A person holding a large weight with a single finger and the words don't let it weigh you down

Weight Has Nothing To Do With It

I have an amazing friend named Marie. She’s one of those people who adds a magic touch to everything. One (pitifully small but relatable) example: Marie baked chocolate chips cookies one day (before work, who DOES that?) and they were the best I’d ever had. Yummy and moist, yet crunchy…  It turns out that the recipe was from the back of the chocolate chip bag. Only she could take something we’ve all tried and turn it into a masterpiece.

Recently, Marie and I were talking about bras and she mentioned that she needed some new ones. I suggested meeting up at one of my favorite boutiques. The owner did a wonderful job fitting me so I knew she’d be able to help my friend. I was shocked at Marie’s reply:

“It’s hard to find the right bra and I’m not exactly tiny. I never feel comfortable in those stores.”

Wait, WHAT? When I asked a few more questions, she said that she felt that stores like that and beautiful lingerie were only for thin people.

This conversation sent me off into a mental tailspin. It’s not new that too many of us value ourselves based on a number on the scale. I’ve written about this before, but it’s been abstract or about the big things in life. Women not going after a job or love because they felt that they didn’t deserve it. Here was small, but important, direct cause and effect: I do not deserve pretty underthings because of my weight.  I was at a loss. My next thought was: we must fix this.

Maybe this is a chicken/egg problem? Maybe starting the day by caring for ourselves (possibly by putting on a pretty lingerie set) would teach us to appreciate ourselves. Small things like that may make a difference. After all, studies show that matching underwear can be very powerful.

Maybe some healing can come through perspective? We do not miss a loved one more because their weight was socially acceptable. We miss them because of the who they are and the kindness in their heart. Shouldn’t that kindness be most important? If we don’t decide what we value, who does?

I don’t know how to overcome this and show women that the content of their character is more important than weight. Anyone who has values that say otherwise can have at it. I’d rather spend my time with people with depth. Grrr. Who decides what number is right, anyway? It varies so much by era and culture that it’s arbitrary.

How can we be expected to function and be happy if we withhold the littlest things? And what happens if we need to be good to ourselves before we can feel worthy and not the other way around? If someone as smart and talented as Marie is falling into this trap, how many other women are as well?

I know I’ve raised more questions than answers. I had no idea how deep this went for some. I’m so lucky to have had a mother that taught me that I was worthy of things, regardless of my size. (especially pretty underwear!) I doesn’t mean I’m perfect or that I still don’t have things to learn about taking better care of myself. (more on that later…) I don’t know if repetition is the key to learning but I’m going to keep writing about this until we get it right.

As I wrote this blog, one phrase kept running through my mind from the movie Back to the Future.  Marty gets important information about his situation and refers to it as “heavy” (80s slang for “important” or “serious”). Doc Brown only understands the literal meaning of the word and consistently replies “Weight has nothing to do with it”. He’s right, though, weight has nothing to do with who we are and shouldn’t impact how we feel about ourselves.  Trust Doc Brown. After all, he invented the Flux Capacitor and that’s what makes time travel possible. He’s clearly a smart guy!

A woman holding up her hand to the double helix of DNA, balancing science and health for peace of mind

Decoding the Double-Helix

I’d be remiss in my quest for early detection if I didn’t use every avenue available to me. One of the newer ones (at least to me) is DNA testing. When I met Dana Donofree of AnaOno Intimates and she mentioned that she knew of a DNA study at the University of Pennsylvania that might match my background, I got excited. I knew that it might not tell me everything, but it might reveal something that mammograms and MRIs could not.

I reached out to the group and Dana was correct. It was a perfect match. They were going to test my DNA for 23 genes whose mutations are linked to a high breast cancer risk. My only cost was my time, gas, and tolls. (and they sold real Philly soft pretzels in the lobby of the hospital, so it was totally worth it)  

I filled out a large amount of paperwork about my family history. They wanted to know about births and deaths of grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, siblings and children. They also asked detailed questions about my own health history. It felt like it went on forever, but it was worth it. I was accepted to the program.

It took 2 trips to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.The first was an initial counselling session and blood sample. The second was the results and a follow-up appointment with a doctor.

Being on the oncology wing of a hospital, once again, was difficult for me. I can’t help but think of my mom. I tried my best to ignore the fear and sadness that seemed to hang in the air. Instead, I concentrated on sending healing vibes to every woman in the waiting room. By participating in research I was going to keep more women out of this place, not just myself.

My first appointment was with Jessica Long, the genetics counselor. She took an extensive family history, which was mostly a repeat of the paperwork that I’d filled out. We talked about some things that couldn’t be put on a form, like memories of how myself and others had reacted to these family events.    

I felt the most important question was what I’d hoped to find out and how I thought it might influence my treatment in the future. I feel strongly that there’s a genetic link in my family (although I have no proof). My mom moved out of the house (and out of the state) when she was 21, so (I feel) it’s unlikely that it was environmental. If it’s a choice between amputation of my breasts and life, I choose life. However, the evidence would have to be compelling to take such a drastic step. I am not considering it now. If they found nothing, I would continue with the R.I.S.E. program at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

We also talked about family attitudes about DNA testing. My mother was reluctant, at first, to be tested. (My results would have more meaning if I knew her results.1) It involved many long talks and a lot of education. They spoke with a genetic counselor and it help them to understand the process and the meaning of the outcome.  My mom then agreed to the test. According to Jessica, this is not uncommon. Although we can’t see our DNA, it’s very personal. I was relieved that my parents had come over to the “knowledge is power!” camp.

My first trip to Penn was full of interest and hope but I dreaded that return visit. (yes, of course I still got a pretzel. 2, in fact. One for breakfast and one for the drive back. Did you really have to ask?)  It felt like every other breast cancer screening test that I’d taken – this is going to be the “smoking gun” that tells me that I’m next.

Except, it wasn’t. I met with Dr. Susan Domchek, who was very nice and explained my results clearly. They found nothing significant. An added bonus was that they didn’t find any markers for ovarian or colon cancer, either. My family history was still the most significant factor. I asked the same question that I always ask “What can I do?” The reply was the same as my doctor from MSK: “Live a healthy life, in moderation, exercise and try to lower your stress.”  

They offered to follow up with me annually about any new DNA-related discoveries. I agreed that they could continue to study me, as long as they wanted. Even though I don’t know if we learned anything yet, I’m so glad that I did this and grateful to Dana for connecting me with the program. This data could be very important to my future.

If you have a family history associated with a specific illness, I highly recommend researching genetic testing. It’s possible that some spit or blood can provide any additional information to improve your health. Researchers are constantly finding new applications for this data. Someday it could reveal a path to prevention, or a cure.  The National Society of Genetic Counselors might be a good place to start to speak to someone near you.


1A negative test result can be more difficult to understand than a positive result because what the result means depends in part on an individual’s family history of cancer and whether a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation has been identified in a blood relative.

If a close (first- or second-degree) relative of the tested person is known to carry a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, a negative test result is clear: it means that person does not carry the harmful mutation that is responsible for the familial cancer, and thus cannot pass it on to their children. Such a test result is called a true negative. A person with such a test result is currently thought to have the same risk of cancer as someone in the general population.

see https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/genetics/brca-fact-sheet for more information.

an envelope with hearts falling out onto a wooden table with the text share your love

A Love Letter to a Friend for Valentine’s Day

On a day dedicated to love, I want to talk more about a our ability to love ourselves.  (get your mind out of the gutter – I’m talking self-esteem!  What you do in your own private time and whether you choose to do it with someone else is none of my business :) )  As I talked to my friends and we share our concerns, I’ve found that the way that I view them and the way that they see themselves are completely different.  It’s almost alarmingly different.

It’s so frustrating to see that we don’t know our true value and instead, dwell on flaws that may or may not exist and regardless – do not matter in the bigger picture. I think we would all see things so much differently if we could take a look at ourselves through a loved one’s eyes, even only for a few minutes. In a hope to change at least one perspective, here’s a love letter to one of my friends. I want to show her how things look from my view.

Dear Kitty,

We’ve known each other for almost 5 years now and I want you know how important you are to me. Our chance meeting was a pleasant surprise. Your support and friendship has helped make the past few years much easier (and fun!). One of the biggest surprises is that we’re so much alike. (although I have given up on General Hospital, Frisco will always live in my heart)  There’s really only one major difference that I can see, and that’s how each of us views you. In this short time, I’ve watched you put caveats on too many things that you do. My one wish for you is that you could see you how I do, so I thought I’d share it in a letter, with love, this Valentine’s Day.

You are beautiful. And before you say “oh, you have to say that”, you know I’m a person of facts, so bear with me. You have an amazing smile (and on this one – you know it.) It lights up your whole face – and the whole room. Your eyes show a kindness that feels rare these days. It’s backed up by a loyal friend who is always willing to listen (another rarity). Personally, I love your curls and your hand with makeup. I’m not quite so skilled. You always look so…  put together. I can usually barely manage jeans and a t-shirt! It’s a sign of the effort that you take with how you present yourself.  Who you are and how much you care shines through.  It makes a lovely picture.

It’s not all about how you look. Your accomplishments are many. You live in one of the biggest cities in the country and make your way as an independent woman. You have traveled the world and explored new avenues. Few things hold you back when there’s something that you want to do. You’re always telling me “oh, I went here this weekend” or “I have this party to go to”. You work hard at your job and I have a feeling are a bit of a perfectionist in that area!  You’re brave, strong, and go after what you want.

Your ability to take care of your health is second to none. You say “I have to” but no, you don’t. Most people wouldn’t go to the gym 5+ days a week. They’d live with the aches and pains because, in the short run, it might be easier. Humans are big on the path of least resistance. I don’t think you’ve ever glanced at that road. What you do takes determination and perseverance.

I know you’ve had many losses in your life. Some around you haven’t treated you like you’ve deserved and I’m very sorry for that. If it’s caused you to put up walls to protect yourself, I understand. My only worry is that the right people are missing out on an amazing woman because of this.

I also know that sometimes you get distracted by numbers, as if they could tell the story of who you are. That’s so… one-dimensional. If you could see what I see, you’d know that anyone who likes to count is too busy looking down to the real you.  They don’t deserve to have you in their life.

So, Ms. Karryall, this is the you that I see. That I love. That I cherish as a friend. A smart, beautiful, fun, capable, independent woman. I hope that you can reconcile this with who you think that you are because you may be missing out on some amazing stuff that’s right in the mirror.



While this love letter was directed at one person, it was really written to everyone who struggles. Chances are you could swap “take care of your health” with “take care of important thing in your life” or “traveled the world” with “conquered awesome activity” and it would describe you or someone you know. We don’t give ourselves enough credit for the things that we do or when we do, we shrug it off. YOU. ARE. AWESOME. If you’re not sure, ask your BFF.  They’ll tell you all about it.

Is there someone who you love that doesn’t see themselves as you do? Why don’t you tell them about it on this Valentine’s Day!

A stethoscope stretched into a heartbeat and a heart with the words honor your body

Let Me Hear Your Body Talk!

Honor Your Body“Remember that time I was hurting and waited to go to the doctor until it got really bad?  That was awesome!” – said no one, ever.

Despite all of my promises to myself to take breaks and exercise more, I managed to fall behind in the past few months. The weather turned colder and work got busy. I ignored my body’s warning signs of a few aches and pains… I thought that some stretching might be enough.

In November, on the morning that we were leaving vacation, I dropped my razor in the shower*. While retrieving it, the minor ache in my lower back turned into pain unlike any that I’ve felt before. Thanks to some rest and OTC pain relievers, I was able to get to the airport. The real Problem started with what I did – or didn’t do – next.

I made it through vacation with (mostly) minimal trouble. Upon our return, I insisted that I could handle it myself. I ignored Marc’s repeated warnings of “maybe you should go to the doctor”. I thought that I knew best – which is, honestly, unlike me. I’m the first one to harass my friends to call the doctor.  Just ask them. They’ll roll their eyes and tell you. (But, secretly, they know I’m right!)

I’m still not sure of the exact reason.  I know I didn’t want to take the time off of work to go to the doctor. Physical therapy can be expensive and I felt if I continued to stretch at home, I could handle the situation. I was wrong.

Things were better, until one day, a few weeks later, they weren’t. I was very lucky that Marc was home from work that day and he was able to help me get to the doctor.  (and that someone fit me in on Dec 30th!). I was having trouble doing anything but lay flat.

It turns out that I could never have managed this on my own.  It was a lovely combination of sciatica, bursitis and minor degenerative disc disease. The doctor gave me something to relieve the pain, a cortisone shot, and a prescription for physical therapy. Nothing that had definitive long-term consequences, but I was going to need some directed exercise to build my core. And, I am going to have to build in an exercise routine so that this doesn’t happen again. Only 2 weeks later and I’m officially on the mend.

Why am I telling you this story? Don’t be like Shari. If you have an ache, get it checked out. If I’d gone to the doctor when we’d gotten back from our trip, I might have been able to build up my muscles when I wasn’t quite so sore.

It’s all about taking care of my body. We all know there’s something we should be doing for ourselves but aren’t. Life is hard enough without excess pain and we all deserve the best – and since you’re probably reading this on your phone anyway, it’s the perfect time to make that call.

What will you do to honor your body and its needs today?

*I’m insistent that this is a sign that I don’t ever need to shave my legs again. (yes, I know shaving is a choice, and it’s one I like to make, until it involves effort!)

A woman wearing curlers looking into a mirror with the text looking good in every day happy new year

New Year, Same Fabulous You

Are you ready?  It’s New Year’s Resolution time! An open season for experts of all stripes to point out all of the things that are wrong with us. Then, of course, they offer ways that we can fix it. It is an endless line of people poking into our personal business, and they haven’t even met us!

Some of the perennial “need to improve” list includes: exercise more, eat better, clean up our  finances, organize our stuff, and meet a significant other or we’ll never be a whole, happy person. It’s like they are handing out this advice to touch on our deepest insecurities instead of really seeing who we are and what we need. (yup, that’s sarcasm!  Have we picked a sarcasm font yet?  We should resolve to do that for 2017!)

Listen to me: their approach is wrong – you don’t NEED improving to be worthy.  You’re fabulous. I say that with no agenda. Whether your straps are too long, too short or just right, you’re still lovely.  If you’re having trouble seeing this in yourself, maybe your resolution should be to understand all that is wonderful about you. It’s there, you just need to look.

You may wonder why I say this when I don’t know you either. (I’m assuming someone besides my friends read this blog) Think of the people who you know. Will they really be more lovable if they lose a few pounds? Will a perfectly organized medicine cabinet make them a better person?  Absolutely not. Most of your friends aren’t in need of a “new them”, either. Since you are THEIR friend, the same probably holds true for you. I rest my case.

Please don’t confuse my resistance to the gimmick of New Year’s Resolutions with a lack of desire to improve myself. I don’t like to see so many of us trying to live up to someone else’s definition of good, or good enough.  I know I’m a work in progress – but I define what needs work by what’s important to me. After all, everyday I learn something more (and the more I learn, the less I know about before!). As I do, I find things about myself that I could improve to make myself happier.

Despite the cliché of the significance of New Years, January and February are great times to work on new habits and routines. The parties are over and new projects take time to ramp up at work. The weather is still cold in the northern hemisphere, so our social lives tend to be a bit slower than usual. It’s a great time to reset, return to old habits after a busy season, or pick up some new ones. IF this is what you choose, for yourself, there are some things that you can do to set yourself up for success:

  1. Do some research – find out if there’s any science to what you’re trying to do and see what has worked for others.
  2. Pick small, concrete, attainable goals with clear deadlines. “I will lose 2 lbs a week” is hard to guarantee. Consider something more attainable could be “I will eat salads with dinner every night and walk a mile 5 days a week.”
  3. Reward yourself when you reach your goals but not with something that is counter to your objective (like buying yourself a little something-something if your goal is to remake your finances!)
  4. Pay attention to your new habits and make them a part of your everyday life so that once you reach your goal, you can continue to sustain them.
  5. Plan for setbacks.  It happens for everyone.  We all fall down, it’s the getting up again that matters.
  6. Keep your expectations realistic. Experts say it can take up to 3 months to develop a new habit.

Improvements are good, but make sure that you are doing them for YOU. Don’t buy into the hype that this can be a “new you” because that’s just simply not necessary.  However, if you think that getting organized will make you happier and healthier, go for it. Set yourself up for success and before you know it, maintaining your home will be as effortless as a 50s sitcom!  (seriously, we need that sarcasm font… but hey, it might become easier!)

Beth and I wish you a happy, healthy, safe and prosperous new year.  We hope that 2017 is everything that you want it to be!

The Strap Saver can stop clip creep

Do You Suffer From Clip Creep?

The Strap Saver can stop clip creepYou could be a victim of clip creep and not even know it!

Have you ever adjusted your bra strap in the morning and by the end of the day, it’s sliding off of your shoulders? If so, clip creep may be the cause! Did your bathing suit fit fine when you headed out to the beach but you almost lost it when you were clobbered by that big wave? If so, clip creep may be the culprit.

What are the common signs?

  • Constant tugging on straps in the afternoon
  • The girls are further south than they were this morning and you’ve only just arrived at the office
  • Your bra held when you got on the dance floor, but while you’re doing the bus stop, your boobs are doing the hustle

If you haven’t figured it out, clip creep is a phenomenon where your bra shoulder strap clip has a mind of its own and starts to wander throughout the day. With its insidious nature, clip creep makes your strap longer and robs you of the support you deserve. Well, suffer no more!

In addition to shortening straps, The Strap Saver also prevents clip creep. Our patent-pending design works with the fabric of the strap to stay in place, unlike the built-in adjuster. Using The Strap Saver will give you a firm hold all day long and keep your straps from slipping. No more unsightly bra strap rearranging during meetings at work. The girls will be as perky when you leave the bar as when you arrived! Fading support throughout the day will be a thing of the past! Banish clip creep forever with The Strap Saver.

A woman hugging herself with the text "how do you look at yourself"

When Will You Embrace You?

Learn to embrace yourselfWhen Beth and I were at the Monmouth County Fair, we met Darlene Campbell of Campbell and Kate. They make custom-sized button-down tops for large-busted women. After I stopped kvelling over the beautiful shirts, the topic turned to our blogs (this one and hers, Hourglassy) and our mutual passion for spreading the word about body positivity. She introduced me to the documentary Embrace. It’s about the worldwide culture of body loathing and shaming and how it’s reached epic proportions – and why it needs to be stopped.

As soon as we watched the trailer, we knew we had to be part of this. Check it out: (it’s only 2 minutes!)

Did it resonate with you like it did with me? I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. “This body of mine, it’s not an ornament, it’s a vehicle.”

How would you describe your body? Right now, I think I’d say that mine was ok – but a few years ago, I might’ve said exactly what Taryn said. I hated my body. I hated that my clothes didn’t fit. I hated that I’d had big boobs since I was 11 and, as a result, my posture was (is?) terrible.  I was frustrated with my migraines, lack of coordination and overall… unremarkable appearance, except for my height. Even my mousey brown hair started to turn gray at 25.

About 5 years ago, I made a concentrated effort to be kinder to myself. (If I wasn’t going to do it, who was?) I don’t know what made me change my mind (could be all the therapy…) but I do know things changed after. Life became a little easier.  Instead of hating my clothes, I sought out ones that fit – even though it took extra effort (clothes come in tall, who knew!). I ran a 5K (v e r y  s l o w l y). I took up yoga (which I have since dropped and I miss, but that’s another blog). Things aren’t perfect, but they are better.

But, until I watched this trailer, I never considered that this is the body that graduated from a 5-year program in 4 years from Syracuse University. Or that moved to NYC without a job and became a success. This is the body that hugged my mom and brought her comfort. My body helped to start this company and will hopefully someday help women like her with Jill’s Wish*. I need to celebrate that. Someday, I plan for this body to bring change to this world.  If you’re reading these words and maybe wondering about how you treat yourself, maybe I already am.

I don’t know why it’s so much easier to hate our bodies or why we say things about ourselves to ourselves that we would never say to another human being. We call ourselves all kinds of nasty, hurtful names. If someone said something like that to our friend, we’d never stand for it. Yet, so many women live with awful, negative self-talk.

I can barely digest the idea that 91% of women hate their bodies. Even if that’s an exaggeration, isn’t that a lot of wasted energy when we’re all so beautiful? And even if we weren’t (but we are), we’re so much more than our looks.

I haven’t seen the full film yet but I’m anxious to see the answers that she finds. Is there a way to fix this? How would we feel if we woke up every day loving ourselves instead? How much brighter and kinder would the world be? What if we didn’t pass this on to our daughters? What would that mean for our future?

I have so many questions – ones that I hope are answered in this documentary. After all, this is our life, aren’t we entitled to control how we feel about our own bodies?  Why do we give that gift to others?

There are many screenings of Embrace around the country, find one near you. Bring your sisters and your daughters – it appears that we have a lot to learn.

What would you do with all of that extra energy if you weren’t worried about your appearance?

*As of 11/30/2017, 5% of all sales are donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

The Bra Zone book

Crossover to The Bra Zone and Win!

Win one of three autographed copies of The Bra Zone and a $25 Gift Certificate to The Strap Saver It’s amazing how little we know about our boobs. I’m not sure why. Over 50% of the population has them and we’re constantly bombarded with images of them. I feel like we’re only told what they are “supposed to” look like or to get a mammogram.  I think most of us are at a loss. This is what makes The Bra Zone* by Elisabeth Dale of The Breast Life so awesome. It’s a book that shines a light on what’s really going on under our shirts.

Elisabeth starts The Bra Zone* with her own story of confusion as she develops breasts. She is, unfortunately, forced into an unattractive foundation at an early age because of her size. (been there, done that) Elisabeth continues to explain why finding a good bra has always seemed so difficult. The book goes on to detail what constitutes a good bra and how to find one that works for each of us. It’s not necessarily that we’ve been doing it wrong all this time, but with the right information, we can do a better job of finding the right bra for our shape and size.

To explain – The Bra Zone* is about understanding that there can be many choices in size, style, fabric, etc. in a quest to find the perfect bra. As Elisabeth mentions in her book, it’s a lot like shoe shopping. Most of us have gone up or down a half size (or more) depending on the style or designer of the shoe. It’s no different with our foundations. We’re not one size, we’re a whole zone of sizes and styles depending on our need at the moment – and that can change throughout our life. The Bra Zone is also about embracing this – and understanding our size options. Too often we blame our bodies when our size changes. We don’t get angry at our feet when we have to ask for a different size, we shouldn’t get mad at our boobs either.

The book walks through the basics of how and why our breasts are what they are, and how they will change throughout our lifetime. (now I’m not looking forward to what’s coming in menopause…) Elisabeth also explains some myths about breasts and bras (spoiler: they do NOT cause cancer), types of bras, what they are supposed to do (as opposed to what we want them to do) and what might work best for different situations. There’s even a handy-dandy section on bra accessories – and you’ll never guess who’s featured! (when you get your copy, you may or may not need to immediately open to page 82-83 and ooh and ahh.  Change the may or may not to must…)

I’ve only been in the ‘biz for 2 years now and had no idea how much I still had to learn until I read The Bra Zone. It reads like a friendly “Breast and Bra 101” and is perfect for…  well, anyone with boobs or about to get boobs. Our appearance is so important to our self-esteem (it shouldn’t be, but it is!) and this book goes a long way to explaining how to work with what you have and what’s in the market. So, after you buy your copy*, get one for the teen in your life.  The sooner they have this information the better!

For many of us, bra shopping is a lifelong endeavor. The Bra Zone can help turn a necessary evil into something fun and exciting – since it will no longer feel like we’re trying on bras in the dark.

*This particular link is an affiliate link for Jill’s Wish.  A portion of any purchase made through this link will help women who are undergoing breast cancer treatment to pay their household bills.  

AND – Elisabeth has been very generous to offer us THREE autographed copies of her book to give away!  We’re going to match it with three $25 gift cards to The Strap Saver – for 3 awesome prize packages.  The winner will be selected on August 31st.  Details to enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

First Bra Intervention - A woman holding her bra with the text Sometimes you need a friend to give you a lift

My First Bra Intervention

First Bra Intervention - A woman holding her bra with the text Sometimes you need a friend to give you a liftIn 2000, I went on a quick vacation to Phoenix to visit a friend after my sister’s wedding. I needed a break after maid-of-honor duties and thought a trip to see my friend Kathleen* in her new home would help. Just like every small step we make in our life, who knew it would lead me into something big?

After sight-seeing, we took a break from the heat in the local mall. (Who goes to Phoenix in JUNE?) While shopping at one of our favorite stores, Kathleen turned to me and said “Shar, I have to tell you something… you really need a better bra.” She added that my boobs were much lower than they probably should be. Huh? How did I miss THAT? A quick glance in the mirror told me that she was right! Crap! Well, so much for them standing up on their own while I am still in my 20s.

You’d think I would’ve been shocked to hear that from a friend but I really wasn’t.  I’m rather blunt myself and I prefer to be told than walk around looking less than fabulous.  I was more annoyed that I’d missed this one myself.

Upon further inspection, I was quick to note that the fabric on my bra was worn and it wasn’t giving me the support that it once did. I’m pretty sure it was from high school. I’d been scraping by in NYC and living on a radio producer’s salary, which was a rough proposition. Bras had not been a priority, but clearly they needed to be brought to the top of the list.  Although upfront about most thing, Kathleen wouldn’t have said something unless she felt it was important. Her appearance was always impeccable and I’d admired her for that. She recommended that I get fitted by an expert and buy some new ones.

When I returned home I took Kathleen’s advice. I tried a new brand that promised to offer support, durability – and was pretty. (always important!)  It turned out that I needed a larger cup size and, therefore, an entirely new bradrobe. Ouch – but my clothes fit better and I preferred the look of my new silhouette. The confidence boost was priceless!

Of course, there is no correct way for breasts to look – and bras, in general, are optional. Since a bra is my chosen route, the right fit made me look thinner. Kathleen, knowing me as well as she did, was absolutely right to say something.

If you decide to do a bra intervention of your own, please tread carefully. We’re a big fans of helping our friends, but a bra is personal choice. Our friend Estelle of Esty Lingerie offers a guide to the difference between offering help to someone and bravangelising, which can be harmful on so many levels. The article gives some advice on how to help your friends without pushing ideas and thoughts on them that they might not want.

In my case, it worked perfectly. I was so surprised at having missed something so obvious that it led me to make an effort to be more aware of how my clothes fit after I long after I brought them home from the store. I was the first of many steps into seeking clothes that make me look my best so that I can feel my best.

After I found the right bra, I moved on to clothes for tall women (who knew there was such a thing?) and eventually had some custom tailored. I feel so much better about how I look. And then, of course, there’s The Strap Saver. Why shouldn’t all of our clothes fit our bodies as much as possible?  It’s not easy when we’re all shaped so differently but it’s not impossible, even on a budget.

Have you ever attempted a bra intervention?  How did it go?

*Names were changed to protect the innocent!

A One Time Only Disclaimer

A One-Time Only* Disclaimer

A One Time Only DisclaimerLast week I wrote a blog about tank tops and talked about the problem of strap length. I took issue with this, like I always do, because while this a real, tangible problem, its seems small in the grand scheme of things. It’s not likely that anyone is going to die or be harmed from a strap being too long. (should I pause for the choruses of “but what about….?” I said likely!)

I made my usual joke of this being a “first world problem” but according to Beth, my copy editor, I’ve made this point (too) many times before. And yet, I still had problems putting the sentence down without it. What if someone read it wrong and thought that I was making light of all of the suffering in the world? I could practically feel her rolling her eyes through the computer chat screen. Apparently it is obvious that I’m not that kind of person. Clearly this is a me problem. (although I’ve seen writers get reamed in the comments for the most innocent statements, so that doesn’t help my anxiety!) But because this is a compulsion and I’m learning to embrace my flaws, I thought I’d state it once and for all, so I could refer back to it whenever I was feeling squeamish.

When I talk about strap problems (brablems?), I know that this is minor when it comes to those that experience real fear/hunger/pain every day. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other. There are problems and there are Problems. This is a problem. We hope you know that and take a moment to enjoy the humor.

The only way this becomes a Problem is when being unable to find the right bra causes serious self-esteem issues. That’s just not cool. How we look contributes so much (too much?) to how we feel about ourselves. If we don’t feel good about ourselves, we’re not out making the world a better place and that’s a Problem. If we can contribute to solving that in any small way, it’s more than we’d hoped.

As we talk about solving problems, we doing our best to address Problems, too – which is another reason we’re donating 5% of all sales to Jill’s Wish**. No woman should have to worry about losing the roof over her head or paying her utility bills while undergoing breast cancer treatment. The sooner we fix this Problem the better.

We’ll continue on at this site and in this blog, talking about problems and Problems until we’ve solved them all. (take a seat, it’s going to be a while!)

*We reserve the right to make another disclaimer. Just because we say so. It’s our blog, after all!

**As of 11/30/2017, 5% of all sales are donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.