Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Kicking Off 2021 With A Major Plus Size Brand Expanding Sizes

Why, hello 2021! 

While I am not relieved yet that 2020 is gone (it still felt like 2020 with all the stuff going on in the first 2 weeks of the year), a new President is in the White House today and I just found out that a major plus size brand has expanded their sizes on some items. 

So today is one of those days where I am feeling hopeful for the world and the closets of women over a size 3X/24.

Without further ado... that brand is is LANE BRYANT.

Yes, you read right. Lane Bryant has been around since 1904 and now in the year 2021, I spied about 50ish items on their site that go up to size 38/40.

This was my face at first - Wuuuuuut?!?:

Then I got up out of my chair...

And walked around my living room as if it was my runway. I had to channel my inner Velvet D'Amour.

See, I always get extra happy when I see brands offering above a size 3X and 24. I recognize that I have some size privilege as I am a 26/28 and can sometimes fit into a 3X on top and there are mega brands like Old Navy and Target that offer a 4X. 

But I know personally how clothing options dwindle dramatically once you are looking for sizes 4X and above. And I want ALL women to have access to clothing. It's a basic need, y'all.

So Lane Bryant offering up to a size 38/40 is MEGA! I'm still in shock! 

I remember a few years ago, while at a Lane Bryant breakfast event at Full Figured Fashion Week, during Q&A with top heads of the brand, I asked if they would ever expand beyond a size 26/28 and one of the execs said NO so quickly and then went on to the next question. I was stunned at the abruptness, to say the least.

Times have changed and I AM HERE FOR IT. 

I will always have love for Lane Bryant despite that question moment. Last year in Sept 2020, I had the honor of being a part of a social media campaign for Hispanic Heritage Month and I do believe that with this expansion, they are making an effort. You don't see many mainstream plus size brands using women my size in campaigns so it was a big deal for me to be included.

With that said, I really want brands like LB to know that the women above a size 3X and 24 do shop and that we support their efforts.

Here's some of my favorites that are available in up to size 38/40:

FULL DISCLOSURE: There is no size chart I could find on the site with the measurements for the larger sizes. So as always, shop with caution. If an item has spandex, there's stretch. If it's 100% cotton and looks woven, chances are there's no stretch. Be mindful of that when shopping.

Lane Bryant Duster

You can view what I found on the site in up to size 38/40 here

I'm not sure if there are more items hiding but if the item number increases, I will post a follow-up here on the blog. There is no special category or mention on the site. I simply found it via word of mouth from ShaKera of The Real Sample Size (thanks, sis!).

Honestly, I am excited they included some Livi items and I feel like this assortment is a good start. You get two claps and a runway walk for this new development, LB. Thank you!

If you are on a budget and the prices are making you cringe, simply use code JANGIFT

If you spend $75, you will get $25 off your order; $50 off $150 and $75 off $225 and more. Free shipping kicks in on orders of $99 or more.

Will you be shopping from Lane Bryant's new expanded sizes? Let me know below in the comments!

**This blog post was NOT sponsored by Lane Bryant and all opinions and statements are my own. However, the product links in this post contain affiliate tags and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. This helps me continue to bring you amazing content. And your prices won't be affected at all.**

Thursday, March 19, 2020

How The Little Women in My Life Inspire Me Featuring adidas

Pretty much all the honest truth-telling there is in the world is done by children. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

With everything going on in the world at the moment surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic, social distancing has forced many people to reflect, me included.

With Women's History Month and International Women's Day both happening this month, March is always a time that I reflect on the women in my life who have inspired me to be a better person. And being home, practicing social distancing has me in double reflection mode.

I'll be totally transparent and admit that I have been practicing social distancing for a while now, since my niece died over a year ago. 

As many of you know, my oldest niece Teá passed away in August 2018 at the age of 18. And she was my biggest cheerleader. She loved fashion and wanted to be a fashion designer. 

When you lose a child in your life, it hits deeper than other losses. Losing my dad and brother were different. Still painful but different. Losing a child forces you to truly see life can end at any time. And for me, it was so much easier to retreat into my cave and not engage with others as I tried to figure out how to deal with the tragic loss. 

Fashion and style has always been one of the major driving forces in my relationship with my nieces. Those two things helped all of us build confidence, connect and honestly, feel happy. 

My nieces inspire me on so many levels because they have made me into the woman I am today. When I look at them, I see my reflection and that reminds me to keep pushing through. 

I'm better because of them. They have taught me patience and compassion. They have reminded me of my beauty and greatness. They encourage me to keep my confidence consistent. They also remind me to be present and live fully in the moment. 

Basically, my nieces, my "little women", are an important part of my life. They are like my lifeline. 

They are the ones who encourage me to be different and celebrate who I am. 

My late niece especially. She was all about creating her own trends and not being a slave to what the industry offered. She wore what she loved and boy, did she love fashion! 

When my nieces were babies, I worried so much about them and always tried to lead by example but it hasn't always been easy, especially being on a journey of my own. 

This journey included me finding out who I was, learning to love myself unconditionally and in turn, being who I was 100% through my style. 

Fear had always been the deciding factor when I wanted to wear something bold that was so me. Fear of what others would say or think. 

And my nieces see me in a different light than I do. So seeing myself through their eyes was so imperative to me during my journey because it showed me that I was my own biggest critic. 

While there were times in my life where I just wanted to blend in with the background and not have a spotlight on me because of that fear of how others would look at me, my nieces always reminded me that I should embrace my uniqueness and own my space. That the only opinion that should matter is the one I have for myself. 

They instilled in me the importance of the story I tell myself and how important it is to create a narrative that will uplift me and not bring me down. 

Part of my uniqueness is my love for sneakers, especially adidas. I have been known to incorporate sneakers into my looks, even wearing sneakers with a gown on the red carpet. 

Growing up in the 80's, the Run-DMC song "My adidas" became my "Rocky" anthem. To this day, when I hear that song and I'm wearing adidas, I walk taller with my head up high, with a pep in my step. I forget I'm a fat girl. I'm just me, rocking my style and my adidas. 

Being plus size, not every store carries my size, so to be able to shop for sneakers and not worry about my size not being offered is MAJOR. I feel included, especially since I'm a shoe size 9, which is considered average.  

What I love the most about adidas is how they celebrate women. This year for Women's History Month / International Women's Day, they are partnering with iFundWomen to support women entrepreneurs in sport.​ They want to create opportunity and visibility for women in the sport industry through access to funding and expert coaching. You can find out more here

Sneakers have been part of my DNA since I was a kid and to be able to feel like everyone else and wear the same things as everyone else gives me peace in a world where I constantly stand out, sometimes for the wrong reasons. 

I just want to exist, live my life to its fullest with lots of laughs and fun with my little women. But the world isn't that kind at times, with some expressing their opinions about me existing in a fat body. 

I did not set out to be an activist but living in a fat body makes me one every time I choose to walk out the door and into the world. 

My nieces remind me that while there are some who will react negatively to my existence, the majority of the world sees me as someone who inspires them to own their space. 

They also remind me the importance of my work of encouraging my audience to celebrate who they are and step into the power of their personal style no matter what size or age they are. 

I think about Teá every time I get dressed. Even after her death, she continues to take every step with me in this journey to living the best life possible. 

I'm so thankful for the little women in my life for just being in it. 

Suvana turns 18 this year in May and will be able to vote for the first time. She is a gifted artist who loves to wear all black, has a collection of combat boots and watches Steven Universe. 

Angel will be 14 in June, a few days after the six-year anniversary of the death of her dad. But that child has so much light and color that I know she will make him proud. Her Tik Tok videos kill me every time.  

Ashley will be 2 in May and is already showing that she has a stand out personality and is so independent. She loves to try on my adidas and walk around in them. Serenity is three weeks old and I cannot wait to see the woman that she becomes.  

Man, these kids make me want to do incredible things so they in turn will want to do the same. Plus, I want to always be the cool Auntie, lol. The next generation looks so bright and I hope I live long enough to see all them blossom into their ultimate greatness. 

At the end of the day, they remind me daily that we all have a story. Let's make sure it's a story worth living. 

Here's some links to check out while you're home!
My favorite collection from adidas - Superstar! CLICK HERE
My newest pair of kicks - trying out the Advantage style CLICK HERE
The tee I'm wearing - it's a men's tee (wearing a size 3X)! CLICK HERE

And the next 2 pairs I am eyeing:
Superstar kicks in a snake print - YES!!!
Superstar kicks in a heart print - OMGOSH!!!

**This blog post was sponsored by adidas but all opinions and statements are my own.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Shopping at Consignment Stores as a Plus Size Woman

"Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go. They merely determine where you start." ~ Nido Qubein

New year for me means truly looking at my closet and planning ahead on what I will add and remove. I used to be that girl who bought on impulse if something was on sale. And while it felt good to score a top for $3, I maybe wore it twice and then threw it back in the closet.

This was my way of thinking from a poor person's perspective. When you don't have much money and tons of responsibility, you tend to lose your worth in the process because everything comes before you.

BUT... I have learned that it's not only okay to invest in yourself via your clothing but also, even if you don't have a ton of money, there's always a way to score some quality-made clothing that does not have a low price tag.

Also, I just got tired of having tons of clothing I never wore simply because I bought them at a low price. To me, that made no sense. I'm more mindful of my space and want less clutter. I want my money well spent. And I want to make sure I wear everything I own multiple times and truly love what I am wearing. A low price point should not solely direct my fashion buy choices.

One of the things I started to do was shop secondhand. While shopping for plus size clothing secondhand is not always easy, especially if you're over a size 24, if you do the research, it is possible. Sometimes you'll find that unicorn at Goodwill but there's places now dedicated to plus size consignment.


When I travel, I also seek out consignment places to shop as I'm in New York City, which surprisingly is not a plus size shopping mecca. To be honest, I find more clothing outside of NYC. You'd be surprised at what you find when you look.

In LA, I love visiting the Plus Bus, where I can buy and sell my clothing. They also host body positive events and you never know who you will run into, while there. While in San Francisco, my friend Tigress took me to Out of The Closet, where their plus size section was actually decent! I racked up on some much-needed quality sleepwear separates where they were like $3 a piece.

Me with Troy of A Bear Named Troy at The Plus Bus

In Portland, I shopped at the Curvy Chic Closet bi-annual event, where I got so many amazing things including new with tags stuff from Eloquii, under $10! Their next event is May 7-10, 2020 and I will definitely be there.

Also in Portland is Fat Fancy, a consignment store dedicated to plus sizes for both men and women. If you're looking for funky pieces, they got you! I saw a green sequin purse there that I still regret on buying. I also found many Torrid pieces there, as well as Chubby Cartwheels and other indie brands.

At Fat Fancy - I should have bought that purse!

Outside of Chicago in Rockford, IL is Secondhand Curves, which is one of my favorite places to shop. Low prices, great finds and extra large dressing rooms. They also have an annual event called Secondhand Curves Con every fall, which includes a fashion show and keynote speakers.

Me with Secondhand Curves owner Rachel Cadie

I have never been to Cake Plus Size Resale in Minneapolis but it's on my bucket list.

Then when I come back home, I love stopping by Plus BKLYN to see what I can find. They carry plus size vintage too, which is a definite plus. I'm still on the hunt for anything from Beth Ditto, especially her collection with Evans a decade ago. And I am confident I will find it at Plus BKLYN one day!

Lastly, I have been shopping and selling my clothing online via the Blogger House Curvy Closet. It makes me feel good to know I can help my other size 24+ sisters get access to clothing in their size on a budget. I am one of the few sellers that offers up to a size 32.

At BHCC, nothing is over $40 so you can rack up and not feel guilty. They have 2-3 sales weekly on Facebook and also an FB group where they hold flash sales and members sell items that may not have fit.

They also just introduced their +style boxes where you can get a box full of 3-5 items for one low flat price. All boxes have items per size so yes, there were style boxes for my size 26/28/30 ladies!

See, shopping consignment as a plus size woman over a size 24 is possible.

Next up on the blog this week, I will talk more on how I have been shopping at a higher price point while on a budget. It's all about investing in yourself and not just treating yourself. Those treats are for the immediate moment but investment is for a lifetime.

I believe in living in the NOW but I want to look good while doing so. A $5 Starbucks coffee a few times a week versus a dope moto jacket? I think I will take the jacket, thankyouverymuch!

Monday, December 2, 2019

Beauty Products for Women Over 40: My Favorites

"Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty." ~ Coco Chanel

Sometimes I look in the mirror and I have to remind myself that I am getting older.

I'm one year away from 50 and am still in disbelief. It's as if the years are flying by and I am trying to catch up. But I welcome the fine lines I am starting to see on my forehead and around my eyes. I know that comes from decades of smiling and lack of sleep from the kids in my life (which was worth it). 

But I'm not feeling that loose skin under my chin and my droopy eyelids. I am human, you know. <laughs>

While this face of mine is aging, I am learning to get used to everything that comes with that, including taking better care of my skin. I haven't been the best at that, I will admit.

I remember telling a makeup artist while I was on set one day for a Glamour Magazine video that I basically just splash some water on my face, put some shea butter or vaseline on my face and just go. I don't wear makeup often either. And when I do, it's often just some mascara, a little cover up and a brow touch up to fill in this small bald spot I have from over tweezing my right eyebrow.

She was horrified and thus began my mission to better skin care and also learning more about makeup. There are times I like to glam it up and I wanted to learn how to "beat" my own face (like the millennials call it). 

I have very dry skin and aside from the summer where I sweat so much that my skin stays moisturized (as seen above while in Puerto Rico this year), I tend to get a lot of flakiness, especially around my eyes, my chin and forehead. 

I also have freckles and very pale skin so I stay out of the sun as much as I can and try to use products for sensitive skin. I drink tons of water and don't smoke. I don't normally have acne or break out, which is a blessing. But that may change with me being pre-menopausal. Another blog post for another day. 

So many readers ask me what beauty products I use since I don't look my age and while I have yet to find the perfect moisturizer to combat the flakes, here's some of my favorite beauty products at the moment:

This was in my IPSY bag this month and so far, I love it. It moisturizes nicely, doesn't feel heavy and a little can go a long way. My skin doesn't stay moisturized by the end of the day, though. But I do think that has more to do with me washing my face better with a scrub. If you have any suggestions, please let me know! 

P.S. - Did you know that the co-founder and CEO of IT Cosmetics Jamie Kern Lima was a houseguest on the first season of Big Brother USA and the last female to finish (she made it to 4th place)? I'm an OG reality TV junkie so this is how I know these random things, lol.

This spray is one of my favorite things EVER. I'm actually obsessed with anything from Mario Badescu and ULTA always has his stuff on sale. When I am feeling AND looking tired, I just spray this over my face and it totally wakes up my skin. The glow up is so real after that. It's a great way to moisturize your skin at times when you need a little pick-me-up. And the bottle is small enough to toss in your purse and go.

My mom bought me a jar of this incredible stuff for my birthday and I am in love. I use this from head to toe and even use it on Baby, especially when she scratches herself or has a rash. I put it on her healing scars and it helps them go away quicker. My hands get so dry and this is like magic on them. I will admit it feels a tad heavy and greasy when I put it on my face so I mainly use this cream for my body and try to use something lighter on my face. 

This was also an IPSY find when it was put in my bag recently. I have been looking for a primer because I went for years not using one under my makeup since I had no idea what primer was. But then a stern look and "You need to use primer, Girl!" from fellow blogger/resident beauty expert Sandra of La Pecosa Preciosa had me shook to the point where I had to find me some primer. This one is lightweight, dries quickly and makes my skin look great. You can wear it alone as a moisturizer too. 

I've been using Philosophy products for years so this is an oldie but goodie. I use this to wash my face in the morning and love how it doesn't dry out my skin. Before this, I was a Noxzema girl so you already know this is a step-up for me! 

Honorable mentions:

And if you're like me and still trying to figure makeup and beauty products out, I strongly suggest joining IPSY. You get a personalized monthly bag with 5 products for $10 a month. And I have discovered so many new brands and tried new stuff just from IPSY. You can find out more and join here.

I'm all about shopping on a budget and there are always beauty sales to be found. 

So I want to hear from all of you... what are your favorite skin care products?

** This is NOT a sponsored post. :-)**

Saturday, November 16, 2019

My Adidas & Me: Why We Make a Good Team

"We make a good team, my Adidas and me

We get around together, rhyme forever

And we won't be mad when worn in bad weather" ~ My Adidas, Run DMC

Photographer: Daryl Johnson
If you have been following me for a while, you know I'm a big sneakerhead. 

And I am known for my love for Adidas.

To me, the sneaker world is so different than the plus size world. I'm a size 9, which in the shoe world, is considered a "normal" size. Much different than my experience in the plus size fashion world as a size 26/28. 

Photographer: Sandra Negron - La Pecosa Preciosa / Dress: Modcloth

Sneakers are that happy thing in my life where I don't feel excluded or unwanted as a customer. I walk into a sneaker store and I feel like I belong. No one judges me on my size and I can just shop like everyone else. 

But it's not just that. 

While it's great to feel "normal" for a change, sneakers are also a part of my DNA. They've allowed me to express myself even more. 

Want to know a secret? I used to just wear sneakers in my everyday world and never really included them in my fashion "work" world. I was made to feel like they didn't belong in that world because I used to spend a ton of time comparing myself to other people and trying to fit into their world.

Photographer: Jessica Milagros / Custom camo jeans: 2B Continued Denim Boutique

But then four years ago, I suffered a foot injury where the podiatrist dropped some major gems on me, when it came to foot care. One of those gems was how important it is to wear the right shoes. Sure, heels and flats are cute and stylish but in my case, they were making my feet worse. My arches had collapsed and I developed plantar fasciitis.

I had to wear a boot to bed every night for 2 months and I also had to wear a custom insole in my shoes. Doctor said sneakers are key and I needed to find those that fit well too.

I then decided to break all the fashion rules and incorporate sneakers into my fashion world. And guess what???? Years later, sneakers have now become fashionable where everyone now seems to be wearing them to fashion events too!

Photographer: Hal Harrison / Custom rosette dress: 2B Continued Denim Boutique

Me letting go of comparing myself to others and being true to myself and my style made me feel stronger, more fearless and free. That's what sneakers represent for me. I can be myself and my feet thank me for that.

I like to be creative and think outside the box when it comes to choosing which sneakers to wear in the fashion world. And Adidas is one of those brands that allows me to experiment with different looks. 

Photographer: Madeline Jones / Outfit: Fashion to Figure

So I feel I have come full circle in my life. It's powerful when you realize you can be truly you and wear what you want, once you decide to be fearless enough to be you. 

We already know it's a radical thing to exist in a fat body and be happy in a world that thinks we shouldn't be. 

But to wear what you want and be true to your style no matter what anyone else is doing or wearing? Man, that's a feeling that will make you feel incredible and happy no matter what your size.

Photographer: Madeline Jones / Top: Feminine Funk, Jeans: Lane Bryant

With that said, high-quality sneakers (and shoes!) are not cheap and are truly an investment piece. That's why every year, I wait for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the overall holiday shopping season to get my shop on for myself and the family.

Here's some of the sneakers I have my eye on this shopping season!

This will get me prepped for 2020 and I can't wait!!! Happy Shopping AND here's to being authentically you and wearing what you want. Life is short and I want to live to love another day, with my Adidas on.

FYI: This is not a sponsored post. I just love Adidas.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Are Jeans Really Satan's Pants? Lane Bryant Now Has Me Rethinking That...

I believe life's too short for compromises and bad fitting jeans ~ Lykke Li

As I have said so many times on this blog before, I have a love and hate relationship with jeans. It's to the point where I started calling them Satan's pants and even blurted that out in the opening of the first video I filmed for Glamour Magazine's Sizes 0 to 28 fashion series.

Since then, I have tried jeans from a myraid of brands and still haven't found a pair that I am truly in love with. I have come close and now I am starting to think that I may not find the perfect pair, unless I get them custom-made. 

(Shout out to Conchita E. Jamison and her custom denim business 2B Continued Denim Boutique!)

My issues are:

  • I have a smaller waist in proportion to my bust and hips, with a 17-inch difference between my waist and hips. So I almost always have to wear a belt to keep my jeans on and not have a gap in the back.
  • My calves measure 23" at the top part but then thin out towards the ankle. A pair of jeans may go over my ankle and bottom part of my calves but then be super tight in the upper area.
  • I have a long torso and short legs with my inseam being 28". So I am in between petites and regular lengths. For reference, I am 5'6".

So when I heard that Lane Bryant launched a special feature called the Flexband Magic Waistband, on ALL their jeans, I had to find out more and try these jeans out. 

The folks at Lane Bryant were kind enough to send me two pairs of jeans of my choice so here's what I chose and my fit experience:

These are not your normal jeggings! They have a three-button zip closure, which I love, because basic jeggings with an elastic waist never stay up on me and I can't wear a belt with them as they never have belt loops. 

These jeggings have belt loops but guess what? I didn't need to wear a belt!!!! They actually stayed up and there was no gap in the back.

I wore them ALL day to see if they would stay up and also not stretch out and they passed the test! I was so shocked. The waistband also didn't roll down at all. It stayed up!

These jeggings also fit well in the calves and the length was perfect. Check! Check! They're so soft and comfy with great stretch and recovery.

I paired the jeggings with one of my fave tees from Feminine Funk and for a pop of color, I wore my red Adidas Continental 80 sneakers, which I got on sale for $28 recently (they were marked down to $40 and I had an promo code to get extra off). Unfortunately, these red ones are sold out.

What's great about the Continental 80 line from Adidas is that they have so many colors and prints to choose from. I'm always about a pop of color or fun print when it comes my look, including sneakers.

These jeggings get two thumbs for me and I am going to see if they come in other washes and colors. I. MUST. HAVE. THEM. ALL.

I went in with high hopes with these jeans because not only did LB promise no gaps but these jeans have a comfy built-in slimming mesh that is supposed to offer tummy and waist control, smooth your thighs and boost your booty. 

I definitely felt the mesh panel doing its job and I loved how my lumpy thighs were smoothed out. But after wearing them all day, they started to fall. I could not go without a belt with these jeans. 

They were big in the hips and waist. By the end of the day, I was constantly pulling them up and they didn't feel as supportive as they did earlier in the day.

I do think I need to size down on these. I got the 28 but think a 26 may fare better for me. I'm going to head in-store to try the 26 and report back. 

Make sure you are following me on Instagram here and Facebook here to get that update.

The calves fit well and the length was great. With a belt, these jeans managed to stay up for a second day of wear a few days later. I love how they're stretchy and don't feel constrictive but still keep you supported. And the booty was looking good, I have to admit. 

I just need to size down.

I paired the jeans with an old top from Lane Bryant that is one of my favorites, and my Basket Crush Emboss Heart Sneakers in Pale Pink-Hibiscus from Puma

Pink is such a great neutral that really gives a nice pop of color to a look. These sneakers are currently on sale for $39.99 in sizes 5.5 to 11. 

I do like these jeans but they are not keepers for me like the jeggings are.

Next up, I plan to try these jeans, the Signature Fit Skinny Jean in Dark Wash With Destruction... I've heard great things about them.

I'm loving that Lane Bryant has added the Flexband Magic Waistband to all their jeans + they offer so many sihouettes now and tons of high-rise jeans. I am a high-rise jeans girl, all day, every day. I like that I have options to try to see what works for me. So kudos to Lane Bryant! 

Now if they can add a size 30/32 to their size range so even more women can try their jeans, I will rejoice to the heavens.

You can check out these jeans below

High Rise 3-Button Jegging in Black (wearing size 28 Regular)

Tri-Sculpt High Rise Skinny Jean in Dark Iris Wash (wearing size 28 Regular)

**This blog post was sponsored by Lane Bryant but all opinions and statements are my own. 

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