Wednesday, January 28, 2015

7 Dresses for Valentine's Day

Here's a quick little roundup of some cute dresses that can help you find a look for  Valentine's Day.  With this roundup, I wanted to do something a little different. I get a lot of questions on body type recommendations.  So I'll list the body type below and then list the dress number beside it that I would recommend for that body type. Please note that I do truly believe that you should wear whatever you feel good in and that maybe something that might not be line with your body type, but I do want to put the information here for those that want it. 

Apple  2, 4, 5, 6, 7 | Rectangle:  2, 3, 4, 6, 7 | Inverted Triangle 2, 5, 6, 7 | Hourglass 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 | Pear 1, 2, 3, 6

Monday, January 26, 2015

#AVAandVIV Launch

Ava & Viv, Target Plus Size clothing,
The launch of the #AVAandVIV line from Target was kicked off with a swanky party in the penthouse of the Standard East Village hotel co-hosted by myself, Gabifresh, & Nicolette Mason.  The room itself had the most beautiful panoramic views of NYC. The guest list included some of your favorites like, Maddy from Plus Model Magazine, Denise Bidot, Nadia Aboulhosn, Alissa from Stylish Curves, CeCe from Plus Size Princess, Sarah from Curvily, along with media from Fashionista, Yahoo, and Refinery29.  I even got my mom to come from Georgia and hang out for the evening. Hi mom! 

At the event you were able to physically look at #AVAandVIV on display racks. see it on mannequins, and gorgeous models. It really gave you a feel for the style of the clothing, which casual, cute, but still put together.  Everyday casual is always a challenge to me and I know I've gotten a lot of requests for more everyday kind of looks, so I think #AVAandVIV does a good job of answering that.  I, myself, have only tried on a few items, so I look forward to trying on some more. There's a fun video below that totally captures the event, the clothes, and the fun. 

FYI: There been a few questions about launch date.  I just want to clarify that officially the #AVAandVIV launches online Feb 22, BUT will be a rolling launch for the in-store arrival from now through March.  Pieces have already started showing up in-store.  I actually went to my local Target about 5 days ago and saw a couple things in store, so definitely cruise by the plus size section to see what has arrived. Also, here's a random tidbit, so at the party I found out about Target's cartwheel app that yields all types of coupons, it's easy to use while shopping in store, and eliminates the physical couponing.    My mom was getting the scoup from the Target team.  She does not play about her coupons. HA! 
Ava & Viv, Target Plus Size clothing,

Ava & Viv, Target Plus Size clothing,

Ava & Viv, Target Plus Size clothing,
Models on fleek! (Please excuse my overuse of that word LOL)

Ava & Viv, Target Plus Size clothing,
Alissa from Stylish Curves & Nicolette Mason

(left) My favorite look of the evening.  She looks so kick ass (right) Model in denim on denim look.  This was one of my looks in the lookbook

Super cute video of the #AVAandVIV launch party from Plus Size Princess. Had to include! 

This post was sponsored by Target, all opinions are by own.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Target Headquarters Visit

Target AVA & VIV, Plus Size Clothing

I know a lot of you have been wondering what I've been up to at Target. There has been a lot of speculation and I finally have the green light to spill the details. Last month Nicolette Mason, Gabifresh, and I (each on separate days) were invited to the Target headquarters for a couple of things.  The first was to learn about Target culture & operations and the second was to view a new plus size clothing line, called AVA & VIV, that Target has coming out in the spring.  The face to face meeting at Target provided a great opportunity to talk about some of the popular concerns of my readers.  I talk to you guys everyday, so I definitely wanted to give them feedback on your most popular concerns in the hope that the feedback can be taken into consideration for the future of the line.  I generally do a top 10 - 20 list of concerns that I have ready to share.

The first few hours of my day at Target were spent with the designers and social/pr people, asking me questions, and seeking the feedback of myself and my readers.  Let's just say it was a drilling session that I was happy to have. Sometimes I feel like a walking database and it was nice to release that information. It was at this morning meeting where I found out that Target's new clothing line, AVA & VIV would be carried in store and the line would be carried up to a 4X.  Target said a lot of their customers called and left feedback when the 4X was taken out of store, so they were bringing them back because of it.  I had that on the top 10 list of concerns from you, so it was good to see the feedback I received from social media comments were consistent.  Also, being a size 26 on the bottom myself, I was happy to see the 4xs return.   

The second part of the day was spent with the designers, touring their space, and getting a physical introduction to AVA & VIV, which has it's own dedicated design team. During that time I viewed the part of the collection that was ready.  I would view more pieces in the following weeks. Although the spring line was already completed, I was still able to give feedback  with hopes that it would be considered for the fall pieces as the line progresses.  The feedback was well received. I'm very up-front when people ask me to give my feedback. I triple check to make sure they really want it first. LOL.  I actually learned from them how to better take criticisms and turn them into valuable feedback that you can use to better yourself.  It was an unexpected takeaway from the experience. 

My overall take on AVA & VIV is that it's a chic, versatile line with both basics and trendy pieces that fill the void of the affordable/trendy, non junior size clothing.  The collection is nearly 90 pieces that will include tops, pants, dresses, swimwear and outerwear at prices ranging from $10 - $79.99.  The roll out of this collection has started and will continue through March.  The online launch will be February 22. Gabi, Nicolette, and myself were all invited to be a part of the lookbook, which I can't wait to see. I really got to see everything come alive, try on the clothes, and get a better feel for the line.  Those photos are coming later this week.  The combination of the in-store roll out of AVA & VIV, 4X's being brought back, and the extension of Lilly Pulitzer all feel like a big step in the right direction for Target's plus fashion. 

Target AVA & VIV, Plus Size Clothing
On my tour, there was an area that was like a preview section for the upcoming season for all the department.  I loved what they had coming up for home goods and the accessories section.  I love the idea of affordable totes that have a similar feel to the pricier designer ones. 

Target AVA & VIV, Plus Size Clothing
Getting a first glance of AVA & VIV with some of it's designers. My favorites from the collection have to be the pants. 

Target AVA & VIV, Plus Size Clothing
(left) I was awe of this room. It was like mission control for social media. It's crazy how social media has changed the way of business. (right) The artists behind the gift cards are phenomenal. 

Target AVA & VIV, Plus Size Clothing
(left) A jacket from the collection I got to try on. I loved the lines and the details of how the lines were pieced together.  (right) Some super cute chambray pieces from AVA & VIV

This post was sponsored by Target, all opinions are my own. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Finding the Best Jeans for You

Plus Size Jeans
Jean 1: JustMySize | Jean 2: Torrid | Jean 3: Not Your Daughters Jeans

Jeans are a P-A-I-N in the butt to find.  I avoided them for years, but in the last year or so I've found several pair of jeans that dare I say, "I love to wear." I thought I would share some of my favorites jeans while giving you some tips on how to find your own.  A little bit about my body type is that I am a extreme pear shape.  My waist is 39 inches, my hips are 62 inches. I wear a size 24/26 in jeans.  I'm 5'9 with a long torso and average length legs. My biggest fit issues are finding jeans fit my very large thighs and jeans that will fit my waist as well. 

JustMySize - The advantages to these jeans are:  Budget-Friendly, Pear-Shape/Hourglass friendly (No Gap Technology for a better waist fit), The Cons are: They are basic. You're not going to get fashion forward designs or style.  
Torrid - Advantages:  They fit a variety of body types. (I have a lot of blogger friends that love them that have a different body type than myself) They are fashion forward and stylish. They have a good amount of stretch and are comfortable. I've had a couple pairs for a couple years, so they are pretty durable. The Cons are they are pricier.  
Not Your Daughter Jeans:  They have a natural high waist design. You don't have to worry about sitting down and they come down.  There is a nice amount of stretch.  Cons:  The most expensive out of the 3.  They are over $100 per pair, however, you can find them at Nordstrom Rack for a fraction of the price. 
Ashley Stewart (not pictured, honorable mention) - I wanted to mention Ashley Stewart, because I like their jeans.   They are budget friendly (usually under $50) and work well for an hourglass and pear shape.  They can be a hit or miss with the style of the jeans.  For me, sometimes they are a little too trendy and while they maybe in style for the year, the next year they may look outdated. 

Your other body types (rectangle/apple/inverted triangle) out there might be wondering where should you start looking of denim.  Through my own experience with trying different denim I like to clock in my brain jeans that I think would work for other body types.  Here are a few brands to help you get started looking:

Tips for finding Jeans

Be patient - It can take a while to find a pair of jeans that work for you. Know that non-plus have a hard time too.  I have two friends that go through a lot to find jeans. 
In store:  If at all possible, find in-store locations to find jeans. Once you find your favorites, then you can order online.
Different washes could mean a different fit: The wash (the color) could affect how much the jeans stretches. They could be the exact same jeans, but fit different.  It's happened to me before.
Trial & Error - I found the jeans that worked for me through trial and error. I wish I could say, "Yes these jeans will work for you," but that's just not true.
Find your brands - I've found that certain brands work best for certain body types. I'm not saying that all body types can't try all brands, but from my experience, brands tend to work either work for curvier or straighter body types.  I feel like it may be dependent upon the fit model that they use. 
Tailoring takes a good fitting jean to a perfect fitting jean: I've come across a few good fitting jeans, but never perfect. If you want perfect, then you'll have to tailor. 

Finding jeans isn't an exact science, but I hope I helped to give you some places to look and some tips that will help you while you are looking.  Because I only represent my body type, I would love if some of you girls that have found jeans that work well for your body would share the brand below along with your height, jean size, and body type.  It may help the next girl find a cute pair of jeans. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

#PSPFit & My Healthy Curves Update

With it being January, this is perfect timing to give you an update on my own healthy curves journey.  I've been getting tons of questions about what I'm doing. So most of you know I had been on "the frozen meal plan". I probably was on the program about 6 months or so.  It gave me a good jumpstart in getting some weight off that I needed to lose in order to help get my hormones under better control, but I knew I still could do better.  Frozen meals are processed, so I knew there was still big piece in my own diet that I was missing. Then I thought about #PSPfit.  So about 2 months ago, I gave CeCe from PlusSizePrincess a ring. I'm like, "okay CeCe, I know I need to incorporate more fresh foods, more vegetables, whole grains, etc and I know you have all of that in your program." I basically bombarded her. I tend to do this. HA!   

#PSPFit includes nutrition and fitness videos to help you reach your health goals. It promotes health at every size.  I can't rave more about her Kale smoothies. They give me so much energy and have so many health benefits. Kale, for me, took a little getting used to, but now I'm addicted.  They also help so much with my inflammation issues while flying, among other things. I fly a lot, so it makes me much more aware of my body and how it feels. #PSPfit has helped me feel so much better during travel in addition to my day to day.   

Here's a little about CeCe herself & more info on PSPFit: 

#PSPfit is a Healthy Curves challenge that makes professional nutrition and fitness coaching affordable for any woman who wants it with 30 day challenges for Healthy Curves at Every Size.

Last year CeCe from shifted her focus from “ get skinny” to “get healthy”. She hit the gym, started working with a nutrition coach and quickly saw changes in her body. Her PCOS symptoms became more manageable, her acne disappeared, her eczema flare ups went away, her period became regular, her hair and nails started growing faster and to top it off, she lost 55 pounds. After seeing the power of nutrition coaching and clean eating, CeCe created #PSPfit for her blog readers.

Members of #PSPfit are given weekly plus size workout videos, delicious recipes and meal plans created by our nutrition coach and weekly community engagement online and via phone. Joining #PSPfit means taking the challenge to work out and eat right because you love your body, not because you hate it. #PSPfit has members all over the United States and in countries around the world. For more information and to join, visit www.PSPfit.comRegistration for the January challenge ends on 1/15/15. Questions?

What We Get:

  • Four Weeks of professional nutrition coaching
  • Four weeks of fitness training
  • “What is Clean Eating?” Guidebook
  • Daily inspirational emails
  • Weekly phone calls with CeCe & Abra Pappa, Nutritious America
  • PCOS Support
  • Private Workout Videos (Cardio + Total Body Toning)
  • Weekly Recipes
  • Weekly Meal Plans
  • Private Facebook Group Access (Daily Inspiration, Support and Accountability)

CeCe is my bosom buddy, so I'm super proud of her, but I know she is helping so many people. Heck, she's helped me. She literally lives and breathes this program. I've seen it. She never lets anyone (not even me) deter her from her gym time. She is so passionate about this program and helping people.  (Had to put that mother hen tidbit in there LOL)

Post sponsored by #PSPfit, all opinions and love for kale are my own. 
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