All posts tagged: Body

The Glow of A Warrior Woman

The sun is a glowing ball of fire in the sky and every pore of my body is sweating. I’m on mile three of the morning run, jogging along manicured lawns in an upscale neighborhood outside of Bangkok. The smell of the morning air is a mix of dampness, jasmine, car exhaust and tropical decay. The Thai sunrise looks different to me, seeing it from the other side of the world from my home. That ball of fire in the sky glows a different orange-pink, not a typical yellow, which I learn later might be air pollution. A few weeks after the US election last year I decided I didn’t need to keep delaying my craziest dreams. Reality was upside down, so why keep waiting to see the world? I booked a ticket to go with my Muay Thai boxing gym for a two-week fight camp in Thailand. I’ve traveled internationally maybe four times. I came to martial arts two years ago, after recovering from some chronic health issues. I wanted to celebrate beating the …

I Got You — Caring for My Wife During Chemo

As my wife sat in the treatment room during chemotherapy, she would sometimes sing to me a song that became a sort of anthem for us. Headphones on, she’d hum and sing, “We ain’t gonna give up on this now, we refuse to turn around. This won’t be easy, no way, no how, but we won’t back down…” The song was ”We Got It” by Ne-Yo from The Wiz, one of those live TV musical events we’d watched together after her surgery back in 2015. In some ways, she was Dorothy and I was some unfortunate combination of the Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. I would chime in, “And when the night is so cold, dark and lonely, All you got to do is look at me and hear what I say…” And then together we would sing, “We got it! We got it!” “I got you…” I got you. When Margit asked me to share my experience as a “caregiver” during her treatment, I felt a bit uncomfortable. I saw it as …

When I Lost Weight, My Daughter Didn’t Recognize Me

I am watching home videos with my daughter, who is nearly 15 and prone to bouts of nostalgia. She likes to remind herself of a time when life was simpler — when she received toys instead of gift cards for her birthday, when her little brother still idolized her, when her favorite thing about the science museum was the diorama room and she could run freely through the exhibit since no one else’s favorite thing about the science museum is the diorama room. On the television screen, my children’s cheeks are still rosy and full, their smiles silly and unguarded. I love watching their skinny little legs kicking in the pool, their pudgy fingers picking up one goldfish cracker at a time. The only thing I don’t like about these old home movies is seeing myself on camera. The me I see onscreen is quite heavy – 40 pounds heavier than my current weight, to be exact. Because I am short – only 4’9” – a gain or loss of even three pounds is visible …

I Let My Student Talk Me Into Botox

Dr. M wasn’t my doctor; he was my student. Normally at 10 a.m. on a Monday morning, we were in his office having English class. But today, I was lying on the big black chair in his clinic, trying to keep calm as he prepped a needle. Dr. M was Turkey’s most prolific Botox practitioner. He had a certificate above his desk from the Botox suppliers recognizing the record number of vials he’d administered, mostly to Turkish TV stars and society women. He appeared regularly on the Turkish equivalent of Oprah, the host of which he had filled with youth-enhancing chemicals. As an English teacher, I taught a lot of rich Turkish people and their children, but Dr. M was my first near-celebrity. Located in the fanciest part of Istanbul, Nişantaşı (the Turkish Beverly Hills), the Director (who I also taught) would sometimes introduce me to perfectly made-up, glossy-looking actresses or TV personalities. I never had any idea who they were because I’m British, but I still felt underdressed and out-of-place in their world in …

To My Lopsided Nose Job

“The Jones Nose.” That’s a thing we talk about — and not fondly. Meaty and bulbous, it’s the nose a child makes from a big ol’ pyramid of Play-Doh to stick on a sphere that acts as head — both geometric items approximately the same size. It’s a Shel Silverstonian creation. It’s not the kind of nose that outsiders look at and think, “Jesus, that’s big,” though. I’m no Cyrano. It’s an unassuming big nose, one that blends in fairly well when plopped in the middle of a rather large face and head. But — and I say all this in all honesty and not with self-loathing or an overly critical eye — the thing is big. If there were some kind of ratio formula that declared the ideal acreage your nose should occupy on your noggin, something like the Vitruvian Man, but for women and faces, I could prove to you without prejudice that my schnoz is oversized. So when I got to the point that I had enough money to do somewhat-frivolous things, …

How to Throw a Party for Your Pussy

I want to talk about sex. Though my friends will tell you I always want to talk about sex. Anyway, my freshman year in college, I went to a fraternity party and met many people, both male and female, who would go on to become my dear friends. I also met a really good-looking guy who caught my attention; he was shy and yet, once engaged, very direct and smart. I ended up upstairs with him in his loft bed, peeling out of my Norma Kamali snap-front dress with that satisfying pop pop pop, trying not to hit my head on the ceiling as I did so. We laughed a lot, and we had fun. Truth be told, I can’t remember exactly what we did sexually – if we went “all the way” or not – but I am positive we had a lot of fun. The next night, I went back to that same fraternity with my dorm hallmates and circulated around the party. I saw my previous night’s lover across the room, waggled …

Nope, It Doesn’t Need to be Steamed, Sprayed or Douched

A few years ago, I was talking with a relative and the talk turned to douches. I don’t remember how we got on this subject, but there we were, biding our time at the grownup table of a kid’s laser tag birthday party, talking about vaginal cleanliness. I was saying that while I had previously douched every month at the end of my period, I had stopped because it gave me a fire crotch of yeast infections. I had even given up the long, super-hot baths that I loved. “Wait…you don’t douche?” my relative asked, her voice full of judgment. She side-eyed me. She might have even sniffed the air in my vicinity; I couldn’t be sure. She’s only about seven years older, but suddenly I felt like I was talking to my mother or my grandmother, the women who raised me. Growing up, a hot water bottle with a hose and applicator attached always hung inside the shower in our bathroom. At some point, I must’ve asked what it was for and was told …

I Got in the Best Shape of My Life at 50…And Then 55 Hit

At forty-nine, I was resigned to being over the hill — an overweight couch potato who avoided exercise and ate pastries with abandon. Walking up a flight of stairs left me winded, but I attributed that to middle age. I was getting old, after all. Then, seven months before my 50th birthday, I got the wake-up call that changed my life: A routine lab test revealed that I had Type 2 diabetes. As a physical therapist, I knew what havoc this disease could wreak on a body. I’d treated patients with diabetes-induced neuropathy, blindness and, in severe cases, amputations that began with an infected toe and led to bilateral lower-leg prostheses. I was shocked and terrified and suddenly determined to beat this condition back with everything I had. I downloaded the Couch-to-5k running app on my phone and started. Designed for couch-sitters like me, it started out so gently it was almost laughable. “Run for 60 seconds,” the voice intoned through my ear buds. A minute? Who couldn’t run for a minute? As it turned …

tuenight judgy amy barr

Judging Amy, By Amy

Yesterday, I saw of picture of myself in a sleeveless outfit and realized that my triceps are a disappointment to me. My upper arms look like hotdog buns. As for the outfit – a silky black jumpsuit – I liked it in the store. The saleswoman, fresh out of college, assured me I looked fabulous. But here’s the thing: If you are in your fifties and want to feel chic and slim, do not hang around with women in their twenties. Because no matter how great that jumpsuit looked in the dressing room, it’s no match for an impeccable midriff or the fashion fearlessness that comes with knowing you can throw on a mini dress with a pair of white Adidas and look effortlessly sexy. This was apparent when we hosted a 25th birthday weekend for my son’s girlfriend. Over the course of a day, she and her pals moved through duffel bags full of cute clothes, from clingy yoga pants at breakfast to teeny bikinis at lunch to wispy slip dresses by cocktail time. …

tuenight tattoo cheryl dumesnil amy justen

A Healer with a Gun: She Tattoos for Cancer

In 2016 it’s not unusual to find out your co-worker has an elaborate sleeve tattoo hidden under her Ann Taylor blouse. But in 1990, when Amy Justen was a student at The Art Institute of Chicago, “tattoos were still very much part of the subculture of rebels,” says Justen. When Amy’s cousin, a Hell’s Angel fully engaged in the biker lifestyle, invited Amy to apprentice in his shop in Texas, she decided this was “not a career path for a young woman from a good Catholic family.” She stayed in Chicago and completed her art degree instead. After graduation, while Amy was pursuing a career in fine art, earning critical acclaim but not enough cash, two Chicago tattoo artists, Robert Hixon and Wayne Borucki, encouraged her to pick up a tattoo gun. “I was super green and had no idea what I was doing,” Amy says. “Tattooing is an unforgiving art form. I had to put all other mediums aside while I learned. It still blows my mind on the daily that perfect strangers allow me, pay …

tuenight sleep insomnia lindsay el tabsh

How to Be Really Good at Insomnia 

Do you look at those of us with insomnia and think to yourself, “They must have so much time on their hands!” or “Think of all the things I could get done!”? Do you wish that you too could have insomnia? There are tons of diet, self-help, parenting and leadership guides out there, but what about those who wish to be good at insomnia? Well, look no further. I’m here to share with you my years of hard work and study in the field through diligent, direct hands-on experience. You’re welcome. Some people are just born with this skill and, honestly, they make it look so easy by staying up for days on end with little to no sleep as their eyes glaze over and they get more and more cranky with the world. But for those who struggle to stay awake and bask in the glory of unproductive hours of tossing and turning or long days of exhaustion, follow my simple rules and you too will be living the sleepless dream. Do identify a …

That Time I Was Totally Naked On Stage

I don’t recall the first time I undressed on a stage. Probably college. Taking clothes off in the presence of others is not unusual for an actor; you do an onstage costume change with dim lighting between scenes or a love scene in which you unbutton your shirt until you’re left in your bra or, lordy knows, your character is arbitrarily described in some super sexy way and the costume designer has given you a skirt so short you can’t sit down without flashing the front row. Even if you don’t strip on stage, you certainly do behind the scenes. Every actor has done the lightening fast scene change that requires one stagehand to rip off your clothes, one to Velcro on your new outfit and one to swap your wigs — all while you’re holding your arms straight out, breathing deeply and switching dialects for your next character. There’s no time to worry about anything other than whether or not your underwear is clean. (Remind me to tell you about the time I unexpectedly …

Why I’ve Aged out of Embarrassment

Lately, I’ve grown increasingly pissy about this aging thing. Frankly, I can’t find much to like about getting older. My back aches, my hips are tight, I sleep too little and eat too much. My skin is dry, my hair is gray and I can’t see a thing without a pair of reading glasses, which I can never find. But there’s one aspect of aging that I’ve happily embraced: Almost nothing embarrasses me anymore. For most of my life, I’ve been hyper-conscious of drawing unwanted attention to myself by performing poorly. I cringed over every perceived shortcoming, constantly comparing myself to others. Somebody was always better at something. Well, that will always be true, but the difference now is I care a lot less. At this point, my heroes aren’t necessarily the best or brightest. My role model is Popeye who proudly proclaimed, “I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam.” This doesn’t mean I no longer give a hoot about trying to be a better me; I’ve simply become more accepting …

Interview: Artist Raven Schlossberg on Women’s Bodies, Kicking Ass (NSFW)

Raven Schlossberg’s world is a psychedelic, technicolor utopia of sexual symbols — think The Garden of Eden on acid — with woman as subject and object both.  The collage artist, born in Paradise, California in 1973,  has been exhibiting her paintings for over 20 years, with solo exhibitions in New York, Dallas, Berlin, Frankfurt, Bonn, Konstanz, Basel and Paris. I first saw her work in an exclusive gallery in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, children in tow, and found myself knocked out by their loopy genius. My daughters, as well, were mesmerized. Raven was kind enough to talk to us about her work: what inspires her, what it means to her, and in keeping with this week’s theme, whether her own work makes her blush.   Your images of naked (or semi-naked) women in your artwork are consistent — what do they represent to you? First of all, I absolutely love the female form. I love its beauty, mystery and power. In my work, I celebrate the eroticism and dynamism of the female body, often nude or semi-nude as part …

1 in 8: Why You Should Still Get That Mammogram

One of the most fascinating/confounding phenomena I’ve observed over the last decade is the absolute explosion of health information on the web and the profound impact it can have, both positive and negative, on people’s behavior, attitudes and healthcare choices. While there’s definitely a lot of good information out there, there’s also a lot of bunk. Sifting through the clutter, picking out the important nuggets and turning them into choices about our health has become a huge challenge, much more so in a time when medical and scientific innovation is being communicated directly to consumers through so many different channels. In this monthly column, I’ll be cutting through the health-web BS and translating internet-speak about bodies, fitness and nutrition into real talk that matters for your health. Join me as I try to make sense of it all — I’ll do my best to tell it to you straight. Everywhere you look on the internet these days, someone is telling women what to do with their boobs. A lot of time and energy seems to …

When My Perfect Dinner Caused a Nervous Breakdown

I believe I have suffered two nervous breakdowns in my life. The first was the day my mom dropped me off at college. You mean I’m staying here?!? The thought of that much freedom, that far from home, made me woozy. My more recent breakdown came in the weeks after my second child was born. You mean we have to keep them BOTH alive? Somehow the responsibility didn’t feel like it had doubled — it had exploded into millions of tiny needs, each of which was wriggling away from me no matter how hard I tried to contain them, like the magic green seeds in James and the Giant Peach. I know we actually had it very good. I had an involved husband who wanted to help out. We had money to hire a sitter. Both kids were healthy. It’s just that it felt like there was so very much to do, all of it essential. Breastfeeding. And naps. And vaccinations that I wanted to space out so as not to expose either of my …

Touch My Body — I’ll Pay For It

I’m single. Sometimes it seems like I’ve always been single. I’ve had boyfriends, sure, but the default is single. This time around I’ve been single for about five continuous years. I live alone with a small, affection-withholding dog. I’m very busy, and I’m very social, and yet stretches of time go by during which I do not feel the touch of another human. But that’s not entirely true. Because there are those who touch me. Folks beyond my doctor and my (incredibly handsome, erudite, gentle and highly recommended) dentist. For instance: the woman who performs my ritual mani-pedi. Like so many other ladies in this town, I make a monthly — sometimes weekly! — pilgrimage to the nail salon where an attendant awaits with a steaming, bubbling basin. Like the Greco Roman baths of yore, I attempt to relax with my fellow plebeians, other exhausted citizens stealing minutes from our days to try and absorb the healing properties of water and “ballet slippers.” We soak our extremities, they sand, buff and arm us with a …

tuenight peace anastasia liapis body image

My Body F-ing Rocks

One of the great things about getting older (I am 39 this year) is a better understanding of what you need for a life that is meaningful, purposeful and satisfying. The problem is, we live in a youth-obsessed culture. You can’t be online for more than three seconds without being bombarded by images of young, invariably thin women frolicking on a beach somewhere or exercising gleefully with perfect hair, nails and skin gleaming in the sunshine. How can anyone keep up with that? Forget anyone; how can you and your ever-changing (and ever-aging) body keep up with that? We can’t. I can’t. So rather than wasting more energy lamenting it – as I did in my 20s and 30s – I am letting go and remembering something really cool: My body rocks. [pullquote]When I say that I have an ass that doesn’t quit, I literally mean it: I have an ass that doesn’t quit.[/pullquote] I am a biologist. I spent years and years getting my PhD and, while I will spare you my dissertation, the …

I Hit My Breaking Point and Asked for Help

I flipped my hood up and started walking, on my way to buy beer at midnight on a work night. I had gotten up from my desk back in the apartment when the panic set in that I wouldn’t have enough of what I called “my medicine” to get me through the assignment I was working on and then carry me on to maybe four hours of passed-out sleep. Where writing was concerned, I was sure I was much more productive then. Fueled by wine, adrenaline and a liberal shot of rage, words flowed out of the space between sober and drunk, a space where I spent a lot of my time. Whether the words were good or not is debatable, but I thought they were better — and only possible — with a few drinks in me. It’s a writer’s ego that values output over possible self-annihilation. Can’t do it if you’re dead or incapacitated, but what’s that small detail? Bless our hearts. That night, dwelling on my bullshit logic, I put on my shoes and …

Seeking “Irresistible Grace” in My 50s

Age is transforming me into a graceless buffoon. Case in point: I’m cooking a giant pot of soup. Tonight, it’s kale and beans, made with the leftover bones of a rotisserie chicken from a few nights previous. (I call it “Free Chicken Soup” — buy a chicken, get the soup for freeeee!) My cell rings, the dog barks, my son stomps by grudgingly on his way to practice his trumpet. I twist to the left, and my elbow sends the big wooden spoon flying off of the counter and into the forest of dog hair on our kitchen floor. In my mind, I swoop down in one fluid movement to retrieve the spoon, rinse it effortlessly in the sink with one hand while dispensing an encouraging booty smack to my son, then pluck up the cell while striding to the back door to let out the dog. In thirty seconds flat, the world is set aright. Soup bubbling. Client satisfied. Son and dog on track. But my mind has forgotten my knee. In reality, as …

The Age of the Unrecognizable Face

I was at the salon having my nails done a few weeks back when I overheard a conversation between two women of a certain age. The impeccably dressed pair were poring over a series of glossy celebrity magazines while waiting for their nails to dry. They commented on the clothing and accessories and adorable babies but never quite mentioned any of the A-Listers by name. It was more of “The redhead who is blonde now and has a new face and was in the prostitute movie a few years back;” which received the response of “No. That’s not her. That’s the one from the talk show who got divorced again.” My curiosity was piqued. I sidled up to them and asked if they had a favorite actress from the current crop, and both women looked at me blankly. “I don’t know who any of these people are,” said one. Her friend countered with, “Maybe I used to know who some of them were, but I don’t recognize any of them anymore. Maybe it’s because I’m …

Peeing on Sticks: When Your Body Just Won’t Comply

I’ve learned on my journey to parenthood that I have fertility issues and it’s very hard for me to get pregnant. Also, I am prone to miscarriage. After my most recent (third) miscarriage, I asked the doctor if there’s a correlation to having both issues, like maybe one makes you more likely to have the other. She replied with a simple and direct “No.” My uterus gets a big fat C-.  It gave me one beautiful, intelligent son, so it doesn’t get a total fail, but I did nearly lose him at 17 weeks. This third miscarriage was just brutal, both physically and emotionally. I was just about to enter 10 weeks in my pregnancy when I received the awful news that there wasn’t a heartbeat any more. Getting pregnant in the first place was difficult because I don’t ovulate monthly. It’s more like quarterly. And after that pregnancy had ended I begun the cycle of getting pregnant all over again. Seriously, how can my reproductive organs just not work? It’s unknown why! They just …

Talk TueNight: Cocktails and the Corporeal [Photos]

For the September 29 edition of our Tak TueNight series, we gathered in a lovely Chelsea townhouse to discuss all things BODY — from how we treat our bodies to how our bodies are changing (ahem, WTF?!) as we age. Here are some snaps of a fabulous night. Special thank you to our chief sponsors Gwynnie Bee and Spruce  & Co. and our programming sponsors Tattly, Equinox and Hint Water. Sign up for our newsletter to be alerted about our next event in November! All photos by Owen McLean.    

Tell Us! What Do You Love About Your Body?

When you think about your body, what do you love most? Your sturdy hands? Your luxurious locks? Sure, we've all got complaints -- but this is your chance to brag. It's super easy to record a video right from your phone or screen and hit submit, so join us in the fun. You can even redo as many times as you want to get it right. And don't be disappointed if it takes a few minutes for your video to show up; we're doing some light monitoring behind the scenes.

Why Weight Loss Felt Like Betrayal

I am a fat woman. Most days, that’s merely a description, not a value judgment. It wasn’t always that way. At a young age, I learned that food was a double-edged sword. Wielded by my mother, food was a gesture of love that meant she was taking care of her family. In my hands, it was a way to soothe feelings of sadness, loneliness, hurt and anger. Growing up as fat girl with a heaping helping of nerd thrown in, I was bullied at school, ignored by boys and told through every possible medium that when measured against the Western Beauty Standard, I would never win. I’ve done all the usual things every self-hating fat woman has done: crazy diets, becoming best friends with bad self-esteem and creating the world’s best arsenal of self-deprecating jokes. It wasn’t until my mid-20s, after I was brave enough to cancel my subscription to Cosmo (which taunted me every month with pages full of clothes I could never wear, guys I could never date and skinny, beautiful models I …

Why A Nude Photo Session in Your 50s Is Not Such a Bad Idea After All

If you get those Living Social emails, you surely have received offers of discounted “boudoir photography” sessions. While I like a deal as much as the next underpaid editor, I’ve always viewed them as a spectacularly bad idea. Take off your clothes for some stranger in a second-floor studio on Canal Street? Not sure I want to live that social. Delete. (Come to think of it, this pretty much describes my Living Social bikini wax experience, but I’m almost positive there were no cameras involved.) Another reason boudoir photography has held no appeal: Mine is not a body built for the boudoir. Not that I’ve ever, knowingly, visited a boudoir, but I’m pretty sure the ladies you’d find there would be womanly, curvy, Rubenesque. By contrast, I possess super-sturdy legs, broad shoulders, narrow hips and a not-narrow waist. I have what I call a Man Back which makes for a bra size that starts, alluringly, with the number 36, only to be followed by a demure “A.” Practically a Man Front, in other words, at …

Self-Acceptance as a Woman Meant Starting with My Hair

I have been running away from my body for my entire life. For as long as I can remember, I was never very happy with the body I was born into. Even before my gender issues began to emerge, I was always the chubby kid — husky-sized suits and all. Yes, I was teased. Relentlessly so, for quite a while when I was young. The mocking jokes from my so-called friends cut like a knife. But I persevered, or so I thought. Unless you have walked a mile in my heels, it’s very difficult to explain what it is like to wake up every morning of your life knowing — really knowing — on a very visceral level that something’s just not aligned correctly. Something’s a little off – askance, as it were. It became quite apparent to me as I reached my teenage years that this was most definitely NOT the body that I signed up for. The realization scared me to death. It was like out of nowhere, I awoke to find myself …

Embracing My Bad Side: 11 Unflattering Selfies

On a lazy Saturday in September, I intentionally posted 11 of my most unflattering selfies on Facebook — just because. Well, not precisely “just because.” Here’s the what, the why, the how and the what happened of that frivolous undertaking.   The Experiment “Ugly selfies” are nothing new. Nearly five years ago, Bay Area poet Sonya Renee Taylor helped popularized the trend with “Ugly Picture Monday” on her Facebook page. She encouraged other women to join the pictorial exercise, which became a way to laugh at oneself and/or boldly pronounce one’s self-acceptance. For reasons that had little to do with being funny or displaying courage or promoting confidence, I too wanted to join the unprepossessing parade with my own “ugly” photos of my face and my body. I use the word “ugly” loosely, because I, like you, know that I’m not the worst-looking creature to ever walk the earth. And I, like you, have enough sense to know that not looking like Kerry Washington or Kim Kardashian or Karlie Kloss is not what makes one …

Mommy Hottest: Why I’m Not Sacrificing My Sexy for My Kids

“A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.” —Victor Hugo “Stacy’s mom has got it going on.” —Fountains of Wayne Last month, my husband came home after a week of work travel. He brought me this incredible dress from a street market in London — a steampunk mashup of leather and lace with a thin brass chain dangling from the neckline that somehow reads as both sweet and sexual. It’s the kind of completely impractical piece of provocative clothing he knows I adore but would never buy for myself. I went into the bathroom, slipped it on, then walked back into our bedroom. His face lit up. “I love it,” he said quietly, looking at me like I was the only person on the planet. Our two boys, who’d been busy opening the souvenirs he’d brought them, stared at me. “Awkward silence,” the 8-year-old stage-whispered. And then this, from the 12-year-old: “Mom,” he said, “you don’t look like you.” Lately, that’s the problem. Society has finally caught up with the fact …

She Quit Corporate America to Become a Beauty Blogger — That Was Only The First Challenge

Beauty blogging is very different than it was when I started in 2007. In fact, everything about beauty blogging and my life in general has changed. Back then, I was living an entirely different life: a 15-year career in corporate America as a human resources executive, living in the South, with no real creative outlet. I started out creative (I went to school for art,) but my father put the pressure on my sophomore year to “get a degree you can eat on.” So, I switched to Business. The need for approval had been established when I was young. Interestingly enough, it would come back to haunt me almost my entire life. Once on the winding ladder to company success, I blindly kept climbing. Externally, I became a very successful HR professional — but inside I was dying. Over 100 pounds overweight, I drank myself into a stupor at happy hours and was utterly miserable. I wanted — I NEEDED — to do something different. It was during that time that I decided to follow …