Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Diva Dezynes!

I know I don't act like it, but I actually love going to visit my parentals.  The only thing I really don't enjoy is the traffic I sometimes run into during my two hour drive.  Even though I try to hang out with friends and family while there, I love just hanging out with the parentals.  When it comes to my dad, we bond around sports and movies.  When it comes to my mom, we bond around cooking, cooking shows, and doing crafts.  

My mom is a pretty awesome jewelry maker and she's trying to turn me into one.  I really don't like the whole jewelry making thing, but when I visit, I will make a few pieces with her. This brings me to Diva Dezynes.  


Now, she tells me I'm the reason she spells her company name like that.  I really don't remember me telling her how to spell it, but since she's mom, we'll just go with it.  

Throughout this entire post, you are going to see some of her various creations.  For instance, to the right, you see a beautiful blue earring set she made just for me!  I have so many items that she has made for me, whether it be something she was just working on or something I asked her to make for me.  Basically, she can create something from her own mind or she can make a custom order.  

If you have been following me on Twitter, you know my absolute favorite color is red.  In fact, while I was visiting the parentals over the weekend, my uncle and aunt dropped by and he had on an absolutely beautiful red tie.  Ok, let me get back to the reason behind this post.  

My mom also loves to make bracelets too.  Like everything in life, it took some practice and me telling her what I thought, but pretty soon, she starting making these really amazing bracelets.  These bracelets are not tight and they look absolutely beautiful.  Just let us know what color you want and she can do it for you!  

Ok, you are probably thinking I'm just boasting because she is my mom.  I'm not!  She's really good at what she does and I am basically a walking advertisement for her!  However, since I love this blog and I love sharing thing that I love in this blog, it's time you met the lady that makes my jewelry.  

She's not going to let me post a photo of her (yet).  She truly is not a fan of social media, but she's learning social media is the way to go!  


Until we can get her a page set up, I'll just keep letting you know about all the amazing things she can do.  

If you are wondering how to get you a custom piece, the answer is so simple.  All you have to do is get in contact with me on social media and you know I will get in contact with her! 

She's excited to be doing this and I am excited to be able to help her.  Don't worry, as I get more photos, I will add them to my Instagram and maybe (just maybe), she will let me start a page for her.  Be on the lookout for #DivaDezynes! 

Update: She finally has an Instagram page!  Check it out here!  

Monday, May 30, 2016

Day 5 - THANK YOU!!!

Well, here we are.  There is a 10 dollar gift card from Starbucks up for grabs, as long as you are the first to answer correctly!  

What is the first name of the person in my first feature post?  
Hint: Answer can be found in a post from May 2015.  

Again, here are the rules and how to submit your answer!  

Rule 1 - You MUST be following me on Bloglovin!  You can simply click on the link on the right of the page to follow.  You do not have to have a blog in order to follow people.  Also, you will only get a notification when I post something new.  Besides, this will be a huge help when the contest starts.  

Rule 2 - You MUST be following me on Twitter and/or Instagram!  You can find the links to both pages on the right side of this page.  

Rule 3 - You MUST be the first person to answer the question correctly via email.  

Now that we have those out of the way, here is how you answer the question.  Simply email me at theshaylaem@gmail.com with what you think is the answer.  Within this same email, please let me know your twitter name and/or instagram name (so that I can make sure you are following me on one of those sites).  With this information, I can give you an awesome shoutout!  Once I have verified all of this information, I will respond to your email so I can get your contact info so I can mail out your prize.  

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Day 4 - THANK YOU!!!

Well, here we are.  There is a 10 dollar gift card from Starbucks up for grabs, as long as you are the first to answer correctly!  

Who did I do my first blog collaboration with?  
Hint: Answer can be found in a post from August 2013.  

Again, here are the rules and how to submit your answer!  

Rule 1 - You MUST be following me on Bloglovin!  You can simply click on the link on the right of the page to follow.  You do not have to have a blog in order to follow people.  Also, you will only get a notification when I post something new.  Besides, this will be a huge help when the contest starts.  

Rule 2 - You MUST be following me on Twitter and/or Instagram!  You can find the links to both pages on the right side of this page.  

Rule 3 - You MUST be the first person to answer the question correctly via email.  

Now that we have those out of the way, here is how you answer the question.  Simply email me at theshaylaem@gmail.com with what you think is the answer.  Within this same email, please let me know your twitter name and/or instagram name (so that I can make sure you are following me on one of those sites).  With this information, I can give you an awesome shoutout!  Once I have verified all of this information, I will respond to your email so I can get your contact info so I can mail out your prize.  

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Day 3 - THANK YOU!!!

Well, here we are.  There is a 10 dollar gift card from Starbucks up for grabs, as long as you are the first to answer correctly!  

What size clothes did I wear when my body was most awkward as a teen?  
Hint: Answer can be found in a post in June 2014.  

Again, here are the rules and how to submit your answer!  

Rule 1 - You MUST be following me on Bloglovin!  You can simply click on the link on the right of the page to follow.  You do not have to have a blog in order to follow people.  Also, you will only get a notification when I post something new.  Besides, this will be a huge help when the contest starts.  

Rule 2 - You MUST be following me on Twitter and/or Instagram!  You can find the links to both pages on the right side of this page.  

Rule 3 - You MUST be the first person to answer the question correctly via email.  

Now that we have those out of the way, here is how you answer the question.  Simply email me at theshaylaem@gmail.com with what you think is the answer.  Within this same email, please let me know your twitter name and/or instagram name (so that I can make sure you are following me on one of those sites).  With this information, I can give you an awesome shoutout!  Once I have verified all of this information, I will respond to your email so I can get your contact info so I can mail out your prize.  

Friday, May 27, 2016

Day 2 - THANK YOU!!!

Well, here we are.  There is a 10 dollar gift card from Starbucks up for grabs, as long as you are the first to answer correctly!  

What clothing store did I say "good-bye" to after a bad customer service experience?
Hint:  Answer can be found in a post from October 2015.

Again, here are the rules and how to submit your answer!  

Rule 1 - You MUST be following me on Bloglovin!  You can simply click on the link on the right of the page to follow.  You do not have to have a blog in order to follow people.  Also, you will only get a notification when I post something new.  Besides, this will be a huge help when the contest starts.  

Rule 2 - You MUST be following me on Twitter and/or Instagram!  You can find the links to both pages on the right side of this page.  

Rule 3 - You MUST be the first person to answer the question correctly via email.  

Now that we have those out of the way, here is how you answer the question.  Simply email me at theshaylaem@gmail.com with what you think is the answer.  Within this same email, please let me know your twitter name and/or instagram name (so that I can make sure you are following me on one of those sites).  With this information, I can give you an awesome shoutout!  Once I have verified all of this information, I will respond to your email so I can get your contact info so I can mail out your prize.  


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Day 1 - THANK YOU!

Well, here we are.  There is a 10 dollar gift card from Starbucks up for grabs, as long as you are the first to answer correctly!  

What process do I use to get unwanted hair removed?  
Hint: Answer can be found in a post in January 2015 and April 2016.  

Again, here are the rules and how to submit your answer!  

Rule 1 - You MUST be following me on Bloglovin!  You can simply click on the link on the right of the page to follow.  You do not have to have a blog in order to follow people.  Also, you will only get a notification when I post something new.  Besides, this will be a huge help when the contest starts.  

Rule 2 - You MUST be following me on Twitter and/or Instagram!  You can find the links to both pages on the right side of this page.  

Rule 3 - You MUST be the first person to answer the question correctly via email.  

Now that we have those out of the way, here is how you answer the question.  Simply email me at theshaylaem@gmail.com with what you think is the answer.  Within this same email, please let me know your twitter name and/or instagram name (so that I can make sure you are following me on one of those sites).  With this information, I can give you an awesome shoutout!  Once I have verified all of this information, I will respond to your email so I can get your contact info so I can mail out your prize.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

We Are 3


Oh, man, where did the time go?!  When I started this blog, on this day, exactly 3 years ago, I honestly had no idea what I was getting into.  I didn't know if it would be more personal about how I felt being a plus diva.  I didn't know if I was going to be deep and try to say some profound things people would remember.  I didn't know if I would enjoy the conversation because some people can be cruel.  I didn't know what other subjects I was going to talk about.  The only thing I knew on this day 3 years ago is that I wanted to write and I wanted to do good writing.  


I can honestly tell you, starting this blog has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I still don't know what I'm getting into, but I'm loving the journey.  I have enjoyed letting you into my life as a plus diva.  I have enjoyed trying to find profound things to say that will stick with you.  I have enjoyed the conversation because you have been so kind and generous with your feedback.  I still never know what I am going to talk about because everything around me inspires me.  But I do know one thing?  You have let me know that you have enjoyed me writing and to the majority of you, it is good writing.  

With that being said, I cannot do this post without saying THANK YOU!!!  To all of you who constantly read, comment, share, and just give support, I wouldn't have gotten this far without you.  I love the fact you choose to read my blog when you could be doing other things.  You taking time out of your day to enter my world for just a little while is so amazing and it makes me so happy.  I started off by doing this blog because I loved to write.  However, I have started to love this blog even more because you challenge me to be better.  You challenge me to talk about things I never thought I would be able to share.  YOU did that.  For all of you, I am grateful.  

I usually try to leave names out when I am saying thank you because I always forget people.  However, I have to mention some people in this post.  First, to my wonderful friend and manager Stacy, you are a blessing beyond measure.  Thank you for pushing me and thank you for never allowing me to give up.  We have so much more work to do, but I am looking forward to the journey of harder work you are getting ready to take me on.  Thank you to my friend Denise.  You are a powerful rock star and so full of encouragement.  You motivate me each day.  The minute I told you about my blog and what it was about, you supported it and that alone means so much to me.  Finally, thank you Michelle from Love, Michelle Ana!  When I met you just over a year ago, I never imagined the force you would be in my life!  You are constantly striving for greatness and never let anyone you know settle for less than great.  You are truly an inspiration.  


Well, I think should do it for me today!  I still cannot believe we have come this far and we have so many more years to go.  

If you haven't already checked it out, please make sure you read about the giveaway happening in this blog starting tomorrow!  Yes, I made it easy - just click "giveaway" and it will take you right there.  All the rules you need are there and I even told you what the prize would be.  I just couldn't keep it to myself.  

Again, thank you for entering my life and in a way, allowing me to enter yours.  You may not know it or believe it, but each one of you hold a special place in my heart and in this blog.  Without you, I wouldn't still be doing this.  #WeAre3 today and this third year is going to be better than the previous two!  Oh, what surprises is this year going to bring?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

This is me saying THANK YOU!

Tomorrow is a super awesome day in my life.  This blog, The Plus Diaries, turns 3 years old!!!  What a wonderful 3 year journey this has been and it could not have happened without your support!  So, I figured, it's about time I thank my faithful readers and loyal followers.  

How am I going to say thank you?  Well, it's time for the first ever giveaway in The Plus Diaries!  Starting on May 26th and going until May 30, I will be doing a daily giveaway.  It's open to ALL readers!  Five different days will generate five different winners.  However, like most things in life, there are a few rules to this contest.  

Rule 1 - You MUST be following me on Bloglovin!  You can simply click on the link on the right of the page to follow.  You do not have to have a blog in order to follow people.  Also, you will only get a notification when I post something new.  Besides, this will be a huge help when the contest starts.  

Rule 2 - You MUST be following me on Twitter and/or Instagram!  You can find the links to both pages on the right side of this page.  

Rule 3 - You MUST be the first person to answer the question correctly via email at theshaylaem@gmail.com!  

Now that we have those out of the way, here is how you answer the question.  Simply email me at the email listed in Rule 3.  Within this same email, please let me know your twitter name and/or instagram name (so that I can make sure you are following me on one of those sites).  With this information, I can give you an awesome shoutout!  Don't worry about your Bloglovin' name because it will automatically shoot me an email.  Once I have verified all of this information, I will respond to your email so I can get your contact info so I can mail out your prize.  

Prize?  You are probably wondering what that is.  The prize is a 10 dollar gift card from Starbucks!!!  How wonderful is this?!  

OK, peeps!  It's that simple.  Remember, this starts on May 26th!  Good luck to you!!!  

Monday, May 23, 2016

The product groupie

It is no big secret there is a particular line of products I use for my face and body cleansing.  I even use their lotion and sunscreens.  Not only do I enjoy it, but any dermatologist I've ever seen has recommended their products.  I am a Neutrogena girl all the way!!!  I'm just really happy my doctors told me to use a product I actually enjoy.  

I have a face cleaning regimen every morning and every night!  It changes, depending on whether or not I have had on makeup.  By the way, don't sleep in your makeup.  Just not cool!  

I know I have mentioned my love of the Neutrogena Wave Sonic, which has sadly been discontinued since 2014.  However, there is a new product I have just started to try.  I've been using it for the past two weeks and I believe it's a keeper!  

Let me introduce you to the Neutrogena Microdermabrasion System.  Yes, it's a mouth full, but it is amazing.  I was thinking this was going to be very similar to the Wave and Wave Sonic, but boy was I wrong!   This is a totally different system, with new pads, and a new vibration.  

After carefully reading the packet, I decided to give it a go and use it for the recommended three times a week.  I use it during my nightly cleaning ritual three days a week.  To keep it simple, I go with Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  I'm starting the third week of using this product and I am so impressed!  

As for the product itself, the cleansing pads are more defined and feel more like they are cleaning your skin.  Also, I have found the cleansing pads come off a lot easier, without snatching the head of the machine off.  

It took me the first week to get used to it, but I am there!  The Neutrogena Microdermabrasion System is so amazing.  Due to the stronger vibration, your skin will get a deeper cleaning than before.  Also, this machine is a lot easier to hold when you are in the shower.  

I have to admit, when I first started using this product, I really missed my wave.  However, three weeks in, I am so happy I spent the extra money to purchase this product.  Yes, it is more expensive, but my skin is absolutely worth it.  Yours is too!  

This next product from Neutrogena had changed my life.  Yes, it's that serious.  I was highly skeptical to use this product, honestly because of the name, but it is another item I am very happy I purchased.  

Here is the Neutrogena Hydro Boost water gel.  Ok, like I said, I was skeptical to buy this product because of the name water gel.  I mean, I use water every single day to clean my body, so I was really expecting a water like material with a drop of gel.  Basically, I was expecting to waste my money.  Again, so wrong!  Not only is this product great, it goes a long way!  To cover my face and neck, I only have to put a small amount on the tips of my fingers.  I'm curious to see how long this product is going to last.  

My favorite thing about the Neutrogena Hydro Boost water gel?  It feels so amazing on my skin.  Honestly, it feels like I'm not putting anything extra on at all.  I know you hear this so many times, but I could tell a difference in my skin the same day!  Nope, not getting paid for this endorsement.  Just a real person telling you about her real experience with this product.

Again, this product was a little bit more expensive, but absolutely worth it.  However, as previously stated, just a little bit goes a long way.  If you dip your entire hand in the jar to get some out (which it probably won't fit anyway), you will have too much!  

I wanted to show you this photo to the right so you could see exactly how much product you were getting.  In other words, don't be fooled by the packaging!  However, I promise you, this will go a long way, depending on how much you use at one time.  

I use this this product daily after my morning shower.  My skin is smooth all day long, even after being outside in the elements.  I do believe Neutrogena has another success on their hands!

Well, these are the two newest additions to my Neutrogena collection.  I'm sure when they come out with something new, I'll give it a try.  I have found the products that work for me!  They keep my skin looking great and when you look great and that is really important to me.  Thank you, Neutrogena, for your wonderful products!  

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Big body, big hair

Earlier this week, I was cruising around the twitterverse and noticed a cool shirt floating around.  The shirt said, no you cannot touch my hair.  I thought it was funny, but it is a huge thing in the natural hair community that people do not like for their hair to be touched.  I might be the weird one because it honestly doesn't bother me.  Now, just don't come up to me and touch my hair, but if you ask and I'm feeling a bit friendly (LOL), I just might let you feel these beautiful natural curls that God so graciously gave me.  

In my opinion, my hair is awesome.  However, after my transition from processed to natural,
Double Strand Bantu Twistout
I didn't always feel that was the case.  I was so used to my hair being straight and long.  But, I just kept cutting it shorter and shorter until I eventually did the big chop and I became 100% natural.  


I guess now, I feel more confident.  As the years have passed, I've been more confident in my body and now I'm a lot more confident in my hair.  I guess that is what is really important on this journey - confidence!  The more confident I feel, the better I feel and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  

As for my hair, I go through phases.  Just in the past few weeks, I've had different hair styles.  Even my boss said, "I never know what you are going to look like when you come to work".  Me, I took that as a solid compliment.  

Wash and Go
Before I start on this, let me go ahead and warn you that I used various products on my hair.  The look I'm going for dictates the products I plan on using.  Some days, I have no clue what product I'm going to use because I have no clue what I want my hair to look like.  That's another reason I like being natural, it's extremely versatile!  

Some mornings, I do a quick wash and go.  By quick, I mean really quick because I get up at the absolute last possible minute.  My sleep is precious.  When I first started doing this, I would wrap my hair in a cloth or t-shirt, dry it a little bit, add some product, and out the door.  As I've gotten wiser about my hair, I've learned a new method my hair like a lot better.  

Now when I do my wash and go, I add my conditioning products as soon as I get out of the shower - hair drenched and all.  Then, I put on a shower cap while I finish my face washing routine, makeup routine, and getting dressed routine (LOL).  Once I have on all my clothes, the shower cap comes off and my curls are a lot more cute (in my opinion) than what it is when I just let it air dry immediately out of the shower.  

I've also fallen in love with doing bantu knots.  My dad actually likes it when I leave it in those knots.  I don't think my hair is long enough to really look cute in that style, but every once in a while, I'll wear my hair like that around him.  The curls from my bantu knots are gorgeous, but it is important to let the hair dry completely.  Due to the thickness of my hair, I need a solid 36 to 48 hours for my hair to be dry.  

Double Strand Twistout
I'm not a fan of braiding my hair.  Quite frankly, I do not have the patience!  However, I do love twisting my hair.  Sometimes, I do a double strand twist that is flat on my head.  Other times, I do them where it looks like I have braids (or plats) all over my head.  These, I can do the night before and they are dry the next morning before work.  But, here is the thing about me - I like the messy fro look!  To get this on the first day, I will get up early in the AM, undo my hair, then lie back down for a few hours.  I know it is just a few hours, but it looks like I've had my hair twisted out for a few days and I like it.  Then within  a few days, it's time to do it all over again.  Awesomely enough, I've gotten it down to 40 minutes when doing these twists.  When I add the bantu knots, it takes approximately an hour.  

Afro Puff
Recently, I've started wearing the afro puff!  My parents haven't seen this style on me yet, so I'm wondering how they are going to like it.  Don't worry, they will see it in a few weeks!  This is by far my most manageable style because I can do this on a Monday and unless I just want to change it up, it lasts the entire week, with proper maintenance of course.  I have also learned to use this as my go-to style when I'm in a hurry and don't have time to do the twists the night before.  Simply wet it, put on the products, place the rubberband, and go on about my day.  This is actually when my boss talked about my hair.  I had worn it one way all week and then on a Friday, I changed it up on him.  

Every once in a while, I will pay someone to straighten out these coils.  Why do I pay someone?  Simple - I do not have the patience to do it myself!  I can get the back third of my hat done and then I get back in the shower, just to wet my hair. 
Fresh Blowout and Flat Iron


After I've had my hair flat ironed, I can maintain it myself for about two weeks.  On the other hand, due to my current location, I will also lose the hair battle because of humidity.  Therefore, some days, even though it is straight, it's really big!  

Big Hair
My hair can be perfectly fine when I walk out the door.  By the time I walk from the parking deck to my office, my hair is a huge puff!  I don't mind it though.  I just think of it as another look that I have been blessed to rock with.  

Here is what I think it hilarious - on the days when my (I think) hair looks a mess, people love it!  In fact just yesterday, this lady loved my hair and I could only laugh and say thank you.

I guess this is a long way to tell you, I love my hair and I love that people love my hair!  I guess this was also a long way to tell you, I don't mind you touching my hair - IFF (if and only if) you ask me and I allow you to do so.  Now, don't just put your hand in my hair like you know me or something because you will get your feelings hurt.  But, I totally understand people being interested in things that look cool to them.  

I think it is cool that people are so interested in my hair.  Sometimes, the conversations about how I styled it can get a little bit long, but I don't mind.  My hair is part of me and if that is the part of me you want to know about, so be it.  Besides, it may lead to other conversations and that is truly fine with me.  I'm a people person and I like to chat it up...even though I am really a fan of writing it up (as you can see).  

I would say find me a shirt that says yes, you can touch my hair, but some of yall might take it to the extreme and I don't have time for that madness.  But, if you ever see me out in public and you think my hair looks cool, just ask if you can touch my hair.  It may just end up being your lucky day.  

Friday, May 13, 2016

Backstage Pass with Jennifer Alexander

She’s a writer.  She’s a curve model.  She’s body positive about her own body and making great strides at spreading body positivity around the globe.  Who is she?  She is the fabulous Jennifer Alexander and she is on the move!



If you get a chance, check out her Instagram page.  Not only is her page full of beautiful photos, but it is also full of wonderful inspiration.  Recently, she posted a quote slightly derived from Anita Roddick, but with her own personal twist.  Alexander’s quote says, “…there are more than 7 billion representations of beauty in the world, never forget that you are one of them.”   How beautiful and inspiring are those words to share with every single person on the planet?  Beautiful words from a beautiful woman who grew up in a beautiful place.

Although born in Canada, Alexander did spend some of her childhood in the Caribbean. 
Alexander at 5 years old
She was able to spend a lot of time at the beach under sunny skies! 

The trick is one must surrounded with positive individuals.  Alexander has been able to do just that!  She surrounded herself with wonderful people.  Once she was able to see and understand how subjective beauty standards are, she found beauty within herself.  This is when life took a turn. 

As a writer, Alexander has been fighting for diversity in the media.  It was because of her fight brands started to contact her.  Due to the brands coming to her, that is when she got into modeling. 

Modeling has been another way for Alexander to be body positive.  She’s a size 12 and not afraid to show off her curves!  The confidence she has on the inside exudes through all the photos and inspirational posts!  She likes to keep it real with us and that is just another part that makes her so fantastic. 

When she is not wearing one of her many faces in the curve model industry, she loves doing DIY projects and doing a little bit of shopping.  Although she doesn’t have a favorite store, she loves Swimsuitsforall, Curvy Kate, and Simply Be.  Those three brands have some of her favorite looks! 

The journey to becoming the woman she is today hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth it.  She has learned that a size on a scale and a size in a pair of jeans have absolutely no power.  That is exactly what Alexander wants us to all understand.  If there is any advice she could give to her younger self, or anyone struggling with being positive, it would be “it totally gets easier”. 


Thank you for your positivity, Jennifer!  You are truly an inspiration to us all!  

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Take Care

I know the title of this post sounds quite selfish, but it is the furthest thing from selfish.  Yes, it's about me (like many of my posts are), but I'm hoping this will help you.  

Many of us have been touched by cancer.  Some families have multiple cancers within them.  Some people unfortunately have a gene for cancer. This is not me telling you that you are not taking care of your bodies, this is me unloading because of something that has happened to me in the last 72 hours.  

When I went to the dentist on Monday, I was absolutely ready to see one person because she had cleaned my teeth before.  I get there, wait to talk to the receptionist, and then take a seat I usually do not sit on in the office.  Not anything against the seat, it's just super comfy and I can fall asleep.  Well, I sat down and saw a photo of the young lady I was looking forward to chatting it up with while she was cleaning my teeth.  She had passed away 2 weeks earlier.  

Here's the thing - I had just seen her 2 weeks before her death.  I went into the dentist to change my appointment.  I talked to her and she smiled like only she could and said, "I'll see you next month".  That was in April.  She never made it to May.  

My heart sank when I saw her photo.  It sank even more when I saw the date of her death.  Honestly, it took all I could do not to cry in the office.  The new lady (yes, she's only been there a month) called me back because she was ready to do my cleaning.  We chatted while she cleaned my teeth.  After she was finished, we started talking and once the room was calm, I asked about the person I was looking forward to seeing.  

She asked if I knew what was going on with her?  I told her I did, I even told her about the last time I had seen her.  I cannot lie, I was really hoping she was going to say something else happened to her.  I would have even been okay with her saying a car accident, but cancer just hurt.  So young, happy, but had already survived 3 bouts with cancer.  I guess her body was just tired.  Or, because of my faith, I guess it was just her time to go.  

Yesterday, I talked to my mom and told her what had happened.  It just so happened that I was supposed to talk to an insurance rep about cancer insurance.  Yes, it runs in my family.  I asked her what she thought about it because of our family history.  Before I could even actually get out the question she said YES!  Well, today, I purchased cancer insurance.  

Yes, I'm in my early 30s and I purchased cancer insurance.  I know that is not the proper name, but that is what I am going with.  Due to the nature of my day job, I've made sure to have extra life insurance and disability coverage, but I never thought I would be adding cancer insurance...at least not this young.  However, young people get cancer too.  I've just been blessed that it hasn't hit me.  

I know this post isn't about my plus life or the plus life of someone I admire, but I truly want you all to be healthy.  Make sure you take care of yourselves.  Eat right, not to lose weight, but to put good things in your body.  Exercise, not to lose weight, but to release stress and get a better night's sleep.  Smile at yourself each day because you deserve to see a beautiful smile each day.   You never know when your last moment is going to be, so live each day to the fullest.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

ROYGBIV

This may be a difficult post.  This may be a long post.  This may turn out to be one of my favorite posts.  I'm not sure, but I do know this - I've waited a long time to get to this point in my life and it makes me so happy to be able to share this with you!  

Eleven year ago, I gave birth to a stillborn son.  Yes, I did name him, but because of the laws in my home state at the time, I was not able to get a birth certificate because he was not at 20 weeks.  The only thing I have left of him is his pillow, his prints, and some photos my wonderful nurse took for me.  Within the past year, I've also gotten a tattoo of his prints.  Out of all my ink, that is the one that gives me the most mixed emotions.  I had it placed where I don't have to see it every single day, but when I want to look at it, it's right there.  

Support for this issue, in my opinion, isn't too big.  There is still a stigma attached to it.  As for me, I tell people thank you when they tell me Happy Mother's Day, but at the same time, it's easier to answer no when people ask me if I have kids.  It's just a whole conversation that I don't always feel like having.  But what if I'm part of the problem by not wanting to have the conversation?

I've been torn between wanting to talk about this and not wanting to talk about this.  I always lean towards not wanting to talk.  But maybe it's time to talk.  Maybe it's time to help someone like me.  Well, without further ado, I present to you Project XT!  

XT is the first and middle initial of my beautiful son.  Everything I do in this work will be to talk about him, our journey, and how I feel on the day anyone asks me about it - believe me, different days breed different emotions.  One part of this project that I have already started working on is creating blankets for Rainbow Babies.  I've been trying really hard to come up with my own interpretation of Rainbow Baby so that I can explain it to you.  However, nothing I have been able to come up with compares to the wording I saw on Today in 2015.  It says a rainbow baby is a baby that is born following a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss.  In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better.  The rainbow is more appreciated having just experienced the storm in comparison.  Honestly, I could not have said it any better.  

There are going to be more faces to this project and eventually, I want to set up a Project XT in each part of the United States and even around the globe.  I know what I went through when dealing with this loss and no amount of words could make it better.  Sometimes, I just wanted someone to sit with me and not talk, but just sit with me and let me cry.  Eleven years later, there are some days I still only want someone to sit with me and let me cry.  

No, I haven't had my rainbow baby.  Honestly, I'm not sure if I will.  However, if I can help just one person going through this, I know that XT's death was not in vain.  

Here is where I need your help.  If you know of someone having their rainbow baby, I would absolutely love to send them a blanket.  I only have a few made right now, but if you give me enough notice, I can have it ready for the birth.  Take a look at my twitter page and you will find my email in my profile.  When you email me, make sure you use the subject Rainbow Blanket.  If you are wanting to help, please email me and use the subject Project XT.  

I really look forward to giving away these blankets and adding people to my team.  I know it's not a lot, but even the smallest of things go a long way.  

Friday, May 6, 2016

What do you prefer?

I know I could be so late, but please forgive me.  I started hearing a new term late last year (or should I say paying attention to a new term late last year).  I started hearing people refer to themselves as curve or curvy models (those in the industry) and women referring to themselves as curvy (other than those doing online dating profiles - totally different blog post though).  For years, it was only one term that was mainstream and it was plus size.

You can pull up the web page for Lane Bryant today and on the tab is says Plus Size Clothing.  The same thing happens when you pull up the web page for Eloquii.  Now, when you find the web page for Torrid, the tab tells you the size ranges.  Here's what I'm asking - how can the industry expect us to use one term for our bodies when they don't?  

I've long worked under the assumption that we should call ourselves whatever we feel most comfortable with.  As for me, I still call my self a plus size woman.  Yes, I have curves and it is very obvious when I'm wearing my jeans from Old Navy, but other than that, I can't see them.  Now, do other people see my curves when I don't?  Yes.  However, curvy is just not what I am comfortable with.  Maybe one day I will be.  Maybe one day I won't.  Here's the one thing I know for sure - it is totally up to me!

Honestly, I think it is cool that people are cool with referencing themselves differently.  I love that people prefer to be called curvy.  I love the fact people loved being called plus size.  I love people who don't mind being called chunky.  I also love the fact people don't mind calling themselves thick.  Whatever you call yourself, make sure it has a positive connotation in your mind.  As long as you are comfortable and love the name you have given your body, enjoy it and wear it well.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

My new normal

Work has been pretty normal this week, but my anxiety has not been.  Yes, I've been taking my medication, but it's been really bad this week.  It used to be that I would run away.  Seriously, I would go hide - whether it would be in the restroom or in my friend's office that knows about my madness.  However, Monday, he wasn't there and I had to figure out what to do.  

I have something saved on my computer at work that helps me cope.  Well, that madness hasn't worked this week either.  So, what have I started doing?  I do what I know best - I write.  

Yes, I've started writing at work to help me through the day.  I write in a journal.  I write down ideas to share with you on here.  I play word games with myself.  Of course I'm still listening to music, but it hasn't been enough this week.  

I can't really pinpoint what happened, but what I can do is learn to deal.  In a weird way, my friend not being there on Monday helped me out because it forced me to find another solution other than hiding.

As I learn more about my anxiety, I also learn how I can deal with it.  Yes, hiding works for me, but I've been really proud of myself for the past 3 days.  It's time to come out of hiding and talk about this.  Who knows, maybe one of you reading this can suggest another way to cope and it may work for me.  Even if it doesn't work for me, maybe it could work for someone else.  

I used to think I was weird because of this, but I've come to learn I'm pretty normal.  I'm my version of normal and that is all that really matters to me.  

Monday, May 2, 2016

New Adventure

I love to write.  I'm constantly trying to connect with other bloggers and see what resources they are using to help get the word out about their blog.  Well, over the past few weeks, I've been paying close attention because I have something really cool coming up.  I've been seeing Bloglovin' everywhere!  In other words, I've decided to give it a try.  

It's simple - enter your email to the right to follow my blog!  I'm really excited about using this and getting more connected to the wonderful blog community!  

Remember, The Plus Diaries are turning 3 in a few weeks and I may just use Bloglovin' to help me with my giveaway!  Just be on the lookout!  

8 days later

I really wanted to do this post last week, but I was not in the right space to do it.  I was thinking negatively about the situation, even though I had handled it well.  I had a few people tell me their response would have been totally different, but I did well.  Honestly, during my response, I just kept thinking I'm trying to build a brand.  I can't do that while going off on people at the same time.  Who is going to want to support someone like that?  I wouldn't!  I don't (at least not knowingly)!  Well, let me tell you this madness.  

Last Sunday, I posted something on my twitter about a sermon at my church.  All of a sudden, this lady jumps on my feed and basically took my tweet completely out of context.  I even told her she took it out of context.  I responded and thought that was the end of the situation.  She came back at me.  Something told me to start looking at her feed.  In my opinion, it was full of her being cruel to people because of their opinions.  Every single person has an opinion and just because you do not agree, doesn't mean that it is any of your business.  I digress...

I, still being polite, came back to her.  She finally left me alone.  I won't even post the feed because honestly, her name is not going to be anywhere on my blog to get any attention.  She's not worth that amount of time.  So, why am I even telling you about it?  I thought you would never ask.  

I write about what I know.  What I know is that I am a plus size diva.  What I know is what I see going on in my church.  What I know is my routine to put on makeup.  What I know is what products I use on my body.  What I know is where I like to shop.  What I know is how to design roadways.  What I know is how to mind my own business!  

Each day, I see a tweet on here that tears up my nerves - I don't respond (unless it is a cool hashtag I want to be involved with).  I don't understand why people feel a need to jump out of their lane and stir up something that is not any of their business and especially has nothing to do with them.  She had been on various feeds all day responding to something she knows nothing about!  Quite frankly, it was annoying and so was she.  She is a blogger and typically I'm supportive of blogs and bloggers, but I cannot support her.  Not because of the content, but because of how she treats people on social media.  If you are mean on your feed, I just think you're mean in real life...even though the person is typically nice and using the mask of a screen to hide.   

I wish people would use social media for good instead of constantly trolling or tearing people down.  It's annoying and stupid!  There are no other words for it.  As for the lady that attempted to come at me, I hope she decides to never grace my page again.  I didn't block her.  Oh no!  That would have been too good for her.  I want her to see me.  Then I want her to think long and hard before coming at me again.  But if she does, kind words will be waiting and so will another post.