SEARCH

Tag: body positivity

How to Maintain a Positive Attitude Even When Things Get Tough (Part 1)

Featured Sponsored Tips and Tricks 0 Comments

Staying positive can be one of the most difficult things to do, but in my experience it’s critical if you want to achieve great things in life. I’m a firm believer that we reap what we sow, or receive what we put out into the world. Seriously, attitude is everything and when we’re negative, good things just won’t come. And if they do, we won’t appreciate or even recognize them.

Full disclosure: I’ve suffered from depression for most of my adult life, so I know how hard it can be to manage your thoughts and feelings. If you live with a mental illness, this list in no way attempts to minimize your very real feelings and experiences with self-help mumbo jumbo. But, it is my hope that by incorporating a few of these tips, you will start to feel a shift in your life and feel a bit more in control. As always, be kind to yourself should you decide to adopt one or more of these tips. Change takes time. <3

(For information about the Parfait Lingerie set I’m wearing, scroll to the bottom.)

That said, here’s what works for me:

  1. Start your day off right by creating a morning routine. Rituals are so very important. They provide stability and normalcy when things feel chaotic or stressful and can alleviate any extra energy put into deciding what to do next (because you’ve already mapped it out). There are plenty of life hack lists and self-help books that argue the importance of a morning routine.
  2. Remember that you create your own reality. If you want to see a brighter day, start by making the conscious choice to see one. You are the architect of your life. If something or someone is bringing you down, let it go. Only allow into your life what truly makes you happy.
  3. Be grateful. Gratitude is HUGE when you’re down in the dumps. Create a list of what you’re grateful for and read it back when you need a reminder of how lucky you are to be alive. There is so much to be thankful for if you look around you. Being reminded of your many blessings is sure to put things into perspective.
  4. Go on a media/social media diet. News (especially these days) can be so very negative. I can tell when I’ve been taking in too much bad news. (I can actually feel it in my body.) If you start to feel bad after consuming too much news or you find you’re comparing your life to others’ on social media, STOP IT RIGHT NOW. Unplug and go take a break. And, only plug back in when you’re in a better head space.
  5. Set aside some time to meditate. If you’re not familiar with how to meditate, start by closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing. I sometimes count my inhale (1…) and my exhale (2…) and then my inhale again (3…) and so on. When you get to 10, start over again. You can also use an app like Headspace (which I highly recommend) to get started.
  6. Seek outside support from friends and family. Sometimes just letting someone in and sharing your feelings can lift your spirits. That said, so as not to “dump” your probs on loved ones, consider getting a therapist. Personally, I love BetterHelp for that!
  7. Go outside and do something — anything! Just get out of your room, apartment…whatever and allow yourself to take a look at the beauty around you. Remember that everyone’s going through something. You’re not the only one dealing with stuff. But, life goes on and so will you.
  8. Do something you love. Remember that dance class you took as a kid or that sport you miss? Why not get some friends together or join a MeetUp group (or make your own!) and get back to doing what you love?
  9. Monitor your thoughts. They say thoughts become things and it’s really true. Start noticing how you speak to yourself. Notice any negative self-talk? Hating on yourself? STOP IT RIGHT NOW! You’re beautiful, sexy, handsome, fierce, fab…there is no need — and no time — to drag yourself down. Find something you love about yourself or the situation, etc. and reframe it. If you don’t like something within your control, then f-ing change it. Don’t complain. You’ve got this!
  10. Watch what you say. You’d be surprised how our own words can affect our outlook on life. Just as we create our own reality with our thoughts, our words are incredibly powerful. Take note of the words you use and if you find that you say, “I can’t…,” “I hate…” or “I’ll never…” or other negative things, turn it around and find a more positive way to talk about your situation. I promise, it’ll make a huge difference.

This was just Part 1 of this list. Stay tuned next week for Part 2! (I’ll link to it here when it’s up.)

What are your tips for staying positive? Share them in the comments below! I can’t wait to read what you write. 🙂

I hope this my suggestions help you push through a rough patch should you have one. (Why not bookmark this page? Your future self will thank you!)

Chief of Style in Parfait Lingerie talking about how to stay positive when things get tough

Chief of Style in Parfait Lingerie talking about how to stay positive when things get tough

Chief of Style in Parfait Lingerie talking about how to stay positive when things get tough

 

Thank you to Parfait Lingerie for sponsoring this post as part of their #PerfectFigure campaign. Here, I’m wearing the Aline Wire-Free Padded Bra and the Aline Bikini Brief both in Nude (linked images below).

The bra features molded microfiber cups, adjustable shoulder straps, a hook-and-eye closure, an accent bow at the center front and it’s made of nylon/spandex. Ooh lah lah! Parfait!

 

It’s My Birthday So Let’s Celebrate

Featured Lifestyle 0 Comments

There are two great days in a person’s life — the day we are born and the day we discover why. — William Barclay

Today’s a very special day. Yes, today is my birthday. And like on any birthday, I like to think back on the past year: all that I’ve learned, how I’ve grown and what I want to accomplish during the upcoming year.

Last year, I launched this very blog, The Chief of Style, a project I’d had in mind for so long, but was too scared to pursue. I never wanted to put my name on something that wasn’t of the highest quality, so I made excuse after excuse for not actually doing it…until I ran out of excuses.

In July, we went live with something I was proud of. I still have a lot of growing (and perfecting) to do with my blog, my Instagram and my brand overall, but I’m happy with what I’ve done thus far, in under a year, with The Chief of Style.

I’ve also learned a lot about myself this year. After having my heart broken (I mean, completely shattered), I refocused my attention on myself. I became my priority again and focused on loving myself more, just as I am. Instead of picking myself apart, the time I spent looking in the mirror was dedicated to noticing all of the beauty that I saw in the reflection looking back at me. I unfollowed folks on social media whose posts made me feel less than and I began following folks who inspired me to be great and reminded me that I already am. I began really and truly loving myself inside and out. I even gained some weight (thanks to the breakup), but have never loved myself — or my body — more.

And then, I was invited to join Parfait Lingerie’s “Perfect Figure” campaign which was a game changer for me in so many ways. Besides being photographed in my underwear and having those photos shared with the world (literally), through our ongoing partnership where I blog about all kinds of things under photos in their lingerie, I started to reflect on the many ways I wanted to love myself and the reasons why doing so is so critical.

I kind of feel like the last 33 years of my life were a practice run and now it’s time for the real thing. Armed with more knowledge, a lot more experience and a hell of a lot more confidence, I’m ready to take on this thing called life. And I’m so excited to share each and every move with you.

So, please stay tuned, babes!

xo

chief of style Amy Stretten in a birthday photo holding balloons in front of the Paul Smith wall on Melrose in a red plus size jumpsuit from fashion nova curve

chief of style Amy Stretten in a birthday photo holding balloons in front of the Paul Smith wall on Melrose in a red plus size jumpsuit from fashion nova curve

Outfit details: Jumpsuit: Fashion Nova Curve | Shoes: A’gaci

Win 2 Tickets to The CurvyCon in New York City and Free Lingerie Courtesy of Parfait Lingerie

Body Positivity Collaborations Featured 0 Comments

“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” – Louise L. Hay

Hello and happy New Year! Can you believe it’s 2018!?

As I recently announced, I am partnering with Parfait Lingerie on their 2018 #PerfectFigure campaign. If you haven’t heard of Parfait Lingerie, they’re making a name for themselves as having really beautiful lingerie for cup sizes A-K, a size range that is almost unheard of! (Yay for sexy bras for larger bust sizes!)

As part of our partnership, I will be blogging monthly about self-love and body positivity and sharing photos I’ve shot in their lingerie.

This month, I’m wearing Sandrine in cameo rose. What I love most about this set is the longline bra. It features lace detailing and has a retro/vintage feel. The matching panties are in a cheeky low cut boy short style and in a matching color lace. Sandrine comes in four colors: cameo rose, black, french blue, and the eye catching wild pink. This truly is one of my favorite sets Parfait Lingerie makes. Don’t know where to buy Parfait Lingerie? Click here.

Guess what! I have something super exciting to share…Parfait Lingerie is doing a two-part Valentine’s Day Giveaway this year called the “Love Your Body Sweepstakes.”

Part One

The first prize is two (2) tickets to The CurvyCon to (1) lucky winner as well as $500 towards travel. (Either $500 for roundtrip flights to NYC or $500 American Express gift card to use towards ground transportation if the winner already lives in or near NYC.)

To enter, you must upload a picture of your body’s ‘perfect’ imperfection to at least one (1) social media platform (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram). For example: stretch marks, vitiligo, freckles, a tattoo you regret, etc. The more images uploaded, the more entries you will have. You must tag Parfait’s handle, as well as caption our hashtag #PerfectFigure.

Part Two
In addition, I will select one (1) winner to win two (2) sets of lingerie from Parfait Lingerie. To enter, you must tag my social media handle (@ChiefofStyle on IG / @TheChiefofStyle on Facebook / @AmyStretten on Twitter) to the image(s) you have uploaded. So, along with the instructions above, you must also tag my handle to win the two (2) lingerie sets. The winner will receive two (2) lingerie sets of their choice.
You must be subscribed to my blog and following my Instagram (@ChiefofStyle) to win. The sweepstakes begins January 1, 2018 and ends February 14, 2018Here are the official rules.
You must tag Parfait Lingerie where you post as well (on Instagram @ParfaitOfficial / Twitter @ParfaitLingerie / Facebook @ParfaitLingerie) . Good luck!
I hope 2018 brings you so much love and happiness.
xo,

Amy

Amy Stretten Chief of Style Parfait Lingerie 2018 Perfect Figure Campaign

Amy Stretten Chief of Style Parfait Lingerie 2018 Perfect Figure Campaign

Amy Stretten Chief of Style Parfait Lingerie 2018 Perfect Figure Campaign

Set Yourself Free

Fashion Featured 0 Comments

“The ultimate tragedy is not the brutality of the bad people but the silence of the good people.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.

The past couple of weeks have been heart-wrenching. From hurricanes that caused total devastation on Caribbean islands like Puerto Rico to a terrorist attack on unsuspecting concertgoers in Las Vegas…it feels like the world has flipped on its head.

Before I jump into talking about fashion, I’d just like to ask that if you’re able, you consider donating blood, money, supplies…whatever you can to help. If you aren’t able to donate money or something tangible, donate your time and call your local congressman.

We need our representatives to do their jobs and come up with quality legislation that protects our country from gun violence, while also not disproportionately prosecuting black and brown folks. Let’s make sure we don’t have another senseless attack on U.S. soil.

Our death toll is far too high. The shooting at Pulse Nightclub. The Aurora, Colorado shooting. Sandy Hook. Virginia Tech. Columbine. San Bernadino. Killeen, Texas. Fort Hood.

Seriously, America. Enough is enough!

Thankfully, there are beautiful and lighthearted things to make us smile despite tragedy. In the face of such ugliness, things like art and fashion make the world a more beautiful place which to live. In times of pain and sorrow, we need art more than ever. Freedom of expression is so very important.

When I conceptualized this look, I knew I wanted to pair a bodysuit with a sheer overlay. I’ve seen similar dresses and I always wanted to get the look, but didn’t think I could pull it off. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find a similar dress in my size, and when I did, I wondered if I should wear something so revealing. (The saying, “Just because it fits doesn’t mean you should wear it.” crept into my mind.)

Never in a million years did I think I’d ever rock a sheer dress with just a bodysuit underneath. Let alone in New York City…or anywhere for that matter! As I’ve shared, I’ve always hated my legs (because of my thick thighs and calves) and they’ve always been my biggest insecurity.

Over the past year, I’ve grown by leaps and bounds with regard to loving myself more (inside and out). So, when I turned heads on the streets of SoHo as my photographer took my picture, I didn’t care in the least! As far as I was concerned, they were probably looking because I looked damn good, booty out and everything!

So, this post is really all about getting free. Life is short. We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. Let go of whatever is holding you back and be who you’ve always wanted to be. Live the life you’ve always wanted. Now’s the time.

What have you always wanted to do that you’ve held yourself back from doing? Share it in the comments!

Here’s to being big and bold for the rest of 2017…and beyond!

xo

Plus size sheer embroidered roses dress from Forever 21 Plus

Plus size sheer embroidered roses dress from Forever 21 Plus

Plus size sheer embroidered roses dress from Forever 21 Plus

Plus size sheer embroidered roses dress from Forever 21 Plus

Plus size sheer embroidered roses dress from Forever 21 Plus

Plus size sheer embroidered roses dress from Forever 21 Plus

Plus size sheer embroidered roses dress from Forever 21 Plus

Plus size sheer embroidered roses dress from Forever 21 Plus

Plus size sheer embroidered roses dress from Forever 21 Plus

Outfit details: Dress: Forever21+ | Jacket: Forever21 Men | Shoes: Mango

Photographer: @M76Photo

How to Love Yourself + 10 Things That Happen When You Do

Body Positivity Featured 0 Comments

“It is not what you are that holds you back, it is what you think you are not.” –Denis Waitley

It has taken me years to get to a point where I can truly say I love who I am. I’m happy with where I am in life, I feel good about how I look, and I enjoy waking up each day being me. Yes, some days I struggle (as everyone does), but, in general, I have more good days than bad. And, overall, I am (finally) comfortable in my own skin – not because I lost 50lbs or because I had cosmetic surgery or found the love of my life. But, I’m finally happy (and finally free) because I made a radical decision to stop picking myself apart and start finding things (big and small) to love about myself. It truly was a choice – a come to Jesus moment, if you will. I wish it happened overnight, but truth is it took a lot of work and required me to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

The first step was making the decision to start changing how I speak to myself. When something went wrong, I stopped blaming myself and I changed my internal dialogue when it became negative. Instead of berating myself after making a mistake, I started looking for the lessons.

I then limited my Facebook use and created a new Instagram account and vowed to no longer follow people I compared myself to (often super thin or ridiculously fit influencers) and I started following women who had bodies like mine and/or who were after similar goals. And then, I stopped comparing my “chapter 1 to their chapter 5,” as they say (a way of looking at things that I really love).

Next, I set some new goals (small ones at first) and as I achieved those goals, I set new, loftier ones. And I made sure to celebrate my achievements along the way!

Most importantly, because I truly believe we are the company we keep, I stopped hanging out with people who brought me down. I sought out friendships with people who work hard for what they want and don’t make excuses…people who inspire me to be my best self. Folks who give as much as they take and I can call on when I really need a friend. As such, I ended toxic relationships with people who didn’t have my best interests at heart.

I also started eating better (including adding more fresh fruits and vegetables into my diet) and I drank more water. I got more sleep, began following a realistic workout plan, and kept conservative body goals. And, I began taking vitamins and I made sure I took my medications every day.

But, first and foremost, I had to say “enough is enough” with living a half life where I picked apart everything I did and everything I said. Instead of being my own worst enemy, I had to be my best friend, choosing self-love at every turn. And, as a result, I’ve learned a lot along the way. This blog only came to be because I decided to stop standing in my own way and I made the choice to be happy.

That said, here are 10 things that happen when you make the decision to love yourself:

One. You’re no longer afraid to show your knees (or whatever body part you’re most insecure about)

I used to only wear skirts, shorts, and dresses if the hemline fell below my knees. I thought my legs were too chunky for the world to see and I wished for a day when I lost enough weight to wear something short. (Summertime was brutal!) Now, IDGAF. I wear what I want and I don’t think of it as an “Oh well for you, you have to just deal with my fat legs being out.” Instead, I think, “Lucky you. I look fabulous and you get to see me!” LOL 

Two. When you catch yourself walking by a mirror, you admire yourself instead of cringing

You may experience that same feeling of disgust when you see your reflection in a storefront window or in a group photo. Well, so did I. But I’ve decided to consider that no one else looks at me that way, so why should I? They don’t see what I see, so why can’t I try to see what they do?

Three. You start living in the present instead of “When XYZ happens”

I think this is one of the biggest rewards that comes from loving yourself. Instead of saying you’ll wear a bikini to the beach once you’ve lost 20, 30…50lbs(!), just f-ing do it today! Besides the fact that we’re not guaranteed tomorrow and you may never get to your goal…(whether you do or you don’t), just do it today. If you start living into your dreams, you’ll be shocked to find that they may happen. I truly believe the Universe takes cues from you. If you say you want to find love so you can travel the world together, for example…just start traveling now and you may bump into the love of your life in the process! 

Four. You begin attracting better people and new opportunities into your life

This is possibly one of the greatest benefits to loving yourself, in my opinion. Confident people want to be around other confident people. In other words, when you feel good about yourself, you’ll begin attracting other people who feel good about themselves. Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually work in the reverse. (It’s hard to make and retain friendships with folks who love themselves if you can’t stand yourself.) So, get to work and enjoy the new people who become a part of your circle. 

Five. You stop feeling sorry for yourself and take control of your life

This is key. Feeling sorry for yourself, blaming others for your failures, and not taking ownership of your past, present, and future is not something someone who loves and values them self does. If for no other reason, self-love requires valuing your time and your energy resources. Spending time on regret or self-pity is not the way one expresses self-love. And, someone with a solid sense of self and rock solid confidence owns their mistakes, knowing only they can fix them.

Six. You don’t put up with bullsh*t and start expecting better from yourself and others

You’ll stop with the excuses and start getting real with yourself and others. If a friend hasn’t been much of a friend lately, you’ll hold them accountable. You, basically, start living more authentically and with more integrity than ever before – and you expect the same of those you keep around you.

Seven. You take better care of yourself and you’re not afraid to say “No”

The best way to love yourself is to take care of yourself. If you don’t feel like going out with your friends because you need 8-hours of sleep to function, you’ll stay in. Loving yourself requires treating yourself with care, whether that be with your own, personal self-care practice or simply getting enough sleep and eating right. And sometimes that’s at the cost of displeasing others. You can only go out and get what you want in life, if you take care of your mind, body, and spirit. 

Eight. You stop worrying about what other people think

Once I began to love myself more, only my opinion really mattered. Sure, I appreciate the advice and opinions of others, but when they conflict with my own, I take what feels right and I leave the rest. So long as my choice(s) feel good in my gut, I’m good to go. 

Nine. You truly appreciate others and see their beauty

When I started loving myself more, I criticized myself – and others – less. I saw my beauty, talents, abilities (etc.) and, as a result, was able to recognize wonderful qualities in other people, too. Because I no longer hated my body in a bathing suit, I was able to appreciate the beauty of women (some who were larger than me) in their bathing suits, too. I no longer felt the need to pick apart my flaws or those of others. Self-love truly is a gift that keeps on giving. 

Ten. You know you’re not the only one

You’re comforted knowing you’re not the only one who struggles with this thing called life. No one has it all figured out. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they’ve got. When you truly love yourself you forgive yourself and others when you/they have a misstep, you dust yourself off, and you keep it pushing.

These 10 things are just a start. When you love yourself, your entire world will transform – guaranteed!

What have you done to love yourself more? How has your life changed as a result? Share in the comments below. 

 

Outfit details: Shirt: Forever21+ | Jeans: The Limited | Shoes: Forever21

Photographer: CJ Edwards-Acton