Back in early December, I traveled to Chicago for the Eleven60 Pop Up Shop. I had just added the leather jersey dress to Staretique and I was really excited to style it for #StareStyle. So excited that I decided to wear it on the six hour car ride from Cleveland to Chicago. I'm not one of those people who typically travels glamorously unless I am going to something right when I land/arrive at my destination. 

Something about this trip was different for me. I drove in the day before the event and other than dinner plans much later that evening, I didn't have anything specific to do when I arrived. I could've worn whatever was most comfortable. But just knowing that I would be Chicago, where I lived for seven years, I put this big pressure on myself to make the most of my time being in a different place than where I currently live. 

I don't overthink backdrops for my blog photos too much typically; mostly because I am somewhat uninspired by the place I live at the moment. If my outfit is cute, I make sure I shoot it somewhere outdoors. But the prospect of being able to shoot an OOTD in my former home that where I started my brand and that had very much inspired me as a designer had me giddy.

I didn't start blogging until after I had already moved out of Chicago so while I did a ton of lookbooks there, I have very few outfit photos of myself in Chicago. And while I totally understand that coming to a place of being comfortable with my own visibility was part of my self love journey, another part of me wishes I had started blogging sooner specifically when I still lived in Chicago. 

So as my mom and I are driving to Chicago, it seems like we are just having a Murphy's Law type day. I ended up having to go into the studio and ship a few rush orders that morning. We had to drop off a local order on the way. Then we stopped to fill up for gas, my mom's car didn't show that we had filled up at all and we turned around to go back to the gas station. We hit construction. There was an accident. Before we knew it, it was nearly 4:30 p.m. and starting to get dark. We were still in Indiana about an hour from Chicago. 

I was sitting in the car wearing my leather dress, brand new boots, and an amazing pair of Kix'ies thigh highs from Curvy Girl Lingerie and anxiously thinking about the list of stops in Chicago that I had planned to shoot at depending on what time we arrived. I realized at this point that this all probably couldn't happen. My mom knew of my plan to shoot this outfit; she's the one who takes most of my photos. And lucky for me, my mom is pretty solution driven so while I had already let the wave of disappointment come over me for something that I had put way too much pressure on myself for in the first place, she had come up with an idea.

"I need gas again. Let's just shoot the photos at this trunk stop," my mom said. 

At first, I was like UM NO DEFINITELY NOT. But that thought was brief. And here's why: I really liked this outfit and if I waited for the most perfect Chicago backdrop, I wouldn't get to shoot it at all. I've talked a lot about why being a perfectionist isn't important to me but this was just another time that I had to balance my expectations and think about where this pressure really came from. 

In this case, I was able to make the connection that this outfit and the photos I wanted to take of it weren't really about the photos at all but some sort of inadequacy I felt about myself for not blogging sooner and for the fact that I left a city that I really loved only to end back in a city that never really felt like home. 

So I got out of the car and found a stone wall that faced a pretty barren side of the truck stop and I stuck some poses. In that moment, all of the pressure was gone. I was just doing my thing. Well something that has become my thing but that two years ago when I did live in Chicago would've been fucking terrifying for me. 

I never really planned on telling the story behind these photos but as I sit here at the beginning of a brand new year being bombarded with resolutions to be a different (read: better) person. I couldn't help but think of all of the things I missed out on by worrying about being good enough to do the things I really wanted. Because I spent so much time being fixated on what I believed to be failures and shortcomings that I had to fix, I stopped myself from even starting. I see now that I was always worthy and good enough for the things I wanted. 

I also couldn't help but think about how important it also is to just do it!  Beating myself up for the decisions I've made in the past that I cannot change is so futile. And waiting for things to be the perfect set of circumstances means missing out on things I really want to do for even longer. So if you wanna blog, ask a friend to take some pictures on your phone; get a selfie stick. If you wanna model, blogging is a perfect first step.

You don't need anyone else to tell you that you are good enough; you already are! You are good enough whether your pictures are seen by one person or one million. You are good enough if you don't want to take pictures at all. You are good enough just as you are. In fact, you're pretty fucking perfect. 

Sometimes you just need to stop thinking about it and just work with what you've got. You may be surprised at the outcome. You may end up at a truck stop looking like a goddamn trashfash goddess. 


Plus Size Leather Jersey T-Shirt Dress, Ready to Stare 

INC Booties, Macy's (also available in cheetah!!!)

Kix'ies Fishnet Thigh Highs, c/o Curvy Girl Lingerie

For reference, I am 5'1" and a size 3X/24 on the bottom and I am wearing a size D in the Kix'ies. The size chart does suggest that this size is for someone taller but I picked my size based on my thigh measurement and Chrystal from Curvy Girl is also a great resource if you have questions about fit. They sit right above the knee and do not roll down but I cannot pull them up any higher which is cool with me but worth noting.  

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