Rebranding Me: Learning to Love Myself


Welcome back to Tantalizingly Tasteful! Today I want to talk about something a little bit out of the ordinary for me: body image and self-confidence. Being confident in yourself and your abilities is much easier said than done, but I think the process of getting there is something that needs to be discussed. I want to share my own personal story with you. This is something I’ve been working on for about a year now, and I’m honestly still a little hesitant, but I know that so many people go through the same kind of situation and I want to open up the discussion. So, here goes.

I’ve spent my whole life being overweight. I knew in kindergarten that I was different from the other girls in the class. When I walked, my shorts would ride up my thighs (what has affectionately been known as thwedgie in my family), I couldn’t run as fast on the soccer field, and I couldn’t easily be lifted up. But as a kindergartner, you don’t really understand that having a bit more body fat than the other girls in class is going to make you stand out in a bad way.  I was also one of the only kids in class that wore glasses, and to five-year-old me, that made me “uncool.” I would play a game with my friends in which I would take my glasses off and say “cool Toni,” then put them back on and say “nerdy Toni.” How did I get the impression that a pair of glasses defined who I was?

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A shot from elementary school field day, complete with my classic “thwedgie.”

In elementary school, I was the first of my friends to wear a bra, and it wasn’t because I was the first to hit puberty. And yet, I still didn’t really think anything was too wrong with me. It didn’t really hit me until fourth grade, when a “popular” girl I considered a friend nicknamed me Jell-O. I didn’t understand why she was calling me that, so I was thrilled to think that I had finally made it into the “cool girls” crowd. When I got home that night, I excitedly told my parents about my new nickname, only to have them explain to me that it wasn’t a very great nickname to have. I was incredibly hurt to think that the people that I considered friends saw me that way and, even worse, seemed to be out to make fun of me because of what I weighed. I think about that realization a lot.

effies-wedding
This one’s from my cousin Effie’s wedding. I was 11 and a junior bridesmaid. I had gained weight between the fitting and the actual wedding, so my dress ripped during cocktail hour. I was humiliated.

Fast forward to middle school, when I just continued to gain weight and started growing facial hair due to polycystic ovarian syndrome. At that point, it had become more common knowledge to me that I was the heavier friend, and while my friends really didn’t have anything to say about my “physique,” it was quite evident that I was just different and sometimes had to be left out. I could never share clothes with my friends, I could never eat as much as my friends, I struggled to keep up with them in sports. I had girls pull my bra strap and laugh at me because my bra wasn’t supportive enough for my chest. One of my best friends pointed out to the entire gym class that I was growing a beard. I started to become ashamed of my body, a feeling that I would never wish on anyone. And instead of combating my issues with an improved diet and more exercise, I comforted myself the only way I knew how: food.

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A photo of my mother, my youngest brother and I at a bat mitzvah. Clearly I did not know what a bra was.

In high school, I tried to pretend that I was more comfortable with my body. I had accepted that I was just bigger than my friends, but my weight was still a source of contention with my family. My parents have always been super supportive, and when they worried about my weight, it was always for the sake of my health and not my appearance, but it was (and still is) a sore topic for me. My grandmother was notorious for not giving me a second serving of food to keep me from gaining weight. My parents often told me that certain clothes just weren’t meant for my body type. Even my five-year-old cousin told me I was fat. For me, realizing that even my family remarked that I was overweight was heartbreaking. I felt like no one saw me for my personality or interests, but only saw me as the girl who needed to lay off the pasta and hit the gym. This realization brought on a rough time of self-doubt, self-loathing, depression, and self-harm. When I finally got myself out of that slump, I decided I was going to take ownership of who I was and focus on bettering myself and getting healthy, not necessarily skinny. I told my parents that I needed them to support me despite what I looked like or what I decided to wear. I thought this inner transformation would be good for me in so many ways.

Here’s a picture from marching band in ninth grade. I remember loving this picture because I thought my hair looked so long.

But then prom season hit, and two years in a row, no one asked me to be their date. And I couldn’t help but attribute it to the fact that nobody wanted to go with the fat girl. Of course, I was heartbroken, and debated not going to prom both years, but ultimately I went and had a great time. But the idea still remains in my head that no one wants to date me or be friends with me because of my weight.

A picture of me, alone, at senior prom. Luckily I still had a great time.

I had a similar experience at the beginning of college. Before I moved in, I was considering joining a sorority, but at the actual club fair, I noticed that no sorority sisters even considered approaching me. Instead, they were approaching the teeny tiny skinny girls, the girls who were the “populars” that would have made fun of me in elementary and middle school. It was then that I realized that my body weight can sometimes prevent me from achieving everything I would’ve liked to, and it was then that I was inspired to write this post.

This is one of my favorite selfies from freshman year. Before I found my close friends, I would go home every weekend because I felt so out of place.

That was a year ago, during my very first semester of college. I had completely different friends, completely different interests, and a completely different outlook on life. Originally, this post was supposed to be a wake-up call to me and to anyone reading, a cautionary tale that would hopefully teach people that they should keep themselves from getting heavy so they can prevent themselves from getting hurt. Now, I see things very differently.

It’s taken me a long time, but I’m finally getting to the point that I’m realizing I love the person I am. There may be things I want to change and things that I regret doing, but I’ve learned over the years (and especially the last six months) that the only person I need approval, attention, and love from is myself. The only person who can help me is myself. It also helps that the friends I have now like me the way I am, so I’m not forcing myself to be something I’m not.

I wish I could detail how I got myself to this point, but honestly, I think it was just spurred by a sudden realization that if I can’t love myself for who I am, no one else will. I do have some recommendations, though, that I know have helped me feel happier and more confident and empowered.

  1. Read self-help books: Yes, this is corny, but after reading even a few pages of self-help books, I always feel refreshed and inspired. One of my favorites is Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, even though I haven’t even finished it yet. I used to read it every night before bed during the spring semester of my freshman year, and it made me feel like I could take on the world just the way I am. Some more on my list of books to read are Yes Please by Amy Poehler and Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur.

    eat-pray-love
    You can get your copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller for $10.96 at Barnes and Noble.
  2. Work out: I’ve been talking about this up and down for the last six months, but working out has made me feel a million times better about myself. Every time I work out, I go into beast mode, and I feel like I can accomplish anything. Find an exercise routine you love and stick to it. Not only is it good for your body, but it’s also good for your soul.
  3. Listen to pump-up music: I literally have a playlist called “I DESERVE BETTER” that’s filled with songs that make me feel better and remind me that I am worth the work and worth being treated well. It’s filled with some of my favorite songs, like Hair and Shoutout to My Ex by Little Mix, Stronger by Britney Spears, and Down in the Dumps by Walk the Moon. I highly recommend putting together a playlist that makes you feel great about yourself and helps pick you back up when you start to fall.
  4. Get motivational wallpapers: Inspirational phone backgrounds and computer wallpapers are my guilty pleasure. I like to change them every month just to get something a little different. I always find it so inspiring to turn on my phone or laptop and get some sort of pick-me-up.

    This is the wallpaper on my laptop right now and I love turning it on and seeing this.
  5. Don’t take things so personally: I’ve always been a very sensitive person, and I always let people’s reactions to me affect the way I feel about myself and everything around me. Recently, I’ve come to the realization that you don’t always know what other people are going through, so you can’t hold things against them or let them get you down. Like I said, the only person’s validation that matters is yours, so don’t let yourself get down because of a stupid comment someone else said. When I dyed my hair purpley about a year ago, one of my best friends made a comment that if I lay down on the grass, it would look like Barney. His opinion meant a lot to me at the time, and I was upset about it for a while. Since then, I’ve realized that it’s my hair, not his, and if I like the way it looks, I don’t have to really consider his opinion.
  6. Do what you’re passionate about: Doing things that you love to do and are good at are great for a confidence boost. Plus, if you get involved with something you’re passionate about, you can find other people who are passionate about the same thing and you immediately have something to connect over. When I started writing for my school newspaper last semester (even though it was for class credit), I met so many awesome people who were also passionate about journalism. It was really inspiring and motivating for me to get pointers from them and just be surrounded by people who loved to interview people and write just as much as I do.
  7. Journal: One of the best ways to release negativity is to write it down. I find that every time I write down what’s bothering me, I can better recognize what the problem is and then find an appropriate way to deal with it. Also, I can write down all the positives in my life and reread them if I start feeling down. I also love picking pretty journals that inspire me to write and work hard, like this one from Barnes and Noble.

    be-awesome-today-journal
    Be Awesome Today Bound Lined Journal, $9.95 at Barnes and Noble
  8. Find support: The biggest thing that has helped me come to terms with the person that I am has been my religion. I was born and raised Greek Orthodox, but I didn’t really get into learning about my religion until I was 16 and went to Camp St. Paul for the first time. Since then, I’ve become more confident in myself and my abilities because I know that God made me the way I am and only sends me challenges that He knows I can handle. Now, I’m not trying to tell you to start going to church every single day or to convert right this second. All I’m saying is that everyone needs someone or something (healthy!) to bring you back when you start fall. For those of you who are not religious, I’d recommend finding something or someone that always has your back and best interests at heart. I have a handful of really close friends that constantly cheer me on and pick me up when I fall. I’d be nowhere without them. Even my parents are there for me whenever I need them, and I can tell them absolutely anything without them judging me or putting me down. The bottom line is that it feels amazing to know you have people who love and support you all the time and can pick you up if you start doubting yourself.

I hope this post gave you a bit of a look into my life and some inspiration and motivation to start loving yourself completely and entirely. Don’t forget to keep me in the loop as you embark on your journey!!

xx,

Toni
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My 2017 Goals + Tips


I’m all about setting goals for myself, but sometimes, deciding exactly what I want to accomplish can be tough. After two weeks (yes, two full weeks), I’ve finally compiled some New Year’s resolutions that I’d like to share with you, as well as some helpful tips I use to narrow down my thoughts.

My Resolutions

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Above are my resolutions for the new year (which I typed out on Canva, a great site for designing everything from cards to resumes). I chose to organize them by category (more about organization to follow!) and list one way I can go about actually achieving each goal. I think this will help give me a good start and keep me accountable. While there a lot of things I’d like to be able to accomplish this year, these 20 tasks are the things I felt were most important and most attainable. I’ll probably print these out and hang them up on my desk to keep me inspired and remind me what I set out to do.

Tips

Like I said, setting goals can be just as hard as actually achieving them. Here are some pointers on how to successfully set your own 2017 resolutions (and it’s never too late to do it!)

  1. Write them down: Last week I mentioned to my friends that I hadn’t written down my resolutions yet and they all said something along the lines of, “You write them down? That’s smart. Maybe I’d be more successful if I wrote mine down.” I’m not even kidding. I really believe that writing them down holds your more accountable and can inspire you to keep on chugging. Write them down or type them out so that they look nice, then put them somewhere you can see them and be reminded of the things you want to accomplish.
  2. Record your thoughts: I found that I had a lot of visions for myself and things I wanted to change, but no concrete goals to set for myself. So I picked up my journal (for the first time since June… oops) and wrote down all of my thoughts. Five pages later and I had a better idea of exactly what I wanted to accomplish. Take the time to write down your thoughts and desires and watch how clear your goals become. Bonus points if you use a cute journal like this Shoot for the Moon journal!

    journal
    I have this journal and I’m absolutely obsessed with it. I used it to record all my interviews last semester, and it really served me well.
  3. Organize: One way to help make making resolutions easier is to organize them in some way. I like to organize mine by categories that correspond to the different things going on in my life, but I have also seen people organize theirs by priority or even by month. Find a way to organize your goals that will help you to stay inspired and know what you actually need to do.
  4. Limit yourself: I know people usually say the sky’s the limit, but in this case, I’d say limit the number of goals you set for yourself. It can be tempting to set 100 goals, but it’s just impractical. The reason I was able to set 20 goals for myself was because they were relatively small goals that can be accomplished within the scope of my average day. There’s no way, however, that I’d be able to achieve 20 big goals. Limit to yourself to what you are confident you can achieve and apply into your everyday life.
  5. Look it up: Sometimes you’re just out of ideas or can’t find the words to correctly convey what it is you want to accomplish. So what do you do? The same thing you always do: look it up. I love checking Pinterest for resolution inspiration. I literally just type “resolution” into the search bar and so many ideas come up. If you’re stuck, don’t be afraid to do a little research!

    resolutions-inspiration
    Here’s some inspiration I found on Pinterest, posted by Easy College Coupons!
  6. Set achievable and measurable goals: My last tip for you is to set goals you are confident you have the ability to achieve and can easily measure your progress with. When I was writing my own resolutions, I was very tempted to write something like “go on a weekend trip,” but I didn’t because I’m not sure if that will be achievable for me when it comes down to time and money. It can still be something I’d like to do, but not necessarily something that I’m recording as a New Year’s resolution. The same goes for something like “lose weight,” but more so because it’s not quantifiable. Losing one pound still counts as losing weight, but that definitely would not be my goal. Even saying something like “lose 50 pounds” might be unrealistic because you can’t be sure that’s achievable. My recommendation would be to set smaller, achievable, quantifiable goals like “work out x times a week” or “record food intake” that are easier to accomplish and can still lead you to the outcome you desire.

I hope that my New Year’s resolutions and tips helped inspire you to chase your goals and dreams this year. I’m looking forward to another year of sharing my life with all of my Tasters. Wishing you all your best year yet, full of love, laughter, and happiness!

xx,

Toni

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Fall Fashion: Favorite Looks + Thanksgiving Outfit #1


I love autumn. The colors, the weather, the beginning of the holiday season, the clothes. I can finally layer my clothes and bundle up in some of my fave clothes.

Even though we’re already more than halfway through November and almost on to winter already, I thought now would be a good time to share some of my favorite fall looks with you. Stay tuned for some Thanksgiving outfit inspiration after!

Scarves + Caps

Scarves have been some of my favorite fall and winter accessories for a few years now. When the temperature starts to drop, they’re the first thing I reach for. I also got into baseball caps a couple of months ago, probably in springtime. I wore them all summer, both at camp when I wanted to keep my hair under control and the sun out of my eyes, and at school when I wanted to go for a trendy street-style look. This fall, however, I’ve realized how much I love the pair together. They’re the epitome of street-style chic. They’re cozy and comfy but totally on trend. I think the pairing reminds me very much of a celebrity just trying to go about their life while hiding from the paparazzi. This look is perfect for class, running errands, or an afternoon out.

scarves-and-caps

Outfit: (left) via @sincerelyjules on Instagram, (right) via Jonnamaista on Bloglovin’

Scarf: Merona Women’s Plaid Scarf in Gray and Cream Stripe, $19.99 at Target

Cap: American Needle X UO Tonal Strap-Back Hat in Slate, $29.00 at Urban Outfitters

Stand-Out Coats

A stand-out coat is always a winner, and this month especially I’ve been hardore ogling some bright and eye-catching coats that are perfect for this season and next. They’re cozy as anything and make your outfit stand out. Extra credit if your coat has fancy buttons!

coats

Outfits: (left) Solange Knowles via Glamour, (right) via Harper’s Bazaar

Blue Coat (left): Anne Klein Royal Blue Double-Breated Wool Peacoat, $79.99 at Century 21 Department Stores

Camel Coat (right): Flap Pocket Coat, $44.90 at Forever 21

Big Sweaters

I used to be all about form-fitting silhouettes, but the last few months, I have realized the appeal of big sweaters that pool around you. They’re great for snuggling into when you’re a little cold, convenient for pairing with leggings and boots when you’re running late, and perfect for so many situations. I have so many different styles now, like a regular long-line sweater and a cold-shoulder drapey sweater, and I could just live in them. Find one in a color and style you love and rock it all fall and winter!

big-sweaters

Outfits: (left) via yoins.com, (right) via stylishwife.com

Brown Sweater (left): Sweater in Rib With Cold Shoulder, $34.00 at ASOS 

Green Sweater (right): Oversized Drop Shoulder Sweater, $20.29 at Charlotte Russe

Turtlenecks

For years, I refused to wear turtlenecks, even though my mother always begged me, but at the start of the semester, I got really into them. I had gotten one last fall at Target, but I had only worn it a handful of times, and then I bought another one in September. They’re classy and cool, not to mention super trendy. I love pairing them with high-waisted jeans or skirts and long necklaces. I tend to stick to solid colors because I find them more slimming, but if you love the look of a patterned turtleneck, go for it!

turtlenecks

Outfits: (left) via luvv.it, (right) via blog.styleestate.com

Pink Sweater (left): AEO Ahh-mazingly Soft Turtleneck Sweater in Pink, $54.95 at American Eagle Outfitters

Gray Sweater (right): Split Second Laced Turtleneck Sweater, $20.61 at GoJane

Now, onto the promised bit of inspiration…

Thanksgiving Outfit Inspiration #1: Flowy Pants

I love sharing outfit ideas with you guys because I have so so many and I can’t always wear them all myself.

I firmly believe that the only way to get through the holidays, especially Thanksgiving, is to wear comfy, stretchy clothes that you can breathe in. There’s so much food and drink that it can be hard to stay in restrictive skinny jeans or a tight miniskirt throughout the many courses of the Thanksgiving meal. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up looking cute as can be!

For this particular outfit, I’m loving a pair of stretchy, flowy pants that let you eat as much as you want without ruining your outfit. Many of you may see flowy pants as a spring- or summertime piece, but when you choose something that looks a bit more structured, like a denim-esque pair, you can pull them off in the fall, too. This pair from Pink Ice is like the jegging version of flowy pants: looks like denim, but in real life, they’re 100% tencel, which is a super comfy and stretchy material. Pair these high-waisted beauties with a simple crop top and a flowy poncho, cardigan or kimono that you can cuddle (or hide!) in once the food coma hits. Bonus points if they color coordinate! I think these pants just scream for a heeled bootie, so I picked a pair with a cool lacing detail. I also think this outfit is calling for a trendy choker, so I picked a velvet choker with a leaf charm that matches the black booties and the whole outfit’s boho flair. Last but not least, finish it off with a cool patterned tote that boasts some contrasting colors. This will add some spark and extra detail to your outfit. Now, all you have to focus on is eating!

flowy pants.png

Pants: Vintage High Waist Wide Leg Pants, $47.99 at Pink Ice

TopI’m Yours Sweater Crop Top in Wine, $23.00 at Tobi

PonchoGentle Fawn Loretto Ivory Print Poncho, $49.00 at Lulu’s

BootiesAldo Abrialle Bootie in Black, $79.95 at DSW

Choker: Velvet Silver Leaf Choker Necklace, $7.99 at Icing

BagSteven by Steve Madden Myles Tapestry Tote in Wine, $49.99 at 6pm

I hope that my Fall Faves and this Thanksgiving outfit inspiration gave you some ideas on how to amp up your style game this autumn! Wishing all of my American friends a happy Thanksgiving as well. Just a reminder to you all that I am so grateful you are on this journey with me.

xx,

Toni

Email: tantilizinglytasteful@gmail.com

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My Love-Hate Relationship with Packing: Washington, D.C. Edition


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Decisions are hard, to say the least. I’m definitely not great at making decisions, even though I have somehow become the go-to decision maker for my friend group at school.

Style decisions, at least for me, are some of the hardest to make. I’m heading to Washington, D.C. for Panhellenic Weekend 2016, held by D.C. Greeks, and since I’m traveling by train and bus, I want to pack light. The thing is, this event is basically a giant party, including one event that is “cocktail attire optional,” so the type of clothing that I’m packing this time around is incredibly different than the type of clothing I packed for my (unsuccessful) trip to Connecticut.

Like I said in my September Haul, I recently purchased a bunch of new clothes specifically for this trip, but honestly, I might have bought too much. I mean, I’ll definitely wear all of it, but I might not actually need it all for this specific trip. Following the tips I outlined in the Connecticut post, I tried to make my decision by mixing and matching and knowing my itinerary. That actually was pretty easy, considering that I already had a preference for some outfits over others, so as far as clothing goes, I ended up packing:

The hardest fashion decision I had to make was picking which dresses I wanted to bring. I had purchased three for the occasion, but in all honestly, I may only need one. I decided that I should bring two out of the three with me, just in case I do need a second one.

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I had to pick from these three dresses: (from left to  right) JAX Side Lace Scuba Dress, Forever 21 Contemporary Grid Print Dress, and JAX Square Neck Mixed Media Sheath Dress

I already knew that I was obsessed with the grid-patterned dress from Forever 21, so that immediately stayed in the running. Now, I had to eliminate one more dress. This was a little harder because the dresses are the same brand and kind of similar, so I followed my tips from Connecticut and tried to make my decision. I ended up making my choice based on the concept of mixing and matching. I’m very weird and particular about mixing metals, and honestly, I have a preference for silver over gold. The Mixed Media dress prominently features gold, but the bag I was planning on bringing to the events features silver accents. I’m just not comfortable with the way that would look together, and I didn’t want to pack an extra purse, so I decided to eliminate the Mixed Media dress.

 

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Both of these dresses match well with my bag (similar here), so mixing and matching is easy!

 

 

That rest of my packing was actually pretty easy, so as far as clothing goes, I ended up packing:

  • two fancy dresses
  • one casual dress
  • one jumpsuit
  • Spanx (hey, sometimes a girl needs her shape wear!)
  • one corduroy skirt
  • three sweaters
  • three pairs of heels
  • one pair of jeans
  • one pair of leggings
  • one strapless bra

I found that the real struggle, however, was in choosing what makeup I wanted to bring with me.

 

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Some of my fave beauty necessities, such as Garnier’s Micellar Water, elf’s Poreless Face Primer, and EcoTools’s Bamboo Finishing Kabuki Brush. Also, peep my super cute and colorful makeup bag (similar here)!

 

Since I was supposed to go to Connecticut for a church retreat, I packed very minimal makeup. But since I need to get completely dolled up for this shindig, my makeup decisions are much more imperative. Here are some tips for how I made my decisions.

  1. Get a good makeup bag: This is essential. I’ve had the same makeup bag for a few years now, but I love it because it’s sturdy and has plenty of compartments for me to stow my products. It even folds into a smaller package to easily fit in my luggage. Look to something with zipper or snap compartments so you can pack a lot in there but still make sure your precious makeup is safe and secure.
  2. Don’t skip steps: Don’t sacrifice priming or finishing products just to pack light. Especially for an event like Panhellenic Weekend, where I’m going to be dancing all night long, it is imperative for me to make sure I prep my face well before applying makeup so it doesn’t budge while I’m on the dancefloor. Also, finishing products like a setting spray or finishing powder make your makeup picture perfect, so don’t skip this if you know you’re gonna be snapping a ton of selfies!
  3. Pick your faves: I have a handful of beauty products that I save for very special events, either because they were too expensive for me to use on a daily basis, or because it’ll look silly if I wear them to class. This is one of those weekends where I bring those special products out to play. Not only will they make your makeup look extra special, but you’ll finally get the chance to use your products. At the same time, don’t skip out on the everyday products that you absolutely love! Your favorite eyeliner, foundation or lip gloss should still have its place in your routine.

    dc-7
    These three products by one of my favorite makeup brands, NYX, are my special event go-tos. The Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator is just a touch too shiny for my everyday routine, but perfect for a night out. The NYX Wonder Stick for highlighting and contouring is a little too drastic for my school-day look, so I save it for when I know I’m going to be taking a ton of pictures. The Highlight & Contour Pro Palette gets reserved for incredibly special occasions because it is the most expensive piece of makeup I’ve ever purchased (I’m a drugstore beauty queen, what can I say?), but I love being able to finally use it!
  4. Mix and match: Just like with clothes, try to mix and match your makeup looks while traveling. You can stick to the same basics, like eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara, to save space and pack lightly, but pick ones that work for multiple outfits. For example, you can pick  one eyeshadow palette that can match anything you wear while away instead of bringing multiple palettes with you.
  5. Splurge: But at the same time, I understand that sometimes choosing is hard. You don’t want to limit yourself on the way you look, so choose one item that you’re going to allow yourself to pack multiple of. I am a lipstick addict, so I packed several different colors. Plus, since my outfits are going to have all different shades of purples and reds, I don’t have any one color that will really match perfectly with all my outfits. I couldn’t just limit myself to one.

    dc-5
    I own more lipsticks than I care to admit, mostly by NYX, but also with some colors from elf and Revlon.
  6. Skip Supersizing: I know they say bigger is better, but that isn’t always the case when traveling. Yeah, it can be tempting to bring a big container of some beauty product on a trip with you, but only bring what you need. I use Vaseline on my lips a lot, so I keep a giant pot of it right next to my bed. But when I travel, I only need a tiny pot, because there’s no way I’m even going through that in three days. Same goes for toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo and conditioner, makeup wipes and face wash. By using the travel sized options, you’re leaving yourself room for larger must-haves that don’t come in smaller sizes, like leave-in conditioner or other hair products.
  7. Don’t Forget Removal: Just because you’re going away for a few days doesn’t mean you get to skip taking care of your skin. Make sure after your night on the town you remove all your makeup and wash your face to prevent build-up. The last thing you want is to come home and have to deal with breakouts!

I’m really excited to head to D.C., catch up with some friends and dance the night away! Hopefully, I’ll get to share some details with you when I return. I hope you guys have some awesome trips coming up and can use these packing tricks to make your experience a little less stressful! Let me know about any cool adventures you’re taking and any packing stories, mishaps or tips you may have. Happy and safe travels, Tasters!

xx,

Toni

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Building Your Support System: What You Need to Know About Bras


 

Yeah, you read that right. Last week, we may have celebrated National No Bra Day in the United States and the United Kingdom, but as a big-chested gal, I can personally say that going braless can be dangerous. Though No Bra Day is totally important because it helps raise awareness for breast cancer, it is also crucial to know what to look for in a supportive bra and what to avoid.

  1. Shape Trumps All: Yes, pretty bras are in fact pretty, but they’re not at all worth it  if they don’t give you the right shape. TMI moment: I was looking at some old pictures from 2013 yesterday morning and realized with disappointment that my boobs looked like they were a mile apart from each other. The problem? I spent my early high school years shopping for cute bras with polka dots in bows instead of focusing on the shape and support they gave me. I’ve learned my lesson, though. All my bras are now super supportive and keep my ladies looking shapely and in place. But they can still be super cute! Most of mine are lacey and classy, but I also have some pink ones and one floral and polka dot one. The moral of the story is make sure that if you are going to opt for a patterned or cutesy bra, make sure it all gives your girls good shape.

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    I love my bras because they’re cute and totally supportive!
  2. Strapped In: The type of straps that you have on your bra are oh-so important. For starters, a thicker strap will keep you in place better. But the style of strap is also crucial. Of course, you’ve got the regular strap bra for everyday affairs, but sometimes you may need a racerback bra, or a halter bra, or even a one-shoulder bra. You can totally invest in bras for all of these occasions (I for one have several crisscross back bras that I love), or you can simply buy a bra that has adjustable straps. These bras are great because they can be worn any way, even strapless. There’s even this awesome hack for strapless bras with attachable straps!

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    Just a few bra options, via looksgud.comlooksgud.comlooksgud.comlooksgud.com
  3. The Good Stuff: Picking a bra that’s made with durable, but flexible and comfortable material is key. If you choose a bra that’s flimsy, not only will it wear out quickly, but it will also fail to support you. Also, some materials can be itchy or too tight or too stretchy. If you invest in a good quality bra, you won’t find yourself constantly needing to replace them.
  4. Color Matters: Color does indeed matter, but only based on what you’re wearing it with. You don’t always want your bra to show through your clothes, so having a nude bra you can wear under whites is essential. Otherwise, I find that there are no official rules about bra colors and clothing. Test things out to see what color bra looks best with what you’re wearing.
  5. Get Felt Up: Please don’t be afraid of the ladies walking around the store. If you don’t know your bust size, ask them to measure you! They are very helpful with giving you a starting place. They can save you from buying bras that don’t actually fit you, and their measurements can be a lot more accurate than your friends’ eyes.
  6. Try. It. On.: Nothing is for sure unless you try the damn bra on. Just because a bra looks fabulous on your friend does not mean it’s going to hold up your knockers in the same way. Do yourself the favor of trying them on beforehand to make sure the hold your boobs correctly, the straps are comfortable, and the back is just right. Nothing is worse that buying a bra you think you love only to go home and find out it doesn’t really fit.
  7. Repeat Offender: Well, not really. If you love a certain bra style or company or store, trust them. Of course, your body and style can change over time, but if you really love your bra, stick to your guns. You’re more likely to be content if you go with something you’re pretty confident you like. My friends have repeatedly recommend Aerie, but their bras just don’t work well with my chest. I have tried corsetiere after corsetiere but my favorite place to buy bras is still Victoria’s Secret. I have found that their bras support me the best and make my ladies look fierce. They’re comfortable and durable, and ultimately affordable, especially when they have their sales! They come in so many colors and styles and I have for sure been the happiest there. You can take a look at one of my favorite Victoria’s Secret bras here.

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    Most of my bras… all of which are from Vitori
  8. Be a Good Bra Mom: This is one of the most important tips out there. If you want your bras to last and make your ladies look phenom, make sure you’re taking great care of your over the shoulder boulder holders. I’ll never forget the first time I walked into Victoria’s Secret, I tried to buy a push-up bra (long story). I was only 12 or so, embarrassed to be shopping for “grown-up” bras, and at the mall with my best friend, Torie. I was trying to hide the bra from other shoppers, so I put the two cups inside of each other and tucked it under my arm. When I went to the register, the sales lady, who, in retrospect, was also probably a little crazy, scolded me for trying to ruin the bra cups. To this day, I still make sure my bra cups maintain their shape when I put them in my drawer, simply for fear of ruining one of the most important pieces of clothing I own. So make sure you take the best care of your bras by being gentle and delicate with them, and hand-washing them when they get dirty. Basically, make sure you love and support them, because they’re loving and supporting you.
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    That bra love though

     

     

Hope you all learned a thing or two about bras and can use them in your own lives! Please let me know if you try any of these tips or bras out or if you have any questions!!

 

xx,

Toni

Email: tantalizinglytasteful@gmail.com

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Fall Fashion: September Haul


As some of you may know, I am going to Washington, D.C. in November for Pan-Hellenism Weekend, which is basically just a giant convention of Greeks. I’m super pumped, not only because I’m going to see friends from camp and go to a new place, but also because I had to get some new clothes for the occasion!

I am a self-proclaimed shopaholic. Once I start, it’s very, very hard to get me to stop. I recently bought a decent amount of clothes from Target, Century 21 and Forever 21, so I figured I’d share them with you Tasters. Everything is styled with NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Vintage (here). Also, a major shout out to my mom for buying most of these clothes and my brother Nicholas who came shopping with us and spent two hours taking pictures of me. Hope you all enjoy!

Target

Gold Mossimo Sweater: 

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I love the long length and the color of this sweater. Plus, it’s super comfy!!

Sweater: Mossimo {Similar here}

Jeans: Old Navy {Similar here}

Booties: Lucky Brand {Similar here}

Necklace: From a friend {Similar here}

Headband: Forever 21 {Similar here}

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Neutral colors like this gold are great for pairing with gemstone necklaces. They let the natural colors of the stones take center stage.

Charcoal Mossimo Sweater Dress: 

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I think the hemline of this dress is so unique and fun, perfect for my wardrobe!

Dress: Mossimo

Booties: Rampage {Similar here}

Necklace: From my aunt {Similar here}

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I love that this dress is a neutral color because even though it’s got some cool details, it’s still effortlessly cool and not overly demanding.

Black and White Sweatshirt and Gray Beanie

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Lately, I’ve been wearing casual outfits a lot more frequently, and this sweatshirt was definitely the perfect addition to my closet! It’s so cozy and I totally adore the asymmetrical neckline and the thumb holes.

Sweatshirt: Mossimo Supply Co.

Pants: Old Navy Active {Similar here}

Sneakers: Nike {Similar here}

Beanie: Accesory Depot {Similar here}

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I love beanies for the fall and winter, and gray is a perfect neutral to match with most of my wardrobe!

Gray Turtleneck

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My mom has been begging me to wear turtlenecks for ages, but I always refused, so I think she was floored when I asked her to buy me one! I love this color so so much and the silhouette is really versatile.

Turtleneck: Mossimo Supply Co.

Skirt: Mossimo {Similar here}

Necklace: Full Tilt {Similar here}

Shoes: Steve Madden {Similar here}

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The beauty of buying plain shirts is that I can easily pair them with eye-grabbing printed bottoms.

Maroon Button-Front Skirt

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Button-front skirts have been super trendy right now, so I had to get one in one of my absolute fave colors!

Skirt: Mossimo Supply Co.

Tank: Target

Jacket: Xhilaration {Similar here}

Booties: GC Shoes

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I love wearing graphic tees and tanks because they let you show your personality. Star Wars is one of my favorite movie franchises, and I grew up watching those films.

Plaid Blanket Scarf

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I love the colors of this scarf, they’re perfect for fall!

Tunic: Notations Woman (thrifted) {Similar here}

Leggings: Old Navy {Similar here}

Scarf: Accesory Depot {Similar here}

Booties: GC Shoes

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My scarf obsession is definitely showing! I love that this scarf can be worn in so many ways and can be used as a blanket. Cute and practical!

Century 21

Square Neck Mixed Media Sheath Dress

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The high-contrast colors on this dress make it eye-catching, but the silhouette is still classy and sleek. Pefect for my upcoming trip to DC!

Dress: JAX

Pumps: Fioni {Simiar here}

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You caught me! Way too in love with my shoes… Love that these pumps go with basically everything in my closet.

JAX Side Lace Scuba Dress

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I’m totally obsessed with the color of this dress. Pretty sure my hair used to match it almost perfectly…

Dress: JAX

Pumps: Fioni {Simiar here}

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This dress is so sleek and sophisticated, but the color and lace still help it to stand out.

Forever 21

Contemporary Grid Print Dress

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The graphic print of this dress it totally eye-catching. Plus, it’s super comfy and flowy, not restricting at all!

Dress: Forever 21

Booties: Steve Madden {Similar here}

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Love that little keyhole detail in the back of the dress, and the fact that I finally get to break my fave shoes out of retirement for this ensemble! It’s the little things in life…

Hope you all saw some pieces that you like or picked up some style tips. Don’t forget to let me know what you thinks!

xx,

Toni

Email: tantalizinglytasteful@gmail.com

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Why I Love Working Out with Friends + Yummy Salads with LP


Today’s post should’ve been about my weekend in Connecticut for an Orthodox Christian retreat, but unfortunately, that plan fell through. So instead, I’m here to tell you all about why working out with friends makes exercising fun, easy and motivational, at least from my perspective.

 

 

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Clearly, my friend Lauren and I are both Nike girls! Our sneaks are pictures with my beloved Zumba shake weights (the green ones, which are 1 lb., came with the Zumba Exhilarate DVD set, and the purple ones, which are 2.5 lbs., came with the Zumba Tone Up DVD set) and my BPA-free fruit infuser water bottle, which you can get here.

 

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love working out on my own. It’s this weird power trip: nothing goes straight to my head more than a half hour of beast mode at the gym. But there’s also some great benefits to working out with your friends, and not just physical ones. And it doesn’t even have to be in a class, it can be at home or in your neighborhood. I’ve done both, and they can both be equally fun and inspirational.

  1. Accountability: There’s no bailing out on exercising when you’ve made plans to hit the gym or pound the pavement. Your friends will make sure you show up, on time, and put all your energy into your workout.
  2. Motivation: When you feel like there’s no going on and you’ve exhausted every last bit of energy you had, your friends are there to cheer you on and keep you going. It’s a lot harder to do that all on your own, just saying.
  3. Positivity: How many times a day do we tell ourselves that we’re not good enough, not performing well enough or just not up to par with everyone else? Friends and workout buddies are there to nip any negativity right in the bud and raise you up again.
  4. Catching Up: Sometimes, a workout sesh can be just what you need to catch up with your pals. In between push-ups or during laps around the track, you can be gabbing about what’s going on in your life. Not only is the conversation great, but it also makes the workout go by quicker. The perfect way to multitask!
  5. Trying New Things: Friends are the perfect people to drag along when you want to try out a new workout. Whether it’s a class like Zumba or SoulCycle, or even just a new routine, having a friend to try it out with you can make the activity less daunting and more fun. Last summer, when I wanted to give running a try, I went on walks/runs with my best friend Lauren who also wanted to try something new. Having her with me made me less scared to try and more excited for something new.
  6. Answering Questions: I can’t even begin to explain to you the number of questions I have had about different workout machines at the gym. I was always too scared to use them because I didn’t know, but whenever I go to the gym with my friend Alyssa, who is definitely more athletic than I am, she can answer my questions and tell me what to do. It’s definitely reassuring to have someone who has my back explain what each machine in easy, plain terms so I can understand it.

Since I didn’t get to go to the retreat this weekend, I got to spend Saturday morning and afternoon with my best friend Lauren, who has been one of my best and constant workout partners for a while now. From our Zumba sessions with our other besties Torie, Dani, and Emily, to our morning summer runs on our local trails, Lauren is always there to keep me positive and motivated. She came over in the morning to do Zumba, specifically the DVDs from the Zumba Tone Up System (get the 5 DVD set here.) We did about 35 minutes, with 15 of it doing the Amazing Abs, and the rest working out biceps and triceps. After a week of not working out because I was sick, it was so energizing to get back into the groove. Plus, I hadn’t seen Lauren in a few weeks, so it was a great chance to catch up and gossip while working out our abs.

 

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Our post-workout meal!

 

After our workout, Lauren and I went to this super awesome salad place called Chopt, and I totally loved it! It’s like the Chipotle of salads- pick from a variety of toppings to create your own salad or order a salad off the menu. I got a Santa Fe salad, which had romaine lettuce, corn, avocado, pepper jack cheese, grape tomatoes, (delicious) homemade fried onions, and sweet and smoky chipotle vinaigrette. I also added steak, which was totally yummy. Though my salad was a little spicy, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was so filling and super delish.

 

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My delish Chopt salad!!

 

Lauren ordered the Mexican Caesar salad, which comes with romaine lettuce, grilled chicken, cotija cheese, jalapeno peppers (which Lauren subbed for cucumbers), tortilla chips, and Mexican Caesar dressing. She said hers was spicy too, but it smelled really good and I know she totally loved it!

 

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Doesn’t Lauren’s order look yummy, too?

 

My favorite part of working out with Lauren is getting to catch up and having her there to motivate me, but the tasty food we sometimes get afterwards doesn’t hurt either!! And it’s good to know that the feeling is mutual. I asked Lauren what she likes about working out with a buddy, she agreed with me and said, “Ok so working out with friends is more fun because you not only work out but you can catch up. The time passes quicker and you can share new techniques with each other. It’s great to motivate each other.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. Best friends think alike, I think!

 

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Lauren trying out her salad post-workout.

 

Lauren and I went back to her house after we got our Chopt salads so we could eat and watch HGTV, which is one of our post-workout routines. Nothing is more rewarding to me after working out than a laid-back afternoon with my bestie! Let me know what keeps you motivated to work out, what your healthy post-workout routine is or if you’ve given fitness with friends a try! Keep on working, Tasters, you’ve got this!

xx,

Toni

Email: tantalizinglytasteful@gmail.com

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