These Pin-Up Photos From ‘Shameless Photography’ Show That Every Body Is Gorgeous by Nina Bahadur

Loving the body positive message of this article and the campaign. Yes, woman do not appreciate and accept their bodies (I am one of them). This fact is unfortunate; I often find myself wondering what it would feel like if I really loved myself. This is a great read!

Anyone can be a gorgeous, glamorous pin-up model.

That’s the idea behind Shameless Photography, started by photographer Sophie Spinelle in 2009. Spinelle, alongside fellow photographers Carey Lynne and Maxine Nienow, aims to help clients feel beautiful and confident in their bodies during their photoshoots. The result is sexy, feminist, body-positive images.

(Some images below may be considered NSFW.)

shameless photography

As well as providing commercial photoshoots, Shameless hosts a yearly “Love Your Body” competition, inviting women to write love letters to their bodies for the chance to win a photoshoot with the Shameless team. More importantly, according to Spinelle, the letters create a sense of online community, and spread the message of body love.

“We get hundreds of amazing letters from around the world,” Spinelle told The Huffington Post. “People with cancer, rape survivors, mothers of seven, trans women, pole dancers — you name it. We post a selection of the letters and invite people to read them and share them.”

shameless photography

“Doing this work has transformed my life,” Spinelle told The Huffington Post. “I’ve met the most amazing people, and they’ve been brave enough to share their fears and dreams with me, and to have that become part of the photographs. I’ve learned how rare confidence really is, and how precious. You’d be amazed how many truly beautiful people have no idea that they’re beautiful, and it has a huge affect on what they feel is possible for their lives.”

shameless photography

Spinelle hopes that clients and strangers alike will be inspired by the images and learn to love their bodies.

“The most important audience for the Shameless pinups series is the models themselves,” Spinelle told HuffPost. “I hope that when they look at these images, they can see how truly powerful, inspiring, and soul-deep beautiful they really are.”

See more incredible photographs from Shameless Photography below.

shameless photography

shameless photography

shameless photography

shameless photography

shameless photography

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For Homeless Women, Getting Their Period Is One Of The Most Difficult Challenges by Eleanor Goldberg

Here is a very interesting article about the struggles of being female and homeless. These issues are rarely discussed in relation to each other but this piece offers great insight into some of the additional challenges of being a woman living on the streets.


Homeless women typically know where to find a safe place to sleep or a hot meal to eat. But when it comes to taking care of their feminine hygiene needs, they often have nowhere to turn.

Tampons and sanitary pads usually top the list of needs at shelters, since they’re pricey and supporters don’t often donate them, social workers told Al Jazeera. Compounding the issue is the fact that clean showers are also scarce, and not washing during menstruation can lead to infections.

It’s a desperate situation that many homeless women feel resigned to accept.

“I’ll never be clean,” a young woman living on the streets of San Francisco once told Doniece Sandoval, the entrepreneur behind Lava Mae, a mobile shower program, according to Nation Swell.

Maribel Guillet, 36, is all too familiar with that despondent feeling.

Guillet, who lives in a Bronx, New York, homeless shelter, typically menstruates for about 10 days and experiences heavy bleeding, she told Al Jazeera. But because of the shelter’s strict restrictions, she can’t always use the restroom as often as she needs to.

The fact that menstruation is a taboo topic to begin with, means that people who are able help, often aren’t even aware that such a vast need exists.

While donating clothes to a homeless day center in Camden, New Jersey, back in 2009, Joanie Balderstone and her partner, Rebecca McIntire, asked the women there what else they really needed.

The overwhelming consensus was pads and tampons, the couple wrote on their organization’s website.

That interaction is what spurred the pair to found Distributing Dignity, a nonprofit that donates bras and feminine hygiene products to women in need.

A few months later, they hosted their first “Mardi Bra” party, according to
Guests donated 80 new bras and hundreds of feminine products that the founders distributed to shelters in Camden.

They’ve since expanded to help shelters throughout South Jersey and Philadelphia.

Gaining access to such an everyday item has proved to be invaluable to the women Distributing Dignity helps.

When residents at Camden County Women’s Center, which supports survivors of domestic abuse, recently got shipment of sanitary napkins, they were thrilled to see that the box contained pads of varying sizes.

“It sounds silly,” Jeen Moncayo, a case worker at the center, told“but the choice is empowering.”

See how you can help at Distributing Dignity.

Article Source:

My Story of Depression, Culture and Community by Giovannah Philippeaux

It makes me angry sometimes when I think of the pain, loneliness, sadness, and frustration that come with closeted depression. I am a 28-year-old Caribbean-American female from a deeply-religious family. Depression, therapy, and help are not topics of discussion. My family did the best they could, but like in many Caribbean and African-American families, the symptoms and afflictions of depression were never addressed. At best, you get prayed over or, in my case, you get offered the option of an exorcism.

As I look back on my life, I realize that I began to show signs of depression at an early age. At school, I was failing nearly every subject. Outside of school, I would spend days and weekends in my darkened room playing with matches while lying on my bed. Things reached their worst when I began taking classroom chalk home so that I could draw on my bedroom walls. I remember this now as a clear indication of a nervous breakdown. Why was I feeling this way? I do not know, but it was real, raw, and dark. It was a step beyond pain; I had become numb.

I look back and ask: “Why was no one there for me? Why did no one reach out to me and say something, anything?” Simple: In my experience, in Caribbean and African-American cultures, depression does not exist. There is no space for this difficult conversation, and this attitude persists.

I recently shared with my father that my therapist wanted me to go on anti-depressants. His response: That I needed to be more active, to get out more. On another occasion, I revealed that I sometimes felt like I was losing my mind. His response: “Go ahead.” Yes, these comments were insensitive and ignorant, but they were not his fault. They are symptoms of a culture that continues to overlook the reality of mental illness. That, at worst, chooses to ignore the issue or, at best, chooses to pray it away. What we do not realize is that by continuing to do this, by continuing to remain silent and uninformed on the issues of depression and mental illness, we make it worse.

I wish there had been someone in my life to notice that I needed help, guidance, direction and support. I wish there had been someone there to see that I was struggling and drowning. If so, I might have gotten help much sooner. My life could have been much different.

I do not resent how my life has worked out. I do not write this to assign blame. I write this in hope that someone will read it. Someone with a child, sibling, or spouse will read it and think it is time for a very difficult conversation. Trust me: You want to have this compassionate conversation sooner rather than later, because if I had not gotten help when I did, I might not have been writing this now.

Originally posted on The Huffington Post. Yeah!!! Me on The Huffington Post…awesome.

Wanderlust Wednesday – Interesting Tourist Attractions

Found this interesting article on Huffington Post. Some of the sites are very appropriate for Halloween. The Paris Sewer Museum seems fun but Bubblegum Alley may be a touch to sticky and icky for me. Enjoy your travels and have a safe Halloween. What have been some of your strangest travel adventures? Share in the comments.


From the strange to the creepy to the gross, cities around the world have some bizarre tourist attractions.

Whether you have a love of all things odd or are looking for a break from everyday museums and monuments, these weird attractions are a must-see.

Check out some of the world’s most bizarre tourist attractions below!

Yunessun Spa Resort
yunessun spa resort
If you’ve always wanted to soak in your favorite beverage, a visit to Japan’s Hakone Kowakien Yunessun Hot Springs Amusement Park & Spa Resortis in order. Not only can you take a relaxing dip in your run-of-the-mill jacuzzis, but you can bathe in spas filled with sake, green tea, coffee or red wine.

Island Of The Dolls
xochimilco dolls

Mexico’s Isla de las Munecas is the perfect combination of creepy and flat-out weird. Dedicated to the lost soul of a young girl (creepy), the island is populated by hundreds of old, decomposing baby dolls hanging from trees (weird) — the dolls are believed to possess the soul of the dead girl. Go for the frights, and for the story.

Bubblegum Alley
bubblegum alley

Bubblegum Alley is an attraction you can be a part of. The wall of chewed bubblegum in San Luis Obispo, Calif., has been growing since the 1970s. The sticky, colorful wall is a must-see for gum chewers and those who want to ick out their germaphobe travel companions.

Avanos Hair Museum
avanos hair museum

There are some bizarre museums out there, and theAvanos Hair Museum is maybe one of the strangest in the world. A dark cavern that sits below a pottery shop, the “museum” features thousands of locks of hair.

Capuchin Catacombs
capuchin catacombs

Located in Palermo, Italy, the Capuchin Catacombs are bone-chillingly creepy. Eight thousand incredibly well-preserved mummies dressed in their finest garb line the walls of these tombs, which tourists can today stroll through. Many of the bodies are posed — making them even eerier. Avoid in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

Karni Mata Temple
karni mata temple

Deshnok, India’s Karni Mata Temple — also known as the Temple of Rats — lives up to its name. The temple is named for the Goddess Karni, who believed her family members would never die, but rather be reincarnated as rats. The temple’s rat population is treated as sacred, giving protection to the temple. If you’re not a fan of rodents, don’t fear — they’re apparently very friendly.

Paris Sewer Museum
paris sewer museum

“Paris has another Paris under herself; a Paris of sewers…” said Victor Hugo in his 1862 novel, Les Miserables, and now you, too, can hang out where the vagrants of yore passed their time. The Paris Sewer Museum takes you beneath the city and is dedicated to exploring the significance of the sewer system. History buffs will enjoy the educational experience, and everyone else will be just slightly weirded out.

Wanderlust Wednesday – Fall Festivals

Yes, fall has arrived and with it some interesting ways to spend time with your family. You could always go apple or pumpkin picking but why not try something new. Chitlins anyone?


Crisp weather and harvest season make for plenty of idyllic fall festivals — but autumnal celebrations need not focus on pumpkins, cider and hayrides alone. These fabulously out-of-the-box festivals generate passionate fans for their unique celebrations of nature and history — even if nature and history mean a surplus of biting insects or a runaway casket. Here’s where to go for some unconventional fun this fall:

Emma Crawford Coffin Races and Parade: Oct. 26, 2013

(photo: Flickr: Ancestors of Cornelius Dunham)
Back in 1889, Emma Crawford moved to the town of Manitou Springs, just outsideColorado Springs, to help her tuberculosis, but unfortunately she died. Some 40 years later, her poorly-buried coffin became unearthed and slid down a mountain into a canyon. Since 1994, the town has hosted a ghoulish parade in her honor on the weekend before Halloween, followed by a fabulously flippant race of souped-up coffins, carried by sprinting pall-bearers, and holding costumed Emmas sitting inside. Admission: Free.

Trailing of the Sheep Festival: Oct 10-13, 2013

(photo: Michael Edminster/Visit Idaho)

Sheep have outnumbered humans in Idaho for over a century, and this festival in Ketchum (about three hours east of Boise) observes the critters’ annual migration to the southern part of the state. The big event is the Sunday sheep parade, where you can follow 1,500 sheep down Ketchum’s Main Street; on other days you can watch the Championship Sheepdog Trials, dig in to lamb barbecue, and hear music from great sheep-loving nations such as Peru, Poland and the Basque region. Kids can learn about soap-making and wool-spinning, or create Christmas crafts. Admission: Free for the parade. Tickets to the sheepdog trials cost $2 per person aged 6 and up; free for kids 5 and under.

Fire Ant Festival: Oct. 11-12, 2013
About two hours east of Dallas, the town of Marshall, Texas claims to be the birthplace of boogie-woogie music — and it’s also home to plenty of pesky ants. The locals have embraced both at this annual festival, which features a lot of live music as well as a Fireant 5K, a cyclist-friendly Tour de Fireant, a costumed-ant-filled parade and a kids dancing contest.Admission: Free.
Wooly Worm Festival: Oct. 19-20, 2013

(photo: Woolly Worm Festival)

Move over, Punxsutawney Phil. For 35 years now, folks have been gathering in Banner Elk,North Carolina (about an hour and a half from Asheville), to use striped wooly worms predict the upcoming winter’s temperatures and compete for a cash prize of $1,000. These caterpillars have 13 stripes, and a season has 13 weeks; you lay odds on each week to correspond with each stripe. Aside from submitting predictions, you can enjoy fall foods and live entertainment — or enter the wooly worm races, picking your favorite worm as it climbs a string (which the festival website describes as “so indisputably ridiculous that it is completely liberating!”). Admission: $5 for adults; $2 for kids ages 5-12; free for kids 4 and under.

The Chitlin Strut: Nov. 30, 2013
Now in its 48th year, this annual festival celebrating fried chitlins—and always on the Saturday after Thanksgiving — was reportedly first created when the small town of Salley,South Carolina, needed to raise money for Christmas lights. Today, it’s a compelling antidote to turkey leftovers and Black Friday sales. Aside sampling the boiled or fried pig intestines, you can go on carnival rides, take part in “Strut Idol” or hog-calling contests, or visit with Santa, who perhaps knows how to put away a few chitlins himself. Admission:Idol contestants: $5 for adults, $3 for kids ages 5- 11, and free for kids 4 and under.

Katrina Brown Hunt contributed this to


Wanderlust Wednesday – 5 Exceptional October Getaways

Found this great article on Huffington Post travel about the best places to visit in the US this October. Now if we could all just get the whole month off. Enjoy and Happy Travels.

What are your fall travel plans? Share in the comments.


With the arrival of autumn, many destinations enter the sweet shoulder season of lower prices and tamer temperatures. Here are five places that make for an outstanding October escape.

Williamsburg, Virginia 

(photo: Williamsburg Destination Marketing Committee)

After Williamsburg‘s long, sweltering summer comes an absolutely gorgeous fall, with ideal sightseeing temperatures, thinner crowds, and foliage that explodes in a riot of gold, orange, and scarlet. Hotels are less pricey now, too.

Aspen, Colorado

(photo: Flickr: USDAgov)

Every autumn the aspens put on a stunning show for Coloradans, splattering Rocky mountainsides with dollops of vibrant ocher. One of the state’s most beautiful drives is Maroon Creek Road, just southwest of Aspen, which rewards in early October with glorious views of the 14,000-foot Maroon Bells.

Kansas City, Missouri 

(photo: American Royal)

Those looking for a true taste of the Midwest will find it right now in Kansas City, where the two-and-a-half-month American Royal extravaganza is already underway, celebrating heartland heritage with pageants, rodeos, parades and the wildly popular World Series of BBQ (Oct. 3-6, 2013).
San Diego, California

(photo: San Diego Tourism Authority)

While many would argue that San Diego‘s near-perfect climate makes it a good bet any time of year, families have an added reason to visit during this month’s city-wide Kidvasionpromotion. Throughout October, kids eat, stay and play for free at over 100 participating partners in San Diego, with many offers for free admission for kids to top museums and theme parks such as Legoland and SeaWorld.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

(photo: Outer Banks Visitors Bureau)

Locals are adamant that fall is the optimal time to visit the OBX. After all, the weather on these barrier islands stays mild until the end of December, summer crowds are long gone, and the winds have picked up for superb windsurfing and kiteboarding.

Suzanne Rowan Kelleher contributed this to