31 August 2013

Queen Of The Jiggle

I hate to say it, but summer is winding down. The evenings are chilly now, and the lovely June/July dry heat has turned into pre-autumn humidity. Sadly, this means afternoons lounging at the beach or diving into the pool are just about over. So with that in mind, this will probably be my last fatkini of the year :(

Recently, I've been loving me some leopard print. Dresses, lingerie, shoes, you name it. After seeing photos of my favorite plus-size model, Tess Munster, in a Black Cat Bikinis leopard print, high-waist fatkini, I wanted to follow suit. Though the design I am wearing is actually the seamed halter top as opposed to Tess's underwire top, both are available in plus-sizes up to a 6XL. Black Cat Bikinis is by far one of the most high-quality, stunning swimwear brands out there that caters to the fuller figure. Even in the plus fashion world, it's hard to find really beautiful pieces over a 3XL. But they have the sizes and the style. My pick for next summer: the Cherry Bombshell Ruffle suit.

I felt like the queen of the jungle in this bikini. Even more so now that I have dyed my hair black in preparation for the changing of the seasons. All I want now is to be cast in the female version of George of the Jungle. It will cleverly be called Maria of the Jiggle. Yes, I like the sound of that.

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Get the look:

Cat's Meow Retro High-Waisted Bottom, Black Cat Bikinis, $48

Cat's Meow Seemed Halter Top, Black Cat Bikinis, $55

30 August 2013

New York Fashion Week Goes Plus!

I just about hyperventilated in ecstasy when I read the following headline: Eden Miller to Show First Plus-Size Line at New York Fashion Week.

I really try my best as a supposed grownup to stay away from cliche texting abbreviations, but I feel this moment is a unique and special occasion, so right now, I put all attempts at adulthood and maturity aside, and say: O.M.F.G.

This is a truly momentous occasion. It isn't just that a plus designer has made it to fashion week. It's that a plus designer has made it to NEW YORK FASHION WEEK, i.e. the pièce de résistance of the global fashion week kingdom. Had you asked me a year ago -- no, even three months ago when I was still living in NYC -- whether I thought this was possible, I would've taken one look at my surroundings -- at the quotidian size 2 models or essentially-should-be-models that seem to encapsulate the island, and laughed a sad laugh of resignation. "No," I would have said, "This is New York frikin City for God's sake." Well, today is a happy day. Today is a day I am thrilled to be 100 percent, totally incorrect. I was wrong, and how awesome it is when inherent pessimism pays off to so pleasantly surprise you!

I LOVE Eden Miller, designer and founder of Cabiria. More and more we are seeing brands expand their lines and incorporate plus-sizes, but Ms. Miller here is one of the few who I have seen make cache, high-quality, luxurious apparel for sizes 12-24. Honestly, I need to find a way to get a ticket to this show as watching fellow larger ladies strut down the NYC Fashion Week runway is something I HAVE to see with my own eyes.

And because I really can't give justice to how amazing this line is, just look for yourselves:
Cabiria 
Cabiria Plus 4
Cabiria Cabiria Cabiria Cabiria

From the website:

"Each fabric is in a limited quantity, which creates exclusivity and cache for our customers. Cabiria is made entirely in the USA, using sumptuous fabrics, ebullient prints and colors, and beautiful craftsmanship. We believe in cutting for the fullness of the plus-size figure, ease of movement, considerate details that make you feel good in your clothes, and for long term wearability. Modern classics that have no use for conservative attitudes. We deserve to feel gorgeous!"

A Gemma Cruickshank Original

Last year my heart melted when I saw the voluptuous beauty Teer Wayde (Curves to Kill) in Deadly Dames's emerald green, velvet dress. I wanted it...bad.

But of course, by the time I tried to enter my credit card numbers into PinUpGirlClothing.com, the dress had sold out and I was in distress.

I'd just about given up all hope of ever owning anything similar. But cue Gemma Cruickshank.

Thanks to Gemma, whose inspiring plus-size clothing line will be launching this October, I now have myself a body-hugging, stretch fabric, original emerald green, velvet dress, and I couldn't be more euphoric. In fact, I think I love this dress even more than I would have loved the Deadly Dames one. Partly because no one else in the whole wide world owns it, and partly because it's made by the gorgeous and talented Gemma C herself.

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29 August 2013

UK Roadtrip Recap

Plus Size Blogger Roadtrip Plus Size Blogger Roadtrip

Not very long ago, I spent a week roadtripping through the UK. The destinations:

London, Brighton, Bath, West Country, Lake District, Keswick, Portree and the Isle of Skye.

It's funny. At the end of the roadtrip, I felt so -- so carefree, comfortable, positive, confident, at peace.

Enter real world.

So easily, it all seemed to evaporate when work and stress and people and daily life came back into the picture. But today I remembered that week, and how happy I was, and how everything seemed like it was going to be ok. And I thought...if we can just find a way to hold on to those incredible feelings, even when things are not-so-incredible, maybe the real world won't seem so bad. Or even if it still seems hideous, we can at least remember that escapism is possible. That all you have to do to feel free and good and yourself is head into the middle of nowhere Scotland, perhaps with someone you love, and tune out all the rest.

A Note To My Cereal Box

Special K Weight LossSometimes we get overwhelmed. If you’re me, being overwhelmed leads to heightened anxiety and a tendency to enter severe panic attack mode. Sometimes we can’t explain it. But the smallest thing can trigger that part of the brain that tells you it’s time to hyperventilate and freak the hell out.

The past month has been a roller coaster at the Stress Parade. And yesterday was the climactic moment where everything and anything raised my anxiety to at-risk levels. The trigger: a photo I had taken about eight weeks ago of the back of a Special K cereal box. Special K’s chocolatey cluster cereal was my favorite way to start the morning. I realize the brand is targeted at dieters, but hey, I liked the flavor and I never actually followed their ridiculous baby-portioned serving size recommendations. I don’t really know anyone above 80 pounds who would. Anyway, whilst sitting at home about to pour myself a big girl bowl, I read the back of the box. The cereal told me that if I lost weight, I would be flooded with vitality, pride, and the cherry on top, joy.

I believe that one’s appearance should be directly correlated with whatever makes that person that happiest. If you’re the kind of person who is truly, innately, happier at a low body weight, well, go for it. In this case, losing weight may indeed make you feel more active, and thus have a better sense of vitality, more proud because you reached your goal, and joyous because you look the way you really want to look. But if you’re like me, and feel more confident, healthier, prouder, and thusly, happier at a voluptuous, chunky state, then really, there is no need for a cereal box to tell you otherwise.

Two things really bothered me about the Special K weight loss promise. Firstly, it takes into assumption that everyone in the world actually wants to lose weight. Whoever wrote the pledge seemed to have no kind of perspective – no awareness of the fact that people aren’t all programed in the same fashion – that just because he/she wanted to lose weight, does not mean the entirety of cereal eaters feels the same. Fair enough, this is a pet peeve of mine. When people take one look at me and assume that because I am big, I must want to lose weight, I do get frustrated. I really, truly, without a doubt, DO NOT WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT.

Secondly, the joy issue. Why is it ok to tell people they will be happier if they change who they are/what they look like? Since when did it become acceptable to blatantly tell people to change? Sure, the media has created aesthetically acceptable norms that many strive to follow. But it’s very rare for a large, supposedly respectable corporation, to make a claim as big as “YOU WILL BE HAPPIER IF YOU ARE SKINNY.” That may be the message that the media tries to portray, but at least most outlets leave it to the individual to interpret whatever it is they’re putting out there. This cereal box, however, does not leave it to interpretation. Again, I understand that perhaps most of its consumers are dieting, or trying to. And fine, by all means, Special K can come up with meal plans for the success of those diets.  But to tell EVERYONE that they will be intrinsically happier at a low weight is disgusting.

So, if I were to write a letter to Special K, it would go something like this:

Dear Special K,

I cannot believe that you, a seemingly respectable, mega-million dollar corporation, would be so presumptuous as to assume that every one of your consumers wishes to lose weight. While I understand that you are marketed as a healthy/dieting product, you also must realize that when you put substantial amounts of chocolate in your cereals, you are appealing to a larger (no pun intended) demographic. I for one, do not want to lose weight. I simply purchased you because I am a fan of chocolate clusters in anything. As a larger woman who actually likes being large, I am consistently told that I am wrong in choosing to look the way I do. And I do not appreciate being nagged further first thing in the morning when I try to pour a bowl of you.

To make the promise to your consumers that they will all be happier if and when they lose weight is simply sick. Quite frankly, the most miserable years of my life were those I spent dieting and counting calories and trying to become someone I’m just not. It is hard enough in this world to truly be yourself without your boxes trying to diminish any advances at self-love. Honestly, I worry that your ego is so large you actually have a God-complex. Who in their right mind would make such a blunt, bold and audacious claim as: You will be happier if you lose weight. To tell people they will be happier if they do anything is absurd. How can you speak for the whole population? How can you just assume to know what all people want. And since when, do all people want the same exact thing? We aren’t that simple, Special K.

I feel that you are completely offensive -- like more offensive than Miley Cyrus's racist performance at the VMAs. And though I was once a loyal customer, I am submitting my official resignation. Until you can become more open-minded and accept that you have acted like an egotistical dictator of aesthetics, I will not be your friend any longer. What makes me the saddest is that somewhere there is a chunky boy or girl being bullied and made to feel like crap on a daily basis. It is very likely that that boy or girl will try to change themselves. Maybe even they will buy your cereal. And when they read your box, they will be told for the umpteenth time that they will be better if they are skinny – that they will be happier. And they will try to lose the weight. And they will change themselves. And maybe they will be happy. Maybe everyone will like them more. Or maybe they will be miserable because they have lost the person they once were – because they realize that most of those people they tried to please didn’t really like them for their true self. And all you will have done, Special K, is acted as one more member of the corrupt, repulsive group, that made a child feel there was something fundamentally wrong with them for being different. Congratulations.

06 August 2013

The Designer in Me: Bow&Drape

Bow and Drape

A huge shout out of appreciation to Bow&Drape, the fabulous DYO shop that enabled me to design this Jackie-O inspired teacup dress! A few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting PR girl Christa Spengeman for a chat about the e-commerce site and DYO fashion as a whole (something I've never really dug into before) and I just had to try it out. After a few weeks, I had in my hands a chic, vintage, color-blocked, AND suitable for plus-sizes dress that I just love. Paired with my golden-colored M earrings, sailor waist belt and retro heals, I'm good to go for any summer day. A fan of online shopping, I also love that B&D allows for the at-home shopping experience with a twist.

And another thanks to Bow&Drape for the awesome feature they did on me on the shop's Tumblr, which everyone can check out here!
Bow and Drape 1 Bow and Drape 3 Bow and Drape 2 Bow and Drape 4 Bow and Drape 5 Bow and Drape 6 Bow and Drape 8 Bow and Drape 7 Get the look:

Design your own Jackie Teacup at Bow&Drape, $248

01 August 2013

Nerd Alert

For a while now, I have had a dream: to come in contact with (and/or stalk) Mr. Spock, Captain Kirk and essentially the whole Enterprise crew.

The closest I have come to this dream was at Philadelphia ComicCon a year ago. I didn't have the money to pay for a photograph or brief meet and greet with William Shatner, so instead, I peeked at him intensely from behind a curtain like the creeper that I truly am.

The second nearest wish fulfillment came when I ALMOST attended a party hosted by Leonard Nimoy in NYC to celebrate his friend's book release. I was only invited because I was interning at the same publishing house his friend happened to be working with. But because I am the most unlucky human in the world, just a week before the party my program came to an end. Depression consumed me.

So you'll understand when I found out that I could have Spock and Kirk's faces plastered on a 1950's inspired dress, I had to jump at the opportunity. Literally, I think I actually jumped in ecstasy when I discovered Polka Dot Polly, and the incredible "Special Order Fabric" section. From Star Wars to SpongeBob to Superman to yes, Star Trek, PDP has the best flippin fabrics I have seen in a long time -- all made into dazzling vintage inspired dresses, tops and skirts. The mother/daughter team of Polka Dot Polly works with your unique measurements, so this is absolutely perfect for any plus-size gal looking for vintage dresses but finding the task a difficult one!

This dress is the best thing I have ever owned. It's better than my iPod, better than my Netflix subscription, even better than my original Lord of the Rings box set. When I received it, I wore it for three straight days, forgetting the rules of hygiene and all social norms. Trekkies, you will understand why.
Star Trek Model Star Trek ModelStar Trek Model Star Trek Model Star Trek Model Star Trek ModelStar Trek Model Star Trek ModelGet the Look:

Custom Made/Special Order Fabric Dress, Polka Dot Polly, $170

Gladiator Jelly Sandals, Top Shop, $40

I decided to be extra nerdy and use the PicStitch app for photo editing. Normally, I'm not big on photo editing but these effects are just super cool.
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