skin deep


So it’s day 2 of AcademiChic’s Dress Your Best week for me. With the start of this project, the Chic’s encouraged everyone to list your 5 best/favorite body parts. Well, this is actually a lot harder than I thought it would be. (Especially since I can’t list things like my liver, fingernails, the backs of my knees.) It’s way easier for me to think of 5 (or 10…) body parts that I would like to change rather than to think about 5 things that I’m so glad that I have. So I started to think about the parts of my body that I take for granted, perhaps things that I never think of because they don’t cause problems. The good parts seem to be taken for granted because let’s face it, if you don’t have to work at something you’re not going to. But when I started to write down my list, one body part really stuck out to me and that is my skin. I know that this probably seems left field and you are probably screaming “skin isn’t a body part! give me an arm!” But my dears, it so is. As the largest organ on my body and the one thing that keeps my guts from falling out, my skin is a fabulous thing.

Growing up, I never understood the comment of “Oh, I could never wear that color” in reference to something that I was wearing. I always thought it was strange that people compartmentalize colors when it came to their wardrobe perhaps because of their own coloring. (Like red heads shouldn’t wear red or orange, or blondes should only wear light blue. You know that way of thinking.) But then I realized that it wasn’t necessarily a reckless comment on my outrageously orange blouse — it was a compliment. Because of my olive skin tone, I don’t have to worry about wearing certain colors or not wearing certain colors. I can throw on yellow, green, blues, reds, whites, blacks, oranges — with no trouble at all.

I’ve also learned that taking care of my skin is the best thing I can do. Finally after 25 years I’ve realized that I don’t have to be melanoma-tan every summer. I’ve learned to take care of my skin, to not pick at pimples, to drink lots of water and to wear sunscreen. I’ve learned that if you take care of it, it will make you look fresh, dewey and will get you carded at a bar every time.

I love each freckle that’s appeared, every scar that tells a story and every wrinkle that shows another year of my life thats been lived. My skin is a blank canvas to be painted with the endless colors of my wardrobe and that is something I will never take for granted.

P.S. — I have to admit I am trying to squash the feelings of pompousness and vanity. I feel so strange talking about myself in this tone of voice (positive, non self-depricating, possibly normal etc.) I so hope these posts don’t come off as anything other than the awkward 13 year old Kendi that lives inside of my head coming into her own as a 25 year old woman. This has been such a stretch for me, in a good way, but it’s been hard to not use humor to cover up a lumpy thigh or oddly shaped arm. So if you could all leave comments with things that you love about yourselves that would make me feel a lot better and I could stop hyperventilating into this paper bag. Thank you.

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  1. julie says:

    I like my eyebrows, my ears and my hands. Now please put down the paper bag and deal with your discomfort in a more productive way –> wine.

    05.14.10 · Reply
  2. amanda says:

    your skin is luminous and gorgeous. i'm jealous. you look amazing in this outfit!! i love it so much. the tank, the distressed jeans, the awesome necklace, love it all. you're gorgeous! i do love my eyes and i'm starting to like my legs. it's been a long time coming with these stems but i think i've finally come to terms with them. and if i wear high heeled shoes and short shorts or skirts, they do look pretty nice in photos πŸ™‚

    05.14.10 · Reply
  3. Isn't it a weird thing to really own the pride over our "good" body parts rather than qualifying the lumps and bumps? It's kind of a mind warp. I blogged about my cheeks today, and one year ago I never ever would have thought that I could count them as a favorite body part. And I totally had to go breathe into a paper bag after writing an entire post dedicated to fat cheeks.

    – E

    05.14.10 · Reply
  4. Well, let's start with, yes your skin is lovely! I've had a very up and down relationship with my skin. It's been really tough. I'm finally coming to some sort of good place with it. I feel like I tried so hard for long to have good skin, did all the right things, bought all the right products and nothing ever changed. My skin is finally starting to make a turn around. And maybe that's why I started blogging, and maybe that's why I started to have more self confidence. Who knows. It's been really hard but I'm glad that I'm getting to a place where I can look in the mirror and say, hey it's not so bad today.
    Thanks for posting this! It's hard to pick something you like and talk about it. I honestly don't know what I'd pick.

    By the way, that necklace is on my Anthro wishlist right now πŸ™‚ You're rocking it.

    05.14.10 · Reply
  5. I love the idea of this project! While we all have things we don't like about our bodies, women should take the time to focus on the positives!

    I was a teacher for one year (worst year EVER), and there was a 9th grader that had an obvious crush on me (awkward, but absolutely hilarious). He would occasionally interrupt class and blurt out "You have nice brows." Now, I never checked the Urban Dictionary to see if "brows" were slang for something having to do with "special kisses," so I just said thank you and went about my bidness. I also had some seniors compliment my "pearl necklace." Yeah. That one did NOT go unnoticed…unless I have a dirtier mind than a teenager, which is completely possible.

    Wow! I wrote you a novel! But I'm not done yet, laaaaady. I still have to tell you what I like about myself. You ready? Its a crazy one….I love my tiny little boobless chest. Yep. I love that I can sleep on my stomach without them hurting. I love that I can cough without them doing somersaults. And I love that I can buy a cheap bra that does the trick because, let's face it, it doesn't take a superhero to hold these puppies up.

    Aaaaand that is all.

    P.S. Love your outfit…as always.

    05.14.10 · Reply
  6. You are f*cking gorgeous, and you have absolutely luminous skin!

    There are a lot of things that I like about my body and there are a few that I really don't. I'm pretty sure that most women and plenty of dudes feel the same way. I think this is a great exercise. Some of my favorite things about my body are my hour-glass shape, my eyes, my hair, my strong and shapely shoulders and upper back, my calves, my complexion.

    05.14.10 · Reply
  7. Liz says:

    First I love the color combination here, the teal/papaya is divine!
    I've felt a bit weird doing these posts as well, so I keep the text to a minimum. Maybe someday we'll get to a point where you'll chat with your girlfriends about how you like your calves or eyes, instead of compare belly fat and boob size! It's a matter of accepting our bodies as well as our girl friends!
    So I think your skin looks gorgeous and vibrant colors really suit you, and I personally like my legs which I'll feature tomorrow!

    05.14.10 · Reply
  8. Celine says:

    God I love that top on you with the long, coral/orange necklace. What a great combo

    05.14.10 · Reply
  9. Becky says:

    I'm obsessed with your necklace. Really, those colors all look amazing together. It's so awesome to see all these blogs of women who feel exactly the same way you do. I really enjoyed this post πŸ™‚

    05.14.10 · Reply
  10. Vanessa says:

    Skin is a wonderful body part, and I agree, we need to remember it's the glue that keeps us together. Treat it well!

    05.14.10 · Reply
  11. Monique says:

    As a redhead, I'm jealous of both your hair and skin color. I actually abide by the don't wear red and orange rule (many shade of pink and coral are exempt) because I really do think it clashes with my hair. I'm not really drawn to them when shopping anyway, so it's not that bad.

    Love your coral & turquoise combo. So chic!

    05.14.10 · Reply
  12. Kayla says:

    You look great as always. Stay focused on those things you like and you'll never pay as much attention as the things you kinda don't. Confidence is amazing. Flaunt it.

    05.14.10 · Reply
  13. I love this outfit!

    I also have learned to embrace my skin and not feel like "I'd look better if I were tan."

    Some of the most gorgeous people in the world have ridiculously scary white skin. I'm going more for that peaches and cream look instead of orange-y oompa loompa. πŸ™‚

    05.14.10 · Reply
  14. Rachael says:

    I love hearing you say positive comments about yourself! It makes me feel good about myself by proxy… I also love my skin. And I'm learning to love my height, as well. I did the same thing as you- trying to wear what my friends were wearing, like limited too belly-tees (curse them!) though I actually had more of a woman's body. I actually wrote about it last month:

    05.14.10 · Reply
  15. closet365 says:

    I love everyone's creativity in self-love. I never would have thought of skin, but you're right – it's vital and fabulous.

    I am a fan of my skin, in addition to my nose, arms and collarbone.

    On a shallow note, I am also a big fan of that necklace. Maybe even more than my nose.

    05.14.10 · Reply
  16. I love orange. I wear is as much as I can. I love the combo you got going on here with the necklace.

    I love that you chose skin! Taking care of my skin was the best thing I did for my body in my 20s. I hid from the sun all the time and now at 32, based on all the peeps who tell me I look like I am still in college, I think my years of obsessive sunscreen applying, floppy hat wearing shows.

    But now I live somewhere where you can actually get tan just by thinking about the sun, so hopefully all that work when I was younger will help me keep from looking like a catchers mit over the next couple of years.

    05.14.10 · Reply
  17. Fia says:

    I know what you are talking about with color. Yellow is my favorite color and I wear it in all shades. People always say it looks good on me and that not many people can pull of yellow, but I don't even think about it.

    05.14.10 · Reply
  18. L says:

    i love this! keep being you!
    love the colors!

    05.14.10 · Reply
  19. I love the blue necklace with that bag and then the orange top. My favourite colour combination.

    Your right about your skin, it is such a lovely colour. I'm so pale, although I've learned to love this about myself. Hmm I like my eyes. I like their green colour and I have been blessed with amazing long eye lashes so I don't need to bother with mascara.

    05.14.10 · Reply
  20. I love the necklace shirt combo. I always get a little nervous wearing red and blue, like if I do it wrong I'm going to end up looking like a walking american flag. But it looks so bright and colorful here, and they really make eachother pop! Love the necklace – I've been on the hunt for something chunky and beaded!

    xo, Becca @

    05.14.10 · Reply
  21. lady lee says:

    I love my tiny waist and flat belly. πŸ™‚

    05.14.10 · Reply
  22. Annie H says:

    While this is a pretty simple outfit, it's probably one of your best! The colors all go together so well and you look so effortlessly chic!

    05.14.10 · Reply
  23. L A C E Y says:

    i just came across your blog! love it. i'm excited to go back and check out all of your outfits… i'm in need of a little inspiration. πŸ™‚

    05.14.10 · Reply
  24. Dip-tea says:

    Gorgeous! The color absolutely compliments your skin. Love it! And this pictures has made me realize how tall you actually are.

    05.14.10 · Reply
  25. I was about to say that last paragraph must have been difficult for kendi the comedienne to write! i'm proud of you!

    i really like my hands and feet! (i know! feet = gross, but mine aren't do bad)! i don't look much like my mom, but i definitely have her delicate hands with long, slender fingers!

    05.14.10 · Reply
  26. Tania says:

    oh my goodness, this post is so sweet. i like earnest kendi just as much as uproariously funny kendi.
    your skin IS beautiful and you're one of the lucky few who can wear every color in the rainbow.
    i'm feeling downright pleased with a few parts of myself this week, too. this whole "celebrate ourselves" thing is bringing out the maudlin side of me!

    05.14.10 · Reply
  27. I love this look! I have been eyeing that anthro necklace online, fun to see it in person… it looks great on you and is a good complement to the orange/red tank. Great look!

    05.14.10 · Reply
  28. You do look gorgeous in those colors! πŸ™‚ And it's not pompous or vain to admit that!

    05.14.10 · Reply
  29. Lauren says:

    About 12 years ago I was smack dab in the middle of my sophomore year in high school, a god-awful time in terms of personal style (think silver eyeliner, baby tees and Tommy Hilfiger overalls). The most offensive of the trend at the time was the over-plucking of eyebrows to a nice, fat chunk by the nose, arching into a 3-hair wide "tail" sweeping towards the temples. That's right. I had sperm brows. And I was AWESOME. Much to my mother's chagrin, I dedicated at least 10 minutes every morning to plucking any of the small offenders just TRYING to fill out my natural arch. . ."What, and overshadow my silver liner? I think not MOTHER."

    Anyhow, the point of this whole thing is that somewhere around 18 I realized that I looked like a complete jackass, and I spent the next 10 years growing a very beautiful, full pair of bushy (yet shapely) eyebrows. Every morning that I get ready at home like a normal person (instead of frantically applying mascara as I’m dashing for the train), I give thanks that they actually grew back.

    05.14.10 · Reply
  30. i like the casual chic you put into a jean outfit.

    also, how did you do your hair like that?

    05.14.10 · Reply
  31. This is a really cool background!
    Love the combination of red and blue.

    05.14.10 · Reply
  32. kristen says:

    Love your outfit today! And you really do have lovely skin! Love your honesty!

    We still wanna see those Seattle pics!

    05.14.10 · Reply
  33. Lucy says:

    Wow!! I really love this outfit of yours!! The colors are just so fun..

    05.14.10 · Reply
  34. Hillary says:

    Just found your blog. It's fun and funny and you have a great, accessible sense of style. I've seen other blogs like this and they are always either incredibly unfashionable or total hipsters. So, kudos.

    As for things I like about myself: I am tall like you (5'9" is a godsend at concerts). I have a great color of red hair (I always get compliments at the salon). Have tiny, thin hands and feet and long legs.

    05.14.10 · Reply
  35. You DO have gorgeous skin. I, too, after 25 years of sunbathing and swimming, have learned that sunscreen IS my friend and it's a-okay to be pale in the summer time. I'm going to live a long, healthy, skin cancer free life because I take care of my skin. And your shirt looks incredible on you (as do all of the things you wear!)

    I'm super jealous of your heels. I mean SUPER jealous.

    <3 KP

    05.14.10 · Reply
  36. meredith says:

    i LOVE-love-LOVE the third picture!!! the wall that goes on forever & your legs that do the same! i love your posts & your style is such an inspiration.

    okay, i feel like my comments are becoming a bit redundant…but what the heck, i can't help it!

    05.14.10 · Reply
  37. Bethanne says:

    YES, your skin is beautiful! And definitely a tone I would have been so jealous of about two years ago. πŸ™‚ I've started coming to love my own skin though, despite it's propensity for burning and thousands of freckles (if I wear stripes, does it count as pattern-mixing?). I never get pimples or any other sort of blemish and my freckles and paleness make me stand out in any crowd. Plus, although there are some colors that I really can't wear, there are plenty of colors that look absolutely stunning with my hair and skin.

    There, that's MY skin story. Thanks for sharing yours!

    05.14.10 · Reply
  38. Leah says:

    I know exactly how you feel! I've come across a few bloggers doing "dress your best" posts and I started thinking what I think are my 5 best features. Well, I still haven't come up with all 5 but I like that you chose skin tone as one of yours. I also have an olive skin tone and never realized its benefits until now. I am usually too busy battling with breakouts, oiliness, etc. to truly appreciate it. But I will now appreciate my skin more, even if it may not be flawless.
    Also, I am 100% awkward 13 year-old girl on the inside (and 25 on the outside). I thought it was just me!

    05.14.10 · Reply
  39. Clare says:

    What a beautiful post! I love my skin, too, for the same reason. I have very similar coloring to you, and I love that I can wear any color palette and still look bright and vibrant.

    05.14.10 · Reply
  40. Your skin is beautiful! I like my skin tone too – pale and freckled.

    You don't come off as vain in the least. It's so nice to read such a positive unapologetic post! That has been my favorite thing about this week – the frank self-love. Keep it coming!


    05.14.10 · Reply
  41. lopi says:

    blue and red is one of my favourite colour combos

    05.14.10 · Reply
  42. anna says:

    your legs look 10 thousand miles long in those jeans.
    and you have nice eyelashes.

    p.s. love the necklace and tank color combo.

    05.14.10 · Reply
  43. Keira says:

    1. I'm kind of obsessed with orange and turquoise paired together.

    2. I've also made a serious commitment to taking better care of my skin this year — slathering on sunscreen daily, no more falling asleep in makeup, drinking lots of water — and it's paying off in huge dividends. My skin has never looked better, and I've never spent less $$ on it (just Cetaphil and SPF)

    3. All of the self-love that's going around is SO refreshing! Why only a week?! This should be a summer-long challenge.

    05.15.10 · Reply
  44. This isn't a vanity thing, this is about self confidence and loving yourself. Why should we waste our time hating things about ourselves when we can talk about the many things that we love.

    Sorry about that, but I think this is great and I don't want you to feel bad for a second!

    Also I love my legs/height. I'm 5'11 and have spent so much of my life feeling awkward and embarrassed about that fact. Now I finally love height and my long legs. I especially love to wear heels and be even taller, I would have never have guessed that a couple of years ago.

    Now this comment is way too long, bye!

    05.15.10 · Reply
  45. Ronda says:

    I love my hair. Its my favorite thing to look at in the mirror everyday and its soooo low maintenance but still looks great.
    love the necklace.

    05.15.10 · Reply
  46. Great colors in this outfit, love!! Also, I enjoyed reading something written by a girl thinking positively about her body πŸ™‚ We all need to get into this mindset a little more often, don't you agree?

    05.15.10 · Reply
  47. ~C says:

    love the colour mix- the blue and the red. and your hair is really cute styled up like that…i like it!

    05.15.10 · Reply
  48. hannah says:

    Kendi, I love love love this necklace! I also love the raw honesty of this post and your little post-script. I feel like as young women, we are so conditioned to be self-depricating and critical that appreciating something about our appearances automatically comes off as somehow needing to be qualified. Be loud and proud girly!

    05.16.10 · Reply
  49. alya says:

    I don't think you came off in any way as vain or pompous. Confidence is attractive, as long as it's not overblown or unwarranted, and it's not here. You do have a beautiful skin tone and complexion and should revel in that fact every day.

    05.16.10 · Reply
  50. Love this outfit on you. The orange and blue together is so nice, and you look so tall and skinny! Casual chic for sure!

    05.18.10 · Reply
  51. Diane says:

    the blue accessories make this outfit outstanding!

    05.19.10 · Reply
  52. origami says:

    This combination of colors is one of my favorites, however I have little in my closet that fits the bill.

    I can imagine how strange it must feel to talk about yourself so positively, I think I would probably feel the same way. But there is a difference between out-right bragging (which everyone is entitled to sometimes I guess, haha) and celebrating one's "best". I don't think you should feel funny at all, in the end.

    That being said, I totally feel funny leaving a comment talking about something I love about myself.! Let's see. I really like my eyes and my lips, and don't need to dress them up that much (RE: with makeup).

    05.21.10 · Reply
  53. Anonymous says:

    Politeness costs nothing and gains everything.

    Stanford University

    11.04.10 · Reply
  54. Anonymous says:

    We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.


    12.26.10 · Reply