Accepting my "new" body

Many of you may remember my previous post about CREATIVE TEA TIME 
& the beautiful top that I wore from KIYONNA.COM 

Well, there is much more to the back story than just the shirt...

While being pregnant with my daughter I had gained quite a bit of weight
(and not just pregnancy weight, we are talking eating your emotions away kind of weight)
Trying to balance between work, being a wife, taking care of my very sick mother & attending all of her chemo and radiation treatments proved to be very difficult. Fast food was the easiest thing to grab while on the run, I used food as my crutch any time I felt the stress to be too overwhelming. I figured "It's okay, I'm pregnant, I'm eating for two." Ha, ya right! We all knew I was delusional. But in my past I had never had a hard time losing weight so I figured "It will all come off after the baby is born." Yet again, delusional.
After my Mother ended up passing away in my 7th month of pregnancy, 
I turned to eating yet again. None of it is an excuse, I was simply careless.

Since having my daughter I no longer eat how I used to, but losing this weight has been harder than
I ever imagined. It took me a long time to accept my "new" body and all of the changes that come along with motherhood. I refused to buy new clothes and wore out the welcome of my maternity jeans. Were talking 6 months + postpartum. Eek! I was frustrated with myself. "Why isn't the weight just coming off like it used to?!" "How did I let myself do this?!" I just wanted to stay in my home, in sweatpants & hide away from the world. Some of those emotions may have also been grief from losing my Mother, but mainly, I just didn't want anyone to see my "new" body. I was afraid of being judged.

It took my husband forcing to take me out for the day and buy me new clothes. 
What woman doesn't jump at the chance of her husband offering to buy her whatever she wants?!
Seriously, what was wrong with me?! Well, we went to the mall. Where I had shopped a million times before. But this time was different. I used to just pull clothes off the the racks, try them on and they would fit. I loved spending hours in dressing rooms and putting adorable outfits together. It used to be easy. NOT anymore. I quickly realized that the "regular" stores no longer carried my size.
Everything, even the largest size (which was a 13/14) in the stores that I went to were too small.
When I would ask for the next size up, the sales associates would look at me and simply just say "Sorry, we don't carry anything larger." As a woman who has never had this problem before (or any woman for that matter) it is devastating. You feel like you aren't worthy enough to shop where everyone else does & you are banned to the "plus size" stores. 

Fast forward to a year later. I stopped drowning in the image of what I thought my body should look like & no matter what size I may be, I have learned to love and accept my body for what it is. I accepted my curves for what they are, I accepted the fact that instead of being the size 12 I was when I met my Husband, I am now a 16. Yes, I said it. A number that I have been ashamed of and have hidden behind, but NO longer. There is still progress to be made, but in the meantime I plan to embrace my new curves & to be confident with my "new" body. 

Now, this brings us to what I wore...
When looking for something special to wear to Creative Tea Time, I started searching the Internet & Pinterest for plus size clothing. In my search, I came across KIYONNA
I have always been hesitant about ordering clothing online, in fear that it will never fit right, but I decided to go ahead and splurge & am so thankful that I did! Right out of the box, the top fit amazingly! It was snug in the right places & yet hid everything else that I have been so self conscious of. Kiyonna's clothing fits a woman's body, they flatter a woman's curves. Yes, their clothing is an investment, but is SO worth it if your are a plus size girl! So thank you Kiyonna for making me feel beautiful again!

Shortly after sending a little thank you to Kiyonna for their wonderful service and amazing clothing, I received the opportunity to "model"  some of their beautiful clothing from their line for their website. I was blown away that they would choose ME, just an average stay at home mom! I am by no means a model and can usually be found behind the camera instead of in front of it. It was overwhelming walking into their Anaheim, CA showroom & being able to pick from whichever items I wanted to try on! Ultimately, EVERYTHING fit, it was one of the easiest shopping experiences I have had! I was one size (1x) and everything fit my body amazingly. Ashley (from Kiyonna) styled each outfit and chose which outfits to photograph. ALL of the ladies were so kind to make me feel so comfortable & confident in front of the camera. I was able to take away from the shoot a few of my favorites. My Kiyonna tops are now my everyday wardrobe "go-to" pieces. If you are a size 10+ I highly recommend that you take a look at Kiyonna, you will not be disappointed! 

You can see more pictures of my shoot & find their clothing [HERE]

Love your body, Love your curves.

Creative Tea Time

Wow! What a wonderful Saturday full of amazing and inspiring women! I have to say, I was honored to attend Creative Tea Time. Located in beautiful Dana Point, California the day couldn't have been more perfect. When walking into the event, my breath was literally taken away by all of the beautiful details that Tracy from CremeDeLaGems, Meagan from Fairly Fabulous & LeAnn from Lele's Little Soiree had worked so hard on. Truly, every little detail was perfection! From the draping vintage sheets and tissue poms to the vintage place settings, centerpieces, buntings and craft displays. There was even a "TEA-pee" for the water dispenser, how cute right?! I can honestly say that I am bummed that I didn't bring my BIG girl camera for this event... the prettiness was overflowing!

The day started off by finding our place settings which were beautifully marked with our adorable name tags on perfectly wrapped "swag" boxes, and let me tell you, the swag that we received was over the top! I cannot thank the sponsors of Creative Tea Time enough! We all were spoiled!

Each one of us choose 6 craft projects to do, which proved to be challenging while mingling and getting to know all of the other ladies! My projects included a hand stamped spoon, a hot air balloon, a mason jar winter snow globe, a hand painted sign, a bunting banner & an embellished pumpkin. I sure didn't think that I would be able to finish 6 craft projects in just 7 hours, but I did & even with time left to spare!

Throughout the day there were giveaways, food and yes, more giveaways! In conclusion, all I can say is WOW. Again, a HUGE thank you to the ladies who worked tirelessly to put Creative Tea Time together! And thank you to my girl Rebeca from A Sweet Little Note who was my shotgun riding car buddy & kept the day full of conversation and laughter. 

To all of the ladies I met: y'all are inspiring! I walked away with so many memories and confidence. You ladies have shown me that accomplishing this little creative dream of mine IS possible even while being a stay at home mommy too :)

Many of you have written and have asked where I purchased by beautiful top for this event. After hours of searching the internet I finally took the leap and purchased this peplum top from KIYONNA.COM
Right out of the box it fit amazingly! I highly suggest if you are a plus size girl that you check out their clothing line! To die for!

Thomasville Dresser Makeover

I have been meaning to post this furniture makeover for quite some time now,
and just realized how far I have fallen behind with my blogging lately!
(apologies everyone!)

My Husband actually scored this find while helping a friend move and brought it home to me for a little labor of love. This was the very last piece of furniture that I painted before discovering chalk paint, so lets just say this massive project was a pain! Oh latex paint, you have many wonderful uses, but painting furniture is not one of them! This dresser took me about 2 weeks to finish and almost 7 coats of paint. Not to mention the hours of hand sanding that took place before even painting. Time consuming to say the least. But once this beauty was made over, it was gorgeous! 

This dresser has now been SOLD and is being used as a beautiful entertainment center.
I get so excited seeing my pieces go to good homes and being loved!

Here is a reminder of the before & after:

Vintage Nightstand Makeover

While searching my favorite re-sale sites I came across a beautiful headboard for sale along with this chunky nightstand. I had a definite direction on what I wanted to do to the headboard, but when it came to the nightstand, I was stumped. After sitting in my garage and staring at this thing for almost 30 min, I finally had a vision! I went with Annie Sloan French Linen for the main part of the piece and Annie Sloan Old White for the trim and hardware. The paint sticks to the metal with no problems. I sealed the whole piece with a coat of clear wax after hand distressing. For the inside of the drawers, I used some left over sea foam green latex paint and applied 3 coats with a roller. No need to seal the drawers because the paint had a semi-gloss finish to it. Shortly after finishing this piece it found a home, at my Dad's house of all places! He and his girlfriend fell in love with it and will make the perfect accent piece in their guest bedroom.

& one of my biggest regrets: not taking a before photo :-/
...but I did manage to snap a few on my iPhone during the painting process

What you you all think of the after?

Meeting Annie Sloan

I still can't believe that I haven't blogged about this yet, being that this was one of the best moments of my life! Yes, I am a total Annie Sloan groupie & felt like I was a 12 year old girl at a Justin Beiber concert. After waiting for over an hour out in the fog & rain (my hair and makeup were a complete mess!) it was finally my turn to meet one of my biggest inspirations, Annie Sloan! This woman is such a role model of how to make your hobby, talent & love of 'crafting' into a profit business. I love how she refuses to ever sell her paints in big name stores and simply supports local small shops & artists. She talked about her book and all of the wonderful furniture transformations collaborated inside of it. If you haven't picked up her latest book yet, do! It's packed full of amazing ideas. Although my time meeting Annie was short, it left a lasting impression on me and gave me inspiration to keep going, to follow my dream and to really lose myself in the painting process & enjoy it!

(don't mind the blurry picture, my Husband is a 'photographer in training' Ha.)

To see where I met Annie & where I buy my paint from [CLICK HERE]
To find a local Annie Sloan retailer/ stockist near you, visit:

Drop Cloth Chairs

These past few weeks have been very busy, between Easter festivities and having a sick bug circulate through our family, I quickly realized that I have fallen a bit behind on my blogging! ...But there have been plenty of new projects taking place in the Ciani home! 

Last night I was finally able to finish up a set of 4 of these beautiful vintage Thomasville dining chairs. I bought the set a few months ago off of a local resale site for only $20! Yes, that's 5 bucks per chair! Can you believe it?! They ended up sitting in my garage for quite some time while I contemplated on which direction to go with them. Well, I am happy to say they are finally done and turned out even more beautiful than I expected! Seriously crushing hard on these babies ;) 

My inspiration came from THESE CHAIRS by City Farmhouse 
I found them to be so beautiful, clean and classic.

All that was needed was 3 coats of Annie Sloan - Old White
some leftover craft paint & a small drop cloth

I purchased my drop cloth from Lowes for about $10. There are ones that are cheaper, but I wanted one that was a bit larger so I could also create some pillows with the leftover fabric. Drop cloths are great for seat cushions because of their durability and they hold the paint really well! (duh, that's what it's made for.)
Each chair came out to cost approx. $12 each
Talk about a deal!

The numbers I chose were: 22, 19, 53 & 78
These numbers have a special meaning to my husband and I. Adding personal touches to your home make it unique and is always a great conversation starter at parties/ get-togethers!

After finishing the chairs, I realized that I forgot to take step by step pictures on my 'BIG' camera...
most often I realize that I do this because I only have a short period of time to get projects done while my little one is napping or after she has gone to bed, so I usually turn to my trusty iPhone.

Thanks for stopping by!
xoxo, Jenn

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