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In Search of Clarity

August 4, 2014

So this photo and its humity-induced soft focus is pretty representative of how I am feeling about my blog. Ever since I graduated from my grad program, I’ve been hobbling along and only posting here or there. I know enough people who blogged two years ago who still do now to not feel completely isolated in the blogosphere, but I also feel out of touch, and it’s of my own doing.

Being a teacher isn’t an easy thing for me. It’s something I have to work at, and I really, really, really want to be the kind of teacher that I loved and wanted, so I put a lot of time and thought into it. Lots of people have time or energy consuming jobs, but I’m still trying to figure out the balance for me. I also am still, 2 years in, trying to find my style in the work world, and sometimes it’s just not as fun as when I was a student.

All of this leads me to ask myself what to do. I love this blog and what I have learned about myself and others throughout my time writing it, but I also don’t like how half-assed it seems to have been these past 2 years compared to before. I’m searching for clarity. What will this blog be now? How will it reflect the ways that I have changed?

raIMG_0197ASOS Curve dress, Aldo handbag, Forever21 heels

I’m not planning to stop writing/posting here any time soon. I’m just wondering…how do I make my personal fashion blog feel, well, personal again? Hmmm.. still thinking.

Review: Igigi’s Bohemian Rhapsody Collection

August 1, 2014

Last weekend my sisters and my soon-to-be sister headed up the mountains in North Carolina for a day-long getaway. It was one of those rare, perfect summer days where it was warm but not humid, and we spent it visiting the little town where I went to college and driving briefly along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I wore Igigi‘s Kaia Halter maxi dress in Cobalt Cachemire, which was perfectly light and airy. I had already worn this dress to work earlier in the week with a jean jacket and received 2 compliments from strangers I passed, and I received another while walking around Boone. It’s definitely an eye-catching dress, and I always think a dress is pretty special when even strangers will stop you to tell you how much they like it.

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The dress has a waist band with some elastic within the fabric. The teal accents actually do not gather the waist band tighter, so they are there only for the look of the design. I love how the top can be worn without being tied/bowed.

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As you’ll notice in the pictures above and below, the hem of the dress is intentionally uneven. The dress is cut in curves, and I’ve had a few maxis with slits, but not one like this. It took a day of wearing it to get used to the feeling of the hem against my legs. When you walk, the dress moves and flows around you. It’s quite pretty, and it made me think of a quote from Project Runway that I heard the other day: “My girl is into dramatic daywear” – this is definitely that!

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There are quite a few other looks from Igigi’s collection that I love, especially the Emma Maxi Shirt Dress and the Eden Pant – even better, their sizes range up to a 30/32. Check out their Bohemian Rhapsody lookbook here to see the designs. You can also check out my instagram for some pictures of me and my sisters.

What piece from the Bohemian Rhapsody collection is your favorite? 

*This dress was gifted to me for the purpose of a review. I have expressed my true opinions of and experience with the dress.

 

Review: Kiyonna’s Whimsy Wrap Dress

July 16, 2014

Guys….this dress. This dress! As soon as I put it on I felt like I had let out my alter ego, who is much more sassy and flirty than my usual self. I basically walked around looking like the heart-eyed emoji while wearing Kiyonna’s Whimsy Wrap Dress.

160x160x7-smiling-face-with-heart-shaped-eyes.png.pagespeed.ic.On6Pm-wTdvIt’s not often that I find a dress that fits my shape so well. I’m what most plus size companies would consider as “pear shaped”, but I tend to think of myself as slightly Yoshi-esque since my backside sits out like a shelf. The weight of the fabric, the location of the wrap, and the flirty hem all came together to make a wonderful fit for me.

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I paired the dress with Nine West Outlet gold jeweled sandals, this beautiful cuff bracelet from asos, and jade green earrings (seen in first image)

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Something that I love about being in Kiyonna’s Blogger Brigade is how much they really want the customer to see their designs on lots of different sizes, shapes, etc. You can see other women wearing this dress in the right hand set of images on the product’s page here.

What do you think of the look? How would you style this dress?

 

OOTD: Dressing Up with Scarlett and Jo

July 11, 2014

I’ve been hoarding this beautiful Scarlett and Jo dress for a little over a month, and I finally had a chance to wear it and take pictures. I really love to “dress up” but rarely have the opportunity to do it, as I’ve said before on here, and yet I still can’t get as “in to” casual clothing as I can dress up clothing. Maybe it’s related to my childhood fashion memories? All of the memories I have attached to clothing were dress up clothes: A strawberry dress for a festival (it was damn adorable), a deep red velvet purse with a “pearl”-stringed handle (that I took to an Amy Grant Christmas concert), and so on. This dress reminds me of those.

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When Scarlett and Jo first started being carried at Evans, some (I can’t remember if all) of their items had a smaller size range, but they’ve expanded their designs to carry the full size range that Evans offers. You may remember me wearing their dress here in a smaller size than I usually wear. It’s now available in the full size range.

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I’m 5’4″, so this dress runs a little long on me. It hits about 2-3 inches under my knee. It has a layer under the skirt with some crinoline type of material that gives the dress that “prom style” shape. The top is a very soft stretchy material, and the elastic band brings in the waist but is not tight or restrictive. I could have easily sized down once and fit well into the dress.

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I went with gold accessories, big gold posts that I got from ASOS and a twig ring from their Curve jewelry. You can check out this Scarlett and Jo dress here. I also really love these two pieces:

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Scarlett and Jo Skirt

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Scarlett and Jo Floral Print Prom Dress

So what do you think of Scarlett and Jo’s designs? They left me feeling pretty happy…

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*This dress was sent as a gift from Scarlett and Jo. I expressed my true feelings about the design.

Review: Custom Styling with eShakti

June 28, 2014

About a month or so ago, eShakti approached me to see if I’d like to review one of their designs. After buying and loving one of their maxi dresses in the spring, I knew I wanted to try out another style and customize the look. eShakti is unique for their size range (0-36w!!!) and their ability to customize to specific measurements, heights, and styling choices. It takes a little longer than a typical store to receive an item (within 14 business days of the order), but you get the luxury of buying an item that will hopefully fit perfectly. eShakti always has a lot of designs to choose from, but I find myself always looking to their interesting prints, patterns, or cuts. Usually I find items that I can’t find in other plus size stores. Cue to the dress that I chose to review. This dress is made out of a woven fabric — something I typically have to avoid because of my hip measurements. Since I knew I could definitely get this in my size, I decided to take a risk.

 

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While I thought the original design was cute, I wanted to customize it to make it a great piece that I could wear to teach in or to almost any kind of event. I mad the sleeves elbow length, and I lengthened the dress to hit right below the knee. The length change was really helpful because any skirt that is fitted and shorter tends to slowly inch up when I wear it. This length makes it perfect for me to comfortably wear in professional and fun settings.

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I played around with a couple different belt widths, but I ultimately went with an Eloquii braided belt. I added complementary accessories and a knot ring to finish the look.

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When it comes to sizing, it can be hard to figure out which one to get. I tend to look at how the garment fits and where will it lay most close to my body. For example, in the maxi dress I bought, the skirt was obviously designed to be big and flowy, so I ordered the size based off of my top/bust size. For this dress, I knew my hips/bum area would be the one to consider, so I sized up to the appropriate sizing for that. Definitely use eShakti’s sizing guide to help you choose which one is right for you, or you can choose to completely customize it to your measurements.
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I’m really happy with this piece. It’s very unique compared to the other items in my closet, and I finally found a place where I can purchase clothing in non-stretchy fabrics :).

While this dress is no longer available, you can check out their other designs here. Because they have such a wide size range, once the fabric is gone it’s really gone. I recommend jumping on a design if you really love it because it might not be there for long.

You can also check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Have you tried eShakti? What designs are your favorites? How did the sizes/custom styling work out for you?

 

OOTD: Chevron and Studs

June 26, 2014

A few months ago many of us plus size shoppers realized that our local Targets were slowly dwindling their plus size stock. There were a couple months there where my local stores had ZERO plus size options, and they didn’t really announce or discuss it. In fact, my anger was only made bigger when store clerks would sometimes send me on a hunting game (Oh- I think it’s mixed with maternity or clearance) when in reality the section just did not exist anymore. After a couple months, I think I heard from The Curvy Fashionista that they were rolling out a new plus size section, or at the very least the section WAS coming back but that they had issues with stock or who knows what. About a month ago I did find that the section had returned. For me, it wasn’t anything new or greater than before (at least at my Target), but I knew their online offerings had been growing in number, so I was hopeful (and remain a little hopeful) that the section was better. I did see one improvement. They still had their basics, but they also had more “styled” pieces too, and I actually found a skirt that fit me correctly (major win!). I finally wore it out for a bit yesterday and wanted to show my look.

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I really love the print of this skirt. It has a chevron style, and it is very textured with the various shades of gray, black, and blues. I find myself to be pretty picky with prints. I don’t want them to be completely overwhelming, and I’ve been giving myself a rule where they have to also be something I’m willing to wear to work, so this fit the bill. I always feel like I’m under accessorized or have an unfinished look, so at first I added in the House of Harlow sunburst necklace along with a studded belt and flat sandals.

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When I was at my local Target, this dress also came in a bright pink, which I loved but probably wouldn’t have worn as often. It has pockets (!!!) and also has an elastic/stretchy section in the back, but the fabric itself is not stretchy.

rzIMG_0038Old Navy top (other colors available), Target skirt, Nine West Outlet sandals, belt unknown

So I guess I will give Target another chance. They make such cute clothes for their other sections, so let’s hope they realize that they should carry that good reputation to their plus size section.

What do you think: necklace or no necklace? Have you shopped Target’s plus size section lately? Any great finds, hopes, or concerns?

P.S. my hair is blonder than it shows here. Apparently my apartment lights turn my hair red-ish.

A Weekend in Isle of Palms and Charleston

June 25, 2014

Last Thursday I packed up and hit the road with my sister Katie, her husband Brandon, my brother Danny, and his girlfriend Brittany. Yes, yes. I was that lovely 5th wheel, but it’s okay because I enjoy hanging out with them just that much. If you follow my instagram, then you’ll have already seen some of these pictures, but I thought I would hit the highlights of the super exciting weekend and some of the outfits I wore during it.

I wanted to be comfortable on the road and I was already in a beach mood, so I decided to wear my new Old Navy top which has bright blues and pinks.

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Since we left after my sister got off work, we got there pretty late at night, but we were up early the next morning to go to the beach at Isle of Palms. My family stayed on the island years ago for a week, and I just love it. Small enough for a true beach community and nice beaches without too many broken shells. Usually I wear a dress as a beach cover up just because of how simple it is, but I decided to wear an old Avenue tank top I had and this new Eloquii skirt that has a nice draped shape to it.

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Friday was Brittany’s 25th birthday, so we made sure to have a good time on the beach.

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 I wore a Lane Bryant swimsuit that I bought a year or two ago, but they still have similar styles such as this one.

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After lunch, we all heading back to rest and prepare for Brittany’s birthday dinner. We all had big plans that were keeping secret, and I am impressed with our collective sneakiness :) haha. I wore an ASOS maxi dress, which I’ll show in more detail at the bottom of the post.

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Dinner took a little longer than we expected, and we really wanted to walk on the beach at sunset, but it became dark really fast. Still… this little (ok big) lovely thing happened.

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My family is incredibly excited that Brittany said yes. If you’ve been a long time reader you probably remember that Brittany attended FFFWeek events with me last year. She felt like a sister then, and I am happy that we will only get closer with time.

The next day we went to the beach again in the morning, and then went to Charleston around 4 in the afternoon. We’ve all been to Charleston before, so we luckily didn’t feel the need to squeeze everything in (impossible anyway!). We ended up walking through the City Market and then had dinner at Hyman’s. I wore Torrid cropped jeans and a Lane Bryant tank top.

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My sister Katie, me, and my soon-to-be sister-in-law Brittany

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Katie and her husband Brandon

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The happily engaged couple at Hyman’s

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I wanted to show the Eloquii skirt better — although I’m having serious second thoughts on the styling below. In case you are considering buying, the material is a little sheer. I will probably wear black shorts or my cheap asos pencil skirts underneath it when I go out again. That said, I’m super in love with the shape, and I love how it looks with a top tucked in. This skirt can go casual or dressy. And you can get it for 20% off right now (at least as of the day I’m publishing this!).

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I’ve been holding on to this ASOS dress for a couple months. It has an open back, which kept me from wearing it a couple times, but I had a “duh” moment at the beach and just wore a black tube top under it. By doing that, you’re just leaving the lace at the top of the back showing (if you even care enough to do this) and it doesn’t show your bra clasps. You can even take a tank top and tuck the straps into your undergarments so that it doesn’t show.

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For me, this print is beautiful and should be the main focus of the look. I wore jeweled sandals and a pale pink ring. When fall approaches, this dress will also look good with a close fitting leather jacket.

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So this was my weekend :) It was definitely one to remember, and I’m so happy that I was included in their engagement. Must be something about June because 2 years ago I was able to see Olivia be proposed to by Ben, and they just tied the knot!

Do you save “special things” to wear for vacation? I have to admit that I was hoarding a couple of these just for this trip!

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