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MOM'S WEDDING, MARY LAMBERT AND MAGICAL EYELET DRESSES

This post is brought to you by the letter S, confectioners sugar, and Simply Be!



My mom is getting married in a few weeks and I have three official jobs for this special event:

  1. Select and walk out to a song that represents "me"
  2. Bake and decorate the most amazing chocolate cake that 150 people have ever eaten
  3. Wear whatever makes me feel happy

The first two are easy: "Secrets" by Mary Lambert of course and I've got this wedding cake delivery in the bag; I've been a baker for YEARS.

The last task? It took some thought. 

My mom is doing this wedding in a way unique to the couple: a circle of chairs, community ritual, no bridal party, and the dress code? Well, it's rooted in physically manifesting your personal happiness through your wardrobe and I am here for it!

My final verdict? WEARING YELLOW MAKES ME HAPPY. Yellow makes me so happy.



I ordered this gorgeous yellow eyelet lace dress (I'm wearing a US size 24 which is comfortably loose) from Simply Be and it fits like a flapper dream! I'm still torn between wearing daisies in my hair or switching them out for yellow vintage lemon bobby-pins but I'm positive that I'm going to be wearing these white platform sandals because I'm a sucker for shoes that are both comfortable AND cute.

It was also 95 degrees today in so we're definitely still in sandal weather regardless of the fact it's cold everywhere else in the country. Only in Tucson does it still feel like summer in October.

I absolutely ADORE attending weddings (did you know I used to do wedding photography and specialized in baking wedding cakes?) and can't wait to watch love in action and then walk out to "I've got bipolar disorder, my shit's not in order" while feeling 100% myself. 

I'm fascinated by this dress code prompt and now I'm curious: If YOU were to choose an outfit that represented happiness to wear... what would it look like?

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I offer one or two sponsored posts each month. If you’d like 250k-ish monthly readers to get to read all about you or yr stuff (= the kinda stuff that all of us in TMB community will find useful + rad), send me an email at themilitantbaker (at) gmail (dot) com and we'll make it happen! Readers, thank you so much for supporting companies that support The Militant Baker:) I love you all.

11 RAD PLACES TO FIND PLUS SIZE BRALETTES

Image courtesy of Shainna from A Thick Girls Closet
(Sexy white bralette can be found here!)


I'm a dedicated (bordering on zealous) bralette convert. Underwire bras are something that I'll strap on for the occasional photo shoot or sexy moment but only when the outfit really requires it. Otherwise? 98% of the time you'll find me in these unpadded, wire free, stretchy little numbers because COMFORT IS SUCH AN AWESOME THING YOU GUYS.

If you're wondering if bralettes are for the plus crowd as well, the simple answer is: YES. There are tons of options thanks to their semi-recent popularity and while they will never offer you the cleavage-pressing-into-your-chin-almost-suffocating-you support of a push-up bra... I'm okay with that.

More than okay with that.

They can be worn like a bra under clothing, they can peek out of your top and add some flair, or you can follow in the stylish footsteps of Shainna above and wear them as a top. Yep, they're great as outerwear too. THE WORLD IS OFFICIALLY OURS!

Below you'll find some of my favorite places to shop for bralettes as well as your recommendations.

There really is something for everyone (Smart Glamour literally makes every size in the world) and for those who need more chest support than others, there are some full coverage styles that might peak your interest. The greatest part for me is that because their versatility also includes sizing. I don't need to obsessively measure cup size any longer, and that is a personal win.

Without further ado, 11 rad places to shop for plus bralettes:

1 | 2 | 3

When I asked you where to the find the best plus bralettes, the answer was almost unanimous: Torrid. And I totally get it. The selection is SUPER sassy and I'm a sucker for any lacy high neck bralette that can double as a top.

Price range: $28-35

1 | 2 | 3

Hips and Curves was the first company to send underwear that fit like a glove. I even wore them for my first ever boudoir shoot: proof here. Their pieces are solid and sexxxxxxxxy. 10/10 recommend.

Price range: $20-40

1 | 2 | 3

Modcloth has been and likely always will be one of my favorite companies to shop from. While I normally spend my time browsing their plus size dress section, they also have a cute selection of bralettes to choose from and a return policy that makes life easy. That last part is critical for this fat girl that shops online.

Price range:  $14-20

1 | 2 | 3

Smart Glamour is out to change the fashion industry and Mallorie is doing a damn fine job. Get this: they custom make their clothing and WILL MAKE ANY PIECE OF CLOTHING IN ANY SIZE. That means no matter the size/shape of your body, you will find the perfect fit. That's an experience that's hard to come by and if I didn't feel so weird using emojis in a blog post I would post a dozen clapping hands here.

Price range: $40-45

1 | 2 | 3

Forever 21 Plus is where I go for my daily bralette purchases. They're inexpensive, stretchy, comfortable and cute. They're currently out of their basic bralette with the adorable crossing straps but these options above are super hot and I'm sure they'll be restocking soon. (Check out Charlotte Russe Plus below for something comparable!)

Price range: $13-16


1 | 2 | 3

Not only is Curvy Girl Lingerie run by a fat babe and friend of mine (Chrystal Bougon) who has dedicated her life to making sure plus women have a plethora of sexy options, these bralettes also come in sets which makes the price completely reasonable in my book. I have to be honest: that first ensemble is MAKING ME FEEL THINGS. SO MANY THINGS.

P.S. She named a negligee after me and I can't think of a time I've ever been more flattered.

Price range: $38-55

1 | 2 | 3

I've never shopped at Maurices, but many of you have and swear by them. After browsing their bralette selection, I can see why.

Price range: $18


1 | 2 | 3

While I have a million (and one) bones to pick with Lane Bryant as a corporation, I have to be honest: Cacique has been there with amazing options for my fat back since the beginning. In fact, Cacique was where I maxed out my very first credit card at 21 before going to live on a circus train for a week, so, y'know... there's a history.

That, and I have to be real- that middle peek-a-boo bralette is sexy AF.

Price range: $33-49

1 | 2 | 3

Bare Necessities has some high coverage options for those who want support but don't want to sacrifice the ubiquitous lacy bralette style. Full stop.

Price range: $24-62

1 | 2 | 3

Re/Dress (one of my favorite companies ever- seriously, check them out) used to carry Tegging bralettes and they have become my wardrobe staple and the pieces of clothing that people ask about the most. Especially the bralette with a web cut-out that I wear underneath every single sheer top I have. I just wore it in Portland a few weeks ago (and here and here)... it's my most coveted piece of clothing.

UNFORTUNATELY, Tegging bralettes sold out (whomp whomp) but FORTUNATELY Amazon has something really similar! It's gorgeous and lets not forget about that free Prime shipping and returns, right?


Price range: $11-25

1 | 2 | 3

I feel like Charlotte Russe's plus bralette options are everything I'll ever need. Simple, super wearable and they start at FIVE DOLLARS.

FIVE. DOLLARS.

Price range: $5-15

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These are just a few options out of many and if you're looking for other bralette reviews, you can check our Alysse's article here

I'd love to hear your feedback! What bralettes have you tried? Which worked for you and which didn't? WHERE DO I NEED TO SHOP NEXT?!?!?

WEAR WHAT SCARES YOU: LIVE EVERY SUNDAY IN OCTOBER!

(An official "I guess I do this for a living now" author photo)

HEY GUYS!

I wanted to give you a heads up that I'm going to be doing a Facebook Live series every Sunday in October with Dia & Co where we take some of the pieces of clothing that still scare us and figure out how to rock them!

I asked you what you were still afraid to wear last week and your answers were so relatable. Sleeveless clothing, body con dresses, bold prints, stripes, leggings, anything that shows visible belly outline, sheer tops/bottoms, jeans, shorts, things that don't fit and flare... and those are just a few.

There are five Sundays in October so we're gonna tackle five of the most fun "scary things" starting with:

October 1: Bold prints and stripes
October 8: Bodycon dresses
October 15: Leggings Part One and Part Two
October 22: Crop-tops 
October  29: Sheer everything!

Join in by checking it out on Dia & Co's Facebook page on October 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th at 7pm EST/4pm PT. Ask me your questions, share your stories, participate in the challenges with #WearWhatScaresYou and hang out with me while I'm awkward in real time.

Just in case you missed it: Dia & Co is a fa(t)shion subscription box that is exclusively for folx size 14 and up. When you subscribe, you answer some questions (your size/preferences/what you love/don't love/want/wish for) and they have an individual stylist for each person- yes, including you! Your stylist puts together a box of five pieces of clothing they think that you'll love and then you get to try them on! Love 'em? Buy 'em! Hate 'em? Send them right on back.

It's a really great way to try new styles and figure out how different brands fit you. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE all the way around.

These videos are going to be a BLAST and the boxes are always rad. See you there!


F*CK HEALTH // BY MELISSA FABELLO

(via)

Here’s a social experiment: Tweet that science is subjective – that there’s no such thing as objective truth – and watch what happens.
 

Actually, don’t do that. Let me save you the agony: What happens is a flood of anger usually reserved for the Old Testament. People flip the fuck out.

In a sociohistorical moment where scientism prevails over all other schools of thought (um, although that seems to be changing with this new administration), we struggle to come to terms with the idea that not everything is easily observable through the scientific method, that biases seep into research, that “fact” is partially socially constructed.

So when you suggest that maybe the truth isn’t out there, after all (because what istruth anyway?), you’re met with a heavy dose of resistance – often expressed with the C-word for some reason.

Now let’s add a layer of complication to this. Let’s add, beyond this trust that people hold for science, the value that people hold for health.

Express, implicitly or explicitly, that there is a subjective, biased, socially constructed side to how we conceptualize health, and people will honestly believe that you are a conspiracy theorist.

Of course, you’re not. Understanding that health is more complicated than the institution of Western Medicine wants you to believe doesn’t make you a conspiracy theorist; it makes you a critical thinker.

But it’s really hard to break into a justice-oriented understanding of health when we’ve been set up to believe that a) anatomy, physiology, and biology are unquestionable sciences and b) the pursuit of an ideal of health is of utmost importance because, like, death kinda sucks. Propagation of the species and all that. Blah blah blah.

But here’s the thing: The concept of health has always been complicated. It shifts and evolves, depending on space and time. It’s never been static. It’s fluid.
 

And exploring the sociohistorical development of health as an idea isn’t to suggest questioning whether or not it’s a thing. We’ve all had the flu before and wondered why we weren’t grateful for our previous ability to breathe. Rather, looking at health as (at least partially) socially constructed investigates how we understand it as a thing.

And our understanding of health is subjective as all hell.

Here are five social theories that support that.

1. Healthism


Healthism (Crawford, 1980) describes a political ideology wherein a biomedical understanding of health is given social power and individuals are held responsible for their ability to uphold their own health.

That is, it’s our cultural belief that meeting the standards of a one-size-fits-all version of health should be a priority for everyone – and that those who don’t meet that criteria can and should be oppressed as punishment.

It is, basically, the idea that health is valuable – not just individually, but socially.
 

And it’s deeply embedded in our cultural consciousness. Think about it: How often have you heard someone say, in regards to a pregnancy or birth, “As long as the baby is healthy?”

I get it. It makes sense that we would be evolutionarily drawn to the idea of good health and longevity. But prioritizing health (and especially making it a moral issue) still creates a hierarchy wherein some people are deemed more worthy than others – and that’s an oppressive way to think about our bodies.

Health, sure enough, is arguably a physical experience of biological beings. But our moral obligation to health is something that we, ourselves, created.

Want to learn more? Read Against Health: How Health Became the New Morality, edited by Jonathan M. Metzl and Anna Kirkland.

2. Social Model of Disability

And the social model of disability (Oliver, 1983) is a great example of what it looks like to push against healthism.

The medical model of disability – which is the status quo understanding of disability – is rooted in healthism. It supposes that the physical conditions inherent in an individual’s body are why people are disadvantaged: “You will face x obstacles in life because you have y condition.”

It suggests that there’s one way of being healthy, and if you don’t meet the ideal, that’s your problem.

The social model of disability, on the other hand, says, “No. Fuck that. Society is organized in such a way that barriers and restrictions exist for disabled people. That’s not on individuals. That’s on society.”

It suggests that it’s society’s responsibility not to be disabling, not individuals’ responsibility not to be disabled.


The social model of disability calls out healthism’s BS bootstraps myth. It names that society created body-based oppression and that only society – not individual oppressed people – is responsible for changing that.

Want to learn more? One of my favorite academic articles I’ve ever read is “A Reluctance to Be Defined ‘Disabled’: How Can the Social Model of Disability Enhance Understanding of Anorexia?” by Stephanie Tierney.

3. Biopsychosocial Model
 

The biopsychosocial model (Engel, 1977) was created in response to the biomedical lens – the latter of which assumes that all disease and disorder has an organic cause, and therefore, an organic solution, within the body. Using a biopsychosocial lens means recognizing that biology, psychology, and sociocultural factors all play a role in how we develop and are treated for illness.

It’s a way more holistic (and honest) way of looking at health.

 

Western Medicine hypermedicalizes health – which seems sensible at first. But only because we’ve been socialized to believe that our bodies should operate like machinery and that with a little fine-tuning from doctors, we can live long and healthy lives.

But no. Our health isn’t only determined by what’s going on in our physical bodies (more on that next), so we need to think more broadly about it. Not because medicine isn’t legitimate – but because it’s limited.

All three of these schools of thought are really helpful in looking at our experiences within our bodies. But with our powers combined – with less of a sole focus on any of the three and more exploration of the interactions between them – we can better recognize the totality of health.

Want to learn more? Check out Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beautyby Nancy Etcoff for an interesting look at how biology, psychology, and sociocultural factors all contribute to what we deem attractive.

4. Social Determinants of Health

What if I told you that the genes with which you were born and the health behaviors in which you choose to engage only account for 25% of your health experience? What if these two factors that we spend so much time and money on understanding and fixing are only a quarter of the problem?

What if our social locations actually played a far larger role in our health than our biology?
 
Well, it’s true.

You can learn more from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but here’s the gist: There are five factors that determine (un)health: genes, behavior, social environment, physical environment, and access to health services. And guess which are the ones that have the biggest influence. Yup. The last three – also known as the social determinants of health.

And think about it: What affects our social environment (who we interact with), physical environment (where we live), and access to health services (how available healthcare is to us)? Our intersecting social locations.

Our race affects our level of health. Our class affects our level of health. Our gender, size, sexual orientation or identity, documentation status, and ability affect our level of health.

The more oppressed a person is by intersecting systems, the more likely their health is to suffer.

Tell me again that biology is simple.

Want to learn more? 
I think that Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand About Weightby Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor gets at this issue perfectly.

5. Medical Industrial Complex

Well, damn.

If health is so clearly not as simple as we make it out to be, then why are we pretending like it is? Why have we all been socialized to think that health is a simple equation?

One word: capitalism.

The medical industrial complex (Ehrenreich & Ehrenreich, 1969) is a term used to criticize health as a for-profit industry and how the driving force of money creates an unbalanced, unjust system.

How can we trust anti-“obesity” research findings when the studies are funded by the weight-loss industry? How can we have faith in medical practitioners offering us prescriptions when they’re sponsored by pharmaceutical companies? How can we believe that we really are sick when disease is invented just so that a solution can be sold to us?

When our (lack of) health puts money into big businesses, we need to question the systems telling us that we’re unhealthy.

 

And when our level of health determines how we’re treated in society, we need to question the validity of “health” as a concept.

Want to learn more? Pick up Harriet Brown’s Body of Truth: How Science, History, and Culture Drive Our Obsession with Weight.
+++

I know. If you’ve never thought about this stuff before, having it laid out like this can be overwhelming, confusing, and even terrifying. We take for granted the science behind health and the morality that we assign it.

But we need to think hard about this shit – especially for those of us in the US who are grappling with scary politics around healthcare.

The conversation about body positivity can’t end at “I want to feel attractive in this body that I’ve been told is worthless.” We need to continue to push folks who care about bodies to understand how health is wrapped up in this shit, too.

This is how political the personal is.

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Melissa Fabello is a magical unicorn, a body acceptance activist, sexuality scholar, and patriarchy smasher living in Philadelphia. You can find her in various corners of the Internet, usually trying to cause trouble, or taking a break from the revolution to cuddle with her two cats. 

I HIGHLY recommend supporting her work by becoming one of her patrons and subscribing to her monthly newsletter "Beauty School" ASAP.


BEETLEJUICE AND DARE FASHION

This post is brought to you by dead people, the song "Day-O", Dare Fashion and the letter D!

(I'm the ghost with the most, babe!)

HALLOWEEN IS RAPIDLY APPROACHING GUYS!

This inevitably prompted me to list some of my favorite Halloween costumes that I've worn over the years:

  • Pippi Longstocking: Complete with a folded wire hanger placed horizontally inside my (spray painted) red braids which stuck out of my head so fiercely that I poked the eyes of almost anyone who was brave (foolish?) enough to stand next to me. I loved being Pippi so much that wore this costume four years in a row.

  • A Blue M&M: One of FIVE different colored candies, my entire family wore padded circular costumes that hung over our shoulders with matching straps. I'm pretty sure my Dad was the enormous yellow peanut M&M.

  • Britney Spears: I'm not proud of this costume but I did find a pair of cowboy boots that fit perfectly at a thrift store while shopping for the outfit (I still have them) so I'm adding it to the list simply because I haven't found a pair that fits that well in a decade.

  • Ursula: With my partner accompanying me as Prince Eric; my makeup so amazing it was impossible to capture in a photo.

This year? I TRIED BEETLEJUICE (Betelgeuse if you must)! Aka the gem of a character that was played by Michael Keaton two years after I was born... but that doesn’t stop me from using an entire can of green hair coloring.

This year, my costume was inspired by two things: 

  1. My newfound love of dressing up as characters while wearing comfortable clothing (y'know... something without wire hangers) and 
  2. Dare Fashion's amazingly versatile clothing line.
Makeup then becomes the fun and creative part while your outfit can play the perfect (and wearable) homage to your favorite character- though I seem to have accidentally put a toe into The Joker territory.

Dare Fashion has more suggestions on how to incorporate their line into other amazing costumes: an adorable wildcat, a pirate (super rad) and if I was capable of styling a wig I would have definitely tried their Queen of Hearts look!
 

(Note: Check the measurements since some of the pieces- though going up to 5x- run small. I normally wear a 3x and am wearing the leggings in my "normal size" and a 4x in the top- which actually  fits fairly loosely so keep in mind that most things come with stretch too!)



It's amazing what you can do with a killer top and some leggings, eh?

I CLEARLY have to know: what was your favorite costume from the past and are you dressing up this year? If so, what/who are you going to be?!?!

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I offer one or two sponsored posts each month. If you’d like 250k-ish monthly readers to get to read all about you or yr stuff (= the kinda stuff that all of us in TMB community will find useful + rad), send me an email at themilitantbaker (at) gmail (dot) com and we'll make it happen! Readers, thank you so much for supporting companies that support The Militant Baker:) I love you all.

THINGS NO ONE WILL TELL FAT GIRLS: IN KOREAN AND ILLUSTRATED

(All artwork by Yujinn Kim!)


Just when I thought having a book published couldn't get any better, an unexpected package showed up and when I opened it... I was speechless.

I was aware that Seal Press and I had signed a contract for Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls to be translated into Korean and just knowing the messages could be found in another country was enough for me. What I did NOT expect was to unwrap the cutest goddamn book I had ever seen. 

Here's what I really love (aside from a dog and cat being in every single illustration): this fat girl does not have an hourglass shape. THIS IS SO FANTASTIC. I'm enamored with this woman and her gorgeous, tall, unapologetic body.

The illustrations are from the challenges included in the book: To-Do's drawn my satirical blog post series, “25 Things Fat People Shouldn’t Do.” All the items on this list come from ridiculous corners of the Internet where random fatphobic strangers took it upon themselves to decide what fat people should and should not do. They range from the absurd to the profoundly shameful, from ridiculous things like doing a cannonball to making art.

My reaction: “Fuck that noise. I’m doing them anyway!” and so I - post by post - “broke” every single one. But know this: If your size (I'll add: or ability or need for safety) makes you feel too uncomfortable or unable to do any of these challenges, that’s okay! You do not need to actually do them to know that you’re allowed to live a full life just like everyone else. However, if you want to give the middle finger to the part of society that says fat bodies aren’t allowed to participate in certain activities, you’re more than welcome to. All of this is your choice.

That’s the point here: You can and deserve to do whatever makes you happy. Including: LIVE.


(While I always share that you don't have to do or want to do any of these things it can and should be even more pronounced. I came across Ash of Fat Lip Podcast* who made this amazing image that says "Some fat girls can't and that's okay" which I absolutely love. It came with this caption: 


Listen, I love when fat women declare how powerful and limitless they are, but some fats ARE limited, and they're no less worthy of wonder and amazement and snappy hashtags. Fight ableism from within, family. 

Attached were the amazing hashtags: #FatGirlsCan AND #ButIfTheyCantThatsOkayToo

All that's left to say is: AMEN. Whether you can't or choose not to participate in any challenge, know that you're perfect and worthy just as you are. No. Matter. What.)



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I'll attach some of the illustrations along with the challenges found in Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls. One of my favorites used as the title image belongs to the following challenge:


Wear a bikini:

You’ve probably read this before: “How to have a bikini body: Have a body. Put on a bikini.”

It’s that simple.

Fortunately, in the last few years fatkinis (bikinis in fat people sizes!) have not only become available, but they’re something people love to wear. I recommend you jump on this boat. Check out companies like ModCloth, Forever 21 Plus, ASOS Curve, Lane Bryant, Monif C., and Walmart (yes, Walmart), and see if they have anything you like. And if you’re reading this book ten years after it’s published and are wondering where to find current swimwear, check out the relevant plus-size bloggers. They always know where to go. (ETA: Since publication, options have increased exponentially!)


Your challenge: If you’re into it, suck it up (NOT in) and wear the goddamn bikini already! Don’t look for a Sports Illustrated model in the mirror; look for you. Know you’re enough. That you get to rock it too. And then go have some fun!



Sit in a booth:

I surmise that some think fat people shouldn’t sit in booths because they would get stuck. And then someone would have to send the waiter into the kitchen to grab the container of clarified butter. And then all the staff would have to cover said fat person with clarified butter and pull on all limbs to get the person free in a coordinated fashion. Fat person would then be asked to not return.

I have NEVER seen that happen. Ever.

Your challenge: Find a booth and sit in it without apology. Almost anyone can participate. Now, of course, some booths are bigger than others, and some may not be all that comfortable, but if a booth is too small, make it your goal to find one that fits you! There are all kinds of restaurants with booths, lots of them are adjustable, and it kinda sounds like a fun challenge to visit as many restaurants as you want until you find the one that fits you.

TRY IT!





Jump in an elevator:

I would imagine that the ignorant people who say fat people shouldn’t jump in elevators are concerned that this would break the hydraulic or rope system. Reality check: Most elevators can carry thousands of pounds. You are not going to jeopardize anyone’s safety even if you were to jump six feet off the elevator floor. (If you do that, send me a video. I’d be so impressed.)

Your challenge: The jumping isn’t the hardest part (for me), taking a photo of it is.Try anyway!
Ride a bike:

I’m not even going to dignify the idea that fat people shouldn’t ride bikes by speculating as
to why that might be. Instead, I’m just going to talk about how much I love Tucson, and bike riding.

Guys, I fucking love both of these things a lot. I used to ride a bicycle everywhere, and didn’t even have a car for years. So fuck you, haters. I love bicycle riding more than I love a lot of things, and I’m not quitting anytime soon. Oh yeah. And I totally ride bicycles in miniskirts. 

Your challenge: Rent a bike from a bike shop or bikeshare program in your city, buy your own, or dust off that old two-wheeler from the past. Strap on a helmet and get riding!




Roll down a hill:

I seriously don’t understand why fat people shouldn’t do this, unless you’re allergic to grass. People can be so weird.

Your challenge: If you’re not allergic, DO IT. Go to the park. Bring bubbles and balloons. Swing on those swings. Have a picnic and roll down the motherfucking hill like you just don’t care. Be five years old again and have fun!



Live:


Everyone deserves to live a creative, purposeful, adventurous, successful, love-filled, happy, happy life. Yes, even you. You deserve to take up space. You deserve to fall in love with (ETA: feel liberated in/from) your body.

You deserve to live.

This challenge is both the easiest and the hardest: Find your favorite form of creativity and fill your life with it. Find your purpose—one that excites and fulfills you. Find adventure; there is no right or wrong way to do this. Find your version of success; define it yourself. Fall in love with yourself, and allow others to love you. Fuck what others say, and live the life you choose.

Go live.

That’s my only order.**


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*Ash has a Fat Lip shop with awesome shirts including this Fats Of The Resistance tank top which is currently on it's way to my house.
**Of course, you're a grown-ass adult and never have to listen to anyone else- even me;)

P.S. The Korean version of TNOWTFG is available here.

8 BRILLIANT BOOKS I'M CURRENTLY READING


I would love to title this: "Currently on My Shelf" but in the spirit of transparency- none of the books I love spend a ton of time on my bookshelf. Instead, they can be found dog-eared on my dining room table, tucked into the cushions of my couch, and (more often than I care to admit) on the floor after tumbling off my bed when I finally fall asleep. But organization "doesn't really matter" if YOU always know where to find them, right?

RIGHT?

Well, my system of randomly placed literature works for me, anyway.

It's obvious from these photos that in addition to not shelving them, I regularly destroy my books. I highlight them. Scribble in them. Lose jackets and them replace them after using them as drink coasters. This has nothing to do with how much I love the writing or how much I respect the writers, however. If anything, it's the opposite- I'm constantly hauling them around, soaking in every word and writing things I never want to forget in the margins because hey... brilliant revelations need blank space!

As someone who worked in a bookstore for several years, I am fully aware that I should be ashamed but you're not here to read about my lamentable lack of book storage skills, are you?

Without further ado, the books that are giving me LIFE right now:


"Samantha Irby is my favorite living writer. Actually, I'll throw in the dead ones too. Screw you, Herman Melville." -Lindy West

I'm just gonna to add: SAME.

I often tote this book along with me when I know I'm going to be waiting in a painfully boring place because there is nothing more hilarious or enjoyable than We Are Never Meeting In Real Life. It makes the most intolerable experiences a blast. Note: bringing this book with you when you're waiting in traffic court because you parked two inches too far away from the curb in front of your house is guaranteed to make the experience more bearable. (I still can't believe that absurd ticket actually happened. Fuck you ParkWise.)

This is a literary combination of Xanax and Red Bull. In other words, the world seems like a more tolerable and conquerable place after reading. None of this makes a ton of sense, but to be fair some of Irby's writing doesn't either which is inarguably part of its charm.

The only problem with reading this book in public is that it often leads to side eye from strangers because it is nearly impossible to read Samantha Irby and not snort with laughter. Everything this human writes is pure gold. Some people call it side-splitting humor, I call it current beverage shooting out your nose humor.

I've sent several copies to friends; it's that much of a necessary read.

(I also recommend reading her monthly column on Elle, ideally in the morning so you can start your day off right. And by right, I mean with a guffaw so loud that it sends your pets scattering.)

Hunger by Roxane Gay

This book, thus far, is the highlight of 2017 for me.

Though it's been a personal game changer, it's been (frustratingly) criticized by some in the body image community for "using the tired old framework that fat is a distancing mechanism that women undertake purposefully (if not subconsciously)" and other similar public postings of disapproval around Gay's straightforward "fat trope" self-loathing. I could not disagree more. I personally feel that all narratives written by fat women need to be heard and supported, even if they don't fit the preferred "I love my fat body just the way it is no matter what!" feel good story line.

In fact, because we have so many body image sheros touting "total invincibility" (and a flood of Lisa Frank BoPo messaging), I feel like a book about the realities of being super fat (combined with other intersecting marginalized identities) is needed more than ever.

I talked about this complex and messy controversy with Christy on this Food Psych podcast and I also highly recommend reading this article by Allison McCarthy if you want a little more conversation around why Roxane's dialogue is necessary.

It made me want to clutch my heart in solidarity. It made me want to vomit when reading the chapter detailing her rape. It made me want to cry at some of the intimate confessions. It made me want to hug every fat person who can relate to this book in any way.

It's tragic. It's raw. It's honest. It's really hard to read. And it's important.

salt. by Nayyirah Waheed

I've been reading more poetry, which is a sign that my heart currently has the room to feel, explore and sit in a vulnerable place. It's a wonderful thing.

Salt isn't new to the world, but it's a new (and needed) discovery for me.

i am a brutally soft woman

It's currently hitting me with all the "I feel seen" feels.

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Petersen

FUN FACT THAT IS ONLY FUN TO ME BUT WHATEVER: This was my first experience with a digital book. Unwilling to wait for delivery (I am the impatient millennial people write disparaging articles about), I ordered the Kindle version of this and holy shit. Reading will never be the same.

Unrelated to the book's content but things that changed my life from downloading this:

  1. You can SCROLL. I don't know why this feels so amazing, but... when you can manually race through the words, it makes you feel unnecessarily important.
  2. You can highlight with your fingers. Yellow for inspirational things, blue for things you want to research, orange for "I have no idea why this is important but I might want to come back to this later" things. 
  3. You don't need a nightlight to read this in bed. 

BOOM.

Now back to the book.

This is a collection of chapters about individual (openly acknowledged by the author as largely white) women in pop culture and how they challenge different social constructs forced upon them by our world. I enjoy how each chapter is its own essay and allows you to choose the topic you're most interested in and skip around in whatever order you choose.

I, of course, read the "Too Fat" chapter about Melissa McCarthy first and it was fucking fascinating. FUCKING. FASCINATING. I've read a third of this book and plan on finishing it piece by piece.

As always, I keep waiting to shout THAT'S PROBLEMATIC AF! (that's just who I am now after working on the internet for five years) but I plan on reading every page and at the very least, using Anne's thoughts and research to dig deeper into these interesting conversations.

milk and honey by Rupi Kaur

Another older poetry book that is walking me through real life in an unexpectedly stunning way. Broken into four chapters, the first three are gut wrenching yet still profound and beautiful.

It ends with a chapter titled "the healing" and the wraparound perfection is inspiring. Even the page after the dedication speaks to me as I spend my days editing the hardest thing I've ever written:

my heart woke me crying last night / how can i help i begged / my heart said / write the book 

This Is Just My Face: Try Not To Stare by Gabourey Sidibe

This is the book waiting for my attention, but I'm already enamored by the simple fact that it exists. Gabby has single-handedly broken down so many walls and I will always remember the day I was scrolling through my feed and saw her image covering half of a building in Times Square.

She is and always will be a goddamn powerhouse to me.

I've also enjoyed watching those who are "new" to body image and intersectionality read and love this book. An apparently approachable read, written by a well-known actress/author/director, Gabourey manages to effortlessly reach many who may not "be ready" for something that starts in the deep end of body image discussions... yet. When I see the awe expressed by those who have read this book and are craving more, I can't help but feel excited about the possibility of their journey leading them into the exploration of other difficult and necessary topics.

Flipping through there seems to be some hardcore subjects discussed in a "unique" way. Have you read it? If so, what are your thoughts?

Side note: I have been working on a "Becky from Empire" style icon post (some rad ones are here for inspiration!) for months that I promise to finish at some point. Because color-blocked dresses on fat bodies will always be perfection in my world.

BREAD& by Teré Fowler-Chapman

Just printed and released in anticipation of Teré's panel about "Poetry and Spoken Word in Social Justice" in D.C., BREAD& is something near and dear to my heart. Not only because it's a book of some of the most powerful poetry ever published (in my humble opinion), but it is also written by a close friend I love and have had the honor of hearing perform multiple times. Teré recently debuted this book over tea with close friends and I can't tell you how powerful it was to hear them read it aloud.

Teré uses compassion, prose and love to effectively break even the hardest of hearts wide open. Every time I hear them perform, I leave a little softer, usually with tears welling up in my eyes. This is not an exaggeration.

Teré is one of my favorite poets, followed closely only by Isaac Kirkman who also leaves me covered in goosebumps and close to bawling every time he performs.

If you'd like to purchase this book, email Teré directly at terefowlerc@gmail.com and they'll send you over a copy!

Big Gal Yoga by Valerie Sagun

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jessamyn Stanley when her inclusive yoga book "Every Body Yoga" came out and I wondered how Valerie's (which is similar in messaging) would compare.

I was amazed at how beautifully different Valerie's book was from Jessamyn's. It's thorough in it's demonstration of poses for all bodies, wonderfully approachable and in color which just adds to its enjoyable consumption. I love it. Which, truthfully, is odd, because while yoga was a large part of my life a decade ago- it's not something I participate in anymore as I struggle to heal my relationship with movement.

Much like Jessamyn, Valerie is challenging my current distrust of body oriented practice and causing me to contemplate incorporating yoga into my life again as a way to reconnect with my physical self.

Well done Valerie!
--------------

Other books you may like that I've written about in the past: Curvy Girl Sex (five positions included *wink wink*) and these three body memoirs.

Additionally, there is a long list of body image books in my resource list that I highly recommend you browse.

Have you read any of these? If so, I'm curious to hear your reviews.

Any other recommendations for when I finish these gems? I'm always open to new reads, especially as I continue to write my own manuscript!

GIVEAWAY: 7 CHARMING SISTERS JEWELRY

(I'm late to the tassel game but after trying on these, I'm hooked!)

Meet the 7 Charming Sisters: Seven gals who have built a company around their individual styles and then each created a line of jewelry that matched each individual style. They self-identify as the Executive, the Life of the Party, the Super Mom, the All-American Girl, the Fashionista, the Sexy Nerd and (my personal favorite) the Social Butterfly. In my humble opinion, Donalda is forever on POINT.

Here's my favorite thing, though: They are not only bad-ass Boss Ladies who run their own dream biz, but they're also socially aware humans who are committed to carving out employment opportunities for adults with disabilities. As someone who has worked with this amazing demographic (and quite literally spent all of my working hours last summer helping them find independent employment!) I know how needed this is. I made sure to ask how it works and learned that their employees are both paid for the jewelry they make and given commission for each piece sold. So if you want to specifically support these rad workers (and you definitely do!), you can find their handmade pieces here.



Giveaways happen when someone contacts me and says: I wanna buy a specific spot on your blog so I can give free awesome shit to your readers. To which I say: Does it involve cleaning out cat litter boxes, overwhelming book deadlines or faux health concern comments? (I hate ALL of those things) and when they come back and say NO, actually it's really awesome you and your readers will definitely like it!, chances are I'll investigate and then say... OKAY! Let's do this.


This then means that I'm renting out some real estate, they're getting exposure, and you're getting presents year round. Which is amazing for everyone and I'm glad I'm doing more of these. Things to know: depending on who it is, they might letcha follow their social media accounts to have extra entry options. But no matter what, I always ask that there is a chance for everyone to enter at least once without having to "like" or "follow" anything. If you want to be an overachiever beyond that, it's up to you. Like and follow away.


AND, of course, if you think giveaways are bullshit, you're allowed to skip everything all together
and just come back for my next post which will likely be about ways I implement self-care and SPOILER: it's going to be AMAZING. You're a grown ass adult and you get to make your own decisions, mmkay?


If you're totally into 7 Charming Sisters and want to win a $50 gift certificate to use for shopping their collections (TWO OF YOU WILL WIN!), all you need to do is submit your email address (don't forget to catch the additional entry options too) and cross your fingers!

Wishing you the best of luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!

P.S. No matter what, you can use the code TheMilitantBaker15 for 15% off all non-sale items!
P.P.S. They ship internationally!

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