybe she "looks" like all those things, but does not actually feel that way inside. And I am not talking about 1 or 2 bad pics because of an unflattering angle or outfit. I'm talking... you see a series of photos and it is as if you are seeing yourself as the rest of the world sees you. There is no denying it. That's just how you look.

The subject of body image is a touchy one, because it is SO freakin' personal. There is no "right or wrong" body type. Women who are skinny may want to be curvy. Flat women want boobs, some bootylicious women would trade their buhdunkadunk for a smaller tush and hips. Some like long and lean, some prefer petite and thick. Sick women simply want to be healthy, and healthy women take their bodies for granted obsessing over a 3lb weight fluctuation...  and so on and so forth.

But... regardless of your individual shape and size, we all have the best version of ourselves. The version we are most at peace with. Most happy with. The version that gives us the confidence to live life to the fullest.

I saw this quote some time last year, and it stuck with me.

When you don't treat your body right, you don't LIVE as loudly as you could. You're embarrassed. You stay in. You're sick. Ashamed. Pissedthefukoff.  You dodge pictures, or crop them. You use humor to deflect everything. You get bitchy. Mean. You start to judge others who are living a fit lifestyle. "Oh... I wish I had the time, luxury, money, freedom, natural build, a personal chef, a trainer, etc. It's all bullshit. We may not have the luxury of a trainer or personal chef, but we all have the ability to make choices.

I had a big AH-HA moment last year around this time. It was Style Night Out. I wore a long white dress (with Spanx - the 2nd time in my life I have worn them. They are the Worst. Kill me.). It was miserable. I started to see pictures filter in the next morning on social media and I was shocked. That's me? How did that happen? When did that happen? Is that how I looked? That's not how I want to walk around in my life.

I've got a bigger frame. You know... I'm pretty tall, I've got wide shoulders, big meaty thighs. I wasn't delusional. I knew I wasn't a small girl (which I am 1000% cool with), but I didn't realize that I had  let my physical self "go". I was eating what I wanted for the most part. I was sick to my stomach ALL of the time. I was not exercising regularly. I was drinking pretty frequently, and it showed.

I was pissed. I was pissed at myself. Pissed at women who don't have to "try". I was all like... "this shit isn't fair... blah blah blah". It's like going through the stages of grief. Denial and Isolation. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. Only... this is different than grief that comes from loss, there is a sixth stage (if you want there to be one). Change. 

I did not want to live my life in that body. I knew change wasn't going to happen quickly. I didn't put the weight on quickly. So...I cut the shit and make some changes. No fad diets. No shakes. No pills. No 500 calories a day. No 5AM and 7PM Crossfit 2-a days, skipping dinner, skipping parties, eating zero carbs bullshit. Just slow, small changes that take a lot of time. The work you do for yourself when no one is looking. The changes that make you feel more comfortable in your own skin.

I'm a year from my AH-HA moment. I've had good days and bad, but I'm much happier in my skin these days.

I'm not really writing this for the people who are happy with their bodies. I'm also not writing this for the people who are going to be assholes and brush this off as narcissism on my part. I'm writing it for the few of you who are at the point I was at last year... the tipping point.

Most of you won't get anything from this post, you won't "get" it. Why would she put a transformation picture of herself up? She ain't all that?? Well, no shit. I didn't go from 300lbs to 130lbs. This isn't a Biggest Loser kind of transformation, it's just a real one. A slow one, a day by day one. And I'm sharing because I've been asked about it recently.... a lot.

So... here's what is working for me. Eating less processed crap. Eating lots of fruits and veggies. Water. Moving. A lot more. I have fallen in love with Pilates, but there are hundreds of ways you can move. Just find one you don't hate, and do it. Often. Regularly. It's not rocket science. And, truth... it sucks some days. But you know what sucks more... being an angry bitch. I'm not sitting here saying that "skinny" is happy. Hell, I have no desire to be skinny. I happen to love my big, meaty thighs. I just want to be happy. Confident. Strong.  I am happiest when I feel good about myself. So whatever that means to you, start working towards it. Hell, the time is going to pass anyway.

Don't waste anymore time being unhappy, and ignore all the quick fix shit you can't possibly sustain long term. It's a waste of money and time and you feel like a failure when it doesn't last. But... you're not a failure. Quick fixes are not designed to last. That's how they stay in business. Fitness and health is big business, but the irony is that it is free. You have to eat, so eat real food (my real food still includes wine and lots of fresh mozzarella cheese). You can workout in your house, no equipment, no cost. Use your body weigh. It can be done.

And for those of you who don't have these issues, consider yourself fortunate. For the rest of us, the struggle is real.

Here is me a year ago doing a blog post, and last week. The other picture is me on stage at Style Night Out a year ago, and again, last week.


The Show Must Go On: SNO 2014

Outfit: Lotus (now available in store), All Jewelry: Custom-Made Celene Stones (both bracelets and earrings) <email Krista at CeleneStones@gmail.com for 15% off your very own>, Shoes: Aldo

Hola Mamacitas!!!!!!! Long time no "see".

I think that's the longest break I have taken from blogging since I started this thing (almost 3 years ago). It's been a busy week and a half for yours truly.

Since I last blogged, hmmm... let's see... well.... Style Night Out happened!!!! Whoop Whoop!!!

For those of you who don't read regularly, SNO is a huge event that happens every year. It is a Charlotte-based fashion show, fundraiser, and all around good time that attracts about 1,000 people. I host the red carpet and open up the show (which means <gulp> getting on stage and talking in front of all of those people). It also means that a hundred pictures get taken of you from as many different angles. Is there anything worse than a picture taken of you when you are not ready??? I mean... look at this outfit. This thing requires a sucked in gut... a hand on the hip at ALL times (you know the skinny arm "trick").... no slouching... no belly breathing... and NO sudden moves. On top of the fact that this outfit is unforgiving (at best), we had some insanely hairy weather.

I showed up to the show like this.... hair straight, make-up on, sucked in, and ready to go. BUT... once I got there I saw that the insane rain storms we had delayed everything. TONS of stuff still needed to be done. SO... I got my workout pants, a tank top, and my sneakers on, wiped off my lipstick and went to WERK. Putting cushions on the chairs of the VIP seats, linen on tables, moving chairs, directing volunteers, setting swag bags out, etc etc. Once everything was alllllllmost done.... the weather radar said it was going to rain again in a few minutes. WHAT?!?!??!?!?!!? THE?!?!?!?!? FUUUUUUUUK!?!??!?!?Pump your damn breaks. Reverse.

We had to get EVERYTHING picked back up... cushions, linens, bags, etc. Get them up and out of the rain, and THEN put BACK on/together/set up. Curtains had fallen down from the wind and weight of the rain, vendors were calling saying they weren't coming, our phones were blowing up with questions from friends and loved ones. "Is the show still on???? Do you know it's raining??? Is there a contingency plan???? AGHHHHHHHHHH. Stress city. My friend, Effie, who is the creator and producer of this show was about to lose her ever-loving shit. This show is her BABY. Not to mention a TON of money, time, blood, sweat, and at this point... legit TEARS had gone into it.

It was 92 degrees. 100% humidity, and we were running our asses off. We were straight up sweating. Bad. Our hair was frizzy, and we smelled TERRIBLE. Funky (with a capital F). We had sweat through our clothes, our hair, and makeup. There was ZERO time for showers. There was hardly time to pee. I washed up in front of a bathroom sink, changed in a toilet stall, and did a brief once over for any spots my spray tan decided to run in.

At the last possible second, Effie had to make a decision. Cancel or go forward???  She hesitatingly decided that the show must go on. We were just going to hope and pray that the rain was over and that people would actually show up, and guess what... it DID and they DID.

It was the best damn Style Night Out Charlotte has ever had. BY FAR. Frizzy, bad hair and all. It was sold out. The music was amazing, the fashion was incredible, the people were gorgeous, and the rain held out. It was a miracle.

I had 6 family members from New York fly in for Style Night Out.  I looked out at them.... my beautiful, selfless family... my BESTEST friends, my gorgeous, supportive, ridiculously amazing manfriend, my loves... my Lotus girls, and realized that this was MUCH MUCH MUCH more than a fashion show. It was a labor of true love and it was a moment in my life that I wasn't going to soon forget. It was a lesson.

That even the biggest, baddest, scariest storms... at the veeeery last second, can change direction... and what was almost an absolute disaster, can turn into pure friggin' MAGIC.


Queen of your Life...

Shoes: Nordstroms, Dress and Necklace: Vestique, Ring: Lotus, Purse: Target, Bracelets: Alex & Ani and Celene Stones (email Krista at Celenestones@gmail.com for 15% off - if you mention ModaFresca)
I'm tired this week. "Run ragged from too much ripping and roaring" as my mother would say.  I'm not complaining though. I am busy with things that I enjoy doing (for the most part anyway), but I am beat to hell nonetheless. 

I will say though... I feel like I am really living this year. I'm doing what I said I wanted to do... going out on a limb, putting myself out there... trying new things. Creating my life. Trying to live the quotes I am inspired by. 

I don't always balance everything well... I am realizing how much I don't know every day... I'm scared... tired... and I know for a fact that there are a lot of people out there who have something shitty to say about it all, but FUK it.

I saw a quote the other day and it said "you can't just live the same year over 75 times and call it a life". I thought... wow... that is awesome... and terrifying. Time really does go by so much more quickly the older you get. If you don't force yourself to do anything new and exciting once in a while your life will become less and less joyful. A lot of people just sit and wait for something BIG to happen. Then they will be happy. You know the type. "Let me just fix this one thing... get this job... find this person... get to some goal weight... take a vacation... finish this degree... get into a relationship... get through this break up... get pregnant... buy a house... get a new car... buy these clothes... "fix" these boobs. Whatever it is. 

We look into the future and are convinced that that is where our happiness lies. We see these people and we get jealous of the things they have, or what they do and we want it. We want the end result, but don't want to do any of the work that it requires. 

Truth time?  That's what I did up until this year. I wanted to be in better shape. Without working out. I wanted to learn. Without going back to school. I wanted to write, teach, share... without criticism (good luck with that). I wanted a life that I refused to work for.

No more. This is my new motto. And if this one doesn't work for you....

I'll leave you with these. #awesomesauce