A Fucking Awesome Rant Is Not What This Is.

OK. I seriously need to commit waaayyyy more time to this.  Blogging, I mean. After a long day at work, what I often do is totally chill out.  A nice dinner with the hubby followed by watching TV or reading books together (or separately), stretching, more reading, and to bed. It’s a routine.  I’m used to it.  I like, it even.

The problem with this precious routine is that it gets in the way of this writing thing that I’m supposed to do. (Sigh).

How can a writer exist without writing?  It’s like a light bulb with no filament.   It don’t work.

So, a new habit is in much needed order.  And I’m gonna need your help.

I enjoy having some accountability in my life (in small doses or never), and I’ve come to the conclusion that writing requires a bit o that.  Right?

I am committing to one blog per week.  I know that may not seem like much to the blogger-extraordinaire who shits out four posts a week. But some of us are a bit, well, challenged (read lazy).

You should know that I’m probably going to write about lots of different shit.  You know, feminism, pussies, curly hair, misogyny, spirituality, my period, cultural appropriation, gluten free coconut donuts, my obsession with style, and how I manage to stay so fat and cute. #MyFatIsCute

   
Me want now.
A Vagina Apple. I’ve never had one.

And so, it is with substantial curly hair, a mega-watt smile and sorta side-eye, that I ask you to check me. If you are one of the five people who read my blog, and don’t see a witty post in more than seven days, then I authorize you to message me and say, “Get yo shit together, gurl!”  And I will not cut you. That is my solemn promise.

I won’t really cut you. I just liked this meme.

I’m done.  I told you this was not going to be fucking awesome.

Ciao for niao,
Pia

8 Reasons I Loved The Body Love Conference

This first weekend of April I was in Tucson, presenting at the first ever annual Body Love Conference, conceived by Jes Baker of The Militant Baker, and executed by dozens of dedicated volunteers and enthusiastic speakers. For those of you who don’t know about this epic event, it was a one-day conference featuring some of the biggest names in body positive movement. I am still reeling from the ridiculous amount of positivity, strength and sisterhood that took place in such a short time span.



There are 8 reasons why I loved the Body Love Conference:

1.  It reinforced what I already knew — that I have a gift for connecting with people through my unique humor and honesty. My talk was entitled “Expanding Definitions of Beauty: Redefining the Thin White Ideal.” While I was giving my presentation I felt the audience’s energy, their spirits enthusiastic and thirsty for inspiration. Having women come up to me after my presentation and throughout the day, telling me that I impacted them deeply with my talk, was the best gift I could have asked for. When we are in alignment with the Universe and do what we are called to do, it isn’t work, it’s magic! You can view my rousing presentation here.

My presentation with some wonderful women present

2.  It was the biggest display of mutual respect, uplifting messages and sense of connection with women that I have ever felt. Four hundred people (mostly women and a few men) came from as far as Vienna, Austria to participate in what was an epic event.The loads of volunteers that worked to make this event happen were an integral part of what made the conference such a positive environment. They seriously kicked ass!


 With my new pal Michelle 
  
              With the awesome volunteers
3.  I got to meet fellow body loving activists in person who I only previously knew through social media. I can’t tell you how surreal it is to embrace women I only ever communicated with on Instagram and Facebook. Finally we were face to face, and we didn’t need emoticons to express ourselves. Our smiles were real, and the powerful high-fives echoed in the halls.
Blogger Jamie West and I
4.  I got to meet and hug the incomparable Jes Baker. This was one of those moments I will never forget.  In my head, Jes had a sweet, not quite high-pitched voice. So when she embraced me enthusiastically and kissed me on the cheek, and said “Yes. This is so gooood,” in the sexiest Kathleen Turner voice ever, I kinda lost it. I could feel strength come through her words, and was willing to do whatever she asked of me.  It was that powerful. Seriously. I wish you’d been there.

Jes and I. Aren’t we cute?

5.  I witnessed the powerful story of Tess Munster during her very moving keynote address. The plus size model raised the roof as she recounted her volatile upbringing in Mississippi with vulnerability and humor.  She paid homage to her mother — her biggest role model — who Skyped in to to hear her daughter speak.  She made us all cry and cheer and believe that anything is possible! I was already a big fan of Tess, but to hear her story of survival and overcoming great odds really made me fall in love with her. She is a true asset to the body positive movement.
Tess doin’ her thing 

6.  There was a nice representation of women of color presenters, speaking on various topics. The conversation around body image has largely been led by White cisgender women.  So it was a very pleasant surprise to be in good company with Sonya Renee Taylor and Kymberly Nichole among others. I was able to attend both their sessions and was psyched at the turnout for each.  They were able to bring their unique activism to the changing landscape of the body positivity movement. I hope next year’s conference will include more women of color, including Latinas and Asians.

From left to right: Sonya Renee, Kymberly Nichole, Me

7.  I was introduced to Tucson, a city that surprised me with it’s cultural diversity, community oriented population and delicious food. Everywhere I went, folks were friendly and laid back.  I even got to enjoy drinks and super yummy pork tacos at the famous Hotel Congress, with its rustic interior and old-timey charm.  I hope to get back there again before too long.

The bar at the Hotel Congress

8. I was so lucky to have met the other amazing women who presented at the conference. We shared our stories with one another, without judgment or fear. There was an instant bond among us despite the fact that we’d only spent two days together. But it was real. We exchanged ideas and hugs in equal measure, so happy to be a part of the grassroots movement we’ve all helped to cultivate.

Photographer Liora K. introducing me to Photographer Jade Beall


I am forever grateful to Jes Baker for bringing together women of different ages, races, abilities, genders, occupations and walks of life, who shared a common goal: to love and accept themselves fully. The bonding that took place last weekend was easy and fluid. The genuine smiles on the faces of the attendees were an invitation to chat and connect. Every single person I met had a unique story, a perspective to share or advice to offer. Be sure to check out the full list of speakers and their contact info here.

My biggest take away can best be summed up in the photo below.

YES WE ARE.

In solidarity,
Pia



Plus Size Office Chic

Last week, or maybe it was 2 weeks ago–I can’t remember because I’m getting old–I promised I would feature my co-worker, whose style I very much admire. She has clued me into some really great plus size fashion sites that I had never heard of, or just hadn’t really explored quite yet.  My co-worker, we’ll call her M, is very chic and always has on something great. We talk shop in the afternoon (when most people are taking coffee breaks) to chat about what we’re wearing, why we like it, and most importantly, where it’s from.  It’s fun to have someone in the office who shares my passion for fashion and style, and doesn’t keep all the good info to herself!

M. workin’ it at the office!

Now of course you’re wondering where she got the fab gear. 
Don’t worry, all the info is below.
___________________________________________________________

GET THE LOOK!

ASOS CURVE Wrap Dress
Goes up to a size 22



Sahara Shoe from Shoe Dazzle
Up to size 11


These days dressing for work doesn’t have to be dull.  Spice things up with a dazzling shoe and wrap dress that does everything for your hot body.  Happy shopping!

Ciao for Niao,
Pia


Baring It All. Sort Of.

I have had a fear of being seen in a swimsuit for many years.  I’ve heard people say FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real.   Like a lot of women, I hoped for many years that I would have a “perfect” body that would be bikini worthy and the envy of supermodels everywhere.  Yes, I often live in fantasy.  Don’t judge me.  In my head being thin meant being acceptable and worthy.  I’ve shared candidly about that on my website, and accept that I’m on a journey of self-acceptance about my body, who I am, my passions and my aspirations.  If I were “perfect” then there would be nothing to strive for, and that makes Pia a dull girl.  But I digress. 
YOU ARE WORTHY!

Last week, my modeling agencyasked me to send them some photos of me in swimwear for a job.  My reply was “I’m not sure I’m swimsuit ready.  But I’ll send you something anyway.”  Shit! Was I ready for the world (I mean my agent) to see my thighs in all their imperfect glory? Would she balk at my fleshy arms? “You can’t do this,” my loud Fear said.  But there was another voice underneath it.  A gentler, kinder more Loving voice that said, “Why not, Pia?  Isn’t it time to walk the walk?”  I’d forgotten about my desire to have integrity.  Damn that conscience of mine!  I realized that this was an opportunity to overcome the anxiety of my projected judgment of others about my body.  I was still scared shitless.  But I did it anyway.

I sprang into action and called my dear friend and stylist extraordinaire, Melinda Alexander, of Jill of All Trades to get me ready for the pictures.  She pulled some great swimsuits for me, some of which I were sure were going to make me want to disappear into exile.  But she just kept telling me how amazing I looked.  Of course what I heard was a good friend trying to make me feel better.  But when I finally garnered the courage to look in the mirror, I was completely amazed!  I was in awe at the sexy, confident woman staring back at me.  Yes, my thighs were in full view for the world to see. My arms were broad wings, resplendent and ready for flight! I felt so beautiful.  I accepted what I saw in the mirror and didn’t judge it.  What I saw reflected was strength, grace, courage and unique beauty. We took loads of photos and I embraced my body in a way I never had before.  I was so moved by the experience that I knew it would be the subject of my next blog post.

What I learned about myself in this process is that I’m far braverthan I give myself credit for.  I learned that having big thighs is not a crime against humanity.  And I gained insight into how limiting fear can be in all areas of my life.   If you are in fear about something, I recommend walking through it.  It will empower you beyond measure. Go forth and conquer!


Nearly Naked Plus Size Models Strut at Fashion Weekend

I am so freakin’ excited I can’t stand it!  As I was researching a topic for this week’s blog, I came across an article on Brazil’s recent Plus Size Fashion Weekend, featuring women with hips, breasts, cellulite and real curves strutting their stuff on the runway in not much more than their bras and panties!  I was immensely inspired and simply had to share it with you.  These women make me proud to be a feminine creature, with my own unique set of dips and dimples!  The fashion show, which is the biggest in Brazil, was created by journalist Renata Poskus Vaz.  The plus size journalist has a blog of her own, called Mulherao, where she is an advocate of plus size women.  The Fashion Weekend has been instrumental in the growth of the plus size industry in Brazil.  

It’s interesting to compare the body types of these Brazilian models with what we are used to seeing in the U.S. market.  Plus models, like Fluvia Lacerda, Tara Lynn and Denise Bidot seem to have firmer, more toned figures.  Is the Plus Size Modeling industry perhaps a bit hypocritical?  I don’t know.  I suspect there’s a some photo-shopping going on there as well.  Yes, there are great strides being made, but there is still a great amount of pressure on plus models to be keep in shape, and yet not get too small. Don’t get me wrong, I think Fluvia, Tara and Denise have bangin’ bodies. I’m simply offering that plus size models and women who have some jiggle in their wiggle are just as beautiful and just as worthy.  I hope we continue to see progress in this area, so that young girls and women everywhere will begin to celebrate their bodies, instead of hating them.  As plus size bloggers, we have a responsibility to embrace all types of beauty.  And I think collectively, we’re doing a great job.  There is always much to discuss, and like anything else worth pursuing, there is always more progress to make.  So, let’s support one another and keep creating forums where we can talk about creating a world in which a woman’s worth is not determined by her dress size, but by virtue of her value as a human being.  Keep on keepin’ on!

Ciao for Niao,
Pia


3 Ways to Practice Body Serenity

What is serenity anyway?  The dictionary defines serenity as being free and clear of storms or unpleasant change;  shining bright and steady.  Wouldn’t you like to feel that way about your body?  I think it’s absolutely possible no matter what you think your body looks like.  Though like most worthwhile things, they do require time and effort on your part.  But, at the end you’ll feel so good about yourself it will have been worth it.  So, here are 3 ways to begin getting serenity around your body and self-image today:



  1. FOCUS ON WHAT YOUR BODY CAN DO, rather than what it looks like.  If you’re lucky, you have legs to walk on, fingers to type with, eyes to see with and a voice to speak with.  We so often take these things for granted.  But imagine if you took away the ability to use just one of your body parts…now that’s a real challenge.  When you begin to honor all the amazing things your body can do, it’s hard to scold it for not looking a certain way.  Treat your body with respect and daily appreciate all that it does for you.  If you need to, I suggest writing a gratitude list of 5 things your body did for you each day for a month.  You will see and feel the difference in your attitude.                                                                                
  2. NO MORE COMPARE AND DESPAIR.  Comparing ourselves to other people is a useless pastime. The grass is always greener, so they say.  Usually when we are comparing ourselves to other people, we are projecting some fabulous life we think they have because they look a certain way.  In fact, most of us make all sorts of assumptions about people based on their appearances.  We say and think things like: He’s fat so he must be lazy;  She’s thin and has nice clothes, so she must be  happy.  Think about all the WRONG assumptions people have made about you.  Don’t they make you angry?  They should!  We have absolutely no idea what a person’s self-esteem is like based on outward appearance.  Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to yourself.  How can you be a better you?  And I don’t mean physically (unless that’s a goal you have).  I mean be a better human being and do nice things for others.  Be a giver rather than a taker.  That will certainly get you out of a compare and despair mindset.
  3. START MEDITATING.  Okay, so I know this doesn’t appeal to some of you, but give it a chance before you decide meditation is not for you.  I started meditating for about 3 minutes a day a couple of years ago.  Yes, that’s all it really takes.  Before I meditate, I find a comfortable position (lying flat on my back or sitting upright with my legs crossed) and then pick something to meditate on.  For example, one day I decided to meditate on SELF-LOVE.  With my eyes closed, and the timer set, I would inhale a deep breath and silently say to myself, SELF.  On the outward breath, I would silently say LOVE.  I did this for 3 minutes.  I’m not perfect, so occasionally my mind wanders, but then I gently come back to the meditation. What this does is  really set my mind in a positive direction for the day.  When I find myself wanting to say negative things to myself, I can pause, find a quiet place and meditate again until I feel calmer–even for just 30 seconds.  Try it, it really works!  Other great meditation topics are: All is well in my world or I am perfect as I am.  Come up with your own ideas and enjoy the process!