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The traveling red dress revisited

If you’re a long-term reader of this blog you already know all about the traveling red dress and the magic it brings to those who wear it.  If you’re new, start here and then come back, because it’s about to get fun.

A few weeks ago we picked up the traveling red dress project again as people began offering red dresses to strangers in the hopes that they could pass a little magic into the lives of people who were celebrating a milestone, battling an enemy, or simply in need of a shiny red ball gown to remind them how amazing they were.  People around the world started giving out red dresses and offering to do red dress photo shoots for free.  It was covered by Forbes and the Washington Post.  And it was awesome.  And inspiring.  So inspiring, in fact, that my friend Julia mailed me a beautiful red dress to pass on to anyone who needed it.  She knew that most of us curvier girls find it hard to find beautiful ball gowns so she picked out an XXL with a very adjustable corset.  Today it came and I opened it up at my friend Maile’s photo studio and we decided to christen it.  And so, for one hour I wore the hell out of that red dress.  And it was lovely.

Right now I’m 20 pounds overweight.  I can practically see 40 from here.  My boobs are too big and my hair is too mousey.  My laugh lines grow deeper and worry lines are starting to show.  I feel worse about myself than I have in a decade.  But that dress reminded me of who I was.  And who I’ve become.  It reminded me that I’m not just who I see in the mirror, but also what I’ve overcome.  I’m here.  I’ve fought hard for these laugh lines and I’ve battled to survive the worry lines.  I have scars that tell stories and marks that tell tales.  I have hair that shows I survived the chemo drugs I took for my RA, and I have and soft, cushy, smothering arms like my grandmother.  And that makes me beautiful.

 

I’m still a nervous wreck.  I’m still self-consciously terrified in front of strangers.  I still often feel purposeless and a little bit lost…

But I also feel like me….

And I remember to take a deep breath and realize that’s good enough.

PS. The traveling red dress in these photos is ready for its next owner.  As always, if you get a traveling red dress it’s up to you if you want to share the pictures or your story, but you can do so here if you like.  Your only real responsibility is to enjoy it and then pass it on to the next stranger who needs it ,with instructions to keep it going until the damn thing falls to shreds that even Cinderella’s mice couldn’t fix.  And as a thank you I’ll be sending out five brand new red ball gowns myself next week.  If you want a chance at one just leave a comment about what you’re celebrating, or fighting, or surviving.

PPS. If you’re inspired by these stories and want to donate a red dress or a photo session you can do so on the traveling red dress Facebook page.  There are lots of girls giving dresses and lots of girls needing dresses.  And somewhere in the middle, magic happens.

PPPS. If you want to buy this dress yourself you can get it for under $100 right here.  It comes wrinkled as hell and needs steaming, but it works and the laced corset gives it enough leeway to fit several sizes up or down.  (The XXL should fit a 14 – 20 fairly well.)  Also, this company isn’t paying me for this.  But they totally should be.

PPPPS.  The traveling red dress isn’t always red.  It isn’t even always a dress.  It’s anything you’ve always wanted but denied yourself because you thought it was too silly.  It isn’t.  Joy is always worth it.  Go and find your personal red dress, my friend.

And wear the hell out of it.

Paper dolls, red dresses and nipple concealers

Last night if you were on twitter you may have seen thousands of strangers offering ball-gowns and formal dresses and free photo shoots to other strangers all in the name of helping others to be furiously happy. I can’t entirely explain it myself so I won’t try to, but I will say that anyone who say that I’m continually amazed at the goodness of people and that anyone who says social media is pointless can go fuck themselves. In a nutshell, I got a magical, red dress years ago and then it began traveling across North America, stopping at houses of women who needed some magic in their lives.  You can read that story here.  The dress is still on the road with a long waiting list of people who need it, and has become tattered so I started saving for a new one.  I asked if there were any big businesses who had red ball gowns to donate and there weren’t, but there were hundreds of people who started offering their own ball gowns to total strangers to pass on the magic.  Twitter went crazy with the #travelingreddress hashtag and I couldn’t even keep up with all the people helping people, and photographers offering free red dress sessions, and strangers finding new friends to help and be helped.  There’s even a flickr pool where people can post pictures of ball-gowns they’re offering for free and the hashtag is still going fairly strong.  It was pretty bad-ass and I may have teared up.  While all of this was going on, one of my friends (from the ridiculously awesome and compellingly hasslehoffy Cheeseblarg) sent me paper dolls she’d made for me and for anyone else who wants them. Because she’s awesome. And here they are. You can click on the picture for a larger copy and then print it out and I can live on your desk and you can blame me for all the arson that happens in your office.  Everyone wins.

(If you’re new here you’ll have to look up “Beyonce-the-Giant-Metal-Chicken”, “Portlandia-Owns-ALL-the-Birds”, “Copernicus-the-Homicidal-Monkey”, “The Traveling red dress”, and “Wolf-Blitzer”. Or just skip this whole rainy-day arts-n-crafts non-sequiter.  Up to you really.)

Click to enlarge.

Technically this is my Sunday since I’ve been MIA in NY (more on that soon) so I should be doing the weekly-wrap-up except that I was out of town and so I accomplished almost nothing and have nothing to wrap-up. I do, however, still have a list of cool shit to share with you, so get ready…

What you missed in my shop (tentatively called “Eight pounds of uncut cocaine” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

What you missed on the internets:

This week on shit-I-didn’t-come-up-with-but-wish-I-did-because-it’s-kind-of-awesome:

This week’s wrap-up brought to you by the awesome people at Go-Girl, specializing in essential fashion fixes.  Things like hem tape.  And disposable nipple concealers, which unintentionally double as elegant pasties for elegant women and shy conservative strippers.  You should check them out.  

Advanced cooking lessons

Conversation I had after wandering into Victor’s office.

me:  Hey.  How do you make hot water?

Victor:  …Really?  “How do you make hot water?”  Are you fucking with me?  

me:  No.  I want to make a tea but I don’t know how.

Victor:  Go write this on your blog right now.  You just asked me how to heat up water.  You basically just confirmed everything I’ve ever said about your cooking skills in a single sentence.

me:  I know how to get hot water.  I know how the tap works.  I just don’t know how to use the coffee maker and I thought maybe it would be easier to use it than using the microwave.

Victor:  So you need a machine to make you hot water…because the microwave is too complicated?

me:  I’m trying to work smarter, not harder.  DON’T JUDGE ME.

Victor:  It’s moments like this I wish I was on twitter.  “Overheard at our house: ‘How do you make hot water?‘”

me:  FINE.  How about this?  Can you show me how to make coffee without any coffee in it?

Victor:  See, that sounds more complicated.  Not normal or rational, but less ridiculous.  So, yes, I will show you how to make coffee with no coffee in it.

me:  So basically you’re only helping me now because of semantics.

Victor:  How else will you learn?

PS.  Victor says tomorrow he’s going to teach me how to make “hot dog water”.

Victor is a very helpful kind of asshole.

****************

And now, the weekly wrap-up:

What you missed on Ill-Advised:

What you missed on my satirical sex column:  (Moderately safe for work if your boss isn’t a complete douche-canoe.)

What you missed on the Houston Chronicle:

What you missed in my shop (tentatively called “Eight pounds of uncut cocaine” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

What you missed on the internets:

This week on shit-I-didn’t-come-up-with-but-wish-I-did-because-it’s-kind-of-awesome

  • This week’s wrap-up sponsored by my friend Leonie who created The Goddess Guidebook to help you create your own Goddess Year in 2012 using art therapy  and the tools and techniques she’s providing.  She’s adorable and full of light and is a terrible driver.  Or possibly the person in the other seat is a terrible driver.  One of those.  You should check her out.

I’m sort of freaking out right now.

You guys?  Guess what just arrived?

Holy crap, you guys. My name is on a book and I didn't even have to write it on with a sharpie.

These are the advanced, soft-cover, uncorrected, typo-riddled pre-copies but it doesn’t matter because they’re MY advanced, soft-cover,uncorrected, typo-riddled pre-copies.  And tonight I will curl up with my own book, complete with chapters entitled: “Jenkins, You Motherfucker,” “If You Need an Arm Condom It Might Be Time to Reevaluate Some of Your Life Choices,” Draw Me A Fucking Dog,” “And That’s Why Neil Patrick Harris Would Be the Most Successful Serial Killer Ever” and “It Wasn’t Even My Crack.”   The real book comes out in a couple of months and I just wanted to say thank you, because I couldn’t have done it without you.  Those aren’t just empty words.  I’m too dangerous for advertisers so most of the ads on this blog are from other bloggers who supported my need to write full-time.  Whenever I felt like I’d never finish this 10+ year journey to write my life story your comments kept me believing in myself.  When I was desperate for just the right word you were there on twitter to say “gumption” and “borborygmus” and “sump-pump”.  Getting the book quotes, finding an agent…every single part of this has its origins in social media.  This book was a group effort of so many of you who helped me finish it.  Which means that if you ever left a kind comment, or replied on twitter, or offered to let me read a chapter to you at 3am because I felt like a giant panicky loser then you wrote this book too.  Congratulations.  We’re authors, y’all.

(If you want to pre-order the book that you just wrote with me you can do that here.  It seems weird to pay for your own book, but I can assure you that I’ve pre ordered 5 copies myself at full price.  Mostly because I don’t know how to negotiate with publishers and I’m a terrible shoplifter.)

Also, I’m working on doing a little something special for everyone who has helped in some way, but it’s a bit overwhelming.  I’m in New York next week recording my audio-book {for the love of God, at least one person buy it} so maybe I’ll come up with the perfect thing there.  Something to say thank you, like a kick-ass bookmark.  Or something I can afford, like a handful of dirt.

But for now…let’s move on to this week’s wrap-up:

What you missed on Ill-Advised:

What you missed on the Houston Chronicle:

What you missed in my shop (tentatively called “Eight pounds of uncut cocaine” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

What you missed on the internets:

This week on shit-I-didn’t-come-up-with-but-wish-I-did-because-it’s-kind-of-awesome

  • This week’s wrap-up sponsored by Joey Z’sMeatballs, which is a restaurant that doesn’t exist yet. But it will, if you help open it. Donate on Kickstarter to see it come to fruition. By the way, if this does come into existence I’ve been assured that there will be a Bloggess pizza sandwich WITH EDIBLE GLITTER ON IT.  FOR REAL. This must happen, you guys.

I don’t have a clever title for this but it will totally distract you

I’ve been swamped with life lately, so I’m dangerously behind on my shit-I-did-when-I-wasn’t-here-last-week wrap-up.  Luckily I’m also way behind on doing things when I’m not here, so it all works out.

And now, this week’s Shit-I-did-when-I-wasn’t-here:

What you missed on Ill-Advised:

What you missed on Good Mom/Bad Mom on the Houston Chronicle:

What you missed on my sex column (which is satirical and vaguely safe for work if your boss isn’t a complete douche-canoe):

What you missed in my shop (tentatively called “Eight pounds of uncut cocaine” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

What  you missed on the internets:

This week on Shit-I-didn’t-come-up-with-but-wish-I-did-because-it’s-kind-of-awesome:

This week’s round-up sponsored by the insanely talented people at Round Table Companies, who make books/blogs/life into comic books.  They did the illustration for this post.  They are scarily awesome.  You should check them out.

 

You’d be crazy *not* to advertise here

Want to advertise on a site made up almost entirely of deviant misfits with lots of extra money?  Of course you do. Text ads start at only $100 a month. That’s probably half of what you spend on vodka, and twice as beneficial.

Most of our advertisers are fellow writers, artists, and lovable eccentrics.  Go to the sidebar and visit them now because they are full of magic and they keep this site running without pop-up ads and annoying bullshit.  Email us at advertising@thebloggess.com if you want in.

TheBloggess.com  is an award-winning blog with an amazing community that gets millions of page views.  We don’t understand it either but it’s very nice.

Normal people should stop reading now but here’s my media kit for marketing professionals who want to advertise here but who need to convince their boss that I’m more than just a dangerous psychopath:

About Jenny: Jenny is a columnist, blogger and #1 NYT best-selling author.  Her personal blog (www.thebloggess.com) is extremely popular.   She’s been featured on the New York Times, Gawker, Salon.com, Mashable, The London Times, The Washington Post, People, O Magazine, CNN, Time Magazine, The Today Show.  MSNBC calls her an “internet rockstar”, Forbes repeatedly lists thebloggess.com as one of the Top 100 Websites for Women, and Katie Couric calls her “Hilarious.” She is a repeated finalist (and an occasional winner) in the Weblog awards for Best Writing, Most Humorous Writer, Shorty Award, Best Design, Blog of the Year, and Lifetime Acheivement. She was once named The Huffington Posts’s Greatest Person of the Day and has fooled many people into thinking she’s very important.  She is a sought-after speaker who sells out venues, and has almost a half million twitter followers, including Ellen DeGeneres, the Today Show, Barack Obama and many more. She’s written three books (Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir,  Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things and YOU ARE HERE: An Owner’s Manual for Dangerous Minds which were all award-winning NYT bestsellers.

Rates for TheBloggess.com are:

  • $100 a month for text ads for bloggers/artists/writers.  $150 a month for text ads for businesses.
  • $350 for the weekly wrap-up sponsorship.
  • $300-$750 for monthly graphic ads.
  • $500,000 for a jar with my appendix in it.

We reserve the right to not advertise companies that are shitty, illegal or questionable-in-the-wrong-sort-of-way.

If you want to send me free junk you can but I probably won’t write about it unless it’s hilarious or hilariously awful, and if you send me a truly terrible marketing pitch you will be sent a picture of Wil Wheaton collating.

Products I won’t write about: Coupons, cleaning supplies, stuff that makes me do math.

Things I might write about:  Victorian books about diseases, things that make me wonder what the hell they are, badly taxidermied animals wearing clothing, potent potables.

My address is: TheBloggess.com   /   14546 Brook Hollow Blvd. #400   /   San Antonio TX, 78232

(That’s just a PO Box, burglars.  It’s not my house.  Nice try though.  Also, I only check that box twice a year at best, so please don’t send me any meat or live kittens.)

Disclosure: I occasionally use affiliate links if I’m going to write about something anyway, but I’m always honest in my opinions and most of the affiliate links are for ridiculous things no sane person would ever buy (life-sized bears, million dollar war planes, horrible things people should avoid, my books, etc.)  Any money made goes back into keeping the blog running and funding the James Garfield Holiday Miracle, so if you do buy a $700 life-sized bear through an affiliate link I thank you profusely.  And I question your sanity.  And I’d like to borrow it.  (The bear, that is.  Not your sanity.)