Blog

  • Back In Business and Stepping It Up

    The shop is up and running again! I've scoured racks upon racks for the best plus size vintage and I found so many great pieces that I decided extend our size range to include folks who might describe themselves as "inbetweenies" - now you can shop UM+ from sizes 10 and up. As always, I don't have an upper size limit and am constantly on the look out for vintage of all plus sizes. 

    Additionally, I'd like to announce a new initiative that's happening in the shop. For every item that is sold, I'm going to donate $2 to an organization that is working to support humans and the environment in various issues. Every month I'll change the recipient for a broader reach with donations. Throughout March, I will be giving $2/item to Trans Lifeline, and in April I'm looking at you, ACLU

    To be clear, I will be giving $2 to Trans Lifeline for every item that is purchased in my store. If you shop with us and buy four things, they will receive $8 from your purchase. I welcome suggestions of organizations that you would like to see your money go towards, please feel free to comment on this post or send me an email - amarina@ursamajor.ca.

    xoxo Amarina

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  • What Happened To The Store? A Personal Update

     Teenage me - setting sporty goth trends in the 90s and feeling dramatic about everything

    Fifteen has always been my lucky number. I played softball for a while and I’d fight harder picking my jersey number than any effort I would on the field. I can’t remember where this silly allegiance originated but I feel better when I open a fortune cookie and fifteen is among the lucky numbers listed. All of this is to say that I had high expectations for 2015, even though I only had a vague idea of how I wanted it to go down.

    January didn’t start off in a great way. Seasonal sadness and some other things stuck in a little deeper than years passed. By February, my partner Ron and I nabbed some really cheap flights to Vegas on a whim and we took off on a dreamy three week road trip through Nevada, Arizona, and California. It was a pivotal self-care decision for us. When we got back we decided to regroup and address what we’d like the next couple of years to look like and began getting our shit together so we could more easily work toward our goals and to be able to say yes to spontaneity.

    Dreams coming true - finally got to visit Salvation Mountain

    Dreams coming true - finally got to visit Salvation Mountain!

    The first thing Ron and I did was go to the bank and have a financial adviser answer our questions about what adults do with money and how to save a bit every once in awhile. We’ve been working with a budget and it feels pretty great to know exactly where everything is going.

    One of the biggest ideas we agreed on was to give ourselves the ability to say YES to change and adventure. To pick up and leave for a while if we wanted to. When we used to entertain future plan ideas it would always come down to worrying about what we’re going to do with all our crap and the conversation would fade out. We had a lot of stuff.

    Giving our terrible microwave an appropriate goodbye

    It started with our television, then clothes, the microwave, and some major furniture. We traded stuff for consumables like whiskey and candles, and donated the rest. Cutting my wardrobe in half seemed impossible at first - I’ve been overly attached to clothes since my teens because it was so hard to find what I liked to wear in size fat. It began feeling easy after the initial bags went out and now that winter is pretty much gone I’ve started cutting what I have in half again. I’ve been looking forward to it!

     Sometimes it's hard to believe that I put out this magazine - a few shots from Issue One

    When trying to figure out what I wanted the next couple of years to look like, one of the most dominant feelings was that the time was right for me to start working towards a life long dream - to start a fashion magazine that celebrates everyone. All bodies, all genders, all backgrounds. I had been loosely chatting with a like-minded Instagram bud about it and together we decided to start BUSH MagazineWe launched a successful Kickstarter campaign last summer and Issue One was released in the fall! We were so lucky to have the most amazing contributors and fashion queen Mo Handahu agreed to be on the cover, in a dress she made herself.

    Now I'm working on the next issue solo and it's going to be even better than the first. In fact, if you'd like to pitch a written piece, art piece, or a lookbook, send me an email (amarina@ursamajor.ca), I'd love to hear from you!

    Feeling cute on our wedding day!

    In September my partner Ron and I decided to get married. It was a super small affair, but a totally wild day spent at one of our most favourite places - Jungle Cat World. A small animal sanctuary just outside of Toronto, we took a group of our friends and fam to meet a lemur, a fennec fox, a serval cat, and some wolf puppies. Ron and I got to have a private tiger interaction after the ceremony and it was the most surreal of surreal moments. Afterwards, we had a huge bonfire in our favourite park in Toronto surrounded by the best people we know and our buds surprised us with a fireworks show. It was absolute magic.

    I wore a vintage, hand-embroidered muslin house dress that I got from Black Lodge Vintage on Etsy, and I added some straps to give it a little extra shape. I've had these thrifted white cowboy boots forever and I thought they were cute and perfectly comfy for the day. My bouquet was made by my mom, with flowers from her garden and eucalyptus, because it's my fave. My dear friend Yuli Scheidt agreed to take photos and unsurprisingly, she did a beautiful job of capturing the day.

           

    A fresh start for Ursa Major+

    After the wedding I started picking vintage again, in preparation to re-open the Ursa Major+ shop (I also started writing this post). That's when something super unexpected happened. Ron was offered a great job that would take us to Memphis, Tennessee for two years and who knows where beyond that. It was an opportunity and an adventure that we couldn't say no to, and we didn't. Ursa Major+ had to be put on hold, again, while we prepped for the big move. We've been writing about our transition over on our blog, Favourite Human. If you're curious about what I'm up to personally, please check it out.

     A geographically accurate illustration of our big move by my husband Ron

    So here I am, finally getting back to what I love so much: selling clothes and interacting with fat babes. I hope I find some great new places for vintage in Tennessee, if you know of any in the Memphis area, hook a girl up!

    2015 was so much more than I ever could have predicted and 2016 has already gotten off to a pretty wild start. I've already found some of the best plus-size vintage to date and I'm getting it all ready for the store to open up again as soon as possible. Follow me on Instagram or Facebook for updates, I can't wait to dive back into this!

    xoxo Amarina

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  • #WomanCrushWednesday - Ashleigh "Bing" Bingham

    I happened upon Ashleigh “Bing” Bingham in the same way I have found so many of the fashion blogs I like – Tumblr. I Dream of Dapper was created a few years ago as a response to the binary gender divisions in mainstream fashion. I love that the blog has a page dedicated to it’s purpose, to make sure the message reads loud and clear. “Clothing does not make an individual more of a man; it does not make them less of woman.”

    Currently working towards a Doctorate of Education, Bing also writes for the awesome style blog Qwear, AND is a monthly contributor to Autostraddle. You can follow her on Instagram, and browse I Dream of Dapper here.

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  • #WomanCrushWednesday - Jes Baker

    Body love advocate and feminist Jes Baker has a lot to say. Whether through her blog, The Militant Baker, her TEDx talk, or her upcoming book, she’s doing everything she can to spread her message: Lose the bullshit. Love your body. She writes a lot about self-acceptance in an accessible way, encouraging folks to rethink how they’ve been taught to feel about themselves and shift towards having a positive relationship with their body.

    You can check out her blog here and follow Jes on Instagram here.

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  • #WomanCrushWednesday - Valerie of Big Gal Yoga

    I’ve always been one to enjoy a long hike over a quick run. I used to play baseball as a tween and always enjoyed the innings where I’d be in the outfield, daydreaming and feeling indifferent about the ball coming my way. Team sports were never my thing.

    Yoga seemed like the perfect activity for me and it was love at first breath. But when I started practicing yoga I always did it at home, too nervous to take a class and feeling self-conscious about being a beginner. A lot of the videos I watched had different modes depending on experience but I wasn’t really seeing a lot of bodies that looked like mine. When I came across Big Gal Yoga on Instagram, I could instantly feel the positive energy and self-love coming from Valerie. She has been sharing her love of yoga and encouraging folks to give it a try with fun challenges and tips for bigger bodies, and people are loving it. Valerie’s daily poses are gorgeous and inspirational, plus the fashion-lover in me is shouting HELL YEAH for her plethora of colourful yoga gear – she’s always looking tops. Get ready to spend a bunch of time scrolling through her photos!

    You can also check out Valerie’s full site here.

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  • A New Look


    A summer or two ago I found a box of slides at a neighbourhood yard sale. The seller didn't know who the slides belonged to and she wanted $3 for the whole box. My partner and I continued our walk to the beach, taking turns carrying the big plastic case. We opened it up as soon as we found a place to sit and were blown away by each slide as we went through them one by one.
    They're all photos from the 50s and 60s, summer scenes and photos of gardens and cars. I've thought about them a lot since they came into our possession and as I started to prepare to reboot the Ursa Major+ shop, I really kept going back to them for inspiration. 
    I'm going to be using some of these images in a collaborative project for the next issue of my magazine, but for now these are my new clothing tags. 
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  • #WomanCrushWednesday - The Babes of The Craft

     

    I’m not one of those people that started feeling old once I entered my thirties but coming to the realization that The Craft was released almost twenty years ago was a little jarring. I’ll process that later. For now I want to talk about how formative this flick was when I was a witchy 90s teen in a smallish town. Clueless was already out and it was a big deal but for me it was lacking in the sullen teenager vibes. It totally reflected the majority of kids around me who were preppier, sportier, trendier but I wanted smeary makeup and chunky boots. Cue The Craft, which hit the ground running and took over the lives of my friends and I. We couldn’t get enough of the eyeliner and no fucks attitudes, and it was refreshing and reassuring to see girls who looked more like us. It definitely contributed to me embracing myself as the kind of person that burns a lot of incense and spends free time in the woods.

    Around Halloween this flick gets put back on the roster and I thought The Craft would be the perfect #wcw to lead us all into October.

    Blessed be.

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  • #WomanCrushWednesday - Grace Jones

    I can't for the life of me remember if I've picked Grace Jones as a #wcw since I started doing this column or not. I've been wanting it to be her for quite some time but now that her dishy autobiography "I'll Never Write My Memoirs" is coming out, the timing couldn't be more perfect.

    I will certainly read her book and enjoy every minute of it, but I'm far more interested in her personal stories than the beefs with celebs like Miley Cyrus. I guess that's how they're trying to sell her book to a younger audience but COME ON PEOPLE, this woman is incredible.

    Grace Jones is the kind of person you refer to with both her first and last name, so that's how it's going to be here. Grace Jones started her career as a model, covering Vogue and the other big mags before delving into film and music. An unapologetic advocate for self-expression and individuality, Grace Jones has been challenging the status quo forever, particularly with her expression of gender and nudity through fashion and art. This year, at 67 years of age, she hula hooped topless at Brooklyn's Afropunk Festival (hula link has NSFW images) for the entire duration of her hit, "Slave to the Rhythm."

    If you're familiar with Grace Jones, I'm sure you're looking forward to her new book. If she looks familiar but you don't know much about her, please dedicate some time to watching past interviews and music videos on Youtube. Her influence on pop culture is undeniable, she is a genius.

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  • #WomanCrushWednesday - Baddie Winkle

    Straight up, I don’t know too much about newest internet sensation, Baddie Winkle. I saw an image of her go by on Instagram a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been watching her pop up all over the place ever since. I’m still learning her story but I can’t argue with a person of any age who is out there doing their own thing and having a good time. In a fashion world where the idea of dressing “age appropriate” is still pushed really hard, I like to see a babe like Baddie Winkle breaking rules and getting attention for it. And come on, isn’t this outfit everything?

    You can check out her Instagram account here.

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  • #WomanCrushWednesday - Mel Stringer

    Australian artist Mel Stringer knows babes. Her body positive illustrations often feature adorable gals who don’t want to take your shit. I am forever blown away by how consistently she puts out incredible art and I basically want all of it. All. Of. It.

    Mel’s circle of babes that she’s created look like people I want to be friends with and her colour palette is how I want to see the world all the time. If you want to check out more of her work you can hop over to her site. Her Etsy shop is a tad low on stock right now but it looks like she’ll be back September 1 with new jams like her Oh You Yearbook, a series of portraits she’s done over the past twelve months. And yes, she’s got Instagram.

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