Thursday, July 31, 2014

Vanity sizing

Earlier this month, J.Crew announced it would introduce a size smaller than XXS and 00: XXXS and 000.  This is great news for those of us with a 30.5" bust and a 23" waist who often find that XXS and 00 still don't fit quite right.  But really, how many people have that problem?  Not many Americans.  According to the 2003 SizeUSA study, the average woman is about 5'4" and 150 pounds, which is 20 pounds heavier than 40 years ago.  A more recent study has shown another increase in average weight--at 165 for the same height.

So what's up?  Are women getting larger?  Are sizes getting larger?

Yes.  And yes.  According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), average adult Americans are about one inch taller, but a nearly whopping 25 pounds heavier than they were in 1960.  Plus, the average BMI (body mass index, a weight-for-height formula used to measure obesity) has increased among adults from approximately 25 in 1960 to 28 in 2002.

Maybe that's why vanity sizing has become such an issue. "According to standard size measurements, that average 155 pound woman should be wearing a size 16, but thanks to vanity-sizing she's probably buying a size 10 or 12," Jim Lovejoy, the industry director for the SizeUSA survey, told Newsweek.  "Most companies aren't using the standard ASTM [American Society for Testing and Materials] sizes any more.  Sizes have been creeping up a half inch at a time so that women can fit into smaller sizes and feel good about it."

I have to admit, being able to fit into a size 0 makes me feel pretty confident, and even more so when I fit into a 00.  But in the end, it's about what fits.  You'll feel your best, regardless of what size you're wearing, when your clothing fits you properly.  Sometimes I wear a 00 and other times a 4 fits better.  That doesn't mean my weight has significantly fluctuated.  Different clothing items fit differently.

Before I sound too proud of my "nothing" size, you should know that about two decades ago, I would have been at least a size 8.  Think I'm exaggerating?  A few years ago, my mother gave me a pleated, striped Ann Taylor skirt she'd worn before she got pregnant with me.  It sat in her closet for years until I grew into it.  The skirt is a size 8.  With current sizing, that skirt would be a little too small for my mother, but, thanks to vanity sizing, it fits my size just right.

With all the wrong mentality surrounding clothing sizes in our culture, it's no wonder J.Crew has been taking heat since it announced its plan to create smaller-sized clothing.  "There are so many zeros and you're making women who can't fit into anything below a 2 feel insecure."  But what if clothing companies shifted the sizes back up to what they're supposed to be?  Don't you think women would feel even more insecure?  What about the slender girls who fit into those XXXS and 000 sizes and are insecure about their thinness?  Isn't that just as bad?

It's not just the average-sized (whatever that means) and heavier women who feel insecure.  It's the slender girls, too.  My below-average-size younger sister has perfect curves and an athletic build, leading everyone to believe that she is actually the older one.  She looks like a woman, and a beautiful and healthy one, at that.  I, on the other hand, look like a nine-year-old boy in a swimsuit--no breasts, no hips, and muscles and bones sticking out in all the wrong places.  So I find it offensive when people get mad about mannequins with their ribs showing, or clothing companies producing smaller sizes.  Women come in all shapes and sizes, but few are represented, on both ends of the spectrum.

My younger sister and me in Puerto Rico

Ultimately, it's about the fit.  No one (not even yourself) is going to applaud you for squeezing into a size 6 when your breasts are popping out.  You will, however, be noticed for all the right reasons when you go up a size and your clothing fits properly.  The size is there as a guideline, but it is not law.

Stay healthy, beautiful, and confident!


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Coffee pep talk

As I looked away from the computer screen to pick up my coffee and head to a morning meeting, my eyes caught sight of something they usually skim over: the quote on the coffee sleeve.  I assume each coffee sleeve is printed the same way, but I can't be sure because I never pay them any mind.  For whatever reason, today was different.

The quote seemed so appropriate for the setting of my coffee cup.  I didn't rearrange anything on my desk to take this picture.  The uber official reporter's notebook situated in front of the office phone on top of today's paper, to the left of my keyboard and water bottle in the background is a candid work of art for someone who loves writing as much as I do.  Writing is my passion, but I have yet to find my purpose as it relates to that passion.  But that's part of what this internship is for.  I'm learning what it's like to work for an investigative daily newspaper, which could pull me further down that road, open other doors for me within the greater corporation, or steer me toward something entirely different within the journalism field.

Who knows what's up next?  Not even Oprah with all her wisdom on coffee sleeves.  But I'd say it was a pretty good start to my morning; certainly something I ought to keep in mind long after I finish my Grande Skinny Hazelnut Latte (#CommonWhiteGirl).  Thanks, Starbucks.  The perfect timing of your stimulating coffee packaging (as well as the deliciousness inside) was well-worth the $4.48.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

If you don't matter...

...then neither does he.  Or she.

We all know the feeling.  Call it love, infatuation, passion, whatever.  How about torment?  It can be hard to separate the two.  It is truly a blessing to find yourself in a relationship where the feelings are mutually positive and relatively equal.

In my case, what once was nothing more than a strong pull toward this person has grown to an overwhelming yearn.  I think my heart was in trouble the moment I started feeling anything more than an intense connection and friendship.  But hey, the heart wants what the heart wants.  Maybe I was led on, or maybe I misread the signs--probably both.  Don't worry, this is no sob story.  I'm not heartbroken.  I am, however, deeply saddened by the fact that the distance that causes me so much pain is the very same distance that makes me irrelevant.

I did something I don't think I have ever done before: I gave up.  I stopped trying to see him or speak with him.  This was not a part of some scheme, mind you.  I was fed up with feeling like I was his world one moment and then feeling like a fly on the wall the next, all because someone prettier walked in the room.  What do I have that she doesn't?  Plenty, and I wouldn't trade any of it to be in her shoes.  What does she have that I don't?  His affection, at the very least.  And quite frankly, that sucks.

Without me trying to pull him closer to me, we've grown apart.  I don't think we're different people now, but we are no longer in communication.  Every day--often multiple times a day--I decide to text him to end the silence.  But then I stop myself.  Why?

Respect.  I have too much respect for myself to try to make someone care about me, especially someone who treats me as though I'm invisible when this other girl is in his presence.  I want to talk to him.  So badly.  But the way I feel about him--not love, by the way--seems to be the way he feels about her.  Why try to force my way into a relationship in which I am clearly not wanted?  If I mattered to him, he would have reached out to me by now--the summer is more than half over.

I know I may not matter to him, but as painful as that is, I can take solace in the fact that I do matter.  We all do.  Each of us has a place, a specific reason for being where we are.  So the problem is not that you or I don't matter.  The problem is that he or she does not realize how important we truly are.  Their loss.

You are a wonderful addition to this world.  Do not let that go to waste because someone else is too blind to see it.  If you don't matter, neither do they.  You have better things ahead of you, including people who see the truth: you make a world of difference.


Thursday, July 3, 2014


As you celebrate Independence Day tomorrow, remember the intellectual and physical battles fought to get to the point of declaring independence, as well as the hard-fought battles that followed.  Here are some little-known facts to help you get your patriotism on:
  1. On June 11, 1776, the Continental Congress selected Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, and Robert R. Livingston of New York to draft a declaration of independence. Citing Jefferson's prowess with a pen, Adams urged him to author the first draft of the document, which was then revised by Adams and Franklin before being given to Congress for review on June 28.
  2. When the document was presented to Congress, both northern and southern slave holding delegates objected to Jefferson's inclusion of a grievance against King George III for creating and sustaining the slave trade, describing it as "a cruel war against human nature."  The Declaration of Independence would only be adopted if the 13 colonies represented in Congress could reach a unanimous decision in its favor, so this part of the document was removed.  The only remaining allusion to the original paragraph on slavery is the phrase, "He has excited domestic Insurrections among us," included in a list of complaints against the king.
  3. Former Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on July 4, 1826, on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, within five hours of each other.  Once fellow Patriots and then adversaries, at age 82 and 90 respectively, Jefferson and Adams were the last surviving members of the original American revolutionaries who had stood up to the British empire and forged a new political system in the former colonies.  Adams' last words were, "Thomas Jefferson still survives," but he was mistaken, as Jefferson had passed away at his home in Monticello just hours earlier.
  4. While the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted on July 4, 1776, it was not signed until August 2 because of a lengthy revision and reprinting process.  The first delegate to sign the document was John Hancock, President of the Second Continental Congress, who signed his name so large that the British ministry and King George could read it "without spectacles."  Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, Oliver Wolcott of Connecticut, Lewis Morris of New York, Thomas McKean of Delaware, and Matthew Thornton of New Hampshire signed on a later date.  John Dickinson of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York never signed the document, though Dickinson briefly served as a Brigadier-General in the Continental Army.
  5. More than one copy of the Declaration of Independence exists.  After its adoption, the original five members of the Declaration Committee (also known as the Committee of Five) were charged with overseeing the reproduction of the approved text.  This was completed at the shop of Philadelphia printer John Dunlap.  On July 5, Dunlap's copies, known as Dunlap broadsides, were dispatched across the 13 colonies to newspapers, local officials, and the commanders of the Continental troops.  Of the hundreds thought to have been printed on the night of July 4, only 26 copies survive.  Most are held in museum and library collections, but three are privately owned.  Two additional copies have been found in the last 25 years.  In 1989, a Philadelphia man found one in the back of a picture frame he bought at a flea market for $4.  It sold for $8.1 million in 2000.  In 2009, another merged at the British National Archives, hidden for centuries in a box of papers captured from American colonists during the Revolutionary War.
Now that you can celebrate like true Patriots, a joke to kick start your Independence Day weekend:
Why are there no knock-knock jokes about freedom?
Because freedom rings.  'Merica.