The Pursuit of Perfection….And How it Almost Killed Me – Part 1

“YOU HAVE THE PERFECT BODY

That’s one statement I’ve heard time and time again by numerous men – men that have been younger than me, older than me, even married men who have wives and children. I’ve been told by men, using these terms bluntly, that I have the perfect tits and the perfect round ass. Men have told me they get hard after seeing a picture of me. Usually all this is said when alcohol is involved, but not always.  Even though I’m flattered when I hear someone say that I have the perfect body, it’s always been a deadly statement to hear.  When I hear it, I secretly roll my eyes because it makes me think that my body is the only thing that these men are looking at and paying attention to.

I’ve had men tell me in my ear the sexual things they’d do to my body if they were alone with me – even when I was minor under the age of 18.  Just the other day I had someone offer to buy a hotel room just so he can do “unimaginable things to me”. True story.  I have the arrogant prick’s name and number if anyone wants it. But after hearing men tell me I have the perfect body again and again and again, believe it or not it can start messing with how I feel about myself. At one point in my life, I started to believe that my body was the only thing I had to offer and nothing else about me mattered because that was the only thing anyone ever commented about. Not my athletic ability, not my weird sarcastic sense of humor, not my creative mind, not my kindness, but MY BODY.

And when you start believing that your body is your only asset to life, you start to tear down yourself mentally and physically if you don’t maintain that “perfection”. You do unimaginable things to yourself. You become so obsessed with perfection that you soon don’t realize what you are doing to yourself. You can become someone you don’t recognize. Perfectionists think everything is black or white, all or nothing. They are the ones who set unrealistically high expectations for themselves and put so much pressure on themselves to achieve those expectations; and when they don’t, they are the first ones to criticize about why they didn’t achieve them. They think about what they did wrong and then tell themselves that they cannot make any mistakes again. Perfectionists internalize everything on themselves to the point where they have such negative self-doubt, that they soon start believing those negative thoughts. Constant negative thinking and feelings of self-worthlessness are one of the main symptoms of depression. Perfectionists are the unlikely individuals who can suffer from depression and anxiety. So how could an outgoing, sociable, athletic Catholic school girl from an upper middle class family like me have felt so worthless to the point where I tried to commit suicide five different times?

Let’s start from the beginning on who I am and my pursuit of perfection in wanting the perfect body, the perfect score, the perfect life…and how it literally almost killed me.

The Younger Years

Ever since I was a young child, I was an active girl with a wild imagination. I’ve always loved performing.  I enjoyed watching movies and acting them out from start to finish. One of my favorites was A League of Their Own. I would act out Madonna and Geena Davis’s characters because they were opposites and I wanted to be a combination of both of them. With my imagination, I became a restaurateur. I would create a restaurant in our house and serve my parents food.  I even became a tour guide. When our family would go on vacation, I’d be videotaped giving tours around our condo.  I was a girl in her own world, who liked to do her own thing at a young age, but was also very shy at times.

I’m the youngest out of seven kids, as well as being the youngest out of all my cousins. Most of my siblings are half-siblings, except for one. Both of my parents have been previously married. Even though I’m close to all my siblings, I’ve always felt closest to my brother Matt. Matt is my only full-blooded sibling and when I was younger I wanted to be just like him.  He was and still is one of my biggest influences in my life. I wouldn’t have played soccer or basketball or any of the other activities I was involved in as a child if he didn’t participate in them first. When my brother started playing soccer, I remember cheering him on the sidelines and wanting to get out there and play myself. Sometimes to keep me occupied on the sidelines, my dad would time me with his watch to see how fast I could run to a designated spot and back. I was a girl who had a lot of energy to exert and dance and gymnastics, even though I still love to dance today, at that time wasn’t going to cut it.

When I started playing soccer, I remember I was on a West Des Moines youth co-ed team and one of my first memories was knocking down a boy while playing. From then on I knew this was the game for me.  Even at a young age, I liked the aggressiveness of battling up against someone else for the soccer ball, the competitiveness and the will to win, and I liked to run. But I was still a girl at heart. At the end of every game I would do a cartwheel that I learned from gymnastics (don’t worry I did eventually grow out of that). From then I went to an all-girls soccer team. Our team was called The Rockets, my dad was one of the coaches. And if anyone has had my dad as their coach, they know he was and still is a hard ass.  My father, Keith, is someone who challenges people and encourages them to push themselves to their potential. My dad grew up as an athletic person himself and achieved accolades in football, basketball, and track. We won our first championship in a tournament in 1997 and we were just six years olds. Our team was unstoppable; we rarely lost. And since we rarely lost, at a young age I despised losing, and that soon transferred to every aspect in my life – athletics, academics, the arts, you name it.  Anything I did or was involved in, I wanted to be the best that I could be, and in my mind, the best equals being perfect.

When I started attending school at Sacred Heart Catholic School, my perfectionist mindset set in. I would go on to be a straight A student in every class, and if I didn’t receive all A’s, I would study harder and longer, even all-nighters if I had to. I soon became known as the tall, athletic girl due to my growing height that would surpass the boys. I even dominated in P.E. class where I would eventually beat some school records by the time I finished middle school. In addition to my continual involvement playing competive soccer, I started playing basketball, where yet again my father was one of the coaches. I also started playing the piano when I was five years old, and then the clarinet when I was 10 years in the school band. I also performed in the school choir. I thrived on being active and anything I could be involved in, I would jump in. I was even apart of mock trial and on the chess club one year.

All of my extracurricular activities took up quite a bit of my time to where I was one to not really have a social life growing up. Playing sports was my priority, especially soccer. At point I was on three soccer teams and two basketball teams. Throughout middle school and high school, I played soccer 11 out of the 12 months in a year. Even though I wanted to perform, choir and band were always put on the backburner. I participated in concerts, competitions, and theater productions, but my teachers knew my athletics came first. It was bittersweet because I felt I was never able to show my talent in the arts to its fullest. However, I knew there were other students who were more naturally talented singers and musicians, whom I looked up to and wanted to emulate.  They inspired me to still want to make the effort and be the best that I could be.

But why would I choose sports over the arts? It’s simple. I was an exceptionally good athlete, and I wanted to be the best. It wasn’t enough for me to be the fastest girl at Sacred Heart; I wanted to be faster than the boys. I remember asking our gym teacher, Mr. Flaws, if I can race against the fastest boy in the class. Now I would tend to lose every time, but not by much. Even at a young age I wanted to show that girls can compete against boys in anything. But being athletic also brought backlash from certain types of people.

I don’t know what it is about girls, but they can say some unsettling comments sometimes. I remember someone asking me in a snarky manner, “Why do you have to be so good at everything?” Now I had heard that more than once, and I never knew how to respond to that, and still don’t today. I learned when I was young that if you’re good at something, either people are going to like you for it or envy you for it. I don’t know where anyone stood on that matter, but I know I did feel alone because I felt I was different in how I acted and how I even looked.

Growing up I felt out of place because I didn’t look like any of the other girls. I was tall with long limbs, a long neck and a prominent chin. I had crushes on some boys throughout school, but I was usually taller than them so not many of them reciprocated that attraction towards me. I never thought of myself as a pretty girl then since I wasn’t petite and demure or any other stereotype girls were supposed to be. I was a girl who liked to compete and wasn’t afraid to get dirty and sweaty. I definitely wasn’t popular, but I did secretly want to be noticed and to feel accepted by my peers. And the only way I felt I could do that was to excel athletically and academically.  I thought if I was never going to be pretty in the eyes of anyone, I at least was going to be noticed and accepted through everything else I wanted to achieve. With that, I focused my attention on how I can be the best at whatever I put my mind to.

I was a disciplined child. Many kids my age would enjoy going out to play and have sleepovers. Sure I did that at times and I had birthday parties, but there was something inside me that told myself if you’re going to be the best, you have practice it to achieve it. I used to have a daily schedule where I would wake up the same time every morning, make my bed, eat breakfast, go on a morning walk or run, and I would work on my skills everyday whether it was my soccer skills, basketball skills, practicing the piano or clarinet, lifting my small weights or doing an ab workout – all at the age of 7 or 8. I would finish the evening with writing stories and reading a book before heading to bed.

I felt being talented would be “the thing” that helped me to become noticed because even when I was a young girl I already had self-esteem issues with how I looked. And then high school hit where I achieved one of my biggest accomplishments in my entire life along with the incident that changed my life and sent me on a different path of suicidal thoughts, anxiety and depression that I didn’t foresee.

I hope you stay tuned for my next post where I will dive into the rise and fall of a soccer player and how it changed the rest of my life, ultimately for the better.

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SAG Awards 2019 Red (or Silver) Carpet RECAP

The 25th Annual SAG Awards were televised this past Sunday, January 27th honoring television and film performers apart of the Screen Actors Guild. Presented by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), the awards focus on both individual performances as well as on the work of the entire ensemble of a drama series and comedy series, and the cast of a motion picture.

This year the SAG Awards celebrated their 25th anniversary, which is known as the silver anniversary.  As a dedication in honoring the silver anniversary, the red carpet this year was actually silver – and boy was there some red carpet standouts (especially the men). From shimmering metallics to pops of color and textures, below are some of my personal  favorite red carpet looks.

Top 10 Favorite Looks – Women (in no particular order)

1. Rachel Brosnahan – Dior Haute Couture; Irene Nuewirth jewels; Jimmy Choo shoes

Rachel, who won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,  looked marvelous in this pale icy blue color which complemented her fair skin tone. I loved the strapless neckline, retro silhouette and feminine details with the bows across the bodice and throughout her statement earrings. Her simple sleek hairdo was a great choice to highlight the earrings.

2. Emily Blunt – custom Michael Kors; Forevermark diamonds

Emily, who won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for A Quiet Place, looked amazing in this pink color. I loved this Barbie pink hue on her! I personally am not big into ruffles, but I did like these ruffles around the neckline because they highlight her toned arms and back. Her low chignon was a good choice so the neckline and drop statement earrings could be the emphasis of her look.

3. Mandy Moore – Jason Wu; Jimmy Choo shoes

25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 27 Jan 2019

This was my favorite black dress on the red carpet! I loved the simple silhouette with embellished off-the-shoulder neckline along with her hair being pulled pack in a sleek low ponytail to emphasize the neckline and highlight her shoulders.

4. Glenn Close – custom Ralph Lauren Collection

glenn close

Glenn looked outstanding in this white pantsuit. It complemented her short hair and the silver jewelry was the perfect accent to this look. Also, I’m so happy she won the award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role for her role in The Wife, it was well deserved!

5. Emma Stone – Louis Vuitton

I loved this different take on a pantsuit with a gold asymmetrical blouse and black wide leg trousers. I liked the dichotomy of the feminine gold bow at the neckline with the menswear pants. I also felt this overall look was an homage to The Favourite with the fabrication and embellishment of the blouse and ruffle details on the sleeve as a nod to the royal setting of the film in the early 1700’s.

6. Lady Gaga – Dior Haute Couture; Tiffany & Co jewelry; Jimmy Choo shoes

I liked this silhouette on her petite frame – from the deep v-neck to the ruched bodice to the high slit. I loved the juxtaposition of the white hued gown against her vampy oxblood lip and nails; it had an old-Hollywood 20’s look. And the choker added the perfect touch of glam and edge to the overall look.

7. Sandra Oh – Jenny Packam; Atelier Swarovski earrings

Sandra Oh, who won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series for Killing Eve, looked stunning in this red one-shoulder embellished crepe gown. It’s a great silhouette, amazing hue on her skin tone, and I liked the trendy one-shoulder. My favorite part though was her hairdo – I loved the curly bangs and top knot.

8. Catherine Zeta-Jones – Zuhair Murad; Chopard Jewelry

25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 27 Jan 2019

I loved this overall look – the plunging neckline to the sapphire shimmering beads with sheer sleeves and high slit.  I loved this color on her skin tone and the silhouette looks amazing on her curvy body.  I like the simple sleek hairdo as well – it complements the dress very nicely.

9. Robin Wright – Oscar de la Renta; Jimmy Choo shoes

25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 27 Jan 2019

I liked this gunmetal metallic gown on her with the plunging neckline and high slit; as well as her loose beachy waves. It exuded a sexy yet effortless look.

10. Patricia Clarkson – Zuhair Murad

25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 27 Jan 2019

I loved this gown on her! I liked the bodice of this Grecian-style white silk chiffon couture gown which is embellished with intricate gold embroidery, gold beads, jewels and pearls. I also liked the open sleeves which had a cape-like effect.

Top 10 Memorable Men (in no particular order)

1. Chris Pine – Ermenegildo Zegna XXX

25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 27 Jan 2019

Chris looked white-hot in this ivory double-breasted tuxedo. This is probably one of my favorites looks of his ever on the red carpet.

2. Darren Criss – custom Emporio Armani; David Yurman jewelry.

25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 27 Jan 2019

I’ve always liked Darren’s fashion forward choices on the red carpet. He shined in a geometric-patterned, silver and navy custom Emporio Armani jacket with navy tux pants, a white shirt, black suede loafers without socks. Also, congrats on his win for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries for American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace.

3. Chadwick Boseman – Ermenegildo Zegna XXX; Christian Louboutin shoes; Tiffany & Co. jewelry

25th Annual SAG Awards - Red Carpet, Los Angeles, USA - 27 Jan 2019

Chadwick exuded confidence in a turtleneck paired with a brown leaf pattern suit jacket. I liked the added silver brooches which added some bling to the overall subdued look.

4. Henry Golding – Tom Ford
25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 27 Jan 2019

Henry stood out in this gold jacquard jacket which complements his complexion and I liked the hint of soft pink in the scarf.

5. Timothee Chalamet – Celine
25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 27 Jan 2019

I loved this youthful rock n’ roll vibe with the polka dot button-up and leather trousers. It was a great, unconventional choice for the laid back SAG Awards.

6. John Krasinski – Isaia; Tod’s shoes
john krasinski

I’m a sucker for green and John looked dapper in this forest green hued tux.

7. Mahershala Ali – Ermenegildo Zegna XXX
mahershala-ali-sag-awards-2019

Mahershala, who won Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role for Green Book, looked dashing in this maroon brocade suit jacket. The hue looked great on him and I liked the choice of the white bow tie and dress shoes without socks.

8. Rami Malek – Dior Men

25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 27 Jan 2019
I loved this all black ensemble especially his signature air-tie and choice of lace up kicks to add a casual spin on the look. Also, congrats on his win for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role for Bohemian Rhapsody.

9. Ben Hardy – Saint Laurent
ben hardy

I liked this simple black ensemble with a pattern jacket and no tie.

10. Milo Ventimiglia – Brunello Cucinelli
milo ventimiglia

Milo looked sharp in this navy velvet tux with black satin lapel, a black bow tie, and black shirt studs. I loved this twist on a classic tuxedo.

Which Red Carpet looks are your favorite?

The Girl Who Refuses to Tone Down Her Sexuality

All most a year ago, Oscar winning actress Cate Blanchett (who happens to be one of my favorite actresses) accepted the Style Icon nod at the Instyle Awards and what she conveyed in her speech, had a profound impact on me that I will never forget. In her speech she stated,

“For me, the true icons of style are always those women who’ve been utterly themselves without apology, whose physical presence and their aesthetic is really integrated in a non self-conscious way into part of who they are, and women who know how they look is not all of who they are, but just an extension of that. It’s about women who feel free to wear what they want when they want and how they want to wear it. We all like looking sexy, but it doesn’t mean we want to f*ck you.”

This was the statement that I was waiting for someone to say as the #MeToo movement gained more momentum because this is how I felt; and how I still feel. Read more of that article here.  If you have read my earlier blog posts, you know I have always expressed myself through fashion and how I dress myself even down to my choice of lingerie. But just because some people (including myself) choose to wear their clothes a certain way, and show some skin here and there, doesn’t mean it’s an invitation for sexual advances or that we are easy and slutty.

I’ve been 5’10” since I was 14 years old and I have always loved my height even when I was shamed for being a tall girl.  But I know I have to think twice before walking out of my house to make sure something about me isn’t too revealing, especially if I’m wearing heels or a shorter skirt, because I know the looks I can get for having a similar stature as a Victoria’s Secret model. To be honest, I don’t like having to think about doing that.  I like wearing what I want, when I want and how I want to wear it. Now there is a time and place to wear certain types of clothes.  I’m not going to walk into a corporate office wearing a swimsuit, but I think women should be able to wear a form fitting cocktail dress at an event without feeling like they have to cover up because they show their cleavage subtlety after being gawked at up and down. In the culture we are living in today where women [and men] are getting the courage to open up about their experience with sexual assault and misconduct, there are a variety of people stating their views on how things should be handled regarding when women in particular are assaulted and how it can be avoided.

I have read different articles stating there needs to be more protection for women, which I agree with somewhat. But there have been some people who suggest that women need to wear more reserved clothing so they won’t attract more attention, which I don’t agree with.  I don’t want to be told that I have to change what I wear just because men can’t seem to keep their hands to themselves.  Women have been told what to wear, how they should look, how they should act by society for far too long. I think taking personal responsibility for your actions and owning up to mistakes needs to happen and be at the forefront, regardless if you are a man, woman, or however you identity yourself. I believe there would be a lot more respect for one another if that can happen; along with forgiveness.

I understand that is easier said than done because when someone is assaulted, that is ingrained in their brain and does affect their life and how they live from that point forward; trust me I know.  But I refuse to be afraid of today’s world and what the future holds. I’ve seen some people post on social media that they scared to have their daughters grow up in a society like today, which I personally think that is ridiculous to say. Now I’m not a mother, but I do have a mother who has lived an interesting life and one who didn’t shelter me from the world. My mother taught me to how to be a strong, independent thinking woman who knows how to protect herself, especially around egoistical men who think I’m sexually desirable. I’m not afraid of men and I never will be even after certain experiences I personally have gone through. I refuse to let certain experiences define who I am and I will not tone down my so called sexiness because of it.  As Cate Blanchett expressed, we all like looking sexy, but it doesn’t mean we want to f*ck you.

Truth be told, I have been called sexy in my life. And when I’ve asked these ogling onlookers what makes me “sexy”, they’ve usually answered saying, “You have the perfect body”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m flattered when I’m told that. I do pride myself in maintaining the physique I was blessed with, but I roll my eyes at the same time because in my opinion I think the word sexy means more than just referring to physical looks and someone’s appearance.

I think the word sexy can describe attributes in one’s personality or behavior; also how one feels about themselves outwardly and inwardly. If you have self-respect and confidence in yourself, I find that very sexy. In one point in my life, I was someone who didn’t have a lot of self-respect for themselves. I did things to myself that I’m not proud of; but once I regained my confidence, I started staying true to myself and being happy with who I am.  And I’m a woman who isn’t afraid to show some skin.

Last year I modeled in my first boudoir photoshoot with Elaina Rose Photography and I’ve never felt more empowered. I felt so confident and alive doing it. It made me want to continue doing more shoots like this.  I’ve shared some of those photos on social media overtime, and I’ve had some people ask me, “What does Mike [my husband] think of you doing a shoot like this and posting these photos of yourself just in lingerie for the whole world to see?” I’ve responded by saying, “Well, I don’t need his permission to feel empowered and doing shoots like this are empowering.” I don’t think any woman needs a man or anyone’s permission to feel empowered, it has to come from within themselves. Some people may not be at ease in exposing themselves that way to the world, which is alright; but I do feel comfortable.  I’m extremely comfortable with my body because I think the human form is one of most beautiful things to view; everyone has one, but not one is the same.  At times it can be scary and I can feel insecure, but I enjoy showing different sides of myself; including my sensual side. Some may not think modeling like this is art or in good taste. Frankly I don’t care because I think it is.

Modeling in boudoir photography is an art form and another way of self-expression. But I don’t do it to gain attention from others to look at my body in a sexual manner. If you choose to see it that way, then that’s your decision. I do it because my sexuality is a part of who I am. As an artist, I enjoy showing the emotions and vulnerabilities that everyday people don’t like to depict outwardly or only in their private lives. But all these intimate emotions are a part of every human being. I am a sexualized woman and I’m not afraid to say that I am.  I have dreams of sexual fantasies and I have experimented in different sexual acts in my past.  I think women sometimes feel afraid to really show who they are sexually because they don’t want to be judged for not being ladylike or stereotypically reserved as women were told to be by society.  I am here to say that if you feel this way, it is ok to be who you are. I’ve never been a reserved person. I’ve been told I’m an aggressive, competitive, loud person with a vulgar mouth; all qualities that are stereotypically associated with men. Now I’m not telling you to engage in boudoir and erotic photography, I’m just encouraging  you to embrace your sexuality in however way you want to be; and that it’s alright to display it without judgment.

For instance, I was at my friend’s wedding last weekend and anyone who knows me, knows my favorite part about a wedding is the dancing.  I love to dance and when I dance, something inside me takes over and I truly show who I am. I will show my sensual side when a slow R&B song comes on or my silly, nerdy side when a musical song and dance number is blasted. I know I get looks every time I dance because I am “that crazy person” on the dance floor who does splits and breakdances in a cocktail dress, but I don’t care because dancing put a smile on my face. It gives me a reason to feel sexy and silly at the same time, and that is who I am. So whether you are more reserved or more open about your sexuality, be true to who you are, and remember to please don’t pass judgement on those you are different than you because they are just embracing who they are.

Emmy Awards 2018 RED CARPET RECAP

The 70th Annual Emmy Awards were on this past Monday honoring the best in U.S. primetime television. Now you might be thinking, who cares? Well when we live in a world that is overpowered by a 24 hour political news cycle, sometimes television shows are a way to escape reality and be entertained or perhaps be educated, informed, or inspired.

I don’t watch every TV show, but I do watch quite a bit of them and for different reasons. I choose ones that I feel connected to personally based on my interests, if I like the storyline, and if I think it will actually be good. I do tend to watch ones that eventually receive Emmy nominations, but I’m also drawn to ones that are the under the radar and not necessarily mainstream that I think shouldn’t be overlooked. But once I start watching a show, I start analyzing the actors’ performances, the script and how it’s written, and of course costume design regardless if it’s a period piece or set in modern day.  At times, costume design is seen as an afterthought, even though it’s an integral part in making a character come to life. And actors themselves portray a personal character of their own even when they are on the red carpet. I enjoy seeing how they express their personal style and represent who they are with their red carpet choices.

Now before I start discussing my favorite looks from the red carpet, here are some of my favorite highlights from the Emmys this year:

1) The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel won 5 Emmys including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series

I’m so happy this show won because it’s a female led comedy series about a Jewish 50’s housewife in NYC who sees potential in herself as a stand-up comic after her husband leaves her for his secretary. It a phenomenal story about a woman who is finding her voice again in a time where women were told how to act, what to say, and to frankly serve their husbands. If you haven’t watched this show, please get on Amazon Prime and watch it!

Side Note: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel also won Emmys for Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series, Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Music Supervision

2) Game of Thrones won Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

GOT winning these two awards was obviously a given, even though some people wanted and thought Handmaid’s Tale should win.  Outstanding Drama Series this year was tough category and I have watched all the nominees besides This is Us, and I still thought GOT deserved to win. I was a little bummed though that Diana Rigg didn’t win for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series as Lady Olenna Tyrell because I personally thought her last scene with Jamie Lannister should have solidified her win. You know what scene I’m talking about GOT fans. If not, check it out here!

Side Note: Game of Thrones also won Emmys for Outstanding Music Composition for a Drama Series, Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Piece or Fantasy Program, Outstanding Sound Mixing, Outstanding Special Visual Effects, Outstanding Stunt Coordination, Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes, and Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup

3) Matthew Rhys won Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for the Americans

Finally! This was a hard category as well, but I’m glad he finally won for The Americans since it was the final season. If you don’t know what the show was about, it was a story about two Soviet KGB officers posing as an American married couple living in the Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C set in the 80’s Cold War era.  I watched this show beginning to end and the chemistry between Matthew Rhys and Keri Russel (who are a real life couple) is superb. And it was a great show to see Keri Russel play a badass woman for once.

Side Note: The Americans also won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

4) USS Callister (Black Mirror) won Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series/TV Movie and Outstanding Television Movie

When I saw that this Black Mirror episode was nominated for writing and best TV movie, I had to watch it just to see what it was about; and it did not disappoint. Don’t want to give too much away if you haven’t seen it, but the plot twist is so eerie and bizarre along with certain societal themes displayed, including abuse of authority; that it keeps you captivated to the end. Head to Netflix and watch it!

Side Note: USS Callister also won Emmys for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Limited Series/Movie/Special, Outstanding Single Camera Editing for a Limited Series/Movie/Special

5) John Mulaney won Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special

Bottom line: John Mulaney is hilarious, especially when he talks about student loans and Catholicism. Go to Netflix and watch all of his stand-up specials. They are fantastic!

6) Claire Foy won Best Actress in a Drama Series for The Crown

I personally thought it was a toss-up between Claire Foy and Elisabeth Moss. Elisabeth Moss won Outstanding Lead Actress last year, but I’m glad Claire won since it was her last season playing Queen Elizabeth II before the next older generation takes over The Crown.

Side Note: The Crown also won Emmys for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, Outstanding Period Costumes, Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series, and Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series

7) RuPaul’s Drag Race won Outstanding Reality-Competition Program and Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program

This was the first time RuPaul won both of these awards in the same year and it was well deserved.

Side Note: RuPaul’s Drag Race also won Emmys for Outstanding Costume Design for Variety, Non-fiction, or Reality Programming, Outstanding Hairstyles for a Multi-camera Series or Special, and for Outstanding Directing for a Reality Program

8) Glenn Weiss, who won Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special for the Oscars, proposed to his girlfriend during his speech!

This guy stole the show by having the best speech and it finally made you want to pay attention to a category that normally people don’t tend to care about. I actually had to rewind it because I left the room for a brief second. Congrats to him because that was a bold, but memorable move!

NOW ONTO THE RED CARPET….

This year at the Emmys had a burst of colors and shine ranging from neons and pastels to sequins and metallic, even the men looked dapper. Read below for my Top 10 looks, Top 5 Honorable Mention, and Top 5 Men’s looks.

Top 10 Favorites (in no particular order)

1) Rachel Brosnahan – Oscar de la Renta; Tiffany jewels

I loved this scarlet color with its off-the shoulder draped gown and ombre effect. It complemented her fair skin perfectly along with a simple low chignon, red-orange lip, and silver jewels.

2) Mandy Moore – custom Rodarte, Harry Winston jewels

This gown looked flawless on her. The copper sequin color of the gown along with the fit n flare silhouette looked great on her body and complemented her darker hair color. Her beachy loose waves and her warm toned eyeshadow was the perfect choice since the dress itself was the statement piece.

3) Thandie Newton – Brandon Maxwell; Harry Winston statement earrings

I loved this pepto-pink color on her darker skin tone and the column silhouette fits her thin body impeccably. I also liked the touch of pink eyeshadow on her lids and low chignon was a great choice since the neckline was the statement of this gown.

4) Leslie Jones – Christian Siriano; Jordan Alexander jewels

Emmy Awards 2018 Red Carpet: Every Dress and Look You Need to See

This was my favorite pantsuit of the night! I just loved the iridescent pastel colors. I felt it matched Leslie’s cheery personality.

5) Michelle Dockery – Carolina Herrera

Michelle Dockery

I adored this whimsical chiffon and tulle gown. The complementary colors of the lighter shades of blue and orange paired well with her fair skin tone and I liked her easy hairstyle and bangs.

6) Alexis Bledel – Delpozo

Emmy Awards 2018 Red Carpet: Every Dress and Look You Need to See

I liked this millennial pink column gown with neon yellow pleated front. It’s a unique twist on pastels. I love the pastel colors on her skin tone and its stark difference between what she wore last year at the Emmys.

7) Tiffany Haddish – Custom Prabal Garung

Emmy Awards 2018 Red Carpet: Every Dress and Look You Need to See

I really liked this bold rainbow color striped gown which was a homage to her Eritrean heritage. The flowy silhouette looked great on her and her sleek ponytail paired perfectly.

8) Sarah Paulson – Oscar de la Renta gown; Tiffany & Co. earrings

Emmy Awards 2018 Red Carpet: Every Dress and Look You Need to See

If I had to choose a favorite black dress, this would be it. I loved the feathered embellishment along with the neckline and ball gown silhouette that didn’t quite hit the floor; it was a very modern take on a retro silhouette. I liked her moody vibe of her makeup and hair with a dark red lip and sleek updo.

9) Constance Wu – Jason Wu; Harry Winston jewels

Emmy Awards 2018 Red Carpet: Every Dress and Look You Need to See

My favorite part about this gown was the cutout neckline and long sleeves. The gunmetal sequin also looked great with her skin tone and dark hair. Her sleek hairstyle added a sci-fi touch to this ensemble.

10) Tracee Ellis Ross – Valentino Haute Couture

This is one of those gowns that either people love or hate. I don’t mind it because I feel it matches her “go big or go home” bold personality. The hot pink color along with matching lips and coral eyeshadow looks great on her!

Top 5 Honorable Mention

1) Jessica Biel – Ralph & Russo; Harry Winston jewels

Jessica Biel

If I had to pick a favorite white gown, it would be Jessica’s. I liked the textured ruffles and statement train and the strapless neckline complemented her toned arms and shoulders. I also liked her loose messy waves and bold lip.

2) Dakota Fanning – Dior Haute Couture; Lorraine Schwartz jewels

I loved this soft green color of this silk pleated gown! It paired well with her fair skin tone. I liked how she complemented this ethereal dreamy look with a messy half up, half down hairstyle; emerald jewels, and a thick winged eye.

3) Regina King – Christian Siriano

My favorite part about this gown was the inverted scoop neckline and chartreuse color against her dark skin tone. Even though the gown itself was a simple silhouette, I think she had the best hairstyle of the night and it worked well with multi colored drop earrings.

4) Claire Foy – Calvin Klein; Kwiat earrings

I’ve seen this silhouette before from Calvin Klein so that’s why it wasn’t on my top 10, but I do think Claire still looks regal in this gown. I like her short, sleek hairdo and bold dark lip against the white hue of the gown and the bow on the back adds a girly touch.

5) Gwendoline Christie

Emmy Awards 2018 Red Carpet: Every Dress and Look You Need to See

This is another gown that I feel people will like or dislike. I personally think this golden yellow silk gown with deep plunging neckline looks great on her statuesque frame. She definitely stood out against her other female costars in GOT. I liked how she complemented the dress with a bold dark red lip along with her soft platinum blonde curls.

Memorable Men

1) Darren Criss – Emporio Armani

Emmy Awards 2018 Red Carpet: Every Dress and Look You Need to See

Darren looked great in this tux that featured a grey woven diamond pattern with gold brocade accents. I’m always a fan of a tux in a unique pattern or fabric.

2) Nikolaj Coster-Waldau – Eidos

70th Emmy Awards - Arrivals

Nikolaj looked regal in this cognac velvet tux. I love the fall texture and color and he looked dashing!

3) Ru Paul – Calvin Klein

Emmy Awards 2018 Red Carpet: Every Dress and Look You Need to See

RuPaul always looks fabulous in anything he wears so of course I loved this double breasted suit with a print of the Statue of Liberty along with the bright orange shoes. RuPaul can obviously pull anything trendy off and look great!

4) John Mulaney

John Mulaney

When I saw John Mulaney win his Emmy, I knew right he was going to be on my Top Men list because I love anyone who can pull off a pastel baby blue tux.

5) Noah Schnapp – Fendi

Emmy Awards 2018 Red Carpet: Every Dress and Look You Need to See

All the boys from Stranger Things looked dapper, but Noah’s look was my favorite. I liked his ensemble head-to-toe.

What were you favorite Emmy Red Carpet looks? Do you agree with my personal favorites or disagree?

Third Times a Charm…New Platform. New Focus. New Perspective.

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Photo Credit: Ben Easter Photography

A friend once asked me, “How’s your blog doing?” I replied with a slight hesitant chuckle, “Ahh, it’s going alright. It’s nonexistent right now. I’ve been busy and life just took over.” How I replied is partially true, life does at times take over and you just roll with it, but if you really enjoy doing something, usually you find a way to do it.

It’s been almost a couple years since I have actually written my last blog post and I’ll admit; I’ve gone through this process of starting and stopping a blog twice. But during my hiatus, I have learned that I still have this yearning to write and I enjoy sharing about my experiences and ideas, no matter how bizarre or crazy they can be.  Within that two year short time span, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with other creative individuals in executing local fashion shows as well as modeling in variety of photoshoots.  I ignited my once dormant love of performing and was involved in my first play production in a few years, which lit a spark under me to continue that passion in any way that I could, including taking an improv class and even drunkenly spewing about women in history on stage in front of drunk patrons at a bar apart of Des Moines’ Buzzed History. I traveled to New York City twice in one year, and I was reminded why it’s still my favorite city to visit. I also went to the West Coast and took a SoCal trip visiting Los Angeles and San Diego. I journeyed over to Las Vegas with a friend and experienced MAGIC for the first time, which is one of the largest tradeshows in the fashion industry. And I even trekked down to New Orleans with my family to celebrate my golden birthday during Mardi Gras.

Throughout these past two years along with these experiences, I have rekindled past friendships and have met so many additional people who have a made an impact in my life; some have even become close friends of mine. When you connect with someone and you build a friendship, you eventually gain mutual trust and respect towards each other. They open up to you; you open up about your life and ideas to them. In doing so, doors to opportunities happen that you didn’t expect. I have cherished those opportunities that I have taken because they have brought me here to who I am today. I used to think that I didn’t have a voice; or that my voice didn’t need to be heard because I’ve always felt different than my peers. I used to think why would anyone care to listen to a has-been former star athlete who once hated wearing dresses and now lives and breathes in them; or someone who prefers watching classic and indie films rather than superhero summer blockbusters; or even someone who has always loved life, then once upon a time loathed it and tried to commit suicide not once, but five different times.

Then I started realizing all of these characteristics are what makes me different and that I should embrace my individuality and be different because it’s alright to be. Because who wants to be like everyone else? I don’t. But we live in a society where we are still at times told how to look, live, act, or what roles to play, instead of deciding for ourselves who we are and being alright with who we are. We shouldn’t have to apologize for being ourselves even if we are labeled too weird, too ambitious, too sexy, too passionate, too something.  It’s taken me some time to really feel at ease with who I am and to not really care what others thought of me. I still struggle with that at times, but I know the type of person I strive to be every day and the type of people I want to have in my life.  In the end the only person’s opinion that matters is my own; and if I want to write and share about my experiences, I can without fearing judgement.

Now I’m not an expert writer, but I’ve always been drawn to writing as a hobby and as a therapeutic way to express myself creatively. When I was a young girl, I used to write plays and act them out in the living room, I used to journal every day about my experiences which turned into a travel journal when my family and I would go on vacations. Creative writing classes were among my favorite classes to take at school. Then at one point I just stopped as my life got busier with sports and other extracurricular activities; maybe it was the peer pressure that writing wasn’t what the athletes were doing in their spare time. But I’ve always considered myself more than an athlete.  I’ve never wanted to be put in a box and labeled a certain type of person or group. I’ve always wanted to be involved in anything where I could express myself, whether it was athletically, creatively, or even spiritually. Even if I wasn’t good at it, I wanted to experience it and grow from it.  In addition to sports – including soccer, basketball, track, and even bowling – I was involved in both choir and band; I even did mock trial, chess club, and cheerleading one year.  If I had to label myself, I would consider myself more of a chameleon (hence part of the name of this blog) because I believe I have the ability to adapt to my surroundings and connect deeply to any activity or experience that is in front of me. One area of interest I wished I was able to be involved in was theater. I participated in my K-8 school productions, but I couldn’t audition for productions during high school because rehearsals and performances conflicted with my athletics, which at the time always came first and foremost, especially soccer. Since I wasn’t able to be partake in theater, I used other ways to express myself artistically, one being fashion.

Fashion in the concept of how I dress is one of the most important things I value in life. Not for superficial reasons, but because it’s a form of self-expression. It’s a means of showing the world who you are visually and how you want to represent yourself.  For me, how I dress and what I choose to wear is a way to show my creativity and personality. Every day is always something new, it’s like I’m portraying a new character with every outfit I put together. I’ve always had an interesting sense of style. Growing up attending a Catholic school majority of my life wearing uniforms, you don’t have much freedom to really show your creativity since everyone tends to look the same and wear the same clothes. But I’ll admit, I was someone who pushed the boundaries, especially when I hit high school. In high school, at that time, girls had the option to wear any solid color shirt, but either had to be a polo, turtleneck, or crew neck sweater; along with either khaki or navy blue pants or skirts. Since I didn’t like to dress like anyone else wearing a basic polo and khaki pants, I spiced up my school outfit one day and wore an “appropriate length” khaki skirt (three inches or higher above the knee was considered inappropriate) with fishnet tights and black knee high leather boots.  I remember getting numerous double takes from both teachers and students walking down the hallway, but frankly I didn’t care because I liked dressing differently and I had the confidence enough to pull it off. And a lesson I learned is confidence is all you need to look good, feel good, and you can achieve anything in life if you have it.

With that said, pushing the boundaries and living outside the box, regardless if its related to how you dress or how you live, is what I strive to inspire others to do. I love encouraging others to break out of their comfort zone, embrace their inner chameleon, and just try a new trend, or a new cocktail, or a new activity that provides a new experience or challenges you. That’s where this blog comes in. When I first starting writing Crazed Chameleon originally back in 2012, it was strictly a fashion blog. Then I realized I have so many interests that it’s hard not to write about them and how they inspire me. Yes, fashion is probably my biggest passion in life so I will write about it the most; but my inspiration in how I dress is fueled by my love of film and television, theater, architecture, music, dance, history, and traveling. I cannot write about fashion without discussing the others and vice versa. Everything correlates with each other, and hopefully you’ll find that out if you continue to read what I write.

Now, this isn’t going to be your typical “fashion/lifestyle blog” of just pretty pictures of outfits just to be pretty. Looking pretty doesn’t necessarily describe who I am as a person, and its not what my life is about. Instead, I like providing insight of why I chose something, where the inspiration comes from, and how it can work in someone’s lifestyle along with tips and tricks on what flatters different body types, how to dress for different occasions, I’ll even dabble with menswear; the list goes on and on. And don’t forget my other interests previously stated, they will be talked about and how I incorporate them with fashion. I’ll even be writing about my involvement in the local community around Des Moines and my travels, especially if there is a cocktail bar in sight. In addition to all the happy things that go on in “lifestyle blogs”, I will go down a darker path and take on the topics that people still have a hard time discussing out in the open, such as depression, anxiety, and suicide. As someone who was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety when I was 16; and have suffered from suicidal thoughts, I’m a major advocate in mitigating the stigma around this topic while raising awareness about mental illness and how we can help those in need. I’ve only recently been open about my encounters with depression to a select few people. Before I was afraid to be judged and labeled crazy, but I’m not afraid to hide behind it anymore because it’s apart of who I am; I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I didn’t have that experience. Going through depression has made me grow as a person. Now I embrace being “crazy” postitively because my lifestyle, my dreams, my ambitions are exactly that; and I like it that way. Now if you have any remote interest in diving into this wild and crazy mind of mine, I hope you will continue on this journey with me, read more about what I have to say, and embrace your inner Crazed Chameleon.