Swimsuit Season is Upon Us

So, it’s officially spring and if you’re here in LA it’s already feeling like summer.  And with warm weather comes everyone’s favorite time of year…bathing suit season!

And with bathing suit season comes everyone’s not so favorite mixture of insecurity and anxiety and some form of self-doubt about how their body looks in a bikini.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I loveee a good bathing suit, the skimpier the better.   But dammit I don’t think I’ve ever felt 100% confident or comfortable in a single bathing suit I own.

Here’s the list of things that runs through my head as soon as I put on a swimsuit:

Oh my god I’m so pale.  I look like a vampire.  But, like, not a hot one.  One that’s been in a cave all winter hanging out with bats.

My boobs do not fill this top out.  Or this top.  Or this one.  Even this one that “supposedly” has pushup cushions or whatever.  I have no cleavage.  I have the chest of a 12-year-old boy.

Okay, my stomach could be flatter.  I wish I had a six-pack.  Or at least those weird little divets near my hips – what are those even called?  Why am I so bloated?  Should I try some of that diet tea people post on instagram?  Oh my god no.  Not the skinny tea.  Never. 

Literally.  Every time I try on or put on a bikini some version of these thoughts runs through my mind.

I’m not stoked that I think these things.  I know I should love my body and rock whatever the hell bathing suit I want.  And most days, even after these thoughts bombard me, I wear the swimsuit anyway.  I’ve learned that, sometimes, you just have to say, “fuck it” and by doing so you realize, hey, I can do this.  I can wear this.  I can rock this.

What I’m still working on is believing that I actually look okay, or even…good…in a swimsuit.  I’m supposed to (according to our society) look like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, and – let’s be honest – I don’t.  So if I don’t look like that – the pinnacle of sexy, beachy, bombshell beauty – then I must not look good.  Right?

Wrong.  So incredibly wrong.

Sports Illustrated model is one form of sexy.  One way of looking good in a bathing suit.  But why in the hell does it have to be the only way?  Newsflash: it’s NOT the only way.  There is no wrong way to look in a swimsuit.  Sure, maybe some portion of this planet thinks there’s only one way to be beautiful or sexy or worthwhile, in a bathing suit or otherwise. 

But fuck that portion of people.  Fuck them and their outdated, sexist views on beauty and worth.

The other day I was laying on the bed in my underwear and I looked down at my stomach.  It wasn’t completely flat (whatever that means, a stomach can’t really be flat) and it made me upset.  I took my hands and pushed down on it, trying to rolling-pin the skin with my palms until it looked taut and toned and whatever.  It hurt, like, physically hurt and the pain shot a severe dose of realization through me.

What the hell am I doing?  Why do I think my stomach looks better like this?  Why is any stomach better than any other?   Why is any body considered better than another?

There is no wrong way to have a body.  I hope - fervently – that we can all recognize this.  I know some times we look in the mirror or compare ourselves to someone else and feel like we’re not good enough.  That our bodies aren’t small enough, or curvy enough, or pretty enough. 

Our society has created so many arbitrary rules and definitions regarding beauty, and we buy into them every single day.  And hell, it’s hard not too buy in when we’re getting bombarded with them constantly. 

But please – please, please, please – let’s try to minimize the effects those rules and definitions have on us.  Let’s create our own set of rules, staring with THERE ARE NO RULES.  There are no rules or rankings when it comes to beauty and bodies and our self-worth.  We are all beautiful and worthy, and we all look damn good in a bathing suit because there’s no real way to look bad in one.  Put one on your body, tell yourself you look daaaaamn good (because you do), and screw whatever anyone else thinks.  Any haters are just playing by a set of limitations they’re too stupid to see past.  You’re above and beyond all that.

I love you.  Now let’s go to the beach.

xoxo,

Augusta

Pink Petals, Bridal Bondage, and Weetzie Bat: An Impromptu Photo Shoot with Aurora Lady

On a sunny, LA winter day last week, my bestie Aurora and I got together for an impromptu photo shoot (one of our favorite past times).  This shoot in particular was inspired by the idea of an untraditional, strange but sexy wedding.  Ever since I got engaged I’ve spent quite a bit of time daydreaming about how I want my wedding to look, and how I want to look that day and night.  And so, Aurora and I set about capturing the vibe and essence of a whimsical, punk rock, slightly eerie, sensual wedding style.

Aurora isn’t just an incredible friend; she’s also a super talented artist, a feminist clothing designer (peep her work here), and a totally badass stylist.  I showed up at her door with an armful of clothing – everything from flowy pink skirts to leather bondage gear – and she promptly sorted through it all, creating several looks in a matter of minutes.  She also did my makeup (she’s taught me pretty much everything I know about applying winged eye liner or wearing wild lipstick colors), which included sugary pink eye shadow, a smoky cat eye, and flower petals stuck to my cheeks (aka my new go-to look).

Then we set out and started shooting!  We shot at our friend Jenn’s house (because it’s seriously the cutest house on the planet), Aurora’s bedroom where I posed with rainbow reflections and periwinkle walls, and a secret cactus garden filled with sunshine and bumblebees.  Throughout the day we drank too much coffee, reminisced about the day we met (the first time I ever hung out with Aurora she took a photo of me against this crazy colorful wall and we talked about girl power and thrift shopping), and quoted “Weetzie Bat.”

This shoot is actually very Weetzie inspired (if you haven’t read “Weetzie Bat” by Francesca Lia Block, let me know and I’ll lend you a copy – it’s my favorite book and Francesca is the most beautiful writer and soul).  Aurora and I both love and cherish “Weetzie Bat” (she actually gave me her copy the second time we hung out), and are both – in our own ways – very much inspired by the style and spirit of Weetzie. 

Shortly after I got engaged, I remember someone asking me, “What theme do you want for your wedding?” 

I responded, “I don’t know, I don’t really want a theme or color scheme or any of that.  I just want it to be the way I envision Weetzie Bat’s wedding.”

And in my mind that means weird and whimsical, sexy and cute, punk rock with some grunge glamour, free spirited and fun.  These photos totally capture that I think – a mix of childish and grownup desires, a sexiness that’s a little off-kilter, saturated colors and palpable emotions.

The coolest thing about these photos though?

That I got to take them with one of my bestest friends. 

These photos are a celebration of style and romance and unique wedding vibes, but they’re also an ode to creating art with a great girlfriend - and a reminder of how, sometimes, you just have to drop everything and create something special.

I’m so excited and happy to share them with you all.  I hope you love them as much as we do :)

xoxo!

Photographer, Art Director, Stylist, MUA: Aurora Lady, Instagram

Clothing: white fluff choker from Valfre, pink bandeau handmade by Aurora Lady, gold necklaces from Free People, kitty flower ears by Aurora Lady, floral panties, rainbow sweater, and pink transparent skirt from Wildfox, vertebra necklace from Unjaded Jewelry

girlhood - a poem

girlhood

when she turned thirteen

her body blossomed

her edges softened

and she felt like a stranger in her own skin


she woke up one morning and her thighs were sticky

caked in blood, a heavy ache in her belly

the first red blossom of womanhood

and with it a shame she couldn’t shake


she packed up all her stuffed animals

folded her fairy wings

and learned how to put on lipstick

the color of bubblegum ice cream


hello kitty hair bows discarded

a pink tutu tossed and traded

for a little lace bra

secret messages and an unmade bed


there is no more time for tea parties

and the days feel electric in their newness

everything is different, every day unknown

her girlhood peeling at the corners

growing up and letting go

Let's Make 2016 the Year of Self-Love!

TRIGGER WARNING: EATING DISORDERS, TRIGGERING PHOTOS

I love the city of Los Angeles.

It’s home.

It felt like home the moment I set foot in Hollywood, in a way I’d never experienced before.

This city has been so good to me; it has opened up so many of its doors and welcomed me creatively.

I wouldn’t be who or where I am today without Los Angeles.

But, there’s no question, LA can be a tough city.  It can be a hard place to exist in.

Los Angeles has a reputation for being superficial and beauty driven for a reason.  And while it’s not as bad as some people may think, this town is definitely focused on looks.  Add in the crazy pressure and beauty standards set by social media and all the toned, perfectly proportioned starlets walking around everywhere, it’s hard not to feel inadequate sometimes.

But, in all honesty, sometimes it’s just hard to exist anywhere.  We live in a society where we are constantly judged on how we look, a society where nearly every magazine cover, almost every actress, and pretty much every advertisement insists that we – as women – look a certain way.  And if we don’t resemble the ideal, we’re made to feel less than.  Less sexy, less desirable, less worthy, less of a person.

I try really, really hard to practice self-love and body positivity.  It’s been a long 26 year journey, just getting to the point that I can even say I love my body, much less believe it.  And I do believe it – I truly love my body.

And yet, more often than I’d like to admit, I find myself wishing it looked different, or comparing it to other womens,’ or talking badly about my stomach or boobs or butt.

Let’s back track.  I had an eating disorder though much of high school – what doctors diagnosed at first as “athletically induced anorexia,” but what mutated into full blown anorexia by the time it had reached its peak.  I would work out for hours at a time (I was already running cross country and track every morning, but I’d also go to the gym after school), and I cut my calories so severely that I was barely eating anything.  I was already so skinny that no one noticed I was getting skinnier.  Of course, when I looked in the mirror, in my mind I looked gigantic.  I had full on body dysmorphia and, thanks to society, I’d become convinced that big was bad, and that skinny was sexy. 

My emaciated body was far from sexy.  It was frail and fragile – not the strong, athletic body I needed to run 50 miles a week.  But skinny was the only thing I knew how to do – it was the only thing I could control about my looks.  I wasn’t particularly pretty.  I mean, I wasn’t bad looking, but I was awkward and curveless and no boys ever asked me to the homecoming dance or out on a date.  But I was skinny – and when, at some point, my mind convinced me I wasn’t skinny enough, I started starving myself.

If you’ve read past posts on my blog, you know this story.  Thankfully, I got help and made it through a treatment program.  I gained 25 pounds, going from 99lbs (and I’m 5’8” btw) to 124.  I vowed never to let my weight drop that low again.

But in college by insecurities remained, and were perhaps even heightened by my desire to be wanted – to be found sexually desirable by frat boys (eesh my priorities needed some work).  And again, in so many ways, my thin frame seemed like the only real thing I had to offer (sad, I know).  All the drinking and pizza eating I’d been doing freshman year had caused me to gain some weight, and I immediately went into freak out mode.  Freak out mode became bulimia.  I didn’t want to stop drinking, so I just started making myself throw up.  I’d stick my finger down my throat anytime I drank alcohol, or anytime I ate something that felt unhealthy.

Me in college, in the midst of my eating disorder.  I managed to keep my weight around 109 to 112.  Low enough to be super skinny, but not so low that I started having heart palpitations/chest pain/etc. (p.s. this was my outfit for a Kesha concert, not my going to class ensemble)

Me in college, in the midst of my eating disorder.  I managed to keep my weight around 109 to 112.  Low enough to be super skinny, but not so low that I started having heart palpitations/chest pain/etc. (p.s. this was my outfit for a Kesha concert, not my going to class ensemble)

I remember one night in particular, maybe a Wednesday or Thursday evening, when I was staying in my apartment doing homework (this was senior year and I wasn’t drinking nearly as much, and only on weekends).  I was totally sober, had done a crossfit class that morning and had eaten a salad for dinner, but had also eaten a handful of animal cookies for dessert.  I was racked with guilt and disgust after eating the cookies.  I was literally shaking I was so stressed out about it.  I went in the bathroom and threw up for five minutes, until I was crying over the toilet and feeling absolutely helpless.  A different sort of disgust settled in my gut – why am I doing this to myself?  But I couldn’t stop.  I managed to only let my weight drop about ten pounds, and figured out how to hover right there – at about 112 lbs.  It was enough that no one noticed I’d lost weight, and it wasn’t enough to be dangerous to my health.  But it was absolutely damning for my emotional and mental health.

After college I moved to AZ to live with my then boyfriend.  The bulimia, while not as severe, was still intermittent.  If I had more than two or three drinks (which was very often – we drank a lot) I had to throw up.  If we ate out somewhere and I splurged on something fried, then I had to throw up when we got home.  I managed to live with him for almost two years, and he never figured it out.  One night, toward the end of our relationship, I told him the truth – that I was vomiting at least once a week on purpose.  I don't think he knew what to do or how to be supportive.  We were already a mess, and I think this news was just too much for him.  A month or so later we broke up, and I moved back to TX for a few months before moving out to LA.

Since moving to Los Angeles, my weight has stayed consistent at a healthy number.  Building a supportive network of friends out here has really helped me to stay strong in the face of my eating disorder and insecurities.  Discovering feminism and the idea of self-love has given me a reason to fight – to fight back against the nasty voices in my head telling me I’m not pretty enough, skinny enough, good enough. 

I still struggle.  Every single day I have to remind myself that I’m beautiful, that I am enough. There are times when I eat something unhealthy and my instinct is to break down – my instinct is to fall back into the dangerous habits I developed over the last ten years of my life.  It’s hard.  It’s really, really hard sometimes. 

Me now, healthy and feeling more like myself than ever before <3

Me now, healthy and feeling more like myself than ever before <3

Everyday I see pictures of girls and women who are skinnier than me, “prettier” than me, more successful (by whatever standards) than me.  All of those terms are subjective and meaningless, I know that.  But in some ways my mind is wired to think along those terms.  That’s the way the world has conditioned me to think.  And it fucking sucks.  So I shove and push and dig myself out of those feelings.  I claw and bite and snarl at the notion that there’s only one kind of beauty, one ideal body, one model of success.

I long for the day when I no longer have to claw and shove and fight.  I hope, one day, I will feel completely at ease with who I am and how I look.  But I know that takes time.  All I can do is try my best to love myself.  So I work fiercely to embrace self-love and to practice positive self-talk.  I work fiercely to remember that another woman’s beauty does not negate my own.  I work adamantly to remember that, at the end of this life, it isn’t how I looked that matters.  It isn’t how flat my stomach was or how big my boobs were. 

Me, a few months ago, about to get 2nd place in the Malibu Half Marathon :)  I'm so proud of this body - a strong, healthy body that allows me to run and move through the world with energy and passion!  Note: no thigh gap.  Note x2: who gives a fuck?!

Me, a few months ago, about to get 2nd place in the Malibu Half Marathon :)  I'm so proud of this body - a strong, healthy body that allows me to run and move through the world with energy and passion!  Note: no thigh gap.  Note x2: who gives a fuck?!

Life is too short not to love yourself.  It’s an ongoing process for me, but it’s a journey I’m so glad to be on, and one that has been incredibly fulfilling.  It’s made me vulnerable but strong; it’s left me scared, but showed me just how brave I am.  The journey toward self-love isn’t easy, but it’s so, so worth it.

Thank you for supporting me on mine, and know that I support you wholeheartedly on yours.

xoxo

Willow - a poem

Willow

flower chains, the circles of butter daisies puckered rose         purpleiris

watercolor smearing             the swelling after rain                 so heavy with earth

but sisters we are more

snapdragons              the metal coil and hum                    electricity spun sky 

bittersweet nightshade        hemlock          the barren the lush

bitten              unraveling wind and shattering    

strip the leaves                      we are the bones      and the roots untangled

organic                       orgasmic         blood sap on our legs

the beetles hatching in our mouths                        roosting in ribcage

we are the cadence of cycles                       budding decay

daughters buried and bloomed

Happy Fall!!

Hi!!!!!!

Goodness, it's been forever and a day since I last posted and I'm so sorry for the delay!  I was out of the country for over two weeks and just uber busy.  But I'm ready to get back on a regular posting schedule!  Yay!

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a wonderful fall thus far!  It definitely doesn't feel like fall in Cali, but I'm pretending it does by drinking lots of coffee and buying tiny pumpkins.

Autumn is probably my favorite season (followed by summer).  I'm an extremely nostalgic, emotional person, and for some reason the fall months really seem to suit my vibe and energy.  I feel very much like myself as the weather starts to get a little cooler, the leafs begin to change color, and the sunlight seems just a little bit heavier and more golden.  Fall always reminds me of when I was growing up on the east coast - where the trees really did look like they were strewn with paper mache flames, and the nights were cold enough that we'd drink hot cocoa and wear fleecy pajamas.  I love CA with all my heart, but sometimes I ache for a Virginia autumn.

Something about fall also stokes my creativity - there's nothing I enjoy more than cozying up with a cup of coffee (I'm an addict okay??) at my desk, looking out the window at the lengthening shadows, and writing for hours.  In some ways I think these months make me a little more melancholy, but not in a bad way…I just feel more intimate with myself, more in touch with my spirit and my soul.  Fall makes me want to slow down and sink into the things that make me happy.  Writing.  Memories.  Family.  Snuggling.  Fantasy.  Reading.

Things feel different in the fall, both tangibly and emotionally.  There is a shift that I can feel in every fiber of my being and it's such a strange and beautiful sensation.

So, in honor of fall, here are some fun things that I want to do this autumn and you can totally do to!  If you want to do any together, let me know :)

1. Movie night with the girl gang!  What better time of year than fall to snuggle up with your besties and watch movies?  My list of flicks to watch: Gremlins (because, nostalgia), Wetlands (so much girl goodness), Clueless (always!), and Spirited Away.

2. Try baking something.  Okay, so I am NOT a cook.  At all.  I can scramble eggs and use the microwave.  But something about the fall makes me want to bake sweet things.  This is probably also nostalgia related, since I distinctly remember my mom baking sugar cookies and my dad making sweet rolls around the holidays.  So, every autumn, I try to make at least one new thing in the kitchen.  Banana bread, red velvet cupcakes, cinnamon coffee cake.  It doesn't always pan out (haha punny), but it's fun to try, and fun to share the end result with friends.

3. Revamp your wardrobe!  This doesn't mean go out and buy a whole new winter wardrobe (who has the funds for that??).  But why not host a clothing exchange and invite all your girls over?  I'm stoked to start wearing boots with knee high socks, cozy hats, and oversized sweaters.

4. Combine all of the last three ideas into one awesome day!

5. Go outside more.  Seriously, there's something so magical about fall and I want to spend more time experiencing it.  What I want to do: Take a picnic blanket and read outside in a park.  I want to take the puppies for more walks.  I want to drink cider on the patio with friends.  I want to lay in the yard with my love and make up our own constellations.  

6. And, of course, remember to love yourself!!  With the fall comes the holidays, and with the holidays comes the inevitable guilt of eating that extra slice of pie, drinking all that Oktober fest beer (guilty), and generally enjoying lots of savory and sweet food.  Well, screw the guilt.  It's the goddamn holidays, and if you want to eat all the mashed potatoes go for it.  On the other hand, if you are trying to stay abreast (another pun! …maybe?) of the inevitable calorie gain during the fall, then go for it!  Do what makes YOU happy.  And if you slip up, who cares?  Please, please, please don't beat yourself up over it.  Eat the weird sweet potatoes with marshmallows or don't.  And don't let anyone make you feel crappy about your choices!  Aunt JoJo is probably going to ask why you're eating so much, and Uncle Bob is most likely going to tell you to have another slice of cake.  Tell them to fuck off.  I'm totally kidding.  Give them a hug and move on with your business.

Okay, so this post got really random and apparently I'm beyond ready for cold weather and holiday sweaters, and loads of food.

I promise I'll be back soon with a feminist-y post.  

I just freakin' love the fall!!

Happy October my dears!

XOXO!