4 years ago

What does “Are You Bikini Ready?” really me...

I love Pinterest.  I venture there for dinner ideas, color inspiration, blogging tips, and DIY’s that’ll make the NAILED IT board.  Future PHD in Pinning? Inevitable.

I’ve been a Pinterest addict long enough that every time spring rolls around, my feed is overloaded with images of women’s bare abs, hips, legs, rear ends, and chests all under a similar caption of “5 ways to Get Your Body Beach-Ready.”

I love that Pinterest is available for women and men to utilize for their fitness goals. I love seeing that we have a common interest in staying healthy and fit.

What I don’t love is seeing photographs of women’s bare body parts, regardless of the purpose of the pin.

Another virtual indicator that spring and summer are ’round the bend is that my 2 year old post, Why I Don’t Wear Bikinis, starts getting a lot of love in Google search activity. I’m not even going to share because rereading it makes me cringe with all the caps-locking and the awful writing. Not that I’m any better, but I have to keep telling myself that so that I can continue blogging. Right.

Maybe I’m crazy by jumping to this conclusion, but judging from the terms searched which lead to my blog, and from what I see on social media outlets, there seems to be this struggle among young women about what is modest, and what message we might send by what we wear, while also feeling like women shouldn’t feel pressured to have to submit to those restraints.  And I know that was a run-on sentence and that I started this sentence with and but I’m on a time constraint: dinner approacheth and the Gnawing of the Ankles draws nigh.

property of C. Svellinger
While I typed the end of this post, my two youngest entertained themselves by filling this vent with those toys, and I had to face my fear that house vents lead to hand-eating black holes. They don’t. Fear conquered. Thanks, boys.

To belay the reputation that because I’m Catholic, I must view naked body parts as “dirty” or “sinful”, I reply that I view the human body completely opposite of that prejudice:  I’ve sat many an hour sketching nude models in figure drawing classes.  I’m not afraid of naked people. I understand the human body to be beautiful, in all forms, and is such a sacred creation, that the way social media portrays it, as a mere thing to be looked at, like a handbag or a pair of shoes, we find ourselves in danger of forgetting the context of who is the human body.

While wishing to stay physically fit can come from healthy motivation, I feel that lines become blurred when we share even fitness images and articles which reflect having “sexy beach body” in the context of displaying ourselves to be looked at by everyone.  

Maybe I’m the world’s most uptight prude, but I’m throwing those thoughts out there anyway.

Blahblahblah– all of that to arrive at this powerful talk, given by author and fashion designer, Jessica Rey.  I stumbled across her talk about a year ago from Stephanie‘s blog and I still love watching it.  Rey discusses the fashion history of the bikini, but more strikingly, Rey questions what kind of power women take on when they choose to wear revealing clothing.  Her talk, I think, makes a connection on how to be more deliberate in what we wear if we want to be viewed with dignity.  Which I think is more valuable than having that hot beach bod.

Enjoy, and please leave me your thoughts!

4 years ago

7 QT + What I Wore Sunday + Lots of Tiny Updates

Joining Jen  AND the ladies at Fine Linen & Purple.  Why am I mashing two link-ups together? Because I’ve had the 7QT post sitting in my draft folder since Thursday and just can’t catch a break to finish.


Merely 2 weeks ago, I was feeling like slugzilla and winterblues-y, I’m in opposite world this week and super itchy to update you all about what I’m doing! Guess what though? It makes no difference because I’m too busy chasing El Destructor, aka Collin JP, from every corner, countertop, cabinet, and shelf in the house. He has a master plan to make the hair suicide bomb off of my head.

property of C. Svellinger
The only reason God made children cute is because it saves them in the face of their destructive accomplishments.


 As I’m reassembling the desecrated shelf of DVD’s, he’s already at the next phase of his plan: dumping the fresh veggies, and yogurts, and cheeses, out of the fridge.  I come a’running lest the veggies shrivel and the dairy products grow bleu; Which is that’s exactly what he wants, because now it’s time to stand at the vanity in the bathroom and use the closest toothbrush to scrub whatever looks dirtiest.
When I’m convinced he’s actually interested in a legitimate child’s toy, I seize the moment to attempt to eat, or to have a cup of coffee, or maybe just to breathe –then I realize it’s all a ruse.

property of C. Svellinger
Doubled as a bath.

Collin is the toddler version of a drunk frat

boy.  As soon as the victim (aka mommy dearest) is perceived in a semi-state of almost-relaxation –BAM! Juice cup to the head.  –BOOM! A body hits the floor.  –TRICKLE-RICKLE-RICKLE. Some form of liquid is spilled in an inconvenient place, usually around an electronic. Since Emmett’s phase of curiosity was short-lived and, 90% less curious, I haven’t faced this level of chaos since Lexington was 1 & 1/2.


A night in the life of making dinner:

  • Unload dishwasher, so that I can:
  • Empty sink of dirty dishes into dishwasher, so that I can:
  • Fit meat into sink to thaw under some running water, before I can actually:
  • Begin to prepare meal.

Along to the beat of:

  • Chasing Collin, who has grabbed two glasses out of  top rack of dishwasher while I’m trying to unload the clean dishes.
  • Balancing on one leg while the other acts as a barrier, so that Collin cannot paw around the dirty dishes I’m trying to load into the dishwasher.
  • Chasing Collin, who now has half of a raw onion in his possession.
  • Halt entire “make dinner” operation to soothe the boo-boo acquired from falling off of a chair Collin loves-to-but-shouldn’t-have-been climbing upon.
  • Soothing boo-boo requires nursing.
  •  2 out of  three children are suddenly dehydrated and hyperventilating that they NEED JUICE  (water+splash o’ juice) RIGHT NOW PLEASE.
  • Third boy realizes he’s parched after juicing station has been shut down promptly hangs upon my ankle, gnawing, and gnawing, and gnawing.
  • …and gnawing.
  • Aroma of dinner which has miraculously made its way into a frying pan or oven provokes the appetites of the Meddlers Three.
  • Boys decide they need hors d’oeuvres o prepare for the dinner that they will then not eat, but I let them snack because:
  • …gnawing, and gnawing, and gnawing.

It’s probably realistic to add that one of the three people will start radiating a stench from their bottom-half, which, if I know what’s good for me, the stinky pant’s pants, the impending rash, and subsequent wailing of the banshees, it’s best to risk burning the rice so that Sir Stinksalot can feel “aww beetur.”


Thanks to you generous and kind individuals who believe in me and have contributed to my virtual “tip jar,” I bought my new website! Also, a special thanks to my husband, who has proved he really does love me as he harbors no grudge over the fact that he wanted to gift me a website 2 years ago, but I protested because I was feeling nazifem and felt forced by the MAN.  I am aware of the hardheadedness.  I’m working. BUT I have finally, finally, finally purchased a new host and domain!

So changes are coming.  I’m changing the name, and hopefully the way you’ll be experiencing my blog.  For the better and the lovelier, I hope. I feel like a complete newborn blogger and completely overwhelmed with my behind-ness.  Like, blogging is going to nosedive and not be a thing anymore by the time I start feeling caught up.  But, maybenot.   I promise to warn everyone of the changes as they become finalized.


I’m doing a book-club thing with Kassie and some other ladies right now (which is something I never thought I’d enjoy. At all.), and we are reading Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown.

When do I get to read a book?  Midnight. In bed, with Collin-the-mini-monster snuggled under my chin.  Using the Kindle app to read on the lowest backlighting is perfecto, and I usually fall asleep somewhere in the middle of the second paragraph.

How’s the book? My views on self help books are similar to what Kassie expresses here.  I am quickly impatient with flowery language and fuzzy …fluffy clouds… and love… deep as the meadows in the pastures of my crisp green soul which is also likened to an apple, sitting atop the tallest apple tree, in an orchard of apple trees, from which one must draw forth her self worth and motivation to  –gag me with a stick. I’m sure it works with many, loving, vulnerable, strong individuals, but I need something a little more tangible and a lot less beating around the bush.

So I’m only into chapter two, but in the first few pages of chapter ONE, I found myself making some deeper realizations about human relations that have caused me to slap my leg and announce loudly to the room, “FINALLY!”

Finally someone is saying these things in a way that resonates with me.

Kassie is doing a weekly link up, I think? I might jump in and cover some of my thoughts next week.


So here we are, three days after I started this post, and it’s Sunday.  What I wore? Same old, same old.  But I added a necklace and that made it feel a little schnazzier.

property of Carolyn Svellinger

property of Carolyn Svellinger

property of Carolyn Svellinger

property of Carolyn Svellinger, fashion

Top: Ann Taylor LOFT.
Skinnies: Rag & Bone
Booties: Sam Edleman
Necklace: J. Crew Outlet, 3 years ago.

This Sunday’s Mass was the most zootastic to date.  Again, with the Collinstorm.  Craig had walked him to the foyer to do some laps.  Only after Craig was good and out of sight did Lexington whisper to me that he had to use the bathroom.  I tried to wait for Craig to return because the problem with me walking Lexington to the bathroom is Emmett.  If Emmett realizes that we are walking towards an exit, he starts chirping “BUH BYEEE! Talk tewyew TUH-MOR-oh!” which is really cute until I try to explain to him that we are not leaving and make a u-turn back to our seat.  And then, we have thrashfest McGee.

…and that’s exactly what happened because Craig did not return, and Lexington’s pleas became urgent.



DVR recordings of The Office have been on and I’ve barely made it through typing this because I’ve been laughing so hard at the episode where Andy finds himself in a roller skate rink listening to DMB. Jen is challenging us to a week full of daily bloggings, and I’m hoping to try but I know what it’ll end up looking like:
Mostly posting at midnight, and forgetting that Saturday and Sunday are part of the week, too. I’d hate to submit you to a week of my thoughts each day, so check back in tomorrow at your own risk.


4 years ago

Diary of a Not-So-Super Model.

 Who poops her pants while she’s modeling for her prestigious design school’s Fashion students?
This girl.

My freshman year of college, circa 2004, I lived in a dormitory with tons of freshman girls.  If you want any idea of how that went down: The following year, I requested to live on the Quiet Floor, with only one roommate instead of the 4 roommate suite I mistook for “really fun” at the onset. I could dedicate a novella to that year. Oy.

Point aside…

It was a super ego booster to have been asked by one of the senior fashion designers in the DAAP program to model one of her pieces for her thesis. Unfortunately, some part of my common sense shorted when my roommate held her hand out, offering me a single, chocolate flavored, chewable laxative. THE. NIGHT. BEFORE. THE. CRITIQUE.

I, who knew nothing of eating disorders (the same girl would often ask the other girls to eat and then purge with her), and having no idea about the capabilities of laxatives, took the small, square tootsie roll out of a bizarre form of empathy, thinking, can’t hurt. Right?  Right.


9am the next morning, chocolate chewy forgotten: I was to be corset-ed into a  hand-made, lace, full-length with train, cream-colored, Victorian Era inspired dress.

With each cinch of the corset, a nauseous dread threatened me, and it translated on my face.
There were no smiles, no smizes, no Sasha Fierces present that morning.
I began to sweat, yet somehow I wasn’t connecting the heavy looming to the happy little piece of chocolate I ate the night before.
Models and designers dressed, hair done, and faces powdered, we made our way through the building and took our places,  awaiting our moment on the stage.
10 minutes to showtime.

Carolyn’s signature Face Poses to date:  BRFAwkward Don’t Know How To Pose Face, and then there’s “Consumed a Laxative Face”. Beat that, Zoolander.

The witch’s brew bubbling in my belly rose to a crescendo as I watched the models in front of me enter the stage.  My face paled green.


–I tore off, leaving my post, and the fashion student whose gown I wore.
Mere minutes before we were expected on stage, I was gallop-hobbling on 5 inch heels to the bathroom, brows distraught, and sweat beading on my powdered forehead.
I gathered the dress’s heavy train, tossing it over my shoulder as I abandoned any remaining semblance of elegance.
 Allowing my feet to break off of the heels, straps still attached to my ankles, the stilettos flapped and kicked willy-nilly, cutting and nearly tripping me– yet I knew my cupid shuffle could not woo the toilet any closer, any faster…

Now, kick,
now, kick,
now, kick,

Two steps outside of the hallowed sanctuary, hell broke loose. and loud.
I had one minute to finish business (and it was relentless), to hustle my bustle, and to appear right as rain.

Figuring out what to do with the designer’s hand-sewn and now soiled undies gave Ross Geller and his  leather pants a run for their money.
I had to wear them. I couldn’t not.
The lacy material and the color of the dress required wearing this undergarment for full coverage.
I didn’t have a spare second to do any rinsing in the sink.  All I could do was create a lining with toilet paper– and I was being frantically yelled at to get out.

I entered the stage, weakly teetering on my reassembled heels.
I worked my model turn à la Jack Sparrow, battling resurgences of the laxative’s effects, in front of an auditorium full of more people than I’d ever wished to be witness to such a spectacle.
My eyes met the judge’s table and I pleaded internally that they not notice me at all. WALLFLOWER. Be one with the wall, one with the wall.

Yet, my dress initiated a heated 15 minute critique in which one of the judges actually came up on stage to suggest arranging the bustle of the dress differently. As he bent down to gather the train of the dress, my anxiety spiked.

PLEASE don’t inhale right there. please. please. please–

SNIFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF. Deep inhalation from Mr. Prestigious Judge from Macy’s.

I got to keep the hand made knickers, Miss Senior Designer never knew the true cause of the accident, and I spent the rest of the day in the bathroom.

Now you know ’bout me.

Rehearsal shot of the catwalk.

My rose –I gave you all the thorn, right?– however, is a small victory.
Over the next 4 years of college, I turned the embarrassing accident into an instrument, and continued to model for the student designers. To this day, I don’t know if word never got out about Carolyn The Crappy Model, or if I am just so charming, they HAD to have me again and again.

My senior year, I was paid FO REAL to work an in-real-life catwalk in one of the largest annual fashion shows in Ohio.

Fashion, catwalk, property of C. Svellinger
You bet your knickers I avoided any food or drink with laxative effects the night before.

Completely blew my first experience out of the water, of course.  As trivial as moseying down a narrow stage may be in the grand picture of la vie, it’s a small victory for Miss Craps Her Pants.

Photo with permission by Neil Weinberg


fashion show

Don’t allow your crappy moments to make you reek for the rest of your life, even if someone else caught a whiff.

And now, back to your knitting.


property of C. Svellinger
Post show with Craig, my dear friend and fashion grad, Amy and her other half, Bill.


4 years ago

What I wore Sunday #19

It’s been too long since I linked up with Fine Linen & Purple to share what I’ve worn to Mass.  Too long!   I was ill with a nasty cold, and missed 2 weeks, because hey who wants me to come bearing the gift of germies for you and yours this season? Not me.

Then, I believe I suffered something like a gluten overload, where a few Saturdays ago, I realized I’d eaten mostly bread and pasta all day. I started to feel extremely exhausted and couldn’t keep my thoughts straight.  I went to bed and Sunday morning, I could. not. get. up.

We were blessed with a rare day where Craig’s work load was slightly lighter and he allowed me to sleep- literally the entire day.  Craig brought Collin in to nurse and nap with me, and then took him back out when he woke.  I had absolutely no appetite- didn’t even want coffee, and you know that’s bad. I stayed away from the gluten for the next few days and felt right as rain again, again.

So I have a few weeks smooshed together here…
Last week I tried to post, but the Tasmanian devils are really working a number on me lately:

What I Wore, Fashion, Catholic
“Mom’s just standing there. She must need me. Immediately.”

The church clothes come off as soon as we cross the threshold into the house.  But we got half of Collin’s outfit:

Catholic, Fashion
Lexington’s “cozy clothes” reflects my innate fashion sense: FIRST THING WITHIN REACH.

On me:

Tunic: J.Crew outlet- worn in many of the previous posts.
Skinnies: Rag & Bone
Booties: Sam Edleman -a Christmas present from my in laws.
Scarf: Target

So that was last week.


This week:

Fashion, Catholic
Do I really carry my bag like that? No.
Catholic, Fashion
You guise. the snow. I’m standing in it. (the only explanation I have for why I never looked up in these pics.)

 Magenta Tee: J. Crew
Cardi: Ann Taylor
Skinnies: Rag & Bone
Hunters: Christmas present from Craig. I may have to dedicate a separate post to the strife of deciding on keeping these slightly too big for me boots. STRIFE I tell you.
Infinity Scarf: hand made gift from my sister, Katie
Mompurse: come meet Karen!

There! Done.  If you haven’t visited FL&P in a while, please do and congratulate Kendra and her husband on the newest addition to their family.  Congratulations lady!

Talk soon.