Thursday, April 30, 2015

Hair Gloss | Before & After

As I'm getting older I am trying to take better care of my skin and hair. I'd like to say that I never come home drunk at 3 am and fall asleep with all my makeup on after eating about 6 pounds of nachos from Taco Bueno, but I wont lie to you. That still happens so I take extra care all the other times to make sure I'm doing whats best as if it will make up for the one or two nights of destruction.

All that to say, 'member how I got my hair done recently at Dear Clark? I scheduled my follow up appointment right then to make sure I stayed true to my new Take Better Care routine. After letting my hair grow a bit, I decided I wasn't ready for another cut yet (it has only been 7 weeks) so I called and rescheduled for a gloss. What is a gloss? Hell if I know, I read about it somewhere (I think it was Tess Munster's hair care routine) and thought holy -ish that sounds great!! So I scheduled it. This is pretty much how my entire life is lived.

Scroll down for the tl;dr.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Birthday Suit

Disclaimer: I'm not naked. You're welcome or I'm sorry... pick whichever fits your reaction. 

Can we talk about that face!? Hilarious.

First, Id like to apologize for the horrible lighting in these pictures. I really do look a little like something has possessed me. I assure you that is not the case. I planned on taking some pictures before leaving the house but I didn't get out of work as early as I intended and then bad weather came, like tornadoes,  so I couldn't get any in the daylight. Mother Nature (or life in general) just wasn't making this blog life easy on Friday!

Monday, April 27, 2015

My (maybe not so) Torrid Love Affair

I feel like a traitor to all plus size women everywhere when I say this, but... I'm having a Torrid crisis. I'm struggling with being "over" Torrid.  Not like in the ex-boyfriend that cheated on you and took your dog when he left over it, but over it like an ex that you slowly drifted away from and realized that you were better off as casual friends.
I have been a Torrid Insider (previously Diva Status) since 2008. I know I shopped there at least a year or two before I joined and the place was founded in 2001- so I've been there since allllmost the beginning. I've seen the brand grow and change and aesthetically, it is more pleasing but the last few years have just been a bore style wise and downright depressing in terms of quality.

I've been fighting with this break up for a while now. I almost went into therapy because I didn't know who I was anymore! I talked with friends to see if they were having the same issues I was and double checked that I wasnt just "growing out" of their trendier lines. I even wrote them a letter and no response. I think they knew the relationship was over and it was time to bring in the mediators to separate out the dishware.

Friday, April 24, 2015

It Gets Easier With Practice

Lately I've been struggling with work stress and deciding if I'm in the right place in my life. Turns out life has a funny way of bringing you full circle. I worked at a crisis center for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault before I started what I do now and had one particular client that I worked with extensively that will stick with me forever. For the sake of this story, we will call her Pam.

When Pam came in, she was in a particularly difficult situation. She had a long history of physical and sexual abuse that she could remember even back to when she was a baby. She had been timed while taking showers as a child and was beaten when they exceeded her limit. She had been in several abusive relationships and had two husbands that beat and raped her severely.  It all eventually came to a head when she was pushed out of a car going down a busy highway. She had decided to leave and start a new life and came in for help.

She walked weekly to the office, about five miles or so each way, and we would discuss future plans on how to improve her quality of life. Aside from work goals and financial goals I decided to talk with her about her own self love. It wasn't part of the program, but I felt like after 7 years of working with the clients, I had a pretty good idea what was missing. Call it youthful arrogance, but it worked. She couldn't stand to see herself in a mirror. She never spent any time on herself at all because she had been told for over 30 years that she wasn't good enough. I saw Pam as the strongest and most resilient woman I'd ever met and I wanted her to see what I saw so I made two simple suggestions.

1. Stand naked in front of the mirror every single day and say something nice. 
2. Do something that you enjoy every single day.

Those two things were a monumental task for Pam, but she was so determined to make a better life that she didn't look at barely-adult me and tell me I was insane... she just took the challenge. She started off small. 30 seconds in the mirror one day, a minute the next. She took a long bath one day as the one thing she enjoyed, the next she tried out makeup. She got her hair cut and she picked out some new clothes from our supply that she felt nice in.

Eventually Pam had saved enough money to buy a car to drive to her new job and to our meetings. She started renting her own house that she decorated with things she loved and she wore makeup and clothes she loved everyday. She then moved to another state on her own to start her new life. I haven't heard from her since, but Pam taught me more about life than I think I taught her. I still make myself live by those same rules to this day- almost 10 years later.

I thought about her today when I had a client come in today that I have been working with on a new financial start. The similarities in stories are striking and today she felt beautiful because she spent a little extra time putting on makeup and picking out an outfit she liked. I offered for her to take some pictures in my office full length mirror and after about 5 minutes of trying, she said the words, "I cant do it yet." I looked at her and said, "it gets easier with practice."

All this to say, that whole proverbial "practice what you preach" is in full effect on this side. If you are having a tough time finding that self love or if it feels like you just cant manage some of the things I talk about on my blog or maybe there is doubt that even I manage them, know that I know I'm not perfect either. I still stand in front of the mirror every day and some days it is almost too hard to find something nice to say. I get it right most days now, but there will always be days I get it wrong. Know that it takes practice. It takes time and it takes good days and so many more bad days to get it right.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Inside the Dressing Room | Torrid (Haute Cash)

I mentioned a week or so ago that I may or may not have racked up $100 in Haute Cash at Torrid. Turns out I definitely had, plus I had my birthday $10 off coupon PLUS I also had a $10 reward to use from my Insider account DOUBLE PLUS I had my ever trusty standard Insider 5% loyalty discount. All this adds up to  a really terrible math problem  a shopping trip.

I went to replace some items Ive had from Torrid for a little bit that are starting to show wear. My stiletto skinny's (in black and dark wash) have faded something bad but they took them off their denim wall and I was so sick of searching through racks for the right size that I gave up and found other things. Lazy shopping, but even worse product placement.

Monday, April 20, 2015

OOTD: The High-Low Down

The last few weeks have been a blur for me. We are in the middle of a remodel, buying and moving furniture and getting ready for a garage sale... this is what your late 20s is about kids, get excited.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

First Impression| Mish Lingerie Bandeletts

As I was scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed one day, I happened upon a blogger's picture (I wish I could remember who now) that featured these little guys. Mish had sent her a pair to try out, I went and bought some, a little portion of the world cheered and apparently this means that marketing works.

The middle pair looks like some of those geriatric shoes my grandmother used to wear- what were they? SAS shoes? Hilarious looking but entirely practical for tight white or sheer skirts. To be clear here, I meant the bandelettes were practical, not that my grandmother wore a lot of sheer skirts. If she did, then Heyyyy-ohhhh Grandma!! I bought some of the black ones, the Onyx kind, because chub rub is a real issue in my life and in the summer a pair of leggings or shorts is just too hot under a maxi.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

#imnoangel vs #choosebeautiful


Empowerment and body positivity are huge these days.. and I give that the "hell yeah!" stamp of approval, but let's make sure to get it right! I feel like I say this all the time (and I probably do) but we have to stop playing the us vs them game. I mentioned it in my past talk, #CoEvo. I gave myself a week to think on this and made sure I was sure in my initial response and I feel like I can safely say...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Where to find: Plus Size Active Wear

Plus Size Activewear

At some point in recent history, the plus size retailers figured out that we aren't all fat slobs that never worked out and added some plus size active wear into their permanent lines. That feels like a harsh sentence... too harsh? Anyway, so some of us like to work out or go to the gym, or live in something other than potato sacks. Man! The sarcasm is just too real today! Bring it in, Elle... reel it in!

I really am very happy that this has been a new trend for the plus size retailers. It shows that not only are they listening to their customer base, they are starting to shed all of the negative stereotypes of fat = lazy.

UPDATE (4/14/15) GarnerStyle posted a great post on activewear a day after I posted mine- great minds!? I urge you to check hers out to see some great items on a real body. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Spring Trend: All White

Spring Trend: All White

We all know my love for black, but this spring has just been about white for me. I mean, look at it! So good! GarnerStyle has done a few great posts about all white, and they inspired me to put together my own all white outfits.

I've always seen All White parties or All White events and I've always tried to figure out how I could make all white work without looking like the Michelin Man. That is getting easier these days with the better plus size options, though neither of these are very formal, they would both certainly work for a semi-casual event. Picnics, cruises, house parties... all options here.

All of the clothes are from Asos so they go up to a size 24/26 US, but run big. I have some white jeans from Asos in a size 24 that fit my usual size 26 bottom just fine. Links for items below!

Outfit One: Pants | Grid Top | Shoes | Bag

Outfit Two: Dress | Sunglasses | Fringe Purse | Strappy Heel

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

#CoEvo: Coexist & Evolve


I cant even take credit for this, because my super creative boyfriend came up with it while working on the game he is developing (keep an eye out for it in the next year or so- it's gonna be amazing!!) It just rang so true when I saw Tess Munster calling out the trolls for spamming #effyourbeautystandards and #honormycurves. 

I don't have the answers to all of life's questions so calling the trolls out and demanding to be treated more nicely could very well be the best way to handle it. If nobody ever stands up and we let it sit in the dark then nothing ever gets fixed. I am conflicted on this as the total resolution though. I'm more of  a let your light shine and others will follow kind of girl. A part of me cant help but think that when we are so forceful back it not only fuels the fire, but puts us in a position closer to the bully than the bullied, and really... how many times have you changed someones mind just by aggressively telling them they are wrong?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Sweet Country Easter

Sweet Country Easter

Even if you are not Christian, I think we can all get behind the idea of a big bunny bringing us candy and treats. Like, I'd even house and clothe the big bunny the rest of the year if he'd make a second candy run somewhere around August. Not to mention, how amazing would it be to just have a large cartoonish rabbit roaming about the house 12 months a year? ..okay, I've gone too far.

My family always does an event out at my parents house the Saturday before and it is a big deal (as are most of our family events) because there are just so many of us. I'm talking 30 ish people, food for days, fishing in the pond, bean bag tosses, Easter egg hunt and ... wait for it... an Easter Bunny pinata from a legit Mexican Market. Complete with stereotypical Mexican mustache. Before you are like, "ohhhh white people..." I'd like to mention that my family is just about as diverse as they come and as one of the resident white people I have taken a "How Offensive Is This" survey and the results came back as "Only Mildly Offensive."

Friday, April 3, 2015

3 Ways to Chambray

3 Ways to Chambray
Chambray has always been a little hard for me. I dont know why, but I had a block on it. I'm pretty sure it was the Brittney/Justin Denim on Denim fiasco of the early 2000s that blackened my soul. Its been a few years now and the healing has started. I understand chambray and denim are not the same, but... do you see that disaster below!? As a young Elle, the confusion was entirely justified.

I put together three options (four if you count Jibri's already put together amazing outfit) to satisfy every one of my outfit attitude days. One for the super sweet, one for the casual and one for the slightly edgy Elle.  Links below to all the items!

Here is how I'd wear it:
For the Maxi: Id unbutton and then tie it up under my bust or at my thinnest part (waist)
For the jeans: buttoned down and untucked
For the Skater Dress- open and wild!

Maxi Outfit: Dress | Wedges| Chambray Top
Jeans Outfit: Jeans | Sandals | Chambray Top
Skater Outfit: Dress | Boots | Chambray Top
Jibri skirt here.