Blog / body positive

  • #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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  • Kickstarter Update: Only A Few Days To Go!

    Stina and I shooting the Kickstarter video!
    Just a quick note to thank everyone who has shared the video or contributed to the BUSH Magazine campaign so far. Stina and I can't get Issue One out without your help and your good vibes mean everything to us!
    There are only FIVE days left and we're really really close, please check out our video and support if it's something you're feeling. This is an all-or-nothing campaign, every little bit helps!
    xoxo Amarina 
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  • UM+ on Buzzfeed!

    So excited to see the Untitled & Co "As If" top that we shot for Ursa Major+ on Buzzfeed today! Check out the whole list, including some of my fave babes from Flaws of Couture, Ready to Stare, and Re/Dress.
    If you haven't seen the mini collection yet, check it out here!
    xo Amarina
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  • #WomanCrushWednesday - Alyssa Thralls

    Alyssa Thralls (better known as Alyssa Panda Eyes) has an unforgettable vibe. An artist by trade, she is a tornado of design: jewellery, clothing, photography, digital mixed media, and dj-ing to boot.

    Her distinct style could be labelled as positive goth (posi goth?) with a focus on eclectic symbology. Her clothing and accessory collections have featured imagery from runes, the tarot, and planetary signs. I want everything. One of the things I love most about Alyssa is her unwavering sense of self – it carries across everything that she puts out into the world. If I caught a glimpse of someone scrolling through their Instagram feed across a crowded streetcar and a photo of hers went by I’d immediately know that we both follow this babe.

    You can check out her work here and if you’re feeling it, keep up with her amazing style on Tumblr and Instagram. Who knows what is going to emerge from her creative spirit in the future, I’m looking forward to finding out.

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  • #WomanCrushWednesday - Katie Stelmanis

    The first thing you’d probably hear about Katie Stelmanis is that she sings and plays keyboards for the very awesome Toronto-based band Austra. Moody and dance-able, their critically acclaimed music has been going in the ears (and eyes) of many for quite some time now.

    If you follow Katie on Twitter, you’ll know how active she is in maintaining dialogues about feminism, misogyny, transphobia, and more. Yesterday Pitchfork released a piece she wrote, Op-Ed: Why Is Violence Against Women Excusable If It’s “Art”? that draws attention to rapper/a-hole Action Bronson being booked to play a free, headlining show at a public venue in Toronto as part of the North By North East Music Festival. He has previously released music glorifying gang rape and other misogynistic garbage, as well as a now infamous transphobic tweet that lost him a lot of fans.

    After the announcement was made that he’d be playing a free all-ages show at Yonge-Dundas Square apetition began circulating to have his set moved to a ticketed venue. Signed and supported by Katie, a decision was made a few days ago in favour of removing Action Bronson from the lineup that night. As far as I know so far, North By North East folks are still working on an alternative for people who want to spend money to see him.

    In her Pitchfork Op-Ed Katie writes,

    Many of us, beyond those of us who signed the petition, are tired of music that is blatantly misogynist and an obvious promotion of rape culture being supported by festivals and corporate institutions. The reactions to protests such as ours has a very clear message: that violence against women isn’t a real issue, these are just songs, we should all just “chill out” and “have a good time.”

    Our safety matters and it is crucial for the music community to understand the role it plays. This is not just about a song, and it is not just about Action Bronson, it is about the many ways that women, trans people, and women of color are made to feel they do not matter and they do not belong in the music scene. But we know the truth. And we will continue to resist.

    Big love to Katie for all that she’s putting out into the world. You can read her full Pitchfork piece here.

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  • #WomanCrushWednesday - Marie Southard Ospina

    Marie Southard Ospina 5

    It seems like every time I'm  on social media I see this babe pop up for another super awesome thing she's doing. Marie is a writer and size acceptance advocate, currently working as an associate fashion and beauty editor at Bustle and I always thoroughly enjoy her work. She's worn a low-rise bikini on a beach and documented the reactions she received and another time she sent out a photo of her makeup-free face to see how Photoshop experts would manipulate the image to make her 'beautiful'.

    Recently Marie participated in one of my favourite body positive projects, What's Underneath. In her interview she talks about how she became the activist she is today and her struggles with self-acceptance. It's definitely worth a watch.

    Honestly, she has accomplished so much in such a short time that anything I write here would inevitably be insufficient.  Please check out her blog and get lost in the mountain of challenging work she's done to advance the body positivity and beauty diversity movements.

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  • My Newest Project - BUSH Magazine!

    If you're a frequenter of the UM+ shop, you may have noticed recently that there haven't been as many new arrivals as there used to be. This past winter our studio went under some major renovations and I was unable to process and photograph new products. It was frustrating and out of my control, so I decided to switch focus and delve into a new body positive project that I've been wanting to do since I was a teenager. I'll continue to work on this AND the store once the studio is ready to go again!
    Over the last couple of years my friend Stina and I casually threw around the idea of starting a fashion magazine together. We were both growing apathetic towards mainstream media and were getting most of our style inspo from incredible people who aren't celebrated in the fashion world. It's so often the same roster of totally awesome bloggers and celebrities but Stina and I started to feel like it's time to mix it up a bit. We decided to release some media of our own and create a little positive community that supports humans of all bodies, genders, and backgrounds.  
    BUSH Magazine has a focus on personal style and creative people and we're so excited about the content that's already been completed for Issue One. It would mean so much to me if you'd watch our video and check out the campaign. I would love to hear your feedback and if you're digging it, sharing is always appreciated. 
    Thanks so much!
    xo Amarina
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  • #WomanCrushWednesday - Self-Love Edition

    Some of the only photos I have of myself from high school. I decided at some point that I was going to wear the same shirt every year.

    I am of the age where Instagram still doesn’t come naturally to me. I have to remind myself to post sometimes and I do, because it’s one of the ways I love to engage with the community of babes on there. Selfies, crap that I’m doing, people I’m spending time with, outfit posts – I try to put something out into the world every day, even if it’s a bit meaningless.

    Hump days are for #womancrushwednesday of course and on #throwbackthursday I like to dig out my box of photos that go all the way to when I was a wee baby and post something from there. There is a thing about it though that I can’t always ignore: a quick sampling of the box’s contents would reveal a glaring gap in time. It could appear as though I time travelled from age 12 to 20, leaving only a few high school photos as evidence that I was even ever a teen.

    I look at the few photos I do have and even though I’m smiling I can see that I was sad. Really sad. I felt out of place in the smallish town I grew up in, people made fun of me, and I had a near impossible time finding like-minded individuals. I gained some more weight on my chubby frame and stopped asking myself what I wanted to do with my life because it didn’t matter. I told myself that I couldn’t do the fashion-y things that I had dreamed about because I was fat. Even when I applied for university I chose to major in Political Science because it seemed responsible. I hated every class I took and it was a real struggle to get through the academic side of post-secondary life.

    The benefits of university outweighed the challenges. I got out of my town and moved to Toronto, I met some absolutely incredible humans, I found a couple kindred fat babes and I started to consider the idea that working for the government would absolutely be the wrong move for me. I didn’t have a precise direction but I began to make a list of things I knew I did not want to do. I started creating things with my hands and considering more options. I stopped hiding when someone would pull a camera out. I eventually stopped cringing when I’d see I picture of myself and now I make time to take self-love selfies and post then on Instagram because it’s fun and also because it’s important.

    Feeling free to do whatever the eff I want.

    I didn’t grow up with the internet and didn’t even think that other fat, artsy, feminist girls existed because they were never shown on tv or in magazines and I certainly never saw anyone around my town like that. Sure everyone has the internet now but the struggle for body diversity and self-acceptance is real and still trudging along. Incredible strides have been made and the movement is accelerating at a pace I used to think wasn’t possible.

    So I just wanted to take a long-winded moment today, on this platform to say that however much love you have for yourself is okay. Even if it’s only a little, even if you are your own personal hero. Just keep on taking in the good and try to be open to new things, even if they’re outside of your comfort zone. Big love to everyone out there doing their thing today, including myself.

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  • #WomanCrushWednesday - Sharon Jones

    Sharon Jones is a bringer of joy. It doesn’t matter if you’re standing in front of her at a show or you hear one of her songs in the grocery store, guaranteed you’re feeling better instantly. Maybe you’d even consider dancing in public because you feel so good. Or maybe without your knowledge your feet have already started tapping and you have to sway the rest of your body back and forth for balance reasons but also for groovy reasons.

    Sharon has been singing almost her whole life, before she hit the big time with the Dap-Kings she was a corrections officer at Riker Island while also doing session work for different bands. After ten years of making amazing funk and soul music together the band was set to release their sixth album, Give the People What They Want when Sharon announced that it would have to be postponed. She was about to begin treatment for cancer that was discovered in her bile duct. There was a real outpouring of love for her and within a year, Sharon was performing again. You can see their first video from that release here and if you love her this is a really great interview she did with the Village Voice a while back. Sharon Jones is an incredible woman, spreading positive energy everywhere she can reach and a crush forever.

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