Category Archives: Lifestyle

Embracing My Selfie, Or Why I Take Lots of Pictures of Myself

I’ve been taking selfies since before they had a name. I avoided the camera for years, but at some point on my journey through life, it became common for me to snap photos of myself.

Kenlie

Last week I got to spend time with a long time blog friend, Cathy, who was in New Orleans visiting for a conference. When she told me about her upcoming trip, we knew we’d meet up, and we did. We met at Cafe Dumonde, where I resisted beignets. (Yay for me!) We also walked around Jackson Square, which is the prettiest part of the French Quarter in my opinion.

This woman has been my friend since at least 2010. The moment I saw her, it was like seeing someone that I hadn't seen in ages!

This woman has been my friend since at least 2010. The moment I saw her, it was like seeing someone that I hadn’t seen in ages!

As we walked down Royal St, we stopped at CVS to pick up a few things, and I found a selfie stick! I obviously bought it on the spot, and it’s the best $10 I’ve spent in a while. I haven’t used it to take any selfies because doing that would be ridiculous, but I’ve been in some hilarious group photos that wouldn’t have been possible without my Mono Pod de Narcissism.

I’m surrounded by an uplifting group of friends, many of whom take selfies, with exception of a few because they’re too narcissistic, and I understand that. I really do, and even though I kind of agree, I look at it from a different perspective.

There was a time when I hated myself so much that i avoided mirrors at all costs. I looked at myself long enough to style my hair and apply makeup, but I was mortified when I caught my reflection in store windows. I hated the way I looked in photos. I still took them, but I didn’t post them online because of my shame. For years the only photo that I had one Facebook was a picture of my hair blowing in the wind while driving with the top down. I didn’t want to be seen by others, nor did I want to take a look at myself either.

Sometimes I take full body photos to send to Ariel, so she can say yes to the outfit or no.

Sometimes I take full body photos to send to Ariel, so she can say yes to the outfit or no.

Now, years later, I’m still not skinny, but I love myself. I’m not pleased with myself for still having so much weight to lose, but I love myself. I haven’t accomplished every goal that I set yet, but I love myself. (You get the idea, right?)

Full body Selfie Lane Bryant

I also think that it’s okay to wear horizontal stripes even though I always hear that I shouldn’t. Whatever, folks. I’m doing it.

Sometimes when I take a selfie, I’m reminded of how much work I have to do. It’s also hard to accept the fact that I could have done so much more over the last few years. Those thoughts are important to face because it has helped me make better decisions over the last few months – decisions that bring me closer to my goal.

Gym Selfie

I was frustrated seeing myself in the giant gym mirrors when I took this around the holidays because I should be smaller now, then I remembered that I was in the gym doing something good for myself. I like capturing those moments.

Some days I post selfies because I want to hear that I’m cute, pretty, etc., and when that happens I admit it with proper hashtags. #PAYATTENTIONTOME

See? I have some pretty uplifting friends who encourage me when I need it.

See? I have some pretty uplifting friends who encourage me when I need it.

And some days (many lately) I take selfies because I feel pretty. I’ve been using a few products on my face since Christmas, and the result is that my makeup is still mostly in tact even after singing (sweating guts out) on Sunday morning. (Thank you, Smashsbox Photo Finish!)

Kenlie Naps

I took this selfie last week right before I took a long afternoon nap on my sofa. Sundays start early for me, so sometimes I nap.

Some people find success, at least temporarily, by tearing themselves down. I feel successful when I see myself and love the person that I see.

I have a lot to accomplish, and I’m happy to say that I’ve lost week for the last five weeks in a row. It may not sound like much, but I’m experiencing more consistency in my food choices than I have in a long time. I haven’t had a doughnut since September, and I haven’t indulged in any desserts in over two weeks.

I’m feeling good about my tiny steps in the right direction, and the selfies will continue to be a small representation of that. They might also lead to encouragement from people who care on days that I need that too.

Kenlie Car

How do you feel about selfies? Are they good? Bad? Do you care either way?

 

 

Wish List 2015

I know that Christmas is over. I also know that it makes more sense to post wish lists before Christmas, but I didn’t make a list this year. I received some really thoughtful gifts, and I loved each happy little surprise. I have everything I need, but as a girl who loves to shop, it’s fun to daydream about these little things that I think are awesome.

– I am in love with this Urban Decay Naked On the Run palette. My mom gave me the original Naked palette for Christmas, and I use it everyday. I lust after this one too every time I’m at Ulta or Sephora. It’s only available “for a limited time.” Who knows how long that is?

Urban Decay Naked on the Run

– And while we’re on the topic of makeup, I want this mini Urban Decay Naked Basics 2 Palette too. It’s inexpensive, and I like the idea of keeping it in my bag with Naked On the Go so I’m always ready..

Urban Decay naked Basics 2

– I’d also love a new pair of Ugg Slippers. I have two pairs now, but one is on its way out. I’ve had that pair since Christmas of 2009, so I’d say I certainly got a lot of wear out of them. The draw to the ones that I want right now, the Ugg Dakota Slipper, is that they have rubber soles that I could wear when I need to walk down to my building’s lobby and stuff.

Ugg Slippers

I can’t decide if I want them in Espresso or Pewter, which is okay since I’m not buying them at this point anyway. (Is it selfish to want all the colors? Ha)  I wanted them for Christmas until I realized that I needed them in a size 10. I usually wear a 9, but whatever. Mom and I agreed that they made my feet look bigger than usual, but I want them anyway.

I’m so thankful that I have everything I need. I just think it would be fun to list things that I’d like to own in 2015. Do you own any of them? Do you love them?

 

End of the Year Reflection

Each year, as it comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on the last twelve months, and this year is no different. I was wasting time on Facebook last week when I decided to join everyone else in a Facebook contrived review of my year, and according to Facebook I was completely lame. If you’re on Facebook, you’re probably familiar with the little slideshow of photos that the site puts together for you. Mine showed a salad, a few silly photos with friends and nothing at all that I would consider noteworthy. The truth is that some of the coolest moments of 2014 didn’t make it to Facebook.

Even though Facebook might disagree, I did some cool things this year. I met my newest niece (actually I met her last Christmas, and I saw her again in April when I visited Colorado.)  I celebrated Hannah’s 5th birthday with my family in CO, and I can’t wait to head that way again soon. It’s been way too long for Auntie!

I spoke at an airline conference in Washington, D.C., and I met with executives from several major airlines in order to promote positive change within corporations that have the power to turn the tide.

JetBlue

I accidentally reconnected with an old friend for a day in front of the White House. I was able to hug her, apologize to her for the things that I did wrong and enjoy an afternoon of sightseeing with her. It was completely random, and I am thankful that it happened that way.

Kenlie White House

I took on a more active role as a worship leader at NOLA Church, and my voice and skills have grown. My relationship with Jesus has grown too. I also hosted a pretty cool small group in which I made a new and awesome friend.

Kenlie NOLA Church

I was given the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe and perfected it.

I watched countless Christmas movies with Mom throughout the year.

I helped a few kids gain confidence in their abilities to succeed in school.

I went to Fitbloggin for the fourth year in a row in Savannah, GA and connected with friends who didn’t allow me to feel out of place (even though I did for the first time.)

Mission Meltdown Epic Selfie

I dined at the newest, hottest restaurants in New Orleans with friends and private jet pilots. (They didn’t offer to fly me anywhere though. Ha.)

I bought a new car.

I became a Starbucks gold card member.

I saw George Strait and Reba perform live with Clint before he moved to Chicago.

I visited Oklahoma and spent several days with Dad while it was about 3 degrees outside.

I went to my first New York Mets game at Citi Field. (I’m still a Yankees fan, but this was a pretty stellar way to spend my birthday.)

New York Mets

I got closer to finishing my degree at Tulane.

I survived heartbreak and salvaged a relationship that meant a lot to me.

I cultivated relationships with friends and made some new ones as well.

Kenlie and Friends

I went out on some dates with interesting guys, though I didn’t meet the Future Mr. Kenlie. Ha I did get to watch my close friends say “I do,” which was pretty amazing. I’ve never been happier to see anyone marry.

French Quarter Wedding
Overall I guess my year was relatively routine and low key. It definitely had some ups and downs, but I can’t tell you how cool it is to feel like I have roots somewhere. I doubt I’ll stay in New Orleans forever, but I’m happy here now.

I’m thankful that I’ve lived in the same place for a couple of years, and I’m looking forward to living in the same place for even longer. I like my location, my neighbors, my view and my surroundings.

After a few tumultuous and/or eventful years, it’s okay to look back on 2012 as quiet and satisfying. Maybe I’ll do something more exciting in 2015, or maybe I’ll just kick back and enjoy my quiet, friends and family filled life.

Here’s to a bright 2015 for all of us…

 

Facing the Fat

I’ve experienced some ups and downs since my last post, but I recognize what I have to do in order to be happy with myself. I’m still lacking motivation to exercise, but I’m doing it anyway. I know that if I keep trudging through that I’ll be glad I did.

I spent most of the weekend at Mom’s house, and I saw family and friends that I don’t get to see everyday, and it highlighted how different I look and feel than I did last year.

Mom has dropped over 50 pounds since February, and our family friend, Linda, has dropped 50 pounds as well. I gained about that much, but they weren’t judgmental because they understand how tough it is.

I know that I have an opportunity to change what I don’t like about myself. I know that I don’t have to choose between being physically healthy and emotionally healthy, and I’m working on improving physically right now because I’ve come so far emotionally over the last couple of years.

I’m eating more vegetables, drinking fewer sugary drinks and dragging myself to the gym. I know that eventually I’ll get back to the place in which I crave the endorphin rush, and I hope it happens soon because I’m tired of feeling like this.

As we close out 2014, I’m holding onto hope that I’ll feel different by this time next year…

 

 

 

Adding More Goals to the List

Am I the only one who finds it hard to believe that it’s already December? It feels as though this year has flown by, but I’m okay with it being over. I’ve had some great moments, but this year has also come with some stress and disappointment (in love and within myself.)

I didn’t gain all of my weight back, but I’ve gained enough back that I no longer feel confident in my abilities. I’ve already shared that I feel like a failure in this area, and it’s still true.

I remember a time when I felt like a weight-loss champion. I also remember a time when fruits and veggies were a priority in my daily life, but they have once again been replaced by unhealthy, sugary alternatives.

When I was experiencing success before I was doing some key things that I’m not doing now: exercise and food journaling, and I was doing both consistently. (I’m sure that none of us are surprised that I saw good results.)

I’ve grown a lot spiritually, and I’m a much better person than I was several years ago. Life is better than it has been in a very long time (even when stressors pop up.) I’m happy with my life right now, but I’m not happy with my weight. It’s hard to explain that, but I’ve tried in numerous blog posts.

After having success recently when I eliminated sugary drinks and doughnuts, I’ve decided that I’m going to continue refraining from doughnuts. I haven’t had one since mid-September, and after months of overindulgence, it feels good to say no. I’ve been more careless with sugary drinks at Starbucks, but that ends now too. I can enjoy regular coffee, but I’m not going to allow myself to fall back into a routine of daily hot chocolates or caramel macchiatos.

I’ve also added tracking back into my routine, and I’m going to do it daily for the next 30 days. It’s an effective way to make sure that I’m eating what I should be eating, and I’m going to let go of the regret that I have due to my lack of faithful tracking until now. I’m going to focus on cardio 4 days a week too.

I’m completely different than I was when I tried this before. I barely even remember the person that I was. I’ve spent so much time looking at the way I lost in the past that I’ve overlooked who I am now. I’m going to start telling myself that I can do this and challenge myself to take steps in the right direction.

 

 

Crafty Kenlie

I’ve been quiet here over the last few weeks, but I’ve been blogging in other places. I wrote a post about Old Navy on the PlusInc blog, and I wrote an article about my love for Richard Simmons on DietsinReview.com. Last week the Today Show talked about Richard, and a friend sent me this photo from the segment. I had never seen it, but I remember that day. It made me smile, and I want to wish Richard every happiness. I’m praying for his healing too.

Richard Simmons Today Show and Kenlie

The month started with a bit of stress, but most of it has subsided. Now I’m in holiday mode, and I cannot wait to finish decorating for Christmas. I’ve been baking cookies, which is something that I do at this time of year. (I’ll share some photos soon.)

I’ve also been making wreaths. I sold a few last week, which is great because it means that I get to make more wreaths. I’ve been knitting too, which is also good because it keeps my hands busy.

Crafting has always been a pretty big part of my life, but lately I’ve been reminded of how much I love it! Cookie art aside, crafting keeps me from mindlessly snacking, which is a double-win.

Christmas Deco Mesh Wreath

red and silver deco mesh wreath

10305967_10205683882162972_4490245381899105710_n

 

Thanksgiving is almost here. The end of the semester will be here before I know it, and that means that I have to manage my time well so that I’m not stressing over exams and papers two weeks from now.

Happy (almost) holidays!

Changing My Mindset

Right now my head hurts, and I feel a little achy. I’m not officially sick, but I feel like whining. I’m tired even though I shouldn’t be. I’m stressed even though I know that stress typically passes. I’m just don’t feel great. I don’t feel like myself. Instead I feel like crawling under the blankets in my bed and watching Christmas movies until it’s an acceptable time to sleep. (Okay, the Christmas part sounds like me, but  the watching TV in bed is definitely not normal in my world.)

I’m not at home because I had class today, which was followed by a tutoring session and church. (Once a month we have a service on Wednesday evenings,) and now I’m planning to meet someone for coffee. It has been a busy afternoon and evening, and I’m looking forward to sleeping.

I’ve been thinking about what I could do to improve my health between now and the end of the year. I feel like the sugar thing is under control now more than it has been in a long time, and someone who knows me made a statement earlier today that resonated with me. We were talking about adding more goals that would help me get a better grip on my health, and I’ve been thinking about his response a lot this evening.

He said, “You were really great at it when it was a priority.”

We all know that it’s true. There was a time in which I felt like I had it figured out, and now it’s embarrassing to admit that I didn’t have whatever was necessary to keep it up. I think about my failures a lot, and for a long time, I’ve used them as an excuse to refrain from trying.

The last six weeks or so have been better. I’m eating less sugary crap, but I’m not exercising much. I did a 10k with a friend one day last week, and I walked a few times in the month before that. It’s just not enough. It’s a decent start, but I want that feeling that I used to have when I knew I’d workout everyday.

I want the endorphin rush, and I want to feel the consistency that I felt exercise even when I wasn’t eating as well as I should. I’m seeing the numbers decrease just a little, and I know that if I add some exercise back into my daily routine, I’ll see those little sacrifices add up to a lot of success.

My mindset needs to change. I’ve been lazy in fitness most of this year, but that’s something that I can change right now. I don’t even have to leave home to sweat it out. I have several awesome workout DVD’s, several flights of stairs and a gym at the top of my building. What else do I need? Motivation? Inspiration? Willingness?

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, but I think I need to spend time doing it (and figuring the rest out later if I still think it matters.)

I need to change my mindset. I’m careful not to “fake it ’til I make it” because that attitude has gotten me into trouble in the past, but in this case, I’m pretty sure that it’s okay.

My weight and health hasn’t been a priority in a long time, but I’ve (successfully) trying to shift that lately. I will remind myself that I’m not going to miss anything important by heading out an hour later than normal. Actually, I’ll be using that time to do something important – to better myself. Few things are more important than our health, and it’s time to adjust my priorities.

It’s not Monday or the first day of the month. This day carries no particular significance, but it’s the day that I can decide to do something good for myself. It’s a day that I get to live without pain or illness. It’s a day in which I get to breathe and enjoy my life, and I’m going to respect that gift by doing something good with it.

 

 

 

Dating in The Big Easy is Hard

I’m a plus-size woman who likes to enjoy my life, and I like the idea of meeting someone who wants the same thing. I’m friendly and outgoing. Most of my friends would tell you that I’m confident in almost every circumstance, and in most cases, it’s true.

I am well-groomed, educated, independent and good at a myriad of things. I have talents and hobbies and ambitions (some that that I mention here and many that I don’t.) I have a lot of awesome characteristics, but my weight is the first thing anyone ever sees. Most of time time it defines me before people have a chance to get to know me, and I have mixed feelings about that.

I don’t mind that I’m not desired by everyone. I like attention, sure, but I feel validated and content without the constant need for attention that used to be important to me. I don’t need to be the girl who gets picked up by strangers who want to do her at the bar (or at the auto parts store,) but I’d like to be the woman whose characteristics are attractive and desirable to one man who has his own myriad of attractive characteristics.

It hasn’t been easy to date in New Orleans. (Okay, it doesn’t help that I was hung up on someone for nearly a year,) but recently I decided that I’d let myself try again. I went on a couple of dates while I was out of town,and I clicked with someone here. I was pleasantly surprised by it, and that’s probably all I’ll say about it for quite some time.

Dating in this plus-size body makes it more complicated than it would be if I were thin, but I’m okay with that if it means that I can weed out the majority to get the needle in the haystack.

People often assume that I must feel insecure, especially on dates, but the truth is that I feel pretty good about myself most of the time until society reminds me that I shouldn’t. I don’t remember who said it, but someone made an excellent point recently when they said not to worry about society’s standards because society sucks. I agree, and my hope is that there are guys out there somewhere who agree too.

 

I’m Plus Size, But I’m Not Desperate To Get Laid

Me: Hello?

Him: Hey. What are you up to?

Me: Having coffee with a friend. You?

Him: Oh. You’re not home?

Me: No. Why?

Him: I thought I’d come over.

Me: What? Why?

Him: You know.

Me: I don’t even know you. You think I’d invite you to my place?

Him: Well, I just assumed…

Me: Ohhhhh. You saw me and assumed that I’d be desperate to get laid? It’s making sense now.

Him: Well, when you say it like that…

Me: If you think I’d let you into my home, then there aren’t enough skills in your brain to get into my pants tonight or ever.

Him: Click (Call ended)

It’s not surprising that my suspicions were right about the guy. When he asked why I was surprised, he was asking because he assumed that no one ever asked me out. (Follow me around for a week or two…Actually, don’t. Gross.)

I’m a pretty good judge of character, and I was right about that creep. He thought that I’d be an easy target. The poor guy didn’t realize who he was talking to. I have faults, but I also have an abundance of self-esteem and high standards.

I wasn’t interested in that guy, but there are other possibilities in the works so we’ll see what happens the coming weeks.

As a result of yesterday’s post, I also received a message from a certain guy in DC who never fails to remind me how beautiful he thinks I am. (Hey, guy in DC, thank you…xoxo)

Sometimes guys are jerks. I wish that dating could be easier, but the fact is that I don’t mind waiting for what I want. And it’s definitely not the creep I met at AutoZone.

Weekend Wrap-Up

I love weekends, but this one was one of my favorites lately. Friday evening I had dinner and drinks at a place that has been on my list of places to try with stellar company, then I woke up Saturday morning and learned that I won a pair of Kork-Ease boots via instagram from Feet First, a local shoe boutique.

Kork Ease Boots

I went in that morning and picked out a pair boots with my friend, Michelle, and she bought a great pair of shoes. After that we spent time at the Riverwalk Outlets in my neighborhood. We ate lunch and spent time looking around at various shops, then I met up with another friend who spent the afternoon on my rooftop with me.

It’s been a while since I took advantage of the rooftop, but the weather in New Orleans is beautiful right now. My neighbors and I were joined by my friend, Alonzo, that evening too.

Sunday morning I didn’t attend church. It’s weird to sleep in on a Sunday, but it felt good today. My long time blog friend, Lynn, came into New Orleans, and it was awesome to finally meet her!

Roosevelt Hotel New Orleans

We had lunch at one of my favorite spots in my neighborhood, Domenica. I was sad to learn that they had removed my favorite pizza from the menu until I tried the pumpkin pizza. (I know, it sounds odd, but it was amazing!) The pizza, which was loaded with roasted pumpkin and bacon.

Domenica Happy Hour Pizza

When Lynn and her husband headed to the game, I came home and did a little baking and visiting with my neighbors. We watched the Saints win, which was awesome and long overdue and painted my nails for the second time of the day.

OPI Lacquer

“Miami Beet” and “Ski Teal We Drop” by OPI

Lynn brought me two sets of holiday Jamberry wraps, and I can’t wait to wear the Halloween wraps later this week. Has anyone else that I know use Jamberry?

Now it’s time to start a new week, and I’m ready for it. A friend from New York is coming in for a few days, and I’m going to get to spend some time with her Wednesday morning. I’m kind of hoping that there’s more fun coming up in the next few days too.

Now it’s time to get the week started, which means that I’m back to limiting the amount of sugar that I consume. I’m definitely going to hone my goals this week and add some new things to the mix. More on that later.

Until then…