Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Alessandra Grima: A plus size model's journey

Today I have a very special treat for you all. As you know I am a proud supporter of body love and acceptance. I think everyone should feel happy and healthy in the skin they are in. And having been a plus size woman all of my adult life and a plus size model in my younger years I can tell you there is no career that can make a woman doubt her own body more than modeling and acting. Modeling is all about preference. There will always be someone who thinks you are too tall or short or fat or skinny or who think your hair is the wrong color. But there is also someone out there who thinks you are perfect just as you are. Finding those people can be like finding a needle in a haystack, but so rewarding.

Sometimes though someone finds themselves in modeling. They find the things they like about themselves. They find that things they didn't like about themselves are things that others find beautiful and through that learn to love themselves. The modeling industry has been changing over the years and more and more beautiful plus size women are joining it's ranks and changing the way the world looks at fashion. I'd like to introduce you to one of them.

Alessandra Grima.

Alessadra is a beautiful plus size model and comedienne who emanates all those things I love to see and so I've asked her to share with us her story and a bit about how modeling has changed her life.
“Fat chicks rule,” I yelled after one of the dirty boys at recess told me I could milk myself and make my own cookies.  Unfortunately, I only ever claimed pride in my dreams.  In reality, Bo Trahan got away with another one-liner as I shuffled my feet and mumbled my comebacks to myself; who names their kid Bo?  Little did I know; a 5th grade improv comedy class would make those comebacks much louder next year.
I. Was. Awkward.  I stood at five-foot three inches, 130 lbs at the age of ten.  I had a C cup, I was familiar with Tampax, and I only fit into t-shirts and my mom’s jeans.  Oh, how I wish leggings were around back then – not the stirrup kind from Kindergarten.  I heavily relied on my sense of humor in those days.  That’s what got me friends and favor.  If I couldn’t be beautiful and stared at like the other girls, at least I could be, “Oh, Alessandra, yeah, she’s cool.”  It’s hard to aim for more when your home life consists of, “You’d be pretty if you lost weight.”, “Just ignore the kids at school.”, “You don’t get dessert.”, and then your mom signs you up for fat camp.

Luckily, as I went into high school, boys and girls alike grew taller and larger than me.  I didn’t feel like the biggest anymore -- unless we’re talking about boobs. That trophy was always mine.  Bottom line, the pressure was off.  From here and into college I could actually get to know myself.  I found and lost my first great love, I dated around, I moved to Boston, got my degree, and changed my fashion style 15,838,393,453 times!  It was glorious!  But I was ignoring the fact that I was still hiding.  Behind all the excitement and change was an insecure girl; sweatshirts and black tees where my home because they covered me.  During intimate moments with my boyfriend, I’d want the lights off and I never allowed him to touch my belly – I never allowed anyone to touch my belly.  Honestly, I was ashamed of how I looked at such a young age; big belly and stretch marks galore.  My lovely boyfriend today has been with me for three years and I just gave his hands free range a year ago.  Wondering what snapped?  What saved my confidence?  Instagram.  Yeah, you heard me.
Instagram gave me life.  It wasn’t long before my little IG page came across Tess Munster, the plus size model.  I was floored—in shock—confused—and fucking excited!  My Instagram became my little place to follow every plus size model and plus-proud page known to man.  I drilled images of all types of bodies into my head and told myself, “These are all beautiful”.  My brain had to be reprogrammed and it wasn’t easy!  During this time, my boyfriend was photographing my headshots so I could submit for acting roles.  The photos were stunning!  Me?  In front of a camera? Not being funny, but being beautiful?!  This epiphany was much like when the Discovery Channel films a bud into a full-fledged rose before your eyes in one second.  It wasn’t long before I was thinking of themed photo shoots for us to try just in good fun… and then I read a Tess Munster interview about how she became a model.  One thing stood out: Model Mayhem profile.  And I made one.
In October of 2013, I was selected and walked the runway for The Thicky Chicky clothing line in Boston.  In November of 2013 I was chosen for a test shoot for Dede Allure clothing.  In January of 2014 I modeled The Thicky Chicky clothing for their website.  In April of 2014 I travelled to Los Angeles with Dede Allure to walk the run way as the first plus line ever premiering at L.A. Style Fashion Week.  Let me tell you, there is no better feeling than being among hundreds of beautiful, thin models and stripping naked to get into your runway clothes with pride.  Many girls ask how I did it or talk about how lucky I am; Ladies, I didn’t do it yet, I’m still doing it with a long way to go.  I work a regular retail job and do stand-up comedy on the side trying to make ends meet.  If you told me a year ago I’d be a plus model, an insecure Alessandra would’ve slapped you in the face, but here I am.

I’m Alessandra Grima.  I am five-foot three, 185 lbs, with a 40F cup.  I have stretch marks and freckles.  My left ear is lower than my right and my legs are much smaller in comparison to my hips.  I do not have an hour-glass figure and my ass is non-existent if I don’t do squats at the gym – the gym I go to for toning, and a strong heart, not to for punishing myself for being a size sixteen.  I eat healthy and have played sports my whole life, even though ignorant people don’t believe that.  This is my body and it is my identity and I love it with all of me.  I guess what I’m trying to say is: FAT CHICKS RULE, Bo Trahan.  Got milk?

Please hop over and follow Alessandra to see more of what she does and leave her a comment to let her know how much you loved her piece!

Monday, April 14, 2014

And The Winners Of The Halloween Man Comic Are......

Drumroll please!!!

Peter Ryan (Tracey)
Mz Liz Mz Liz
Rae Schobel
Sweet and Brite

Thank you to everyone who entered the contest and showed interest in this fabulous comic and character!
And a thank you to Drew for not only creating her, but taking the time to chat to us about her and donate copies for our give away!

Drew will contact you all directly and collect your info to get you your copy of Halloween Man featuring the lovely and luscious Dr Lucy

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Top Five Friday! Top Five Old Hollywood Redheads

I've decided to start a new weekly post I'm calling Top Five Friday!

Each Friday I'll endeavor to share with you a different list of my top 5 picks for, well, whatever strikes my fancy that day! 

This week to kick things off I've decided to share with you my Top Five Old Hollywood Redheads.
As a fire engine red head myself I have a soft spot for women with red hair.
Ginger, auburn, strawberry or crimson I love every shade of red hair.
Sooooo drumroll, here are my top 5 picks!
5.  Tina Louise -
 aka Ginger from Gilligan's Island.  I think a lot of people would have been quite happy to be stranded on a dessert island with this ginger maned siren.
Tina Louise via Lexi DeRock of Voluptuous Vintage Vixen Blog

4.  Maureen O'Hara
Isn't she just the loveliest!  I think I always like to think I look like this when I get dolled up to go out....It's not true..but I like to think it ;)

Maureen O'hara via Lexi DeRock of Voluptuous Vintage Vixen Blog

3.  Rita Hayworth
Not of course, a natural red head, but I think somehow that makes me love her fiery locks even more.  The great fantasy that was Gilda.
Rita Hayworth via Lexi DeRock of Voluptuous Vintage Vixen Blog

2.  Ann Margret
I just adore Ann Margret.  I loved her in everything from Bye Bye Birdie to Grumpy Old Men. She just has a bubbly charm about her that tickles me.
Ann Margret via Lexi DeRock of Voluptuous Vintage Vixen Blog

1.  Lucille Ball
Of Course I Love Lucy as much as the next gal but I think you would be hard pressed to find a more iconic golden era red head than Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball via Lexi DeRock of Voluptuous Vintage Vixen Blog

So who is your favorite old Hollywood red head?
Did she make my list? 

Voluptuous Vintage Vixen Of The Day: Elly Mayday!

Elly Mayday!

plus size model Elly Mayday via Lexi DeRock of Voluptuous Vintage Vixen Blog

You may or may not be aware of the gorgeous plus size model Elly Mayday.
(If you are unaware then you've probably been living under a rock)

plus size model Elly Mayday via Lexi DeRock of Voluptuous Vintage Vixen Blog
Elly will be in the upcoming film "A Perfect 14", a documentary film about the plus size modeling industry.
Having been a plus size model in my late teens and early 20's I personally can't wait for it to come out!
I'm quite curious to see how much it has changed in the last 10 years.
I'm guessing a lot and hopefully for the best!
plus size model Elly Mayday via Lexi DeRock of Voluptuous Vintage Vixen Blog

Elly has also had a whirlwind of press revolving around her battle with ovarian cancer.  

plus size model Elly Mayday via Lexi DeRock of Voluptuous Vintage Vixen Blog

And rather than being a shrinking violet while undergoing treatment, she rocked her bald head in many photo shoots.
As a plus size woman and body love champion myself I think it is wonderful that this amazing young woman has not only pushed her curvacious form into the spotlight and questioned why people should find a larger woman to be less in any way but insists that people look at her beauty while she is sick and see that it comes from within, like strength.
I myself had the ill fortune to battle with cancer in my early 20's and found that rocking my bald head actually made me feel better.

Lexi DeRock of Voluptuous Vintage Vixen Photographed by Steve Wells

 Feeling as though I needed to cover it to spare others discomfort in the situation actually served to make me feel worse about my condition than putting it out there and owning it.
Nearly everyone is bound to be touched by cancer in their life.
Whether it's having it or knowing someone who does.
Considering that that is the case isn't it time we stopped being weird about people who have it?
Just because you can see the treatment in such a public way somehow makes others sooooo uncomfortable.
I get it, but maybe it's time to just see the person and look past the bald head.

Of course I had a kick ass head tattoo to make me feel better about it too.
Lexi DeRock of Voluptuous Vintage Vixen Photographed by Steve Wells
And before you ask...that didn't hurt ;)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Monday, April 7, 2014

Two Awesome Vintage Blogs & One Awesome Give-Away!

Okay, if you are into vintage and you follow awesome vintage bloggers then you should already be following Brittany of Va-Voom Vintage and Trish of Trish Hunter Finds!
  If you are not, here are the top 5 reasons to be following each of these lovely ladies.

Top 5 Reasons To Follow Brittany Sherman Of Va-Voom Vintage:

1.  If you are a plus size vintage lover then Brittany's site will be a wealth of inspirational looks, and ideas with your curvy bits kept in mind!  A great place to find advice on how to build your vintage wardrobe.
2.  Free Patterns!  If you like to sew then Brittany's site is full of fantastic sewing patterns.  My favorite one is a pattern she recently created for learning how to make your own bullet bra in a step by step sew along tutorial!
3.  Like a bagillion (ok I exaggerate...but like, at lot!!) vintage hair styling tutorials.
4.  All of the adorable outfit posts she does that can bring a new bit of inspiration to your own dressing habits.
5.  Swoonworthy Sundays each Sunday Brittany puts together a mash up of fabulous vintage and retro inspirations and finds.  A great way to cap off any weekend!

Top 5 Reasons To Follow Trish Hunter of Trish Hunter Finds:

1.  The Retro Roadshow is where Trish shows off peoples amazing collections of vintage paraphernalia.  Some people collect the neatest stuff!2.  She's Melbourne based like me, so maybe I am a bit biased, however I love getting tips from someone in my newly adopted city that I am loving so much!
3.  Trish too showcases her amazing outfits to help inspire your own vintage wardrobe, and she's so cute doing it!
4.  She goes fabulous places with fabulous friends and is kind enough to let you tag along!   Trish goes to fab events and on wonderful adventures and documents them for your voyeuristic pleasure.
5.  She'll let you rummage through her closet.  Or more specifically she has an awesome online shop where you can purchase some amazing vintage clothing from the comfort of your living room couch!

And if those aren't enough reasons for you to check out these two lovely ladies here is one more!

They have partnered up to give you a chance to win a copy of Brittany's amazing Ecourse Bloggerific: A guide to a beautiful and successful blog with amazing tips and how to's to make your own blog a hit!
Trish has made it super simple to enter the giveaway contest

All you have to do is:
1.  check out Va-Voom's E-course
2.  Pop on over to Trish's blog post about it where she gives you tons of info and insight into what the course will get you!  And then leave a comment on Trish's post telling her what tips from the e-course you are most excited to learn and your email so she can contact you if you win.
That's it!  Easy as!
The contest winner will be announced 8pm Australian time Monday the 14th of April on Trish's Facebook Page
So what are you waiting for!?  Get over there!!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

30 things every fat chick should have and know by 30

So having just turned 30 it's been on my mind a bit lately that it's a milestone sort of birthday and in the weeks leading up to it I felt like I ought to celebrate it in some big way...like it was a requirement that I do something monumental to ring in the new decade and ring out the old.
Articles on turning 30 kept popping up in my news feeds as though FB knew I was turning 30 and figured I would be interested...which they surely do and I somewhat was.
But articles like Olivia Wilde's do's and don't for turning 30 (Spoiler Alert!  A great way to feel good about turning 30 is to be a smokin' hot, wealthy, successful actress .... so you know...get right on that!) and then of course Glamour Magazine's 30 things every woman should have and know before turning 30 full of great advice like having "one old boyfriend you could imagine going back to.", because, you know, that is super healthy!  Or "something ridiculously expensive you bought for yourself because you deserve it." because what everyone of our under-or non-employed, credit card debited generation needs it to own ridiculously expensive things out of a sense of entitlement "Because I'm awesome!  And I deserve to be paying off this handbag for the next 3 years!"
So I thought about it for a bit and I thought how about a list of things to have and know by 30, that's not written by Glamour magazine staff or movie stars?  How about one that's written by a 30 year old, plus sized glamourpuss who's pretty freakin' happy with her life?  So here goes!

30 Things Every Fat Chick Should Have And Know By 30!

15 things every fat chick should have by 30

1.  Properly fitting bras.

Nearly all women are wearing the wrong size bra.  Don't be one of them.  A great fitting bra helps your posture, eases back pain, makes your clothes fit better, and is better for your boobies.  Every brand fits differently and each cut fits differently too so take the time to try them on, jump around a bit and do a little shimmy.  If you're buying the same size bra you were buying at 18 you're probably wearing the wrong size.

2.  A drivers license with your actual weight on it.

Ask any woman fat or skinny and if honest, she's probably fudged the weight on her drivers license.  Here's two reasons not to.  Firstly there is nothing wrong with weighing whatever you do so own it and be one of the 4% of the female population who can say she didn't lie on her ID.  Secondly if you ever get into an accident you don't want to be getting pain meds for a 150lb woman when you weigh 220!  When anesthesiologists ask for my weight I tell 'em 600lbs!  I don't want to be awake for that shit thank you very much!!  Put me under and wake me next Tuesday!

3.  Clothes that make you feel good in your skin.

You don't have to be "into clothes" or a fashionista to dress in a way that makes you feel good when you leave the house.  It doesn't matter if you're a jeans and t-shirt kinda gal or you like ruffles and high heels.  There are choices so don't let yourself feel stifled when dressing!  When I was a teen there were so few option above a size 12 and that's simply not the case any longer.  There are soooo many clothes on offer in every price range in every style to suit just about anyone.  Heck, with things like Etsy you can have something made to measure, for not that much money and support a small business woman who supports the plus size community!  Double win!

4.  A Bed Tray.

Breakfast in bed is a luxury one should not reserve for special occasions.  Most of us snack in bed, whether it's popcorn and a movie or breakfast in bed (preferable prepared by a nude cutie in an apron) somehow a bed tray elevates eating in bed from precariously balancing toast on your knee to dining like a fancypants (pants optional).  Bonus, there's a lot less crumbs in your sheets.

5.  At least one form of exercise you can NOT hate.  

You don't need to love exercise but it's nice to not hate it.   I do not love exercise, but in trying everything from running and kickboxing to step aerobics and soccer I have found that while I do hate most exercise (I will never do a push-up, jumping jack or run ever again), swimming, yoga and weight lifting are actually something I can do and not hate, if even enjoy.
There is nothing wrong with being overweight but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take care of the body you have.  Part of loving your body is taking care of it and realising that if you are lucky you are going to be walking around it in for a long time to come.  It doesn't matter if it's going for a walk (which is just about the best kind of exercise you can do) or having great sex or dancing round your living room.  Love your body by moving your body.  And if you choose not to (as it is your choice) try to be understanding and accepting of your body if it gives you diabetes or requires that you get knee replacements, it's doing the best it can with what you give it so don't get mad at it if it can't meet all your expectations.

6.  Knowledge of what you like/don't like/want/don't want sexually.  (And the open mindedness to know that those preferences are all fluid and open to change.)

Whether it's sex with a partner or partners or you're flying solo, by now one would hope that you're aware enough and in tune enough with your body to know what you like.  If not, start reading, watching videos, experimenting and figure it out.  So many women end up feeling detached from their own bodies especially sexually and spend more time in their heads wondering what they look like rather than enjoying how they feel in the moment.

7.  A role model who's physicality has nothing to do with why you look up to them.

Find someone that you can gain inspiration from for their skills or knowledge, perseverance, or sense of humor.  It can be someone you know or a celebrity you'll never meet.  Appreciating other people for things that have nothing to do with their bodies or looks can help you better appreciate yourself for all those amazing qualities you hold that have nothing to do with the package they walk around in.

8.  A regular source of body positivity.

There are so many negative body images bombarding us from all directions every day from TV and movies to magazines and commercials that it is important to find a source of body positivity to, if not skew your thinking toward the positive at least help you balance out somewhere in the middle.  There are many blogs and magazines that offer up a much kinder way of looking at oneself, even a super body positive friend to have coffee with can help get your mind away from thigh gaps and diet fads.

9.  A decent relationship with food.  

Food is awesome!  Good food is magical.  If you love food then you and I have something in common with the majority of the world.  But if eating food makes you unhappy with yourself and food is something you use to bandage problems you'd rather not fix then you and food should probably work through some of your issues so that you can be wonderful friends in a loving relationship.  Food is meant to be enjoyed, sustaining, fulfilling, a shared pleasure with friends and loved ones but if it terrorises your mind and makes you feel less than the wonderful amazing woman you are then it's time to sort that out.  Don't let food make you it's bitch!

10.  Someone to put down as your "In case of emergency" contact.

Whether it's a parent, spouse or a good friend you should have at least one person who can be contacted in case of an emergency.  If you don't have anyone you could call if you had a car accident you should probably reevaluate your life choices cause you're doing something wrong.

11.  At least one friend who "really gets it".

I'm not saying all fatties together and don't have any slender friends, because that would be stupid.  What I am saying is have at least one friend who understands what it is like to not live up to the modern standard of beauty (ie skinny, white, young, think Abercrombie and Dill Holes).  Having friends who have different body types, are of different ethnicity's, physical abilities, non-gender conforming or with binary sexuality is a great way to remind yourself that you are not alone in not matching up to every Hollywood or advertisement image.  And guess what!?  There are more of us than there are of them so it shouldn't be hard to find if you don't already have one.

12.  The self esteem that you lost in Jr high.  

Something happens between 12-15 that makes everyone A-holes and for most women I know, especially those who were heavy at the time it was the time when all their happy childhood self esteem got smothered and squished!  But if you haven't found a way to get it back by 30 you best get on that shit!

13.  Ovarian Reserve Testing. 

 Many of us have mothers who had kids much younger than ourselves or mothers who don't talk about problems they faced with fertility or mothers who have died or left or who won't freely tell you at what age she entered menopause.  This can leave many women a bit in the dark as to where their own fertility sits.  Ovarian reserve testing is a pretty bad ass thing.  It's relatively cheap and painless (just a little blood drawn) and you can find out round and about what you are working with fertility wise.  As a woman reaching 30 if you think you might want kids this can be a good way to find out where you are at and what your options are.  As a plus size woman studies show that it may be more difficult and take longer for you to conceive so knowing how many eggs are in the basket can give you a heads up. If you don't want kids the info can still be handy to have as it will give you a better understanding of when you might expect your body to reach menopause, something we might all like to be better prepared for.

14.  A will.  

A will just seems like a good thing to have.  Even if you don't have much in the way on money or material goods you might have certain items you want to go to certain people.  You might not want to be kept on life support if you are rendered brain dead but your family might not know this or for their own reasons prefer to go against your wishes.  You might have a box of naughty items you'd prefer went directly to a best girlfriend unopened than rummaged through by your mom as she goes through your belongings.  You might want We Are The Champions played at your funeral and your ashes scattered at sea world.  These are things you might take a moment to put into writing.  A will is also important if you have special requests for how you are cared for if you are unable to care for yourself.  Your family might feel bad putting you in a care facility, unless they know it is what you would want in that situation.  You might also want to think about being an organ donor while you're at it!  No good hoarding all your awesome body parts if you kick the bucket before your time.

15.  Appreciation for your body.

Your body is awesome.  It gives you everything.  It allows you to hug those you love, to walk on the beach, to rub a puppies tummy, to accomplish your work, to raise your kids, to kiss your lover, to taste amazing flavors and hear beautiful music.  Your body works to repair the damage you do whether it's trying to maintain your lungs as you smoke or repairing blisters from when you wore those amazingly cute but terrible for you heels, it fights off disease and repairs broken bones and so much much more.  So use it.  Use it to do all of those things.  And then take a moment to appreciate what it allows you to have and be and do.  And then take another moment and be profoundly grateful.

15 things every fat chick should know by 30!

1.  People will say you look like people you look nothing like simply because both of you are fat. 

 It's usually a compliment, or at least meant to be one.  I've been told over the years that I resemble Wynonna Judd, Sara Rue (back when she was chubby), Kate Winslet (back when titanic came out) and more recently Christina Hendricks and Adele.  While these are all lovely women and it was of course meant to be complimentary it was not in fact because I actually resemble them, nor because they particularly resemble one another but because we were all plus sized women with red hair.  This is enough for most people to declare someone you look nothing like to be your doppelganger.  Take it as you will.  You can use this moment to correct them and enlighten them to the fact than you look nothing like you purported clone, but rather that person seems to see all fat people as looking the same.  Or you can just smile and take it as the well meaning compliment is most likely was and move on with your day.

2.  BMI is bullshit!  

The Body Mass Index is the standard by which most women of this generation were judged by, at school, at the doctors office, and at the gym.  It is also an antiquated form of generally measuring ones health that makes most women feel like crap...why?  Because it's based on a man's body to start off with and skews higher the taller you are!  It also doesn't take muscle mass into account.  Super fit athletes can wind up getting told they are "overweight" because they carry round heaps of muscle.  Fuck the BMI.  If you are really concerned with your health then check your body fat percentage, test your blood sugar levels and your blood pressure, test your lung capacity and get regular pap smears,  but skip the BMI.

3.  If you're into fashion then accessories might be the smarter place to stick you moolah!

If you're like a lot of curvy gals your weight fluctuates.   You might go from a 14 to a 18 and then back to a 16 and then up to a 22, and you might do it many times throughout your life and while I wouldn't put anyone off buying clothes they love and rockin' em, cause I think everyone should dress in a way that makes them happy and feel good, most of us don't have the budget to buy a new wardrobe every other year and don't have the space to store lots of clothes we can't fit into at the moment.   However hats and purses always fit no matter how many times you gain or lose the same 20lbs.  Plus nothing can make a simple outfit into something special like an amazing pair of shoes, or a fabulous piece of statement jewelry.
But if you're one of the lucky ones who's weight and body shape remain constant, by all means spring for those tailor made suits and bespoke dresses if you can afford them, they'll last you a lifetime you lucky lucky duck!

4.  You are not a fetish.

Yes, there are some people into fat chicks for their fat, just as there are people into Asians for their Asian-ness or people missing limbs or redheads, but countless people seem to think if someone is interested in a fat chick it makes them a chubby chaser and because of this so many fat women believe it to be true of themselves and of those they date.  Don't believe it or propagate it, it sells you and those who might be
attracted to you very short.

5.  That dieting is boring, counterproductive and doesn't generally work.

A fat woman who's never been on a diet is much like a unicorn.  It's nice to believe they exist because they sound beautiful and if you ever saw one in the wild you think she might poop rainbows.  By now you have probably figured out that diets don't generally work, at least not for long.  If you want to lose weight or eat healthier, making sustainable changes to your diet over time is the only think likely not to backfire without you eventually getting bored and eating everything you've denied yourself.  And PS, if you are trying to change your eating habits to get to a healthier you, great!!  But if you slip and fall into a cupcake and afterward wish you hadn't, get over it, move on, and continue as you were before that delicious baked good attacked you!  Don't let it make you feel bad or counter mind you good intentions.  The "I've had one piece of pizza so I've already ruined my diet and I may as well eat the whole things and start over tomorrow." line of thinking won't get you anywhere you want to be.

6.  Shopping with a skinny friend is a waste of precious time. 

As we get older we end up with more obligations and less time to spend with our best girlies, so don't waste it!  I am not saying you shouldn't have a bestest bestest bestie who is a size 6.  Be friends with whoever makes your life better, just don't shop with them.  Shopping on opposite sides of a size 14 basically means taking turns standing around in a shop you can buy nothing in while your friend browses hurriedly knowing that you are bored and not wanting you to get too impatient or splitting up to shop at your respective shops and meeting back up at a specified time and place, which defeats the point of going shopping together in the first place.  If you go to a big shop or department store that does actually carry things for both of you they are likely half way across the store from one another which leaves you shouting across racks if you want to carry on a conversation.  Make dates with your slender soul-sisters.  Just make them movies or pedicures or pajama parties (with your fancy new bed trays)  Anything but a trip to the mall.

7.  Knowledge that your fat is not what's holding you back.

If you're not accomplishing the things that you dream of and you're using your fat as the reason why you can't succeed you're using a flimsy excuse.  If you want to be a model, a singer, a neuro-scientist don't let your body size be what holds you back.  Don't wait til you lose those 40lbs to go after the things that you want in life.  You're not a yoga instructor not because you're too chubby, you're not a yoga instructor because you're spending too much time whinging about your muffin top and not enough time practicing your downward facing dog.

8.  Fitting room mirrors and lighting hate you.

It seems counter productive to selling garments that shops would have mirrors that seem to be so incredibly unflattering paired with overhead fluorescents which make everyone look like the crypt keeper (remember that guy!).  You'd think they would have solved this problem by now.  WTF!  Alas most of us end up looking jaundiced.  So realise that fitting room mirrors hate you, but also realise that they hate everyone, so try not to take it personally.

9.  Baking cookie dough is for suckers.

Raw eggs be damned!  Baking cookie dough is like having a beautiful diamond and spending 12 minutes polishing it with Vaseline.  You still have a diamond but it's less shiny and wonderful than it was 12 minutes earlier and you wasted 12 minutes you could have spent eating diamonds!

10.  Never try on bathing suits/lingerie when you are PMSing.

If the aforementioned crap lighting and mirrors of fitting rooms isn't already enough to put you off I can think of no better way to ruin a perfectly good day than to try on a bikini 3 days before your period when you're bloated and hormonally challenged.

11.  How to change a tire, make pizza dough from scratch and give yourself a breast exam.

Though not necessarily at the same time!  Being able to take care of yourself and impressing others makes you feel good.  There is nothing quite so satisfying at changing your own flat tire, looking down at your greasy dirty hands, chucking the jack into the trunk and saying "Eff you flat tire!  You're my bitch!" then driving off into the sunset with your trusty little donut wheel wobbling along in triumph.  There is nothing so tasty and delightful as having people over for home made pizza, having them oooh and ahhh over your ability to make dough from scratch (even though it takes like 4 ingredients and minimal skill), having your guests top their own pizzas (ie, do the cooking for you) and then compliment your skillz as a chef.  And there is nothing quite so easy to do to prevent you from one day losing your boobies or losing a battle with cancer than regularly checkin' out the girls and keeping them in tip top shape.

12.  That butter is better than margarine in every conceivable way.

Unless of course you are lactose intolerant, in which case I am so very sorry you can not enjoy all the yumminess that is dairy.  If you're around the same age as myself and especially if you are American you probably grew up eating margarine.  The 80's and 90's was a time when butter was evil and artery clogging and margarine would save us all.  Well guess what!?  It didn't save us, in fact we are the chubbiest generation out there, which is all well and good...but butter sure as heck isn't to blame.  It tastes better so you use less, and it's a natural product straight from a cow or (or better yet) a goat's boobies, unlike margarine, which generally tastes like chemical flavoring and is a mixture of all sorts of ingredients.  If you haven't already switched to butter, DO!  Butter makes everything better.

13.  Buying clothes that you INTEND to fit into is a waste of money.  

How many times have you or a friend found a dress that you thought was too cute, but just a tad too small and said "If I just lose 10lbs this will fit perfectly" and how many of those dresses have sat unworn, taunting you in a closet.  I had a pair of jeans that were about 10lbs away from fitting that I bought and moved into three different time zones before finally letting go.  If it doesn't fit, don't waste your money!  If you lose that weight you want to lose you'll probably want to treat yourself to some new clothes anyway and if it's more than one size difference you're body may change in a way so that even if you do lose the weight the item may not fit and flatter the way you envisioned.  If it doesn't fit you, admire it for it's beauty and then set it free.  Same goes for lovers!

14.  30 is not the new 20 but it's also not the end of the world

30 is a strange milestone for many women.  In a society obsessed with youth and in a world where women are more and more responsible for their own health, career, relationship happiness, and financial security 30 is a time when women, even more so than men reflect on where they are at and what they have achieved.  30 is not the new 20, it's not better or worse, it's just different.  Ideally if you've done it right you're smarter, healthier, more experienced, more successful than your younger self who might have had better skin and perkier boobs and a less jaded world view.  You've managed to wrangle another 10 years on the planet, that deserves some applause ,it's not something everyone gets to do after all.  You're older, sure, but if you haven't done all those things you wished you had, there is still time.  You're not too old to finish a degree, or change a job, or end a bad marriage or start a retirement fund.  You're not the new 20, but you are the new 30.  Make it count!

15.  What other people think you should do and have doesn't really matter.

At the end of the day there is no one checklist that fits every person's life of where they feel though out to be and what they feel they out to have achieved.  No list of things someone else has done or things someone else thinks you should do should make you feel less than awesome about yourself.  Including this one.

Well that's it from me really.  That's my musings on turning the big 3 0.  If it rings true for you, I'm glad.  If it doesn't..well make your own damn list.   It's my opinion that most things on this list could apply to most women, not just plus size gals, but I'd thought I'd tailor it for us larger ladies on the brink of a new decade.  Enough writing about 30 for me, time to get out and be it :)