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Hot Tips for Holiday Body Love

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The holidays are getting into full swing!

For many of us the parties have already started. And, as I mentioned before, this time of year can be really wonderful, but it can also be really stressful. And in terms of feeling good about your body there are many triggering situations that can come up.

So I wanted to offer some more strategies to get us through this holiday season loving your body as best you can.

Book Self-Care into your Schedule

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I think one of the biggest gifts we can give ourselves at this time of year is actually making some time in our schedule for self-care. With the change in routine, the demands of the season, the darkness, if you are in the northern hemisphere, and the cold, if you are in chillier climates, we really need to take time to recharge. I highly recommend booking your self-care into your schedule. If you know there is a form of self-care that really works for you like, restorative yoga, meditation, running, dance, naps, etc actually book those into your schedule. Or if you know you would like to be more spontaneous, you could create a list of self-care ideas and then when the time comes up in your schedule pick the one that is calling to you.

Use Affirmations

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To help me stay in a body positive headspace, I will write out or say my body positive affirmations every morning to get ahead of the game. Affirmations like, “I love my body. I love every cell in my body.”, “I give myself full permission to eat whatever my body desires.”, and “I listen to my body’s needs and lovingly respond.”.

Plan Ahead

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For many of us the coming together of family can be very triggering. Family members may like to comment on our bodies or any changes in our weight since the last time they saw us. Or they may pass judgement on what we are eating. And if not that, then they are making food-shaming and size-shaming comments about themselves. It can be so tricky to stay grounded in loving yourself as you are. And it can be challenging to still listen to your own body through all that noise. What I like to do for this one is to plan ahead.

I will prepare little responses to different situations that might present themselves, like when my friend says she needs to lose 5 lbs so that she can look fabulous in her new dress on New Year’s Eve, I may redirect the conversation with “I am feeling pretty fabulous about rocking these boots with this skirt today!”

If I am feeling bold and so over shaming comments about my body, instead of the redirect I might go for the direct, “Actually, I’m not inviting comments on my body today. Thanks.” I am even thinking of creating some t-shirts that say “My Body – The Comments Section is Closed.”

Plant the Seeds of Body Positivity

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Another thing I like to do is arm myself with anti-body-shaming thoughts to help plant the seeds body positivity for my family. Like, “Food is just food. It is not good or bad. You are not a good or bad person because of what you eat. You are not a more or less valuable person based on how much you weigh.”

These concepts might be new or unfamiliar to our friends and family. Our friends and family are a part of our body-shaming society too. So the holidays can be an opportunity to educate your family by speaking openly about body-shaming. And if you are feeling keen you could have at the ready data from the Healthy at Every Size website.

What are your tips you use to stay in a body loving frame of mind over the holidays? Tell me all about them or share them in the comments.

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season so far!

Krystal

P.S. If you are looking for some great self-care for the holidays, try my Daily Luscious ReTreats – 21 Days of Meditations to take you from beginner to relaxed meditator. Only $42CAD!

I Auditioned & I Got In!

Pssst did you know you can highlight any sentence to automatically tweet it? Give it a try!

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I did something really big and scary recently. I auditioned!

Follow along and learn about some of the key tools I use on my body love journey.

I have danced since I was five years old. I LOVE to dance. All forms of dance.

Due to life events and body image issues I have taken different breaks from the dance world. The most recent three year break was because I have been prioritizing my business and while I have been doing that I have also been doing some upsizing.

So when I saw that the Yellowknife Dance Collective was holding auditions I didn’t even entertain the thought of auditioning. Even though “Develop creative dance projects” is one of four goals I had for 2016 based on Danielle Laporte’s Desire Map. (If you don’t know Danielle Laporte, definitely check her out and I will be writing more on how her Desire Map has really worked for me to achieve all four goals in 2016!)

So I put the audition out of my mind…

until a fellow dancer reached out to me. She invited me to the audition and in the most beautiful way shared a heartfelt desire to dance with me again. It wasn’t about how I looked or that I might be out of “dance shape”, but that she really enjoyed dancing with me. And the truth is, I really enjoyed dancing with her.

So why was I denying myself this experience?

I was so afraid to confront my bigger body in dance. I was afraid to confront the fact that it might not move in the same way any more. That I might not be able to do the things I used to. That some of my dance skills will have been lost and that it wouldn’t feel as good as it used to.

But I remembered her kind words and I remembered the goals I had set for this year and decided I would take the pre-audition community class to just see how it feels. I gave myself permission. Permission to have negative thoughts. Permission to leave. Permission to be bad. Permission to just see what this bigger body could do.

And yes, I was the biggest body in the room and the biggest I have ever been in my life dancing, but as soon as I walked in that didn’t matter.

I was welcomed back into my community with open arms and big hugs. And the joy I felt dancing left no room in my body, my heart or my mind to be concerned with beauty standards or dance body standards.

Because of that experience the audition became at least another opportunity to dance and at most I would be invited to join the Yellowknife Dance Collective and be surrounded by passion that would build my inspiration to create new routines and choreography.

I was so elated when I found out I made it in!

Already this is having positive changes in my life. I now am practicing Belly Dance and connecting with my Macedonian roots and set up a time once a week where I get to free dance, in addition to the regular Yellowknife Dance Collective classes. So I have gone from not dancing to dancing three times a week. 2016 dance goals are being achieved!!!

All because of the kind and thoughtful words of Erin Suliak! HUGE thank you to Erin Suliak who is the reason I am dancing again and for that there is no equivalent way to express my gratitude.

I want to do this for all of you! I want to help you move your body in ways that are so delicious your mouth will water. I want to provide you with ways to reconnect with your authentic self and and take action to shine that authentic self out into the world.

I would love to be a part of your body love community. I would love for you to join our body love community. It’s easier when we aren’t alone. And somethings we can’t do alone. I don’t think I could have gone to that dance class without Erin’s encouragement, but her words built on my own body love work to tip the scale over and allow the positivity to spill out!

Tools for our Body Love Journey

  • Move your Body for Pleasure!
  • Reconnect and Shine your Authentic Self!
  • Create Communities of LOVE!

Join me for The Luscious Life Program as we explore all of these tools and more together. Our next session starts October 24 and as a subscriber you will get 50% off the regular price.

6 weeks of body lovin’ yoga, self-love meditations, body love lifestyle practices and a community of LOVE. All for $199. Payment plans are available too. Send me a quick email (krystal@thelusciouslife.ca) and we can figure out something that works for you!

I hope to be a part of your body love journey.

xox

Krystal

All of the Inspirational Moments from my Body Love Yoga Tour

All of the Inspirational Moments

 

As many of you know, I was very fortunate to get to travel this summer on a Body Love Yoga Tour with my partner as they toured with their awesome band Quantum Tangle. (You should definitely check them out.) There were so many amazing Body Love moments on the tour and I have come home filled up with so much inspiration that my hope is to pour some of that inspiration your way.

 

Our first stop, TORONTO – delicious food & family dynamics on our body love journey

Now usually I dread going to Toronto in the summer, with it’s thick soup-like heat and humidity, but I gotta say when you are embracing your body in tank tops and skirts it’s a lot easier to deal with. The chub rub struggle is real though. My picks for dealing with chub rub are to use Lush’s Silky Underwear on days without a tonne of walking, but if it is more of a serious movement day, I turn to a pair of spanx-like shorts in a size or two bigger than usual so that they prevent the rub without being restrictive. These are the ones I picked up from Pennington’s in Toronto.

In Toronto I also got to eat all of the delicious food; like fresh juices, gluten-free vegan cinnamon buns and gluten-free vegan ice cream sandwiches.

A rainbow of fresh juices!

A rainbow of fresh juices!

 

Tiffany Ayalik enjoying the gluten-free vegan cinnamon buns.

Tiffany Ayalik enjoying the gluten-free vegan cinnamon buns.

 

My delicious ice cream sandwich melting all too quickly in the Toronto heat.

My delicious ice cream sandwich melting all too quickly in the Toronto heat.

 

On Saturday July 9 there was a break in the rain just long enough for my outdoor Body Love Yoga Workshop in High Park. We had a beautiful intimate practice and the theme for our workshop revolved around our family members’ own internalized fatphobia and how this can make going home to see your family so triggering and challenging for your body love journey. I wrote about this in my blog post “How to Love your Body through the Holidays”. I know some of you will identify with the challenge of balancing enjoying spending time with aging family members versus speaking out against their body-shaming comments. It’s a tough one and one that I don’t think there is any one right answer for. Everyone’s family dynamics are different. In our discussion we talked about often using the “redirect” (which I discuss in my blog post) and then directly addressing specific shaming situations when you know that it is safe and it feels right for you.

 

Next we headed to SUDBURY – nakedness & our relationships with our bodies

I think one of the best tools I have found on my own body love journey is spending time with my naked body. Before I started this journey I don’t think I even knew what my thighs looked like. I just knew there was a lot of cellulite, which meant they weren’t fit for public consumption and that meant I didn’t want to see them either. Back in 2014, I started wearing booty shorts around the house whenever possible. Slowly my relationship with my thighs changed. They might be jiggly, but my thighs are strong! I can hold a warrior pose or squat like nobody’s business.

I'm a warrior in the water.

I’m a warrior in the water.

Well on this trip we all got to embrace our naked or nearly naked bodies. Part of this was due to the freedom we felt be in a place where we experienced a degree of anonymity. We are from a fairly small city where sometimes it can feel constraining to fit into the identity you feel like people expect from you. So with this anonymity I think we all felt free to try out new sides of ourselves.

We had nude photoshoots in canola fields.

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Swamp goddess photoshoots.

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And when there was a spontaneous opportunity to go swimming in Lake Nipissing under an almost full moon, I wasn’t going to say no just because I didn’t have a swimsuit. I just whipped off my clothes and walked in like it was no big deal.

 

 

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Found on a wall in Nipissing.

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At my Sudbury Body Love Yoga Workshop, our conversations were about how we define our relationship with our body. For example, today I would say that my body and I are falling in love. Since I have been on this body love journey, my body and I have been discovering all kinds of new ways that we can have fun together, like wearing short puffy dresses to weddings

 

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and unapologetically spending ALL my time in my bikini.

 

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I mean, I even walked around a music festival for a day in my bikini! I never would have thought I could get to that level. And as my partner and I walked around the festival holding hands, them without their shirt on and me in my bikini, all I could feel from the crowd was that

 Not that it’s ours to give of course, but something happens when I make eye contact with the larger woman who is wearing the “approved swimwear” for plus-sized women, a maximum coverage bathing suit with built in skirt, like I used to wear. (Not that there is anything wrong with these swimsuits, if you are freely and shamelessly rocking them.) I see a twinkle of possibility in her eye. The twinkle of “if she can rock that bikini, maybe I can too?” and I know this because I have been there!

At my workshop other women reported that their relationships with their bodies are like that of an older sister who sometimes torments them, but ultimately loves them, or that they are best friends and supporting each other in health with compassion and love. And one woman shared that it feels like her and her body have been divorced for a very long time, but she is ready for the relationship to change.

If you were to define your relationship with your body, how would you describe it? I would love to hear! Just hit reply on this email or comment below. 🙂

 

And finally, HALIFAX – handstands and even more permission

During this tour I also got to travel to Halifax to attend the Yoga in the Schools Conference. It was incredible the number of women who brought up struggling with body shame in their personal introductions. I was so impressed with the general awareness at the conference of body positivity including: fatphobia, intuitive eating and skinny-shaming. There are still some things I would tweak, but I was pleasantly surprised. And I got to practice some beautifully deep asanas, going so deep that I removed my shirt to practice in my bralette at one point. (This was inspired by Jessamyn Stanley who seems to always be practicing in her bra. So thank you to Jessamyn for giving me permission!) My favourite moment of the conference was when we were practicing handstands and the woman I was partnered up with was convinced she wouldn’t be able to do one. So I showed her how I go up into a handstand and then right away she was up there too! It brought me to tears to see how lit up she was afterwards!

This idea of giving permission just seems to be showing up a lot lately. I feel that I am being given permission to be myself by watching all these inspirational people around me and I see others taking permission as they watch me growing and sharing more and more of my true self. And this is what I heard at the Halifax Body Love Yoga Workshop: You gave me permission to love my body as it is.”, “You gave me permission to buy a two-piece for the first time in my life.”, and “You gave me permission to rock a bikini post-babies!

But the comment that got me the most was from a woman who just seemed so ready for body love during the workshop. I could see the tears in her eyes when I was talking about how we can move towards loving our bodies right here and now without doing a single thing to change our bodies. And then next day she shared, Today is the first day that I have woken up and not thought bad thoughts in I can’t remember how long.

This is why I do what I do. This is why I love what I do.

Helping you on your body love journey means the world to me and I am ever so grateful that you let me be a part of it.

If you are outside of Yellowknife, I am hoping to offer online yoga workshops this month and you can answer a survey here to help me design the best workshop for YOU!

Plus, my Body Love Yoga Cards program is up and running and it is a great way for you to begin your body love yoga journey with just a few minutes of commitment each day.

And, soon, soon, soon, I will be launching my online body love yoga program, The Luscious Life Program. If you are interested in being the first to know when that happens to can reply to this email and I will add you to my special list. *hint, hint, there might be a bonus freebie in it for you!!!

Sending you so much love,

Krystal

 

 

5 Body Love Lessons I Learned on Vacation

Way back in the fall of 2015 my bestie and I were chatting and we made a plan. We knew the cold dark winter of the Subarctic would be a challenge to get through without an extra dose of sun and warmth. So we did the thing and got some points tickets to a visit a tropical island over the 2015-16 holidays. It was good self-care. I was thrilled and I was also a little worried that a beach vacation could trigger my feelings of body shame. Instead, I can happily say I feel like I learned some new and valuable Body Love Lessons.

 

  1. You can upsize your body love journey.

I had some trepidation about traveling to a hot place knowing that I would be in a bikini and that I would be exposing more skin than I usually do in winter. Still, I couldn’t NOT wear a bikini. It had become my new favourite thing. Back in the summer of 2014 I was inspired by Sonya Renee Taylor and gave myself the challenge to wear a bikini for a month. I called it The Bikini Body Project. I can proudly say that by day six of the challenge I was rocking my bikini everywhere and doing whatever I wanted sporting my bikini body.

My day of awesome body love.

Although I had gotten pretty comfortable with wearing a bikini over the past two years, I have *upsized this past winter, so this body was a different and bigger body than the one I had shared before. This did not deter me. I just upsized my love, upsized my self-acceptance and upsized my body love journey. I just remembered that I am a badass bitch and applied all of those feelings of not giving a fuck about what people thought about my body to my bigger body.

*Note on the word upsizing. Isn’t it great? It’s my friend Jen Knowlan’s word, and ever since she said it to me I no longer use the words “gained weight”. Upsizing makes it feel like you are doing something positive. Like you are upgrading. And it helps to take away some of the negativity that we can feel about how our body is changing, even if we are on a body love journey.

 

  1. You might find freedom from negative thoughts that you weren’t even aware of

The first body love benefit I noticed upon arriving at our destination was the acceptance of all the sweating I was doing as we waited on the tarmac to enter the airport. The sweating, and the fact that I have curly, chemically treated hair so it really likes to go wild with frizz in the humidity of a tropical environment. In the past I might have suffered. I can recall feeling great mental anguish when the soupy humidity of the summer heat meant my hair was full on out of control. Adding to that summer mental anguish was my discomfort with any makeup I had on slowly melting off my face. And (some of you might identify with this) since my body didn’t meet society’s standards, even though I was doing all of the dieting and exercising I could to change it, I was left with focusing on being pretty and having good hair, which, most of the time, I had much more control over than my weight. Is this ringing true for anyone else out there?

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  1. You will have wonderful new experiences

On day one I bicycled through the downtown. I let my body show up and be observed… moving… in public! This is one of the great ironies of being fat: we’re supposed to exercise to lose weight, but also not to let anyone see our bodies as we do it! On this day I went on to jump in the ocean right along the main road in full view of all of the packed streets to cool off in the incredible midday heat. NEVER would I have done this two years ago. And it felt wonderful. It was wonderful to finally get in the ocean. It was wonderful to feel free. And I wouldn’t have been able to have this experience back when I hurt, and still cared too much about what other people thought of my body.

  1. No one will care to judge your body (and if they do, you won’t care)

I lounged by the pool in my bikini. No one cared.

I lay out on the beach. No one cared.

I went to a packed beach club and snorkeled in my bikini and no one cared.

I went back to that same beach club the next day and… it felt like people cared. A little. There was no direct comments or actions per se, but there were looks and stares as I made my way from my beach chair to the water. You know how you can sort of tell when people are assessing and judging you? Like for real?

The thing about it was, I could feel it, but I’ll be damned if I was going to let it stop me from enjoying my break from winter. We have 7-8 months of winter where I live so just seeing the sun and getting some vitamin D is part of my strategy for good mental health. I may have even pranced a little extra in front of those judging eyes, all the while knowing that if they were judging me and my body, that they were the ones suffering and that I don’t have to suffer along with them. It’s very interesting to think that just showing up at the beach in my bikini is an act of defiance. Just because I love the sun and swimming and feel best doing it in minimal clothes, I am a rebel.

  1. You will connect with your tribe

On that same day, there was this wonderful moment when I was climbing down the stairs to enter the water and a group of women was preparing to exit the water and our eyes met. They were in bigger bodies and were wearing similar swimsuits that I used to wear to cover up my body. The kind of thing that didn’t allow me to feel free. The kind of thing that restricted my movements in the water and what I used to call my “modest skirt”. And now I can’t know exactly what they were thinking, but when our eyes met, the look I saw said,  “Look at that! I want that! I want my body to feel the sun. I want to feel like I don’t have to hide my body. I want my body to feel free. I want that! Maybe I could do that too?” I really have no idea. But the looks we exchanged and the silent connection said, “Hey! We’re in the same club. We get it. And we support each other in whatever choices we make, be it the full swimsuit with skirt, or the skimpy bikini.”

Do you have any vacations coming up? How are you feeling about them? Any body love lessons you learned on vacation that you would like to share?

xoxo

Krystal

 

 

How to Love Your Body Through the Holidays

The Reverse Bucket List (1)

The holidays are a peak time for finding yourself in situations that trigger feelings of body shame:

  • all of the chaos and busyness;
  • seeing family you haven’t seen in awhile who think they can freely offer up their opinions on your body;
  • large group meals;
  • food focused events; and
  • New Year, New You pressures.  

I know some of you might even be feeling anxiety about the holidays and your body before we even get there. And I too am starting to get anxious. So for me and for you, here are some posts we can put in our Body Love Toolbox to get through the holidays loving our bodies as best we can and hopefully nip any body loathing feelings in the bud.

  1. From Adios Barbie: How to Stay Body Positive Through the Holidays

I particularly liked the idea of the redirect – when someone inevitably brings up weight loss or their great new diet, try to redirect the conversation back to less body-shaming territory. Like when your friend says she needs to lose 5 lbs so that she can look fabulous in her new dress on New Year’s Eve, try “I am feeling pretty fabulous about rocking these boots with this skirt today!

If you are feeling bold, or just over any shame-y comments friends or loved ones might send your way, instead of the redirect, go for the the directActually, I’m not inviting comments on my body today. Thanks.

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  1. From A Healthy Paradigm: A Body Positive Guide to the Holidays

Being mindful is a great strategy for staying sane and shame-free for the holidays: Mindful of your body’s needs; mindful of how you are feeling; mindful of what you are eating; mindful of your thoughts; mindful of how you are moving your body; and mindful of your environment and any changes you might need to make. Check out the article for more great tips.

  1. From Huffington Post: 4 Tips to Stop Holiday Body Shaming

Food is just food. It is not good or bad. You are not a good or bad person because of what you eat. You are not a more or less valuable person based on how much you weigh. These concepts might be new or unfamiliar to our friends and family. For our friends and family are a part of our body-shaming society too. So I love the tip of openly talking about body-shaming if you are feeling up to pushing against societal norms. And if you are feeling keen you could arm yourself with some data from the Healthy at Every Size website.

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  1. From Persephone Magazine: 5 Body Positive Gift Ideas

This fun list of body positive gift ideas includes some great books and I would add to that list, Dietland, by Sarai Walker, which is an interesting take on flipping the script of our patriarchal society. But I gotta say the Yay! Scale is my fav. After smashing my actual scale a while ago, I’m ready for a more accurate scale that let’s you know how you’re doing this morning from “Lookin’ fine!” to “Hey sexy!”

  1. From Psych Central: Create Your Own Body Positive Traditions

This article offers up some great ideas for creating our own body positive traditions around the holidays to help keep the body-shame at bay. I think I will try the idea of writing a love letter to my body extending gratitude to my body for everything it did for me in 2015 and dreaming about everything I hope we can experience in 2016. Anyone want to join me on this one?

What is in your Body Love Holiday Toolbox? What ideas will you try?

Wishing you all lots of body love this holiday season,

Krystal

P.S. Give the gift of a Personalized Yoga Nidra this holiday 2018! Orders must be place by December 18, 2018 to receive your gift before December 25, 2018.

Women Who Rock My World – Happy International Women’s Day!

 

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Happy International Women’s Day!

International Women’s Day was yesterday and in celebration I thought I would highlight five BAD ASS women who totally rock my world and are rocking the body positive movement. If you aren’t following them already, today’s the day to get inspired!

For some next level body positive yoga inspiration check out these two ladies! They are my two favourite yogis to follow on Instagram.

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I have been following Jessamyn Stanley for a while. This girl doesn’t shy away from a challenge. She takes it on! Watching her progress has inspired me so much and I know it will inspired you too. I also love the realness of her videos: yoga in your living room dressed only in your undies!

Biggalyoga

I’m newer to following Valerie’s yoga journey, but she does not disappoint. She’s got a wicked sense of humour and as she says “Anything you can do, I can do almost”.

Taryn Brumfitt

I traveled from Yellowknife down to Victoria just to see this woman! She is a powerhouse! Taryn’s Kickstarter Campaign for her Embrace documentary was the third most successful in the world and THE MOST successful in Australia. Thanks in part to Ashton Kutcher blogging about it. If you haven’t seen the Embrace trailer yet, check it out here. And learn more about Taryn’s Body Image Movement here.

Jade Beall

Jade Beall is a woman bursting with life, joy and creative feminine power! When she is in the room, you feel it. You have probably seen her stunning black and white photos of nude woman post-pregnancy. Their rawness and realness captures so beautifully not only the soft, caring side of motherhood, but also its strength and power. Jade’s amazing body of work can be found here. Please don’t get mad at me if you get lost in the photos for hours.

Tess Holliday

Tess Holliday blew my mind! I met Tess at The Body Love Conference, organized by the AMAZING Jes Baker. Tess was the keynote speaker for the event. I believe she said it was her first time giving a speech like that. She seemed a bit nervous at first, but as she started to tell us her story, we were right there with her on the journey. Spontaneous declarations of love and support began to come from the audience. And we all wept for the pains she shared with us that day. Now Tess is the first plus-sized model to score a major contract with a modeling agency, MiLK Model Management, and her #effyourbeautystandards campaign is a global movement.

Believe me this list could have been WAY longer, but I cut myself off. Who inspires you? I want to know what I’ve been missing out on! 😉

I hope you had a wonderful day celebrating women.

Krystal

Bonus shout out to Sonya Renee Taylor of This Body is Not an Apology just cuz. She rocks hard and inspired last summer’s Bikini Body Project. Oops I think I actually mentioned 7 women in this post.