Katie is our body positive beauty this month! Doesn’t she look stunning in this gorgeous red floral dress?! Katie has been featured as a cover girl of Unearthed Magazine and loves to dress in vintage. She is currently a secretary of the Residental Treatment Unit at an Alcohol and Other Drugs Treatment Program in Chicago. She has dreams of becoming a model/actress and a social worker specializing in the field of human trafficking, working with the survivors. What you can’t see from these beautiful poised pictures is that this body positive beauty has actually had to overcome a lot in her life.
You said you were diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome at a young age. What is it, and is there a treatment for it?
Tourettes is a neurological disorder that causes a person to have what are known as tics, which are uncontrollable movements, sounds, and even words. Medications for Tourettes are known for having harsh side effects, the most well-known of these is significant weight gain. Medication can only do so much to decrease the amount of tics a person has. Having a severe case of Tourettes myself, the medication only mildly decreased them.
I knew about the tics but I had no idea that the medication caused significant weight gain. How did Tourettes affect your childhood?
I was bullied severely for both the tics and my weight. I spent most of my childhood without anyone I could actually call a friend. Things got better by the time I reached high school and improved significantly by college, but the damage to my self-esteem and confidence had been done.
That’s a lot to deal with as a child. How has it been as an adult living with Tourettes?
As an adult, I have been able to take charge of my own care. I’m on better Tourettes medication and have sought help for my anxiety and depression. I have surrounded myself with a loving and supportive found-family. I’ve invested in hobbies and interests that make me feel empowered, such as pin-up.
I love that you’re focusing on adding positive things and people in your life- things that are within your control. Tell us the process you’ve gone through in learning to love yourself and what that means to you.
I have also spent a lot of time and energy reversing and healing the damage from my childhood. Learning to love myself as I am hasn’t been easy.
Like growth, love is an active process.
And sometimes there will be setbacks.
Loving oneself doesn’t mean feeling amazing all the time, it means recognizing that you are still worthy of love, even when you don’t feel like it.
The way you put that is profound. Will you share some more life advice that has been helpful on your journey?
It’s alright to be a work in progress. You may not be exactly where you thought you would be, or even were you wanted to be, and that is perfectly alright.
There’s this very prevalent idea that we have to have everything figured out and achieve certain things by certain ages, and that simply isn’t true.
No two people are growing at the same rate, and to expect everyone to reach the same milestones at the same time is just silly.
Don’t measure your growth by looking at others, but rather by looking at who you used to be. Because as long as you are a work in progress, you are thriving.
We really all are a work in progress even until the day we die. Some days I feel I’m moving forward, other days I feel like I’m moving backwards. Sometimes we all just need simple things to help us move forward and boost our confidence. What makes you feel most confident and comfortable in your own skin?
An outfit that fits just right and my favorite shade of red lipstick. One of the reasons I love vintage and pin-up styles is that they make me feel incredible. They are “my style.”
Paired with the bright, bold shade of my favorite lipstick and I feel like I can take on the world.
Sometimes, when I’m having a rough day, I’ll put on the lipstick.
It’s a bit like putting on a suit of armor.
My absolute favorite red lipstick is Besamé’s Red Velvet. It is a beautiful neutral under-toned red that is a recreation of a color that was popular in 1946. I originally bought it because it was the brand and color worn by Hayley Atwell in Marvel’s Agent Carter tv show, but quickly fell in love with how it looked on me. Besamé has become my go-to brand for lipstick. They are fantastic quality! I have about seven different reds from them. But Red Velvet will always be my “signature” red.
It’s amazing what a good lip will do for your day! Speaking about your day, with everything that’s going on in the world and for people who are still social distancing, is there anything you are doing daily during quarantine that has helped make this difficult time easier?
Remembering to be gentle with myself and actively practicing mindfulness has been very helpful.
I am highly extroverted, and not getting the social time that I need to recharge has been difficult. Staying connected with people outside of my home has helped. I chat with my close friends everyday, either via messenger or video chat.
I also have a cup of tea in the evening to help me wind down from the day. I ordered a bunch of samples from my favorite tea store and have had fun trying out different types and blends.
My favorite tea shop is Adagio Teas! They are both organic and Fair Trade certified. They carry a nice variety of teas and blends, and customers can even create their own blend of tea on the website. One thing that makes Adagio unique is that they have a section called “Fandom Blends.” You buy a blend of tea that has been themed after a specific fandom, movie, tv show, comic, or even character. They even have a variety of specialty blends that are only available at certain times, such as their Earl Grey Bella Luna which is only available on the day of the full moon.
My favorite flavors are Adagio’s Snow White tea from their Fairy Tale Teas line. I also really like Adagio’s Earl Grey Bella Luna (Full Moon Tea), Eternal White Springs, Irish Stout (St. Patrick’s Day tea), Matcha tea.
I love those daily rituals. Speaking of daily rituals, right now we have a lot of time to read. What’s your favorite non-fiction book and what did you love about it?
Lit by Mary Karr. It’s an autobiography of the author and tells the story of her struggle with alcoholism and the events in her life that lead to the development of the disease. It also details her battle to reach sobriety. Karr’s story is incredibly relatable. Many of the struggles she faced will be intimately familiar to female readers.
Lit is a sobering reminder of how easy it is to develop alcoholism. It also shows that with hard work, perseverance, and dedication most any obstacle can be overcome.
On a personal note, Lit reminded me that it’s never too late to start reaching for your dreams. That no matter what you have been through its still possible to become who you want to be.
I can see why that book left such an impact on you. Those are great lessons. Katie, what does it mean to you to have a good life?
A good life is one in which you cultivate happiness, not only for yourself but for others.
A life in which love is freely given as much as it is received.
I don’t believe that a good life is one filled with material goods, but rather one filled with friendship and things that money can’t buy, such as compassion.
I love that! Before we end, we have to ask, where do you love to shop?
Torrid is my favorite place to shop for dresses and bathing suits! Their products are always fantastic quality and made to last. Torrid’s clothing is on trend with the latest styles and is cut to fit and flatter a variety of body types. They also carry lines that cater to a variety of interests, such as various fandoms and subcultures. I have everything from business wear and date night dresses, to casual and work out clothing from them.
I really love their swimsuits! Torrid is one of the few places I have found where I can get any type of bathing suit I could want, made to fit my body. I have three suits from them: a bikini, a swim dress, and a Wonder Woman themed peplum one-piece.
For vintage and pin-up outfits, I mostly shop from Unique Vintage. They have a fantastic plus size selection and even sell era specific reproduction clothing in plus sizes. They have a great variety and some fun themed lined. Currently they have an “I Love Lucy” and a “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” themed lines. I may have bought a little something from each.
Do you have any beauty secrets you’d mind sharing?
I really love natural and homemade skincare/haircare.
Aloe is wonderful for soothing stressed and/or dry skin.
You can make an amazing hair mask with Greek yogurt and egg yolks.
Cooked oatmeal, a tiny bit of honey, and some Greek yogurt mixed together makes a nice facemask.
A paste of baking soda and water makes a great spot treatment for acne (please only use as a spot treatment and be careful, because it can be drying).
A tablespoon or two of vinegar in a couple cups of water makes an excellent hair rinse that will remove product build-up and condition your hair.
And you can make a phenomenal hair gel out of flax seeds.
Thank you Katie! You’re such an inspiration. Where can readers find you?
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- 12 pieces = 35 outfits
- tips for choosing each piece specific to flattering your shape
- picture of author wearing each outfit so you can visualize the items on an apple shape