Icon-ic

[TW: body image, diet]

Update: Want to get some for your very own? Full disclosure, if you click there I get $10 off my next pair, so it’s like you’re getting something for yourself AND giving me a nice present. 🙂 ALSO, right now Icon is running an awesome 1/3 off sale, so you get ’em cheap. Sale runs through 6/25/18. <3

I have never had the “ideal” body. And by “ideal” I mean the body I thought I should have, could have if only I worked out enough, starved myself enough, took the right pill. I have, at various times in my life, been a competitive swimmer, a member of the armed forces, and even given myself scurvy. I have been a regular gym go-er, I’ve tried diet pills of varying efficacy and foul side effects, and I’ve tried to eat healthy. But even at the times I was most happy with my body’s appearance, it has never been good enough.

A little over three years ago, my doctor told me I need to be doing more in the way of exercise, so I joined a gym. After a few months of working out on the regular, I felt like I needed to do something with my newly rediscovered strength and endurance. I figured I was too old for roller derby, but thought I’d Google it anyhow, and it turns out 42 isn’t even close to “too old”. So I contacted a couple of leagues in my area and found an amazing team to call home (shout out to Jerzey Derby Brigade!).

I kept going to the gym, kept skating, got a little healthier with the eating…and was(am) still what I would describe as “chunky”. Or perhaps “plush”. I tried tracking my calories and found myself starting to slip into the same habits that put me on the road to scurvy (and also still not losing weight). But, my body is strong in the ways it needs to be strong for derby. I have muscles I can feel and flex and use to accomplish things I love to do. So about six months ago I made a conscious decision to focus on what my body can do instead of what it looks like. It’s hard, some days, especially days when I don’t fit into something I think I should fit into, but I think I’m doing okay at it.

Another thing about my body is that it is getting older. A fun thing that happens to a lot of women when we get older is that our pelvic floors stop being super reliable, and we sometimes leak a little. Some women find it happens when they sneeze, cough, or laugh. For me, it’s when I take a particularly solid hit on the derby track. But I found this great underwear that has built in absorbency and odor control, called Icon, so I can keep my pee to myself. I’ve been wearing them for about a year, and they are super comfortable, very attractive, and perform as advertised.

A couple of months ago, I got a newsletter from Icon that included a call for customers who might want to model for them. I thought about it, went and looked at how happy and comfortable the women in their current ads look, took a deep breath, remembered how amazing I felt about myself when I modeled my friend Lauren’s amazing lipstick last year, and put my name in the ring. After a bit of back and forth in email I was invited to their Manhattan offices (which are gorgeous!) for a chat, which I really enjoyed.

I actually didn’t think I’d be picked…at our first chat, I really expected to have to take my clothes off so they’d be able to see what they were getting. So when that didn’t happen I figured they could tell even with my clothes on that I wasn’t what they were looking for (because that’s what my brain does…I’m never pretty enough, or thin enough, or shaped the right way. There is always something wrong with me, according to the jerk who lives in my brain.). I was kind of blown away that turned out not to be the case, and that just made me more enthusiastic about modeling for them. I was thrilled when they asked me to come back for the shoot.

It was really way more like what you see on TV and in movies than I expected (because nothing is ever quite like what they show on TV)…there was a gorgeous SoHo loft, a bunch of us models lounging around on our cell phones between shots, and a whole bunch of people from the company who spent a lot of time making us feel pretty and sexy all day. And you guys, modeling is hard. We didn’t even do any really difficult poses (they took pity on us poor amateurs), and I could barely lift my right arm for a couple of days because I used it to support my weight for one of the poses we were in for awhile.

I historically hate pictures of myself. Like, really, really hate them. I avoid being in front of the camera at gatherings, and in group shots I’m usually half hidden in the back (completely hidden if I can manage it). I spend a lot of time picking apart every little thing that’s wrong with me in every picture. So I decided before I did this that even if I hated these pictures in the usual way I hate pictures, I would love them as a symbol of how proud I am of my body and what it can do. It turns out, though, that I really actually love them all on their own.

I will never have a flat belly. I will always be at least a little “plush”. I pee a little when I take a hard hit. I have had a hard time accepting my body, much less loving it. But these pictures…I finally, finally have started loving my body. Thank you, Icon. You are more than a company that makes great pee-proof panties. You are a company that lets women be active, strong, and beautiful, and shows us how to love our bodies, flaws and all. <3

Make’n’Tell Day 12: In Which I Am the Canvas

After the parade, I went and got a tattoo. Well, the start of a tattoo. This is another big one like my Vader, so it’s going to take a few sessions. I had it all scheduled and everything — it’s not like I went out and got drunk after the St. Patty’s Day parade and decided I wanted a huge tattoo.. In fact, the place I’m going (evolvInk — really nice place, recommended) wasn’t taking walk-ins yesterday for that very reason.

This tattoo is really special to me, because it’s got a ton of very personal symbology. Although I’ve drawn several of my tattoos, this — like Vader before it — really needed a tattoo artist to make it what I wanted it to be. So I did a very rough layout of what I wanted and took it in to Johnny. Because we were downsizing quite a bit from my sketch I knew I’d lose some stuff, which was fine (in fact, some of the stuff I put in was add-ons to take up some of the white space, because my model was quite large).

We talked about what the most important parts were, and he did a TON of work revamping it to make it fit and also retain the important symbols. He did even more reworking yesterday when I came — he’s a true collaborator and just a joy to work with on this. He’s not afraid to express his opnion and share his knowledge about how things will work/not work in the medium, but he’s also super open to changing things up in order to make it fit my vision. I absolutely LOVE his reinterpretation of it and can’t wait to show you the finished piece.

For now, though, a little teaser…my original sketch:

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Make’n’Tell Day 11: Paintin’ Up

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Not my best work. But still fun.

Yes, this is going up two days late. It’s been a crazy busy weekend. But it *is* going up, and kind of the point is to not just flake out if I miss a day or whatever. 

I painted my nails a week early for St. Patty’s Day because Morristown has their parade on the 12th and Jerzey Derby Brigade (that’s my league!) marches/skates in it. (No, I didn’t skate. I am not yet skilled enough. Next year!) (Except for the part at the end with the hill.)

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Beautiful day for a parade! (I am not in this picture. I was taking this picture.)

Make’n’Tell Day 10: Pedi on My Piddies

Spring has begun sprunging here in the Northeast, so I’m back to flipflops for the duration. Which means I need more than basic red on my toes. It’s been awhile since I did a fun design, so hey, there it is. It’s really subtle, which I’m not sure if I’m pleased with or not. But I’m not changing it now!

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ALSO, I re-did the two rows I ripped yesterday plus a few more, and have now completed the first mosaic section. YAY ME! (I’m actually writing this before it’s done. Let’s see if I’m prescient or just indulging in some wishful thinking.)

And in other, non-makey news, I have a big hole in my mouth (no, you don’t get a picture of it). This one tooth has been a problem for YEARS. I’ve gone from fillings to root canal to post & core with crown…and the other day the crown popped off and I swallowed it. Ulp. To make matters worse, my beloved dentist (who did all the recent work on the tooth) hurt his back a few months ago and hasn’t returned to dentistry. So I went to his associate, who tells me the reason the crown fell out is because the tooth broke, and now there’s not enough tooth to mount a crown on. My options are: gaping hole, bridge, implant. Oh, and by the way, the remainder of the tooth needs to come out and it’ll have to be a surgical extraction because the root has fused to the jawbone. GOOD TIMES. Good, very expensive times.

Now, my aforementioned beloved dentist would totally cut me a deal on the implant (or bridge, but I’ll probably eventually go implant b/c it’s lower maintenance and only a couple hundred bucks difference which at that point isn’t worth quibbling over), because he’s awesome like that and even though it’s not his fault he always took responsibility for when his dentistry didn’t stand the test of time (seriously, though, it’s not him — it’s this tooth). But the new guy has no reason to do that, which I totally understand — it’s just irksome because I’d be going to my guy if he was available.

On the plus side, though, it’s not at all painful, so it could definitely be worse. I mean, it’s going to be painful when I have the extraction, so I have that to looks forward to, but at least it’s not an emergency type situation. Small favors and all that.

TBT: Fire and Ice and All the Stars Above

Originally published on Tasteful Diversions, August 12, 2011.

In addition to all the delicious food I’ve been finding on Pinterest, I’m finding lots of fun beauty tips (remember the hair? Still loving that!). Lately I’ve been getting into the whole decorative nail polish thing. I’ve played a little bit with stripes and stuff, but last week I went to the drugstore for shampoo and deodorant and found myself in front of the nail polishes. Normally I’m a more high-end polish kid of girl, because polish chips like crazy on me (I like OPI, China Glaze, and Zoya, in case you’re wondering), but for the fun stuff I tend to cheap out. Sinful Colors runs two bucks a bottle and they have a veritable rainbow of shades to choose from, plus metallics and glitters and all kids of other stuff.

This time, there was a pretty blue glitter that I just fell in love with, and then there was a bright orange that I picked up. Now, I’m not normally an orange girl, but I figured if I’m going to start doing arty stuff like flowers and whatnot, orange is a color I might want to have. This was a reddish orange, and reminded me of the color of one of the Vettes we had when I was a kid – orange being my dad’s favorite color, we had a lot of orange stuff. Hell, the house I lived in until I was 8 was orange. No kidding. Anyhow, I picked this up and glanced at the name – because I love a cleverly named color – and it was Big Daddy. So that one went home with me.

When I got home, I took a look at the stuff I had, and then at the new stuff, and then a plan formed: I would do grey/blue on one hand for a rainy day theme, and orange/yellow on the other hand for a sunny day theme, and then I’d try the galaxy thing on my toes (again – didn’t work out last time, but I thought I knew why). I did my toes first, and they came out just fine this time – I even did constellations! (From left to right: the Compass, the Indian, Bird of Prey, Orion, Cassiopeia, Big Dipper, the Sculptor, the Fox.)

Yeah, I need to work on getting them cleaner. But I still think they’re awful cute!

On to the fingers. I did a grey and silver base coat, but then I had a hard time keeping the blue up as high as I had intended. Also, all of tutorials I read said if you keep patting with the sponge as you’re doing the gradient it’ll smooth out, and that never happened for me. But, when I put the glitter coat on that hid the texture issue so that was fine. However, it didn’t look so much like a rainy day. Then my big plan for the other hand just went to crap. I can’t even begin to tell you what went wrong – it was just all kinds of fugly. So I started over. I decided to scrap the “sunny day” idea and try for a fiery look to contrast with the icy look of the other hand. I started with a hot pink base coat, then added orange, dark pink, and red over top, then finished it all off with a gold glitter topcoat. I’m pretty pleased with the final result, though I’m going to work on doing gradients higher on the nail.