ABontrager’s diary

Welcome to my blog

6 Things I’ve Learned About Body Positivity By Grace Victory


My journey with body positivity is ever evolving, developing and changing. I’ve been thinner than I am now and bigger than I am now and at every stage I’ve had to relearn how to love my body. It's been extremely difficult but equally as empowering and there are few significant moments that I have changed my world - and I hope they help to change yours too.

You have the permission to eat whatever you want.

For me personally, food and body image work hand in hand. Both the beauty industry and the diet industry make millions every year benefiting on people’s insecurities and the socially developed world that we all hate ourselves. We are conditioned to count calories, work out so we can eat guilt free, replace food with shakes and so on and so on. But understanding that every single person no matter their size has the permission to eat whatever they want and whatever they fancy is truly powerful stuff. Our bodies are wonderful, clever things that can communicate to us what it needs - but only if we let it. Food should be satisfying and joyess and ignoring that hunger is ignoring something that literally keeps you alive. No matter what you’re eating that shouldn’t bare judgement or shame. Contrary to popular belief but eating food is actually normal, restricting and counting every calorie isn’t.

It’s ok to have fat or extra fat or extra extra fat.

Fat is just a descriptor like slim, tall or petite, but unfortunately society has attached negative connotations with fat which has now made it feel like its a dirty word. Spoiler alert: it isn’t. Its okay to have more fat than what’s deemed acceptable and it doesn’t make you any less of a human. No matter what we look like we are all worthy of love, respect and kindness.

Body positivity also includes non-able bodies.

The body positive movement is a safe place for ALL marginalised bodies - not just fat bodies. This includes the disabled who are often over looked and disregarded in society.

Self care is imperative to happiness

Up until summer 2016, I didn’t even know what self care was and now I lean on it every single day. Self care to me is about recognising and meeting your own needs - as if you’re taking care of your child self or your best friend. Self care stems far beyond a face mask or a pedicure. It can mean getting enough sleep and learning when to say no. When your mind is in a relaxed and clear state you are less likely to hear unwell and unkind thoughts about your body.

It's normal to still have bad body image days.

We are ALL brainwashed into believing we need to look a certain way, so its normal to wake up somedays and not like what you see - those are the days you must practice even more self care than normal. Body positivity is literally unlearning all the things we dislike about our bodies and that takes time.

Number’s don’t equate to worth

Whether you’re a size 8 or a size 28, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is how you treat people and how you treat yourself. Are you kind? Are you trustworthy? Are you hard working? There are so many other traits to a human that we all should be working on. Your core self is far more valuable than anything else.Read more at:cocktail dresses uk | formal dresses uk


Bride Actually Wants Her Friends


When a bride-to-be narrows down the members of her bridal party, she usually asks a sister, close family relative, or best gal pal. Accepting the role as bridesmaid is often a heartwarming moment too. Well, in the case of one bride, who has as of yet remained nameless, an auction was held for potential bridesmaids to "bid" for a spot in her wedding. No, we're not kidding about this.

The outlandish story was posted on Reddit by the bride's sister about two days ago. Under the username SistersBridesmaid, she wrote, “My sister was always very spoiled by our parents since she’s the youngest of four kids and my mom had thought she wouldn’t be able to have any more kids. Don’t get me wrong, she can be very sweet and caring too, but she’s just a very immature, high maintenance person. Basically she got engaged a couple of months ago and will be getting married at the end of August.”

She continued, "Anyway she still hasn’t chosen her bridesmaids. Instead, she has sent out dozens of…invitations, to various girls. It’s an invite to attend and participate in a ‘bidding auction’ on the six spots in her bridal party. Whichever six of all these chicks bid the most will be the bridesmaids. There’s also an auction for being her maid of honor."

This sounds totally awful already, but here's the real kicker: "My sister and her fiancé are using the money to fund the wedding and honeymoon."

SistersBridesmaid, who called the auction "tacky," refused to RSVP to the event, which made the bride upset. Unfortunately, her mom is siding with the bride. Confused and a bit peeved, the sister sought the help of the Reddit community and asked if she should oblige and attend the auction. Naturally, the users sided with SistersBridesmaid.

“In my opinion her sister is highly manipulative," one user wrote. "The nutters are those willing to actually pay to be in her wedding party. Why would anyone do this? I can’t wrap my brain around it.”

Hopefully there will be a peaceful resolution. Until then, read about other real wedding partiers who also experienced some pretty nutty requests.Read more at:white prom dresses | royal blue prom dresses


Use roses to hydrate skin, treat acne and de-stress


Representational Image

Roses have a lot of uses apart from its de-stressing fragrance. From being an ace hydrator to being a healer, experts have rated the rose and its petals high for their uses.

Amit Sarda, Managing Director at Soulflower, and Sonia Mathur, Beauty Expert and Training head at Organic Harvest, have rolled out a list of uses of a rose:

Hydration: Rose mixed with water helps hydrate, re-energise and moisturise the skin giving it a fresh look. It helps control excess oil and also maintains the skin's pH balance. Containing a complex array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, rose essential oil has excellent emollient properties for moisturising dry skin.

Rosewater and lemon juice skin tonic: This tonic helps in clearing pimples and acne. Wash your face with water, followed by application of the tonic. Leave it on for 15 minutes before washing it with warm water. This is suitable for either combination skin or oily skin.

Rosewater and almonds face pack: This is considered to be an ideal pack for dry skin. A paste can be prepared by using almonds, honey and rosewater together. This face-pack can be used for skin whitening.

For regular use, dip the cotton ball in rosewater and clean the face. It acts as a natural toner and removes the dust and dirt settled onto the skin. This process can be repeated in the morning and night time. Rosewater can also be used in bath water. It helps in inducing a skin glow. The gentle aroma of rose removes the stress and refreshes the body.

Eye care: Rosewater can alleviate the discomfort and relieve the stress after application. Rosewater brings shine and makes the eyes healthy. The anti-septic and anti-bacterial properties save the eyes from pollution, dust, redness and harm caused by chemicals in make-up products that one may be accustomed to using. It can also help in preventing dark circles when mixed with milk.

Hair care: If used with shampoo on a regular basis, rosewater promotes moisturisation and conditioning of hair follicles.

Rosewater and jojoba oil blended together can be applied on the hair for 10 minutes before washing, as it effectively helps in repairing damaged hair caused by curling irons or blow driers.

To get rid of frizzy hair, rosewater and aloe vera can be blended together in equal proportions. Apply it over your scalp properly. Leave it on for 30 minutes and then wash off.

Skin disease treatment: Rose has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, making it ideal to topically treat a host of ailments, including abrasions, burns and skin conditions. It has also been used to ease sore throats, fever and cough.

The anti-inflammatory properties help treat redness and inflammation. Rose oil can also help refine skin texture, controlling skin diseases such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.

Rose water can also treat acne and can be added in tea to calm sore throats.

De-stress: Inhaling the aroma of roses is said to be a powerful mood enhancer. It lowers the concentration of the stress hormone in the body, and helps in getting rid from feelings of anxiety, thereby promoting emotional well-being and relaxation.

Local botox: Roses also help aging skin, keeping fine lines and wrinkles at bay. Use Rosehip seed oil (which is derived from small fruits found behind the rose flower) which contains high levels of Vitamin C and is rich in oils and proteins.Read more at:quinceanera dresses | mermaid prom dresses


What are my summer school options



Whoop, whoop – school’s out for summer! As much as every parent breathes a sigh of relief after being put through the wringer during the dreaded annual examinations, the euphoria soon turns into despair as we are left wondering what is to become of our children while we work throughout the 100 days of summer.

In Malta, at least, the reality is that mothers have been mulling over summer childcare options as soon as the last Easter egg was scoffed. Working mothers try to sort out scheduling with their partners during the interim period between school ending and summer school options beginning so that there will always be an adult presence in the home to look after the rugrats.

Mothers who do not work outside the home will also be trying to organise some extracurricular activities to stop the children from getting bored, while giving themselves time to run the errands and do the chores without having the children moaning underfoot.

The fortnight gap between school ending and summer schools starting, and again at the end of the season when summer school finishes and the start of the next scholastic year is two weeks away, constitutes a childcare headache for parents who are both in gainful employment.

For those lucky enough to have help from their parents, babysitting may be free, but the realisation that what constitutes a handful for us may be totally exhausting for our pensioner parents should itself be a warning to prevent us from abusing of the situation.

State-subsidised options like Klabb 3-16 available to families in which both parents work are located in a wide variety of government schools around the island for a nominal fee of 80c per child per hour. You will need to apply personally at the centre where you wish to send your children.

Since resources are limited, the care is pretty basic – with screen time featuring widely and the average age tending to be below 10. Even so the young, enthusiastic carers do their best to ensure that the children have a good time by organising cooking sessions, such as fruit kebabs (at an additional cost of €2 per child) and water games in the school playground.

Be sure to send a change of clothes (including underwear) and a small towel for your children to dry up, in case water play features in the schedule.

Opening times are from 7am to 6pm during school holidays and the fact that Klabb 3-16 runs throughout the long summer break from June 30 to September 23 makes this a viable childcare choice. Klabb 3-16 provides a useful stepping stone to tide those of us for whom taking annual leave over this period is not an option over the gap both at the start and end of summer, as well as the mid-August week, when most summer schools go on shutdown. If you prefer a more active approach, Skola Sajf starts a little later than Klabb 3-16, from mid-July until the first week of September, but runs throughout the Santa Maria week – so it could be a useful option during this time.

A word to the wise – your child must be independent and know how to shower, dress and use the bathroom as children are expected to fend for themselves in the changing rooms in between activities. Since Skola Sajf costs €25 per child for the entire summer, it is little wonder then that this government-subsidised initiative is generally oversubscribed, so be sure to get in early.

Although core hours run from 8.30am to 12.30pm, extra hours before or afterwards are available at a charge paid directly to the centre concerned. Both options are worth getting in early, as subscriptions close before the end of the scholastic year, and your preferred centre may be fully booked by the time you get around to filling in the online form. Unsurprisingly, there is a ton of bureaucracy to wade through but once you’re in the system it is relatively plain-sailing. The cooperative staff at the Foundation for Educational Services are very good at answering all your queries, via their Facebook page or e-mail contact form, and patiently dole out helpful advice to your childcare dilemmas.

Remember to be practical and save yourself unnecessary commuting by putting all your offspring into the same summer school.Read more at:white prom dresses


Here’s how you can prepare yourself for wedding season in right way


Here’s how you can prepare yourself for wedding season in right way
(Photo:sexy evening dresses)

Wedding planning is a hectic activity when one has to pick not only the right date but also the outfit. Looking radiant and picture-perfect on your big day requires prepping well in advance, and this includes opting for right nutritional diet and embracing fitness activities.

Sangeeta Velaskar, Vice President and Head, Medical Services and R&D, Kaya Limited, has listed the guide to prepare yourself for the wedding season.

* Ensure your hair is healthy: Girls sometimes may face hair fall or changes in hair texture due to a variety of reasons. Consult a doctor to better understand your hair health at least six months prior to be able to take corrective measures, and ensure lustrous and luscious locks on your big day.

* Vitamins: Start taking vitamins for longer, shinier hair and glowing skin. Don't know where to start and what would work best for your body? Consult a doctor. Biotin and Vitamin C are the most basic ones to consume. Iron rich foods are spinach, oysters and cashews but you could take supplements too. Don't forget Vitamin C -- especially for the skin, it makes the skin look healthier and gives it a glow.

* Fitness and nutrition: Avoid crash dieting before your wedding by starting a fitness and nutrition plan well in advance. You want to look healthy and glowing on the big day, instead of exhausted and weak. Keep track of your daily food and nutrition intake to keep a check on what you are consuming and what fitness routine works best for you. Excessive dieting or a crash diet will also make your skin and hair dull and lifeless.

* Make your hair look healthy and glossy: A colour enhancing gloss treatment will keep your locks shiny on your wedding day. Regular trims are essential to ensure that your hair grows in a healthy manner and looks neat. Go for sessions of deep conditioning and hair health well in advance. This ensures that your hair has enough time to repair itself and look glossy and gorgeous on your wedding day.

Disha Meher, National Expert - Skin and Nails from Lakmé Salon, decoded ways to look glowing at your wedding .

* Waxing services should be performed on 3-4 weeks of hair growth. If you do not usually get waxed, begin a few months before your wedding day to avoid an adverse reaction to the wax.

* Get a body polish to gently exfoliate your skin to get a ‘glowing look'.

* It is recommended that you leave only hair styling and makeup services for your wedding day and complete all other care and grooming services much ahead.Read more at:one shoulder prom dresses


Eliza jumps for joy after top 10 finish in national beauty pageant


legged Avoca Beach stunner Eliza Gray is still jumping with joy after dancing her way into the top 10 of Australia’s longest running beauty pageant.

The 22-year-old brunette was one of five NSW contestants to make the finals of the Miss World Australia competition where she won the talent category with a contemporary dance routine she pulled together in just three weeks.

“As an experience I loved it,” she said.

“I went in to it with an open mind and an open heart. I did put a bit of pressure on myself to perform, so I sort of treated it as a dance eisteddfod.”

Having grown up on the Central Coast the aspiring model has spent the past three years studying dance at the prestigious Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) where she graduated in November.

Back on the Coast Ms Gray has started a personal training business between modelling shoots.

“I’m working with young women and building their body confidence,” she said.

“Social media can be quite confronting for young women when they see all these beautiful people and a lot of girls are struggling with their body image. That’s my goal to empower them.”

Being comfortable in her own skin was an attitude she took into her first beauty pageant where her win in the talent category propelled her automatically into the top 10 of 28 finalists from across the country.

Ms Gray said self confidence was the most attractive feature in anyone.

“In the end if they didn’t like me, they didn’t like me and that mentality put me in a good position,” she said.

“I’m just this Central Coast girl, a PT (personal trainer) and a dancer. You are who you are, the best version of you is the most confident.”

Ms Gray said the Miss World Australia pageant held at Melbourne’s Grand Hyatt last Friday was unlike anything she had ever done.

“Whatever the outcome was, I would have been proud,” she said.

“I’m so humbled, it’s got me a lot of exposure and confidence. All the other girls were really genuine which is not really what I would expect.”

The pageant was eventually won by Melbourne criminal profiler Esma Voloder, 25, who shared her remarkable backstory of escaping a refugee camp in war-torn Bosnia more than two decades ago.

Ms Voloder, who took home the $68,000 pearl-encrusted crown, is a seasoned pageant competitor and Ms Gray said she had learned a lot.

Asked if she would enter another beauty pageant Ms Gray said “I think so”.

In the meantime she’s working on building her Instagram following under the handle “Simplylize” between personal training and modelling.Read more at:sexy evening dresses | one shoulder prom dresses


Vancouver brick-and-mortar clothes retailer weathering latest online storm



One of the biggest shopping days in recent years took place Tuesday: Amazon’s Prime Day sale.

In its three years, millions of online deal-hunters have imbued the day with a holiday shopping spirit not unlike Black Friday or Cyber Monday. The 30-hour spree kicked off Monday night.

Coupled with Prime Day is the arrival last month of Amazon Prime Now to select ZIP codes in Clark County. The service promises two-hour delivery of many kinds of online goods.

“Once you place your order, an employee goes to pick the item and we then get it placed in a bag and ready for delivery,” said Amazon spokeswoman Ana Rigby. “This happens very quickly, sometimes within minutes. Then, an Amazon Flex driver is assigned the delivery.”

While it is yet another prong in the Seattle company’s assault on brick-and-mortar businesses across the country, local businesses said they aren’t too worried as long as they can offer something online retailers can’t: in-person service.

Most everything vs. virtually everything

“It’s just crazy,” said Alisa Tetreault, owner of Most Everything Vintage, a clothing store in downtown Vancouver.

Standing in her 1,200-square-foot shop, she was trying to wrap her head around how Amazon’s latest services could logistically come together. What could the supply chain look like? “I don’t know how they’re making any money,” she said.

Most Everything Vintage is a throwback. The clothing store, at 815 Washington St., does well selling knickerbockers and saucer hats. Everything sold there, even lamps and small furniture, seems cut from the same mid-20th-century cloth.

That uniformity is owed to Tetreault’s strict sense of time. She keeps inventory stocked with items from 30 to 99 years ago, which she says is the definition of vintage. Anything older is antique.

“There is some wish-wash out there. You’ll see something from the ’70s at a store and they’ll say it’s antique,” she said.

By that watch, Most Everything Vintage is still young. The store opened seven years ago, and in that time, the methods of shopping have changed dramatically.

“It’s definitely a challenge, because people are busier and they want the convenience of shopping from home or from their office,” she said.

It’s not a trend she takes personally. Tetreault said she turns to Amazon to buy materials in bulk that she can’t find locally, such as peacock plumes or ostrich feathers for hats.

The business has changed with customers’ expectations, however. The company brought on a tailor in April, hoping to make sure customers leave the shop knowing they will find a fit they can’t guarantee by shopping online.

“The one advantage we have is that vintage is so specific, you really have to try it on,” Tetreault said. “Even though there are websites out there that provide vintage, to feel it, to touch it, makes a big difference.”

‘Old school’

According to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, online shopping across the country raked in $105.7 billion in sales for the first quarter of 2017, up 4 percent over fourth quarter 2016.

In Washington, companies whose primary business can be defined as e-commerce or mail order garnered about $2.8 billion in taxable retail sales in 2016, according to the state Department of Revenue. That’s a 12 percent increase over 2015.

Deanne Blevins, owner of boutique clothing store Wild Fern in Uptown Village, said she was aware of the trend when she opened the store a year ago.

“It just kind of confirmed to me that customer experience is more important than it was in the past,” Blevins said. “We’re trying to connect with neighbors, we have good intentions and (want to) provide an experience you can’t get with Amazon.”

Overall, though, retail sales in the U.S. logged around $1.25 trillion, the U.S. Census Bureau said. That puts e-commerce’s share at about 8.4 percent of all retail sales.

Small brick-and-mortar retailers will often find opportunity in selling online, too. Tetreault said some of her specialty items don’t always appeal to the walk-in customer, like a pair of French overalls from the 1950s that she sold for $1,200 online.

“I didn’t have anyone here who would have bought that in person,” she said.

The competition is no less steep online, however. Besides Amazon, apps like thredUP, Vinted and Poshmark have streamlined the secondhand clothes market. PrivCo, a New York-based research firm, found the secondhand market doubled between 2013 and today and now stands close to $2 billion in value.

“(Tetreault is) certainly competing against every Etsy dealer,” said Lee Rafferty, executive director with Vancouver’s Downtown Association. “She’s got a lot of pressure already.”

Tetreault said revenues have risen at the store about 15 percent every year. Much of the success, she said, can be attributed to things in her store that technically aren’t vintage. Most Everything Vintage partnered with local businesses HumbleBug Jewelry, Locksmythe Hair Salon, Vance Family Soy Candles and handbag maker Espiritu Maya to drive sales.

“My wish is for people (here) to embrace the businesses in this community,” she said. “I just think old school. You should shop where you live, you eat where you live. You support your local economy.”Read more at:MarieProm UK