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Manolo for the Big Girl | Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

Big Reminder: Do Something Nice For You

Stuff happens. Work gets hectic, your social calendar is full, your best friend is having a huge crisis, and you’re beginning to tear out your hair.

Stop that! Stop it right now!

Whatever is going on will still be there half an hour from now… unless it’s actively burning up, in which case call 911 and toss a bucket of water over it until the firefighters get there… unless it’s a grease fire. Water won’t do squat but spread a grease fire.

But the office tizzy and your friends’ crisis and the kids’ soccer games and all of that will not end the world if you take a few minutes for yourself and do something – anything – that makes you happy.

So when the world’s going nuts around you and you feel like strangling something to relieve your feelings, please don’t indulge in those impulses. Trust me, it doesn’t solve anything. And depending on who or what you strangle, it really could make matters far, far worse.

The better answer is to create a tiny window and do something just for yourself. Take a bubble bath, eat a good meal, read a couple chapters of that trashy novel or fascinating history book you’ve been wanting to read. Take a walk around the block, nurture your bonsai tree, or do some maintenance on your car engine.

It doesn’t matter what it is. Just choose something you find relaxing and fun.

Stress kills. No, really, it does. A good manicure? Absolutely won’t harm you or anyone else.

Be good to yourself. After all, if you aren’t, who will be?

Trigger Warnings Part II

So I’ve thought about it and here’s what I’ve decided about trigger warnings:

Anything heavily involving eating disorders or fat-shaming is going to get a little heads up in either the headline or the first sentence.

It’s relatively little skin off my well-exfoliated nose and I think it’s fair and reasonable to presume a sizable minority here is more than usually sensitive to that sort of stuff.

I’m not going to put up any sort of Snowflake Alert because that smacks of cheap sensationalism, and we all know I like my sensationalism to be as expensive as possible.

For everything else, there’s the little X in your upper right hand corner.

There are thousands and thousands of you.

I am but one woman and I’ve got the attention span of one of those sad little PCP monkeys we all saw in middle school the week we learned about pubic hair and drugs from a grown man in tube socks who would one day teach us to parallel park.

The odds of me being able to complete a coherent thought, much less catalog and cross-reference readers’ sensitivities aren’t high even in the best of cases.

Which isn’t to say I’m not sensitive to my readers who are still wading through the sticky parts of Getting On With It.

I left the nineties with a case of bad highlights and even worse PTSD.

My grandmother –who only threatened to murder me once in the entire 31 years she knew me which is a pretty good record– could be standing right next to me, make a sudden move and I’d be clinging to the ceiling like a terrified cartoon cat. The sound of garage door openers and almost any mention of teeth can virtually guarantee nightmares for up to a week. So, you know, I’ve been there.

That being said, this is a humor/lifestyle blog, not a social justice or recovery blog. Even if you do need your hand held on the internet, I’m not the one to do it. You wouldn’t let the girl who does your lowlights also remove your appendix, and I don’t even do hair.

So there you have it.

 Agree or disagree? Put it (respectfully) in the comments.



Trigger Warnings

So. Trigger warnings. Is that something you would be interested in?

I’ve got to admit, I’m not that sensitive of a snowflake, so I don’t think about it most of the time.

Sure, I would’ve liked a little heads up before I saw Un Chien Andalou because it was a little heavy on the eyeball slicing for my eleven year-old self, but I could do without the label on my bag of almonds reading “may contain nuts”.

And okay, I might occasionally make a teensy bit of fun of the fragile, fragile flowers that tend to mark out the more humorless neighborhoods of the fatosphere because I think there’s a fine line between being mindful in a responsible way of actual illness-triggering sensitivities (which definitely exist) and coddling a bunch of oversensitive bleating nambypambies who need to butch it up, walk it off and find a hobby other than Professional Victim.

I’ve heard metallurgy is very rewarding.

But seriously, if you’d like a little note at the top of a post that discusses eating disorders or things like that, I am more than happy to accommodate. I won’t go overboard, this isn’t that type of blog, but even though I’ve got an extra liver where my heart is supposed to be, I really do want to meet my readers in recovery a little more than half way.

Put it in the comments (anonymous is fine) Facebook me or hit me up on the Twitter. Just let me know.



But what if I LIKE my appetite?

“Curve your appetite with yoga.”

Uh, okay.

First of all, I’m pretty sure those are just words strung together. I still can’t figure out what it’s supposed to mean other than some take on the idea that if I do yoga I’ll put the kibosh on wanting to eat.

So not wanting to eat is…good?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to bash yoga. I love yoga. I’m not an exceptionally gifted practitioner –imagine Patsy or Edina from Abfab trying to do a Salute to the Sun and you’ve just about got it– but I’m on the yoga bandwagon, and not because it’s the only acceptable place to wear yoga pants in public. Although it is.

But I’m also on the eating when I’m hungry bandwagon.

If my stomach says “Hey, we haven’t hung out in a while. Howzabout you and I go to town on some of these here black beans?” I’ll say “Great idea Stomach, do you want me to bring the cotija, cilantro and lime or will you?” and IT will reply “You should. I’m an internal organ and thus have limited citrus-picking capabilities.” and then, not being able to argue with logic, I’ll bring some limes and we’ll both get happy on some seriously luscious legumes.

My appetite is sated and I don’t die of starvation or get sick (yet again) from malnourishment.

It works out for everyone.

As big girls, most of us have had intuitive eating beaten right out of us, sometimes literally by the people who love or sometimes “love” us.

We’re told not to listen to our bodies, that our bodies are trying to betray us and we should have this celery stick instead of that deviled egg we so desperately crave. Your body wants protein? But protein often has fat in it and there’s nothing worse than eating fat. Or sugar. Or wheat. Or Salt. Or whatever they say is going to make you die from fat this news cycle and cure cancer the next.

It’s damn hard to get back to intuitive eating, and eating valuable foods. Many of us have a ton of emotional baggage and actual internal damage –my stomach prolapsed in college after I was given phen fen as a teenager and I spent the next ten years suffering malnutrition thanks to a completely shot and shell-shocked metabolism– so even the most natural thing in the world can be a tough row to hoe.

If you’re interested in learning more about intuitive eating an eating that’s both emotionally and physically healthful (no, it’s not a diet) I invite you to visit IntuitiveEating.org and my personal favorite resident of the fatosphere: Fat Nutritionist. It’s probably the best way to lose weight.






Five Things That Never Fail to Make Twistie Happy

Every now and again it’s good to sit down and think about the good things in life. The following is a list of things that delight me consistently.

Lenny Henry’s comedy. It should come as no surprise that I’m a huge fan of the series Chef. After all, it’s a combination of spectacular food porn and blistering sarcasm, two things I love deeply. But this is not all he’s done that makes me happy. He also used to have a variety show, The Lenny Henry Show, which featured sketch comedy and his wickedly spot on impressions. Check out this clip of his Prince parody. Pity about the quality of the transfer, but it’s still funny.

Continue Reading…

Can Pigs Fly? You Betcha!

Oftentimes activism is about making things happen yourself.

Many of us in the fat community have bewailed the lack of attractive, sturdy exercise wear in our sizes built for our bodies, and rightly so. The hardest part of exercise and sports for a lot of us has simply been finding something appropriate to wear in the first place.

Well, there’s a chance to help a start up company get going to address just that gap in the market. They’re called Flying Pig Apparel, and they launched their Kickstarter campaign for funding yesterday.

The company intends to produce and market exercise wear especially designed for the needs of the larger woman athlete. Their designs include clever features like small weights sewn into the hems of capri pants to help keep them from riding up, longer cut tops to make room for larger breasts and bellies. The inseams on pants are reinforced so they don’t wear through. As for sizing, to avoid as much confusion as possible, they intend to market pants by hip measurement and tops by bust measurement. That means you won’t have to pull up a size chart to find out whether you wear a L or a XXXL. One number should give you a good idea.

The thing is, Flying Pig Apparel needs help from the community to get started, hence the Kickstarter campaign.

How does that work? Well, a group or company sets a goal with Kickstarter, in this case, Flying Pig Apparel is looking for start up funds of  $11,000. If you decide you wish to help out, you can go to the Kickstarter page for Flying Pig and pledge money. You don’t send money right now. You wait until their time limit for getting funding runs out – in this case on July 1-  and see whether the pledge goal has been met. If it has, you send in your money. If not, well, then you don’t owe a dime.

But if you think you might have five or ten bucks or whatever number lying around at the end of the month and you’ve been dreaming of sturdy, attractive sportswear in your size, well, you might do worse than make a pledge to help make that dream come true.

Oh, and if you pledge $50 and they reach their goal? You’ll get your choice of a free tank top or tee shirt from the line and a limited edition tote bag, as well as a video thank you from the Flying Pig team.

Not bad.

If this company gets off the ground we all benefit. And together we can make it happen.

The Good Sweatshops

They dot the east side of the marginally paved highway about an hour outside my village; yawning concrete warehouses, no windows, with faded names painted over the corrugated steel loading docks that also serve as doors. There’s no ventilation except for the open docks, and tired women in blue or maroon smocks shuffle along the side of the road to the bus stop or stand under the shade of a makeshift dragon fruit stand waiting for their rides.

These are the sweatshops of Mexico.

“But they’re the good ones!” Hot Latin Boy was quick to point out.

What is a good sweatshop, exactly?

I knew he’d worked in a not-so-good one when he was quite young –I’d say “barely legal” but he wasn’t legal at all, plus I always get creepy Googlers when I use phrases like that– sewing the left shoulder seam into t-shirts using a treadle machine. His best friend sewed the right.

A “good” sweatshop is one where you actually make minimum wage and they don’t hire kids under 12.

Here in Baja minimum wage is 57.46 pesos a day which translates to $3.97 USD as of last night. It’s the highest minimum wage in Mexico.

Four dollars a day.

There might be places in the world where that’s a good wage. Here, where goods are considerably more expensive than they are stateside, it’s not.

A gallon of milk here costs close to five dollars, a gallon of gas about four fifty.

Benefits are minimal, though some run on the old company store model and will sell you your medicine on credit…with interest, of course. Maternity leave? Protection against sexual harassment? Don’t count on it.

Come in late? They dock you an entire day’s pay.

Call in sick? Two days.

Now listen, I’m not going to get on my steel-reinforced soapbox any more than I already have. It’s dizzy up here and I’m still recovering from my fall last week.

We all pick our battles, and these sweatshops, along with their kinder, gentler (though not by much) cousins the maquineras do provide some income, though nowhere near a living wage, for families in need.

Plus, it’s hard out there for everyone now. Sure it’s easy to say only buy American or ethically-made, but if you’ve got fifteen dollars in your bank account and a kid who just outgrew his last pair of pants…well, priorities change. I get that.

All I’m saying is most of us have become more environmentally ethical consumers in the past decade and maybe it’s time to broaden that net.

We’ve moved away from the wasteful and toward the enduring, yet many of us still humble-brag about not spending That Kind of Money on clothes as we gladly pop into Old Navy to pick up a bit of cheap and cheerful that will be useless after four washes, happily ignoring the price of oppression, danger, systemic abuse and degradation that someone not lucky enough to be born into the first world had to pay so we could get that five dollar tee.

As many of us get ready to buy our summer wardrobes, I invite everyone to think a little more about what we’re saying when we hand over our money to a company that pays its workers so little that a day’s wage can’t buy a gallon of milk. Cheap, yes but not very cheerful.