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.

969 thoughts on “The traveling red dress revisited

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Seriously you’re an inspiration. Frame these and put them up.

    You should be on a 300 foot tall skyscraper ad (like a sexy Godzilla, yes). GORGEOUS, truly.

  2. jenny you are GORGEOUS!! the dress is gorgeous, and from one big-bossomed lady to another … they always look better than we think they do, and they don’t make you look fat … they make you look voluptuous … so enjoy the extra weight that’s accumulated in your chest. it’s like a bonus 😉

  3. Gorgeous. Received one in the mail today for my little girl and told her the story of the traveling red dress. And the girl who gave it to her wrote a sweet note. And my girl said, “You mean I’m not alone.”

  4. My friend, 31 (!), was just diagnosed with BC. She told me because I am a survivor/warrier. She is scared and doesn’t want anyone to know yet. She is a photographer. I want her to have a photo shoot (with me muddling through to take pix of her) before she has surgery and chemo so she can get in touch with and feel her power. And then I want her to have a photo shoot in the dress after she has lost her hair so she can see the beauty in THAT! A woman bald from chemo in a red dress is an incredibly beautifully strong woman.

    (Emailing you now. ~ Jenny)

  5. You are stunningly gorgeous. Really, really.

    Frankly, you’re just fucking amazing all around and you inspire me to be as furiously happy as I can be.

  6. You are gorgeous.

    I love your red dress. I love your pictures.

    I love how much you inspire me to find my own red dress. Whatever it may be.

    Thank you <3

  7. I think you look absolutely STUNNING!!!! Thank you for sharing these photos!

  8. One day I’ll have the courage to wear a red dress, thanks to you. I can’t wait for that day to come.

  9. You are beautiful inside and out. The picture on the bottom right with the scarf around your head should be in a fashion magazine. Well except for the fact it has all those ghost orbs around it. Seriously, you have lots of people in those pictures with you.

  10. Fantastic pictures! I just bought a vintage red dress and I’m going to do a little work on it and fix it up – then I’ll be ready to be part of the red dress brigade!

  11. It’s pretty obvious you’re not just a hottie on the inside…but on the outside, too.

    And I didn’t see 20lbs anywhere.

    Just a big, huge heart.


  12. You. Are. Beautiful. Seeing you makes me cry happy tears.
    Thank you for sharing your life with me, with millions of others who hide in darkness, looking for light.

  13. I wore a red dress for my wedding but it was no where near as beautiful as that one.
    And those first three photos? Amazing.

  14. You. Are. Gorgeous! Incredibly gorgeous! And so is that dress! I would love to participate. I’m a curvier girl as well. Been dealing with tons of stress at home/work lately and would love a pick-me-up. 🙂 Been suffering massive migraines for almost 2 months now and not sure what’s causing them. They’re frustrating and all I want to do is curl up in the darkest room possible!

    Keep shining, Jenny. You’re an amazing woman!

  15. I’m not a long time reader of the blog, but once I found this blog, I power read the hell ouf of this blog. And your adventures remind me of the fun my friend Kelly and I had during college (Especially the Beyonce story).

    I fucking love the red dress. I love that it’s caught on. If I ever do a red dress photo shoot, it would be with my Doberman, who I always put in a red collar (currently studded, but there’s one in the mail with Steampunk cogs on it) and sometimes in a red hoodie, when she’s cold.

    Your pictures are gorgeous.

  16. This is truly inspiring. And you are simply stunning!

    This is the dress I’d like to wear! I’ll be starting a new job in a week and am so anxious!

    Also, I’m reclaiming my life for my own after a few years of hard-fought depression (a week on meds!), the lowest self-confidence and esteem I’ve experienced…and grief that I’m finally overcoming with the unconditional love and support of my partner…any chance this dress could make it to DC?

  17. Jenny, you are beautiful! You look awesome in that red. I wish I had your courage to do this but I know I never will. It does my heart good though to see others look so happy in their Traveling Red Dress.

  18. These are amazing picture! I have my dress, and, though it doesn’t quite fit, I’ve figured out how to make it work. I have a photographer. I’m just waiting for a day when we can manage to get together, and then I’ll have my moment. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in the last couple of years, and things are finally starting to work out. This dress is a celebration. I’ll be sure to share the results 🙂

  19. You rocked that dress, girl. As someone who also suffers from anxiety, you’re an inspiration. Thank you for that.

  20. You are wonderful. You are you, and no one else could possibly say that (and no way your boobs are too big). You do wonderful things for people you don’t know, and may never know it was you who did them. You are, absolutely, better than Mother Theresa. I have never been prouder to have you as My Internet Wife.™

  21. I have never in my life wanted boobs, but those photos made me want to be bigger than my beloved A-cups. That dress looks fantastic on you! (Although, nothing beats the original Red Dress.)

  22. My frighteningly low serotonin level is making me cry like a total weenie at the beauty of the traveling red dress. Your generosity and kindness and spirit are like a lifeline 🙂 Thanks for all you do 🙂

  23. I was gonna tell you about my reasons for needing a red dress, but then I read the one about the woman who’s friend has BC. She needs the dress…right fucking now (comment #18). You are awesome!

  24. Well I don’t know but I should be so lucky as to be 20 pounds overweight and facing forty the way you are. Your insides shine out in a blaze of glory – in this blog and in this dress. AND “joy is always worth it” seems like the best life-mantra I’ve ever heard. Thank you for that.

  25. LOVE. You are an inspiration to me Jenny. I agree that any of those pictures could be in magazines! Your true beauty shines through. I haven’t figured out what my “red dress” is yet, but when I do I hope I can wear it as good as you.

  26. You are uncommonly beautiful. And strong. And brave.

    And can I borrow a dress in mid-March? I’m throwing myself a little 38th & 1/2-birthday slumber party to celebrate that I made it to 2012. And the amazing fact that I didn’t purposefully make 2011 my final year.

    I need to celebrate this life and all it’s challenges with my girlfriends, who I suspect could use a touch of this magic as much as I could.

    xo, Jennifer

  27. I’d swear we were separated at birth (right down to the big boobs and mousy hair) if it weren’t for the fact that my wit cannot hold a candle to yours. Turning 37 this year, overweight (again), chronic pain fighter and fellow soldier against depression. Your posts give me such hope that I can be the person who I aspire to be and be the role model my daughter deserves. Thank you so much. We are trying to manage on 1 salary here so I can stay home with our daughter, so in lieu of a donation I can only re-post and re-tweet.

  28. Weird, I thought I just wrote this, but here goes again: I wish I could rock 20 extra pounds and pushing forty as well as you do – your beautiful insides meet your beautiful outsides in those photos. Fabulous. AND “joy is always worth it” seems like just about the best life-mantra I’ve ever heard. So thank you for that.

  29. Thank you, Jenny. Thank you for your spirit, for your strength, for your vulnerability, and for your willingness to share it all with the world. I needed to see this tonight. I needed to read this and know that the worry lines can be survived. I’m not quite ready to share it all, but I can say with absolute certainty that I am so grateful you already are. Rock that dress.

  30. I think maybe it is time to swallow my pride. 3 hip replacements in the last 6 months (JRA, the gift that keeps on giving!). A nervous breakdown (I feel like that sounds very dramatic, but it turns out that panic attacks that last days? Probably not average…) and the completion of a PhD (followed by a cross country move to austin) just a few months before that. But you know what? I AM BACK. Ok, still on crutches, but coming out fighting. But maybe for a minute not fighting *myself*…

  31. You. Look. Magical.

    I don’t need a red dress right now, but just want to thank you for your inspiration for women all over the world to celebrate themselves. We give ourselves such a hard time, all the time and so often with little to no support and encouragement. We are taught that we are nothing without the right job/husband/kids/house. And yet we should be taught that we are special. Unique. Amazing. Just for being. For surviving. For achieving. Just because. Thank you for making that happen.

  32. Holy shit, you’re gorgeous! Seriously, you have beautiful eyes, and the loveliest smile, and your curves are stunning. Thank you so much for sharing your pictures. 😀

  33. Wonderful, beautiful photos! And yes….I agree with previous commenter. Commenter Scarlett’s friend needs that dress.

  34. Your boobs are NOT too big. You are BEAUTIFUL. (I want that dress in the emerald green… but it would remain a red dress in spirit!)

  35. In theses photos, I see a beautiful, strong woman ROCKING that dress. I don’t see any amount of “overweight.” You look amazing and gorgeous.

  36. I would love to wear a red dress. I’m getting ready to have a bilateral mastectomy because I have breast cancer and I’m BRCA2 positive, which means that I could save one breast but that I’d probably get cancer in it anyway. Since I’m BRCA2 positive, I’m also getting my ovaries out, but I’m not emotionally attached to them the way I am my boobs. But I like to think that I can give up my boobs if it means that I can live a little longer, enjoying time with my husband and two dogs. And laugh lines? Don’t get me started! Just turned 41 three weeks ago, and let me tell you, the wrinkles show up a lot worse when the camouflage of your hair has gone! 🙂

    BTW, this red dress is beautiful. Just like you.

  37. Stunning and Breathtakingly Gorgeous!!! It’s so nice to read of a woman that embraces who she is and see her revel in The Red Dress!
    “You look mahvelouss dahling” B. Crystal

  38. You are effing gorgeous, and I will smack you if you say otherwise. (Lovingly, though.) I discovered your blog fairly recently, and it has seriously cheered me up, especially in the last few weeks. I’ve been depressed and haven’t really admitted to anyone yet, but every post of yours makes me feel more encouraged to keep pushing forward. (And, admittedly, I squealed a little when you followed me back on twitter.) Seriously, thank you for being you. If I was anywhere near you, I’d take you out for a shitload of drinks.

  39. Oh Jenny, you lovely lovely, gorgeous woman.You are beautiful you know. You shine with it. I have been reading your blog since 2007 and I admire you tremendously. I will be 46 next week and the one thing I have learnt, once I got over the shock of being 40, and remembering when my Mum turned 40. That being in your 40s is wonderful. I went through a stage where I felt invisible and old and fat but mostly invisible and I read a quote somewhere from a woman much like myself who said you can achieve great things when you are invisible. I decided to own that quote. I also decided that I wasn’t really ready to be invisible either. Plus it is a bit hard to be invisible when you have purple hair lol. Love from Australia, gorgeous. xx

  40. You are such a beautiful woman. And what’s even better is that you’re sharing beauty and spreading it in your wake.

  41. This is wonderful!!! I would love the dress, but I’m a little smaller than this dress can handle. My friends and I are just getting over the recent death of another friend. She was too young to leave us and we are all in the need of a pick me up. I’ll have to look for something on the traveling dress page for a 8-12 ish dress.

  42. You are one beautiful, buxom, ballsy and bodacious broad! Love this idea and can’t wait to see how I can participate in helping myself and others to find the perfect Red Dress.

  43. You look stunning in those shots! Hopefully someday I’ll get a chance to wear a beautiful red gown myself and look as good as you did.

  44. I’m a mom. After my second was born I decided to give up my career of 11 years to stay home. I feel like I’m going through identity theft. I’m battling depression as I struggle to redefine me. I’m a 10-12 and I would love the chance to wear a red dress. Maybe I’d feel beautiful or sexy or happy again.

  45. I just love you! You’re fabulous and you look beautiful. But more important is that, yes, you ARE here and we’re all better off (and laughing more) because of it. Thanks!

  46. You are STUNNING. I have shared your blog with my daughter & son-in-law, and they both love you as well. I also pre-ordered your book for my daughter and I both, because you’re just that awesome.

    I would love a red dress – I’m unemployed at 50, so fighting the job market & obsession with youth, but also loving the first break I’ve had since ’95. It all happens for a reason.

  47. I’m currently battening anxiety at 17, and it sucks. It really sucks, but knowing that there is someone out there who can also say that it sucks, makes me feel so much better about my whole situation. Writing this post just reminded me I need to take my meds….this blog is so incredibly helpful in so many ways.

  48. The pics and the dress are beautiful, just like the whole idea is. And you are. Congrats on this, for all the inspiration it is spreading. And I don’t see the 20 lbs on you. Or on me. Attitude is everything….

  49. Your smile gives many of us an extra breath today. Or tonight. It’s late & I’m tired. You know what I mean.

    I see these pictures of you and can’t help but wish that everyone who comes here for more than just a laugh, who have weights in them or on them and come here for camaraderie and hope and light, every single one of us, could have a photo session in a red dress.

    I may have to do one myself.

  50. These words…

    “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. ”

    …are a crime you commit against yourself. We’re all 20 pounds overweight, I can see 40 about 6 months away for me, and I’m a guy and even *my* boobs are too big. 😉

    What we see and what you see could be reconciled. And we outnumber you, and in this case majority rules. Find your beauty in your everyday.

  51. if that’s 20 pounds overweight i say keep it on because you look abso-freaking-lutely amazing!

    you look happy, divine and comfortable in who you are and what you look like and that just rocks!


  52. Jenny, what magnificent photos! You are so beautiful! I’m partial to red dresses — ball gowns in particular — and think that ever woman should harbor a red dress or five. You never know when you might need one. ; )

    I don’t need the dress, I just came here to say that.
    I love you.

  54. you are such a beautiful person, outside and in. you share your stories about your struggles and you let us know that we aren’t alone. you are so open and honest and REAL. and it is a truly beautiful thing. i read your blog religiously because not only does it make me laugh until i cry at times, but it makes me feel like there is hope for me and all of the women like me, who have struggled with depression or self harm or issues like eating disorders or bipolar disorder or serious illness. i haven’t felt attractive or comfortable in my skin for a long time, at least since i was 16 (14 years ago) and began my own path of bulimia and depression and self injury. sometimes i worry that i will never be able to look at myself and say “she’s okay, and i love her scars and all.” but then i read your blog and see your pictures and i cry because it means so much to see someone like me who is learning (has learned) to accept themselves and love themselves “as is.” so thank you for your stories and your amazing traveling red dress project and for reaching out and giving all of us these amazing written “hugs” and letting us know that, no matter what, we are not alone.

  55. You are beautiful. Don’t let anyone say otherwise. I’m about 50 lbs overweird *that was supposed to be overweight…but I like overweird better* because of meds too, and stress. I would LOVE a red dress like that. But laugh lines…they are beautiful. I would never get rid of them for anything! Stay strong and beautiful.

  56. Fits a 14-20? That alone is magic!

    You look amazing. Stunning. Powerful in your femininity. The dress doesn’t have the power, does it? We do.

  57. You are beautiful both inside and out.

    Sometimes it seems like we’ve been fighting and surviving life in general. Except for my weight, my health is pretty good but, in the past 8 yrs, it seems the medical gods have been against us. We’ve dealt with repeat pregnancy loss (6 losses while trying to conceive our youngest), emergency surgery for my husband because of a MRSA infection that was threatening his life, a diabetes diagnosis for my husband that rapidly progress from type 2 to insulin dependence, short term temporary paralysis for my oldest from severe muscle spasms, the death of my father in law due to medical incompetence, and an extremely rare reaction to allergy medicine for my oldest. Obviously, I did something to piss off the medical god’s in a prior life.

    I don’t know if any of your red dresses would fit me. I have a 54 inch bust. But, if one did, I’d LOVE to have a chance to do a photo shoot and maybe wear it to my son’s ROTC military ball next month.

  58. Why hasn’t anyone nominated you for an appearance on NBC Nightly News’ Making a Difference segment? I tried but the link was bad.

  59. Every single red dress post has made me weep…. not sadness, but sheer, overwhelming joy.

    It completely stuns and amazes me that you don’t see how magnificently gorgeous you are.

    I used to have the most amazing purple satin covered in black chiffon dress that I loved, alas, it got left behind when I fled my old life and then lost forever a couple of years ago. It was the only piece of clothing I’ve ever had made for me and I miss it so much some days. Moreso because I hate being photographed and there are no pictures of me in the dress.

    I hope at some point I can find a red dress and that I will have the good sense to get over myself and get pictures taken when I have it.

  60. You are gorgeous. That dress is gorgeous. This post is gorgeous. If I had those boobs my husband would hate me. Sheer shirts and strangers motorboating. Anyway, I tried to talk recently about my shit but…I can’t fully yet.

    I need a dress. I want a dress. Even if it’s just for an hour. I’m in DC. And I’m a size 2. Yes, I eat!

  61. Jenny, you are stunning! I also love your humor and quirky tastes. If you weren’t attached and I weren’t attached I’d totally hit on you all the time. Totally!

  62. I’ve been reading your blog for ages now and want to ask for help in something like a red dress. My depression and anxiety has been making me feel ugly and horrible and anything to make me feel worthwhile would help. My email address should be registered woth my comment though I understand if you dont have time to respond to each email.

  63. Y’know, I’m half-way tempted to get a red 3-piece suit, complete with shoes and fedora and get my picture taken in it. ‘Course, I did just take some Nyquil, so it’s probably not a good time for me to be making any major fashion purchases…

  64. The funny thing is that of all of the photos in this post, the best ones are the close-ups of you. It’s not the dress making you awesome, you’re doing that all by yourself. High fives!

  65. In case you were wondering, Collage 2, the square pic in the upper right side with the scarf behind you and the side glance? That’s the money shot.

    My mother always taught me to always pick clothes like this: “You should wear the dress. The dress should never wear you.” I think these dresses are like that. The women who get these dresses are wearing THEM. And I like every part of that. xo

  66. Beautiful! You…and this project.

    If anyone in NE OH or NW PA needs red dress photos (free), please email me. I would be honored to capture your red dress images for you.

  67. Girl, you make me cry. You look better than I do, and I’m only 29! And I haven’t had chemo!! Anyway, I haven’t found my red dress yet. To be honest, I hate dresses, and maybe that’s my problem. Maybe I’ll try on a hundred metaphorical dresses before I find THE ONE where I can sit down and take photos like the ones you have here and really feel beautiful. Maybe I just need to go make myself put on a dress that I think I’ll hate, just to see how it feels. I dunno. But thanks for making me think about it. You ARE beautiful. And I hope someone gorgeous gets that dress. They deserve it.

  68. Would love one or two! My sister and I are extremely close and our dear Mama passed away on New Years Day of this year. To say it has been hard is an understatement and her passing has brought back the depression and anxiety I thought I had overcome years earlier. We are both curvy girls so two of these adjustable dresses would be amazing and having a sister photo shoot may allow us the feel the joy entering back into our lives. Regardless we love you and your honesty and You are truly a hero and role model!

  69. You look HAWT. Boobs can almost never be too big…they’re the upside of gaining lots of wait and being heavier than one wants to be. BEWBS.

  70. You are beautiful and inspiring in both body and soul. Never let anyone tell you otherwise, not even yourself. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  71. I would love to have a red dress to share with my mother, who refuses to buy herself anything other than secondhand clothes and only has one bra she never wears. She doesn’t think she’s worth it (recovering from alcoholism), and I am trying to help her see otherwise. I also constantly feel inadequate and often identify with you and your struggles. You are an amazing writer and human being. Sometimes when everything just seems like too much and like I will never be good enough at anything, I read a post and just laugh my head off. Your humor has saved me. I am a recent nerwcomer won over by the gigantic chicken and Victor’s response. I think he is cut from the same cloth as my husband.

  72. I am celebrating the two beautiful children I almost couldn’t have. They’re my oxygen; my reasons for everything.
    I am fighting for my three-month-old son. After a traumatic birth and difficult start in this world, he struggles everyday for peace and comfort. It is utterly draining. It leaves me [sometimes] too exhausted to play with my five-year-old. It makes me crazy. It makes me want to curl up into a ball. And then he smiles. And I remember why I can’t.
    I am surviving the past. The scars, inside and out. The fear of disappearing, not being remembered. I am simply surviving everything that is destructible…everything that is me.

    I forget what it feels like to feel beautiful, but I see it in you, even if you don’t.

    You inspire me.


  73. I have a long, insightfuldulgent comment to make, but a) you are beautiful and purposeful and you make this world a better place and b) boobies are always perfect, even the ones that are no longer there, because the woman is.

  74. I am a longtime reader/lurker and I love, love, love you in this dress. I loved the original one even more. This damn story brings tears to my eyes every single time you update it.

    I’m totally going to pimp myself out for a red dress. I spent most of my 20’s taking care of my husband and his dad and grandfather (both of whom passed away in 2008) and trying to build a family. After ten years TTC, 3 IVF’s and 3 miscarriages, my soul has taken quite a beating. I’ve gained close to 50 pounds because I’ve been so focused on taking care of other people that I’ve forgotten how to take care of myself. Now, as the husband and I close the door on our dreams for biological children and prepare to make the leap for adoption, I’m trying hard to become the kind of woman my future daughter can admire. I’m learning how to run (literally!) and learning how to say “no.” The hardest thing, though, has been learning how to say “yes” to the things that make me feel good. I deserve good things — I know that in my head. It’s just so damn hard to put it into practice.

    Red dress or not — you are one brave, funny, amazing woman and I hope one day that I can say the same thing when I look into the mirror.

  75. you awesome trend setter, you (I know, I know, the word “awesome” is tired. But I don’t care. It suits you).

  76. What I’m fighting: A medical system who after a decade has still not figured out what’s wrong.
    What I’m surviving: Headaches, migraines, ovaries that want to kill me, dizziness, nauseousness, too much to list..
    What I’m celebrating: That even after all this I’m still able to work and occasionally play and spend time with my husband who loves and supports me daily.

    #travellingreddress FTW!

  77. Absolutely amazing. I decided I need to find out my friends red dress is and get it for her. She is struggling more than I can even imagine right now. She found out in september date her husband have been molesting her stepdaughter and my niece. He’s in jail now and she is left with aa 4 year old boyis who misses his daddy and can’t ever see him again. She’s angry and hurt but mostly her heart is breaking for her son.Her sonson is my son’s best friend and I hurt just as much as I possibly can for her. I struggle with BPD and right now I’m not winning my fight, but I have the joy of knowing that my husband is here to support me and love our kids. I now know that I need to bring magic to my friends life and that, in turn will give me joy, and hope to keep going.

  78. You look AMAZING!!! I always say that personality improves looks, you can look like a super model, but if you can’t hang with me, you are not good looking. In every picture I have seen of you, you are GORGEOUS!! 20# overweight be damn!! I struggle every damn day with weight issues, but I know, no matter what my personality shines through…as does yours!!
    The #travellingreddress project is a way for all of us to remember this!!

  79. Jenny, you are beautiful. Every curvy inch of you, and let me tell you sister, what I wouldn’t give to look like that. We all have our shit to deal with, but you deal with yours so publicly (as opposed to pubicly, which isn’t a word but should be) and bravely and I hope at least occasionally you stop and realize how amazing you are to so many people. And boy, do you know how to wear a red dress.

  80. Holy Boobs Batman!
    Seriously, from one top heavy girl to another . . . you look beyond amazing. Like I really don’t want to show this post to my husband cause I know he’ll say something inappropriate (but oddly complimentary to you).

    Gawd, Jenny you are so gorgeous. And the best thing in the world is you make awkward beautiful. Which is really great for us awkward girls. You are a role model for the strange and beautiful.

  81. I have recently found your blog. It makes me laugh and sometimes cry. My wish is for all of the women out there like me…not anywhere near perfect, learn to embrace that what they think are defects are really only make them more beautiful. Your pictures are amazing! I just realized that I haven’t worn a gown in 28 years, my senior prom. Wow!

  82. I’ve debated on posting every time this topic comes up, and I think I’m going to post, and if it happens it happens, if not, that’s okay too.

    I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression for years. All I’ve ever wanted in life was to be a good wife, and a GREAT mother. I finally got the wife part, and I’m so grateful for my amazing husband… but he and I have been struggling with my infertility issues for 4 years now. I’ve gained more and more weight every year as the depression gets worse, and the tests get more invasive, and scary. The next one decides if I need surgery or not, and even the thought of that terrifies me.

    Every day I struggle with the fact that I may not ever get what I’ve always wanted, and with the fact that I feel less and less like a woman every time I think again that it’s not going to happen, and more and more like I’m letting my husband down on top of it all. I am really struggling with trying not to hate my body that is defying me, and denying me the only real thing that I ever wanted to do with my life, and my heart. I feel broken…

    I don’t know if this would help or not, maybe it wouldn’t make any difference in how I see myself or my body… but maybe it would. I think I need a day… an hour… maybe even just a moment, of feeling like I am beautiful as a whole person. That my body is okay just as it is… and that life goes on, and there is still joy to be found. Even if it just helps me distract my mind for a little bit… it’s worth trying.

  83. I’m 50(?) lbs heavier than I should be, my hair has a fine peppering of grey, I rarely wear makeup but I need to celebrate being exactly who I am because I’m also fighting cancer, strengthening myself after brain surgery and recovering from 7wks intensive radiation. I am enough. I am worthy. I am here. Joy.

  84. I love this. I love your photos. And I love the Red Dress, and the fact that it doesn’t even have to be red or a dress. I have a red dress. It’s not red, and it’s not a dress. It’s my blog. And I have to fight my family every single day for that hour when I sit down and write, because they want my attention or my time or my help, but I NEED this. It gives me joy. I don’t care if I never sell a single book or article, or if I never go past a few “follows”. I LIKE doing it, and I feel good about it, and I feel like I’m doing something that I’m decent at, and it makes me feel accomplished.

    We all need our red dresses, no matter what they are. Thanks for reminding me. I WILL remember who I am. It will give me strength when I take my hour to write again tomorrow, and everyone starts complaining that I’m “on the computer again”, and that I need to STOP NOW and do this or that or the other for them. And I will tell them, “This is my hour to be me.”

  85. Oh how I need some magic! In the past decade, I’ve been divorced, dated, remarried, become a stepmother and a mother in law (at 36!!), moved away from my family, moved from the city to the country, been in *2* car wrecks where I was rear-ended and came away with “only” fibromyalgia, a bulging disc in my neck and chronic sleep problems, and had my dad die 11 days after he learned he had cancer. I’ve been passed over THREE TIMES for promotions that I SO could have done fabulous stuff at. I’ve had all kinds of health problems that turned out to be hypothyroidism, fibroid tumors, polycystic ovarian syndrome AND endometriosis (lucky me!)…now that I’m on thyroid meds and have had a full hysterectomy, I’m on the upswing….I am turning 44 in 2 weeks and am DONE with being held back by my body! I may not be as strong, flexible or as thin as I was in my past, but I am HERE. And as a 18-20-sized person, the “adjustable XXL” red dress would be just the ticket.

  86. PS antipsychotics would be so much better if they didn’t cause weight gain. I’m up almost 40 pounds since I started them in July.

  87. I cannot tell you how many people I’ve told about this. I have yet to find my own red dress but I’m always on the hunt. And for the record, I’m insanely jealous of your boobs. Seriously. You look gorgeous.

  88. great pictures! YOU look amazing!
    Your post made tears come to my eyes. I’ve been going to college for the last 2 years and graduate in May. It’s so empowering to finally achieve something like this at 42 years old. Right before my 40th I decided to go back to college and do something for ME! I’m doing it! I plan to continue on and get my bachelor’s degree next….may even go for my masters!

  89. You are not only a great Mother, Friend, Blogger, Inspiration to many, but you could also be a model. Those photos were beautiful.

  90. I didnt think I wanted to try this red dress thing. I thought I wasn’t special enough, hadn’t survived enough, wasn’t worthy enough to do this. But I’ve survived cancer. I have survived losin my whole family because of some pretty petty stuff my own parents pulled. I’ve survived moving to a town where I know no one while 6 months pregnant and on bed rest.

    I’ve survived bullying, sexual assault, obesity and teen pregnancy and by god, I would LOVE to wear the hell out of a red dress.

  91. I am going to buy that dress SO HARD. It’s in my wish list and it will be mine after a couple of bills have been paid. I have already named it “Guns.” When Guns comes home, we are going to go out on a quest to find myself some of that elusive self-esteem that I’ve been missing.

    That’s why I need Guns. I always feel worthless even though I should know better by now.

    Wow. I can’t believe I actually typed that in front of everybody. I didn’t plan on going beyond the sentence about the quest. I guess I needed to get that off of my chest after forty years of holding it in. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Now I just need to pull it together, stop crying and get back to the positive part.

    Guns will remind me that I am not worthless. I am awesome and deserve a kick-ass red dress named Guns.

  92. I sit here on the eve of my 41st birthday, thinking that I have never felt more together in my entire life. I grew up with undiagnosed PCOS, hypothyroidism, a severe anxiety disorder, a MTHFR mutation, and a rather crappy home life. I’m now battling PTSD every day from something that happened 4 years ago which no one should ever have to experience. I have just moved back to the US after 12 years overseas and feel incredibly lost most days, but I have come through it all not pounded down but chiseled to my essence. And I’m finding my essence is bloody strong. My strengths outnumber all the things I should not be able to do.

    So I hear the Red Dress. I may never wear it, but I hear its power.

    Thank you for this.

  93. I absolutely love this. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I’ve always wanted a red dress, but have never gotten one, because dresses tend to always make me look fat, and I’m very self-conscious about my weight. Every time you’ve mentioned the traveling red dress on here or on Twitter, I always get a lump in my throat and heart, and want to ask you if I could be sent one. But I feel like I haven’t been through as much as so many of your other readers have been through, and who am I to ask for a gorgeously beautiful red dress to cheer me up? But today I’m going to ask, because getting to wear that stunning dress might just be exactly what I need.

    I lost my job at the end of August due to restructuring, budget cuts, yadda yadda. Unemployment has sucked. I haven’t had an interview since November, and I’m DESPERATE for a job. I want to work so badly, and I’m very discouraged with how stagnant the job search has been lately. I got a severance package, but my money’s pretty much gone now, so I’m very stressed out. Having this dress would make me feel like a million bucks and maybe just give me a confidence boost and brighten my life a little bit. I’m in the size 14-20 range, so that dress would fit me well.

    I love your blog so much. Thanks for all you share.

  94. Okay, I know this is going to make me sound like a stalker… but I kind of want to move in next door to you and be your best friend and do everything together. Seriously.

    Not just because you’re hilarious, but because you’re brave, and you’re fierce, and you make my heart feel full of pride and hope on a weekly basis. You’re making the world better, and you’re helping people who have the struggles that we have (the secret ones, the ones that you hope the neighbors and the kids teachers don’t hear about because you just KNOW they won’t understand) feel less alone and less ashamed.

    You rock my mismatched socks, lady.

  95. I think my red dress is my bike. I’ve been reading since before the first red dress post, and have spread the word about the project in case a friend of a friend needs it, and IT JUST NOW HIT ME that my wonderful bakfiets is my red dress. I feel so happy on it. Who wouldn’t feel happy with a 90-pound bike that you can fit both kids (another 90 pounds) and the groceries in (not on, in)? Thanks for reminding me that it didn’t have to be a dress. Love you, Jenny!

  96. I’m way jealous of your boobs. Never say they’re too big!

    I know that my need for a red dress is probably (actually, almost certainly) less than others, but I’d like to celebrate stepping towards adulthood! My husband and I are buying our first house and are moving in on Tuesday. On top of that, we just got back from the hospital for emergency appendectomy for my husband. This was a whirlwind day – 12 hours from symptom start to surgery done and us home! So he’s on the mend and just has to watch the rest of us move everything (he can’t lift more than 10/15 lbs plus he’s going to hurt like the dickens for at least the next week). We’re going to be taking on some home improvement projects for which we have absolutely zero experience.

    So basically I’m super excited for this chapter of our life, but also super apprehensive about all the responsibilities we’re taking on. I’d love a confidence reminder and an opportunity to selfishly focus on myself for at least 1 day 🙂

  97. so beautiful! I am celebrating going back to school after 11 years off, AND making the Dean’s List…I am celebrating the almost 3 years off of chemo treatment for my 9 year old Daughter with Down Syndrome, who is in remission for Leukemia. She is a warrior and a survivor, and because of her…so am I. I would love to wear the dress.

  98. My sexy red dress is really disguised as a pin-up photo shoot. I’ve always been to scared to do it, and it’s pretty expensive. But I’m going to do it now. I may never look better than I do now, and I really want something to remember this part of my life by.

    You are an inspiration and I love your blog.

  99. You are beautiful. <3

    And that is a beautiful dress. I hope it goes to someone who really needs it (and I know it will!)

  100. Stop dwelling on the negative. Your legs are hot as fuck. They aren’t even legs – they’re GAMS, that’s how hot they are.

  101. I would love a chance at the dress. I go abouty life not wanting to be noticed but I do. I’m amazed by you & what you do.

  102. You’re really pretty. And I’m not just saying that. You’re actually really pretty. And I’d give my left arm for some of those boobs! Wear the hell outta them, too 🙂

  103. My god! You are beautiful in these pictures! I met you in the bathroom at BlogHer 09 in Chicago so I know what you look like in real life and the red dress just absolutely brings out the best in you!! When I read your post, the one that recently got so much attention, I forwarded it to my husband and said, “Please read this. Because it says so much about me that I could never put into words.” he, in turn, started reading about depression and how he could help me and our marriage has never been better. I am a good 40 lbs overweight right now, so I can’t imagine being photographed in anything, let alone a gorgeous red gown, but it makes me happier than I ever imagined a stranger could make me to see you looking so radiant. Much love to you Jenny. Please know that I, and so many others, are so much better off because of you. Xoxo

  104. I just want to say that, if I could ever look as amazing as you do in that red dress then I would die happy (I might kill myself on the spot to end on a high note .. but still! happy!). I am short and round and in desparate need of a red dress. I have a beautiful one hanging in my closet just waiting for the day that the zipper goes all the way up and I feel like I’ve earned it. When that day happens, I will likely wear it to Denny’s (because there aren’t any fancy things going on around here … but if I’ve earned it!).

    Anyway, thank you for the inspiration. I love you, I love your red dress project, and I love the idea that some day I would want to put pictures on my own blog of me in a beautiful red dress.

  105. I want to get myself the blue one of that dress. Wow. that blue is incredible! (I wore a red dress with a black oriental print for my engagement party, and it rocked. The memories!)
    And you look HAWT.

  106. I have struggled with depression all my life. This last bout has been with me for 8 years and has been the worst ever. I am able to hide it from the world – my coworkers, my friends, even most of my family. I can’t talk about it yet because it would be admitting failure. I have recently discovered that the one person I can’t hide this from is my daughter. I was having a down day earlier this week and she said to me, “it’s ok, Mommy. Daddy will take care of us. I know you just can’t handle being our mommy today.” Broke my heart into a million pieces, but made me realize I don’t want to be that person. 7 is too young to have to deal with Mommy’s issues. I have always loved the color red. I would wear it to show my daughter that I always want to be her mommy and that I am not going to let this depression – this disease – determine who I am or what I am worth.

  107. I’d love to get my hands on a red dress.. Not for me but for my friend. She’s had a rough time recently and wants to have a red dress party soon. I’d love to be able to get an “original Bloggess” red dress for her to wear before passing it on.

  108. In the past 24 hours I have tried to sell sex toys at a party where I simply was the entertainment, had a friend die of cancer and hosted my 8 year old’s birthday party. I am feeling quite used up and exhausted. I don’t know if that it enough to warrant a red dress in my life briefly, but I’d love to sport one, even if only for a day or two.

    Those pics of you are beautiful. A very good reflection of your soul. 🙂

  109. And you have the most beautiful mouth. And I personally love your boobs–tho not in a pervy kind of way. And you’re the funniest thing I’ve found on the internets. So tell the negatives to go fuck themselves, cause you’re way too good for them anyway.

  110. You look how i wish i feel. You look comfortable in your own skin. You have challenged the world and are your own Champion.

    I dont know what would bring me joy right now. Maybe a year from now, when my new baby is born, and my husband is home safe from a war zone. I just need to get through this year. With my family intact.

  111. Madam, you may take this from a woman loving woman, you are dreamy, sexy, and sure-fire fantasy material. And believe me, I look at a lot of women, so I know what I am talking about. Not like through their windows or anything. I don’t care what that restraining order says, I was never in that yard.

  112. My teenaged son just walked past the computer with your picture on the screen and then asked me ‘who the hot chick was.’ To which I replied, “YOU MEAN WHO IS THE BEAUTIFUL LADY??” and then I told him you were my friend.

    And then he replied I need to start bringing my beautiful lady friends home.

    Horny pervert child of mine.

    Love the red dress. Love you. Would love a chance to wear the red dress. You know, celebrate surviving death, disabilities and depression. The usual. Dead kids and all.


  113. Jenny, you are a beautiful woman, inside and out, dress or no dress. My tax refund will be here soon, and I think I’m going to spend just a touch of it on a lovely red dress to share.

  114. All of the stories here sound so much like my own; I can relate to so many of you awesome women!

    Here’s a little bit about my story. In 2 years, I’ve lost two jobs. This, needless to say, does not help in the anxiety and depression departments. Last year, my husband was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer (thanks to God, he’s okay!) but he also has a genetic mutation, so he will never truly be cured. I pretty much gave up me with his diagnosis in order to take care of him and advocate for him. I’ve become involved with the national patient organization for his condition and am now writing for their newsletter, and hopefully helping others that are in our position. I also decided to go back to school to pursue my dream of being a nurse. All while raising out three kids. Although I’m proud of the work I’m doing, and my 4.0, I’m not sure that I’ll ever find myself, no matter how hard I try. The red dress is worth a shot to boost that self esteem, and I’d love to give it a go!

  115. Wowwwiiei you look absolutely beautiful!
    If I would have pictures like you, I would not be shy to blog about them… too bad I have extreme underweight (genetics) so there is more chance that dogs will talk some day then that I would ever be able to have pictures like that… but! If I would join this project, I think it would be a huge boost for my self-confidence.
    I don’t believe they have XS size though.

    Oh and red totally fits you.

  116. Today is January 28th and right now I am not sure if I’ll make it to the 29th. People online and in real life tell me how smart I am and that after losing the one thing I held dear and was passionate about – my job – I feel like I have nowhere to go.

    I feel as though the confidence of others should buoy me and I shouldn’t feel so heartbroken about the direction my life is taking. But I don’t. I want to feel like me again and see myself the way others do.

    (I know you. You are amazing. Your mind is lying to you. Listen to me. Don’t give up. ~ Jenny)

  117. My red dress was giving up a job that I held for eight years, that I hated, that was killing me. It’s been really inspiring watching all the red dress stories and realizing “Wait, people actually ENJOY things?” And now, lots and lots of people are! This is really great.

    Also, in the nicest sweetest possible way . . . nice rack!

  118. Wow. I’m not one to jump in and say “me!! ooooh, me!!”, and I’m going to try REAL hard not to right now. I’m at a point in my life where everything should be just fine and hunky dory, but instead, I feel like a miserable mass of quivering blob flesh 93.390878% of the time. We just bought our first house (at a ridiculously cheap price, and we’re finding out the hard way that … well, it’s not so cheap to FIX.). I have happy children, a happy husband, and I’m hoping happy tortoises. I think they’re happy. Anyway, I’ve been dealing with my depression… gosh. Since after the birth of my second chud. It was like the postpartum never went away, and next thing I know, I’m also a good 40 pounds overweight, miserable, sad, and on top of it, dealing with a close relative of mine that is near a mental breakdown. I also have a very close friend who deals with the same shit, day in and day out. I would LOVE a dress like this, just for a day… Then for HER to have the dress, just for a day. And I’m done. It feels SO weird asking for something. I haven’t done that for myself in a long time.

    Pee.Ess. I think you look absolutely beautiful, with or without that extra 40 pounds. And that’s not just me sayin’ it, either. <3

  119. Ditto to what everyone else has said – you are beautiful, inside and out and ZOMG BIG BOOBS!!!! (Wow! And I’m a heterosexual postmenopausal gal too!).

    Seriously, I remember the initial red dress post from a couple of years ago (and how gorgeous you looked then too), and it made me all inspired and shit (and brought a tear to my eye). But the thing that stuck out to me the most was how you told us to go find our own red dress, even if it wasn’t a red dress – just something that we’d always wanted that we thought we couldn’t have because it seemed too outlandish and not sensible. I emailed a link to this post to several of my friends and asked them, “What’s your red dress? Email me back and tell me!” I had a few email me back and say how cool the post was, but not one told me what their red dress was. I don’t know if they were too embarrassed to tell me, or thought they couldn’t have their red dress, or, like me, they had a hard time thinking about what it was exactly. It just seemed so extravagant to think you could have your red dress, and so almost too painful to think about what it was.

    Well, I just realized tonight as I read this post that I’ve had my red dress for the last year or so. My red dress is that I have always wanted to be an artist, but I thought I didn’t have the talent. I’d dabble on and off through the years, but I’d always put it away and forget about it. But not this time. In the last year I’ve been doing all kinds of things: drawing, intuitive painting, collage and other mediums, as often as I can. I love it. I still don’t know if I have talent, and I’m still in the learning stages, but I do love it very much.

    It does seem like an outrageous luxury; I don’t know that it will ever pay off money-wise, (and the supplies cost a fair amount of $ too) but all I know is that I am enjoying the heck out of it, and that’s all that matters. So thank you, Jenny, for your inspiration. I really think that, because of that post almost two years ago, I definitely have you to thank for helping me go after and get my red dress. That means a lot to me.

  120. YOU are gorgeous and your friend is an awesome photographer. I have a red dress I bought for a never going to happen wedding, it came too small. I should send it on to someone, it looks almost like that one you have only tea length and it’s corseted too, which didn’t matter, I was still too big :(.

  121. I love you woman.

    I need me a red dress. Maybe it will empower me to actually speak of what I have been desperately hiding for all this time.

    Maybe you are right. Maybe a little bit of whimsy will give me the power to let it all go.

  122. I was diagnosed with High Anxiety a little over a year ago. My partner insisted that I go get checked after she found me standing over my son’s lunch box for well over ten minutes panicking that I had not packed enough protein into it. Stricken paralyzed with thoughts that he might be hungry for a few hours. I am being treated, but it is not a straight line, of course.

    Something about being diagnosed has made me live boldly and do things that scare me. Sometimes it feels a little like pressing on a sore place to feel just how bad it can still feel…sometimes it feels like I am trying to find that magical thing that snaps me into a stronger version of myself. Either way, in the past year, I have quit my job, gone to Nepal, worked in Haiti for three months for an NGO. And in the midst of this badass processing of all I experienced in Haiti, I have committed to the scariest thing of all…I am blogging it. I have been touching on it for some time, but Monday I am opening it all up for inspection and commenting. My heart races just writing that.

    You have been a part of what has inspired me. If I got a red dress, I would take the dangerous pictures and write the dangerous post around them. I would let people know why I think being visible, in whatever condition you are in, is so important. And why I am choosing this moment to be visible.

    Oh, and how brilliant it would be to send it on it’s way again.


  123. Wow you look amazing, know that to be true. Red Dress is such a good idea – all gals should have one. I have a pair of completely unsensible pink sequinned shoes for exactly the same reason.

  124. Beautiful. I so love that last shot. You look like you see me, and a hundred years in the future, while ignoring all the meaningless ephemeral crap trying to distract you – all at the same time. Those eyes say “I’m game, bring it on.”

    Thank you.

  125. My baby, my precious sweet last little baby, is going off to daycare. And it’s hard. And I can’t wait. And I’m all over the place about it.

  126. Yessssssss!!!!! This is fucking amazing. My red dress is to travel the world. Yes, it is impractical and, yes, I am making a lot of sacrifices to do it and, YES, my own mother calls me selfish. But you know what? That’s where my joy is and, in May, I begin.

    I think it is our duty to hunt down our red dress and, as you said, once we find it, wear the shit out of it.

  127. First of all, you look amazing. A-maze-ing.

    Where do I start. 2011 beat me nearly to death. In march, I had my send child. In June, I found myself alone, parenting both children on my own. When my husband left, so did 75% of my income. I’m stuck in a no-name town, with a house I can no longer afford, yet can’t sell, with debt piled up to my ears. I had to turn in my car for one that’s 15 yrs old because I couldn’t make the payments. I even had to give up my bed (swapped a king out for a twin) because I had to move both girls out of the bedrooms I lovingly decorated by hand, and into my master bedroom, in order to try to find a roommate to help me afford this damn house. In Sept I had major surgery on my hand, which used up the last of my PTO/sick days at work, and then in December I had to have a full elbow replacement, which resulted in an entire month of paychecks for $0.00. Last week, I went to my Ob/Gyn for a yearly exam and she found a mass. Her exact words were “it’s either a cyst or a tumor, let’s hope for a cyst”. The jury is still out. I don’t sleep, can barely eat, yet somehow I’m still 25 lbs overweight. I’m stressed, I’m exhausted, and I just want to look in the mirror and see something beautiful instead of a mess, for a change.

  128. I love this idea. You are such a beautiful and smart woman. I only discovered your blog a few months ago, and during even my darkest moments, you have made me laugh and inspired me. I have north to an amazing baby girl last March and have since been struggling with Postpartum Depression & Anxiety. It has been a challenge and then some. I am still looking for my red dress. It is somewhere out there. I have to believe that if only for my daughter’s sake.

  129. I need a red dress..soon. February 5th would be my daughter’s 12th birthday. February 10th is the 4th anniversary of her death. I am still standing. I breathe every day. I even got remarried in October. I would love to feel fabulous for no reason. The end.

  130. OK, I was trying to figure out why the hell my post was # 1 right after I posted when I was posting what I thought was the 120ish post, and I was reading through and saw Someone You Know’s post, and it sounds like she/he is in a hell of a lot of pain. Jenny, I’m sure you’re on it, but I want to chime in: please hang in there, sweetie! Don’t give up. It sounds like you have many people who care about you and would miss you if you didn’t hang on. If you’re feeling suicidal, please call the national crisis hotline at 1-800-784-2433 or find your local hotline at It may not seem like it now, but you really have so much to live for. You can find another job you’re passionate about, or make one. I know what it’s like to feel hopeless and want to leave, but if you hang on, it will get better. Please stay and make it to Jan. 29 and beyond. Please!

  131. What lovely photos of you–you are a beautiful woman! I would love to have a red dress for my little sister–she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma right before Christmas and is going through chemotherapy. She’s lost all her hair and is too sick to work (and her paycheck pays her mortgage) and she is stressed and bored and exhausted and scared and a lot of other things. I love her a ton and think she would totally be uplifted by a red dress experience. Thank you for putting this out there. 🙂

  132. The sheer genius behind this project is full of so much heart, sentiment and love that I’m overwhelmed by it. The idea of looking in the mirror, and seeing something other than sick, just once, would be incredible.
    Thank you, for what you’ve started. <3 xo

  133. You’re so beautiful it kinda makes me hate myself a wee little bit…

    I love the dress, and I love the idea behind the whole project. Makes me wanna go out and buy a red dress just to wear the hell out of it. I should wear a red dress to my surgery in a couple of weeks… except the hospital would probably want to admit me to the psych ward…

  134. you are rocking the HE double hockey sticks out of that dress sister.

    Thank you.

    I was just asked officiate my little brother’s wedding in August. Do you think that might be a bit much for a beach wedding?

  135. First of all, Jenny, you are gorgeous in that real woman- gosh I wish I looked like her beauty. And looking at those pictures, if I’d never read your blog before I’d never believe you had an ounce of self consciousness.

    This craptastic week capped off a couple really crappy months. My dad was diagnosed with lung cancer in May and finished treatments (successfully- thank god) in November only to be followed by open heart surgery for Mom two weeks ago and learning on Thursday that I am losing my job. Dad is better, Mom is healing but I am scared shitless at the prospect of unemployment. I’ve been lucky, I’ve dodged quite a few layoff bullets and I’ve tried to be appreciative of that. But now, after 10 years working an admittedly mind numbing but comfortable job, I’m facing a job search at nearly 40, with a half finished bachelor’s degree and no idea what I even what I want to be when I grow up.

    I was saving my traveling red dress request for when I had something to celebrate (turning 40 in Sept) or was thinner- or better yet both- but I kinda realized tonight that’s exactly what the traveling red dress is NOT about. So now I kinda need the red dress.

  136. Ah, Jenny you are gorgeous as ever. I know it’s been a hard year. You seemed so tired when I saw you on line to check in at BlogHer, as you zoomed in and out in a day. But that evening you were gracious as always to the many who came to pay homage and connect in your bathroom within a ballroom.

    What I am saying here is that I admire how much you give and give, even when others would be retreating, hunkering down inside themselves and letting nothing escape. I know you have the urge to hunker, but you override that to connect with us here. You understand that you and your own flawed, authentic self are an inspiration to so many. And that is true courage my friend.

    Besides, you look kick-ass in that dress. I am more than 20 pounds over-weight at this point and would kill for those boobs, as it’s all gut on me since i had the twins. Sigh. A thousand hugs to you.

  137. You are an absolutely beautiful inside and out. That goes to everyone here!!!

    I’m a very petite person( 5’1, barely a 100lb, all while being in my 20s,) so if any other small girls are out there looking for their “red dress” I might have a few to offer. I have two prom dresses that my grandmother altered for me and some other things so please contact me to see them.

  138. I don’t have anywhere to wear to the red dress to but for some reason I’d like to try one on to see if I can feel the magic you talk about. Next week I turn 29. My son died three years ago the day of my birthday. I’d like a chance at a dress, please.

  139. You look Mahvalous Jenny Dahling!

    We emailed back before Christmas about the widowed elderly ladies (there are 15 ladies ages 85 to 96) here in Stockton, California that truly need to be “Jennified”. I truly believe that if they each had a turn to put on a beautiful – princess-like – belle of the ball gown and have their photo taken for them to have as a keepsake of the day – IT WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE in their very lonely lives.

    I suppose I could try to purchase one but it isn’t only the dress. It is the spirit and story that comes with the dress. That the dress that they put on and pose for the camera has a life of its own. It has traveled to women all over the world and now it is their turn to feel like they were 60 or 70 years younger and I can almost guarantee that when you see the photos, they will have a blush in their cheeks that match the dress and a twinkle in their eyes as they remember what is was like to be that girl they almost forgot.

    Thank you for listening Jenny and if by chance you are able to point that red dress in the direction of Stockton, California I may know of a stuffed dead animal that is an orphan and needs a home.

    Sheri Fenley
    Stockton, California

  140. Fighting cancer for the second time, got my (literal) battle scars from round one that I’m proud to show off. Tired from working my ass off to make ends meet, running kids here and there, fighting this damn disease, and loving every minute of it. Why? I’m ALIVE!!! It’s nearly impossible to say have the time to look my best everyday, but I’m here and breathing and have an awesome husband and two beautiful girls who I would do anything for. We’re broke as heck but have each other, food to eat, clothes on our backs and a roof over our heads, so at this point I have to have faith all will work out, right? A little escape from reality wearing a fiery red ball gown would be awesome!!!

  141. You are gorgeous. The dress is stunning. I’m making a red dress for a Klingon wedding performance for a con – would consider sending it traveling after except I’m 4’8 and a size 20, so it’s unlikely to fit anyone else.

  142. I would LOVE a chance at that dress. I don’t even know what to say about why I want to wear it… I don’t know where to start. I’m celebrating being 40 and not hating it. I always thought I would.. I was terrified of it, and now that it’s here I have found that I LOVE IT! I have survived a nightmare marriage that I had to sneak away from, a junkie brother that I nurtured and enabled up until I had to remove him from my life, a son trying to follow in his uncle’s footsteps.. and a lifetime of facing ocd head on. Life has always being a terribly scary place and I’m just now realizing that it’s also an incredibly beautiful place, and I am an incredibly beautiful girl who deserves to wear an incredibly red dress!

  143. Wow. LOVE, love love this post. I happened up on it on the anniversary of my celebrating 3-yrs post-bone marrow transplant for leukemia. I lost my old me and have a new me, but I’m ALIVE (that’s what they tell me, of course, I know it’s true too). When I went through the transplant, it went sideways and I ended up with complete organ failure, a coma, 3 months in the hospital and lost sooooo much of me, my hair, my feeling, skin, taste, glands, organ function and muscle, but I still wouldn’t trade the suffering for what God has created out of it. I’m ABOUT to update my blog with the 3-year-review of sorts so I hope you subscribe so you visit that blog before it gets posted! Also, that blog was a real ministry to people and continues to be – and this before i knew ‘how to blog’ so it’s not all marketed or anything. Fortunately people find it though. Would love to top off the recovery with a red dress story myself! Don’t know as I could pull that beauty thing off as well as you did though with all my post-transplant, medication-induced flub-flub! wow! You look GORGEOUS!

  144. Jenny! These pics are AWESOME! BUT there’s no way your boobs are too big! They’re amazing and I’m a big mo. You know how judgey we are…. I totally sympathize/empathize/understand/live with your weight issues. I’ll tell you what my friends tell me.. You are fabulous just the way you are.

  145. Your boobs are not too big – they are amazing! I hope that does not sound strange to say… but I’m serious, your bustline would make many envious! 🙂 I think you look like a million dollars. This is a great cause that you are supporting.

  146. I would love a red dress to celebrate that fact that at age 41 I am getting braces. I will finally have a real smile! I will be flashing my metal mouth at everyone! I wear between a 14-16 and would adore a big, sparkly, poofy red dress to run around town in with some friends while we celebrate. I will always remember the photoshoot in the barn with all of the parade decorations. Truly magical!

  147. PS– can I get your friend to take my photos? I want to look as good as you.

  148. You are fucking GORGEOUS, honey. Wear the hell out of that red dress and feel fabulous! 🙂

  149. Jenny…you are so beautiful and such an inspiration to me. I fight Lupus and Fibro and RA, and right now it’s kicking my ass. To see you and these pictures are know that other people are fighting the same fight brings me such hope.

    I can’t tell you what it would mean to me to have a turn in a beautiful red dress. The girl I used to be would wear the shit out of a beautiful red dress, and maybe that would bring her back to me in some little way.

  150. You are stunning and an inspiration! Thanks for sharing these gorgeous photos – Maille’s work is outstanding. Thank you so much for bringing such joy to your site. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate what you do – you send joy out into the universe, and I hope it finds you back. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  151. Oh, I love the pictures. I love seeing all the sides of you. My favorite is in the first set of nine, middle row, the one all the way to the right, where you are kinda looking like you’re giving a smile that you are not taking anything too seriously.
    I have passed forty and am way more overweight than you, by-the-by! (And sister, your boobs can never be too big! I once weighed my boobs, and they are hefty! Yours are probably only 2-3 pounds each. Just sayin’.
    I keep reading about the red dress, and oh, how I want to do a red dress shoot. However, I have multiple disabilities, including severe chemical sensitivity, and I don’t think there could possibly be a gorgeous red dress made of, umm, organic, nontoxic, fragrance-free, low-impact dyed fabric? If there was, and I got to wear it, I promise I would send it to any other chemically injured person who wanted it, and they would do the same!
    I think probably it’s not possible, but just thought I’d put it out there.

  152. this is amazing. And I love it. I think I need to do this. Hopefully somehow a red dress will find me – or I’ll just go buy one from that company, as the size you had would work for me!

    Maybe that will be my I finished my half marathon present from tomorrow…. a half marathon that I couldn’t train for because of a lot of stuff in my head. But you know what, I’m here, I’m going to be up at 3am to do it, and I’m going to get through that 13.1, dang it. And this post was the perfect inspiration to keep me going when my feet don’t want to.

  153. These pics are incredibly awesome. You are beautiful.

    I would love a red dress to wear to my first Blog Meet next week…. I think I need to find one! I struggle with social anxiety and depression and find it very difficult to meet and speak to new people in the real life 3D world. I am scared. But i think if i had a red dress.. i wouldn’t be so scared. All the time.

  154. Oh Jenny. Your humour, your grace, your insight. I don’t know how you got to be this way, but don’t change. You’re internet magic.

    And you’re one hell of a babe.


    I just can’t even tell you how much your joy campaign and your sense of humor mean to me, as corny as that sounds. I’m so fucking hard on myself but reading your blog always makes me feel better about myself and my struggles. Thank you for being brave and therefore making it easier for me to do the same.

  156. You are gorgeous and your smile is infectious!

    I need to find a red dress and a photographer and find a little joy.

    Cause Joy IS ALWAYS worth it! 😉

  157. First think off, you look beautiful. I hope to look half that good in a traveling red dress.

    2011 was a bad year. I take care of my small family and it seems like I let it all fall apart. My husband attempted suicide, my parents and sister disowned us, and I lost my job. It seemed like every time I got us afloat we would fall down again. There is always a silver lining right?

    2012 has got to be a better year. One for moving past the bad event of the year before, forgiving myself and my family and friend who haven’t been there for us, and finding a way to show my 12year old daughter that I am stong person despite the weekly flair ups I have with anxiety now. I want her to see the person I am not who I become when I suffer.

  158. Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous. Have just been introduced to the story of the red dress and it’s given me tingles. I’m getting my own red dress and having a photoshoot with my favourite photographer so I too can feel “me” again. Love it.

  159. I just wanted to say again that I think you look amazing and I hope you FELT PRETTY because you sure look it and I love your makeup.

    I think its anything we wear that makes us all feel gorgeous and alive.

    You’re an inspiration for sharing with people.

    But seriously, get a kettle. That water ain’t gonna boil itself 🙂

  160. Everytime I read these posts, I always end up crying. Thank you for sharing this with the world, you are so inspiring and such an amazing and beautiful woman, both inside and out.


    Those photos are ridiculously stunning. And, even though you’re a million times more gorgeous than I, we have the exact same body. Seriously, I could TOTALLY be your body double. I don’t know what for but if your book gets turned into a movie and there are parts in it that require two of you, then I could TOTALLY be in those parts. Like, alter-ego Jenny? But only from the back because while I also have mousy brown hair, I’m not nearly as gorgeous.

    Also, this is the first comment I’ve ever left and it’s because I felt compelled to tell you how pretty you are. That’s right, I didn’t even comment to get a mini Beyonce. Now THAT is saying something.

  162. Hello there Blogess….I would like to hav a chance at that red dress and no, I’m not going to put it on Beyonce! I have a friend who has been through too much for too long and dang it to heck, it’s enough already!! I want to go over with a red dress and a camera. I want to love, love, love her in that red dress and then I want to pass it on to the next person who is going through too much for too long. Oh Pul-eeeese Queen Bloggess…send me a red dress….

  163. Every one of you responding to let Jenny know how much she means to you, to share your stories, to offer words of support and encouragement for others, or just to comment on Jenny’s supreme hotness… I love you all because you are what is real and good.

  164. I could really use a bit of red dress magic. For four years now my husband and I have been trying to start our family. Two years ago we got pregnant with twins but lost them. Its been a battle to say the least. Being over weight and having severe social anxiety doesn’t help either. Life tends to feel hopeless at times and I don’t really know what the red dress could fix, but i do know it would make just about anyone feel special. Thank you for giving us weirdos a voice and keep up the good work!

  165. I know this isn’t the point of this post, and believe me the point of it isn’t lost, but you are absolutely stunning. I’m so glad you wrote this. xoxo

  166. Those photos are amazing! You are absolutely gorgeous – both inside and out! I look forward to your posts – they bring some light and laughter into what has been hard time for me! I was having a rather bad day back in June and someone suggested reading your blog to cheer me up…it was the day you wrote about Beyonce’; I’ve been a fan ever since! You’ve made me realize I’m not alone in my struggles. It’s been hard, RA decided it was going to take residence in my body; and it has been a lousy tenant. The Chemo meds, the prednisone has wrecked havoc on me, my hair – so I’ve been really struggling with looking in the mirror. I would love to take a red dress out in Jacksonville, FL for the time of its life and share the memory with you.

  167. As someone with serious body issues, I realize that over 200 people telling you you’re stunning and gorgeous and beautiful (and amazing) might not convince you of those things, true as they may be. On the other hand, it certainly doesn’t suck. Adding my voice to the cheer-choir here: really. truly. beautiful. And honestly? Pretty seriously hot.

  168. Two things: first, love those gorgeous pictures and LOVE what you said about your arms. Reminds me of the part in Bossypants where Tina Fey talks about loving her body and features because they remind her of different members of her family (like having her father’s eyes, mother’s feet, nephew’s smile, something like that).
    Second, just had a moment of epiphany when I realized that my horse (who is a chestnut, appropriately) is my “red dress.” Expensive, extravagant, but brings me SO MUCH joy. So if I ever do a red dress photo shoot, obviously it’s going to have to include my horse…

  169. I’d wear the hell out of a red dress but I can’t do it because they don’t make dresses for Godzilla. Spent a good part of my life feeling like I am on the outside looking in, but I kind of like it that way. It makes for good blog fodder and more importantly it is me.

    You be you and I’ll be me. The world works really well that way. Looks to me like that dress fits you just fine.

  170. You look fantastic! I don’t wear red; perhaps if I could wear it as well as you, I would. Around the corner, I’ll celebrate 44 and my one year canciversary – I might just have to go on the hunt for my own red dress.

  171. I love this idea and would love to participate. I am getting married in a few months and have had a really hard time finding a dress that will fit me, that I like and that I can afford. I am a big girl (size 24) and we are getting married on a shoestring budget. Add to that, my future father-in-law passed away this week and we have had to use a sizable chunk of the money we had earmarked for the wedding to pay for funeral expenses.

    I have no need for a big, fancy dress that I’ll wear once and then put away in a box for the rest of my life so something like this project would help me/us tremendously. Plus, I love the idea that another woman will enjoy a dress that I shared my love and joy with my fiance in. Powerful emotions leave traces, so these dresses will be traveling portals of happiness. What do I need to do to get involved?

  172. I love reading about the Traveling Red Dress. It really puts everything into perspective. I’m a working single Mom who is struggling to be a woman and a Mom at the same time. My ex is fighting me at every turn, trying to control my life (where I go, what I do) and I just want my Son to know that I love him. He knows I love him – he tells me every time I tell him “I know Mom – you tell me all the time” Good. But I’m also lucky because I have him, I am me, and that’s pretty awesome. It can always be worse, and I can always have less. So thank you for inspiring not only me, but so many others.

  173. Love this. I know there are plenty of others who need this more than me, but it’s been a rough month. My mother-in-law is dying of brain cancer. My husband and his dad and brother have been taking care of her at home, and I’ve been helping where I can. I’m sitting with her now as everyone else sleeps to make sure she gets what she needs and doesn’t try to get out of bed. Ayway…I could use a little pick up to make me feel pretty right about now. Love the blog…and you look awesome in the dress…I could only hope to look so comfortable in my own skin.

  174. Hi Jenny,
    I just wanted to tell you how much your blog has helped me in the last few months.After my parents divorced, they got so rapped up in their new lives that they forgot they still had one more kid to raise. I had to put my university plans on hold so that someone would be there to take care of my little sister. For a while I wanted to be angry and bitter, but then I realized that life doesn’t always go the way you plan it to, and that’s ok.
    You are such an inspiration. No matter what happens, you are strong and open and constantly hilarious. Not to get corny or anything, but it’s almost like your attitude is a giant red dress for the world 🙂

    You really are the best!!

  175. I’m going to be 40 on Feb. 24. It’s a big deal for me and it’s the first of the “big” birthdays that is unnerving me. I’ve had my own battles with silver ribbon issues. And through it all I have a husband and friends that love me in spite of my BS.

    I have a lot of blessings in my life, but years 38 and 39 have been an absolute M-Fer. I’m actually looking forward to 40 and hoping that things will be better.

    Red is my favorite color … I would love a red dress to wear for a while for #40.

  176. Jenny –
    You are absolutely stunning. I am so jealous of your smile! It’s unbelievable. When I smile, my eyes get all scrunched up and I can’t see. Plus, my mouth just kind of goes side to side, not up like it’s supposed to. I look ridiculous. I’m not even a little bit exaggerating. I model, professionally, and have been told on more than one occasion specifically not to smile. I wish I had yours!!!
    – Kristen

  177. Thanks for giving me the courage to climb out on my roof and gaze at the moon. I’m a (almost) 32 year old single mom of three kids. I’ve been to hell and back the past ten years of my life. My dad committed suicide when I was 21 leaving me an emotional disaster. I married a man who was a predator… who I later realized was only after my inheritance. After 7 years of intense abuse and leaving me an emotional wreck, I walked out on him with our three children. Now 2 and a half years later I am starting over. I am over-coming and I am conquering the world. My life is finally all coming together.
    But it’s tough. There are nights I weep from loneliness.pain.anger.exhaustion. After reading your blog…the post about why are we afraid to be who we really want to be? “Why are we afraid to climb out on our roof’s and gaze at the moon?” I love the moon…the peacefulness it brings to me. One night, after an extremely tough day I noticed the moon was full. I threw open my window and crawled out onto my roof, to sit and stare. (This was in January…in Northern Ohio. It.was.cold. But wonderful.) Thank you for permission to do the things the little girl inside of me wants to do. While the moon isn’t a red dress, it’s my red dress.

  178. You look absolutely beautiful! And thank you reminding us all to take a moment and be happy that we are us. I hope to give out a lot of my old formal dresses soon. At least my old proms & formals will good some something!

  179. Absolutely beautiful. You look stunning and I love your attitude on life. You are definitely an inspiration to me and I am sure many others out there. You go lady <3

  180. First of all I want to tell you that your pictures are gorgeous. I too am about 20 lbs heavier than I have been since I was pregnant with my kids. I hate it. I feel so insecure about it and just not right. Anyway, I am in a horrible custody battle that seems to never end and I would like to celebrate the fact that my ex has no control over me at all anymore, that he can no longer put me down or make me feel so low about myself and unworthy. That I know I am worth it and no one can take that away from me, that I am a great mother to two wonderful, beautiful, smart children and that it is me that has made them that way. And to celebrate that I will never let myself get to the point I was with him ever in my life again.
    Thank you for your wonderful stories. I just started reading but everything I have read I have loved.

  181. Too look as good as you do after having a child?? I mean I can only HOPE to look as good as that when I have children. You’re gorgeous.

    Ps. Love love LOVE the smoky eye. You rocked it like the rock star you are.

  182. This post is EXACTLY what I needed to read tonight. Your pictures are amazing and you’re words rang true, as they always do. I am a photographer and I just gave away a free boudoir session to someone who is beautiful on the inside that was nominated by someone else. I had to sift through several nominations until I found one that reminded me so much of myself that I found myself in tears. After I told her that she had won, she messaged me with more information about herself and I swear…she is me only in a different body…with different parents of course. She described some of her recent battles lately that resemble yours…and my own of course. Our minds are full of our own demons and we just have to find the beauty inside ourselves and the strength to run them off. Thank you so much for sharing what you do on your blog. I think you inspire so many people including myself. I would love to borrow this red dress and do a photo shoot in it and pass it on to many girls and do their photos. I have caught myself on ebay scouring the plus sized “red dresses” to buy for myself but the idea seemed silly to do that. It would definitely not be silly if you would let me borrow yours. I would absolutely be honored and happy to be able to spread the generosity. Thank you for being you!

  183. Those photos are devine… I am a rather overweight… single mumma of 3… who suffers from depression and anxiety and spends alot of time hiding from the world and all the amazing things it could hold for me… and I am soon going to turn 30 and it scared the bejesus out of me that I am wasting away in the shadows… your photos make me think I should do something similar to celebrate being 30 in April… might have to plan something to capture me at that point… thanks for all the funny posts.. but also thankyou for the deeper ones that always make me feel a little more OK… XXX

  184. You, my dear, look absolutely stunning! I hope the dress worked in lifting your spirits.

    I also love the Marilyn Monroe-inspired photo!

    Just gorgeous!

  185. Joy is always worth it. What a perfect sentiment. I’m in one of the most challenging years for my phd in counseling… so that tidbit is something for me to keep around. You look beautiful, Jenny.

  186. Hi, I know that there are people who need your dress more than I do, but I still wanted to share my story. I have borderline personality disorder, which isn’t really well understood. I’m 20, but I should have never survived to this point. I’ve had my valleys and fought my battles, and so far I’m still kicking, or at least trying to. I love your blog because it reminds me that I am not alone, and that I can make things better for myself. I have admitted that there are things I can’t control, like the fact that I go see the doctor to find out if my own “ovaries that are trying to kill me” have gotten worse. I’m going to do everything I can to find my own red dress as a sort of promise to myself that I won’t let this break me when nothing else has. If I do, I’ll let you know.

  187. Fab photos. And “Joy is always worth it” is going up on my mirror (it was that or a spaceman helmet).

  188. Don’t sell yourself short! Those photos are beautiful. I would love to wear the traveling red dress, but I’m quite outside that considerable size range. And there are so many stories being posted here, that I feel like mine would cheapen them.. Nevertheless – I’m struggling with Depression Anxiety, the loss of my father, and am teetering on the edge of self-harm. And I’m in college. Sometimes all I want to do is hide in my closet, with absolutely all my clothes piled in around me. And maybe one day, I’ll have the courage to wear a strapless red ball gown.

    Thanks for all the encouragement you give me, and many of your readers. You’re an inspiration – and a vision in that dress!

  189. I know what it’s like to see the beauty in everything except yourself, but if you could see in yourself what I see you would be amazed. You are lovely, red dress or otherwise. Shine on, you crazy diamond.

  190. I find it hard to admit that what I’m fighting is me. I’m fighting my most basic instinct to devalue myself and I’m fighting to feel like I deserve to be a part of society.

  191. gosh you’re sooooooooooooo beautiful honey, i love those pictures, and your poses are inspiring, i wish i had a red dress to send, i do have a red gown, but it’s just long and straight and strapless, not all fancy schmancy

  192. Jenny. im agoraphobia. i live in austin. and the delightful yard chickens help me get out. i know to normal people that seems silly. but those silly little chickens help me.

  193. You are a bundle of womanly hotness and also have something even better which is an amazing personality, a kind face and a wonderful soul. Showed that red dress who was boss didn’t you?

  194. Also your face looks about twelve in some of those shots. Don’t fear the forty, it really does only get better.

  195. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about beauty and realizing that I don’t remember ever looking in the mirror and thinking I looked beautiful, not since I was 7, maybe, and didn’t yet know about the tornado of depression and anxiety barreling toward me. Back then I would have rocked a red dress so hard, would have worn it and a tiara to school and run around the playground at top speed and DEMANDED everyone acknowledge I was the queen to rule them all. The greatest tragedy of my life is that I’ve lost that girl, and lost any belief that people SHOULD see me. Now I pray they don’t, and it’s working so well. I’m only 28. I think I need to get myself a red dress before it’s too late.

  196. You look terrific! The wonderful thing, as one goes through the late thirties, is that you finally realise who you are and that people can take it or leave it because that’s how it is and you don’t give a f… about how they feel about it. That’s why I found my forties the best decade – able to relax and stop trying to compete at last. This is how I am. If you like it – good. If you don’t – tough!

  197. I just LOVE this project… I still don’t know what my red dress is but when I figure it out I hope I can jump into it wholeheartedly and not hesitate. Jenny you are such an inspiration please know that people are listening to you and you really are making a difference, not just in the minds of a few blog readers, but in the world.

    /end cheese session…

  198. Staying alive is the name of that tune for a reason.

    Life is a bitch, and so much of this life shit tries to kill your body, mind or spirit.

    Making it to 40 is an achievement.

    You are hot in the red dress.

    Wish you would stop bagging your boobs and weight.

    So to speak. Ahem.

    We sort of like you like you are.

    Remember, you have friends. Despite yourself.

  199. Absolutely gorgeous pictures and words. Thank you. Sending a red dress out on Monday.

  200. Ooo that dress is so pretty. I would love to feel pretty again.
    I have been dealing with PPD for almost three years now. My son turns 3 in March. I feel alone and just so tired most days. Now I come to find out that I might have inherited my grandfathers rare immune disease that is incurable. This winter has not been the rebirth that I hoped it would be.
    That dress is so pretty… I wonder if I would fit me. I am a 22 top and a 26/28 hip. Silly birthing hips…

  201. You look fabulous! Stunning! No lie. I wouldn’t lie. I just wouldn’t say it. But if your boobs are too big, then at least they look THAT great, lady. Maybe they need to be flaunted a bit more? You might appreciate them if you did!

    I want to participate in the red dress project with my BFF, Amy.( )I can buy my own red dress, and then I’m happy to send it on to someone who needs it. I’ve been feeling like the Universe has been throwing rocks at me since I moved to LA about 8yrs ago, and a recent conversation with friend I hadn’t spoken to since I left home had her saying, “You’re still beautiful and wonderful and talented. Even if you don’t remember that right now. ” I DON’T even remember what it was like to be that fearless girl anymore. I too suffer from depression and anxiety, and it’s only been in the last 6 months that I’ve felt like maybe I can undo 8 years of crap. Maybe. I’m a little scared to step out from shelter….but I kinda want to.

    Amy’s sitch is much worse. She left an alcoholic abusive jerk with their two kids 7yrs ago….and met the first man I’ve ever seen her truly, TRULY give her heart and soul to (I’ve known her since we were 17. We’re 43 now.). He’s a good man. But he is currently in rehab- because in the last 3 yrs, things have slowly been spiralling out of control,til this past year when it just was inexcusable. She’s thrilled he’s getting help. I want her to remember that she’s important too, not just him and his issues (not that I’m dismissing them- don’t get me wrong). She puts him first, and has had to, for far too long now, because of this, and I think she’s forgotten she’s worth saving, too.

    She’s about the perfect size for the red dress you’re wearing here. I can get my own. But if you send one to her, I’ll fly to her in Indianapolis and find a photographer and dammit, we’ll have some good BFF pics to share!

    Much thanks. Mad love. And carpe awesome.

  202. Seriously gorgeous! You are stunning.
    This is an awesome project & I’d love to take part. I guess I want to celebrate still having my mum after a shit 12 months (won’t go into details) and the red dress would be an amazing way to do this 🙂

  203. I am looking 50 in the eye and trying to bring myself out of this funk. I am always the one cheering everyone else. Now I feel like I need some cheering and it seems to me everyone close to me has disappeared into their own lives. I would love the chance to look have has beautiful as you do in that gorgeous dress.

  204. Breathtaking!

    You, Jenny, are as beautiful on the outside as on the inside.

    And you, Jenny’s Unstoppable Army of Awesome, are just as beautiful.

  205. You ARE really beautiful and you DO deserve to wear something that makes you furiously happy. Everybody does.

    Only a week or so ago I bought myself the most impractical, teetering, sexy platform heels I could find in the shop for a party. I can barely walk down stairs in them…I can only see myself wearing them to one or two social occasions per year…they’re so over-the-top…they’re utterly inappropriate…

    …But man, it feels so damn good wearing them. I’m not going to put them away in my wardrobe either: they’re staying out in full view to remind myself that yes, I AM worth it.

  206. I’d like to wear a red dress like that. I’ve just returned from spending a week with my mother and visiting my aunt, both of whom have Alzheimer’s. My grandmother died of Alzheimer’s and I’m really struggling with how to face my future knowing this is likely what it contains. I don’t know what to do with the years that lay in between now and then.

  207. You are gorgeous! We are our own worst enemies when it comes to self image. We can never be 21 again. Why try. You are a marvelous person with a smokin bod. You have a wonderful family. Sounds good to me! 🙂

  208. 1. You are gorgeous. 2. Thank you for saying the things that I find so hard to say. To know there’s someone else out there as kickass as you who feels the same way I do makes the world a little less hugely intimidating.

  209. I have to admit, you doubt yourself, you worry about your appearance and your place in the world – and yet you posted those pictures for all to see. I am in awe of your bravery, your courage – and your Inner and Outer Beauty.

    Thank you, Jenny!


  210. Thanks a lot, you made me cry. I hope you’re happy! Btw, those pictures are stunning and you’re amazing, even without a red dress. Love ya!

  211. Bloggess (I can’t call you Jenny here, because you look like a queen, so you need a title),
    I’m 29, average height, a comfortable size 6, average boobs, and I have frustrating curly hair that everyone else says they want, but right now I am green with envy over the confidence you exude, the smolder in your eyes, and that smile that lights up a… webpage. And I’m not sure I’d be able to post a photo shoot of myself on my blog without complete anxiety over what people would think.

    In a nutshell, Hotdamn, Sister!

  212. Loved this so much. Your last paragraph resonated, Jenny, because if we’re forced to think about it, there must be so many things we deny ourselves because we think they’re frivolous. I LOVE that you said “Joy is always worth it”. Thank you for this post (and for all of the rest!).

    P.S. ‘Joy is always worth it’ would make a bitchin’ tattoo!

  213. Jenny, you are fricken beautiful! Red dress or not, you’re gorgeous.
    Never let anyone tell you curves aren’t sexy damnit.

    I do something similar to the red dress every so often. When i’m feeling low it’s amazing what just getting dolled up can do for your self worth. I go out and get stared at by people and it makes me feel GOOD. I can cover up my scars and all the ugly bits that make me want to cry when I look in a mirror, and I can just feel pretty.

    There were points over the past 4 years where I could have really used a red dress. Struggling with infertility which drove me to the brink, there was so much self hate, so much loathing and I couldn’t feel attractive knowing my insides were broken and (in my mind) rotten.
    6 weeks ago I gave birth to my miracle second son, a child I never thought i’d have and a kid I fought so hard for. Fertility treatment and recurrent losses almost killed me, the only thing that kept me fighting was my eldest, another miracle who really shouldn’t exist either. My FSH and LH are usually so low that I simply don’t produce eggs, and those few I do produce aren’t very good. We hit the jackpot and right now? My boys are MY red dress. They’ve pulled me back from the brink, they make me smile, they make me feel amazing.

    Though i’d still love to march about in a gorgeous dress and feel sexy. Sexy isn’t something i’ve felt in a very long time. Infertility does that to you, after having so many strangers looking at your bits and sticking various things up there, you really end up feeling pretty unsexy.

  214. Oh dear Jenny I need a red dress. I am 53 and about to get my first apartment after 20+ years of marriage but I’m excited about that. I have a daughter that is 25 and suffers from all of the above you have dealt with . I am her best friend and her biggest supporter . She suffers from BP, BPD, CD and PTSD . Has done great for years and now Kaboom! Out of no where. I think we may need 2 red dresses and we would definitely rock a photo shoot.

  215. Stunning photos….truly.

    I need a red dress, you look fearless and I need a little of that magic, I think. Life has been breaking me down lately. Raising 3 kids, one of whom has autism has been breaking my spirit. I feel like I am doing it all wrong….

    Jenny, you are an inspiration. Thank you.

  216. You look so beautiful in those photos! You definitely wear the hell out of that dress! I would love to wear a pretty red dress for a few hours. I have never been to a prom (or a ball) so never had the need to own or wear one. I am battling depression to a lesser degree, an emotional eating disorder and low self esteem (and almost 50! gah!). Unfortunately, I am a big girl (size 22-24) so your lovely dress will not do. Someday I hope to find a dress that makes me feel beautiful, inside and out. Hugs to you for all you do. <3

  217. I found one on Twitter. It came in the mail last week, and couldn’t have been at a better time. I’m trying to decide what, where, and when to do with my dress. But I can’t wait. I’ll feel like a genuine princess.

  218. Love your blog, love your message, and love those Bangin’ Double D’s. Score one for the curvy chicks, rocking it since back in the day. Red Dress Project celebrates being awesome, because we are so much better than the social norm. Lets put a silver bow on it (it’s this seasons “put a bird on it”) and add it to the conversation.

  219. Dear Jenny, You are beautiful inside and out. Anyone who has soft, cushy, smothering grandmother arms is a beauty in my book.

    I had a red dress once, when I was in my anorexic stage and so thin my head looked like one of those wobble dolls on a too thin neck. But I loved that dress, felt beautiful and sexy in that dress like I haven’t since. This project of yours makes me weep for the tenderness and generosity of your heart.

    Take care of you.

  220. About a month ago I was diagnosed with RA. I’m 28. I was devastated. My friends have been amazing…making fun of me, getting me drunk, feeding me…and telling me I only got RA to be just like you 🙂 Ok…so maybe I need new friends, BUT being just like you wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
    I need a red dress…and prob some match skanky underwear. This was my 4th autoimmune diagnosis, and the hardest one yet (T1 diabetic x20 years, autoimmune thyroiditis & celiac).
    Thanks for making me laugh amidst so many tears as of late!

    Anyone in the Bryan/College Station area need a dress? Would love to help others!!

  221. In that last b/w photo you look like pictures I’ve seen of Marlene Dietrich (except you have better eyebrows). Seriously.

  222. I’ve heard of your blog before but found it for the first time today. And honestly, I really love it. You’re just kind of… you, and you happen to be very likable, and that’s cool. 🙂 PS – Love the dress!

  223. Jenny, you’re a stone, cold FOX! 🙂 and you wore the hell out of that dress 🙂

  224. You are so beautiful!!!! I adore you!

    I want a red dress, but I’m not ready to do a shoot yet. I’m thinking that I want to do it at the cabin that we had when I was a kid. That requires a road trip. And a lot of luck because we don’t own it any more, the current owners have let it go to hell and it’s falling down. So . . . it’s dangerous and it’s breaking and entering! Perfect! (Well, is it breaking and entering if the door won’t shut because the frame is too damaged? Damn them for neglecting a piece of my heart.)

    When I’m ready for the road trip, I’ll seek a dress. Can’t wait!

  225. I only hope the makers of this beautiful dress are ready for the onslaught of orders these photos will undoubtably generate!!

  226. The last picture is so damn powerful. As it your words aren’t strong enough, your eyes have such a message behind them. I’m just, wow! With that said, I couldn’t find a way to make this work for me until this morning. I want to have a prom. Then all our lovely dresses can be donated to our local high schools for the real prom. We live in a part of Appalachia that doesn’t always make life easy for people, and plenty of our girls don’t get the experience of their high school prom because they’re too embarrassed about not having a dress. Well, we’ll see what we can do. Thanks for sending me a lightning bolt of inspiration!

  227. You my dear are stunning in every way possible. You have no idea how powerful and amazing you really are.

  228. These are so beautiful and you look perfect. Totally perfect. This whole concept is so powerful.

    BTW, if anyone in Detroit sees this and wants a photoshoot, I’d love to do it. I also have a red dress size 10 I’d love to use and then pass on to someone else.

  229. You look beautiful. There are no other words to describe it.
    I live in the UK and would love to wear a travelling red dress for one day. I’ve battled and overcome depression and then battled it again and now I’m helping someone else battle it. I’m not sure which is harder. But both make me who I am. Worthy.

  230. Wonderful photos! And even more wonderful words! Thank you Jenny.

    I’m writing to put my name in line for the traveling red dress. Not for me — for my good friend who was just diagnosed with bone cancer. Within 2 weeks, she will undergo 2-3 months of chemo. Then she needs to undergo a surgery which will remove her femur and her hip (the location of the tumor). Then, another 2-3 months of chemo. I think the courage and inspiration that comes with the traveling red dress will help keep her faith high.

  231. You are simply beautiful.

    I could only hope to look half as good in a red dress. Carrying around over 100 extra pounds, I’m not just “a little curvy”. I’m fat, and not very pretty on the outside. It’s ok, most days, I’m ok with that. My kids love me the way I am, and they matter a lot. But I wish I had the nerve to boldly wear the red dress. I look at photos of me, and I don’t see me.. I see someone who swallowed me, and damn she is not something I care to look at, and a red dress just draws attention to that even more. It’s more like a train wreck. I’m looking BACK at 40, and thinking, yea, I’m still here.

  232. No need for a dress. I just wanted you to know that you are absolutely beautiful! I am about 50 pounds overweight and still feel good (most of the time). You do a lot of good for a lot of people. Thanks!

  233. Well crap, I come here to laugh, not cry.

    You are so beautiful! I can’t wait to read what’s to come on the red dress blog.

  234. The red dress posts always bring tears to my eyes. Thanks to all of the people brave enough to share their stories. Jenny–Thank you for reminding me that joy is always worth it. I would like to participate but I feel that others need this red dress more than me. I’ve been afraid to share my story so far. I do want to celebrate that I made it these last 16 years. I suffered from severe depression & anxiety in my 20’s. I am coming up on my 40th birthday and need to remember to inject a little more joy in my life. For anyone suffering from suicidal thoughts, please remember that depression lies.

  235. I don’t want the dress for me but for a friend. Not just a friend but my bestest friend. She is amazing and adorable and honest and can’t see that for herself. This would be perfect for her.

  236. This is beautiful, Jenny. I struggle with so many things that are similar or identical. I loved reading this.

  237. You are just stunning, Jenny. I’d love a red dress, but there are so many other worthy candidates that I won’t ask. Instead, I’m keeping my eyes open in case I see something worthy of the cause so that I could put one in circulation. I just want to thank you for inspiring so many to love themselves and be kind to others. I’m not sure how I survived before I discovered you. Can’t wait for the book!

  238. I’m celebrating almost 1 yr of being separated from my husband. I’m celebrating my freedom to do the things I choose without having someone tell me I’m stupid, or that’s a dumb idea. I’m recovering from that relationship one day at a time….and overcoming that fear he instilled in me.

  239. You are totally amazing Jenny! You’re beautiful, you’re inspiring, you’re funny, and I love you! You have a purpose, and that purpose is to inspire those around you with your intelligence, your wit, your humour, your struggles, and with the very essence of the beautiful person that you are! Never, never question whether you are pretty enough, smart enough, or good enough. Because… you are MORE than enough. You’re a wonderful wife, mother, and inspiring person!
    Thank you for being you!

    P.S. Red looks sexy as hell on you! 🙂

  240. You look amazing and I love that you are willing to celebrate your laugh and worry lines! Sometimes we all need a little reminder that a life worth living sometimes leaves it marks.

  241. I have one word for you lady. REAL. You are so beautifully real. And that is amazing.

  242. the pics are BEAUTIFUL! and i totally need a red dress. My husband and i have been through hell the last 5 months. he was injured in afghanistan by a sniper and lost his right kidney. he crashed twice in surgery, had 49units of blood, and was on a ventilator for 10 days. he was only off it 6 hours by the time i could get to him in Germany. He is doing AMAZING now. he has nerve damage in both legs from shrapnel but is walking, breathing… here. through all this i battaled major issues with grief. i felt so robbed by everything we were “missing” out on due to him being injured and coming home early. there was still so much i wanted to accomplish, so much HE wanted to accomplish. this changed his entire career path, everything. i have battaled those feelings of grief, my ever constant battle with depression and of course to fall in love all over again with my battle scared husband. i would LOVE to have a new red dress to help me start the new chapter in our lives that we have just begun. one of a new “normal” that comes with doc appts and limitations and a whole lot of faith.

  243. I’ve already put on the facebook page that I am willing to do a red dress photoshoot for anyone who is located near Tampa, FL. Please look for me on the red dress facebook fan page and get in touch if this applies to you. I don’t have a red dress of my own yet, but I’m looking.
    Leslie in Tampa….

  244. Damn girl – you look amazing. I too have been struggling with who I am – I’m not the 115lb high school sophomore anymore. I’m 35 lbs over weight and my goal on the year is health. I am at increased risk for type 2 diabetes after 2 rough gestational diabetes experiences, and my husband is considered obese. We need this. I don’t ever want to be a stick again – I want to be healthy. I’m turning 35 this year. I’ve decided that since my weight loss goal and age are the same, this is the year. I’ve signed up for a gym, I have running gear, I am registered for a half marathon in August that I will walk if I have to but hope to run a lot of. This is the year I take back a little bit of me! Running, getting in shape, creating fun things. This is MY year.
    It’s funny – I have to go out and buy an evening gown for a Mardi Gras ball this week, and I think now I might just give those red dresses an extra look. Because really, who doesn’t feel glamorous in red!

  245. It’s official. You made me cry this morning. But good cry. You’re sooo beautiful Jenny. I’m looking pretty hard into 50 coming up. I’m sitting here in my red hoodie this morning and decided I was pretty damn bitchin’. thanks.

  246. You are an inspiration that usually brings me to tears (either through laughter or heartfelt inspiration). Thank you for all you do for everyone, reader and non-readers alike. Good luck. And your book is on my “Birthday Wishlist.” AJ (my husband who vehemently commiserates with Victor) already has it marked down for me. Thank you again.

  247. i don’t have a sad hard luck story. And I’m certainly not gonna go showering you with all these butt crawling up compliments. I have only just recently discovered your blog. I have decided I’m staying to hear more. And why shouldn’t I have a piece of red in my life…even if its only for an hour.

  248. I have what feels like crippling social anxiety on top of Seasonal Affective Disorder, I feel like I have to fake my way through situations while inside I’m screaming to go home and hide under the covers. I’ve ducked into more bathrooms to cry that I can count.
    This week I was part of a fitness studio grand opening. Someone thinks I’m capible of teaching a weight class. I feel unqualified and unprepared, but tomorrow evening I will pack up all the will I can muster and march in there and pretend I know what the hell I am doing. Then I will promptly go in the back room and cry and wonder when the studio owner is going to see through it all and cancel my class.

  249. Jenny,
    Thank you! These pictures are beautiful and your sentiments struck a chord in me. Too often, I worry about what others think about me, or am focused too much on what I perceive as what is wrong with me. I need to flip that and focus on why I am a strong, confident woman…..even though I may be scared on the inside.

  250. Wow! You look amazing! I’m thinking now about what my “Red dress” is & what I should be tearing myself to each day, rather than denying myself as I’m a mum & my money goes on my children first.


  251. I would love a chance to borrow the traveling red dress. I have never had the courage to dress up and feel beautiful. My life consists of baggy sweatshirts and jeans for fear others will see how overweight I have become. Thank you for having the courage to share your gorgeous photos.

  252. “You should wear with pride the scars on your skin / They remember the adventures and the places you’ve been…” – Poi Dog Pondering

  253. If I could have just one day…it would be the day that you just described…I’m in tears at the hope you just gave me on, of all days…today. Mom to five, Lupus, RA, fibro…and a few others…I spend my life sacrificing for the greater good of the Cosmic Alliance. Never just a day for me. I think I may just have to do some “creative accounting” and go find me a red dress. Signed, Your Friendly Canuck Neighbourhood Chronic Badass xx

  254. Jenny, You are truly beautiful! Thank you for sharing, inspiring, giving, laughing, creating and being you! I have a close friend who could use a visit from a red dress. She’s a vibrate, beautiful, joyful woman who’s had one too many snags in the reproductive area and currently recovering from the latest. She reads your blog as faithfully as I do and as soon as I read your PS, she instantly popped into my head. I am currently living on the east side of PA and she’s all the way in north west corner of Ohio, so, stopping in for a visit isn’t something I can do. But, hopefully, this is something I can do. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity!

  255. Wow, you look great!

    Wouldn’t it be awesome to get one of these before Friday which is “National Wear Red Day” to raise awareness for women’s heart health. This coincides with the opening of a new store I will be peddling my “upcycled” dresses in. (upcycled dresses are made from old t-shirts. I cut them up, mix them up and create little one of a kind fashions for girls). Why does this matter you say? Well I have lost both my mother and mother-in-law in the past 13 months to weak hearts. They were my “rocks” when my husband died over 2 years ago. I will be honoring them this Friday by wearing red. May not be as grand as that beautiful dress, but it’ll definitely be RED. Guess I should create a little red dress for my daughter to wear to school that day too:)

  256. You look fabulous!! And I love this whole red dress movement. Thanks for reminding us to remember ourselves. Empower each other and rebel in the daily beauty that is life.

  257. Jenny, you are seriously one of the most beautiful and inspiring women I’ve ever seen! And you have the biggest heart on the internet!
    I’m lucky enough to have the bestest of best friends. A woman who has been through more trauma than I care to imagine in her life, yet always comes out smiling. And who has helped me through the hardest 2 years of my life. I have survived the breakdown of a longterm relationship, the realisation of how destructive and abusive that relationship was, the loss of my beloved Dad, and my mother being ill. Some days it’s hard to just get out of bed. Without her I don’t know that I would have got this far. She is my personal “Red-dress Fairy”, she lends me her own dresses, and buys me them as presents “just because”. Even on the lowest days, we remember to tell each other how beautiful and amazing we are. I love her like no other. Every woman should have a Jenny, or a Melanie to get their back on ‘those’ days. 🙂

  258. Girl, you are GORGEOUS inside and out. All those things you pointed out (weight, hair, wrinkles), I never even saw them. You rock that dress. But you rock it all the time! I love following you (in a very non-stalker-y way) and you’re one of the highlights of my day. Much love to you!

  259. I just noticed a sumptuously beaded red ball gown in the window of a shop. I’m a voluptuous gal but I’m going to check it out and keep my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to buy it and send it forward to others. I’m dealing w/infertility and would love to have a picture reminding me that I’m still a WOMAN…VIBRANT…VIABLE.

  260. I am fighting the stigma of being a SAHM. I have been out of work for over a year which is the longest stint since I started working part-time jobs in college. I am fighting the “you are STILL pumping to breastfeed your baby stigma” as my daughter approaches her 6 month milestone on the planet. I get weird looks when I talk about my family. My husband has an almost 21 year old son. I have an 8 year old son. Together, we have a daughter. I won a boudoir photo session, but am too scared to strip down to lingerie for the camera. Two c-sections and cellulite will do that to a girl. I feel looks when I can’t seem to get enough to eat because of breastfeeding. I know I am big, but those calories are feeding my baby. I feel undertall for my weight. I wish I were 5’6″ instead of 5’0″. I wish my foot were not so wide. I wish I felt so damn sexy in sweats and a t-shirt let alone a red dress. Thank you for sharing your story and amazing photos. I commend and admire you.

  261. I’ve been in love with this project since I first read about it, Jenny. If I was a glass-half-full kind of person and had one wish to wish, it’d be to be photographed beautifully in one of these exceptional dresses. And if I believed in hope with no discernible foundation, I’d hope one of these beautiful dresses would show up at my door one day. Maybe fate will lend a hand.

  262. I keep telling myself to comment on these. I keep telling myself I’m worth it. But I find reasons to not follow through. Maybe I’ll post my comment this time, maybe I won’t. We’ll see.
    My divorce was finalized on the 25th. He gave me sole custody to the two kids we had together. I also have a child from a previous relationship. My oldest was my first miracle baby. I was told I’d never have a baby naturally. And he proved the doctors wrong. He was the easiest baby, the most amazing toddler… Things got harder as he got older. He’ll be 11 in March. He has ADHD, ODD, anxiety and OCD. In spite of all of these things, he is a smart, amazing little man. And last fall he asked me to find his biological father, because he wanted to meet him. I found him, and I drove him to meet him. They are amazing together. And on Feb 4th, he’s going to live with him for 6 months. It’s hard. It’s heart-breaking, and I am so happy and excited for him and his bio dad. He’s an incredible little man, and I want to share him with the world. And no matter how much it hurts to let him go, it’s what he needs, and as his Mommy, it’s my duty and delight to give him anything and everything he needs.
    My littler ones are 3 years old and 19 months old. My 3 year old is being tested for autism. He started pre-k in August and since then has started talking! It’s amazing to see him come out of his shell. To see his little personality come alive. To glow. I’m a touchy-feely person, and it was so hard holding back from touches that are loving in my eyes, but scary/uncomfortable/intimidating to him. But now, he’s okay with them. I get to say I love you with a touch, not just my eyes and words now. He’s beautiful.
    The baby was not the easiest. He had severe colic and acid reflux. I had post partum depression. And somewhere during all of that, my husband crossed a line that could never be uncrossed, and we began to end. But my baby, ohhhh he’s amazing. He is the happiest little man I’ve ever known. He always has a smile, a laugh, a cuddle. When my days feel full of stress and worry, he is the one that feels it, and comes to me to ease it.
    I love all three of my little guys with all I have.
    As to me… I just went through a divorce. My oldest son is moving to another state to live with his bio dad for the first time. Two of my three kids are special needs. I have been searching for a job since November. Nobody wants to hire a woman that’s been a stay at home mom for 4 years. My internet goes out tomorrow. (Thank the Goddess for my BlackBerry, so I have a limited connection to the www.) I have bouts of depression, with moments of hope. I may be broke and have no idea of when or how I will make ends meet, 2 of my kids may never see their daddy again (his choice), 1 of my kids will be leaving me, but I still have hope. However fragile. However fleeting. It’s there. Hope that my babies are young enough that they won’t be hurt by his absence. Hope that my oldest discovers more love, more about himself, more about the world, and is the better for it. Hope that someone out there will take a chance on me, hire me, so I can take care of my babies and myself. Hope that all of this is leading us to a better life. And hope that it won’t be as hard and scary as it seems to be right now.
    I don’t feel beautiful. I don’t feel like the woman I know I am inside. I don’t know how to let her out. To share her with anyone but myself. But I hope someday I will. And maybe that day will be with a red dress that comes to me in a box. Maybe not. But I can hope.

  263. You are the bravest woman. You fearlessly tell us all about the difficulties of your life, and how bad you sometimes feel about yourself, and at the same time share with us these amazing photos that prove just how beautiful and fearless you really are. Thank you. Thank you so much for your inspiration.

  264. Jenny, you are gorgeous! And you’re a continual reminder that I CAN fight RA and win. I’m taking the chemo drugs and all the other drugs to fight the fibromyalgia and neuropathy that the RA has brought on. And all the drugs and supplements to fight the side effects of all those other drugs. And it sucks.

    I’m currently battling through day 5 of one of the worst flares I’ve ever experienced. If my crappy rheumatologist ever calls me back, I’ll start my 9th round of prednisone in 3 years. I’m a single mom of 3, living with my parents, and struggling through more bad days than good. But you, you beautiful thing you, you give me hope. You inspire me to keep fighting. To give the best of myself to my kids AND to myself. And to find happiness in everything I can. So thank you!

  265. You are totally beautiful inside and out, made of awesomeness and dreams (a slight twist on your own words). Your words bring joy and inspiration and you are right — joy is always worth it. We should all pass it on!

  266. I’m all sorts of giddy you’ve posted this…yes, you ARE here! And we love that you are….after all, who else but you could share with us a hatted duck, a 5 ft. chicken, and other curiosities that deepen our own laugh lines and bring joy to an otherwise mousy-brown day?
    PS. I took myself to a salon the other day for the first time in 2 years…they transformed my mousy-brown-grey-white “do” into a bouncy mousy-grey-white “do”(What was left of the brown has been cut off and tossed aside). I had pep in my step and it now looks like I could be taken a bit more seriously, as in…they don’t card me anymore. It’s all good, after all, I am freakin’ 40!!! Thanks for your inspiration.

  267. I would LOVE for my best friend to have her red dress moment! She has lost over 150 lbs, and has overcome many obstacles, fears and anxieties. Recently she just lost her mother to dementia who she was very close to. I would never wish watching your parent deteriorate like that on anyone. We’ve been BFF’s for 20 years, and not once during that time has she had her real chance to shine.

    My boyfriend is also working to build up a photography portfolio, and would absolutely donate his time to anyone in our area (Louisville, KY) to show off their red dress moment!

    The red dress in these pics is beautiful! I also have to say that you look absolutely gorgeous in that dress Jenny! It doesn’t matter what size you are or what your hair/face/body has gone thru. Women with curves and imperfections are more beautiful! It’s about what’s inside and your life’s experiences that shine thru those imperfections. It’s about finding who you really are, becoming comfortable and positive about it, and embracing who your truly are.

  268. You are beautiful. And your boobs look amazing in that dress.

    I would like a chance at a red dress. Last year was incredibly hard for me. My dad was sick, and I was pregnant. He took a turn for the worse about the time I was too far along to travel any more. I had Noah on April 3, and he spent a week in the NICU. Two days after I checked out of the hospital, I started running a fever of about 103. Turned out I was sick, too. Once we got both of us recuperated (it took a couple of weeks), we just needed to make it to Noah’s doctor appointment the afternoon of April 18 to be cleared to travel.

    My dad passed away that morning.

    Nine days later, I would find myself huddled in the hallway of our house in Tuscaloosa, Ala., with my husband, Noah, our two dogs and our cat while an EF-4 tornado ripped apart the city. We were lucky to not be hit by the tornado — it passed about 1/4 mile from us — but the devastation was overwhelming. We had no electricity or clean water, so we set out to stay with friends in a nearby town amid thousands of other drivers, bumper to bumper, the only light from red taillights and yellow-white headlights.

    In the following weeks, I was unable to sleep. I found myself screaming at my baby, feeling the need to just leave my family and go live somewhere alone, wanting to throw Noah on the floor and leave him there when he cried. I said I didn’t want to be a mother. I told my husband, in all seriousness, that I wasn’t cut out for this and maybe we should consider giving him up and just going back to it being the two of us. Finally, after three straight days of no sleep at all, I could literally feel myself going crazy, and my husband insisted I call my doctor. She diagnosed me with postpartum depression.

    Even after starting meds, it was tough. Motherhood apparently has a bit of a learning curve. But I’ve survived so far. I even managed to make it through mono (I mean, really?! Who gets mono as an adult? 2011 seriously had it in for me.) while working full-time.

    I came off my meds in December (after a weaning process, approved by my doctor), and it was rough. Christmas was my dad’s favorite time of the year, and it was hard not having him there. But I stuck it out, and I’m here. I’m finally starting to feel like ME again.

    This past week we’ve seen some new challenges, namely that my husband lost his job somewhat unexpectedly. Thankfully he’s got a temporary bartending gig lined up — not ideal, but it’ll pay the bills.

    So, this is why I would like to have the red dress for a time. Because I. am. surviving. I don’t think I’m completely past the postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety that I’ve experienced, but I have finally reached a point where I can look that beady eyed little troll in the face and tell it to fuck off. And the red dress? Well, that would just be the exclamation point on the giant “Fuck you!” I’m finally giving to PPD and PPA.

  269. Gorgeous!! You seriously need to frame that collage to remind yourself YOU are making the dress look beautiful. Not the reverse. 🙂

  270. Just amazing!! I need to do this 🙂 You look so beautiful and you look like YOU!

  271. That dress is fantastic, and so are you! Thank you for showing such bravery and that joy IS worth it. I have friends, both female AND male who could learn so much from this. Sharing!

  272. Jenny – You, darling woman, are truly and deeply beautiful, inside and out! You mentioned feeling purposeless…perhaps you haven’t noticed that you have found at least part of your purpose? Sharing your stories via your blogs and articles is bringing joy, laughter but most important of all, HOPE to thousands of people who have never had it before or who have lost it somewhere along the road. What greater purpose do you need, my dear, than to reach another soul who is lost, scared and in pain and bring them that moment of comfort and light when they are stumbling in the dark? What an amazing gift you bring and I hope that you connect with that soon and appreciate fully how important what you are doing really, truly is and how worthwhile it is. Let that knowledge sink in and fill you up, gf!! And I say only part of your purpose, because you are also modeling this awesome behavior to your daughter and thus perhaps bringing yet another person into the world who will light the way for others down the road. Keep lighting up the darkness, beautiful woman!

  273. I’m currently living in the WORST place I’ve ever lived, working a job that I love/hate, and looking for a new job so desperately that most days, I can’t stand myself. Unfortunately, there’s one more thing I hate about life right now… I have two AMAZING friends that I love.

    They’re both happy that I’m going to move on soon, but we also know that it’ll never be the same for the three of us. I want a photo shoot where all three of us (all plus to different degrees) wear the same red dress, so that we have something to remember our crazy/terrible/wonderful times together.

  274. I’m a fan of reading your stuff, because you’re not a pretender. Kudos to you for that. Seeing the pics of you in the red dress gives me goosebumps because you can sense, in those pics, the empowerment. I have struggled with abusive relationships for most of my life and am finally, at almost 40, finding my voice, speaking up for myself, and learning that it’s ok to need things and to want to be happy, though it’s a constant inner battle. I am learning to be kinder to myself and that it’s ok to expect to be treated kindly by others. Much love to you for the struggles you are facing and for having the strength to share them.

  275. Is there a little red dress, for little people…not actual little people, the kid version little people? My 7 year old suffers from pediatric bipolar disorder and needs to learn how to celebrate how wonderful she is. She is very insightful and gets that there is something wrong which makes her different…but what she needs to celebrate is how friggin awesome she is. She is not bipolar…she has bipolar disorder. Plus, girlfriend would love to rock a red dress and pose for pics…totally her gig.

    made this last year…check her out

    (I’ve tried emailing you but no response yet. Can you email me? ~ Jenny)

  276. I don’t need a dress. I just wanted to tell you that I think you’re beautiful.

  277. You get so many wonderful comments that I doubt one more will make a difference. But I just had to tell you that this post brought tears to my eyes. Jenny, you are such a beautiful soul, but also a beautiful woman. And these photos, and you in that red dress, are simply luscious!

  278. I would love a chance at the dress.

    I’m a mom of 6 year old twin girls. I work outside the home full time. I have all the mental and physical baggage you can imagine comes with that. I have very little time for me and feel lost lately. I haven’t had a hair cut in close to a year. I’ve looked through the dresses available the past few weeks and feel self concious asking for one in my size. Despite working out 4 times a week the last 5 years, I’m still an 18.

    I signed us up for a “family formal” at our gym of all places on February 11. I have absolutely nothing to wear. I would love for the girls to feel their Mommy is beautiful – even if it’s only for a day.

  279. Oh my goodness, you look amazing, even when you look a bit lost… I see a book jacket picture here. Which one would you choose?

  280. Jenny-
    As usual, you are amazing. I love you for the simple fact that you are SO inspiring, generous, and simply wonderful in every way. You have truly touched my heart with this post with your honesty and the fact that you make ME feel more worth it.

    I have a horrible story. It’s one that you have heard before on my Wish Upon A Hero wish. I’m still battling. I will be battling for a long time. Probably the rest of my life with no end in sight. And that’s fine. I wouldn’t have this battle any other way. You see, my husband of two years decided that I was not good enough for him anymore. What’s worse is that our two daughters weren’t good enough either. They are three years old and six months old now. He decided to run off, after the really bad flooding that we had in my area, with some 19 year old girl. Since that time, he has changed his phone number and blocked me on Facebook as well. He left me with no income and two of the most precious little ones to look after. I have not heard from him now in five months.

    This is where your Christmas post comes in. You posted a link for Wish Upon A Hero for people to make Christmas wishes. Well, I posted that I wanted to be able to take a Phlebotomy class but did not have the tuition money for it. Well, after much praying and discovering that strangers can be the most amazing people EVER, I am taking my class. I’m bettering my life for not only me, but for my daughters as well. I’m the only one they have now and that is my struggle. I never have the time to just be me anymore. I have to be a mother, a nurse, a cab driver, a teacher, a librarian, a seamstress, a laundress, a handyman, and the list goes on. I don’t have anyone to watch my girls for me normally so that I can go out and have a night away. When they need me, I have to be there. I am the mother as well as the ‘father’ now. I’m fine with that.

    My class is going well. Very well. In fact, I’ve only got six weeks left until I’m fully certified as a Phlebotomist. I’m very proud of my accomplishments. So, I guess that I’m not only struggling through this crazy life that’s been forced upon me, but celebrating it as well. I get to celebrate my class and the fact that, had my husband not left, I may not be taking it. Everything happens for a reason. I know where I’m supposed to be and I have you to thank for helping me to get there. You will always have my utmost respect, admiration, and love. I hope that one day, I will be able to help others the way that you have so often helped me. Thank you. <3

  281. This one is just as wonderful as the last, and you rocked it again! I am celebrating going to college fulltime at 52, 35 years after graduating highschool! I lost my job of 18 years when it closed, and even though I am terrified to do it, I started this month! I am trying to organize a TravelingRedDress event here in the Twin Cities, and would love if one of your dresses could make it! Here is the Facebook page, please help get the word out!

  282. You look gorgeous! I would love a chance at a red dress. I’m celebrating finally coming to terms with my depression after battling it for many years. I’ve finally been able to speak up, get help, and now I’m starting to feel like a normal person again after years of not.

  283. I guess we see you as the beautiful woman you really are…inside and out. Funny how the person we are in the mirror is not us.

  284. YOU are freakin’ beautiful. I wish you could see it the way we all do, or your husband does. I bet he wouldn’t change you for the world. I’m glad you feel the same deep down.

  285. You are beautiful, Jenny; don’t believe those other words in your head!

    I am a teacher, and our school could desperately use a red dress right now; in the past 8 months, 2 of our teachers have lost their battles with cancer, and 2 more were recently diagnosed cancer. All of these women were and are so strong in the face of what so many of us fear! They truly are heroes. Our building could really use a red dress, to honor those who are no longer with us and to remind those of us who are still here what strength there is in womanhood!

  286. “Joy is always worth it” – words to live by. I just read the original red dress post, followed by every linked story you included, then this one. I am absolutely in love with all of this! You have no idea how wide my smile is because of this – what a great start to my day 🙂 You are an amazing woman miss Jenny the Bloggess!

  287. One of your dresses happen to be maternity? That would be sweet. Maybe I don’t really need a red dress. Maybe I need to burn the fucking world down. You have with your red dress project: you’ve made an impact. Wearing one myself would just be getting burnt by you, which would be fun I might say, but I think I need my own fire to start. Bah.

  288. Damn you! You looked so pretty in that dress I had to go buy one. I just got diagnosed with a fatty liver. Do you know this means? No. More. Carbs. I’m so bummed! I really like bread! I thought something pretty might make me feel better.

  289. You are gorgeous, even if you think you’re overweight. You wear the hell out of that dress and am so happy to see a smile on that beautiful face of your’s!

  290. Gorgeous dress, gorgeous poses and gorgeous you! Having recovered from an e.d. myself, I know it’s sometimes hard to tune out the critical voice of your past self. Thank you for celebrating the beauty of your experiences, recoveries and life!

  291. Wow! You are so beautiful!!!
    I would love the red dress. Not for myself but for my sister. Two years ago her daughter was murdered due to domestic violence. Her partner of 8 years shot my sister in the shoulder, shot my niece (killing her instantly) and then killed himself. She was forced to live through that terror. She is a survivor! She is my hero. Loosing a child never goes away. And yet my sister lives on. She is so strong. I would love to gift her with the feeling of being a princess. I want her to show off her scars. I want her to be as proud of herself as I am of her. She deserves a red dress. 🙂

  292. Love the pics, love the dress, am energized at the movement. I would like to nominate my daughter. She’s 21 and fighting through a pregnancy that she’s not prepared for, battling depression and questioning the point of life. If I win, I’m taking her to get pics in this dress, pregnant belly and all!

  293. Beautiful. You’re gorgeous. The project is gorgeous. Everytime I read about this stuff I cry. Beauty. Thank you.

  294. You are so gorgeous and so honest. Thank you so much for sharing your tales so openly. You are an inspiration to so many of us. (I’m tearing up as I type. I hope you know how far my gratitude goes.)

  295. Having Had the good fortune of meeting you in person, I know you are beautiful. It does not matter what size you are, there is a light shining through. You are iridescent. Incandescent.

    Should we start a foundation for this movement? The Red Dress Funds. I’d like to donate to this cause and would like to make my company match esp. Since my office is filled with women walking on crane legs…

  296. I started to read this post at work, but started to cry, so I’m going to save it for when I can hole up in my room without fear of someone walking in and realizing I was reading a blog instead of doing work…

  297. I am a woman, a mother, a wife . I am a caregiver,by trade and by life. I used to be an under 100 lbs most of my life even after 2 children . Right now im much larger lets just say size 16-20 will feet perfect lol. I always thought i was big even at 85 lbs! for the 1st time in my life im workin on me. I spent years of my life fighting the insecurities in me after years of sexual vrbal physical and mental abuse. I know this is the year I will win this fight and id love to show the world how i feel about it all in a lovely red dress!
    p.s. all you ladies are fabulous and when i win the lottery im sendin out a hundred red dresses.

  298. Thank you for being so awesome. So glad you are alive and so willing to share a piece of yourself with us here online – we are lucky.

  299. Jenny you are so beautiful! What a great photo shoot! I would love to wear this dress for a day, just to be spontaneous and crazy. Go to Target. 🙂

  300. Wait. There’s such a thing as having boobs that are too big? You lie!

    You look stunning. And this is an incredible & brave thing you are doing. And that dress is fantastic.

    I have big flabby arms. I hate them. I never wear strapless anything becaus of that. But that dress would make me throw that all away & be proud. You are my hero.

  301. I’ve had two babies in 20 months and gone from a size 8 to a size 20. I’ve been battling a crippling post-partum depression. I hate the way I look, and I rarely put on anything but yoga pants and a long sleeve t-shirts. This past Christmas was a turning point…I went to the doctor, got on the right medication and have been taking care of myself. I’ve lost 9 pounds with 60 more to go. Still, I’ve never felt so fat and disgusting.

    Where can I sign up to feel beautiful again?

  302. You look ABSOLUTELY stunning. If I had a red dress like that, I would wear it all the time… until people started thinking I was weird… and then I would STILL wear it! It’s fabulous!

  303. That last photo is absolutely stunning! Such a great project! You are a beautiful person, inside and out……

  304. :’) you made me cry. Love this story, love the gathering of strength, wisdom & true beauty 🙂

  305. Beautiful, Jenny, just beautiful!

    I’m not fat or heavy by any real means, but I just tried on a ball gown that was too large for me a few years ago and last night I popped some of the seams trying to fit in to it. Not even the super duper skinny making stuff from my wedding helped it fit… thank you for posting these. even without my own physical red dress, it makes me feel a little better about myself, even just for one day.

  306. You look gorgeous, and your writing, subjects, honesty, wit — all of it — are nothing short of phenomenal! Thank you for the inspiration and joy you’ve shared and inspired!

  307. great pics….. it is not my battle that I am concerned with but the battle of a friend of mine. Kathy is just past 40 yrs. old and her husband Tim was laid off the week before Christmas. She was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 weeks ago as they were trying to get all dr appts caught up before they lost thier insurance. If the Red Dress is passed I have another wonderful woman friend photographer that I am sure would be willing to do the pics for posting. Again thank you for your wonder, inspiration, honesty and quirk…..

  308. You, my dear bloggess, are absolutely beautiful. And everything about the travelling red dress is amazing. Thank you so much for inciting courage in the hearts of women.

  309. I know I already commented, but I have to let you know that seeing how beautiful you are in that dress has inspired me. I never wear dresses. I hate my legs, my arms are too big, and even though some people call my curvy figure an hourglass, I always feel like my hips look huge in dresses. But you know what? I AM beautiful! My boyfriend and I are going out next weekend to celebrate our 6 month anniversary and Valentine’s Day (we live two hours apart so we don’t get to see each other too often). I’m making it my goal this week to find myself a dress, preferably red, that I feel beautiful and sexy in to wear on our date. Thank you, Jenny, for making me realize that, even with my extra weight and even with all the days where it’s a struggle to take a shower, much less get dressed and apply make-up, I’m still beautiful. Because I’m me. 🙂

  310. Beautiful pictures! Beautiful spirit outshines that dress by a mile.

    Right now, I am weaning my baby so that I can take the Radiation drugs for my cancer. The Radiation doesn’t scare me, but the look of hurt and anger and sadness on my baby’s face. Yeah. That kills me. I’m also trying my best to forgive myself for skills I do not possess and mistakes that I make (mostly personal) – it is hard, especially when I have a big set-back. When the going gets tough and your “training” fails you just feel worse. Nasty self-hating-spiral. So. I’d love a red dress and would hopefully have the courage to let someone photo me in it.

  311. Gorgeous! You do the red dress proud! I love this story! A true tale of survivor and I delighted reading it! Makes me want to put on my red dress and share! Something about the colour red – brings out so much passion and excitement – I wish every woman could share in your traveling gorgeous red dress!

  312. You are amazing and inspiring. I love this concept so much. My red dress (this year) is going to be posing for [tw] – with my face showing.

  313. I have borderline personality disorder and severe depression. I self harm and am covered in rows of scars. They make me feel hideous. And because I’ve gotten so ‘sick’ I have to attend a day program, and there is no beauty in sitting in the back of a classroom telling strangers about your latest crisis.
    For me a red dress would give me the courage to stand proud, sleeveless, and say look at me! These are my lines of triumph.

  314. I was told about your blog by a friend several months ago and can’t stop reading! Your sense of humor is incredibly twisted – right up my alley!!
    So love the traveling red dress. In the last 11 months I have had double mastectomies , and excuse me if I get to personal here, but just 2 days ago I had a 2nd wide excision vulvectomy ( last one was 13 years ago with a complete reconstruction of my vajayjay) due to a nasty thing called VIN, cancer in waiting basically. I’m typing this while I am high on some pretty good pain meds, so if I’m not making any sense here, you’ll understand. My point of all this rambling is, stay strong, try to laugh when you can, and remember, your not alone!!!I

  315. My mind has been playing tricks on me and in it I imagine my cancer is back. Maybe it is PMS…but this made me damn teary because I don’t WANT to wear the Red Dress, but I am sure i will, sooner or later.

    You look so beautiful, Jenny. And dammit, I’m all teary again.

  316. The photos are beautiful!
    I left a shorter version of this story on the facebook page too, but my dress has yet to find me.

    Thirteen months ago, I eloped with a man I thought was my soul mate. We eloped because our families have some substance-abusing characters who are prone to outbursts, and we wanted a day that was peaceful and just our own. At the same time, we wanted that community seal, so we planned a family-and-friends wedding for October 2011. Over the last year, we planned our wedding, but also our lives. I quit graduate school in preparation for being a mother and wife (an admittedly dumb move, considering I wasn’t pregnant). We began private dealings with the owners of my beautiful childhood home, who were putting it back on the market, and planned to sell it to us. And we planned a honeymoon in Africa. Our first year of marriage was filled with ups and downs, mistakes on both sides, but seemed relatively normal for a first year of marriage. Hindsight, of course, is 20/20. Then, in the weeks leading up to the family ceremony, my husband began behaving erratically, but insisted everything was normal and fine. He continued to tell me how much he loved me every day. Then, the unthinkable happened. While I was doing some wedding planning, I got an email from my landlord’s wife telling me that she was sorry to hear we had called off the wedding. I thought, “That’s strange … since we’re already married.” I called him immediately, and that’s when he finally came clean. He was leaving. He had no explanation. Whatever had happened, he wasn’t going to fight for us, and I couldn’t convince him to try. He had never indicated that this was a possibility. He was just done. Our wedding was in less than two weeks. I was left jobless, loveless, homeless, humiliated and shocked.
    This week, our lawyers began speaking. I finally feel like I’m working my way to freedom from this mess and his dishonesty. I would like to celebrate that, and prepare for the fight ahead with the red dress. I still have to get my career back on track, get through the divorce, and find out if I could ever love or trust again. For years, I’ve battled depression and anxiety that stems from my own parents’ shocking divorce. Some days I feel like I’m ready for the battle, some days I do not. For me, the red dress = strength.

  317. Jenny, You are a wonderful woman who makes me smile every single day. If you help even one person then you are doing the world so much good, and you’ve help so much more than just one person. I am in love with the red dress and everything it represents but I can’t yet tell myself that I deserve a red dress. My life is hard but no harder than anyone else’s, much less the many wonderful and terrible stories that have been helped by your wonderful dress. I recently married a wonderful man who loves me so much and I am following a dream that I thought I would never be able to follow: I’m currently working on my master’s degree in English. Some days I am the happiest person in the world and for good reason. Some days I feel like Allie, in that I am sad for no reason and am mad at myself for that sadness. Those are the days that I feel ungrateful for wanting a red dress, for wanting to be that indulgent when I don’t deserve it. I haven’t struggled through anything; I’m the luckiest person in the world and I have no damn right to be so sad.

    I’m so proud of all that you do, Jenny. Thank you for the tears and the laughter and the laughter through tears (my favorite emotion – Dolly Parton) that you have given all of us.


  318. Wow. I am SO inspired by this…and you look BEAUTIFUL…what a wonderful idea, because while outward beauty is not what is most important, sometimes you need something to make you feel beautiful on the outside in order to remind yourself how beautiful you are on the inside!

  319. I just hit my eight month being pregnant, and would love an excuse to dress up in something other than boring maternity clothes and feel glamorous again for even a few minutes.

    Barring that, I am a pretty good photographer, and would be willing to help out if someone else needs photos in the DC/Northern Virginia area.

  320. I posted earlier, but i just wanted to say this,ive been doing WalkMS for the last 4 yrs. I will do it till I cannot , . I do it in the name of an inspiring woman I once took care of,this year i believe my team will be wearing red dresses for this walk. I would love to spread the word for you this is amazing!!! and inspiring like valerie was to me.So when your red dress moment think of the best way to use it for good of yoursef and maybe a woman or women wo didnt have that chance!

  321. I want this Red Dress so bad…. I’m a 15 year old MtF transgender. I’m battling depression, self-harm issues, and frequent moments of hysteria. I feel out of place in my body, and feel truly like myself whenever I’m wearing some article of woman’s clothing. . I’m also gay.. My school doesn’t have much tolerance, and are verbally abusive :/
    The teachers don’t do anything.. I’ve been suicidal in the past, and have been recently.
    I just want to feel beautiful for once.. People say scars make you stronger, that’s not always true.
    I feel ugly.. Worthless. I want to feel beautiful, like how my soul feels.
    ~Much love, Lennon

  322. I’m fighting against my father midway through his chemo sessions, my mentally handicapped brother just eloped with a fiancee we never knew existed (and her family is so manipulative its crazy!!) and the fact that I just can’t seem to get ahead no matter what I do. One step forward ends up being 4 steps behind.

    But Jenny, you look so beautiful and despite the turmoil you might feel, your eyes look so calm and serene!

  323. There’s a lot of people who seem to be contributing to the “I wish I was only 20 pounds overweight” that will probably help in the rationalization that’s acceptable (from a health perspective, not looks). Here’s the thing. It’s not. It’s unhealthy, and easily remedied within 3 months.

    All of these self-reassurance posts are the exact opposite of motivation. They will help you keep from meeting whatever goals you may have set for yourself health wise, because you are getting hundreds of “It’s ok, sweetie” affirmations that you don’t need to change.

    Change is simple. Start small. Pick 30 minutes a day that just for you. Walk, Run, Weights, Krav Maga, whatever gets you pumping. But find some you time and make it a must, not a should.

    You’ll see the difference inside and out.

  324. I just bought myself a red ball gown yesterday! And you look absolutely amazing in this; beautiful.

  325. You are beautiful. You are not purposeless. You are so much more than I think you realize!

  326. Mmmmmmm…..I love this post. I’ve been noticing my soft cushy arms lately. Thank you for helping me to see the beauty in them.

    You are lovely in the pictures. You Rock! Thanks for sharing your life with us.

  327. Jenny, you are such an amazing inspiration! Reading your blog helped me get through the hurt of my depression and the subsequent separations from my husband because he couldn’t deal with it. We are finally going strong and supporting each other, and I am the happiest I have ever been. I’ve been off my depression medications for a year now, and while I still have setbacks, your blog helps me to laugh and sometimes cry my way through them. The fact that you go through this and write about it shows amazing strength that you may not believe you have, but I KNOW you do! Thank you.

  328. You are beautiful! And thank you for reminding me that my curves should be celebrated!!!!
    I’ve just come through the first year of my teenage daughter being diagnosed with depression – she and I are both stronger and yet more fragile than we have ever been. She’ll be 16 next Sunday (and reads your blog!) and I would love for both of us to wear the red dress – photos would be an excellent reminder of we both are, especially to each other…..
    God, you inspire the hell out of me!!! Thank you!!!

  329. This is a fabulous story, and idea, and the photos are awesome! I’m self conscious about my weight too, never been the ‘ideal’ or anything. I used to blog about my PTSD and the struggles with it, this makes me want to take that up again. Living seeing you’re ‘different’ at every commercial, every media produced object about how society and the individual is ‘supposed’ to be takes its toll sometimes.

  330. For being SO pretty and SO talented, I can’t even imagine how you could ever be nervous in front of anyone! I love the message you send about continued self growth while taking time to appreciate who you are.

  331. This moved me in all sorts of ways.

    I’m not saying this in a negative way, but I’m having trouble phrasing it. I’m not trying to scold, even if it sounds like this, or asking for pity. I just kind of want this experience to have been a thing that I can share with other people in a positive way.

    Love your boobs. Love the hell out of them. Love the hell out of everything else while you’re at it.

    I’m BRCA2 positive, and last year went through a mastectomy and implant reconstruction, and the DDs I once sported are gone forever and replaced by something more of a C+. Sadly, I’m not at the point yet where I can take this as a life lesson and start loving all the other parts of me that I think aren’t good enough, but I’m hoping to get there some day.

    (sidenote: I’ve often read posts of yours and thought that you, of every blog I read, might appreciate this. Pre-surgery, I got a call from a nervous post-doc who wanted to ask me to donate my breasts to science once they were removed. So it’s still possible, someone, somewhere, is doing science to my ex-boobs)

    I haven’t found my red dress yet, but I hope that someday, literal or metaphorical, it’ll come. And things like this project make me all smiley-weepy and believe that it might, that this new body will feel like the sort of thing that can wear a red dress.

  332. You look gorgeous. You have a beautiful smile and brown eyes! I too love red , it makes me feel better. Even though I’ m over 50, 50 lbs. overweight, it lightens my load, physically& mentally. I friend just sent me your blog. I have to thank her & FB my friends about it. And thank you. I see your beautiful on the outside & after reading this, on the inside.

  333. My red dress isn’t red. I’ve called it ‘leopard print’ more times than I can count, but when I tried it on this morning (it finally fits!!), I realized it’s technically tiger-striped. With gold flecks. It’s HEINOUS. Really, truly, hideously, awesomely UGLY. A year ago I couldn’t have pulled it over my head. Heck, six months ago I would’ve looked like a sausage about to burst from its casing. But now the 3/4 sleeves are smooth, the fitted waist makes me look super curvy, and my boobs – oh, dear Lord – my boobs are reaching for the sky in this dress. So I wore it around the house with the sluttiest shoes I own, and rest assured I OWNED that ugly fucking dress.

  334. You are so beautiful!

    I looked at your pictures before I read the post, and then when I read your remarks about yourself, I wanted to give you a gentle shake and a big hug. You are so beautiful, Jenny, and I want you to know that about yourself! Inside and out.

    Wear the hell out of your gorgeous, amazing, beautiful self.

  335. Wow it took a long time to scroll to the bottom of these comments on my phone. 🙂 I dont want a dress… I can get one myself and add it to the pack. I just wanted to say that 40 is beautiful. I am turning 40 this year and have had silver in my hair for a decade. I have stretch marks and padding. I would never go back. I love having the confidence and knowledge that came from the years it took to own myself. I wouldn’t give that over for anything. I would never trade the freedom of “like me or leave me” 40 for the insecurity of my younger years. We know who we are and we believe in us whether anyone else does or not. Its liberating.

  336. Jenny, you are absolutely gorgeous, inside and out. If you only knew how many times I’ve been so sucked into depression and you are the only thing keeping me smiling, you’d be amazed with yourself. Thank you for the inspiration.

  337. I am so amazed by everything you do, Ms. Bloggess. I have been reading your posts here (and stalking your other work) for about a year now, but never felt like I had much to contribute. Today though, your pictures made me stop and stare. I am currently a first year law student at a great law school, but unlike my peers, I do not feel like I fit where I am. I have 2 beautiful kids and a great husband, but a sick feeling that I am just pretending. My own insecurities and self-doubt keep telling me that I am not half of what I need to be to make it here. I have battled depression for so many years and had fooled myself into thinking that I had beat it, but now, in this overly competitive atmosphere, I am gripped by its power again. I don’t have time to take care of myself the way I should, I have put on 50 pounds in the last few years because of various health/emotional issues, and do not see myself when I look in the mirror. Actually, I see the woman I always thought I was: fat, ugly, and ordinary. All the things I wish I was better than.

    You are an inspiration. Someday I hope I have the courage to speak my truth the way you do and to see the beauty in my own struggles. Thank you for your humor, your honesty, and your everpresent bad-assery.

  338. Jenny you are so inspiring (and beautiful)! I would love a chance to wear the red dress. I think I’d be a size 16 (I don’t actually own ANY dresses since I feel I’m much too heavy to wear one). I have struggled with adjusting to life with fibromyalgia while raising four kids ages 15-5. Some days are good and some days totally suck. I look forward to your posts to keep my spirits up. Thank you so much for being YOU!

  339. You’re gorgeous, and your red dress stories have really hit a nerve with me. What I’m battling/celebrating/surviving? Well, I’m on the wrong side of 40 and finding it hard to start seeing myself in an older role…I don’t want to stop being fun and carefree! But mostly I had a health issue and depression that caused massive weight gain. It got so ugly I was unrecognizable and hardly able to walk. Last year I started getting it together and lost 81 pounds – the hard way. No surgery, no diet pills. I still have more to go to get to a normal size. But already I feel so good, so much prettier and so ready to enjoy my life again! I’m still fat, but damn it, I am not the sum of my fat cells! And furthermore, I’m getting that all under control and taking back my life. I’m healthier and happier than I’ve been in years!

    So I’m working hard on seeing myself not as old, fat and unlovable to being the age I oughta be (I’m not sure what that is. But it ain’t 42!), a normal size, and fan-freaking-tastic. I refuse to give in to depression or any other factor that wants to make me feel less than fabulous. So if you choose to share the red dress with me, I’ll see a photographer and get the pictures taken to share. I look back on a photo session I had in my early thirties – when I *thought* I was too fat – and realize how beautiful I was. This time, I will own it and not let the remaining pounds distract me from the fact that I’ve still got it, and I oughta flaunt it!

    Those words are harder to say than you know – self-esteem issues are a bitch!

  340. Nice rack, Jenny! Yowza! 😉

    Love the red dress, and just my size! Might have to check that link to purchase my own. I would wear *the hell* out of it to the grocery store in the middle of the day to celebrate my life as a stay-at-home wife and mom, but what I REALLY want to do is get my Mom into one! Permanently disabled, with crippling RA and Lupus, she *still* goes to work everyday, at 62 years old. Never mind all the years she busted her butt at a physically-challenging job to take care of her two kids and (not always successful) self-employed husband. Still kickin’. She’s a friggin’ powerhouse, that woman.

    Thanks for being there, Jenny. I’m glad I get to know you.

  341. Your photos are truly beautiful. I understand the feelings of being lost, without purpose. I’ve just had my 5th abdominal surgery in 15 years, and I’m not only feeling lost, without purpose but also? HIDEOUS with my newest scar bisecting my overly-large abdomen. The staples are awful but looking beyond them, I see the scar I’ll always wear – and I am embarrassed. and it sucks. But it’s not cancer. It’s not anything that couldn’t be fixed. So I have to remind myself of that and REMEMBER that there are those around me SO much worse off, suffering so much more. Maybe I will.

  342. you are BEAUTIFUL!!! Beyonce’s mom is even more gorgeous that I’d pictured her:)
    Gave my friend a Beyonce whom she named Chaz……you know, identify issues – Beyonce really IS a male I believe….
    Anyway, would love to participate in the Red Dress Project. Fighting severe depression, bi-polar disease and a whole host of other issues too numerous to mention. But then, we’re all fighting something:( Some more than others…..

  343. You are absolutely gorgeous! And this is absolutely amazing!
    I’m not fighting anything as dramatic as cancer, or AIDS, but for the last 3 years I have been fighting a nasty bug called C. Diff, and for the first 1.5 years we had no idea what it was. I spent that first 1.5 years going from hospitals, to doctors, to two different universities, all the while being told I had everything from withdrawl (this all started after a bout of Menengitis/Encephalitis) to Narcotic Bowel Syndrome (I have chronic back and neck problems) to being a hypochondriac/melingerer. Finally, my GP’s NA figured it out. Now, it took another 6 months to get rid of, and because I’d had it so long, undiagnosed, it was now considered chronic. I would be taking a risk any time I took antibiotics, and I would never be able to be around someone who had it, especially if they were in a hospital or nursing home.
    My mother was diagnosed with this the week after Labor Day, she then went into a nursing home until she passed away December 18, 2010. I was never allowed to visit her because of it, and it broke my heart.

    Now, I’m battling it again,I just got out of the hospital last Tuesday. They tell me, this time it’ll be months before I’m done with the treatment.
    However, it’s never been caught this early before, and that truly gives me hope! =) I’m hoping that even though the treatment will be longer, that because it was caught earlier it won’t ravage my body as badly (I lost 60+ lbs), and take me away from my family. I hope I can spread knowledge about this nasty infection, and keep others from getting it. (Take probiotics the day AFTER you stop ANY antibiotic for a good two weeks, EVERY time) I hope I can finally get my house back into some kind of order after it was decimated by my being unable to function for two years (we’ll see.;) Mostly, I just have hope!

  344. You look gorgeous! I love this idea. I don’t remember the last time I tried to look decent, nevermind beautiful! My son just turned10 months and is doing amazing, which is a miracle…since he suffered a stroke on the day he was born. I’ve been so focused on his therapy (I’m an occupational therapist) that I barely get to take breaks. I also suffer from fibromyalgia…so it isn’t easy. I’m inspired to do a red dress! Yeah!

  345. Jenny, I understand that for you that 20 pounds is as devastating as my extra 100. And that now that I can look back on 50, I can tell you not to fear 40. It’s fabulous. 50 is even better. (although I still *feel* 35) But mostly, I wanted to say, aside from your inner beauty, your amazing talent, your shining self, you are *physically* so beautiful, I would give a lot to look like you. Exactly like you. You are lovely. On the outside. Too.

  346. You look absolutely stunning in these photos, that red dress was was lucky to modeled by you! I hope to someday have the courage to “wear the red dress” and show the world and myself that I am still me under all the labels I wear for everyone else!