The Empowerment Project: Recognizing the Value In Feeling Bad

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This has been a very hot and rough summer. Because of my depression, I have been neglecting myself and it’s taking a toll. I have fallen out of my yoga practice this month felt very out of shape due to a lot of sedentary tasks from blogging to sewing. Between that and struggling with financial stability and the emotional impact of  all of the socio-political strife happening in the world, the last few months have just been- hard. My depression and anxiety have been a dominant presence.

When I look at the last year of hard uncompromising work I’ve been doing on my spirit and self-esteem, finding support has been a big part of that. Loving yourself and valuing yourself is easier when you have others reflecting that back to you and when you have others cheering you on. But like me, my local friends have been going through it. I still benefit from having heart to heart conversations, clever and distracting feel good texts and correspondence with some of my closest friends, but I have also been self-isolating as a result of how depression limits my physical and emotional resources. Resources that apparently the Universe thinks are best reserved for me right now.

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Sometimes time away, time alone, time to reflect and heal are the best things I can do for myself. Everyone is different and it has taken a long time for me to embrace turning inward to deal with my depression. Turning off my inner critic and having compassion for myself is the goal. Remembering to have as much compassion for me as I would for others is crucial.  No matter how many self-love gurus permeate the web and preach the gospel of positivity, I don’t feel happy and amazing or positive all the time. Many people have chemical imbalances that don’t allow them to fake it til they make it. I actually feel very fortunate that I am highly functional in my depression. Yet and still being depressed and having anxiety is not easy, and guess what, that’s okay.

The idea that the world is what you make it resonates with me as I am a daughter of the Universe and a lover of the Goddess and feel that our energy is connected, deeply. But it doesn’t account for the economy, bias, body chemistry, mental or physical health, bad timing or life’s big and little and very real distractions. The idea that if you are not “happy” and “thriving” every moment, you are doing something wrong is pretty narrow. All feelings are valuable. If you are not keyed into your emotions and or your body, how would you know when you are in trouble and when to reach out for help?

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“Faking it until you make it” is a novel idea but isn’t a viable solution if you aren’t addressing what is actually going on for you emotionally or sometimes physically. I no longer hide my “bad” moments in the shadows as if they are a burden.  I address them and I give my frustrations, disappointments, and sad feelings a voice. Otherwise, those feelings become toxic and could consume me.  Just the fact that I am penning this post represents my coming out of the other side of a six-month bout with my depression. It’s taken a long time to get to the point where I could recognize my feelings at the moment and address my own needs around emotional shifts and physical cues. I have finally learned how to honor them.

It can be a long slow process, but a truly authentic process to accept where you are, determine what you need and learn to care for yourself and support yourself in moving through those challenging feelings. What people forget to say when they are rallying for you to love yourself is that feelings of love fluctuate and in the end, love is acceptance. Accepting yourself means honoring the perfectly imperfect parts too. I am learning daily.

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I am really grateful that I have the ability to recover from being down, and feeling out. I am grateful that deep down I am an optimist who truly believes things will work out in the end. I am grateful for the ability to recognize my own feelings and perform whatever self-care I can at that moment. I am grateful that through gratitude I am able to find peace.

xoxo

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ReFashion 2015: Office Nook Makeover

Office Nook Makeover

ReFashion 2015 Home Edition! So I’ve been coveting beautiful home spaces and thinking about projects that I could immediately implement without spending any money to beautifying my living space. Not to mention focussing my energy on manifesting my ideal living situation.

I decided to do a simple makeover of the space where I write and edit all of these fabulous blog posts! So I started with making over the poor battered and dented lampshade.

LampShade Trim and Measurements

I have a huge roll of this black and white trim  that I scored from Michael Levine Fabrics Loft space. The Loft is where I get most of my fabric and is where Michael Levine Fabrics sells their end pieces, and unsold unseasonable fabrics.

  • I first measured pieces of the trim to fit the lampshade.
  • Then I took out my rarely used but much-loved glue gun and started laying out my trim on the lampshade.
  • So simple, so effective! Instant gratification!

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Next, I tackled my cork board! Oddly enough it never occurred to me to put it near the computer!? So Once I did that, I wasn’t feeling it and decided to quickly remake it with a simple white paint job.

  • I used Non-toxic water-based paint and let it air dry in the sun.
  • I removed any paint splatter from the frame with nail polish remover.

Desk Mat

Lastly I was determined to cover up the very worn out surface of the computer desk. A particle board assemble yourself desk that is ancient so I decided on the simple cosmetic fix of a desk mat. I made a slip cover over a simple cardboard box big enough to cover the damaged desk.

  • I used the skirt of an old dress I deconstructed years ago to make my slip cover, I love the pattern.
  • I used the cardboard to cut out the shape and sewed 3 sides of the rectangle.
  • I then added a small rectangle at the bottom of the slip cover meant to fall over the edge of the desk.
  • Lastly, I made an envelope closure at the top of the slipcover, so i could tuck in the fabric and secure the cardboard once inserted.

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Voila! My new streamlined workspace! I love black and white but I need to add some warmth so we’ll see how my new space evolves! But it is already feeling better working here. Next I will be moving onto my sewing area for my next Home Refashion 2015.

xoxo

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ReFashion 2015: A Swimsuit Makeover

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ReFashion 2015 Continues. I am late on this one! When my love Sheri from Confessions of A ReFashionista announced that this week’s Thrifty Thursday was Fab Florals, it gave me the push I needed to finish up a new swimsuit bottom. That is a future tutorial, but gave me the opportunity and showcase this swimsuit Refashion.

Fab Floral Swimsemble

Of course my gifted and refashioned kimono is my remade floral, and a great thrifted sun hat make this a Thrifty Thursday special! Some more floral love comes from my me-made swim skirt. That tutorial is coming soon! In the meantime. How do you make a skirted swim bottom a swim top!? Read on!

SwimsTop ReFashion Collage

So I had this hot pink swim bottom for a couple of years now. But I couldn’t seem to find a top I wanted to wear with it. So although I love a fringe suit, I loved the idea of the flouncy swim top. So I endeavored to take my swim separate from the bottom to the top!

  • I used a strapless bra to measure cup height and cut across the brief.
  • Next being a compulsive sewer and having a huge stash of fabric, found some orange swimsuit fabric and some floral mesh.
  • I cut two rectangles of Swimsuit fabric and one of the floral mesh about two inches wider than the former swimsuit brief now tube top.
  • I sewed my rectangles together. Mesh on one side and swimsuit fabric on the other.
  • I then sewed the rectangular to the bottom of my new tube top (mesh inside). Then I sewed the excess fabric from the sides to the backside.
  • Then I made two elastic casings in the swimwear material. I inserted the elastics and attached them to each other first, and then to my tube top.
  • Lastly, I added some elastic strips at the center bust and sides of the breast for a little definition.

The best part is that I can wear it two ways. Upside down creates a long peplum or babydoll effect, right side up I have my flounce. What’s more I can rock it as a top!

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Coming up in ReFashion 2015 are upsizing pants, my first pair of cutoffs and how to make this darling swim bottom!

xoxo

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Untamed Style: Summer Hair

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Sunday was a good day. I was feeling good, my creativity was flowing and I had a fun visit with my favorite redheaded soul sister Ruby and her precious baby boy, my nephew Clovis, the most charming French bulldog you will ever meet. I promise.

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My Untamed Style sisters and I are doing a post on hair! Not my first choice of subjects since I have a long and frustrating history with my own hair. My hair is the texture of cotton candy, it’s fine, but there is a lot of it. Managing it has always been pretty labor intensive in its natural state. So, I pretty much have been growing locs or shaving my head for the last 20 years. This post is about me keeping cool and getting my hair off of my neck! So I did a pipe cleaner set.

Styling and Protective Style Pipecleaners

I like to do a pipe cleaner set after I have washed my hair and conditioned it with coconut oil. Coconut oil and olive oil are pretty much the only products I use on my hair besides vegetable soap and or a conditioner for washing. The style is both protective style to keep my hair from being stressed or damaged as well as a cute easy hairstyle. After I take the pipe cleaners out, I end up with waves or curls. So two hairstyles for the work of one! Win/win!

Scarf Styling

Once I have my pipe cleaner set in,  I shape my coils thanks to the wire I can manipulate them. Afterward, I grab my favorite scarf and like to embellish with a bow to the back, doubled wrapped with a bow to the top, or a singular floppy bow tucked into itself turban style. And voila! My look is complete, for now. Stay tuned for part two, where I take down the pipe cleaners.

HAR!

Check out how my Untamed Style Sister, Zadry rocks her hair!

Zadry Link!

xoxo

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Blogger + LOVE = Mode Plus

Style is Sizeless. If you are reading this blog, you already know that! So I’m here to share some bloggers who should definitely be known far and wide! To cool engaging bloggers of all sizes who are new to me and amazing. Comment with your great blogger finds below!

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Mode-Plus is the home of Nefferth Bernadina A gorgeous Dutch national of Carribean descent. I adore her style and her blog. Along with Joi Smith she is part of an inspiring crew of over 30 Women Of Color (WoC) Plus size bloggers who are fabulous! Check them out under the hashtag #30PlusStyle –  after you have become completely obsessed with Nefferth.

A natural born stylist and creative, she advocates wearing your clothes as opposed to your clothes wearing you. Like my own soul sisters of #UntamedStyle, she uses her voice to talk about journeying through body image and self-love while celebrating her great style. 

xoxo

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Icon: Sister Rosetta Tharpe

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Rosetta Nubin Tharpe was a gospel superstar in the 30s 40s. Born in 1914 in Cotton Plant, Arkansas off of the Mississippi Little Rosetta’s deeply religious pentecostal family migrated to Chicago, on route bringing with her Delta Blues and her gospel roots. In Chicago she began her career placed on the piano – a 6-year-old singing and playing her guitar for all of her new church congregation to see.

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When you think of Rock n’Roll who do you imagine? I’ll bet it’s not a thick, chic, cherub faced Black woman with the voice of the gospel carrying an electric guitar who made rhythm & blues a whole new animal….

She was one of only two gospel artists who recorded V-discs for the troupes during WW2. Her recording of “Strange Things Happening Every Day” in 1944 with boogie-woogie pianist Sammy Price was the first gospel song to make Billboard’s Harlem Hit Parade Top Ten and is considered by some to be the first rock and roll record.

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Tharpe’s biographer, Gayle Wald put it this way, “If this woman was doing this in the 1940’s, then you have to go back and re-write the whole story of rock-and-roll, and rock-and-roll guitar playing specifically.” source

Married off to a tyrannical minister Tommy Tharpe at 19, she would eventually leave him and take her mother to NYC. There she started singing at the Cotton Club with Cab Calloway and scantily clad showgirls. Although gospel fans felt betrayed, her musical world opened up and started recording with Decca Records. RosettaTharpe1938_byJamesJKriegsmann_t640

She ultimately chose to keep with Gospel songs giving them a popular upbeat spin. People paid to see her wed her third husband in 1951 at a baseball stadium followed by a concert in her wedding dress. By 1957 she had disappeared from popular music. That however, doesn’t change her undeniable influence.

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Sister Rosetta died a legend for musicians in 1975. She was and is the influence to the likes of rock artists everywhere. One of my favorite bands the Noisettes have a great song about her. From Chuck Barry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley and generations to come they all have been influenced by the amazing Sister Rosetta. Peter Townsend of the Who no doubt got his windmill signature move from Sister Rosetta as shared in this TV appearance from 1962. Just a little shredding with the choir to Up Above My Head.

Not only is she a pioneer but she is one sharp Goddess. Her style foresees some of my favorite glam designs of the 70s. Maxis with fabulous sleeves and simple timeless numbers.

Once you know about Sister Rosetta, it is impossible to forget her. Amen.

xoxo

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ReFashion2015: A Summer’s Dream

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Hi Friends! ReFashion 2015 Continues! I am seriously all about summer. I have been pretty stressed and depressed over the last month, but honoring that has been really helpful. What I love most about summer are the long sunny days which are a big mood enhancer.  Not to mention generous loving friends who have had my back.  Keeping my projects going is also keeping me inspired. Shakespear’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a SweetLeigh headpiece was the impetus for this ensemble.

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I was surprised with this gorgeous silk Tolani dress/tunic  in the mail from my friend Joy  a while back. Seriously I am such a lucky girl.   I simply cut the dress up the middle and hemmed each side of my now open robe. This sweet and simple little refashion of a dress into a kimono/mumu/peignoir makes me feel quite glamorous. Perfectly simple.

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I feel like I’ll be wearing it with everything from leggings & a t-shirt to lounging around in my prettiest undies.  Speaking of undies before July becomes a blur I plan on debuting my first hand-made piece of lingerie and it just so happens the Sewcialists are having a July lingerie sew along. I am excited! I’m a little overwhelmed at starting this project, but I love the research to be sure. Check out my Instagram and Pinterest for some of my inspiration! Up next in ReFashion 2015 are some alterations!

xoxo

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