Category Archives: Uncategorized

When getting the F*ck to sleep isn’t that easy.

I don’t know about you but falling asleep is just about impossible for me, even since I was a kid. It’s like there is a switch on my pillow that puts my brain into overdrive and I. Can’t. Stop. Thinking. This sleep onset insomnia sometimes lasts for hours.

Turns out brain injuries need sleep to heal so I needed to get serious about the zzzs.

Now I wear blue-blocking glasses at night (Uvex safety-style, trés chic!), as blue light has been shown to interfere with our sleep cycles (& it can trigger migraines for me lately).

I avoid anything stimulating after 8pm. From chocolate to interesting podcasts/TV or even washing my face, I do it before 8pm or I skip it.  (For the face wash obsessed: yes, I at least do an oil cleanse to wipe makeup off with a tissue.)

I listen to soothing music.  I’ve always been a jazz fan so listening to Tim Tamashiro’s Tonic on CBC is a treat.  (nightly at 8pm on CBC Radio2 or free streaming anytime here. Also a free app on iTunes.)  Tim says there is thinky jazz or drinky jazz.  Tonic is drinky jazz.

Speaking of booze… red wine or a cocktail works – sort of. The alcohol relaxes me but then the sugar rush kicks in later and is counterproductive to sleep.

Even with a wind-down routine, I still need help getting the brain to slooow down once my head hits the pillow.

I rotate between these to help me go the f&ck to sleep! I can’t listen to the same one every night or my brain tunes it out and it generally doesn’t work. (sigh)

  • Bone-melting relaxation in this yoga nidra session.
  • Drift off to sleep self-hypnosis, as recommended by FR staffer Sho
  • White noise app by TM Soft (free on iTunes). I like the campfire one.
  • I have a ~20YO guided meditation CD from Puja Thompson’s Roots & Wings series. It isn’t this one but same idea: a lovely voice giving my brain something else to do other than think.

If I’m already wired at bedtime, I listen to a half-hour of an audiobook (since I still can’t do a lot of reading) and then listen to one of the above.

Yep.  It is a frigging process for me to get to sleep.  Worse – the more tired I am, the harder it is for me to get to sleep.  That tired/wired thing we all know and hate.

Please share if you’ve got any good sleep hacks!  I can always use fresh ideas to add to the rotation.

Head Case

Detour Sign

Sometimes life takes an unexpected detour.

I’m still a head case.

It has been more than 15 months since the nausea, feeling off-balance and headaches arrived. All of a sudden I felt hung over without having partaken the previous day in September 2015.

The hangover feeling persisted for a few days.  I was told it was something viral, probably in my inner ear and I’d be fine in a couple of weeks.

Multiple doctors (family, walk-in, neurologist, otolaryngologist), several therapists (physio, occupational, osteo), alternatives (acupuncture, massage, bodytalk, herbs & vitamins) four cortisone shots to my spine, x-rays and an MRI later, I still have no firm diagnosis.

One suspicion is vestibular migraine (often nausea & loss of balance, with or without head pain), another is post-concussion syndrome (as I had hit my head just over a week before, hard enough to make it bleed.)

I was slowly improving until, of course, I hit my head (again) and concussed myself in early July 2016. The prognosis is that I should make a full recovery… eventually.  I “should” have been well along to recovery but I’m stalled.

Lights (including computer & TV screens, the power on indicator on the cable box) , noise and movement still all bother me. They can trigger nausea, facial numbness, fatigue, loss of balance, tension headaches, and/or ocular migraines.

I can’t really leave the house without help.  I can’t:

  • Go for a walk.  Not around the block, even making our king size bed makes me nauseous.
  • Drive.  Turning my head left-right produces nausea, even moving cookies from the cookie sheet to the plate so driving is out. I mostly keep my eyes closed in a moving car, except for certain people (you know who you are).
  • Be in a store for more than 10-15 minutes, depending on brightness, noise and visual clutter.
  • Go to a bright, noisy &/or busy restaurant.
  • Work on a computer for more than 15-20 minutes at a time, maybe 5x a day.
  • Reading is maybe 5 minute intervals, depending on text size and content complexity.

I’m trying everything I can to get back to full health!  Unfortunately, the biggest thing is rest.  As in at least 10-15 minutes of closed eyes rest PER HOUR.

That puts a big wrench in the small business operations where I’m the boss, to say the least.  So Front Room remains on indefinite pause while I unscramble my brains.

I’m actually really positive and happy to be able to do all the things I can do. Sure, I get frustrated at times when simple tasks are too taxing and I’m now weak as a kitten from sitting all the time!  But I’m at home spending time listening to podcasts and audiobooks, able to cook (something I really enjoy) and generally take care of myself (exercise notwithstanding).  My aunt passed away from ALS just over two years ago so that perspective makes me very grateful for my mobility and activity, diminished as it is – it is Olympian in comparison.

That’s the report from the front lines of Front Room.  Thanks for your support!

I wish us all an abundantly healthy and prosperous 2017.

To your success,
Melanie Love
Founder & CEO

Meet the DD + Double Agent Dress

I believe my job at Front Room is this:

Make stuff you want & Deliver it how you want it.

To tackle the first part I envisioned a co-creation model where Front Room’s design team would create boob-friendly concepts, present them to you and you would tell us if you liked it and comment on what tweaks you’d suggest, essentially playing designer with us. In exchange, we’d offer a great deal on pre-purchasing. Win/Win!

This helps us plan production, ensures you have a say: “I *hate* that print!” “Love the red.” “Can it have sleeves?” “More sizes please!” and you get rewarded for speaking up.

Turns out a platform to do this exists (*Betabrand, read more below) and I’ve submitted a design to see how you like it. My submission is also part of a contest – most votes by March 23rd wins a spot on the runway at San Francisco Fashion week (free trip & amazing press!!).

Meet the Double Agent Dress:

DoubleAgentDressThis little black dress for DD+ creates 10 different looks with removable and interchangeable asymmetrical peplum options: A small and a large peplum in the same fabric as the dress, a small sequin peplum and a large silk peplum.

Like it? Click here to Vote for the Double Agent Dress for DD+

To your success,
Melanie & Front Room HQ

*About BetaBrand: it is a unique website that works by having designers submit designs, people vote and when there are enough votes, the product goes to crowdfunding for production.
People who vote get first dibs on the best deals in the crowdfunding phase to say Thanks! (& get first delivery of the goods). A great deal for helping the design and production planning process along = win/win.

Packing Solutions for Large Boobs

I hit the road this month for meetings, and to attend SheEO’s Purple Carpet event celebrating the final five funded ventures.

Work travel with an event thrown in is a challenge for any woman. When you’re a #fullbust IMG_1403#womeninbiz it can be harrowing. What happens if you lose your luggage (because of course you pack your PERFECT BRA!!) or spill something? Its not like we can just hit the mall and replace it!

Here’s a photo of me in the best (of the worst) white blouse from 15+ tried on the mall. I would feel very self-conscious wearing this to meetings! (& can someone please explain WTF those pockets are for??)

Here’s what I packed to make sure I’m covered for this trip:PackingPicFramed
1. Packable Puffer
2. Black Peplum Top – comfy as a sweatshirt with way more polish.
3. White Silk Utility Shirt – dress it up or down
4. Patterned Sheath Dress – zip up & go!
5. Dark Denim
6. Dark Trousers
7. Pencil Skirt
+ 3 pairs of great shoes
= at least 7 different outfits for casual, corporate and cocktails in a carry-on. Accessories give even more looks.
I wore my long coat on the plane to reduce bulk & keep warm on the usually freezing plane.

I use these awesome GoToob refillable bottles for my liquids. They’re silicone, come in different sizes, are TSA-approved and have never leaked.

What do you pack? Share your work travel essentials with us on Facebook or Twitter.

PS The patterned sheath dress is still on sale but only til Feb 29th. Get yours here!

To your success,
Melanie & Front Room HQ

Spread the Love

Hello gorgeous,
Did you know the founder of Front Room is Melanie LOVE?  That’s me.

After spelling out my maiden name (van den Berge) thousands of times and having to argue that van den are NOT middle names to board an plane or find my confirmed hotel reservation… it was a pretty easy choice.

Besides, awesome last name!  Even gun-toting NYC airport security guards give me a cheesy grin, hubba-hubba eyebrow-raise and say Melanie Loooove. Nobody says Love.  They say Loooove.

The last name Love comes with a decision about this time of year.  Despite being married on February 14th (true story), neither me or the Mister are pro V-day.  It is simply February the 14th in our house.

Far from being romantic Grinches, we feel that the appreciation and effort should happen year-round.   That the best romances are often ones where partners exist back to back looking out into the world; where each partner has a solid group of outside interests and friends, who also deserve our effort and appreciation.

When we were kids, we gave feel-good Valentines to all of our friends, our teacher, our family and to our special sweetie. We can get behind that!  Go old-school, spread the love. Celebrate Gal-entines, Pal-entines, and every other Valentine in your world!
Love,
Melanie

101 Swim Options for DD+

Planning a winter getaway or to show off your strong, curvaceous bod this summer?

You’re SO looking forward to it until, ugh, the dreaded search for swimwear that fit the girls.

#BigBoobProbs solved!  

We’ve put together DD+ boob-friendly resources for you.  Check out our Pinterest boards for swim and sundress options to actually look forward to. Many of the swim options come in a range of sizes, from backs 28 and 30 to 42 and some to N cups.  Just don’t risk packing them in your suitcase!

To your fabulous bod,
Melanie & Front Room HQ

Checking in with our Goals

The turn of a new year is a great time to check in and realign our goals. Hands down, one of the best tools for setting goals and weeding out the unimportant is Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map.

Danielle turns traditional goal setting on its head and asks us to figure out how we want to feel most of the time (safe, badass, powerful, brave, joy, peaceful, etc.). Then, and only then, can we decide what things we want to be, do and have that will bring us those emotions most of the time.

This powerful tool for self-connection helps us walk a more authentic path, aligned with our heart’s desires instead of what society says we “should” do, be, have or want.

Whatever those things are, research shows that it is our relationships, our deep connections to others that pack the most impact on our long-term happiness. Women are luckier than men in this regard, we seem to have both an instinctual ability and societal permission to be open and connect on an emotional level.

We women have no problem dishing on deeply intimate issues, but do you know how much your friends make? The last time they asked for a raise? This oft-taboo topic for women means we’re probably leaving money on the table. If we start having open discussions about salaries, bonuses and other perks, this intel can be used to help level the playing field, eradicate the wage gap and ensure we earn our worth.

To your success,
Melanie & Front Room HQ

Dreaming of a Perfect Holiday?

Dreaming of a Perfect HOliday

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is easy to get sucked into the quicksand of “perfect” at this time of year. As a recovering perfectionist I have to be vigilant about superwoman syndrome* at the holidays.

Whether it is the near-constant media pressure to pick out the perfect gift, have the picture-perfect family holiday or setting our intentions for a flawless 2016, expectations of ourselves and others are high.

We also compare ourselves to our past and to others while taking stock of the year. This process can degrade from constructive evaluation to beating ourselves up pretty quickly, increasing the pressure to up our game.

It is easy to get derailed in doing more and more to quell the fears that we’re falling short or worse, failing entirely.

Here’s how I get a grip:

Stop. Comparing. It is a well-documented fact that happiness is relative – we’re happy with what we have until we see that somebody has more, then somehow we’re less happy. One of the best cures is gratitude. When I get nitty-gritty about gratitude and my stress melts like snowflakes on my tongue.

Play by my own rules, not what society dictates I “should” do. Come back to your core priorities, the ways you want to feel most of the time (great tool : the Desire Map workbook by Danielle LaPorte, free in December). If what you’re stressing about acing isn’t one of those 3-5 things and doesn’t serve you in getting there, ditch it. If you can’t bail, do it justice and move on.

Practice the art of saying no, politely and with integrity (no white lies). Thanks to Marie Forleo for this gem from Bob Burg who dishes on how NOT to say no, along with his script for declining with class.

I hope you can pause during the holidays to gently redirect, recharge and fully absorb how much you accomplished this year.

All the best for a wonderful holiday, whatever your wonderful is.
To your success,
Melanie
Founder & CEO
Front Room

*You know… the superwoman who can do it all without breaking a sweat! Make the from-scratch allergy-free** four-course meal plus allergy-free cookies, treats and snacks; evaluate the business and get the upcoming years’ strategic plan done; find the just-right hostess gifts to go to the parties with the great hair, makeup, manicure, outfit and shoes; remember my networking tips because at heart I’m an introvert and homebody; make sure the wrapping paper doesn’t clash with the tree décor because I’m a bit neurotic that way; read  and apply all those books I’ve been meaning to read to grow my business… on and on.

** I’m trying to figure out if I have food allergies or possibly an auto-immune condition.  I am allergic to corn for sure and currently avoiding gluten and nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, etc.)  Turns out corn is in pretty much everything, including gluten-free foods (corn is gluten free) and baked goods (most baking powder has cornstarch in it).

Tag! #Fail #FrontRoom #NotPorn

We need help…. Front Room clothing was created as a solution for you: a busty professional woman who couldn’t find clothing to fit your curves – all of them. Your big boobs, torso, waist and tush.Instagram #FAIL #theRPMProject #FrontRoom(1)

See all the key words in that sentence? Busty. Full bust. Curves. Boobs. They all make sense and are decidedly #notporn when we’re talking about our wardrobe essentials.

But when we describe these attributes online using hashtags, the search engines lose the context and turn your clothing solution into adult material.  (Google penalizes adult content, either removing the offending site from the search results or putting them waaaay at the back.)

We’re in luck!  We’re one of ten finalists to win up to $25,000 of professional marketing support from the William Joseph Agency.

You can help us lead from the front by Tweeting or re-Tweeting posts with tags #FrontRoom AND #TheRPMProject or simply by by clicking on the link on our site .  Each one counts as a vote for us (until October 21st).

We want your suggestions for a hashtag we full-busted professional women could own.  Why bother? Hashtags make it easier to find more content relevant to us (and less of what isn’t).  What should we call our segment of the big boob club?

With your suggestions and their marketing help, we could make sure that we reach all the ladies out there who need #uppermanagement (see, we really do need marketing help…)

Send us your ideas:

@morefrontroom
great.ideas@morefrontroom.com
#morefrontroom

Here’s to taking over the world!
Sho & Front Room HQ