Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Size, Expression and Fashion: Musings from Columbus

 Returning to Columbus, OH last week for a visit was a great chance to rediscover the colorful, eccentric vibe of one of the Midwest's most fashionable cities. It also reminded me of a few important aspects of the connection between fashion and life:

*It's okay to dress for personal expression
In Columbus, the artsy people of all ages display their style as an exclamation mark of their own expression, rather than a means of fitting into a narrow idea of flattering, professional, or average. Of course, there are plenty of people wearing subtle outfits and uniforms, but you see more than a small amount of people who wear bright colors, crazy patterns, huge accessories, neon hair, baggy vintage dresses, oversized hats, and shoes meant to garner attention.

There's a freedom that comes in dressing how you want, regardless of whether it's considered flattering to your body type, or appropriate for your age. It's scary at first, of course, but if wearing a color you love, or oversized plastic accessories, or 80s jean jackets, or clashing patterns, or a design worthy of a couch from the '70s is something that makes you feel like your best self, it might be time to go for it.

Conventional wisdom tells you to dress in colors and shapes that are flattering for your body. This is an important talent to learn if you're wanting to achieve a slimmer (or bigger!) silhouette. There's no harm in trying on all different types of clothes until you can achieve that desired look! But it's not your only option. If you truly want to wear clothes that you've been told you shouldn't because of your coloring, age, or size, there is great freedom in doing it anyway... and, like the people of Columbus, doing so with confidence. That confidence becomes infectious over time, and allows you to experiment more, carve your OWN image out for yourself, and even inspire others.

So why not give it a try?

*It's okay to love fashion at any size
One thing that really struck me during this visit to Columbus was that women of all sizes walked through the artsy Short North area in their favorite dresses, heels, boots, jeans, accessories, or shorts with an equal sense of confidence and vigor for life. It's different than in some cities, where plus size or even average sized women feel uncomfortable walking among the glitzy, well dressed Friday night crowd. In Columbus, you see people of all shapes and sizes laughing, enjoying their lives, and partying together. I've seen people in other cities that seemed to send out an apologetic message above their heads, something along the lines of, "I'm sorry I'm fat! I'm on my way to the gym, though, I promise!", even as they dash about or hide in crowds. I've been that girl, myself.

During my time in Columbus, I remembered that it's okay to be a size 14 and still enjoy life, unapologetic. It's okay to be a size 14 and have a drink with girlfriends, wear a short dress, and eat a delicious meal in front of people.

*Dry shampoo and a topknot can be your best friend
When it's hot as balls out, it's totally okay to spray half a can of dry shampoo on your hair, and pull everything into a topknot. No one will judge you, and you'll feel a lot more comfortable in the sun. This dry shampoo by amika is especially amazing, as is this volumizing powder by Got2B. Enjoy!

(With my best friend Dusty, for her birthday! <3 )

Monday, August 22, 2016

Author Nicky Peacock: Notebooks, Chanel, and the Iron Throne

It's been a while since I featured an interview with an author, but when you talk to a lovely English gal who writes spec fic, loves fashion, and has a great sense of humor, you can't pass that up! I'm very excited to feature this interview with Nicky Peacock. Read on to find out more about her, her books, and her favorite fashion designers...

Ugly notebook or beautiful notebook?
Oh, beautiful notebook. When I have a great notebook in my hand, it makes me what to fill it with beautiful things.

Do you make playlists inspire you? If so, what are three songs off your current favorite writing playlist?
Music is a big part of my writing. Listening to the right songs when you’re writing an emotional scene or an action sequence can make all the difference. I’m currently listening to Imagine Dragons. Their song ‘Friction’ is perfect for fight scenes (I seem to write a lot of them!)  I’m also listening to Fleur East’s Sax which is a real feel-good montage song. And my favorite love song right now is Cut by Plumb, so sharp and meaningful – it’s like a love story in itself.

Have you ever traveled for writing research? If so, where did you go?

I haven’t physically traveled, but I’ve used Google Street View many times. It’s a time and cost-effective way of researching a place. It’s not the same of course, and I wish that I had the time and money to go to every place I write about, but for now, it’s proving useful.

Where would you LOVE to travel for writing research?
I want to go to Venice for the carnival, Mexico for the Day of the Dead and New Orleans for Mardi Gras. It would be the world-wind trip of dressing up, great food, celebrations and wonderful music – and of course, I’d worm the locations into my writing to justify it!

What's your favorite character name you've ever made up?
I like Britannia in the Battle of the Undead series. She’s a vampire who has been working for the British crown for centuries. She’s very patriotic and is inspired by the ancient warrior queen, Boudica.

Who do you think should get the Iron Throne in HBO's Game of Thrones?

Daenerys Targaryen – the throne is hers by right, and she’d make a fair queen. Also, with the White Walkers bearing down on the Wall, they’re going to need her dragons, it looks like dragon glass is the only thing that can kill them.

If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be?

For only one day? Hmmm, I guess I’d like to see what it would be like to be an animal rather than a person. Perhaps a wolf in the forests of Romania running wild with the pack.

What's the best way for your fans to keep up with your adventures?

My blog http:nickypeacockauthor.wordpress.com  and my Twitter, @Nickyp_author

When you're not writing, you are usually...

Working, promoting my writing or attempting cook healthy meals and exercising. I’m kind of boring, really. All my fun is had in my imagination, and then that spills onto the page for readers.

My fashion obsessed alien, Griffin, would want to know: do you have any favorite high fashion designers?

LOL, we should probably send your character Griffin shopping with my vampire character Britannia. Even in a zombie apocalypse, she’s keeping an eye on her outfit choices! I’d go classic for my favorite designer with Chanel, but to be honest, I’m more of a high street girl. Here in the UK, we have some of the best clothes shops in the world. My favs are: H&M and TK Maxx and online Hell Bunny, Collectif and Lindy Bop.
Flat shoes, running shoes, boots, flip-flops, or heels?
Boots, I hate my fat ankles, so they would cover them up! They’re comfortable and look good with both tight jeans and skirts. Also, I get cold quickly, so they’d keep me warm and snug all day.

You can spend a day at Jurassic Park. Would you do it, and if so, where would you spend most of the day?
The gift shop! LOL, I’d probably like to pet some baby veggie dinosaurs, so perhaps the petting zoo part. I'm too cowardly to get near any big dinosaurs or even the roller-coasters!

Author links:

Thanks so much for joining Kendry Bird!
Thank you so much for having me here today. Readers, don't forget to check out Kendra's interview on my blog.

Friction by Imagine Dragons

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

This Is Why We Write

Sometimes being an author is hard. After all, you're almost textbook crazy (you make up conversations and get really upset about people who don't exist), and you get paid very very little for the amount of time you put into your work. It's a love thing, I guess, and sometimes the love can hurt. Recently life has been a bit harder than normal in my little world, and I've spent time battling real life monsters and villains like depression, anxiety, distance from friends, and the loss of loved ones. It makes battling book monsters even harder, sometimes.

In all of this, though, I've tried to keep in mind that the books I've loved in my life, the ones that have really changed me as a person, were written by people who probably felt the same way at some point.

Today this review was posted for Dating an Alien Pop Star: http://talknerdywithus.com/2016/08/10/book-review-dating-an-alien-pop-star-by-kendra-saunders/ As I turned in the rewritten draft of Dating's sequel, Engaged to an Alien Pop Star, I read this review and almost cried.

This is why we write. This is why we give up our free time, why we are frequently a little lonely. This is why we stay up late. This is why we keep going, even when people hurt us desperately by saying ignorant, hurtful things about our passions. This is why we don't give up even when we're told to get a "real job." So thankful to read this today, truly. I hope this book and the rest in this series will continue to touch people in this way. There's no greater reward as a writer.
(The Decemberists: This is Why We Fight)

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