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Creating a Fearless (& Kickass) Outfit

It’s easier to make a comeback from a little tumble than from a steep fall. It’s a shorter road back up. So, baby steps, slow and steady. Now start with one foot and go for it. ~ Harriet Cabelly for Tiny Buddha

The journey to self-love is all about acceptance and unconditional love. We all have body parts that we don't like and nitpick at. For some of us, that makes us cover up those parts so we can hide them. Me included.

When I started this journey, I had to be realistic and accept that it would not end in a day and would require a lifetime commitment to taking baby steps to loving ALL of me. That includes my inner self too. I had to commit to not only taking chances with fashion and having fun with it but also caring for myself mentally and emotionally because the way I talk to myself impacts what I choose do in my life, including what I wear.

When it comes to body love, the baby steps I have taken became major accomplishments that have changed my life. I'm wearing more color and prints; I'm wearing sleeveless styles. I'm wearing jumpsuits and even a romper. I'm now more open to trying styles. 

Basically, I'm wearing the clothes and they are not wearing me anymore. 

I choose what I wear based on what I like and how it looks on my body instead of trying to camouflage areas and hide my body. 

My next baby steps are wearing shorter length tops and not worrying about how my lumpy thighs look in pants.

For years, I wore tops that were at least 32" long so I could cover my upper thighs. I was so self-conscious of my lumpy thighs. This also led me to always wearing dark denim so my lumps wouldn't show. 

This is why wearing a jumpsuit was major for me and that baby step led me to this place where I was ready to wear some light colored denim and a top that wasn't 32" long.

I discovered that when I wear long tops, it made my legs appear shorter than they are. I have a long torso with a waist so I had to change my thoughts towards my thighs when it came to creating looks for myself. As I said above, I wanted to wear the clothes and not have them wear me. I was dressing to hide flaws and that wasn't fun because it was limiting me in what I wore.

I realized that a better style for me to wear that would elongate my legs and show off my curves would be a shorter length top that fell lower hip or even, dare I say it, upper hip. Yes, my belly would be exposed but hmmmm, let me see how this goes. That is how I talk to myself now when dressing my body. I don't say no to much anymore. Everything is worth a try.

You know what? The world didn't come to an end and no one was staring at me. And I felt like I looked fabulous.

This is the first time I have found a pair of Torrid jeans that fit me well! I have large calves and smaller ankles so skinny jeans are not my friend. I have found that with Torrid jeans, the calf area never fits. This time, I decided to try a boyfriend silhouette, which is more baggy in the calf area than a skinny. And it fit well! 

I cannot tell you how empowering it felt to be able to wear distressed jeans again. I haven't worn them since the 90's. I felt "normal". 

As I went about my day in these jeans, I felt like everyone else and no one stared at me. As someone who is often outsized in the plus size fashion world, this was one of those days where I forgot my size and just had a happy day, wearing jeans that fit.

I decided I wanted to add a print and a bold colored shoe to give the outfit that Marcy "fearless" vibe

While in California, my good friend, designer Jill Alexander gifted me this gorgeous cocoon kimono cropped sweater in a pretty pink/blue print. I then added my favorite cobalt blue flats from Lane Bryant to finish up this look.

The sweater is super lightweight and soft. It's a great layering piece when you want to add some color and print to your look. I'm not wearing it to cover my arms at all. I'm wearing it because I love the print. 

The pink top from Beth Ditto that I am wearing under it is sleeveless so I have the option to take off the jacket and just wear the top on its own during the hotter months. And I got it on sale for $13! Winning...

Creating an outfit is not daunting to me anymore. And I love how fashion has helped me be more fearless in my life. I love how wearing things like distressed jeans made me feel so happy and empowered. 

After this day and this baby step, I am feeling more inspired and determined to try more shorter tops and more bottoms. Hey, you never know... you might see me trying a crop top next!

Lesson learned... baby steps do add up to major accomplishments in life. And once you take one baby step, you'll never look back. You'll keep stepping forward.

Shop my look here:

Top: Beth Ditto (sold out), similar here

Kimono Cardigan Sweater: Jill Alexander Designs

Boyfriend Distressed Jeans: Torrid

Flats: Lane Bryant

Photography by Bettye of Fashion Schlub

You know you're a star when...

"A star does not compete with other stars around it; it just shines." ~ Matshona Dhliwayo

For a long time I doubted my greatness. I was always taught to be humble and not brag. While that is not a bad thing, as a result of that, I never gave myself much credit and it affected the conversations I was having with myself.

I used words like "if", "try", "might" and all those words are more questions than affirmations.

"I'm just trying to live my best life."

"I'll try to be the best person I can be."

"I might be successful."

"If I get that opportunity..."

See, how that sounds when you say it aloud? A simple change of words can make the difference in how you speak to yourself and view your greatness.

"I'm living my best life."

"I'm the best person I can be."

"I will be successful".

I am learning to catch myself when I say "If I..." and instead say "I will!" I'm no fortune teller but when you speak life into yourself and claim the things you want, magical things happen. Now life may not go as planned but honestly, whose life goes as planned? We can't control everything that happens in our lives but we can control how we roll with punches and what we put out into the world.

As my good friend Steffany reminded me yesterday, if something is meant for you, it will happen. In the meantime, I am going to look ahead, stay focused and follow my purpose.

I'm going to be happy in the moment and love myself. I'm going to keep speaking out to the world through my writing and voice so I am heard. 

I am going to give myself credit for my greatness.

It's not bragging. It's about believing in yourself and what you can do in your life. 

Last week, I had the opportunity to be a guest on a Facebook Live segment with plus size styling subscription service Dia & Co, where they were styling me for an industry event. 

The host, Dia's Community Manager Ashby Vose, was so friendly and welcoming. I was so nervous and kept thinking, "Will I do well? Will the fans like me? Will I mess up?". When I told Ashby I was nervous, she told me "They will love you! Watch!"

I then decided to just go on and be myself. Just as I blogged a few weeks ago, I had to show up for myself, the folks at Dia and their Facebook fans and customers.

And guess what? The segment was incredible!!!! The customers tuning in really showered me with compliments and asked questions, which I loved. They chose this amazing floral dress for me to wear, which I did this week at a blogger/influencer event thrown by Fruit of the Look/Fit for Me during Full Figured Fashion Week.

The dress matched my mermaid hair and was a hit! So many people came up to me and said how great I looked and how my hair and dress looked amazing in their matching glory.

I was reminded that evening that I am a star in my own right and there is nothing wrong with embracing that. The journey to that evening and the story of how I got that dress from Dia & Co was one that reminded me that I can do whatever I set my mind to. 

And at that event, so many people validated that by complimenting me on my outfit and what I have done in the community. I heard from a few people that they appreciate what I do and that my voice is so needed in the world.

I will never forget after the Facebook Live segment at Dia & Co, as I walked to the elevator to go home, CEO and Co-founder Nadia Boujarwah looked at me and gave me the thumbs up and a big smile. That moment told me that I need to appreciate what I bring to the world more because others see it. Others see my greatness.

I won't lie, there are times when I revert back to the old words of "if", "try", "might" and etc. But it takes moments like that that remind me of my greatness and keep me going. I'm human and not perfect but I also control the way I talk to myself. It's always my choice.

And a fabulous dress with matching hair always makes the world take notice of a star. 

Dress: Modamix via Dia & Co

Handbag: Out of the Closet (Oakland, CA) 

Sneakers: Lane Bryant

The Journey to Finding Your Purpose in Life

"Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it." ~ Gautama Buddha

Every Wednesday morning for the last three years, I have had a standing therapy appointment where I go to talk about everything from grief to anger to even my frustrations in fashion, people and overall, life. 

It has become a staple in my life that I learned to welcome. Seeking help has such a negative stigma to it so at first, I didn't tell anyone. What would they think if I said I was in therapy? Little did I know, more people go to therapy than I thought!

After my session weekly, I always see this woman who has the time slot before me and is always waiting in the lobby for her ride home. One day, she smiled at me and we began to chat. A friendship was born.

We'd chat almost every week and have been for about two years. The last time we spoke, she said something to me that still has me thinking, almost a week later. 

We were talking about our therapist who is leaving the practice and how we were not looking forward to being paired with someone new. I was telling her how far I have come in my life because of therapy and how I used to be afraid to leave the house after my brother died because the thought of not knowing when it's my time to die is terrifying so I would much rather stay at home in my safe place. And she said:

"Oh, I'd welcome death. At this point, I am waiting for my time to go. I feel like I am wasting space in this life that someone else can use to be something great. I feel I don't have a purpose and am doing nothing in this life. I am not scared of death at all. I'd welcome it."

I was stunned, to say the least. I had never heard someone say that before. Here I am, scared of dying because I feel like I have not accomplished everything I want to do in this life and I am just not ready. And this woman is ready to die.

I told her that we are all here for a reason and that she may feel like she doesn't have a purpose but that's because she hasn't figured it out yet. And I also told her that sometimes we get in our own way. Perhaps all these negative thoughts she was having about dying was blocking her from seeing the positive and truly finding her purpose. 

I stressed that she needed to change the conversations she was having with herself because she was limiting herself in life. 

Her ride came and she hugged me tight. She suggested we go to lunch soon and told me:

"Thank you. You're always honest but in a deep, compassionate way. And you get it."

I believe we all have a purpose and if you believe it, even when you don't know what it is, that will give you the incentive to want to live your life fully. In order to find your purpose, you have to put yourself out in the world. Show up for yourself and others. Once you do that, you will be amazed at all the magical things that come your way.

It can be something small like someone thanking you for helping them across the street or giving them directions. It can be you offering a smile to someone and telling them you like their hair. It could be you sitting on a bench, enjoying a cup of coffee and admiring the blue sky. These little things add up and when the time is right, your purpose will become clear. 

For me, my purpose is an accumulation of things but the base has always been my writing.

My writing has been a way for me to inspire others and myself. It has been a way for me to purge my soul while sharing my story. It has given me an outlet to express myself. My writing is something that will live on forever, after I am gone. My writing is my legacy. 

That writing is not just me blogging or writing a book. It has been me writing a note in a card and giving it to someone, who was so happy to receive that message. It has been me creating a resume for someone or helping them with content on their website. It has been me helping someone write a cover letter or editing their blog post. My writing has lent itself to so many avenues in the world and it is my gift and purpose.

It is a way for me to serve others while also serving myself. My writing also gives me a voice. I believe that is what your purpose does... it gives you a voice.

I remember when my step-mom asked me to perform the eulogy at my dad's service. It was one of the easiest and hardest pieces I have ever had to write. The writing flowed so easily but the pain that came with every word written was almost unbearable.

But my writing is what told people who my dad was. It made them laugh and it made them cry. It told them how amazing a dad he was and how his life was truly lived. It also inspired others to rethink how they were living their lives and it served as a reminder that we truly don't know when it's our time to leave this earth so we have to make every single moment count.

Writing to me is like a second nature. Anyone can blog or write a book. But to feel that craft within your heart and love the language of the written word... that is a feeling that not everyone knows. 

Writing for me is like me giving away a piece of myself to the world but still feeling like my spirit is full.

That's what it feels like to know your purpose AND be open to where that purpose takes you.

I wrote a letter to my friend that I plan to give her next Wednesday. I hope she can find her purpose and want to live. Life is so precious and if you have it, live it. You never know what can happen or what lies ahead.

Where do I Belong in The Fashion World?

"The only thing worse than not knowing where she belonged... was knowing where she didn't." ~ Tessa Shaffer

For me, every piece of clothing I own has a story. Some stories are more interesting than others and some hold painful memories that run deep. But I always remind myself that within each story, there is a lesson to be learned so all the stories must be told.

Let me share my story on this black floral maxi dress...

During my recent trip to Los Angeles with Alysse of Ready to Stare, we visited the offices and showroom for Xehar Curvy, a new plus size fast fashion brand. The owner Hadari Oshri was nice and engaging. After chatting with her for a few hours, she wanted to gift us some items. However, I was skeptical about fit as the brand only goes up to a size 3X.

She kept reassuring me that she would find something that fit me and was so sure it would not be an issue. Boy, was she wrong! After trying on about 20 pieces, she handed me this dress to try on and it fit. The look on her face showed relief. The look on my face showed disappointment and sadness. Honestly, I wanted to cry.

At this point, my confidence had taken a hit and I was feeling like something was wrong with me. Meanwhile, she looked flustered from rushing around, trying to find styles for me to try on. 

Alysse, on the other hand, didn't have as much of a struggle as I did but she did have to size up to a 3X in some items, when she regularly wears a 2X (18/20). She saw my disappointment and tried to console me.

Ironically, during our meeting with Hadari, I expressed to her the great need to expand on sizing, especially to a 5X. I told her of my own experiences of limited fashion and how women size 24+ felt excluded and forgotten, not just by straight size brands but plus size ones too!

At the time, I don't think she truly understood the struggle UNTIL... she saw firsthand how I couldn't fit into hardly anything she had in-stock. 

Later on during our trip, we went to visit designer Melissa Masse at her West Hollywood store. Again, her brand stops at a 3X so I thought for sure, I would not fit into anything. I was wrong! I fit into everything I tried on and even fit into a 2X in this dress, which I quickly took home with me. I will talk more about Melissa and Jill Alexander (another great designer in Northern California) in a future blog post.

So the lesson to be learned? It is not my fault or any other woman's fault if something doesn't fit or our size doesn't fit us and we are forced to size up. The size tag is such a thing of vanity that many of us hold too much value in. 

Sizing is inconsistent across the board because companies use different fit models, some an 8, some a 12 and some an 18. Also, it depends on fabric, cuts, etc. I find I have more luck in fitting into a 3X when it is with designers who actually take the time to make sure the fit is spot on and accommodates a plus body. Most fit models have flat tummies and are toned. Most plus size women (especially above a size 22) are not.

I'm to the point where I feel like if a brand comes to me and says they are truly invested in catering to plus women and truly care about building our confidence via fashion, I am going to ask them what sizes do they carry and I will personally try on every single thing in my size to see for myself. If they stop at a size 3x, I will kindly tell them that using the word ALL is very misleading and they are missing out on an entire demographic whose money is just as green as those under a size 3X.

You can't say you want to celebrate ALL bodies but stop at a size 3X/24. You also can't say the same while carrying sizes 4X and 5X that don't even fit someone who is a 1X. Let's get this fit right before we even try to talk to empowering women.

I think more women will feel validated and like they belong in this space if they can find clothing that actually fits them.

Like Hillary Clinton once said:

"Let's continue to stand up for those who are vulnerable to being left out or marginalized."

In regards to the dress I was given by Xehar Curvy, I decided to give this story a happy ending where I wore it during a recent photo shoot with my friend Bettye of Fashion Schlub, exuding my confidence and happiness. Because at the end of the day, I wear the dress, it doesn't wear me.

My shoes are from Lane Bryant and clutch is old but similar here.

Even though the dress was gifted, I was not paid to write this blog post. I was inspired to write it because I felt the story of this dress needed to be told. 

I took my power back by wearing this dress in a positive way. I let go of those negative feelings I had when it came to this dress because at the end of a day, it's a dress I look fabulous in, regardless of the experience I had when getting it.

Despite feeling ignored, passed over and often forgotten in the fashion world, I am still here and I am not going anywhere. I shouldn't have to lose weight to get to a smaller size just to have more shopping options. Everyone is worthy of fashion. #fashionisforeveryone

For a long time, I asked the question: Where do I belong in the fashion world? 

I now realize that while the fashion world is not perfect and some circles might not be accepting of me, I can create my own space where I belong. And stand strong while looking amazing. 

What are some of your fashion stories? Please drop a comment below and let me know.

Girl's Night Out + Some Tribe Building in Anaheim

"Women who support other women are confident, generous visionaries." ~ Mariela Dabbah

When Alysse from Ready to Stare and I planned our LA trip, we had such #tripgoals that involved many blogger meet-ups and fun nights out on the town. 

Unfortunately, it did not go as planned with our jam-packed schedule but we quickly realized that we had each other and that's what counts. We also connected unexpectedly with so many amazing women that had us feeling so empowered. Our tribe is one that is magical and so amazing.

And sometimes when things don't go as planned, that's when the most awesome things happen.

One of those amazing women we connected with is Anaheim-based blogger Veronica of Cid Style File who gave us a mini tour of Anaheim and had dinner with us at the Anaheim Packing District on that Saturday night.

Veronica was my +1 to the Torrid Pool Party earlier that day and I haven't seen her in years so it was a great opportunity to see her hood and also connect her with Alysse. That's how tribes grow and strengthen. And when it comes to plus size women, tribes are truly important because they are safe places where we are accepted unconditionally and don't always feel like we're the only big girl in the room. Veronica blogged about this herself here.

Veronica and I
Veronica is such a sweetheart and she and Alysse hit it off quickly. For dinner, we knew we wanted to be comfortable and wear effortless looks that are chic but fun. The weather was a bit chilly while we were there so I opted for a maxi dress and strappy wedge sandals, both from Lane Bryant.

Alysse opted for an LBD with a twist. The crochet ruffle hem was so cute and girly!

You can definitely see our style aesthetics in our dress choices but also where we dared to venture out of our comfort zones. The tie-dye print of the maxi dress made me pause for a minute because I thought maybe the print wouldn't look good on me and I usually wear flats. Alysse's dress was a little longer than her usual and a bit more conservative than what she usually wears. But I love how she made it her own with the choice of her sandal and statement necklace, all from Lane Bryant.

I'm so in love with this maxi dress from Lane Bryant that I actually wore it twice in LA! The second time I wore it, I paired it with some pull-on sneakers and some fun sunglasses.

The length was perfect on my 5'7" frame and it was lined, which made it even more comfortable. It was lightweight and didn't get snug when I sat down. This is a dress I will be wearing all summer. I'm wearing a size 26/28.

I can never find strappy sandals that fit my wide feet and these sandals from Lane Bryant fit with no problem and I was able to walk well in them. They were really comfortable. I'm wearing a size 9W.

Overall, this LA trip has changed my life. It has empowered me to live more fully and strive to live my best life daily. It has renewed my hope in community with the amazing tribe I became a part of there. And it has shown me that when women empower each other, we are unstoppable. My dad used to say, "No (wo)man is an island." And he is so right. 

I just hope that the next city Alysse and I visit on our #bestfatlife travel series will be just as amazing. Stay tuned!

Special thanks to Veronica for taking our pics!

You can shop my look below:

Black clutch - my own

You can shop Alysse's look below:

Thank you for coming along for the ride on our blogs during this amazing experience. And don't forget to follow us on Instagram and Facebook to see even more photos. @readytostare  @fearlesslyjustme

Click here to read about Alysse's night out experience and see more of what she wore from Lane Bryant.

*This post is in collaboration with Lane Bryant but all thoughts and opinions are my own. This post also contains some affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them.  This is one of the ways I can continue to bring you inspiring content. Thank you!

#LivingMyBestLife by Wearing What I Want

"The greatest fear in the world is of the opinions of others. And the moment you are unafraid of the crowd, you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom." ~ Osho (Courage: The Joy of Living Dangerously)

What started out as a day where I thought I would be body shamed and told I was wearing a "tablecloth" actually turned out to be one of the best days of my life.

I have secretly loved gingham for a long time but never had the courage to wear it. I always felt uncomfortable at the thought of wearing a print where I knew someone would have something to say. 

The opinions of others can be a pain in the ass and can really make you feel crappy. Yeah,  I said it. People can be mean and it's not just strangers. Family members, friends, neighbors, hell, that lady at the bus stop... someone always has something to say about my body, my health and what I wear.

I love prints but have not always been as confident in wearing them as I am now. It took a lot of work on myself and how I let the opinions of others affect me. 

Over time, I realized that many opinions are fueled by a person's personal feelings about the thing they are giving their opinion about. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME AT ALL.


And I have a choice in how I let the opinions of others affect me in my life. I can accept their opinions and let it limit me or I can basically wear what I want and do whatever I want in my life. After being limited for a long time, I chose the latter. You can't live your best life if you're letting others limit you and affect how you feel about yourself.

When I went to Los Angeles with Alysse from Ready to Stare, I vowed that I would live my best life during this trip. And I did! I wore a two-piece swimsuit on the beach, I wore white and now I wore what some would say is a "tablecloth". 

Well, I call it magical. And seriously, I am in love with this Gingham Fit & Flare Dress from Lane Bryant so I don't care what anyone says.

We started the day by visiting Little Damage in downtown LA to try their Black Roses ice cream. It's $7 ($6 plus $1 for one topping) but well worth the experience. We stood on line for like 30 minutes and then met up with some of our blogger friends to indulge.

It tasted alright but it's not something I am eager to try again. It tasted perfumey to me but hey, you only live once, right?

Then the rest of the day was spent at The Plus Bus Boutique for our closet sale during their Birthday celebration. It was an amazing day spent with amazing people in an amazing dress.

Plus, Alysse and I were twinning! She had on Lane Bryant's Gingham Belted Skirt with their Chambray One-Shoulder Top. Alysse is not someone who wears full skirts so she definitely stepped out of her comfort zone. I love how she made this look her own with the top, which is her style. She wore Lane Bryant's Faux Suede Mule in tan while I opted for some pull-on sneakers, also from Lane Bryant. (Mine are sold out but there's white ones still available)

So when we spied this heart mural wall while getting some elote the night before (shoutout to the Elote Man!), we knew we had to return and take some pics there in our gingham fabulousness. How fitting that we posed in front of a wall of hearts and love, wearing a print that people would surely body shame us for. How's that for sticking it to the "man"!?!

Next time someone tells me I can't wear something, I am going to keep walking and decide for myself if I want to wear that style. It is my body, my rules and my style. 

And always have a kickass friend beside you as you live your best FAT life. 

You can shop my look below:

Flower Crown - my own

You can shop Alysse's look below:

Chambray One-Shoulder Top from Lane Bryant

Stay tuned to our blogs for more of our California adventures! And don't forget to follow us on Instagram and Facebook to see even more photos. @readytostare  @fearlesslyjustme

Click here to read about Alysse's gingham experience and see more of  what she wore from Lane Bryant.

*This post is in collaboration with Lane Bryant but all thoughts and opinions are my own. This post also contains some affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them.  This is one of the ways I can continue to bring you inspiring content. Thank you!