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self love

The Change in My Reflection: On Body Image and Self Love

body image and self love

I think we all have things about our bodies we don’t love, that we’d like to change, maybe try on a different version if we had a chance. Sound about right? I joke that I wish I had a smaller nose and bigger boobs. Someone got the recipe mixed up when they made me!… or so I joke.

Union Swimwear one- piece swimsuit

Those are the things I’d say I don’t love about my body; I actually considered getting a nose job in my teens, but after a fair bit of consideration opted to keep things the way they are. I figured if I couldn’t accept myself for the I was, then how could I expect someone else to? This especially resonates with me now that I have kids- and especially a daughter who I hope to raise to be confident in her own skin. Obviously there are some things that are harder/ impossible to change without an elective procedure, but knowing I had the option to change my appearance was a tempting one when I was younger and I’d be lying if I told you I haven’t considered getting a little work done when we’re done having kids.

The topic of body image and acceptance spans a variety of areas and isn’t limited to the changes we experience after having kids (both of the things I mentioned above stem from the years before I had kids). And on the topic of boobs, let’s face it: those are never the same after having kids and breastfeeding. I find that these kinds of emotions come in waves, sometimes we feel great and other times things chip away at us, at how we feel about ourselves. But while I  sometimes wish I could change the things I mentioned above (or maybe something else depending on the day), I have also learned to think about things differently: what are the things that I can change for the better – such as my physical health– rather than those that I can’t? For example, one of the major changes my body has gone through since having kids is that my stomach and midsection by no means look the same as they did before.

Union Swimwear one piece swimsuit

I used to have a flat stomach, one that I kept toned and was proud to show off. I liked how I looked in a bathing suit- maybe a little more up padding top would be nice ;)- but I was and still a beach bum in the Summer. Take me to water and I’m a happy girl. But following Ariana’s birth I was left with stretch marks (I figured I probably would since my Mum has them), and no matter how hard I tried, my abs and the skin in that area were not the same. Looking in the mirror that Summer I questioned whether I would still be a bikini kinda gal or make the switch to some of the cute one pieces I’d been seeing. Follow that up with a second child and additional body changes and I was really unsure where I stood with myself when I looked in the mirror. I didn’t hate what I saw, but it took some getting used to, some acceptance, and that took time. Some days I think back on what my body used to look like and sometimes it gets to me, I’ll be honest. For whatever the reason, those things can creep up on us and affect us out of the blue. But that doesn’t mean they’re bad, it doesn’t mean they’re wrong. They just are. 

This past Summer I hit up the beach as much as I could, ran around in a bathing suit on the hot days, and enjoyed the bright sunny days of the season while they were here. I still have things about my body that I scrutinize (remember my joke earlier about my nose and boobs?) and I’m picky about photos of myself (selfies still make me feel incredibly self conscious- how do you find a good angle with this nose?!), but I also take pride in the efforts I’m making to feel better inside and out. Running is one of those things, and whether I run for 15 minutes or an hour, the way I feel afterwards is a high that helps diminish any stresses or anxiety I may have been feeling prior. I love how I feel after a run and that positive feeling is an overwhelming one in the best way. 

Union Swimwear one- piece swimsuit

Over this past year I’ve shared about some of the personal challenges I was facing, and also about the addition of running into my routine and upping my self- care game in the hopes that others would be able to relate. As with any journey, it hasn’t been straight uphill but overall it’s been a positive one; I just had to make some changes. It isn’t always easy to face things, the things that really hit home in our hearts, the things that are hard to shake off. But that doesn’t mean you have to rip off a Band-Aid or go from one extreme to the other. It can be small steps. Slow progress is better than none. Learning to love and take care of yourself don’t always come easily, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve it. 

Thank you to my friend Janette of Ava to Zoe for being on this personal ride with me and encouraging me to share more on the topic of self love and body image. And to Union Swimwear for being a company that encourages positive body images in women and helping us share about this topic.

Photography: Akane Kondo Photography

Swimsuits: Union Swimwear

October 3, 2017
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On Letting Go & Loving Yourself {+ Giveaway}

When it rains for 2 months straight it makes it interesting when trying to organize an outdoor photoshoot. And of course living here it rains a lot this time of year. So that means sometimes you just need to go for it and shoot in the rain which makes for some crazy hair and plenty of laughs trying to get the shots you want. Thankfully Akane (the photographer I’ve been working with on a few posts) is pretty much up for anything and we ended the shoot with some hot chocolate to warm up. And as you’ll see in the photos, we just tried to laugh through the rain and make the most of the beautiful location. The photos for this post were important to me and I’m glad a little rain didn’t stop us.
But enough about the photoshoot adventure, I’m really excited for this post for a few reasons. The first is that yoga and fitness came back into my life in a big way this year; I had a big reminder in the Summer that I can’t forget to take care of myself and it was the kick in the butt I needed to get back into shape. I’m no star athlete, but I feel better mentally and physically knowing that I’ve made time to exercise in the week. I’m calmer, happier, and it feels good to be taking steps towards a healthier life overall. I’ve made it a priority, had to move some things around, but ultimately it hasn’t been as challenging as I thought it would to fit into my routine. Sometimes it’s just a few minutes of yoga at the end of the day, but it makes a difference. The second reason I’m really excited for this post is that comes with a GIVEAWAY (the last one of the year!) for you, the readers who have supported the blog and me, your love and support means more than you’ll ever know. I thought what better way to go into the holiday season than with a gift for you? I’ve teamed up with some pretty amazing brands- Try On Love, Kristina Benson Art, Free Reign, Mint & Birch, and Built for This Baby– to help you treat yourself, and to serve as a reminder that you can’t forget to LOVE YOURSELF as well as everyone else you care for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I was organizing this post, I wanted to work with brands that would help me share my message about not forgetting to make time for yourself, to LOVE yourself, whenever and however you get the time to do so. I know it can be tough, so that’s why I’m hoping this post will help you feel loved and serve as a reminder that what you do is important, you are amazing, and just trying counts for something. We all have challenges and bad days, but we can still find a few minutes for ourselves and it’s so important to do so, so we can be the best version for everyone we love and for ourselves.
So why did I choose the brands I did for this giveaway? With the tee I’m wearing from Try on Love, you probably don’t need any more explanation. This shop is all about being a gentle reminder to love. To love yourself and others, it really does make a difference in the world. What better message could you hope for? Each piece has a small quartz gemstone- the universal gemstone of love- sewn in as a special touch, and I felt these pieces spoke to the message I’ve been sharing about these past few months. Love is such a powerful force, and one that can help people when they’re hurting the most; you never know when a simple gesture can make the difference in someone’s day. Kristina Benson, the talented lady behind the leggings, has combined her passion of art and fitness to create wearable art that becomes a part of your personal journey. The ones I’m wearing are the Surrender leggings. I didn’t realize there was a special meaning behind them until I spoke more with Kristina about them and how this design represented letting go and being at peace. Without knowing it, I had made my selection based on where I was emotionally: trying to let go of some things and move on, to be at peace with things I had been struggling with. All of her designs have a story behind them and they’re as beautiful as they are comfortable to wear.
And if that water bottle from Free Reign looks familiar, it’s because it’s the same one I received on my yoga retreat this Fall (see here and here for more). The founder, Melanie, suffers from chronic pain and is helping to spread the word about not suffering in silence, to have compassion, and to be open about your journey. This lady, her message, and her products have a special place in my heart for very personal reasons and I’m so grateful to have met her. Individuals like this are the positive change we so need in this world and she helped me earlier this year as I worked through some very personal challenges. Mint & Birch is another brand I’ve loved for a long time, and Jessica’s beautiful pieces are all handmade by this talented mama. This bar necklace is a custom piece that says Live Laugh Love in Latin. When she asked me what I wanted, I knew I wanted something I would wear everyday as a reminder for what’s important to me, to represent the journey I’d been on this year. She hand- stamps her pieces, making each one unique and one of a kind, and I love that she pours her heart into her work.
And finally, Built for This Baby is a program I’m excited to share about, helping women to find their inner strength through pregnancy, birth, and beyond. I attended one of Georgia’s workshops this Fall and learnt so much about how my well being and emotional state was much more than what was going on outside of myself- nutrition, sleep, and self care all play in a role- and she reminded me of that. It can be hard, but we can’t forget about ourselves; we have to be advocates for ourselves as well as those we care for. Through yoga, conversation, and guidance from this woman of many talents, I reflected on my journey through motherhood and how it has impacted me, how it affects all women differently. You don’t have to be a new mom to appreciate this program and I am grateful programs like this exist to help us feel connected with ourselves and others as we embrace all that life throws at us, especially when it can feel like we’re losing ourselves trying to keep up with everything.
So now you can see why I fell in love with each of these amazing collaborators and the people behind them. There are so many individuals working to do good in this world, to help us move through life the best way we can, and to be ok when things don’t go smoothly. It’s a journey we’re all on together, and you can’t forget about yourself along the way. This has been a big learning curve for me this year, and I feel like it’s one many others are going through as well. Feeling loved, recognized, and having your feelings acknowledged can make such a difference when you feel overwhelmed. I hope to carry into 2017 with this new- found wisdom and build on what this year started and that you’ll enjoy some exciting things with me and the blog in the new year. This isn’t the last post of the year, but it’s one close to my heart, and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did putting it together.
So what’s up for grabs for one of you lucky readers?
– LOVE tee from Try on Love
– water bottle from Free Reign
– $40 towards a cuff bracelet from Mint & Birch
– 1- on- 1 nutritional consultation with Georgia of Built for this Baby
– plus all readers can enjoy 25% off a pair of leggings from Kristina Benson Art with code LEGGINGS 2538
Enter below and enjoy making time for YOU in 2017! Thank you to everyone who has supported TPB so far including you, my readers, and the amazing brands I’ve been able to work with.
OXOX KP
Instagram: @akanekondophoto
Instagram: @tryonlove
Instagram: @kristinabensonart
Instagram: @thefreereignlife
Facebook: Free Reign
Instagram: @mintandbirch
Facebook: Mint and Birch
Instagram: @builtforthisbaby
December 6, 2016
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