Fashionable

I love fashion. I have loved it my whole life. From when I was a little girl in the 80’s wearing 4 pairs of socks stacked on top of each other to the 90’s when I experimented with wearing my skirts over my pants to my college years when I studied Apparel Design and Technology at Florida State University to now where I can be found sharing my fashion sense here on my blog and on Instagram!

I used to dream of being a big time fashion designer living in New York City, dressing models, cutting fabrics, making the hard call about sleeve lengths. Or even transitioning over to print and working at a fashion magazine. My fashion design role models were Zac Posen, Norma Kamali, Vera Wang and Dolce & Gabbana.

When I graduated from college, I immediately headed off to the big city to make my dreams come true. I got an internship at LaROK, moved into the first apartment that came along in Brooklyn and started to live those big dreams!

The internship was 4 months long and in those 4 months, my love for fashion never died, but my interest in continuing to work in the industry started waning. I had a few friends at my internship that weren’t eager to rip my small town heart out of my chest and feed it to the gods of fashion, but they were the exception, not the rule.

It’s no secret that the fashion industry is competitive, cutthroat and very much an industry where it pays to be out for number 1.

Does that sound like me to you, gentle reader? Guess how many people in the fashion industry count Star Wars as their favorite movie…let’s just say, I didn’t encounter any. And being a nerd? Well, that wasn’t exactly de rigueur, by industry standards at the time.

Star Wars Darth Vader sweater styled by Star Wars

I quickly adopted the tell-tale black wardrobe popular with the New York fashion scene. Something that still baffles me to this day. As one of the fashion capitals of the world, how is black their go to color? There’s a whole rainbow to work with, people! Find a new hue!!

All this to say that sometimes dreams are just that and they have no place in the real world. Causing a big shift in how I viewed my life once the dreams of being a fashion mogul faded.

I went on to work in the bridal industry, as a nanny, in a preschool, in social media and now I’m a worship leader at local church back in the smaller town I started out in. Somewhere in the midst of my life, this little blog was born.

I never thought I’d enjoy writing as much as I do (though the signs were always there…I always loved the essay portion of exams and doing book reports.) Life is a big twisty bobcat pretzel and if you fight to take the twists out, then you’re sort of missing the point.

I sometimes think about that alternate universe that spun off when I made the choice to move to New York and work in fashion. Somewhere out there, there’s a version of me that has dedicated herself to sleeve lengths and runway shows. She’s sacrificed Christmases at home, friendships with real people and eating a healthy diet for the more glamorous life of a famous fashion designer. She dresses Beyonce for the Met Gala and goes to fancy parties. But she doesn’t write and she doesn’t go to Star Wars conventions and she definitely doesn’t lose time thinking about her future mutant powers and what her superhero costume might look like.

I don’t say this lightly…alternative universe Liz is so basic!!

Healthy is the New Sexy!

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

We have a big weight problem in this country. And it’s two fold. Obesity is an epidemic that continually plagues us. Big Mac, Extra Large, Super Sized. In America, our mantra is usually “Bigger is better.” This is not reflected in the media. As our movie stars get skinnier and skinnier, the rest of America embraces extra helpings, because, “Hell, we’ll never look like that anyways. So why not!”

But even someone as gorgeous as Cindy Crawford is the first to admit that she doesn’t even look like “Cindy Crawford” in the privacy of her own home. It’s a myth. An illusion. (Read her article from Redbook Magazine 2009: Click here)

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Photo Credit: Vogue Magazine 1988

And to be honest with you, I bought into it early on and have continued to struggle with it ever since.  6 years ago when I was working at a certain famous New York bridal salon, it was worse than it ever had been or would be.

The fashion industry is brutal for a chubby, Southern girl with a deep love of apple pie and Coke slurpees. The pressure can get the best of you and definitely got the best of me. Now, it could have been a whole lot worse, but it was bad enough to require an intervention from my friends at the salon.

The truth is, I felt fat. All the time. There was a constant stream of food always available to us. And “bad” food like chocolate cake, cheesy fries, and an endless supply of gummy bears. When you’re going as fast as we went, you’ll eat whatever is in front of you.

My weight hit an all time high at 198 pounds. So I decided to try an “herbal” remedy I’d seen a commercial for. It was called Hoodia. It’s an African cactus and it promises to “trick your brain into thinking you’re full.”

Yes. It curbed my hunger, but it also had me going about 100 miles an minute and my heart constantly felt like it was going to beat out of my chest. But it was working. I lost weight. And inevitably, everyone around me kept telling me how great I looked. So I chalked it up a success!

At one point I think I was taking 6 or 7 pills a day. If that wasn’t enough, I also did that lemon, cayenne pepper, maple syrup cleanse for a full 10 days. And I lost another 15 pounds. Triumph!

For all I could tell I was doing something that was working and was garnering the desired effect. People noticed the difference and were pleased with the skinnier, unhealthier, “sexier” me. I couldn’t see that I had developed an eating disorder!

Thank God for great friends, who saw what was happening and told me it had to stop. I got off it, promptly gained all the weight back and then went about trying to lose it the healthy way. With exercise and eating better. (What a revelation!)

The sad fact is that every time I get the flu or food poisoning or something, I’m secretly grateful for the little extra weight loss. The feeling of my hip bones sticking out a little more than usual. It’s a battle I fight constantly and probably always will. But now it’s one I feel like I’m winning. And the majority of the time when I look in the mirror I see someone who looks healthy. Not fat or skinny! I have strong legs that carry me all over this beautiful city. I have a body proportionate to the size of my head (I looked like a bobble head when I lost all that weight.) And I am proud of my body and what I can do with it! Finally.

And I’m happy to say that my goals reflect a much more balanced viewpoint.

Photo Credit: Tacfit
Photo Credit: Tacfit

Stay tuned for more from this Avenger in Training!

And share your thoughts below. I’m not the only one who deals with this. Don’t struggle in silence.