Cruise Season Style Guide: Plus-Size Swimwear to Make You Look Amazing

Cruise Season Style Guide: Plus-Size Swimwear to Make You Look Amazing

Shore Club Mohegan Plus Size Tab Front Tankini Top

It’s just about time to start taking those post-holiday cruises, and if you’re like me, you’re ready for a new swimsuit. I remember when I was plus-sized, it was so much more difficult to find the right suit for my body–I always felt like just skipping the beach or the pool.

But part of our Whole Life Fix Movement is to stop waiting until we meet our goals and start living NOW–so just forget about waiting to buy your swimsuit until you are a size 3.  Get on it now–and get on with  the business of living.

The fact is that plus size fashions have come a long way from the days of shapeless tent dresses and stretchy pants with elastic waistbands.

Now that there are more exciting choices and selections than ever, it’s easy to look and feel amazing, no matter what your size.

And when it comes to selecting plus-size swimsuits, there’s so much to consider–but

Exotic prints, stripes, solid colors, delicate prints – the sky is the limit today when choosing plus size swimwear fashions.

Fortunately online shopping brings you more selection and convenience than ever before so you can easily find that perfect swimsuit.

Tips for Buying the Most Flattering Swimsuit for Your Body Type

Here are ten tips to keep in mind when shopping for the most flattering, and comfortable swimwear styles:

1. For shorter bodies try vertical stripes, this can visually add length to your body

2. Enhance the length of your legs with a high cut thigh

3. Look for solid chest support with under wires and padding

4. For a one piece suit, pay attention to the body length. You want a comfortable fit, too short and you will find the suit digging into your shoulders

5. Look for wide shoulder straps–they provide more support and comfort

6. Dark colors such as black have a nice, slimming effect

7. For larger tummies, try a two piece tankini–they are fashionable, comfy and fun! Try the Shore Club Mohegan Plus Size Tab Front Tankini Top.

8. Look for swimsuit styles that offer extra tummy control

9. Try skirted bottoms to camouflage heavy thighs and bottoms

10. Pareo wraps and sarongs not only cover problems areas, they are also quite stylish

Two key features to look for when shopping for swimwear is size and comfort. You will want to choose a size that best fits you. If your swimsuit is a size too small, bulges will show.

If you plan on being active in your swimwear, such as participating in water sports, a one piece suit or a fitted tankini are popular choices.

Black and white polka-dots are a classic look that’s always in style–and the traditional print is back this season with a vengeance. Which of these polka-dotted plus-sized swimsuits would you wear for cruise season?

Hot Deal of the Day: Swimsuits for All

swimsuitLike this suit?

I think it’s adorable–I’d totally wear it under the right circumstances. Like on the deck of a cruise ship headed to the tropics…but anyway…I digress.

This stylish little number is called the Lavender Dots Peplum Tank Swimsuit, and it’s designed by Longitude. It even comes  in  my size–and goes all the way up through plus sizes.

That little peplum will hide a multitude of bodily sins–a c-section belly, for example, or a slightly flabby bottom–and it’ll make your waist look tiny.

Get it cheap–along with tons of other looks: Free Ground Shipping! Use Coupon Code FREEGROUNDSHIP1234. Shop Now! (For U.S. Customers Only)

Cruise Season Style Guide: Plus-Size Swimwear to Make You Look Amazing

It’s Beautiful Women Week: Beauty Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

The Dove Girls“Imagine a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.” ~Dove #GirlsUnstoppable campaign

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but so often, women forget to behold themselves as beautiful.

If you ask certain members of the entertainment industry, you’d think that the only beautiful women in the world are sort of represented by Barbie dolls–but the truth is that there are beautiful women across the spectrum.

But they’re not all that way–many celebrities have stood up and rallied against the “fake” Hollywood image.

“Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That or a kick-ass red lipstick.” ~Gwenyth Paltrow

Some are thin, some are thick–others have full DD cups while plenty are rocking a solid A or B. Some beautiful women are darker complected, some are pale as ghosts. There are beautiful women of every race, every size, every nationality–even of every age.

Beauty is subjective–and honestly, there is beauty in EVERYONE and EVERYTHING if you look hard enough.

Beautiful Women Week at Project Blissful & MTM Body

Project Blissful and MTM Body are excited to announce that it’s Beautiful Women Week! Since I’m already collaborating with Fitness Model Ashton TaylorJamie at MTM Body on our Dare-to-Bare 8-Week Weight Loss & Fitness Challenge, we’ve been discussing our philosophies and beliefs–and we both feel that every woman is beautiful in her own way.

And while we love men, we realize that our primary audience is women–so this week, it’s all about beautiful women. Both the Project Blissful Facebook page and the MTM Body Facebook page will share photos of beautiful women in all shapes and sizes this week, as well as before/after photos of beautiful women who’ve lost weight and gained health.

Plus, we figure the men won’t mind, anyway. Who doesn’t love beautiful women? 🙂

Our idea was inspired in part by fitness model Ashton Taylor, who recently offered praise for Jamie’s fitness classes at her local Gold’s Gym, so we’re making Ashton our first featured woman of the week!

What to Expect

In addition to our Facebook posts, we’ll have posts focused on all types of beauty–inner and outer–all week. We’ll spotlight beauty tips and treatments and we’ll feature info from the experts. We’ll offer inner beauty support and ideas–and we’ll feature beautiful women of all shapes and sizes all week long!

Are you ready?? Let’s get beautiful! It’ll be a fun week! Stay tuned and tell us in the comments section–what makes a woman beautiful, in your opinion?

Would you (or someone you know) like to be featured as a Project Blissful & MTM Body Beautiful Woman? Comment here or shoot me an email at [email protected] with the subject line “Beautiful Woman.”

Cruise Season Style Guide: Plus-Size Swimwear to Make You Look Amazing

When Being Who You Are Challenges the Norms

By Leo Babauta, Zen Habits

I believe in shaking up the way things are done.

Often we’re stuck in a rut of doing things a certain way, because that’s the way everyone else does things, because that’s how it’s always done. Because it’s safe.

But the normal way of doing things is often not the only way, nor the best way.

Bloodletting and leeches were once the normal way of treating most illnesses until smart people started questioning the practice.

Women for a long time were kept out of the workplace because they were thought to be too weak or emotional for many jobs. People used to throw away very little, and nothing was ‘disposable’ because that was thought to be wasteful … wait, maybe that wasn’t so bad.

What if you could shake things up … just by being who you are? Without having to do anything but tell someone who or what you are? It turns out, that’s often been the case in my life. I will just mildly tell people who or what I am, and they start getting defensive, even if I haven’t actually attacked anything they do.

People assume I’m judging them, just because I do things differently. They’re wrong — I don’t judge what others do, but rather just try to live my life consciously, and conscientiously. I often fail, but in the attempt is everything.

Here are just a few examples from my life:

1. Vegan. Just telling people I’m vegan will cause all kinds of interesting reactions. Often people will start to talk about how they were once vegetarian, or how they eat very little red meat, or only sustainably. Or they’ll start to talk about how delicious meat is, or how humans were meant to eat meat, or ask me if I just eat salad. I don’t mind any of this. Instantly, people are giving more thought to these questions than they ever have in the past. As for myself, the reasons are simple: I do it out of compassion for living, feeling, suffering beings who are treated as objects in our society. (Read: the minimalism of veganism.)

2. Minimalist. This is probably the other biggest thing I do that gets a reaction from people. They’ll talk about how they live with very little, or how they want to get rid of clutter, or ask me how you can be minimalist with kids. These are good discussions. We need to start talking about why we own so much, why we buy so much (not just physical stuff, but apps and digital content), why we’ve become consumers instead of just simply living. (Read: my blog mnmlist, or breaking free from consumerist chains.)

3. Self-employed. This is becoming more and more common these days, of course, but the majority of our society remains employed by a corporation (or unemployed). I choose to work for myself, to be my own boss. And now that I’ve done it, I’m unemployable. I’ll never go back, and I’m constantly subverting people I know, showing them how to break from the chains of employment if they’re unhappy. There’s no reason we should work for other people if we don’t want to.

4. Car-free. Almost a year ago, we gave up our car. We’d been slowly cutting back on car usage anyway, but finally giving up a car was liberating. Most people don’t understand this — they see the car as a symbol of freedom, of convenience, without realizing just how much we’ve been chained to cars, just how inconvenient it is for us individually and of course as a society. People often don’t know what to make of someone who voluntarily lives without a car. (Read: lessons we’ve learned riding mass transit.)

5. Healthy & fit. There are many people, of course, who are healthy and fit — much fitter than me. But I’m healthier and fitter than most people I know, and while I don’t judge them at all, discussions always come up about health and diet and exercise whenever I visit. Choosing to be active on most days is a radical thing in our society. Weird, I know.

6. Unschooler. My wife and I homeschool four of our kids, and that makes us weird. Even though compulsory schooling as we know it has only been widespread for a little over a century, and for most of human history, the majority of children were educated at home and somehow their parents found a way to deal with the socialization issue. Parents who send their kids to school get defensive when I talk about unschooling, which is a radical branch of homeschooling that throws the normal model of school (teachers dispensing knowledge to students who memorize it) out the window. We believe our kids should learn how to teach themselves, as many of us learned to do as adults. We don’t believe anyone can create a curriculum of knowledge that will prepare our kids for a future that can’t be predicted, for a workforce that is rapidly changing. Instead, they should learn how to figure things out for themselves, to solve problems, to work on their own without being directed. They’re the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

7. Goal-free. I’ve written about the radical notion of giving up goals, though it’s thousands of years old (Laozi taught it to me). But the idea of goals is incredibly ingrained in our society (myself included), that people think I’m weird for even suggesting you can live an amazing life of achievement without goals. As if goals were the only reason to do something great. (Read more: the best goal is no goal, and the illusion of control.)

8. Ad-free. The advertising model is an old one, and yet it’s still the predominant form of making money from creating things on the Internet. If you have a blog and want to make money, you probably have ads on your site. Even if the ads suck and no one wants to read them. We put up with them so we can get to the content. What if we could do it differently? I’ve been living without ads for well over a year, and I’m still surviving. It’s forced me to create things of my own, and I’m loving it.

9. Socialist. It wasn’t that long ago (less than a century) when you could say you’re a socialist and not be too weird. George Orwell, Bertrand Russell, Vonnegut, Einstein, Steinbeck, Hemingway, Jack London … were all socialists of one sort or another. Now it’s seen as against the “American Way of Life”. I’m a socialist. I’m not for state-run socialism, but would consider myself more of a mutualist or a (peaceful) anarchist. I have to add “peaceful” because people assume anarchists want to bomb things, while I don’t believe in violence or the violent overthrow of governments. I believe we have given the corporations too much power over our lives and our society, that they’ve turned us into consumerist machines, and that we should have the freedom to run our own lives, and take the power back from the corporation by being self-reliant. That probably brings up more questions than it answers, but the questions are good things.

None of these things defines me, but they are all a part of who I am. They all challenge the norm in some way, bring up questions and discussion that otherwise might not occur, and I believe those are necessary questions and discussions.



Cruise Season Style Guide: Plus-Size Swimwear to Make You Look Amazing

Ugly Society, Beautiful You: Screw Preconceived Notions

Gianna the Dove Girl

I read something recently about how women and girls in today’s society seem to have increasingly lower self esteem today. The media and our society teach us to hate ourselves.

But it doesn’t stop there. Mothers tend to pass these poor self-image tendencies to their daughters, whether intentionally or not. That’s pretty scary, if you ask me–and their sons can’t be far behind.

Change your life–sign up for Project Blissful right now! It’s free.

It bothers me that this is an issue at all, but I do see some positive changes in the media these days.

For example, the “Dove girls” have been around for several years now. They are “average” looking women who model in their unmentionables to showcase “real beauty.”

Real beauty matters, and it’s totally true that many plus-sized women are gorgeous–but being healthy is still important, and that means different things for different people. But, in my opinion, it’s all about feeling good–when you feel good, you can’t help but look good.

Obviously, we can’t all look like the airbrushed models we see, but we should still strive to be our personal best. Still, that brings us back to the main issue–where do we draw the line?

As for my daughter, I tell her every day that she is beautiful and amazing and smart and strong–and I try to point out her successes as often as possible. I’m not perfect by any means, but I hope that my efforts will continue to help her form a strong sense of self-esteem over the years. So far, so good.

Where do you draw the line? And what do (will) you tell your daughters and sons about their bodies? Tell me in the comments section, below.

Cruise Season Style Guide: Plus-Size Swimwear to Make You Look Amazing

Why You Should Never Have Kids (Unless You Really Want To)

By Angela Atkinson


Home with Kids

You’ve heard of the mommy wars, right? That’s when moms get into heated debates (and sometimes even physical altercations) over silly things–like working vs. staying home with kids, marriage or not, bottle or breast, extended use rear facing car seats or not–the list goes on and on.

And you’ve heard about the whole mommy-stigma thing. This is when a woman is assumed to be less capable, intelligent or otherwise valuable because she chooses to be a mother (and, in many cases, how she prioritizes that role in her life.)

But what about women (and men) who choose not to have children? Have you ever thought about the fact that they, too, are highly criticized?

While some percentage of “non-parents” is made up of those who wanted children but couldn’t have them, either because of physical limits or relationship status, the rest of them are made up of people who just decided not have kids.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard other moms say things like “It’s so sad that they decided not to have kids,” and even “How could they be so selfish?” when someone says they chose not to be a parent.

The fact is that 81 percent of men and 87 percent of women will become parents in their lifetimes. This means that we are almost expected to do so–and that many people in society actually criticize those who make an intentional choice not to have kids. This is especially true for women, but it also affects men.

Having Kids Changes Everything

If you’re not ready to completely revamp literally every single aspect of your life, you’re not ready for kids. Your social life, your sex life and your personal life will be completely changed when you make the choice to become a parent. Your priorities will change in such a way that nothing else will be more important than your children. Your career, your friends and even yourself are all suddenly less important than they were pre-kids.

We all know someone who has children but shouldn’t. Whether their children are being raised by a nanny or a grandma or aunt, or they’re just being severely physically or emotionally neglected, some people just aren’t parent material. This doesn’t always necessarily mean that they’re bad people–just that they’re people who shouldn’t be parents. Maybe they’re too selfish or too immature or simply don’t know how to be  parents. In any case, they chose to have kids, but they’re not following up on the responsibilities that go along with it.

Why You Should Respect ‘Non-Parents’

First of all, I don’t think that anyone should be criticized for making a choice not to have children. Though I, myself, am a parent who loves her children with every fiber of her being, I am also a logical person who realizes the profound effect having kids has on one’s life.

People who choose not to have kids aren’t being selfish or immature–they’re being  smart. If a person knows herself well enough to understand that she doesn’t want to be a parent, and makes the choice to remain kid-free, she’s doing herself and her potential kid a favor. Kids who aren’t wanted know they’re not wanted–and parents who don’t want to be parents feel restricted and oppressed by the job, even when they’re good at it.

It’s bad energy on both sides, and it’s not good for anyone.

The Argument Against Parenthood

“I think women are afraid to say that they don’t want children because they’re going to get shunned … I have more girlfriends who don’t have kids than those that do,” actress Cameron Diaz told Cosmo magazine back in 2009.  “And honestly? We don’t need any more kids. We have plenty of people on this planet.”

Diaz isn’t the only one who thinks this way, either. USA Today reported in 2009 that households with children had reached an all-time low of just 46 percent–that’s less than half.

And, contrary to what many studies tell us, being a parent does makes life and relationships in general just a little bit harder.

From a Newsweek article:

“Parents experience lower levels of emotional well-being, less frequent positive emotions and more frequent negative emotions than their childless peers,” says Florida State University‘s Robin Simon, a sociology professor who’s conducted several recent parenting studies, the most thorough of which came out in 2005 and looked at data gathered from 13,000 Americans by the National Survey of Families and Households. “In fact, no group of parents—married, single, step or even empty nest—reported significantly greater emotional well-being than people who never had children. It’s such a counterintuitive finding because we have these cultural beliefs that children are the key to happiness and a healthy life, and they’re not.”

Bottom line: Being a parent is hard, and it’s not necessary to be a parent to feel fulfilled in life.

Why I Chose to Be a Parent

I never thought I wanted kids. My plan was to be a globe-trotting journalist who later settled down in Maine to write the great American novel. But things happened, circumstances changed, and I’ve got three kids (and don’t live anywhere near Maine.)

With my first child, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, but the truth is that I, like many new parents, was completely clueless. I did a lot of reading and researching and learned “on the job.” And it was/is the hardest (and best) thing I’ve ever done or will do.

But, when I found out I was pregnant with him, I knew two important things: I wanted him and I wanted to love him.

Once he arrived, I learned very quickly what my priorities were–and today, three kids later, I have absolutely no regrets. I love my kids, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I don’t mind that I’ve had to make major adjustments to my life plan–I feel like it’s all worth it. But that’s my choice–and I won’t judge you if yours is different.

Though being a parent is the hardest job you’ll ever have, it’s also one of the most rewarding. And if you have chosen to take on the task/gift of being called “mom” or “dad” (titles that are earned rather than assumed), then you already know what I mean.

It’s all worth it, if you want it. It’s the indescribable sense of wonder that children make you feel, the way they look at you with such trust in their eyes–the way they believe that you can fix everything that goes wrong. Watching them sleep, seeing them succeed, being their biggest cheerleader–that’s what it’s all about. Watching them grow up is a sad and amazing experience all at once–sad because the older they get, the more independent they become–and amazing for the same reason.

But when all is said and done, there should be no arguing involved. It’s a very personal choice that only you should make. If you want to become a parent, then do it. But if you’re not “parentally inclined,” don’t allow yourself to be pressured by your family, your friends or society. Follow your gut, and you’ll end up in the right place, one way or another.

What do you think? Have you judged (or been judged) because of parental status? Tell me in the comments!




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