Fashion & Style

DENIM: Simple Summer Looks

Denim and chambray make up lots of my casual summer looks. Here are details on three ways I put together summer looks with denim. . . 

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Chambray Over Denim

When pairing chambray or denim on top of each other, I like to wear two decidedly different hues.

This lighter top pairs nicely with my jean shorts as they are not the same color and not just slightly different, but totally different shades of blue. And, the unique stitching detail on the top is darker and ties into the color of my shorts without being too matchy-matchy! 

Info about my shorts to the right - - - >. 

Add some accessories that are not blue to create a complete look.  I've paired this with one of my Candid & Co totes. *Unabashed product placement.* I'm not usually one to tie a scarf on bags, but I love how this one brings my outfit together. 

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Oversized Top & Bermuda Shorts

I love flowy, oversized shirts for summer! (Or, honestly, for all seasons.) I usually wear a 2XL but often will size up for roomy t-shirts like this one (which is a 4XL). 

I'm wearing one of my favorite pair of jean shorts from H&M. (Mine are a few years old but these look to be very similar! P.S. I always size up with H&M bottoms!) These are a little longer - almost bremuda length - which is the only length comfortable for me to wear out  and about (to prevent chafing discomfort). But, they have some stretch and are snug so they pair perfectly with this larger top. 

Wedge sandals are a simple way to accessorize and dress up or funk up a simple outfit like this! I find a lot of good wedge or healed sandals from Lane Bryant. These look to be almost sold out but, as I'm peaking at their website, this pair also seems great! 

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Denim Vests Over Everything!

I adore a good denim vest! In the summer, they're cool enough to throw on over tank tops or strapless dresses without being too warm. 

I prefer vests and jackets that have a cropped look and hit me at my waist. I often wear them open but also button the bottomif I want to bring a look in at my waist. 

The vest in this photo is available here and I'll be posting a similar vests soon.  My favorite denim vest is American Rag from Macy's. (I don't love these vests, but here's an idea of what's available currently.) 

Ooo, and that tote! *Shameless product placement.* For real though, the large sizes make great beach bags and the medium sized bags are perfect for gal-on-the-go life! 

Most of these items are currently available in my shop! Currently, the detailed chambray top, black t-shirt, & black skirt haven't been snatched up yet. (Though this denim vest is gone, more are coming soon!) Plus, for the summer, you can purchase select Candid & Co bag designs straight from my shop! 

What are some of your favorite ways to wear denim in the summer! Let me know in the comments below. . . 

WINTER STYLING: Layering Tips & Tricks

When I was in New Orleans, I was lamenting the unseasonably warm weather. Sandals weather in December when I wanted to wear my boots. Well, I'm up here in the thick of it now! It's been quite cold here in Minnesota since I've been back.

One of the best ways to keep warm and stay stylish is simple - layers on layers on layers!  Here are some of my layering tips and tricks. . .

1. Leggings and tights are your winter weather bffs.  They’re great under skirts, dresses, or tunics. (Even wear two pair for warmth & thickness.) You can wear leggings or tights under pants for extra warmth, too!

2. If multiple layers feel bulky, consider sweaters with a little stretch in them, layering with thinner fabrics, and/or belting your look.

3. Layer a flannel or chambray shirt under sweaters or long-sleeved tops. Let the wrist cuffs and collar pop out.

4. You can rework summer looks like sleeveless dresses by wearing them over leggings and a long-sleeved shirt. (Even a tube top can even work over a snug, long-sleeved shirt.)

5.  Consider choosing bulkier layers on either the top or bottom of your outfit instead of both. Lots of long layers on top over skinny jeans or leggings and boots. Or, a snugger top with fitted crop jacket over a flair skirt.

6. If you’re looking for more shape in a big, puffy jacket or vest, look for designs with structure, a built-in belt, or adjustable waist synching inside the coat.

7. Scarves! Get to Googlin’ or Pinterestin’ to learn new ways to wear scarves. They’re a great accessory, add warmth, and can be easily removed if you get too warm. 

8. Explore layering multiple traditionally “top layer” items – like pair a poncho over a moto jacket or double layer jackets and vests.

 

What are some of your favorite ways to wear layers this winter?

BEST OF 2015: Top Six Blog Posts of 2015

I started my blog this time next year! I'm still finding my space with blogging. I want to share a good mix of body positive content, motivation and inspiration, fatshion, updates from my world, plus critique and conversation. I'm looking forward to doing even more of that in 2016.

Looking back, these are the six most popular blog posts from 2015. (This doesn't include my Inspiring Women project last March. Those posts received a lot of love from folks who loved the women I featured.)  Take a peak if you haven't read these already. Just click the title to go straight to each post.

Thank you so much for reading, commenting, and sharing! I appreciate you!  Here's to lots more great posts in 2016. Plus, an exciting writing project I'm excited to share with you soon. . .

PLUS SIZE COSTUMES: Epic DIY Costume Compilation

Like I've mentioned in several of my posts leading up to Halloween, finding affordable and cute costumes can be tough for us plus-size ladies! (And, let's be real, it can be rough for lots of folks regardless of gender or body size!)

I've found the best way to look and feel great in costume is to craft my own!

Here is a compilation of of all of my recent costume posts. Just click on each one to be taken to that blog post where you'll find more pictures, info about how I created each look, and suggestions for items you can use to make your own version of these costumes.

And, for a little more costume inspiration, here are some looks I didn't have a chance to detail in the posts above.. .

Mermaid

Mermaid

Circus Ring Master

Circus Ring Master

Retro Flight Attendant

Retro Flight Attendant

What are you wearing for Halloween?? Let me know in the comments below!

PLUS SIZE COSTUMES: DIY Pirate Costume Ideas!

Pirate costumes might be my favorite!!  Maybe it's because I happen to have a lot of items I regularly wear that can easily be used for costumes like this. At any rate, it's a frequent go-to of mine. Here are some ideas for easily throwing a pirate costume together! (You might have more than half of these items in your closet already!) 

Basics: 

  • Flowy white tops (I like them off the shoulder)
  • Lots of reds, whites, and black. 
  • Tattered or ripped items 
  • dark pants or skirts 
  • knotted or gathers skirts
  • layers 
  • corsets! Create your own! (That red one was originally a dress that was too tight so I cut it in half, made some holes, and then cut up a t-shirt for the black lacing.) Or, make a small one larger. (The black corset is actually a size M but I got my own ribbon and added it in to make it fit my XXL body.) 

Accessories: 

  • eye patch
  • sword
  • scarf tied at waist or around head/in hair
  • belts (big buckles) 
  • bangles
  • hoop earrings
  • ripped tights 
  • bare feet or boots 
  • Hair ideas: messy curls, side ponies, ponytails, or scarves in hair 
  • Make up idea: intense eyes!

Like this? Check out all of my awesome costume ideas here. And, leave me a comment about what you're planning to dress up as this weekend? 

PLUS SIZE COSTUMES: Turning Gowns into DIY Fairy Costumes

Do you have an old prom or bridesmaid dress laying around? Maybe a ballgown? A fancy dress you found at a thrift shop?

A natural way to re-purpose these type of dresses is to turn them into a fairy costumes! This costume post some easy tips for converting a gown into a fairy costume.

As plus-size people, I think creating costumes ourselves is the best way to find cute costumes that aren't too terribly expensive. So, here's another crafted, thrifted look you can recreate!

To create this look, cut away at the bottom of the dress to get it to your desired length. Remember, you can always go shorter, but you can't (easily) add fabric back on after you chop it off - so take your time! You can also wear a pencil skirt, shorts, or slip under it if it gets too short. You can save some of the fabric to re-purpose to poof up wings, add to a wand, or another creative use.

On the green dress, I was going for a Tinkerbell look so I chopped the skirt in triangle cuts and then sewed green, yellow, and white fabrics to it. (I used a sewing machine but you could totally do it by hand.)

NOTE: If you're looking for dresses at a thrift shop, size tags can be deceiving. Think about it - many people get dresses like this altered so you just never know. For example, that green dress had a tag that read "size 26" but it fit like a 20.

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Wings, gloves, and wands can be found at dollar stores or other in expensive places. (Maybe at a thrift store if you're lucky!) This might be a little fancy, but I didn't want the elastic arm bands to take away from my look (plus, they're tight), so I cut the wings in half with a wire cutter and then hand sewed them in/on to the back of the dresses!

Oh, yeah! That purple number is my prom dress from my junior year of high school Not surprised it doesn't quite zip anymore. . .

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Of course, here's a look at my costumes from last year. Also check out my other thrifted, plus-size costume tutorials on my blog this week!

Do you have a dress laying around that you could turn into a fairy costume? Share a pic with me if you do!

PLUS SIZE COSTUMES: Four Easy DIY Thrift Shop Costumes

Sometimes one or two key clothing items found at a thrift shop can make a great costume. Visiting thrift shops this time of year in search of some thing specific can be tough, so it's good to go in with multiple ideas.  Here are four simple and creative costumes that were put together with thrift shop finds!

 

50's CHIC

Pencil skirt, retro top, scarf in the hair, keds or saddle shoes, and a scarf around the neck or hair. . .throw them together to create a simple, chic 50's look.

 

GYM TEACHER

Find an epic wind breaker, throw on a white t-shirt underneath, add tennis shoes and maybe a clip board and a whistle. . . and you've got yourself a gym teacher costume.

 

FLOWER CHILD/PRAIRIE GIRL/EXCUSE TO WEAR A FLOWER CROWN

Find a flowy and flattering dress and construct a flower crown - boom! =)

 

CARMEN SANDIEGO

Find a red trench coat or dye a light colored one red. (That's what I did with this one!)
Add some other red accessories and you have yourself a fab Carmen SanDiego costume!

These costume are fun and simple - but, they rely heavily on one or two items! When you're at the thrift shop, be open to what you might find as you keep these and other costume ideas in mind!

For more costume ideas, checkout all of my looks from last year. . .

PLUS SIZE COSTUMES: DIY Flapper Girl Costumes

Flapper costumes are cute and classy! Plus, they're relatively easy to put together with items already in your closet. . . and, a few small and inexpensive additions. Not to mention, so many fabulous make-up and hair possibilities!

Here you'll find two different flapper costumes that are easy to recreate. Below, I list each item you can find or create to put together a costume like this! I'm all about thrifted, crafted costumes! As plus-size ladies, sometimes it's hard to find cute AND affordable costumes.  Well, its time to get all DIY with these so we can have both!

FLAPPER GIRL ESSENTIALS

  • Dress: Start with a simple shift dress or skirt and top. Look for garments with low waists that are solid, bold colors.
  • Gloves: Find these for less than $5 at almost any store or thrift shop. I suggest black or white.
  • Pearls: Find a long string of beads and knot it if you can. (I am wearing left over Mardi Gras beads!)
  • Headband: You can glue some feathers to a headband you already have or get some of that stretchy sequin elastic at a fabric store and make your own. 
  • Tights: Wear black tights - a design or stripes is a fun detail.
  • Shoes: Something black! Flats are usually great for these looks.
  • Extras: A coordinating clutch, a fake cigarette on a cigarette holder, or fringe on the dress!
  • Hair & Make-Up Ideas: Red lips, dramatic eyeliner, finger waves, faux short hair/headband hair styles, or a wig! (In the second pictures, I am wearing a $3 wig I found in Target's $1/$3/$5 bins. By itself, it looked messy and hilarious but the headband toned it down a bit and I think it totally works!)

For more costume ideas, checkout my looks from last year. . .



PLUS SIZE COSTUMES: Favorites Throughout the Years

Costumes are a good way for me to get crafty and thrifty - two things I love to do! This post highlights some of my best costumes throughout the years and shares a little info on how I created each look. I can't even choose which is my favorite - I love them all!

ADELE

Yeah, yeah, I feel like every curvy, bright-eyed woman in the world has been compared to Adele at some point (or, is that just me?), but I really do love her and loved this costume!

I was really proud of this costume! It's a recreation of her 2012 Grammy look with all of her awards! I created the whole outfit from things I already owned - a lacy top and high-waisted a-line skirt. I bought the wig (which I think looked better in person). And, I crafted the grammy's! I spray painted mini bread loaf pans, sponges, and dixie cups and then hot glued them all together!

SCARY ZOMBIE/HAUNTED HOUSE CREATURE

I HATE haunted houses. . .hate 'em! I get way too scared and they are absolute no fun at all. I will, however, happily be in a haunted house! Maybe it was working at universities for several years, but I have found myself being part of many haunted houses (or, more like haunted hallways, haunted Rec Centers, etc).

I love creating bloody zombie type looks for occasions like these. And, it's really pretty easy! I find an old flowy dress or nightgown and rip holes in it. (I always wear leggings and a tank underneath!) Bonus for blood stains on the dress. Every time I've been in haunted houses, they've supplied the face paint and fake blood but never have a good selection of costumes in my size. So, I always bring my own and always get compliments on how scary I look!

I paint my face with white paint and then darken my eyes and add lots of smudges. (You can't really tell in the pics but this usually looks extra scary with my bright eyes!) Make sure you put the white paint over your lips, too. I make my hair big and messy. Finally, I use fake blood to make fake gashes on my skin and always do some from my hairline and lip or nose.

PUNK

We're going way back with this one! (Yes, I had short hair! Yes, it was amazing! No, I didn't spike the top like that regularly. Yes, I plan to have short hair again soon. #30Before30 Bucketlist!)

Although, for one summer I did have my lip pierced, that ring was fake for the costume. Those fake tattoos were amazing! They were rebel librarian themed temporary tattoos and said things like "Literature 4 Lyfe!"

 

PIRATE

I do love a good pirate costume! This was actually one of my favorites! My friend Margot and I are both dressed as pirates here. I put some work into this one! It's actually probably one of my sexier costumes, too! Gosh, I was a hottie in college, wasn't I? ;)

I'm wearing a wig. It's not a great one, but with the scarf over the top it doesn't matter. I have tons of layers - ripped fishnets, a sheer black nighty thing, a cream top ripped up and worn off the shoulder, (lol, I wore a bra with lacy straps because I knew they'd be revealed), and an epic coreset dress thing that I crafted! I cut a dress open and made those ties with a ripped up black t-shirt.

 

NON HALLOWEEN COSTUME FAVORITES

Since I'm sharing costume favorites, I have to mention the following two looks that I would also qualify as winning costume moments. . .

A few years ago I had a pretty epic tacky holiday party outfit! I saw this look as an avant-guard Christmas tree. Gold bow at the top (with the help of a headband). Amazing turtle neck. My German dirndl as the main "tree" look covered with ordainment.  (Shoes not picture. They were wedges with bows on the toes to resemble presents under the tree.)

Years ago I was a camp counselor at a German immersion summer camp, Waldsee. They had an amazing costume collection because we were constantly dressing up to act out lessons and skits. The picture below is of our fairy tale evening where we were all dressed up as fairy tale characters.

AND, THESE GEMS FROM LAST YEAR!

What were your best costume moments?

FALL FASHIONS: 4 Ways to Look Put Together This Fall

Fall looks are probably my favorite! Boots, tights, scarves, hats, jackets! Not only do fall fashions incorporate some of my favorite clothing and accessory items, I find that it’s really quite easy to create a put together fall look in no time at all.

When I say “put together” I mean that effortless cohesion in an outfit. That look that’s not trying too hard or overly matchy-matchy, but just works. Simple & chic. Today, I’m sharing four easy ways to create great fall outfits!

 
 

 

Coordinate your boots with a belt, statement necklace, or bag!

Find a great pair of boots (or two) and a few key accessories that coordinate with them. I have some belts that are the same cognac color as my favorite boots. When I pair them together in an outfit it just effortlessly ties together.  I suggest picking one or two accessories to pair with your boots– there’s no need for you to be matching head-to-toe!

(The boots in the photo above are my absolute favorite but, alas, Target is not making them in my size this season. Perhaps they're in your size. You can find details in one of my previous fall fashion blog posts.)

Throw on a blazer or jacket.

A blazer is the easiest way to class up a look in no time at all. Blazers can be thrown on over lots of outfits and can provide warmth or another layer if you’re chilly.  One of my go-to fall looks is leggings or skinny jeans, boots, a t-shirt, and a blazer. My favorite type of blazer are those made of material with some stretch in it.  I also like a crop blazer or jacket over skirts or dresses that come in at my waist (instead of a longer blazer that eats up my shape).

Add a scarf or a hat to your look.

Fall is a perfect opportunity to wear scarves and hats. Think about the colors of your scarf or hat and try to coordinate them with some other part of your outfit – including each other if you’re wearing both! (Ooo, a scarf could also coordinate with your boots to bring an outfit together!) Check out some tutorials on different ways to tie a scarf online. And, if you're wearing a hat, consider showing a pop of hair around your face or in a pony tail for a more put together look.

Wear black tights. . .with almost anything!

Tights! Tights! Tights! Black tights are an instant way to make an outfit look put together and appropriate for fall.  Especially under shorter skirts or dresses - black tights (or, tights in other colors) work really well. I love wearing black tights with shoes that aren’t black. It adds a great pop of color. Also, when I’m wearing boots and want a little extra warmth, sometimes I’ll wear actual leggings instead of tights as it achieves a similar look.

Fall is the time I pull out those dresses and skirts that are too short to wear comfortably with shorts or spanx underneath. Thick black tights provide enough “protection” and are also thick enough (Y’all know me – I wear spanx shorts under everything!) Everyone probably has their favorite tights. Mine are currently ASSETS brand – which I believe is a sub-brand of Spanx. I wear a size 4 or 5. They both fit fine but 5 are roomier. (I don’t really wear shapewear to be “sucked in”, but rather a little support or protection – so I love to wear larger, roomier sizes.) I wear a size 4 when I’m wearing a shorter skirt and don’t want the “shorts” to show.

What are some styles you're wearing to look put together this fall?

 

PLUS SIZE COSTUMES: Easy DIY Witch Costumes

Last year I went all out for Halloween & costume season. I created and sold crafted, thrifted, plus-size costumes in my shop! 

As any plus-size ladies reading this know, it can be a real challenge to find cute & affordable costumes that go up to our sizes. So, I created my own!

Although I'll be selling a few costumes and costumes items at the two pop up shops I'll be doing in Minnestota in the upcoming weeks (details here & here), I won't be selling them in my shop this year.

I will, however, be doing more blog posts and tutorials about how you can create looks just like these! First up. . .simple do-it-yourself witch costumes! 

CUTE OR SEXY WITCH COSTUME

Throw on any kind of little black dress! (Belt it or add accessories as you see fit.)
Pair with black boots or booties! 
Add some black gloves. (I found these thrifted but you can also find them for $5 or less at most discount stores.)
Top it off with  a cape or hat. (I created this simple cape & hood with 20 minutes, my sewing machine, and a black bedsheet. You could also easily do a no-sew cape by simply cutting it and tying it around your neck. )
 

 TRADITIONAL WITCH COSTUME

Find a long or flowy black dress or top & skirt. 
Get some green facepaint!
Cut holes in black gloves to make them look tattered! 
Fashion a cape out of some kind of black fabric or garment you have laying around. 
Add a witches hat (and, a broom to take it to the next level)!

 

80's WITCH COSTUME

I know this witch costume is a little quirky, but when I found the bodice/dress and wig I knew I could create something funky! You can basically add witch or zombie to anything to create a fun costume - zombie bride, witchy librarian, zombie super hero, etc. So, this is an 80's witch! 

For this specific look: 
Get a bright wig and a dark colored 80's style dress or skirt. 
Find or construct a little witch hat you can pin to the top of the wig! 
Put on some lace gloves. 
Wear some ankle socks.
Add beads (mine are all left over Mardi Gras beads) and other 80's accessories! 

 

THRIFTED, CRAFTED PLUS-SIZE COSTUMES 

These are all the fun costumes I put together last year! Check out my album for a recap of all my fab costumes if you just can't wait for more tutorials! 

I cannot wait to see what creative costumes folks come up with this year! Also, remember that cultures aren't costumes! (This might also relate to witch costumes, but I think that the feeling are quite different based on my reading.) More costume tutorials to come! 

FALL FASHIONS: Last Year's Favorite Looks

Summer is winding down and fall is on it's way! I am already selling fall fashions in my shop and have some fall themed blog posts planned for the upcoming weeks. But, before I get in to this year, I thought I would share some of my favorite fall looks from last year! Spoiler alert - I'll be wearing a lot of similar styles this season. Something about boots and leggings just does it for me!

Meanwhile, it's still too hot in New Orleans to even consider wearing warmer weather clothes. I am already dreaming about what I will wear when I'm back in Minnesota for a few weeks in late September. 

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A long maxi skirt or dress can be paired with warmer clothes for fall looks. (Above is one of my favorite Lane Bryant skirts from last year that I referred to - and, hashtagged- as my harvest skirt!) Flowy tops over skinny jeans and booties is also a comfy look I love. Blazers over everything - even dresses like pictured here. And, funky fall accessories make an outfit, too! 

Two big differences in my world between this fall and last year are my hair and my phone. Wow, these pics are so grainy! That 4S struggle was too real. So happy to have upgraded! 

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As you can see, leggings and black tights are pretty much my favorite components of cooler weather wear! I pair everything from over-sized tops, shorter dresses, dusters, to flannels around the waist with leggings and tights. 

By finding a belt or two that coordinate effortlessly with your go-to boots, it's simple to put outfits together. I also have two statement necklaces that work well with my favorite boots. 

It would not be exaggerating to say at least 100 women have asked me where I got those boots! They are clearly my favorite and play a leading role in many of these looks! I actually bought a pair two years ago and then purchased a new pair last fall.  There are an 11W ordered from Target online. You probably heard all about my sort-of-wide-calf boot struggles last year. While most straight sized boots are too snug in the calf (if they even come in size 11 anyway), boots at plus size retailers are usually way too roomy in the calves. 

I planned on ordering yet another pair of these great Merona boots this year. (I wear them so much that they just get beat up.) Unfortunately, it looks like they are not offering wide calf in size 11 this year. I am really disappointed about this and hope it's just a beginning of the season oversight! (Rarely do I recommend such high priced items but I really love these boots!) Stay tuned for boot adventures this year. . . 

Ooo! Also, fall means that many us will be searching for costumes or crafting our own! Remember mine from last year? Not sure what exactly I'll be doing this season, but something fun for sure! 

What are you looking forward to wearing this fall? Any looks you'd like to try but aren't quite sure how to pull them off? Let me know in the comments below! 

 

SUNSHINE & MOM TIME: What More Could A Girl Ask For?

I am such a lucky lady!  Last week I added another beach trip to my summer.  Thanks to my wonderful mom, I had a beautiful vacation full of sunshine, great talks, good food, and opportunities to snap pics in my fab swimwear. My mom flew down to New Orleans and we drove further down to coast - almost to Florida.

Here are some pics of our time on vacay. . .mostly of swimwear because you can never have enough fatkini photos! (Hover over images for details.) 

 
This suit is one of my old go-to's. It's actually a maternity suit from Target - purchased several years ago. The gathering on the sides allow it to come up and look like a regular non-maternity suit. 

This suit is one of my old go-to's. It's actually a maternity suit from Target - purchased several years ago. The gathering on the sides allow it to come up and look like a regular non-maternity suit. 

 
 
Loving this small and simple top from Asos Curve! I recently got it on super sale so I don't think it's available. It's not the most supportive but small and great for getting as much body in the sun as possible! 

Loving this small and simple top from Asos Curve! I recently got it on super sale so I don't think it's available. It's not the most supportive but small and great for getting as much body in the sun as possible! 

 
 
Recent purchase! This  Swim Suits For All #SwimSexy fatkini from Gabi Fresh  is pretty great!  (I also am wearing this with a different Lane Bryant top in some pictures further down.) 

Recent purchase! This Swim Suits For All #SwimSexy fatkini from Gabi Fresh is pretty great!  (I also am wearing this with a different Lane Bryant top in some pictures further down.) 

 
 
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BLTs! 

BLTs! 

 
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Selfie stick struggles! But, I kind of love this photo. . . 

Selfie stick struggles! But, I kind of love this photo. . . 

Best work space ever! (Tumbler from  The Golden Gurl Shop !)

Best work space ever! (Tumbler from The Golden Gurl Shop!)

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My mom sure knows how to do it. These floaties are everything! 

My mom sure knows how to do it. These floaties are everything! 

SUMMER ESSENTIALS: 10 Things Every Fat Girl Needs This Summer

Ten of my current summer essentials include. . .

1. Good facial sunscreen
Hopefully everyone is using sunscreen on a regular basis! Although I can usually get away with an SPF 15 or SPF 30,  I have a special sunscreen routine for my face. I use this amazing mineral powder sunscreen that provides a powder veil that blocks the sun but doesn’t add any extra grease to my face. It also is a nice oil absorbing powder that I can easily whip out and reapply throughout the day.  (Sometimes I also wear my liquid foundation that contains an SPF and then apply the mineral sunscreen over it.)

2. coconut oil.
Coconut oil is, by far, my favorite moisturizer! It is also a great hair deep conditioner (or leave in conditioner, depending on your hair type) and cooking oil! (I also know some folks who put in in their smoothies.) It’s amazing for after-sun skin care, including sunburns, and is perfect for sensitive skin like mine.

3. a fabulous fatkini.
Due in large part to Gabi Fresh, bikinis are now fab and flattering for plus-size ladies! For the last few years they have become more widely available. Now you can find them in several stores and in a variety of price points. You need one! ;) And, yes, “fatkini”! I support calling it this. If you haven’t gleaned this from my other content, and the title of this post, I like using the word “fat” to describe myself in order to take the stigma and “ick” away from the word.

4.  a sensible swimsuit.
I qualify a “sensible suit” as something that you can swim laps in or jump off a diving board in and not worry about a nip slip or exposed booty. I wear a sensible suit to water aerobics and in situations when I want to be my fabulous self but not reveal all of my fabulousness ;)! (Not that fatknis aren't sensible. . I just can't resist a good alliteration!) 

5. a light scarf to protect you from the sun.
I love a thin, summer scarf as an everyday accessory or at the beach. I wear a scarf in my hair for sun protection or, in instances where my skin has had too much beach time but I have not, I will wear it damp around my shoulders to protect my skin and keep me 

6.   bright polish for your nails and/or toes.
I am usually attracted to brown, purple, grey, and maroon tones for my nails but I love to go bright and colorful for my toes (and nails) during the summer. It’s a fun time to try some new colors!

7.  a new journal or pens.
Summer is a great time for reflection! For me, journaling is my mode of choice. Opening up a new journal (or putting a fresh, new pen to paper in a journal that I am already using) while sitting outside, laying on the beach, or enjoying an iced coffee on a patio is a great way to reflect.  

8. shorts, spanx, bandelettes, (etc.) that are comfy for summer
If you can wear skirts or dresses and do not have irritation from your thighs rubbing – count yourself very, very lucky! I need protection from this. . .and, something stronger than a little body glide or deodorant. Thinner spanx brand shorts and bandelettes are the most comfy for me. (I am sure you can find spanx-like shorts that are thinner and more comfy for summer but my thin pare are spanx brand and the most comfortable for warm weather.) Note: bandelettes are a lovely option but not for long walking adventures.

9.  a good set of podcasts in your iPhone.
With summer travel and beach or pool time, you’ve got to have some great podcast on deck! My favorites are a combo of small business podcasts and women-centered podcasts.  I’d LOVE to hear about what your favorite podcasts are. (As I listen to more and more of them, I am becoming very tempted to start my own. Would you listen?!)

10.   body-positive sisters in your (real or virtual) life.
Feeling confident in summer styles can be tough. Y’all, it takes bravery to go out on the beach with your tummy or wear a crop top.  You will be ok. And, so will everyone else, but sometimes it is hard!
Aside from simple practice (the idea that the more you do it the easier it gets), I think that seeing other women confidently bearing their bodies and surrounding yourself with body-positive people are invaluable ways build your body confidence. Some of us are lucky to have folks around us that can serve in that capacity. Other of us might need to find that online. Either way, be sure to be getting that community somewhere and surrounding yourselves with a variety of bodies in summer styles.

Love this suit paired with a flowy maxi skirt. This suit is actually for sale right now in my shop! Check it out! 

Love this suit paired with a flowy maxi skirt. This suit is actually for sale right now in my shop! Check it out! 

Tummy out and a scarf in my hair! 

Tummy out and a scarf in my hair! 

Bright toes and a tumbler from The Golden Girl Shop! 

Bright toes and a tumbler from The Golden Girl Shop! 

This vintage, thrifted suit is one of my current favorite "sensible suits"! 

This vintage, thrifted suit is one of my current favorite "sensible suits"! 

These are ten of my summer essentials. What are your must-haves this summer??

SUMMER STYLE: Black, White, & Gold

Because most of my clothes are thrifted or bought on major clearance, I am not often able to do outfit posts where I can link items. Recently, I have been wearing a few pieces that are still available – so, I have to share!

I centered this outfit around a strapless top I found at Old Navy. Actually, I recently purchase several fun, summer items there. Old Navy is very hit or miss for me. But, at present, it’s mostly “hits”! They have lots of great extended size clothing (from 1XL-4XL) online. When someone returns online items in the store, it automatically gets reduced by 50% and then continues to be marked down from there. These items can usually be found in the clearance area. And, I can usually be found digging for treasures in the depths of Old Navy’s notoriously haphazard clearance racks.

Top – Old Navy. I am wearing a 2XL. I like this mix between peplum and baby doll cut. Also, it’s comfy and supportive. There is no shelf bra – but it kind of naturally happens with the cut – and there is a line of rubber at the top to help it stay up. I also found this top in an amazing floral print. It’s no longer available online (as far as I can tell), but I might post it to sell on my site once I get some wears out of it!
NOTE - My one regret about this top is that it is reminiscent of tribal print which I try to avoid in clothing. As I am looking at it more, it does look quite "mass produced tribal knock-off" to me.  Although I find it aesthetically appealing, i acknowledge that "tribal print" and derivations of these prints are culture vulture (culturally appropriating) fashions. 

Watch – Lane Bryant. I love how Lane Bryant bracelets and watches actually fit my wrists. This watch comes with three removable links. I am using two of the three. I purchased a "gold" watch from Lane Bryant a few years ago and it was tarnished within a few days. I am hoping the different material (this sort of painted metal) will hold up better! 

Sunglasses – Lane Bryant. My summer favorites, so far!

Bag – Christian Siriano for Payless. I was looking for a fun cross-body bag for traveling (and thrifting). This has been perfect! 
I go in to a Payless every few months to see if there happen to be some decent size 11 shoes. I rarely find anything. But, the Christian Siriano brand shoes and accessories are the absolute best of what Payless has to offer. Payless always has been the price conscious go-to for us size 11 ladies. Unfortunately, like most places, the size 11 (not to mention 12 and 13) sections are always a fraction of the size of other sizes. ALSO - Chrsitian Siriano is doing a line for Lane Bryant. Eeeek! I am excited! 

Pencil skirt, earrings, bracelets, belt and shoes – all older. 

30x30 Challenge: 30+ Outfits With Less Than 30 Items

May was busy for me! One major part of my month was moving. In an effort to make packing easier and for a fun excuse to try new outfit combinations, I embarked on a 30x30 outfit challenge.

Essentially, I wore only 30 items all month to create 30 outfits. I *mostly* stuck to the items I selected at the beginning of the month. Actually, I ended up wearing less than 30 items. And, I included shoes!! (Of course I didn't count gym clothes or undergarments in my 30!) 

Many of these clothing items are my old reliables so I can't link most of them for you. The items I'm wearing that are still available are linked when listed below. (I am obsessed with my "Riots Not Diets" top!  The other linked top - not so much. Poor quality!) 

25 ITEMS

TOPS: (1) Black Tube Top, (2) Black Tunic Top, (3) Cream Tunic Top, (4) Chambray Tunic Top, (5) Riots Not Diets T-shirt, (6) Black T-shirt. (7) Black 3/4 Length Top, & (8) Snow Leopard Peplum Top

BOTTOMS: (9) Black Leggings, (10) Black Gathered Pencil Skirt, (11) Thrifted Brown & Black Skirt, & (12) Harvest Skirt, (13) Pink Accordion Skirt, & (14) Denim Shorts 

DRESSES: (15) Orangey-red High Low Dress, (16) Pink Floral Dress, & (17) Brown Fitted Dress

JACKETS: (18) Black & Gold Moto Jacket, (19) Olive Bomber Jacket,  (20) Grey Lace Blazer, & (21) Denim Vest (not pictured #fail)

SHOES: (22) Cream Snake Skin & Gold Strappy Sandals, (23) Brown Strappy Sandals, (24) Black Pointed Flats, & (25) Black & Gold Strappy Sandals 

ACCESSORIES: (unlimited) belts, jewelry, & scarves

 

33 OUTFITS

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Here's a peak at some of my #ootd looks in these outfits this month! 

I loved doing this challenge! Unfortunately, I wasn't diligent about taking #ootd selfies everyday to show what I was wearing but I'm happy I could do a recap for y'all! Plus, there are even more combos I didn't share here! 

SIP & SHOP: Chicago with Ready to Start at BLAIR

Although it was almost a month ago, I still want to share some photos from my amazing Chicago event in collaboration with Ready to Stare and BLAIR!

Our Chicago Sip & Shop was amazing! The best part was working with Alysse from Ready to Stare and Jessica from BLAIR. What wonderful ladies! I love being in environments with other powerful and passionate female entrepreneurs! BLAIR is a beautiful space and Jessica was the greatest host! Alysse's fashions and jewelry are always perfection. And, we had a great bartender, Josh, from DrinkxXx On Me.

Thanks so much to those of you who who came out to support! And, special thanks to Camille Jade for most of the photos! She's the best! Check out her blog - Cocoa Boricua! I am working to put together some more shopping events in the upcoming months. Can't wait!

CHICAGO: Weekend Away

Last weekend I was in Chicago to visit a close friend and for my Sip & Shop event with Ready to Stare at BLAIR! I had a wonderful time! Susun is an amazing host and it is always a pleasure catching up and spending time together. Plus, I loved getting to know other amazing ladies through our Sip & Shop event. 

For the first time in my life, I actually missed my flight! It was completely my fault, too. But, Southwest was awesome and I was on the next flight to out of New Orleans to Chicago - no problems or complications. Susun and I spent time catching while walking around Lincoln Park.  (I always love walking but am even more focused on making time for walks since I started wearing a pedometer. No, not a Fit Bit. A dorky, old-school pedometer. I love it!) We snapped some fab photos while we were out.

 
 
 
 

OUTFIT: I recently found this over-sized top while thrifting. The chillier Chicago weather was a great opportunity to wear it. Paired with Torrid's stiletto skinny jeans, Torrid booties, bangles, Lane Bryant sunnies, and one of my favorite scarves that's too thick/warm to wear now in humid NOLA.  

 
Chicago w Susun.png
 

Fun included walks around the city, visiting the lovely Lincoln Park Conservatory, eating lots of great food, and relaxing at King Spa & Sauna after the Sunday event. Speaking of - stay tuned for another post about the fabulous Sip & Shop event!

This trip kicks off quite a few travel weekends in the upcoming months. Several trips to Minnesota for weddings and wedding related celebration, a beach bachelorette party weekend, a trip to Miami, and more. Looking forward to sharing my excitements throughout the summer! 

OUTFITS & ACTIVITIES: What I've Been Up To The Last Few Weeks

Life is busy and beautiful these days so I wanted to share a quick peak at some of my outfits and activities the past few weeks! 

OUTFITS 

I've been working constantly, so most of my looks are business casual or gym clothes lately. Although, the pic at the top, right is from a night out with my sis! I'm all about floral (obvs!) and can't get enough of these new flats from Lane Bryant

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ACTIVITIES  

My beautiful sister visited last week and we went to a trampoline park. These places are my BLISS! And, as you can see from my in-the-air-splits. . .I still got it! ;)  We also attempted (and failed miserably) at a sundae eating challenge at the historic Creole Creamery

I spent some time journaling about my first quarter of 2015. (My financial coach encouraged me to start breaking up goals into quarter/3 month segments - like businesses do- and I love it!)  Other than that it's just been prepped lunches and dinners and quick rests on my (carpeted) office floor before heading out to teach night class each night. I'll be excited to catch up on sleep and me-time in May!