Fashion Lookbook

Here’s my big-chested secret to finding a supportive sports bra

I’ve never understood why it’s so hard to find sports bras or tops that are flattering on large chested women. From my experience, all of the cute ones either only come in smaller sizes, or are impractical. What I do find is never actually supportive, though, like a sports bra should be, and I wind up having to wear two sports bras just to feel comfortable while exercising. This is suffocating and not at all ideal, especially when sweat starts to build up in crevices that should just not be sweating. 

If I don’t go through the hassle of squeezing my chest into 2 sports bras at once, which is something that I think resembles a medieval corset, then I feel almost as if I’m being held back during my workout. It’s hard to push myself when I don’t really feel secure or comfortable. Not to be graphic, but if I’m going on a run or doing jumping jacks, the last thing I want to be thinking about is my boobs flopping around in every direction, basically an inch away from a wardrobe malfunction. Yet most of the time, that is all I can think about. Not to mention that all of that breast movement can also be downright painful during a workout. Frankly, it feels like my boobs are being torn right off my chest with every jump or swing. 

As a result, my exercise routine just doesn’t last very long because I’m so tired of having to deal with my boobs. Sometimes I even find myself holding my breasts in my hands to stop them from bouncing while I’m jogging. But I shouldn’t have to do that. Girls with larger chests should be able to find sports bras, or any other top for that matter, that are flattering, trendy, and fits their chest just as much as the next girl

But I also know that my big boobs are not going anywhere anytime soon. Neither are those narrow stereotypes of the ‘perfect’ female body that are the driving force of the fashion and athleisure industries. So, after a few years of dealing with this, I’ve come up with a few tips and tricks of my own for finding a sports bra that is comfortable, stylish, and that I trust to keep my chest in place and supported. 

Our boobs deserve the best — AKA not to be smooshed so I’ve always found it best for a sports bra to have some sort of light cupping on the inside. This ensures that our boobs have a designated place to go so as to limit movement. 

Freya Active Bra.
[Image description: Freya Active Bra.] Via
Another thing that is key when looking for a sports bra is a strong and substantial bottom band. This acts like a shelf for our boobs to sit on and helps keep them in place during a high-intensity workout. When looking for a bottom band that offers maximum support, however, it’s important to take into consideration whether or not that band will rub or cause irritation in the area. Rubbing is not good. For this reason, I usually try to go wire-free when picking out a sports bra. Adjustable straps and a flexible under-band are always my go to for comfort and ensuring minimal bounce. 

Natori Gravity Contour Sports Bra.
[Image description: Natori Gravity Contour Sports Bra.] Via
Another important aspect is the material that your sports bra is made of. Moisture-wicking or mesh materials are great for soaking up sweat and acting as a ventilator to keep you cool. 

Zella Body Fusion Sports Bra.
[Image description: Zella Body Fusion Sports Bra.] Via
It’s time we start taking a stand and taking care of our boobs, because if we don’t, we could be doing more damage than we’d like to think. 

Life Hacks Tech Wellness Now + Beyond

What it really costs me to put away my phone

I am always scrolling.

It’s not even something I do consciously. Sometimes my eyes aren’t even open and yet my hands are moving, trying to find something, anything in the abyss that becomes my mind.

These days, it’s become an addiction – the constant need to be updated – but on what exactly? I’m not sure. To be more updated than the person next to you, perhaps, as if somehow you’re better in this pigmented reality. 

I know it’s a problem. One that I have, one that a lot of young people have, and yet when I wake up in the morning, my muscle memory pushes my hands to yank my phone out and look through it.

Is this the curse of being a millennial? If so, I don’t want it. I’ll give it back. I watch my eight-year-old cousin on his iPad, scrolling through YouTube, and sometimes Snapchat, anything really; I look at my 16-year-old cousins constantly updating their Instagram; my 18-year-old brother, always keeping up with his Snapchat streaks, and then there’s me.

There isn’t even just one app that I go through. It’s all of them. It’s just the motion itself that I’m addicted to.

And damn, withdrawals are harsh.

I tell myself I’d love to unplug and read a book all day or just do nothing but the only way I can do that is if I physically remove all the technology from my room. Only then can I breathe, only then can I remember that I am a part of this world.

And damn, withdrawals are harsh.

I am always moving though – ready, set, go. My legs, my heart, my mind… everything is always in motion and the thing about motion is sometimes you just want it to stop. But how do you stop when the world is always going round on its axis? How can you stop if everyone around you is in unison? How can I stop?

I am always moving; sometimes moving just to do something, moving just to feel something, just to remind myself that I am real and here and breathing. That I am a part of nature and nature a part of me.

My hands are always moving; scrolling and scrolling. My hands are almost always itching to write but how can they when they are constantly scrolling? Scrolling and scrolling down Twitter to catch the news; down Instagram to stalk and stalk some more; down Facebook to tag my friends in memes to remind them that I exist. Or maybe to remind myself that I do.

A girl is scrolling through her phone. Icons of Google, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter pop up.
[Image description: A girl is scrolling through her phone. Icons of Google, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter pop up.] Via GIPHY
I can’t stop. I just can’t do it. No matter how hard I try.

I wish I could tell myself to breathe and relax but I just don’t know how to. How do people meditate? How do they remind themselves to take a moment to breathe and chill? I am not chill or relaxed. I am everywhere and yet nowhere.

I’m always thinking of what to do next, where to go next, and how to maneuver my mind into convincing my body that I am not tired. I am never tired or at least, never too tired.

Scroll, scroll, scroll away.

Even as I write this, I’m not really here, not paying attention. I’m just enjoying the way my fingers feel smoothing over the keys of my laptop. I like the flow of words filling up a blank white document. 

Sometimes, it’s just about using my fingers to scroll. Scroll, scroll, scroll away. Just to go through the motions even as my arms hurt from lifting earlier, even as my legs ache from running, even if my mind is tired. My fingertips kept going and I’m here, still up on my bullshit, scrolling away, still trying to find something on the vast internet.


Anything that makes me stop.


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Tips & Tricks Health Care Gender & Identity Life Stories Advice Life

Two simple steps for feeling sane in college and staying that way

Trigger Warning: Mentions of an eating disorder and over-exercising. 

For many, the start of the new year brings with it the desire to start anew. It’s a great time to begin new goals and routines. In fact, popular media often makes it sound compulsive that our previously frazzled lives finally get into action with a turning of the calendar. It’s not surprising that many of us feel pressure to implement that meditation plan or meal prep or workout grind or self-care or social outing schedule we’ve had in the back of our minds for the last few months – maybe even all of the above!

Blame it on childhood perfectionism, an anxiety disorder, or Capricorn season, but it’s taken me a long time to learn that starting a new semester with new goals doesn’t have to mean that I have to adhere to them perfectly. I’ve rarely struggled with falling off the wagon; instead, I’ve clung desperately to the wagon as it was dragged over rocky terrain, ignoring all of the reasonable voices in my head telling me to just give it up.

For some of us, goal setting can be pretty unhealthy if it’s not done with a value-driven and balanced approach.  In my short life, I’ve whittled it down to two rules: First, “pre-goal,” acknowledge your values, and as you progress, take some time to reflect by yourself — as well as engage in some self-care.

1. Acknowledge your values

strong love yourself GIF by Rebecca Hendin
[Image Description: A gif of a woman with black hair and red sunglasses flexing her muscles. There is blue confetti falling around her.] Via Giphy
I spent my first two years of college committed to working out daily or near-daily, no matter what else was going on. I also hated working out and had a pretty unhealthy approach to it. I focused mostly on burning calories. (As it turns out, I’m now in recovery from an eating disorder!) Regardless, I didn’t want to be one of those people who got to college and got so swept up in fun I forgot my goals of becoming stronger, (hopefully) thinner, and One of Those Girls Who Loves Working Out.

Even working out for 40 minutes a day – which sounds like nothing to many fitness folks – can be a lot in a busy college schedule and what I remember most about these times is choosing to miss out on other things. I remember the second week of college, wheezing with bronchitis on the elliptical because I didn’t want to skip a day. I remember choosing to run on the treadmill instead of doing some last-minute cramming for a midterm because I knew it would calm me down more to have that workout in – and then getting a B that could have been an A. I remember eating a Luna Bar and jogging in the morning after drinking my first beer instead of going to “hangover brunch” with the people in my dorm because my goal was more important than making new friends.

This is when acknowledging your values comes in. It sounds very therapy, I know, but I  recommend listing them on paper. Yes, I didn’t want to give up, but if I’d made a list of what I truly valued at age 18, “performing well academically” and “making new friends” definitely would have outweighed “40 minutes on the elliptical no matter what.” Those no matter what goals – they’re almost never good. I had to step back and look years later to realize what was important to me – but if I’d given myself a few minutes at the time to reflect, I could have saved myself some trouble.

2. Reflect (by yourself)

sad emma stone GIF by La La Land
[Image Description: A gif of a red-headed woman wiping the steam from a mirror and looking at herself in it.] Via Giphy
Don’t keep doing something if it doesn’t feel good to you – and definitely keep doing something if it does. Personally, I’m not really into cutting out food groups unless it’s out of medical necessity, but I know tons of people for whom eliminating dairy or conscientiously limiting sugar has been a game-changer. But if you’re just avoiding bread because some blogger said to, it might not be for you.

Being alone with ourselves can be uncomfortable, but it allows us to see what goals work before plowing along. I believe that spending some time alone should be on pretty much everyone’s list of goals, whether you’re 20-something and single like me or married with kiddos (even though I recognize how much harder that could be!)

Don’t be fooled by the glamorous and glittery self-care that encompasses kale smoothies, pilates and bath bombs, especially considering how a lot of corporate-induced self-care is just a part of our capitalist system.  Most carry a message of “buy something to chill you out for, like, a minute and then prepare to go back to your job with slightly renewed energy.” Nope. Try to find something to do alone that actually fulfills you, regardless of if it’s Instagrammable. Running and pilates, documentaries and donuts, staring that the wall – they’re all totally valid, as long it actually recharges you. Because goals are a lot more pleasant when we want to do them.

I don’t know if this works for everyone, but it certainly works for me. I hope you have a great Spring semester with all of the kale smoothies and study dates your heart desires – as long as they keep feeling good.

Reproductive Rights Gender Love Life Stories Wellness

Like most women, I struggled with body image. Then I realized I wasn’t a woman.

I’m one of those weirdos who loves running.

Yes, running can be painful, and hard, and you don’t get that mystical “runner’s high” people talk about often enough. But starting to run in college was the first step towards finding a home in my body and changing my approach to body image.

When I was younger, I had asthma. I also wore glasses, and always felt like I took up more space than I should – a common side effect of being socialized as female. Additionally, I perceived my older sister to be prettier and more popular than me, and she was one of the stars of our high school’s track team. Desperate not to live in her shadow, I avoided sports in favor of activities like theater and Model U.N. Those activities were important to me, but they didn’t address the discomfort I felt inhabiting my body. Like most people socialized as female, I was constantly concerned that I wasn’t thin enough or pretty enough.

In college, I started running – mostly because I still believed toxic ideas about thinness being desirable.

Even though I started running because I hoped to transform my body to look like society said it should, something different happened. I started caring more about how far I could run without stopping, or how quickly I could complete a mile. I started getting excited about what my body could do. I started genuinely enjoying exercise instead of seeing it as a way to become thinner.

By junior year, I started weightlifting with one of my guy friends, who taught me proper technique and gave me the confidence I needed to claim space in weight rooms, which are typically dominated by men. It was liberating. Every time I increased the weight I lifted I felt more confident in myself and at ease in my body, just like when I pushed myself on a run.

And yet most of the time I still avoided looking at my body. I never had mirrors in my room, and I kept my head down when I encountered them in bathrooms. Even as I claimed some capacity to love my body through my workouts I still felt estranged from what I saw whenever I saw my reflection.

Last year, I found the words for another part of what I was feeling: I am nonbinary. More specifically, I am genderfluid.

My struggles with my body image weren’t just that our society has absurd standards of beauty for women (although that is certainly true) but also that I’m not a woman, or not only a woman all the time. I reject those standards as a feminist, but I also reject the way society projects a female identity onto me.

When a friend asked me how I felt after I came out to her about my gender fluidity, my honest answer was that I felt like I recognized myself more in the mirror.

When I let the gender that had been assigned to me fall away, it felt like I could actually start to see myself for the first time. And just like finishing a race or setting a new personal best for a lift, that recognition was liberating.

Unfortunately, other people often don’t recognize my identity. While the friends I’ve come out to and my partner have been supportive, most people still perceive and refer to me as female, and correcting them can be a challenge for all kinds of reasons.

Nothing kills my tentative sense of goodwill towards my body faster than being misgendered on days when I’m feeling masculine and trying to present that way.

Androgyny is often depicted as something only thin, white, flat-chested people can embody. This standard makes the ongoing pursuit of weight loss feel like an inevitable part of trying to attain a more gender-neutral appearance. I know that obsession is toxic and unhealthy, but I still struggle to release it.

And while all of my experience working out over the past few years has taught me that there are ways I can healthily alter my body through exercise, nothing prepared me for the fact that I have different goals for what I want to accomplish based on whether I am feeling more masculine or feminine.

The physical attributes I want to highlight and emphasize fluctuate as my identity does, and more often than not I feel that I fall short.

I know some of the ways to try and address the problem: depend less on other people’s perceptions for my sense of self, seek out and create the representation I want, figure out a fitness regimen that makes me feel powerful no matter what. But humans are social, and it’s hard to let go of caring about how we fit or don’t fit into a group. Nonbinary representation is still rare.

And even though I have fitness activities that I love, I’m still working on how to translate that love into my body.

Love Wellness

I never felt safe at the gym, until I discovered twerking classes

When I moved to Boston two years ago, it was a really hard transition.

Though I had friends that lived in the area and enjoyed my work colleagues, I found it hard to find a place where I belonged.

This also coincided with my recent social justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion work. I was very outspoken when it came to race in America. Using my privilege of being a multiracial black woman, I felt the need to speak up about what I was seeing. The microaggressions directed towards me regarding my hair. Even the unequal treatment between my white colleagues and people of color at my organization.

After Mike Brown died, I was going to protest marches and trying to get my friends involved. Which led to mostly blank stares of confusion as to why I would choose to do that on a Friday night, instead of going to a bar.

It was then that I realized that I needed to branch out of my comfort zone and meet new people.

It’s true what they say about making friends as an adult. It’s hard. Not just hard in the sense that you have to find new people that you vibe with, in a city of thousands of people. But you must develop a friendship from scratch. Many people, specifically in Boston, already have their set groups of friends from either college, childhood, or work.

This makes it incredibly difficult to break into those circles and make meaningful friendships that last.

Finally, I decided that maybe I should focus on doing things solo that make me feel good, and that if friendships come out of it, so be it.

I was on a new health and fitness kick, and an avid ClassPass user in Boston. ClassPass is a monthly service that allows you try out to different gyms and workout classes in your city. It was the perfect way to attend a lot of different classes and meet new people without breaking the bank.

As was the case with most fitness spaces in Boston, the ones I went to were filled with thin white women. I’ll never forget how awkward I felt showing up to my first barre class and not only being the only person of color, but the only person who weighed over 100 pounds, give or take.

I needed to expand my options.

That’s when I found TrillFit.

It’s a twerk dance class whose workouts were accompanied by custom hip hop mixes and led by badass black and brown women.

I was sold.

When I showed up to my first class, I felt like I was hanging out with old friends.

The creator behind TrillFit is a young black woman entrepreneur who led an all-women team to offer hip-hop dance, yoga, and sculpting classes.

Checking out their website, I was inspired by what she’d done at such a young age and in such little time. Especially somewhere in Boston, where black-owned businesses are practically non-existent.

I’m always looking for ways to support black-owned businesses, specifically black women-owned businesses. They could have all my money.

Showing up to my first class, I was welcomed by the creator of TrillFit and the lead dance instructor.  I was immediately obsessed with them and the vibe of the studio. They showered me with uplifting and positive comments about my workout clothes, and we compared our big curly hair.

I knew I was in for a good time.

As the class was about to start, I made my way to the back just in case I embarrassed myself.

Shortly into the class though, I wasn’t thinking about that at all.

I wasn’t worrying if my top was riding up or if my stomach was jiggling. Instead, I was twerking and making my hips roll like nobody’s business.

Surrounded by mostly white women, to see them somewhat struggling with the rhythm and moves, gave me a slight ping of confidence.

Embarrassingly enough, it felt good to not be the one out of place for once.

What made it even better was the instructor Melissa. She didn’t just stay at the front of the class. She was continuously walking around to give loud and positive messages of encouragement.

To have her telling me that I was doing great and that I was really making the choreography my own was a great feeling.

I was hooked!

Even though I couldn’t walk for a few days afterward, I felt amazing. I even learned some new moves to break out on the weekend.

TrillFit became my bi-weekly therapy. The atmosphere and overall vibe were intoxicating, and I wished I could go to every class they offered. The way my bank account is set up, though, I couldn’t make that a reality.

I even put some of my friends onto the class.

It was a space in my day that I didn’t second guess myself. I didn’t care if I looked like shit and was sweating profusely. When my face and shirt were drenched in sweat, I felt powerful knowing that it wasn’t because I was trying to lose weight, or killing myself to fit in a mold.

It was from having the time of my life.

When I decided to move back to Buffalo, one of the things that I told people I would miss the most were my TrillFit classes. I probably sound like I’m obsessed, but I was distraught thinking about not being able to blow off steam in a room of empowered and badass women once a week.

I’ve been in Buffalo for 3 months now and I still follow TrillFit’s Instagram and support them from afar. I’m most excited about attending a class the first week in October as I’ll be back in Boston for work.

It’ll definitely be bittersweet, as I’m not sure if or when I’ll be back after that trip.

I will, however, know that it was that class, that group of people, that really helped me get into a better place with my body and self during my time in Boston.

Fashion Lookbook

Thanks Nike, but athletic hijabs are nothing new

By now you have probably heard that Nike will be releasing the Pro Hijab–a headscarf for female Muslim athletes–during the Spring of next year. The decision by Nike has been met with both criticism and applause.

While some people are thrilled about Nike expanding its horizons and appealing to marginalized athletes, others are outraged and have promised to boycott Nike.

[bctt tweet=”Nike is not the first to create an athlete friendly hijab for women.” username=”wearethetempest”]

The Pro Hijab is made from a breathable, lightweight polyester material and took Nike over a year to develop. While it’s tremendous that a corporation as large as Nike will begin selling the Pro Hijab, athletic hijabs are nothing new. Women who wear hijab have been competing in The Olympic Games since 2004.

It’s neat that women can now sport the iconic Nike “swoosh” on their hijabs, but Nike is not the first to create an athlete friendly hijab for women.

Image Source

Here are a few companies that have already been catering to the needs of hijabi athletes:

1. Sukoon Active

Arshiya Kherani started Sukoon Active to provide hijab wearing women with comfortable and modest active wear. Unlike the Pro Hijab, Sukoon Active hijabs are tailored for all women who enjoy working out and not just professional athletes.

The hijabs are durable, breathable, and lightweight and the company was started by a hijabi woman who struggled finding comfortable workout clothes.

2. Capsters

Image Source

Capsters is another company that has been making hijabs for athletic purposes. The sports hijabs can be used for different purposes as well as different sports activities. Capsters is dedicated to the empowerment of women through sports and delivers the sports hijabs all over the world.

3. Veil Garments

Veil Garments is another company committed to creating athletic wear for hijabi women. They developed the first ever climate adapting hijab which has water repelling technologies.

Veil Garments also sells the “Halo Running Hoodie” which has a hijab attached to the hood of a sweatshirt and allows for comfortable workouts in which hijabis don’t have to worry about their headscarf slipping off.


ASIYA was created in order to empower more Muslim girls and women to become physically active and participate in sports. In addition to making sports hijabs and caps, ASIYA also customizes hijabs for sports teams. Fifty percent of profits the company makes are directed towards providing sports hijabs and modest activewear to Muslim athletes in need.

5. Modanisa

Image Source

Modanisa makes not just athletic hijabs, but also modest and Islamic tracksuits and swimwear. They have a plethora of different activewear styles, colors and designs. They also sell dresses, pajamas and other everyday clothing items.

6. East Essence

Image Source

East Essence sells sports hijabs and caps for athletic purposes as well as regular hijabs. They also sell sports tunics, athletic jilbabs and activewear. East Essence has some spring deals and sales going on so you might want to head to their website!

There’s no doubt that Nike has been making tremendous strides towards appealing to minority populations and Muslim women, but they are certainly not the first to develop a sports hijab.