Mamafierce | Momming
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Wildfang button up shirt

OK so here is how this is going to go down. I’m going to come in with the light-hearted stuff, the fawwwshun, the brand talk–then we’re going to get a little real, a littler vulnerable. This paragraph serves to ineloquently warn you right now but mostly hype myself up to talk about something super personal and scary. The less flowery my language, the more I can just power through and get it out there so here goes…

Menswear used to be a necessity for me, simply due to lack of options as talked about in my t-shirt post. Since the industry has evolved, I haven’t had much of a desire to go back. There are still some internalized issues I have to deal with around fit and flatter–the idea that looking bigger and boxier is “bad.” Seeing some fat femmes and butches fucking kill it with masculine fashion has really inspired me. And the first brand I thought of trying was Wildfang.

Wildfang button up shirt

Their cuts and prints are very compelling and I love their racially-inclusive branding. But that inclusiveness does not deeply extend into size, something of which I was hopeful since at least one of their models was plus size. So I bought this shirt in the largest size possible. I was forced to add seven inches with some crude-ass side panels. This WAS kinda nicely nostalgic since it reminded me of days when I would say to brands FUCK YOU IM WEARING THIS by making shit happen with a needle and thread but it also reminded me how much more effort I as a person of size have to put into clothing and how it’s exponentially harder for people bigger than me and how that never stops sucking. Wildfang has the potential to be an amazing brand and I hope they are actively working to extend their sizes well, welllll beyond a small-ass 16.

A brand you can and should shop for all your butch needs in the meantime is Tunnel Vision.

Tunnel Vision spider t-shirt

I bought this tee in a 2x and it was wayyyyy too big for me, which I was actually pretty stoked about! I’m a smaller fat and should be near the bottom of the range, so fuck yes. They offer new and vintage styles, both in a wide range of sizes. This shirt was also ethically made in LA.

OK. So. Another source of inspiration for me dabbling with menswear is my son. Vince, at 5, is an avid sparkly-lover. He rocks pink glitter sneakers, a beaded bracelet, and a pearl necklace on the reg. He went as Rainbow Dash for Halloween and he loves to run around the house in his princess dresses. However, he never fights wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, loves his super short undercut, and has never ever expressed any frustration or unhappiness with his body.

Up until recently, I was almost expecting him to phase out femme things since I know it’s common for children of his age to try anything when given the chance. And giving him that chance was important to us. But the reality that this is likely a lasting thing has sunk in. And it happened at a Gymboree store.

While on vacay in Pismo last week, I asked Vince if he wanted to have dinner at the pinkest restaurant in the world. And duh, of course he did. So for our special date at the Madonna Inn Steakhouse, I said I would take him shopping for a fancy pink outfit to match. I was thinking a little suit or blazer with some jewelry and as I was putting a few options together, he beelined for this adorable fuschia shift.

I caught myself trying to talk him into the pink shirt and charcoal striped pants I picked out and I saw this…sadness well up in his eyes. It is different from the sadness that comes after I say “pick up your crayons” or “tablet time is over.” One thing I never have a problem with is telling my son “no.” I don’t have a problem with him experiencing sadness or anger or boredom because these are real human emotions we have to navigate. But there has to be a reason behind them. There has to be a lesson learned. “Boys can’t wear dresses” is a lesson I will never teach.

I don’t think I have ever felt equal levels of utter joy and absolute terror as I did that night. Here is my perfect baby, beaming, being his best and happiest self…

And I’m on the highest alert. I am silently pre-hating every single person in this goddamn restaurant until they flash Vince a smile or at the very least make it clear that they will be fucking chill. If my aura had a voice that night it would be EVERYBODY JUST FUCKING BE COOL. And I’m doing this all while putting on my best no-fucks face for my boy. I ask my mom, my amazing fucking rockstar mom who did not bat a lash at her grandson rocking a dress at dinner, if I look scared or nervous and she assures me I don’t. And I can’t help but think of all the times I posted my nearly-nudes on Instagram, or all the times she watched me strut my fat ass on the runway, and how she never looked scared for me.

The thought of someone being unkind or harming your child just for being themselves is enough to knock you to your knees. We as a society still have lightyears to go when it comes to gender non-conform, especially for boys who have toxic masculinity peddled to them on a daily basis. I know my son will have struggles ahead, but it will pale in comparison to the pain he would endure if I encouraged him to hide who he is in the interest of safety. I got a glimpse of that pain as he held this pink dress in his hands, the suit in mine. I never want to see it again.

True story: When I found out I was pregnant, one of the first things I got excited about was the idea of one day owning my very own handmade macaroni necklace. I mean, priorities. However, my son is barely four and I am still waiting for the day he makes me custom crafts. Even his drawings are still in the scribble-that-looks-nothing-like-a-duck-but-you-humor-him-and-say-oh-that’s-the-best-duck-ever phase. So I thought my nine-year-old niece was much better suited to the challenge of designing a dress for both me and herself.

CowCow Yaas custom dress template

CowCow Yaas (Young Aspiring Artists) made this as non-complicated as it gets. You select a shirt or dress, sleeveless or not, in your desired size and print out a template. Then you draw right on it! Lumina here is quite taken with Minecraft so here she is, hard at work on her Herobrine cat dress.

CowCow Yaas custom dress template

She then asked what kind of cats I like, making it clear she would like to stay on theme for both of our dresses. Designers. So persnickety. (I told her I liked Pusheen cats.) When she was done drawing on both templates, I snapped a quick photo of them and uploaded them to the CowCow website. Fast forward a few weeks later and…

CowCow Yaas custom womens and kids dresses

My little nerdlette is all kinds of stoked. And I was pretty amazed at how accurate the print and colors came out! Bonus points for being able to draw on the backs of the templates, too.

CowCow Yaas custom womens and kids dresses

I’m so happy that something like this is size inclusive. Doing this project with my niece, combining her artistic flare and interests with my closet worship, was a total bonding experience. I hope they expand their capabilities to include leggings, womens tops and other cuts of dresses. If they did, I’d be drawing my own crop tops ALL DAMN DAY.

**Sponsored post. All opinions are my own. Please support the links that support this blog!

Vans Pizza ShoesIt’s been a while since the little bear and I did a shoot together. He is such a good sport AND he was way stoked to rock MATCHING. PIZZA. VANS. with his moms. 🙂

Vans Pizza Shoes

Vans Pizza Shoes

We kept our colors neutral to let the shoes pop, him in his adorable sweater and me in my Rebdolls Man Eater twosie set made all the more vampy with a deep red lip.

Vans Pizza Shoes

Been feeling a tad self-conscious lately. It happens and often unprovoked (or from watching myself bumble around like a fat dork at my first Bolly X class with new yoga pants that kept rolling down to let the muffin top roam free why do they even have fucking mirrors in those classes I do not need to be reminded of how hopelessly uncoordinated I am now I can kiss my dreams of becoming a Bollywood dancer goodbye FUCK). But I am in the business of radical self love and not giving into those insecurities because guess what? Feelings are not facts. Regardless of what is happening with my weight or food, they are separate issues from accepting and loving myself. I have no chance of personal growth, change and recovery if I can’t hold onto that. Insecurities are baggage and with every outfit post, I set those fuckers down. It leaves my hands free to fight another day.

day offOK you got me. As much as I hate click-baity titles, damn it if they don’t get you to click. No, this isn’t a tirade about how we all need to stop being vain bitches. That would pretty much be followed by this entire blog and my closet imploding out of existence. Obvi, I care about how I look. Presenting myself in such a way makes me feel dynamic, seen, important, expressive, a whole bunch of other things that I try to unpack and examine on the reg to make sure I am doing these things just for me and for the right reasons. But as with all things, a balance is ideal. And that is exactly what I am trying to achieve on my “days off.”

What are my days off? You’re looking at it! Nothing on my face but sunblock and Burt’s Bees topped off with a mom bun. I actually spend a full day in public like this. I walk through the posh population of San Francisco on the way to my office like this. I do it at least once a week, and not for extra sleep. Well, maybe just five minutes…

So here’s just a few reasons why I go so unglam so often:

taking a day off

So I Can Spend My Mornings Momming

Most days, I am on a schedule with little wiggle room. I’m up at 6:45 so I can have some breakfast in peace then I start getting ready by 7:30. My husband’s alarm goes off at 7:50 so he can start waking up while I rouse my son at 8, put him on the potty, get him dressed, then send him into the kitchen where *hopefully* husband is ready to make him breakfast and generally keep him away from me with his can I touch this? can I touch this? how about this? while I finish getting ready to leave the house by 8:45 to catch my train. Nowhere is there an allotment of time for any actual, real interaction between me and the people I hold dearest in this world. And before you start getting all sad (or disgusted, whatev), it’s OK. I do have time for that. I work four days a week, I leave work at 5 on the dot, and I think we do our best to make our evenings and weekends count. But three mornings a week, all I wanna do is put my best face on and say yo world, check meowt.

That fourth day, though. I need that just as much. I need to wake up NOT thinking about what I’m gonna wear and what color lipstick will go best with it. My skin needs to breathe. I need to breathe. I need five extra minutes of Good Morning America and to actually finish my cup of tea. I need to wake my husband up with nuzzles. I need to ask my son what he wants for breakfast and actually give him time to say hmmmm in his little sing-songy voice instead of grunting DUDE CEREAL OR OATMEAL PICK ONE. I need to hoist him up on the counter so he can put his own slice of bread in the toaster and open the cabinet to spend three whole minutes looking for the peanut butter that is right in front of his little face. I need to actually stop my frantic running around and let my husband hold me for one god damn minute. Most importantly, I need to enjoy that.

Because Feminism

Every woman can tell you that the reaction she gets from people, strangers and known associates alike, can be dramatically different depending on how “done up” she is that day. I suppose this is also true for men, but the sheer fact that “done up” for dudes requires far less effort means women have to work a lot harder to be visually validated. The thing that kills me about the idea of being a successful woman is this–You can have the education, the family, the house, the job. You can be a great friend. You can be an active and conscientious member of your community. You can be a god damn saint. But the ultimate cap to it, the cherry on top that is constantly dangling over our heads is the coveted phrase, “and she looks good doing it.” Watch any makeover show and you will see a woman who has every ounce of her shit together, making her the most deserving candidate of said makeover of course, but man does she officially “have it all” once she looks ten years younger.

Fuck that noise.

i can have it all 30 rockAnd having it all sometimes comes with a shiny face and sparse eyebrows. Which leads me to my next reason. The biggest weapon against the male gaze:

Comfort in My Own Skin

Challenging myself when it comes to my appearance is just something I like to do. I have a visceral experience of personal growth every time I push myself to do something slightly uncomfortable. And being seen naked-faced and slouchy-clothed is just that. It’s nice not to give a fuck on rainy days and it’s great to have extra time away from a fucking mirror and I may look completely comfortable, but it is totally a work in progress. I am not zen about it. But that’s the goal. I’m close. And even if the closest I get to zen is my current state of realizing my insecurities are illusions and my feelings aren’t facts, this is a good spot to be in. I invite you to join me.

In closing, I’ll say that my comfort isn’t every woman’s comfort and my situation isn’t every woman’s situation. Thank god I work in a casual business setting that will even allow me to look like this on a Tuesday. Thank god I have encountered a series of people and experiences that have shaped my confidence so that I can even entertain the notion of not wearing makeup in public when so many women feel completely obligated to get gussied up every single day. Bottom line, if you’re happy with your level of done up, keep it up. If you’re not, take a leap of faith and try something different. Life is too fucking short to keep doing things that don’t make sense to you. You’re worth the trouble of finding that zen, so find yours.

 

catprint1

YES. MORE. CAT. PRINT.

Guys, you don’t even know. This was a huuLONG time coming. Yet again, a sizing snafu has come in between me and “the look.” This H&M crop top and shorts combo in its largest size, a whopping 16, was obscenely too small. Like five inches around the waist too few. I’ve bought a 16 from them before with no issue whatsoever so WTF?

I would have just returned it but the cats looked up at me with their sad little faces and cold little noses and said but I thought we found a forever home don’t take us back to the kill shelter GAH. So I found a wonderful woman on Yelp who took fabric from the top to take out the shorts. I ended up removing the sleeves and taking a little more length off the top with my own sloppy sewing machine skills just to get the right amount of “crop.” The result is a completely different silhouette but totally for the better.

Thanks for the fabric, H&M. Now get your shit together and stop half-assing plus size clothing. Or do you not want a piece of the HUNDREDS of dollars I throw down at Eloquii on the reg? Is my money too fat for you, too?

catprint2Another pro besides how obviously fabulous this outfit is is how awesome it is for getting the shit beat out of you by toddlers.

catprint3

Yes that is pure glee on my son’s face as he fills his tiny first with my hair that is STILL RECOVERING from postpartum hair-loss JUST TAKE IT ALL DUDE WHATEVER. My cousin’s kid in the pink and my niece in the white are, understandably, horrified. Nonetheless, shorts. Shorts are the rough and tumble yet yoga-pants-refusing mom’s best friend. Fashion, function, no unexpected crotch shots. Add a pair of tights and you’re fool proof.

 

baby4final

I vaguely recall a time in my life when the word “run” was associated with other words like “beer,” “pot” and “Ben & Jerry’s.” Now my 10 pm emergency trips to the grocery store all about about diapers and wipes. And during one of my last mad diaper dashes, I spotted THIS:

baby1This printed, plastic wipey clutch that I did not in any way need and had to have. Why? Because I remember being in the trenches on infant care and struggling to adapt my personal style to deprivations of sleep, showers and sanity. When you suddenly have a ration of fucks to give about the way you look, you find yourself picking up some pretty fabulous accessories that you can just slap on and suddenly seem like your fashionable self again when you squint hard enough.

baby2

So it made me think about the other things I had in my possession from this delicate period of my style story, my favorite of which was always the chewy jewelry. I literally squealed when I saw it for the first time and I still totally wear it today even though my son is way past teething. This is not my Moby, BTW. Couldn’t track down mine. (Big thanks to Carla for letting me borrow hers!) And never did wear it as a shirt although I did plan to if breastfeeding had worked out for me. I was going to be a militant, feminist, badass breastfeeder who would look people dead in the eye while I shoved my nipple into my baby’s mouth because it’s fucking magical look what I can do YOU LOOK AT IT BASK IN MY LIFEGIVING GLORY.

Anyway.

The long, billowy skirt was always a staple for me because it looked fancy with zero effort and had enough fabric for me to sit cross-legged on the floor of the children’s library during story time without flashing the other moms. And sunglasses as a headband, that is just the short-haired woman’s version of “mom bun.” Very handy for keeping the flyaways at bay.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dunes Beach in Half Moon Bay was absolute paradise last weekend, a perfect opportunity for a #dropthetowel photo shoot. This body positive campaign by Wear Your Voice is all about coming out, being seen and being comfortable in your skin while baring it. After all, it’s hot out there. Let those curves breathe.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Photoshoot and family day all in one? Absolutely perfect. Little Bear loved the waves and hubs got goofy with some dinos.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 20150719_161140Had no idea what he was doing. “Turn around and look surprised.” Boom.

20150719_161251Vince does not grasp the gravity of the situation. 

 

butternutsquash

My buddy Jimmy, who is a culinary genius in training and my son’s Godfather, and I were JUST talking about all these douchey food blogs where there is an insane amount of fluff in each post that you have to scroll through before you get to the actual fucking recipe and I’m about to commit said fluff because guyyyyyyys food is life okayyyyyyy. And I make food for my family and it’s very important okayyyyyy.

No seriously, it kinda is. Particularly now that my son is two and is becoming the pickiest little bugger. He has texture issues, smell issues and is seriously suspicious of anything green on his plate. So. My. Kid. I’m also not about to make him four different goddamn dinners a night and lay it before him like a sultan only so he can toss each one to the floor and say PEEPEEJELLYSAMMICHMAWWWWM because that’s what he really wanted in the first place but forgot what it was called good god this is a wonderful phase.

I ALSO don’t want to be one of those fucking moms who is going batshit right now about Kraft changing their mac and cheese recipe because “that’s the only thing my kid will eat!!!” Or remember the British teenager who was basically dying because she hadn’t eaten anything but CHICKEN MCNUGGETS FOR THE PAST DECADE YEAH NOT TRYING TO BE HER MOM EITHER.

Bottom line, my kid needs veggies in his tummy and I need to be sneaky about getting them in there. Plus, yaknow, I could use some, too.

So here it is. Quite possibly the best veggie mac and cheese you might ever try and I came up with this bitch all by myself. Try it, love it, get requests for it like you’re a DJ at a gay bar with a pristine vinyl copy of It’s Rainin’ Men. You’re welcome.

mac2Butternut Squash and Spinach Mac and Cheese

  • 2 C whole wheat elbow macaroni noodles
  • 1 1/2 C shredded part skim milk Mexican-blend cheese
  • 2 T cotija cheese (or parmesan)
  • 3 handfuls of spinach
  • 1 12 oz. package frozen butternut squash purée
  • 1/3 C heavy cream
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Boil noodles as directed on package
  2. Steam squash in microwave as directed on package
  3. Pour olive oil into large pot, add spinach and sautée until barely wilted
  4. Add steamed squash purée, 1 C shredded cheese, heavy cream, salt and pepper to pot. Stir until smooth.
  5. Add macaroni. Stir until combined.
  6. Pour mixture into glass baking dish, top with remaining shredded cheese and cotija cheese.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 min
  8. Broil on HI for 2 minutes for golden crust on top

mac3