Days One and Two Of The Portland Mini-Speaking Trip

I’m currently in Portland for a mini speaking tour, and I’m having a fabulous time so far!

Day 1:

I arrived in the afternoon and it was COLD (that will be a continuing theme.) It’s also beautiful – Portland is basically made out of woods – like, you can trip off a curb and you fall into the woods. Regular readers know that I’m a pretty indoorsy person generally, but I’m more outdoorsy in situations where there are beautiful wooded areas, and it’s not 6,000 degrees like it seems to be all the time at home.

I got to start my trip having dinner with the amazing Allisa Sobo, of which is like Yelp for marginalized bodies – an intersectional, international review site that helps people find establishments of all kinds (from restaurants, to theaters, to doctors) that accommodate marginalized bodies. I’m beyond excited about the project and want to work more with her on it.  We had such a great, deep conversation about Ample, and fat activism in general.

I packed up my possible outfits for my photoshoot and went through the PowerPoint for my talk and went to bed under many, many blankets.

Day 2:

Woke up early and got ready for the photoshoot which meant hair and make-up. Met up with the amazing Lindley Ashline from Sweet Amaranth Photography who scheduled this photoshoot with me even though the subscriptions for her Body Love Box launched today! She was already all organized and we went through the possible shoot locations and looks and decided to start at the Rhododendron Garden.

To say it was stunningly beautiful is to understate it. To say that it was freezing cold is probably technically overstating, but maybe not if we make a rule for people from Southern California and Austin. My first look was a dress and Lindley was amazing and supportive, both in the body positivity of her approach, and in her willingness to let me cover anything that wasn’t in the shot with my coat to try to stay as warm as possible, meanwhile, I tried to smize through the shivering. Highlights of the first location included picking my way along stepping stones so that I could get closer to a waterfall (successfully avoiding plunging my feet into freezing cold water!), balancing and turning around on a rock that was not nearly as flat as it looked, and a whole lotta ducks.

Here are a few of my decidedly unprofessional pictures of the first site!

For our next location we chose a place with no actual address and with “directions” that include looking for a “weird cedar tree. But Lindley found it like a pro and we went up. It was absolutely beautiful. It was justs a few yards (and one muddy embankment!) from the highway and it felt like we were deep in the woods. We did a couple different outfits and some really fun poses making use of a chair that’s there, and then lying down on stone. (I got nature in my hair, but I’m ok now.) Lindley was again super amazing in her understanding of how to work with a fat body, in her unending positivity about working with me and my fat body, and in being entertaining and hilarious even as she too was freezing and setting up shots and dragging equipment around. The shoot was fun and body affirming and did I mention fun?  #PretendModel

Here’s the second location from the view of my phone!

Here’s a sneak peek from the shoot –  a fun shot, completely rough and unretouched!

Lindley Ashline Shoot Preview Picture

Then it was off to Jan’s Paperbacks for a talk about being an athlete at any size.  First of all, Jan’s is an amazing space. (I liked it better than Powells.) They have a genius system where they put the bookshelves on wheels so they can move them around, leading to event space in the middle:

Picture of a bookstore a white woman with short brunette hair in a red shirt and jeans stand in the middle of a room with green carpet with her arms up and out. There are chairs behind her, and bookcases surround the outside of the room.
This is Lori, she owns Jan’s Paperbacks and she is a hyper-organized person who took care of literally everything for this talk except actually talking. She is amazing and you should go check out this bookstore because it’s fabulous. (Also, Lori and I both like to do big arms!)

We were a small but mighty group, everyone asked great questions and we laughed a lot!

Now to practice my talks for tomorrow afternoon and  (I think there are still a couple tickets left to the combo talk/body love yoga class with Anna Chapman tomorrow night.) And then the many, many blankets are calling me.

Oh, and the Bundle Up! Sale has begun – bundles of books, online programs, and DVDs to get your year (or the year of the people you’re gifting them to) off to a great start, and save you some money!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m (still!) training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at or on Instagram.




5 thoughts on “Days One and Two Of The Portland Mini-Speaking Trip

  1. Great pics! I adore Lindley and I am so excited about Ample. I

    wish I could’ve been there to see your talk. Maybe if you are ever doing one in Denver!

    We were in Oregon (Multnomah Falls) in September and it was 51 degrees and I was SO FREAKIN’ COLD. Here is a picture of me being very, very cold.

    The thing is, I live in CO now (grew up in NJ, though) and it gets much colder here and I’ll go outside w/o a coat. So at least PART of it is the humidity, I think.

  2. Squeeee! Such great pictures! I’m glad you found the weird cedar tree ’cause I’m totally starry-eyed over that second location. *_* (Sorry ’bout the standing-in-cold-water part, though.)

  3. Portland is great, isn’t it?! I was there in October for a conference. I liked everything except for the crazy traffic and even crazier road and freeway signage. I’m used to California signage where you get a little warning before you have to make your move. In Portland, you don’t know you need to get over 4 lanes until you’re right on top of the change. Whew!

    We were over the bridge and into Washington 3 times before we finally got our directions right.

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