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Filtering by Tag: plus size model

A Reflection on Bikini Beach Photos with Supermodels

Danika Brysha

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I recently got back from a trip to Miami with two friends.  Did I say friends?  I meant supermodels...

I spent so many years of my life trying to lose weight.  I wanted to be a model.  I wanted to be those pictures of my friends above.  I wanted to be recognized as the beautiful one- the one that society takes and puts a big skinny stamp on saying "you're special".  I wanted to be anything but the chubby, class clown with tons of friends and no boyfriends.  And so I spent 15 years dieting, bingeing, throwing up my meals, taking appetite suppressing drugs, and starving- and then beating myself up over the fact that my willpower wasn't strong enough to get me to where I needed to be.  The place where I thought happiness lived. Somewhere in the gap between my thighs.

It took me a long time but I finally got burnt out and decided I was ok with the hand I'd been dealt.  I started focusing on my strengths rather than shortcomings.  I was tall and felt beautiful most days, and years of having to work to get people to like me landed me one kick-ass personality and some impressive bantering skills. And then one day while at Bank of America, I was scouted and signed with a modeling agency.  At a size 14.  I would be what the industry calls a "plus size" model.  I'd been called a lot of names in my life from "whale" to "fat girl" to a "liability"- but this certainly had a more positive ring to it.  I got to live my dream without trying to be someone I wasn't. And three years later I'm living in New York City as a full-time, plus-size model with my face plastered up on Wilhelmina New York's website. A dream come true- and one that came to fruition when I finally stopped trying to be somebody I wasn't.

But with finding extreme love for yourself comes a new desire to really take care of yourself.  I finally realized my value and decided I wanted to be the best possible version of me.  Through nutrition, exercise, meditation, and a lot of self-reflection- I managed to reinvent myself in the last 9 months that I've been a Manhattan resident. I've lost 30lbs and various jobs but I've chosen my health as a priority. My mind is functioning at a level I couldn't even imagine and I feel more joy, energy, and clarity than ever before.  I am beginning to live my passion and purpose and it has come along with a new found sense of confidence.

Which is important when you take a vacation to Miami with supermodels.  Because honestly, three years ago, you could have paid me $10,000 and given me a free trip to the Greek Islands and I still wouldn't have dreamed about putting on a bikini and posing for a picture in the Aegean Sea. But when my friend Holly suggested a primarily free weekend trip to Miami, the new Danika said HELL YES!

And it ended up being the perfect weekend getaway.  We relaxed on the beach, cooked healthy dinners at home, spent time meditating and journaling, and managed to soberly out-twerk everybody at club LIV.  But throughout the entire weekend, I still found myself feeling different.  Identifying myself as the "big friend". Feeling like the third wheel to two bombshells and having to make up for my shortcomings with my exuberant personality and ability to ask strangers questions for an hour straight without being bothered that they haven't even asked how to pronounce my weird Croatian hybrid of a name.  Dan-uh-kuh. Thanks for asking.

And so on the last day, when our tans were the darkest they'd be getting, Holly and Alexis suggested a group bikini photo by the ocean.  I quickly responded "I'm good, I'm just really comfortable" which really meant "I'm not good and I'm really uncomfortable posing next to you freak shows".  But because I am quite possibly the biggest pushover in all of the land, I finally obliged and struck my pose for the 75-year old Italian men that were one Instagram filter away from a heart attack- and for the one picture ever that I hoped for a finger over the lens, they managed to snap with pure precision.

We returned to our chairs and I requested full approval before posting rights.  And then it happened. I really looked at the photo.  Rather than seeing some version of negative thoughts and assumptions of my differences, I had no option but to admit that I looked GOD DAMN AMAZING! And I also looked just like my friends. Did I say friends? I meant supermodels.

The supermodels who had spent the weekend equally concerned with their own bodies. All of us too busy tearing ourselves down inside to notice that we were all in this together.  Feeling "bloated" or "saggy" or "too pale" or "not toned".  The ones who asked if they looked good in their outfits and the ones that borrowed MY makeup and wanted to know how I ate and what I was cooking and what kind of workout I did at the gym.

And something really struck me.  Even the girls that the media prints in the pages of your magazines- in store windows and taped to teenager's (and murderer's) walls have the same insecurities that we all do.  They wake up having days when they feel amazing but they also wake up feeling less than their best quite often.  They're looking for the latest beauty tips, the best workouts, and the healthiest dinners. They're feeling insecure in their skin because not even THEY feel like the photoshopped version of themselves that's glued to your fridge in an effort to empower you to stop eating.  Empowerment comes from love by the way, not hate or fear.

And so here I am, sharing my Supermodel Bikini Beach photo with the world.  Because someone out there is looking up to me and wanting what I have. And to be honest I don't blame them.  Cause I look good.

And so do the supermodels.  I mean, my friends.

VIDEO: Meditation, Tuning In, and My Weave

Danika Brysha

I've gone and done it friends.  I've started meditating.  And I can't really stop. It's a massive game changer and I had no idea what those crazy meditating people were talking about until my girl Oprah offered me a free 21-day meditation challenge. And if there are two things in this world that I can't say no to, it is Oprah and anything that's free.

Just by sitting still and quieting my conscious thoughts for 20 minutes a day, I have uncovered so many things that I had previously buried with ideas of how things should be, expectations and anxiety, and stories of how I wasn't quite good enough. It has been less than two weeks and I've already discovered a few key points AND seen them playing out immediately in my daily life. Let's just say I've been using the phrases "Wow!" and "Holy Sh!t" in my journal a lot lately.

Here is what I now know for sure through my mediation practice:

1. Everything we need, every single thing, is within us

2. When we find it in ourselves to stop worrying and to trust that we'll be taken care of and everything will be ok, the universe will have the space to get to work.  And that damn "universe" (or God or Energy or whatever you prefer to call it) knows what's best for us. Like always.

3. Letting go of our conscious thoughts allows us access to our core, deeper ones- the ones that know us best and that aren't affected by the stories and lies we tell ourselves- the subconscious self has all the answers but we have to be in a position to listen.

And so maybe this makes me a hippy but I'm certainly ok with that identification if it means I can keep this up on the reg. Do you meditate?  I'd love to hear about your experience if so... mainly to prove that I'm not crazy.  And because I love you. I realized that while meditating. You're welcome.

Check out my experience via video blog, a cameo from Kingsley, and find out why I put my weave in for your viewing pleasure...

Practicing Vulnerability: Journals Unedited

Danika Brysha

In the last couple months, I have been journaling every day.  I absolutely love to write and when I do, time stands still. It has been the first time that I've been able to really make sense of my thoughts and to truly access that deeper level that has been buried or numbed for so long. Most of my blog posts take fragments from my journal and are edited to suit an audience but every now and then I want to share with you the dialogue that comes straight from my heart.  My journal entries, completely unedited.  Here is what came up this morning...

photo 1

Date: Friday, April 11th, 2014

Time: 12:30-1:30pm

Location: NYC- Meatpacking District: random table and chair outside Gaslight

I decided to stop and sit in the action of the city to do this morning's journaling.  With the exception of the cigarette smoke that's reaching my health bubble, everything is pretty perfect.  I just had a casting at Milk Studios so I'm looking pretty top notch as well. I like being alone in a big city occasionally.  All sorts of energy passing by as I peacefully sit here and write.

I want to feel like New York is as magical as if I was sitting in the middle of Paris or Barcelona.  And it is!  It can just be hard to recognize when you feel like it isn't going anywhere.  When you live here it is really easy to take for granted the fact that I'm living in the most beautiful part of the most amazing city in the world.  How lucky am I?!

I really don't need much to make me happy.  Getting good sleep, getting up and ready for the day, and getting out into the world is so fulfilling.  What I'm doing right now is what I hope to be doing forever.  And its so great to know just how little I really need to be happy. A journal, a pen, a roof over my head, food to eat, and love and support around me.  I could really make that a reality anywhere.

photo 2

It's truly a great day in NY.  The first since I've moved here that was really suited to sitting outside and writing.  I have a feeling that Spring will be when I fall madly in love with this place.  As I've been spending more time out and about, meeting people and being present, I'm reminded of how many wonderful people are out in this world.  It's a true shame that we don't get to meet all of them but I trust that the universe brings together the right ones. 

I've been really wanting to be my true, authentic self more lately.  I notice that I still wear a lot of masks and that I want nothing more than to totally strip myself of them in all arenas. The thing is, I know I'm a beautiful, passionate person worth of love and I truly believe that I'd find even more support and much deeper connections if I could just find a way to cut out all the bullshit.  All of the caring what people think, trying to please everyone, and anything I do that suggests I'm trying to be something that I'm not.  I know I'll get there.  I've already come so far and I know it's just a matter of time.  I'm just going to try to be more aware of when I think I may be faking or trying too much and to make some positive shift.

(My friend) Julia is staying with me and she's just so real. So able to be vulnerable and not concern herself with what I think when she tells a story.  She seems to just be really in tune with herself which I admire.  For so long I numbed myself to all my emotions so I can't expect to start feeling and being completely in tune with them right away.  It all takes time.  It's a journey much like mine with food.

photo 3

I'm beginning to get a lot more comfortable with being hungry.  I've found that now that I've told myself that being hungry is ok, I'm a lot less frantic about the concept.  I can relax and live more, knowing that I don't have to plan every move around my next meal.  Knowing that food will always be there and that I won't starve.  It feels really freeing.  And I think that's gonna be the key to being able to tune out the thinking about food all day thing.  Because when I know its ok to be hungry, I can forget to worry about it and in turn focus on living fully during the remainder of my days.  When its not a constant concern, I'll be able to forget about it- which for me is the ultimate goal. 

To only think of food and eating when my physical body tells me it needs fueling.  That would be a true cure for me.  The goal of all of this.  To take all the power away from food and to view it strictly as fuel. 

Be someone who "forgets to eat" or who finally views eating as another normal daily task like going to the bathroom or sleeping.

Something we think about when our body alerts us to its necessity and that we don't think about when it doesn't. That's how I define being cured from food addiction.  That's the END!

I think I've always had a hard time determining what the goal was.  What to strive for at the very end of all of this.  What I can tell people to expect when they can finally conquer all of this.  Being the kind of person that can have a box of Cheez-Its go stale in the cupboard or find a bag of peanut M&M's that have expired in your pantry.  

And fortunately through all of this I've managed to become super passionate about health and nutrition as well.  Thinking for so long that they were two completely related concepts but really they're quite different.  I'm glad my comfort eating led me to thinking nutrition was the answer because though I'm realizing that it isn't, I managed to gain an extreme love and passion for quality, real, whole foods in this process of self-discovery.  And that is truly invaluable!

Danika

Vulnerability and the ProFreshNess of being REAL

Danika Brysha

Working in the fashion and beauty industry gives me a firsthand view of just how much fake-ness goes into most of the media we are exposed to.  My Facebook status just yesterday asked where I could find a great spray tan place for an upcoming swimwear shoot.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited about my friend's comment that they threw in a few bonus airbrushed abs.  And as I pack my hair extensions, get my acrylic toenails glued on, and sit for hours being made up for camera, I am often reminded of how refreshing it is to sit around in a completely unsexy sweatsuit and take in the moments where I get to be 100% myself.  Like right now for example.

I've recently started to recognize just how important it is to find the courage to be vulnerable. It allows us to connect to others on a much deeper level, and to know that we are not alone in whatever it is that we struggle with.  So when my girl Christina recently moved to L.A. from the big apple, I knew I had to pick her brain (on video duh) and find out how she does such a great job of promoting realness, vulnerability, and overall epicness on her world famous blog proFRESHstyle.

Check out my interview with Christina above as she talks about why she feels it is important to share so much of herself, how opening up about her sexual assault brought her even closer to her readers, and how she finds balance between comedy and sensitivity.

And then check out our collaboration over on Christina's page where she teaches me how to properly use Bay Area slang.  Cashin' out all over the place...

Health Challenge: Cutting Out Processed Foods… without obsessing

Danika Brysha

I had the privilege of interviewing health and wellness expert, Chelsea Hise-Strate, of Life Balance by Chelsea.  She is like my own personal Dr. Oz.  Except not really anything like that.  I recently decided that I want to do whatever it takes to live my best life ever and that it was time to start questioning almost every behavior that I have.  I told Chelsea this and she decided to give me a personal challenge.  The challenge was to not eat any processed foods for one week and to keep a food journal documenting what I ate, when I ate it, and how I was feeling.  Chelsea sent me over a cheat sheet and some info for my first day of the challenge which you can see here.  Check out the video to see how the challenge went.  Spoiler alert:  I’m addicted to clean eating!

And if you missed the original interview, you can see it here

There you have it.  I’ve been sucked in to the healthy living lifestyle and I don’t see myself leaving it any time soon.  I love that feeling when something just clicks and you know you are on to something.  I knew I could do the challenge but I had no idea just how much it would change my body and ultimately my life.  If I feel this great after a week of eating like this then I can’t imagine how I’ll be feeling in a few months or even years.  I’ve always had some acne and it has been clearing up like crazy.  My energy and positivity is through the roof and I have had multiple friends comment on the physical change they see in me, specifically in the brightness of my eyes!  I sound like a total hippy granola lover right now (raw, organic granola that is).  And I’m ok with that.

If you’re interested in seeing what I ate over the course of the week and how I was feeling, click here.

Food has always been an issue for me.  As some of you know, I had a pretty severe eating disorder for about a decade of my life.  I spent all my energy being consumed with weight loss and food.  I have to admit that when I was given this challenge, I was a bit fearful.  Afraid that consuming my mind with food would plunge me back into the disordered mindset I had finally fought off.  Scared that putting so much energy into recording my every bite would flash me back to the years I spent counting every single calorie.  But after honest consideration, I decided that I am at a healthy enough place in my life that I could take on this challenge.  And I am more than grateful that I did.

women-food-and-god

So much of my eating issues have been based around control.  I’m not sure if eating disorders ever fully go away but I can promise that they lose almost all of their power with each and every day that you commit to overcoming them.  Not only was I altering my diet and recording my every bite, I was continuing the ongoing process of learning to eat out of physical hunger rather than emotionally. I have to fight every day to not reach for comfort food any time I feel stressed, tired, overwhelmed, sad or bored.   Geneen Roth is an author who has changed my life and I highly recommend her books to anybody suffering from emotional eating or who feels like they are constantly in a battle with food and their body.

But with this challenge I found that I felt more in control than ever before.  I didn’t obsess over what I was eating- I chose to eat things because I started listening to my body and paying attention to what made it feel good.  I was able to recognize that I didn’t need to be perfect with this.  All that mattered was that I did my best.  I was more in tune with my body than every before.  Where I used to look for food as an escape from how I was feeling, I was finally able to get fully in touch with myself.  I felt like I could finally shift my thought process from seeing food as an evil, to recognizing how wonderful fresh nutrient-rich food could make me feel.

It is early to say this, but I’m fairly certain that this is the start of a lifetime of health, wellness, and self-appreciation.  I have no plans to be perfect but I have every intention of giving it my best shot.  This challenge has woken me up to how connected everything truly is.  Because I am feeling so great physically, my mind is clearer and I am happier.  I am infinitely more productive, driven, and present, and I have been spending my new excess of energy on trying to bring joy to all those that I come into contact with.

Have any of you experienced similar results from a change in your diet and lifestyle? I would love to hear your story of transformation and share it with other readers so we can continue to inspire people to live their best lives possible.

I will keep you guys posted on how this all progresses but as of now it has been two weeks since I started and I have no intention whatsoever to stop.  Thanks for supporting me in this journey and if you have any questions, comments, or feedback, I would absolutely love to hear it!

Check out Chelsea's website here: Life Balance by Chelsea

Style: Pumped Up Kicks

Danika Brysha

I've recently teamed up with a new friend and fabulous photographer, Annie Vovan, who shot today's style post and is definitely a woman to watch.  I met up with her one recent afternoon in Santa Monica where she had told me about a local bar that had a few cool spots to shoot some photos.  Imagine our joy when we found this classic piece of man metal parked just outside.  So I decided to get comfortable...

Leather is all the rage right now (but really when is it not?) and I wanted to make this outfit a bit more casual to go with the laid back Santa Monica vibe.  I purchased this top not too long ago from The Limited's (somewhat) new plus size line, Eloquii.  I loved the classic color blocking but I wanted to give it a little more shape to accentuate my fine girlish figure.  This turquoise belt is falling apart and as vintage as they come.  I stole it from my mom's closet years ago and it's been a favorite staple of mine since.  (Sorry mom)

Now, I've been DYING to rock my wedge sneakers and I finally found the outfit that I felt deserved them.  I went back and forth on this trend for a long time.  I couldn't tell if they were hideos or genius and to be honest I'm still not completely sure.  When I saw these on the Topshop website I fell in love though and I know it was what my elementary school science teacher would call an "educated guess".  I guessed that I needed them on my feet.  And so I ordered them.  And they are horribly uncomfortable yet so epically fabulous that I continue to wear them on the reg.  "Is that a sneaker or a heel that you're wearing?"... "Maybe if we slip into something a little  more comfortable you can find out..."  (said nobody)

This post is a little photo-heavy but I couldn't choose just 5 or 6 I loved because my photographer Annie gave me so much to work with!  You can check out more of her stuff here or even book one of her empowering Just BE sessions for yourself!

Colorblock Black/White Top- Eloquii; Leather Paneled Skirt- Forever 21; HighTop Wedge Sneakers- Topshop; Turquoise Belt- Vintage; Watch- Michael Kors; Earrings- Target; Cougar Ring- Nasty Gal; Car-strangers

Style: Pumpkin Prey

Danika Brysha

Halloween has long been my favorite holiday but with the devastation on the East Coast from Hurricane Sandy and my sudden onslaught of the flu that is lingering now for its third day, it looks like this year may be my most relaxed and dare I say "grown-up" one of them all.  Boo.  And not in a fun Halloween way.  Regardless of my ailing body, I'm so excited to share these photos with you that I took last week with a new friend, amazing photographer, and inspiring woman, Annie Vovan.  Annie enjoys capturing beautiful moments at weddings, and has found her true passion in portrait photography and in empowering women.  Annie and I are teaming up in an effort to give all women the opportunity to feel beautiful and confident through her Just B.E. (Be Empowered) photo sessions. More on this later but I definitely recommend checking out the amazing work she is doing!

There is the cutest little pumpkin patch located quite close to my apartment in Santa Monica.  The day Annie and I shot these photos it was one of the chillier evenings we've had this year and it felt perfect for a fall themed shoot.  The men working at the patch were so friendly and even offered their direction as to what the best backdrops and landscapes would be to shoot.

As the weather gets (slightly) cooler in Southern California, I love making the switch to wearing tights with all my dresses.  Because I'm 5'10, some of my dresses can ONLY be worn with tights (this statement was questionable during my sorority days) so it is like having an entirely new wardrobe and a plethora of options to choose from.  Because the leopard print on this sweaterdress is so busy, I paired it with a basic Levi's denim jacket to dress it down.  Plus, denim screamed Pumpkin Patch to me and reminded me so much of growing up in Long Island, NY... probably because both my mom and I work denim overalls about 85% of the time.

I'll be scanning my Facebook and Instagram news feeds looking for all of your creative Halloween costumes as I lay recovering in my bed for the third day in a row.  Sending my prayers and positivity to my East Coast friends as well and hoping everybody can still be in the Halloween spirit amongst all the chaos!

Photography by Annie Vovan

Leopard Sweater Dress- Victoria's Secret; Denim Jacket- Levi's; Black Tights- Target; Leopard Face Ring- Nasty Gal; Brown Booties- Target; Cascading Earring- Target; Red Lipstick- Makeup Forever Rogue Artist 42

Style: FALLing Off

Danika Brysha

Now we all know I love a good bodycon dress, but as the weather gets cooler, I can't help but dress more for comfort than courting my future husband.  Enter my simple and casual fall wardrobe.  Boots, jeans, light "Los Angeles appropriate" sweaters.  Nothing like having a little room to grow!

These brown boots have been worn-in severely and I would have them no other way.  They are so comfortable and I have yet to find another pair that I like equally or more, so I'm pushing them to their limit.  I wear a lot more brown than I do black... well with the exception of leather, so they've come in quite handy.

My fabulous (and newly married) friend Lisa, designs some of the coolest jewelry and this necklace is one of her pieces.  You can buy her stuff here (it's very affordable, not to mention unique).  She has skulls, crosses, vintage jewels, gems, and more.  I am most definitely addicted... You should probably be her friend too...

I went to the Torrid event at the Century City mall during LA's Fashion week and ended up leaving with some amazing steals!  I got both these jeans and the navy blue off-the-shoulder top for barely anything!  I feel like these jeans were made for my body as well!  They are super long which I appreciate with my height, and they have a higher rise which is a little more flattering for my shape.  I love wearing pants because I can drop down and get my eagle on at any given time of day without disappointing my father.

Navy Blue Off-the-Shoulder Top- Torrid; White Undershirt- H&M; Grey Skinny Jeans- Torrid; Brown Boots- Steve Madden; Gold Necklace- St. Eve Jewelry; Gold Watch- Michael Kors; Brown Leather Bracelet- Marc Jacobs;  Hair by Lindsey Carter

Style: A Backless Bodycon Birthday

Danika Brysha

A couple weeks ago I headed down to Newport Beach to celebrate my mom's birthday.  I hung out on the patio with my mom and dad drinking wine, and then dined at The Cannery Restaurant overlooking the bay.

Now, this dress is usually one I'd save for a night out with the girls or a hot date, but I couldn't wait to wear it so consider it a birthday gift to my mother.  You're supposed to shake what your mama gave you, right?

When I saw this dress from Tart on Hautelook, I wasn't even sure my eyes were registering what I was seeing.  Backless AND Bodycon AND the perfect length AND long sleeves.  SOLD... ten times over!  I'm pretty sure this dress was made for me and though I must admit that the backless bra/lower rise Spanx combination was a bit tricky and slightly uncomfortable, it was worth ever tug and tuck.

Because this dress is so va-va-voom, I chose to keep the jewelry simple.  Even though the dinner wasn't very dressy, I threw on some cascading gold earrings from the luxury designer known as Target.  Please forgive the following deer in headlights phenomenon...

It was a wonderful night of celebration and there may have been one too many bottles of wine involved but who's counting?  It is so wonderful to have my parents living so close and I will certainly miss that when I make the big move to New York next year.  But hey, the career calls and I refuse to be left behind.  I've got myself some big dreams and by God I'm going to chase them!

Happy Birthday to my beautiful mother!

Dress- Tart; Shoes- Dolce Vita; Earrings- Target

Wear This, Not That

Danika Brysha

When it comes to fashion for a curvy, full-figured, or plus-size woman, it is not just what you wear, but how you style it that is important.  You may have a completely fabulous dress but if you don't focus on how it flatters your specific body type, it could end up looking more like a potato sack... A pretty potato sack, but a sack nonetheless.  And if anybody knows about potato sacks it's YOURS TRULY

Working in the modeling industry has taught me so much about what works for my body type and what doesn't.  And just because you think a certain style doesn't flatter you, doesn't mean you can't make a few of your own personal additions and alterations in order to make it work.  I spend my days trying on hundreds of outfits and then watching stylists tweak them to perfection, so it is only fair that I share some of my tips with those who may not be behind the scenes with the experts.

1. Too Baggy is Never Good

When you get dressed, try to remember that the clothes' job is to FLATTER you, rather than HIDE you.  More fabric may seem like the better option for covering up whatever imperfection you may think you have, but something relatively fitted or with some kind of shape will almost always be the better choice.  When you wear something like the top above, keep in mind that it will fall against your widest part, mine are my hips/butt.  As a result, it makes it appear that everything unseen under that top is also the same width as my hips/butt... are you picking up what I'm putting down?  Ok GREAT!  If it isn't something you can belt at the waist, try tucking your top in.  I like the partial tuck in that almost looks like you accidentally did that during your last bathroom trip.  If you don't feel comfortable tucking shirts in, opt for a shorter top that is fitted in the chest and has more fabric in the stomach area.  Just make sure it stops above your hips so it shows off your curves rather than blends the whole body shape into one.

2. Give Me Some Space!

If your outfit is pretty full coverage, it's nice to break up the human totem pole effect (aka a solid connection of shoe-pants-shirt-jacket, and sneak in at least a little bit of skin.  I have been loving the skinny cuff and it has a great way of making any denim transform into a more relaxed feel.  The blazer I chose has contrasting fabric inside so I decided to cuff the sleeves as well, to show off some of my jewelry and a little more skin.

3. Accessorize Basic or Neutral Colors

Wearing a lot of neutral colors allows for a ton of creativity when it comes to accessorizing.  I like to add one pop of color (often that color is turquoise) or pile on the golds and browns for some statement jewelry.  A fun belt, great hat, or a purse or shoe with a pop of color can also be a fabulous addition.

4. Shape Up!

If the garment you're wearing isn't built with a lot of structure, don't be afraid to add a little of your own.  Adding a fitted blazer, tucking in your blouse, belting your dress, and layering tighter options over looser ones, are all great ways to give your outfit a bit more shape and to further flatter your body type.

I hope these tips come in handy next time you find yourself in an "almost perfect outfit" situation.  Oftentimes, one little tweak can make all the difference!

Blazer- Forever 21; Sheer Tunic Faded Giraffe Print Top- Target, Belt- Vintage (my Dad's= why it is so big); Ripped Boyfriend Jeans- J Brand;  Shoes- Target; Watch- Michael Kors; Stone and Turquoise Beaded Necklace and Brown Beaded Bracelet- St. Eve;  Brown Leather Braided Bracelet- Michael Kors;  Hair by Lindsey Carter

Style: Sun Seeker

Danika Brysha

My favorite color is yellow.  Not necessarily to wear, eat, or smell, but I think the color overall has such a happy, vibrant connotation to it.  When I saw this leotard for sale on ASOS (I'm a huge fan of leotards in general), I knew I had to have it!  I wear a ton of things that sit at my waist as I think they flatter my shape better and they are generally much more comfortable.  As a result, leotards have become a staple when it comes to that pairing.

Now unlike the average real housewife, I can't just open a Vogue magazine and pick out something from an ad and well... buy it.  But when I saw this purse by Mulberry in a magazine, took a screenshot of the ad, and found myself still thinking about it on the reg months later, I made my very first high society exception.  I was in London for a bit of work and a bit more fun with friends.  Considering I'd done plenty of research on the bag, I knew there were a few Mulberry stores in the city.  I justified it by telling myself that because I wouldn't be paying tax for it, it was actually quite practical to get it during my time there.  And I mean... when in London (or New York, or Kentucky, or when the internet is available...)

Yellow Zig Zag Leotard- ASOS.com; High Waisted Denim- J Brand; Tan Platform Wedges- Dolce Vita;  Gold Square Patterned Earrings- Target;  Brown Leather Purse- Mulberry

Style: Zip, Zap, Zop

Danika Brysha

Two weekends ago I was so kindly invited to tag along with my best friend and her family for a weekend in Vegas.  I am sorry to report that I did not make any form of VIP list at Wet Republic, but what I lacked in bottle service and boob tassels, I made up for in fine dining and my own little quadruple bypass that I like to call The JERSEY BOYS!

I saw this blue/black minidress on Forever 21 plus sizes and that was that.  I knew the second I slipped in to it that my milkshake would undoubtedly bring all the boys to the yard.  Needless to say I was right...

On our last night in Vegas we headed to the Palazzo and dined at Emeril's restaurant, Table 10.  The highlight of my evening?  SRIRACHA Chicken Wings!!!  I would tell you more about them but I might be too tempted to eat my computer.  There was also an outrageous Banana Cream Pie involved.  I love when desserts have fruit in the title and you automatically think you're eating something kind of healthy.  Peach Rings, Fruit Roll Ups, Appletini, Stoli Blueberry... you get my point.

Even a simple dinner out in Vegas requires careful style choices.  One thing I've learned is that you never know where the night will take you.  Another thing I've learned is that what happens in Vegas usually finds a way to leave town for a while.  Metaphorically of course.  I thought this dress was sexy but still classy for dinner, and the vibrant blue is one of my favorite shades to wear.  I also found out that the zipper on this dress is... in fact... a working zipper.  Good times.  Such good times in fact that we decided to stay an extra night, and because modeling is somewhat like being unemployed(?), I had nobody to call in sick to.  And that's something I can get down with.

Dress- Forever 21+; Shoes- Sam Edelman; Silver Circle Earrings- A generous loan from the lovely Mrs. Karen Lupinetti

What Lies Beneath:  Maidenform Self Expressions in Black (Purchased at Target)

Style: Fall Feathers

Danika Brysha

Ahh, the Fall weather is finally starting to peek on in to my life and I couldn't be happier. Of course, my biased Southern California perspective should be noted here, but nonetheless, the cool calm of the final months of the year are, in my opinion, the most beautiful.

Now I must start by saying that I've never been a huge fan of wearing the color brown.  I've always thought that it washed me out by blending in with my pale-ish skin color and neutral hair color.  But I've learned there is actually an easy way around that!  Add a pop of color to break up that "blah" territory.  I always feel like my lips blend in with my face, which blends in with my hair, so I added a bright red lip and it made all the difference.

And because I like to live on the edge... I chose to pair black and brown TOGETHER.  Think of the risk.  I'm a slave for a good waist belt and this one had a little edginess to it with the studs.  I love a fresh stud in the morning.  And these black boots were a gift from my ever so stylish father Andre.  He once told me that the most important thing in a person's wardrobe is to have great shoes.  Any man that wore platforms with real fishtanks and live fish in them during the 70's should be trusted.  That is just something I know for sure.

Brown shirtdress with feather pattern- Old Navy; Black Studded Belt- Zara; Black Leather Ankle Boots- Jessica Simpson; Cream Crochet Beanie- H&M; Gold band ring- Michael Kors;  Gold Leaf earrings- Target;  Red Lipstick- Makeup Forever "Rogue Artist Intense 42"; Hair by Lindsey Carter

L.A. Fashion's Night Out- Torrid Edition

Danika Brysha

Thursday night was Los Angeles' very own version of Fashion's Night Out so I, of course, had to be a part of it.  I skimmed the list of participating stores in my area and saw that Torrid's store at the Westfield Mall in Culver City was listed.  I had plans to meet up with some friends over on Melrose Ave and to attend a party at the Beverly Center later in the night, so I made Torrid my first stop.  I was greeted by the two most lovely ladies, Sandra and Symone, who were working the Fashion's Night Out event, and I cannot say enough wonderful things about them.  They were such great sports and even helped me pick out what would eventually be my evenings new outfit!

I lapped the store a couple times, grabbed what I liked and hit the dressing room... my own personalized dressing room!  I just love that!  AND I managed to not lock myself out which is a success in itself.

Though I was tempted to buy everything, I limited myself to three things...

1. I knew I had to have the grey Source of Wisdom skinny jeans that I found on the... get ready.. CLEARANCE rack!  I felt like they were literally constructed to fit me perfectly.  They sat above my hips and butt rather than cutting me off where I am fuller, and they were nice and long.

2. I loved the Blue Open-Knit Banded pullover when I shot it originally but trying it on in the store, on my own time, made me really realize I needed it!  I think the "off-the-shoulder" look is such a relaxed yet sexy style and the sheerness of the top gives me the option to get creative with what I choose to wear underneath.

3. And my favorite of all were these multi-colored, zig-zag leggings that I ALSO found in the clearance section! Huge score!

... In fact, I liked them so much that I decided I wanted to wear them for the rest of the night.  I had originally worn one of my favorite "go-to" lace Torrid dresses (I shot it in a style post here) and though I still love it dearly, I wanted something a little bit edgier to compete with all the fashionistas out for the night using the sidewalk as their runway.  I told Symone and Sandra I needed help deciding what to wear with them, and they suggested I pair them with a basic tank top and the new sheer Black Button-Up Chiffon Hi-Lo Top.  And they were VERY right. Did I say "3 Things"?  I meant FIVE.  Oh well.  And might I just add that I got all five things for just over $120 with the Fashion's Night Out sale, clearance items, and my newly opened and potentially very dangerous Torrid credit card! Success!I bid my farewells to the fabulous Sandra and Symone and thanked them for their help and fashion guidance, and was off to meet up with my friends for the Genlux Magazine party on the roof of the Beverly Center.I had a wonderful evening in my new Torrid outfit and of course rocked my grey jeans and Blue Knit top all day Friday.  The night was wonderful and I'm sending a big thank you to Sandra, Symone, and Torrid for helping me feel even more fashionable yet again!

Anybody else score some awesome sales for Fashion's Night Out?

 

Style: Flying High

Danika Brysha

A couple years ago, I wouldn't have dared wear this outfit in front of anyone besides my bedroom mirror.  Two huge trends in the last couple years have been lace and crop tops, and though I was fashionably prepared with this top on hand, it remained on its hanger.  I've grown a lot as a person in the last year and my confidence has exponentially taken the first place ticket in that race.  I can now genuinely say that I love my body and the curves that I have, and I am ready to share them with the world after years of being told otherwise.

I talked about crop tops before here, and there is no reason a plus size or curvier woman should miss out on the trend.  Try one with a high waisted skirt or jeans, or even layer one over a basic form-fitting dress to give it a different look.

To be honest, I'm not entirely sure where I got this top.  I'm pretty sure a friend left it at my house years ago and time passed and I forgot who it belonged to (and fine, ok... I didn't try TOO hard to return it).  Maybe they'll claim it now though after this post.  However, I'm going to need to see valid identification and proof of ownership if the emails start flooding in...

Photographer: Stefan Brysha

Location: Lido Island, Newport Beach, CA

Lace Crop Top- Vintage (no tag or anything, sorry) but here is a similar one at Torrid; Black High Waisted Skirt- Zara; Tan Lace Up Heeled Booties- Michael Kors; Brown Stone Ring- Forever 21; Coral Beaded Earrings- Target

 

And finally... Here are your PHOTOS THAT ALMOST MADE THE CUT (Because nobody is perfect)...

*Note: I will never photoshop my Style/Personal photos in order to alter the size, shape, firmness, smoothness, etc. of my body.  I think it is important that we see people as they truly are, and if I can do my little part to help promote a better body image, then I am fulfilled.

Sunday Worship: Lululemon Yoga Pants

Danika Brysha

I know it is Monday but the Labor Day weekend found me celebrating Sunday Funday with many a cocktail and a music festival, rather than a day sitting alone in a dark room editing videos.  And since nobody is paying me for these creations (though I'm definitely open to the idea), I can do this any damn time I please.  So here it is.

I'm a HUGE fan of Lululemon workout pants.  I think they are constructed by little fairies with magical fingers.  They suck everything in and make your legs and butt appear much firmer than it actually is.  Even if I'm only wearing them to Hometown Buffet, I can still give off the "Hey, I lead an active healthy lifestyle" vibe.  They are quite pricey but you'll understand why when you squeeze that sexy Gluteus Maximus into these girdle pants from heaven.  Without further adieu...

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68IvDlSjlKw&feature=youtu.be

Beauty Boyfriends: Hairspray Harry

Danika Brysha

(Yes, I know this photo is somewhat inappropriate and suggestive.  No, I have no intention of altering it in any additional way.  Behave yourselves.)

If you're anything like me, you have little to no self control when it comes to applying an appropriate amount of any hair product.  Without fail I will always put too much product in, leaving my hair to look weighed down, greasy, or on special occasions... like Cameron Diaz's look in "There's Something About Mary".  I kept noticing that a large percentage of the hairstylists on my photoshoots were using this gold tube of heaven when it came to hairspray.  Me being the curious lass that I am, ordered a bottle (on Amazon Prime of course) and started trying it out on my own to see what all the hype was about.

Well it turns out that the hype was well deserved and L'Oreal can check one more loyal customer off their list.  I used to use the very liquid-y sprays that can come out very wet and give you that "set in stone" look that we all became too familiar with in middle school.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, I've included a photo of my older brother from 1997 sporting the look.

The spray is a fine mist and looks dry immediately.  It is light enough that you can spray as much as you desire and holds my thin, fine hair in place for hours.  You can buy it at most drugstores and it is relatively affordable and lasts quite long.  I vote an A+!!

Here is a little video of how I use it...

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Have a safe and fun Labor Day Weekend!

Style: Ferris Wheels and Fun Zones

Danika Brysha

The Balboa Fun Zone in Newport is such a cool little spot.  It has that old school carnival feel with the multi-colored ferris wheel and open-walled arcade.  Then you look around and realize the gorgeous setting, on the peninsula in Newport Beach, and the charming ferry that shuttles people back and forth to Balboa Island.  My parents still live in Newport Beach so it makes it easy to drive the one hour from Los Angeles on the reg.

I'm a big fan of solid-colored basics because I feel like they give you a lot of room to accessorize with shoes, bags, jewelry, scarves, sexy men, etc.  I wore these Torrid jeans while shooting product for their website one day and went home and ordered them immediately because they had fit so well.  They are the "curvy" style so they sit nicely above my hips, meaning that they not only stay up without constant pulling, but they also don't cut me off in unflattering places like many jeans can. Oh, and as I've said before, I have no intention of ever photoshopping my body smoother, thinner, or smaller... so if you can't get down with my back roll then please get down somewhere else.

When I bought this white leotard from ASOS online (one of my first purchases from them), I had no idea how much I'd wear it.  I think leotards are incredibly underrated and I find myself wearing them frequently.  Because I wear high waisted skirts and pants often, it is the perfect top as it is form-fitting and stays put.  I also love the low "V" back with the little ruching detail.  Those little details get me excited every time!  So does tequila.

Photographer: Stefan Brysha
Location: Balboa Fun Zone, Newport Beach, California

Jeans- Torrid "Curvy Skinny Jean (Tall)"; White Leotard- ASOS; Blue Platform Wedge Shoes- Betsey Johnson; Straw Hat- H&M; Yellow Crossbody Purse- Rebecca Minkoff; Gold Oversized Watch- Michael Kors; Brown and Turquoise Beaded Bracelets- St. Eve Jewelry; Leather Braided Brown Bracelet- Marc Jacobs; Silver Ring with Turquoise and Black Stone- Vintage (from my DAD's closet!)

And now for your new favorite section... Photos That Almost Made The Cut... Because Nobody is Perfect...

Sunday Worship: In-N-Out

Danika Brysha

I hope everybody had a lovely weekend! This week (and really every week) I am incredibly thankful for In-N-Out Burger.  They provide me not only fantastically delicious food on the reg, but they also gave me my first job back in 2003.  I absolutely LOVED working there!  There is a reason all the employees appear happy and courteous, and that is because it is a great company to be a part of.  I worked with some of the best people and learned a ton from the bosses and managers I had along the way, regarding customer service and how to provide a positive community culture were people are happy to work!  I took away so much more than a paycheck from working there and I will forever be thankful for what I learned during my employment.  So here's to In-N-Out Burger... (And my mom for making that unreal Double-Double costume that landed me the job!

If there is something you'd like to see worshipped in the following weeks, and it is something I truly enjoy as well, please leave your ideas in the comments and I'll try to make some magic happen!

Style: White Trash Playground Chic

Danika Brysha

After spending the last week thinking about Flamin' Hot Cheetos more than any human being ever should, I figured, why stop channeling my white trash self now? Enter this denim vest/Rhinestone Hoop/Converse situation... And I don't hate it!

I wear a ton of heels but nothing beats a little occasional comfort... oh, and heels don't work all that well in sand.  Then again, this was shot in Orange County, CA and I'm very willing to bet that there are plenty of moms in this neighborhood that have mastered it.  I'm not one of those though.  Nor do I have any children.  That I know of.

I love to pair things that don't necessarily go together.  Like this black pleated skirt with these dirty green converse, or showering and then watching the Jersey Shore immediately after, or Jake Gyllenhall and I at the premiere of Hope Springs.  No wait, that last one actually goes together.  Tricked ya!

Gabi over at www.gabifresh.com is always rocking the "fully buttoned to the top look" with her blouses and I think it looks fabulous so I tried it with this vest.  With the exception of the vests middle button that is seconds away from champagne popping off full speed ahead, I think it gave the vest a cool shape.  It also allowed me to wear it on its own.  Imagine the thrill.

Photographer: Stefan Brysha
Location: Lido Island, Newport Beach, CA
 
Denim Vest- Levis, Black Pleated Skirt- Jason Wu for Target, Green Sneakers- Converse, Rhinestone Hoop Earrings- Target, Gold Leopard Mouth Ring- Nasty Gal,  Blonde Baby in Park- Unknown

And now I'd like to introduce to you a new addition to my style posts called...

PHOTOS THAT ALMOST MADE THE CUT (because life isn't picture perfect, and contrary to [VERY] popular belief, neither am I.  I know, I know, I just shook up your world with that one.  Let it marinate a bit.)