Nancy Drew and the Missing Abracadabra: A Halloween Rant

ea5e7f6c7b25c4e0a62f607ccea409e5There is a building down the street, white brick with cheap black window coverings, that plays host to terror. It’s not the zombies that bother me, mind you, as I believe the undead are unfairly besmirched by the living media. No, it’s something altogether more frightening. I am being haunted by the polyester impostors of Halloween present. There is evil in the Halloween Shoppe’s costume section and it must be destroyed.

Shockingly, I’m not talking about sexy costumes. While I think it’s a disgrace that Halloween has been reduced to a night when women are expected to expose our goodies to the cold, October chill, that’s well trod (hallowed) ground. We have a bigger problem. It’s not that we are overrun with sexy costumes, friends, it’s that we are deprived of interesting, well-made costumes at all. We don’t have any other options than sexy and, even those, are not truly sexy at all.

I want to stand next to a lightbulb, without fear of melting! I want to enter a costume store and have legitimate terrifying, gorgeous, or alluring costume choices! Why have we let Halloween descend into a night of cheap, ill-fitting suggestions of costume? This most wonderful of holidays, when a girl can dress up anything she delights in, has become one big avalanche of poorly made, poorly fitting, polyester swill that should never touch human flesh in the first place. We look cheap, darlings, whether or not we give into being Sexy Funshine Bear or not.

If I had any start-up capital whatsoever, I’d go into business selling one thing: well-made, fabulous costumes for women. When a woman wants to be scary for Halloween, she doesn’t want a plastic spider glued to a high school graduation robe, she wants realistic blood and an eerily deconstructed confection of gown. That Marie Laveau turban is so terrifyingly lovely, Hillary! Sure, we have our pick of supposedly “sexy” outfits from Harold’s Halloween Shoppe, but there’s nothing sexy about a polyester swimsuit covered in fake skunk fur. Just because I can see your bubbies, doesn’t mean you look hot, it means you might catch Sexy Woodland Creatures pneumonia. If you actually want to feel sexually empowered for the night, might I suggest that silk-lined burlesque costume a la Gypsy Rose Lee? Oh, wait. THAT DOESN’T EXIST.

d049df5b9fecbd8fb70a8c31f47ba1e1Halloween is meant to be a night of magic and mystery. Every October 31st, people step out of their houses clothed as something other than themselves. Why have we been driven away from that desire for whimsy and hoopla? It’s not that sexy costumes are bad, it’s that they’re barely costumes at all. No one actually thinks you look like “Sexy Rainbow Bright,” they think you look like you, wearing as little clothing as possible. That’s not sexual empowerment or fun, that’s being prey to an industry that wants to sell you cheap shit for lots of money. We can be sexy, but let’s also have some quality standards. More over, there should be options for women who want to leave our houses looking pretty, or horrifying, or breathtakingly repulsive. 

Not even the supposed “deluxe” costumes sold in Halloween shops are well-made or lovely. I refuse to believe you feel like a Clottette: Vampire Princess in that velvet faux-corset. There is no imagination in that outfit or any other sold next to it. Our magic—our fucking abracadabra— has been traded for cheap non-sex-appeal and flimsy construction. We’ve let our most spectacular holiday become just as shoddy as everything else we buy. Fast fashion has ruined Halloween and we should all be furious. We must demand quality, for Elsa’s sake!

Personally, I’m putting on a pinafore and penny loafers, tonight. Nancy Drew will be handing out candy to children, not fearing that a pumpkin might tumble over and set her aflame. Perhaps next Halloween, she will have solved the mystery of the missing abracadabra, or started her own damned costume company.

– Grace

If you’re trying to find a last minute costume, I’ve also suggested some easy, empowered costumes over at The Queen Latifah Show. Interesting uses for bananas, anyone?

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The Sewist Bride Buys a Wedding Dress

Two months.

Two months! In precisely sixty days, Professor McGregor and I are going to trot down the aisle and tie the proverbial knot. Woohoo! As you know, I’ve been a rather casual bride. We’re having a simple wedding: Sunday brunch, lovely low key little venue, lots of balloons and flowers and bunting. Thanks to a close held hatred of rigmarole, I’ve officially cut out a lot of the typical American wedding shenanigans. There will be no DJ or releasing of the doves or—just kill me now—garter toss. We can all agree that the marriage is the important thing, not having a gigantic sparkly princess day of wonder. That’s never been my dream.

Except, of course, for The Dress. The very small list of important Grace concerns in planning this shindig were, in order: Professor McGregor, the dress, cake. Since the dear professor is consistently the most lovely man alive and the (three) cakes are being made—fondant free!—by my longtime favorite bakery, the dress absorbed my worries. So, so many worries.

As an advanced sewist, there was one question to be answered. Will I make the dress myself? 

It’s a completely legit consideration, especially in this day and age. Not only are modern dresses hilariously over priced but they are, as I’ve recounted here before, remarkably homogeneous. If you want a strapless A-line white dress, no problem! The shops have rows and rows of neatly hung poofy confections for strap-haters. However, when you start swaying away from the herd? Fat chance. The section with sleeves is minuscule, colors other than white are unheard of, and no one who’s anyone gets married in a short dress.

For sewists, this is enraging. One trip to the bridal shoppe—they can never just be a simple shop, kittens—is enough to start even the most sainted bride plotting the doom of Badgley, Vera, and that hawker of polyester swill, David himself. Sewists are used to taking matters in their own hands. If a pattern doesn’t have sleeves, add them. If you hate the feel of flammable, melt-prone fabrics against your skin, don’t use them. Sartorial beliefs, we have them in spades! All it took was a couple of post-engagement internet browsing sessions for me to know the usual bridal shop was not my destiny.

So, I compiled a list. What was my dream dress, exactly? If I couldn’t find it, sewing was a viable option, so I could afford to be mindbogglingly specific. Thanks to vintage fashion catalogs, a vision quickly coalesced.

Note: Professor McGregor, if you’re reading this, stop right now! Your superstitious side demands it. 

Grace’s Dream Dress: A Bulleted List

  • Bottom-of-knee length
  • Lace bodice
  • Sleeves, preferably 3/4
  • Button back. Not a zipper with buttons over it, either. Silk-covered buttons with working loops or death!
  • Color featured somehow
  • Layered circle skirt for a 1950s silhouette
  • Natural materials, preferably silks
  • Lower neckline

Surprise! This dress doesn’t exist at David’s Bridal. Initially, I considered going with one of the oft-pinned, retro dresses of Dolly Couture, but I had serious doubts about their quality. Reviews were spotty, their standard offerings are all polyester, and no design perfectly fit my vision. Sewing was looking like my best option. And yet…

Y’all, I’m going to be straight up here. I didn’t want to sew my own wedding dress. Down that path lived stress and obsessively washing my hands while sewing and time-consuming muslin fittings. People kept asking me if I had a “clean room” to store it in, while I sewed. Fuck that. I can barely keep myself clean, much less my sewing room. Someday, I would love to make a complete couture gown for myself, but that day will come when there are no dissertations to finish or moves to make. So, I started finding vintage patterns, but dreading what my autumn would be like.

Enter Pinterest. On one of my random wedding dress pictures binges, I typed in the words “short British wedding dress.” The lovely designers across the pond are much more open to retro designs and lengths other than floor. I’d stumbled across a handful of designers with gorgeous not-quite-right-but-almost gowns.

Then I found her. Joanne Fleming, an up-and-coming wedding dress designer out of Brighton. She is famous for her craftsmanship, use of luxury French fabrics, and gorgeous twists on classic designs. If I wanted a bias-cut column gown, she had twenty amazing options. If I wanted a colored lacy confections, there were samples aplenty. And if I wanted a button-back, lace and organza, knee-length fifties confection with sleeves and a low neckline? Oh, that’s called the Annie dress.

Mine, custom made to my measurements and specifications, is shipping out next week. Next week! Yes, I have been ridiculously squealing “Wedding Dress!” at odd times, since getting this news. Professor McGregor is temporarily deaf from all the high pitched squees.

The only alterations I made were to add a blush pink back-bow sash and coordinating pink silk petticoat binding. It is lovely, it is wonderful, and I’m not slaving away in my sewing room, cursing the day lace was invented. Joy! 

What do you think, friends? Would you sew your own wedding dress or go with an indie designer/seamstress? I’d love to hear about what you chose for your own. Sure, it’s just a dress, but it’s probably the only one we’ll be asked about for the rest of our lives. It’s also worth noting that one of my favorite bloggers, Mel from Poppykettle, is much braver than I and taking the plunge on making her own. It’s sure to be a gorgeous, fascinating process.

– Grace

Note: Here’s a link to my favorite real bride shoot, featuring an Annie dress. Lovely, no?

Get In The Bathtub, Dude: An Advertising Field Guide to Men

179b653565641b1dee73ecbdf6a7a69fThe time is upon us once again. People are sporting garish color combinations, insisting their friends eat chip-and-bean casserole concoctions, and complaining at every Saturday wedding they attend. It’s football season, kittens!

Usually, I’m not much of a football fan. I enjoy watching the actual game well enough, but take umbrage with so many aspects of it—hyper-masculinity, health dangers, its effect on education, and those wretched pink Lady ___insert appropriately intimidating mascot__ Fan! t-shirts—that it’s hard to give more than a rousing “Woohoo!” when that College Team I Follow wins. Thanks to living with a man whose school is doing particularly well this year, however, I’m watching a lot more football. And, as a result, football commercials.

Y’all, these commercials have totally opened my eyes. Back before Professor McGregor, I semi-longed to understand the proverbial menfolk. My mind told me they were just the same as me—regular people, with the added bonus of a penis—but friends told me they were mysterious creatures, mystifying in their ways and hairiness. It turns out, all we needed to do was watch more ESPN to discover the truth.  There are lessons to be learned, in between those brief periods of programming you actually want to watch. Sports advertising understands men and gives the rest of us handy man-dealing tips.

Truth #1: Men love to take baths, especially with wolf soap. I would never have known this from living with my teenage brother, but men really love being clean. Just when you think a man wants some sexy time with his lady love – boom! – he suggests bathing instead. And not bathing-together-in-a-sexy-way either, but side by side, each person with their own bathtub. Men cannot share tubs with you! They want to enjoy the warm water and romantic sunset in their own watery space! The only creatures a man wants to bathe with are wolves and eagles, who lend their essences to man soap. I always thought Professor McGregor’s showery scent was something with sandalwood or cedar, but these commercials are pretty insistent that he bathe alone in animal extracts.

Truth #2: Low Testosterone is an epidemic that must be solved. Everyone knows that the most important part of being a man is having a vigorous man member, which rouses quickly at the slightest hint of a womanly presence. But when men age, their testosterone levels naturally decrease, apparently making it really hard to do the one thing men are supposed to do all the time! Judging by the amount of commercials, low testosterone is reaching epidemic proportions in America. Sure, your husband tells you that he doesn’t want to canoodle, because he has the flu, but that is really the fever of low testosterone. A man who cannot canoodle is no man at all! We must save the canoodling man bits people! Who wants to plan a benefit walk/run for canoodling with me?

Truth #3: Men hate cooking, but love cheese. When men get together, they don’t want to make things. That’s crazy talk! Men don’t cook, they grunt and swear and worry about their fantasy football stats. To keep up their energy, however, they need to eat. That’s where cheese comes in. If you’re hosting a man party, it will only be a hit if you buy fast food covered in dairy product. Chicken tenders + CHEDDER! Pizza + FOUR CHEESES! Tacos + CHEESEY SAUCE CHEESE BYPRODUCT! These are man foods. Leave the expertly barbecued pork loin at home, Harold, unless you want all the other men to mock you.

72a16f1bdb1b793426a0cb0464eeeb0dTruth #4: Men are powerless, when presented with breasts.  All my adult life, I’ve had the power to rule menfolk and I didn’t even know it. When presented with breasts, men forget how to properly function as human beings. They crash cars, spill soup, and embarrass themselves in front of their friends, by following woman orders. This apparently, includes gay men, since I’ve never seen a sports commercial featuring a man distracted by great man shoulders. Surely, ESPN wouldn’t assume gay men don’t like sports and, thus, don’t need targeted advertising. Obviously, there’s just some sort of natural kryptonite reflex built into men, when it comes to breasts.

When Professor McGregor comes home tonight, I’m going to try out all these new, amazing lessons I’ve learned from sports advertising. Sure, he said he wanted to come home, make bison steaks and Brussels sprouts, then watch Much Ado About Nothing, but he’s a man! I suppose I’ll throw all those vegetables away, order a pizza loaded with four pounds of cheese, give him a blood test to diagnose his current testosterone levels, and force him into the bathtub instead. Thanks, ESPN!

– Grace

Pick-Up A Date, Darling: Say Hello & Get Seriously Friendly!

hello2 004Hello, dearest readers!

Autumn is our favorite season, here at Spinsters. There’s a nip in the air, there are adorable sweaters in every store, and everything smells like cinnamon. There is no season more romantic than fall! Which is why, of course, it can also be a harrowing season for singles. Who will you take to your office Thanksgiving potluck or on an apple-picking adventure in the country? Not that we have apple-picking adventures in Texas, but I’m sure that’s what romantic dates are like in the North. Do not burst my bubble, kittens!

So, anyway. Apples. Romance. Canoodling. FALL HAS ALL THE GOOD THINGS! All you need is someone to share them with, like—just off the top of my head—that foxy librarian at your local branch, who you can’t stop gazing upon. You know the one, darling: brunette, sweater vests, deep piercing green eyes behind horn-rimmed glasses. This is the year for your literary love affair, I can feel it. But how exactly do you begin the romance?

Say hello! 

Does that sound too simple? In love, simple is always best. It can be totally paralyzing to take that first step though, so we’ve thought up our favorite suggestions for kicking off your Autumn of Adoration. (Yeah, that’s what I’m calling it now. You’ll thank me later.)

  1. Compliment Away: If you’re having a hard time striking up a conversation with your future beloved, keep it positive. Pick out something personal about him or her—obscure band t-shirt, Alice in Wonderland tattoo, funky hand-knitted scarf—and let your intended know how much you like it. People usually respond well to being complimented, especially if it’s on something they love or put a lot of thought into. It shows that you notice them!
  2. Ask How Her/His Weekend Went: Unfortunately, if your love interest du jour is a librarian, there may not be much to notice. Librarian, lovely though they are, can be so buttoned up! In that case, a simple “Did you have a nice weekend?” will do. Intsant conversation starter! Of course, make sure you’re not in a no talking zone, liebling.
  3. Bring An Apple Pie: Your words have failed you, coming out high and jumbled. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Instead, have you thought about professing your interest through baked goods? Bring an apple pie for the office or cupcakes for your favorite librarians, as a thank you! People will be impressed with your kitchen skills and seek you out to say so. Sometimes, it’s easier to be on the receiving end of those compliments.

set1Our final tip, one truly simple in its sincerity, is just this: Smile! A gorgeous smile says so much that words are barely needed. Flash a grin, say a quiet hello, and let your pretty pearly whites do the work! In that vein, today’s sponsor, Hello Oral Care Products, is here to help. We’ve partnered up with Hello to help you get seriously friendly this autumn.

With delicious flavors—Sweet Cinnamint is my personal favorite—Hello mouthwash, Hello toothpaste, and Hello breath spray are the ideal accessories for your date night routine. No one wants to be stuck saying goodnight with onion breath! Luckily, no kiss need be avoided. Hello breath spray is pocket-or-purse friendly and beyond adorable.  You don’t have to be embarrassed to freshen up in public. Oral hygiene for the win!

Even better, all of Hello’s seriously friendly products are made right here in the USA and never, not ever, tested on animals. Their products are not only naturally friendly but alcohol-free, so that Hello mouthwash is easy on your delicate palate. They look great on your counter—with streamlined, user-friendly packaging designed by BMW DesignworkdUSA—but make both your mouth and your conscience feel great. You can find Hello at your local Walgreens, Duane Reade, Target, CVS, and other awesome oral care retailers!

Especially for friends of Spinsters, Hello has also graciously sponsored a giveaway of some of their fabulous products! I’ve been using their stuff all week and can’t say enough good things about it. You will love it and I’m thrilled to give some of these fabulous products away to a lucky reader!

Hello! 009

One lucky winner will win a Hello sunshine toothbrush, Hello mouthwash in Mojito Mint, and two Hello breathsprays, one in Supermint and one in Pink Grapefruit Mint! Woohoo!

How to enter the Hello Products giveaway: 

  • For +1 entry Answer The Following Question: What’s your favorite pickup line?
  • For +2 entries Like Hello on Facebook (http://facebook.com/helloproducts)
  • For +3 entries Tweet About Giveaway with the following message: Date prep is easy with @helloproducts. Enter to win flirty & friendly oral care from (Insert Your Twitter Handle Here) & #SayHello

For each way you enter, leave a comment on this post! On Friday, I’ll draw the winner and send you your lovely oral care goodies!

Just to get you started, I’ll share my favorite pick-up line: “If you were a Dementor, I’d become a criminal just to get your kiss.” Literary pick-up lines are my jam! What’s your favorite?

*This post has been sponsored by the fabulous Hello Products*

The Things We Do For Pretty.

You guys. Have you ever thought about the thing you do to achieve that seemingly elusive “pretty”? I had never really given my “pretty” routine a good thinking on until recently – but then I did – and now….now I just can’t believe all the things I do for “pretty”.

I eat at least an ounce of walnuts every morning. I don’t particularly like walnuts. But I eat them because I read that they make your skin “pretty”.

I drink a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in 8 ounces of water as soon as I wake up every morning. It’s not horrible, but I don’t love it. Again, I read this will make both your skin and hair “pretty”.

I spend hours upon hours researching tips/tricks/advice on how to be “pretty”.

I can not honestly remember the last time I wasn’t on a diet. Because it is so ingrained in my psyche that skinny is “pretty”.

I constantly fuss with my hair because I want it to look “pretty”.

I spend a disgusting amount of money on products that will make me “pretty”.

I spend hours hating myself because despite all of the above, in my eyes, I’m failing at being “pretty”.

FUCK PRETTY. Seriously, fuck it. What about healthy? What about confident? What about intelligent, and funny, and thoughtful, and caring, and compassionate, and kind, and loving? What am I doing to on a daily basis to achieve those things?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to start neglecting my hygiene and do nothing but sit around watching old episodes of Veronica Mars. Ok, so yes, I do plan on watching a lot of Veronica Mars, but I’m also going to do other things. Things that fulfill my desire to be healthy, confident, intelligent, funny, thoughtful, caring, compassionate, kind, and loving. Because fuck pretty y’all. There are so many better things than pretty.

– Mae

Does This Plumcot Make Me Look Old?

0801caa12baeb21bb6648a232a5305e1Do not go to the grocery store, kittens. Sure, you desperately need a new jar of Biscoff after last night’s Buffy marathon, but is that cookie dip worth your self-esteem? The local mini-max may seem oppression free, but you’re wrong. So, so wrong! I have seen evil and it wears a Piggly Wiggly name tag.

I may be giving in to hyperbole here, but it’s hard to think through all the trauma. The last three times I’ve been to grocery stores in town, a horrid scene has unfolded. Why, my heart writhes, just recounting it here.

Clerk: Hello, ma’am! How’s you’re day?
Grace: Peachy, thanks There’s no sign of the apocalypse today, so I can totally bake cookies tonight.
Clerk: Uh ok. Paper or plastic?
Grace: Paper!
Clerk: Here’s your receipt and a Buddy coupon for the little one at home.
Grace: *screams, flails, runs*

The little one at home. THE LITTLE ONE AT HOME.

Kittens, people think I have a little one at home. What the fresh hell is happening in the world? Sure, when I turned 28, I joked about how it was all downhill from here, because of my depleting cellular renewal, but the operative word was joked. I didn’t actually think I’d go from being carded for pink wine to being offered free pacifiers overnight. The great grocery gods have moved me from one demographic to another and they must be punished.

Apparently, I look like a mom. Something about me—my hair, my makeup, my magic invisible scrunchie that only grocery clerks can see—screams that I am responsible for another human life. Damn it, I am not a mother. It’s not that I am against mothering, it’s just that I’m relishing these years of being decidedly un-mom.  I can wear low cut tops, without fear of toddler hands! I drink on weeknights! I never clean up soggy Cheerios!

It’s the contents of my basket, isn’t it? It’s no secret that grocery clerks judge what comes by on the conveyor belt. Just ask any thirteen year-old girl, when she’s confronted with all male cashiers and a pressing tampon quest. Priyanka knows you’re judging her feminine product strength, Bryce, she’s not dumb. If I had to guess what purchase was causing this phenomenon, I’d go with fruit. In my college days of Pop Tarts and Gushers, no one ever assumed I was spawning, but throw a plumcot in there and you’re basically PTA president. Care just a little bit about your dietary health and—poof!—it’s all nappies and child leashes. 

78238d97631b7de2fdfbfa1b037d52d9World, let me have this moment, okay? Stop trying to force your expectations of child possession on me. Just because my hips are wide and made for baby making does not mean I am currently making babies! Not every late twenty-something has or even wants children, you know. Unless you see a child or child-specific items in a cart, it’s best to not mention les enfants. I could be child phobic for all you know! If you came into my office, I wouldn’t assume you’re on Viagra, just because you’re over the age of sixty-five. I’d give you the chance to proclaim your testosterone level. It’s common courtesy! 

Sigh. I’m going to start wearing those low cut tops to the grocery store, in the hopes of ending this disturbing trend. Of course, then maybe they’ll just think I’m a trashy mom chasing her youth. That’s worse somehow, isn’t it?

– Grace

You Are Not A Before

lucky-ad-2Are you a woman over the age of twelve? You should definitely be on a diet. It doesn’t matter if you’re a size 2 or a size 20, there is always weight to lose or maintenance to be done. How will you ever find love and succeed in the world, if you don’t know your daily caloric intake? It’s not just about beauty, of course, it’s also about health. Everyone knows that health is a number on a scale. Today is the first step in a journey! You are a before now, but soon you will be an after!

We’ve all heard this message. As women, society expects us to be on a never-ending quest for perfection. If it’s not fat to vanquish, it’s wrinkles or cellulite. This message, this unyielding refrain of “Be prettier, already!”, makes me want to find the nearest dried up lake, fill it with full fat chocolate pudding, then wallow in its sugary goodness until I seize and/or drown. I am, it seems, alone in that. Lately, my Facebook feed has been overrun with women in their late twenties on a “journey.” Friends, of all shapes and sizes, are posting caloric counts and exercise logs and—worst of all—before and after photos.

You’ve all seen these pictures. On the left, there is a somewhat/slightly/vaguely chubby woman glowering into a mirror, while on the right is that same woman turned into a glowing, smiling health angel. The caption is, always, thus:

“I never thought I’d share this photo, friends, but it’s time for me to be brave. This was me three years ago: fat, depressed, and deeply out of touch with my health. Through hard work and hours of dedication, I’ve taken control of my life. If that girl can do it, so can you!”

Just last week, one of my old school friends posted an eerily similar photo-and-caption combination. When we were younger, she was always one of the chubbier girls in our class—not morbidly obese or anything, just somewhat out of the norm—which all changed when she went to college. She became a nutrition major, an avid runner, and is currently getting her physical training licence. That is all fantastic! She found her raison d’être and is super happy in life! What’s not fantastic, however, is that she completely disavowed the person she was before. By calling herself an after and raising up a picture of her teenage self as proof of what she had overcome, it turned that girl I loved into a negative. She’s now an after, not a before. 

girlancientprejudiceremovedLThere, right there! That’s my problem with before-and-after photos and the sensationalism of weight loss in this era. Losing weight doesn’t and shouldn’t make you a different person. More over, being overweight does not make you a before. A woman is not a butterfly, waiting to emerge from a cocoon of shame, with just a little diet and exercise. You are a real person, have always been a real person, and will continue to be a real person until you die…no matter what you weigh.

While I completely understand and support people wanting to lose weight, because of either happiness or health issues, a scale number shouldn’t be what defines someone as worthy. By framing our body image in terms of before-and-after shots, I worry that we internalize the narrative that after is always better. Weight loss doesn’t make you a better person and it certainly doesn’t make you a different one. You may be more confident, able to shrug off negativity more easily, or happier in your own skin, but you are still Odette. Losing weight is not a woman’s one great accomplishment. If we look at it as such, we are encouraging women who are not in perfect shape to hide away from the world, because conventional beauty is the sole characteristic of a successful woman. The message does not become one of inspiration, but one of shame.

I think it’s wonderful to share accomplishments, especially ones you’ve worked so hard for, but maybe we need to check which ones we’re assigning highest value to . It’s okay to be unhappy at a size 18, but it’s also alright to be happy as one. There are more important things to you than skinny or chubby or gaunt or fat. Are you kind to other people? Are you pursuing a long held dream? Do you make really awesome apple pie? All of these things make you more worthy than fitting into tiny pants. I wish there were more people posting before-and-after shots of academic success or pie baking attempts. If I’m going to be an after someday, I want to be the after of literary success and dressmaking skills.

In the end, however, I don’t want to be an after. I want to be Grace, living her life. I am not Before-Grace, just as you are not Before-Odette. This day, this person you are right now, is just as important as the one you will become. Neither one should be judged by the size of her pants.

-Grace