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OOTD: The Last Weeks of Summer

August 24, 2016

Schools are starting back, stores are advertising their fall decorations, and fashion magazines are revealing trendy layered looks for fall, but we’re still in the last weeks of summer, and it’s hot as hell.

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Review: Irresistible Me Hair Extensions

August 21, 2016

A few weeks ago, Irresistible Me reached out to see if I wanted to try out their hair extensions. Being someone who pretty much wants to try most beauty-related items, I jumped on the chance to try out their product. I had purchased a clip-in extension years and years ago (it was one large piece), and had liked the added volume but disliked the fact that it was one large piece, so I was happy to see that their remy clip in hair extensions came in 8 pieces, allowing me much more customization as I used the product.

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I have fine hair that has some natural curl and wave to it. I am particularly thin toward the front of my hair and at my crown, and though my hair was long this summer, the ends lacked any kind of volume. I was interested to see if the clip-ins would look natural with my individual hair needs.

But first, let me share how I picked out my extensions. Madison from Irresistible Me passed along a couple tools to help me make a decision. One was this YouTube video that shows, compares, and describes the various colors they offer. The other was this pin that showed the different lengths of the extensions. Based off the description and view of length, I went with the Medium Brown in 16 inches. Madison also told me that the three options of weight (100g, 140g, 200g) refers to the total weight of the hair without the clips. This is relative to length, since a 14″ 200g piece will look thicker than a 24″ 200g piece. I was dipping my toes into the clip-in pool, so I wanted something that would look natural and not be too long for me to work with, so 16″ and 140g it was.

a3Wearing the extensions in both of these pics. Different lighting, but in each the extension color works into my natural color.

My hair this summer was the longest it has been since high school. I usually have it shorter than this, so one thing I noticed when I got in the clip in extensions is that they extended my length only a little but extended my volume a lot. The ends of my hair was thin and sat flat against me, but with the extensions, the ends of my hair were full.

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Because these are remy extensions, they can be washed and you can use heat tools on them. I’ve tried them out with many different hair styles, using both a curling wand and a flat iron on them.

One of my favorite uses is incorporating the extensions into a braid or up do. As I mentioned above, my hair is fine and thin, so using extensions allows me to thicken up a braid. Now in the image below, I wanted a thick braid and I achieved it with just two clip-in pieces, one of them being the thickest base clip-in. I’ve also done this with with just one clip in for a thicker braid than my natural but not as thick as the one on the right.

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I also like to incorporate them with curled looks. This style already gives my hair the most volume, so incorporating the clip-ins just adds more oompf. My natural hair had gotten light on the ends, and seeing the clip-ins darken the color of my hair toward the ends with the pops of lighter pieces inspired me to get my hair dyed to replicate this color.

curlyhairLeft: without extensions, Middle and Right: with extensions

I’ve enjoyed working with these clip-ins over the last few weeks. There were so many times when people weren’t sure whether I had them in or not, and they kept remarking on how long my hair had gotten. I was a little nervous at first that the clips would show, but it wasn’t an issue — they looked very natural and worked well into my hair.

If you’re in the market for clip-in extensions or are curious to try them out, I do recommend Irresistible Me. I am not someone who had much experience wearing these, and I found it really easy and fun to work them into my normal styles.

*Irresistible Me gifted me these clip in extensions in exchange for an honest review on my blog. All opinions on the product are my own.

 

Trip in Review: Los Angeles

August 14, 2016

Hi everyone! I have to laugh at my last post — June 27th. Just a week before I started teaching again, and then once I was teaching…well I fell back down the black hole of a work-consumed life. Going to try to reach a better state of balance, but we’ll see how that goes one my new semester starts next week.

On to stuff I’ve been doing! At the end of July, my entire immediate family flew out to Los Angeles to attend an event honoring my dad. He was being inducted into the Hall of Fame for his his industry’s major association. My dad is a hard-working person, and I think most people see him this way, but it’s not often to get to hear “We see you and recognize you”, especially on such a big forum. The event meant a lot to him, and it meant a lot for all of his kids to come and celebrate with him. Let’s get on to the trip:

When I say my “entire immediate family” I mean “all 9 of us”. Yes, 9 full grown adults all flying in for a trip together. (We are an odd number because I’m the only single person – wahhhh :-p.) Sometimes it’s hard to make it through a family meal with all 9 of us in good spirits, so I was a little nervous. Luckily everyone was in a great mood the entire time, so it was kinda magical. Because there were so many of us, we all flew in on different flights and only planned to have dinner all together that evening. We went to an Italian restaurant called Tutti Mangia, and I had the most delicious ribeye with truffle butter (yes, it was awesome).

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Day One

We had one full day of doing whatever we liked before my dad’s main event, so we decided to be full on tourists. We headed down to Hollywood to visit the main street there and go on a tour of the area.

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Here is my family exhibiting tourist-y behaviors. Siblings in the back getting photos, and my brother posing up front. Gotta love a pose that gives the knees a time to shine.

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We walked down to the main street there where they had the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I only took a couple shots of the stars, one being Daniel Radcliffe.

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Later I found the Harry Potter trio’s handprints in front of the TCL Chinese Theater. More exciting was seeing Shirley Temple’s and Bing Crosby’s. I have to imagine that putting your handprints down back then was a little more exciting than it is now.

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We only had a little time before our tour of Hollywood/Beverly Hills, so we headed into a candy store where we’d meet our tour guides. The store had exciting features like an M&M Eminem:

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It also had guys making candy. I had seen a video circulating on Facebook a month prior of how people make this candy (layering and then rolling into thin/reduced pieces), so it was fun to watch them in person.

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The tour we went on was for stars’ homes in Hollywood/Beverly Hills. There were a lot of things I wanted to do while on the trip, but I didn’t get a chance to (Disneyland, studio tour, Santa Monica Pier), but this was one thing we could easily fit into our schedule and many of us could do at the same time. It ended up being an interesting tour with some limited views of homes and good views of neighborhoods in this part of CA.

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I wasn’t good at taking pictures during the tour, and eventually I gave up. I also might have spilled Sprite on myself at the very beginning of the tour and was slowly crystalizing into sugar. I did get this picture of Nicholas Cage’s home – You’re welcome for this insider look into his life!

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I was more so fascinated by the various things people had to do to perch a house in the limited space available. These houses below would give me anxiety-filled dreams of beams breaking and the house sledding down the hill.

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Afterwards, my sister Katie, her husband Brandon, and I made a side trip to go see Jen at The Plus Bus Boutique (owned by Jen and Marcy, I believe). I met Jen a few years ago at Full Figured Fashion Week, and I had kept in touch with her and her business venture online. I really wanted to stop by the store itself. This is the kind of business that I wish was available around me. I love that her shop also has community events where women are encouraged to come in together and shop but also just have fun, hang out, and meet other plus size women. I shopped with friends growing up, but never had a friend around my size that shopped plus size alongside me. I think it’s really great to have these social events for women and to have a meeting place where people “get it”.

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My sister Katie, Jen, and me

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My favorite piece in my size: A Joe Browns dress perfect for fall

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Katie’s favorite was a Jessica Simpson dress

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So many colors and prints!

After talking visiting the boutique, we headed back toward the hotel. We were about 45 minutes from just about everything in LA due to traffic, so it was dark by the time we got in. We went for a quick dinner and In-N-Out, which I had heard of before. I’m sorry to report that the food was most definitely “Meh”, though maybe we just got a bad batch!

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I finished the night out with a swim in the pool with my brother and his wife Brittany (who I traveled with to FFFWeek the second time around). I wore this Lane Bryant two piece (top can be found here and bottoms were purchased last year). This is actually the first time I’ve ever worn a two piece in public. I’ll admit that sometimes doing so feels very radical in the moment of wearing it, walking around the pool, going from pool to hot tub, etc. I felt good, so it worked for me.

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Day Two

On day two we all went out to breakfast together again. My dad and mom had events all day related to his Hall of Fame induction, and we really only had about half a day to do things. We decided to head to a local mall that had a City Chic. I was really interested in seeing what their store would be like. They had a gorgeous display and set up.

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PicMonkey Collage

I thought everything was displayed really well, and it made me want to look at various pieces. The sales associate was really nice and fun. She immediately keyed in on my brother-in-law who read as “Southern” quickly. The changing room was nicely decorated as well and had a chic seating area. As nice as the store and sales associate were, I was so incredibly disappointed in the visit. I knew that City Chic carried up to a 24 (their “XXL”), but in this store they only received items up to their XL/22. I’ve worn their pieces before and know a 24 can work for me depending on shape/fabric. What a disappointment. I want to love brands. I really do. But when I enter into their stores and cannot shop, when they actually DO have clothes that fit me but do not stock them, I leave disappointed and unimpressed. This isn’t just City Chic. I went to Torrid right after, and while some Torrids carry up to 5 in shirts/dresses, I couldn’t hardly find any 4s in the store. Really, I just wanted to try on jeans, but they only carried up to a 26 (they carry up to a 30 online). Their sales associates were also super friendly, and I could tell they felt uncomfortable with not being able to provide things for me to try on, but ah.. it wasn’t meant to be. Note: EVERYONE I met who worked in CA was super friendly to the point where we all commented on it. North Carolina is supposedly known for “southern manners”, but the people in California were much more friendly and helpful everywhere we went.

That night was the big event. I headed back to my room to hurry and get ready. I went with simple make up (the only thing I really know how to do) and wavy hair. My dress is Kiyonna and earrings are Aldo Accessories (similar).

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And now I'm at the event that we came to LA for!

A video posted by theplussideofme (@theplussideofme) on

 

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My mom and dad in front of his display.

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My sister Katie in ASOS, Brittany in City Chic, and me in Kiyonna

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Katie, my brother Danny, and me

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My dad and me

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All 9 of us

Day Three

On the last day in LA, I wanted to make sure to spend time with my parents. They had been busy with things from my dad’s event, so we hadn’t done much more than eat together. My mom wanted to go to a miniature train show, so there we went. Yes, I went to a miniature train show during my trip to LA. Yes, it made me think of the Borrowers. Yes, it kinda made me want to shove everything off my kitchen table and start creating some random scene for an electric train to run through.

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That afternoon I headed back out with Katie and Brandon to visit Laguna Beach. Danny and Brittany had gone on a previous day, and the pictures they took were gorgeous. I also wanted to live out my high school fantasies of running into Stephen Colletti while walking along the shore.

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Stephen Colletti was no where to be seen, but it really was a gorgeous beach. It was crowded, so it took us awhile to find a place to park and to venture out to the beach itself. We found a small beach with a community walk down and garden.

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All of the houses and cliffs were eye candy. Every where you looked there was something beautiful.  I loved that the part of the beach that we went to had rocks coming out of the ocean. NC beaches (the ones I go to) are very flat, so it was exciting to see the waves against cliffs and rocks.

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Day Four

Day four was spent flying back to North Carolina on two delayed flights. I did manage to read all of The Cursed Child during the flight and got home safe and sound. My suitcase on the other hand…

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OOTD: Nudged by ColourPop

June 27, 2016

Yesterday my family came together to celebrate a belated father’s day and my sister-in-law, Brittany’s, birthday. Typically I show up very, very casually dressed because my family likes to go out on the lake on the boat, but yesterday I had received my first order from Colourpop cosmetics, and the new makeup inspired me to look a little nicer than I usually do.

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I am trying to venture out a bit with makeup. A couple years ago when I went to FFFWeek with Brittany, she convinced me that eyeliner is okay to wear. Haha, I really thought it looked like too much (and in North Carolina, most people keep things extremely casual with very natural makeup styles). Now I’m nudging my way into wearing lip colors that are a little more attention grabbing. I’m slowly doing this. Colourpop‘s products definitely fit their name, and I thought the lip color was a little too vibrant, but looking at the pictures now it seems fine, and I’m realizing I’m mostly limited by the way I’m used to seeing myself versus what actually looks fine.

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Speaking of limiting the way I see myself, I’ve been blogging for almost 6 years. Granted, the last few years have only had sporadic posting, but I’ve seen a lot of pictures of myself. Brittany was helping me take pictures, and I realized I still only pose in certain ways and feel uncomfortable taking pictures that are beyond smiling at the camera. This is another thing I want to allow myself to be and do without feeling insecure. It may seem small (and kind of silly), but it’s linked again to the way I limit the way I see myself, so why not expand that🙂.

As for the outfit, I’m wearing one of my favorite tops I’ve purchased this summer. A bardot style striped top from Torrid. It has navy stripes and can be worn more off the shoulder than I’m showing here.

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I added this orange-red bag from Old Navy and sunglasses from Urban Outfitters. Warning, if you purchase this bag, it has a bad smell due to the way it’s manufactured (I’m guessing). Prepare to air it out for a couple days before wearing it out.

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By the way, family party = dog party. How cute are they?

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So lipstick and new poses, baby steps to get back on track with trying things I like but am insecure about. Such tiny things that remind me that positive body image is a constant work in progress.

OOTD: My “In Between” Swimsuit Look

June 16, 2016

Growing up on the lake, I am pretty realistic about swimsuit looks. I always love seeing the glammed up styles from bloggers who have caftans, hats, and jewelry on when heading toward the pool, but when my swimming sessions often are with my siblings, who have absolutely zero patience for over primping, then I know my looks have to be much more simplistic. Usually my swim look is a cute swimsuit + a pull over tube dress from Old Navy + sunglasses + the closest shoes to the door. That said, I wanted to find something in between the overly casual and the glam looks that I adore.

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Enter in the “Wild Child” dress from plus size Indie brand Zelie for She. Super comfortable and easy to wear, but the fabric elevates this maxi to be more than just a casual, every day piece. I’m in love with this print, which is shown in more detail below. I also like that if you go more toward glam, various lipstick colors can easily go with this, along with many jewelry styles. This dress comes in a “one size fits all”, which I was nervous about. I decided to go for it since the shape widen out from the top, but I do think I am close to the top size. It just fit my bust and shoulders, but would fit someone larger on the bottom. Oh! And it has pockets!!

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I also love it without the belt for a breezy, flowy look. I like how without the belt you can see the stripes and the short brush strokes on the print. It has the perfect amount of transparency for a good balance between seeing your swimsuit underneath but also mostly showcasing the dress itself.

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Swimsuit shopping is always a little frustrating. I am a good bit larger at the bottom of my torso/bum, so finding a swimsuit that fits top and bottom and is long enough in the torso is like trying to find the needle in the haystack–or as big of a haystack as it can be when plus size swimsuits are already limited!

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I really liked the ties on the front of this Torrid swimsuit. If you’re concerned about them opening, they are sewn so that they will not open. In fact, you can’t space them out even if you wanted to. I really liked that this suit was so long in the torso. I could probably have even more length and it would have fit fine. There are some downsides to this suit. The built in “bra” does not work for me at all. It’s too loose under the bust, and the closure on the back comes apart easily (under the swimsuit fabric but is in there for support). I think I will cut the back bra closure off because it serves no purpose for me. It would have been a better product had it been a typical bra closure. I chose to wear a bra under this suit, which does not show on the outside. I personally don’t mind doing this, as it’s something I’ve had to do since I was young. There’s also boning on the sides that is made out of plastic. You can actually see it on the suit to the sides where it peaks out in an angle. The plastic bends and then makes a shape that isn’t there. I might cut those out too, since it would just lay on my natural shape without those. Even though the suit isn’t perfect, I still really like the style, and it’s a little more fun than some of my past suits.

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So this is my in between swimsuit look — not fully glammed up and not super casual. Of course the clothing items themselves are only one part, so make up and hair can easily shift an outfit into the style you want. If you want more swimsuit looks for inspiration, check out the Instagram feed for the Golden Confidence Pool Party that happened last week (which sparked my inspiration).

 

Trying a New-To-Me Brand: Lovesick

June 7, 2016

One of the most exciting things about plus size fashion at the moment is that new lines and collaborations keep popping up. When hearing about each new place to shop, my inner teenager who had only 2 places to go to gets really, really excited, but if you’re above a size 22/24, so many of these new opportunities are still out of your reach. Because of that, I get even more excited when there’s a new line that goes beyond a size 22/24. Enter Lovesick, a sister brand of Torrid. They  advertise themselves as sizes 10-26; however, many of their tops and dresses are available in a size 5, which is comparable to a size 30. I decided to try multiple pieces, and as a definite size 4/28 top and dress size, the 5’s were too big on me and the 4’s fit perfectly. I decided to purchase the dress below in a 5 because it seemed straight cut and I was worried about the fit on my hips, but I definitely could have sized down once to have it fit slightly more to my form.

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End of the Joke

June 2, 2016

In the last few weeks, I’ve had a similar experience happen maybe 3-4 times. I’m engaging in someone’s words, media, and art. I’m thinking alongside them and interested in what they have to say. Then, BAM! They make fun of fat people or make stereotypical or false comments about fat people—basically they make me realize that they are not my kind of people. They believe “truths” about fatness that I disagree with wholeheartedly. They see fat bodies, fat bodies like mine, as worthy of ridicule, shame, or pity.

At what point do we decide to disengage with people we like because they make it apparent that they can’t stand our bodies? This is something I’ve asked myself multiple times, ranging from people with whom I have a relationship to people I just find interesting.

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