Every March I headed outside in a brand new bathing suit so Andy could quickly snap a photo of me in the frigid wind, my feet burning on the frozen ground, my pale skin all prickled and bumpy; all in the name of swimsuit confidence. On the plus side, the Ohio winter weather kept my skin extra taut. On the downside, I usually spent the following week in bed with a fever.

As of 2016, we’ve done this for 5 years. How crazy is that? FIVE YEARS!

Admittedly, there was nothing brave or strong about it in the beginning. I ran on pure fear. I was equal parts scared of my body and scared of the reaction to my body. Half a decade of self-empowerment later… I only care about one of those things.

My body is amazing. Sometimes it’s bigger (like now, when I’m writing a book and surrounding myself with comfort food) and sometimes it’s smaller (like when I run myself ragged with travel and responsibilities, forgetting to eat or breath). I appreciate all forms of me. Do I love them all the time? No. But I don’t destroy myself in those moments. I wait them out, often with British sitcoms and baked goods, knowing they are temporary because I make them temporary and I don’t like the version of me who hates her body.

I can confidently say that the only person I put this bikini on for is myself, and I especially don’t do it for mean people who make fun of me on the internet or in public. I don’t cover the parts of me they don’t love, I don’t stay inside to avoid their ridicule, and I don’t apologize for my body, anymore. Those people aren’t my friends. They don’t respect me. The don’t know me. They don’t even care about me beyond the split second they feel tough shaming me. So why the hell would I take anything they say about me under consideration? I don’t. And neither should you.

On this five year anniversary of the start of my body love journey, I decided to do things a little bit differently. First, I got a spray tan, so that was fun. And then, instead of standing out in the cold by myself, I decided to try and surround myself with things that made me feel happy and strong. I called up one of our favorite pubs and put a call out to local girls in my Curvy Girl Guide Community. Open bar, free pizza, sisterhood and… bathing suits.

Between us, I didn’t expect anyone to show, and was fully prepared to eat all the pizza by myself in my brand new bikini.

Curvy Girl Bikini

Oh look, champagne in a bikini, just like Beyonce.

Top: Seamed Bikini Top, size 2, Torrid
I am all about the balconette style of top this season, especially since it gives lots of back coverage and support (buh bye back fat), but also because it makes my boobs look amazing. I am entirely obsessed with Torrid’s underwire bikini tops right now.  You can find this particular top in store, as it’s almost sold out online!

Bottoms: The Beach Babe Bikini, size 18, Swimsuits for All
This came as a top and bottom set, but the top was not great. All kinds of saggy boobs and side fat was happening. But the bottoms? I adore them. They have sexy cut outs on the sides, and a bit of ruching in the back that is crazy flattering and eliminates the muffin top feeling other straight back bikini bottoms give me.

So about that whole, nobody is going to come to my party thing?

I was wrong.

Plus Size Bikini Women

I can still barely hold in my emotions as I think of woman after woman walking into the bar, proudly clinking glasses and taking off their clothes in solidarity for the body love we’d all finally gotten closer to, regardless of size and age. It was the ultimate gathering of sisters and the ultimate “thank you.”

Thank you Jodi, Melanie, Danielle, Noelle, Brittany, Jordana, Melissa, Jillian, Julie, Christina, Rebecca, Melissa, Christina, Charity, Stacey, Brandie, Aimee and to my girl, Meredith, for capturing the whole thing.

Thank you for being a part of this. I can’t think of a better way to say cheers to five years!

Check our more shots from the big day on instagram! 

An extra huge thank you to the 5th Street Pub Sylvania for welcoming us into their gorgeous bar, letting us take our clothes off, giving us the best pizza in the world, and being our biggest cheerleaders of the morning! 




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