Sunday, October 22, 2023

DIY Halloween Costume: Rhythm Nation

I love Halloween, always have, always will.

I remember the cheap plastic costumes we had as kids, not just the mask was plastic, but the costume itself was also plastic, I still remember sweating buckets walking around trick or treating.

And when we had no money for those costumes, we (or our parents) made them, a.k.a. DIY (do it yourself).

Pillowcase or old sheet ghost, fortune teller with mom’s scarves and hoop earrings, or a cat face drawn on with black eyeliner, after I blew a whopper of a bubble gum bubble through said cheap plastic cat mask mouth opening one year, making the mask totally unusable.

That love of DIYing a great costume has never left me, which is why I am so grateful for the monthly LIPEDEMA PATIENT ROUNDTABLES, where we log onto zoom in costume every October.

This year’s costume was inspired after a Peloton Artist Series ride featuring none other than THE Janet Jackson (highly recommend this ride from 9/28/23 with trainer Emma Lovewell).

Growing up I wanted so bad to be one of Janet’s RHYTHM NATION backup dancers, practicing alongside the video whenever it came on MTV. Well this year, that dream (somewhat) came true.

Here is how it was done for around $80, and several hours (and it could be made for a lot less, depending on what you find in your closet and/or around the house)…

  • Baseball hat embroidered with the 1814 emblem - from Rockatee here for $24.99.
  • Black mock neck tunic - I lucked out and found one on clearance at Torrid for $15.94.
  • Black leather dog leash from Amazon for $9.90 - old handbag straps or ribbon would work.
  • Stainless steel chain from Amazon for $3.99 - I should have looked in my jewelry box.
  • Metal buckles for $8.99 - could have repurposed but was happy to find a pack of 5 under $10.
  • Leather gloves for $11.99 - I need new gloves this winter, so went with ones I would wear after.
  • Small sheet of metal for $6.47 - swapped out for cardboard.
  • Hoop earring and old silver work key I already owned - no cost.
  • Art supplies I already owned - no cost.


The metal I tried cutting into the 1814 emblem did not work. It was really hard to cut with my husband’s tin shears, and the cut edges were way too sharp. This is when I repurposed the cardboard from a small box that had come in the mail. Not only did I use it to create the 1814 emblem on my chest, but also the “riveted” pieces on my gloves (the rivets were painted hot glue dots in each corner).

Instead of sewing the buckles on the tunic, to more resemble Janet’s jacket, I added them to the right side chest embellishments - on zoom you wouldn’t have seen them if I sewed them on the sides of the tunic, so I modified the look, and really like how it came out. The piece was heavy with the metal buckles, so I attached the leather straps to the shoulder seam of the tunic, and in the back. I did the same for the 1814 chest emblem, as instead of cutting the silver chain, I left it intact and just taped it to the back, which added weight to that side as well. The stitching in both places held up during the zoom call. But if I wear this out on Halloween, I’ll tack it down even more.

These buckles and 1814 embellishments could also be added to any black top, jacket, dress, etc. that you already own, to save some money. I really liked the tunic and planned to remove the embellishments and then wear it after, so I was fine with buying it, and it was on clearance. The leather straps might be harder to source around the house, I was initially going to see if I had a broken handbag I could repurpose the straps from, but I think even black ribbon or marker could be used.

The baseball cap I really love and plan on wearing that outside of the costume, too. But you could make a second 1814 embellishment and attach to any black baseball cap you own to save even more money.

Initially I was trying to find the iconic key earring, and they do still make them, but they were $50+, so I just used a small silver key on one of my silver hoop earrings and it worked great. I thought if the key opening doesn’t fit the hoop, I could just wire wrap it, but the opening worked on the earring no problem.

It would be fun to try making this costume with only supplies on hand, like we did as a kid.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Right Now is the Best Time to Start

Let’s talk about starting, or restarting, a self care and/or movement routine.

I came across this photo of a keychain I had made at the beginning of my #lipedema journey. 

It was a reminder, that while initially I listened to nothing I could do, and as a result I progressed a great deal, losing nearly all my mobility, that today was a new day. 

Any day, any moment, can be a new start. It doesn’t have to be this big commitment. Just doing one thing is a good start.

Maybe you have not been able to keep up on your self care and/or movement routine like you would like to, and you don’t know where to begin? 

Maybe you ask yourself, “why bother”? 

Because you are worth it. Caring for our bodies is worth it, and while not a cure, it helps slow progression and makes living with lipedema a lot easier.

Starting over is not a failure. 

Starting over doesn’t mean you go all the way back to where you began, because the good news is, you always start from experience.

You know what helped, and what did not. You know what worked for your routine and what was a challenge for you.

Start with something simple, something that you enjoy, something you can tack onto your daily routine.

#habitstacking is how I do it. I add self care and movement to something I already do.

Like when I make the bed in the morning, I add in some stretching to loosen up my body. 

When I check in on the support group in the morning and write the daily post, I do so from my vibration platform.

When I have a print job at work, I add some squats while I wait, or when I go into the kitchen, I do some kitchen sink push-ups while my coffee brews.

By adding in my self care and movement this way it doesn’t feel as time consuming.

I also like to schedule a #peloton ride when I’m not as active as I want to be, by scheduling it I set time aside for me, like I would another apt. 

It is what works for me, what works for you? How can we help you start or restart your self care routine? And what ideas do you have for when we get stuck?

No negative feelings attached. Life in general is challenging, living with a #chronicillness that requires a lot of self care makes it even more challenging.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Menopause Monkey Wrench on my Lipedema Journey

Warning ⚠️ we interrupt this usually positive blog for some #realtalk 

Some days #menopause feels like a big #monkeywrench in my #lipedema journey.

Transitioning through menopause made my lipedema symptoms spike! My mobility took a hit (that thing I worked so hard the past ten years to regain)! 

Not to mention the typical menopause changes we can go through. Ok, so I mentioned them. #iykyk 

But purely lipedema based rant - the #selfcare things that were working well for me, allowing me to be active, and do all the things I wanted to, when I wanted to do them, are no longer working the same way. 

I’m sure they are still helping, and yes, I’m still doing them all, and then some, they are just not helping at the same level.

Which is super frustrating. It takes a long time for each person with lipedema to figure out what works (so much we try doesn’t, even when it does for others) - so when you have a nice set schedule of self care that helps you feel somewhat normal, and then poof, it no longer works the same, and it is time to retry everything all over again and see what sticks - it is not only frustrating but exhausting on top of those regular changes women go through - it can leave you with zero spoons! #spoontheory 

It has me questioning surgery big time, the only thing currently that can remove the diseased tissue, but now I’m post menopausal, so I question the recovery at my age, the cost as I near retirement, and at late stage and higher BMI is it even an option? I never wanted surgery, so it is down right scary to even contemplate it. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still the Queen of MODs and positivity BUT some days it is utter BS what we deal with. 

And my heart goes out to all in our community dealing with even more debilitating conditions on top of lipedema, on top of menopause. Which makes me feel horrible for even sharing my frustration. 

Movement is still key for me, had to switch up what I do, and really listen to my body clues, but movement in general is key.

#mindfulmovement is the name of the game. Giving my body love for all she does for me 💜 will lead my self care now and always. Rant over.