What is Body Positivity?: How to Pattern-Interrupt Body Shame

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We carry so many stories about ourselves in our bodies. On the days of confidence and bad-assery, we throw on hip-hugging jeans and strut out the door in our booties; on the days of smallness and body shame, we can barely make it out of our sweats and the expanse of our couch cushions. Somehow every day is different and, if you’re at all like us, you may have felt swept up in the emotional momentum of a day, a week, a month, or maybe even a year in a story about your body. You’re not alone in this experience; we are here with you. But you can alter this experience. Let us show you how.

Our brains love patterns and routines. Boy, do they. You likely have many different routines you repeat on a daily basis: your wake-up routine, your shower routine, your getting dressed routine, your make-up routine, your packing up routine, your getting-in-the-car routine…you get the idea. And those are just some of the routines you run through in order to get out of the house for the day. Imagine how many different patterns your brain falls into without even realizing it. Have you ever gotten into your car, buckled your seat belt, and wondered whether you locked the front door on your way out? All. The. Time. Your brain was following the pattern of “leaving the house” on autopilot without actively participating in completing the task you were up to. Some actions become so patterned in our brains—so routine—that we often don’t register that they are happening at all.

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In the same vein, you likely have a “getting dressed” and “getting undressed” routine. Whether you have a mirror in that space or not, your dressing routine likely includes some kind of physical self-assessment before deciding what to put on (or take off of) your body. Everyone’s self-talk is different, but here are some of the things that come up for us: Do my thighs look and feel big today? Should I wear something high-waisted to hide my tummy and hips? Am I wearing something slightly feminine to balance out my biceps? Is it too feminine that it looks weird? Why is there still cellulite all over my backside? Will that ever go away?

This conversation SUCKS. We know it’s a conversation you only have with yourself in your head, but if we had a girlfriend who let us get away with talking about myself like this on a consistent basis—let alone every day—we would start to develop some distance in that relationship. That conversation is not the mark of a positive, motivated, or kind friend. That routine does not set you up to start or end your day with any kind of valuable reflection. So why would you let that live in your head?!

Easier said than done, right? But chances are you aren’t reading this piece because you’ve discovered an inroad to being body positive on a consistent or reliable basis. And you’re not alone. The routine of body shaming is wired deeply into our brains from years of advertising and external stimulus telling you what things “should” look like. So body positivity must come from within.

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We must decide that there are better patterns and routines that we can adopt to create harmony with these incredible vessels that carry us through life. We must decide that it is worth the work—whatever that work might look like—to interrupt old patterns of negativity and establish new routines that support and celebrate who we are. Once we can see and embrace who we are, that opens up a beautiful, honest conversation with ourselves about how we take care of our bodies and how valued they are.

So how do you get started? If pattern-interrupting our brains is so hard, will I be able to do it? Yes and yes. Here are a few ways that you can start identifying patterns of body negativity and shaming. Then, when you’re ready, begin replacing these patterns with self-reinforcing habits and routines that create the kind of conversation you want to have with yourself: You look freaking fantastic! Beyonce would be so lucky. Absolutely throw on those booty-hugging jeans and fitted top. No one rocks them like you do!

Identify Body Shaming Patterns and Routines

  • Place a piece of paper or post-it note on the mirrors in your house. No, seriously, do it. Especially in the places that reflect your neck-down. Cut off your supply of body negativity and go cold turkey on body bashing. You’ll see right away where you’re sabotaging your day, from the moment you get up to the decision of how you will present yourself to the universe for the rest of the day. Ready for one better? Have a pen handy and write down notes on these pieces of paper about what you love. If negative thoughts creep in, write that down, too…then crumple it up and throw it away. The act of acknowledging and discarding negative self-talk can be a therapeutic entry point to “clearing the clutter” in your mind and creating space for positive thoughts and actions.

  • Set a timer during your morning routine. How much time do you give yourself to wake up, get ready, and get out the door? Observe for two weeks how much time you allow yourself to prepare for your day. Are you giving yourself adequate time to mentally arrive into your day? To feed yourself a healthy meal? Do you hold space for stretching or movement to wake up your physical body? Do you scurry through your morning, or give yourself enough time to complete your routines at your own pace? Mornings are so important; how are you spending yours?

  • Notice the stories you attach to your clothes. “This is the dress I wear when I don’t want anyone to notice me.” “These are my fat jeans.” “I wear these leggings when I’m too lazy to get dressed.” These may not be the exact statements in your head, but if you take the opportunity to pause and consider the conversation you’re having, these statements likely aren’t far from the truth. What you are doing here is shaming your body for the way that it is. Your brain is taking an interaction between your body and an generically-made piece of clothing and inventing a story to connect the two. Remember: our brains aren’t in the habit of developing body positive stories just yet, so letting your brain run wild with stories about your clothes and your body likely doesn’t result in a positive experience. Start noticing the stories or feelings that come up when you put on different clothes. Have a bag or a bin ready for the clothes that bring up negative or “meh” feelings so you can acknowledge the sensations they cause and decide to discard them. Everyone is looking for an excuse to KonMari* their belongings these days; here is your body positive inroad to clearing the emotional clutter in your closet.

Establish Body Positive Habits

  • Keep the post-it notes! Don’t worry; we aren’t sponsored by 3M. But we are big fans of writing yourself love notes that you can see and experience on the days where you need to call in positive vibes. Pick out sticky notes or comment cards and tape that excite you and leave yourself notes all around the border of your mirror.** Make sure you leave space to see your beautiful self; simply frame yourself with love notes from you, to you, that remind you of the kinds of conversations that are worth having in your head about yourself.

  • Give yourself the gift of the morning. Specifically, give yourself more time, simply because you are worth it. Don’t chase your day from the moment you get up.*** This may mean going to bed a little earlier so you can wake up 30 minutes or an hour in advance of your current wake-up time. Trade in rushing through your morning routines half-asleep for a morning practice that allows you the time and space to connect to your breath and your physical body before you leave the house. We love stretching first thing in the morning, as well as gentle yoga or meditation, and mindless tasks like emptying the dishwasher or boiling water. Keep a water bottle by your side and hydrate so your body knows it’s time to get up for the day. By the time you’re done waking up your limbs, your stomach, head, and heart will be on the same page.

  • Choose clothes that kick ass. Let’s be clear: one of us is a yoga teacher and we LOVE our leggings. But those are not clothes we go out and conquer the world in! Those pants are specifically made for a sweaty, movement-based practice where we honor our bodies and need a solid range of motion. So go conquer Crow Pose in your yoga pants, but nothing more. As part of your new, subdued getting ready routine, put on clothes that reflect the energy you want to call in for the day. Going to the office to work on a big, impending project? Put on a fun scarf or pair of shoes to channel the playful side of your task-master. Running a bunch of errands around the neighborhood? Grab your favorite jacket or hat and zip around in concrete jungle in style. What you wear matters to you. Let that be enough.

This post is open for comment so share with us what works (and what doesn’t) on your new path to body peace and positivity. When you’re ready to anchor in your body love and start building community around the movement, join us for an upcoming AIn’t No Body Like This Body event. We are ready and waiting to connect with you, sister.

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“I wanted to gift my present and future self with an exciting creative experience and photographic evidence of how badass I can be outside of my comfort zone...It’s not about a pose or an angle, but an energy.”

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CREDITS + GRATITUDE

*Thank you Marie Kondo for inventing the KonMari method and sharing your gift through The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I cannot imagine a world where you did not share your gift and passion. I am grateful to you for clarifying my vision to see the things that spark joy in my life.

**Thank you to the dressing rooms at American Eagle and Aerie stores for inspiring us to leave love notes where we see ourselves most clearly.

***Thank you to Hal Elrod and David Osborn for writing Miracle Morning Millionaires. Not only does your study of habit apply to financial wealth, it also applies to self-valuation and creating habits that support a sense of self-worth. I honor you for making the shift in routine a community-backed effort.

Chophouse Row Bridal Portrait Session

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What happens when you get a bunch of creatives together who want to spice up a rainy Seattle season? You get a Friday afternoon spent bonding in a hotel room over coffee and champagne and a whirlwind evening spent stalking architectural beauty in your own backyard.

When we cooked up the original vision for this shoot, we imagined a moody sunset over Seattle’s Discovery Park framed by tall grass and gnarled trees. I put together a mood board full of warm tones and bright pops of floral pizzazz from Angelene at Villanelle Floral Company to offset the soft, subdued hues of the sky and sea. And then the day came to shoot and the rain came with it. What’s a group of girls to do?!

#MakeItWERK! (Tim Gunn forever). We email pow-wowed early in the day and decided the game was afoot! Ashley from Beginning and End Photography and Tara from Tara Nichole Photo were instantly on the hunt for places to seek rainfall coverage. After deep internet diving and location stalking, we came up with Chophouse Row, a space we mutually admired through Instagram research and located thanks to Tara’s expert sleuthing. Holly (Holly Tipp Makeup) linked up with us at the hotel to create the beauty vision for Jenna Johnson (@peanut_butter_jenny), who is triple-threat preschool teacher, model, and amazing human. Together, we sorted through accessories, sipped champagne, and watched Friends before setting off to our photo destination.

For those who are unfamiliar, Chophouse Row is a historic auto row building in Capitol Hill with lofts on top. The main pedestrian alley and courtyard host local businesses focused on morning-into-evening food, beverage, and retail options to residents and visitors. After navigating our way through traffic and up hills, we arrived to city dwellers starting their happy hours in bar windows; gentlemen getting their hair styled under the bridge of our portraits; and a few Friday heroes grabbing an end-of-work-week ice cream cone.

Our Runaway With Me Elopements squad found new angles, light, and opportunities to be inspired around every corner during this portrait session. The wildcard of an unexpected location was an absolute blessing; we were able to drop into creative flow together, adapting to our senses, refreshingly open to what the architecture of our space offered. This shoot may have not gone to plan, and in its defiance, reminded us of the blessing of embracing the unexpected.

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Rocker Femme Vows in the City of Seattle

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Leia and John are two fiercely independent humans who kick butt and take names in all the things they set their minds to. The yin to each other’s yang, these two committed to making a life together in their Seattle home almost a decade ago. Marriage was not a part of their story; instead, this family focuses on creating a relationships full of love, support, understanding, and generosity. We were lucky enough to work with them on an intimate celebration of their relationship and an exchange of vows as a milestone marker of their commitment to one another.

Leia and John met at a concert. He instantly like her laugh, her tattoos, her Philly accent, and her taste in friends. She instantly like his kind nature, his beard, and the miracle that he was single. Together, they founded a relationship on travel, independence, and job love. They had their son Johnny six years ago and never looked back.

John admires Leia for her positive attitude and her drive. Leia admires John for his generosity. They share a lot of strengths: their ability to be their own person and “do what they want”, to follow their hearts, to do what they feel is right as individuals, and to support each other’s personal decisions. Together, they work hard to grow into parents and do the #adulting thing. They encourage each other’s growth by accommodating their family’s busy schedules and communicating about everything.

Marriage is not a part of their story; but commitment and love and support are. When Leia shared with us that she wanted to forego the big soiree but wanted to have an intimate celebration of the commitment she and John share, we had to make it happen. We were inspired by their fierce independence and how the City of Seattle brought them together to create a shared story of family. The reasons these two rock were brought literally and figuratively into the design of their day: a geode cake, a vignette of mountains on their vows, a leather jacket, their tattoos, and a non-traditional wedding ring highlight the strength and resilience that these two share. We created softness to contrast with feminine details with layered lace, pink and purple florals, cushy rentals, and elegant hair and make-up.

While fierce independence lives at the heart of these two individuals, it is the kindness and flexibility they share with one another that makes this a story of love and celebration. Leia supports John by always sharing the next chapter together: “If he feels he needs to change something, move, or find a new job, I will be there to help him through his life choices.” John supports Leia in her career growth: “I want to support what she does, or decides to do, every day.” They are most excited to watch their son grow and the impact that will have on their family.

Leia shared that, “My mom is my hero and I want to be just like her—a strong, happy, easy-going, beautiful woman. I am constantly sharing my childhood stories, traditions and photos to John and Johnny so they know what it was like growing up in Philadelphia. And to this day I still ask my mom questions about parenting and how to be an adult.” John is similarly inspired by his parent’s commitment to stay together, the sense of closeness his family felt, and the sense of always helping each other out. Marriage is not a part of their narrative; family is the brilliant centerpiece. Their story just happened and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Photos courtesy of    Kate Miller Photography   .

Photos courtesy of Kate Miller Photography.

FAQ: What to Expect from Ain't No Body Like This Body Boudoir Events!

Our mission:

Our boudoir events are for ladies who live for their universal tribe. We make feeling sexy in your skin easy by hosting an all-day girl hang in a cozy environment with all of your favorite things: coffee, champagne, snacks, bad-babe music, chick flicks, and pampering services to set the tone. The environment of our shoot changes with each event, but is consistent in its ability to foster community, connectedness, and body positivity. Read on to hear what you can expect from each of our events.

Q: Where are these events?

A: We change the location for each event because every boudoir experience is unique. We host events in cozy houses and rentals, welcoming and upscale hotels, and getaway and retreat locations. The spaces we select are bright, fresh, intimate, and embrace the seasonal offerings of the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Unless otherwise (and clearly) noted, we host our events and around the neighborhoods of Seattle.

Q: How many people participate?

A: Each event has spaces for up to 8 participants. If you want to share the event with friends, we recommend booking early to ensure you both get spaces in the same event.

Q: What does the event cost? And how do payments work?

A: That depends on when you book! The event costs $400 + taxes at regular price. We have a special Early Babe price of $350 + taxes for women who book two or more months before our event date. The Early Babe gets the worm (or the discount)! You can pay in full OR split the total cost into a deposit and 1 or 2 remaining payments. All payments are due a month before the event.

Q: What does the day-long schedule look like?

A: Our events start around brunch time (9:00-10:00am) and run all day until dinner time (5:00-6:00pm). Each participant is scheduled for a 45 minute hair and make-up session followed by 45 minutes of boudoir shoot time. After you sign up, you fill out a contact form to opt for your preferred time slots and we reach out to schedule your time slot the week of the event. Whatever your scheduled time slot, everyone is welcome to hang at our getaway space for the whole day to enjoy our pampering services, each other’s company, and delicious food and drinks.

Q: What kind of services are offered?

A: Every event is supported by the incredible photography by Kate Miller Photography; hair and make-up services by Holly Tipp Makeup; and event planning and coordination by Tapestry Event Company. Just like every event location is unique, so are our event services. We bring in other talented artists like florists, body positivity coaching, catering, and/or massage therapy. Check out the event page for which services to expect.

Q: What if this is my first time? What if I feel uncomfortable in front of the camera? What if I don’t know what to wear?

A: TOTALLY NORMAL—AND WE HAVE YOUR BACK. Your boudoir session will be exactly how you want it to be. Upon sign up, we share with you a thoughtful questionnaire to understand the “why” behind your shoot, what we can do to create a comfortable environment for you, and what your concerns are so we can be supportive. We can help you choose outfits, direct your posing, build your confidence, and laugh through any awkwardness. Bring it all into the room and be ready to let all your quirks shine.

Q: Is my boudoir shoot private or open to the other participants?

A: It’s up to you! Some women enjoy the shared space getting ready and pampered, then want a private, intimate shoot to help them get in the zone and shed any layers of insecurity that might come with an audience. Other women attend this event with friends and thrive off of encouragement and laughter during their shoot. The choice is yours, and if you would like your lady friends present, just let us know in the contact form so we can schedule you accordingly.

Q: What do I receive after my shoot?

A: After your session, you will receive a gallery of proofs within a week. Participants pick their top 10 photos to transform into 10 edited, high resolution images that come with the price of your boudoir session. You also have the option to purchase any extra images, prints, or albums through the photo gallery website!

Q: Ready to join us?!

A: Heck yes! Check out our Events page for the next #AintNoBodyLikeThisBody event, our Blog page for recaps of our most recent experiences, or email kate@tapestryeventco.com for inquiries.

Vintage Vow Renewal in the Olympics

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Kristle and Josh are two incredible humans. Their compassion and care for one another is palpable and their kindness is infectious. We learned about their marriage and family and instantly fell in love. Always down to travel, Kristle and Josh road-tripped out to the Olympic Peninsula with a talented team to create an intimate vow renewal in the forest. We are honored to share this day and their story with you!

They met at a house party on Sinto Street in Spokane, WA. The owners of the house were on Kristle's track team so she knew everyone there and anyone who would potentially walk through the doors. Josh walked in--an surprisingly unknown entity--and she was instantly drawn to him. They interacted over a game of beer pong, and though he had her distracted and flustered, Kristle kept up her winning streak (go girl!). She won’t ever let Josh forget he trolled on the first night they met.

Kristle was attracted to and still loves Josh for his confidence. In the early stages of dating, she was aware that she barely knew him but felt like they had known each other for years; like he was a piece of home while they both were away from home. While she initially had reservations about dating someone in the Military, they quickly melted away when Kristle realized that it was that same part of Josh that outlined his groundedness and strength.

They chose marriage because they believe in marriage. Kristle shared that, "I’m always in my feelings and want to shower those around me with love and encouragement. So I never saw myself without a husband and family. Didn’t think Mr. Right would come so soon, but I’m certainly glad he did". Each of their family dynamics may be a little different, but they were both raised with a similar foundation, and attribute their ability to confidently marry to those shared experiences of family. They love each other hard and trust their foundation, and that has helped them parent together fluidly. 

Cut to seven years and three boys later. To this day, they are best friends and "it’s always been that way". Their trust, respect, and love for one another has only grown deeper with all that they endured together over the years. Kristle and Josh are most excited for where the Military will take them and the adventure of raising their boys. Kristle makes a conscious effort to support Josh's job and all that entails. They use their differences to learn from one another and contribute to each other’s individual growth. They give each other a listening ear and different perspective. Their shared trust allows them to go anywhere and tackle anything.

Shortly after their vow renewal—and sending their kiddos off to the first week of school—Kristle and Josh received orders to Japan. While they feel blessed for being able to spend so much time near their friends and family the last few years, they are excited for their next adventure. Follow their family’s journey on Kristle’s instagram @hereyeswereolivegreen. We wish you and your beautiful family all the best!

Photos courtesy of    Beginning and End Photography   .

Photos courtesy of Beginning and End Photography.

Boho Elopement in Vantage

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Deanna and Wylie are a couple that make you feel ambitious and grounded at the same time. They work hard in their careers, travel internationally and often, and share a complementary chemistry that makes you feel at ease. They shared their wedding day with a large gathering of family and friends; however, the photographer from their big day was unable to recover many of the photos of their celebration.

Enter an amazing team who put together a bohemian dream of an elopement. We traveled to Vantage for the couple to renew their vows and recapture their love on camera. We partnered with this couple to select a location in Vantage, WA that challenges the traditional PNW imagery many people come to associate with where this couple calls home. From the dress to the jewelry to the hair and make-up, this team went above and beyond to recreate the excitement of exchanging vows. We at Tapestry Event Co. loved having a hand in bringing together the overarching vision, coordinating vendors, and creating the arch for Deanna and Wylie's commitments.

It took a few cars, an extensive road trip playlist, and lots of snacks, but the experience of that day was a blast. Deanna and Wylie worked the wind to their advantage and shared sweet words about their marriage. The vendors on site hustled to tackle the elements, which included direct sunshine, chilly shade, and gusts of wind. We exchanged laughs and tears and moments of adoration the whole way through. Before we knew it, it was time to pack back up and head home across the mountains. 

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The Boho Elopement All Stars:

This Boho Elopment was also published in White Magazine!

A Bride-to-be's Boudoir Experience

This 2018 bride-to-be had some misgivings about whether a boudoir photo shoot was right for her. We are so grateful that she opened up about her experience to the team behind "Ain't No Body Like This Body". Below, she shares what used to hold her back from self-celebration, how she got ready and excited for the shoot, what her experience was like during the event, and what she loved best about the process and final photos.

Photo courtesy of Kate Miller Photography.

Photo courtesy of Kate Miller Photography.

I had seen boudoir pictures on Pinterest over the years and always thought it would be fun to do. Honestly though, I haven’t ever really felt comfortable with my body up until about a year ago. When I found out about the opportunity to do this and learned more about the vibe of the shoot, I was immediately intrigued--although scared that I wasn't really "model material" enough to do it. I took myself shopping to get excited though, and bought things that I usually picture on other people. Because, why the hell not?! While I hope that I’ll always feel good about my body, I know that I won’t look like this forever and someday I’ll look back and think, “damn, I wish I could see how good I looked then”. I was still super nervous about how the pictures would turn out though, as I don’t have any professional modeling experience, but so SO glad that didn't stop me from doing this. 

I know Kate F. and she knows logistics like nobody else. She ensured all my questions were answered before the big day and was clearly as pumped to organize this as I was to attend it. The setting was absolutely gorgeous, and the cold brew coffee awaiting us was much appreciated. Everyone was there on time and gushing with ideas, outfit combos to try, and excitement for the day. I didn’t know anyone there except for Kate F., but we all immediately loosened up and morphed into girly mode while listening to throwback tunes—it felt like waking up from a sleepover with good friends. Kate F. cut off tags, folded my clothes, suggested outfit pairings, laughed at my jokes, and generally kept the positive energy flowing.

Holly shared tips and tricks as she airbrushed me into a Sports Illustrated model, that somehow still looked like me (albeit, the best version of me). As we chatted, she customized the look as she got to know me better, adding extra lashes and a little glitter on my eyes, following suite with my "more is more" life philosophy. She suggested adding a red lip towards the end of my shoot, to vamp things up a bit. Above all, she was so kind and gracious.

Kate M., the photographer, could probably moonlight as a lion tamer or snake charmer, if she wasn’t such a skilled photographer. She continuously reassured me that I was doing great, looking beautiful, and could do this, even when I felt like I was slipping into my usual self-conscious ways. When I asked her for more coaching, she gave it. When she told me how to lay or move, I did it. I’m still not sure how, but she captured the best of me, all of me. The cherry on top: the edited pictures arrived in just a few days’ time. Kate M. is a gem, and I look forward to working with her in the future to capture other special moments.

I really didn’t know what to expect, but it sure was a blast! The shoot took a little longer than originally planned, but the final photos were well worth it. That said, in a relatively short amount of time, Kate captured a lot of different angles—literally and figuratively: my smile and laugh, glowing skin (thanks Holly!); my hair, breasts and belly (thanks Mom!); a sly smirk, and a fierce sexiness that I wasn’t convinced I had in me, but clearly these photos put any doubts to rest. My fiancé was floored when he saw the photos, but even more impressive, I loved the photos of myself, the result every girl wishes for.

Without hesitation I would recommend booking a boudoir session with this dream team to a friend, and look forward to giving the gift of a session to someone too! Us ladies spend a lot of time, money, and energy to look and feel our best, why not capture that with photos you’ll treasure forever? Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.

For details on our next boudoir session, visit our Events page! The next "Boudoir Workshop: Ain't No Body Like This Body" is September 22nd. We only have a few slots left!

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