Thoughts on Thinning

As I am writing this, I am sitting in my living room in sweaty gym clothes. I almost did not make it to the gym today (Monday) and even though I was there, I did my worst mile run yet. I just finished eating a protein bar and my iPod is still set to my workout mix.

About a week ago, I entered a contest on Instagram to win a Fabletics giftcard and I recently found out that I was chosen as a runner up. The picture I posted was one my trainer took while I squated 155 pounds, which is my heaviest to date. 

Two days ago, my trainer and I hit a wall because he wanted me to do box jumps that I know physically I could, but mentally I psyched myself out of doing. He wouldn't let me leave until I did one. I barely made that one and only did so after about 15 minutes of pouting. 

A year ago, I bought the shirt I'm wearing in these pictures and I wrote this blog post about being a fat girl. Then, I didn't realize how strong I would become in just a little under a year later. Not just physically, but mentally. You see, then I thought the stronger thing to do was be confident in the fact that I was a fat girl and being okay with it. Don't get me wrong, I honestly love myself at any size. If you know me, you know I'm obnoxiously confident. But now I'm completely different and I'm not even at the size I want to be at yet. 

This shirt was created by Tess Munster. You have probably heard of her recently because she has within the last year shot to fame by becoming the largest plus-size model to be signed to a modeling agency. I've followed Tess around the web for quite a few years now so I was genuinely happy for her, but her signing came about at the same time I had lost my first 20 pounds and had no plans of stopping. 

When I bought this shirt from her, it didn't fit. I double checked the measurements and what the size chart said and I even ordered a size up like instructed because I love the saying and the movement in general and wanted to be able to flaunt this shirt. But it didn't fit. And to be honest, it still is a little bit too small for my personal preference. This shirt is a large. 

Since mid-January when I joined Snap Fitness and really started to take my health seriously, which is the reason I started in the first place, I have lost 35 pounds. I was wearing a size 22 when this all began. By June, I have no doubt that I will be in a 12.

At this point of this post I feel like I'm rambling because at this point in my fitness journey, I feel like I'm scatterbrained. I love the results. I love feeling better and actually feeling healthy. I love seeing that I can lift heavier and heavier. And that, even though today's mile run sucked, I can run. But it is such hard work. You have to be so disciplined. And it sometimes really just sucks.

When I posted my first progress picture on social media, a lot of friends reached out asking about how I lost so much so quickly. When I told them what I have changed my diet to and that I mostly just lift, no one really believed that's what it took to have these results. But that really is what it takes to get these results. I'm not joking and I highly doubt there is any other way to do it. Your nutrition is the most important and while I always thought I was eating healthy, because I ate what I was "supposed" to; I can easily tell the difference in how I feel now.

I'm not trying to tell you to start working out and eat differently. I was very happy how I lived before, but I am happier now. And if it's possible, I have even more confidence now. I'm also not trying to distance myself from the former plus-size fashion blogger I once was. I love that girl and I love that community of bloggers. It's just that now #effyourbeautystandards plays a role differently to me then when I bought this shirt. I'm still plus-sized and my curves are here to stay. Trust me, squats make a bigger booty so my curves are not going anywhere. I've still got some chub and I'm still all about rocking a crop top or bikini anyway. My brain (and heart) will always be plus-size. I know that struggle all to well, without ever realizing what a struggle it actually was. (That confidence bug, I tell ya, she's a good one!)

Now, I just want to be able to be seen as fit. I'm not aiming for skinny. Too much of me is still very much proud to be a bigger girl and know I'm beautiful even though I'm not the "ideal" size. I don't think that will ever change about me. I'm just anxious to see what I will be like when I look back on this post in a year from now.


Fashion Forward Fridays: Spring Shoes

Since I've been bartending so much, I have been wearing a lot of flats and sneakers recently. Which has led me to fall back in love with my KANDALS and want to order something similar but bolder. My decision would already be made if KANDALS created a shoe with some sort of pattern on it, but alas!

one: ModCloth | two: Target | three: UnionJack Boots | four: Blowfish Shoes

I've narrowed down my options to these four and really like them all for a different reason. At the bar, the other girls and I all wear the same t-shirt and jeans so really our shoes are the only part of our outfits that make us look different. Because of this, I have found a new love for flats and sneakers, which is mind blowing to me more than anything. Coming from the girl who wore heels everywhere for the past five years, this is a major step.

Which of these do you like best?


Chels Wears: Something Simple

Shoes, Shirt, Jeans: WalMart | Headband: Gabe's
You guys. I have a lot to talk about. Like, I've made lists. I realize that I've taken a lot of random blogging breaks recently and I am certain that it is because so much is changing in my life right now and I didn't feel like my blog was making that change with me. So if there is some different content around these parts, don't be alarmed. I am literally the happiest I have ever been right now in my life and I'm sure some of the topics I discuss will help you understand where I'm coming from. There will still be fashion related posts, because that makes sense to me always. But stay tuned, I'm excited.

In other news, yes this outfit is super simple but it was perfect for a little Sunday funday action with MJ this past weekend. We went out to lunch and got to eat on the patio! (Yay, nice weather!) And then we went for a walk around a nearby park. Since I haven't really been blogging recently, I don't plan to go out to take outfit photos, so I'm pretty happy with how easy these were and love the look of them. Seriously, I could go on little nature walks everyday and never be bored. How awesome is this little area? When we came up to this little clearing I just stopped MJ and asked, "doesn't this look great right here?" And of course that led to these pictures. I like when he plays along with my need to see myself in pictures, ha!


Chels Wears: Green Dress & Blue Tights

Dress and tights: Target | Shoes: Kmart | Scarf: Walmart | Jacket: Deb

It is finally warm outside! When the tempurature broke to 20 degrees I thought I was going to burst so now that it's around 40 I cannot even talk about how happy I am. If only it will stick around!

How great is the color of this dress? I bought this for the combined graduation party that Eric and I had for when we both got our Masters, and I still love it more than most items in my closet. Unfortunately I have not worn it that often because I feel like it's feels very spring time and it is not often bright and gorgeous out around Erie. But it felt like the perfect item to wear when the sun was shining and the day was longer on Sunday. In yesterday's post I talked about losing 25 pounds and now I realize that you cannot really tell in these pictures either because of my coat so hopefully soon I'll be able to show you guys for real and not have to wear a coat. Fingers crossed!


Chels Wears: Puffer Vest

Cardigan: Target | Vest: Peebles | Jeans, Scarf, Boots, Headband, Shirt: Walmart

Oh man have I been awful at blogging recently! My apologizes. I actually took these photos almost three weeks ago and just never felt inspired enough to post them. To be honest, my mind has just been pre-occupied, but real life has to trump blogging at some point and every time I would go to blog, I just didn't want to. I know some people will say to write through a writer's block, but I hate seeing bloggers who clearly don't care about what they're writing. I don't think that's fair for blogger or reader, so I don't do it.

Since these pictures have been taken, a lot has changed with me personally. I no longer work for Family Video, which is allowing me to focus on my business, and has put me back to bartending a few nights a week. I actually really like being behind the bar and cannot say that I mind this change. It was just very much time for me to move on from Family Video. After two years and constantly trying to out-do myself for overall company sales rankings, I had enough and needed a breather. I'm now focusing on custom projects from clients (mostly wedding invites!!) and looking for where my next move is career-wise. I feel like a big move is on the horizon and I'm excited/nervous about that but letting God lead in me figuring that out.

I have also lost about 10 pounds since these pictures were taken, 25 total since the beginning of the year. I have basically been living at the gym and really focusing on what I eat, pretty much to the point of obsession. I don't think that I look different, you'll be able to judge for yourself with tomorrow's outfit photos that were taken on Sunday, but I feel so much better. As you guys know, I am a very confident person so my weight has never really been an issue, I know I'm a big girl and I'm fine with it. But I just really felt like garbage which is why I knew I needed to change what I was doing and I will never go back at this point. It's a lot of work and pre-planning, but I cannot imagine going back to how I was eating. Plus now I can do squats like a beast, so there's that.

What have you been up to!?


How to Make Ryan Gosling Your Valentine

Hey girl, settle down, Ryan Gosling isn't really going to be your Valentine (damn that, Eva Mendes) but here is a great line up of his movies that will make you fall in love with him all over again. Because honestly, even if you are in a relationship, how can you deny this beautiful man who cares about your feelings? Oh, also I'm not including The Notebook because that is too obvious and expected, I'm offering better for my readers. So grab your favorite girls, some good wine and snacks and curl up on the couch, then get ready to swoon.

All photos from IMDb
So here's the proper lineup for a night in with your girls and the man of our dreams. He'll make you laugh and cry and really think in these and the crescendo of these movies will probably break your heart. Oh, man. Happy Galentine's Day.

Lars and the Real Girl
Stick with me on this one. Ryan Gosling is not hot in this movie but he plays such a funny and precious role that it'll make your little heart melt. Plus, it's best to start off your night less dramatic. He's a little sweetheart as Lars and you cannot help but love his quirky ways.

Half Nelson
This role, I think, really shows his range as an actor. He's a mess and all put together at the same time and plays a teacher, which come one, who didn't have a teacher crush at least once?

Crazy Stupid Love
One of my favorite movies of all time. Not a total chick flick either because most of the plot is Ryan's character getting Steve Carell's to "man up." However, one of the greatest scenes is when he's with Emma Stone and she says to him, "God it's like you're Photoshopped." And yeah, yeah, he looks like he is. He plays a very wise-ass character who is really just a big softy, you'll be in love right away.

Blue Valentine
Personally, I think this is better than The Notebook. Yeah, I said it. You'll laugh at his singing, you'll cry over their love, and you'll certainly finish all the wine. So raw and beautiful. Trust me on this one.


Learn to Love Me: Part II

Moving right along with the "36 Questions That Lead to Love" here is part two. I'm sure you guys are just head over heels for me by now, haha!

If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
I often think I'd like to know who I'll end up with, or what my career will be, how many kids (if any) I'll have, etc. but to be honest, I'd rather not know. I think it would take the fun out of life. Sure the stress would be gone too, but what would be the point of living?

Is there something that you've dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven't you done it?
Have kids. I'm only 25, I've got things to do first.

What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
Earning my Masters, starting my own business, I really do have a lot to be proud of even though I don't always give myself the proper credit.

What do you value most in a friendship?

What is your most treasured memory?
The week leading up to graduation at Seton Hill. SHU was really great about planning the school year to allow for a week to be between senior finals and graduation. Meaning there is a week that the seniors are on campus for no other reason but to hang out with each other. We certainly made the most of that week and I cherish every moment.

What is your most terrible memory?
Finding out my grandma died.

If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
Stop working and travel. To far away places I've never been and to visit friends and family. And tell everyone how I feel about them all the time until they are sick of hearing it.

What does friendship mean to you?
My friends are my life.

What roles do love and affection play in your life?
Everything. Without love, we are all nothing and while I am not one to show affection in typical ways, I know how important that is as well.

Share five positive characteristics of your partner.
MJ always sees the best in people. He is blatantly honest and loyal to a fault. He has the biggest heart of anyone I know and gives love so easily.

How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people?
I'd say we're pretty close. However, I wish that I was closer with my cousins, I am always so jealous of how close MJ is with his cousins. I would say that my childhood was pretty awesome, so yes, I was probably happier than most people and I do not take that for granted.

How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
My mom is my heart. I don't love anyone more than I love her.

Read Part I here.
And stay tuned for the final part, next week!


Fashion Forward Fridays: Pantone Color of 2015

Well I figured that it was about time that I talk about the Pantone Color of the Year. So for today's Fashion Forward Fridays, here are three ways to wear the color of 2015; Marsala. I'm in love with this color, mostly because it's in the red family, which is one of my favorite colors to wear. This isn't my favorite "color of the year" ever but I'm certainly loving it way more than last year's.
How do you feel about Marsala as the color of the year?


Chels Wears: Winter Romper

Scarf & Leg Warmers: WalMart | Cardigan: Old Navy | Boots: UrbanOG | Romper: Forever 21 | Tights: Target
I have been on the hunt for a romper for what feels like forever. It's not an easy thing to come by when I'm slightly taller than the average female and have curves for days. My friend Theresa (Hi, Tiny T!) has the perfect frame for rompers and I always get so jealous around spring/summer time when I see her in one. They just seem so care free and can easily be casual or dressy that I have wanted one forever.

Then, without warning, here comes Forever 21 Plus to the rescue. I honestly should have known better and looked here first but just recently found this little number at the Millcreek Mall and am so excited. Obviously, too excited to wait until spring to wear it, so thank you, tights and leg warmers! I probably should have gone a size down because the top half is too big (like show everyone my goods, too big) but nothing a safety pin can't fix, and wearing a scarf over it all day helped keep everything in check. And I'm certain that my butt will always be too big to properly fit into any kind of shorts, so the fact that I actually stayed covered in this is a win for me. 

Also, for anyone wondering what is going on with this hat...it's actually Eric's. Which means it's much too big and the wind wasn't helping. Needless to say, I did not end up wearing the hat all day even though I love it so much. I was handmade by my friend Kait. And these pictures were taken a week ago, so by now we have about twice as much snow...joy.


Learn to Love Me: Part I

There has been a string of bloggers recently filling out "The 36 Questions That Lead to Love" and I thought I would follow along so you all can get to know me even more. Sometimes I like to keep my life private but as a blogger, I feel like the more open I am, the more people realize there is a real person behind the screen. These questions come from the study that says if you answer these questions with another person, you can fall in love with anyone. The questions are in three parts and then the fourth part is that you're supposed to stare into the other person's eyes for four whole minutes! Intense! 

Obviously we cannot do the fourth part but over the next week or so, I'll be breaking up the questions for posts. When I worked at Jumonville, we did a similar exercise during staff training and I have to say that the partners I had still hold a special place in my heart, because of the closeness this activity really makes you feel. So let's dive in! 

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
My Seton Hill girls. I've been missing them so much lately and I would give anything to be sitting around a huge circle table in Lowe Dining Hall with all of them again.

Would you like to be famous? In what way?
I don't like how much we pry into the lives of famous people, so no, not really. But I wouldn't mind being remembered for my writing and/or designing. 

Before making a telephone call, do you rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
Sometimes, depending on who I'm about to talk to or what needs to be said. Most definitely with phone interviews but not if it's just a casual conversation.

What would constitute the "perfect" day for you?
Oh, man. My favorite kind of days are the ones that I can truly enjoy because I don't have to do anything the next day, so I can just relax and not stress out about what needs done soon. So I guess I need a perfect weekend haha! But the perfect day right now would be one that involves warm weather! Preferably on a boat just lazy river style, with a good book and/or great company.

When did you last sing to yourself? To anyone else?
Myself? All the time. I sing while getting ready, while cooking, when I'm bored, always. To other people? Sort of by accident in a boot camp class last week. Sometimes the music just moves you!

If you were to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you chose?
This probably sounds conceited and shallow, but body. I like the maturity and wit that comes with age, so I'd be okay with being a bit more forgetful but I hate that an aging body slows down even the feistiest people. 

Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
Not really. But I (unfortunately) feel like it will be untimely. Hopefully that's just because I'm paranoid.

Name three things you and your partner have in common.
(I'm assuming this means the partner of the activity, but we'll say they mean life partner.) MJ and I are both fiercely independent, introverted-extroverts (yeah, that's a thing) and great judges of character. 

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
My education. I'm especially grateful that my mom worked for a college for so long that it allowed me to go to undergrad basically for free, which allowed me to go right into grad school. I wouldn't trade those six years of higher education for anything in the world.

If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
Honestly, nothing. When I was younger, I used to wish that Eric and I had more siblings, but now that we're grown up, I wouldn't change a thing. I think other kids in the family would have kept us from being as close as we were which would be sad.

Tell your life story in as much detail as possible, in four sentences.
I was born and raised in a small town outside of Pittsburgh and led a very active life. I went off to college at Seton Hill University where I earned my BA in New Media Journalism and Communication and where I met my boyfriend, MJ, whom I've been with since 2009. After graduation, I continued my education at Point Park University where I earned my Masters in Public Relations and Advertising, also during that time I was living right in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh and started this blog! In 2014 I started my own greeting card business, Marion Claire Stationery, which has always been a lifelong goal and is named after my grandmothers. (Queen of the run-on sentence right here.)

If you could wake up tomorrow with one quality or ability, what would it be?
Patience with myself. I honestly am so patient with other people (seriously, I'm told almost every day how patient I am), but I wish I could give myself that same patience. I'll give other people way more time than they deserve but then expect me to get results and get things done, like, right now. 

Stay tuned for part two!
Fill out these questions yourself in the comments - I'd love to read them!


5 Reasons Why Your Friend in a LDR is the Perfect Wing-Woman

I've been meaning to write this post for a while now but just recently came up with all the reasons this is true. Every time I'm out with my girls, I feel like I can do no wrong by them and I'm sure other girls in "long distance relationships" will agree with me. So here are five reasons not to leave out your LDR friend, because trust me, she is far different from any of your other friends who are in relationships and certainly will play wing-woman much better than your fellow single friends.

50% of the girls in this picture were in a LDR when this photo was taken. Appropriate.
She has free time
This one is obvious. But relationships usually take a lot of face time, that people in long distance relationships are not giving/getting. Not a bad thing, just means that your friend is more accessible to you than others might be. She's able to go out without first seeing if her boyfriend had plans or wanted to do something that night.

You are her priority
This friend is set. She is not (if she's a loyal girlfriend) looking to go out and hook up with someone. She can focus on the guys you are checking out and work that wing-woman magic. She's not there to see how many phone numbers she can get, because there is already one in her phone that is most important to her. You're never competing against this friend for a man's attention while you're out.

She can handle the wing-man
Because she is not there looking for a guy, when you decide on one and his wing-man is there as well, she can divert his attention away from the two of you. (Obviously the point of the "wing-person" anyway.) Although, some guy friends don't realize they are the wing-man, which she can handle as well.

She won't let you be unsafe
Girl knows what's up. She will be there to help make good decisions. She's in a stable relationship, she wants to see you get to that point at some time too. She's going to keep your standards high and not going to let you go home with just anyone, if anyone at all. She's going to keep you safe like your mom would, if your mom were a cool 20-something that liked to go out in the wee hours. This is a good thing. We all need a gentle, mom-like, reminder when we're about to head off into uncharted territory. However, if the guy you've decided on that night happens to be the same guy you've been crushing on for the last three years and she knows he's felt the same about you, she'll live vicariously through you and make future plans happen.

She's happy if you're happy
A night out with a friend, whether it ends in heading home alone or with you to gossip about everyone you met that night, she's happy to have been with you. Life in a long distance relationship is not always easy and you getting her out of the house always helps. Although she'd (secretly) rather have you crash at her place for the night instead of a guy's, if you're happy, she's happy. And she'll make you dish about it all morning over brunch.

Where are my fellow LDR ladies?
Anything you have to add to this list?


Fashion Forward Fridays: Wearing Leggings As Pants

Alright, alright, I know there is much debate on whether or not women should wear leggings as pants. Blah, blah, blah. Personally, I don't care what you're wearing as long as they are not sweat pants or GOD FORBID pajama pants in public. I also know that people are busy (and lazy) and I have been guilty of wearing yoga pants to work just so I could force myself to actually go to the gym afterwards too. So yoga pants, leggings, workout pants, whatever you call them (they are all basically the same) as long as the rest of your outfit is golden, they are all okay in my book.

For today's Fashion Forward Fridays, I've styled the same pair of workout pants in three different ways that you could "get away" with wearing them to places other than the gym. The typical argument about these usually comes down to keeping your butt covered, which with leggings (typically made out of thinner fabric than yoga or workout pants) I get that. But the other two (usually) have a decent kind of fabric that won't let everyone see your whole booty if you bent over. I'm not even going to get into the discussion about whether or not you should wear these for "modesty" reasons either, because I get dressed for me and if my cute butt is too distracting, that is not my issue. I'm distracted by guys who wear nice, fitted suits to work but you don't see me complaining that I cannot get my work done because of it.

I have literally worn these exact outfits before, which is why I know they work and look good. On a side note, if you're going to do the workout pants to work look, proceed with caution. There is a serious debate about these pants even if you haven't heard it, trust me, it's going on. I have worn this exact work look (shown last) to a corporate office before and no one thought twice about it because of the way it was styled. Your nicest workout pants should be the ONLY ones that you consider wearing to work. They should also be plain, no logos or visible patchwork to them and the rest of your look, including hair and makeup, should be polished. Otherwise, be comfortable! That's why we're wearing these pants after all, isn't it!?
Which look is your favorite?


Chels Wears: Skirts in the Snow

Skirt: Thrift Shop | Shoes: Kmart | Shirt: JCPenney | Jacket: Deb | Scarf: WalMart
Oh look, guys, I'm not properly dressed for the temperature again. Imagine that. I just hate snow too much to let it ruin my fashion plans, though I wish my legs weren't so white, holy cow. It was actually fairly "warm" when we took these photos. Like 25 degrees or something that felt decently warm. Erie is a confusing place to live around this time.

This is the first time this skirt has ever made an appearance. Well, that's not totally true. I got it at a thrift shop back home over a year ago and it (along with one other) have been hanging in my closet waiting to be worn by me since. I'm just not normally a midi skirt kind of person. I'm usually maxi or mini so this length has been a weird one for me to decide to wear. But I'm thinking I like it! I'll have to pull out that other thrift shop skirt that I got with this one because I'm really liking this look and I really am surprised by that. I wore this on Sunday to church. I really only decided to go with this skirt at the last minute because I didn't feel like wearing tights and didn't want to wear a maxi. (I always wear a skirt or dress to church, I feel weird when I don't.) So this skirt was the winner...long enough to not really need tights and short enough to not be considered a maxi. Maybe it's time to embrace the midi?

What's your favorite skirt length?

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