Say Something

Austin City Limits Festival ACL

It’s almost time for the Austin City Limits festival again. Last year was my first time going and I had a blast. I can’t believe how fast this year has gone by but I am excited to say that I will be attending ACL again this year. I don’t know how I’m going to pull off festival wear this year pregnant but I’m sure going to try! While there are a lot of good memories I have of last year’s festival, there is also one that still bothers me to this day.

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I was with my dad and that’s probably why I decided to behave myself (thought I don’t think he would have minded too much if I hadn’t.) We were waiting for the one person I wanted to see most that year take the stage. I realize it was a year where Mumford & Sons and Radiohead were headlining but they weren’t who I was most excited about. I wanted to see a much less known musician named Jack Garrett. He’s insanely talented, a one man band. We got there early so I could be up close to the stage. There weren’t many people congregating yet, just a few millennials sneaking a smoke. As time passed, more people gathered behind us. I remember specifically two younger guys who were behind my dad and I a little to the right of us. Because the crowd still wasn’t sizable yet, I could clearly hear their conversation. One guy started off talking about how lucky the other one was to have hooked up with some girl they knew the night before. He made the remark that she was really cute. Normal guy conversation, no real red flags yet until the guy who had hooked up started talking. I remember his exact words to this day because they infuriated me. He said, “Yeah, shes’ cute but kind of fat though.” Um, excuse me? Did a guy who had gotten lucky the night before really just call that poor girl fat? Especially after his friend found her cute? I stood there fuming. Obviously, they both realized a plus size women (who was probably much bigger than the girl in question) was standing right in front of them. And yet still he had the gall to say that?

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I didn’t know what to say or do and figured nothing would help anyway. They were probably drunk and I certainly wasn’t going to change their mind. That memory has stayed with me for over a year. Every time I think about ACL, I think on that moment. Should I have spoken up? Unfortunately, that’s not the only moment I’ve encountered like that. About a month ago I was looking at items by the fitting room in Marshalls. A woman came out talking to her friend and said, “Can you believe this is a size 18? I don’t normally wear an 18 but this dress is all off on its size. I mean, only elephants wear this size normally.” You guys, my jaw literally fell to the floor. I wear bigger than an 18 so basically this woman is a few feet away basically calling me an elephant. It took everything in me not to march up to her and say, “Well, this elephant doesn’t appreciate you insulting plus size women out loud in this store!” Alas, I didn’t. I took SEVERAL deep breaths and walked on. What held me back?

To be honest, I’m a pretty non-confrontational person unless I really have to be otherwise. I don’t like causing scenes or upsetting people. But there’s a part of me who thinks that this kind of negative talk needs to be put in its place. There is absolutely no reason why people should be insulting each other based on size. When you really step back and look at it, it’s ludicrous! You have a problem with me because I weigh more than you? If that’s the case, we have a lot of work to do America. I want to start saying something when I hear this again. I want people to understand stand that what they are saying is hurtful and unnecessary. What are your thoughts on this? Do you say something?

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Thoughts After Episode 4 of Project Runway Season 16

It was around this time last year when Tim Gunn flooded headlines stating that designers really need to pay attention to plus size women. There are 100 million women that are larger than a size 12 and yet, most retailers don’t have anything above that. He blamed fashion designers and the retail industry for the lack of diversity in the plus size market. Designers seemed to be afraid to step outside of the box and retailers didn’t feel that plus size women were spending money on what they provided. With which Gunn retorted that of course we weren’t spending money. Most of the clothes available to us are hideous!

One Project Runway alum has not been afraid. In fact, he’s made his name known for doing what other designers wouldn’t, designing red carpet worthy pieces for plus size women. Christian Siriano has designed two collections for Lane Bryant that have both been amazing and has sent plus size models down his runways.

Project Runway has been one of my favorite shows since I was in high school. I’ve seen every single episode of every season multiple times. Each season they have featured a “real woman” challenge where designers have to create clothing for average body sizes instead of the 00 to size 2 that they are used to. Each season they groan when this happens. Designers seem to really hate designing for the average woman. Perhaps it’s because there is more of a challenge to provide a flattering silhouette. No matter what the case may be, the real woman challenge has made a big change for season 16.

Episode 1 opened up with a huge announcement and if I’m going to be honest with you, I got really emotional about it. Heidi introduced that one size does not fit all. Designers would have to work with models from size 2 to 22! I can’t tell you how excited I was to hear this news! Designers would go through a series of challenges working with bodies of all shapes and sizes. This means they’ll soon feel comfortable with plus size women and hopefully translate that into designs for the retail industry. For now, some of the designers aren’t comfortable. You can see they are afraid of curvier figures. In fact, many began using their designs to hide the curves. But what I love about this season is that the judges won’t stand for it. Nina Garcia urged designers to celebrate every size instead of camouflage it. And those who have embraced this have come out with some beautiful pieces.

Tim Gunn and Project Runway are making great strides in the fashion industry to get designers to finally notice a group of women they have ignored for far too long. Perhaps it’s working because this year’s New York Fashion Week is the most diverse it has ever been. Michael Kors featured Ashley Graham down the runway. Prabal Gurung, J. Crew and Who What Wear are a short list of designers who also decided to showcase plus size models this year. I can’t wait to see the fashion industry evolve. It is past time!

Conquering Sleep Apnea Part 3

Jillian Pedersen Sleep Apnea

And so, the final part of our saga is finally here. I had gone through all of the initial research and finally gotten my prescription to get my CPAP machine. Things were wrapping up and I was excited to get sleep like I hadn’t had in years. The first step was setting up an appointment with the CPAP provider. They would have me try on different mask options and show me how to use the new machine. It took a couple of weeks to get me in but once there, things went by quickly.

I was brought in and told how the machine works. I was kind of surprised by the level of care needed to keep it well taken care of. First of all, there’s a humidifier attached to it. This keeps your mouth and nose moist while the air is pumping through the machine. This means you need distilled water to keep everything coming into your body pure. I had to go to the grocery store to pick up two gallons to start with. You can set the level of moisture you prefer but the amount of air is recommended by the doctor. There are several pieces to the machine that have to be taken apart and cleaned with soap and water daily. I have to admit, I haven’t been very good about that. It’s a lot to ask of a busy mom who is already cleaning dishes and laundry on the regular.

Then there’s the mask. There are several different types. Some go under your nose, others cover your whole face. It was recommended to me to get the larger of the options since I was new to the whole process. I ended up with a mask that my nose sits on top of. Air pumps into it from the bottom and the mask covers my mouth completely. I look like Bane from Batman when I have it on. I’m not going to lie, it’s intense and not very sexy. There’s a really long hose that attaches to the mask and the machine. It’s where the air comes through but definitely complicates the tossing and turning routine I like to do when having my night’s sleep. The first time I tried it all on in working order, I was in the office with the medical supplier. The air pumps in strong and, before I knew it, I was light headed. I think I panicked a little due to the fact that the mask feels a little claustrophobic and having so much air in such a little space made me forget how to breathe.

The first night alone, I put on the whole ensemble on an hour before bed. I wanted to have time to adjust and get my breathing right. It took a long time and I eventually settled on breathing through my mouth. I just couldn’t get a handle on all of the air blowing on me like that. If it took a long time for me to adjust through the breathing, it took much longer for me to find a comfortable position to drift off to. If I moved wrong, air would blow hard on my face and that’s not fun to wake up to. Plus the mask doesn’t really lay on your pillow well and the hose meant I wouldn’t have a chance to find the right position. Needless to say, I did not get a good night’s sleep. I woke up freaked out half of the night from excess of air and gave up around 2AM. Ripping off all of the equipment was just what I needed to remain sane for the next work day.

Day 2 I was ready to try again and while the breathing situation in this new style got simpler, the comfort level still wasn’t there. I kept waking up and again, gave up in the middle of the night.

After that, I tightened my mask and that helped a lot. The air stayed where it was supposed to and didn’t wake me up by blowing on my face from shifting. The only downside was the tight mask was well, tight. It was something I’d have to get over if I was going to really get some rest. I eventually was able to sleep through the night with minimal waking up. I’m still having trouble but with a week in, I can tell things are finally getting better. I’m hoping I’ll see a dramatic improvement in energy level soon and it will all be worth it.

So there you have, the ups, downs, research and trials that lead to the hopes for a good night’s sleep. Hopefully this will help eliminate the work for the rest of you. My wish is that you’ll be able to look at my journey’s bumps and refine them in your own for a smoother transition.

Conquering Sleep Apnea Part 1

I’ve been waiting for months to finally put this post together. The process has been long and frustrating but I’m hoping it will help others that may be going through the same thing without even realizing it. This is Part 1 of my journey. I still have more steps to take but I’m finally making some progress. So here we go…

Last year, it was brought to my attention that i might have sleep apnea by my husband. He said he’d stay up nights watching for my chest to move up and down in a rhythmic breathing pattern. Often I’d wake him up gasping for air or just stop breathing all together. It scared him and rightfully so. And then there was the snoring. Apparently, it was atrocious. All of this together left my husband with little sleep and a lot of worry. Meanwhile, I’ve been living life day to day in a perpetual fog. I’m always tired, literally always, and have very little energy. Most of the time I can’t wait to catch a nap or get to bed for the night. I find myself getting drowsy at work or in the car while stuck in traffic. For a while, I just thought it was the stress of working full-time, being a mom and wife with tons of side activities to covet my attention. When my husband proposed he thought I had sleep apnea, all of my symptoms suddenly made sense. He begged me to go to a doctor and get tested because, frankly, sleep apnea can be life threatening.

It took a while for me to finally decide to get the process started. It was going to take a lot of work and I simply didn’t want to deal with it all but plans for a girl’s trip set me into motion. I would be staying in a small home with 3 other friends for the weekend and they were about to find out something pretty annoying about me– I snored like a freight train. I fretted the entire time, worried they wouldn’t be able to get any sleep so I made the preliminary actions needed to get things off of the ground. First things first, I had to call my insurance company and find out what they would cover. I discovered they’d only cover an at home sleep test, no labs and this complicated things. I didn’t know where to start to find a business that would let me test at home. Luckily, a place fell into my lap. Advanced Dental Care of Austin was running an ad on my local radio station and I heard just what I needed, they did at home sleep studies. I called and asked how everything worked. Basically I’d have to pay $300 out of pocket and get reimbursed by my insurance company. The plan wasn’t ideal but it was what needed to happen. So I began saving. While I didn’t get the care I needed before my girl’s trip, I had at least started the process. My friends did get the pleasure of hearing me fill up the night air with my very loud sleeping noises but they were gracious and we ended up having a great time.

Jillian Pedersen Fredricksburg

When I returned from my trip and had gathered the money I needed, I ordered the at home test. I came in for an appointment and the Advanced Dental team showed me how to use the machine. There were several hookups on my finger, jaw and more that needed to be perfectly placed. All of the wires made for difficult sleeping but I was able to manage. It was nice being able to test in my own bed. During the night, the machine recorded sounds, teeth grinding and my breathing.

Jillian Pedersen Advanced Dental Care of Austin Sleep Apnea

The next morning I turned in my test to be sent off to a specialist. They called me in a few days later with the results. I discovered I had what they considered mild sleep apnea. There were intervals where I wasn’t breathing for an entire 16 seconds! This was alarming enough for them to recommend I go ahead and get treated. They quickly went over my options which included getting a dental oral device (which they could help me with) or a CPAP machine. I went off with decisions to make and more research to do. I’ll share the details around that in my next post. All I can say was it was a frustrating journey to discovery.

Until then, sweet dreams!

When You’re Not Healthy

Photo by Lucky Locket Photography

Photo by: Lucky Locket Photography

I think it’s pretty obvious I love the body positive moment. It’s basically what this whole blog centers around. I love that women are forming a community to build each other up, when we’ve been so often encouraged to do the exact opposite. My number one goal is to love the body I’m in, no matter what size. Why? Because I know its struggles and its victories; I know its beauty and its flaws. If I can’t find value in it after all it’s done for me, then I am completely missing its purpose.

I’ve always felt that if you’re a plus size women, you’re happy and you’re healthy, then there’s no need to change unless you want to. But what about the moment you realize you’re plus size and you’re happy but you aren’t healthy? That’s the reality that hit me this past Monday morning. A reality I just wasn’t ready for.

I recently shared with you that I’ve had trouble getting pregnant. As I’ve gone through month after month of disappointment, I’ve started comparing what is different about my body now from the first time I conceived. The main thing that stood out was my weight. I’m 40 lbs heavier and that’s a pretty big difference. I started wondering if that was my main hangup so I decided to schedule an appointment with my OBGYN. As I rambled off some weird symptoms I’ve been experiencing recently, she decided to run some lab tests and get to the root of the problem. I didn’t know what all of these tests included but I was happy someone was taking the time to crack the code and see what the issue was. She also reassured me that my weight was most likely not keeping me from becoming pregnant again.

When I got the routine call Monday morning to hear my lab results, I expected a overview of my results, all ending with an all clear. You see, these things are pretty fast so when the nurse asked if I had a minute, worry hit me like a ton of bricks. After listening to a bunch of medical gobbledegook, I was able to pull a summary from it all. It contained the first warning signs of something much bigger if I didn’t nip it in the bud right away. Basically I learned:

  • I have too much fat in my diet
  • It is effecting my cholesterol in a negative way
  • I need to change my diet and exercise more if I want to help this issue
  • I’m vitamin D deficient

Cholesterol. Last time I checked, that was an issue seniors dealt with not a 29-year-old woman with her whole life ahead of her. If I’m happen problems now, what does that say about my future? The news terrified me. Needless to say, I’m thankful my doctor ordered those tests and I have the information I need to fix things now. What if I had gone on not knowing what serious repercussions would follow my ignorance?

So, for now I’m eating low carb, sugar and dairy. Oh, and I’m exercising as much as I can with a packed, unpredictable schedule. I won’t lie to you, right now it’s a struggle. Every move I make is completely intentional with the hopes that my health will get better over time. The thing is, yeah, I’m plus size and I’m happy but I’m not healthy. I have to make changes whether I like it or not.

Lashes for Days

Thighs and Lows Blog Babe Lash Review

For the past few years, I’ve been very serious about my makeup. Somewhere along the line I felt that since I had on extra weight, everything else needed to top notch to compensate for it. That meant flawless makeup, hair and fashion. The problem is, that isn’t always realistic. Especially since being a mom. Looking like a beauty vlogger takes an intense amount of time and it seems to be that I am constantly running behind these days. So, while I really enjoy the chance to experiment and create some fun looks, I had to find a better solution for the moments when I need to leave on a dime.

I’ve noticed a trend that has really taken off. It took a while for me to figure out what exactly was going on but once I did, it consumed me. I’ve always wanted to know why some women look absolutely gorgeous with barely any makeup on. And while some of it can be chocked up to natural beauty I knew there was something I was missing. Luckily, a friend of mine helped me realize what I was seeing. She’s a co-worker of mine and we had an extremely early shift. I had to wake up at 4:00AM which meant I was only doing the bare essentials that day- foundation, eyebrows and mascara. She had done the same but without her usual eyeliner, I noticed how incredibly long and full her eyelashes were. They were beautiful! She didn’t need anything more than mascara to make them stand out. It was natural beauty and I wanted it bad. I asked her what she was doing to get them so long. I had heard of lash extensions but they seemed to be time consuming and expensive, two things that didn’t work for me. She told me she was using the Rodan + Fields lash serum. You’ve probably heard of it yourself. It’s heavily advertised and seems to work wonders. So, I asked her how much she had spent. The answer made my jaw drop. $150 folks. No way was I going to spend that so my eyelashes would get longer.

So, I went back to the drawing board. I certainly wasn’t going to take the time to figure out false lashes, the strategic placement and the glue, oy vey! Extensions were only a temporary solution as well. I began seriously considering that $150 and every time I did, it hurt. So much for luscious lashes but at least they’d be mine and they wouldn’t be temporary. That’s when I decided to share my woes with another friend of mine. I kind of consider her a lash expert. She’s always trying something new and her eyelashes are on point no matter what. She told me about magnetic eyelashes. Have you heard of them? I’d love to try them one day. They seem much easier than traditional falsies. But then she mentioned what I had wanted to hear all along. A lash serum that wouldn’t break the bank. She encouraged me to try Babe Lash. You can order a trial size for around $40– much better than $150! I decided to take the plunge and try it out.

I started noticing a different quickly but it took about a month of everyday use to really start noticing new growth and length. By two months of everyday use, my lashes were the length I never thought was possible on my own. They were amazing! And, the trial size bottle wasn’t even empty yet. So, if you’re looking for a much cheaper solution to get your lashes growing, try Babe Lash. It takes time to really make an impact but if you can commit, it totally pays off!

Ready to Ditch the Diet?

You Ain't Your Weight with Jenna Free

Imagine waking up tomorrow feeling comfortable in your own skin, knowing you are worthy and perfect just the way you are. Imagine having a positive relationship with food; no more stress, no more tension, just enjoyment and nourishment.

As an advocate for self-love and true happiness I have talked to many who have found that diets just aren’t working. You feel like you’re on a rollercoaster with high victories and low failures. It’s frustrating and leaves you feeling discouraged.

This is why I’m so grateful that Intuitive Eating Counsellor Jenna Free invited me to join her on this free interview series.

It’s called, You Ain’t Your Weight: How to ditch the diet, stop obsessing over food and cultivate genuine happiness.

As a member of my community, you have a free ticket for the event reserved just for you.

Get your free reserved ticket here >> http://bit.ly/2okEGK5

If you would like to start making your life bigger instead of constantly trying to make yourself smaller then this speaker series is going to highlight how you can begin down this transformative path.

You will get insights into:

+ how to stop the body hate thoughts

+ how to create healthier habits without dieting

+ how to navigate a world obsessed with dieting

+ top tips on how to stop the food obsession

You will get useful advice from 21 of the top body image and happiness experts on how to take action on changing your life by changing the way you act around food, how you feel about your body and how to live a life full of joy and happiness that lets you no longer need to wait on the weight!

This speaker series is something I believe everyone should attend so they can stop obsessing and start living. The weight loss will not bring you the happiness you’ve been searching for but this very well could!

Be sure to reserve your spot so you don’t miss my interview where I share my top tips on how to be content in the body you’re in right now.

Get your free reserved ticket here >> http://bit.ly/2okEGK5

SXSW Gave Me an Amazing Opportunity I’ll Never Forget

Melissa McCarthy SXSW Nobodies

Being just feet away from Melissa McCarthy took everything in me to not go completely fangirl on her. She’s an inspiration and being in the same room with her was a complete honor. She was beautiful in her black heels and fringe clutch by her side. As she introduced the world premiere of her newly produced show, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like. Coming off of a hit show like “Gilmore Girls,” tends to set the bar pretty high. So, without further ado, here’s the whole story:

Melissa McCarthy has been a celebrity crush of mine for a long time. She’s a complete role model, pioneering the body positive movement in Hollywood and designing an entire brand to empower plus size women. So, naturally, when I heard whispers of her coming to SXSW, I lost my mind. I had an Interactive badge to the festival, which is pretty good street cred but I needed a Film badge to guarantee my entry into her premiere. I figured with secondary access being granted to those with Interactive badges, I had a 20% chance of getting to see her. Nevertheless, I arrived an hour and a half early to stake my spot in line.

Read More…

A Plus Sized Vacation True Review

Plus Size Vacation Disney

Well, we all made it back in one piece. Hallelujah we survived! There were times when it got real rough. Traveling anywhere with a toddler is no cup of tea. You can tell it took its toll by how long I’ve had to recuperate before writing this. Nevertheless, I now know what tactics did and didn’t work to make my Disney days bearable. Here’s what I learned so you can try it on your next vacation:

If you recall in my last article, I had gotten new shoes and socks to help prevent me from getting blisters. It had been a reoccurring problem in theme parks past. This plan worked! The new shoes really helped me walk the 10 miles a day I was pulling and the thick socks kept me blister free. However, by Day 3 my feet were insanely sore. So here’s my revised advice on the topic– bring not one, but two pairs of trusty tennis shoes. Switch them out every other day. This should help keep your feet from dying like mine tried to do. It also doesn’t hurt to buy a couple inserts for your heels to help ease blow after blow on days when you know you’ll be walking a lot.

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Pack yourself a self care kit. Get a nice bath soak for sore muscles and let you body recover from the exertion. Taking a nice tube of Icy Hot can’t hurt either.

The next thing I did to prepare for my vacation was to make sure that I had outfits that made sense and I felt confident in. I will say, I should have paired everything together better but this worked out. I felt good about myself in the park for the most part and was definitely comfortable. I brought a pair of LuLaRoe leggings, Nike Tight Fit capris and Fabletics capris. I will say that yoga pants are the way to go in this instance. Nike was my favorite for longevity. LuLaRoe just didn’t mesh with the humidity well. They did get me through a full day, however.

Last, I brought an anti-chaffing stick with me everywhere and reapplied when I needed to. Let me tell you what, THIS was my saving grace. I’ve always chaffed on trips like this, always. This was the first time I’ve ever walked out of an amusement park with happy legs. Anti-chaffing sticks work! I’m so thankful for this beautiful product.

So, in conclusion, my plan worked out okay. It needed a few revisions but was pretty fool proof overall. Next time you take a plus sized vacation, consider these tips for a comfortable trip. Bon voyage!

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Planning for a Plus Sized Vacation

Disney Torrid Plus Size Vacation

January, it’s a weird time to go on vacation, I know, but it worked for us. This time next week, we’ll be living it up in Orlando, Florida a few days at Disney World. While I’m certainly looking forward to our first vacation ever as a family, I do realize how much prep I have to put into the trip to make sure it’s enjoyable. Being plus sized means I have to think ahead. I’ve learned the hard way that not doing so can be extremely detrimental.

My husband and I have been to Disney World a couple of times together. The first was our honeymoon but our last visit, about three years ago, definitely has left its mark in my mind. This is mainly because I experienced extreme technical difficulties that put a damper on the festivities. I got really badly chaffed and had blisters literally all over my feet to name a few things. Going forward this time, I know what to look out for. Hopefully I’ll prepare well and not run into any issues.

First things first, I got new shoes and socks to help with the blister problem. Disney World has several parks and they all require a lot of walking. I mean, a lot! It’s the kind of steps that would make your FitBit’s dreams come true! I bought myself a new pair of tennis shoes that I felt would make me feel moderately fashionable and still serve the function of protection all day. I’m not a fan of wearing tennis shoes but I know I have to if I’m going to make it during our stay. So, I found some I felt would work. In addition to that, my husband encouraged me to buy thick socks. This would help cushion my feet from blisters. I like thin socks. I like my feet to have freedom so this thin sock thing may be the culprit. Until the trip, I’ll be breaking in these shoes to make sure all of the kinks are out. Hopefully the two strategies will serve me well this time around.

The next thing I did was make sure that I had outfits that made sense and I felt confident in. This is my main hang up when I’m traveling. I have some serious self-confidence issues and a lot of that is helped when I have full access to my closet. I have to feel like I have the right combination of clothing items on before I walk out the door. Otherwise, my mind is occupied on my weight. Because I obviously can’t take my closet with me, I have to be extremely intelligent on what I’m packing. This time I decided to buy all new fashion tees from Torrid that were Disney themed. All of them cover my stomach well and are comfy enough for all day wear.

The bottom half is the bigger issue at hand. Walking a lot and sweating a lot are a bad combination. Since we’ll be in Florida, there will definitely be sweat involved, even in January. I’ve found that wearing something that is tight on my legs helps prevent chaffing. So, I’m bringing yoga pants and my ever-so-loyal LulaRoe leggings. With the combination of cute long tees and leggings, I’m planning on looking cute, feeling comfy and staying pain free.

I will also be bringing back-up. I have an anti-chaffing stick that will come with me everywhere I go. Everywhere. I refuse to go through that again. It’s the worst and makes walking literal torture.

So with all that fuss, I’m hoping this vacation will be a comfortable one. My husband bought me a new suitcase for Christmas that I’m excited about breaking in. Here’s to plenty of magic this month!

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