Monday, October 31, 2016

10 for 10

Total blog posts including this one will be 189.  However, this post is important to me because it is the 100th time this year I've come to you in this blog.  I asked for some help concerning this post and the wonderful Tanisha gave me some great ideas.  It is her basic ideas that have led me to what this post is going to be today.  After taking her idea and adding a few of my own, I came up with this!  

Today, you are going to get to know me a bit better, but I'm breaking it down into 10 topics.  Want to take a guess as to how many things you are going to learn in each section?  If you guessed 10, you are definitely on a roll.  Keep in mind, these are in no particular order.  By the end of this post, you will know 100 things about me.  So, since I have a lot to do, I think it is time for me to get to it.  

Yes, I'm the weird person that isn't a fan of the summer.  I don't really like the Spring because of my allergies.  Summer in the south is horrible.  The humidity will literally take your breath away.  Fall, I typically get along with, but there is just something about Winter that makes me feel absolutely awesome.  So, let's talk about these 10 reasons I love winter.
  1. It's cold!  I love cold weather.  Plain and simple.  I can add clothes, but I cannot take off my skin when I get too hot.
  2. No allergies!  I hate allergies and to be honest, they get on my nerves. 
  3. Snow!!!  I live in the south, so even the slightest possibility of snow makes me happy.  One year, it snowed, but it didn't stick.  It was just enough to make me happy though because I at least got to see snow during the year! 
  4. Snow cream!  My mom's snow cream is the best and since I grew up close to the mountains (though still in the south), I there was a better chance of me getting snow.  So now when she gets snow and I don't, she will not only make snow cream, but she will also save me some.
  5. Boots!  I love boots!  I have my faux Uggs and my knee high boots that are just waiting for me! 
  6. Winter is just cozy.  I don't have an explanation because it's just perfect.
  7. Hot drinks are perfect for this time of year.  Weather you prefer hot cocoa or coffee, this is the perfect time of year to drink it and not roast!
  8. I love blankets!  I have plenty of blankets.  Nothing like wrapping up in a blanket to do a blog post, especially when it's just chilly enough to sit out on my patio!
  9. My birthday is in Winter!  I mean, it's at the end of Winter, but that still counts!
  10. In my hemisphere, the new year happens in Winter.  A time for reflection and change at the same time.  Awesome!  

I like to do a lot of things, but these are basically my top 10.  
  1. I love to read and write.  I guess that one was sort of obvious, right?
  2. I like to crochet.  This is more of a Fall and Winter activity for me because the blankets I make also keep me warm, but it is something I enjoy doing.
  3. I like to color.  Yes, color.  If you check out my Instagram feed, you will notice I've been coloring a lot lately.  Go check it out.  And while you are there, follow me and like a few posts! 
  4. I love to cook!  Although I live alone, I cook like I have a family.  Grant it, sometimes my love will come over and get him some food, but that's about it.  It's relaxing and I love it.  
  5. I love to go walking.  Talk about the perfect activity to clear my head and do a lot of thinking!
  6. I love to shop.  I love to shop for anything, particularly clothes!  I love putting outfits together and I love buying decor pieces for my home.  
  7. Driving is one of my favorite activities.  I turn up my music and I am good to go!  
  8. I love to travel!  In fact, I'm writing this post on vacay and I couldn't be more happy about it.  
  9. I enjoy listening to music.  Typically, I blog while listening to music because having the TV on is not good for my blogging brain.  
  10. Then there are those days when I absolutely love to watch TV and just chill out!  What do I mean?  I will catch up on several episodes of shows on Hulu at one time or binge watch a show on Netflix and feel no remorse.  In fact, I'll probably do that this week!

Columbia is my current city of residence.  Since I live in a big city and also grew up in a small town, this is place is absolutely perfect for me.  
  1. There are some cool places to shop.  My favorite place is Sandhills because of the variety, but it's also not a far drive for me.
  2. The location of this city is awesome.  I can get to the beach or mountains in a matter of hours.  I can get to Florida in 4 hours.  I can get to my hometown in 2 hours.  And if I want to visit Charlotte, unless traffic is horrible, I can get their in about 90 minutes.
  3. I moved to Columbia because of my job, so of course work has to be on the list!
  4. After being there for five years, I finally feel like I can call Columbia home.  So yes, it's my home.
  5. The food variety is pretty awesome and I feel like there is always something new coming.  Plus, this is where I decided to try to eat sushi and use chopsticks.  I haven't looked back since. 
  6. I have made some pretty awesome friends in my home city.  I'm so thankful for them.
  7. So apparently, Columbia is the new place to have concerts! Hey, it saves me some money since I don't have to drive to Charlotte!  
  8. There are some unique little finds in Columbia.  Whether it's a boutique or an interesting restaurant, you will be able to find a quirky place to fit your style.  
  9. We are home to the Columbia Fireflies!  I'm not a fan of baseball when it's on TV, but take me to the ballpark and I am so engaged!  Plus, this is an activity I can share with my dad.
  10. There are plenty of things to do.  So many festivals to choose from!  The fairgrounds always have an activity. You just have to find something to fit your flavor.  

OMG - I spent some wonderful years at this place!  UNC-Charlotte is awesome and here are my absolute favorite things about this place!
  1. My degree is from there!  I have a BS in Civil Engineering from the William States Lee College of Engineering and I have a minor in Mathematics.  
  2. College shaped me!  I met some really cool people and I learned this world had so much more to offer me!
  3. Moore Hall was the best dorm.  If you are in college and you haven't have the pleasure of enjoying dorm life, you are not doing it right!!!
  4. I made lifelong friends.  I was a college freshman in 2003 and there are still people I talk to today.  I wouldn't trade those friendships for anything.
  5. I was able to meet a lot of people from different backgrounds.  It is a pretty interesting place and I'm so thankful I chose that place to be my college home.
  6. College was a new adventure that I wasn't fully ready for.  However, it turned out to be the best adventure of my life.  
  7. Going to college here gave me a chance to live in Charlotte.  I watched the city grow into something really amazing and I think I'm really blessed to have lived there.
  8. I learned a lot about life in college.  I grew and it helped make me the person I am today.
  9. I had some awesome professors.  When I felt like giving up, they didn't let me.  I was more than a student to them.  I was a person.
  10. There was plenty to do on campus, especially after the new student union was built.  I will always cherish the basketball games and I really hate I had graduated by the time the football team got there.  Guess that just means I have to travel up for a game! 

There are plenty of interesting people in this world, but here is my list of people I would love to have a conversation with one day.  And saints, chill out!  Jesus may not be on this list, but since you know I'm a Christian, you should already know this is the ultimate goal.  I think I will just keep this one as a list because if I try to explain all of them, we could be here for a long time.
  1. Lady Gaga
  2. Chandra Wilson
  3. Ray Lewis
  4. Gabi Gregg
  5. Britney Spears
  6. Ashley Graham
  7. Leslie Jones
  8. Christian Siriano
  9. Ashley Nell Tipton
  10. Justin Timberlake 

You know I love to travel.  You also know I'm on vacation doing this post.  So, let's talk about some of the places I like to go!
  1. Lincolnton, NC aka Ltown.  It's not special to most people, but it's home to me.  Plus, this is the home of Bar-B-Q King so you really can't go wrong!
  2. Virginia Beach has the nicest boardwalk to any beach I have ever been too.  I had considered taking a job up here, but it didn't work out for me.  Maybe that was for the best because I would probably not get a lot accomplished over the weekends.
  3. Atlantic Beach, NC is one of the most peaceful beaches I've ever been too.  I love it simply because there is not a lot of people and it is really great for my introverted self.
  4. I've learned to love Charleston, SC.  The first time I went, I hated it.  However, it was probably because of the people I was with.  As I've gotten older, I've learned to appreciate the beauty and history.  Plus, it has one of the coolest bridges I have ever seen. 
  5. Savannah, GA is awesome.  Apparently, I have so much more to do there, so I'm going to be planning another trip soon!  
  6. I've had the pleasure of going to the Bahamas twice and I really need to go back!  
  7. Portland, OR was the deal.  I went out there for a job interview and decided to turn it into a vacation.  It was one of the best times I had ever had.  Definitely a place I have to travel too again.  
  8. The three weeks I spent in Australia were the best.  I still have friends there and one day, I will go back!  
  9. I'm a fan of aquariums and zoos!  I know I'm a bit of a nerd for saying that, but I'm cool with that.  
  10. I love art museums.  I took art as an elective in college and that is when my love for art museums started.  I had to go for class, but I ended up staying for hours.  Now, it's just something I like to do.  

Sometimes, the most random things roll off my tongue.  Well, that's because I'm a totally random person.  I have weird thoughts about life and of things happening around me.  But, I think that makes me who I am.  
  1. I have anxiety.  I thought it was just social anxiety, but it runs a little bit deeper.  I am on medication to help me with it, but I'm also learning to cope without meds because I don't want to be on it for the rest of my life.  
  2. My absolute favorite color is red!  
  3. I'm not really a fan of rap music.  I have a few artist I listen to, but the song would really have to speak to me. 
  4. I'm a solid Washington Redskins fan.  Although I grew up in North Carolina, the Carolina Panthers did not exist until 1995.  The regional team was the Redskins.  The best part - my mom is an avid Cowboys fan.  It has made for some interesting football games!
  5. I like to do crafts.  Whether it is crocheting, coloring, scrapbooking, making headbands, or making jewelry, crafting makes me happy.  
  6. My favorite number is 13.
  7. I find body sugaring and getting pedicures so relaxing.  Like, I can fall asleep!  
  8. I have asthma.  Nope, not because of my size.  I was born with it and there is a family history of it.  
  9. I'm an introvert.  People find it hard to believe, but I would like to introduce you to a post I wrote explaining myself.
  10. I think my social media tells you this, but I do love me some Jesus!!! He has been good to me and I am so thankful to be His!  

It has taken me a long time to get comfortable with any part of my body.  I've been a big girl all my life.  I've been laughed at.  I've been turned down for dates.  Quite frankly, people have made me look like a fool.  On the other hand, I'm still standing and I've learned to love some things about me.
  1. I love my tattoos.  I currently have 5, but I am so getting more.  
  2. I love my hair.  I have been natural for over 4 years and I even did the big chop!  My hair is really coily and the shrinkage is real, but it's mine!  
  3. I have awesome legs.  I was a cheerleader in high school and I remember my coach looking at my legs and telling me you are going to be my base.  A pretty awesome base I was!  
  4. I like my feet.  My mom tells me I have feet like my dad and that is actually a compliment.  I have to keep my toes right because my feet deserve it!  
  5. Although I think they are a strange shape, I love my eyes.  My love says that is what made him fall for me.  
  6. I have a pretty cool personality.  However, when I don't feel like being bothered, it is just best to leave me alone.  
  7. I like my height.  I'm only 5'2", but I love not having to get low to get under objects.  
  8. I love my smile!  Yes, I did it just like that because of the song. 
  9. I love my ear piercings.  I don't think I'm finished with those either, but I could be.  You never really know with me!  
  10. My inner diva is awesome!  It's just who I am, even those she can be a bit much.  

I'm a bit of a music junkie.  I listen to basically everything but hard rock.  I think music makes you feel so many different things.  Actually, one song can make you feel many different things depending on what you are going through.  Since this could get lengthy, I guess I need to just give you a list.  
  1. Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson
  2. She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5
  3. Stop and Stare by OneRepublic
  4. Diamond and Pearls by Prince
  5. Daylight by Maroon 5
  6. Crazy by K-Ci and JoJo
  7. Wanted by Dara Maclean
  8. It's My Life by Bon Jovi
  9. Night Train by Jason Aldean
  10. Unpretty by TLC

Life has given me so much and there is so much to be thankful for.  It was actually hard to get this down to a list of 10, but here goes...
  1. My parents!  I have the most awesome parents and they have put up with so much from me.  I'm just so happy and thankful they are mine.
  2. My health.  It's not perfect because of this whole asthma thing, but all things considering, it's pretty good! 
  3. My job!  I said when I went to college that I wanted to be a roadway designer.  I started as a technician with my current organization and it took me less than 5 years to get to be a roadway designer.  I think that's pretty cool.
  4. My love.  It's not perfect, but we do love each other.  We've learned a lot from each other and that's truly amazing.  
  5. My mistakes.  I've made plenty and I'm sure more are coming.  On the other hand, I've learned so much, so I'm ok with it.
  6. My bed is awesome!  It's a queen size with a memory foam mattress.  After vacations, I'm so ready to sleep in my own bed.  
  7. My cars!  Yes, I have two.  I still have my baby from high school and my new baby is almost four.  
  8. My apartment.  It's perfect for me.  
  9. My hair!  You can do so much with natural hair and I love it!  
  10. My life.  It hasn't been perfect and I've tried to take myself out, but I'm still here to keep learning!  
Well, there you have it.  100th post of 2016 and 100 new things about me!  I hope I didn't bore you too bad.  Most important, I hope you learned some interesting facts.  I look forward to answering any questions or comments you may have about anything you have read. 

Thank you for supporting me.  You have no clue what it means to me.  So, let me start planning what I want to do for my 500th blog post!  

Photo via VisualHunt 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

99mph and blogging

Many of my close friends will tell you that doing this blog has changed me.  Yes, it did change me, but I think it changed me for the better.  For those of you only familiar with my work on this blog and my other social media sites, I would hope that through the years, you have seen me progress.  If you are only getting to know me this year, I hope since this is blog post 99 of the year, you have been able to see an evolution and a drive like no other.  

Why am I making a big deal about getting close to and reaching 100 blog posts this year?  Well, in a typical year, I only write 30 posts.  I decided I needed to make a change to keep you more engaged.  Although you were interacting with me on social media, I knew that I wanted more traffic to my blog.  This is just part of the way blogging has changed me - I see almost everything as motivation.  

The worst time for me to think about something is while I am driving.  Not because it takes my mind off the road (even though that is bad too), I can't exactly write the thought down.  Luckily, I have an awesome phone that will allow me to say a thought and it will save it.  Also, I have a friend who knows if they receive a random message, it's just me trying not to lose my thought.   Yes, I wait until I am safely at a stop light or either I repeat it to myself until I can get the thought down.  

You've learned so much about me this year and even though I love people and I love doing this blog, I am an introvert.  In other words, sometimes meeting new people and talking to people is difficult for me.  However, I find that talking to and meeting new people is some wonderful motivation to write.  As you know, I plan on starting a blog of short stories and I have found people make interesting characters, which will eventually make for great character development.

Of course, my friends are great, but at the same time, I have found that some are not as understanding.  I hate it when I don't make activities, but sometimes, I don't want to make activities.  I may not be doing anything or not, but that's my business and you really don't need to know why I'm not attending.  However, my friends also make good characters.  They are who I am around, so why not base some characters on them?  Also, if you pay close attention, you can already see them featured in my posts, via words and/or pictures.  

One of the most interesting things I have found is that blogging has made me more mindful of my moments.  What do I mean?  Well, I will probably have to tell you a story to get you to understand.  Last month, I went to the Maroon 5 concert.  Awesome concert.  I had a really wonderful time and now when I hear their songs on the radio, I feel a bit closer to them.  Their opening acts were Tove Lo and R City, by the way.  Basically, everyone was awesome.  But, for some reason, I realized early on that not everything needed to have a photo or a video attached to it.  I just wanted to have the memory or the moment.  My favorite song by Maroon 5 is Daylight and second is She Will Be Loved.  Both of those songs were performed.  If I have any video, it is only a total of 2 minutes.  I made it a point to only record a minute of the songs because I wanted to have that moment with one of my amigas who was there with me.  What made it even better is that she didn't even think she was going to get to go to the concert, but at the last minute, she was able to get the ticket.  I wanted to have that moment where I was dancing and singing without a care in the world.  I wanted to have that moment where I was getting along with the people around me outside waiting to get in and the people I was sitting around because we were all there to have a great time.  I wanted to enjoy the moment of seeing the older lady in an awesome outfit that some millennials wouldn't be caught in.  I've learned what to share and what to keep to myself and that is something so great.  Not everything is meant to be shared.  But when you do find that thing worth sharing, go ahead and have some fun on social media.  

What can I say about social media?  First of all, it can help you or harm you.  If you are trying to build something, especially building a business, you have to be so careful about what you post!  And then if you do post something crazy, unless you have a wonderful PR team, you have to do your own damage control.  And if you have no clue how to do damage control (because just removing the tweet or post isn't going to fix it), you are in trouble.  Don't think I'm serious?  Check out my recent post about a company I was interested in working with but decided not to pursue any further because of some social media posts.  Rule of thumb: post wisely, ladies and gentlemen! 

Oh-Em-Gee!!!  Pictures are life!!!  You may not think so, but to a blogger, yes!  If you are using natural light, you have to plan the time of day to get the effect you are looking for.  Then, you have to take the time to edit photos (which can take hours and different programs).  Pictures have to be perfect and be relevant.  Then don't mess up and add the wrong photo.  That can be a disaster.  Last week, it happened to me!  I have no clue how I managed to proof a post and still manage to miss having two of the same photos in one post.  Want pure honesty?  I was embarrassed and ashamed of what I had done because I knew better!  But at the same time, I'm also human and even though I proof several times and read my posts back to myself out loud, I am going to miss some things.  

What's really bad?  When other people call you out on it.  Now, I'm not talking about fellow bloggers or writers.  I consider their corrections as constructive criticism because we are all working to get better.  What I cannot stand is when people who won't even pick up a pencil to write a sentence in a journal call me out on an error.  Really?  What are you doing with your day other than trolling my blog, my social media, and probably some of the blogs and social media of my writing peers and finding mistakes?  Please, get your life!  Editing is hard and seeing as how I am a one woman show, it's really hard.  I don't have a team around me telling me to change this or anyone to read out loud to.  If I don't see it or hear it (because your eyes see what they want and your ears hear what they want), it's not going to get changed.  Spell check only goes so far.    

I will admit, blogging has changed me.  It has changed how I look at the world around me.  It especially changed how I looked at the people around me.  Blogging has changed my interactions on social media and I'm sure in the next six months, it will change other things about me and my life.  However, here is what is not going to change - my willingness to be open and honest with you.  I'm so thankful for this opportunity and I'm definitely looking forward to the next 101 posts!  

Now, I'm curious - how has blogging changed you? 


Sunday, October 23, 2016

The 100th prelude

There have been so many of you who have watched me grow and develop this blog.  Some of you have been there from the first post over three and a half year ago.  Others of you have joined in along the way.  No matter how you found me or when you decided to be part of my TPD Army, I am so thankful for you.  

For those of you there from the very beginning, you also know this - I've blogged a lot this year.  Just this year, I've surpassed the rest of the years total for the number of blogs.  It was just this year in February that I wrote my 100th post ever in this blog.  Now, I am getting ready to write my 100th post this year.  Talk about an accomplishment.  

A lot of you have been there before I started adding great photos.  So many of you have been there when my blog was just basic - by my standards.  And so many of you have been there cheering me on when I honestly felt like it was time to give up.  However, there is one thing you always did - you kept coming back for more.  That's part of the reason I didn't stop - because you kept wanting more.  When I discovered you kept wanting more, it forced me to change and with my own change, my blog took a wonderful turn.  

I started to add many more adventures.  I hate to call it my favorite thing, but the fact some of you have participated in my impromptu tweetchats mean so much to me.  If you recall my blog post about the first one, you know that it didn't go so well.  Truth be told, I figured why do it again?  Well, if I had to guess, some of the tweetchats I participate in didn't go as planned the first time either, but look at how much they have grown?  I mean, I remember chatting it up in #HautiesTalk with ManikMag with their very talented founder Selina.  Even though they are across the pond, I enjoy chatting it up in a chat hosted by The Girl Gang.  It's all about making connections and learning to not give up just because something didn't work out the first time.  At least I had the motivation to have a first time and not a what if moment.  I hope you have the motivation to do the same, in whatever endeavor you decide to take on.  

Then, I love how you have allowed me to love myself.  Let me guess - you are like huh?  Let me explain this one.  You have made me feel great about who I am and what I do.  My blog itself is called The Plus Diaries because I know and understand the plus life because I have lived it all my life!  When I thought I was not worthy of the cute clothes and felt really bad about myself (even as I was writing this blog), you let me feel like it was OK.  I don't know any of these ladies personally, but I love the attitude of Nadia, the confidence of Alysse, and the creative genius of Gabi.  They have absolutely no clue how they have kept me going.  Sometimes, the best motivation is watching other people.  Not only is it motivation, but it is also a good learning method.  

But to you, my readers, my fan, my followers, my motivators, my people who won't let me stop - I hear you loud and clear and I THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.  This is wear words begin to fail me because I can never thank each one of you and I will never be able to show the love I have for you in return.  But what I can do is keep writing.  I can keep posting in this blog, posting on Instagram, posting on Twitter, and eventually Facebook (yep, new blog past is being created)!  Yes, I will even keep dabbling in Periscope as well.  

This blog may be written by me, but it is definitely for you!  I figure if I'm feeling like this, I can't possibly be the only one.  Typically, I'm right about that.  Thank you for allowing this platform to grow.  I truly adore each one of you and I am looking forward to the next few years of this blog.  I hope you enjoyed this post because it is number 98 for the year.  When 100 gets here, I hope you will be ready for the ride!!!   


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tis the season...

It never fails.  As soon as a bit of cold weather hits the air, one of the stupidest things I've ever seen hits social media.  It goes to the tune of better get you a big girl because it's getting cold or time for you to grab you a thick chick or my personal favorite (please note the sarcasm), big girl season is here!

Someone, please tell me what in the whole hell does the change of seasons have to do with me (or you for that matter) being a big girl, finally being able to have a date?  This is probably the dumbest thing I see floating around on social media this time of year.  Here is the part that annoys me the most though - most of the people posting this foolishness is people considered plus size.  If you fed into this madness and promote this madness, how exactly are you helping with the self-esteem of the next generation?  In fact, I'll even say those of you posting this craziness are actually negating the body positive stuff you feel so strongly about.  

We have to start loving ourselves 365 days a year - skinny or thick!  Seriously, this needs to start happening today.  I understand we all have our days , but come on!!!  All of you, no matter what size, are absolutely beautiful!  But, big girls, thick chicks, or whatever you want to be called, stop thinking that you are only designed to keep somebody warm during the chilly months!  That's what blankets and heaters are designed for.  Love yourself and know your worth.  If a guy comes up to you even remotely using that foolishness as a pick-up line, please have enough self-esteem to send him on his way!

Another thing, we've come so far!!!  When I was younger, plus-size clothes had me looking like I was wearing the same outfits as my mom.  I'm not her and I didn't wish to dress like her, but I was at the mercy of the designers.  Shoutout to the designers who are actually making an effort at plus-size fashion.  So, since our since of style has changed for the better, why can't our sense of self?  Ladies, the next generation is watching our every single move.  They see way more than we think they do and sometimes they see more than what we want them to - including this big girl season foolishness!  

Want to know what I think?  Well, I think I'm worthy of love all the days of the year, even if it is just me looking in the mirror and telling myself I love you.  If I don't love me, how can I expect someone else to love me and I don't just mean during the fall and winter?  Quite frankly, I'm fabulous all the time.  Call me conceited.  I'll gladly wear that banner.  But, I'm comfortable enough to know when I'm having a fat day and I can admit to it.  However, I'm never going to be fat enough to sit here and wait for someone to love me in the fall and winter.  That just not how I roll.  Again, this is not helping the body positive movement.  There is enough contradiction in the movement as it is, so why are some big girls adding to the contradiction?!  

Back to the next generation.  Shouldn't we be teaching them to respect themselves enough to know they are worthy of more than a six month relationship because of the change of season?  Also, we keep complaining about the men not respecting us - so, how is this really teaching any male of any generation to respect a woman?  This is how I see it - we're teaching them to love us certain times of year instead of teaching them to love a woman for what they are and not for what they look like.  Looks change, people.  If they didn't, we wouldn't be so concerned with trying to find the perfect combination of products to produce our version of the Fountain of Youth.  And just for the record, bodies change too.  

Beautiful thicker ladies, please stop telling yourself you don't deserve to be happy.  That is just absolute madness and I really want you to stop this.  Also, stop following up the foolishness!  If you see a photo that posts this stuff on social media, stop liking it and definitely stop reposting it.  It's not healthy!  How do I know this?  Because I spent years digging myself out of the big girls only get love during the cooler months hole.  It's not true.  It's just not true, ladies!  

By the way, skinny ladies, you are worthy of love more than the six months of the year it's hot (well, nine months in the south).  

I'm fully aware some of you posting this madness on your social media probably got mad at this post.  I'm cool with that.  In fact, I hope I touched a nerve and that you think twice before posting the madness again.  It's your social media and whatever image you want to show is your business.  I just hope the image you choose to post is positive.  

Photo credit: Key Foster via VisualHunt / CC BY 
Photo credit: kennethkonica via VisualHunt / CC BY-ND

Friday, October 14, 2016

Social Media Downfall

As a person, you are very careful about who you hang around with.  I know I am.  If someone is giving off negative vibes, you don't want to be around them or be bothered with them.  If someone is not friendly, you don't want to be around them.  If someone is constantly complaining instead of being thankful, I'm not going to be around them.  If someone manages to turn a rough few minutes into a rough day, I'm not going to be around that madness.  There are so many more examples, but I think you understand.  

Now, if you are running a business, building a brand, or just enjoying this entire blogging thing, you have to be very careful about who you work with!  It is important you have matching standards and that you find some common ground, other than making money (or just being popular).  Life happens and it has a tendency to come at you fast, but here is one thing that should never change - your moral compass.  

I had mentioned to my talent manager about a company I maybe wanted to work with.  You know, get some products and have them endorse a few posts about them.  I was excited and looking forward to reaching out to them, but I am also really good at doing my homework.  In this day an age, doing your homework means going to Google, social media, or both.  

Since I enjoy twitter so much, I decided to learn more about them via that media.  I set up the alerts so I wouldn't miss a single tweet - especially because I really wanted to work with them.  But the more they tweeted, the less enthused I got when it came to working with them.  

Due to me not wanting to shame them or put their business on blast, I'm not going to show you any of the tweets.  But, I will say this - if you are trying to build a business and build a brand, you need to be mindful of the language you use on your social media.  Let me just be honest, I've posted some questionable things and removed them after I thought about them.  Now, I'm pretty sure someone has them as a screenshot and could shut me all the way down, but at least I found my own error.  Well, let's not say error because if I'm just being honest with myself, it was a severe lack of judgment.  

Did I simply no longer want to work with this company because of the language they used?  Um, yes!  I have worked for years to calm my mouth.  My love can tell you that only when I am highly upset is when I let one slip.  Yes, I have used them in some of my blogs to get my point across.  But I can assure you out of almost 100 blog posts just this year alone, you would have to look very hard to even find 10 percent of my blogs where I have used any foul language.  In fact, in my almost 2000 total posts, I ask you to find 5 percent where I just start dropping F bombs and any other 4 letter expletives for absolutely no reason other than to sound cool.  

I'm so hurt because not only was I excited about buying their product, but I was also excited about reaching out to them.  Now, I don't want to do either.  I was actually looking for something new for this particular part of my makeup life (I'm trying really hard to not say even what it was because you might be able to tell if you dig on my page deep enough).  

Then, I have to be thankful that my talent manager is always looking closely at what I do.  We don't always see eye to eye, but I can tell you that she has never steered me in the direction of anything that would ruin what I am trying to accomplish and that is including those times she has even saved me from myself.  

Ladies and gentleman, if you are building any type of business and brand, you MUST be careful of what you put out in the wonderful world of cyberspace.  It can be found and even though you may have meant it one way, it can be taken another.  

I've worked hard for the first 3 years of just writing posts and trying to turn this blog into what I wanted it to be.  This has been 3 years of changes, meetings, interviews, and whatever else I had to do to make this blog grow.  And this year, well I think my posts speak for itself.  It's been hard getting this blog to where it is today.  I had to sit down and come up with a plan because I had determined that if I didn't make some changes, this blog wasn't going to exist.  I've worked hard to gain followers on all my social media sites, so I have to be careful about what I post.  Plus, since I am all about spreading positive vibes, how are you going to feel if I just start spewing negativity?  You are going to reconsider everything I've ever written and I wouldn't even be able to be mad at you for that because it would be my own fault.  

So, I've learned from this and I'm going to keep moving on and keep reaching out to people.  This is about learning, making my brand better, and evolving.  Here is to all of us growing and learning to make things work.  And be careful on social media - once it is out there, there is no turning back! 


Monday, October 10, 2016

Ms. 1000

Many of you are going to think this post is extra because of the subject matter.  However, with this Umbrella, I've been very blessed to be able to do things and able to watch my baby grow.  Well, my blogging baby grow.  

When I first joined the wonderful world of Twitter in 2012, I honestly didn't like it.  I was still so caught up in the book of faces (yes, that's what I call it).  However, as I started using Twitter more, the more I enjoyed it.  It took less than 18 months for it to become my primarily used social media.  Even though I was using it more, it still wasn't about getting people to follow me.  I just wanted to speak my mind and live tweet a few TV shows (which has been awesome by the way).  

As many of you know, I started this blog in 2013.  When I first started, I wanted it to be a journal, but public.  At the same time, I would share my page with you on social media and people started following my blog.  I thought that was pretty cool.  But, do you know how people knew about my blog?  Via Twitter!  

I decided to put my blog link on my Twitter page.  Then as my blog started to grow, I added places on my blog page where you could follow me on my various social media.  That seemed to work out pretty well for me.  Then, just a few months ago, I joined the world of apps to help me gain followers on my social media...and this brings us to the reason I am posting this blog today! 

To many of you, this is a small number.  However, some of you are really going to understand this achievement.  THANK YOU so much to the followers and fans of this blog because at the end of September, you helped me reach 1000 followers on Twitter!  Since reaching that point, it's been on a steady climb to get 1100.  

Just because I really wanted to do something special, I decided to dedicate a page in my bullet journal to my new success!  In the picture, you see I made September, but I also wanted to make sure I did something just a little bit extra.  This is where the paisley print comes in.  I wanted to make my page pretty and make it stand out, but it was also really important for me to draw it myself because reaching 1000 Twitter followers meant so much to me.  It was an absolutely perfect way to celebrate this milestone while continuing to set goals and reach the next 1000.  

Again, I just want to say a huge thank you for supporting The Plus Diaries (and everything that involves) and supporting the writer behind it.  I'm a long way from where I want to be, but I am definitely so much further than I ever thought I would be.  

If you ever want to work with me on a collaboration, please reach out to me via social media or send me an email (which is listed on my social media).  I look forward to working with you and I cannot wait to see what I am going to do when I reach 2000!  


Friday, October 7, 2016

Backstage Pass with Sarah Potenza

Remember the woman with the big, white glasses who received a four chair turn on Season 8 of The Voice?  Well, that beauty is the very talented Sarah Potenza and so much has happened since we last saw her on our television screens!

After a busy day of working hard, she decided to take a moment to chat with me about her life after The Voice and her blossoming career!  Potenza is one hard working woman.  She loves what she does so much and it shows in her work!  Never have I spoken with someone who is so hands-on when it comes to their craft!  

Although she has a wonderful team (including her husband) around her to help, she enjoys being involved in every aspect of her business!  She is on the ground running by making contacts and building relationships with people in the media. Potenza is not shy when it comes to setting up her own appointments and interviews.  However, one of her favorite things to do is getting the chance to call up the radio stations playing her music and personally thanking them.  

Potenza is extremely ambitious!  This actually is very visible in her song Monster and it’s video!  She spent so many years allowing her internal feelings about her full-figured size to take over her life that when she broke free of those feelings, she just had to share it with the world!  That is was the song is all about and the video has such a powerful message as well.  Make sure you check out the video right here.The confidence she exudes is so beautiful.  Although she does not look like the typical pop or rock star, she is definitely paving the way for more artists to come.  

The message she is spreading is love yourself now!  She is currently spreading this message to everyone particularly to young people.  Potenza wants them to know it is okay for them to not be a size 4 or 6, but they should still love themselves no matter what.  

When Potenza gets a chance to get some free time, she loves to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race and she is enjoying watching Drop Dead Diva on Netflix.  She is also a fan of playing Pokemon Go.  Since she travels so much, she is getting a bunch of Pokemons that would make some people envious.  

One of the most amazing things about Potenza is her about to make her own clothes!  What do I mean?  She find the products she needs and then she gets to work with a glue gun, feathers, beads, and whatever else she needs to create her product.  For instance, she made the jacket she is wearing on her album cover.  The jacket itself was purchased from Torrid and she added the feathers and shoulder pads.  Crafting is so relaxing to her.  Although she wishes she could do it more often, she enjoys doing it when she can.  

Just recently, she was featured in Rolling Stone as a Top 10 New Artist to Watch.  In the post, it said Potenza is to blues what Adele is to pop!  WOW!  Such an honor for such a wonderful artist, right?  However, this is just the beginning.  

Potenza is so great and inspiring.  She’s reaching out to a new generation of plus-size girls and girls who have to wear glasses at an early age.  It is so wonderful for these young women to have a positive influence to look up to, other than their family members.  

The Plus Diaries are so really looking forward to watching and following the career of Sarah Potenza.  Although she has giving the industry so much, we know she has so much more to go.  Sarah, keep making great music and being an inspiration to millions.  We cannot wait to see what the future holds for you


Thursday, October 6, 2016

October Bujo Love

I absolutely love my bullet journal.  It's nothing special and definitely not as fancy as some of the others I've seen on social media, but it is mine.  One thing I enjoy about bullet journaling is the freedom to do whatever you want.  It's my journal and I can be as creative or lazy as I want.  However, there is one thing I enjoy doing most - the opening page for the month.  

October is here and I really enjoyed what I did with the opening.  First, I wanted to do a theme.  Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and it touches so close to my heart, my theme color is pink.  Because I wanted to do something different, I had to come up with a different layout.  Not exactly sure why, but I decided to do triangles!  

October Background

This page is a bit weird in the way it was designed, at least in my opinion.  If you notice, the bottom on my page is not all triangles.  This is because I wanted to treat it as if it were a full square, instead of just forcing a triangle.  I am still using my watercolor pens to create the background as well. I like these pens because they do not bleed through my sketch pad pages.  Yes, I know it is weird, but I use a sketch pad for my journal.  Like I said, this journal is all mine and I get to use whatever I need to make it my own.  Next, I wanted to add a bit of sparkle, so I covered a few of the lines in some glitter pens.  Although I used a pink glitter pen, once it started to really show its true effect, it had a purple hue.  I thought it was interesting and neat effect to add just a bit of contrast.  As you can see in the photo, some of the strokes of the watercolor pens are a bit heavier, but with time, I will begin to do better.  I mean, I've only been doing this for a few months, so I'm still learning.

Finding a quote is so important to me.  Typically, I have the quote decided long before the page layout is even completed.  Sometimes, before I've even decided on the layout itself.  There is one thing the quote needs though - in some way, shape, or form it has to mention the month I'm currently working on.  Well, I did just that! 

The quote I used reminds me of growing up and of times now gone.  It triggered a memory of relaxation and of happy times in my youth.  Sometimes, just looking at a page of my own work can calm my anxiety, which is the main reason for my bullet journal.  Since I am still working on my calligraphy, I continue to use my opening pages as a good place to practice.  So much is getting accomplished in my little bujo! 

Even my layout is different for the month.  My focus for this month is my daily blog hits, my anxi-cast (aka my anxiety tracker) and the daily weather forecast.

So, Welcome to October, ladies and gentlemen!  Here's to hoping for a wonderful month full of beautiful adventures.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fatty McFatterson

To be perfectly honest with you, I think it was a snowball effect to cause me to lose it when I saw a particular tweet this morning.  I wasn't really upset, but I just kept thinking that's really the best you can do?  Let me explain...

I follow Health and Food Tips and they also follow me.  Typically, they give out great tips and just random bits of information.  I have long started that I am not skinny (I mean, just look at the name of this blog).  But, I have also started that I do take care of myself.  So, imagine my feelings (yes, I realized I was probably in them) when I saw this tweet from a source I typically enjoy.  

Yep, that's the tweet!  I saw this during my morning Twitter viewing party and I was absolutely shocked to see this from them.  Not because they are constantly advertising healthy tips, but because of the wording.  

The first thing to jump out at me was the word fat.  I'm not an advocated of the word, even though I am known to tweet I'm feeling fat today or I'm having a fat day.  If I'm saying either of those things about myself, I'm having a rough day.  It's just not a word I typically use and unless something changes, I don't plan on taking back that word any time soon.  I don't know if it is because I don't like the word, but it had a very clear and negative undertone in this least it did to me.  I felt like it read if you keep the excuses coming the FAT will keep coming too.  How my mind read it, that's how it felt like it was typed.  But let's get to the word before that...

I wasn't an English major, but I believe the word excuses in this sentence is being used as a noun.  Excuse: a reason or explanation put forward to defend or justify a fault or offense.  I think people have plenty of valid excuses to not work out or eat healthy, but just don't tell them the fat will keep coming.  Some people are just genetically blesses and can eat three full course meals a day and not gain a single ounce.  Great for them!  Can't even be mad at that.  So, how can you tell them the fat will keep coming?  

You are probably thinking you're already not skinny so you are just sensitive about this.  Nope, not at all.  In fact, I think you might just be shocked as to where I am getting ready to go with this.  

What if the person reading that tweet was a teenage girl already suffering from body issues and already telling herself she's fat when she weighs just over one hundred pounds?  She might have been hurt from practicing a sport and having to rest, but since she's using her being hurt as an excuse, the fat is just going to keep coming?  What if the person reading that tweet already has a whole different set of self-esteem issues and they used the they stare at me every single time I got to the gym excuse so they decide to workout at home.  Will the fat keep coming?  We all know even if we have workout equipment or DVDs at home, we do better when we are at a facility or outside enjoying the scenery.  Why?  I guess because we pay for the membership and because we actually enjoy being outside during certain times of the year.  Or what if the person reading the tweet uses the I can't afford to eat healthy excuse?  Let's be honest, eating healthy is NOT cheap!  You can go to any fast food restaurant and get a burger off a dollar menu, but pay at least five dollars for a salad.  If you are on a budget, which selection are you going to choose?  I really don't think there is even a valid argument.  Cheap is usually going to win!  

Let's be real - Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Earth Fare and a few others are not cheap!  Period.  Point blank.  If you are talking about a family of four trying to eat healthy and stay on a budget, that's pretty difficult.  I buy for myself only and spend approximately one hundred dollars every two weeks just one groceries alone.  What do I get?  Fruits, veggies, seafood (because I only eat turkey meat unless I am food splurging), yogurt, juice, and some random things in between.  I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt when I was buying a bunch of junk, my bill was lower!  Howe come I can buy a normal size of Pringles for less than two dollars, but the same amount will only buy me two grapefruit?  I love avocados and they are a healthy fat!  So, how come it costs me just under five dollars for four of them, when I can go a few aisles over and buy a pack of Oreos for less than four dollars?

My point is, not everyone is making an excuse.  It's just real life for them!  Some people are victim to location.  If you are not in an urban area, you are not getting the trendy food stores and your grocery store selection is sometimes just one place.  You take it or leave it or you drive twenty miles out of ht way...if you are not interested in growing your own food.  

Can we just learn to be a bit more careful about what we say because we don't know the situation?  Can we stop making generalizations about a population just because of something we've seen done by a few people or what mass media tends to portray?  That's all I'm asking for and I really don't think I'm asking too much.  

Will I continue to follow them on Twitter?  Of course!  I hope even after seeing this post, they will continue to follow me.  However, if they don't, I will understand.  

What do you think about the tweet?  


Sunday, October 2, 2016


In several recent posts, I've called The Plus Diaries itself a giant umbrella!  After thinking about it, I feel like I haven't explained the concept very well and I owe all of you an apology.  The one thing I believe in is transparency within this blog and I haven't done a good job of that when it comes to the umbrella.  

So, I think it is finally time for me to explain the umbrella a little bit better.  You know, I typically do not like to tell you of upcoming things (at least not too much) because if it becomes a bust, I don't even want you to waste your time reading about it.  On the other hand, I've learned that many of you are so interested in all that I'm doing.  Now, I will be transparent, but I will also maintain a certain level of privacy.  Just because you know what is happening, doesn't mean you need to know all about the behind the scenes madness.  Trust me, I keep my talent manager busy and always on her toes.  We're just cool like that.  Now, what can I tell you...

For those of you who truly know me, you know that I'm not a fan of Facebook.  I tell my friends if you want me to see something, you need to tag me in the post.  It's just not a site I hang out on anymore.  Not because it still isn't relevant, but because I cannot stand to see all the drama and the overall fake madness some people put out.  I'm just sitting on my couch looking at my screen and laughing because I really know these people and can point out the lies.  However, because I'm too busy trying to be me, I will digress.  On the other hand, I'm truly excited about something new coming your way.  

For years, I've had a Facebook page dedicated to my inner writer.  However, I will be changing the page to focus solely on my blog!  I'm really excited about this because I think I will be better for me and allow me to interact more with a different audience that is not on twitter.  My anticipated launch for this page is January 2017 (wow), but I will do my best to keep you up to date, especially if I launch earlier!  Please just note that while the page is under construction, I will not be posting anything to it.  I can't be sending you there while it looks a mess!  

Why am I even mentioning this?  Well, it's an important aspect to my brand.  This blog itself has allowed so many opportunities!  I've been able to make great connections in the entertainment industry, been able to express myself when talking fails me, and I've been able to talk about some things that can me us all a little bit uncomfortable.  I mean, that just doesn't happen if you meet me in person.  I have to let you know me in order for me to be able to fully express myself to you.  This blog - this platform - this umbrella has allowed me to share things with you and allowed me to be more open.  I absolutely love this blog and I cannot even begin to imagine my life had I not taken the initiative to start this blog almost 4 years ago.  What a wonderful journey this has been and I cannot wait to see what is going to happen in the next few years.  

This right here is so new that I've only done one of them and I cannot even begin to tell you what an epic failure it was.  However, I did write about the failure right here.  Hey, I'm not just going to do something and then let you think it went absolutely awesome when it actually did not.  There's absolutely no reason for me to hide how bad it was because you can look back and figure it out for yourself.  But, what you can do is know and understand I learned so much and I look forward to trying this again.  

After I failed at this the first time, I started to think how can I make this better?  Ok, after a failure like that, the only way you can go is up, but you have to be very careful about how you come up!  I am currently working on a plan to help make this chat so much better and something you would actually like to participate in.  Also, I am a firm believer that you can learn so much from other people.  I participate in tweetchats and I've taken the opportunity to talk with some people who do them.  Believe me when I tell you, I will be more prepared the next time this happens.  I want to do a few more test runs before I do an official launch, so please be on the lookout for my tweets and look for some info on my instagram page as well.  Before I forget, you can follow me on Twitter, Insagram, and Bloglovin just by clicking the links on the right side of your screen (if you are not reading on a mobile device).  

This one takes a lot out of me sometimes because it is my way of coping with a loss.  However, I have learned so much about my own strength and about how I can transfer my strength to others.  Project XT is dedicated to the memory of my son, whose initials are XT.  My son was born still and what I found was that I was not happy with the community people tried to put me in to help deal with my loss.  I found more comfort from talking to other people one on one, instead of such a large group, in order to help me cope.  Then, under the most unfortunate of circumstances, one of my friends from college went through the same thing.  I didn't really know what to say to her (because there are really no words), but I think she found some comfort in knowing that she could talk to me because I knew exactly what she was going through.  

I know what it's like to see social media flooded with my friends' children.  They are not being rude, but they are just happy their kids survived childbirth.  I know what it's like to want so badly to dress up a kiddo for family pictures, but instead just look at the photos the wonderful nursing staff took for you.  I know what it's like to want to buy the cute baby shoes, but only have a copy of your child's footprints.  I get that and we are a different group of people who understand that.  Because we are such a different group, I am currently getting this non-profit off the ground.  Currently, I personally make blankets to give to the mom's to use for their Rainbow Baby.  I am also working on a line of cards just for this purpose.  It's sort of hard to find the right words to say, but I feel since I have been through it, I can do a lot better than a regular I'm sorry for your loss.  Eventually, I plan to assemble a team of ladies and men (because they hurt too) to help me with this endeavor.  I look forward to sharing more with you and introducing you to the wonderful people I add to my team.  It may be years down the line (because nothing happens overnight), but I have the faith and determination needed to make this happen.  

Let me just make this clear - I absolutely love every aspect of this umbrella, but this by far is my absolute favorite.  I took a giant leap this year by adding Backstage Pass to my blog, but it has been more of a success than I ever imagined.  

If you have never checked out Backstage Pass, even though it is in my blog almost every single month, let me introduce you to it!  Backstage Pass is me getting the chance to interview people making moves in the industry.  This is a chance for not only my readers, but for me to get to know a person a little bit better as well.  

At first, it started off as me only wanting to interview people in the plus industry, but I was missing out on a whole bunch of people who are doing all these great an amazing things.  Since I broadened my horizons, I've been able to still reach out to plus models and other people in the plus industry, but I've also been able to talk to people dealing with mental illness, those in the LGBT community, talent managers, singers, and a bunch of other people who are just willing to tell their stories.  Typically, Backstage Pass comes to you on the first Friday of the month, except when the month starts on a Friday.  However, you better believe I give plenty of notification because I just absolutely love this aspect in my blog!  

If you are interested in being featured or know someone you think should be featured, please contact me via any of my social media.  I enjoy connecting with other people and what better way for that to happen than to talk to them?! 


Well, did I explain the umbrella a bit better to you?  I really hope I did.  However, if I didn't, you know that you can contact me, right?  I love post comments!  It just makes me so happy when I get to respond to my awesome readers. Let me hear from you!  I've long said this blog is just written by me, but you are the reason behind it!  Also, be on the lookout for more news from the umbrella.  Believe me, I'm a long way from being finished!!!  

All images are my own!