22 May 2015

Book Review: Fat Girl Walking by Brittany Gibbons

fat girl walking cover book

*I received a free copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads descriptions (x): 
Told through a series of larger-than-life snapshots, a hilarious memoir in essays about love, sex, marriage, motherhood, bikinis, and loving your body, no matter what size you are from the acclaimed blogger and body image advocate.
Fat Girl Walking isn't a diet book. It isn't one of those former fat people memoirs about how someone battled, and won, in the fight against fat. Brittany doesn't lose all the weight and reveal the happy, skinny girl that's been hiding inside her. Instead, she reminds us that being chubby doesn't mean you'll end up alone, unhappy, or the subject of a cable medical show. What's important is learning to love your shape. With her infectious humor and soul-baring honesty, Fat Girl Walking reveals a life full of the same heartbreak, joy, oddity, awkwardness, and wonder as anyone else's. Just with better snacks. 

My rating: 5 out of 5 hoots 

rating 5 hoots owl book review 

Brittany Gibbons is a blogger of brittanyherself which, unfortunately, I was never introduced to until reading her book. However, I actually like the direction of Gibbons' book better than her blog (I know, slay me now, bloggers). Gibbons does say the book is in a different layout than her blog, though, so maybe be gentle with me. 

Both Brittany's blog and her book are so blunt and honest. The book in particular will allow anyone easy access to relate to her many essays and funny anecdotes. One in particular would have made me uncomfortable in a different voice, but Brittany's friendly tone made me laugh at the horrific event. 

There are a few things that break up the book nicely, like a list of pros and cons of being pregnant as well as bullet points of what to say to annoying people while you're pregnant. Even if you've never been pregnant, you can still laugh out loud at these lists. 

I honestly didn't expect Fat Girl Walking to make me laugh so much or for me to relate so much to it. Yes, I'm a plus-size gal. But even if I wasn't, I could still relate. I'm not married, I'm childless, and I'm not in the same age range as the author, so I didn't know if the book would really be my thing. But the way Brittany Gibbons writes her experiences MAKES everything easy to relate to. Or so hilarious that you keep reading and feel as if you're a part of her life. Either way, you can't put the book down.

Issues covered in the book--that I actually wish were tackled more--are sure to make plus-size people nod and others think hard about what they say/think. 
...You don't get to make wild accusations about my health based on how I look because you are not a real doctor, you are a pretend Internet doctor. Not the same thing. 
I like how Fat Girl Walking speaks to all women. Not just women who are overweight, but women. Women. All women. And one quote really spoke to me that I've been trying to put into words for a long time:

If we don't say enough and stop the race to the beauty-standard finish line, the casualties and the resentment women have toward each other will grow. 
 Yes! We are women. (Hear us roar?) Let's stick together instead of constantly looking each other up and down or challenging each other to a race of the fittest. Instead, help each other out. Why scold someone for being overweight when evidence shows for one, it doesn't work to help motivate them to do anything you're trying to get them to do, and second, just why? Why question anything about another women or be judgmental? That's a part of what this book is trying to say along with--why question yourself? Let's just...not. I'm paraphrasing for Gibbons here, but stop criticizing others and yourself when your body is beautiful. You have to think of every part of your body as special--like a part of a scrapbook.

This book was made for anyone to read because it's full of wisdom, quirkiness, and experiences (mostly crazy) that the author has gone through so you don't have to. The author has a clear, strong voice and it's obvious she wants to convey a message of empowerment. This will be a great summer beach read (as long as you can control your emotions--laughter and tears). 

funny quote fat girl walking gibbons brittany
My new favorite piece of advice

The idea behind this book is great. To read about someone who is plus-size, who is REAL, and who is more than OK with their body and self--but who doesn't deny the trials of how hard it is to fall in love with their body--is special to me. And I think it will be to others as well.

I don't think I have to say anything else. I loved, loved this book. I recommend it to anyone and everyone.

12 May 2015

Influenster Bella VoxBox Review

I love being a member of Influenster. It's allowed me over the years to sample free products and in return, give my honest opinion of how I feel about them. I always feel so lucky that they pick me to receive a box of goodies to try out. Because that's really what I do!

Influenster, for those of you who are clueless right now, is a site that's free to join, where you basically just write reviews for things like beauty products to books to household products. There are other fun things on the site like articles to read, ways to interact with the community, and uh...free full size products and coupons or discounts! If this sounds like your thing, you can sign up (for free, remember?) using my referral link.

Now...down to business!

influenster goody free bella voxbox

  • Okay, I have to confess something. If you're wondering why is that package of Dove chocolate flat? The answer is: because I ate them all before I could take the picture. Which is to say, I ate them all almost right after I opened the box. I'm going to shame my mom here and say she contributed to this as well. The Dove Fruit was good or else I wouldn't have munched on all of it, but there was a problem. I received the flavor of dark chocolate with blueberries. However, it really just tasted like chocolate covered raisins. Luckily for me, I love chocolate covered raisins. But, why buy some chocolate fruit that tastes like something I love when I can just buy the thing that I love? Sorry, Dove. Raisins > You.

  • My absolute favorite from the bunch was the EcoTools Complexion Collection Mattifying Finish Brush. I have a really oily t-zone, and this brush works wonders with pressed powder! It's exactly what I've been looking for. And for $8.99, well, it's a little steep for something I would normally pay (I'm a little cheap when it comes to makeup brushes), I know many of you beauty bloggers would be more than happy with that price!

  • The second item I fell in love with right away, Rimmel London Scandeleyes Mascara by Kate Moss, has become my sidekick. The wand was unique and worked in a way that obviously lengthened and brought volume to my lashes. Plus, because it's different, it's just fun! Well worth the $6.99 price!

  • Another Kate Moss beauty product left me with no complaints. Especially not for something that has a price tag of $5.49! I applied lip scrub before using the lipstick, and the color went on beautifully and without any difficulty. It also lasted quite a while! So if you're looking for a new lipstick to try out with various colors, I'd suggest Rimmel London Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate Moss

  • The one product I wasn't sure about was the Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs. It just isn't something I would use, nor would I typically buy--the full size is $13.99--eep! I was gifted with a travel size in the shade of "medium." While I did use it to cover up a bruise on my leg, that's about it. However, my sister-in-law told me she used it while out at the beach in summer months to regularly cover up imperfections and especially varicose veins. I had never thought of that! What a great tip to pass on, no? 

  • I have only tried out the Not Your Mother's Deja Vu Do Style Extender once, but it did impress me--to an extent. The product, at $9, is supposed to help keep your hair clean so you have more time in-between washes. I like the idea. It's like a one-time dry shampoo that's actually a cream. The first noticeable thing about this hair product is the SMELL. Anyone who uses this will tell you how great it smells. The scent is not overpowering; it's just--right. The problem I had with this is that it didn't really give me any volume and it didn't necessarily extend my "do." I noticed that it did leave my roots a little less oily, which is why I was a little impressed. I love the brand's sea salt spray, and that stuff really works for me, but this product didn't live up to the scent--I mean hype. 

Notice any products that you've tried recently? Would you try any of these products? I have a feeling some of you would! 

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

10 May 2015

Happy Mother's Day to Mine and Yours and You

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there keeping it real through the rough times, through the glorious times, and through it all.

I like to brag about my mom a lot because, well she's my mom, but also because I've never met anyone else like her.

my beautiful mom

We have that kind of bond where it's friendship, but it never crosses the line into us giggling and gossiping and having sleepovers--you know what I mean? She's not the cool mom from the movie Mean Girls. She's my friend, but she's my mother. And I love her for being able to play both parts without getting carried away with one or the other.

twins mother
Back when we accidentally dressed alike

I've made a post about my mother before: Letter to My Mother  and touched on her lovely energy a few times in other Lyme disease posts, especially mentioning how she so selflessly cares for me. Yes, I often feel like a burden on her. But does she ever let on to that? No. Having a chronic illness really does put strain on everyone, and if you say it doesn't affect those around you, you're a liar. I've seen my mom cry because of me. Straight up bawl. But I've also seen how strong she is; the strength that emanates from that woman is a divine light, let me tell you.

My mother is beautiful in all sorts of ways.
I love seeing her garden. How passionately she digs into the soil to allow a new life to flourish.
She did the same by giving birth to me, and I can never repay her for that.

Instead, all I can say to her and all the other mothers reading this is that I am grateful for you.

So Mom, if you read this, I love you. I cherish all the moments we spend together. Not one thing you do ever goes unnoticed. And I appreciate you more than you know.

Happy Mother's Day xo

20 April 2015

Macabre Monday: Mr. Jones

mr jones poster

Let's talk about Mr. Jones (2013) today--the latest horror film I've watched!

You know, I really have to give it to myself, I have a knack for accidentally picking out found footage films. Or in this case, movies that are mostly found footage...

Since one of the main characters, Scott, is focused on making a nature documentary (well, mainly focused), we have the pleasure of seeing what's behind his camera for a good bit of the film. That's where the found footage pops in. Even Penny, the other main character and wife of Scott, grabs the camera every now and then. But for the rest of the film, it's a professional camera that is scanning the scene--and truth be told, I liked it better that way. 

So basically, as far as the plot goes, this guy Scott and this wife Penny go to this secluded CABIN IN THE WOODS (ahem) so he can be inspired to film a nature documentary. They have a few tiffs, mainly because he comes off his medications right before their "vacation." However, it's almost as if every dramatic fight between them is suddenly forgotten when they come across these...totem-scarecrow-figure-things... Why? Because Penny knows right away they are the creations of a hermit artist by the name of Mr. Jones (oooh). So what's next for the nature documentary? Well nix it of course and make a documentary on the reclusive Mr. Jones instead. (Thanks Penny, gah!)

mr jones skeletal things
totem things in Mr. Jones' basement
This Mr. Jones character has a pretty creepy atmosphere about him. And his look... He's pretty creepy altogether. While Penny keeps reassuring her husband Scott that Mr. Jones is actually protecting them from something out there, Scott is dead set on the idea that Mr. Jones is the scary and bizarre figure that others Scott talked to have painted him to be. For example, Mr. Jones apparently sends some of his weird skeletal scarecrow artworks to random people. One recipient said it completely changed his existence. And evidently not for the better. So pretty sure Scott is not going to just hop on the "Mr. Jones is a good guy, duh" bandwagon. 

I didn't really have any relationship with these two characters, though, and that was a problem. I really hate when that happens. Give me something to go on so I care about them. That's essential, in my opinion. Even in a horror movie! 

Also, the number of times the two main characters kept breaking and entering into Mr. Jones' house..wow, just let me tell you something Mr. Jones--you need a No Trespassing sign. Or a German Shepherd. Cujo, maybe. Just some type of security system besides your scarecrow things.

mr jones basement flashlight
"Let's just break in and steal everything demonic looking"
The ending of this movie was mainly what I had a problem with, and from what I researched, what others had a great deal of a problem with as well. 

The beginning of the film is shot almost whimsically and I thought about how much I liked artsy horror movies if they're done well. The director, Karl Mueller, even said he was influenced by David Lynch. But I don't know how David Lynch would have taken that because of how the film shifted near the end. 

I understand to a degree what was supposed to be going on. To a degree. I don't mind ambiguous endings, but with this ending, there were so many scenarios to deal with that it was just frustrating and almost cheesy.

However, Mr. Jones really wasn't that bad. I feel like I'm putting it down but it was pretty creepy overall. Not many jump scares, but those aren't really my thing anyway. There were scenes that made me uncomfortable and that were pretty suspenseful. I did get particularly uneasy watching the interviews that were filmed by Scott. For some reason you would think that would be the boring part of the film, but the way it was shown was interesting enough that it wasn't just someone sitting down and talking for long periods at a time.

HOWEVER, it was a pretty long movie. Too long of a movie. The parts I liked seemed too edited and the parts I disliked seemed liked they needed to be edited. Also--and this is important--near the end, there is something extremely cheesy that happens (at least for me) that had me dying laughing. I understood basically the point of it but I didn't think parts of it were really necessary. It was in excess and it was hilarious. 

*Also, lots of flashing lights near the end--just a warning!

Would I recommend it?
Probably not. Sorry guys. But maybe check out David Lynch's work! 

14 April 2015

Playlist: "Simply Sweetly Spring"

Power Flower 

Spring rain has been overwhelming, but when the sunshine manages to poke through, I remember why I love this season so much!

I love listening to the rain, though. And I love listening to birds chirping. And just the overall general sounds of spring. But I love listening to music too! So here's some tunes for ya:

This song is gentle, enticing, and CATCHY. I have listened to it so much. They don't even have to ask me if I'm listening because of course I am!

Speaking of gentle and enticing...this song is both...and just sweet and flirty and fun. It makes me want to twirl around outside in the grass, barefoot in my favorite dress.

I love cover songs. But who would ever think a banjo would work in Lera Lynn's cover of TV On The Radio's "Wolf Like Me"? Needless to say...God I like it.

When I discovered this last song, I wasn't quite sure if I really liked it or not. Now, after having listened to it for...let's just say a fair amount of times...I love the song and the message behind it.

Hope spring has put a spring in your step already! If not, maybe one of these songs will!