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


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 :) &nbsp;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! &nbsp;Note: no thigh gap. &nbsp;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.


Girl Thing

Girl Thing

eating ice cream

a perfect replica of erotica

her bubblegum hair is puffed and pouffed

her breasts perky and plump with night drowsies

maraschino lips and a soft unfolding

stardust on her eyelashes

glitter in her sheets

a pastel pin-up

primed for cake and candy

sugary sweet tooth

and the mint chocolate chip drips

sticky fingers, melty daydreams

a baby doll anime-eyed darling

with a perfect pussy

sculpted from the glamour mags

porcelain and pretty

a soft and sultry

sexed up Girl Thing


Ask anyone who knows me, and they'll tell you I'm not very conservative when it comes to my ta-tas.  I like sheer tops, I like side-boob, and I never wear a bra (unless I absolutely have to).  I have no qualms being topless, and would do so in public if it wouldn't land me in jail.  But alas, my nips are not allowed the freedom I feel they deserve.

As a woman, the exposure of my breasts is deemed inappropriate, whether I'm skinny dipping, feeding a baby, or just letting the girls out because I'm tired of the inequality they face on a daily basis.  Even as a kid I remember feeling confused why, when at the beach, boys could walk around without a shirt but I had to cope with chafing from a bathing suit top.  These days I'm still sort of confused, but mostly frustrated.  I realize that women's boobs have been sexualized, but why should we (ladies) be penalized for that?  It's not my fault if, at the beach, the exposure of my boobs causes a guy to get distracted and trip on a sand castle.  Sure, sure guys like breasts for scientific, natural reasons, it's "animalistic" or something.  So?  Women are attracted to men's pectorals and abs, but you don't see us freaking out when a guy takes off his tee at the pool.  

So why - in fucking 2014 - are women denied the right to go topless?  I'm looking at you Instagram.  

In case you live under a rock and haven't heard about the semi-recent Chelsea Handler boobalicious instagram scandal, I'll recap.  About two weeks ago, Handler posted a photo on insta of her riding a horse topless.  The photo poked fun at a similar picture taken by Vladmir Puton (yes, shirtless), and she captioned her photo with the words, "Taking this down is sexist.  I have every right to prove I have a better body than Putin."  Surprise, surprise, Instagram immediately removed the photo.  Handler retaliated and reposted it, this time with the caption, "If a man posts photos of his nipples, it's okay, but not a woman?  Are we in 1825?"  Again, Instagram removed the photo.  After a third posting, in which Handler wrote, "If Instagram takes this down again, you're saying Vladimir Putin has more 1st amendment rights than me.  Talk to your bosses."  They removed the photo.

This whole debacle outraged me.  Let me clarify, it's not like I want to post naked photos of myself all over the internet or plaster my boobs to every social media outlet.  But I sure as hell want the right to do so should I please.  As a body-positive feminist who's come a long way in learning to love her body, I've embraced my shape, my boobs, and all of the things I used to consider flaws.  I don't need the world telling me to keep it covered - it's my body, my rights.  

My death stare in regards to&nbsp;Instagram's anti-nipple policy

My death stare in regards to Instagram's anti-nipple policy

People argue that social media sites like Instagram don't allow nudity because children use the app.  Okay, I agree that there shouldn't be porn on insta.  I shouldn't have to worry about my little cousin accidentally stumbling onto a picture of some sweaty sexual act.  Men's privates aren't allowed on Instgram, and neither are vag-jay-jays.  That's fine, because at least there's equality and I suppose the line has to be drawn somewhere.  It's the breasts and nipples that I take issue with.  Are people really worried about their kids seeing boobs on instagram?  Because, honestly, that's indicative of a culture that still objectifies and fears the female form.  Why not teach our children that women's bodies aren't something to cover up or something to be sexualized?  Let's teach our kids that breasts are beautiful, and that they're part of the human body, one that shouldn't elicit shame.  If a man can have his nipples out - in public and on social media - women should be able to too.  I long for the day when I can have my breasts out and not have to worry about eliciting catcalls, outrage, or any sort of reaction.  They're just boobs for goodness sakes!

I'm not sure whether Instagram will ever change their stance on breasts, but I fully support and utilize the hashtag #freethenipple in the hopes that, maybe, it's eliciting even a little bit of change!

I also realize that not everyone is as passionate about this titssue (haha boob joke!), and to some, my ardor for freeing the nip might seem a little weird.  But, ultimately, it's not just about nipples.  It's about women having rights to their own bodies, it's about the ridiculous portrayal of women's bodies in the media, and it's about freedom of choice.  Whether you want to keep your boobs under cover or let em out into the world should be completely up to you.  By no means should you unleash your nips if you don't want to!  I just ask that my nipples be afforded the same rights as everyone else's, and that they stop being regarded as sexual/inappropriate/disgusting/shameful.  Nipples and boobs are magical, they really are, but ultimately they're just one part of a body, which is just one part of an amazing woman who should be able to do with her body as she pleases.


Grrrl Talk

After 24 years of life, I’ve heard just about every complaint a woman can have about her body.  Whether it was from my best friends, girls in my sorority, family members, or complete strangers, I’ve heard women say a lot of terrible things about themselves – myself included.  A vocabulary of hate/disgust/shame is practically handed to us on a silver platter as girls, and most ladies will – at some point in their lives - use this dialog to bring themselves down.  Self-degradation is so ridiculously common; even some of the strongest, most confident women I know berate themselves for not being skinny enough, having bad skin, having weird boobs…the list goes on and on and on.  When we don’t live up to the images we see online, in movies, in magazines, in our own minds, we become destructive – physically, mentally, and emotionally.


A few things I have a history of beating myself up over:

My hair

My boobs

My figure  - I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished for the bodies of my curvier friends!


Things I’ve watched beautiful, wonderful women beat themselves up over:

Their thighs, hips, and booty

Their skin, freckles, and birthmarks

Their hair


We then take these traits and smash them together with things viewed as “negative.” 

Thin, bland hair

Small boobs

Boyish, stick-like figure

Thighs that touch, large hips and a big booty

Pale skin

Dark, mousy brown hair


You get the idea. 

But my question is – why the hell are all of these attributes (and other traits) seen as negative?  Because some super model on a magazine cover has thick, blonde hair, a tiny waist, ginormous breasts, and perfectly tanned skin?

Who made that the ideal image of beauty?  Who decided on that?  The consumers?  The male population?  Women?  The magazine’s editor?

I don’t care who it was/is.  What matters is that WE make the decision to stop viewing a very narrow selection of attributes as beautiful.  Big hips are just as positive and beautiful as a more boyish frame.  Blonde hair, brown hair, purple hair – it’s all fucking rad.  

It devastates me that women attach so much negativity to the very things that make them beautiful.   I hate hearing girls lament their so-called “flaws” – hell, that self-degradation makes up a good portion of most gals conversations.  If I had a kitten for every time my girlfriends and I sat around and mourned all the things we hate about ourselves I’d be a crazy cat lady by now (which would actually be fine since I love cats).  Besides, shouldn’t we be putting a heck of lot more emphasis on what’s on the inside?  Why can’t we sit around and talk about how emphatic, hilarious, and quirky we are? 

So, along with my mission to make February a month of self-love, I also want to make an effort to stop the trash talking.  Whenever I feel the urge to say something bad about myself (or anyone else for that matter), I’m going to stop myself and replace it with something positive.

I’m hoping that – by the end of the month – I’ll have replaced the hurtful habit of berating myself with a new vocabulary of positivity and confidence.

I’m going to start right now and list three fabulous things about myself:

My pink hair is totally fun and cute and suits my personality.

My legs have gotten super strong from working out and taking barre classes.

I’m opinionated and sweetly fierce – I’m not afraid to stand up for my beliefs!


Okay, your turn!


(The following photos are actually from several different shoots.  I did a whole photo spread called "Glamour Kills" in college, and when I stumbled across those photos earlier, I realized that they'd fit together perfectly with several pictures I took earlier this year - and this post.  I think they capture the desperation we, as women, often feel to fit a certain "desirable" and "beautiful" mold, and the sadness and self-loathing that occur because of such permeating, damaging ideas.)


Mannequin Muffs @ American Apparel

Hi everyone!  I’m back in LA after a family trip to Costa Rica, which was absolutely amazing!  There are a few pictures on my facebook - check them out there!  As fun as it was, I’m so glad to be back home in Cali and blogging.  I didn't get a chance to post anything while I was away (I was trying to do the whole “don’t do anything” thing – AKA read, lay on the beach, drink, and eat the most amazing fresh fruit).  But I did come up with a bunch of topics I want to blog about, so stay posted for some exciting entries!

But I actually want to blog about something I’ve seen online since I got back in town.  For those of you who haven’t heard/seen about it, American Apparel’s newest window display on NYC’s East Houston Street has society all atwitter.

This post does contain nudity (if half dressed mannequins count) and discussion of some semi-intimate topics.  SO READ IT! ;)

The nipples aren’t what are eliciting a response.  No, it’s the visible va-jay-jay hair that’s got peoples’ panties in a bunch.

Photos by Jen Chung with&nbsp; Gothamist

Photos by Jen Chung with Gothamist

When I first saw the display online, my immediate response was one of glee.  As someone who spent several years buying into the bikini/Brazilian trend, I used to view pubic hair as the antithesis of sexiness.  But I’ve realized that my idea of sexiness was, in this regard (and in many), decided by society and not by me.  Pubic hair became taboo in lieu of the pornography industry showing completely shorn women, and suddenly society demanded that all ladies be hair free.  And why??  Body hair is totally sexy – it’s womanly, wild, and natural.  Don’t get me wrong – if you wanna shave your hoohaa, go for it!  Just do it because it’s what you want, not because your man/lady or the porn world demands it of you.

What really inspired me to write about this though, were the responses I read on social media.

I saw all sorts of comments, most of them along these lines:

“Ewwww gross! LMAO.”

“This is so disgusting.  This is why waxing was invented.”

And almost all the comments I read were from ladies.

Seriously gals?  I don’t know what you do with your lady bits, but please don’t shame another woman’s decision to rock a muff.  If you find it gross, fine, but keep the negativity to yourself.  And maybe ask yourself why you find it so disgusting.  You might find that your judgments are founded in misogyny, misinformation, or sheer meanness.  A year ago I might have had a similar response, but when I realized why I felt that way, I had a complete change of heart (or bush haha).

Now – back to the mannequins.  Like I said, I think it’s rad.  But that doesn’t mean it’s not problematic.  The muff thing is awesome.  Not so awesome?  The totally typical mannequins.  AKA size zero, perky boobs, thigh gap, all of them with white skin…yeah, you see the problem.  So, next time AA, give us a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.  And hell, give some of em hair and make some of em clean-shaven.  Give a shout out to ALL the women out there, and your controversial display will be powerful and impactful as opposed to a bunch of generic, sex-doll-esque mannequins with peek-a-boo pubic hair.  (And don’t even get me started on Dov Charney – the CEO of American Apparel who has all sorts of sexual harassment lawsuits filed against him – PROBLEMATIC).

Wax, don’t wax – it’s up to you.  But no matter your choice, be respectful of other ladies’ (and men – this goes for you too!) decisions.  And advertisers– keep showing us different ideas of femininity and sexiness, just make sure that you embrace different kinds of women.

The Teenage Diaries - Navigating Femininity

I've been thinking a lot recently about my experience as a teenage girl.  After stumbling upon Petra Collins collection of photos called "The Teenage Gaze" - check them out here - and talking to two of the wonderful young girls I carpool, my mind's been filled with memories, stories, and imagery centered on the teenage years.  Nothing can compare to being a teenager - it was one of the most colorful, vivid, confusing, wonderful, tear inducing times of my life.

When I think of my time as a teenager, I remember having to start navigating femininity, and the sudden – and confusing - importance that girls/boys/society began to place on stereotypical ideas of being female.  I already wrote a little bit about undergoing the transition from girl to woman, but I want to get a little more specific with my experiences, the problems I see, and how to fix these issues.

Almost everyone I know – guys/girls – has suffered through the infamous “puberty movie.”  I remember it clearly, though bits and pieces stand out more clearly than others.  I must have been about 12, right on the cusp of teenage changes, and had been hearing stories about the dreaded video for several months prior to the actual viewing.  I remember that the boys and girls were separated, the boys shuffled off into the gym, the ladies corralled in a classroom.  We sat with our legs crossed – I was wearing a dress and recall being uncomfortable sitting on the ground - in front of an old-school television, waiting nervously as one of the teachers plunked in a VHS.  Cheesy graphics and bubbly font explained pimples and told us we’d develop hair in weird places.  There were tips on starting to shave and buying a bra.  An overly excited lady popped on screen and talked about tampons and pads, and how “No one has to know you’re on your period!”  Then the video clicked off, and our teachers passed out a miniature box of feminine products and a pamphlet on puberty. 

They then proceeded to ask some of us when we’d started our periods and what the experience had been like.  Timidly, girl after girl admitted to having started hers, each sounding increasingly embarrassed and grossed out about the blood seeping between her legs.  As the uncomfortable decision continued, I began to navigate a strange mixture of emotions.  I hadn’t begun menstruating, which, in some ways, was a relief since it sounded terrible and disgusting.  But, on the other hand, starting your period equaled “becoming a woman,” so did that mean something was wrong with me?  

Suffice to say, I didn’t know what to feel as I exited the classroom.  And things only continued to get more confusing.  When the boys and girls were reunited, things seemed different…awkward.  My guy friends looked at me funny; some of them made jokes and I couldn’t figure out whether to be upset or laugh.  I became much more aware of the differences between guys and girls.  And perhaps more significantly, I became acutely aware of the differences between myself and other girls.

In the following days, weeks, and months, I observed more and more of my peers carrying colorful tampons in their purses.  Almost all of my friends were buying bras, and I couldn’t help but notice how their clothes began to fit them differently.  Meanwhile, if you blurred out my face, I could have easily been mistaken for a boy in a skirt.  I begged my mom to let me get a bra and begin shaving my legs.

Even though my mom let me get a training bra (she said no to the shaving), I still felt unsure and perplexed about going from girl to adult.  I wanted to experience the whole “becoming a woman” thing, but couldn’t help feeling that I was lagging behind.  But on the other hand…becoming a woman sounded pretty damn unappealing and limiting.

That ridiculous video and all the hype surrounding it taught me a whole bunch of bullshit about femininity and puberty:

1.    Boobs, curves, and bleeding mean that you are becoming a woman

2.    Undergoing these changes – and only these changes – means you are normal

3.    Being normal – AKA fitting into stereotypes- is desirable

4.    But heaven forbid your hips get too big or you become undesirable

5.    If you grow hair on your legs, shave it!  No one likes a girl with excess hair.

6.    If you start your period, shove a piece of cotton up your juicebox and don’t talk about it with anyone, ever.  That’s just gross.

7.    You’re either a girl or a boy; that’s it.

8.    If you’re a girl, you like boys.  If you’re a boy, you like girls.  End of discussion.

Those are the lessons I took from a shitty, thirty-minute movie, the subsequent responses by my peers (and myself), and the mainstream thought process in society.  There’s nothing unique about this experience.  All around the US, pre-pubescent teens were shown similar videos - I desperately hope they’ve changed since my time in middle school.  I grew up in a society with an incredibly narrow definition of femininity and womanhood.  Certainly there were and are a multitude of women who think differently (my mother, many of my friends, my cousins), but unfortunately, mainstream thinking still has some catching up to do. 

It’s taken me 24 years to start understanding just how f-ed up stereotypical ideas and notions of femininity are.  As a teenager, our views of ourselves, and society, begin to form – those years are a prime time for developing ideas/insecurities/opinions/etc.  And whether your chest begins to swell or stays the same, whether you begin to get more attention or seem to go unnoticed, the effects imprint themselves on you.  In my case, I became self-conscious about my very un-womanlike figure, my inability to fulfill the standards and stereotypes presented to me, and a fear of what womanhood would be like should I ever actually reach it.  Feelings of undesirability, unattractiveness, and shame planted themselves in my deepest, darkest corners, and to this day I struggle to uproot the seeds planted during my teenage years.

My suggestion?  Instead of filling young girls heads with a singular idea of womanhood and what it means to be a girl, why the heck can’t we embrace and espouse the fact that going from girl to woman is an extraordinary process, one that doesn’t have to center around developing breasts or beginning to like boys.  Not everyone likes boys for god’s sake!  And not every little girl wants to be a girl!  There are so many nuances to femininity and sexuality that aren’t addressed!

And why not?  Are we afraid to tell young girls and boys that it’s okay to be different?  Are we afraid to accept that not everyone fits a certain mold of “girl” or “boy?”  This fear is founded in ignorance and hurts our community of young people every single day.

We also need to insist that, no matter what each individual’s experience is growing up, becoming a woman doesn’t have to be negative.  Stop telling girls they have to shave in order to be appealing.  Stop acting like menstruation is something to hide; that tampons should be bought stealthily in the self-checkout line.  In some cultures, when a girl begins her period, her female family members and friends throw her a huge party.  How awesome is that??  I one hundred percent plan on celebrating my daughter’s period – whether it’s when she’s 10 or 18 – with red and pink balloons, a cake shaped like a vagina, and a reminder that she’s an amazing human being, no matter her size, sexuality, or anything else.

We’ve made great strides over the years in promoting self-expression, acceptance, and love.  But it’s time go from striding to sprinting.  Let’s start making videos that are honest and encouraging.  Let’s start talking about this.  Let’s start making sure that teens – and adults – know that femininity has millions of ever-fluctuating definitions – all of which are right.