I’M PALE, Here’s 3 Reasons Why

Dear Readers,

You might know exactly how I feel. You might also be the palest girl (or guy) at the party while everyone else is rocking a smooth all-over-no-tan-lines epic tan-ness. People may walk up to you with a bothersome regularity and say “Damn girl, you need to get a tan!” And you may want to respond, “NO I DON’T,” which is how I’ve been feeling lately.

I will admit it. Last year, I was all about getting that all over tan. In previous years, I have also gone to a tanning salon (gasp!) until I got lightly burned right between my boobs and spent the following week scratching at it. I have done the “naw, I’ll put sunscreen on later, after I’ve been laying out in the burning hot Florida sun from noon to 1.” I have almost ruined vacations for myself by getting so burned that I can’t wear shirts. I have walked around all summer with a “rider’s tan” (think very tanned arms and nothing else).

This year, things have changed. This may be due to the fact that I got a bad sunburn right around my bikini line last year, resulting in a highlighter-like look for my nether regions (these things happen sometimes). Really, though, it’s a combination of a couple things.

1. I’m white. There is no way around this. My natural skin tone is not a glowing tan. I am of Swiss and English descent–my ancestors come from cold and snow. My natural skin tone is more akin to that of an off-white wall, or if you use Maybelline BB Cream, I’m the second lightest skin tone. I have a tendency to burn, not tan. I’m white. I do get a slight tan in the summer, but it’s nothing to write home about.

2. “You’ve got beautiful skin.” I do actually have nice skin. I rarely get acne, it’s decently smooth, and my mother didn’t give me cellulite. Go me! At this time in my life, I have a choice. I can a) go soak up all the rays that I can, year after year, and end up with alligator skin when I’m old or b) put on some 15SPF, get a mild tan sort of by accident, be a little (or a lot) whiter than everyone else, and not have liver spots/alligator skin when I’m old. While tanning might cover up skin imperfections now, here are three things it will do to you in the long run:

a. Liver spots:

Sun spots/liver spots/whatever you want to call them can be prevented by covering up.

b.  Leathery-looking skin:

While you may not be a man, you can still appreciate the effect that excessive tanning has on your skin. Is that your skin, or are you wearing a leather vest?

c.  Wrinkles. The first two on the list of WebMDs “23 Ways to Reduce Wrinkles” are 1. Avoid the sun and 2. Wear sunscreen.

2. Skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidences of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung, and colon. In addition, your risk for melanoma doubles if you’ve had more than 5 sunburns at any age. The data for tanning in beds is even scarier. YES, I AM SCARED TO GET CANCER THAT CAN MOSTLY BE PREVENTED BY PUTTING ON SOME LOTION. And hey, if Angelina Jolie is willing to have her breasts removed so she has a greater chance of seeing her kids grow up, then I can apply sunscreen.

I recently (read: yesterday) went out and bought Lubriderm’s Daily Moisturizer with 15SPF. I don’t encourage staying indoors all day (I love going to the beach, hiking, riding, being awesome), but maybe think a little bit more about your skin before you head out. Need to be tan? Go spray tanning! Get some bronzer! Or, hey, if you really can’t stay away, go tanning, or go to the beach without sunscreen. It’s your prerogative. The other option? Be pale and be proud. Like me!

XOXOXOXO

Rachel

 

Patiently Orange

Orange Pants 1 Orange Pants 3 Orange Pants 4 Orange Pants Bag Orange Pants Sweater Back Orange Pants Sweater

Summer (spring?) is very disappointing this year. Here it is, June, and I’m wearing jeans and sweater. Now, I really like this particular outfit, but it’s got more of a fall feel to it. But if Mother Nature wants to dish out low 60s in the spring, I am not about to freeze my butt off. 

So here it is, my it’s-spring-but-not-really-I’m-being-so-patient outfit. I love love love these wedge booties that I snagged (on sale!) from The Alley here in Chicago. I picked up this awesome bag at Nevermind, a boutique that’s just a few storefronts down. The best part? It was half off, because they were having their grand re-opening sale. If you live in Chicago/you are visiting, check out both these places. Just do it.

If you happen to be an online shopping addict, you probably definitely should not check out Tobi. Both that sweet sweater and the gray-shaded tank underneath were Tobi purchases…and I regret nothing. Anyway. Tobi. 30% off new arrivals daily, and you can get 50% off your first order. Dresses, jewelry, bags, shirts, shorts, pants, swimwear, afgjklfglaglg I’m freaking out just thinking about it. GO FORTH, young Padawan.

“And the pants?” you might ask? Well, I have a secret. It’s called “when I go home to upstate NY, I go to Rue 21 and shop the sale rack.” Let me tell you, you can find some gems here. You will definitely see some of them right here throughout the summer. I find, because women’s fashions change so quickly, that it’s easier just to buy some things to last for one season. So I stock up on funky shirts, neon shorts, weird denim things, etc. The last time I went, though, I hit the jackpot on cheap jeans. And so, Patiently Orange was born.

Until next time, sweeties.

XOXOXO

P.S. I briefly attempted to translate part of this into hieroglyphics. Next time I’ll pick something with less “quail chicks” for a character.

An Open Letter to, well, Everyone: Guys in Cars

Dear Readers,

I was going to write about summer dress codes–
About how grossly unfair they are to the female gender.
The forced androgyny of shorts that have to be KNEE LENGTH.
No exceptions.
But there isn’t too much to say; aside from the normal litany of complaints
The complaints that don’t really have anything to do with dress code.
But instead have to do with society.
“Why do I have to cover up? This tank top isn’t that revealing. They don’t make shorts that length for girls! Yes, I wear skirts and dresses because I am female, and it’s my prerogative.”
So let’s, instead, talk about life’s little lessons in sexual harassment.
Guys in Cars.
The ones who think that it’s ok to scream “I HAVE A BONER!!!” at me while I’m standing, waiting for a stop light to change.
The funny part? I was wearing a sweater with some rolled up jeans.
Nothing revealing, provocative, or sensual.
Worse than the guys that yell at you from a distance are the ones who sloooooow down.
“Hey honey, daaaaaaamn guuuurl, you lookin’ fine.”
Does that ever work? I hope not.
Mostly, I ignore them. Really, I want to ask them how they treat the women that they care about.
Probably not very well.
My mother says that it’s the way that I dress that provokes dirty thoughts.
But that doesn’t make sense, because that sleeping bag coat that I wear in the winter is the least sexy thing since slugs.
It’s not my miniskirt, my short shorts, or my tube top.
It’s not my 4 inch heels or my low cut dress.
It’s not my modest sweater.
Stop blaming me for slut shaming, cat calls, overeager men.
It’s sexual harassment.
I don’t deserve it. It’s not flattering, it’s unwanted, and it needs to stop.
It’s not me, I say to my mother. It’s them.
Men, boys, people who don’t have respect for women.
Who don’t realize that it’s my prerogative to wear what I like, and it’s not done for their benefit.
It’s probably time, in our so-called “advanced society,” that we stop heaping blame on women and start teaching men to accept responsibility for their actions.
I like my body.
I like the clothes that I wear.
I don’t like being sexually harassed when I walk down the street because men can’t “control themselves.”
Seriously.
Stop it.
Sincerely,
Rachel

Getting Ready to Walk

So I’ve got some sweet news for you. Saturday I put on some 5” wedge booties and a sweet outfit from Effigy by Kira Lee and got to walk the runway (first time ever) at the Fashion Market Spring Runway Show.

It was pretty fabulous, especially since she has some awesome collections! Photos below are from getting ready:

IMG_1009 IMG_1013 IMG_1016 IMG_1022

 

Things I learned:

A big part of modeling is learning to sit really still while other people do things to you.

I am SUPER pale.

Fashion shows are high energy and tons of fun.

That…that…that….that’s all folks! Keep an eye on the blog, I’ll be sure to link to pictures from the show as they pop up/get sent to me! Feel free to like Kira Lee on Facebook to get all her updates and future show dates.

TTYL

 

Using What You’ve Got: White Out.

white all over 2 white all over 4 white all over 5 white all over 6 white all over 7

Took these a few weeks ago on a decently warm day (thanks boyfriend!) This outfit is a total closet raid–things that I got years ago are a part of it, including the bracelet my grandparents gave me 2 Christmases ago. Imagine that.

Jeans: Dry Slim Kim Nudies, about a year and a half old, not washed yet (but soon!! Super excited to see how that turns out!) I’ve been holding off on washing them because, honestly, I haven’t been wearing them more than 2 days out of the week. It’s hard to style them with a bootie or a cute flat because they’ve stretched since I first got them, from skinny to kind of awkwardly not-so-skinny. However, they are by far the most comfortable pair of jeans that I own.

Check out the fades that I’ve got on the right hip/pocket. Oddly, I didn’t get the same fades on the other side. Funny what unique fade patterns will tell you.

If you don’t know anything about dry denim, check out this post.

Sequined Shirt: Express, about 2 summers ago

White dress shirt: I think I stole it from my mom’s closet 2 years ago

Scarf: Christmas present!

Ridiculous sunglasses: borrowed from Justin Ridiculous

Boots: Two Lips, about 3 years old

Note to self: Next time, shoot at the max MP on your really old Nikon point-and-shoot. Everything’s a learning process, huh?

XOPXOPXOP

[If you look real hard, you can see that the little man is wearing a baseball hat.]

Posture Perfect

Dear Readers,

Go look in the mirror. Take a good long look. Not at your face or your makeup or the clothes that you’re wearing (who would have thought I would ever say that). Don’t look at your chest or your legs or contemplate how flat your stomach is or how big your biceps are.

Check out your posture. Look at yourself in the way that everyone else sees you. Do you carry yourself with your head up, shoulders back, or are you hunched in on yourself? Be honest. Perfect posture is hard, especially if you haven’t ever thought about it before. Believe me, I know. I grew up slumped. I hunched over Harry Potter, I bent over homework, my back stooped against the weight of my backpack. I watched the sidewalk when I walked. I had terrible posture.

IMG_0995

This is how I used to carry myself. Shoulders slumped, pelvis tipped forward, knees locked. (It was even worse when I was younger).

Really, the only thing that put me on the right track away from my posture woes was horse back riding. Before I rode, I constantly had people telling me “Sit up straight! Roll your shoulders back! Look up!” It was mostly just annoying. After I started riding, I realized that all of the above commands really helped ensure that I wouldn’t eat dirt. Ah, motivation. The first time I won an equitation class, I almost cried tears of joy. [For those who don’t ride horses: equitation is a class judged on the rider–how well you sit the saddle, your posture, how you handle your horse.] It took a lot of hard work to get there, and that only eliminated the worst of the problem.

An enlightening X-ray at the age of 15 showed that I have scoliosis, lordosis, and kyphosis.  In other words, my spine is curvy. It was kind of nice to know that my terrible posture was not entirely my fault, but it didn’t relieve me of any pressure to fix it. I just have to work a little harder than others to keep my spine in line.

What helps the most, you might ask? Core workouts. Strengthen your core, and the rest will fall in line. Core isn’t just your abs. It’s your butt, obliques, back, shoulders, abs, everything that can be considered the middle of your body. These are all the muscles that keep you standing tall and protect your back. In addition, once you start working your core, you become so much more aware of what muscles you should be using on a daily basis. Personally, I have found that yoga is an excellent addition to any workout, and really places emphasis on all these muscles.

So where am I now? I’ve stopped locking my knees (for the most part), I keep my pelvis in line, and I work on keeping my head above my shoulders and my shoulders pulled down and back. The benefit? So much less lower back discomfort. Of course, holding this posture is something that takes almost constant reminders on my part to my muscles, but over time, it will become second nature. And it’s worth it. It’s worth not having the low back pain, the neck pain, and general stiffness associated with poor posture.

Improvement since I've actually started paying attention! Not perfect, but a much healthier position to be in all day.

Improvement since I’ve actually started paying attention! Not perfect, but a much healthier position to be in all day.

Please remember: I am not a licensed professional. If you are experiencing pain or have a lot of difficulty with your posture, you should be evaluated by a professional–a doctor, physical therapist, or chiropractor. Someday you’ll be able to see me for advice, but not yet 🙂

So roll your shoulders back, tuck your chin, and take on your day a little bit taller. Believe me, once you start doing it this way, you’ll never go back.

XOXOXO

Totally Truthful: The Romance Novel Vortex

I have a tendency to binge. Not on food (unless it’s chocolate covered cranberries), but on books; specifically, romance novels. I know this is a bad habit, but every two months or so, I CAN’T HELP MYSELF. I open Amazon, go to the free Kindle books section, and start downloading all the free romance novels I can find. Well, I limit myself to 3. Maybe 4. Then, I curl up under my covers, turn on my reading lamp, and go.

Me and mah Kindle

Me and mah Kindle

Romance novels are not by any means great literature. If you haven’t read one, they follow this plot line: Boy and girl meet, usually under adverse/questionable circumstances. They bicker, lust after each other, have sex, hit a plot twist, and end up together in the end. IT’S SO CORNY, yet so addicting for some reason. Maybe my brain just needs a break.

Here are some of my favorite plot lines:

Grumpy cowboy finds love in single mother who for some reason thought it would be easier to raise her child on a ranch.

Saucy independent girl finally finds her soulmate in dark, domineering male…who is usually rich.

Girl hides pregnancy because she doesn’t feel that man wants to be father. 7 years later, everyone finds out because they can see the family resemblance in the eyes (always the eyes). Man turns out to be awesomely honorable, and boom, it happens all over again.

Victorian novels are great: Prim and proper Victorian girl with a spirited streak meets a pirate. They argue, have their differences, then have sex and end up married or something. The parents approve, because of course the pirate is like their surrogate son.

But the best one so far?

Guy and girl meet drunkenly in Vegas. They wake up married…and stay married. Because, of course, the male is experiencing pressure from his mother to get married so that the family fortune can be passed on, and the girl has been looking for marriage all along.

Drivel, nonsense, baloney, bananas…. That’s what it is. None of it really happens (but if it has, please let me know in the comments, because I would love to hear it).

Accessories matter. They can be anything from earrings to the backpack you’re wearing to the book that you’re reading. That’s right; the book that you’re reading. I’ll admit it–I would never read a romance novel anywhere but curled up in my own abode. On the train or on a lunch break, I’ll read Room, Zoo, We Are Anonymous, and currently, Les Miserables. (I have discovered that there is really no way to read Les Mis other than to completely entrench yourself in it. Took me a while to get started.) The books that you read speak to your intelligence and interests, just like your shoes and your shirt and your more “traditional” accessories speak to your personality.

So, if you get the chance, put down Buxom Lass Hugging a Pirate and pick up Cloud Atlas or something slightly less bananas before you head out the door. Load up your Kindle with all that free classic awesomeness. Really need that romance fix? Snag Pride and Prejudice or Emma. Jane Austen just may have been the one to start this, after all.

[If I ever get two English bulldogs, they will be named Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley. Dog houses will be named accordingly.]

If you’re super interested in what I’m reading, check out my Goodreads profile. I’m always looking for book recommendations–leave ’em in the comments below!

XOXOXO (If you put an extra X, some one has 2 pairs of legs)