Seeing more fat people = preferring fat people. Really?!

Guys guys guys! Watch this video by the beautiful AND fat Lillian Bustle – a body positive ambassador and burlesque dancer. During her TEDxJerseyCity Talk, she talks about this very interesting concept of how the more our view is saturated with larger bodies, the more we will prefer larger bodies. There’s a whole science behind it! We’re not talking about how seeing more fat bodies in magazines and on tv will make people accept these larger bodies – we’re talking about preference! Choosing a fat body over a thin one.

 

It’s funny, because I was honestly only ever expecting acceptance, you know? A world where fat bodies wouldn’t be judged, and bullying against fat people wouldn’t be so prevalent. I know there are already a lot of people who prefer fat bodies, which is why choosing fat bodies was never the issue for me. It was all about the stares, the pointing… even the presumptions.

It’s also super scary to see how easily influenced we are by the media. Showing photo after photo could make you change your perception so quickly? Do we really have a choice at all?

 

Mind. Blown.

Mind. Blown.

Man-sized! Shopping in the men’s section.

So, you’re walking through your local department store because you feel like spoiling yourself. This is going to be so much fun! You make your way to the plus size section and start to peruse.  You zig zag through the aisles, taking your time, and after 30 minutes…. nothing. You sadly return your empty shopping basket and exit the store. You feel defeated and overlooked. There’s a voice in your head that tells you you’re not important enough to look (and ultimately feel) good.

Hey – I have been there, babes. I know exactly what it’s like to feel like you’re this unwelcome thing that just walks around aimlessly like a ghost through the shopping mall.

But, listen. Our world is all about life hacks right? Life gave us lemons, so let’s make lemonade!

Kmart Men's Section

Kmart Men’s Section

A few days ago, I went into Kmart and bypassed the plus size section altogether and headed straight to menswear because I wanted to see if there was anything that could pass as a sexy plus sized woman’s top.  And oh my God was there ever! I found a very simple size XL off-white jumper for $15 and took it home.

Oooh! Pretty jumper!!

Oooh! Pretty jumper!!

I laid it flat on my bed and got the scissors ready. If you look at the picture above, you can see that the jumper has a thicker waist band at the bottom. Those things never ever work for me – even on actual plus sized jumpers – because they sit at the widest part of my body, so I cut it off. I tried it on and still found it about 5cm too long, but that was fixed with a few more snips of my scissors.

I also found the neckline a little too closed for me. TIP: Ladies with flatter chests (and are self-conscious about it… remember – wear whatever the fuck you want to wear!) look great with a closed/higher neckline because the extra fabric gives the illusion of more weight on the bust. But ladies who are larger chested like me do not need the help. It ends up putting weight not only the bust, but across the chest and shoulders too so stick to wide/deeper necklines.

I just used my handy-dandy scissors to create a wide neck and voila – a cropped jumper! Yay!

A perfectly good men's top that pairs wonderfully with my Seraphim Harem Pants!

A perfectly good men’s top that pairs wonderfully with my Seraphim Harem Pants!

I know a lot of women who scoff at the thought of shopping in the men’s section. I remember living in Jakarta, Indonesia and having literally no other option. I would go into surf shops and buy the largest men’s t-shirt I could find, and then I would have to cut the sleeves and neckline to fit me. After discovering Torrid in around 2006, I vowed never to do that ever again. But I’m proud to say I have reverted back to my old ways! I LOVE modifying clothes! I think it’s a great way to wear unique pieces that you wouldn’t see other plus-sized babes in.

This is a point I want to drill into the heads of every person who comes to check out my blog. Yes, fat people have been dealt a shitty hand, but I don’t know about you guys – I’m not going to hold my breath for companies to swiftly change their designers and buying strategies. Until that blessed day comes, I’m going to make myself look amazing with anything I can get my hands on.

More mods to come soon!

Very Important People.

When I decided to move to Melbourne, there were two people I was completely terrified of leaving behind. Not any of my friends; I knew they would always be there – even with the distance. Not even my family; I am lucky enough to see them almost every two months. Oh no. These two super special VIPs are my hairdresser, Bee Rizzi, and my Naturopath, Lyda Barquero.

Bee and I after she made cut my fringe and dyed my hair purple.

Bee and I after she made cut my fringe and dyed my hair purple.

When you find a good hairdresser – someone who just gets you and your style and what will suit you every single time – they become this gladiator that fights for you. They are there to make you feel good… to stand tall. Bee is not just someone who makes me look amazing, but she also has become this incredible friend that I confide in. We tell each other our problems… we gossip about boys and laugh about sex.

Lyda and I.

Lyda and I.

The same goes for a medical practitioner or someone who has helped you with your mental and physical health. My naturopath has really helped me so much- not just to get my health in check- but when things were very low for me, she was someone I could talk to without fear or judgment. She was the only person who has ever told me to forgive myself- to not blame myself for things that happened to me. She is amazing and I seriously love her.

These two people fulfill my life in completely different ways, but both are equally important to me, and finding people like that – people who are on your team – is really difficult. We have loyalty to each other, and more importantly, they know so much of my shit. They have heard my bitching and moaning… they have seen me cry. When you see me bawling my eyes out we are sisters for life, yo.

Luckily, Lyda and I are at least able to have phone consultations and she can post me any homeopathic remedies I may need. Bee, on the other hand, is a little bit more tricky. Do I just try to get to Perth every two to three months or do I accept my hair’s fate and try to find another brilliant hairstylist in Melbourne? I’m still trying to convince her to move to Melbourne (she would seriously make a killing over there) so that I can have my hair done all the time.

What about you? Besides your friends and family, who are people in your life that you would have a really hard time leaving behind if you ever had to move?

If you’re looking for an amazing hairstyle look for Bee on instagram, and if you’re in the market for a naturopath and live in the western suburbs of Perth, look for Lyda Barquero at the Subiaco Naturopathic Clinic on Hay St.

Seraphim Challenge: Wearing Seraphim for the entire month of April.

It’s almost April guys! I love the beginnings of new months. Remember how I mentioned in a previous blog about how I suffer from a dreadful disease called “Startingoveritis”? Well, beginnings of the month are awesome for me because it means I can start some month-long project! And boy do I have one!

I’ve decided to give myself a little personal challenge: I must wear a Seraphim garment every single day and document how I outfit each piece.

You guys may think this is an easy feat since I’m the owner of the company so I can just pick whatever I want from my inventory… but it’s actually a lot harder than that because I don’t actually own a sample of every garment I sell, AND I only want to try really hard to only wear the latest collection – Oh Frida! But that will be flexible. Ha!

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I also want to make sure each documented picture looks fresh and unique, so I’ve made one big rule: I may not wear an outfit again. So if I have worn the black OTS Top with the Purple Rhapsody Skirt (pictured above!), I may not pair those items together again. If I want to wear the black OTS Top, I will have to choose a completely different garment to pair with it. Now, if I wear a dress, I may not wear it the same way twice also. If I wear a dress simply as is one day, the next time I want to wear it, I must add something to change the look, like a jacket or cardigan. Also, I can wear non-Seraphim garments too; there only has to be a minimum of one Seraphim piece worn.

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The first half of the month will be tricky as I’m flying back to Perth to spend time with my family who will also be visiting for Easter, so I will have to use what I can take with me in my suitcase. Honestly, I have no idea how you established fashion bloggers do this without always going over your luggage weight allowance…

I’m really excited!! I’m going to have to have a really good think of how to outfit each piece! Please follow me on instagram to keep updated! At the end of the month, I will post a gallery of all the outfits here for you to see!

 

Traipsing through the bush and yelling, “MORE, DARLING, MORE!”

Today, Elle and Caitlin were nice enough to help a sista out by modelling some new Seraphim pieces for me. I wanted a forest-like setting since these pieces have earth tones in them so we drove to Westerfolds Park in Templestowe in search of the perfect wooded backdrop.

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Yep, we totally found the absolute perfect backdrop, right?!

We were a little worried about the weather as the morning started off grey and dreary, and I was anxious about how dark the photos would look with the sky looking so stormy. But look! I didn’t have to worry one bit.

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The girls were such good sports, traipsing through with their skirts hiked up, and then taking their shoes off when I needed to start the shoots. They were the epitomes of professional and obliging models.

I won’t show you any more photos just yet since these are just a teaser of what’s coming in the next month at Seraphim, but I thought some of these photos were so cute and fun that I just had to share them with you!

Until next time!

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I actually stuck to the “Yes Rule’!

I am what people call “an extroverted introvert“; I am so good at social situations and can seem like the life of the party with my crazy loud voice and 100 mile per minute speech, but what people don’t realise is that social events take a lot out of me and all I want to do the next day is stay at home eating special chicken flavoured Indomie while watching “Enlisted” reruns from dawn until dusk.

Fuck you, Fox Network, for cancelling a seriously good show.

Fuck you, Fox Network, for cancelling a seriously good show.

So when I decided to take on the “Yes Rule” I knew it was going to be a major challenge for me.

The “Yes Rule” is simple. Since you are in a new city filled with potential besties and lovers everywhere you go, you must put yourself out there by accepting as many invitations as possible.

Guys, I totally said yes to some events this past weekend and I am super duper happy to report that I didn’t die of extrovert-exposure! Go me!

On Friday morning, I met a friend for breakfast so he could show me a new business app he’s working on and then that night, I went to a crazy fancy dress sex-party at a nightclub (Yes. You read that right).

On Saturday night, I went to a birthday/housewarming party and got talking to someone about what it’s like being a receptionist at a brothel (Seriously, people tell me the darndest things).

On Sunday, I went to a barbecue and I only knew the host so was really worried but it ended up being so relaxing and a perfect slow fade-out to my crazy weekend shenanigans.

At all three events I met really amazing people and was surprised at how – even though there were  a few awkward moments – they were so few and far between that I really didn’t have anything to worry about.

I am so glad that I haven’t had to do anything today, though, so I’ve gotten a chance to recharge the batteries.

So, I guess my main tip is to seriously try the “Yes Rule” for yourself, even if you don’t go out every single night, at least try to make it every other night.

Remember – potential besties and lovers! And if you don’t find either of those, you will at least have some stories to tell.

Tips for not going mental in a new city from someone dealing with the New City Blues.

Today, I dropped off two of my best friends from Perth back to the airport so that they could fly home and, all of a sudden, I was hit with the New City Blues. Hard.

I got back to my house, closed the door to my bedroom and flopped on my bed, wondering how on earth I was actually going to make it here in Melbourne. Whenever I have a quiet moment to think, Perth pops into my head. I mean, I seriously feel like re-uprooting myself and flying back home. In fact, the only thing that’s keeping me from doing that right now is the disappointment I would inevitably feel for not really giving Melbourne a go.

So how do I give this place a real chance then? Well, I’ve been doing my research about that very topic this evening while listening to sad Death Cab for Cutie songs and this is a list I have come up with.

1. Take a moment every day to just revel in how courageous you are for making the move.

Seriously, pat yourself on the back. You could have stayed, even though you knew you had outgrown your home city. You could have ignored that feeling in your gut that was telling you how stifled you were feeling; how you felt like you needed to leave so you could continue on with your personal growth. No one would have blamed you if you did stay.

But you did it! You moved! You moved away from the arms of amazing friends and a comfortable life in the hopes of bettering your life. Remember this! What a brave move!

2. Do not lose touch with the people from home.

These people helped shape you into the person you are today. They had a hand in your bravery! Always be thankful for them and make sure you send them a quick text or phone call once a week to let them know you’re thinking about them.

Also, remember that you are not the only person who is struggling. They have just lost a great friend! Make sure they know you love them, miss them, and are so thankful for their support.

3. Give yourself permission to break down into a big fat snot-faced mess of tears.

If you need to spend a day in bed crying about how you miss the sight of the pelicans that perch on the streetlights on Canning Bridge, do it. Text your friends and tell them you’re sad. Skype with your family. Look at pictures of life back at home. Let yourself really grieve for the life you left behind.

And then get up and get on with it.

4. Learn to love your own company.

Of course it’s imperative for you to meet people. You need to create connections, but you also need to enjoy solo time. Why would someone want to befriend you if you can’t stand your own company? Spend time alone at a cafe or gallery. Learn this city alone. Create experiences of your new city all by yourself. They will be only yours, and there’s something really precious about that.

5. Find local anchoring points and branch out.

I’ve discovered a few restaurants and cafes that I already love to frequent and use these spots as pin points on a map I have in my brain. Then I’ll ask the staff for recommendations of other nearby places to check out. Always try places the locals tell you about – sometimes that dive bar around the corner is better than the five star tourist attraction on Urbanspoon.

This works with your group of friends too. Ask friends from back home to introduce you to anyone they may know in the same city as you and go and meet up with them.  Your connections don’t have to always be deep and meaningful ones. You may only meet them once a month for a quick coffee. But what if that friend brought another friend to the coffee date or invited you to a dinner they were having at their place? Branching out in this way may lead you to your new bestie!

6. Lower your expectations when it comes to new friends/acquaintances.

Continuing on from my last point… be realistic about the fact that it could take you a really long time to make that new best friend. My friend Div, who moved from Perth to Adelaide to Sydney said it best. “It will take you two years to build solid friendships. Until then, you will meet nice enough people who will do. Be patient because it will take a while, but it will be worth it.”

I think it’s important to also lower your expectations and to accept friendships from people you’re not fully interested in being super close with. There is nothing wrong with having some friends that you see only once a month. If you have a few of those people in your life, you could plan to meet Person 1 in week 1, Person 2 in week 2, etc. That’s one day a week down! All you have to do is fill up the other 6 days!

7. Accept as many invitations as possible.

I am very good at Number 4. I love solo adventures, but I am also prone to those bouts of sadness at 10pm on a Saturday night when everyone is out at a party to which I was also invited but was too lazy to attend, and now regret not going because I’m lonely and want to be around people but it’s a little bit too late to get ready and go at the last minute (this girl needs a lot of time to get ready, ok?).

Seriously, just go out. Click on the “going” button on Facebook event invites and actually go. All you have to lose is time alone and sleep. You can always catch up on both the next day. All you have to gain is an amazing night out and perhaps an amazing new connection.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

Righto. Those are the ones that I have experienced so far. Have you guys moved? If so, what are some of your tips for not going mental in a new city?

We’re rebooting. This may as well be Post #1.

Hi I’m Jen and this is probably my 50th blog. I should point out that I said ‘blog’ – not ‘blog post’.

Yes, I’ve had a crap tonne of blogs.

My first ever blogging experience was on a website called MyDearDiary in 2002. Back then, we didn’t have our own website addresses or custom blog pages like on wordpress, blogger, or tumblr. Every blog had the exact same theme which meant we couldn’t use the razzle-dazzle of a fancy layout to lure readers in – we had to focus solely on writing interesting and entertaining entries.

From MDD, there were a plethora (see: ‘crap tonne’) of other websites; I suffer from a terrible affliction known as “startingoveritis”. I’ve tried so many that I honestly can’t remember more than half of them.

The main point of this is to explain that I really really really really really love blogging. I love sharing short stories, thoughts and feelings (seriously – feelings are my forte. I can explain the feels all day long). I think my main problem, though, is that contemporary blogging isn’t just about journaling like it was back in early 2000 anymore. Now, each entry is a mini essay that has to have a point. People aren’t just interested in learning about your day unless you have an actual point to make – a point that pertains to them.

Therein lies my problem.

Sometimes my journal entries don’t have a point. Sometimes, I just want to journal how I feel. Also, sometimes, I want to journal just 3 lines of text – not an entire goddamned mini essay… and although we should all blog for the pleasure, we also want our entries to be read and commented on, right? Sometimes, I feel like my 3-line entries have more depth in them than a 300 word entry, and it can be a little disheartening when no one comments.

I’m not quite sure where I’m going with this, so I’ll just say, “Hi. I’m Jennifer and I want to start blogging again. I’m 33, Eurasian, single, fat and have recently relocated from Perth to Melbourne. I also own a mini plus sized clothing label called Seraphim that caters to women sized 16 to 26. These are all the things I want to blog about. Interested?”

6 Month Re-cap.

Oh my goodness. What a whirlwind of activity!

How can I sum up the past 6 months to you without turning this blog post into a novel?

Deep breath (imagine this is blurted out in one inhale)…

Dad is better; he and Mum went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN to get full check ups. I stayed in Jakarta alone to work on Seraphim. Went to Bali to drop all my fabrics and designs off at my manufacturer’s. I went to Canada and lost my passport. My whole family met up in San Fran but I had to get an emergency passport. Finally arrived in San Fran and the whole family went to Utah for Christmas. Went to San Fran again before heading back to Jakarta. Went back to Perth to pack up my things as well as apply for a new passport. Went back to Jakarta. Travelled to Thailand for the wedding of one of my international besties. Reconnected with school friends I haven’t seen in over 10 years! Went back to Perth. Packed up some more. Moved to Melbourne. Living with my cousins right now. Had one my designs in the Sydney Morning Herald to promote the Curvy Couture Roadshow. Kicked ass at the CCR Runway event. Kicked more ass at the CCR Market Event.

And now it’s a week after the insane Curvy Couture weekend and it has finally hit me.

HOLY. SHIT.

I moved to Melbourne. 

I’m out of the safety of my parents’ house and have to fend for myself – for the most part. My cousin and her lovely husband have taken me in for a little while until I find my footing. I have gone from living in a massive house all alone (God bless my parents for buying a place but living in a different country!) to sharing with two other people and having only a little bedroom to house everything I own.

Not only have I moved away from the shelter of no rent and practically no responsibilities… I’ve also left incredibly dear friends behind. And none of this occurred to me until last Monday, when the CCR boxes were packed away and I could finally stop holding my breath.

It has all come crashing down – that I am now 7.5 hours away by plane from my family, 4 hours away by plane from my best friends, and that I left a comfortable life to try to make it on my own while doing something I want to believe in but have major doubts about every other day.

Artists. We’re such a self-doubting bunch, aren’t we?

Anyway, more has happened, obviously, but I’ll hopefully get to the specifics slowly as I start stretching my blogging muscles again. I am really really rusty at this….

Health and Family.

September 2014. What a terrible month. September 2014 will always be known as the month I almost lost my dad once, but could have lost my dad twice.

I won’t get into the specifics of it because it is a family issue, but let me just say this:

1. To locals and expats alike who go to Singapore thinking they will get better medical care there than in Indonesia: well, that doesn’t always happen. My father is a prime example.

2. ALWAYS ALWAYS ask for options and if there is time (if it’s not an emergency) ALWAYS ask for a second opinion. My dad was only given one option and – due to the nature of the emergency – didn’t have time to get advice from a different medical professional.

My dad isn’t 100 percent healed yet and we honestly have no idea whether he could have another attack tomorrow or if he will be fine for another 25 years. It’s the waiting that tortures you. So my third and most important piece of advice:

Love your parents with all you have. Cherish them and spend as much time as you can with them because, as I learned this month, they can be taken from you in the blink of an eye.

Dad, me, Tina, Melissa and Jackie

Dad, me, Tina, Melissa and Jackie