Women Inaugurate First Latina Sorority at Arkansas University

As an international student from El Salvador, Alejandra Cuellar didn’t feel completely comfortable when she first arrived at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA). The school is located in Conway, Arkansas, about 15 miles north of Little Rock, and while it’s a beautiful town, it’s not quite the center of the Latino experience.

“I had a hard time fitting in and accommodating to the new culture,” the 21-year-old junior says to HipLatina.

It turns she wasn’t alone, so Cuellar, with only other women, did something pretty extraordinary. She started the first ever Latina sorority at UCA.

Cuellar, who serves as Vice President, initiated Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha (SIA), an international Latina sorority founded in 1990 at various universities on the East Coast. While SIA is the first Latina sorority at UCA, it is the second one in Arkansas.

“I wanted to bring something to campus that would allow Latinas to feel at home and share their culture with others,” Cuellar says. “I also wanted to bring awareness to the Latino population here on campus.”

Cuellar, a psychology major, says that before SIA she had a hard time finding others she could relate to and really felt detached from other Latinos. And while there are plenty of Latinos on campus, the school is predominantly Caucasian and African-American.

Soledad Flores, a 20-year-old Mexican-American, understands that disconnect very profoundly even though she grew up in Russellville, just 45 minutes from campus.

Flores, who is a pre-med and biology major as serves as treasurer for SIA, recalls feeling like an outcast even in high school among other Latinos.

Unfortunately many of the Latinos I went to high school with didn’t make school a priority, so they didn’t pursue to further their education after high school, or in most cases, for many of the Latinas specifically, they were still suck in the traditional ways of staying home, getting married, and starting a families instead pursuing a career,” Flores says.

“So I feel like slowly we’re breaking away from tradition and through SIA hopefully motivate more girls to come to college, pursue a career, be leaders and get involved.”

According to its website, SIA “strives to increase awareness of the Latino culture, promote sisterhood and leadership, serve as role models in the community and achieve academic excellence.”

Currently, SIA at UCA is made up of only Latinas; however, the sorority is not exclusively Latina. It welcomes women from all cultures and backgrounds.

“One of the biggest reason why I joined SIA is because I want to be more involved with people that shared the same values as me and to empower women, especially young Latinas,” said Karla Ventura, 24, who’s also an international student from El Salvador and SIA’s president. “I want for Latinas to find a home away from home while at the same time succeeding in their academics.”

As of now the sorority has only four members, but considering SIA’s growth internationally, this could be just the beginning for these Latinas.

“It has been a long journey and definitely not easy; however I have enjoyed being in the sisterhood,” Cuellar said earlier this month during an event for the  sorority’s launch.

“We all four have worked equally towards the same goal. It has not been aimed just for Latinas but more so for those who identify within it. These values will remain among us with the purpose to empower our Latino culture and community.”

5 ‘Green’ Activities to Celebrate Planet Earth

mother daughter crafting

To celebrate and contribute to the conservation of Planet Earth, I present you with 5 “hip” ideas that you can implement at home:

twig art

Pinterest: Cleverly Inspired

  • Create Art: Use dry leaves, tree branches and even rocks to integrate in paintings and drawings that you can later frame and hang in the common areas of your home. The best part of all this is that most materials are already available in your home garden.

Lola Montilla’s POV: Finding the Positive in the Toughest Situations

Lola Montilla Hiplatina

During the incredible length of my 16-year-old life I have been able to take in and give out. By this, I mean take in experiences and give out inspiration or a point of reference for people to draw comparisons between any given moment in my life and theirs. I don’t know why it happened to me, but I’m glad it happened. What exactly is it? It is a moment in my life in which I had two choices, to give up or give it my all, this was my heart surgery. You see, I was born with a congenital heart defect.

WLola Montillae’ve probably all had a moment in life in which we’re told “You have such a big heart!” and it fills us with joy, but instead it filled me with fear. I was lying on a hospital bed running exams when the doctor vocalized those words I was so afraid of. I couldn’t break down, because I already had so many people following my every move back home and I couldn’t let them down. So, I smiled. I closed my eyes staring at the bright lights of an operating room and took a leap of faith.  

I sprung out of my hospital bed a week after and I decided that I was going to make a change. It was not just as a coping method to turn all the negatives which had happened to me into a positive for sake of not falling into a deep black hole I like to call depression, but to show others that we all have our moments in life in which we fall but we need to get back up. The world keeps going kid, they’re not going to wait up for us.

At the age of 12, I decided that my life was interesting enough to start documenting it. ALL of it. I began making video diaries on how my life had gone completely down the drain but I was speaking about it like if it were the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me. I spoke about this imaginary book of my life and how every moment in my life was going to have a chapter, and I didn’t want my heart condition to take up the whole book, just one chapter. Boy, was I wrong. I strongly believed that after my surgery I was no longer going to be “Lola with the heart thing.” Then I realized, I will always be “Lola with the heart thing.” But now it didn’t have such a negative connotation to it, because I chose to accept it, rather than to fight it. And no matter how much I try, it will always come back to that, because it’s reflected in my every move. Whether it’s my everyday life choices or the path of my career, it will always be present.

Lola MontillaI can’t say that I mind being “Lola with the heart thing” either, because this is where it brought me. Interviews and public speaking engagements are insignificant when compared to the true value of what I do after my surgery. I help others and that’s what I care about. Hearing people say that I helped them get through something that they would have never thought possible, or that now they’re not afraid of confronting adversity or just the simple pleasure of hearing people say, “You’re Lola with the heart thing.” Because it still lets me know that I touched someone and my message is getting through – one way or another (I know you’re singing the song in your head too.)  

So here it is, my first blog entry on HipLatina. They found a comfy corner for a teen to give insight not just on the life of a congenital heart disease advocate but on what goes on in this secret realm of adolescence and sarcasm. Are you a teen or just peeking? Don’t worry I won’t tell, after all this is my POV.

Keep up with Lola on social media:

What to Do When Your Friends Don’t Care About the Environment

Friends chatting

The earth is something I speak about passionately quite often though I try to keep my mentions of this topic rather subtle since I know that people don’t like getting nagged. How many of you have friends who aren’t as earth-loving as you are? I know, t1hat can be a tough pill to swallow. Now, even though having friends that are not as environmentally-conscious as you are can be a bit difficult, there are always ways where you can influence them a bit here and there. My beautiful people, are you ready to unite to help our world by spreading the love we have for our environment? Because I am.

Breathe in, breathe out.

If you are as passionate as me, you may have been a victim of getting caught up in the heat of the moment. But when having these conversations it’s important to stop your emotions from getting the best of you. Your reasoning for your urge to help the environment sounds more appealing when you are composed. Breathe in, breathe out.

Knowledge is power, beauty, and love.

You can’t possibly teach if you don’t learn the material yourself. Educate yourselves about issues that matter which in this case is about our dear Planet Earth. So, where does one start the quest for knowledge of our environment? Well, to be honest, the information is everywhere! A simple search on facts about pollution and climate change will give you a lot to read about. However, I’d be careful on what you click on. Make sure you are getting your information from trusted and supported sites like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, National Geographic, or the World Wildlife Federation.

Time to use those facts.

The fun starts after you’ve done your research and freshen up your information on environmental issues. Rather than lecture your friend, state the information as you speak to them while they are doing something frowned upon by our environment. For example, whenever you see a friend buying too many water bottles, give them a little piece of information. It can go something like this: Did you know that one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans? Of course, there will usually be some witty rebuttal to that but that’s when you can explain the importance of protecting the ecosystem. I promise that your statements will not be said in vain. At some point some of these things will start ringing a bell, even in the friend who has been a skeptic about environmental issues since day one.

Posting on your social media.

In this age, almost everyone has social media. If used properly, social media can be a great tool. Aside from the habitual selfie here and there, I use my newsfeed to provide information that I feel the world should know. But don’t post too much. If you post about the same things excessively, people might overlook your posts. Rather than over-posting, post sparingly about topics that matter. You are sure to get more traffic that way. I advise you to engage with your followers and ask them what they think. Don’t forget to always stay classy though. Arguing through social media is an ugly thing to be engaged in. You know the validity of your information and that’s all that counts.

Accept your friends.

We have to accept our friends the way they are. Sure, I’d love for everyone to have that fiery love that I have for this planet but that is just not always the case. We have to remember that no one likes to be forced into believing anything and that includes this situation. You may end up frustrated from time to time but don’t let that ruin your friendship.

Learn Spanish: Ditch the Textbook and Listen to These Musicians

Juanes to Learn Spanish

I don’t want to get too middle school Spanish teacher on you — we’ve already discussed how important it is to learn Spanish. The good news is that you don’t need to order from Amazon and get that copy of Spanish for Dummies. There are better, more fun, and arguably even sexier ways to learn!

To get started you can have a try at the insanely popular language learning app Duolingo, where the lessons are more like interactive games. But once you have a grasp of basic Spanish, it’s time to move on to some more experiential learning. We’ve shared some fun TV shows to help perfect your language skills, but perhaps my favorite way to learn Spanish is by listening to music.

HipLatina Learn Spanish

Listening to music helps you learn the language without even thinking about it. And if you’re not into Latin pop, there are plenty of other genres you can find on Spotify like salsa, rock en español, and even alternative.

Once you find a genre you like, listen to songs and follow along to the lyrics. Use a side by side translation if you need to cheat, and try to memorize key phrases so you can sing along. Even if your voice is as bad as mine, don’t let that deter you – practice makes perfect! And by listening to music from different countries, you’ll be able to master different colloquial expressions and vocabulary differences by region. I’ve gotten some strange looks while trying to coger the bus in Latin America. While you might need to coger the bus in Spain, in Mexico City it’s more likely you’ll want to coger the bartender. Not a good look.

Okay, back to business! Here are a few artists from different countries who have been key for me to learn Spanish. The lyrics are pretty clear and crisp, and the rhythms are catchy.

Rombai

Cumbia pop? Qué? Until recently, I didn’t even know that this was a genre. Popular in Uruguay, Argentina, and Peru, it doesn’t always make its way across the border to the U.S. But groups like Maramá and Rombai are helping to spread the sound, and at times have had 5+ hits on the Spotify Top 50 in the Cono Sur countries. Rombai’s lead singer, Fer Vazquez, is also pretty guapo — make sure you learn that critical vocab word soon if you didn’t know it already.

How Romance Author Bella Andre Went From Being Dropped by Her Publisher to Selling Over 6 Million Books Worldwide

Bella Andre interview

After meeting Bella Andre last week, I realized I would never be the same. Hearing her story not only changed my life, but I’m sure will positively change the lives of any woman who dared to dream, and did whatever it took to realize it.

Being a writer myself, I was captivated to learn of Bella’s early beginnings and how they shaped her life. As her story unfolded, with its unexpected twist and turns, I kept asking myself, “how could this possibly end in happily ever after?”

Looking back on her journey, I can see how the scattered dots of her life connected together. One by one. Her story is meant for any aspiring woman wanting to succeed.

********

Humble Beginnings That Shaped Bella’s Life

Bella Andre interviewGrowing up, Bella’s earliest memories were of her mother reading romance novels. By the time Bella was 10, she discovered these feel-good stories herself. She loved them. She doesn’t recall the racy aspects of the stories as much as she remembers the love, passion, and emotions. Love stories filled her soul tank and Bella stayed reading a book a day into adulthood.

Born into a driven, accomplished family, she pursued a degree in Economics from Stanford University. You can imagine the surprise on everyone’s face when Bella told them she wanted to be a songwriter, and break into the music industry, forging a different path from her sibling who had a traditional career in business.

By the late 90s, she saw how difficult it truly was and decided to help other musicians instead. There was a hole to fill on the “how to’s” of making it in the industry. She turned to writing and publishing two non-fiction books for the independent musician. After a number of years in the music world, she realized she was just too old for the business and needed to start making a real livelihood.

The Turning Point

Bella will never forget the day that led her to the writing of romance novels. It stemmed back to a time when she experienced a ‘big break-up” with her best friend Jami from college. They had met at Stanford and were dorm-mates. Since the moment Bella walked into their dorm room for the very first time and saw romance novels all along Jami’s shelves, she knew they were perfect for each other.

Fast forward 10 years, Bella was listening to the radio when a caller came on. She immediately recognized the voice as Jami’s. She got home, found her number, and picked up the phone, leaving a message on her machine. Bella wasn’t sure she would ever hear back, but Jami returned her call and they rekindled their beautiful friendship.

At that time, Jami was writing romance novels and trying to find an agent and publisher. Bella, refusing to give into the starving artist mentality, felt encouraged by her efforts and decided to take a shot at writing fiction. Together, they went to a meeting with the Romance Writers of America in Berkeley where they met women who wrote, had agents, and published novels. She learned a lot and made some good friends.

Then one day, a crazy thing happened. Bella was writing her “morning pages” from The Artist’s Way to warm up the pen when two fictional people started talking in her head. The next thing she knew she was writing romance novels and had critique partners tell her what was good and bad about them. Soon, she wrote the first three chapters of her first book and submitted them to a romance agent. Within a week, she got a call back wanting to know if the book was finished. “Absolutely,” Bella replied confidently, “I just need a week.” The words flew off the keyboard, she said. It was tactile magic. She never felt so empowered in all her life. It was such a spiritual experience. “I could write whatever I wanted.”

Ooh Baby! Hot Shot Fire Fighters

With four to five books to her name, Bella was on her way to becoming a successful novelist. She developed a romance series called Hot Shot Firefighters and went on to write popular romance novels such as Wild Heat, Hot as Sin, and Never Too Hot. Notwithstanding many long-staking rewrites. One thing led to the next and before she knew it, she had reached a six-figure salary with another book on its way. She had finally made it…

But in 2008, at the height of the financial market crash, Bella’s dreams died when her publishing contract ended. The publisher no longer wanted to represent her. They even told her to get a new pen name so that she could start over fresh.

Devastated and downtrodden by these spiraling turn of events, Bella didn’t know what to do next and had put too much into her writing career to give up now.

She knew one thing. She had gotten an accidental Ph.D in romance writing by reading nearly a book a day over the past twenty years and abided by the 10,000-hour rule necessary to reach a high level of mastery. But now what? Little did she know, these tragic events ended up being the best thing that ever happened to her.

After moping around for about two months, it was her friend who encouraged her to self-publish at a time when indie-publishing didn’t really exist. Back in 2010, if you were a writer without a legitimate publisher behind you, you were nothing. Bella knew she had nothing to lose, but she said it was like being in a desert and learning how to make fire. She didn’t even know how to login into her author account at Amazon, let alone design her own book cover.

When Magic Happens

Sweeter Than Ever Bella Andre interviewBella decided to go it alone and put one book on the market with Amazon and then forgot about it. A few weeks later, she checked to see if she had a little online traffic, and discovered that, people were in fact buying her books – even if it was just 250 of them. Right then and there, she knew she could publish on her own and continue to be a successful writer. She went to see her friends at a coffee shop and slammed the Amazon sales tracking report onto the table and said, “Look what I sold!” She knew she could do this by herself. There were no more gatekeepers to hold her back, no one to tell her no.

From that day forward, Bella promised herself, she would never doubt what she was doing again. She could write a great novel. She could fix any book.

Today, under her own publishing house, she has sold over six million books with over 50 titles to her name. Don’t miss her most recent release, A new Sullivan, Sweeter Than Ever, (Honeymoon Novella) available now.

********                                                                                                           Bella Andre has a passion for helping women succeed and an inspirational business sense. She offers this empowering advice:

  • Be a pioneer in something.
  • Be the Bella Andre of your market. It has never been a better time to be a writer.
  • You never know when you’re on the cusp of greatness.
  • “Don’t apologize, be defensive, make excuses. Be the Master in your field. Know where your “No” is and stand by it!”
  • If you just keep at it, work long hard hours, and pay close attention, magic will happen when you least expect it.

Are you ready to change your life? Bella Andre insists, “You can do this!”

Learning to Disagree During a New Era of Communication

communication to keep the peace

Communication is a key part of a healthy human relationship and relationships are important in maintaining healthy communities. But for many of us civil discourse is at an all time low. There are messages of conflict and disagreement all around us, it seems as though there is no way to disagree with someone now without an emotional escalation.

Recently, I read about a great initiative the New York Times conducted, where they brought together high schoolers via an online forum to discuss the most difficult topics of our times. The result was a thoughtful and engaging process that provides us with solid lessons on how we can effectively communicate with each other.

A few months back I wrote an article about how you can overcome conflict. Based off this article, and inspired by the recent New York Times initiative, I am outlining some simple actions that will help sharpen our communication skills and help us argue fair.

    1. When you share personal experiences, come from “I.” We are all entitled to our own truth. Speaking with “I” statements conveys your truth without compromising someone else’s trust in the dialogue.
    2. Offer data and sources. You can’t state an opinion as a fact; to make a strong argument you must be sure to prove your point. Show a sustainable and realistic solution.
    3. Speak respectfully. We are all still human beings and are deserving to be spoken to with respect. Speak to people how you would like to be spoken to.
    4. Further an idea, offer a solution. Communication is not just about discussing your disagreement, it is also about furthering ideas, finding common ground, and problem solving. Focus your comments and arguments on being solution oriented.  
    5. Questions and observations. One way to best understand something is to get more information. Ask questions and make observations about the new information you receive from someone else.
    6. Have an open mind. We all have different experiences that form our perspectives. Be open to seeing things in a new way, even just for a moment.
    7. Acknowledge your own bias and perspective. Take stock of your own values and beliefs, why do you have them? How do they inform your worldview?
    8. LISTEN. The most important communication tool. The best thing you can do in all situations is listen.
    9. Pick your battles. Not everything is a fight. That is exhausting. Know what is worth arguing about and what you can just let go of.
    10. Don’t argue angry. Wait until you have calmed down before having difficult discussions.
    11. Speak to common interests. In all situations, we share common interest. Use those commonalities as the foundation for your conversation. Focusing about what you agree on while help you find solutions.
    12. Take care of yourself. This is basic. Ultimately it’s about you living a healthy and happy life, full of people who you love. Don’t let conflicts and disagreements get in the way of this. Take care of yourself and those around you, that is always the right thing to do.

We are each other’s future, therefore we must find a way to live together. This is why it is important that we sharpen our communication skills and learn to speak with others who are different than us. It will help us to live together in peace and stability.  For further reading on communication skills I recommend reading Dale Carnegie’s, How to Win Friends and Influence People and these simple ways to disagree agreeably.

communication to keep the peace

Rosario Dawson’s Mother’s Experience With Machismo Is All Too Familiar

Rosario Dawson Unforgettable Movie

Rosario Dawson and Katherine Heigl’s upcoming film, Unforgettable, is a “cautionary tale,” explained director, Denise Di Novi. “If you hinge your identity on being desired by a man or desirable by a man… if you believe all the cultural conditioning that you’re only valuable if you’re sexy and young – you’re screwed.”

The movie pits the two women against each other. Tessa Connover (Heigl) has to watch as her ex-husband moves on with his new lady, Julia Banks (Dawson), but she refuses to let them have a happily ever after. As the drama plays out, “we see these two women suffer as a result of that conditioning,” shared Di Novi.

It seems most of us have suffered because of that type of conditioning – though the majority of us won’t turn full-on psycho like Heigl’s character because of it. During a press junket for the film, Dawson, Heigl, and Di Novi – three women from different walks of life, revealed that cultural conditioning was something they could all relate to. Chances are, most of us can too. From a young age, women are told that our value is dependent on a man in some way. Can we get and secure a successful man? Are we good nurturers for that man? Will we stay looking fly so we can always appeal to that man? The list goes on and on.

Dawson added that conditioning is often passed on from generation to generation. The Afro-Latina recalled her mother’s experience growing up in a machismo-heavy environment.

“My great grandmother raised my grandmother and then my mom. You know, you had all these strong women in a house and my mom had four brothers in the house growing up, she has five all together, she’s the only girl. But she had to get up and do the cooking and the cleaning. And [when] my grandmother came from work, they fed [everyone]. My mom realized as an adult, later in life, that the reason she likes the crispier meat is because she always ate last. What a screwed up thing because she had these women – it was a matriarchal household, they were the breadwinners, but this conditioning was still passed on.”

How real is this?! There’s not a family party I’ve been to where I don’t see the men being served first, after the women have spent hours preparing the meals. Hopefully, with the knowledge and awareness Dawson has, the machismo chain can be broken in her family. After all, if we’re going to break the cycles of bad habits, the change has got to start with us.

Unforgettable is in theaters April 21.

The Reason Serena Williams’ Pregnancy Announcement Is Inspiring to So Many Women Who’ve Delayed Motherhood

Serena Williams pregnancy announcement

When Serena Williams casually posted a picture of herself in a bright yellow bathing suit with the caption “20 weeks” on Snapchat yesterday, the internet exploded with cheers.

Her spokeswoman, Kelly Bush Novak confirmed the news to the Associated Press saying, “I’m happy to confirm Serena is expecting a baby this fall.” The athlete is engaged to Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian.

People were clearly happy about her pregnancy news for various reasons, for starters because babies are a blessing! But also, this extraordinary news is totally inspiring.

If Williams is 20 weeks pregnant that means this world champion tennis player won the Australian Open while she was two months pregnant.

Of course this incredible feat didn’t go unrecognized and the internet erupted in awe of the tennis star.

Another reason to celebrate is Williams, who is 35, shows that women don’t have to sacrifice career, marriage, self-happiness, to have babies. You can literally start a new chapter in your life at any age.

Williams is just the latest celebrity that is 35 or older to announce their amazing pregnancy news. Beyoncé, 35, announced she was pregnant with twins earlier this year after releasing the critically-acclaimed album Lemonade, and completing a massive world tour. Janet Jackson, 50, also released the first picture of her newborn this week.

Congrats to the mommy-to-be.

The State of Latinas: 4 Ways WOC Boss Ladies Are Held Back From Achieving Large-Scale Success

Worthy Women

Worthy Women started out as a hashtag and a room with 40-ish women at Maker City in Downtown Los Angeles. We say that “at Worthy Women we remove barriers to belonging by creating communities where people thrive.” We do that by curating free events where female entrepreneurs and boss ladies can give our audience practical business advice without the sugarcoating, so they can apply it to their endeavors. Our content revolves around four basic pillars we’ve identified as crucial areas of interest for women in and entering the business world: entrepreneurship, finance, leadership, and career advancement.

In 2016 Worthy Women grew from 40 women to nearly 200 every month and 70 percent of our audience identifies as WOC. When we got the news about our new head of state we decided that in 2017 we would go across the country and attempt to reach as many women as possible. In March we finished up our first half-day summit in San Francisco and we’ll be hitting Brooklyn in April, L.A. in May, Chicago in June, Miami in August, Philly in September, Manhattan in October, and we’ll be back in L.A. for our two day conference in November. In July 2017 we’ll be honoring 100 exemplary community-nominated Women of Worth who live and lead in integrity. We will also be awarding the first annual scholarship to USC’s Online MBA Program, something we are really excited and proud to be a part of.

I get asked a lot what about trends I’ve seen working with women in business over the last year and a half. In terms of what is happening for WOC in business, there are four main issues that prevent us from achieving larger scale success:

Lack of access to resources. [i.e. money]

Eight out of every 10 businesses started since 2007 have been by WOC. However, WOC need more resources to scale their business, growing their teams, create partnerships, and take on investors. WOC often lack the connections that are necessary to get in front of decision makers. Not only that, according to American Express’ “The State Of Women Owned Businesses Report” only six percent of women own businesses get venture capital funding; the number is even lower for Women of Color. As a result, women tend to dip into their savings and drain their 401k’s to start their businesses. Worthy Women works with Back Stage Capital, one of the only WOC run VC funds, to try to connect women with money so they can take their business to the next level.

 

Lack of community.

Women are hungry for a supportive, safe community of likeminded women who want to see them succeed. Your network is the most valuable thing when you’re an entrepreneur trying to make it happen or simply trying to move up at your job. Building a squad you can bounce ideas off of and feel supported by is essential. Worthy Women is a place where women can let their guard down and get real. We’ve had the pleasure of seeing many of our regular guests become friends with us and with each other.

Worthy Women

Credit: Marlena Elise​

Lack of access to mentorship.

There are so many little details about business/office etiquette: What to say, who to talk to, and connections that can only be learned by experience. WOC tend to have fewer high powered or high ranking women in their networks, even fewer of them are fellow WOC. This makes leveling up harder because insider knowledge is often elusive. Mentorship opens the doors to practical advice and answers to questions about business and career advancement.

Confidence.

According to the Harvard Review  “Men apply for a job when they meet only 60 percent of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100 percent of them.” Sometimes we hold ourselves back, because in reality, to get one ‘yes’ you’ve got to swim through a sea of no’s. We forget that it only takes one ‘yes’ to turn things around. I see women everyday who are afraid to take the next step simply because they are afraid to ask. We are always addressing “Impostor Syndrome” and airing out our shame stories to empower WOC and to show them that they are not alone.

Designer Christian Siriano Creates Luxurious Plus-Size Bridal Collection — And It’s Stunning!

Christian Siriano

If getting married wasn’t stressful enough, finding a wedding dress that fits when you’re not a size 6 can be true hell on earth. But there is someone looking out for us curvy women. Fashion designer Christian Siriano has just released a new bridal collection with dress sizes that go up to 26!

Siriano’s 2018 bridal collection is a real breathe of fresh air, especially when you consider that the average size of an American woman is 16.

“I think it was just pretty easy, a no-brainer for us,” Siriano told Mic. “It just made sense. I think it’s important that all the dresses, everything we’re offering, can come in any size. That’s an important thing.”

Plus-size wedding dresses is widely popular and designers are noticing. And, while there’s a vast assortment to choose from, Siriano’s eye for the grandiose is what has been missing from bridal collections. I am telling you, no woman wants to look like a cake on her wedding day. The former winner of Project Runway (fourth season) designed a beautifully eclectic line.

Take a look below!

Inside Christian Siriano’s Spring 2018 Bridal Collection

We go inside Christian Siriano’s New York City atelier to get an exclusive first look at his newest wedding dresses! Siriano opens up about his inspiration, design process, and celebrity clientele. Plus, the designer reveals his best style advice for brides-to-be.

Posted by Martha Stewart Weddings on Tuesday, April 18, 2017

“For every bride, it’s almost like this notion that they need to lose weight,” Siriano said to Mic. “It’s a misconception, that looking your best means that you’re thin. That’s why so many brands think that a bride doesn’t want to see a plus-size woman advertising dresses for them, which is false.”

False, indeed.

Fans of Siriano’s bridal collection are as speechless as I am. Actually, not really. Some of them are vocally ecstatic! Just check out these comments:

Christian Siriano

Facebook/@christiansiriano

So which dress is your favorite?

America Ferrera’s Body Positive Message Is the Self-Love Reminder We All Needed

America Ferrera Body Positive

America Ferrera enjoyed her 33rd birthday yesterday (April 18) and celebrated in style – sweaty style that is, by attending a spin class at SoulCycle. The Superstore star who’s proven to be a total badass after recently completing two Olympic triathlons, took the moment to share on Instagram what 33 years of life has finally taught her.

America Ferrera Body Positive

IG: @AmericaFerrera

At 33, I finally understand that my body is a miracle! After too many years of criticizing, punishing, depriving, or neglecting my body for what it isn’t, I’m attempting to love it unapologetically as it is! Thank you body for 33 years of standing with me even when I wasn’t on your side. I promise from here on out to stand by you and face down all the criticism and bullshit distractions (inner & outer), so that we can move beyond beautiful and get to the business of living! Thank you to these amazing humans and so many more who have inspired me to celebrate my health and strength! Get you some friends who remind you to celebrate your strong, healthy, loyal body! #HappyBirthdayBody#thisis33#beyondbeautiful

The internal, self-deprecating dialogue Ferrera refers to is something so many of us can relate to; sometimes we can be our own worst enemies. In a New York Times piece published after Ferrera completed her first triathlon, the actress recalled years of never feeling worthy – of negative internal dialogues that would break her down. But the experience of training for her triathlon (and years of therapy), have taught her to recognize the voice, and to silence the critic who tells her what she can’t do.

As Ferrera moves into her 33rd year on this earth, she’s embracing her brilliant body, shutting down the internal negative self-talk, and inspiring us all to do the same.