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2019: My Year of Self-love

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“Self-love is not selfish; you cannot truly love another until you know how to love yourself.” – Unknown

Happy 2019! I know we’re well into March and this is my first blog post of the year. I’d normally feel bad about this, but if you follow me on Instagram you know I’ve been busy…busy working on loving myself more. But not just saying it; really meaning it. I’ve been reading, meditating, reflecting, journaling, dedicating more time and energy into my self-care routine…oh, and doing a “love detox.” (I’ve deleted all of the dating apps from my phone because I’m taking a break from dating altogether.)

The beginning of the year is when most of us are focused on creating goals for our lives, careers, relationships, etc. Whether it’s making a vision board or just a quiet promise to ourselves, many of us make a list of a bunch of things we want to accomplish over the course of the next 12 months. I do it too and my list is usually very, very long. But, 2019 is different. This year, I decided to just make one goal/commitment: to simply loving myself more.

I’ve grown a lot over the past few years, specifically in the acceptance of my body. That’s how I got here and why you’re here, too (whether you know it or not). I started The Chief of Style with the intention of loving every dimple, wrinkle, fat roll, stretch mark and pimple…all of the physical stuff I spent years hating about myself. I’ve come SO far in that journey, but I still have a ways to go when it comes to loving myself. Like, I know I’m great and all, but I keep letting users and abusers into my life and I’m finally over it! I’m done putting everyone else (like the people I’m romantically involved with, in particular) before myself (and even sometimes my closest friends and family). Love is blind in more ways than one and I’ve really let one too many jerks keep me from not only seeing my own worth, but how much other people I care about care about me.

So, I made the decision on Valentine’s Day to stop dating for a while. And, I mean it. I’m going to stop putting all of my love, time, energy and resources into other people (who haven’t even proven they deserve it) and put it into myself. I’m also taking the time to process and face my traumas instead of pretending they never happened. It’s honestly pretty intense and a little scary, but I feel quite certain I will come out this much happier and emotionally healthier and stronger.

Part of my plan for loving myself more is taking myself on dates, treating myself to trips to the spa and destinations near and far and spending more time alone – and enjoying it! I used to do everything for my partner, including wearing sexy lingerie. But, now I’m even doing that for myself.

One of my favorite sources for budget-friendly, flirty lingerie is Yandy. They have beautiful pieces in a wide range of sizes, including plus sizes. I’m absolutely in LOVE with this “Bad Intentions” lingerie gown. It has detachable straps and a high waist panty. Wearing lingerie just for me is officially part of my self-care practice.

If you’re curious about Yandy, you can use my promo code for 20% off: chiefofstyle20

I’m curious…how do you practice self-love? Let me know in the comments! I can’t wait to learn some new tips. 🙂

xo

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style wearing the "Bad Intentions" lingerie gown by Yandy

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style wearing the "Bad Intentions" lingerie gown by Yandy

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style wearing the "Bad Intentions" lingerie gown by Yandy

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style wearing the "Bad Intentions" lingerie gown by Yandy

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style wearing the "Bad Intentions" lingerie gown by Yandy

Thank you to Yandy for sponsoring this post. As always, all views expressed are my own, true opinions.

How to Maintain a Positive Attitude Even When Things Get Tough (Part 2)

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Chief of Style perfect figure Parfait Lingerie social media influencer partner

This is the second part of a two part series. To read the first 10 tips for staying positive, click here.

Feeling  down in the dumps, here are 10 more suggestions to get you back on track and feeling good again:

  1. Choose happiness. Happiness truly is a choice, so choose happy at every turn possible. When you start to feel your mood slipping, try and redirect your focus to something positive that will give you good feels. I’ve tried this trick and while it may seem silly or simple, it can really help.
  2. Move more. Even if you can’t peel yourself off of the couch or you’re ready to hit the gym, just move. Heck, you can start by grabbing a water bottle and raising your arm a few times to get your blood pumping. When you’re ready for more, do a few jumping jacks or pushups. And if you’re really motivated,
  3. Eat clean. Food truly is medicine. If your diet is full of crappy foods, you’ll likely feel crappy. If you’ve been in the dumps for a while, a change in your diet can make a huge difference. Give it a try, it can’t hurt.
  4. Mange your environment. Post positive affirmations in subtle (or not so subtle) places if that’s your thing. Fill your environment with what makes you happy.
  5. Listen to your favorite song. Speaking of managing your environment, music is a huge help. Create a playlist for your not-so-happy days and fill it with songs that’ll make you smile.
  6. Give/get a hug. I can’t argue the importance of physical touch enough. Hugs are so good for your health. I can tell when I haven’t had a hug in a while…I just feel meh. So, hug your friends, family, partner or anyone who’s down. A hug can go a long way.
  7. Find a pet or baby to love on. There’s a reason why people own pets. Having a dog has transformed my life in so many ways. Even on days when I’m not in the greatest mood, Valentino is right there wagging his tail, wanting to love me. (Really, how great are pets!?) Better yet, go on a walk or a hike where you can enjoy seeing your dog (or other people’s dogs) getting their entire LIFE. It’ll give you life too. 🙂
  8. Treat yo’ self. Love pampering? Go get a mani-pedi. On a budget? Do your own! Whatever it is you love, treat yo’ self and give yourself what you love most. You deserve it.
  9. Create a nighttime routine. Just like a morning routine, a nighttime routine will allow you to unwind and can add balance to your day. This is also a good time to prepare for the next day so when you wake up, you know exactly what you need to do.
  10. Check things off. Make a to do (or, “to choose”) list and cross each item off your list. Feeling productive can turn any bad mood around.When you’re feeling stuck, the best thing to do is to take action. DO something. Anything. 

The most important thing to remember is you’re not alone. Everyone has bad days, weeks, months…But, things will get better. They always do! I promise. <3

Chief of Style perfect figure Parfait Lingerie social media influencer partner

Chief of Style perfect figure Parfait Lingerie social media influencer partner

Chief of Style perfect figure Parfait Lingerie social media influencer partner

Chief of Style perfect figure Parfait Lingerie social media influencer partner

Chief of Style perfect figure Parfait Lingerie social media influencer partner

So, 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!)

Thank you to Parfait Lingerie for sponsoring this post as part of their #PerfectFigure campaign. Here, I’m wearing the Tess Unlined Underwire Bra and the Tess Hipster Panty both in Bare (linked images below).

The bra features 95% modal cups, adjustable shoulder straps, sheer lace detail, a hook-and-eye closure and an accent bow at the center front. It’s luxuriously soft and one of my favorite bras from Parfait Lingerie!

 

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

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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

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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

Mindful Monday: Start Your Week Off Right

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“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

If this isn’t one of the most Monday-est Mondays there ever were…

Daylight Saving Time is a trip, man. We move forward one hour in the Spring and back one hour in the Fall…but why? We’re no longer a primarily agricultural economy. Don’t get me wrong, I love when the days are longer. Besides loving sunlight, it’s a reminder that Summer is right around the corner. (Hallelujah!) Still, waking up an hour earlier is no easy task. I can’t even tell you how many times I hit snooze this morning. ((YAWN))

Anyway, what I wanted to talk with you today about was the importance of mindfulness. (Especially on days like today when it may feel like things aren’t going the way you’d like them to go or something’s just ‘off.’)

Creating a mindfulness practice is one of the most important things one can do for oneself. Focusing on the present moment and taking a break from the chaos around you is so key for both your overall life and your sanity. I notice such a difference in my overall disposition when I press pause and take some time to just Be. Focusing on what I want from the day, week, month or year allows me to hold something in mind that I’m working toward. As a result, everything tends to sync up and just, well, flow.

My biggest advice if your life has been feeling a bit out of wack, would be to create a routine that begins with setting your intentions for the day in the morning and ends with preparing for the next day before bed. If you’re interested in beginning a mindfulness routine, here’s a really great article on how to start.

But about this lingerie, though…This month, I’m featuring an adorable baby doll lingerie set from Parfait Lingerie.What I love most about Parfait is their ample size range. They fit cup sizes A-K and their panties are sizes S-3X. They’ve got a lot of stretch and give to them too, so they’ll accommodate most tushies. What’s more, their lingerie is beautiful and of the highest quality. It will make women of all sizes feel sexy. I’m proud to a Parfait Lingerie #PerfectFigure.

Chief of Style body positive plus size fashion blog parfait lingerie photoshoot perfect figure campaign

Chief of Style body positive plus size fashion blog parfait lingerie photoshoot perfect figure campaign

*Thank you to Parfait Lingerie for sponsoring this post and for the lovely lingerie. As always, the views expressed in this post (and every post) are my true and honest opinions.