Beauty: A Dream Vanity Area



If you could choose your favorite place to get ready in the morning or when you’re going out to a party or special event, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a vanity area? Yes, I know for many women (and some men) this seems like a dream.

I would adore haveing a dressing table area where I could have all my makeup and hair tools, have everything organized well, and have my vanity area designed exactly the way I would like it to be designed to my unique preferences.

While modern vanity tables for women and shaving tables for men developed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, beauty items such as cosmetic boxes, ointment jars, and perfume jars, were found in 1910, in “inlaid cedar cosmetic box[s]” in the tombs of Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh. 

Madam Pompadour of France, however, was one of the first women of the aristocracy to perform elaborate grooming rituals. The french aristocracy had boxes called Neccessaires’ which held perfumes, combs, nail files, and tiny scissors. Madam Pompadour (mistress of King  Louis XIV (1638 to 1715)) aided the French king in developing the ‘toilette’ or beauty regime for both men and women in the royal court. 

One fantastic example of an early vanity table was used by Marie Antoinette who had a dressing table specifically made to fit makeup items, writing implements, and a mirror. The piece was commissioned as she was due to give birth to her son and the vanity served multiple purposes also being used for eating and receiving visitors.

In the twentieth century, the vanity table developed significantly in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Glamorous Hollywood films made popular skyscrapers with luxurious penthouses and “femme fatale [movie] heroines.”

These starlets sat elegantly at their dressing tables which were streamlined in form compared to vanity tables of the past. Many women wanted to emulate these actresses and the vanity table became an essential piece of furniture for the modern woman.


Considering my dream vanity and how I would design it and the area around my vanity,  I realized there are many vital factors to consider. What I ended up with was a mood board of decor items I would adore in a vanity area. You can find my mood board at the beginning of this post.

There are many aspects I considered when I thought about designing a vanity area. The first being what style of vanity (the dressing table) I wanted. There is such a variety of styles of vanities to choose from but many are actually writing desks used as vanity tables, not the actual vanities which for instance, my great-grandmother Ida owned.

I tend to love antique vanities which have been repurposed. There is something curvilinear, ornate, and luxurious about the carving and details in the design of some antique vanities. What I love about repurposing old furniture, is that much of it is made from quality hardwoods, not cheap soft wood. Much furniture today is made of wood which easily breaks or splits.

Also, I would choose to paint my repurposed (or designed to appear antique) vanity my favorite color of light-blue. I would make it a feature piece of furniture in my bedroom and would paint the walls a neutral beige or gray with the same warm or cool hue found in the color blue used on the vanity. Below are three examples of vanities which caught my eye would be similar to my dream dressing table. I wouldn’t want such a roughed up quality to the paint but a nice sheen or solid color.


 

Credit: Home Decorating Trends – Homedit -www.pinterest.com

 

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Credit: http://www.createinspireme.blogspot.com

 

Credit: http://www.danisvintagedesign.com

Another choice for my dream vanity would be to paint it with a pearlescent paint in a light sheen of bronze, gold, or silver. These dressing tables are more glamorous than the blue ones but would also retain a unique but more modern design such as the opulent vanities of the 1930’s.

A significant reason I chose antique vanities versus modern streamlined ones, has to do with my personal aesthetics and especially, drawer space. I think a vanity should have significant drawer space for you to put your makeup, hair tools, lingerie, or whatever else you would like to store in your drawers. My favorite vanities have both slimmer drawers up top and larger deeper drawers on the sides. Storage is a major issue when choosing a vanity for yourself.


 

Credit: http://www.facebook.com via http://www.pinterest.com

 

Credit: http://www.pinterest.com

 

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Credit: http://www.missmustardseed.com

Many of the vanities pictured above have attached mirrors. I would be happy to have one of these mirrors refinished, but I also felt you could remove the mirror and hang a mirror with an interesting frame on the wall, behind your vanity. The mirror might be a little farther away from where you would sit, on the wall, but I don’t think this would be a problem if a person had enough natural and artificial lighting in their vanity area.


 

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Credit: http://www.restorationhardware.com

Credit: http://www.arhaus.com

 

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Credit: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.ca

Another important detail to consider is the chair you sit on in front of your vanity. Whether you purchase a vanity that’s antique which you refinish yourself, or you find you like already refinished, you can replace what is often a small stool or bench, with a fancy and comfortable chair.

Especially if it’s for a special occasion, I prefer to have back support, personally, and be comfortable while I’m doing my makeup and hair. I want a cozy place to sit and a chair with a cushioned back and seat. Here are a few examples of chairs I like below, the gray one is my favorite chair; however, you can also find yourself a fancy dining chair, or some other kind of comfortable chair which matches your vanity and decor scheme.


 

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Credit:  Unknown – Google Search

 

Credit: Source Unknown -Google Search

 

Credit: http://www.potterybarn.com

Another aspect I would consider for a vanity area, if you have space, would be a soft but stylish chaise lounge near your dressing table. I would include this in a dream vanity area because a chaise lounge or sofa, would make you feel more at home and enjoy being in this space, even when you’re not preparing yourself for the day or an event.

A chaise lounge or a couch could be somewhere your significant other sits and talks to you while you’re getting ready, or your kids. It would also be a comfy and plush hideaway to read a book when you have the time, especially if you have a space with excellent natural light or a floor lamp nearby, as I would in my dream vanity area.

As well, it makes sense to have a plush chair of some kind here because a vanity area would be close to my closet as well, so I’d probably need something to throw clothes on as I try on several outfits or change out of my work clothes after arriving home.It’s also a place to sit on while you put on your shoes and zip up your tall boots.


 

Credit: http://www.decor-zone.net

 

Credit: http://www.neimanmarcus.com

I talked briefly about lighting but it’s one of the most significant aspects of all to consider, not only for aesthetics but because women require fantastic lighting when putting on makeup and doing their hair.

There is no substitute for natural light and in my dream vanity area, I would have many windows nearby. You never want to walk outside and see you’ve put on your makeup too thick for daytime or used the wrong color of foundation for the season so your foundation ends up appearing orange in the daylight.

In addition, having a chandelier or some kind of pendant light above your dressing table makes it the area appear more opulent as well as making it easier for a woman to see what she is doing at her vanity. A small chandelier, for me, makes the area all the more appealing. It aids in creating a space where would enjoy spending more time and I would probably be spending a lot of time there, so I want a beautiful light fixture.

I had trouble choosing between three different light fixtures. On the Restoration Hardware website, I found this lovely light made of “tiers of translucent white capiz shells” and I love the movement created when light shimmers through these iridescent shells.


 

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Credit: http://www.restorationhardware.com

Another especially favorite pendant light of mine is the flower pendant light from Arhaus. This light is gorgeous, unique, and sculptural. I think the “Italian glass” crystals hanging down would be perfect for a vanity area. This light fixture is superbly classy with this flower having “dark silver clay finish;” the artist in me adores it.

Lastly, I was drawn to another indoor/outdoor chandelier made from recycled glass and wrought iron from Pottery Barn. The glass circles made me think of bubbles and/or a pair of pretty dangling, bronze and glass earrings. I think for me interior design and fashion often overlap.


 

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Credit: http://www.arhaus.com

 

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Credit: http://www.potterybarn.com

A third issue to consider with lighting is actual lighting where you sit at your vanity, on top your table. Here is the place where you or I would apply our makeup or remove it, perhaps along with our jewelry. I’m not a fan of those big bulbs that go around vanity mirrors, to me they’re a bit tacky (my opinion).

I think I would browse for some trendy table lamps which went with my decor scheme and weren’t too large. My thoughts are that they would appear classier and provide more natural lighting as you can put light bulbs in lamps with more of a warm glowOne lamp might be enough, or you might prefer two, depending on how much space you have. There are a couple of different ones I liked and you can see them below. They’re both from Arhaus,  here and here.


 

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Credit: http://www.arhaus.com

 

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Credit: http://www.arhaus.com

One final issue to consider with lighting and mirrors, is a having a magnifying mirror. Yep, the kind where you feel scared when you can see every mark or wrinkle on our face. While I hate that aspect of these mirrors, they can be helpful. They’re especially great when you’re plucking your eyebrows, getting rid of a few stray hairs, or when you’re trying to apply liquid eyeliner or any eyeliner for that matter.

I would buy one of these magnifying mirrors which lights up. It could sit on my dressing table top or be attached to the wall behind my vanity. I prefer one not on the top of the vanity since I need the space for other items.

Certain mirrors with LED lights can be moved closer or a farther away, whichever way you need. There are also various degrees of magnification. You can check out this magnifying mirror below, from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Lastly, ensuring my vanity area is near plugins where I could easily plug in a power bar with more plugins for curling irons, a blow dryer, and my table lamps would be a must for my vanity area.


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5X Magnifying Mirror with LED Light(www.bedbathandbeyond.ca)

Now to tackle one the largest issues in my vanity area, having the best kind of storage for makeup, makeup brushes, hair devices, and any other products I store in and around my dressing table. A wonderful place for these organizational items is Bed, Bath, and Beyond because they have a ton of well-priced organizational items, many of which are also attractive for certain decor schemesHome Sense is another excellent place for this.

A third place you might consider buying storage for on top of your vanity is an office supply store, as many of their lines for storing stationary work well for storing makeup and skincare products. You can also use decorated or lovely colored trays and special storage from any home store, these products are easy enough to find.

Hanging a few decorative shelves nearby to house some of your personal items, is also an option I would consider for my vanity area, along with this neat holder I found on Pinterest, which is specifically designed to hold your blower dryer, hair straightener, and curling irons and can be found at Home Depot and mounted on the wall. For specifically made to hold makeup organizers on top of your vanity, Amazon is an excellent place to search for these holders at a great price.


 

Credit: http://www.homedepot.ca

 

Credit: Unknown – http://www.pinterest.com

 

http://www.bedbathbeyond.ca

 

Credit: http://www.overstock.com

 

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Instagram – http://www.pinterest.com

For makeup brushes my favorite storage solution is to find a pretty container, it could be a pencil holder a candle holder (whatever fits your brushes) or a couple of each, and fill them half-full with little rocks/beads or a similar vase filler. Stand your brush handles in these containers along with your mascara and eyeliners. Your brushes and makeup products will stay upright and it works superbly well.  I would use the same method on my dream vanity table; however, any pretty container which stores your brushes upright along with eyeliners and mascara, works well as long as they suit your design scheme.


 

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http://www.stylecaster.com

 

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http://www.totalbeauty.com

For makeup, you can also find some beautiful trays to put your makeup and skincare products on. Sometimes even trays with divided off sections, so it makes it easier to store certain items such as blush or lipstick. I prefer stylish storage for on top of your vanity, such as silver or gold trays, decorated or colored candle holders, and mirrored makeup supply/brush holders. Below are some photographs of these ideas I liked for my own vanity space.

It’s also helpful to find some see-through jars or containers to hold items such as Q-tips and cotton rounds, used for toner and taking off makeup (etc). For haircare products, a shelf that can fit hairspray, mousse, dry shampoo, and other taller hair products is useful with a shelf on top which leaves you with storage for smaller bottles of hair care products. 


 

Credit: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.ca

Credit: http://www.bathbedandbeyond.ca

 

Credit: http://www.bouclair.com

 

Credit: http://www.bouclair.com

 

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Credit: http://www.bathbedandbeyond.ca

 

Credit: http://www.hautandhealthyliving.com

The last and hardest part of storage is finding containers which will fit in shallow top drawers and in deeper side drawers for a dream dressing table. Since I would like my vanity area to not look so cluttered, I would like it if most of my makeup could be organized in the top drawers at least.

It is possible to purchase makeup dividers which fit inside draws or find your own little baskets or boxes, which will fit different kinds of makeup. Makeup storage also depends on how much makeup you own and should still be keepingAmazon is an affordable and easy place to find this type of storage.

Makeup storage also depends on if you want to store your makeup visibly on the wall or hidden (such as I do) in the drawers of your vanity. I prefer drawers, they appear so much neater than makeup storage in wall-mounted containers or on a magnetic board.  I can close messy drawers if they need cleaning and if my makeup has dirty cases. 

I believe in keeping a vanity top clean and clutter free as possible because it makes it easier for me to find what I need each morning before working or if I was Mom, for instance, before dealing with my children.

For me, I would only keep the makeup I use the most out and put everything else away. I would like the top to be clutter free so I have space to work and to display some of my prettier pieces of jewelry and perhaps perfume.


 

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Credit: Instagram – http://www.pinterest.com


 

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Credit: Instagram – http://www.pinterest.com

 

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Credit: http://www.walmart.com

It would also like to personalize my vanity space with authentic artwork to my taste, which matches my decor in my vanity area. I have chosen some of my favorite watercolor paintings off of Etsy which work into the blue vanity scheme and have this Chanel, posh and classy feel about them.  Also, I like how this spice wrack became the perfect place to store perfume and display bracelets.


 

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Credit: Mandibelle16 – Amanda Eifert

 

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Credit: TiffanyUssery – http://www.etsy.com

 

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Credit: theArtForYou – http://www.etsy.com

 

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Credit: LA Scandal – http://www.etsy.com

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Credit: Maria Ahrens – http://www.etsy.com

 

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Credit: Cheri Miller Art – http://www.etsy.com

I enjoy purchasing my artwork prints on Etsy because the prints you buy are less expensive and they are from local artists and small businesses. The prints are more unique than art you would find in most home decor stores. I would order the prints I’ve chosen off of Etsy and then visit Winners/Home Sense or the Craft store to find frames to put my art in.

I could choose to search for frames which are all the same style of frame or look for frames which are the same color. I believe what I would do is mix up frame colors and styles, have frames in black, gold, and silver, as long as they fit in with the vanity area them I’ve created and its ambiance.

For me, this would be my perfect dream vanity area; however, as you can tell, it’s difficult to choose precisely what pieces fit and what pieces don’t. Thanks for reading!


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

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Body Shaming, Can We Forget About It?


I’ve read an awful amount of material online and in magazines about body shaming lately. It seems that many celebrities are inadvertently body shaming such as Melissa McCarthy who chose to where a big coat (that she loved) on the cover of Elle or Mindy Kaling who is a size 8 (above the average actress’ size) and chose a black and white photo of her head instead of showing her entire body on her Elle cover. I just read another piece that Katie Perry was body shaming and daily there is another story written, usually by women, on body shaming.

So what is body shaming? Simply, it is making another person, usually a woman, feel ashamed of her body. You can body shame by what you say and what you do. You can body shame without intending to body shame at all. In fact, I’m a little tired of reading about body shaming because it seems that every where you look someone has an opinion on someone else’s body and whether this is an opinion right or wrong, you can be sure somewhere in this world people are going to make comments and show pictures of other people’s bodies in magazines, newspapers, and many types of media. In fact, you and your friends are going to have opinions of other women’s bodies (and men’s) and your 78-year-old neighbour woman is going to have opinions about women’s bodies and so is her 83-year-old husband. In fact, I think it might be human nature for us to justly or unjustly have opinions and make statements about other people’s bodies. And often we don’t even mean to make these judgements we inadvertently do.

www.usmagazine.com
http://www.usmagazine.com

Take Melissa McCarthy. Many people said that she was body shaming bigger woman because she chose to wear a big coat for her Elle cover, a coat she loved and chose herself for her body. But because what Melissa chooses to where on Elle influences what many bigger woman will wear, this was called body shaming because the coat was draped and loose. It didn’t hi-light Melissa’s curvy figure. Melissa had a choice of what she wanted to wear and thousands of woman projected themselves onto Melissa and said, “She’s making curvy woman look bad, she is making me look bad.”

Really, it was Melissa’s choice what she wanted to wear and she wasn’t thinking about all the woman who would see this cover negatively. She was thinking about what she loved and what would make her comfortable – the same kind of idea many woman have when they try on clothes from their closet or their favourite store. So, how can this be body shaming? I think a large amount of women out their need to leave Melissa alone and worry about their own bodies, not Melissa’s body. Sure we like to look to celebrities for ideas of what is stylish but there is nothing forcing us to wear what they wear. If you don’t like what Melissa is dressing in for her Elle cover then don’t wear a coat like that. Use your own sense of fashion and pick something that you feel is more flattering on you. Melissa, having an opinion on what she wants to wear is not body shaming and neither is any women’s opinion on what they choose to wear.

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http://www.entertainmentwise.com

The same goes with Mindy Kaling. The average celebrity is a size 6 so Mindy is not that bigger than the average size at a size 8. Even if you consider her huge compared to your other favorite actresses, it’s Mindy’s choice to just show her face in black and white on her Elle Magazine cover. She has a beautiful face and because she chose just to show that face, not even in color, and the thinner actresses with Elle covers had full body full color covers, does not mean that Mindy is body shaming women who don’t have ideally sized Hollywood body types. It is often harder to be a Hollywood actress with a bigger body but Mindy is not doing anything purposely against the regular woman who is a size 8 or 10 because she only chose to show her head in her Elle cover. She liked her cover and chose it because she liked it. Again, people need to stop projecting themselves onto an actress and figure out how to wear clothes for their body type, not only according to an actress or models fashion choices.

I know this is difficult. That although we are trying to show more plus sized models, magazines and brands are loath to do this. They use size 8, 10, or 12 sized models to represent woman who are size 14 or larger. The persistence of models who are unhealthily skinny, so much so that you can count ever rib they have, occurs still. But there are many women in the world who are skinny too.

I think that whatever the case, we need to be the ones who are happy with our bodies and need to stop listening to what the fashion industry says is the ideal sized woman. The ideal sized woman is healthy. She eats a healthy diet, exercises regularly, and indulges in treats such as most woman do. She does what she can to keep her body healthy no matter if she has a few extra pounds on her,   stretch marks from having children, or a stomach that isn’t flat.

But the main idea is that you as an individual need to decide what’s healthy for you as a woman (or man) for you and your family. Not

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http://www.yvettesalva.com

everyone is ever going to be thin and toned and not every body is curvy. The onus for body shaming is on us, the regular woman, and not just the media. Sure we can blame the media for giving us some unrealistic goals of what they think woman should look like. But we don’t have to keep looking at these images and we don’t have to tell our daughters and nieces that they should look like these famous people. We our the ones who need to stop body shaming ourselves and other woman by our actions and our words. Although, we will all undoubtedly have opinions about how other people look, lets keep them to ourselves and focus on living healthy lives and looking and dressing just as the beautiful people we are and wear what looks good on us.

Love the Skin You’re In


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http://www.zimbio.com

Physical body image is an issue I believe all women struggle with in one form or another. We all have at least one part of us that we would like to change. We may want our thighs to be thinner, our butt to be smaller, or our breasts to be bigger, or our tummy to be trimmer. Often woman think that if something were different about their body and if they received their ideally thinner thighs for instance, they would be happier and live a better life. In some cases, I think this is true. If you are overweight and make the healthy lifestyle changes such as exercising and eating better to get those thinner thighs I think you will be happier because you will be living a healthier lifestyle and this will affect you positively all around.

However, physical changes that are actually problems with our self-esteem, will only make us happier for a little while. Then, other problems will arise that can make us disgusted with our body image. Suddenly, you may have trimmer thighs but now you really want to weigh as much as you weighed in high school so you become unhappy about your weight, instead of focusing on the goal you did achieve and that you do have trimmer thighs. It can be a sad cycle, improving one part of yourself, only to be disappointed by one of your perceived other flaws later on.

For me, body image has often been a struggle starting from about the time I was in Grade 1. My mother never overfed me, I had little to no junk food, and I had plenty of exercise but I was still a pudgy girl. Boys were especially mean to me at this age calling me fat and bullying me even though I was just a little pudgier than the other kids. By the time grade 6 came around I had lost all my baby fat and now many of the boys liked me. I maintained a weight I was happy with until I finished my Bachelor’s degree.

When I was 23 years old I got my first job as a receptionist and suddenly I was putting on weight due to copious amounts of food around the office. I threw myself into exercising 40 minutes for 3 times a week on the elliptical at very hard pace, and weight lifting an hour along with each of my elliptical sessions, until I suddenly fell ill with depression and lost 25 pounds in a month.

The problem with losing so much weight at one time is you gain it all back and then some. I sky rocketed from 161 lbs. to 191 lbs. over the next 3 years due to medication, inability to exercise, and perhaps, the fact that I was so no longer 23 years old anymore and was naturally putting on weight. I managed last year to lose 10 lbs. on Herbal Magic and even though I have quit the program I have kept the weight off. I never reached my goal weight of 165 lbs. although, it seems that no matter what I do my body sits comfortably around 180 lbs.

For me height 5’6,” my weight is a little heavy even though I have always been about 10 lbs. heavier than what is recommended by doctors for my height. I would dearly love to be thinner so I could buy smaller clothing and have my body look the way my body looked in university. But if I think about it, I have always been unhappy about my weight, it is just one of my hang ups. Even when I had no reason to think I was fat, I was unhappy about my weight and when my weight didn’t bother me something such as the condition of my skin would.

This is my point that we will always find something in or on our bodies to be upset about, to fantasize how happy we would be if we didn’t have that flaw. But the thing is our flaws make us who we are. I may have a bigger tummy now and have gone up to a size 12 from a size 10 in jeans but I know have bigger breasts – this is a plus. Not to mention, I am never stuck in-between sizes as I was often before. I fit a size 12 or a size large and in most stores those are the sizes I am, I never have to guess.

In addition, I have a boyfriend who loves my curves. He liked them when I met him and I was 191 lbs. and he likes them now that I am 181 lbs. He would like them if I got bigger again or if lost weight and got smaller. He is one reason I really have learned to love my body. People have tastes for partners in all shapes and sizes and just like our partners love our bodies we need to learn to love them too, to be self-confident, and self-confidence is sexy. Curvy is in even if most of the woman we see in the media have thinner body types.

There are celebrities that I admire that are in the entertainment business that are bigger than the average Hollywood sized 0, 2, or 4 woman. Sara Ramirez for example, who plays Callie on Grey’s Anatomy, is said to be 160 lbs. She was a size 12 when she began acting on Grey’s Anatomy and I feel very proud when I see her act as she is both talented and weighs a weight the average woman can relate to.

Someone else I really admire is Lizzie Miller, a model who for Glamour magazine posed “jiggly bits and all.” In her picture, you can clearly see a tummy on Lizzie miller who is 5’11” and considered too big to model even for plus size. Yet in 2009, there she was bearing it all, flaws and everything. Lizzie really inspired me and made me think that it was okay that I have a have a tummy too, I always have. Some of us are never going to be model thin and Lizzie personifies beauty in any body weight. Woman are beautiful and worthy to be loved with tummies, thighs, and butts that are considered too big, so are woman who are incredibly thin and wish they had curves, and so are those woman who are somewhere in-between in their body weights. We are all monumentally blessed to be who we are and have the bodies we do have, of this I am certain.  To read a fascinating article on Lizzie Miller you can go to: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1210814/Lizzie-Millers-Glamour-magazine-shoot-How-models-picture-shook-world-flabby-tummy-all.html and read all about Lizzie’s brave model shoot in 2009.