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Recently, Friend Friday asked us to write about our blogging influences. Today’s Friend Friday questions are all about outside influences.

1. What magazines do you subscribe to? I actually don’t subscribe to any magazines. For one, they’re expensive and I don’t think they’re worth it. More importantly, though, almost all women’s magazines are chock full of crap that make women feel bad about themselves. Ironically, many claim that they’re good for women. For example, I used to subscribe to Marie Claire, who claim that they support women and occasionally run features on survivors. Then I realized that 95% of the magazine talks about how to make yourself more attractive. 0% talks about loving yourself.

2. Do you watch any fashion TV shows? I don’t really, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy them. They’re just not my favorite type of show, and since I have so many other shows that I want to watch, they get pushed to the back-back burner. I do like Project Runway and I’m interested in America’s Next Top Model. That’s about it.

3. Beyond blogs, what websites do you frequent for fashion inspiration? To be honest, I don’t seek out sites for fashion inspiration, but I will check out various retailers such as ModCloth if I’m looking for ideas or want to see some cute clothes. Kate recently invited me to Pinterest as well, so I’m anticipating that I’ll find a lot of inspirational ideas on there as well. Here’s my profile!

4. Advertisements play a huge role in forming public opinion about a product or brand… what ads do you like and why? I have to admit, my favorite commercials are the ones with Betty White in them. Seriously. I love her. She’s like my old lady idol. Beyond that, I don’t pay as much attention to ads as I do to marketing and advertising agencies and what they put out. For example, Jack Morton is my favorite agency because they create campaigns solely on user marketing strategies. Very interesting stuff comes out of there!

5. Do you own any fashion books? I don’t have any clothing fashion books, but it’s not because I’m not interested in them. It’s because I would buy the book and then it would go out of style in six months. Seems pointless to me. I do have a book on hairstyles because I suck at styling my hair (even more reason to love my new, simple haircut). I used to own the Bobby Brown Beauty Guide, mainly for makeup, but now I just use Mary Kay Makeup Artist palettes.

Check out responses from the other fabulous FBFF bloggers here!


Today is a great day, readers, because today’s FBFF is on SHOES! As I’m sure you can tell from previous posts, I adore shoes. My boyfriend thinks I have a problem, but only because he doesn’t understand the innate (read: societal) need to own and wear many pairs of beautiful shoes. But for me, part of the reason that I love shoes so much is because I struggle to find clothes that look good on me, but I can almost always find an adorable-looking pair of shoes. Anyway, enough about that. On to the questions!

1.What is your go-to pair of shoes? My go-to pair is actually the only pair of shoes that my boyfriend has ever purchased for me, a pair of cute and simple black ballet flats from Target. They’re comfortable, but they’re also stylish and go with almost anything. In fact, I may be wearing them today. They also have some sentimental value, because as I said, they’re the only pair that my boyfriend has ever purchased for me. He adamantly refused to ever buy me shoes since apparently I have an “addiction” (not true, since I don’t let myself actually buy the shoes I ogle on a regular basis). When I said that my only pair of black flats, which I ADORED and wore all the time, were falling apart, he looked and agreed. I was very excited when I found out he got me shoes for my birthday! Best gift. 🙂

He even snapped a great picture of them during an outfit post shoot!

2. What goes into your shoe buying decisions?  Sadly, money, money, money. I rarely will spend more than $50 on a pair of shoes, and usually it’s more about $20. I’m big into clearance shopping for that reason. A trap I fell into, though, was buying cute shoes that were heavily discounted when they weren’t very comfortable. I’m learning to break that habit now. I’m hoping to make some more money soon and be able to truly splurge on a few pairs.

3. The majority of the shoes in your closet are what color? They are most definitely black. I have black flats, black boots, black pumps, black strappy heels, black shoes galore. I wear a lot of black, so that’s a big reason. I’m looking forward to getting more color into my shoe diet in the future!

4. When it comes to designer shoes what are your favorite brands and why?  Up to recently, I would have said Manolo Blahnik without hesitation, then followed up with Jimmy Choo. When I was doing a little digging for this Truth Thursday post on shoes, however, I realized that I don’t adore their brands as much as I truly adore Christian Louboutin. Despite the fact that his website is increasingly weird and slightly creepy, his shoes are amazing and much better fit my style. Someday I will own a pair. And yes, I will likely buy them on clearance.

5. If price wasn’t an issue, you’d own which shoe?  If price weren’t an issue, I’d own multiple pairs of shoes!

Like this fantastic pair of nude pumps from Christian Louboutin.

I’ve also been gunning for a pair of brown boots for quite some time, so I’d definitely expand my search on those. And as I mentioned, I really want to add color to my shoe closet, so I’d add a great pair of blue heels:

Like this.

And I love gray shoes, so I’d probably add some kind of gray heel. I’ve also really enjoyed some of the strappy flats I’ve seen recently. And I would definitely consider picking up a colorful print, like perhaps a floral? Many options!

Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers and their responses here!

This week’s Friend Friday is all about fitness! To be honest, in the past, I would have had very little to say about this as I hated working out. A year ago, however, I joined a gym and while I still don’t love working out, I like the feeling of finishing up a workout. Combined with my desire to improve my body image, this Friend Friday poses some great and apropos questions that I’m no longer afraid of:

1. Do you keep some kind of fitness routine? Why?  I do! I joined Snap Fitness a year ago and have really enjoyed going to the gym on a (somewhat) regular basis – although I haven’t gone much this year due to an overwhelmingly busy schedule and now illness, but I’ll get back soon. As mentioned above, I used to hate working out, but I really struggled with body image (still do) and wanted to want to work out. I would try during college to go work out at the school’s gym, but never maintained a schedule. It didn’t help that I didn’t know that lifting weights helps my body type exponentially more than cardio workouts do. Now, I go in a few times a week to lift weights and/or do interval training cardio exercises (trying to build up to going in almost every day, alternating intervals and weight lifting). Have I lost weight? No. But do I feel stronger and healthier? Absolutely. In fact, I think the reason I haven’t been sick in over a year – until now – was because I worked out regularly and take daily vitamin supplements.

2. Has working out, maybe training for a marathon or something of that nature, helped with your own perception of body image? In a way, it has. I feel better about myself when I work out knowing that I’m trying to do something to improve my body. I actually feel guilty when I have time to work out and don’t. At the same time, the fact that my body shape hasn’t changed at all is difficult to deal with. I have to remind myself that I changed birth control recently and that I’ve been overwhelmed with stress and depression much of this year, both of which can be attributed to weight gain. Other than ensuring that I pair proteins and carbs, I also don’t watch what I eat. Bottom line, I feel better about myself when I work out because I’m making an effort to be healthier. 

3. When you are hitting the gym or just going out for a long walk what do you wear? Is it about functionality or fashion? Haha it’s totally about functionality! I used to care about what I looked like at all times, including doing a light cover-up to go to the gym. To be fair, St. Olaf was filled with young women who had to look perfect at all times. Now I realize how ridiculous it is to look good when you go to the gym. That’s not what the gym is about. The gym is about putting your body through positive stress, and like it or not, that stress is not going to make you look good.

4. Do you feel there is a cultural perception of what you ‘should’ be doing for your own physical fitness? Oh, absolutely. There’s an overwhelming aversion/dislike/hatred of fat people. People who aren’t fat have this fierce belief that those people are just lazy pigs and that’s absolutely not true. Yes, obviously many people eat what they shouldn’t and don’t exercise as much as they should, but bodies have a set, natural, predestined shape. I could eat celery for the rest of my life and still wouldn’t be a size zero. I could diet forever and never weigh what a skinny person who eats nothing but ice cream and cheeseburgers weighs. It’s not at all fair and I struggle with that fairness every day. 

5.  Dream big… what would be your ultimate fitness goal. Honestly, it would be to lose weight and feel comfortable in my own skin. I still struggle with my body image on a daily issue, so I really wish that I felt more confident. I hate society and its demands, but I still subscribe to them – how can you not? If you know, please teach me.

Check out what other fantastic FBFF bloggers wrote here!

It’s Friday, I’m taking a half day today, and my boyfriend came up early for the weekend, so I’m in a very good mood! Today’s Friend Friday questions are all about inspiration:

1. Which celebrity (celebrities) do you look to for fashion inspiration? Kristen Stewart. Ha! Just kidding. 🙂 I honestly don’t follow celebrity fashion – if anything, I covet their hairstyles more than their fashion. I really enjoyed Kate’s post honoring Zooey Deschanel’s fashion, mainly because I had never realized how awesome her style is. I also love Maggie Gyllenhaal (for many other reasons as well) and Reese Witherspoon. I tend to admire classic looks because I feel like I can pull those off better than the adorable styles that I love like Zooey’s.

2. When it comes to your own personal style, what inspires you? Quite honestly, the fashion bloggers out there, especially Sally of Already Pretty, Olivia of An Olive A Day, and Angeline of The New Professional. I’ve never felt stylish and still don’t feel like I’m getting very far in my style journey, but the beautiful (and covetous) looks that I see online inspire me to keep trying to incorporate fashion into my life more. Today I paired a blazer with jeans (outfit post coming later!), so hopefully that’s a solid start.

3. How do you hope to inspire your readers? I didn’t actually start my blog with the overall goal of inspiring readers – I just wanted a creative outlet where I could share my thoughts. That being said, if my blog inspires readers, I would be ecstatic! I would love if my thoughts influenced or helped another person in any aspect, whether it be something as little as giving them a favorite new recipe to helping them realize a deep truth.

4. Outside the realm of fashion who/what inspires you? So, so, so much in the world inspires me. My idol is Eve Ensler, who has spent years highlighting women around the world and working to better their lives. I co-directed her play “The Vagina Monologues” in college and have been a huge follower of hers ever since. I’m inspired by people who devote their lives to bettering the lives of others. My family and friends inspire me all of the time, whether or not they realize it. I’m inspired every day by small acts of kindness. Anything that makes the world a better place, even minutely, is worth paying attention to and celebrating.

5. And since Idol is ending… Which songs inspire you? There are sooo many songs that inspire me and they fluctuate depending on my mood. Right now, I would say songs that come to mind are India.Arie’s “Video”, Ani DiFranco’s “My IQ”, and Nikka Costa’s “Like A Feather”.

Check out the other FBFF responses here!

I’ve done a couple of these posts (formerly labeled under Blog Banter, now FBFF), but I just officially applied for membership for this great group. Katy of Modly Chic set up a group for fashion bloggers exactly one year ago today and it has exploded. Katy always provides fantastic questions for us fellow bloggers to ponder and respond to on our own blogs. I may not post these every week, but I will do my best.

This week’s theme – gratitude. While I haven’t been blogging on here for very long (in my fourth month) and I don’t focus solely on fashion, I do want to express my gratitude (many of these questions surround blogging).

1.  When it comes to me personally – I owe a lot of who I am to: Without a doubt, my parents have been instrumental in helping me become who I am. I’m certainly not finished with this journey – in fact, I doubt that I will ever be finished discovering who I am – but my parents have definitely helped me pave a path. My grandmother was also an essential person who helped me grow into myself, perhaps more so than anybody. Nowadays, when I see myself do things or act in ways that remind me of her, I relish the fact that I’m becoming more like her.

2. When it comes to me professionally – I owe a lot of who I am to: Again, my parents. I’ve had 20 or so jobs in my lifetime (at one point, I was working four jobs and going to school full-time – I’m not flighty like that sounds) and they’ve always supported me through it. My parents forced me to become financially smart so that I could become financially independent, they supported my various (and multiple) career paths, and they made me push myself into doing what had to be done. We’ve talked about everything related to career, from the obvious to the minute details. I am definitely grateful for all of the advice and support they’ve given me over the years.

3. When it comes to the art of blogging, I’m grateful to these people for helping me through some rough spots: I haven’t blogged for very long, so I can’t speak much to rough patches yet. I can say that Kate at Divergent Musings is the reason that I started blogging again and the reason that I’ve continued blogging – in the past, I’ve started a blog and dropped it again in a few weeks. First, she encouraged me to keep up blogging and join WordPress’ PostAWeek2011 Challenge, then she inspired me with her own posts. Now I’m to the point where I schedule a post for every day about a week in advance. None of that would have happened without Kate.

4. One blogging challenge I’m grateful happened because it made me stronger was… definitely the WordPress challenge. I’ll admit, I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to do the PostADay challenge – after all, I wasn’t even sure I’d keep a blog going with my past record. The PostAWeek challenge was perfect because it allowed me to feel okay about not posting for a day or two, but forced me to post on a regular basis. Now I do post nearly every day and enjoy doing so.

5. To my readers, I’d like to say… thank you for reading! I started this blog as a journal of sorts – a way for me to say whatever was on my mind and explore a variety of subjects that I’m interested in. Because of its lack of focus, I figured that I wouldn’t have much of a readership. In the few months that I’ve been writing, however, I’ve found a few connections with various readers and other bloggers that I treasure. I love logging into my email and seeing that some awesome reader left me a comment! I especially love that I’ve been able to get some new ideas and perspectives thanks to the comments that readers have left on my blog. I’m very grateful for your readership and hope my blog continues to be of interest!

Check out the other bloggers’ responses here!

I can’t lie – I was going to have my boyfriend take numerous awkward pictures of me in my clothes this weekend to prepare for the next couple of Makeover Mayhem posts…but we forgot. 🙂 I really need to learn how to take photos of myself with my new camera, so I guess that gives me reason. For this week, however, I’m going to let the makeover action slide a little – one, because I don’t have time to prep the pictures, and two, because I found this great Friend Friday prompt on body image via Modly Chic that I felt was very apropos.

When I decided to write Makeover Mayhem posts, I did so with the intention that I would get some advice about how to become more fashion-forward. I admit that this is an area where I could use some outside help. Although I am self-conscious, I didn’t start these posts because I hate my body – or love it, for that matter. Eventually I might post about exercise and diet, but even that’s a maybe. I don’t want this to be about my body, but I do want these posts to be about learning to love the way I look. So with no further ado, here are some body image questions/answers!

1. Since you started blogging has your image of yourself changed? Not yet, but I think it will. It honestly was a pretty big step to decide to write Makeover Mayhem posts because I am self-conscious about my specs. But as I said above, I want this theme to be about learning to love the way I look, so hopefully that’s coming! I’ve already gotten some great tips on haircuts, so I’m looking forward to seeing where this theme goes.

2. Are you self-conscious about any aspect of yourself? If so, do you go out of your way to avoid it or do you post it/talk about it anyway? I am, as I mentioned, but I think that posting about it is healthy and a positive way to accept all types of bodies. Avoiding it just leads to shame and self-hate, which is definitely not what I want!

3. Based on how you are feeling now, what do you think the future holds in the evolution of your body image? Whoa…this is kind of an intense question. I’m honestly not sure about where the evolution of my body image is going. On the one hand, I’m excited to get back to the gym – not because I particularly love exercising, but because I like the feeling I get from going. On the other hand, I know that I just have a bigger body type and it’s just going to be difficult to find clothes that fit well and are flattering, etc. Perhaps more balance is in the future.

4. Do you photograph yourself for your blog? If so, how do you feel about the experience when you’re having your picture taken? If you choose not to post pictures of yourself, what prompted that decision? I do photograph myself for these posts, mostly because I think people can provide better commentary and suggestions if they can see what I look like. For example, it’s hard to visualize “huge hips” in a flattering way, but that’s actually a good quality of mine. I do feel awkward in those pictures – everyone does – but it’s worth it.

5. What would you want every person who struggles with body image to take to heart? It’ll likely always be an issue, but try not to listen to the standards of perfection that society throws at us. It’s not fair and it’ll never be fair. But regardless, there is at least one person out there who thinks you’re gorgeous.

Check out the other responses here!

How do you feel about your body image?

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