Shorts: Lotus (old) <buy anything online and use code MODA for 15% off>, Shirt and Sweater: Vestique, Shoes: Jessica Simpson, Bracelets: Alex & Ani (charm bracelets), The Blvd at South End (cuff), Celene Stones (crystal - celenestones@gmail.com for yours, mention ModaFresca and get 15% off), Necklace: Nameplate Necklace from Blue Jane Jewelry, Elephant Necklace: KK Bloom

Notice anything different? Oh, say... maybe the fact that I grew a few inches of hair overnight? It's UnbWEAVEable. Get it? Weave.

I got extensions back in 2010 and wore them for quite a while. I had a love/hate relationship with them. I love the versatility and hated the upkeep (including the cost). You see, these are the real deal Holyfield kind of extensions. That good weave. It is real hair, bonded, bit by bit to my hair by keratin (so it won't cause any damage).  I get bored really easily and love to switch things up, so when I had the opportunity to get them done again (aka- got the hook up), I decided to go for it.

I could have gone a more temporary route, but I can't stand bad weave (or "Boo-Boo Weave" as my stylist calls it). Clips that leave big bumps in your head... color that doesn't exactly match... big gaps between pieces. No one wants to be "that girl".

These kind of extensions come with their own set of annoyances, but at least they look natural. I can wash them, straighten them, and curl them. You may be able to see a bond here and there as they grow out, but that's not that big of a deal for me. I mean... it's not like I am trying to pass it off as my own.

If you're going to go this route, make sure you find an AHHMAZING stylist to do it for you. They have to match the color exactly, and work in different hues if you have dimension in your hair. Be prepared though... to get it done right a good stylist will charge you an arm and a leg. The hair is expensive and so is the labor. The upkeep is also pretty serious (to keep them in good shape). If you want to know more, I'd be happy to give you the quick and dirty on it all.

And... as I expected, someone has already talked shit. A woman who works on the same floor as me noticed them and said... " Oh... I heard extensions are expensive. Must be niiiiiice to be able to spend that much money on your hair." You know what woman?? You can take your snide ass comments and shove them up your rear. Hater. I wanted to say... "I don't have any kids that are going hungry because I am spending money on my hair. My bills are paid. I work 65 hours a week. I have like 3 jobs.  It's my head, my business. Crotchety ol' bag. Instead I just smiled, and said... "Yup."

Anyway... enough about weave.

The Manfriend and I  spent the weekend away in the VA/DC area for a wedding. It was great to get away and catch up with good friends. Here are the pics I had on my phone from our trip.


Fake Lashes: A Story of Love and Hate

Shirt: Lotus (a long time ago, but they have similar ones there now- buy anything online and get 15% off with coupon code MODA), Jeans: Old Navy, Shoes: Aldo, Bag: H&M, Bracelet: Celene Stones (CeleneStones@gmail.com - mention this blog for 15% off your order), Watch: Michael Kors
 1. I wanted to look decent when the Manfriend asked me to go to dinner on Friday night. But, man I was tired. I had been up since 4:40 AM teaching Pilates, I worked my corporate job all day, and I had a maternity photo shoot that evening before we were going to meet... I was BEAT. My heart just wasn't in going through the effort it would take to get "ready-ready" <aka: shave my legs and wash/dry/straighten my hair >. Plus... I was just going to jack my hair up teaching the next morning anyway. So... 

I did shower, but skipped washing the hair and shaving my legs. I kept the outfit casual with a tank top and jeans, but I added heels, sequins, and red lips to punch it up. This is my go-to uniform when I feel like putting as little effort as possible into getting ready (but I still want to look okay): a flowy top, skinny jeans, sky-high heels, and big earrings. Sidenote: I will never NOT love J-Lo, Jenny from the Block enormous hoop earrings. As long as I live. I will wear them.

2. In other news... I've been fighting a secret battle for weeks. Dealing with a problem that I didn't see coming.

These ever-loving LASHES. (Check out the second and last pictures above.) I put them on for Style Night Out (over 2 weeks ago). Have any of you ever worn lash clusters? You simply hope and pray that they stay on through the night, so you're not "that girl". You know, the one with the boo-boo lash hanging off of the top of her eyelid looking like a bunch of little broken spider legs. If they last you through the night and you get a few more days out of them, you consider yourself lucky. So... imagine my surprise when two and a half weeks later they are STILL kicking. I've lost a few, but not enough to make a dent in how they look. Lucky me you may be thinking. But... NO. I've had it. Time to get these things GONE. They are heavy, I can't wear my glasses (they hit my lens when I blink), and every morning I wake up fearing that a cluster or two died over night and that I'll have a big gap in them... making me look like this...


The struggle is real, ya'll. I have tried every home remedy I know of (and that Google and Pinterest know of). Nothing has worked. I got some eye lash extension remover from a woman that works at my hair salon though (even though they are not extensions), and I am going to try that tonight. If it does not work I may just have to wear these things until they grow out. (Then I really will look like the picture above. YIKES.) 

3. I took some engagement photos of a smoking hot couple a few weeks ago. If you'd like to check them out, click on over here to the Photography page. They are ridiculously attractive. Like... you'll see them and think, man... "life isn't effing fair" attractive. Wowzers.


Low Lights and Porn

Romper: Vivian B (3 yrs ago) it's by Dolce Vida, Shoes: F21, Necklace: Celene Stones (email Krista for your own, tell her you saw her stuff here and get 15% off - CeleneStones@gmail.com), Clutch: ?
So... I toned down the insanely white platinum hair I had been rockin' since January. Can't lie. I kind of miss it already. I think I got a bit of a case of Blonde-O-Rexia having it that light though. Like... it just kept getting whiter and whiter and I couldn't see it for what it really was. Any whiter and I would have been automatically signed up for AARP. No one would have batted an eye if I strolled into The Golden Coral at 4:30 for dinner and asked for the senior citizen discount.

I knew it was getting out of hand when my Mom was visiting and said... "Honey... what's up with this hair? What color is this, anyway?" Hahaha... leave it to moms to call your out when you've gone too far. I would have scissor kicked anyone else in the teeth for saying that (like... "biiitch who asked you???") but your mom can pretty much say anything she wants to you and you just kind of have to listen to it. I mean, I gave her a colossal eye roll at the time, but now here I am... with a head full of low lights. Damn you, Lisa.

I can hear her now... "Yeah, honey, that's better. Now you look more like my Sweetie Muff." That... by the way... (Sweetie Muff) was not a typo.

It's short for "Sweetie Muffin". I have no idea where she came up with that, or why, but my whole life my Mom has referred to me as her "Sweetie Muffin". At some point in my childhood she shortened it to Sweetie Muff. It wasn't until I became a teenager and realized that "Muff" is slang for vagina that it became weird. Real weird.

One day she was hugging me and said... "Oh, Sweetie Muff... Mama loves you" and I was like... "Uh, Ma... muff is another word for a woman's vagina. So... essentially your nickname for me is Sweetie Vagina. Maybe you don't shorten it up anymore? Huh?"

She turned her nose up and then looked at me with this disgusted, offended look and said... "Oh, Mis YOU'RE GROSSSSS. NO one would ever think that except you. You little dirtbag!"

Uhhhh... doubtful, Ma. I'm pretty sure everyone else would think that.

She was so convinced that I was the only scumbag on earth that when e-mail first became a big thing and we got the internet at our house <<yes, I am that old>> she was creating email addresses for all of us kids to have. Mine was... wait for it... SweetieMuff80@yahoo.com.

WHAAAAAAT????!?!??!!?!?!?!? MAAAA????? Really? And she told me all smugly. So proud of herself for knowing what the internet was, getting it, AND thinking up creative email addresses for all of us.  

I was mortified.

I never used that e-mail address in my life. I'd put money on the fact that the only emails in that inbox are advertisements for porn, solicitations from creepy phone sex hotlines, and weirdos in the market for a mail order bride.

Oh man, that shit is funny now though. Sweetie Muff. Hilarious.

And... old habits die hard I guess, because he called me "Sweetie Muff" just today. On Facebook. Yup. Publicly, on Facebook. Gahhhh. This woman.

 Moms. Gotta love 'em.


Puppy Love and Prison

Shirt and Skirt: Lotus (15% off any online purchase if you enter MODA at checkout), Shoes: Shoe Dazzle, Cuff: Celene Stones (email CeleneStones@gmail.com for your own - mention ModaFresca and get 15% off any order), Necklace: Blue Jane Jewelry (it has my name stamped into it and was a gift from my sweet friend, Krista) Celene Stones and BlueJaneJewelry on Instagram

Hey, Hey, Hey...

Did you spy my dog, Jackson's, head in the first picture? Old Gray Beard himself.

This guy is almost 9 years old, and yesterday I started crying out of NO WHERE thinking about the fact that he is aging and that I will more than likely out live him. I don't know what came over me???  I was petting both of my pups, and I was looking into his face, and BOOM. I just started crying.

I would never have considered myself an animal person 10 years ago. I mean, I would gut someone like a fish for ever hurting or neglecting an animal, but I didn't grow up with animals. I just didn't "get it" the whole, animal/owner unconditional love thing. My mom was a clean freak and she worked outside of the house (about 60-70 hours a week) when I was growing up. She had a lot of kids, not enough money, and no room or patience for an animal on top of all of that. I never thought I'd own a dog. Until, I was sent an email one day.

It was a picture of Jackson's litter at an animal shelter. They were trying to find homes for 9 puppies so they didn't have to euthanize them. I don't know what made me open that chain email, or pay attention to it but something did, and the very next day I drove 45 minutes North to that shelter. Jax was 7 weeks old, and the runt of the litter. I picked him up and he fell asleep on me. I fell in love with that little fur ball. And since that day, he has been my RIDE-OR-DIE dog. He has been with me through some of the worst, most painful, terrifying experiences of my life. He is always happy to see me, knows when I am sad, and makes my life so much better just by being in it. Our dogs make our house feel alive. I never understood how much joy animals can bring, but I get it now, and MAN... do I love that dog (both of my dogs, really, but that Jackson is something special).

In other news...

1. I went to get my hair toned down. Warm up the white, platinum blonde and add some intentional roots. This is what I ended up with after the first visit. My hair genie (aka- my bomb-ass stylist) said it's gonna be a two step process. One to warm up the platinum (a crazy long process when done correctly, or in other words, done so the shit does not fall out of my head)) and another to get it juuuust right. I'm trying to figure out where to go from here. Ombre"ish"? Low lights throughout? Weave? Not sure yet. I know I want to add some more dimension though. I loooooved the platinum, but it is time for a change. I've had it that color since January. That's a long ass time for me. First world problems, I know.

2. I wore this out Saturday night. I met some girlfriends out for dinner and drinks at a swanky spot uptown. This is the most aggressive crop top I have worn to date. I almost chickened out and didn't wear it, but then I was like... Fuuuuuk that noise. I spend between 4 and 8 hours a week doing Pilates. I.AM.WEARING.THIS.SHIT.  I got both the shirt and skirt at Lotus. I like the juxtaposition between the feminine lace of the skirt, and the bad girl leather trim of the crop top. The skirt, says... "I'm a little sassy, but mostly sweet". The top however, says... "hide your kids, hide your wife." And... since it's a midi skirt I didn't want to cut off my leg by pairing it with a black shoe, so I went with nude. When in doubt. Go nude.

Shoes that is (you dirty little minx).

3. Speaking of dirty little minxes. I downloaded "Orange is the New Black" yesterday and had my very first Netflix binge. I watched 4 and a 1/2 friggin' episodes straight. I am hooked. The only thing that sucked was that I couldn't binge eat while I was binge watching. I was sick as a dog (which was why I was laying around all day). But... next Netflix binge, there will be kettle chips involved. Lots and lots of kettle chips. I can't friggin' wait. Maybe I'll sprain my own ankle so I can just check out of life and watch Netflix until I get bed sores?

This is my sweet love, Jackson.


The Struggle Is Real...

Dress: Vestique, Shoes: F21, Earrings: Lotus, Bag: H&M, Watch: Michael Kors
Have you ever seen a picture of yourself and thought... "Well, that does not accurately reflect who I am on the inside??" Or, more realistically, thought... "Whaaaat theeeee fuuuuuuuk??? IS THAT HOW I look??? Like... in real life????????"

The person in that picture does not look happy/healthy/energetic/confident. Or worse... maybe she "looks" like all those things, but does not actually feel that way inside. And I am not talking about 1 or 2 bad pics because of an unflattering angle or outfit. I'm talking... you see a series of photos and it is as if you are seeing yourself as the rest of the world sees you. There is no denying it. That's just how you look.

The subject of body image is a touchy one, because it is SO freakin' personal. There is no "right or wrong" body type. Women who are skinny may want to be curvy. Flat women want boobs, some bootylicious women would trade their buhdunkadunk for a smaller tush and hips. Some like long and lean, some prefer petite and thick. Sick women simply want to be healthy, and healthy women take their bodies for granted obsessing over a 3lb weight fluctuation...  and so on and so forth.

But... regardless of your individual shape and size, we all have the best version of ourselves. The version we are most at peace with. Most happy with. The version that gives us the confidence to live life to the fullest.

I saw this quote some time last year, and it stuck with me.

When you don't treat your body right, you don't LIVE as loudly as you could. You're embarrassed. You stay in. You're sick. Ashamed. Pissedthefukoff.  You dodge pictures, or crop them. You use humor to deflect everything. You get bitchy. Mean. You start to judge others who are living a fit lifestyle. "Oh... I wish I had the time, luxury, money, freedom, natural build, a personal chef, a trainer, etc. It's all bullshit. We may not have the luxury of a trainer or personal chef, but we all have the ability to make choices.

I had a big AH-HA moment last year around this time. It was Style Night Out. I wore a long white dress (with Spanx - the 2nd time in my life I have worn them. They are the Worst. Kill me.). It was miserable. I started to see pictures filter in the next morning on social media and I was shocked. That's me? How did that happen? When did that happen? Is that how I looked? That's not how I want to walk around in my life.

I've got a bigger frame. You know... I'm pretty tall, I've got wide shoulders, big meaty thighs. I wasn't delusional. I knew I wasn't a small girl (which I am 1000% cool with), but I didn't realize that I had  let my physical self "go". I was eating what I wanted for the most part. I was sick to my stomach ALL of the time. I was not exercising regularly. I was drinking pretty frequently, and it showed.

I was pissed. I was pissed at myself. Pissed at women who don't have to "try". I was all like... "this shit isn't fair... blah blah blah". It's like going through the stages of grief. Denial and Isolation. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. Only... this is different than grief that comes from loss, there is a sixth stage (if you want there to be one). Change. 

I did not want to live my life in that body. I knew change wasn't going to happen quickly. I didn't put the weight on quickly. So...I cut the shit and make some changes. No fad diets. No shakes. No pills. No 500 calories a day. No 5AM and 7PM Crossfit 2-a days, skipping dinner, skipping parties, eating zero carbs bullshit. Just slow, small changes that take a lot of time. The work you do for yourself when no one is looking. The changes that make you feel more comfortable in your own skin.

I'm a year from my AH-HA moment. I've had good days and bad, but I'm much happier in my skin these days.

I'm not really writing this for the people who are happy with their bodies. I'm also not writing this for the people who are going to be assholes and brush this off as narcissism on my part. I'm writing it for the few of you who are at the point I was at last year... the tipping point.

Most of you won't get anything from this post, you won't "get" it. Why would she put a transformation picture of herself up? She ain't all that?? Well, no shit. I didn't go from 300lbs to 130lbs. This isn't a Biggest Loser kind of transformation, it's just a real one. A slow one, a day by day one. And I'm sharing because I've been asked about it recently.... a lot.

So... here's what is working for me. Eating less processed crap. Eating lots of fruits and veggies. Water. Moving. A lot more. I have fallen in love with Pilates, but there are hundreds of ways you can move. Just find one you don't hate, and do it. Often. Regularly. It's not rocket science. And, truth... it sucks some days. But you know what sucks more... being an angry bitch. I'm not sitting here saying that "skinny" is happy. Hell, I have no desire to be skinny. I happen to love my big, meaty thighs. I just want to be happy. Confident. Strong.  I am happiest when I feel good about myself. So whatever that means to you, start working towards it. Hell, the time is going to pass anyway.

Don't waste anymore time being unhappy, and ignore all the quick fix shit you can't possibly sustain long term. It's a waste of money and time and you feel like a failure when it doesn't last. But... you're not a failure. Quick fixes are not designed to last. That's how they stay in business. Fitness and health is big business, but the irony is that it is free. You have to eat, so eat real food (my real food still includes wine and lots of fresh mozzarella cheese). You can workout in your house, no equipment, no cost. Use your body weigh. It can be done.

And for those of you who don't have these issues, consider yourself fortunate. For the rest of us, the struggle is real.

Here is me a year ago doing a blog post, and last week. The other picture is me on stage at Style Night Out a year ago, and again, last week.