Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Battle of the...

Well, it is almost time for me to get on the scale again.  Am I looking forward to it, not really.  I know I've only been working out hard again for a month and that weight is not going to just fall off.  However, I know with working out, using my app (LoseIt),, and drinking water, the weight results will start to happen.  I am already feeling a change in my clothes, so that is perfectly fine with me.  

Here is the thing - it doesn't happen as fast for everyone.  Some people metabolize like the second hand on a clock.  For other people, it doesn't happen as quickly.  I'm on of those people.  In this journey, I have learned to stop looking at the progress of everyone else and just be concern with the strides I'm making.  

I'm healthy - other than that whole asthma thing.  I'm happy.  I have cute clothes that fit me and my style.  I have people ask me where I shop and ask me to help them find clothes.  That makes makes me feel so good.  If I can help someone else feel beautiful, one of my missions have been accomplished.  

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Hold me Tight!!!

Here lately, I've been seeing things being posted about what "big" girls should wear in the fall and winter.  Well, let me help you, it is not all sweaters and other items that look like sacks!  Plus Divas, we are a lot better than that.  Little Divas, yall are too.  Don't get me wrong, I love me a sweater on a nice cold day, but that is not going to be in my daily wardrobe.  

Why am I speaking out about this?  Well, of course I will be happy to tell you.  I had my first cool weather event over the weekend and I had an absolute blast!  Even better, I loved the outfit I selected.  Due to the weather taking a rainy turn, I had to change my entire outfit, but I was able to work something out.  

As you can see (from the smile on my face), I had a wonderful night, but I loved my outfit.  Many of you are aware of my weight loss journey, which is still going on, and you know it took me a while to wear tights.  Not because the outside world told me not to wear them, but because I knew I did not look right in them.  However, for the past 18 months, I have felt comfy enough to wear tights.  Also, you see I just don't like plain tights - I like things with a little bit more print.  

In other words, I'm not about to let people dictate what I wear.  I will dictate what I wear.  For this reason, that is why I am such an advocate for trying on clothes before you leave the store.  There are several reasons for this and one of them being the fact you have to see what clothes look like on you.  Also, if you are a clearance shopper (which I am), there are many stores with a stricter return policy on clearance items.  

My outfit over the weekend was simple - black and white, with a hint of pink.  Top came from Torrid, tights came from Lane Bryant, and my boots came from Avenue.  Three different stores help me put together this simple, yet adorable outfit.  And guess what, I felt perfectly fine in each article of clothing.  

You are probably wondering why I didn't give you a close up of this photo.  Well, it's not because I don't like my outfit, it is because I just wanted you to see the space around me!  Yes, the sky is gloomy, but the skyline is beautiful and there are wonderful people all around me.  I couldn't ask for anything better than that.  

Here's the thing - wear what you are comfortable in!  If you like how it looks on you, wear it.  No one can tell you what to wear, unless they are buying your clothes.  Enjoy your style.  Your style is part of you and you deserve to showcase your personality in any way you see fit.  Now, go enjoy the fall and the winter.  Enjoy your sweaters, if you choose.  However, if you decide to branch out, enjoy those clothes too!!! 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tip of the Iceberg

I don't even get to watch Project Runway, but there is one person on there that has my attention.  The fabulous Ashley Nell Tipton seems to be doing amazing work this season.  Like I said, I don't get to watch, so you are probably wondering why (or how) I even know her?

Well, the Internet is a powerful and it can be used for good.  Also, I was in a conversation with some people who could not remember the name of the chick with the purple hair on the show.  

I've been looking at some of her sites and although not a fan of purple, I am feeling her hair.  More than that though, I am feeling her sense of style.  The main aspect of Ashley I absolutely love is the fact she is not afraid to wear prints.  Since I own none of her photos, I will not be posting any in this post.  In fact, I invite you to find her social networks and just take a look.  She has even made me want to take other chances.  

If anything, I have learned this from Ashley - be yourself! She looks awesome, not because she is "small" or "perfect" or "conforming".  She looks awesome because she is comfortable in her own skin.  I mean, look at her.  Beautiful smile.  Totally enjoying herself with her colorful hair.  She appears to have a great personality.  And obviously, she can design the hell out of some clothes!!!  That's what makes Ashley awesome!  

Quite frankly, that is what makes us all awesome.  We have to learn to love ourselves, no matter what size we are.  We have to learn to love ourselves no matter what people say about us.  We have to learn to love ourselves and be true to who we are.  We are a wonderful creation and we deserve to be happy in our own skin.  

Good luck, Ashley!!!  

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Be creative!

When I get the chance, I also like to dabble in my creativity.  When I go visit my parents, my mom can convince me every once in a while to make some jewelry.  While visiting last weekend, I made 10 pairs of earrings.  Now, the photo only shows a portion, but I did make 10.  I like to have unique items and my color combos, although probably not typically what the average person would put together, they seem to fit my style.  

The photo shows a combination of orange and clear, black and clear, red and gold, brown and blue, and pearl and pink, with a hint of silver.  Again, probably not something you would wear, but believe me, I can and will pull it off with one of my outfits.  

Nothing wrong with being a risk taker when it comes to style options!  

Something else I love to do - scrap booking!  I love photos.  Quite frankly, I'm a photo junkie.  I have books from vacations and from my high school years.  There will be plenty more to come.  

Another I love is my hair.  If you don't know by now, I'll let you know that I have natural hair.  I really do not even know how to describe my curl pattern other than the fact it is a perfect blend of both of my parents - mom is curly and dad is wavy.  I just know that it takes a lot for me to do my hair (double strand twists, bantu twists, or various styles).  Another thing I know...I like to wear cute things in my hair.  I buy scarves at Target.  I have also had the chance to buy some pretty scarves at consignment shops.  However, I haven't had much luck when it comes to headbands.  Quite frankly, I haven't had any luck finding any that fit my style.  Because of that, I do the next best thing...I make them!  

I've made a few for family and friends too.  These are just 2 of my creations.  Sorry if they look worn, but the fact of the matter is that I've been wearing these two for quite a while now.  I love making these and of course, I do them in various colors and gem selections.  

Like I said, I love my hair and I love wearing cute things in my hair.  The fact I get the chance to make these myself is an absolute blessing.  The fact people have asked me to make these for them mean so much.  

So, we've talked about jewelry and my hair.  Now let's talk about another accessory.  It's mainly used during the winter, but some people make a fashion statement with them any time of the year.  I love to make scarves.  

I love to crochet.  I got back into crocheting a few years ago.  I make scarves (like the one you see to your right) and the regular flat scarves more people are used to seeing.  I also dabble in making hats, but I haven't perfected that skill just yet.  

Scarves are just comfortable to me.  Not only are they comfy, they are so fashionable when put together so wonderfully with one of mine (or your) favorite outfits.  

Well, we have talked a lot about my crafts.  I bet you are wondering, why are we talking about this?  This answer is quite simple.  All of the things I have talked about in this post are available to you for purchase...or they might even show up in another giveaway from this site!!!  

I know you were probably thinking that was the big announcement, but it is not.  The big announcement is this - The Etsy site containing these items will be closing this weekend.  I will still be making these for myself (of course), but these items will still be available to you. It is just easier for me to make these items as a special order now, instead of keeping them in stock.

If you wish to order any of the items you have seen, feel free to contact me via any of my social media or email me at theshaylaem@gmail.com!  There, we can discuss pricing for your order should you choose to make some selections.  One thing though...you won't be able to get the earrings from me.  I will have to put you in contact with the person that makes them a lot better than me...my mom.  

There's your big announcement!  Thank you for your continued support of my endeavors.  You are all truly awesome.  

If you haven't already, make sure you check out the newest addition to my blog family by visiting #Aria313 at 313aria.blogspot.com!  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Definitely on Target!

So, I heard this absolutely fabulous rumor about something happening at Target (one of my favorite stores).  I had to do some research and I was sort of hurt to realize this was happening in Australia, but I have a feeling this will begin to spread.  

I want to tell Target "Thank you" for being brave enough to have plus size mannequins in a store that is usually geared towards smaller women.  Honestly, I have NEVER been able to find clothing at Target unless I was looking for something to workout in.  Why?  Because all the clothes they had to fit me were frumpy and quite frankly, looked like burlap sacks.  I won't lie, I even tried looking in the maternity section and that was definitely not a good idea.  
Now these mannequins have given me a bit of hope.  If you are going to have mannequins in that size, I have to assume more stylish clothes are coming to the plus size department in Target.  I won't be traveling to Australia any time soon (even though I would love to go back one day), but I am hoping this trend will make it to the Target's located in the United States, or at least the ones in my area.  

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind shopping at Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart, and Torrid...but my wallet needs a break sometimes.  LOL!  If I can find something at Target at a little bit lower price and it still looks good, I'll give it a try.  

Here's the bottom line - I salute you, Target.  You have done some cool things lately.  You have added plus size mannequins, showed little girls it is okay to wear blue and play with "building blocks" and showed little boys it is ok to play with dolls.  This is truly awesome.  I might be able to shop at your store for clothes, another little girl might find it cool to be an engineer and design amazing things (like I do during my day job), and a little boy might be comfortable enough with his heterosexuality to realize that being a stylist (hair or clothing) is a lucrative business.  Target, you are definitely on the right track and I hope that other stores will follow your lead!  

Friday, September 4, 2015

I wish I (actually) knew her

Well, this is one of these post that I wish I could have completed this morning.  For my Southeastern US readers, some of you are probably familiar with the Ace and TJ show from Charlotte, NC.  They broadcast on various stations and also on their app.  So, if you were listening this morning, you are going to know what I am talking about.  

This morning, they posed a question that went something like women are going to be mad at me because of what.  Well, some ladies wrote in and called in with some interesting things.  For instance, one lady said that women should not be firefighters.  Don't agree with what she said, but to each their own.  It was a little miss Jennifer who got me a bit annoyed.  Her comment was, "women need to learn to work out"!.  Now, in her defense, she's young (25) and she has time to workout 5 days a week and not have to go home to a husband and/or kids.  On top of that, she is a stylist and she gets to pick her on schedule.  Then there are those of us that have a set time job (8 to 5, 9 to 6, you get my point) that run home to other responsibilities other than trying to figure out what time they are going to work out today.  

I wish I could play the clip for you because she was extremely condescending and she obviously has no clue about what life can and will throw at you.  This is the first week in over a year that I have been able to work out 5 days a week.  I feel like I have accomplished something because of that.  the nature of my job for the past 2 years have been go to work early, leave late, and if the contractor calls you in the middle of the night and wants to start working, I went to work.  I just did better with what I ate because I was trying to sleep when I could and sometimes, that was just a nap!  Working out wasn't even on my radar.  But let me tell little miss Jennifer something, in the past year, I maintained the size I was without working out not one single time.  Now, if you want to count walking beside an asphalt truck in the heat a workout, be my guest, but I didn't.  

Point is this, working out is not the only way to be healthy.  I've said it before, the only health problem I have is asthma and it has proven to be a gene, not because of my weight.  I don't have blood pressure problems.  I am not a diabetic.  My heart is fine (other than when I hear ignorant statements like the one Jennifer made).  I'm good!  I'm not perfect, but I'm ok with me.  

I would like to argue that she downs people because there is something about herself that she is not happy with.  You can read back through these posts and see that even though this blog is geared towards plus sized women, I celebrate women of all sizes!  I love to go shopping with my "skinny" friends and in turn, they don't mind going into a Lane Bryant or Ashley Stewart.  Let me tell you something else that my friends don't do - they don't put me down because I am a couple sizes bigger than they are.  Let me tell you what they do.  They compliment me on my clothing choices because I dress for my size and I don't look like I'm wearing a bag.  The love me because of my personality.  The appreciate my willingness to give.  And to pull it all together, they love me because of who I am...size 16 and all.  

So, Jennifer, if you ever get to read this - find some people that don't look like you and have a conversation with them for 5 minutes.  It probably won't change your mind about being plus sized, but I at least hope that it will change your attitude.  It is people with your mindset that cause some people to not like smaller chicks because they think they all think like you.  It's such a shame when a bad apple ruins it for the entire bunch.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The (non) magic number

Well, I think I told you a few weeks ago that I was ready to get back to working out.  I had maintained my size, but I can tell my clothes are fitting weirder than I would like.  Yesterday, I worked out, but I forgot to weigh myself before I went to work.  This morning, I remembered to weigh myself before I took my shower.  

My scale disrespected me this morning.  In turn, I realized that I have been disrespecting my body.  Don't get me wrong, I am still okay with my size - that number is cool.  Right now,  I am unhappy with the number on the scale.  Which means, my size will definitely change.  

Here's the problem with my size changing, when I get down to the next size my weight will take me down to, I will be at the size that got me out of control.  When I was a teen, I was that size, and it was very hard for me.  I was still growing into my body (I know that now) and I was really out of proportion.  I've told you before, I've always had boobs and bottom...but teens can be cruel.  So, I turned into a person that took stock in what other people thought.  The adult I am today is doing better in that department, but it's still hard some days.  The thing about forgiveness is that you don't always forget what caused the madness in the first place.  

As I get ready to start this journey, I hope that I learn lessons about life and teach myself a few things in the process.  Just in case you were wondering, I have been using LoseIt (@LoseIt) to help me keep track of my calories (the ones I eat and the ones I burn off).  It helped me the most during my last weight loss adventure, so I am hoping to have the same results.  

I'm hoping to lose 5 pounds this month.  Since I've said it out loud, I have now put someone out there to keep up.  In turn, you get to help keep me accountable.  Sounds perfect, right?