Featured Slider

Self Care During The Holiday Season: The Art of Listening

"Listening is being able to be changed by the other person." ~Alan Alda

Dealing with grief and the effects of it on my life has taught me many lessons. One of the greatest ones has been to listen more, talk less.

It's so easy to judge someone from your own experiences when they are confiding in you. One of my best friends reminded me of that this morning. We look at the situation from our own perspectives and how we would deal with it, not taking into account that not everyone deals with things in the same way. And we never know the full story; only what is told to us.

Our initial reactions is usually to start talking, offer advice and try to "fix" the problem. We mean well but honestly, ask yourself, have I really listened to the other person? Did they ask me for advice? Or did they just want to be heard?

Most times, it's the latter.

Trust me, when someone wants help, they will ask for it. But many times, many of us make the assumption that if someone confides in us, they want our help. And that is not a correct assumption nine times out of ten.

For me, I yearn to be heard, especially now. I am far from perfect but know my shortcomings. I know where I need to be better and I know what I need to do. But I also yearn to be able to confide in someone and just be heard. Emotions are not easy to keep contained because the weight of them can sometimes be overwhelming. This is why letting go and talking about them feels so amazing. It makes our spirits lighter and it feels good to talk some things out loud and gain more clarity outside of our emotions.

However, this is where you learn the hard way that you can't confide in everyone. And you also have to understand that people are human. Not everyone is a listener. Everyone plays a role in your life and not all are meant to be those who you can confide in.

This holiday season will be a tough one for my family and I since it will be the first one without my niece TeΓ‘. For me, I will be completely honest and admit that I struggle but I also take it one day at a time. So for me to be able to lean on those I know I can confide in without them trying to "fix" me is such a welcomed thing. 

To be able to talk to someone who doesn't judge you and just listens and offers support is something that is invaluable. With the holiday season being tough for many, having someone to talk to is key. 

I am also still in therapy, four years later and I am not ashamed to admit that publicly. Seeking professional help is one of the best things you can do for your self care. There is nothing wrong with doing so either. My therapist has saved my life. She has helped with me becoming more self aware and becoming a better person. She offers me the space to talk and not be judged. And she makes sense of things that I don't. It helps tremendously to be able to speak freely and have someone get it.

You don't have to understand what someone is going through to know the right thing to say. There is never the right thing to say. But we all have the capacity to love and support someone unconditionally without inserting yourself into the situation. It's not about what you would do but instead how can you help. 

Most of the time, that help is just listening to the other person and supporting them.

If you're feeling down or depressed this holiday season, just know you are not alone. And again, there's nothing wrong with seeking help and someone professional to talk to. Here's some ways to reach out if you are in need...

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Their network of crisis centers provide emotional support and guidance to people in distress and are also available via a chat service and a special hotline number for the hearing impaired: 1-800-799-4889.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
SAMHSA’s behavioral health treatment services locator is an easy and anonymous way to locate treatment facilities and other resources, such as support groups and counselors, to treat and manage depression.

You can also call your health insurance provider and ask for some therapists in your area that accept your insurance. No insurance? Head to Google to see what groups and centers are in your area that can offer low-cost counseling or group meetings.

I, for one, will be listening more this holiday season and holding space for those who need it, as I know others are doing the same for me. I know I am not alone.

Be kind to yourself and always remember that self care matters. Love you all.

Why is Age Such a Big Deal? Asking For a Friend...

"Some guy said to me: 'Don't you think you're too old to sing rock n' roll?' I said: 'You'd better check with Mick Jagger.'" ~ Cher

Hey, I'm over 40! **gasps**

I was watching The Ellen Degeneres Show this week and she talked about how her age is always stated when she is mentioned in the media. And she wondered why the media felt the need to always mention her age instead of her accolades and achievements. 

Hell, why not mention her job title or even her eye color? Nope, just her age. And for the record, she is 60, to which I was shocked to learn. She looks damn good.

I also noticed that when I typed in her name on Google, the first suggested search that came up was "Ellen Degeneres age" above her name. 

Actress Julia Roberts, Ellen's guest during this show, also expressed her annoyance with news outlets front-loading their stories with a celebrity’s age. It rarely happens with younger folks or even older men. Julia is 51.

So why is a woman's age such a big deal?

Peep this. 

  • Suzanne Collins was 46 when she wrote "The Hunger Games". 
  • E. L. James was 46 when she wrote "Fifty Shades of Grey". 
  • Iris Apfel is a major fashion icon at age 97, having been the face of Australian brand Blue Illusion at age 94 and was a visiting professor at University of Texas at Austin at the age of 90. 
  • Ann Dowd earned her first Primetime Emmy Award nomination at the age of 61 for her role as Aunt Lydia on Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale.

Now I ask again, why is a woman's age such a big deal?

I recently saw Ann Dowd speak at Glamour's Women of the Year Summit and was in awe. It was that day that I decided I wasn't going to hide my own age anymore and not be too hard on myself for not getting everything I wanted accomplished by a certain age.

She spoke about getting her big break late in life (in her 50's) and how she learned to create her own timeline. We are fed this notion that we have to do all these things before a certain age because God forbid we do some amazing shit when we're "old".

Me doing some amazing shit at the age of 47

What is "old" exactly? Just like size, age is often judged by its number and we are more than a number.

Getting back to me (yes, I was deflecting cause I fully admit this is hard)... My name is Marcy and I am 48 years old. 

Yep, I'll be 50 in two years and I have been struggling with that BIG TIME. 50 seems like such a major milestone where you are now crossing over from young to old. It's that median mark where now you're like, damn, I am a half century old. 

I don't feel 50. I mean, what is 50 supposed to feel like? Or look like?

I see other women who are my age or around my age and some look much older than me and some don't. I am blessed to not look my age and still get the dropped jaws when I tell people how old I am. So for me, it feels weird to get older because time seems to be flying yet I feel like I am standing still. Does that make sense?

I've also encountered ageism in the sense where I have been told I shouldn't do this or that, shouldn't wear this or that, and etc. I just want to know who created these rules and why should we follow them?

So many questions and no answers. But I have learned that the answers to these questions are subjective. WE ARE WHO WE ARE. WE FEEL WHAT WE FEEL. And age should not have anything to do with that.

Sure, from a physical standpoint, things are changing. I have menopause to look forward to (NOT). I'm now wearing reading classes because after spending most of my life with almost perfect sight, I am now far-sighted. I suffer from arthritis and now have to get extra tests at the doctor to check for illnesses that happen after a certain age. 

However, from a mental perspective, while I feel like I am wiser and more self aware, I still feel youthful and free. I still feel like I can conquer the world and I admit I still love to get on a swing at the park or run around freely in an open space. Plus, I still have my hot mess moments where I sometimes question what the hell am I doing.

The notion that you have your life together when you're a certain age is BS. Life is a journey where you are always figuring things out. I think as long as you are open to the possibilities and have committed to nourishing your relationship with yourself, it's okay to not have it together.

Nothing is perfect and your age should not be some indicator of life and where you should be. Self love is a lifelong journey that never stops and it shouldn't. The relationship you have with yourself is the most important one you will have in your life. 

So I remind myself daily of what Ann Dowd said on that stage...

Keep the love story alive; the love of what you do. Celebrate the small wins. Stay humble and grateful for every single day and everything that happens in that day. It will suit you and support you. Always remember the answer is within you because your heart and soul are your compass to life. Don't obsess on the How. Just remind yourself in the mirror that you are in charge of who you are. 

Yes, I am 48 but that doesn't define who I am by a long shot. Get ready 2019! I am fully prepared to do some more amazing shit going into Year 49. 

And maybe I should start thinking about what I will do to usher in Year 50. Turning a half century old is kind of cool, when you think about it.

Read Ann Dowd's speech here on Glamour's website. #BeInspired #ICertainlyWas

#FearlesslyMoving: Walking into Winter Like...

Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. ~ Lao Tzu

Winter is coming. And I'm not ready.

I suffer from osteoarthritis so my joints tend to get inflamed in extreme weather, hot or cold. But more so in the winter time. I experience joint pain, swelling and stiffness on almost a daily basis. So it's key for me to keep moving even though I just want to crawl back into bed and suffer in silence.

Taking that first step out of the house is always the hardest. 

Once I am moving, the pain lessens and I feel better. Stretching is also key and a must for me. I don't have a gym membership because I fully admit I am still working on not being self-conscious in a gym. But I don't let that stop me from getting my exercise in because movement is a form of self care for me. So I choose to walk. 

That is what #FearlesslyMoving is all about to me.

My legs and feet have already taken me to incredible places in my life already so why not keep walking? 

Walking is free and I live in New York City where you can walk anywhere and see something interesting. Never a dull moment in the city, let me tell you.

To help motivate me to take that first painful step, I make sure what I am wearing is cute and comfy. I'm not a coat person since I grew up near the beach and have a thick skin when it comes to cold weather. I get hot very quick and don't like to feel weighted down by clothes. 

Coats are bulky and I don't want to look like the kid from A Christmas Story. But this year, I took a chance and am happy I did. Because at the end of the day, fashion is a form of self care for me as well.

I saw this magical pink coat over at Catherines and was in love. It's lined in faux fur including the detachable hood, has adjustable side belts and cute gold tassle thingys at the ends of the hood straps. And hello, IT'S PINK!!!!!

It has pockets and is a nice low hip length where it provides coverage in my booty area. The sleeves have a ribbed knit cuff that makes it stay in place so that no cold air sneaks in up my sleeves, which I hate. I usually think puffer coats are the devil because I don't want to look larger but I took a chance on this because sometimes we have to get out of our heads and take a chance.

And WOW! I looked in the mirror and loved how it looked on me. I always size up one size when buying coats in case I need extra room for a sweater or am wearing something bulky underneath. So I ordered a 4X in this coat which equals a size 30/32 on Catherines' size chart. I'm glad I sized up because it fit perfectly and zipped up with no issue. If you are my size (26/28) and want extra room to wear layers underneath, I would get the 5X, to be honest, as coats typically do not offer stretch. For the record, my measurements are 57"-51"-68".

On this day of walking and exploring, I decided to wear a cozy sweater, my absolute favorite jeans in the world and some comfy booties, all from Catherines.

I love a great doggy sweater and this one had a doggy wearing a leopard print bow and dark pink cat eye glasses so I had to have it. I'm wearing a size 3X in the sweater. 

The jeans are Catherines' Right Fit Jeans in Curvy, which have been my go-to for years. I usually have to wear a belt with my jeans since my waist is smaller than my hips. These jeans are the ONLY jeans I wear without a belt. They have side elastic panels in the waist that prevent gaps. They are AMAZING.

I'm 5'6 but have short legs so if I buy regular length, I have to roll them up. If I want a cropped length, I get petite. I like that Catherines offers me those length options and also gives me size room to go up or down to get the fit right. In these jeans, I'm wearing a size 24. Yup, you read right!!!! A size 24. If I want a boyfriend slouchy look, I size up to a 26 regular and roll them up.

I also have large 23" calves and these jeans fit them nicely with no tightness. My upper arms measure 21" around and the sweater fits well in that respect as well.

The boots are a true wide width where I felt like I had wiggle room AND they are super comfy. So I can wear double socks with no issue. I walked around all day in them and my feet did not hurt. I love how brown looks against pink and it ties in with the leopard bow on my sweater.

I don't usually post pics of me sitting down because I used to think it was unflattering. But now? I know it's all in my head and if I feel good about something, who cares what others think? I don't anymore. 

I also don't wear makeup when I am out walking around because I just want to be comfortable and natural. So yes, your eyes are not deceiving you. I am not wearing any makeup. Just some Vaseline lip therapy on my lips.

So I will be wearing this pink coat and booties all winter long and living my best walking life. The booties also come in black so I have to have them. 

There's so many great things to do in NYC during this time and I will be sharing some of my adventures as a plus size person in some future blog posts coming up. So be sure to check back here to see me #FearlesslyMoving and having fun while doing it.

Shop my look from Catherines via the links below:

Photography by the amazing Karizza.

You can find her on Instagram here and visit her website here. I love to work with photographers who are body positive so expect more magic with myself and her in the future. I highly recommend her.

*This post is sponsored by Catherines but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Easy Like Sunday Morning

"Everybody wants me to be what they want me to be. I'm not happy when I try to fake it." ~ Easy, The Commodores

I talk a lot about my dad and how he spoke life into me on a daily basis growing up. I know I was blessed to have a dad like I did and not a day goes by, that I don't think of him. It's been 7 years since he died and he is always with me, even in my style.

I definitely got my love for camo from him. He never left the house without his camo jacket and hat. He loved combat boots and jeans. The first pair of jeans I wore as a plus size teen were courtesy of my dad's closet. I never gave those Levi's jeans back! And he didn't mind because I think he knew what they meant to me. When I wore those jeans, I felt normal and like everyone else. 

Watching him in his camo and denim, I was inspired. People stared at him -- he loved his camo safari hat, which always drew attention. And my dad didn't care. That was his style and that was how he expressed himself. He wore what he loved. 

And by me wearing what I love every day of my life, I am honoring his legacy of being true to who I am and embracing that. My style has always been different from others. I love streetwear but I also love being girly. I love sequins, faux fur, pearls, lace and all that. So I always incorporate a feminine vibe into my streetwear like how I paired this camo jacket from Lane Bryant and sneakers with this super girly mesh skirt with pearl details.

I love the floral embroidery on the camo jacket which gives it a feminine vibe and some pops of color. I also have issues with jacket sleeves being too short and tight in the upper arms. But this one fits well and comfortably with no snugness. I also love the frayed hem, which reminds me of when I was a teen and used to fray and deconstruct my denim with a razor blade.

And the tee... well, I had to have to it. That line "Easy Like Sunday Morning" is so meaningful to me. My dad loved the Commodores and "Easy" was one of his favorite songs to sing. I grew up in a house full of music but that song had so much meaning for me and hearing my dad's deep voice singing it, just puts a smile on my face and reminds me that it's okay to be different. 

I want to be free to know the things I do are right... that may be a love song but for me, the song empowers me to live my best life. And that includes wearing camo, a girly skirt and graphic tees.

Life is short. wear what you love no matter your size or age. That's my daily mantra.

Shop my look here:

Graphic Tee: Lane Bryant

Camo Jacket: Lane Bryant

Skirt: Lane Bryant

Sneakers: Puma

**I'm wearing a size 26/28 in the Lane Bryant pieces.**

A Size 26/28 Girl's Journey on Shopping Brands That Stop at Size 24: City Chic

"Clothes aren't going to change the world. The women who wear them will." ~ Anne Klein

I had an amazing call today with an up-and-coming designer named Elle Dove who creates clothing for ALL sizes. Now when I say ALL, I truly mean all. She wants to dress everyone and her passion gives me hope that the fashion industry, including major brands, will see the importance of fashion for everyone. Here's an interview I did with her a few months ago for PLUS Model Magazine here.

Lorenza James by Elle Dove
When discussing why she chose certain women to be her brand ambassadors (including me!), she said to me "The woman is the one who sells the clothing, not the brand."  She explained in detail how she does not look at just numbers but who your followers are and what your platform stands for.

And that resonated with me so deeply because it is so true and the core of what an influencer should be. 

I think the industry has lost its way a bit in that instance with major brands:

  • Looking solely at numbers over engagement.
  • Choosing only to offer up to a certain size or calling it "size inclusive" but stopping at a size 3X/24.
  • Using influencers whose bodies fit a certain beauty ideal that is acceptable to society (hourglass and pear shapes under a size 24).

So as someone who is often outsized within my own fashion industry, I have learned over the years that shopping is not always fun and is honestly a sport. And I am a repeat gold medal winner. I constantly have "make it work" moments with Tim Gunn's voice in my ear.

Jacket: Premme // Dress: plus BKLYN // Booties: Avenue
One of the things I have learned is to #IgnoreTheSizeTag. Yup, that's going to be my new hashtag going forward.

Sizing is so inconsistent across the board, even in straight sizes! I hate to try on clothes and would love to just buy off the rack but that is not just possible, especially when you're plus size. Once I accepted this and adapted, I have become savvy as knowing what fits me.

I admit, I used to bypass brands that only went up to a size 24. I naturally thought I could not fit into anything they sold. I was also programmed to always reach for the larger size and have learned to not do that anymore. Baggy clothes do not hide the plus body. For me, it made me look bigger. Sure, I was hiding my rolls and such. But I looked as if I was wearing a tent. Not cute.

During my days of hiding my body in larger clothing.
There is no magical way to hide that you're fat so why not dress the best way you can and feel good about yourself? That has been an important part of my self love and acceptance journey.

Life is short so why should I wait to wear what I want? Why should I have to lose weight to look fabulous and show off my style? The time is NOW.

One of my favorite brands to shop that stops at a size 24 is City Chic. Nine times out of ten, I have been able to fit into their size XXL, which is a 24. For the record, I usually wear a size 26 on top and a 28 on bottom. My measurements are 55-53-68.

Their strapless dresses are everything! They have piping and an adhesive band around the top part (similar to what you see in strapless bras) so it stays in place. When I finally got the courage to let my wings be free and wear strapless dresses, City Chic was the first brand I wore.

Full Figured Fashion Week, June 2018

The first jumpsuit I ever tried was from City Chic and it changed my mind on jumpsuits forever.

Here's some other City Chic styles I have worn and loved:

Hello Body and Curves!

I think that we have been fed so much negative rules and criticisms for most of our lives that it takes time to reprogram our thoughts. But I still live by that mantra "Change your mindset, change your life." It didn't happen overnight but I started out with one body part: my arms. And then once I took that step, it got easier to continue to push myself out of my comfort zone and not be afraid to show my body in public and stop covering up.

City Chic has been one of those brands that has been a part of my self love journey. While I do think they should consider expanding their sizing to 32, I still celebrate them for what they do get right... the fit! They truly ensure that their clothing fits a curvy, plus body that has extra in some places. I also check the fabric and if I see spandex or elastane in it, that means it has some stretch. Yes!

The biggest shopping lesson I have learned over the years is to shop by fit and my measurements. Even if the size tag does not align with what size I am. 

Here's what I have my eye on at the moment from City Chic:

Just an FYI, this is not a sponsored post and City Chic has no idea of my love for them. Sometimes we have to show our support for free because that's how we not only build relationships that can lead to a profitable future but also to spread the word. Our voices must be heard in order to make change and sometimes complaining is not enough. 

If you love what I have to say regarding fashion, fit and style for the size 20+ woman and you're in or near the Atlanta area, come hear me speak this weekend at the TCF Style Expo! I'm on an amazing panel of incredible women talking to this very topic. The panel will be moderated by Alicia Young of AP Young Blog, who is over a size 24. 

You can still get tickets to the TCF Style Expo here. Would love to see you!

Starting a New Journey of #FearlesslyMoving

Movement for me means being in peace while allowing myself to let go, be in the moment and feel free.

I have been kicking off my blog posts with quotes for over 10 years but today's post starts with a quote of my own.

Lately, I have been giving lots of thought to movement. Not just physical movement but overall movement within life. I believe that the mind, body and spirit are one. So if one is not right, it throws off the whole trinity. For me, I have been spending so much time getting my mind and spirit right that I neglected my body. And this made me realize that's why my MBS trinity was not at 100%.

I'm always tired or stressed. I work a lot and put pressure on myself to be the best I can be. I push myself beyond limits and sometimes it takes a toll on me physically. I haven't felt inner peace in a really long time and at this point of my life, I crave it. I need it. 

How can I inspire others and keep going, if I don't have that inner peace and my spirit tank on full? Life is draining enough and if you don't refill your tank regularly, how are you supposed to be at the top of your game?

So I started looking into movement in general. I don't aspire to lose weight and be some "Before and After" picture. In my opinion, weight loss is not the way to happiness because your Body is a part of that MBS trinity and not on its own. You can lose weight but if your mind and spirit ain't right... well, you get the drift.

I worked too hard to love myself as I am and in all honesty, my size has nothing to do with my MBS not being on point. It has to do with my inner health and how I choose to use my energy. 

Movement can be an incredible thing. For me, I love to walk and one day, I want to get strong enough to jog again because running is a form of movement that truly lets you be in the moment and feel free of the world around you. 

I have arthritis in both knees and my right ankle so I tend to get stiff a lot and have chronic pain. However, the irony of that is the more I move, the less pain I feel.

This is when I decided that I needed more movement in my life. I need to make time for myself and invest in myself and my MBS. If I can't show up for myself, how am I supposed to show up for others in my life?

I'm not a gym girl right now because I am still working on not being self-conscious in that space. Yes, I am confident and love myself but I am not perfect. I'm human and I am still working on not noticing the stares or whispers. 

However, I have the world before me, ready for me to take my first step and just start moving. Movement can be medicine for the MBS... I learned this from a friend of mine who I admire greatly.

Deb Malkin is someone I have known for years, who is simply amazing. Her Instagram page Move With Deb was what inspired me to look more into movement.

Movement can be anything, to be honest. It doesn't have to be just exercising. Deb recently posted about Movement Permaculture, which was a way for her and her partner to work on their garden in a fun way. It encouraged movement while they plant and grow things to sustain them in their lives.

A post shared by Move along with Deb (@movewithdeb) on

This led me to introducing movement in my life via house chores, like dancing as I sweep and mop, squatting while I wash dishes or even lifting heavy things around the house as I clean. I also make it a habit to turn on the pedometer on my phone while I am in the supermarket and walk around it a few times. You can easily do a mile that way while shopping for groceries.

Find what moves you and incorporate that into your every day life.... this is what my goal right now is.

I actually take notes from Deb's IG page, especially the wisdom she offers her readers via comments about movement... Here's a few that resonated with me:

On being able to do things while comfortable - "There's nothing wrong with comfort! It's all about adding variety and seeing the movement we do all day long and not just shoving it in the category of fitness at a gym."

"Just thinking about movement in a whole body, throughout the day framework has shifted my whole world. It helps me feel so much more engaged in my everyday life and empowered in my body."

"Movement is a bigger category than fitness. There's a lot we can do to help get more flexible, have more strength and stamina in our everyday life. Going to the gym can be fun but that's just a tiny portion of our week. We have a body the rest of the time too and not to say we should obsess about fitness, it's more of a reframe of movement that is nourishing our cells as being available all the time. It's like the opposite of diet culture to me."

With that said, starting today, my journey of Fearlessly Moving will be a reality. My current goal is to feel empowered in my body again and as Deb said, more engaged in my every day life. And I'll see where this journey takes me.

You can follow my journey here on the blog and on social media with the hashtag #FearlesslyMoving. I plan to use this blog as a way to be accountable for myself and not slack off on my movement goals. And I hope I can inspire some of you to move along with me.

Because movement can be body liberation too! Having more mobility is freeing and honestly, after a day of walking and moving, I feel like a superheroine. And I want to feel like that daily. Movement can be joyful and I can't wait to share this journey with all of you.

Click here to follow me on Instagram to stay up-to-date with my #FearlesslyMoving journey.

How do you incorporate movement into your life? Any tips? Comment below and let me know!