I'M TEACHING TWO KILLER WORKSHOPS IN CINCINNATI (AND YOU CAN WIN FREE TICKETS!)


Oh, dear lord I'm excited about this. RoadTrip 2013 is an epic conference being held in Cincinnati in October and I've been asked to teach two amazing workshops. I'd be jealous of myself if I wasn't already me. This particular conference is a social networking and blogging extravaganza that will be filled with talented individuals showing you the best way to get inspired and change your perspective in a magical "Beevenmoreawesomeonline" kinda way. Oh, and they'll teach you how to make dollars doing it. Wanna come yet?

I'll be teaching these two guys:


"Build Your Own Soapbox: Advocacy through Blogging" 
and "Honest to Blog: The Power of Vulnerability, Honesty, and Candor on teh Web"

Yep. Thats happening.

So RoadTrip 2013 is also giving away fucking incredible tickets so you can come join me and the other incredible speakers (omg look here!). 15 Blue Tickets and one all expenses paid Gold Ticket. Yes, all expenses paid. You = on a plane, staying at the Hilton, attending the gala, livin' the life. It's pretty frickin' cool.

Here are the ticket benefits for the Blue and Gold ( click here for the larger image):


There are three ways to enter, all by following some social media links. You can also follow the conference's Facebook here if you want more information.

THIS PART IS IMPORTANT: PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT LETTING ME KNOW WHICH ENTRIES YOU DID AND IF YOU'RE INTERESTED IN THE GOLD, THE BLUE, OR BOTH. KTHX.

I'll let the winners know on Monday... and there will be 16 of you. Hooray!!!!! And don't be sad if you don't win... you can still purchase tickets here on your own and there is a Militant Baker code for $500 off. Oh, and I'll hug you if you come. That's a promise.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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HOW TO KICK ASS ON A DAILY BASIS

Extra credit: blow shit up and look good while doing it

Look at that picture. Just look at it. If you had any doubt in my ability to write an article entitled "How to Kick Ass on a Daily Basis", that picture should have taken care of it. Or, at least it should have impressed you with my digital skillz.

Occasionally, when asked what I do for a living, I cheekily retort that I "kick ass on a daily basis". Being the overly introspective person that I am, I decided to sit down and figure out exactly what that means for me. What does my definition of kick ass include? The following are items that I'm working on, and suggestions that I would offer anyone wanting to up their bad-assery levels. Just so you know: it's probably not what you think.

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Say yes to the things that terrify you on the reg. I don't really know what "normal" means anymore, but I have a feeling that I'm not it. This makes itself pretty apparent when I'm faced with something that scares the shit out of me. When confronted, I make a point to NOT think... and instead to just say yes. For example: I'm afraid of heights, but YES I'll go skydiving. I'm afraid of eating in public, but YES I'll do a photo shoot with cake. I'm afraid of spiders, but YES I'll go with you to the insect store. I'm afraid of being on television, but YES I'll hop on a plane in an hour and be on the Today Show. I'm afraid of making a fool out of myself, but YES I'll give that lecture. I'm afraid of rejection, but YES I'll ask that guy out. SeewhatImean?



All of those experiences have broadened my horizons and challenged me to live an even more incredible and well rounded life. It's like that xoJane episode on "Girls". Here's your comfort zone, and THIS is where the magic happens. Don't think about it too much. Just do it already. Got it?

Invest in your passions. This is one of the best lessons I've ever been taught. When you focus your attention on what you love and only what you love... you will find that you have more energy, enthusiasm, and success. Always. Cut out the shit you feel obligated to do, invest in what you want to do, and then go out and do it well. That's a command.

Practice self-care forevz. Simple rule that every person needs to learn: you cannot take care of others until you take care of yourself. This is something I've been forced to apply while working in a field where I provide a lot of emotional support for others. I must must must take time to pamper ME. This investment in myself allows me to then offer those I work with more attention, empathy, and understanding. It's vital to your well-being and the well-being of those around you.

Tell Ignorance to go "kick rocks". Nothing beats the kind of empowerment that comes from being armed with knowledge. Consciously fill your life with learning experiences; pull your head out of the sand and challenge your brain. Pick one of those passions we were just talking about and research it. Turn on NPR on the way to work. Have conversations about pertinent issues with those around you. Listen to someone else's story; really listen. Practice critical thinking. Inundate your life with whats going on around the world. Instead of assuming the Facebook article is true, research the legitimacy. Give your brain the respect it deserves and exercise it on a daily basis. Watch your world come into focus and your mission become clearer. It's like magic.

Take shit from no one. They call this self advocacy in my worky realm, but learning how to stand up for yourself is a skill that can change your life. If you don't like the way someone is speaking to you, let them know. If you need something, ask for it. If you feel as though you are being misunderstood, clarify. Control your life in a way that makes it safe and happy for you.

Smash ceilings. The only limits that I have in life are the ones that I set for myself, and I think to a certain extent we can all relate. Skip that shit and live your life like you've already earned the accolades you want. Do what you would do if you knew you could not fail. When people say "you can't" or "that's not how it works", spin on your heels and prove them wrong. I have found that when I allow myself to take what seems like ridiculous chances... I either succeed or learn an epic lesson for the next time I try. I am an undergrad lecturing at colleges. That's not supposed to happen. I am a person with a serious mental illness who is "high functioning" and working as a professional in the field. That's not supposed to happen. I'm a nobody living in a small desert town who reaches millions and millions of people. That's not supposed to happen. I'm a fat person who loves her body. That's not supposed to happen.

The reality is that "not supposed to's" have no place in our lives, and chasing your dreams (as corny as it sounds) CAN be a successful venture. And if it's not the first time you try, learn from what went wrong and tackle that motherfucker again. You've got this.

Stay real. Become a genuine, grounded, and honest person. And then work on maintaining it.

Don't give a chainsaw. I don't know if you've listened to the Jon Lajoie song a couple of posts back, but just in case you haven't, I'll share it here:



My favorite part of this video (aside from the hilarious lyrics) is the twist at the end. He talks about how he couldn't give a fuck less about anything or anyone and then as it finishes he realizes that he doesn't give a fuck so much that he actually does give a fuck. He, in fact, very much gives a fuck. In a really murky way, I feel like this is the perfect approach. I don't give a fuck about your opinion of my body. I don't give a fuck about drama. I don't give a fuck about how you think I should live my life. I don't give a fuck about bacon being bad for you. I don't give a fuck about listening to the "wrong kind of music". I don't give a fuck about all of the purposeless things in life and because of this... my heart, mind, and soul are free to very much give a fuck about the things that are significant.

(Are you following all of that? Did you get distracted by all of the "fucks"? We'll change it up to chainsaw.)

So don't give a chainsaw until it's something worth giving a chainsaw about. Y'feel me?

Love. Open your heart to people, places, and opportunities. There is a lot of beauty waiting for you out in the world.
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For me, kicking ass entails living a life full of purpose, kindness, passion, and progress. That in mind, what else would you add to this list? What other things can we implement into our lives to up the rock-star factor? How can we more efficiently kick ass and take names? <---- THAT is the real question.
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12 BEST BREAK UP SONGS FOR THE BITTER AND SERIOUSLY PISSED OFF

I know just as much as anyone how painful music can be after you get your heart punched, thrown to the ground and then stepped on.

When the normal shit on radio stations, work P.A.'s, and Pandora channels makes you want to vomit, sob, or stab something... it's nice to have a few songs in your back pocket for a reality check. And to be honest, even though I'm in a happy place now, I STILL prefer "Fuck It" songs more than anything. I don't buy into that Disney/Rom Com shit much anymore even if there is a catchy beat involved.

I've put together a few favorites for the days where you hate everyone or you just don't want to melt underneath the sap of mainstream love songs. Here are 12 worthy of you at your angriest:



This song is fucking gold. Some people save the best for last, but not me. I've listened to this so many times it's impossible to count; if I had to guess... maybe 20,000 times? Probably underestimating, but whatever. Blare this when you're driving, and especially when you're on the highway. There's a car chase in this video for a reason. Open the windows, sing until your voice hurts, learn the middle break down, let go of trying to control everything in the world, and make sure you emphasis the line "one more fucking love song I'll be sick". Catharsis in it's finest form. And by fine, I mean that Adam Levine is fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine.



When you are so fucking ready to shed this town and bolt, listen to this song. "I've got my book, I've got my dream, I've got myself and I'll be fine".


Breakups are the best reason to embrace immaturity. Leave the emotional higher road for the squares and sing this song like you're 15 and you mean it.



This song is so good in so many situations it hurts. Learn all the words. Do all the voices. Buy a Persian cat. The whole bit. If you're gonna do it right, do it right.



I lean on Country when I feel like letting go of all adult logic. But maybe instead of bashing in windows and keying cars (no judgement, we've all been there) you can blast this motherfucking catchy tune instead. Stay out of jail. Thank Carrie for saying what needed to be said. And then move on. Or not, just don't go to jail.



"Single Ladies" will always be my favorite Beyonce song, but I love this one as well because I lived this video in my last breakup. He was picking up some of the basic stuff from the house the day after ending our relationship, and I was getting ready in the bathroom. I stepped out, asked how I looked. He said "beautiful" and I thanked him before leaving the house to meet my super hot date at the movies. "You must not know 'bout me. I can have another you in a minute." Well, it was more like 22 hours.



Break shit. Throw things. Flip them off. It all helps.



Even though this has the most cursing, I find it the funniest. I am not immune to Jon Lajoie's charms, and I doubt you are either. "Don't give a fuck about chairs, I prefer to stand. And fuck air conditioners I got a ceiling fan."



Now this is for the beyond bitter. My friend Kari and I would blare this at 5am during our "Morning Bake" and I would sing especially loud so my Ex in Macau could hear me. I lost my voice from that once. Totally worth it. Venom. Alanis' voice is made of pure venom. "And every time I scratch my nails down someone else's back I hope you feel it. Well can you feel it?"



"Jilted" is both coy and sinister while mixing retro music with modern relationship problems. I love it so hard. "I've been jilted again, he packed his bags ans left whistling a happy song. I jumped through hoops to keep that man, Oh how did I get it so wrong? I tried new positions, I learned his friends names... I made myself sit through football games." They only say good riddance, but you can tell there is a titch of revenge behind it all. Even if that revenge is living a successful and happy life.

And LORD I do not miss football games.



When you've gotten to the point where your mental capabilities don't extend beyond the "I know you are, but what am I?" stage... this is for you. "My new boy knows the way I want it. He's got more swagger than you, he's got more swagger than you do." I know you are but what am I?



And then there is the jam to end all jams. "Thanks to you I got a new thing started. Thanks to you I'm not the broken hearted. Thanks to you I'm finally thinkin' bout me. You know in the end, the day you left was just my beginning..."

What songs do you listen to when you're so upset it feels like you might implode?  I don't wanna hear about the stuff you listen to when you're happy; that shits easy to navigate on your own. I'm talking about the times when you have so much sad it rewires your brain and erases all memories about how awesome you are and you begin to wonder why you're still alive. What do you listen to in order to make it through THAT?!?! Share with us all! And then when we're suffering we can come back here for a glimpse into the true "Fuck Its".

Who's first?
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KELLI JEAN DRINKWATER ON FAT ACCEPTANCE


I had the honor (it was beyond an honor, really) of interviewing Kelli Jean Drinkwater for the last issue of Volup2. For those of unfamiliar with this wonderful woman, she is a "Sydney based filmmaker, plus model, body advocate, 1950's musical enthusiast, radical fat femme, contemporary mermaid, and in my opinion... a political revolutionary." You can read the entire interview here, but there was one question that didn't fit into the article though it holds an fascinating perspective. It's a short answer that deserves a moment in the sun and I daresay it might spark a little discussion:



You can read our full interview (pages 187-187) here!  What are your thoughts on the term? It something I use, should I replace it? Or is it just fine the way it is?

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9 THINGS I WAS TOO COOL FOR (BUT NOW I KNOW BETTER)


Fact: I was an amazingly pretentious hipster for the longest time. A self-obsessed bitch, if I'm going to be honest. Downtown Tucson really enables this behavior it was my pleasure to turn my nose up at anything that wasn't counter-culture, independent, progressive and worthy of extreme snobbery. I've repented though. As my frontal lobe developed I came to realize that I was missing out on some really great shit... for absolutely no reason. Below are the top 9 things that I now adore. Shamelessly.

Starbucks. Most downtown kids proudly worked at small coffee shops for minimum wage. I've worked at three, and lord did I think I was a bad-ass. There is an unspoken rule that you must despise Starbucks with every anti-corporate molecule of your being. Shit talk about how "they've lost the art of espresso and insult coffee lovers with their Frappuccinos" was encouraged. After leaving that caffeinated world I started to realize how goddamn convenient Starbucks was. New York Times, pastries, adorable baristas, and consistent coffee all under one roof? Yes please. While I was in Sedona I was lost, desperately searching for a cafe and when I nearly gave up... I spotted the glorious green logo. They are literally everywhere and offer a promise of dependable coffee no matter the city you're in. God bless Howard Schultz.

Taylor Swift. I didn't just turn my nose up at Swift. I actively hated her. She was the ruination of the music industry if you asked me. I can't even express to you how much I happily blare pop music now. Bands I deprived myself of now are the perfect pick-me-ups: Maroon 5. Kesha. Kelly Clarkson. Flo Rida. Katy Perry. Beyonce. Cee Lo. And yes, Selena Gomez. Just try and stop me from dancing my ass off.


Yoga pants.
My wardrobe was comprised of vintages dresses. And only vintage dresses. Not only was I against yoga pants, but all pants in general; I was a lady goddamnit. But I was MISSING OUT on the most comfortable piece of clothing ever made. I now own several pairs and not only wear them to yoga class, but to work, to bed, and to the store. Proudly. Plus, they make my ass look great.

Sleep. I still can't figure out how I functioned on 4 hours of sleep everyday. Occasionally I stayed up for 48 hours; I would party, go to work, and party some more. This is physically impossible for me now, and my brain hurts if I sleep less than 8. I think I may have been made of pure adrenaline in my early 20's.

Oprah's Book Club. In addition to cafes, I worked in the hippest (and consequentially asshole filled, me included) bookstore in Tucson. I dismissed any book that was offered in pocketbook size or popular in mainstream circles. But one day, I picked up "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy (the cover wasn't too trendy) and realized... "Oh shit. These are popular for a reason." This opened up a world of great reads which also included the previously reviled genre of Chick Lit. Have you ever read Jodi Picoult? It's addicting.


Online dating. I didn't have a need for online dating as a downtown hipster simply because I was always "out". I did end cap this time in my life with some great experiences though and I'm currently writing an article about it all. Dear lord, it's gonna be good.

Personal planners. How the FUCK did I keep anything straight without writing it down? This still baffles me. I now have several; necessary for work, the other work, and this work, though now I mostly just use my phone. I'm still confused about how I managed my obligations for years without documenting anything.

The Bravo channel. And cable in general. I did have a t.v. which was pretty unpopular in my circles, but I definitely didn't believe in cable. And certainly not trashy reality shows like "The Millionaire Matchmaker" or "Pregnant in Heels". Televisions were only for watching art films, cult classics, and full seasons of Jem and The Holograms thankyouverymuch. I don't have time for cable right now, though I still have it for True Blood and Dexter (and soon Breaking Bad!). But do I feel guilty about watching Bravo? Hell no. If anything, it makes me appreciate my life;)

Fancy beer. Just kidding, I'm still too cool for this. Well, actually, I just really dislike it. PBR and Highlife was what I was "raised on" as a cool kid, and still what I prefer. The really hoppy stuff just makes me crinkle my nose and there is NOTHING better than Coors with orange juice. Call it a "Manmosa", call it a "Lunch Box", whatever. I call it Good. I don't really drink it anymore because of gluten intolerance, but when I'm craving a headache, Highlife it is!

Guys. I know you all have things that you were too cool for. Don't try and hide it. Confess! What were they?
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I WEAR WHAT I WANT: RIDICULOUS SHOES TO A PLUS SIZED AUDITION


Remember my obsession with platforms? Yeah, that's still a thing. I figured these were the perfect pair to wear while I visited Liz and watched plus sized ladies strut their stuff. And, dear god, I was right.


First of all, how incredible is it to have a runway audition for plus gals only? Liz is a Tucson pioneer for us large ladies and I think we owe her a drink or two as a thank you. Actually, I'm gonna organize that shit. It was pretty kick ass to watch sassy gals strut to dance music, but I think what I loved the most was walking into a room filled with supportive friends and girls that loved me. It was just what I needed today. I fully realize that I am a lucky lucky lady, and I appreciate every minute of it.



BABES. TOTAL AND COMPLETE BABES.

I don't think there is really choice about what you do after one of these events... Aren't you kinda obligated to go get frozen yogurt? Well, we did just that and had 2 hours of totally inappropriate conversation while we were at The Parlour. Which, by the way, charges you only by the cup size and not the weight. Hence the following amazing blue shirt. Conversation topics covered: Archie Comic porn, our favorite non-fiction, future haircuts, Doctor Who, why some become irate over an silly opinion, Top Gear, Las Vegas kink clubs, 50 Shades of Grey, why Liora doesn't like The Hunger Games, art and obesity, the weird need for women to please others by smiling, and other topics that easily traumatize the average customer.



I grin every time I think about how amazing it is to have a famous photographer as a friend. I just say "Oh hey, you take picture of me plz?" and she always says yes. And then she nails it. Every time. That skirt by the way? That's from Target, and apparently only available in stores. Shoes are Jessica Simpson (shit, that woman has amazing taste) here and top was thrifted. Sorry about that last one suckahs.

It's really miraculous that I can walk in these shoes. When wearing them I am over 5'10", and it's something I've never experienced before. It's kind of like a pair of sexy stilts. And remember how I felt about ankle straps? Yeah, I'm totally over that.

I'm curious: have you ever walked a runway? If not, would you?
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NOLITE TE BASTARDES CARBORUNDORUM


Keep fighting.

xo,
Jes
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I'M A LIBERAL LIVING IN TEXAS (AND I'M NOT IN AUSTIN) BY JESS SIDES


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Because of the reproductive rights controversy in Texas I asked several women who are in the midst of it all to share their perspective. It's my hope that we can take a minute to form our own opinion and invest in educating ourselves about current events. Thanks to Jess Sides for today's contribution
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I am a liberal living in Texas.
And I'm not in Austin. Which makes me even rarer than you’d think, but I landed in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in 2000 and have been here since. Being a liberal in Texas is strange. The thing about Texas – which you don’t get when you watch the news or listen to the anecdotes about rednecks - is that Texas is a very friendly place. It took me years to get used to people just saying Hi to me. I grew up on the East Coast, right outside of DC on the Virginia edge; no one over there smiles, or waves, or starts up conversations in shopping lines. Texans do all those things. I like that part about Texas.  It also means however, that if you let slip in a conversation anywhere, with anyone, something that Texans find comment worthy that they will indeed comment. I am not so fond of this part of Texas.
Once, I was in a class speaking to a Professor whom I knew to be Liberal as well about a Rand Paul rally. I thought the room had been empty. It was not, and the man who was in fact there followed me across campus for forty five minutes to argue with me about abortion. That scared me, not because I was sure he was going to hurt me but because I didn’t know how to make him stop and leave me alone without causing a scene.
This wasn’t the first time that my politics have put me in a somewhat precarious position, and I am sure it won’t be the last.
There was the girl in my US Government class in November ’08 who, upon finding out I was a liberal, put her hands on my very pregnant body and told me that Obama wanted to kill my child. That one was more infuriating than frightening, and while I told her to take her hands off of me, I didn’t feel comfortable engaging her in front of a class full of people who all seemed to agree with her. There was a Professor who, when he found out my politics through class discussion, called me his ‘favorite little Communist’ for the entire semester. That was one of the more degrading experiences I have had - I could feel the patronizing contempt radiating out of him every time he said it, yet I was afraid to report him to the Dean of Students with my grade hanging in the balance. That fear of reprisal was paralyzing, demoralizing.  However, in spite of all that, I can’t say that I have ever felt truly afraid for my safety - simply made very uncomfortable by a lot of people who were sure that they could change my mind.
These constant pressures to watch my words, to monitor my situation and the overwhelming social campaign to change my views have left me pretty embittered towards Texas State politics. I, like most others, considered Texas a deep red state and never bothered with midterm elections or even a gubernatorial election during the fifteen years I’ve been here (I originally moved to West Texas in 1998 and then over to DFW in 2000). I took it for matter-of-course when we elected Republican after Republican and though I voted in National elections, I never even bothered to look at the rest of the ballot, especially after a cursory glance showed me that a lot of positions didn’t even have a opposition candidate for the Republican nominee.
After the 2012 election of President Obama, the DNC issued a release that they would be trying to turn Texas into a battleground state. I welcomed the effort, yet ultimately found that somehow, I wasn’t all that moved or interested. I have lived in Texas long enough to have been told that Hillary Clinton is a Lesbian Satanist. I have been called a baby killer to my face.  In the face of that, I couldn’t see enough of us out there to make a difference.  So I kept my head down and my mouth shut when it wasn’t safe, and I lived my life as best I could, reading and talking about politics only when I was sure it wouldn’t affect my academic career or endanger myself or my kids.
I didn’t even know what Wendy Davis was planning on doing. I was so blind to local politics I had no idea about the legislation being shoehorned through in a special session – I didn’t even really comprehend in full what a special session was!  
I found out about her filibuster through friends on Facebook and promptly tuned into the live stream to watch. I quickly determined that I had to turn it off and go back to just reading Twitter and other social media concerning the whole thing. Watching this woman stand in front of those people, seeing her fight for my rights as a woman, it was too much for me - it left me anxious and unsettled. I stayed up until the final strike against her and then, dejected, I went to bed. This means I missed the last hour, the last stand of the Democratic senators, the protests of the crowd, and the ultimate act of the gallery audience taking over the session and having the bill killed.
I did however, watch it the next day, and read everything I could get my hands on. Seeing all those people standing up, being arrested, resisting steam roller politics – it set off a spark inside of me. That spark was only fanned brighter and to greater intensity as I watched the rest of the nation begin to turn their attention towards us. Rachel Maddow , the Daily Show, Huffington Post, each time a media outlet brought attention towards what was happening here…the more passionate I became, the more I wanted to be more actively involved.
It’s been like a wild fire spreading outward and raging higher since then. My friends and I are talking about November elections, and we are working on volunteering to help with the DNC in terms of door knocking and rallies. I know who my state senator is for the first time, I know what district I live in and who is elected from it. I’ve even mailed those who are representing me and told them that their vote on the bills to restrict abortion will influence my vote in November. Before Wendy Davis and Leticia Van De Putte stood up for me and other Texas women, I did not feel like my voice mattered. As a single mother, a college student - I never felt represented in my state politics. As a Liberal I knew I was not represented. With their voices, and the voices of all the progressive women and men in my state speaking up, now for the first time I feel like my voice matters and even more that my vote matters.
This has been my home now for fifteen years, and I think it’s about time that I and all the other liberals on the fringe start making it so that our voices are heard, to let the State Legislature very aware that our votes count. Thank you Wendy Davis, Leticia Van De Putte and all of the other brave men and women standing up and fighting for freedom to choose. Thank you for inspiring me and thousands of other Texans and Americans to stand up and fight for our freedoms and our rights. 

We are not alone any more, we are not silent…and we will not be ignored.
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I WEAR WHAT I WANT: MOAR SWIMSUITS!


My obsession with swimwear is still going strong, and I plan on having even more posts before the season's end. The great part about living in Arizona though, is that we can swim in outdoor pools for the majority of the year. Swimsuits are even acceptable as public casual wear down here; I'm sure this has something to do with my love as well. Well, that and this is the first summer I've been able to feel comfortable in them. It seems like such a small thing, but it's life changing for me.


I purchased this suit from Torrid, but I now think I should have ordered a size larger. It straps my boobs down just fine, which makes swimming laps problem free... but it doesn't cover as much as I would like. I think my favorite part of the suit is the mesh hidden underneath the rainbow leopard fabric.

Have you ever purchased suits from Torrid? Is it common for them to run small, or is it just me? And have you bought a swimsuit for summer yet? If so, where did you decide to buy it from? And my burning question is: is it weird to be this passionate about swimwear?
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HEY (HEY HEY) ROBIN THICKE: I'M A FEMINIST AND I LIKE YOUR SONG.




Hey guy. (Or would you rather I called you dude? Or maybe bro? Never mind. It's not important.)

I'm writing you about that song that everyone was talking about, but first a brief preface: I'm super opinionated and quick to call anyone out on their inappropriate shit. I'm also a rape survivor, body advocate, sex positive gal AND a strong, independent, hellfire-and-tits kinda feminist. All this... and I STILL thought your video was fun.

I watched it once when you were everywhere doing interviews about the controversy (while wearing sunglasses. Creep factor, man. Don't do that.) and loved the music video. It's not only catchy as hell, but it reminded me of some downtown house parties that I used to attend in my hipster days. Today I was sent that parody video "Ask First" and so I decided to re-watch yours in case I had missed something. I hadn't. Then I watched it again. And then I read the lyrics. And then I watched it again. And I still liked it.

Is there something wrong with me? Well yeah, but not in relation to this;) 


Hear me out: I acknowledge that you're totally smarmy, though I find it to be the adorable kind of smarmy. Like the smooth movin' adorable Justin Timberlake if he drove an Astro Van from the 80's kind of smarmy. (Did I mention that I really wish you wouldn't wear those shades in your interviews? Guh.) Additionally, because of the line "You know you want it" I totally get where all these other advocates are coming from; we're dealing with hoards of intrusive men on a daily basis. The likes of which are covered in this article. If we don't want to be hit on we don't want to be hit on; remember that. (Also, don't call the interviewer sexy; that's really not funny or clever or whatever you're trying to be.) BUT it's my understanding that in your song you're hitting on gal who's already expressed interest through grabbing at you, followed by your expression of the same type of interest. If this line wasn't included, we'd be dealing with a different story. But the lyric is present and I've totally been that girl. Willingly and happily. More on that in a second.

First, a face slap that you deserve: why did you open your mouth? You really dug yourself into a deep hole there buddy. Time to hand someone the shovel and sit and think about what you did. The video itself isn't anything outrageous (except for maybe the nudity, but I love voluntary nudity) but your comments are. God, I'm embarrassed for you.

So if your comments about the video do in fact fall under the umbrella of "Douchebaggery" then why would I still like this when I don't like other "derogatory" media? Well first, I'm simply talking about the song and lyrics and the answer is this: it can be either derogatory or liberating depending on the context in which it's viewed.

This video is a little different than the media producing something that is 1000% negative and reinforces complete perpetuation of a social problem. When we have a demographic (say, tribal communities) who are 1000% negatively affected by portrayal in media (in, say, The Lone Ranger) this has no positive outcome. This does not require critical thinking because in the end, it's all bad. (I just had dinner with an international spokesperson that is affiliated with the tribes who worked with Disney, so this has been confirmed.) But back to the "Blurred Lines" video: this isn't the same situation. Wanna know why? Because for some, being hit on by a deviant, handsome guy who says "I have no intention of seeing you after tonight" is a positive situation. Some women want and enjoy men like you.

And this is where we get into the interesting conversation about women and hook-ups.

As a society we shame the sluts, and applaud those who carefully limit their sexual interactions. Ever seen What's Your Number? It's insulting, and by encouraging women to follow this expectation we continue to create a world where men are allowed to want casual sex and women are expected to only desire significant relationships. This is notably highlighted in the dating world. Ever looked at "casual encounter" ads on Craigslist? Ever notice how there are a million ads for NSA men seeking women, and rarely more than a handful the other way around? Wanna know why? Slut shaming, that's why. We indoctrinate the public with the belief that if you're a woman wanting casual encounters, you are inherently dirty and desperate and it's because of this that nearly every post by a woman in this category is flagged and taken down. Slut shaming in its truest form, reinforced by that notion that women should only want meaningful monogamy. Conversely, if you look at the ads for LTR's there are usually more women looking for men (compared to men looking for women) though this is not necessarily representative of what all women want.

Full disclosure: I am a woman who likes sex. And all different levels of sex at that. Long-term-relationship-you're-a-soul-mate sex, we've-been-dating-for-a-few-weeks-and-I-think-you're-cool sex, AND painfully-attractive-smarmy-guy-at-the-party-I'll-probably-never-see-again sex. Can this last one be totally consensual? Yes. Could I actually love it? Totes. Does it make me a bad person to enjoy it? Nope. And I am really good at playing a "good girl" *wink wink*. Are you catching on yet?

I think it's natural that we jump to the conclusion in the video that you (Robin Thicke) are a predator and that the girl you're pursuing is a future victim. THIS CAN BE THE CASE. If the girl is too drunk to verbalize consent, this is the case. If she doesn't explicitly say "yes", this is the case. If you say "wanna go upstairs" and she says no, this is definitely the case.  But we also have to keep in mind that maybe... just maybe, this girl is super into the guy shamelessly calling her "the hottest bitch in the room" and there isn't something wrong with her. And the cool part about being a pro-sex feminist is that I believe that this is her right. Women have just as much right to want meaningless and divergent sex as any man. Fact.

I also like your song Robin because it started this conversation. I know that you didn't think this entire subject through before you made the video; you were just having juvenile "fun". But it's an interesting discussion to have. Glad we're having it now.

.
I thought this parody was pretty cute, albiet campy. It was interesting to watch a friend though (who is a member of the gay community) grimace and mention that it reinforces a lot of negative lesbian stereotypes. Which I never thought of, but could be true.

Regardless, I also love this rendition as well as your original video though it's for an entirely different reason. Mostly because its opening up a conversation that we don't have often: YES MEANS YES. We get to talk about "no means no" because of the disgustingly high rape rates we have internationally. Its critical that we do this in order to create change. But how awesome is it to sing about happy consent? It makes my heart all warm and fuzzy.

Summary of a long winded article about your video that isn't really that important: it's okay for women to want smarmy attractive men like you. It's okay to role play being a good girl. It's also okay to role play the bad girl. It's also okay to not role play at all and have nice "Yes? yes!" sex. Whatever floats your boat man, as long as everyone is safe and consensual.

Are you picking up what I'm putting down?
Good.

"Maybe I'm out of my mind",
Jes

P.S. I fucking hate your sunglasses. 

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Alright readers. Lay your opinion on me.  Love it, hate it, or don't' care? Sexually active ladies with labels? Whatcha think about that? Am I givin' this song too much credit? Do you think I'm a total slut and so now you're not going to read my blog anymore? If it's the last one, I applaud you for sticking around this long; I tried to scare you off months ago. You're tougher than I thought! Talk to me about whats going through your brain.
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JUST WANTED TO PASS THIS BIT OF TRUTH ALONG:

(via)
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I HAVE EMBARRASSING FACIAL HAIR AND I FUCKING HATE TALKING ABOUT IT

 I am NOT excited to write about this.

I may seem brave, ballsy, or invincible to some but the truth is: that's pretty much bullshit. Or cow manure as the adorable old man in the Cottonwood Goodwill said today.

There a lot of topics that I haven't covered on The Militant Baker... some because they don't fit and some because I'm so damn insecure about them. Facial hair is one of the latter. But it's time to get painfully honest and wonderfully real with you. And if past experience tells me anything, there will at least be a few of you who will identify and breathe a sigh of relief that you're not a mutant. That's a good enough reason for me.

I started thinking about my aversion to this topic when I read this awesome article (and this one too) on xoJane yesterday. I then followed some of the links and saw that there were incredible women who dedicated entire blogs (here, here, and here) to the subject which struck me as super inspirational. Considering that I pride myself on talking about what most people won't... touching on the subject here just seemed like the right thing to do. Truth be told, I've been grappling with writing about this on TMB for nearly a year now, but I was waiting to feel comfortable about the condition before doing so. I realized yesterday that I may never feel comfortable with this part of my body and maybe I should just pony up some bravery and bring it out into the open. Goddamnit Jes, get your shit together and talk about this thing that has controlled your life already. Okay fine Self, have it your way.

This has controlled my entire life for the last ten years and I distinctly remember thinking a few months ago "I reeeeeally don't want to have a serious boyfriend right now because I reeeeeally don't want to have to worry about facial hair all the time."  It has that kind of control over my life. Hair growth is constantly on my mind, and I have a routine every morning that involves a razor and cream... and I'm always on the search for the closest "shave". I just read that men's razors work the best, which makes total sense to me. I often get exhausted from the excessive tweezing that is required, so occasionally I'll dedicate an hour in the car (sunlight makes it more apparent) to clearing up my face so that I'll have a fresh start when it comes time to shave again. While I'll always shave it in the morning, if I have something going on later at night, the routine will commence again. I'm especially conscious of it while on a date and I often refuse to let men caress my face even though it's one of my favorite things in the world. My last LTR would stroke my face in the beginning, but then stopped and I felt the (comfortable) extreme shame that I've become accustomed to. But we never talked about it. I've never. Talked. About. This.

Approximately 24 hours after maintenance. Fuck you face.

The hair growth is normally on the side of my face, but has recently spread to the chin and neck. Quite often depending on the execution of maintenance I will end up with dark marks on my face which I usually fail at covering up. I'm always wondering if my co-workers notice. If the person in the passengers seat notices. If my boyfriends notice. I wonder if everyone that stares at me isn't looking at my tattoos, outrageous clothing or strut but rather at my humiliating hairs. Fuck this shit.

I also had a certain amount of fat shame around this... I don't remember who told me this or when I heard it, but I was under the impression that it was my fault I had this problem because of my weight. I don't know if this is true, seeing as it runs in the family and is quite common with the women I'm related to. Another strange coincidence that caught me off guard yesterday was an email from a woman talking about this symptom in relationship to Polysyctic Ovary Syndrome. Out of curiosity I researched other symptoms and identified with every single one. Depression. Weight gain and difficulty losing it. Abnormal periods. Facial hair. Infertility (maybe the lack of consequences from my poor decisions when I was younger wasn't just luck?). So, this is a possibility and depending on the test results from my doctor I'll have more information. But there is a chance this isn't the case in which I'll mostly likely process the reality of the facial hair differently. Probably with a more defeatist attitude if I'm being honest.

So no, I'm not comfortable with it. Yes, I would love a cream or laser hair removal. This is a part of my body that I feel okay with not loving and would be thrilled to change. That doesn't make me a body hater, though maybe it does mean that I'm especially susceptible to society's feminine expectations; but I don't care. I am so happy for the women who embrace this part of themselves... I would imagine that it removes a lot of stress and shame. Of course I would love to eventually get to that point so that I can move forward with pieces of life worry free, but I don't know if I will. And this is what makes me human just like the rest.

Do you have any experience with something of this nature? What is your understanding on this topic? Do you have another part of your body that causes you this much shame?

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Edit 7/14/14:  
So, I wrote this a year ago, and I've been taking hormones for PCOS and it's been kind of working. But not too much. I realize that there are solutions like laser hair removal, but I'm not looking for "fixes" necessarily. Just a way to communicate that sometimes there are things about our body that we just don't like. And if you find yourself hating a part of you, you're not alone.
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I WEAR WHAT I WANT: NOT EXACTLY BUSINESS CASUAL

Day one of the conference, and I'm diggin' it. I think tomorrow will be more informative and the classes will be a little more challenging... AND I'll be presenting in a workshop as well. I've been a little tense about the whole situation because I felt like what I had prepared wasn't, well, I don't know. It wasn't what it needed to be. Luckily for me, I sat down in the first lecture and it just came to me. In a freakish revalatory way. I just made that world up, but its perfect. So I'm no longer stressed and know that tomorrow will be just fine... especially because tonight calls for swimming, bubble baths, and wine. How can you have a stressful day when you preface it with a night like that? You cant. The answer is: you can't.

So check out my version of "business casual". I think I'm a product of desert culture which dictates casual attire above all else. I wonder what it will be like when I move to an East Coast or European city and how I'll adjust. I did wear cowboy boots in Italy though. That was awesome. Maybe I'll be okay.

I LOVE this skirt from CandyStrike. It's a pretty bold statement piece and I paired it with a sheer tank top from Hips and Curves. I love how the back swoops down a little longer than the front, and of course I wore a cami underneath. I wouldn't go with a sheer top and a bra to a professional conference. I'm casual, but not THAT casual guys.

C'mon now.



Aaaaaaaaaaaand check out my lanyard and badge that reminded me how kinda sorta cool I am. CRSS = Certified Recovery Support Specialist and BHT = Behavioral Health Technician. Fancy words to say that I'm crazy, amazing, and that I have years of experience in the field. Makes me beam just the tiniest bit.

NOW OFF TO THE POOL!
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THE FAT CHICK'S SHOPPING GUIDE FOR SUMMER STYLE: PART II

I LOVE it when I follow through! Part one of this series was such a success that we simply had to do another. Until now, I never understood the importance of sharing where I get the clothing that I wear... To be perfectly honest, I though it was frivolous and a little bit narcissistic  BUT I'VE REPENTED OF MY STODGY OLD WAYS. Because, you see, plus fashion is a bit of a treasure hunt and it's REALLY difficult to find the things you love in a world of straight sizes. You know how it is. Add on to that my commitment to keep fatshion a political statement, and the reasons to share increase exponentially. So, I promise to keep sharing where I spot my finds, and today I'm sharing nine other amazing bloggers who were generous enough to share their treasure troves as well.  Feel free to click their picture to be directed to their personal site, as well as click on every link below to get lost in a sea of fashopportunity. That's still not a real word, but it still should be.  

Hold on to your sexy plus-size britches one more time, its about to get awesome up in here:
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In Australia we are a little short of options when it comes to plus size shopping, my go to store is Australia plus size store City Chic (online and store). From there I mostly shop at ASOS (who doesn't love free postage!) and Dorothy Perkins. I get most of my swimwear at City Chic, I find it most supportive and  they release 4-6 diverse styles each season!



I generally only shop for clothes online, so these 3 websites are my favourite places to buy fun clothing. ASOS.com is probably my favourite, they go up to a size 26 & offer a decent amount of on trend items. I also really like the brand South at Very.co.uk, which goes up to a size 24. It also has on trend pieces as well as basics. After those two, Newlook.co.uk is probably my 3rd favourite, they go up to a size 26, sometimes 28, & stock a variety of brands. Their stuff also has the advantage of being pretty cheap, compared to ASOS & Very.



Where I live, there just aren't a whole lot of brick and mortar shopping options. We have the "Big 3," of course (Lane Bryant, Torrid, Avenue), but those places just aren't really my steez. Luckily,JC Penney has come out of nowhere and stepped their game alllll the way up this year. I love their designer collaboration lines, and my JCP has a Sephora inside! Two birds, one stone, empty wallet, ya know? Higher end department stores like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's are great places to look for quality investment pieces. And to brag just a little, I have the privilege of working for a little independent plus size boutique called Re/Dress, so I get first dibs on cool pieces before they go up on the site!

I do most of my shopping online, so I have way too many favorites. To make a long list short: I don't know how they do it, but I am always pleased as punch with my purchases from Simply Be. Their clothing just fits me like a glove! Now that ModCloth has modified their sizing chart, I have finally been able to shop there. I feel good about supporting a company that cares about its plus size customers so much. And my favorite indie company, Domino Dollhouse, just kills it every season. I think it's important for us as a community to support companies run by and for fat women, especially ones that are as fashion forward as DD!

I've bought swimsuits all over the place. I recently bought a fatkini from WalMart, of all places. I've found some great ones at TJ Maxx and Torrid in the past. As for online, I love MonifC's fatkinis, and of course Esther Williams swimsuits are classic!

Happy shopping, babes!
xo, Erin



When I shop for summer clothes, I usually keep my eyes peeled for cute summer dresses that are not loo long (which I find problematic being a US size 14, yet only 5'2) or too short (must wear hotpants underneath when it's super warm to avoid the chub rub) - thirdly, my perfect summer dresses shouldn't bee see-through. Thinking back on what I have stocked up in my wardrobe, I can safely say that H&M (online at hm.com or at their shops) or Primark have never failed to deliver dresses that match these criteria. Primark introduced sizes 20 and, rarely, 22, about a year ago, but sizing, in my eyes, has gone a little crazy, everywhere, so that you're sure to find some bargain wardrobe gems in there, no matter what size you are.

When it comes to retailers that cater to plus sizes especially, Asos Curve is my number one source for summer clothing. What I like most of all is that they usually adapt pieces from their "normal" range, which makes Asos one of the most fashionable clothing retailer. I got my favourite swimsuit on there, in a size 18: It's red, hot, and with a bandeau slouchy top.

Lastly, us Germans have C&A (also available online), where it's super easy and affordable to shop for summer basics like sleeveless tops, cropped jeans/ shorts and swimwear. You're lucky to find a stand-out or trendy piece in there, but they sometimes really deliver. It's my go-to place for basic stuff - they do lovely cardigans, which you need when summer nights get chilly.



I've spent a lot of time shopping for clothes since I started my blog, and I know it can be challenging to find great plus size items. Personal style plays a huge part in any shopping, but what follows are my top three favorite online retailers that offer plus size clothing. First up, I do so much of my shopping on the Forever 21 website. They've got a really good selection of plus size clothing on their website, under the Forever 21 Plus section. This is my absolute go to shop for online shopping, as they carry a great selection of on trend and current fashions. Another website that I frequent is Asos, specifically their Curve & Inspire section. A lot of the items they offer really speak to me, and despite the fact that they are based in the UK, I've had nothing but great experiences as a US-based shopper. My third favorite online retailer is Domino Dollhouse. What I really love about Domino Dollhouse is the expansive selection of totally awesome accessories & jewelry. You can find a lot of really fabulous statement pieces there that will take your outfits to a whole other level! Lastly, I want to give a bonus shout out to Modcloth, because in addition to having a mind-blowing selection of cute garments (often with a retro feel) they also have what is in my opinion the best plus size swimwear selection that I've found in online retail.



The three stores I shop the most online are ASOS, Simply Be & Nordstrom. These online stores carry fashionable and well made plus size clothing. They always have a variety of clothing options to fit my lifestyle. I've seldom have a problem with shipping and when I did have an issue I received quality customer service to resolve the matter. 


I like to shop at a mix of stores.  Probably my top 3 brick-and-mortar stores are: Nordstrom Rack (they have a lot of great quality on-trend pieces and some of my favorite bags and jewelry),Forever 21 (I know it's "throw-away" fashion by some standards, but with my budget and my love of stuff that is on-trend, it's a necessary component of my wardrobe), and Target (again - it's my budget consciousness that dictates those purchases - but their stuff is great to mix with other pieces).  I do quite a bit of online shopping as well because often there are just so many more options for clothing in my size.  My top 3 online stores are: eShakti (great dresses and i love that you can customize!), ModCloth (again - super cute pieces and i love that they're expanding beyond the 'fit-and-flare'), and ASOS (great euro-trendy pieces, but be warned that they tend to run really large).  I also purchase from Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Carmakoma and a few other overseas online sites. And I do an incredible amount of vintage/thrift shopping in Chicago and end up getting pieces tailored or whatever to really fit my frame.

As for swimsuits, I buy mine at barenecessities, because I love that I can buy pieces by the bra size.  They don't have a super wide range of sizes for plus, but so many cute underwire bikini tops for those of us that are DD+ (like this cute patterned bikini by Fantasie, or this cute stripe bikini by Cleo - with bottoms up to 3X)


As a plus size woman shopping can be tricky, so when you find a brand that not only fits your curves but also your personal taste you hold onto it for dear life, shop till you drop and of course share your goldmine with others! When I think about my favorite places to shop for clothing that fits my body and style I lean towards youthful brands that are on trend and bring a bit of an edge to their pieces. I keep in mind varying price ranges as well and try to have a go-to in every price point. Following this formula my favorite online shops are ASOS (specifically the Curve & Inspire line), Forever21+, and City Chic! When it comes to this seasons swimwear there are so many new options out there for the plus size woman. Check out my post on Plus Size Swimwear For Every Budget to take a look at some of my favorite swimsuits this season!



Ahhh the pursuit of the prefect summer dress. The chase for me starts at the end of May and continues on until the chill comes in the fall. It then turns into the pursuit of the prefect pair of boots. Of course this quest never ends because I am a junky, a glutton for summer maxis and halters. A collector if you will. I have some staple places I shop in my desire for summer dresses.
1. CandyStrike: I own a plus size boutique here in Tucson (and online) and I often sport my own inventory. As a designer I often make clothing for myself and when I do I try to make sure it's unique and something you may not have seen before on an ample woman. That's what CandyStrike offers. Unique statement pieces, many of which are one of a kind.
2. ASOSCurve: I know this is a favorite of many. There are few things on that site that I don't like. It's clear that they have a good sense of what a plus woman wants.Their prices can be mid level to high. I'm a hunter, so I wait for my prey to go on sale and then snatch it up. You can score some major deals if you sign up to their newsletter and grab the coupon codes. The major bonus of ASOS is that they have free shipping both ways so if something doesn't fit then send on back! Easy peasy! Do know that their sizes run large and I often have to take in their clothing.
3. Bettie Page Clothing: So something about summer makes me want to run around in full skirts and halter dresses Sandra D style. I have a huge bosom and it can become problematic when buying vintage cuts. BPC has done a great job with 50's silhouettes and translating them to plus sizes. Their prices are in the higher range so you may have to save up but they're worth it and good quality.
Oh and don't dismiss thrift stores and estate sales. Nothing's better than a summer Sunday morning ice coffee, and estate sale hunt with girlfriends! Good luck with your hunt!

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THESE BLOGGERS ARE SO GREAT.
Wanna share your shopping secrets in the comments below?
Lets make this the ultimate guide! Ready... GO!

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