As an audience, you constantly challenge me. I love how varied and specific your requests and questions can be, and how I have to stretch myself to answer many of them. But I also know that I have my limits. No one knows everything, no one has had every experience, no one can see a topic from every perspective. Expertise, diversity, and inclusion are all important to me. So, in the interest of creating a space that embraces a variety of viewpoints and welcomes all ideas, I am bringing on six regular contributors to Already Pretty. You’ll recognize them all, since I’ve held each one of them in high esteem for a long, long time!
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Nadine is a sex educator and blogger at Adorkable Undies. She is also a burlesque performer, poet and playwright, living in Ottawa, Ontario – Canada’s national capital. Her writing tends toward subjects such as clitorises, feminism, vibrators, body image, gender politics and non-monogamy. She is a passionately committed Scrabble player and lifelong klutz, having sustained 16 concussions to date.
Nadine has a well-document crush on Stephen Colbert, part of her general lust for bespectacled nerds. She has yet to master the art of tact and will speak openly about the benefits of masturbation within earshot of your conservative grandma. Nadine stubbed her thumb while writing this.
A long-time Already Pretty fangirl, Nadine is thrilled at the opportunity to share some of her brain flotsam with Sally’s community. In her spare time, Nadine can be found hanging with her partner (The Man of Mans), her son (The Green Bean), caterwauling at karaoke and plotting new ways to avoid wearing pants.
I remember precisely the moment I first became interested in style. I was five, and a guest at one of my parent’s dinner parties showed me how to design clothes for my paper dolls. I don’t remember when I first became fascinated with Paris, but it feels like that pull was always there. I began studying French back in Junior High School, though ultimately never had the resources to visit Paris until the year I turned fifty.
I began my blog, Une femme d’un certain âge in 2007, shortly after turning fifty, and finding myself exasperated by what felt like a serious lack of stylish clothing for women my age. I was also in the planning stages for that first Paris trip, and obsessed about what to pack and wear in that city with a reputation as one of the most stylish in the world. At the time there seemed to be no style blogs out there addressing our age group, so I started blogging in the hopes of connecting with like-minded women and starting a conversation about life and style for our demographic. And I was hoping to explore and hone my own style further.
Since then, I’ve been delighted to find so many other blogs and make some wonderful friends through blogging. I’ve had the wonderful fortune to meet some of those bloggers and readers both locally and in other parts of the world on our travels. The support and encouragement from people I’ve never even met has overwhelmed me at times. I’m delighted to be a part of this community that is positive, empowering, and from which I’ve learned so much.
Luanne D’Souza aka Weesha is a plus size fashion blogger, body image warrior, foster mom at her local animal shelter, and an online marketing professional. Originally from Goa, India, she has lived her whole life in multicultural Dubai. Through her blog, Weesha’s World, Luanne shares her passion for style at every size and budget, and promotes fashion as a tool for self-expression and creativity, not a mold to adapt to.
Having struggled with negative body image all her life, from eating disorders to self-harm, Luanne blogs both to improve herself and to help others like her combat the daily bombardment of negativity towards women who aren’t “perfect.”. She hopes that her outfit posts, style inspiration, and personal experiences as a fat girl help break the incorrect idea that fat equals unhappy or ugly.
Contributing to Already Pretty is kind of a huge deal for Luanne. Not only is it a wonderful learning experience, but she also gets to be a part of a wonderful team that shares and promotes the same message, “Love Yourself”.
I started my blog, Fashion for Giants, in January 2011 for a couple of reasons. One, I’ve always enjoyed the process of getting dressed in the morning. I think everything that goes into determining what I’m going to wear, to work or otherwise, is pretty fascinating. I take my body image for the day, the image I want to project to others, the weather, my destination and a myriad of other things into account when deciding what to leave the house in. And I like that. I like thinking about it and, being a little bit nerdy, figured I’d like writing about it too.
The other reason I started my blog is that while I can, and do, get inspiration from bloggers who are the polar opposite of me size-wise, it’s nice to see bloggers built like me too. When a blogger is tall and broad-shouldered, like I am, I don’t have to do as much guesswork about how a look might work on my body. And I thought if I liked reading blogs where the bloggers were built like me, then others might as well.
Now, I don’t claim to be an expert on fashion or personal style. No, my areas of expertise are limited to reading, dealing with rebellious thighs and subversive hips, and smiling. But, I know my body and I know what I like to put on it. And I know how to take pictures of what I put on my body (not good pictures, just pictures). And I know how to write some (often nonsensical) words to accompany those pictures.
Given my particular skills and the two reasons above, I figure personal style blogging was practically my destiny, so here I am!
In 2007, I started my blog, Ash in Fashion. I had moved to Indiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina two years prior and felt isolated and alone. I often felt looked down on for working in retail by the collegiate friends my partner was making. It was then I found blogs like Bits n Bobbins and The Coveted; it was then that I realized there were women in the world who were bright, smart, funny, and loved fashion. Loving fashion and clothes didn’t have to make me less than anyone else.
While I don’t consider myself a fashion expert, I do consider myself an expert at loving fashion and clothes. I do consider myself an expert at understanding the body image issues that plague us ladies. My love of fashion and clothes love began at 10, when I bought my first Seventeen magazine. Soon that monthly pile included Teen and YM. This also marked the beginning of years of body hatred, self-consciousness and disappointment. My parents often put me on diets or tried to bribe me to lose weight. There was no education behind this process– it was all vanity driven. For the next 10 years, I’d always feel fat and believe I was worthless or unlovable because I was fat. This feeling changed as I reached college though, and I unintentionally lost a lot of weight. The size 18 became a size 10-12, and I began to love myself. Since then, my weight has shifted dramatically, but one thing hasn’t changed: the respect and appreciation I learned and grown to have for my body. It’s not a perfect process, and I’m far from flawless.
One of the reasons I wanted share my voice at Already Pretty was because I knew that it was a community of women with experiences. Like many of you, I’m constantly on a journey to improve my health, love myself more, and give my mind and body the nurture it needs to grow and change. I love that I can share with you what it feels like to get “pregnancy” comments or the difficulty in finding jeans that fit right, and that you’ll empathize. Maybe you’ve experienced it firsthand or watched your sister, mother, or daughter struggle with that same issue. At the end of the day, I hope that maybe you’ll be inspired by my conversations and that I’ll learn a lot more about myself through you.
Sonja Shin is a beauty and wellness writer, TV reporter and producer and on-camera talent based in St. Louis. She has appeared as a beauty expert guest on Fox News in St. Louis and has reported general and health/medical news at TV stations in San Francisco, Seattle and St. Louis. Her blog Hello Beauty focuses on beauty and wellness with many reviews, tips and tricks, and how to videos.
Shin adores all things beauty and has learned a lot over the years from many top makeup artists and aestheticians from across the country. She has also interviewed many doctors and enjoys sharing the helpful health and wellness tips she has learned. Shin is a longtime fan of Already Pretty and loves the positive message of accepting and loving oneself.
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You’ll see one topical post from a contributor each week, and one outfit post. Of the 12+ posts that go live on this blog each week, at least 10 will be from me. But I know you’ll love everything that Nadine, Gracey, Weesha, Une Femme, Ashe, and Sonja contribute, and hope you’ll eventually have requests and questions that THEY can answer, too.
Please welcome these smart, insightful, talented, stylish ladies into the Already Pretty fold!