5 Ways to Rock a Swimsuit this Season

5 Ways to Rock a Swimsuit this Season

Who here has felt personally victimized by a bathing suit? I can recount numerous times growing up where I was choking back tears in the fitting room as I tried on bathing suit after bathing suit.

Now that swimsuit season is fully upon us and I’ve been married for 6 whole months, I realized that some things on my body have changed. The beginning of marriage is like puberty all over again. Your body starts to change, and your hormones are out of whack, and you’re establishing a new identity.

The Sin of Scrolling

The more I scroll on my Instagram feed, the more I start looking at pictures of myself, and the more I feel down on myself. It came to a head yesterday when we got our staff photos back and I sat in my office, big fat hot tears rolling down my face because I realized how self conscious I have been feeling about myself and my body.  I had a good little cry sesh, ate lunch, spent time with Jesus, and came back to the photo at issue and saw that it wasn’t really as bad as I thought it was.

We compare. So much. I do it, you do it. We all do it. We look in a magazine or our Instagram feed and look in the mirror and see that someone else has something we don’t have, so we feel like we don’t measure up, forgetting that each of us has something that someone else wishes they had. The women on the magazines always have the skinniest, toned legs, but we know that is airbrushed. Now we have Instagram models. Who still have the skinniest legs. And not every girl with an iPhone can airbrush those beauties.

James 3:16 tells us, For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

My heart breaks to think about how many pre-teen girls are growing up glued to their Instagram right now. Comparison is at an all time high because it is so accessible. And when we compare, we try to find ways to be better, overcome, or somehow measure up. We starve ourselves, we throw up, we cake our faces with makeup. And instead of measuring up, we imprison ourselves to our insecurities.

When we compare, we are focusing solely on ourselves and what we lack. By focusing too much on ourselves, we are distracted from our destiny. We are sidetracked from our potential, and from chasing our dreams – which is exactly what the enemy wants.

Swimsuit Season

Swimsuit season is a big deal for women. There are diets, fads, advice on how to get swimsuit body ready. I know all the ab workouts to have a perfectly toned bikini  body. I also know how much I love to eat tacos.

Because we are in a fitness trend society right now, there are a lot of healthy lifestyle ideas going around right now, which is a good thing. I believe we should live healthy lifestyles, but every body type has a different definition of healthy. Not everyone will be able to rock a thigh gap, because their bone structure is not built that way. A girl can run and run and run and eat healthy and still have a little pudge around her belly, because her body is just built that way. And when we look at each other and compare, the only result we will get is hating ourselves.

I hate that our society is so hyper focused on our appearance, that even if we think we walk with confidence in a bathing suit, there is still the voice in the back of our head that thinks, Can they see how my thigh jiggles? Does this bathing suit make look ___ Insert your own insult, because we are all definitely guilty of pointing out every flaw. Like my mama always said, I am my own worst critic, and I bet you are too.  Instead of enjoying myself, I find myself wondering what other people are thinking about me.

Choosing Confidence

I have a teenage sister, so I am constantly thinking about how I view myself, because I know that she is looking to me and my other sister to see how we interact with our bodies.

I don’t want her to feel insecure in a bathing suit, so I am going to have to show her that I am not insecure in a bathing suit. And in order to do that, I am going to have to choose not to feel insecure, and celebrate the things my body can do.

I don’t want her to feel like she needs to lose weight when her body is normal, so I am going to have to show her that it is not about being skinnier, but it is about making healthy choices. I’m going to have to start eating more vegetables, and less potato chips. But if I’m at a cookout and there are potato chips, yes I will eat them. And I’ll have a brownie, too, because I’m not going to neglect the good things in life. A good thing in life for me is a sunny day and a pool, so I am going to rock my swimsuit this season, and enjoy a little splash under the summer sun.

5 Ways to Rock a Swimsuit this Season

1 – Like they say on Annie,  You’re never fully dressed without a smile.

Even though swimsuits mean we are barely dressed, at least we can smile and light up the room, er, the pool area.

2 – Find a swim suit that flatters your body type & makes you feel cute.

I know, this is a tough one. The one reason I do like two pieces is that I can mix and match sizes. There are some two pieces I will never be caught dead in because I’m not about to be the girl who wore an itsy bitsy tweenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini. I’m really digging the high waisted trend right now; it’s a modest way to rock a two piece and cover up as well! If two pieces aren’t your thing, there are so many cute one pieces around. Online shopping for bathing suits can be scary, but I had a really great experience buying my bathing suits with Cupshe, and they have so many cute items!

3 – Drink lots of water.

Because you’re having fun in the sun and dehyrdated looks and feels beautiful on no one. Duh.

4 – Stop looking at yourself so much.

Let’s face it, everyone else is feeling too self conscious about their own problems to notice you in a bathing suit. When I notice other women in bathing suits, I’m looking at the suit, not their body, because heck their swimsuit is cute! I’d imagine a lot of other women are doing this, too.

5 – Speak kindly to yourself.

I heard the other day that we think around 55,000 words a day to ourselves. 70% or what we say to ourselves is negative, unconscious self talk. We also repeat 95% of the same statements to ourselves. If we are spending 70% of our time talking negatively to ourselves, what are we going to become? We are going to become what we have declared over ourselves. Half the things I say to myself I would never say to my best friend, because I don’t take pride in being mean to people, but I have no problem in being mean to myself. The ugliness that sits in my thoughts will eventually make its way to my face, and I certainly don’t want to have an ugly face.

So tell me, what is something you love about yourself when you wear a swimsuit?

 

 

Celebrate your Inner Child

Celebrate Your Inner Child

If you know anything about Pai or myself, you know that we love to laugh and we love to have fun together. When it is just the two of us we are possibly the silliest people I have ever known.

Recently I was at a wedding where they served cake pops. I. LOVE. CAKE POPS. A lollipop made of cake and icing? It’s my dream come true, basically. Pai and I were getting ready to leave, so I grabbed another cake pop before I left. OK, cake pops. One for each hand. Right as I turned around to leave, the music started and so did the dancing. And by dancing, I mean my dancing. My friend caught my drift and we both started the dance party with our ridiculous horrible white girl dancing selves.

Obviously my dance has now been named the Cake Pop and there is a video somewhere and I’m praying it doesn’t go viral.

For a slight moment, I felt self-conscious about my dancing, but I was seriously just so dang excited about the cake pops and the music happened to start at the same time. So I continued to dance.

As we get older, we assimilate to our surroundings. Some of it is maturity, and some of it is shedding our authentic selves to fit in. When we are teenagers, we find ourselves conforming to the expectations of those around us. Adulthood then wraps itself around us with its responsibilities. But while wading through those responsibilities, we can find a freedom to let our true selves emerge again.

I used to be pretty exuberant as a child. During my teenage years, I exchange that exuberance for an attitude that covered up my insecurities. I didn’t laugh at things that were funny ecauseI was too cool. I was too concerned with being myself because i was worried about what other people thought. And my tue self was very, very silly.

As an adult, I’ve found that I have a safe place to release my inner child and celebrate her. I’ve shed the ‘tude and allowed myself to be exuberantly express myself when I’m excited. If the situation calls for silliness, I’m silly. If the situation calls for embarrassing my teenage sister, then I embarrass my teenage (and sometimes adult) sister. I want to find that little 5 year old who loved to sing on her front porch, let her out, and let her dance.

A child isn’t going to worry what others think about their dancing at a wedding until it’s taught to hide.

If you could do anything, be anything without worrying about what others think – what would you be? What would you do?

We have a lot to learn from our fellow kid friends. They are brave, they are confident, and many a times, they are full of joy.

So embrace your inner child today – do a cake pop dance, laugh too hard at something funny, smile easily, and have confidence in who God made you. <3

Celebrate Your Worth

What started off as a post on celebrating who you are has slowly but surely morphed into a mini-series about self-confidence and identity. Today I’m excited to bring my good blogging (and real life friend!) to Hugs and Lattes to talk about celebrating your self-worth. Tiffany is no stranger to Hugs and Lattes; she’s posted here several times before and even collaborated with me on one of my favorite posts to date. She blogs at Endless Bliss and she just got back from traveling the Caribbean as a Carnival cruise employee!

Celebrate your Worth

Hi friends! I’m Tiffany, a chaser of happiness and a lover of wine with a thirst for adventure. When I’m not tucked away in a tiny cabin working at sea, I’m sharing my life experiences on my little corner of the internet, Endless Bliss.

Endless Bliss

Christina is not only one of my favorite bloggers, she’s also one of my longest running blog friends. She’s constantly inspiring me, so any blog venture or project she begins or gets behind, I’m always onboard, and this one is one of my favorites. I’m a big believer in celebrating all moments of your life, but I’m an even bigger believer in celebrating who you are. You became the person you are today because of everything you’ve been through – the good, the bad and the ugly – and you need to celebrate every part of you and your life because all of the places you’ve been, the people you’ve met, the experiences you’ve had, those are what brought you to where you are, right here in this moment, reading this blog post.

Something I’ve always struggled with is my identity. I’m constantly trying to figure out new ways to learn things about myself and my behaviors and why I think or act a certain way in different situations. I never stop questioning myself, which has been both a blessing and a burden.

Awhile back, my friends and I were talking about this guy who had a crush on me. I said something about how I was surprised about it because we are both so different in almost every aspect. One of my friends said she believed that one of the reasons he was attracted to me was because I already know who I am. This immediately gave me pause. I thought it was ironic because I feel like my 20’s have been a never-ending journey to try to figure myself out. Here I am thinking that I need to find myself when the people around me believe that my self-discovery journey is one that has already been complete. It was interesting to me that my inner battle and struggle with finding myself didn’t resonate with the people around me.

I think one thing that coincides with knowing yourself is knowing your worth, and this has probably been the biggest struggle for me throughout my entire life. In the past, I’ve been described as a doormat. People think I’m too nice. I rarely ever say ‘no.’ I suck at confrontation, and I’d rather avoid conflict than risk angering someone. Since I’ve been in my 20’s I’ve been able to better find my voice, and if something makes me extremely uncomfortable, I won’t hesitate to say so, but at the same time, I’m a people-pleaser, and I’ll be the first to admit that about myself. I want everyone to like me, and I hate leaving arguments or small tiffs open-ended.

I’m the kind of person that will give people compliments all day, but when someone says something nice about me, I deny it before thanking them.

I’m the kind of person that will give a friend advice, and if they were to repeat the same advice back to me, I wouldn’t be able to follow it.

I’m the kind of person who has an argument with someone and will almost immediately take fault in fear of them hating me if I continue to argue.

I’m the kind of person who will exhaust myself trying to meet the needs of others while forgetting my own needs in the process.

I’m beginning to realize how toxic these behaviors are. I’ve noticed that I let others dictate the way I feel about myself. I listen and watch for reactions to the things I do or say. I’m constantly seeking approval. I’ve allowed people to treat me poorly, resulting in a loss of confidence and the constant questioning of ‘What can I do to make them like me?’ I let my self-esteem and self-worth deteriorate because of my hunger for the attention of people who couldn’t see my worth. It would be so easy to blame others, but the only person at fault is myself. As the saying goes, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” and truth be told, I allowed people to invade my brain and ultimately make me forget what I deserve and what I’m worth.

When it comes to love, whether it’s romantic, friendly or self-love, you should never settle:
Find a partner who shows that they love you through both their words and actions. Think of this quote: “We accept the love we think deserve.” Never settle for anything less than butterflies, stolen kisses, sweet surprises, inside jokes and true love.

Spend time with friends who make you smile so much that your cheeks hurt. Identify the friends who add more good things to your life than bad. Be friends with the people who will answer your call at 2 in the morning because someone broke your heart. Be friends with the people who will drive hours to come get you when your tire blew out. Be friends with the people who are happy for you when you get good news rather than being jealous or hateful. Be friends with the people who expect nothing from you apart from good conversation, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on and maybe a little wine. Surround yourself with people who will remind you of your worth when you’ve temporarily forgotten.

Be able to look at yourself in the mirror and truly love the person staring back at you. Remember: you decide your own happiness. Waiting for other people to make you happy is the easiest way to be unhappy.

Rid yourself of the people who cause you distress and bring you down. Life is way too short to spend your time being anything less than happy. Never forget that you are the determinant of your worth, and in the slightly altered words of Fifth Harmony, “Baby [you’re] worth it.”

Endless Bliss

Celebrate Your Beauty

3  Ways to Find Unexpected Beauty

When I was an awkward teenager with triangle boobs, I sat behind a gorgeous girl in choir with the perfect curly, blonde hair, a flawless face with heart shaped lips, and of course a “womanly” body. She was sweet and sang beautifully, and I wanted to be just like her. When I went home from choir that day, I looked in the mirror and saw that I didn’t measure up. I had a shag hair cut (why? I don’t know.), it was the mid-2000’s so middle school fashion was at its lowest peak, and I didn’t wear a lot of makeup. I wanted to wear a lot of makeup, but my mama didn’t let me wear anything more than nude shades of eye shadow and shimmery lip gloss. I was the epitome of what a teenage boy wouldn’t want. I looked like pre-puberty Hermione.

It all came to a head when I dissolved into tears one day after choir because I was ugly. Like any good mom does, my mom sat with me at the kitchen table as I poured my pre-teen heart out. When I was done, she reaffirmed my beauty but gave me an important tool I’ll never forget.

Get naked.
Stand in front of the mirror.
Thank God for every body part you see.

I stood in the front of the mirror. Thank you God for my feet. Thank you God for my calves, even though their chicken legs. Thank you for my knobby knee caps. Thank you for my thighs, even if I think they’re too big. . . and so on and so forth.

I became more confident in my appearance towards the end of high school. During my junior year of college, I ran a half marathon. It was my first (and only) half marathon and I was running 30+ miles a week and not eating the way I should to sustain my running schedule. However, I found myself in the best shape of my life even though I was quite unhealthy. I had hardly any muscle mass, but the part of my body I had been most insecure about – my stomach – was less food baby all the time and more like abs. Because I didn’t have strong enough muscles to sustain running the half marathon, I ended up injuring my knee and my groin during my race.

After the half-marathon, I worked at a Mexican restaurant so I went back to my normal weight plus a little more booty in the pants thanks to the free chips and salsa. From thereon out, I started to struggle with my image again. I would fall into a cycle where I got into the routine of working out several days a week for a couple weeks, and then I would eat 4 cake pops at a wedding (read: me, last night. #noragrets.)

I started to become self-conscious about my appearance. It got worse after the holidays and wedding this year. My body changed in different places and I had to buy all new pants and shorts this spring, which, is a good excuse to go on a shopping spree, but I still found myself feeling like a middle schooler again. I felt weird about looking at all these ladies on Instagram with their fitspiration, knowing I could be more like them if I ate correctly and worked out.

But right now that’s not a priority in my life. My priority in life is to adjust to marriage. It’s to adjust to being a wife, taking care of my half of the chores, working full-time, and doing things that bring me joy. I still enjoy the occasional sweat sesh, but I’m learning to love myself and find beauty in the unexpected.

3 Ways to Find Beauty in the Unexpected

No matter what we look like, I’m sure we all have felt what I’ve described above. We all have parts of our appearance we wish we could change. So today I want to celebrate our beauty.

Get Naked.

Look at yourself in the mirror.
Appreciate how you have been made.
Appreciate the way your stretch marks tell a story of the baby your womb held.
Appreciate the way your dimple sinks into your cheek when you smile.
Appreciate the way your hair just looks #flawless when you wake up. Thank goodness messy is chic right now.

Celebrate your body. 

But beauty is only skin deep, there are so many other things that make you beautiful.

Reflect on your personality. 

Your beauty comes from the way you love others furiously.
Your beauty comes from the way you are determined to succeed.
Your beauty comes from the way you fight for social justices through taking a stand by writing, parades, veganism, etc.
Your beauty comes from the hope you carry and pass on to others.

Surround yourself with beautiful people.

I don’t mean conventionally beautiful people.

I mean people who are going to make a difference in the world with you. (And if they’re conventionally beautiful, cool.)

Surround yourself with someone who is uniquely different than you.
Surround yourself with people who wear love on their sleeves.
Surround yourself with people who fight for the truth.
Surround yourself with people whose language is encouragement.

Your beauty gives life to others, and it’s not because you can contour like Huda Beauty. There are so many amazing women out there who are changing their world around them, and to me, that is beautiful.

And like the orphans from Annie says, You’re never fully dressed, without a smile.

Tell me in the comments below what is one thing you find beautiful about yourself!

 

Celebrate Who You Are

Take your insecurities and line them up with the truth: You are awesome.

Something I’ve learned to admit is that I’m insecure. We all are, and it isn’t said enough.

I don’t believe in announcing my insecurity to have someone say, “Oh you shouldn’t be insecure because you are a/b/c.” I believe in admitting my insecurity because so many of us – especially women – walk around exuding confidence in such a way that we trick ourselves into thinking no one else sees our insecurities and no one else in the world is insecure. It then becomes an isolating circle of “fake it till you make it” and “what if someone finds out?!”

A guy in college once said I had “little man’s syndrome” and I didn’t know how to take it. Yes I was little, but I didn’t believe I was overly confident to make up for something I lacked. Yes, I am loud, I can command a room, and I have such a firm handshake that once a man said “Don’t break my arm!” And then I became insecure about my handshake. I’ve since tried to soften it. Although I was confident (and still am), I still had insecurities. My confidence wasn’t a cover up, but it was something instilled in me by people who loved me and poured into me. It was a personality trait I carried because I knew the truth: that I had a God who loved me and continued in faithfulness to me (Jer 33:3.) I was confident because I knew that I had people in my corner. But sometimes that confident exterior fades, and we are left with the lurking feelings of “maybe I’m not confident. Maybe I can’t do this. Maybe I’m not lovely.”

Breaking News: We are all insecure 

I don’t say I’m insecure so that I can gain your sympathy. I want to empathize with you. Because I know you, too, are exhausted. You, too, are worried that someone will find out who you really are. What if you fail? Will people think you are weak?

Our insecurity lies in the evaluation and validation of others rather than in the evaluation and validation of the Lord. Our insecurity lies in our evaluation of ourselves. We often see the worst of ourselves. We look in the mirror every morning before work and only we can see the pimple that is actually covered by our hair the rest of the day. We drive home from work in the evenings, over analyzing the day and everything we said. What if someone took what I said the wrong way? Why did I make that face when so and so said that? Did someone see past my false confidence? My mama always said I was my own worst critic. I see every flaw I have, and as a perfectionist, am very unforgiving towards myself.

Dwell on who you are instead of what you are not.

I’ve realized that I am sinning. By not appreciating and celebrating who I am and who God made me, I’m spitting into the face of the Creator. When I dwell on my insecurities, I am dwelling on what I am not.

I am saying that I am not good enough. I am saying that I am not likable. I am saying that I am not worthy of love – love from friends, love from my family, love from my husband, and most importantly love from my Creator.

And there are some truths in there – I am not the best, nor will I ever be. I will never ever be the best WNBA player because I’m only 5 foot 0 and my 5th grade basketball coach never let me play a game unless we were winning by a mile or losing by a long shot. But I am good at some things. I am good at writing, I am a good cook, I am good at encouraging. To some people, I may not be likable. I am loud, I talk a lot, sometimes I speak before I think. But to others, I am likable. I can be funny, I can listen, I can offer a hug, I can offer friendship.

But one thing I am most definitely not is unworthy of love. And neither are you. You belong to someone. You are lovely. You are beautiful, gracious, and kind. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139.)

Confront your insecurities.

Take your insecurities and write them out. Yes, it will be scary. Write them in a secret place and then take a step back and look.

Maybe you are insecure about your job performance at work. Write down the things you do well at your job.

Maybe you are insecure about the way you engage in small talk. Watch some TED talks. Read books, follow a Twitter account with a bunch of random factoids so you can pull one out at a moment’s notice.

Turn to the truth. Next to those insecurities, write down the truths that counter act those insecurities and press them into your heart. Surround yourself with people who will be honest, loving, and encourage you. Surround yourself with people who will speak the truth to you in love. Look towards who God says you are rather than what the world says.

Celebrate who you are, because you are freaking awesome.