What body positivity means to me, and how other's think I contradict that

So this topic has weighed heavily on my mind lately and I knew I just had to write about it. The world of “influencers” is something fairly new to us but also something that has taken off lighting fast. Basically for those who don’t frequent social media, an influencer is a person with either a large following or engagement who will work for companies basically advertising for them. This is usually based off what their page reflects, i.e. fashion, beauty, fitness, etc. Depending on the size of your following you can get paid from companies to be an influencer and it’s a cool way to try different products or review them. I would be labeled under that but I don’t like to use the word influencer. Mainly because I don’t want or like to influence anyone one way or the other, rather I like to share my opinions with those following me and to try to help them when ordering from certain companies. That still may seem like i’m influencing but one thing that I do not do when working with companies is to lie to others just to get you to buy the product I may be wearing or trying out. The common misconception “influencers” get is that they are paid to say whatever it takes to get our followers to buy, but to be honest most contracts that come from said companies only require us to show you the product. I’ve had companies give me words that they would like to be to say with the products i’m trying and I will not do that. I do not want you coming to my page seeing the same verbiage used that you see on other pages promoting the same product. I want to be honest with you and I have turned down many companies that I am either not a fan of or that I just don’t see myself using. With that said I want to talk about a controversial subject that I see all over my own timeline and as comments under my pics, and that is the body positivity movement.

My social media represents me living my best life, through adversity, through the highs and the lows I am an open book to all. That has left me a target to many mean words, comments, dms, and even from close family and friends. Some people don’t understand why I share my life the way I do, others think it sets me up to be talked about or letting people in who shouldn’t know so much about my life. All of those things are true, but I am an open book for one reason and one reason only..because there is someone out there that needs to hear my story. I realized after so much trauma I've been through and surviving all of that, that I am meant to help others. Yes you see lots of fashion on my page because I LOVE fashion, I love creativity and I love being a plus size woman who can try to empower other plus size women. But at the core of it all I want to help other people learn to live their best lives. With living your best life comes moments when we have to face the uncomfortable parts, and for me that has always been my struggle with my weight. I have talked before about how I got to where I am with my weight, and many of you know the steps i’ve taken to help control my weight, yet there are times when I talk about this subject that I am faced with those who are a part of the body positivity movement who think I am betraying them if I admit that I want to do something to better myself. They think I contradict that whole message behind body positivity or that I am contributing to the diet culture. But I see it differently.

Body positivity is a social movement rooted in the belief that all human beings should have a positive body image, while challenging the ways in which society presents and views the physical body.” That is wikipedia’s definition of what the body positivity movement is about. You should love your body, no matter what condition it’s in, because when you love your body you want the best for it! Just because I promote loving your body as it is, doesn’t mean i’m against wanting to be the healthier version of yourself. That doesn’t mean having to alter your body, having to be what society views as “skinny”, that means that if you see there is something wrong then you do what you need to do to make sure you are healthy. That healthy body can still be viewed by others as being overweight and that is ok because again we aren’t doing this for others, we are doing this for ourselves. There are times when I know I need to change up how much activity I need or check what I’m putting in my mouth. I know this when doing simple tasks become harder for me or I’m feeling sluggish because I ate whatever I wanted to and it wasn’t the best choices. Mind you i’m all about balance, but lately the scales have been tipped towards eating all the things that do nothing positive for my body lol. That is when I know it’s time for me to get real with myself and make healthier changes. In making those changes, I have worked with and tried different companies that i’ve always been curious about. That is usually when the chaos starts, when my dms start to blow up!

I have worked with companies that sell protein shakes and detox teas and I know it’s a sensitive topic for soo many!! Whew honey my messages blow up after I post a pic with it, but guess what…before I decided to work for these companies, I tried their products and I liked them. I have never promoted that they are a one stop shop for losing weight, rather tools that have helped me get back on track with healthier eating habits. Many of those who are so upset about these products, have never used it, rather decided to join in on an ongoing conversation had by others over how they felt these companies were a part of the diet culture. I agree, there are people who use the same jargon, claiming that they made their stomach smaller and so on, but I am not one of those. I use the product because guess what, sometimes I eat stuff that isn’t good for my body, sometimes I need a little help getting my body on track and I am firm believer in forming my own opinions. I also try to make myself very clear to others that this is my experience with the product and my opinions of them. But I still get those who feel like i’m contradicting myself and that is frustrating.

Can I be brutally honest with you for a second?? I have actually hindered my own weight loss out of fear that if I lose weight that I would be doing a disservice to those women who look up to me! Omg that is insane right?? But I get it, because there have been times where i’ve seen other women who have the same body type as my own, lose weight and then bam…it left me feeling bad about myself!! Almost like they betrayed me or something…absolutely bonkers but I know there are others that totally get what I’m saying. But that cycle has to stop, because just like for the same reason we don’t want to be judged for being bigger bodies, we need to stop judging those for having different bodies then our own!! You heard me, we need to stop judging the girls who don’t gain weight as easily as we, those girls who lose the baby weight faster then we did, those girls who find a workout regimen and healthy eating plan that actually works for them, the girls that needed weight loss surgery, WE NEED TO STOP JUDGING..period! Let’s stop looking at others successes as bright beams shining the light on our failures. This may sound harsh but I am speaking to myself too! I have been praying lately, praying for a healthier body. I owe it that. I want to live as long as I can, I want to experience things that sometimes my body doesn’t allow me to, not because of the size but because of it’s capability. So next time you see me talking about Keto, or working out with my husband, or even the shakes that you might not be a fan of, try reading my words for what they are and not take them as a way of me saying that something is wrong with you or I. I am not going to stop talking about my life anytime soon, and I want to include it ALL, so try to see that I will ALWAYS be an ally for the body positive movement. But I love my body enough to know when it’s time to make sure it’s running at tip top shape!! I hope you all got what I was trying to put out with this post. I also hope you know I am always open to talk about this. So if you want to chime in, please do so in the comments section. All that I ask is that we all remain respectful. Thank you!!

Hugs and positive vibes.

Lissa

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It's ok not to be ok...

Whew it’s been a minute since i’ve been able to hop on here!!! This last month has been super busy. Together Brian and and I attended and even shot multiple weddings! It was the first time we have ever shot a wedding together and as usual he was amazing! I never take advantage of the fact that I have a husband who works so hard at his regular job, then takes time to help me with all of my different endeavorers. It took me a long time to find someone like him, and as many of you know the road to where we are now has been filled with it’s equal amount of heartache. Some of those heartaches still come back from time to time, and when they do it’s important for me to recognize and to be ok with feeling the sadness that comes with it.

Yesterday Brian and I went to the gym together and had an amazing workout. Afterwards we stopped at the grocery store to grab the ingredients we needed to make chicken fajitas!! As we were walking around the store we see a grandmother pushing her granddaughter and we couldn’t help but stop and admire how beautiful the baby girl was. And then it hit me, like a memory that all of a sudden pops up but with that memory comes a tinge of pain right in your gut. Looking at that baby girl, seeing something familiar in her all of a sudden brought up our babies. Three pregnancies that have resulted in miscarriages, one of those being twins. Sometimes when dealing with pain in your life the only way to cope is to push it back really deep and only allow that pain to come out in small doses. It’s like a small leak that slowly drips, each drip releasing a painful jab at you that brings you back to those moments that you try hard to keep at bay. I have learned to allow those moments to happen, and sometimes they come and go with a steady flow and other times they come and sit with you for awhile like a familiar friend checking up on you. When you are lucky to live a life filled with all kinds of experiences. you will sadly know that a lot of those come with their fair share of pain. None of us are immune to it, and how we deal with it dictates what kind of life you will have. If you are lucky, you will have people in your life that will help you heal, and if you don’t have that then you will have to learn to be that for yourself…either way the only way to get through pain is to feel it. We live in a world filled with so many stressors, so much in our face and we see lives on social media that look so effortless. Those images can make us feel alone when we are faced with those painful real life moments. That is when we need to take a break, step away and fully dive into the healing phase. For me it means talking about it. It means hopping on my blog and typing my feelings, because I want to help the 1 in 4 women who will experience this loss. I want to show you that it is something you will carry for the rest of your life, but it is a pain that you can carry and not allow to break you. I want to talk to you and be completely vulnerable and not care about how it makes me look. So here I am, pouring my entire heart out in public, and please understand this hurts, this is scary but if it helps just ONE other woman or even man then it will be worth it!

It’s ok not to be okay. Please read that again…it’s ok not be okay! Life isn’t about having what the next person has, life is a physical experience that takes on through spiritual journeys that is meant to teach us, to make us wiser and maybe one day help someone else in the process. We have all had our share of pain and sometimes we want to ignore our pain if isn’t as “bad” as the next person, like somehow it’s a competition of who has had it worse. We need to stop that, yes there are people who have went through experiences that you haven’t, that you can’t imagine, but your struggle doesn’t lessen because of that. So the first step is to say to yourself, i’m not ok and I need help. That help can come in the form of talking to someone you trust, it can come from journaling, from praying or meditating. You must be honest with yourself before any kind of healing can begin to happen. So let me be brutally honest with you for a moment. ..

When I saw that beautiful little girl in the grocery store my first thought was, I wish I could’ve seen those babies I made with my husband. I can close my eyes and get lost in the what ifs…what if just one of those babies would’ve made it into the physical world. What would it feel like to deliver our baby with my husband by my side grinning from ear to ear. How would those late night feedings be, knowing Brian would never be able to sleep through them. Knowing he would be up with me getting me water, changing the baby after I nursed them, quietly rocking them to sleep so I could drift back. How would those Saturday mornings be as we cheer on our baby at whatever activity our child we be interested in because I know that being Brian’s child means that our child would very active lol. How obsessed I would be if that baby had their daddy’s eyes and infectious smile? Those are the thoughts that hit me out of nowhere and for one second I get lost in those what ifs, and it hurts. It hurts remembering the joy we felt knowing we had created a little soul together, just to have that joy crushed when we saw that 3 little lives would never be. Sometimes the pain punches me in my stomach when I allow myself to remember seeing one of our babies, our second pregnancy that was supposed to be twins, with a low heartbeat…but a heartbeat none the less. Then being sent home with the knowledge that by the following week most likely that baby would not make it, and sure enough one week later our baby would still be there, this time laying to the side with no heartbeat. That moment still haunts me, and having to wait until the ultrasound tech left the room so I could release all of that pain I had in private. That pain will stay with me forever, that I am positive of, but I know how to not let that pain destroy me and rob me of joy. The only way I know how to do that is to still see my life as a gift, to see the family that I have been blessed with and a husband who loves as deeply as I do that he could shed the same amount of tears with me and can help carry some of my pain as well.

We get asked a lot if we will ever have a child together, and my answer always remains the same…if it’s in the plan then yes, but if not then we are okay with that. I have been a mother since I was 17, and for the first time in my adult life I am coming to the end stages of raising my kids. As much as it hurts to see them grow up and lead their own lives, it also brings a new phase for Brian and I that I have never experienced and that is being able to have one on one time and do things just the two of us that we really enjoy. I have allowed our pain be just another connection we both share, and I know that those babies, those precious souls will be waiting for us one day on the other side. For now I can admit when I’m not ok, feel it, process it and then pick myself back up and continue to live the life that God has blessed me with!

I pray that these words can be healing to anyone going through their own struggles. It is a part of life, and if you are blessed to live a long life then hopefully you will also have the opportunity to help someone else with what you have not only lived through but also thrived through!

Have a blessed week and thank you for allowing me to pour my heart out to you once again…

Hugs,….

Lissa

I never knew how much I needed you...

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One year ago I met this little girl who would completely change my life. I always wanted a big family, after all I birthed 4 kids. I was so obsessed with my babies, they remain the constant in my life..the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done. I never knew I could love another the way I love them, and then this little brown hair, big brown eyed little girl came into the world on May 4, 2018. She was brought into this world by her brave and strong mama, surrounded by her grandma, great grandma and Aunt! A circle of women, welcoming the newest generation…it is something I will carry in my heart forever.

Many of you know that I was due to give birth around the same time as when my granddaughter would be born, but unfortunately I miscarried 2 months into my pregnancy. It was my third miscarriage and it was such a painful loss. Through my loss I focused on the happy parts of my life, and when I first laid eyes on my granddaughter God instantly healed my heart. I had always heard that becoming a grandparent was the most amazing experience….they were not lying. I can’t express adequately the love I have for her, but I will try in the form of this open letter to her…so this is for you my sweet angel.

To my first grandchild,

Today you turn a year old and for 365 days now you have had me wrapped completely around your finger. Anastassia, you were born into a family that has so much love for you that sometimes it’s overbearing. Sometimes we fight over who gets to be around you, how much we get to be around you, and for how long. We can’t get enough of your presence because you are truly such a gift to all of us. My dearest granddaughter, from the moment I found out I was to be a grandmother I fell head over heels in love with you. Meeting you for the first time was one of the greatest days of my life and each day thereafter has been nothing less than a gift. I come from a long line of women who exude love and selflessness to their family and everyday I try to show you the same thing. I want you to know that I will love you fiercely, be here for you always and remind you every single day that you are strong, beautiful and can do whatever it is you want!!! You come from a long line of strong women on both sides of your family and you too will blaze your own trail in this life!! Thank you Anastassia for coming into my life, for completely healing your mimi’s broken heart. Loving you is something I do not take lightly. I am proud of you my sweet pumpkin and your mimi will spend the rest of her days covering you in love, security and confidence!!!

Love always,

Mimi

5 Years Ago...

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Dear husband,

5 years ago I walked into a bar and we locked eyes. I would have no idea that I had just met the man who would forever change my life. I had spent so many years hurt, angry and searching for a feeling for love that no one else was able to give me…until you. I could go on and on about you, as I do almost daily but I just want you to read these words and understand again why I chose you.

You have a heart that is bigger than most. You are a true gentleman who never lets me open doors, always waits on me to eat dinner, never lets me carry grocery bags and prides yourself on taking care of me. You are the definition of selfless and kindness. You have the most beautiful eyes, not just because of the amazing color but because of what lies beneath them. It’s one of the things I fell in love with, the one thing I saw when I first looked at you. Thank you for loving me, for loving my babies, for accepting all of my flaws, for being patient and most of all for giving the life that I desperately prayed for. I hate that it took me so long to find you, but I promise you I will spend the rest of our days together truly soaking up every moment. I promise you will never go a day in your life without feeling immensely loved, respected and wanted. Thank you for always appeasing my crazy ideas, posing for me when I need you to model, being my photographer, and just the daily support you give me. I finally for the first time in my life know what God meant when he designed marriage. From a bar in Baltimore, to being husband and wife in Virginia….God has orchestrated it all.

I love you baby, today and for always…

Your WIFE, Mariaelissa

Thank you to everyone who has supported our love, from our families to our friends to all of you who send me messages, comments and positive affirmations!! For our 5 year anniversary we wanted to do something fun with our annual photoshoot by using celebrity couples and movie couples as our inspiration!! So enjoy our fun shoot and thank you again for all the positivity you all bring to us!!!

Hugs, Lissa

Thrifted Thursday: Winter into Summer Wear

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Ladies, learn to make your wardrobe STRETCH and I don’t mean in the physical sense lol. When you shop for pieces whether you are thrifting or not, you want to envision multiple ways to utilize your clothing. I like to wear my clothing all year long, I don’t believe in seasonal pieces. A summer dress can be worn in the winter if layered right. This outfit, minus the boots and jewelry, was thrifted and came in at $8 total! Living in Virginia our weather changes daily, I mean we can have 4 seasons in a matter of days! So learning how to style your entire wardrobe is a must!

For this look I paired this Lane Bryant dress that I found at my favorite local thrift store, with a simple black turtleneck that I found at Salvation Army. To keep going with the winter wear I threw on a pair of tall black boots and finished the look with turquoise jewelry from my local Paparazzi jeweler, Just Right Pieces . Seriously I’ve become obsessed with their pieces and have really been thinking about becoming a consultant with them because these pieces are soo cute and literally only $5!!! Let me know what you think below. Anywho ,back to the look lol. This is such a chic look that can easily be replicated with any sleeveless wrap dress, which by the way is so flattering on all body types!

Obviously transitioning this back to summer wear is super easy. Throw some cute heels on, a fun scarf, grab your favorite purse and GO!! Ya’ll know how much I love mixing my colors and patterns, so throwing yellow with this purple tie dyed style dress was a lot of fun. Remember for summer there are no rules!! Colors are so much fun to play around with, so don’t be afraid of it!

Shoes: JustFab

Purse: Target, but they no longer have it so I found a similar one for you in my Amazon shop here

Jewelry: Paparazzi

Scarf: Thrifted

So here’s a tip I want to leave you with to help with your thrift store shopping, screenshot outfit ideas that you want to replicate. Going in with outfits in mind makes it easier to navigate your shopping. I always go in with a plan because there is a lot of clothing to go through. And in closing, make sure you have FUN with your wardrobe!!!

Until next time,

Hugs, Lissa

Thrifted Thursday: Plus Size Vintage Addition

Welcome Back!

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Hello Dolls! So last week I started my Thrifted Thursday blog segment in order to offer tips and tricks to thrifting and how to style your pieces. I know not everyone is a lover of thrifting, it can be a very overwhelming and daunting task that can also be frustrating. So what do you do if you love vintage pieces but do not want to spend the time it takes to seek out the treasures, well you turn to businesses like Francheska Louies. Marquisha Daniels, owner of FL, has made it her mission to seek out the hottest vintage pieces with a focus on plus size. She is also a stylist with a great eye for fashion that is reminiscent of the 90’s New York fashion scene. I have always been a fan of the pieces that she carefully curates, then sells on both her instagram and local pop up shops. She has styled me before, for both my anniversary shoot with my husband a few years ago, and for a shoot we both collaborated on. So recently when I saw her at a Vintage Sunday pop up shop at Selden Market I knew I had to check out her newest collection. As soon as I saw this gorgeous dress I got excited!! The color and print jumped out at me and I prayed it would fit me!! To my surprise it did and the second I brought it home I thought of all the ways I could style it! I love it as is, and I know that I could literally wear any color shoe with this and it would all work, but I settled on a soft yellow because the dress is colorful enough that this butter yellow compliments it without competing.

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I’m swooning over here because honestly I felt so pretty and timeless in this dress. There is something about a belted swing dress that is so feminine and works for so many body types!! As much as I love it as a dress I knew I needed to find other ways to style it because as I stated on last week’s blog post when you make any clothing purchase you want to make sure to find pieces you can wear multiple ways to really get your money’s worth!! I decided to make this dress a duster by taking off the belt and pairing it with a simple white spaghetti strap tank top from Walmart, linked here and my current FAVORITE jeans from Rainbow, linked here !

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Be prepared to see this look worn many ways because I am not ashamed of re-wearing something but best believe I like the challenge of making it look different each time!!!

The beauty of what Marquisha does is the fact that most of her pieces are one of a kind and most likely will not be able to be found anywhere else. So when you invest in her pieces you are investing in timeless, one of a kind designs that you can proudly wear knowing it won’t be seen anywhere else!!

I reached out to Marquisha about featuring her on today’s post because I believe in what she’s doing and I believe in supporting other small business owners, especially other Female owned businesses!! We need to create a space of community over competitions, and instead of talking about it, we need to actually do it. So please take the time to check out her pages and support!! I asked Marquisha to do a write up about herself and her business to help all of you get to know her better. Check it out below and thank you all for your support! I appreciate every person who finds their way to my little space here and takes the time to read what I have to say and those who take the time to send me a message or comment!! I hope you have a blessed day!! Hugs, Lissa

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My name is Marquisha Daniels. I am the owner of Francheska Louies, LLC "Plus Size Vintage". I cater to sizes (12-24). We specialize in one of a kind, exclusive, unique vintage to add to your everyday wardrobe. I started this business because I felt the need to supply more options for the plus size. community. Growing up not having access to designer clothing and shoes, my parents simply could not afford it. I’ve always been fluffy. I didn't have access to the trendy options but of course I made a way out of no way. I fell in love with vintage trying to recreate current trends from my mothers walk in closet. She had tons of timeless vintage pieces from my grandmother, trips she had taken over the years and my absolute favorite, thrifting. Attending church as a young adult my mother started allowing me to style myself for Sunday Service. This is when the magic started to happen. My mom was not my biggest fan at the time but everyone else loved to see what new looks I would create every Sunday. Thrifting became a thing, it even became a lifestyle. I would shop with my mom and sister at local thrifts in the neighborhood such as Goodwill, Salvation Army and CHKD. I would find shoes, accessories and clothing. Everything I would find was trending in magazines, TV shows and the internet during the 2000s was accessible and reasonably priced at the thirft store. Thrifting allowed me to create a lane of my own. I became so good at thrifting and styling that I was even nominated for best dressed in high school. My passion for fashion gave me the drive to attend The Art Institute Of Philadelphia where I majored in Fashion Design. Throughout the years I worked heavily in fashion retail. I grew from a simple sales associate to a visual merchandiser, becoming a coordinator and even a store manager. I had the pleasure of working for three plus size companies and two small black owned businesses. These things and more are the main reason as to why I started my business. On top of running a small business I offer services such as Personal Styling, Personal Shopping, Alterations, Photo Shoots, Visual Merchandising, Creative Direction & Motivational Speaking. If you live locally in the seven cities area I often vend at Selden Market located Downtown Norfolk in Virginia throughout the year. Be sure to follow us on Instagram to check out our highlights @Frncheskalouies & @Fracnheskaloui3s. Email us at F.louies.md@gmail.com. Contact us at (757) 447-4024.

Thrifted Thursday

So i’m super excited to start a weekly fashion blog post on thrifting!!! How many of you are thrifters? It was once very taboo, lol…I mean no one wanted to admit that they shopped through other people’s donations. But then it became a trend and alas here we are! I honestly have thrifted since I was a kid. I remember my parents, who had 3 kids that were all only a year apart, having to school shop on a tight budget. I lived in a small town and we only had a few thrift stores, and one Goodwill that was smack dab in the middle of town!! They would hang styled outfits in the window and my freshman year of high school my mother took me there to do a little shopping. There was this hot pink dress hanging in the window and my mom insisted I try it on. I was NOT happy about that, but I knew better then to argue with her too much so I grabbed it from the sales associate and went to their plywood dressing room…no lie guys this thing was like a standing coffin!! I put it on came out and my mother LOVED it!!! So much that she bought it and whatever my mother bought I wore. So fast forward a few months into the school year and I finally wear the hot pink dress. I go to the bathroom where there was a large group of girls doing their makeup and one of the girls smiles at me and says “nice dress!” As much as I wanted to be appreciative of her compliment, I was terrified to see that this girl was the same girl who sold this dress to my mother at Goodwill!! Thankfully she kept my secret and all was right in the world thereafter.

I look back on that and honestly laugh at how much I cared, like my peers, about things that hold no value. I had two parents who worked their butts off to provide for us, and gave us all we ever needed. My mother always had us looking our best and she taught us to live within our means. That is something I am most proud of. We didn’t showboat for the sake of other’s opinions. There was no need to spend a fortune on clothes that we would only wear a few times. We had a beautiful home, home cooked meals and a family unit that was full of love.

So now that i’ve taken you down memory lane, I lead you to why I thrift. So as you see from above it’s something my family has always done, and as i’ve gotten older it’s become something that truly makes me happy. There is nothing like finding treasures for literally a fraction of the original cost. Thrifting can be time consuming, but if you are patient it truly will be worth it. Years ago when plus fashion wasn’t the best, it was really hard to find anything in the thrift store that was worth purchasing so I stuck with looking mostly for my kids. Thankfully times are different and like I stated before, if you are patient you truly will be delighted with what you can find!! I love clothes, and I love to shop, but I am still raising kids and honestly I also have decided that I want to be more responsible with my purchases. I still believe in splurging on those staple pieces, you know the one that will stay with you season after season. But for the on trend looks, definitely utilize your local thrift stores for that. And bonus, you are actually doing a lot for your local community, charities and the Earth when you thrift!! Ok are you sold yet??

Most of you who read my blog are coming from my instagram and you see that I work with clothing companies as a brand ambassador. I absolutely love doing that, but I also love styling outfits from thrifted pieces that I find. Because of that I decided I wanted to start a weekly Thursday Thrift post where I will show you what key things to look for, how to shop and more importantly how to style those pieces!!! Last week my husband and I took an afternoon and hit up our favorite spots. Now if you are new to thrifting you will have to take some time to check out the ones around you. Some thrift stores are not worth the hunting, and then there are ones that you will feel like you a hit a jackpot!! Make sure you ask around to find out the ones that are worth going and of course utilize Google…it will be your best friend!! For the national thrift stores, Salvation Army is one of my favorites. Mainly because every Wednesday is half off all clothing and shoes!! Of course it’s a mad house on that day but if you start early you can avoid the craziness!! This outfit that I am showing you today was all bought at Salvation Army and was half off!!! Total spent for t-shirt and skirt….$5!!! So let’s check it out!!

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So let’s talk prints!! I LOVE prints, and my favorite thing to do with prints is to pair it with…wait for it…more prints!!! Seriously, nothing adds spice to your wardrobe like a statement print. Leopard is, and honestly probably will always be a staple print. It’s best used on the smaller scale, like in pieces and not a full on head to toe look. This skirt is originally from Lane Bryant and still had it’s tags!! It’s original cost was $59 and I got it for $3!!! Yea, I was pretty stoked!! I knew the second I saw it that I wanted to pair it with a fun t-shirt, so I went on over to the men’s area and searched all through the t-shirts. Vintage t’s are on trend right now when paired with something that would be deemed dressy. I knew I wanted the base color to be black so I searched through the black t’s (another reason I love Salvation Army…they organize everything by color!) and I found this super cute Marvel t-shirt. It’s a size small, but it had stretch and for $2 I knew that if it didn’t work out I could just give it to one of my kiddos. Thankfully it fit great and once paired with the skirt I fell in love!! Now normally I like to turn my thrift t’s into either a crop top or off the shoulder top. I just grab a pair of scissors and start hacking away, but with this t I wanted to keep it the way it was because I want to be able to tuck it into a pair of jeans or sweats. So I rolled it up to create a cropped look…and this look was produced! I ended the look with a fun pair of super trendy white booties!!! This look can be worn out for drinks with the girls, a concert or a dinner date with your significant other. It’s super versatile and can easily be worn day or night!

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I added a leather jacket that I draped on my shoulder to give it more of an evening look.

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Now if heels aren’t your thing and you want to wear this to a festival or to run around shopping, just throw on a crossbody bag and your favorite pair of sneakers!! Another big trend….sneakers with skirts and dresses!! It can tone down a super dressy look and let’s be real….they are COMFORTABLE!!!!

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As much as I love this look, I wanted to show another way to wear this skirt. Prints can be scary to some, and I know that the t-shirt with it might not be the best look for everyone. So if you’re scared of prints, don’t shy away from it!! And if you are a plus girl like me…PLEASE do not buy into the “plus bodies shouldn’t wear prints, especially on the biggest parts of their body”. You know we have heard this before and it’s bs! As you can see, I am rocking a print, and rocking it at the biggest part of my body, and I did so confidently!! I truly believe, if it makes you happy…WEAR IT!! Ok so back to the original program, I paired the skirt with a Fashion Nova off the shoulder top. I chose black but you could also1 do a camel color and if you are bold a bright color solid top would be killer with this!! Think hot pink or teal!!

I also paired it with my favorite Jessica Simpson gold glittered heels because…STATEMENT!!!

I hope you have enjoyed my first segment of Thrifted Thursday!!! Please take a moment and leave a comment and let me know what, if anything you’d like to know about becoming a thrifter!! I am already working on next week’s post because I was able to grab some killer pieces recently!! I will make sure to show you different ways to wear one peice because I truly believe you should utilize your wardrobe to the fullest!!! We out here trying to buy homes, secure our children’s futures..clothing is fun and can make us feel really good but it shouldn’t break the bank. Trends come and go, seasons change quickly..I want to help you find pieces that will stand the test of time! Hope you have a beautiful day and until next time…

Hugs,

Lissa

How did I know?

I get asked that question a lot, how did I know that Brian was the “one”. Well if I were to be completely honest I would say that from our first date I knew he was different. Let me take you back.

So as many of you know, Brian and I met April of 2014 in a bar in Baltimore. He lived there and I lived in Virginia Beach…4 1/2 hours away. Our chance meeting had all the elements of a movie love story. Girl walks into bar, sees this handsome man standing behind the bar checking her out. Man spends the rest of the night getting her to talk to him before he slips her his number and running to her for a hug before she leaves. The energy in that hug was my first indicator. I mean I can’t explain it, I just know that it felt safe, familiar and left me wanting to make sure I stayed in contact with this man. Now as women we all have an list of wants from a relationship. A lot of our lists differ, but there are core elements we all share, like the desire to feel wanted, paid attention to, sought after. Right before meeting Brian my 20 year marriage had fallen apart and I had desperately sought comfort in those closest to me. I had started another relationship that too had fallen apart and I was over men at that point. I was tired of chasing, tired of giving so much of myself to people who didn’t appreciate it. I wanted to feel like someone’s priority, so I walked away from relationships and started to get comfortable being single. I was hesitant initially when Brian and I started to converse, but one of the first things he did that stuck with me our entire relationship, was he wasn’t afraid to show me he was into me. We have communicated every single day from the moment we met. Let that sink in for a second. It will be 5 years in April that we first met, and every day for 1,785 days we have talked in some way. This was while we were both still entertaining other people, this was while we both suffered devastating losses, we still found a way to communicate, even if it was just a text. It was that simple act that first showed me that this man was different.

Then he took me on our first date. It took 2 months for that day to come and in that time we had communicated so much that I could not wait to see him in person again. Ok ladies, this date is when I knew! No honestly, I still worried after this date but only because I knew that this guy would change my life and I was terrified of losing that!! We both met up in Richmond, a sort of halfway point for us. We went to Carytown and went to Mexican restaurant where I had way too many Cadillac margaritas and sat across from him all googly eyed!! This was was so different then what I was used to. He would stare me right in my eyes when he talked. He touched my hand most of the dinner, and he wasn’t afraid to show affection. He made me feel like I was the only person in a 10 mile radius. We left the restaurant and walked through the town, hand in hand. He talked to me about his family, went on and on about his life where I felt that I was already apart of it. He stopped in a store and bought me a hat because it was super sunny outside and I was sweating in my tight maxi dress lol. We ended up at this beautiful park and honestly at this point I was so comfortable I claimed him as mine…well in my mind, not to him just yet lol. Brian showed me who he was, he didn’t just tell me. I watched his interaction with others. I watched how he spoke to people, with respect. Later that night we ubered to this beautiful bar, and we were able to get the same driver to pick us up. We were hungry so our uber driver stopped at Jimmy Johns, and Brian asked the driver what kind of sandwich he wanted. He bought the guy a sandwich, and some could say he did all these things to impress me, but here we are 4 1/2 years later and Brian is still that same guy!! His kindness is one of my favorite traits of his. He literally cares so much about people, always the man to help others out. And I saw that early on, and I needed that. I needed a kind man, I needed a man who wouldn’t play games with my feelings. He was the man, but let me tell you, I made sure he knew what I needed. You see that is where we can sometimes mess up. We think the other person should just know, and yes there are basic behaviors we all know is needed in any relationship, but we also have to be able to communicate our needs and feel that they are being reciprocated.

That leads me to some of the tough stuff in our past. You know I love to share all the beauty but every story has the dark stuff too. And it’s in the midst of that dark stuff is where you truly know if this person you are wanting in your life will be there over time. Brian and I spent a year and a half living long distance. With that comes a lot of insecurity. I knew he was probably still entertaining other women because I was still entertaining other men. Partly because I didn’t want to put my all into our relationship not knowing if he could do the same, and partly because for the first time in my adult life I was single and I wanted to explore that. But boy did he make it hard to even think about other people. Brian played no games when it came to letting me know how he felt about me. He texted, called, sent me videos..I mean this guy definitely made it hard for any other guy to get close!! But there was still that fear of what he was doing when I wasn’t around. In the time we dated long distance, Brian lost his father. That happened soon after our first date and it was so hard to not be able to physically be there for him. He traveled back to his home town and dealt with his loss, while I was back home hurting so deeply for him. It was a dark time for us. Months later I lost one of my closest friends and I resented the fact that he too couldn’t physically be here for me. Within a week I would lose my cousin too, and honestly it was all too much to handle. I felt myself pushing him away, felt myself wanting more than what we were giving each other. Instead of doing what I was known to do in my past, which was to push feelings aside and not speak up for myself, I decided that I needed him to know what I wanted. I made my intentions clear so that he could also make his intentions clear. That to me was the beginning of us taking steps to making our relationship a serious one. On our journey to finding each other we would deal with the drama of other women, deal with the decision of him moving here and at times I thought we wouldn’t get to where we are now…but we did. And we did because we made a choice to not give up. And for me, I made the choice to finally speak. I let him know that I would never in my life live silently allowing people to treat me however they see fit. I came to a place for myself that I knew if I had to I would walk away, and I communicated that. Now we all say that sometimes with the intentions of just scaring the other person, but I said it knowing that if I had to that is what I would do. It wasn’t a scare tactic, rather finally knowing my value and not settling for anything less. Again Brian’s actions would be what I needed to show me that he meant what he said. All too many times we hear all the words we want to hear, but we ignore the actions. It’s in the actions that we truly know someone’s intentions. Brian left his life behind and moved to Virginia Beach to start a life with me, and a year after he moved here Brian got down on one knee and proposed to me, and year and half after, Brian married me. His actions, that’s how I knew he was the one. He didn’t play games, he didn’t fill me with empty promises, he showed me actions behind his words and that is how I knew I could trust him, could give him 100% of my heart and eventually stand before God, family and friends and promise my life to him.

Too many times we let words fill our hearts with what we want and we ignore the actions that don’t follow through. We make excuses as to why those actions aren’t lining up with what we are being told. All because we want this person so much that we allow what we deserve to be compromised. That is not the life you want, trust me. I would rather be alone again then to feel as though I am chasing after anyone. Relationships are amazing, marriage is beautiful and when it’s with the right person it is a feeling that nothing in this world can ever compare to. But all of that comes together when two people have the same intentions, love fiercely and are ready to commit completely to one another. We have been married for almost 7 months now, we are about to celebrate our 5th year anniversary of meeting each other and he is still the same loving, kind, giving man who doesn’t let a day go by without me knowing how he feels about me. Every night he preps our bed for us to get in, making sure the fan is on and the sheets are smoothed out and then we climb in. I back up into him, he wraps his arm around me and we lay there thankful for every single high and low that brought us here. We know that we could sustain life alone, but we know together life is brighter, easier and more comforting. I truly have a best friend in this life that I never have to worry will not always have my back, and he knows that he has the biggest supporter behind him. I am grateful that this is the life God has given me, and I’m grateful for all of the broken hearts that bought me here because it is so much sweeter knowing that this is the best of the best.

Thank you Brian for reminding me what true love is supposed to be. For never allowing pride to stop you from showing me love. For choosing me to be your partner and wife, and for the patience you have shown me since we first started this love story! I now know what God intended when he created the bond of matrimony. I’ll love you forever and a day….

Mrs. Borden

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My Gastric Sleeve

September of 2016, I walked into the hospital in the wee morning hours, with my boyfriend holding my hand and I knew my life was about to change forever! I was terrified…I mean I prayed on the way to the hospital and prayed as I changed into my hospital gown, and prayed until I was knocked out! I honestly almost backed out, but I didn’t and here’s why.

As I have shared before, my weight has always been something that i’ve struggled with most of my life. I wrote an entire blog about it here, so check it out when you’re done reading this! When I met my husband I was at a good weight for myself, I was happy with how I looked and felt. We had the BEST courtship!!! We lived 4 hours away, and that was hard but it forced us to have that old school communication and when we saw each other it was the most exciting and adventurous times together filled with the best foods Baltimore and Virginia had to offer!. Over the course of a few years, I put on that relationship weight but it was so hard to see because he made me feel like I was perfect. Unfortunately I started to feel the weight. Then Brian and I suffered a devastating miscarriage. It rocked my world. I was so angry with my body that I gave up on myself. I turned to food and became lethargic and before I knew it I had gained almost 30 lbs in the matter of a few months!!!

So that was my motivation. I woke up one day and knew I had to make a change. When I was still pregnant I woke up from a dream and our baby’s name came to me…Arrow. Brian loved it and there was a lot of symbolism at the time that made us both know that we would name our child that. Once we lost the baby the name Arrow became even more symbolic and I used Arrow as my source of strength to get me through my journey. I contacted a local dr that a few of my friends had used for bariatric surgery and I started the journey. Now the time frame from the first appt to the actual surgery can vary depending on the kind of insurance you have. I was blessed that I only had to wait 4 months for my surgery. In that time I had multiple classes to attend, I had to speak to a psychologist, and I had to see my family practitioner to clear it. It was a lot to prepare for but I was excited to make strides towards a healthier lifestyle. Now a lot of people have asked me why the gastric sleeve and not the bypass. Well that was a personal choice for me. The bypass is very invasive and it scared me. That’s not to say it’s not the best choice for you, but for myself it wasn’t the right fit. I wanted something to help me, to give me a jumpstart with my weight loss and the sleeve did just that. Now I will be completely honest and tell you that if you don’t do the work over time you WILL gain the weight back..but I’ll get more into that in a bit.

The morning of my surgery I had my vitals taken, asked to clean my stomach with this iodine looking antibacterial wash and after that I slipped into my gown and awaited as my anesthesiologist and surgeon came in and gave me a run down of how the surgery would go. I was still so nervous, but right before I was wheeled back, I got to see Brian and he was wearing an Arrow necklace I made him. I stared at that Arrow and knew that our baby was the reason for all of this. After losing our baby I had to find something good to come from it. I knew this was it, our baby was a huge part of me getting my life back! So off I went, and once in the operating room I would be transferred from my bed to the operating bed and before I knew it, I was out. I came to hours later, confused and so thirsty! I was told before the surgery that I would not be able to have anything to drink for 24 hours, but I was so confused that I just kept begging for a drink. The nurse came over and told me I couldn’t have anything to drink until they tested my pouch, the part of my stomach that was left over after the surgery. I will. not lie, the first day after my surgery was bad. I was in pain, I was uncomfortable, I was disoriented, I just remember feeling a bit regretful, but that would definitely pass. Later that night my friends, Jennifer and Lisa (who also had this surgery) came to visit me and stressed the importance of getting up and walking a bit. I DID NOT want to do that, but I knew it was important for not only possible clogs but to start getting your body moving to recover faster. It took forever but I got out of bed and walked to the end of my room and back. It was hard, painful and exhausting but it was important. The next morning I had my pouch test. It consists of drinking a substance and then having an x-ray done to make sure there is no leakage. Well let me tell you after this surgery you are lucky to get a tiny vial of liquid in your stomach, let alone a little cup. It was painful and I knew like most people who have to do this test that I would end up throwing it up! Sadly if you do throw up before they get the x-ray they make you drink it again, so I was determined to keep mine down! They make you drink 2 different substances, and I was able to drink them get the x-rays done and after they put me in back in my bed, I threw up everywhere!! That second day in the hospital consisted of drinking water as often as I could because chances of you becoming dehydrated are great due to the small amount you can ingest at a time. It also consisted of getting out of bed more, walking around and using the restroom on your own. My time in the hospital was not fun, but again I knew this was all for a good reason so I pushed past my doubts, pushed past the pain and focused on the day to day. After the third day I was released to go home and continue to heal.

The surgery is laparoscopic so I ended up with 5 little scars, and one large scar that was used to pull out the part of the stomach that they removed. Now everyone responds differently to this surgery. Those closest to me told me they were fine within days, or up to a week with little pain. So I was optimistic that I would be fine, but my pain was higher and lasted longer. I’m not sure if it was because I have had 4 kids and maybe my stomach muscles weren’t very strong, but my large incision scar was very painful. A simple trip to the grocery store turned into me needing to use a wheelchair. I couldn’t stand for long, I felt a sharp pain in my stomach whenever I tried to exert myself and it was very difficult. I went back to work after a few weeks and I had a very hard time. I found myself in so much pain I was unable to sleep in my bed, having to sleep on my couch for almost 3 weeks. For myself this surgery was painful and I was in a lot of pain for exactly a month. Once again, it is different for everyone, but I need to be honest because I had a vision of what I thought it might be, and the reality was different. And for some perspective, I have, like I mentioned, carried and birthed 4 kids, one being a c-section and another doing it with no epidural. So I have a decent pain tolerance and can normally soldier through. As hard as it was though, I would do it again in a heartbeat!!

The day after my surgery vs. 7 months later

The day after my surgery vs. 7 months later

So as far as the journey goes, allow me to be blunt with you. If you don’t put the damn work in, the results won’t last. The sleeve surgery requires the surgeon to go in and remove a large piece of your stomach before stapling it back up. The results cause you to only consume a small amount of food, therefore resulting in loss of weight. But what you eat is very important because over time your stomach will expand and cause you to be able to eat more. So if you go into this thinking it’s a quick fix then you are doing it for the wrong reasons. It is not a fast fix nor is it the easy way out. It is simply a tool to help you and without you putting the work in, you will not get the results you want. Before getting this surgery you need to do some soul searching. You need to recognize your relationship with food and try to see food as fuel and not what you normally see it as. I was dedicated but I still failed at parts of this. I followed rules, but over time I allowed myself to fall victim of the foods that helped get me to where I started. After a year I lost 70lbs, but since have put back on 20 of those pounds. It came from being careless, from thinking a meal here and there that I know was not good for me would be ok, and before I knew it I found myself having to have that talk and knowing that I needed to get back in control of my eating. After your surgery you will be encouraged to eat a high protein low carb diet, mostly because you will not be able to eat as much and because you can’t take in as much nutrients and you’ll need the protein to make sure your body doesn’t eat away at your muscles. It is also because carbs turn into sugar which is a huge no no with this surgery. You can and will most likely deal with what they call “dumping” which is when you eat something that your body does not want and it does whatever it can to get rid of it and quickly! This means you start to sweat, your heart races, and you end up either throwing up or having diarrhea or BOTH at the same time!!!! It’s pretty bad and painful and a quick reminder what you can no longer eat carelessly! So once again if you don’t get ahold of your emotional tie to food, then you will have a hard time dealing with the after effects of this surgery.

I will end with this note. This surgery can be amazing and if you are considering it, please do your homework. Take your classes seriously, read as much as you can on this topic, join support groups and know that you are doing this to better your life!! Do not listen to the negativity that is out there, and do not take this lightly. This is your health, your body, your life and you should not make this decision lightly. As I stated above, I have slipped and the one thing I have decided to get myself back on track is the keto diet. I plan on tracking my journey both here and on my instagram so if you want to join along then make sure you subscribe to my blog and follow me here! If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section and I will do my best to answer them all. Remember to love yourself, no matter what your outside looks like. Weight-loss will not fix what you have going on inside so don’t think that your problems will be solved once you lose weight. It will not, and you will find yourself back to square one if you have that mentality. This journey has been more about my mental than my physical and it' took me awhile to admit that. Since coming to that conclusion I have become more successful and that is the journey I can’t wait to show you!!

As I always say, live your best life and have a blessed day!

love,

Lissa

the morning of my surgery vs. a year out

the morning of my surgery vs. a year out

Here we go again...

I want to start off by thanking all of you who have shown so much love for our boudoir shoot. I knew the moment I hit “Publish” that these images would stir many emotions. I mean let’s just say it, they are provocative, passionate and they show an image that isn’t seen enough. They show a woman who is isn’t small, who has a tummy, large breasts that are no longer perky, a woman who isn’t in her 20’s, a woman with many imperfections, and it shows her being in control of all of those imperfections and all while her husband shows his appreciation. This alone has sparked an emotion in some that sadly showcases their own insecurities and leads them to judge my husband and I for allowing these images to be public. But again, if you read my blog you know that THIS is the exact reason why we chose to not only take these images but to also share them with the world.

Follow along while I get very real with you right now. I am a person who has feelings, has her own insecurities and I put all of that aside because I knew the power these images hold. I knew that one woman out there, that woman who hides under t-shirts when intimate with her partner, that woman who feels regret when she looks in the mirror because she thinks she’s not worthy of intimacy all because society constantly crams down our throat an image of women that is not the majority! That one woman needed to see that you are WORTHY of whatever love you want in your life. That you do not have to settle for relationships that don’t spark passion in your life because you think that man doesn’t exist. That woman is the woman I was wanting to reach when I decided to do a shoot that I knew would spark some controversy! I know that woman because I used to be that woman!! I used to be the woman who lived in one of most beautiful tropical places in the world and I would wear baggy t-shits to cover the body I hated. That woman would wear t-shirts over her bathing suit because she was so afraid of what people would say about her just trying to live the same life that others around her were allowed to live. This confidence I hold was not something I have always possessed, yet something I have worked my butt off for! I have been the woman who was cheated on, who didn’t feel worthy, who has survived sexual abuse, and made a CONSCIENCE decision to rise from all of that and claim her worth! So that woman is the same woman who puts herself out there to be made fun of just so that ONE woman can find empowerment in my photos. So if you are one of the many people who laughed at me, wrote horrible comments about me, judged me because I chose as a woman in her 40’s to showcase her sexuality and celebrate one of the beauties of her marriage, then do me a favor…do some soul searching and ask yourself why. Why would you want to intentionally hurt someone, why you think it’s your job to care so much about a stranger’s life that you take it upon yourself to tear them down. I have said it time and time again, but hurt people hurt people. Read that again…Hurt people, hurt people! I have never seen a joyous person take to tearing another down, because they are too busy living their life to worry about what others are doing. Last night as I watched our images go viral, I knew what would come from that. I knew the downside of the decision I made and although i’d be lying if I said I didn’t care at all, I knew the good outweighed the bad. For every negative comment made, there were many more that got it! That makes it worth it.

So for all of my ladies out there who sadly are faced with the same comments on a daily, hold your head high!! Walk with your purpose every single day, and do not hide yourself for the benefit of others. I hope as we continue to celebrate diversity that more images like this become the norm. I hope that we come to a place where we are so busy living our amazing lives that we allow others to do the same. We are all not meant to be the same size, we aren’t meant to look the same…it’s the beauty of diversity. So again, as I say all the time..live your best life…and allow others to live theirs!!!

Hugs and blessings,

Lissa

Put aside your fears...

Boudoir photography has made a beautiful comeback from days of the 20’s when it became a form of art to express a woman’s sensual side usually taken as a gift to her husband. We’ve all seen them and most women have always wanted to see themselves painted in that light, but sadly if you don’t fit into what society deems “perfect” then more often than not we talk ourselves out of actually doing it. We tell ourselves that once we lose a few pounds that’s when we’ll commit, but most of the time we just chicken out. So when I was approached by the team of ISO: Lux Boudoir to do a couple’s boudoir shoot, I was both excited and terrified!! So honest moment here, you all know I am a confident woman. I work hard at loving myself no matter what other’s opinions of me are, but I am also human. I have fears like the rest of us, and being in lingerie with my husband in front of anyone outside of my bedroom is terrifying, add to that is the fact that I have allowed these images to be shared to the public…talk about TERRIFYING!!! But life is all about challenging your fears, and you know I constantly preach about living your best life…so that is exactly what I did..I ripped the bandaid off, agreed to the shoot and we moved forward with it!

So now I want to take you through the process and give an honest review of our experience! Brian and I met with Mike from Dragon Studio and Misty from Misty Saves the Day at Mike’s home to discuss location, wardrobe and expectations of the shoot. I have worked in the wedding industry here in the Hampton Roads for some years now, so I knew of Mike’s work…which is incredible, and I had worked with Misty years ago so I knew she had a creative vision. Neither were strangers, but I had also never been half naked in front of them lol. Thankfully as we sat and chatted I started to feel more comfortable and knew that they would provide an amazing experience and I was right! We decided on a location, and Misty went forward with providing some of the wardrobe. The day of the shoot came and my bestie and I met at the location and he worked his magic!! If you live in the Hampton Roads area you seriously need to check him out. Josh has been making me feel beautiful for YEARS!! He was the mastermind behind my wedding look, and is one of the most talented hair and makeup artists i’ve ever known…yes this is a major endorsement for him because he is amazing and so so humble!! When Misty and Mike got there the nerves truly hit!! Brian was as cool as a cucumber. For some reason I thought he might feel uncomfortable posing and being so sexual in front of a group of people, but clearly I don’t know my husband because he was way too excited about it lol! After hair and makeup Misty pulled out some of the most beautiful lingerie and robes from Milk & Honey Bride which is a plus size bridal boutique in the Hampton Roads. Slowly my nerves started to ease and I watched as Misty started to stage the location with tea light candles everywhere! It was so beautiful and set up the ambiance perfectly. The next few hours was like a scene out of 50 shades, minus any whips and chains! It was one of the most erotic experiences Brian and I have ever had…and let me tell you we’ve had some great moments as a couple, but this was up there on our list! There is nothing like blocking the world out, connecting with your spouse and having that sense of others watching. It brings an element of excitement that is hard to truly imagine until you do it. And you know all those flaws that I nervously worried about, I forgot all about them!! I mean at the end of the day my husband loves every inch of this flawed body and you can see that in these images. These images that we will have forever, these images that we will look back one day when our bodies have yet changed again and we will say to ourselves…Damn we looked good!

For those who know me or follow me on social media know that I am always trying to empower women. In particular women who feel as though they aren’t the typical beauty. It was part of the reason I did this shoot. There will be some who will say I am doing too much, or being too personal, and for those people I say…Your hang up, not mine. My husband and I are proud of these images and proud that they can help others feel great about themselves!! In just the 24 hours since I released one image on instagram I watched as women tagged their significant others asking to do a shoot like ours, I received countless messages from women thanking me for showing what love looks like. Sometimes love looks like 2 people, who are opposites in physique but are crazy about each other!! This isn’t shown enough! I am an imperfect person, my body carried children, and it doesn’t look like it did when I was in my 20’s, yet here I am PROUD as hell because it has been so good to me and in return I will celebrate it!! And in that celebration I will show you these beautiful sexy images that were taken for us!! And I pray as you see them that you are inspired to love your body, even the parts you may not like so much. I also hope it inspires those who have been sitting on the fence about having a boudoir shoot. I hope you decide to just DO IT! Don’t wait until you lose a few pounds, don’t wait because it will never be the perfect time if you wait! When you can love yourself despite what you might not like in the mirror, then you can love it through all the changes you will experience over the years. Because it will be different, even a yea from now it will look different, so celebrate it now! And if you choose to go for it, research and find a great photographer because that will only further a wonderful experience! I was super impressed with how professional both Mike and Misty were and blown away with how Mike shot these images!! He was able to, with the help of an amazing eye for lighting, create these sexy images while showcasing all the great stuff and not bringing to light those things I’m not that crazy about. He created these timeless images that look like something out of movie scene and I cannot wait to blow these suckers up for our bedroom…sorry mom if you come over and see my booty sprawled out over our bed!

So now here’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for…Please enjoy and leave me a comment on what you think! I’ve linked all who were involved throughout this post, but i’ll do another link after the pictures so if you are in Hampton Roads area please consider booking this entire team!! As always, live your best life and have a blessed day!!

love,

Lissa

 

Thank you to everyone involved!!

Hair and makeup: Joshua Ketron

Photographer: Mike Dragon

Styling and concept: Misty Prewitt

Wardrobe: Milk & Honey Bride

Lingerie: Fashion Nova

Let's talk about weight baby....

So this topic has been weighing heavily (no pun intended) on me lately. If you follow my social media you know i’m known for the plus size girl who is full of confidence and found love at her highest weight. And while that is mostly true (I too suffer from insecurities too), lately I have been getting a lot of flack for promoting a healthier lifestyle. There are some who feel as though I have abandoned my self love beliefs because I want to become a healthier version of my self. So I feel the need to just get it out there, have “the talk” and explain the why’s of what got me here and why I feel the need for change.

Ok so here is where I have the difficult talk of what got me here. You know I’m an open book, and with that comes times where I need to be open with myself and acknowledge truths of why I have spent my adult life overweight. Sadly it is a story all too many of us can relate to. At the age of 5 I was sexually abused by a neighbor. He was the big brother of my friends and later I would find out that he had been abusing his sisters, my friends for years. I wish I could say that that was the worst of what he did to me, but it wasn’t. He subjected me to images, horrific images that only further took away my innocence and my sense of safety. From that moment on I feared men, I mean I could not be in the same room with any man, even those who would absolutely do no harm to me. As much as I wish more then anything that those moments didn’t alter the course of my life, changing me forever, but the truth is that dealing with trauma like that at such a young age did change me. I had a hard time feeling safe and even more I had hard time valuing myself. So naturally when it came to relationships with men, I succumbed to things I didn’t want. I feared what would happen if I didn’t and honestly I didn’t love myself to know that I was worth more. I became a mother at 17, and soon after my son’s birth the weight started to creep on. I remember starting college 6 weeks after my son’s birth, determined to be better for HIM, not me, and sitting in the cafeteria looking at people my age so carefree void of major responsibilities. I felt so alone and isolated so I ate, ate all of those feelings down. The more I ate the more invisible I felt, the deeper I went into a fog of depression. The only thing that I had in my life that brought me joy was my son and I was determined that everything I did moving forward would be for the betterment of his life, not my own.

My weight, like so many others, would become my shield of protection. Although I have always tried to carry myself with pride and hold my head high, the weight was comforting. I felt as though I could hide behind it and somehow it would keep me invisible. But it didn’t stop hurt from happening in my life. There were times in my life over the years that I would be determined to lose the weight, and I did. But because I was not honest with myself, and because a lot of the time I was doing it for the wrong reason, I would end up gaining it all back. Over the years though I learned to love myself even with the extra weight. I realized that I did not want to be a victim anymore, I wanted to take back what my abuser did to me. It’s been a long road but I have come to a place where I truly am happy with myself. But that’s where things get murky for most.

I have been honored to be able to have a platform where I can address self confidence issues with other women. What I put out there is the truth about myself, I don’t fake my confidence but with that I also don’t fake my health for the sake of making others feel comfortable. The truth is, I have been ignoring my health for some time now. Being that i’m so used to taking care of others i’ve always been one to take everyone else to dr’s appts but not making them for myself. I have been dealing with hypothyroid for over 20 years now, and I do go to the dr for that, but there are other issues that i’ve allowed to be ignored and I can no longer do that. I made myself a promise that this year I would take my health more seriously, and part of that is recognizing that those bad habits from long ago have crept back in. This time for different reasons. I got married to my amazing husband and honestly got complacent..lol. Plus we are both foodies and he LOVES to spoil me with all of my favorites, so over time I saw my clothes fitting tighter and more importantly I found myself getting more winded and having a harder time with physical exertion and that is when I knew that it was time to do something. So that is exactly what I’m doing, and guess what, i’m sharing that journey with you. Not because I feel like everyone should join me, or because i’m saying there is something wrong with you, but because it might inspire others to put their health first. I want you to know that when I envision my “healthy” body, it includes my curves, my thighs and booty. I have never desired to be what most people would call “skinny'“ because I truly believe we are all not meant for that body type. But I desire to be stronger, to be able to get a clean bill of health from my dr and to enjoy activities that won’t leave me winded. And if that isn’t the definition of self love, I don’t know what is.

So I pray as you see my posts about how I eat, or my workouts you realize that this is coming from a place of wanting the best for myself! After all how can I tell you to live your best life if i’m allowing myself to be complacent at the comfort of others? We all have different visions for ourselves and who am I to tell you what healthy for you looks like? Therefore who are you to tell me that I am not standing by my body positivity because I chose to become healthier? Can we all take less time worrying about how others live their lives, and focus on what brings us joy? I mean I want to be around for a long, long time. I have people who are relying on me to be the best version of myself! And honestly for the first time in my life, I am treating my body the way it deserves and that is a great feeling!!!!

As always, I appreciate all the support I am given everyday! Love you all!!

~Lissa

My Year in Review

Here we are, the last day of 2018. New Year’s Eve and day are always a time to reflect on your life. We set new goals or resolutions, we think about everything that happened in the past year sometimes with happiness and other times with sorrow. I think this year was my most transformative. I’ve never wanted to blog more about a year then I do of 2018. Why? Because this year started out horrible, I mean one of our lowest points, and it ended so dramatically high that I just know I need to share it with all of you so you can see how much your life can change in a short time. I want to show you that life can get better, after all we all need to know that things will get better, and please understand me when I tell you that it can and will change!! So join me as I reminisce…..

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January 2018

This was a great month, I got to take Brian to Texas for the first time. He got to meet all of my family there and I got to get a picture of a future I have always wanted. The best part is it ended with us finding out we were expecting again!

What a beautiful start to my year! But unfortunately Brian and I would suffer another loss. Our third angel would never make it to this world. I need you to understand something. I have 4 healthy, amazing children. Brian has a beautiful son, and we by no means feel as though we need a child together to feel complete, but my goodness when you find out that you have created life with the person you love more than yourself…that is the most amazing, euphoric feeling and when it is taken from you it is a loss that hurts so deeply that you bury it deep. Together we yet again found ourselves at the same hospital, having the same procedure we just had less then 6 months before. It was heart wrenching to say the least. We were in the middle of wedding planning, and dealing with court issues with my ex, it was all so overwhelming! Because of our miscarriage we had to reschedule our wedding and we lost our wedding venue. Talk about dark days!! I just felt so incredibly low. I wanted so bad to just escape from reality, I couldn’t come to terms with the why’s. All I knew was my heart was so broken, Brian’s heart was broken and together we had to find a way to deal with our pain. I remember one afternoon I was sitting on the couch in a haze of numbness. Brian was sitting across from me watching tv and all of a sudden I just burst into tears. As he tried to find out what had caused my outburst I blurted out to him, I think God is trying to send us a sign that we aren’t meant to be together…I mean why else would he allow us to suffer a third miscarriage??? Brian looked over at me, tears in his eyes..a pain that I was all too familiar with and he said, Lissa please don’t think just because I’m trying to remain strong for you that I am not hurting just as bad as you, and it’s unfair for you to say things that are so hurtful and untrue. Instantly I felt such shame and hurt for trying to hurt the only other person who was feeling my pain!!! I knew at that point that God wasn’t putting us through all of this pain because he didn’t think we should be together, yet he was giving us strength and a love to help us endure our pain together. From that day on I started to move forward, planning our wedding and putting everything else in God’s hands!

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We begin to heal…

Learning to heal is a process, one that takes time and patience. For us we just needed to find joy in the little moments. Of course our children were a huge part of that, but learning to reconnect as a couple was key too. When you experience a loss with your partner it can either divide you or bring you closer together, but that has to be a choice you make. You have to learn to completely rely on the other person, crying, talking and being there for them as much as they are for you. Sometimes this is hard because naturally a lot of us use our defense mechanism of shutting down during times of pain and hurt, but again it is a choice you have to make to stay connected and allow your partner to help you through it. These choices are not always easy, by no means do I want to paint a pretty picture of one day waking up and being okay. We spent many nights distant numb but we were together. Brian has the same love language as I do, which is touch. We are physical affirmation kind of people and while we are watching tv at night, or laying in bed, his hand is always on me. I began to notice it even more and allow that touch to be my comfort, my sign that things would be okay. We also made sure to go on as many date nights as we could. It could be a simple trip to the grocery store that we did together, we began to use any excuse to be out together as a “date night”. I began to focus on everything I was blessed with, and it was and is a lot.

Choosing Happiness

April 2018

We decide to go away for our anniversary because that is the day we were supposed to be married! We went back to the place that our love story began, Richmond Va. We went to all the places we went on our first date, we found new places to make memories in and we reconnected in a way that only proved what I already knew, that we would be okay.

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May 2018

God knew what he was doing! One of the greatest days of my life!! My first grandchild was born and she has been my angel, healing my broken heart. She is the most perfect human and everyday I thank God for allowing her to be in my life and showing me that God never forgets us, he always knows exactly how to heal us!

May was a great month! I gained a huge blessing and was able to put to rest a battle that I had been fighting for almost 10 years!! I could finally see the light, and I could finally hear God in the midst of all I had been through. It was time to finally get ready to be Mrs. Borden!!!

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August 6, 2018

Fairytales are real….

I could go on for days about this day, but I will just say that nothing is impossible. Marrying Brian proved to me that nothing worth having will be easy!! We have endured so much but this day proved that the girl who got pregnant at 17, who tried desperately for so long to be loved the right way by others, who allowed people to treat her badly as long as they showed her attention, that girl..the girl that came with 4 kids, an imperfect body, who was no longer in her 20’s…that girl deserved to be loved and finally found the man who could and would love her better then anyone else ever could! It made every tear, every heart break worth it and after our wedding it put us on a new journey to better our lives..give our children a better future and now we get to do it together!!

And here I am writing this, tears in my eyes at how much I have changed this year. After my wedding I started to set goals for my life with Brian. I knew that I wanted to truly pursue a dream of running my business, completely without having a 9-5 as a backup. So with the support of my husband, I focused solely on my businesses and guess what, they started to thrive!! I am ending this year with more business then I have ever had…EVER!! I have so many orders to fulfill it keeps me up at night, but wow…I’m actually doing it!!! To top it off, I was invited to do my very first podcast to talk about my blog and businesses and it was soo much fun that I cannot wait to do another one!! Huge thank you to 75Junction for the amazing opportunity!! Just click the pic below to go watch it!! I feel like this interview is a preview of the upcoming year, yet another sign that i’m on the right track!

click here to check out my first podcast interview!!

click here to check out my first podcast interview!!

So 2019, I’m ready for you!! I now know that i’m capable of truly going through hell and remaining positive and focused! I’m ready for new business ventures, sharing my life more with all of you, loving my family , welcoming my newest granddaughter soon after we wish a happy 1st birthday to my first granddaughter, lol!! Seriously I think I was put on this earth to love. My heart has been trampled on, took advantage of but it keeps beating for those around me…including you!!

I honestly need to thank every single one of you who have been a huge part of how i’ve been able to evolve and get through the tough times. You sent me encouraging words, you prayed for me, sent positive vibes out and I felt it all. Whenever I feel like i’m babbling on or talking about something that you may care less about, I get a message from someone who tells me they need to hear me. There is nothing better then knowing you are able to help someone from all the ugly stuff you’ve been though!! You have been the ones to support my small business, to tell me to keep pushing when i’m exhausted! You have been the ones to bring a tear to my eye whenever I get a message telling me that you never were able to truly start loving yourself and your body until you saw me doing my best to love mine! I mean guys, that is some powerful stuff right there and I DO NOT take it lightly!! I have decided my mission in life now is to show you all how to live your best lives!!! Be authentic, LOVE without restrictions and without fear because guess what, we will all get hurt in our lifetime but all we want is to feel love and we can truly find it but we have to be willing to love 100%! Whew I said love like 10x there lol. But seriously I sum up 2018 with one word…LOVE. And i’ve decided I want to go into 2019 with one word…Goals!! Watch me crush them all, set new ones, dream HUGE and not let self doubt creep in! You want to go on this journey with me?? Then let’s start by telling each other our first goal of 2019. Mine will be my health, to stay focused, go to the dr’s appts that I keep putting off and show myself that I can have a healthy relationship with fitness and food!! Now let me hear yours….

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Love & Kisses,

Lissa “Maya”

Happy Birthday to me!!

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I woke up this morning reflecting on my life so far. I am proud the life i’ve lived. It has had so many lows, so many highs and I am grateful for it all. For the first time in my life I have complete peace. I don’t waste my time worrying about what I don’t have but instead I truly appreciate all that I am blessed with. This past year I welcomed my first grandchild, married the love of my life and got to bring him to Texas to meet my entire family. 2018 has been so good to me and I know it will only get better. So for my birthday post I want to share a few lessons learned from experiences that I have had the blessing of going through and getting through!!

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Find your passion

and work on it daily!!

Sometimes we have to take certain jobs to bring food to the table. Sometimes we get lucky and get to work in the field we are passionate about….but sometimes we don’t. That shouldn’t stifle your passion though. We are all here for a reason, we all have a destiny, a reason and there is nothing that feels better when you find that reason and get to work on it!! I am so grateful that I get to work in my field. It took years of me doing what others thought I should before I took the plunge, quit my job and focused on what I know I was meant to do. Everyday I am reminded why, every order I receive, every photo shoot I book, every comment or message I get from a woman thanking me for showing them how to love themselves…all of that is because I decided to work on my passion no matter what others thought!!

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Love yourself first..

then watch how you manifest what you want in life

I could write a book on this topic, but I will say this. When I was in the worst place in my life, everything around me reflected that. My home was a mess, my relationships were a mess, I just didn’t think I was worthy of having more. I had to work at loving myself because that was something I was unfamiliar with. I became a mother young, and learned to always love others more. I would FIGHT for my children but yet I allowed people to treat me like second best. I loved them, loved them so much I was blind to the fact that they didn’t love me. I did this to many relationships until I had enough. I decided being alone was better than a cycle of abuse that I was inflicting onto myself, and it was only then I was able to allow the right people in. I always say that when I met Brian I had a zero tolerance for games, and as our relationship progressed I did not and would not put up with what I had put up in the past. He knew it, he knew that as much as I loved him, I had to FINALLY love myself more. As much as we want to put it all on the other person in the relationship, if we are truly honest with ourselves we will realize that someone can only continue to treat us the way we allow them too.

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Forgive

yourself and anyone who has ever wronged you…

This one is tough. I think it’s harder to forgive yourself then it is to forgive others. I did not like myself for so long. I allowed a stranger many years ago alter what I thought of myself and it took so many years to get myself back. In between I let the cycle repeat itself and before I knew it I didn’t know who I was. I remember shortly after my ex and I separated I was working at a job that was predominantly women. I was a shell of a person, so emotionally drained that I didn’t have much to give others. I looked up to someone who honestly had her own demons she was battling with. At the time I looked up to her so much that I poured my soul to her and others that would turn around to bite me in the butt in the end. I thought I could have others help me to find who I really was, but the truth was no one could do that. In the end it was something I had to get far away from, and in retrospect I see that it was something I needed to see that I had to do the hard work for myself. So I started to work on myself, and now when I look back I forgive those who wronged me in the moment because they too were dealing with their own battles. Forgiving them doesn’t mean I have to be friends with them, but it does mean that I let go of any negativity associated with their memories and that is freeing. So is forgiving yourself…it is freeing and needed to truly find happiness!

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Lastly…LOVE

show love, be love, spread love…LOVE

None of us have a perfect life, no matter what tv, the internet, social media, etc. etc. shows you, no one has it all together. But the one thing we all want, that we all need is love. You may be waiting on a partner in your life, you may feel down, but you still have the ability to love and show love to others. I’ve learned what you put out, you get back. That is the good and the bad! I often think about what I want to leave behind when it’s my time to leave this world and the one word that always comes to mind is LOVE. I always pray that I have showed enough love that when I am gone I am still felt in this realm. I pray I can encourage others to spread love, because it is the one singular thing that connects us all.

I am so grateful that God has allowed me to see 41 years, and I pray with every passing year I can become a better person and continue to live the life I am destined to live. Thank you to all who have wished me a happy birthday!!!! I promise to enjoy my day and celebrate the exact way I want!!!