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How Wearing Lingerie Helped Me Fall In Love With My Body

nomifoto/Instagram

One of my first memories of body shaming is my mami telling me that my thighs were fat and that I shouldn’t wear shorts. She said it very matter-of-fact in a way that, I think, wasn’t meant to hurt my feelings but still left an emotional scar on my pre-pubescent body. I was in the 5th grade and, after that day, never again wore shorts to school. However, now that I am an adult, I’ve slowly learned to embrace and love my body with all of its perfect imperfections — and I do that largely thanks to sexy lingerie.

My mother’s declaration that I was a “gordita” and my family’s ability to put on weight easily (and never exercise or eat well), I spent much of my teen years and early adulthood feeling ashamed of myself.

Looking back at my early childhood, I knew I was different early on. Although my family had originally moved to Miami when we first came to the United States when I was eight years old, we eventually made it to the southwest coast of Florida where I was the only Latina I knew growing up.

Because of this, I was quickly confronted with classmates who were, well, nothing like me. They had quiet, calm parents who never had screaming matches like mine. They had tiny, skinny bodies whereas I have had large thighs for as long as I could remember.

Long before Jennifer Lopez made curves and big booties cool, I was struggling with body image issues and only seeing way-too-skinny 90s models in the media.

At the time, I didn’t know what body positivity meant or how I could get some until I was well into my 20s. In high school, I was overweight and eventually obese. In college, I lost 90 pounds but regained 80 of them after I started my first stressful job at the beginning of the Great Recession. All the while, I kept hearing my mami’s voice constantly telling me that I was too fat. She continued to say that to me throughout my entire life — up until the point that I got “too skinny” for her, that is. But deep down, I knew something was up. Life couldn’t be solely about gaining and losing the same weight over and over again.

Unable to maintain a healthy body weight on my own and afraid of what lifelong morbid obesity would mean for my overall health, I received a gastric bypass shortly before my 23rd birthday. But during my preparation for the life-altering surgery, I met with my doctor who taught me a very valuable lesson: He told me that he was simply giving me a tool to help me manage my weight. I would need to do the work myself in order to learn to eat better and, most importantly, grow comfortable in my body.

It turns out that I had been in a perpetual cycle of stress eating, feeling bad about it, and then eating some more.

I needed to heal my mind as well as my body before I could truly learn to love myself.

The journey to love my body seemed impossible at first. I didn’t know where to start, so I started by reading magazine articles about accepting my body and embracing my curves. This was the days before runways began to feature curvy beauties like Denise Bidot (and other plus-size Latina models) or you could simply search the #bodypositive hashtag on Instagram. But I had to start somewhere, so I started there. Then an ex-boyfriend recommended I try lingerie and I was HOOKED.

I began to scour the internet for scantily clad women in sexy lingerie. The caveat is that they had to be women that looked like me: Women with curves, big thighs, loads of cellulite. They had to look comfortable and exude sexiness; and not just because they were models. I wanted to connect with the women I saw in those images as much as I wanted to feel good imagining myself in their clothes. I discovered pin-up style in my searches and, soon after, the plus-size friendly clothing site, Unique Vintage.

I bought my first bikini on that site. It was white and made me look and feel just like Marilyn Monroe in those famous images of her on the beach (though she actually wore a one-piece). Eventually, I started to sneak into Victoria’s Secret and try on their lingerie. I was still too scared to buy it for myself in front of others, fearing their judgment, so instead, I would go home after each trip and browse through the lingerie on the Frederick’s of Hollywood site.

I fell in love with everything lacy, especially anything that was red or black or a combination.

Although  I owned several of these sexy things, I was still too scared to show it off to anyone.

I wanted to, but I was scared. Loving your body is a journey and, although I was at a weight I was finally happy with and generally comfortable in my body, I could still hear my mami in the back of my head telling me that my thighs were huge. It was an uncomfortable feeling and, to be honest, why none of the items in my growing lingerie collection included thigh-highs despite me finding them to be a very alluring look on other women. Just before my 25th birthday, I decided to do something daring and bought a Groupon for a boudoir photo shoot. The expiration date was six months away, so my promise to myself was that I would spend that time going to the gym and getting in shape, then schedule my photoshoot.

But I didn’t go to the gym. Instead, I let the coupon expire and tried not to think of it for years.

During that time, I continued my journey to loving my body. I learned how to nourish it by eating well. I learned to cook healthy meals because I enjoyed time in the kitchen. I learned to put post-it notes on my mirror that read “I love me for who I am RIGHT NOW” and repeat that mantra every time I got out of the shower, while I was still naked. I learned to not feel shy by walking around my apartment naked on Saturday mornings, making breakfast and reading my favorite magazines.

Little by little, I bought more and more lingerie — modeling it for myself in front of the mirror at least once a week — and learned to love my body more and more.

And then, just before my 30th birthday, I finally booked that boudoir photoshoot.

Nomi Ellenson, @nomifoto/Instagram

To be honest, I was terrified when I walked into the Boudoir by Nomi studio on a snowy Sunday afternoon just two days before my 30th birthday a couple of March’s ago. I still wasn’t completely in love with my thighs (though working on it) and I didn’t know what to expect. But photographer Nomi Ellenson was incredibly encouraging and shared with me her own lingerie and body positivity stories (her great-grandmother was a bra-fitter!). She specializes in photography that focuses on helping women feel more comfortable in their bodies and wasn’t just taking photos for someone’s boyfriend’s Valentine’s Day present. Instead, she made me feel comfortable instantly and even gave me helpful advice about which of the several lingerie outfits I brought to our session I should wear.

Ultimately, I chose my favorite sheer black curve-hugging dress and focused on red accents, like my lips and shoes. Did I mention how much I love that black-and-red combo?

Beyond that, the experience of actually doing something for myself was thrilling. It took over five years and, really, a lifetime of getting comfortable with my body but now I proudly have evidence of my lingerie photoshoot hanging in my bathroom. It’s a daily reminder of how far I’ve come on my body positivity journey. And even though there are still some morning when I wake up and just, ahem, don’t love myself very much, all I have to do is look at that picture and remember: Damn, I really do look good.

We Scavenged The Internet For The Best Body Highlighters So You Wouldn’t Have To

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We Scavenged The Internet For The Best Body Highlighters So You Wouldn’t Have To

@fentybeauty / Instagram

In case you haven’t heard, body glow is the new beauty trend that’s sweeping the nation. Yes, moisturizing is still important, but having dewy skin that looks both effervescent and sun-kissed is the look of the moment. Instagram is alight with girls posing during #goldenhour with their shoulders, cleavage, and clavicles positively glowing with shimmer and light.

We’ve compiled a list of all of the body highlighters, shimmers, and illuminators on the market to fulfill all of your glow-y needs. Take a look below.

1. Fenty Body Lava

@fentybeauty/Instagram

Possibly the singular product that started the body glow trend, Fenty by Rihanna’s Body Lava is the product to have on your shelf this summer. Be sure to buy it soon, because the product is limited edition. Purchase here.

2. L’Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion

@crystalcandymakeup/Instagram

L’Oreal Paris recently got into the glow-game with the launch of their “Lumi” line which focuses on providing its wearer with “the illusion of dewy skin and a natural glow” that looks like it comes from within. Use their Glotion product on your face or on your body. Buy here or at any local drugstore.

3. Huda Beauty N.Y.M.P.H.

@annybeeutee/Instagram

Cleverly named “Not. Your. Mama’s. Panty. Hose.” in reference to the limb-cloaking capabilities of this all-over body highlighter, NYMPH is a water-based formula that melts seamlessly into the skin. Buy here.

4. Patrick Ta Major Glow Body Oil

@patricktabeauty/Instagram

Patrick Ta’s Major Glow Body Oil is a high-end product that delivers on its steeper price tag. Packed with nourishing ingredients such as stabilized Vitamin C and squalane, this product promises to give you a short-term and long-lasting glow. Buy here.

5. Sol Body Shimmering Dry Oil

@solbody/Instagram

Sol Body Shimmering Dry Oil is the affordable, vegan, and paraben-free body oil that you didn’t know you’ve been waiting for. Just one of the latest of the groundbreaking lines from the ColourPop founders, Sol Body is set to launch on July 17th. Buy here.

6. Anastasia Beverly Hills Shimmer Body Oil

@anastasiabeverlyhills/Instagram

Anastasia Beverly Hills always delivers high-quality makeup products and her Shimmer Body Oil is no exception. Buy here.

7. Kora Organics Sun-Kissed Body Glow Oil

@koraorganics/Instagram

Founded by supermodel Miranda Kerr, Kora Organics prides itself on using all-natural ingredients, including in this body oil that “instantly delivers a subtle sunkissed glow while deeply hydrating”. Buy here.

8. Morroccanoil Shimmering Body Oil

@moroccanoil/Instagram

Morroccanoil uses the nourishing power of Argan Oil to beautify its customers. Not only does their Shimmering Body Oil give skin a touch of luminosity, but it also “infuses skin with a deeply nourishing blend of antioxidant-rich argan oil and sesame oil”. Buy here.

9. Sol De Janeiro Glowmotions

@soldejaneiro/Instagram

Named after the sun in the beautiful capital of Brazil, Sol De Janeiro made a name for itself with its famous “Bum Bum Cream”. They recently expanded into body highlighters with their popular Glowmotions Glow Oil that gives the skin an inimitable healthy glow. Buy here.

10. Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Golden Shimmer

@nuxebrasil/Instagram

A staple of the modern French woman, NUXE’s Huile Prodigieuse Golden Shimmer is both ultra-hydrating and super flattering to the skin. Buy here.

11. Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Body

@makeupbydisco/Instagram

Charlotte Tilbury’s beauty line is a favorite of makeup fanatics everywhere, so it follows that her body highlighter would also be a fan-favorite. Buy the “slimming hydrating body shimmer” here.

12. Becca Glow Body Stick

@beccacosmetics/Instagram

In a departure from the other liquid-based body highlighters on the list, Becca’s Glow Body Stick is also hydrating, and is infused with “skin nourishing ingredients like Shea Butter and Coconut Oil” .Buy here.

13. Ouai Hair & Body Shine Mist

@theouai/Instagram

Unlike other highlighters that must be applied manually to the skin, Ouai’s Hair & Body Shine Mist can be sprayed on. Not to mention, it works on hair and skin. What’s not to love? Buy here.

14. Pacifica Crystal Bronze Shimmering Body Oil

@pacificabeauty/Instagram

Not only is Pacifica is a 100% Vegan & Cruelty-Free line, but they now offer their own Crystal Bronze Shimmering Body Oil that comes with a “kiss of shimmer and major hydration”. Buy here.

15. Lorac Glow & Behold

@bia.beautynews/Instagram

Beauty staple Loraq has also gotten into the body glow game with their shimmering body oil Glow and Behold, which “envelops the skin in multifaceted shimmer”. Buy here–the offer is online only.

16. The Body Shop’s Honey Bronze Shimmering Dry Oil

@thebodyshop/Instagram

The Body Shop is famous for their high quality, affordable products, so you know their body oil will be good. Made with community trade honey, they promise that their body oil is grease-free. Buy here.

17. NARS Monoi Body Glow

@ellesnijkamp/Instagram

You can’t go wrong with NARS–the company that delivered us both their famous Creamy Concealer and their Orgasm Blush. Their Monoi Body Glow is another entry into the hall of fame. Buy here.

Latina TV Anchor Amanda Salas Throws ‘Buzz Party’ After Cancer Diagnosis And We Applaud Her Bravery

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Latina TV Anchor Amanda Salas Throws ‘Buzz Party’ After Cancer Diagnosis And We Applaud Her Bravery

Entertainment anchor Amanda Salas, of “Good Day L.A,” was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma –– cancer that occurs when cells begin to grow out of control and it starts in the white blood –– but she’s not letting the diagnosis stop her from living life. Since being diagnosed, Salas has started chemotherapy and her hair has begun to fall out so she decided to throw a “buzz party” where she shaved her hair off. 

In a video on Instagram, she posted on highlights from her “Buzz Party,” Salas says that her hair started to fall out after only the first round of chemotherapy. “I felt like everything was just happening so fast,” she adds. “To be able to share this experience with people I love gave me strength and confidence.” 

On July 5, Salas posted a photo on Instagram where she’s seen coming out of a scan and announcing to her followers that she had been diagnosed with NHL. 

“I recently completed my first round of chemotherapy,” Salas writes. “To say the last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind would be an understatement. I have been trying to wrap my head and heart around all this.” 

According to the American Cancer Society, NHL is one of the most common cancers in the U.S., accounting for about 4% of all cancers. 

The latest statistics for 2019 show that about 74,200 people –– 41,090 males and 33,110 females –– will be diagnosed with NFL. This includes both adults and children. According to the American Cancer Society, about 19,970 people will die from this cancer –– 11,510 males and 8,460 females. 

Overall, the chance that a man develops NFL in his lifetime is about 1 in 42; for a woman, the risk is about 1 in 54. 

“While I was in the hospital laying in bed, one form of inspiration for me was going on social media and searching hashtags from others experiencing the same ‘thing’ I was. They were brace. They were beautiful. They believed. I hope to one day be that small dose of comfort for somebody else…the same way they gave me hope. Now, the FIGHT begins,” she adds.

The American Cancer Society also cites that, “Cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics, accounting for 21% of deaths. While Hispanics are less likely than non-Hispanic whites to be diagnosed with the most common cancers (lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate), they have a higher risk for cancers associated with infectious agents, such as liver, stomach, and cervix.”

Instead of feeling weak and defeated, it’s admirable that Salas is ready to fight her NHS and that she also hopes she can inspire others who may be on the same journey as her. 

Salas also says she’s ready to approach her NHS with the same work ethic she’s had in her career. “I never truly knew how strong I was until RIGHT NOW. I’m happily accepting all positive vibes and prayers, as I build my army to help me through this battle,” Salas writes. 

Fellow Fox LA colleague and friend of Salas, Leah Uko, shared an Instagram post with some beautiful words about her friend.

In a #MondayMotivation inspired caption, she writes that Salas is an inspiration not only for “being strong for herself, her loved ones and for others who have been diagnosed with #NonHodgkinsLymphoma, but also for displaying the same exact work ethic in her journey to recovery as she does as an amazing entertainment reporter.” 

She went on to say that Salas has never been a woman to “fold” and that hasn’t let her current circumstances define her negatively.

“You stand even when you may feel weak or when you may see doubt,” Uko writes. “On Saturday at Amanda’s Buzz Party where she had her hair buzzed off ahead of her surgery and second session of chemotherapy, I saw that same strong, professional work ethic she always possesses and displays.” 

Another friend of Salas tweeted her some words of encouragement, “My friend @AmandaSalas is fighting cancer and cancer picked the wrong Latina to mess with. Bless you, my dear!! You just can’t get rid of her amazing smile!!!” 

And another Twitter user replied to her and said, “You don’t know me and we have never met. But we have one thing in common. your type of cancer. My mom was diagnosed decades ago, shes still alive and strong. IF she can do it so can you. BE STRONG and live long. Know that you are not alone!” 

It’s amazing to see the kind of unwavering support that Salas is receiving from colleagues and friends in her life. It’s especially needed during this difficult time. 

“Cancer sucks,” Salas says. “But [my Buzz Party] didn’t have to.” 

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