Friday Chat: The Privileged

I was a bit afraid to publish this post. I hope you all know my heart. The Privileged | www.eccentricowl.comToday, I want to pare down and have a chat. (Thus, a picture I posted a little while ago on Instagram with no filters and no makeup, because I think it’s appropriate and I am feeling too sick to do the planned bare-faced, jeans-and-tee shots)

I’ve been seeing some interesting comments (and gotten some interesting comments) on blogs lately in regards to having confidence and feeling beautiful, fit, pretty, or what have you, and it’s sparked my general need to rant today. Or, you know, present a more thoughtful blog post.

The comments I’ve seen bring up something called “the skinny privilege” or “the pretty privilege.”

This idea is almost always found on blog posts from women who are encouraging self-confidence despite flaws, women who are pretty, or have a relatively ideal body shape, or have a relatively enviable life, and the comments usually say something like this:

It’s easy for you to say “be confident” — you’re young, beautiful, have good skin, and have the skinny privilege. You should be more thoughtful about people who aren’t like you; it’s hard for people who have bad skin, who don’t have an hourglass shape, who aren’t fit, who don’t have money. How dare you say every person can be confident, you have no idea how we (the un-ideal body shape, skin type, lifestyle) feel and how hard it is for us to get over those flaws. You should have considered that and written a better post to include us, too.

I have gotten comments like this, I’ve seen comments like this on other blogs (some of them actually very polite and nice, some of them very snippy and irritated), and here’s the thing: I do understand. Sometimes, if you aren’t the ideal — you don’t feel beautiful, you want to be seen as more than just what’s on the outside, you get judged for not being what society deems “beautiful” — you get discouraged by a pretty woman saying that everyone should be confident in who they are and that every woman is beautiful in her own way. You’re annoyed because perhaps you know you aren’t beautiful or you never will be beautiful, and you hate it when you perceive you’re being told that beauty is the only way you’ll measure up. Beauty isn’t all there is to life. Youth isn’t forever. A model-esque body shouldn’t be the only desirable body.

But here’s the other thing: just because someone is thin does not mean they are or have always been confident. Just because someone has a socially-deemed symmetrical face does not mean they feel beautiful. Just because someone has rad makeup skills does not mean their skin is perfect. And, just because someone has any of these things does not mean they have always had these things. Sadly, the world still runs largely based on appearance, and women are highly influenced by that.

And I know so many women who have that thin body that society envies who have had eating disorders, who have been unable to gain weight, who have always been skinny, who nobody realizes have issues of their own, because they are “so lucky to be thin.” Women who couldn’t gain weight in pregnancy and feel that the small size of their babies was their own fault for not gaining baby-nourishing weight, who had to give up breastfeeding because of it; women who are told by one side that they’re so gorgeously thin, and by the other side that they need to eat a hamburger; women who are recovering from anorexia who still shy away from being told they look healthy, because all they hear is “you look fat.”

If you watch TV or just walk through a city, you see many women with fit bodies and pretty faces who don’t think they’re enough, or who perhaps haven’t shed their old selves — their overweight selves, or their acne-ridden selves, their too-skinny selves, or their ugly-duckling selves. Despite who they are now, they feel like who they were. Their brains don’t compute the changes.

I was one of those people for a very long time, and this is why I tend to write posts about finding your own confidence and being okay with your own beauty, or just who you are in general. This is why I have written posts acknowledging that I know my own value now, which can perhaps come off the wrong way.

But I have not always been what everyone would consider pretty, fit, or clear-skinned. I am not currently what society would call an ideal body type at 5’6″ and 174 pounds (previous to pregnancy); I will never have an ideal body shape because my breast-waist-hip ratio is more pear than hourglass. I have always had a curve at my belly, fat on my thighs, a bubble-butt, and a small chest. Even when I was at my thinnest, I still felt like the fat girl because I have a naturally curving body that jiggled even after drastic weight loss. I had acne through my late teens and early twenties, I was overweight for years, I have really bad eyesight, and I’ve always had bad teeth.

And I am not writing any of this for reassurance or compliments; I know my merits now, and while I’m still working on my body, I’m okay with who I am in the moment.

I am writing all of this because I think that those “pretty privilege” comments, while I understand sometimes where they come from, should perhaps take a moment to stop and think. They ask the blogger, in a sense, to quit judging based on the physical, yet that is exactly what those comments are doing. They are judging this person based on the physical — this person is what most would consider pretty, fit, or blessed with a more upscale life, so obviously they have never felt ugly, fat, or experienced lack of money.

And in a sense, they are body shaming, lifestyle shaming, or beauty-shaming people. They basically stipulate that because this person is beautiful, this person must be confident and is not allowed to have securities. Most of these bloggers are not writing body-confidence posts because they feel beautiful and know it; most of these bloggers are writing body-confidence posts because they either are not the ideal, even though they do hold beauty in their own way, or because they have not always been or felt the ideal, and they want to encourage others to start thinking positively. Or perhaps even if they are relatively confident in themselves, and know they are within the ideal of what society accepts as pretty, they are still targeted, judged and criticized because they have a natural belly pooch, or a curvy butt, have the inability to gain weight, or they choose not to shave.

Because of that, they write posts to encourage women of any shape, size, or looks to forget what society says, and rock what they have. They write these posts because they want to change and challenge what is shunned in the eyes of the world because it’s not considered beautiful. Or, they write these posts because, like me, they used to be the fat girl, the acne-prone one, the one who hid in a corner ashamed of her body or her glasses or her less-than-perfect teeth. And they want to encourage young girls not to get too down on themselves, not to feel ugly just because they’re not ideal, not to let model bodies and photoshopped faces influence them to set unrealistic or unhealthy goals.

What’s more, in the blogging world it seems as though there should be some consideration for the fact that these are personal blogs. That one cannot possibly write from every single perspective, nor should a person have to write from every single perspective, if they put forth what they believe with respect and as much clarity as they can. These spaces are personal blogs. Personal lives. Personal opinions. Personal style. Most posts written are not written with the expectation that everyone will agree, nor that everyone should agree; most posts are written to express thoughts that, while they will hopefully encourage others, are mostly meant to be applied to the blogger’s own life, friends, and perhaps blog-friends.

We all know our general demographic, who we interact with, who comments, what problems pop up in the lives of those who follow our blogs — I know that most of my readers are between 19 and 35, are mothers or housewives or young women interested in fashion, and mostly tend to struggle with the same things I do, or are interested in the same things I am. Body image, comparison to others, retro style, motherhood, confidence, etc. So, I write things that I hope will interest these people, but I also write things that are just heavy on my heart. Things that I’ve been asked, emailed about; things that have been mentioned in comments; things I see on other blogs that interest me.

And I know that what I write, how I believe, who I am, and what I wear will not appeal to every single person, so I don’t expect every single person to take my words to heart. I don’t write for everyone. I write for the people who need it the most. I write for the young girl who emails me wondering if something is wrong with her because she doesn’t have a boyfriend at 14, or the fellow mother who writes to say she struggled with the same body issues I’m going through right now, or the non-ideal bodied follower who is happy to have finally found a “normal-bodied-woman” who dares to wear vintage clothes.

And, I write for myself. I write to find release, to find new confidence, to exercise my skill, to see if there are others out there like myself, to share my life, to connect. I write to make friends. I write because it interests me.

So, the next time you read a post about body confidence from a woman who seems to have it all, remember this: she may not have always had it all. She may still be struggling with inner demons. She may still feel like the outcast even though she looks like the popular one. She may have friends who need to hear what she has to say. She may have followers whose hearts yearn to hear someone tell them they are perfect just the way they are. She may not be writing specifically for you, but she is writing for someone. And even if her life seems perfect, or her body is one you wish you had, or her face is beautiful, she may need to write it for herself. To remind herself that the person who critiqued her bodycon dress because she has curves is wrong; to remind herself that the person who yelled at her to eat a hamburger has no idea how hard she works to gain and retain just five pounds; that she can be what she wants, because she is who she is. That beyond the ideals of society, there is beauty in her that only she has; that even if she’s not the ideal, she’s still worth something to someone.

2007 1 2007 2 At eighteen, I was rising up towards 180lbs (compared to my friends, who were generally around 120 or 130lbs) and rarely let people take full-body photos of me. I wore baggy jeans, sweatshirts, and tee shirts all the time because I didn’t want to stand out, and I didn’t know what else a “chubby” girl could wear. Often, I thought I looked like a boy because people always told me I looked like my brothers (which, duh, siblings, but as a young, struggling-with-weight-and-prettiness girl, that was crushing to me.)

Take it from me, a woman who has grown from a plain Jane to whatever it is you want to call me now; I know. I know that some would say I have the “pretty privilege,” whatever that is supposed to mean. I know that I’m not bad looking, that I don’t have a bad life, that perhaps now it’s easier for me to be confident because my skin is clear and my body has adjusted to its womanly proportions.

But I haven’t always been who I am now. And sometimes, the old self wins. Sometimes that’s still what I see on bad days. Despite beauty. Despite a good life. Despite weight loss.

And those are the days when I want those girls who are who I was to know: it gets better. To know, they aren’t actually as fat as they think they are, or perhaps that what they perceive as unsightly extra weight is attractive to someone somewhere. To know one day they’ll wish they hadn’t spent so much time worrying about the lack of curve to their hips or the lack of breast tissue or the few pimples that popped up for a few years. I want them to know that beauty does not need to be defined by perfection. That beauty should be defined by themselves, and themselves alone.

The beauty of their face, their mind, their heart. Beauty that counts; who they are, who God made them. These are the things that matter.


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Disclaimer, you don’t have to be what society calls beautiful to still be beautiful, and while I do use “beautiful/beauty” in this post a lot as a reference to the outside, because that is how I’ve read comments directed at myself or others, being beautiful is not limited just outer beauty, but also inner beauty, personality, and your mind. I have met people who I did not consider attractive at first until I grew to know them as a person, and now in my eyes they are some of the most beautiful people I know. 

Stripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method)

Stripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method) | www.eccentricowl.comStripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method) | My mom and I have been doing the No Poo method for exactly two weeks now, and we have had drastically different results, which emphasizes to me how there is no “magic formula” that works for everyone.

As I’ve been doing the No Poo, I’ve had no greasy transition (the linked post, which has a wealth of info in the post itself as well as a ton of answers to questions in the comments, says you’ll experience a “greasy period” as your scalp tries to reset itself). Quite contrary, I feel as though I get LESS greasy between washes.

My mom, on the other hand, feels as though her hair is unbearably greasy on the second day, and is having a hard time sticking to only two washes a week (recommended, as more might dry out your hair). However, she was used to washing her hair daily, and she has a very oily scalp naturally. She has noticed that she doesn’t really need the vinegar rinse — that her hair is soft and less greasy without it (the vinegar is a conditioner, and perhaps if you have super greasy hair, you may not need it). She’ll be following a few of the suggestions for oily hair, or perhaps going the Low Poo way if she continues to have greasy hair after a few more weeks.Stripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method) | www.eccentricowl.comStripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method) |

As for me, though, I have had a ton of success with this method, and only one or two issues that are incredibly minor.

Before I get into why it’s working out for me, though, here’s my scalp stats: I have a naturally dry scalp, very thick and long hair (as you can see) and previous to going No Poo, I shampooed at MOST twice a week, sometimes once a week, and sometimes… well, this mama of a one year old didn’t get a chance to shower. So my scalp was probably pretty prime for working with the No Poo method.

Stripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method) | Since going No Poo these are the pros I’ve noticed:

  • Softer hair — with shampoo, it was okay, but usually just tangly
  • MUCH easier to brush through — like, almost no tangles with brushing, unless I’ve used massive amounts of hairspray. With shampoo and conditioner, it was always a struggle to brush my hair, wet OR dry, unless I used the mega-super-hydrating stuff that comes with hair dye.
  • My usually flaky scalp is no longer flaky
  • Way, way less fallout in the shower — like, 2-3 hairs vs the previous 10-15, and much less hair in my brush after brushing
  • My terrible in-need-of-trimming ends break off less
  • Split ends are smoother and less noticeable
  • Overall, ends are less crispy, smoother, and less brittle
  • More volume at my roots, which previously just fell flat due to (I thought) the weight of my hair.
  • Easier to curl and style than before, when curls would fall flat in a matter of hours.
  • Thicker-feeling hair overall, which could be partially due to new growth that I suspect is partially because of pregnancy
  • BETTER smelling hair than when I was using shampoo (I always got a whiff of wet dog with shampoo, but now my hair smells a bit sweet, thanks to the black tea bag I stuck in my ACV solution (suggested by a comment I found somewhere — black tea for dark hair, chamomile for light, berry for reds)
  • No more body welts from my allergy to shampoo!

Stripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method) | Stripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method) |


  • My hair can get SO FLUFFY, and as a girl used to flat, straight hair, this has been… interesting. A very tiny dab of coconut oil run over the ends fixes that, though
  • Not a con for me personally, but it could be for many — the smell of ACV in the shower is very strong. It doesn’t stay on your hair after rinsing, but to some people (who don’t like the smell of vinegar), it could get overpowering. You can, however, use a citric rinse instead, which is also listed towards the bottom of this post.
  • Also not really a con, but my hair looks less shiny and smooth which I am guessing is due to lack of silicone and heavy conditioners — it doesn’t bother me, and I’ve noticed that after using coconut oil to help with flyaways and then running a curling iron over wibbly spots, those spots shine more. I think the less shiny is due to more volume and hair not “sticking” to itself as much.

Stripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method) | Stripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method) | Side note, these pictures aren’t the best representation of how my hair looks after No Poo, because I had it up in a very messy and haphazard bun while it was wet, which resulted in unruly waves. That were easy to brush, but didn’t lose their wave at all. So, y’know. Normally, after washing and letting it dry, my hair is fuller but still pretty much straight. Stripes and Florals (and the No Poo Method) |

Shirt, Target | vintage skirt and belt, thrifted | boots, JC Penney | glasses, c/o Firmoo

A few questions I’ve been asked about this:

1. Do I rinse with cold water? Nope; I shower nice and warm. Cold water DOES close the cuticles on your hair shaft and make it look shinier, so you can, but so far as I’ve read it’s not actually mandatory.

2. Is it color safe? I have dark brown dye in my hair to cover up the red, and so far, no color stripping. I have read from hairstylists that permanent dyes (of any color) should not be affected, and if anything, the baking soda is the culprit as the vinegar is a solution that is very diluted. But, for reds or blondes, I’ve also seen experiences that are half and half — some have had reds turn more orange, or blondes get lighter, and some have had no changes. It may just depend on the strength of your solution, how much junk was in your hair, or even your hair type. So you’ll have to do lots of research before you try it on dyed hair.

3. Do I use any shampoo any more? NO. Thus, it’s called “No Shampoo” because… I don’t use any shampoo.

4. How often do you wash your hair?  I wash my hair the same amount as I did with shampoo, so pretty much every four days or so. (Twice a week, ish.)

5. Will it damage your hair to wash more than twice a week? The No Poo method is NOT meant for daily use, just as you shouldn’t shampoo every day, and the entire point of going No Poo is to allow your scalp to self-regulate its oils. I don’t know whether doing three times a week (which might help oilier scalps) will hurt anything, though, and I’ve seen advice saying if you really can’t STAND the oiliness, every other day is okay as long as you are able to taper off. The goal is to wash 2 times a week (or less, if you get to the water-only stage.)

6. Does your hair get greasy? Well, I don’t have a naturally oily scalp, so no. I’m on day three after wash day, and my hair is just BARELY starting to feel a bit oily if I rub my fingers along my scalp. It still looks as clean as it did on day one, though. If you have a naturally oily scalp, like my mom, then yes. Your scalp will get greasy, and if like her you shampooed daily, your “transition” period can take as long as six weeks before your scalp calms down.

7. You use this in the shower, right? Yes. It’s meant to replace shampoo and conditioner.

8. Has your hair gotten longer since starting this? Ha, well, it’s not Miracle Gro, so as far as I’ve noticed, my hair has stayed at its normal growth rate of somewhere around 1/2 inch a month. However, it does feel thicker and I do have new growth (which, like I said, could partially be pregnancy), and the No Poo method does promote new hair growth due to unclogging your pores and allowing more hair through your scalp. (here’s an example of my hair about a month ago, vs what you see in this post.)

9. Does it wash out hair product (hairspray, gel, defining agents, etc)? Yes! I’ve used a boatload of hairspray while doing this, and it all comes out in the shower.

So those are the questions I got from friends; if you have more, ask away! I’ll do another update once it’s been a month, and we’ll see how my mom does with adjustments and her oilier scalp. If you’re thinking about jumping in, read this post about No Poo to get started. And if you are looking for a homemade conditioner for dry hair, here’s a recipe!

And remember, you will probably have to adjust the levels of what you’re using for your particular scalp. So what works for me may not work for you (as proven by my mom and I using the same method with far different results.). Experiment!

Happy Wednesday!


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Adventure: mini-hike in Banner Forest

Adventure: mini-hike in Banner Forest | www.eccentricowl.comAdventure: mini-hike in Banner Forest | About two miles away from our house is a huge forest park (635 acres, guys) that I rarely venture into because… bears. For real. But my husband wants to film a few scenes for the short movie he’s working on in the forest, so we decided to take a little “hike.” Which was really more trail-walking, because there is no real hiking up hills in Banner Forest.

It’s really a gorgeous piece of land; dense trees, wild undergrowth, well tended pathways, and a maze of trails that can lead you literally anywhere. To me, it’s a bit scary, but I’m probably just paranoid. There was one incident of a bear mauling a dog a while ago, and I’m kind of afraid of bears, so… y’know. It was super fun taking Asa out for a little walk, though! As you can see, he was pretty delighted to be outside, and riding along in the hiking pack that my husband is testing out for a possible hike next weekend.Adventure: mini-hike in Banner Forest | Adventure: mini-hike in Banner Forest | Quite a few people have gotten lost in this forest, due to the vast size and the winding of the pathways, which is probably another reason why it’s a bit intimidating to me. But with Asa jabbering the entire time, and my husband by my side, it was much less scary, and actually pretty fun to explore. For a short time, since pregnancy is not being kind to how far I can walk without sitting down.  Adventure: mini-hike in Banner Forest | Adventure: mini-hike in Banner Forest | Adventure: mini-hike in Banner Forest | I would really love to go on a real hike, except that I get winded very quickly and the whole I-can’t-walk-very-far-without-hurting thing. Did any of you experience ligament pain while pregnant? For me, it’s all in the crotch area; walking too far, sleeping on my side, stuff like that; it just hurts. I’d love to be able to relieve it some, or figure out ways to hold it off if I can. Adventure: mini-hike in Banner Forest | Adventure: mini-hike in Banner Forest | But that was entirely off subject. As the weather gets warmer, I am excited to be able to be outdoors more often! I am hoping to challenge myself to take a walk every day or every other day when it’s sunny, to stay healthy through pregnancy without pushing myself too far. This pregnancy is already quite different from Asa’s — cravings, food aversions, ligament pain, more weight gain, belly shape, it’s all different. And of course, everyone guesses it’s probably a girl (we find out in 7 weeks) just because it’s such a different pregnancy, but I know people who have vastly different pregnancies for the same gender of baby, so… I won’t set my heart on one or the other!

Even if I have been sifting through girl names just in case…

I hope you all have a wonderful Monday!


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The Girl with Glasses

The Girl with Glasses | www.eccentricowl.comThe Girl with Glasses | www.eccentricowl.comI have had glasses since I was about eleven or twelve. I don’t remember the exact age, but I do remember the first night I went to our small town church’s youth group after picking up my new pair of spectacles, feeling nervous about the change, wondering if I would get dubbed the nerd or if anyone would even care. After being there for five minutes, the boy I had a crush on said he really liked my  new glasses, and it was set. I was pleased to be the girl with glasses.

Of course, as I got older and we didn’t have the money to update my frames, I started to get embarrassed about them; they were round, metal, with speckles of rainbow colors on the rims, and at 15 I was not so happy with the choice my 11 year old self had made. They were stupid, juvenile, and made me feel like  a kid. So I ceased to wear my glasses unless I had to watch a movie or, after I got my license, drive.The Girl With Glasses |

Then, finally, at 20, we were able to update my prescription (which badly needed it) and frames, and I was happy with my choice for about two years. The new frames were these, and I wore them for a few years without feeling too embarrassed. But again, I eventually started to feel like they were very much outdated and not in line with what I wanted my style to be, and went through the cycle of being blind for beauty and only wearing the frames when I was forced. I got so used to an old prescription and not being able to see that I barely noticed how bad my eyesight was.

Until I got to work with Firmoo, update my prescription, and nab the first pair of retro-style frames I’ve ever owned. In the last few years I’ve been able to review quite a few pairs of glasses, and slowly my choices have been tweaked to frames that are much more in line with the aesthetic of my style. The Girl With Glasses |

These days, I love wearing glasses. Just the other night, my husband asked me when I was going to get contacts, and I was surprised to find myself responding “maybe never!” I’ve become so attached to the idea of myself as a girl with glasses that I don’t know if I want to get contacts. Of course, contacts might be nice for the occasional day when I want to go all-out glamor and still see, but most days… the glasses are a part of me. They represent the nerdy side, the writer side; they offer a sort of mask to hide behind when I’m feeling less-than cute and need something to distract from a few pimples; they are yet another accessory that I think adds greatly to my daily style, and I love them.The Girl With Glasses | www.eccentricowl.comThe Girl With Glasses |

I will probably get contacts eventually, but I don’t think I will ever stop being the girl with glasses. It’s just who I am, and who I want to be. Especially when I can get frames as gorgeous as these!The Girl With Glasses |

Skirt, belt, flower, and shoes, thrifted | top, Target | glasses, c/o Firmoo

Do you wear glasses? If so, are they prescription, or just for fun? What aesthetic most appeals to you — retro, hipster, nerdy, modern…?

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


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Bohemian Farm Girl

Bohemian Farm Girl | www.eccentricowl.comBohemian Farm Girl | I thrifted this 1970’s dress over the weekend, when my husband and I were on our overnight Valentine’s day trip to Port Townsend. Other than the fact that I love slightly over-the-top vintage, I primarily bought it for a hopeful future photo shoot with a few friends, as I want to stage a fake bride-and-bridesmaids woodland wedding shoot in the summer.

But the other day, as I envisioned the shoot, I thought… why not pull it out and do my own photoshoot, right now? And then I wondered: why don’t people wear stuff like this all the time? Because, you guys. I felt pretty fabulous. I think I  need to get over those insecurities of going out in something incredibly different, and just… dress like this more often. Bohemian Farm Girl | I think getting dressed in something pretty every day hugely helps right now, going through this phase of trying not to compare myself to other people, and trying to regain some confidence. To be honest, at this point in pregnancy I just feel… not fat, really, but not pregnant, either. Bloated, perhaps. I don’t feel like this belly is a pregnant one yet. It’s so interesting to me, the difference between my first pregnancy and my second — at this point with Asa, I definitely felt pregnant, and the belly definitely felt like baby and not fat.Bohemian Farm Girl |

And it’s rare for me now to feel really fantastic these days, but this dress did it! I suspect false lashes and flowers in my hair also had something to do with that, but really… twirly dresses always make me feel better. Twirly dresses, flowers, and sunshine. Is there anything better? Bohemian Farm Girl | www.eccentricowl.comBohemian Farm Girl | Bohemian Farm Girl |   I am so looking forward to the spring! As I mentioned a little while ago, my mom and I are going to garden, and I cannot wait to dig in (pun intended) and start growing things. I’ve always loved playing in the dirt, and gardening is basically just a more grown-up way to do that. We ordered seeds yesterday, so now we have to convince my husband to till up the dirt for us, and maybe build a few garden boxes so we can get planting come March.

I truly am a farm girl at heart. Bohemian Farm Girl | Bohemian Farm Girl | www.eccentricowl.comBohemian Farm Girl |

Vintage dress, thrifted | flowers, old | sandals and ring, Target

A farm girl obsessed with twirly skirts.

I guess I never grew out of my propensity to wear frilly dresses and play in the dirt.


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