Friday, March 25, 2016

Anastasia Amour: Self-Worth, Fitspo, and Ruby Woo Lipstick

I'm so excited to have Anastasia Amour as today's guest. Anastasia is a champion for body positivity, health, mental wellness, and all around good vibes. Her book, Inside Out, is a practical, down to earth guide to having a better relationship with yourself, inside and out.

Recently I had the honor to speak briefly to her about advice for breaking the cycle of women putting other women down, fitspo, and a few of her favorite things. Read on for more!

I loved your list of 55 ways to love yourself. You mention something I have become more and more passionate about- not putting down other women. We have been told from a young age that girls cause drama, that if you want to avoid drama, you'll avoid girls. We've been taught jealousy against each other, and to compare ourselves negatively to each other. What do you think we can do as women to make sure we are deprogramming from that, and why is that good for us, individually, as well?

The dichotomy of jealousy and comparison hurts us in so many ways. It keeps us from forming amazing friendships because we learn to see other women as threats, and it stops us from realising our true worth when we're constantly comparing ourselves to others. One of the biggest steps that I encourage girls and women to take to overcome this mentality is to start actively seeking out positive attributes in other women.

For instance, if you see a woman walking towards you on the street and you automatically find yourself mentally critiquing her, notice those thoughts. Tell yourself that those thoughts aren't helpful, and instead actively seek out something positive about her. Even if it's only tiny or insignificant (like maybe she's got a beautiful necklace on), it still counts. Get into the habit of doing that every time you find yourself needlessly critiquing or gossiping about another woman. The more you do it, the more habitual it will become and slowly but surely, you can begin to overwrite the previous patterns of jealousy. This helps hugely in positively influencing our inner dialogue, overall. And, as time goes on and as we become more aware of our thoughts and how they shape their reality, we can then improve the patterns that we set up for ourselves even more – for instance, by making a conscious effort to notice positive attributes about other women that aren't appearance-based.

But in order for us to fully recognise our own worth, we have to realise that other women aren't the enemy. We need to stop viewing femininity as a competition – someone else's wit, beauty, charm or success doesn't take away from our own, and we all rise by lifting each other.

You're so right! Such wise words, and definitely something we can all work on. Next, your post about fitspo really hit close for me. As someone who suffered in the past due to an eating disorder, I know that sometimes looking at "fitspo" has made me feel just as much self-hate as looking at models in magazines. Do you think that any fitspo is helpful, though? And if so, in what way?

Absolutely not. The core messages of fitspo are generally based around themes of fear, guilt and shame used as motivational tools. Through subtle language cues they teach us that fat is bad, that we need to repent for our food sins and that if we're not about to "puke, faint or die... keep going!" (no thank you, Jillian Michaels). We know that in the long term, shame is just not a sustainable motivator and keeps people trapped in perpetual infinite loops of insecurity, particularly when they're setting themselves up with such absolutist measures of success.

It's one thing to have fitness goals (like wanting to gain muscle mass or lose weight) or to look up to someone for their fitness – and I don't think either of those things are inherently problematic. But when you bring fitspo (in the cultural sense) into it, you're ultimately only harming yourself.

Recently you posted on Instagram about fashion and body image. Who are some of your favorite fashion designers? And who are some of your favorite fashion brands in terms of body inclusion?

I'm not hugely into fashion so I don't gravitate towards any particular designers. What I look for is a brand that produces ethically and if they have a body positive ethos, even better! Some of the best brands leading the charge in inclusivity, representation and diversity are Smart Glamour and ModCloth. There are other brands that do this too, but Smart Glamour and ModCloth in particular get it consistently right.

What are three songs that motivate you?

With Thoughts - Art Vs. Science
Spectrum - Florence & The Machine
Sonnentanz - Klangkarussell

Favorite lipstick shade(s)?

MAC's 'Ruby Woo' - it's a classic blue-toned Red and makes me feel like a bombshell.

Number one reason readers should buy your book?

Because we ALL benefit from body positivity! And whether you're just starting out on your journey or whether you're a seasoned self-love veteran wanting to reinforce those themes, the exercises will help you. I pinky promise.

Favorite feel-good movie?

I'm actually not a movie fan! When I want a pick-me-up, I always gravitate towards a sitcom (Seinfeld is my favourite).

Follow her on Instagram:

 (Anastasia chose Spectrum, by one of my favorite artists, Florence and the Machine, as a favorite motivational song! I couldn't agree more with this choice. Enjoy)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Note About Depression

A few years ago, I did something that had previously been too frightening to do: I started telling people that I suffer from anxiety and panic disorder. Before that, I had always made excuses for avoiding situations, for having to cancel plans, for days where I couldn’t leave the house. I had to claim more headaches and unidentified work than any one person can claim in any given month. Anxiety was such an ugly and embarrassing word.

Finally, though, I experimented with telling the truth. “I had a panic attack last night and don’t feel up to coming over today. I’m sorry”, or “I’m sorry, but being in a car for six hours won’t work with my anxiety right now.” Sure, there were times when people would either give me the side eye or would just float out of my life, but surprisingly? Many people understood. Over time, I realized I could put some fences up when I needed to, and that most people wouldn’t step over them. That knowledge was freeing and relieved so much stress that I kept wondering why I’d waited so long.

But why is it so hard to admit we might be depressed? Why is it so hard to admit we may actually be very depressed?

This blog has been a victim of depression. My love for fashion, and helping women find confidence in themselves through clothes, makeup, and well-being, my love of conducting interviews… all of it has become a victim of the crushing exhaustion that comes with even considering opening a word file, typing words, and posting them.

The list of victims of this mental illness in my life is staggering.

Depression is not the same as sadness. It’s not the same as the hormonal swings women face when their menstrual cycles are fast approaching. It’s not crying at a sad movie.

It’s standing in front of the sink for five minutes, holding a dish, and not knowing if you can wash that dish, or any of the dishes. It’s being three hours late to a friend’s party, if you manage to go at all. It’s hiding from a family member because you can’t stop crying. It’s meaning to finish straightening a book shelf and never being able to. It’s never enjoying any of the food you eat. It’s feeling tired all the time. It’s not understanding what someone is saying to you because you’re too tired to even put their words in order. It’s feeling like you can’t concentrate. It’s falling asleep every chance you get. It’s getting a headache just picturing doing something you love. It’s losing all interest in things you used to care about. It’s looking at your past as someone else’s life and wishing you could have that
Depression is a serious, serious issue that has been stigmatized, made fun of, and misunderstood. People who have never experienced it are quick to offer advice that is usually unhelpful and ineffective, including telling the person to just stop being depressed, or making a list of reasons why they’re depressed. Or, and sometimes most frustratingly, they’ll say something along the lines of, “But you don’t seem depressed!”

Some of the funniest people I’ve ever known are also some of the most depressed people I’ve known. There’s a certain deflection technique in humor, as well as a tiny instant reward when you make someone laugh, and I think depressed people need that desperately.

But please remember:

Just because someone doesn’t fit your idea of depression doesn’t mean they might not be fighting it every day.

Just because someone doesn’t do things you think they/everyone should do, doesn’t mean they aren’t working as hard as they possibly can, and achieving goals of their own.

Just because you have depression doesn’t mean you need to be ashamed of it and keep it to yourself.

Just because your depression is overwhelming right this moment doesn't mean that in the next moment, in the next day, in the next week, month or year, that it will still be this bad. Everything fluctuates, even depression.

Just because something worked for someone else doesn't mean it will work for you, and that's okay.

For everyone else suffering with depression, please don't give up. Please don't think you are lesser than the people who can easily go about their lives and complete tasks that are a challenge for you. Please try not to compare yourself to anyone else at all.

Please be good to yourself.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Fashion Show Obsessions: Marchesa, Alexander McQueen, Elie Saab

Spring shows don't always wow me the way fall ones do, but this spring has brought some truly beautiful collections. I'm wildest for, in no particular order, Marchesa, Elie Saab, and Alexander McQueen. Below, feast your eyes on some of my favorite pieces from these gorgeous collections:

 (Marchesa 2016)
Elie Saab
 (Elie Saab 2016)

Alexander McQueen, McQueen
 (Alexander McQueen 2016)

From the impossible luxury of Marchesa's pieces- they look fit for a Russian queen!- to the royal witchy vibes of Elie Saab's dark, unexpected collection, to the masterpieces of sheer fabrics and galaxies in McQueen's, this season seems to be full of over the top for accessories, and it's more delicate than lingerie.

And can we talk about the styling? I'm seeing a lot of hair jewelry and mismatched earrings. We're talking full on constellations nestled into hair. I love, love, love, love, love it, and totally want to try to recreate this look with some Half Lucid Jewelry pieces.

Alexander McQueen, McQueen
(Alexander McQueen 2016)

Who have your favorites been this spring? Feel free to comment below!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Returning With a Fashionable Duo...

I apologize greatly for the lack of new content in the last six months, but I've been battling real life issues. More on that later, but for now, I've been so impressed by the combined sartorial power of Matt Bellamy and Elle Evans on the spring fashion circuit that I needed to make a post about it.

Check it out!

Elle Evans, Dior, Matt Bellamy, Paris, Paris Fashion Week
 Dior, PFW March 2016
 Balmain after party, March 2016
 YSL February 2016
Matt Bellamy, Paris Fashion Week, Balmain
Balmain, PFW March 2016

These two have been killing it at fashion shows and fashion-y parties. Looking forward to seeing where they pop up next and how all this fashionable influence shows up in their respective artistic fields. Fabulous!

Google+ Followers