Fit Queen

Hey guys! So those of you who are closer to me/see me on the daily know that I have recently started a health and fitness journey. I wanted to write a post about why and what and all that jazz because it goes a little deeper than just wanting to get fit.

I’m a firm believer in loving yourself which is sometimes way easier said than done. When I was younger I didn’t like myself. I didn’t think I was pretty or skinny. I thought I was a little troll. As I got a little older I began to realize who I wanted to be and started to grow into myself. I changed what I didn’t like and learned to truly love myself.

“Love yourself!” is something that everyone always says. I know it’s hard for me to sit here and say “hey just make changes and you will.” It goes much deeper than that but I encourage you to at least try to figure it out. Being comfortable in your own skin is such an amazing thing. Most importantly though- do it for yourself and no one else. Be who YOU really want to be.

Apologies if that got a little preachy but rewinding to a little over a month ago: I wasn’t loving myself and I wasn’t taking care of myself. I gained weight from stress and not taking the time to eat healthy whatsoever. I would get off work after not taking a break and would be so hungry and tired that I would stop and get fast food. If I did meal prep I was making big pasta dishes that would last a week or something else less than healthy. (cake..ice cream…brownies.. I just love baking)

My boss saw that I was struggling and feeling down and suggested we do Whole 30. I had no clue what it was so she filled me in on the basic rules and we went to town. Basically you can’t have dairy, grains, sugar, alcohol, or anything processed for a month. I did not read the actual Whole 30 book (I know, I know I’m a poser) but Pinterest was my best friend. I found tons of recipes that I actually enjoyed eating. Along with this I began doing a couple at home work outs 3-5 times a week.

This was all a huge change for me. I have never been much of a health/fitness type of gal. I have always loved baking and cooking but it was always foods that weren’t necessarily the most healthy. Beyond that, I’m basically a cheeseburger queen. But something in my head just clicked- I was like get it together Rai. I will say the hardest for me was probably the sugar. I love love loveeee sweets. Alas, I pushed through. It kind of became a hobby almost. It’s fun to find new recipes and discovering new foods/cooking techniques.

After one month my body has changed in a few ways. I have slimmed down- not necessarily 100% to where I want to be but I’m very pleased with the progress. The second change I noticed was when my month was up and I had a couple “cheat” days. I ordered a bunch of crappy food but afterwards I didn’t feel great at all. I was groggy and just felt gross. The last change I noticed while eating poorly those couple days was that I didn’t sleep as well. I have always had issues falling asleep but I realized I slept better when I was eating healthy and exercising. Okay- maybe one more change. When I don’t exercise I have an itch to, which again- I’m a fat whore! Exercising??? WANTING to exercise??? Wtf. You always hear people say “it’s a lifestyle and once you do it you can’t go back” but really, I don’t think I would want to go back. I’m happy with my journey and happy to be healthier and feeling good about myself again.

All in all, I’m loving myself again and moving onto my second month of Whole 30 and exercise. I have thought about doing some posts about recipes and work outs. Do let me know if that’s something anyone would be interested in reading. I have even been thinking about starting an Instagram about my journey. Do let me know about that also or if there’s any questions I can answer!

K byeeee

I posted a photo on instagram with the caption “last day vibes” which prompted an influx of comments/messages/texts about what’s going on. Believe it or not, some people are apparently interested.

So yes I have left Victoria’s Secret, the place that provoked my move to the New York area. I’m not going to lie and say that I was having the time of my life at the store but I am grateful to have had the experience. I have met so many amazing people between my co workers and clients. I’m sad to leave the Angel Suites and many of the people who have made a difference to me at the company. It’s definitely bittersweet. When a better opportunity comes knocking however…

I was recruited to work with a previous Suites Associate at a men’s clothing store in Brooklyn. Although I’m not as passionate about selling men’s clothing I am excited to start a new venture, get back into management and grow in a new company.

I’ve learned over the years that it’s worth it to take a chance on something new. The worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work out and then you move on. So I guess this is chapter II of my NYC adventures. Thank you to those of you who have been supportive through all of these shenanigans.

This is What You Came For

Yesterday is what I would describe as a rough day. I was super exhausted at work. I had just had a less than amusing interaction with a manager and was ready to lose it.

I was constantly moving around trying to find customers to help in order to appease management when I saw a woman talking to the associate greeting. I could tell the associate was struggling a little bit and decided to step in.

That’s when I met, who I will call J. I don’t want to use her real name in the event that she wouldn’t want it out there. J explained that her bra was giving her extreme discomfort and she just wanted a wireless bra. In Victoria’s Secret world, wireless is the devil unless you have a medical condition. Upon reaching the wireless bras I began asking J why she wanted wireless. She began to explain that nothing was comfortable, she needed to exchange a bra, etc. Although I knew that J wasn’t what management would consider a “Suites” customer, aka the VIP area of the store meant for personal shopping, I felt like she needed me to work with her one on one to ensure we could save her experience.

Once getting J in a bra and assessing the situation I recognized it was a sizing issue. J explained that she was a mother of 2 and after breast feeding her shape at changed completely. I found her two bras that she loved/were comfortable and did her exchange. She thanked me multiple times and I gave her my card in case she ever needed to come back or had any more fit issues.

I continued to stress over whether or not I would be reprimanded for spending too much time off the floor with a customer who was just exchanging. Everything is about your transactions and how many people you can help. I ended up working on some operational things with Angel, my supervisor. While we were sitting crunching numbers, an email came through. It was J.

The subject was “feedback on Rai”. I won’t post the entire email but this is the part that meant the most to me:
“Rai was a pleasure to work with, gave fantastic advice and made a mother of two with body dysmoprhic challenges feel like a beauty worth some attention.
She had amazing expertise and knew how to make a woman feel good about herself. I left with two new bras that are comfortable, shapely and still leave me looking like me.
They say the big secret is that the concept for your brand and store was conceived by a man… I think the real secret is Rai and the third floor ‘queen for a moment’ fitting room”

I read it and felt myself begin to tear up. As much as I meant something to J, she meant something to me. I’ve been feeling uninspired at work. In a store as large as this one it’s hard to make the connections that I have always loved about working at Victoria’s Secret. I had started to feel like I wouldn’t be able to provide that experience until I met J. I work retail and at this company specifically because I think it’s an outlet to change women’s lives and make them feel beautiful. I was losing hope in that dream until yesterday.

I know what it feels like to not love yourself and feel like you aren’t beautiful. I was lucky enough to figure out on my own what I needed to feel great about myself. I’m not going to say I don’t have days where I feel disgusting or that there aren’t things about myself that I don’t like but all in all I do love myself. If I can inspire someone else to love them self then that is why I am here. Even if it is just J, that one woman, it makes this whole adventure worth it. This is exactly what I came here for.

Trending 

I have to say as I’ve gotten older and grown into my own style, one of my biggest pet peeves is articles about what is no longer in. 

Yesterday I got to work a little early and was flipping through Snapchat stories and came across an article on Cosmo about trending bakeries on Instagram. Could the article just literally be about the topic? Of course not, there had to be a blurb in the beginning about how “cupcakes are dead” and croughnuts are “last year” but this is the year of the doughnut. How do cupcakes die exactly ? 

Regardless, there always seems to be these articles in the new year or close to the pending new year about what trends to leave behind. These articles don’t just suggest but demand that you leave contouring or highlighting or even the goddamn cupcakes behind. Why? Who exactly from Cosmo or whatever magazine gets to be the big decider that we can no longer be fierce as fuck with a snatched highlight ? 

I say no one. Who cares if Kim Kardashian changed to a different way of contouring? If you want that sharp contour, get it girl ! I’m sure she would still think you’re fierce. I refuse to let the internet and trends tell me that something is no longer “in”. (Especially cupcakes😉)
Case and point- years ago when the Jeffrey Campbell Litas were a huge trend I wanted the studded ones. After reading a pretty big blogger’s post about how they wouldn’t be “in” anymore I was pretty bummed. Upon finding a pair on eBay however, I decided fuck it. Platforms and studs are always in. ✌🏻

Dreams and New Things

For those of you who don’t know me or just don’t know in general, I have recently moved to the New York Area. I had lived in Philadelphia for the past 5/6 years. Let me first say that I don’t think I will ever love anywhere the same way I love Pennsylvania/Philadelphia. That being said it was time for a change. After being hounding for months by my good friend, Angel who was recruiting for Victoria’s Secret on 5th Avenue I finally decided to give it a shot. Angel has to be one of the most intelligent and driven young women I have ever met, so why not join her in this New York journey? The adventure to New York is a story for another post.

Mostly what I want to express in this post is why I want to start blogging and talking about my adventures. Although this transition has been anything but a cake walk, I have met and interacted with such amazing people in the short month that I have been here. These new connections have inspired me to share my story and really chase my dreams.

Getting into specifics- the first, which I have mentioned in a post on Facebook was meeting a photographer for Brazilian Vogue. She seemed to take a liking to me very quickly. She told me she thought I was great/wanted to tell everyone about me and the work I was doing. This was the most amazing/humbling thing someone so established could say to me. It made me feel that despite feeling out of place at times in such a chic city, I might just have what it takes to slay.

I would say the next encounter was a mother/daughter I worked with at VS. The daughter was super excited to try on bras and things. (I’m so sorry that I cannot for the life of me remember the daughter’s name) Meanwhile, Jasmine (the mom) was more reserved, kind of just hanging out on her phone. (I’m also not completely sure how Jasmine spells her name- it was pronounced “Yasmeen”) The duo from London was here for business. I started to chat with Jasmine, explaining my journey to New York and then moved onto her career. She told me that she is a psychotherapist and also makes film. Due to my obsession with starting to film you-tube videos I was extremely interested to hear about her films and what equipment she uses. We had such a lovely chat about cameras, filming, blogging etc. It was truly a pleasure to meet/speak with her. After saying our goodbyes, I went to put some things away on the sales floor. A few minutes later, Jasmine and her daughter found me and asked if perhaps Jasmine could try some things on as well. Absolutely! I asked what she was looking for, found her some options and then it was off to try on. After the fact, Jasmine told me that had anyone else helped them that day she would not have wanted to try on. She normally finds shopping/bra shopping frustrating but there was something about me that made her feel comfortable. There is absolutely nothing better to me in my line of work than being able to connect with someone in a way that makes them feel comfortable with me. Jasmine encouraged me to start blogging and said she would be on the look out for my name. She truly inspired me to begin blogging and how could I not deliver if she’s going to be looking out for it??

Lastly, I had dinner with my co-worker, Janice the other night. While the dinner itself was drab, the conversation was anything but. Janice asked me to tell her my life story after I had made an off hand comment about being adopted. I’ve always been incredibly open about my life and obliged. Afterwards she told me that she would never look at me and think I’ve gone through so much. Janice knows that I have been stressed at work and told me that if I can make it through all of that- I can make it through this. Janice, another intelligent and amazing woman also encouraged me to chase my dreams.

So here we are. I’m sorry if this was a bit long winded but I’m ready to take on my dreams. I intend for this blog to be about my adventures in NYC, my career, fashion, hair, make up, and maybe some stories about myself. Thank you to everyone, not only just the folks mentioned in this post- but everyone who has helped me reach this point and I hope that you will continue to support me.