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Week 27-Get Bikini Ready, Day 7-Strut your stuff!

Over the past week we have covered how to get your body ready for bikini week, but today is all about getting your mind ready!  The best accessory that you can take with you to the beach is confidence.  Seriously, ask any guy who you know and they will tell you that there is nothing sexier than a woman who embraces her body and is confident in herself.  No matter your age or size if you hold you head up high and strut your stuff people will notice you, and in a good way.  There is this unreal expectation that society (and airbrushing) puts on us, especially women, to have the perfect bikini body.  I’m so thankful that I’m comfortable enough in my own skin that I don’t need to subscribe to that BS, and I hope reading this empowers you to do that same.

There are over 8 million people who live in the little island of Manhattan, which is only part of the huge metropolis we know and love as New York City.  The Lower Eastside Girls Club has focused on helping girls 8-23 years old in this under served area since 1996.  LEGC has given girls a place to grown, learn, build that confidence I was talking about earlier, and just have a good ‘ole time as they discover they can really make a difference in the world.  LEGC doesn’t just give these young women the tools to build their future, they also give them the ability to dream and envision a better life.  LEGC also has a diverse set of programs so girls can dabble in the arts, science, health, and leadership to truly discover where their passions lie.  In case you’re not already sold on this seriously awesome charity, they were on Late Night with Jimmy Falon last fall.  Yea, they’re a pretty big deal.  Another charity that is all about boosting women’s confidence is the YWCA.  It only seems appropriate to bookend this week with the YMCA and its female counterpart the YWCA, because they are such household charity names.  What you may not know is that empowering women is only part of the YWCA’s mission.  They also work to eliminate racism and promote peace, justice, dignity, and freedom for everyone-not just women.  The YWCA was also a huge part of the women’s suffrage movement in the early 20th century which was the first step in us being able to wear these itsy-bitsy bikinis today.  Even though women have obviously come a very long way in their rights and how we’re treated, the YWCA knows that living happily ever after is a continual process.  Thanks for sticking with us!

The Lower Eastside Girls Club Donation and 11 Years to Donate!

YWCA Donation

So here’s to strutting your stuff!  Make up an alter ego like Beyoncé and pretend you’re a rock star.  Know that you’re beautiful from the inside out and make that beach your runway.  Let your hair down, take off that coverup, and enjoy this bikini season!  Take a lesson from this little girl and build yourself up before you suit up!

Week 27-Get Bikini Ready, Day 4-Buy a new babing suit!

Rock it Barbie!

You can work out everyday, get a spray tan, and shave those legs but if you don’t have a bathing suit, or babing suit as my friends and I like to say, then you’re not bikini ready!  Most of us dread getting into one, but unless you want to be that kid that swims in shorts and a t-shirt you’re gonna have to bite the bullet.  Luckily there are lots of affordable and body friendly options out there for everyone.  Even the one-piece is making comeback in a big way!  It turns out that leaving a little something-something to the imagination is all it’s cracked up to be.  I’m just thankful someone designed a suit that I can wear to go swimming and cool off in the heat of the summer.

It probably comes as no surprise that there has been more than one hottie-with-a-body celebrity to design a bikini for charity.  Take for example Ms. Gwyneth Paltrow who designed a swim suit for the Lily Pulitzer Colorful Cause: Celebrity Designer Program to support the EB Medical Research Foundation.  EB stands for epidermolysis bullosa which is a painful, genetic skin condition that causes skin to break and blister at the slightest touch.  Those who suffer by EB fight daily against fluid loss and infections from the open wounds they have on their bodies.  They are also very susceptible to skin cancers and do not usually live past the age of thirty.  Gwyneth isn’t the only celebrity supporter of this great charity that is working to learn more about EB, its causes, how it can be treated, and how it can be cured.  Brad Pitt, Courtney Cox, and Eva Longoria have all dedicated their time and famous mugs to support EBRF.  The Victoria Secret ex-girlfriend of Leonardo DiCaprio, Bar Rafaeli, designed the perfect little black bikini to benefit Boarding For Breast Cancer.  This non-profit’s name pretty much sums up what they’re all about.  Their mission is to increase awareness about breast cancer, early detection, and the value of an active lifestyle.  B4BC believes the best way to prevent breast cancer is to combine early detection by giving yourself monthly self-exams, and an active lifestyle of snowboarding/skiing/any exercise you love!  Plus they have awesome apparel that lends a little humor to talking about two very important assets that all us women as blessed with.

EB Medical Research Foundation Donation

Boarding For Breast Cancer Donation

So here’s to buying a new babing suit!  Sure you can wear the one you had from last year, but isn’t it much more fun to buy a new one and donate your old one?  I think so!  It’s also much more fun to actually say babing suit, than bathing suit.  Go ahead try it, you’ll thank me later.  Thanks for helping us reach our full summer potential!

Week 27-Get Bikini Ready, Day 3-Bye-bye hair!

Say hello to Grandma Wrinkles

There is just something about being out in the bright summer sun that makes us all more self-conscious about every little hair on our body.  As women we shave, wax, laser, whatever we have to do in order to make sure that we are bikini ready.  While it is a little bit more socially acceptable for the dudes to be sporting some body hair, I know plenty of guys that have their own “manscaping” routines.  Hey, to each his own.  Even though it’s a pain in the you-know-what to remove, I’m still thankful to have my hair.  I’m afraid that without it I’d look like Grandma Wrinkles.

Now that I’ve scared you all out of your wits, let’s talk about The Human Life Trust.  Normally you think of permanent makeup or tattoo removal as elective procedure, but that’s not always the case.  HLF works to alleviate the physical, psychological, and social effects of alopecia and other hair loss disorders, tattoos, and scarring.  You may be reading this thinking that this sounds like one of the most vain charity causes you’ve ever heard of, but I bet you’d feel different if chemotherapy left you with no eyebrows.  HLF isn’t just changing the way people look on the outside, they are helping them start a new life and feel good about themselves from the inside out.  A tattoo, scar, or lack of hair can be a painful reminder of a past life an individual has worked hard to forget about and move on.  Alopecia areata is an auto-immune skin disease that results in hair loss most commonly on the scalp, but occasionally in other parts of the body as well.  The National Alopecia Areata Foundationis dedicated solely to finding a cure and a treatment for this life-altering condition.  NAAF has also been working for over twenty years to educate the public about what alopecia areata really is.  Alopecia doesn’t discriminate between age, race, or gender.  It can begin in childhood and continue for years until there is no hair left for the disease to take.  When it comes down to it, this is not a matter to split hair over.  Okay, so that was a bad joke, but living with alopecia isn’t so remember that the next time you’re complaining about shaving your legs.

Ahh the joys of being a woman...

Human Life Trust Donation

National Alopecia Areata Foundation Donation

So here’s to saying bye-bye hair!  You have got to take a hike during the next couple of months.  We might even make you stay away longer than that, but we’ll see once we start wearing long pants again.  Even though we’re kicking you to the curb, we’re still thankful for you!  Thank you for keeping us warm during the winter months, and reminding us that we’re all just mammals. 

Week 27-Get Bikini Ready, Day 2-Tantastic

Let’s face it, nobody really wants to be pale and sickly looking, especially during the summer.  Sure if we were Parisians in the Victorian age we would all paint our faces white and look like ghosts, but that is so two centuries ago.  Sorry, we’ve been watching the John Adams series,  so I’ve got colonial times on the brain.  While nobody wants to be known as Casper, they also don’t want to be referred to as George Hamilton either.  Luckily the evolution of self-tanners have left us all with the opportunity to glow a little more and get cancer a little less.  Even though I make a valiant effort to slather the sunscreen on before I go out in the sun, I am still a fan of feeling that warmth on my skin.  We all gotta get our daily Vitamin D someway, and I can only drink so much milk.

Yea you don't wanna be that guy

The completely obvious, but still totally important, non-profit that has set the standard for educating the public about how to protect our pretty little faces is The Skin Cancer Foundation.  SCF is the only international organization whose sole mission is to combat skin cancer, which has now become the world’s most common cancer that is occurring at epidemic levels.  One in every three cancers that are diagnosed is skin cancer.  Scary stuff, especially considering how many times I’ve had a sunburn already in my short 26 years.  SCF also has an online interactive Smart Sun Safety program for children in grades 6-8, where they can learn about how to prevent cancer and still be active in sports and other outdoor activities.  You can also fight skin cancer with Style, the network that is.  They have even created a new PSA that is loaded with celebrities like Brandy, Ashlan Gorse, Danielle Fishel, and Meghan McCain…naked.  That’s right all these women stripped down to their birthday suits to make the point that if you go outside without sunscreen on you might as well be naked.  The Shade Foundation of America has partnered with Style in their efforts to help educate our nation that gym, tan, laundry may be cool if you’re on reality TV, but not if you live in reality.  SFA wants the world to be skin cancer free and they are doing their part by educating as many people as they can reach.  SFA was founded by the Shonda Schilling, wife of award-winning pitcher Curt Shilling, after her very public battle with melanoma back in 2002.  Shonda has her cancer battle scars as a reminder to herself and others that seeking shade when you’re out in the sun is smart, and sexy.

The Skin Cancer Foundation Donation

The Shade Foundation of America Donation

So here’s to you tantastic!  Now more than ever we know how to get that beautifully bronzed physique without running the risk of looking like a lobster.  Sure you can still get carried away with sunless tanners but it’s better to look like an oompa loompa for a few days then the alternative.  So take a lesson from everybody’s favorite Friend, Ross, and take a little trip down to the mystic tanning booth.  Thanks for showing us how not to do it Ross.

That's one fine tan you got there Ross

Week 27-Get Bikini Ready, Day 1-Exercise

With Memorial Day in our rear view and Summer just up ahead, it’s time to get ready to put on those bathing suits and have a little fun!  For all you guys other there it’s as simple as slipping your trunks on, but us girls require a little bit more upkeep and grooming before we go to the beach.  Scott and I went for a nice long walk tonight with the dogs and it felt great.  Exercise is one of those things that I love to do, but need to be reminded of that fact every once in while.  All it takes is a good workout partner, a bumping playlist, and some nice weather to get me motivated.

I can totally relate...

When I was growing up we never went down to the Y to get our exercise we just ran around in the yard, or signed up for another sport that kept us busy several days a week.  As I’ve grown up and become a little bit more worldly I realize that there are a lot of kids out there who do actually depend on their local YMCA for their daily fitness routine.  The Village People may have made the YMCA the big wedding hit that is today, but it was a retired sea-captain who founded the first “home away from home” for young men in 1851.  Yes I typed that correctly, 1851, as in 160 years ago.  The Y has been bringing people together through it community driven actions longer than you or I have been alive because they have changed so many lives.  It’s not just a place where you can go to sweat to the oldies either.  The Y helps guide and steer the youth of our nation to becoming more socially responsible and developing into the leaders of tomorrow.  That’s a lot of accomplishments for a non-profit that goes by only one letter.  The Y is the Cher of charitable organizations.  A World Fit For Kids is another non-profit that helps us realize how influential exercise can be for children.  WFFK has a vision of a world where kids are fit, healthy and ready to learn!  The really unique thing about WFFK is that they train teenagers to be heroes to the other youth in their neighborhoods through fitness, sports, and school.  This helps boost confidence and self-esteem of the teaching teens, and gives younger children a positive role-model they can relate to.  Two birds with one ball, I mean stone.  Sorry I had sports and exercise on the brain.

YMCA Donation

A World Fit For Kids Donation

So here’s to you exercise!  You have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I have a renewed spirit to make it stay that way.  You put me in a better mood, help me sweat out some toxins, and help me get bikini ready.  Whether we meet in small or large doses I am always grateful for the positive effects you have on my health and my physique.  Thank you for always kicking my butt just when I need it.