Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year in Review

With it being New Year's Eve, I thought I would do a little year in review post.

2011 has been an interesting year. I feel like we've made no significant changes in our lives, but we did do things. In fact, if I were to describe 2011 with one phrase it would be "Little changes". Here are some of the little changes that affected us this year:
  • Last January, Brad began classes for an M.S.- Mechanical Engineering through Perdue University
  • I started a job at Regent University in April
  • This summer we hosted lots of visitors and traveled lots of places, including Boston.
  • We bought new couches! Haha, I still need to feature them, but only after we get the livingroom finished off.
  • I started training for a half-marathon
  • We re-vamped how we eat, cutting processed foods/sugars and trying our best to follow The Eat Clean Diet
It's been a good year. Tomorrow I'm going to post some goals for next year, so come back then to see what sorts of things I want to accomplish in the next 12 months. Until then, here are my top five Style Files from over the course of the year. I guess they're not a "top five". Just my five favorites. :) 

 I think this year I've allowed my style to sort of "grow up" in some senses because I have to dress professionally (i.e. conservative) for work. But i've also grown up in that I'm beginning to wear what I want to wear, regardless of whether or not it "goes" or is something someone else would wear. I'm having fun, and that's what Fashion is all about, right?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Style File 12/31/11

 Look at this! Two style files in one week! I'm up at my parent's house in Michigan. It's been great being home! We've been hanging out and relaxing. Brad, unfortunately, got sick but he went to the doctor and seems to be doing much better. I was sick last week, and so, it's now his turn to deal with it. Kind of a damper on things, but honestly, we can't do much right now because of the ice and snow out. But that's Northern Michigan for ya. :)
 It has been really great hanging out with my family. I've missed them. The holidays make me especially reminiscent and makes me want to move closer to home. Some day that may be a possibility, I'm hoping anyway.
 This outfit features two things I got for Christmas. The first I'm going to mention is the scarf. My grandmother got me two scarves; I'll shoot a style file later with the other scarf. I love the colors on this one. It will go with many of my outfits, and it has an awesome texture to add.
 You may recognize these boots and jeans from my Black Friday Style File. They're so comfy I've been wearing them a lot! Those pants... they're super super comfy.
 I picked this sweater up at Gap not too long ago. I love the texture in it.
 These earrings are awesome. While this isn't the best picture of them, you can get the idea. Brad's cousin Grace gave them to me for Christmas. She made them herself! I love the feathers. They're just the right amount of funk to add to my outfits. With those colors too, they'll will go with a lot of my things! I love pops of color and these definitely accomplish that.

Also, what you don't see in these pictures is the fact that it is only TEN DEGREES OUT. I took these photos in less than fifteen minutes. By the time I got back into the house my fingers were completely numb and I couldn't bend them. Oof. 

Outfit Rundown:
Sweater: GAP
Grey Layering tank: ANA, JC Penny
Scarf: gift
Earrings: gift
Jeans: JC Penney
Boots: JC Penney

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Style File!

 This year for Christmas we were in Marion, IN visiting Brad's parents. Christmas morning we got up and got ready for Church. I opted for a wintery outfit without being majorly Christmassy. Plus it was very comfortable, so that's always a bonus.
 Brad is making an appearance for this style file! He got some new clothes at Express and is looking very fashionable these days. Fit is key, guys! The photographer pant (that's what Brad is wearing) is amazing. It's tailored and fits very well, especially if you happen to be tall and trim.

The shirt he's wearing is an extra slim fit, again good for those of you who are tall and trim.

This is just a gratuitous shot of us.  I think we're cute. :)

I love this sweater. It's thin, so it worked well from September until now in VA Beach, since it hadn't really cooled off until then. And I like the color. This shade is practically universally flattering. Go try it! :)

My Outfit Rundown:
Sweater: GAP
Necklace: Gift; Renfest
Skirt: The Limited, thrifted
Tights: Simply Vera Wang (kohl's)
Boots: DSW

Brad's Outfit:
Shirt and pants: Express
Shoes: DSW
Woman: Gaylord, Mi ;)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick note:

I am alive! :) It's just a busy season between Christmas shopping, getting sick, and upping my running mileage. I will be posting a Style File soon, I'm hoping before the New Year. I am traveling to Indiana and to Michigan, so that's where they're going to be shot! Promise!

But if I don't "see" you before then... Merry Christmas! I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas season and that you allow yourselves to enjoy it. I know that it's really tempting to let stress spoil it all, but don't let it! It's ok to say no to a bajillion holiday parties. It's ok to not have your Christmas shopping done yet. It's ok to not bake one thousand cookies for that Church cookie swap (should have taken my own advice on that one ;) ).

But it is NOT ok to miss out on the joy of Christmas. Spend time with your loved ones. Relish in watching silly cartoons and Christmas movies, all while sipping too-sugary hot cocoa and eating some of those cookies you baked earlier!

I would also like to issue a small challenge. I know I just said relish in the season. And I want you to; but I also want you to think about how you can help make Christmas better for someone else; then I want you to act on that. Donate food to a food pantry. Volunteer your time at Toys for Tots. Serve a meal at a soup kitchen. Give your postman, hair dresser, or waitress an extra big tip just because. Take some cookies to your leasing office or neighbors. Just do something. :)


Monday, December 5, 2011

Style File 12/5/11

 I have been looking for new jeans for a very.long.time. Jeans are always so difficult. But I finally found GAP Perfect Boot cut jeans, and I love them. They have a great amount of stretch, fit well, and are long enough for me. My number one problem with jeans is the length. I am at an awkward height where regular length jeans are too short, and long jeans are too long. Well, they're too long until I wash them a couple times. These are quite long, so these might be my new "wear with heels" jeans, which I am completely fine with.
 Sometimes I like to put unexpected colors together, like teal and red. I think it works because it's broken up a bit.

I'm also loving stripes. That is all. :)

Outfit rundown:
Drapey sweater thing: Target
Striped shirt: GAP
Jeans: GAP
Shoes: Target (old).

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What's for Lunch?

This week has been long and tiring. I especially love taking extended weekends for holidays, but it definitely makes coming back tiring. So to be honest, cooking this week has been boring. We have been scrounging for stuff because i'm tired and don't feel like cooking. Or we've had to be somewhere so I didn't take pictures.

In lieu of dinner pics, I thought I would share with you what I packed for lunch and snacks today. :)

Morning snack (around 9:30 or 10 am): plain, nonfat greek yogurt with a smidge of honey stirred in. Clean pumpkin bread.

Lunch (around 12:30 or 1): banana and peanut butter wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla (all natural nut butters are a great source of protein. My favorite is almond butter), broccoli florets, baby carrots, and some crackers (Trader Joe's multigrain cracker minis).

Afternoon snack (around 3:30 or 4): 1 apple and scant handful of almonds.

What sorts of things do you pack for lunch?

Oh, also because it's December first, I am going to share one of my favorite Christmas youtube videos (also posted on Facebook). It's an oldie but a goodie!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Style File 11/26/11

Ok, so, Brad and I went out  on Black Friday. We left here around 10am, not really expecting to hit anything good. We mostly just like to see the mayhem, and to look around and see what there is to see. But every couple of years I find something awesome. This year, I found two things! So I styled them for your viewing pleasure. And because I love putting on new clothes!

The first Black Friday score: A new pair of skinny jeans for 20 dollars. These jeans are actually grey. They look blue in this pic, but they're grey. I like them. Here's a link to them on JCP's website. Had I seen them online first, I never would have bought them because they look a little lame. But they fit wonderfully and they are so comfy. Almost like PJ's.

 I've had this suede jacket forever. I had my senior portraits (as in: Senior in HIGH SCHOOL portraits) done in them. I've been too big for this jacket for a long time, but I never got rid of it because I like it so much. I'm glad I held onto it because it fits again! Yay!
 Sometimes less is more, you know? White tee, jeans, boots, go.
And these boots are my second score. 30 dollars. Originally 100. Yes. I wanted some flat brown boots, but for 30 bucks I couldn't say no to these. I'll just have to get some flat boots after Christmas. ;)

Outfit Rundown:
Suede Jacket: Charlotte Russe, I believe. It's old. I think I bought it my Junior year in high school. 
Tee: Target
Jeans: JC Penney
Boots: JC Penney
Earrings: Vintage. From my mom's closet.
Necklace: Gift.

Friday, November 25, 2011

What was for Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving was wonderful! The Turkey turned out great. We have lots left over though. Now to figure out what to do with the left overs?

For dinner tonight I ate pumpkin pie. Don't judge me.

:) Hope you're recovering well from your food comas. Style file up tomorrow morning!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What's for Thanksgiving?

TURKEY! That's what's for Thanksgiving! :) Here's what I'm using as a guideline for roasting our Turkey breast:

  • 1  (10-to-12 pound turkey) turkey
  • 1/4 cup(s) fresh herbs, plus 20 whole sprigs, such as thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano and/or marjoram, divided
  • 2 tablespoon(s) canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
  • Aromatics: , onion, apple, lemon and/or orange, cut into 2-inch pieces (1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cup(s) water, plus more as needed

  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 475°F.
  2. Remove giblets and neck from turkey cavities and reserve for making gravy. Place the turkey, breast-side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan; pat dry with paper towels. Mix minced herbs, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the herb mixture all over the turkey, under the skin and onto the breast meat. Place aromatics and 10 of the herb sprigs in the cavity. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Add 3 cups water and the remaining 10 herb sprigs to the pan.
  3. Roast the turkey until the skin is golden brown, 45 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven. If using a remote digital thermometer, insert it into the deepest part of the thigh, close to the joint. Cover the breast with a double layer of foil, cutting as necessary to conform to the breast. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and continue roasting for 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours more. If the pan dries out, tilt the turkey to let juices run out of the cavity into the pan and add 1 cup water. The turkey is done when the thermometer (or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone) registers 165°F.
  4. Transfer the turkey to a serving platter and cover with foil. (If you're making Herbed Pan Gravy, start here.) Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes. Remove string and carve. 
Except obviously I am not doing a whole bird. So my plan of action is to make the herb/olive oil rub. And then place the Turkey in my pan. I don't have a roaster pan, so this might get interesting. I'm thinking I'll use a generic 9 x 13 pan, and then cover it all with tin foil. But anyway, in the pan I'll place the lemon, apple, and onion. I'll probably only use half of each thing. And then I'll place some sprigs of herbs around and under and probably on it. It's going to be herby! :) I bought some turkey broth that I'll probably use instead of water, just for added flavor, and again, i'll be using less than the 3 cups listed here. Cover it all with tin foil and roast for a while, then i'll uncover it and let it brown up for the last half of the cooking. I think it should go well.

As for the whole day to get in my cooking, here is my Plan of Action to get it all done:

-Tonight after work: Brad is picking up Turkey Breast from the butcher. We'll have to find some space in our fridge. Tear up half of the bread to dry out (for stuffing)
-Wednesday after work: Bake pumpkin pie. Wash broccoli and let dry.
-Thursday am: break up rest of the bread, toss the salad (minus the dressing). Chill beverage.
-Thursday afternoon (around 2ish): prepare turkey, and prepare stuffing, put turkey in at 2:30 (we want to eat around 5:30 or 6). The Turkey Breast will be 6-8 lbs (not sure yet!), so I figured 2.5 hours to cook. Is that correct? Put in stuffing (separate pan) in around 30 minutes before Turkey comes out.
-Thursday evening: prepare and boil potatoes/parsnips, prepare broccoli and put in oven 15 minutes before turkey comes out, mash potatoes, put it all in serving dishes.

We shall see how it all goes! :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

What's for Thanksgiving? 11/21/11

Thought I would share the recipe I will be using for my pumpkin pie this year. I thought I would break out of using the recipe off the back of a Libby's can. :) This recipe is in no way clean, but pumpkin pie is ok to eat on Thanksgiving, right! I would prefer to not use store bought pie crust as it has all sorts of icky additives, but I honestly do not have the time to make a pie crust nor am I that great at it. If I had a food processor, I might consider doing a no-roll type of crust. But, alas, i have no food processor.

Not my picture. :)

1-15 ounce can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 -9 inch unbaked pie crust (I use Pillsburyt)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a medium bowl, mix pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves until well combined.  Add eggs, evaporated milk, and heavy cream. Mix everything until completely smooth (about 3 minutes in my KitchenAid mixer on medium speed).  Pour pie filling into an unbaked deep dish pie shell.  Bake the pie for 15 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.  Bake for an additional 50-55 minutes until the center of the pie does not jiggle (loosely).  Allow the pie to cool on the counter and then chill it in the refrigerator before serving.  Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Sweetened Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Tomorrow I'll share how I'm going to do the Turkey as well as my plan of action to accomplish all of the cooking!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What's for Thanksgiving? 11/17/11

GOOD NEWS! I got a turkey breast! yay! Well, actually, I ordered it. I will pick it up on Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. I ordered it from a Butcher who sells all natural turkey. So that is going to be awesome. Except I've never cooked a fresh turkey breast. I'm assuming it won't be much different than cooking a thawed frozen one.

On to the recipe for today. Liz's Famous Broccoli (i've been cooking it this way since long before it went up on pinterest).

Not my picture. Came from pinterest. :)

What you'll need:
-Fresh broccoli florets (I will probably use two bunches for Turkey Day. chop them off the bunches. Wash and allow ample time to dry before cooking)
-Half of a lemon
-Olive Oil
-3 cloves of Garlic, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 (or if you're like me, just put it in the oven with whatever else you're cooking and adjust cooking time. Lower the temp the longer the cooking time!).  In a large bowl with a lit, place the broccoli, 3-4 tbsp olive oil (or less if it will cover the broccoli), garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Put lid on top and shake it all up. Place on foil-lined cookie sheet (it helps crisp the broccoli up) and put in oven until the broccoli is crispy and just starting to brown (about 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees). Remove from oven and place in serving dish, squeeze the juice of 1/2 of a lemon over and mix to distribute throughout the dish. Serve hot.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What's for Thanksgiving?

Like many Foodies out there, over the course of this week I am going to share with you some of the recipes I will be using for my Thanksgiving Feast this year. I've found some cleaned up recipes to make so they still fit in with how we eat (mostly. But it's the holidays, we can break the plan. :) )

The recipes I share are mostly just going to be sides because, well, I figure everyone has the way they do their turkey. If it's not broken, don't fix it! That said, I'm on a quest to find a Turkey breast that will be suitable for Brad and I to consume. We don't like dark meat, plus a whole Turkey seems like a lot of food for two people! I'm having a very hard time finding a turkey breast that isn't injected with saline and other crap. I will succeed, though. But I might have to break down and buy a very small turkey and just find someone to take the dark meat off of our hands.

Anyway, so today I am going to tell you (because I don't have any pictures of my own) how I am going to do our potatoes this year. I call them: Not Your Momma's Mashed Potatoes. I adapted them from Terry Walter's Clean Start cook book. I adjusted the proportions a little because in my test run they weren't quite to our liking. Potatoes have gotten a bad rep recently, but they're really not bad for you. They are a starch, but unless you kill them with tons of fat or naughty add-ons (bacon), they're actually a good thing to consume!

Full Disclosure: Not my photo. :)

Not Your Momma's Mashed Potatoes:

-2 medium baking potatoes
- 1 large parsnip (or 2 medium ones or 3 extremely small ones. :) )
-Olive Oil
-skim milk

Peel and cut up the potatoes and parsnip into small pieces. Place in a pot and bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer until the potatoes and parsnips are mashable. Drain the water off and put the potatoes and parsnips into a bowl (or kitchen aid mixer bowl so you don't have to had mash them). Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tbsp  skim milk. Mash up! If you don't like the consistency, add milk a little bit at a time until desired consistency is achieved.Trust me on the tablespoon at a time thing, I have consumed lots of runny mashed potatoes because I am impatient and didn't measure! SO RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO JUST DUMP THE MILK IN!

This is for two people, and we'll have a little left over. I just really don't like left over potatoes because they get all weird, but if you want more or are feeding more people, simply maintain the ratio of potatoes to parsnips. The parsnips have a sweet taste to them, and last time I made them I used two parsnips (but they were gigantic) and was not happy with how they tasted. Ideally, you shouldn't really be able to tell that the parsnip is in there, but it will still up the nutritional value of mashed potatoes. We don't eat gravy, so that's not a worry for us... but if you must do the gravy thing, please do it sparingly!

And because I had no idea what a parsnip looked like prior to my googling, here is what you're looking for in the grocery store:
not my photo either. :) But don't they look like giant white carrots?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Style File 11/7/11

 Occasionally, I need to look really professional for work (I guess it makes me look like I know what I'm doing ;) ). Usually when we have an event. In this case, I'll need to look nice for our preview weekend. So I thought I would take you through my tips (as if I'm an expert? haha) on how I shop and put together professional outfits for when we have an event at work.

 It's easy to lose a sense of your own style when you work in a conservative place where you have to wear suit-ish outfits. So, in order to keep things feeling like "me" I look for pieces that are tailored and modern looking. The fit is everything in these pieces. Look for jackets that nip you in at the waist. The should seams should always be on the outside of the shoulder, and the sleeves should be just the right fit. The button up has princess seaming and nips me in at the waist as well. That's key, because a lot of button shirts have a tendency to make a person look boxy and shapeless. And we don't want that!
 I also look for ways to add color to the outfit. In this case, I tried to find a button up that had some color in it. This one has some red in the stripes. Also try to find pieces that have interesting details. Like the jacket, it has fun buttons on it and some fun pockets. Interesting pieces of jewelry also do the trick.
 I also try to use some patterns and textures. These pants have a faint pinstripe (and they're also navy, not black) that I paired with stripes. Some might not like it, but I think they're both subtle enough that I can wear them together. It's also tempered by the neutral jacket. :)

My last tip for professional attire, is to mix and match. It's a little unexpected and a fun way to break up a suit and get a lot of different combinations out of just a few key pieces. You can still look put together even if the pants (or skirt) and jacket don't match. As long as they are both of equal "dressy-ness" you should be fine.

Outfit Rundown:
Jacket- Banana, thrifted
Shirt- Worthington, JC Penney
Pants- GAP, modern boots (I have three of the same pair of pants. They're all just different colors)
Shoes- ?, JC Penney

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What's for Breakfast? 11/1/11

Look at that date. 11/1/11. Two things: 1.) How is it already November?! 2.) That's a lot of 1's. Just wait until the 11th!

I thought I would do a feature on what I normally eat for breakfast: Oatmeal! This oatmeal, however, has a special fall twist that I just can't get enough of lately: PUMPKIN! I love pumpkin. Normally at this time in the fall, I gorge myself on sweet pumpkin bread, pumpkin roll, and many other sweet pumpkin treats. Those treats, however, are not part of the Clean Eating plan, but I have found ways to incorporate pumpkin anyway. I must confess, that while I have cut a lot of processed sugars, I have not cut all sugar. Instead of using white sugar, I've been either using organic sugar, raw sugar, or honey in it's place. So I am still enjoying a cleaned up pumpkin bread. ;)

Onto how to make this. I need simplicity in the morning. I'm in a hurry and have a pretty rigid routine. I eat Oatmeal and scrambled egg whites for breakfast, so to make it quick I microwave both. That's why the oatmeal looks a little sloppy... I just microwaved it until it was done.

What you'll need:
1/2 cup old fashioned oats (less processed than those packets of oatmeal. Plus, it just tastes better. Once you go old fashioned, you'll never go back to instant. Blech).
1 scant cup of water (to make up for the fact that pumpkin has a lot of moisture in it. Plus I like my oatmeal a little drier)
2 spoonfuls of Organic Pumpkin Puree (or one giant spoonful. Eyeball it. Also, NOT pumpkin pie filling. I used Trader Joe's brand and it was delicious. If you don't get organic, look for brands that have just pumpkin and maybe some water in it. No added sugars!)
2 tbsp ground flax seed
Pumpkin pie spice to taste

Combine all the ingredients into the bowl. Mix. Microwave for 2-3 minutes, or until done.
Eat with your egg whites and you're good to go!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Style File 10/31/11

 Happy Halloween, everyone! So far today I am a bit behind, thanks to skipping my run and heading back to bed. BUT! I will run after work. Brad and I need to get better about going to sleep at nine instead of 10 or 10:30. :)

I thought I would do a special Halloween Edition Style File!

 Look! It's Brad! He gets to be part of the Style File. We went to a Halloween party on Saturday evening, and it required us to dress up. I always have fun with these sorts of things. After some back and forth between a couple costumes, Brad decided to go as my counterpart, a 20's ganster/speakeasy owner. The story is that he owns the speak easy I work in.
 I went as (hopefully) obviously, a flapper. You might remember these costumes from a Murder Mystery party we went to last winter. But we re-used them and added an accessory or two.
 I added the feather boa this time around and Brad added the cane. Let me tell you, those feathers went EVERYWHERE. But it added to the look, so it's all good, right?
 This dress came from Target. It's not exactly a flapper dress, but it's close enough with the ruffles on the bottom (that's aren't well seen here). But When paired with the rest of the outfit, it looks remarkably flapper ish to me. My favorite part of the costume was doing the make up. I read several tutorials and if you had seen me in person, you would have seen just how much make up I was wearing. Dark eyes, red lips, and a lot of rouge! Can I just say it was bizarre how they used to wear their lips. Go look it up. They didn't fill in all of them.
And look, we go together! :) Happy Halloween! I'm sure many of you already did your costuming this weekend, so you should link me to your pictures! I love seeing what others went as.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Shameless plug!

Please like my entry in Mod Cloth's contest. I would love to have a shot at winning! :)

To like me you'll also have to like Mod Cloth's page. Thanks!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Style File 10-21-11

 I loved this outfit. Unfortunately my pictures don't do it justice! I still don't know how to not lose details. My pants are actually Navy but they look black, and since they look black, it's hard to make out my awesome boots. I know it probably has to do with the lighting (I did take these later in the evening) but I've had this happen before when I took them when it was lighter out.  All you awesome style bloggers, how do you get pictures that preserve your details (especially in dark colors)? I must be using my camera wrong, but I don't even know what to google to learn how to fix it! Anyway... onto the Style File!

I put this outfit on, at little unsure of how I would like it on me. It was inspired by the lovely Jen at Jenloveskev (one of my favorite style bloggers!). But I loved it. I sort of felt like I needed a hat and a horse and I would be ready to go riding!

 Again... my pants are navy and I'm wearing awesome black boots that come up to just below my knee... but you can't tell very well. I was sort of sad by that.
This is the part of the outfit I was unsure if I would like. I don't typically button all the way up, but I gave it a try and I loved it. The patterns conflict, but I think they go well together. I bought this sweater from Chloe Loves Charlie, thanks to a giveaway on Jen's blog. So not only was this look partly inspired by Jen, but it was brought to you thanks to Jen! :)

Happy Friday!

Outfit Rundown:
Button Up: JC Penney
Pants: H and M
Sweater: Chloe Loves Charlie
Boots: DSW
Earrings: Vintage

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


WARNING: The following post contains pictures of women with their stomachs exposed, bikinis, and cleavage. It is for a purpose and a point, but if you would prefer not to see them you have been warned.

I don't get on my soapbox too often, but this is something that has really been bothering me lately. These are all pictures I've seen on pinterest that are under "fitness". Many of them are tagged "motivation" or "healthy" or "inspiration" or very commonly "I aspire to this". There about a bajillion worse photos taken from maxim that are labeled as such. Since when did maxim become the standard for fitness? The photos I selected for here, though, are tame compared to lots of them.

So what's my problem with this? Well I have a couple, so we'll start with the first. The first is that these bodies are unrealistic for most people. These pictures might have  been photo shopped to accentuate muscles, make waists tinier, boobs bigger, whatever. Even if these are real photos, those girls hit the genetic jackpot. I think it's safe to say most people do not look like this naturally. Or maybe these girls have had surgery to enhance themselves (I am not making a statement about surgery, just throwing out a possibility). I do recognize that it is a naturally occurring phenomenon for a small girl to have a big chest. Or that small girls get made fun of because they are "boyish". Women of all shapes and sizes have reasons to be down on themselves thanks to cultural pressure. As such, I'm not trying to be down on these women in these photos. I am just trying to make the point that these bodies are the exception and not the rule. Are the girls in these photos sexy? yes. Are they considered beautiful? yes. Is it healthy? Not necessairly. Which brings me to this photo:

This one bothered me the most. What sort of message does this send? That skinny is supposed to make you feel better? It's supposed to make you happy? That's my second problem with all of these photos. They're framed in a way that makes it sound like if you can just get to look like this, life is better. You'll have everything you want because being skinny made you feel happy.

How twisted is that? Skinny people have great lives and normal, average, or fat people have terrible lives. What the hell is that all about?

Even worse, these pictures seem to say that your worth is based on how skinny you are. That you cannot accept and love yourself, and others certainly won't accept and love you, unless you look like this.

I am here to tell you that no matter your size or shape, you matter. You matter a great deal and I wish you didn't have to deal with this kind of crap. I want you to know that if people want to treat you differently because you are skinny or fat, those are not the type of people you want to associate with (i know, easier said than done).

These photos bother me so much because they showcase only the outside. The motivation in these photos is not to live longer because you're healthy. It isn't that living a healthy lifestyle is good for you in any way. No, it's to look better on the outside because it's going to bring you happiness. That motivation isn't going to last because happiness is kind of fleeting. That sort of motivation is shallow and if you stick it out and attain your goal, I'll bet you notice something else about yourself that makes you unhappy.

These pictures actually make me angry. They make me sad for the millions of women (and men) who buy into this crap. It makes my heart hurt for the people who resort to eating disorders, or become obsessed with a number on the scale, or any number of other issues that comes along with this type of motivation. I'm not going to go on and on about what should motivate us. But I am going to say that these photos definitely shouldn't.  So please, stop repinning these and trumpeting these messages.

They're nothing but lies that will bring you down in the end. Please don't believe them.