Who wears the pants?

For most of my adult life, I felt my best wearing jeans. Baggy jeans, fitted jeans, funky jeans. I loved them all. Once I entered the working world and jeans were only okay on Fridays, I still wore pants the majority of the time. From khakis to pants suits, I looked and felt great in pants.

Even when I dressed up, I often wore pants.
Even when I dressed up, I often wore pants.

But one summer, I went to Paris. In preparation, I bought lots of clothes I felt would be comfortable for traveling to and fro and walking the city streets. There wasn’t a dress in the bunch.

It was a family trip – the girl cousins on my dad’s side went. We each brought a large suitcase for the week-long affair. Well, six of us did. The seventh managed to pack everything for the trip in a single carry-on!

We eyed the bag suspiciously, wondering what she brought or what kind of magic rolling she did with her gear. But as the days wore on, it was apparent she brought plenty of clothes, including multiple changes per day.

What was her secret, we wondered.


I took note, and filed it away. Unbeknownst to anyone else, I returned to Georgia and promptly went shopping. Two months later when we gathered again – this time for a family reunion – I traveled a lot lighter. I had dresses! Cousin Big Sister had come to the same revelation, and she also dressed and packed accordingly. Cool, comfortable, flattering, dresses. I loved them, and I loved me in them. I felt free. Sexy.

How did I waste so much time in pants?

Me and one of my newly discovered cousins at the family reunion.
Me at the family reunion wearing a dress! (Hi cousin Shaunda!)

That was 2009. Fast forward to 2014. I’m experiencing my first real winter in years and I don’t have the dresses to match! As the temperatures began to drop, I returned to my trousers. I’ve been wearing jeans and pants the past few weeks and they feel foreign on my body.

Just yesterday I wore slacks – formerly my favorite pair – and the whole day I felt a little off.

I think it’s time to do a little shopping. My birthday is just around the corner…

Powerful and Feminine

Power Posing is heralded as a technique women can use to close the gender gap at work. Women can raise their testosterone (which brings more confidence) and lower their cortisol (which lessens stress) by adopting certain poses before high stress situations. This, in theory, helps to level the playing field.

Writer Jessica Bennett referenced the work of Amy Cuddy, whose TEDTalk details the research behind power posing. Inspired by dramatic differences in class participation between male and female MBA students, Amy sought to encourage women to participate more – to “fake it until they make it.”

We understand the power of nonverbal communication with others, Amy explained, but we often forget that our nonverbals can also influence ourselves. She and her colleague, Dana Carney, asked two research questions:

  1. Do nonverbals govern how we think and feel about ourselves?
  2. We know our minds change our bodies, but can our bodies change our minds?

In other words, by adopting the postures of powerful beings, can we convince ourselves that we are, in fact, powerful, and begin to behave more powerfully?

Shy people and those who’ve ever experienced the impostor syndrome, understand what it’s like to shrink on purpose; to take up less space in a given environment. But what if those who would normally make themselves smaller, purposely enlarged themselves? Could that make a difference when it mattered? If you need to adopt a big presence – in the classroom or the boardroom – could you do it at will? Amy’s research suggests yes.

Taking a cue from the animal kingdom, powerful individuals take up space on purpose. They stand tall. They spread out. They expand. She found when humans adopted powerful poses for two minutes, they changed their chemical balance for a time. It turns out, inhabiting big poses and taking up space, raises your testosterone and lowers your cortisol, thereby making you more assertive and less anxious.

Faking confidence by posing “confidently,” actually makes you feel more confident, and you are able to behave more confidently. When you’re more confident and less stressed, in an interview for instance, you can shift the balance of power in your favor.

Power posing is just one of a number of ways many ambitious young women are adjusting their behavior, ever so slightly, to try to correct for a system in which stereotypically male leadership traits (assertiveness, dominance) are rewarded. ~Jessica Bennet

powerful and feminineAmy is encouraging women to adopt masculine techniques in an effort to gain more power in professional settings. But women can be more powerful and simultaneously more feminine. Explains Sojo of the Whiskey, Wine and Moonshine podcast, women can connect with their wombs, adopt feminine movements, and feel grounded and powerful without pretending to be manly.

I’ve spent the past few years actively engaging my femininity, sometimes with astounding results. As a professional who has to perform under a degree of stress regularly, power posing was an interesting idea at first glance. I tried it recently, but it wasn’t right for me. I feel more like me when I am grounded, centered, cheerful, and connecting with others – feelings I access through feminine poses, behaviors and rituals.

What strategies do you use to be your best you? Are you a person who takes up space?

Workout Freewrite | #30in30 #WriteLikeCrazy.

In January 2012, I hung up my running shoes and started exercising indoors.

One month into a 12-week fitness program, I placed a full-length mirror in the living room. I spent six mornings a week engaging in high intensity cardio, and seeing the results from day to day – chiseling, bloating, and stops between – proved motivating.

April 1, I went for my first run of the year. I ran a personal best. It burned, though.

Shortly thereafter, I began another 12-week program. This one was weight lifting (Pump). Normally I dislike lifting. Go to a gym and lift free weights or get on those machines? It ain’t happening, son. In grad school I discovered BodyPump, a full body barbell class choreographed to the latest hits. I loved it. When I recently discovered a home-based version of the same class, it was a done deal.

The first day was glorious. I’m probably the only person who smiled during deadlifts and clean-and-presses. It felt good to know a strong body was in the works.

It takes significantly more mental energy for me to go lift weights than for me to do cardio. This, despite the fact I know a strong body is in the works.

Pump has 10 tracks: warm up, squats, chest, bis, tris, back, lunges, shoulders, abs, and cool down. The lunge track remains the most difficult. The last couple of times I finally managed to finish the whole set. Barely.

I resumed running during the designated cardio days. My July goal was 25 miles. I was up to 50 miles a month when I quit for TurboFire. I can’t believe I waited so long. I missed being outside. And who knew how much thinking and processing I do while running!

July 21 was the last day of Pump. I took a couple of weeks off to give my body a rest from the weights, but I focused on getting in some miles. I surpassed my goal of 25, hitting 36 by the last day of the month.

My August goal is 50 miles. I’m in it to win it.

I’ve been sleepy the past two days. I’m realizing it’s likely I’m just not eating enough now that I’ve returned to a serious workout schedule! I’ll fix that beginning tomorrow. Earlier this year I figured out that even if I don’t feel hungry, midday sleepiness usually means I’ve run out of calories. Totally forgot that. Here I was thinking I needed to search WebMD for unexplained fatigue.

I’ve had a couple of people tell me my body was “ridiculous.” (Shout out to the well-meaning Brit on Twitter who didn’t realize this was a compliment). If I would seriously commit to clean eating, I’d agree more wholeheartedly. I love my body though, especially my donk. Even my here today, gone tomorrow abs.

Monday, I lifted weights for the first time in nearly 3 weeks. It felt great! It was hard, and I broke a sweat. But the awesome thing about lifting is increasing your weight over time, witnessing yourself get stronger. So powerful!

I feel like a warrior goddess when I work out. I’m getting my body ready to do beautiful and important things in the world.

Taking Up Space | #30in30 #WriteLikeCrazy.

I loved Flo Jo.

Growing up, I loved her because she was a sprinter, and so was I. She was fast and beautiful. Commentators exchanged countless words over her attire, hair and ornate nails. They left me wondering why jewelry and make up were so controversial.

Raging debates on appearances aside, the proof was in the pudding.

Years later, seeing Flo Jo again sparked a deeper sense of appreciation. (Thanks, Tara). I loved her then and perhaps more now, because she was unabashedly herself. Or at least, she represented herself the way she chose and did so unapologetically.

There’s so much power in that.

I spent my youth as a shrinking violet. Even as an adult, I entered rooms with my head down, eyes lowered. Hiding. Striving for invisibility. I didn’t want to take up too much space, or be noticed at all really.

Except that’s not completely true. I waged an ongoing internal battle. In middle school, I was the stereotypical nerd; adorned with requisite thick glasses, good grades, questionable fashion choices, and uncertain body image. Yet, still I tried out (and made) the cheerleading team. High school wasn’t much different. Shy, and often soft-spoken, I still had great fun snapping my hair along with 20 other members of our somewhat exclusive dance team, dressed in fishnets, boots, and short sequin dresses.

Grad school found me maintaining the balancing act. How does one prove she belongs in rooms with men who dominate conversations, while nursing the sinking feeling the imposter (me) may be found out any minute?  It’s tiring really, being a shrinking violet.

In recent years I’ve claimed victory over that internal battle. I speak up and invite others to join me. I enter rooms with poise; sometimes even with a hint of drama. I wear colors or accessories that pop, just because they’re cheerful.

Flo Jo got criticized, in essence, for being too loud. And off she ran with her gold anyway. To that I think three things:

  • She is an Olympic gold medalist. You can talk about her fashion choices all day and night, but you can’t erase her spot in sport history. (For another example see Williams, Serena).
  • She was not afraid to take up space, to cause a stir, to be noticed. She centered herself – detractors, marginalizers, and silencers be damned.
  • It’s really not about you. It’s about her, and how she chose to represent herself. And that’s absolutely awesome.

Step One: Purchase a Machine

The Domestic LadyBuddha has already cooked a few new recipes, ala The Grit vegetarian cookbook and the Better Home and Gardens famous cookbook. Those happened a few weeks ago and I didn’t have the tools or foresight to document my process. But now, thanks to HoneySnaps, I have an iPhone. That means finally, a working camera! Yes!

And with that, feast your eyes on this:

Meet my new Singer 2263. I can’t say I did a great deal of research to pick this machine. It was a happy marriage of convenience, price, and brand loyalty. I seem to remember my mother sewing with Singer, and I’m pretty fierce about sticking with childhood brands (marketing gurus, take heart).

This little number (handpicked by Martha Stewart and labeled for beginners) came to her new home last night. I have two projects in mind to start. They are both courtesy of my cousin Avis, who maintains the familial tradition of sewing.

She heard of my interest to sew and sent me Amy Butler’s Sew-It Kit to encourage me. After many days of mulling, I picked out the sleeping mask and the apron as my first two projects.

I’m not convinced of their ease. I’m a *beginner’s beginner* and the directions say this kit is for beginner or intermediate sewers. o_O


I spent quite a bit of time finding all the materials any beginner sewer needs: hand needles, threaders, thread, straight pins, pin cushion, scissors…

But more than halfway through my shopping list, I found a handy beginner’s kit. I added a pack of safety pins for good measure, as well as a yardstick and some fabric pencils. I also needed a quilter’s ruler (specifically for the sleeping mask project). Quilter’s supplies are expensive (!!!), but thankfully I found one on clearance for only $5.

I’ll show you the fabrics I got now, although you’re definitely going to see them again when I blog about actually making something. Here’s what I’ll need for the sleeping mask.

And here’s the apron. I think the colors I chose for both are appropriately safe yet cute. It was actually pretty difficult to find stuff that grabbed me. But I was also a little overwhelmed trying to find the right materials (cotton, polyester, satin) in addition to the colors and styles. I decided to keep it simple as I get used to how fabrics even behave! I’ll be more adventurous next time, although, shopping in a store full of “Calico” and “Country Favorites” may not be the move either. Just sayin. But I was showing you what I got for my apron:


My Singer was $89 plus tax. The materials for both projects came to $16 (including thread since I had none, and an extra spool of ribbon since I was unsure about colors). My misc beginner’s materials (yardstick, the quilter’s ruler, safety pins, chalk pencils, and the sewing kit), came to another $43 bucks.

Grand total with taxes = $153.77. Your start up may be more or less, but there you go.

I’m excited and a little nervous about my first project. Because the sleeping mask requires quilting stitches, I’m thinking I may start with the apron. I should’ve bought a scrap of material to just play with. Surely there’s something in the closet I can use.

Until next time…

The LadyBuddha Goes Domestic

I threatened to cook more while I was working on my dissertation, teaching a new class, and simultaneously working on a huge research project. Suffice it to say, that didn’t happen. I stuck to the things I was comfortable with cooking, drank plenty of green smoothies (worth its own blog), and tried to buy organic or otherwise healthy food when I ate out.

Once I moved back to my home state I found myself nesting. My apartment has the same stuff overall, but some of it’s warmer. There are even pictures of tulips up. lol. Still not the perfect place I’d like, but hey, I was still working on the dissertation and ANOTHER new class.

Well, now I’m done and I’m feeling the pull to increase my creative and feminine energies. Although some of this translates into “traditional, woman’s work” I don’t have those hang ups about it. I want to cook delicious and healthful dishes. It feels creative and life-affirming, and I like the combination of art and science it entails. I also want to sew (how about that) for the same reasons. Both of these things are inherently useful and engage both sides of my mind. (As an aside, I genuinely think sewing is in my blood, but more on that another time).

In addition to cooking and sewing, I’ve been working on expressing my feminine charms more outwardly. In short, I’ve been dressing and simply BEing sexier (Shout to Sojo). It’s a little harder to pull off in the winter (and with my pathetic wardrobe), but it’s fun learning to express my inner diva. I play with essential oils, engage in temple building (exercise) and general kicking it up a notch-ness. This is me heading out to a holiday party a few days ago:

It feels wonderful. I only wish I could go back to warm weather and sundresses. (Sexy AND easy!)

But I digress.

I think I spent so many years birthing my dissertation and expanding my intellect that it’s nice to shift energies to manifesting, creating, and loving. I was already a damn good catch before, but now that the LadyBuddha is going domestic? Well…let’s just say you’ve been warned.

So in addition to miscellaneous posts about life, love, spirituality, and the like, expect some pointed tweets on my adventures in sewing, cooking, and learning to up my shoe game.


Goddess Awakening

Nike, Goddess of Victory

Although my mother didn’t do this knowingly, I am named for the Goddess of Victory. And in fact, my name and my mother’s name both mean Victory, or Victorious One, or Victory of the People.  The victory part, I always got. This goddess thing is new. And serious.

A little background is in order…At the end of last year I found myself wanting to bring in the new year with some kind of serious spiritual reflection. I usually chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo on New Year’s Eve with the intention of empowering my goals for the new year, but this year I wanted to step it up. After much stalling mulling, I realized I wanted to do an extended program of sorts, kind of like the ones Sojo does. And thus was born my 60 day plan: Rebirth: A Celebration of the Divine.

That program is a post all onto itself, but I want to make it clear – doing it was the start of a new life – a new me. One of the tangible outcomes? I’m embracing my role as a reiki channel of divine energy. One of the intangible, but more important outcomes? I’m open to receiving love and guidance that deepens my connection to this mystic universe.

Today’s post is a testament to that. In the past week, I have started to read about and think about the divine feminine.  I’m getting visions of peacocks and explosions of (what must be divine) energy, and urges to just BE. Be beautiful. Be sexy. Be powerful. Be FULLY ME.

Thinking about the divine feminine has stirred something in me. It feels important. Exciting. This idea of powerful, creative, sensualness – this is what is totally moving me today. I wanna be somewhere in a bath with oranges and honey, rose petals and cinnamon, and candles. I wanna be strolling in the world, fierce in power, confident in word.

That’s where I am today – all up in that. No, I don’t wanna be worshipped, but I do want people to respond to my power. I want other women to embrace theirs as well. I want to more fully awaken this divinity within me. She is truly a goddess. But she feels neglected. Silent. Quiet. Shy. She wants to be nurtured. Loved. Open. Alive.

Today I write because I FEEL her stirring. It’s deep. Exciting. It translates as sexual energy, but it’s not about sex at all. It’s about SENSUAL in every possible sense.

It is divine. It is feminine. It is ME. She wants nothing more than to more fully express herself. So to the world I say, watch out.