SweetLeigh

A Sustainable Life. Make Magick.


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ReFashion 2016: Resort Style, Body Acceptance & Fatkini Fall!

fatkini-refashion2016It’s been AGES since I did a ReFashion post! I have done a lot of hemming, mending and alterations that I just couldn’t manage to post yet, but hope to get around to it. Why a fatkini for fall you may ask? The practical reason, I have access to the apt building swimming pool without tons of children screaming and splashing (who are now in school!), so I tend to swim more at the end of summer. Also living in sunny Southern California is year round incentive!

The other reason is that in all of the collections fashion designers put out annually, my favorite is usually resort wear. Resort collections generally consist of great separates that can be worn year round in warm or cold weather and yep includes killer swimwear. I feel the need to be prepared, for when someone wants to take me away for a fabulous tropical holiday! (((Manifesting)))
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I made this skirted swimsuit bottom last year and didn’t manage to get a DIY up for it. So when I finally decided to turn this built-in bra from an old ill-fitting camisole into the base of a swim top to match, I was excited to complete the look! This top was one of those projects that I kept putting off since I hadn’t made a bra, or bathing suit bra top before.

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The project turned out to be easier than I thought and one of my favorite DIY’s EVER! It’s not perfectly sewn, but it was very well thought out. I experimented with straps successfully and have a nice heavy-duty elastic lining the top and bottom of my side straps. All of my materials were gifted, salvaged and refashioned, including an old bra closure for the top closure.

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I’m fatter than last year and feeling it. As I decide how to best practice more consistent care for myself I realized I was starting to fall into old habits of shaming myself and my body, particularly my belly, which has also grown. So making a new suit top that doesn’t completely cover that belly was a true act of love, resilience, and acceptance. I really love the suit so much and feel quite adorable in it. And let me tell you, feeling attractive doesn’t hurt when it comes to body image which you probably know already. But it’s always good to be reminded.

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I often reflect on how I’m coping with the world and how where I am at, largely depends on my ability to stay the course when it comes to taking care of myself. If I am not taking care of myself then I find myself reacting, to the people and world around me. When I am in my moon cycling (Happy Full Moon by the way), when I am honoring creating sacred space for myself, it turns out that I am far more resilient than I often remember. Making and creating is as empowering as meditating and spell crafting for me and is very much a part of my holding sacred space. So look forward to more ReFashions loves! Autumn is so my time of year to #MakeMagick! Ciao bellos!

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If you like and want to support the blog consider tipping me at PayPal.me Be well.

xoxo

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The Joy of Masturbation and Other Goings Ons….

I feel like I have been neglecting us. You and me. My blogging has been sporadic and I have been missing it and you. I have been taking a lot of time to myself. Spending a lot of time alone and being in my head, job searching, as well as doing things I need to do to take care of myself, but never seemingly enough….

I realized I haven’t shared with you that for most of the past year,  I have been an Associate Editor and content curator at Adios Barbie a volunteer-run website. Adios Barbie has been dedicated to exploring body Image, body politics, and body justice for the last 20 years. AB shares content that ranges from journalism to first-person narratives and creative writing around how our identities intersect with cultural politics, our bodies, health, and self-image.

Back to self-care, I recently penned a piece for Adios Barbie called “Finding Self Care Through the Joy of Masturbation.” It is sometimes a fine line at deciphering self-care from actual health care. And although I have defined masturbation as an element of my self-care, you could even consider it to be part of your health care or actual care routine. Here is an excerpt from the article I wrote for Adios Barbie called “Finding Self Care Through the Joy of Masturbation.”

“Have you ever masturbated?” whispered my friend Joyce when our fifth grade class lined up to leave the auditorium following the sexual education assembly.

“No!” I responded, slightly mortified, but intently curious. “Have you?”

“No,” she said with a knowing smile.But she told me she had noticed that her baby cousin was always tugging at his little tiny penis. We laughed.

The sex ed assembly was not nearly as interesting, educational, or memorable as Joyce’s anecdote. When I got home, my mother asked me how the assembly went. I told her it was fine and asked, “When will I masturbate?”

I realized my mistake immediately and corrected it: “Menstruate!” She looked at me in horror and then embarrassment, causing me to sink into oblivion. That was the moment I learned that masturbating was shameful. She said nothing for a very long time. And then she returned to making dinner, and I took the opportunity to obsess alone in my room. She didn’t speak to me again that night except to alert me that dinner was ready. Later, I heard her telling my dad what had happened. I don’t think he ever looked at me the same way again.

Honestly, the thought of masturbation wouldn’t really come up again until I was in my late teens. My mom and dad had long been divorced when I found my dad’s abandoned porn collection, primarily made up of Playboy magazines and a few Penthouse Forums. Forum was literally a hand-sized magazine dedicated to articles, interviews, and, for me, the main attraction: erotic stories. The slow learner in me benefited from Forum.

Growing up in white suburbia, steamy stories about housewives entertaining delivery men while their husbands hid in the closet to watch or join in on the fun turned out to be a turn-on. Ironically, my dad’s porn collection inspired me to finally begin exploring my never-before-explored “nether regions”. Quickly, I had joined the enlightened club that had long eluded me. “Self love” is a beautiful thing, even if the act of loving yourself doesn’t always equal self-love and acceptance.

Continue reading this piece on Adios Barbie

You can also find other pieces by me on the site including a recent interview on race and ableism with east asian non-binary queer activist and Ethiopian food enthusiast, Lydia X. Z. Brown.

I’ll be back sooner than later. If you like and want to support my work consider tipping me at PayPal.me Be well.

xoxo,

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Summer Vibes, Creative License & Healing

 

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I was watching music mogul TomSturges address some teenagers in a talk for the Aspen Institute. He quoted songwriter Allee Willis “The path to self-respect goes through creativity”.  In  his book  Sturges expands on Willis’s words and writes, “The more we create the better we feel about ourselves. The better we feel the more we feel like creating. The more we feel like creating, the more we get out of it. The more we get out of it the better those ideas are. The better the ideas are, the more we respect ourselves for having them. And so on. It’s an endless cycle of good, a never-ending circle of growing self-respect.” And all I can say is YES!

Seeing myself with love and understanding was very much born out of the respect I rebuilt for myself while putting my mind and hands to work. While seeing projects I had envisioned through. While filling my creativity vault with visits to the museums, late nights on the interwebs researching artists I’d only just heard of or watching a tv show that made me genuinely laugh aloud. Spending time caring for myself allows me to percolate, and my mind explodes into synaptic fireworks flashing. Spending time creating allows me to automatically refill my empty well.

To be creative is to be curious. If you follow me on Instagram you will see that I am returning to my yoga for self-care and am really delving into tarot! Which is exciting! I am doing a spirit guide challenge with is both challenging and a great comfort. I am also doing a lot of shadow work through Tarot. I have been looking inward for a long time and I am seeing great benefit from doing so.

 

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Shadow Working with The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr

 

What I am working on now is my health. Mentally and physically I am changing, as we all do throughout life. I am choosing to treat those issues with as much curiosity, love, and admiration as I do my creative process. It is the priority. Part of that attention is getting back to prioritizing making art. Wearing art. Celebrating art. The Mood Board at the top of the page is a cross between my summer make plans and the good vibes I am inviting in.

There has been a lot of death this year, a lot of collective grieving this year. I have struggled through three beloved idols passing, two family members dying and the traumas around the world including Orlando in this quickly moving year. The struggle is real but we’re still here and that’s worth celebrating. Practicing being loving, kind and patient with ourselves is maybe the most important thing of all. Be well lovelies.

xoxo

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The Empowerment Project: Soul

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In preparation for the Autumn Equinox, I converted a shelf into an altar to the four elements. All of which I connect to very deeply. Fire, Earth, Air, Water. It was  a really joyful experience to do so. I felt peaceful and centered and more grounded after creating this little, sacred space.

Don’t forget to look up into the sky tomorrow night. It is a Harvest Full Moon which also happens to be a Full Lunar Eclipse tomorrow. A time to let go. As the full moon decreases in size or starts to wane (Waning Moon) it is a time to release and let go. So I will be making a list of things to release during this Mercury in Retrograde….

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This is my year of Love. My singular goal for the year has been to act and think and live from a place of love. It has been a challenge since I am a perfectly imperfect person. I am a loving thoughtful, giving person, but I realized that my life gets a lot harder when I am not physically and/or mentally engaged with something greater than myself.

That can mean so many things and does. From giving my time and self in service to people in my life to just acknowledging that I am a daughter of the Universe.

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If you follow me on Instagram you will find that I use a hashtag #WeAreStardust. And we are! Knowing that and simply saying that makes me feel empowered, and a part of something greater and connected to others, connected to nature, connected to myself. Connecting to myself is key.

I check in with myself about how I am feeling. I question my motivations often enough to check my intent but try not to be obsessed…. It’s those little things that are making my life more intentional. I live with intention these days. I make a concerted effort to live from a place of soul rather than ego. It just takes a shift of perception sometimes to go from one to the other.Elements 4

When I am in a place of ego, I am trying to control perceptions, outcomes, and even actual events and it is generally a place where I feel insecure. When I am in a place of soul I am able to just be. I am present and engaged and feel open instead of closed because I feel secure. So for me Soul vs. Ego is very much about being in a state of grace where peace is attainable.

It’s the act of giving gratitude, the desire to connect to nature, the exercise of practicing yoga and creating rituals for living that gives me that peace.

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The more I feel as if my words, actions, and experiences are coming from a place of soul, the less I am wanting, resenting and judging and the more I shine. I am realizing the more time I put into feeding my spirit, which for me means connecting myself to the earth, to others, to the Universe, the more fulfilled I feel.

To a life of Soul.

xoxo

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A Review: My Bra Outlet

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I really like underwear and am obsessed with finding the right bras. I would love to be one of those “let them hang” girls, cuz I love some side boob, but it just isn’t it in the cards for me and my DDs! So as fortune would have it a couple of months ago, I got a dreamy email from My Bra Outlet ( an online plus size bra and underwear outlet) asking me to sample some of the merchandise. Uh, yes please – I was all about it. Bras are one of those things that I have to buy and there is nothing worse than spending good money on a bad bra. So, being gifted two new bras to try out a new resource I had never heard of was pretty awesome.

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I went to the website to peruse their shop and was bummed to see no plus size models. But I was relieved to find that the bras are plentiful in styles and goes up to size 56 I in bras and corsets and up to 5XL in underwear. And the retail prices are really amazing, the retail prices for the bras I ordered were $10 and $11 for bras I would presume retail for up to $50. Sold! I can actually afford to shop here! And, unlike Ross and other “discount retailers” it is actually overstock from established brands, and not specially manufactured for said discount store. Me Likey.

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I was impressed by the serious construction and quality of the bras. Both the pretty black and pink lace number and my brown floral were a perfect fit. I have been wearing 44 DD and the Euro sizing labels read 44E. But there is an accurate sizing chart that makes it easy to confirm your size so no worries. Because it is an overstock retailer, certain styles will be available in limited sizes.

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So in case you missed it, I am loving My Bra Outlet!

xoxo,

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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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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.

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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!

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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.

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

Zadry Link!

xoxo

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