Have a Full Witch Weekend: 3 Things To Try

What makes a full witch weekend? How about a seasonal adventure, making glorious noise, and embracing your own natural beauty? Here are 3 suggestions to add some witch to your weekend.
Take a Mini Road Trip | Have a Full Witch Weekend: 3 Things to Try, from Whisper & Howl

take a Mini road trip

When I lived in Indiana, my friend and I decided to take a little seasonal drive out into the country. We found a small town that was having their annual autumnal Apple Butter Festival and headed off. The festival was really just some arts-and-crafts tents set up around the courthouse and a few trucks selling funnel cakes and soda, but it looked like the whole town was out there enjoying the warmish Fall day. We sampled a lot of apple butter, then stopped by the tiny historical museum in the old Carnegie library, grabbed free coffee in styrofoam cups and looked at old photos of local life.

On our drive home, we passed another festival and decided to stop. This one was in the evening, more of a county fair with the same low-end crafts and fried food, with the addition of a hot air balloon and some high school dudes playing covers of old rock songs. It was a little slice of Indiana life.

Every year, when I see signs popping up to advertise Fall Festivals and county fairs, I ache to get in the car and see what’s happening in all the little towns. This is a great time of year for mini road trips. Every corner of every county seems to have some type of local celebration. This weekend, do a little research, grab a friend and set off on a tiny adventure to see the leaves and ingest some local flavor. Chances are good that you’ll find an apple cider donut or two on your travels, and that makes everything worthwhile.

 

Lift Up Your Voice

Choose howl over whisper this weekend! Head into the woods and raise a ruckus with your instrument! Scream in the car, sing in the shower! Make some noise!

Sound is powerful. Feel your power.

Want to share your voice with others? There are so many ways to sing in a group. Check out a kirtan at your local yoga school or ashram, or gather friends for chanting. Go to church and hear your collective voices echoing through the nave. Check out a pop-up chorus. Have some friends over and jam. Visit an Irish pub and join in on the chorus.

 

Treat Your Skin

It’s hard work being a face. You get smothered with makeup, scrubbed with drying soaps, touched with greasy fingers and subjected to all of the many toxins of our modern world. This weekend, give your face a break! Try going make-up free for a few days and let your skin breathe. Give yourself a DIY Steam Facial or try double-cleansing. Brew up some tea, slather on a mask and stick some cucumber slices on your eyes. Be the decadent human you know you can be–all in the name of healthy, beautiful skin. Trust me, your face will thank you.

 

I hope you have a wonderfully witchy weekend!

Already have plans? Let me know what they are and perhaps I’ll include them on another full witch weekend!

 

Autumn Capsule Wardrobe: Making Ethical Choices

Considering the true cost of fashion in planning my Autumn Capsule Wardrobe at Whisper & Howl #capsule #wardrobearchitect #fashion #project333 #whisperandhowl #wardrobe #truecost

Friends, it has been a very long and trying month. The intensity of the past weeks has kept me from updating this little blog, but I did manage to pull together an Autumn Capsule Wardrobe, which I switched to on the first day of Fall. I don’t have any photos but I’d like to describe the process I used, because this time things were a little different.

Before I developed my Autumn capsule, I watched The True Cost, a documentary about Fast Fashion and the deeply negative impacts that our culture of consumer-capitalist culture has on the environment and our collective and individual psyches. Needless to say, I loved it. I thought the film was very informative and provocative, illuminating the unethical practices of fast fashion brands without disparaging the idea of fashion.  Fashion is beautiful, a form of wearable art that lets us express our individuality, culture, and creativity. Fast fashion takes clothing and turns it into a cheap commodity, something to be purchased without consideration and discarded when something new catches our fancy.  I won’t give facts and figures here, but if this is interesting to you then I encourage you to watch the film (you can stream it on Netflix).

Watching this movie reminded me of my morals and that I have a choice to make when I purchase clothing. I can choose to research brands and manufacturers and select fair-trade, organic, ethical…or I can go for cheap, disposable, trendy.

I don’t have a lot of money, but I want to make the right choices. I decided to really limit my purchases this season and to make as many pieces as possible. There are only 4 brand-new pieces in my wardrobe: a pair of Lotta from Stockholm clogs, a giant blanket-sweater and 2 pairs of high-waisted leggings. I admit that I do not know much about the brands I chose; the price for these items was higher than what I usually pay, which makes me think they are more ethically produced, but that absolutely may not be true.  I also obtained a shirt from my mom.

As I was developing my list of pieces that I have and that I want, I also thought about what I could sew in these few months. I have already made a lion-print wrap skirt and am working on a scuba knit, emerald green simple shift dress. I have a white sweatshirt and a plaid flannel shirt on my list. I average one new garment per month.

I hope to have some pictures for you soon.  I’d like to continue to explain my capsule wardrobe process as I hone it myself. I’m developing it into a service I can use with clients, so that I can help others achieve the ease, comfort and contentedness that I find in having a simple, curated wardrobe.

What role, if any, do ethics play in your clothing choices?  

A Week in Witchiness (or, One Witchy Week): 9/9-9/15

I’ve been a good little witch this last week.  With the New Moon in Virgo on Sunday night, my earth-loving, purifying, refining nature has been out in full force. Here are some of the things I’ve done:

5 ways I’ve been witchy since wednesday

Handpainted eyeball gel manicure | Whisper & Howl

Number 1

 I painted eyeballs on my fingernails.  I am obsessed.  When the paint inevitably peels off, I will be so, so sad.

Number 2

I undertook an Ayurvedic cleanse.  I’ve been taking herbs for a while and they seem to be helping, so I decided to do a Fall Cleanse right as the weather decided to drop 20 degrees!  Unexpected bonus: I’ve lost 3 lbs.

NUMBER 3

Because of the cleanse and its morning practices, I’ve been getting up much earlier than usual and am loving it!  I do some cleansing practices, make breakfast, shower and do yoga all before work.  It’s giving me more time in the evening, since my sadhana is already done, and has jolted me straight into a beautiful morning routine.  I’m getting a little closer to becoming a morning person every day.

Eclipse Healer by Mystic Mamma

Number 4

I taught 4 yoga classes last week, including the New Moon and Solar Eclipse in Virgo class on Sunday.  I love teaching the moon classes.  I get to learn all about what’s going on astrologically and impart it to others along with lots of my favorite poses (chandra namaskar or moon salutations is my favorite sequence).

Number 5

I got a book on Shakti mantras and am excited to dive in!  I’m headed to the beach tomorrow afternoon and expect to be reading lots of yoga texts and doing lots of chanting–along with playing cards and board games and watching horror movies with my Mom and sisters.  I’ll be sure and collect some nice shells for my altar while I’m there.

Bonus

This one isn’t witch-related, but I did get my Autumn Capsule Wardrobe figured out and have started transitioning some pieces in.  More info on my process and results will be coming soon.

What have you done to feel like a wild, weird, witchy goddess this week?

31st Birthday Resolution

After much consideration for the past few months, my 31st Birthday Resolution presented itself to me in July.

For the 31st year of my life, I am GOING FULL WITCH. 

What does this mean, you might ask?  Let me explain.

Three Fates, painting by Emily Balivet

Three Fates, painting by Emily Balivet

GOING FULL WITCH

This doesn’t mean Halloween witch, or Wiccan witch, or Goth witch (although I fully embrace deep, dark lipstick on a regular basis).  I love those things but this is something…different.

This is me being totally open to exploring all the earthy, natural, divine, strange, left-handed, taboo, mushy, divine aspects of womanhood.   Another way to name this would be “Exploring the Divine Feminine,” or “Going Full Goddess,” but witch sounds better.  It reminds me of the many ways that women have been persecuted and disempowered throughout history for daring to practice natural medicine, midwifery, and spirituality based on the sacred feminine.

“Witch” also lends that wild and weird quality that is, semantically at least, empowering me to get a little freaky without reservation and without worrying about being judged.  I’m buying crystals, guys.  I’m chanting, burning incense, signing up for Full Moon Goddess teleconferences, reading all kinds of cards, communing with my spirit guides, setting intentions.  I am absolutely wearing dark lipstick, and I might wear a giant flower crown out in public for no reason at all! (What?!  That’s crazy!)

The point is, I’ve been doing these things for a little while and I keep adding practices and researching different ways of being, and I’m just going for it.  I’m allowing myself to do whatever is interesting in the name of sacred womanhood.  There’s not a religious sect I align with (although I am a yogi and leaning towards the tantric and bhakti paths).  I’m not following any gurus.  I’m going to do what I want, learn, and teach.  If you’re interested in what I’m doing, follow along.  I’ll share anything that I stumble on, fascinating and probably also mundane.

Blessed be, y’all.

 

 

I Once Was 30: A Year in Review, Pt. 2

 

Review

And we’re back!  I wanted to take the time to do this review because I discovered so many new things in the last year of my life and I want to share them with you.  It’s also a nice way for me to take an inventory of everything that’s happened, so that when I feel like I’m not making any progress in certain areas, I can look back and see the strides I have made in other areas.

A Year in Being Me, Pt. 2

March 1st, 2015-August 31st, 2015

March: Baby’s First Capsule Wardrobe!  Having completed The Great Discard on New Year’s Eve of 2014, and having contemplated and researched capsule wardrobes for a month or so, I started this practice on the first day of Spring.  I also started teaching a regular vinyasa yoga class on Monday mornings at Heart of Yoga School, where I did my first Teacher Training in 2012.  I’ve kept this class since then, and also teach a bi-weekly Lunar Yoga class on the evenings of the full and new moons, as well as occasional workshops.

April: Despite Mercury’s being in retrograde, I decided it was high time to start this blog!  I’d been thinking and talking about it for so long, and finally decided what the general idea would be–to write about all of the things I am learning about, with tips and advice from my experience. I was also doing a lot of babysitting and bartending in April.  I had more money, but less time.  And!  I finally got a spot in Mulberry Silk’s Tuesday night social sewing class!  I finished a skirt!

May:  I began taking Advanced Yoga Teacher Training with the incomparable Allison Dennis at Heart of Yoga School in May.  It was a hard decision to make since this course is not cheap (although to be fair, it is very reasonably priced), but this was an occasion when I felt very strongly directed to make the investment.  I am so glad I am doing this!  We meet once a month for an entire weekend of asana and study, to earn an additional certification and dive deeply into our psyches, yoga philosophy, history and practice.  I have made wonderful new friends and deepened my interest in and understanding of practices such as naadi yoga, mantra, tantra, shakti, and so much more!

June: What happened in June?  It was hot.  I fell in love with kirtan.  I started walking more often and I finished a dress.  I began my first Summer capsule wardrobe and it was hot.  So hot.

July: Ditto June.  I started doing acupuncture and that has been amazing.  I haven’t gotten sick since then, and that is pretty incredible considering my track record of sinus infections, gut issues and cold-catching.  Plus, it feels great.

August: And finally we come to August.  Last month, my Dad was diagnosed with stage 3 Myelodisplastic Syndrome, an aggressive blood cancer.  This news has been devastating.  I love my family more than anything, and this is the worst thing ever.  We’re all dealing with it.  We’re processing.  We’re handling.  I’ve spent a lot of time crying.  It comes and goes, the heart-wrenching sadness and fear.  I was having a lot of trouble sleeping for a while.  Dad started chemo last week and is home now.  I’m going home as much as possible to visit.  My parents live 30 minutes away and my littlest sister has moved back from Maine to live with them and help out, and my other sister lives a few blocks away from me.  We’re all very close.

Anyway, this is how I ended my 30th year, and the reason for my reflection/resting v. mad celebrations.  I am tired.  I’m also grateful, full of love, mostly happy, peaceful, supported, relatively healthy and have, in general, enough.  I’m reading a lot and sleeping a lot and trying to eat well and avoid watching too much TV.  I’m doing my sadhana, castor oil packs, snuggling Devo, visiting family, and sewing.  Everything is what it is, and that is fine.

Next time, I’ll tell you about my 31st Birthday Resolution.  It’s pretty great.

I Once was 30: A Year in Review, pt. 1

Birthday in BedFriends, family, strangers, rejoice!  For today is my 31st birthday!

That’s how this would normally go, but life has recently gotten intense, deep and complicated, so my traditional months-long birthday excitement has been less about CELEBRATING! WITH EVERYONE! and more about reflecting, resting, and planning for the upcoming year.

As you may know by now, I am big on the Birthday Resolution.  I started setting these several years ago and have found it is a lovely way to create some intention and focus for the upcoming year.  I find this much more meaningful than New Years, although I have been known to take any excuse to plan and evaluate (as a Virgo, this is my birthright).  I love a good moon ritual, embrace the solstices, and enjoy any day off that I can dedicate to wardrobe editing, desire-mapping, or guided meditation.

Before I talk about my 31st Birthday Resolution, which I have been setting up for the past month or two, I want to take some time to review my 30th year on this Earth, which was enormous, full, scary, wonderful, and heavy.

A YEAR IN BEING ME, PT. 1

AUGUST 31ST, 2015-FEBRUARY 28TH, 2015

August 2014: 30th Birthday Resolution: Become fiscally responsible!  This mostly involves creating a monthly budget, reviewing spending monthly, and trying to save some money.  More than keeping me on track so that I’m not getting (more) massively in debt, it has made me consider my wants and needs in life and ultimately has led me toward a minimalist path.  I’m taking baby steps, but this Resolution was smart, necessary, and has had far-reaching impacts in my life.

September 2014: My first job out of graduate school began in mid-August, so September was my first full month in my first office job as an arts administrator.  I moved back to Carrboro, to live with my friend Nureena, who is a lovely housemate, and my sweet cat Devo, 1 mile from my workplace and a few blocks from my sister, Jaimie.

October 2014: I discovered, committed to, and successfully followed a life-changing diet, which has been incredibly healing to my poor, injured gut; has eliminated by recurring back pain; given me more energy; and strengthened my confidence that I can commit and carry through big life changes.  When I finally went to see a gastroenterologist in December, she was so impressed with the results from this diet that she wanted to recommend it to her patients!  Big thanks to Jaimie for telling me about it (and my Dad for telling her, even though he doesn’t remember this).

November 2014: Started sewing!  I take social-sewing classes with the most badass women in town at Mulberry Silks.  I thought I’d make a skirt for Thanksgiving…but it’s clearly for Thanksgiving 2015, as I didn’t finish it until March!

December 2014: I started The Artist’s Way (and completed it 12 weeks later!).  This was also a life-altering event.  This book is mind-blowing.  It truly helped me get deeper into my own psyche, to rediscover my creativity, and to relax and embrace life and my inner child.  It got me more in tune with my Self and the world around me.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.  I am amazed at how many goals I laid out (discovered, really) in my morning pages have actually happened!  I remember writing that I wanted to be a yoga teacher and a painter.  In December, I subbed my first yoga class since getting my certificate in 2012 and have been teaching regularly ever since.  I also did (most of) The Desire Map for New Years.

January 2015: I took an intuitive painting workshop this month let by my wonderful friend Heather Gerni, which really helped me to find an artistic voice I didn’t even know I had!  Heather is an excellent, nurturing teacher.  This way of painting is all about letting go of your expectations and letting the images arise naturally, painting with your intuition rather than your critical brain.  I absolutely love this and have kept it up all year.

February 2015: A friend and mentor gifted me with membership in the Soul Caller Training circles led by the lovely Amy Oscar.  I wrote a long email expressing my dissatisfaction (venting to my friends) with my job and how I felt unfulfilled and like there is so much MORE out there, creatively and spiritually, and at the very last minute I had an urge to send the email to an incredible woman I worked with in grad school, and she sent me the most amazing response and offered me this training.  It was a truly wonderful experience that helped me to be more in touch with my spirit guides (or, the Universe, God, angels, devis, the True Self, intuition, any other name you could possibly ascribe to this otherness that is also, fundamentally, You).

Coming up next time, March-now!  Isn’t this fun? So much has happened to me in the past year that it is difficult to remember it all–except that so much of it was significant.  I made lots of awesome new girlfriends, creative projects, and diet-modified dinners.  My spiritual world has expanded exponentially.  My cat is still the cutest thing in the universe.  And now, as it is my actual 31st birthday today, I will take a break and do…whatever  I want.  See you soon!

 

How to Create an Altar

Creating an Altar | Whisper & Howl

My altar is the most important place in my home.  It’s the place I go to in the evening before bed, to do my yoga sadhana (practice) including asana, meditation, mantra, pranayama (breath work), and sometimes to read books or Tarot cards.  My altar defines my sacred space, a personal corner that is the outward manifestation of my inner spiritual life.  It helps to calm and focus my energy at the end of the day or any time I need a little peace.

How To Create an Altar or Sacred Space in Your Home

Getting Started

  • Choose a space.  Any space will work, but it should be a place you feel comfortable taking time out to reflect, meditate, etc.  This depends on what your purposes are.  I do yoga in front of my altar so I need space for a yoga mat.  Your altar can be any size that works for your space and your needs.  Currently, my altar takes up about 3 feet in the corner of my room, and extends right up the wall!
  • Choose a base.  Again, this depends on your space and needs.  I prefer to have my altar at sitting eye-level.  I’ve had altars on small stools, large bookshelves and in the alcove of a makeshift dresser/bookshelf combo.  Last year, I invested in a beautiful, handmade cedar table to use as my altar.  It’s a slice of tree trunk and retains its natural shape.  I like to turn it to mix things up periodically.  I also have “wings” on either side of my altar where I have laid down scarves to keep other items such as books, my Tarot cards, extra candles and my mala beads.

What should I put on my altar?

Your altar should be a space for contemplation, love, and peace.  It should bring you joy! Whether or not the items you choose for your altar have religious significance, they should have personal meaning for you.

Some things you might consider for your altar:

  • Figures or icons.  I focus on animals for my own sacred space.  I have a strong connection to nature and I love looking at my little animals, many of which I’ve had since childhood.  Some other figures to consider are icons of gods and goddesses, saints, or any other figures that bring you joy.
  • Crystals.  While I do not believe that crystals have any magical healing powers, I’m also not discounting the possibility.  Mostly though, I find them beautiful.  I’ve always loved rocks and gems and my great-grandfather was a jeweler who tumbled gemstones in his garage.  I do choose my crystals based on their “meaning” and give places of prominence to those with qualities I’d like to attract.  I use these a focal point for my thoughts, so that I can think about the qualities when I look at the stones.  Should they also happen to be magical, I’ll take it.
  • Images.  Many people keep photos of saints, gods and goddesses, etc on their altars.  I don’t do this but I do have images from magazines, collages, photos of calming places, quotations, postcards and other meaningful or beautiful images posted on the wall behind my altar.  I also keep a lovely drawing of a horse that a friend made for me in a frame on the floor beside my altar.
  • Candles or lamps.  I love candles and I keep several of them in my sacred space.  Lighting the candle on my altar reminds me that it is time to gather and focus my energy inward.  I often light the candle before I go to brush my teeth and wash my face, so that when I return to my room I know it is time to do my sadhana.  I have candles in many different colors and scents, mostly homemade.  A salt lamp can also be a wonderful addition to an altar.  Salt lamps have air-cleansing properties and create a gorgeous, warm glow that can be very soothing.
  • Incense or essential oils.  Aromatherapy can be a great way to help you get into the mood for meditation and other sacred-space activities.  Herbs and their essences have different evocative properties.  My acupuncturist just recommended I add frankincense to my routine as it is both grounding and uplifting, and sets the mood for spiritual communion.
  • Flowers, fruit, and other objects from nature.  If you place food on your altar, it will become sweet–metaphorically if not physically–and blessed.  I have a found butterfly wing on mine, and today I came across a perfect cicada to add to the collection.  I recently added a small vase to hold herbs and flowers from my garden, because these things bring me joy.

In addition, you might consider adding a prayer rug, yoga mat, meditation cushion or bench, or small table to add comfort to your sacred space.   You’re creating a space that will welcome you, a place that will draw you to it and hold your attention.  If you don’t love the space, you won’t want to spend time in it, so take your time gathering items and arranging your altar.  It can be a growing, organic process.  I am always adding new items to my altar, and every couple of months I will change up the placement of objects.

There are special rituals for cleaning your altar and I will address these in another post, but the most important thing is to keep your sacred objects from directly touching the floor–which is why I place scarves under the books and things I have on the floor beside my cedar table.

Creating an altar can be a wonderful step toward creating more intention and joy in your life. If you’ve been thinking of creating a sacred, personal space in your home, I highly recommend going for it!  If you have one already, what are your favorite objects to keep on your altar?  

Treat Yourself: DIY Steam Facial

You know when your vacation is over and you realize you need another vacation just to relax from the first one?  My recent trip to Asheville was supposed to be full of hiking, reading and getting in touch with my inner Goddess but…nope.  I crashed with my awesome friend Kara and it quickly became apparent that this would be more of a drinking, eating, shopping, non-sleeping kind of vacation.  Suffice it to say that my body is still recovering.

Fortunately, I have learned over the years to build in time post-vacation to gently ease back into regular life, and yesterday I took full advantage of this by performing one of my favorite, simple self-care rituals: the steam facial.

DIY Steam Facial | Whisper & Howl

This easy practice is relaxing and great for your skin.  Facial steaming has several benefits:

  • Increases circulation in the face
  • Increases perspiration, which helps to release toxins from the skin
  • Softens debris in pores and lifts it to the surface of the skin, where it can be more easily removed
  • Feels really indulgent
  • Can also help loosen up gunk in your sinuses and lungs

Do-It-Yourself Steam Facial INSTRUCTIONS

The hardest part about this is gathering the ingredients.

DIY Steam Facial | Whisper & Howl

Ingredients

3 parts comfrey

2 parts rose petals

2 parts chamomile 

2 parts calendula

1 part lavender

I have most of these things laying around the house or in my garden, but if you’re not a secret witch then you may need to buy them.  I collected mine from various health and/or whole foods stores and co-ops.  Mountain Rose Herbs is an amazing resource for all things natural.  I like to keep a jar of steam facial herbs on hand for emergency self-care sessions.

Water

Cooking Pot

Large Towel

Something to listen to

Comfortable place to sit with your face over a pot for 15 minutes

DIY Steam Facial | Whisper & Howl

Instructions

  1. Set water to boil in a medium pot, something large enough to put your face over comfortably.
  2.  Mix steam facial ingredients.  You can mix a small amount for one batch, or a larger amount for future use. Store in an air tight glass jar.
  3. Find a good playlist, mantra or podcast.  I highly recommend Jordan, Jesse, Go!, a comedy podcast with which I am obsessed.
  4. Once the water has come to a boil, remove it from the heat, add herbs and cover for a few minutes so they can steep.
  5. Bring the pot over to your comfortable sitting place.  Sit.  Turn on music.  Place your head over the pot and a towel over your face and let that sweet, hot steam dissolve all your problems for the next 15 minutes.
  6. It can get really hot under there, so you may need to come up for some cool air or lift the towel every now and then.  That’s cool.  Don’t burn your face!
  7. When you’re finished, splash your face with cold water or apply a face mask of your choice.

DIY Steam Facial | Whisper & Howl

Feel great?  I hope so!  I know I do.

What is your favorite way to recharge when you need a vacation from your vacation?

Outfit Photos: Is This For Me?

LOFT tank, second-hand skirt | Whisper & Howl

LOFT tank, second-hand skirt

Well, taking outfit photos is exactly as tough as I thought it would be.  I did a mini-shoot up against the exterior wall of my apartment last night and got a couple of cute pictures out of it. There are a lot of blurry shots of me jumping and spinning, making faces, and laughing *with* the neighbors who thought I was nuts.  It was sort of fun? Mostly though, I’m dealing with a lot of feelings that always come up when my picture is taken.

I’ve given a lot of thought to whether I should even have outfit photos on the blog.  I like the way I dress but I don’t know that I’m uniquely fashionable.  I also want to share my capsule wardrobe journey, to show that you can be stylish, happy and content with less.  But there are plenty of selfie-taking bloggers out there and a lot of them have excellent photography skills, equipment, and experience.  Why should I dive into a pond that’s already full of beautiful, fashionable fish?

I’ve followed a lot of fashion bloggers over the past few years and I’ve noticed that they tend to fall into 2 camps: slim and plus-sized.  I absolutely adore the plus-sized fashion bloggers; they are bold, fierce, fun, gorgeous and inspiring.  I like the slim ladies, too.  My issue here is that I am basically an average-sized American woman, and I can only find a couple of fashion bloggers with my body-type.  Perhaps it’s that thinner women are more confident sharing their photos online, and that the plus-sized women are radical, stereotype-defying badasses?  This is not to say that thin women can’t be radical, stereotype-defying badasses in other areas, but that being a larger woman and deigning to take up space, wear loud prints, and demand to be a part of the world of fashion is pretty righteous.

Plus-sized models are closer to my size, starting at a size 8, but they are taller and I don’t actually fit into plus-sized clothing.  When I search for clothing in a size 12, I am shown how it would look on a size 2 model.  This gives me absolutely no idea how it would look on my curvy, 5’5″ frame.  I often feel like I’m in this zone where I’m not quite thin “enough,” where I could definitely lose 20 lbs., but where I’m also not plus-sized.  I’m just a gal who likes clothes and getting dressed and wants to see people of all shapes and sizes in fashion, not just extremes.

Basically, this is a personal project.  Taking these photos forces me to confront my own body and face, the way I stand when I’m not posing, the way I smile when I’m trying to act naturally.  I’ve struggled over the years with feeling “not pretty enough,” especially when photos are taken.  I can get dressed up, perfect my makeup and hair, go to a party and have a total blast–but if someone takes a picture and shows me, I will crumple.  I thought I looked great, but I was wrong!, my Inner Critics will say.  I will turn inward, become self-conscious.  This problem is unique to digital photography, that instant-replay feature that steals our memories and loads them on a hard drive.

Sharing these photos forces me to be okay with the way I look, to be unashamed of my body, to be cool with my scrunched-up laughing face.  It’s not radical, but it’s important to me.