Self-Love Advocacy

Meet Hil the Thrill!

It’s time for another interview with one of the Women That I Admire!  I’m so pleased to introduce you to Hil (of Hil the Thrill), aka the Lucy to my Ethel.  Hil and I have been friends for …gosh…10 years now?!  We initially connected over shared experiences and realized that we were in kindred spirits in so many ways.  If I could build a tiny village for all of the people I love to live near me, Hil would certainly be across the street.

What I admire about Hil is her strength, her humor, and her dedication to her family.  She has overcame so many hardships to raise her two beautiful daughters into fun, beautiful, free spirits. Hil herself is a free spirit, an artist and a writer with a HUGE heart.  Did I mention that she is an artist?  She paints whimsical nature inspired paintings that perfectly capture her spirit.  Okay, okay, on to the interview:

NAME  Hil Eldridge “Hil The Thrill”

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AGE, HOMETOWN, OCCUPATION

35, Rednecktopia, Pa., Artist/Farmer’s Wife

ONE WEIRD FACT ABOUT YOU

I paint with both hands at the same time. The paint is in my left hand and a wet brush is in my right.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VINTAGE STYLE

Edwardian. I’m dying for turbans with feathers to come back. I’m not kidding.

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WHO WAS YOUR FIST STYLE ICON?

Punky Brewster *

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WHO IS YOUR CURRENT INSPIRATION?

So many! Probably the biggest inspiration to me currently is the environment around me in rural Pennsylvania. I use my iPhone to take pictures every day, and this trains me to constantly be in the lookout for the beauty around me.

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HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?

Post industrial utilitarian
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WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU LOVE ABOUT YOURSELF?

I love my hands because they can do so many things!

DO YOU HAVE A SELF-LOVE MOMENT TO SHARE WITH US?

I used to entirely live my life based on “what needed to be done,” regardless of how I felt, or what I liked, or needed. In this manner, I built for myself a “suitable” life, but not a juicy, joyful, passionate one. I became extremely ill with an autoimmune disease that took years to diagnose. I was depressed, in pain, and could not work. I had my affairs in order and I was ready to die.

At age 35, I began taking myself to the lake, and putting my ill, plus-sized body into a bikini for the first time in my life. I wasn’t there for an outing with the kids, or to accomplish anything for any one. I was really just there for my own enjoyment, my own oneness, my own quiet. I found myself coming back day after day, alone, while my daughters were at school. So decadent! And also, so free! This became a pivotal moment in changing my worldview.

I learned that “juiciness” is necessary for my health. You can eat right, exercise, have a full career, a balanced family life, and an organized sock drawer, but that electricity, that beauty, that connection to nature and the universe is BASIC. Without it, I was literally dying. The autoimmune disease was only the modality of my near death. The lack of “juiciness” was the reason for my near death.
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WHAT IS THE ONE THING THAT YOU REALLY SPLURGE ON FOR YOURSELF?

Time. I give myself and others time. When my kids were small, I went through a horrific marriage and divorce. I decided that I would be rich in time, for my kids and for myself. I work hard to make more time.

i just LOVE this answer and this is part of why I admire Hil so much! For me, when I think of splurging, I immediately list the items I purchase for myself, but she just doesn’t think in those terms.

WHAT IS ONE WAY THAT YOU WORK TO IMPROVE YOURSELF?

I discovered, through meditation at the age of fifteen, that the three pillars of life for me would be Art, Nature, and Spirituality. When I want to improve myself, I go towards one of those three things. I also love a good “Infinite Waters” YouTube video, where he says,”Breathe in that good ass PRANA!!!!”

HOW DO YOU PRACTICE DAILY SELF-CARE?

Coconut oil, Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar, Tumeric Tea, Kombacha, and throwing the ball for my dogs.
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Paintings By Hil Eldridge
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Find out more about Hil at:
Hilthethrill.wordpress.com
Or Instagram Hilthethrill
Or Facebook Hil Eldridge
Ask about custom painted canvas shoes!

Meet the Model: Megan

MEET: Megan Dawes

Megan is a dear friend of mine and is sweet enough to model some of my vintage wares from time to time. She is the owner of The Victory Parlor, an absolutely adorable little shop in downtown Herrin, Illinois, as well as one of the cosmetologists there.   One of my favorite things about Meg is her infectious optimism and sense of humor.  Meg is one of those people that is full of love and happiness at all times and it’s hard to resist her enthusiasm and laughter.  Not only is Meg a total sweetheart – she runs a business (which I’m learning is no easy feat) and has been cosmetologist and self-love advocate for six years, and she’s only 24-years old! Not to mention, she’s the only person that my extremely picky 15-year-old will allow to touch her hair!

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Occupation
Salon owner and cosmetologist at The Victory Parlor.

What is your favorite vintage style?

I love 1940’s pinup style.

Who was your first style icon?
Audrey Hepburn!

Who is your current inspiration?

Joan Jett!

How would you describe your personal style?

A mix of several different eras with my own twist.

What is something that you love about yourself?

I’m very ambitious! I set goals and then I make it happen.

Do you have a self-love moment to share with us?

Opening my own salon when I was only 23! It was a lot of hard work, but I knew it was what I wanted to do so I put in the work that was needed. It has been very rewarding.

What is the one thing that you really splurge on for yourself?

Whatever catches my eye! It could be clothing, jewelry, or food. I like rewarding myself for my hard work.

What is one way that you work to improve yourself?

Yoga was new territory for me and truly changed how I viewed my health. It’s an excellent way to keep stress down and to clear my head.

How do you practice daily self-care?

Most days at work, you’ll catch me in something cute and comfy without any makeup on. I think it’s extremely important working in my industry to show women that you don’t have to look like a barbie all of the time.

How do you help other women to embrace their own self-love?

I have been a licensed cosmetologist for going on six years. I’ve performed everything from makeup applications, to waxing, to hair transformations, to nails over the years. Opening my shop up has allowed me to reach out to individuals that are going through a struggle, which is my favorite way to help. We are always donating services to charity events and to those who really need a pick-me-up, regardless if money is an issue or not. The most rewarding feeling is bringing a smile to someone’s face and watching their confidence when they feel and look good.

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Style Inspiration – Katharine Hepburn

Katharine-Hepburn-Quotes

One of my all-time favorite style icons is Katharine Hepburn.  Not only was she smart, independent, sassy, and funny – this woman OWNED her style.  During the 40’s and 50’s women primarily wore dresses and overtly feminine clothing.  Not Katharine.  She wore men’s suits with playful little twists, button down shirts tucked into high waisted pants, and loafers.  Oh, the loafers!!  I love her look.

Not to mention, she was stunningly gorgeous.  She stayed beautiful until the end of her life.

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AND she could preach some self-love, let me tell you.  She was unabashedly, totally and completely, all about loving yourself and following your heart.

Yes, yes, and yes.

Want to copy Katharine’s look?  A white oxford shirt, high waisted slacks, and a pair of Eastland loafers are all it takes to be effortlessly cool and gorgeous.  Try to stick to classic cuts that flatter your figure, don’t be afraid to shop in the men’s section, and avoid low cut blouses. It just wasn’t her style ;).

Meet GeekBetty

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MEET: SELF-LOVE ADVOCATE GEEK-BETTY

AGE, OCCUPATION, ETC
Hi!  I’m the woman behind the blog, occasional model of vintage items (when I can’t talk someone else into modeling for me haha), lover of all things vintage and vintage inspired, and messy life guru.

This is me:


FAVORITE VINTAGE STYLE

I love the 40’s and 50’s for their feminine silhouettes and patterns.  Dresses from the 30’s have really unique patterns, as women had to improvise and make clothing out of material they may not have used prior to the Great Depression.

FIRST STYLE ICON

I was in high school in the ’90’s so the first fashion icon that I can remember was Gwen Stefani of No Doubt and Drew Barrymore.

I wasn’t ever as “showy” with my body as Gwen Stefani was – no belly shirts or anything like that.  Even back then, I bought almost my entire wardrobe from thrift shops.  I worked at Montgomery Ward (when it was still a thing :/) and was required to wear “career casual” clothing, so I was a big fan of black and white. I could easily throw on sweaters, button downs, and trousers as long as they were in monochrome colors.  I also had every haircolor imaginable when I was younger.

I loved Drew Barrymore times a thousand back then.  She had such a fun, free spirited fashion sense, mixed with a bad girl “fuck ya”feel that I highly identified with.

I bleached my hair to death trying to get her hair.  It was never quite “Drew” standards, but I didn’t care.  I have always had my own sense of style.  It didn’t matter what was popular or fashionable.  I never could afford name brand items (or when I could afford it, I didn’t see the point in spending that much for a logo).  I thrifted, mixed, matched, and wore whatever I felt like.  I didn’t care what other people thought of me …. okay, so I still don’t worry overly much about others’ opinions haha.

Me, in high school, the first time I ever cared about clothing:

As you can see, I wasn’t exactly stylish!  And look at my poor bleached hair.  Oy vay.  I can’t advocate enough for people to wear what they like and love and to wear it with panache!

CURRENT INSPIRATION

In life?  Sally Ride, Jane Goodall, Margaret Mead, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  Style?  Haley Atwell as Agent Carter from the Captain America movies.  This is a pretty great post about Agent Carter’s style.

DESCRIBE MY PERSONAL STYLE

I’d say my personal style is pretty eclectic.  I do love vintage clothing, and I adore dresses.  There’s a secret to why I wear so many dresses, though – I’m lazy!  Seriously.  With a dress, you don’t have to match anything.  Just throw it on and viola! instant outfit.  As I get older, I find myself wearing simple clothing on a daily basis: jeans, tees, cardigans, etc.  I still try to infuse my own personal sense of style into my everyday wear.  I love patterns and bright colors. Wait, and dark colors. And neutrals.  Okay, I love it all.

SOMETHING I LOVE ABOUT MYSELF

I’m strong.  Not physically.  I can’t even open a pickle jar.  I’m more of the survive a ton of crap and come out mostly unscathed type of strong.

MY SELF-LOVE MOMENT

Okay, so here’s where I’m going to get a little serious.  Maybe too serious for some of you.  I promised myself to keep this blog a little lighter and less personal than my previous blogs, but forgive me this one time.

When I was younger, I didn’t love myself.  I didn’t LIKE myself.  I didn’t value who I was and what I had to offer. I had spent my entire life believing that I didn’t deserve love.  As a result, I surrounded myself with people that also didn’t value or love me.  I had a ….rough…childhood.  I struggled with interpersonal relationships through my teens and twenties.  I never looked in the mirror and liked what I saw. I never thought I was worthy of a good job, a nice house, etc.  This type of self-loathing poisoned my every interaction.

When I was thirty years old, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  It was the first time I’d seen the doctor in years; I’d only made the appointment because I’d made a New Year’s Resolution to take better care of myself.  At first, I didn’t believe them. I mean, when they called to tell me at work, I said “whhhhhaaaaaatttt?????” and hung up.  AND DIDN’T CALL THEM BACK.  Seriously, they had to call me twenty minutes later, confused.  I was in total disbelief.

I spent the next year undergoing radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery, and countless doctor’s visits.  I was angry the entire time and felt sorry for myself.  “It isn’t fair,” I bemoaned, “why me?!”  Even then, in the middle of life-saving treatment, I didn’t love myself and my body enough to take proper care of myself.  I ate McDonalds every day (sometimes two times a day).  I didn’t get enough sleep.  I stayed out late drinking every night.  I didn’t take the medication that was prescribed, I didn’t trust anyone to help me and carried all of the stress myself.  I was a big ole mess.

Fast forward to the end of chemo.  The doctor gave me good news.  I went home and went straight to bed after work.  I couldn’t sleep so I just laid there and worried.  After a few hours of this, the worries sort of tapered into silence and I found myself listening to my body.  Really listening to it.  Maybe for the first time in my entire life.  Feeling air as it lifted my lungs, imagining that I could feel blood flow through my veins, hairs were presences on my body that I could count and name, every wrinkle suddenly shouted it’s origin story – “remember how much you laughed when you hung out with so and so? These crow’s feet by your left eye are an ode to that gal” and “you worry so much, that’s why I’m here in between your brows, a constant indentation where your scowl lives”.  I don’t know why it hit me at that moment, this awareness of my self  and my body, but it hit me like a truck.  Mowed me down.  Crushed me.  I realized that I liked many things about myself that I had never taken the time to think about before.

I didn’t hate my body – it was a machine that would carry me through this life.  It was the ONLY thing that would carry me through this life.  How COULD I hate it?  It was doing it’s job.  It needed my love and my help.  It was the only body I would ever have.  I was the ONLY ME that I would ever have.  How could I hate myself?  I COULD CHANGE the things that I genuinely didn’t like about myself and make a better “me”.

I know, I know, it sounds cliche and overly dramatic.  Hey, what can I say? I’m a cliche and overly dramatic type of gal.

Anyway, I didn’t just wake up the next day and love myself.  It took years of work, therapy (eek), loads of self-help books and articles, and constant reminders to myself to be nice, be good, be gentle, and never stop evolving.  I don’t ever think that someone is “better” than me anymore. I no longer question my worth. I recognize that I’m really great at some things and preeeettttty terrible at other things.  I may not be the hottest girl in any room, yet I’m not the ugliest either.  I’ve made a few mistakes, but I’ve also knocked it out of the ballpark more than once!  I LIKE myself finally and it feels wonderful.

MY ONE SPLURGE FOR MYSELF

Skin care products!

ONE WAY THAT I WORK TO IMPROVE MYSELF

I’m a work-in-progress. Every day is one step forward, sometimes two steps back, three steps forward again.  I read quite a few books about self-improvement, self-love, and self-care.  If I feel ignorant about a subject, I make it a point to go learn about it. I am very aware of my faults and my flaws and I am never satisfied with them. I don’t excuse my behavior by blaming my past.  I attempt to fix it.

HOW I PRACTICE DAILY SELF-CARE

I take the looooongest showers imaginable.  It’s my time to think and feel and from time to time cry.  It’s “me” time every day.

HOW I HELP OTHER WOMEN TO EMBRACE THEIR OWN SELF-LOVE

I’m hoping to help with self-care and self-love tips, articles, blog posts, and interviews with badass women that I know.  I can’t wait to share some of the interviews with all of you!

The most important rule of all: LOVE THYSELF

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There’s a new movement toward self-care and self-love in recent years that I find extraordinarily uplifting.  There’s one rule that I wish everyone everywhere would embrace:  LOVE THYSELF.  Second, but close to that, is love others.

What, exactly, is self-care?  Self-care is simply recognizing your needs and addressing them.  This is more of a challenge than it sounds for many people, but most especially it seems to be a problem for women.  I know so many amazing women that are so busy juggling families or careers or art or relationships or a combination of any or all of the above, that they forget to take a few minutes to address their own needs.

Most articles that I’ve read address self-care and self-love as if they are two entirely different ideas.  To me, however, they are one and the same.  If you don’t love yourself, you won’t take time to care for yourself.  If you care for yourself properly, you’ll experience more self-love.

Self-love does not mean narcissism.  Narcissism is an inordinate fascination with oneself, an excessive love of self.  I’m not encouraging that at all.  I’m encouraging you to LOVE and LIKE yourself.  These are key components in every intrapersonal relationship that you have.  If you can’t like yourself fully, you can’t expect your partner, or your children, or your boss to.  Confidence is truly beautiful and a person that likes him or herself will exude confidence.  Life’s little and big challenges are easier to tackle when you have confidence in yourself.  Rejection is easier to handle.  Everything in life is easier when you like yourself. I cannot preach this concept enough – it is vital to take time to really, really love yourself.

Let me step down from my soapbox for a moment here….I get it, it’s not easy to love yourself all of the time.  You don’t just wake up one day and say “Eureka, I love myself in every way!!”.  Self-love is a daily process, a work in progress.  That’s why self-care is so vital.  Daily self-care routines are the building blocks upon which self-love is built.

One of the features that I’m the most excited about working on for this blog is “Self-Love Advocacy“.  I will be your personal self-love advocate and cheerleader.  We will learn about, practice, and preach self-love together.  Every week, I will share interviews with other self-care advocates and inspirational women that have motivated and inspired me in my personal life.  I will share tips and ideas for self-care.  I will host giveaways for self-care products.  I will share my own struggle and journey toward self-love.  I’m so excited to be going on this journey with y’all!

Please, email me (geekbettyvintage@gmail.com) or comment with any requests of features that you’d like to see, your own story, or self-care tips that you might have!