Month: October 2011

Halloween Link Love

Party pumpkin

I know many of us celebrated Halloween already this past weekend, but just the same here are some great Halloween-themed articles:

Have a safe, fun Halloween, everybody!

Curvy CEO’s Tenets of Travel


To wrap up this week of travel posts, I thought I would offer some basic tenets that I have adopted over my many years of business travel. So, with further delay, here are Curvy CEO's Tenets of Travel:

1. Keep a pre-packed travel kit ready to go. I *hate* packing. HATE IT. It's truly one of my least favorite activities...mostly because I'm always paranoid that I'll forget something...and usually I do. (Thank God I've never forgotten my undies. But I did forget pajamas once. I didn't have a roommate so all was well until I jumped up in the morning to answer the door for room service...thankfully I remembered to cover up before I opened the door!) As I mentioned previously, I always keep a set of toiletries (including my one-quart bag of 3 oz. liquids) as well as hair supplies and cosmetics pre-packed in a travel kit so this makes packing much easier. With all of the "little things" that I'm more likely forget (like toothpaste, lotion, etc.) conveniently packaged already, all I have to focus on is the actual clothes and accessories I'll need for the trip. (The Mary Kay Travel Roll-Up bag is great for this purpose - it can hold a lot of stuff! [pullquote]BONUS TIP: Keep a pre-packed travel kit for your electronic gadgets, too. Fill it with extra chargers and usb cables so you can power up once you arrive at your destination.[/pullquote]2. Make sure you have a change of clothes and other essentials in your carry-on bag. I once recall arriving to an airport and learning that the luggage of most passengers (myself included) got re-routed and would not be arriving until later. The elderly couple next to me began to panic and all but cussed out the airline agents. "My husband has diabetes and his medication is in that luggage!" the wife screamed. All I could think was, "Uh, if it was that important, why didn't you bring it with you on the plane?" Even though it was a pain to lug a larger bag onto the plane, I was thanking myself when I found myself checking into the hotel with only my carry-on bag. Luckily, I'd packed a change of clothes, extra undies, and some pjs. Even more lukcy, my luggage was delivered to my hotel only a few hours later, but if it hadn't I would've been okay for at least 24 hours. (To my plus-sized ladies who primarily shop at plus-size stores, carrying a change of clothes is particularly important as there may not be a plus-size shop at your destination.)

3. Be comfortable, but cute. I used to view travel as a throw-away fashion day. "No need to wear makeup or contacts," I'd say to myself, "and I can be bummy . . . I'm just traveling today." Then, inevitably, I'd run into Denzel "The Rock" Obama in the airport/train station/rest stop and be kicking myself for not pulling it together that day. So yeah. Lesson learned. Always make sure to be comfortable, but cute in transit.

4. Get your rewards! Not to get all Ryan Bingham on you, but get your frequent flier miles, guest rewards or whatever points you can for all of your travel. There's nothing like being able to get perks (like upgraded status or free trinkets) simply for doing your job, which, in this case, requires you to travel.

5. Try to enjoy it. Even though more and more airlines are offering internet access in the air, for the most part, your travel time is time when you can get away from the demands of the office and even your family and friends. Despite the presence of, well, several hundred strangers on your plane or train, it is basically some alone time . . . you can just sit quietly and think. Or read. Or sleep. Or whatever strikes your fancy. In this super-hectic world, this is time to be treasured.

Well, there you have it. Now you know what I think. I'm wondering, what are your favorite tips for travel?

Flying While Fat

"Excuse me . . . ."

Tight seats. Screaming babies. Long layovers. Baggage fees. Yep, airline travel can be a real drag. Once you add some extra rolls of flesh to the mix, you add even more fun to the experience. *eyeroll* For the last few years, there has been a rash of news stories about airlines - including Southwest, United, and now AirTran - requiring overweight customers extra to buy an extra seat on their planes. Even since airlines started adopting these policies, I approached check-in counters with the fear of God in my heart - and not just because I hate to fly. (Tyler Perry managed to bring this nightmare to life in this scene in his movie Why Did I Get Married.) Thankfully, I've never endured this in real life. I have, however, encountered situations where, try as I might, I just could not get the seatbelt across these hips of mine. I used to try and hide the seatbelt, so that the flight attendant would think that the buckle was under my sweater or jacket. [pullquote]Curvy CEO Travel Tip: Check when selecting airline seats. Even though most airline seats are the standard size, you can at least find out which ones have more leg room, are an in emergency exit row, don't allow you to recline, etc.[/pullquote] Until one day, when I saw an overweight woman, seemingly in her 50s, ring the flight atttendant and say graciously, "May I have a seatbelt extender?" Without batting an eye, the attendant went and fetched it, to which the woman smiled brightly and said, "Thank you," just as sweet as she could. Seeing that exchange - where the woman asked for the seatbelt extender as if it were a glass of water - and how much of a non-issue it was gave me the confidence to start doing the same.

I'm a few pounds lighter than I used to be, so I don't need the extender 90% of the time. And, generally, I think most people (regardless of body size) find airplane seats to be uncomfortable. Most of the time, I just look to the person next to me with a smile and a shrug, and that's enough to communicate, "Hey, we're stuck here for a bit. Let's both try to be comfortable." Usually, that gets the job done. Only true #$%&@ make it an issue.

What's your experience been like flying while fat? Have you ever encountered discriminating or rude behavior by an airline or other passengers? How did you address it?


Travelin’ Style: Luggage

I've never been one who could "pack light." I just can't do it. Because, inevitably, no matter how careful I try to be, I always forget something. So, as a result, I tend to overpack. To help prevent this, I do two things. First, I keep a "travel kit" ready to go. Basically, I have a set of hair supplies (rollers, flat iron, silk scarf, combs, etc.) cosmetics, toiletries, and my one-quart bag of liquids ready to go in pre-packed bags. So, when I go on a trip the only thing I need to really pack are my clothes and shoes for the trip. The second thing I do is always use my double-decker suitcases. Officially, it's called the Joy Mangano Clothes It All Dresser Duo. The entire set comes with materials that actually simulate dresser drawers and a garment bag. I never use those, but loves the set just the same. Basically it's two small suitcases that zip together. They have wheels so you're able to just glide through the airport carrying two bags as if it's only one. Also, the bags are small enough that you can use one of them as a carry-on, which is typically what I do . . . because no way do I want to be stuck in a strange location without my toiletries or my unmentionables. It's not a big deal. Just zip them apart, check one and keep the other one with you. If you decide to check them both, keep them zipped up and they'll only count as one bag! With baggage check fees being what they are, this is a huge deal. (Of course, you still might end up being charged more if the combined weight of the bags exceeds the weight limit. But, as I said, I'm no light packer and I've never had that problem.) In addition to all of the practical benefits, this luggage is really cute! I always get tons of compliments on it when I travel. Everyone from the person at the ticket counter to fellow travelers comment about how cool and convenient the bags look. The only downside is that the material the luggage is made out of isn't *quite* as sturdy as I'd like it to be. So you have to be a little bit delicate with it. But I fully plan on using these bags until the wheels fall off!

Link Love: Travel Edition

Electronic check-in in pink

More often than not, the life of a working woman includes business travel. I know that for my job, I travel about 25% of the time. This has made me pretty adept at navigating airports, train stations, car rental hubs, and hotels. (The movie Up in the Air hit so close to home, it's become one of my personal faves.)

In honor of the fact that I am embarking on a whirlwind travel schedule for the next several days, this week's posts will focus on business travel. To kick things off, I thought I'd show a little link love to my friend over at Travelinga Trips. This girl is a master traveler and offers some great tips and advice on:

And for everything else there's Travelinga's Top 25 Travel Tips. Does this girl know her stuff or what?In preparing to write this post, I searched for other lists of travel tips, but most of them were just too hokey. (Only once in life did I see a woman really implement those special "beauty tips" for airline travel . . . I recall her misting her skin and hair with some sort of mineral water. She looked ridiculous. I mean, is all that really necessary for a 50 minute flight to Atlanta?) But, I did manage to unearth a few good ones that I think you'll find useful: Enjoy!

Monday Morning Memo – It’s Nobody’s Job to Love You BUT You, Part 2

monday morning memo

"I had thought for so long that it was somehow noble to hate myself. As if fate would take kindly to me, and say, 'You adorable little scamp! Somebody will love you, because you just can't seem to!' Then, it was a matter of wanting people to love me, despite the fact that I could not love myself. . . . Self-hatred doesn't accomplish anything. It destroys everything it touches, comments upon, attacks, judges. No great dity is going to come to you, in those great moments of self-loathing, and rub the dirt from your rosy hobo cheecks and say 'Chin up! It's not so bad!' I think that was what I was always hoping for, that God would try to prove me wrong; if I hurt myself enough, God would try to stop it. As ridiculous as that sounds, I find that even now after admitting it, it is very hard to let go of that notion. But I will if you will. Let's not hate ourselves. We are all we have." - Margaret Cho, I'm the One That I Want

I first read this quote years ago when I was at a really low point in my life . . . mostly because of issues relating to body image and self-esteem. But this hit me like a ton of bricks. No one is going to come and rescue you from your pity party. So, stick a pin in those black balloons, turn on the lights and live outloud. It's nobody's job to love you, but you. So get on your job, ladies! 

Have a great week!

Event Alert: Jana Kos Trunk Show & Clothing Drive (Alexandria, VA)


Just a quick drive-by post for my DC area peeps to let you know about the Jana Kos Trunk Show & Clothing Drive happening this Wednesday, October 26 from 6-8pm at RAND Construction, 1029 N. Royal Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Although I am not familiar with the brand, apparently Jana Kos is a line that goes from sizes 0-16 and can only be purchased via a local vendor. (Hmmm . . . kind of like Avon for clothes - this is not a diss, by the way. I love me some Avon.) According to the vendor, the sizes run large so a normal size 18 gal may be able to find some pieces as well! In addition to the trunk show, guests are also asked to bring clothing and accessories to donate to one of my favorite charities, Dress for Success. Unique apparel AND charitable giving? What's not to love?

Be sure to RSVP to Catherine at (703) 344-1918.

Flirtin’ for the Weekend

disco ball

 While I have a ton of business clothes, I don't have many things that are suitable to wear while out trolling for men hanging with friends at a night spot. So, I recently hit up the mall to try and find something flirty for some weekend galavanting with my girls. I was all set to head to my usual mall haunts (Ashley Stewart, Lane Bryant, etc.) when I spotted a sign that said Deb PLUS. (For those of you who aren't familiar with it, Deb is basically Claire's with clothes.) Until that moment, I had no idea that Deb sold plus-size apparel. I decided to brave the tweens and check it out. Once inside the store, I was delighted to find racks and racks of trendy, funky, affordable clothes that would be perfect for my evening adventures. (Most tops were in the $25 range. And, while the material wasn't the highest quality, it doesn't need to be since the point is to get something that you would probably only wear for one season anyway.)  Here is just a sampling of what you might want to try to rock on the weekend:

Flirtin' for the Weekend (Deb PLUS)

Peacock feather ring $8.99 -

plus ruffled satin halter $23 -

"fabulous" cold shoulder tee $2 -

"love" tunic tee $23 -

junior plus zigzag sequin tank $23 -

seamless leggings $9.99 -

striped cold-shoulder tee $2 -


(Yes, some of these are only TWO DOLLARS - apparently Deb is having a BOGO clearance sale. By the way, I *love* the "cold shoulder"/cut-out sleeve trend . . . a great way for curvy ladies who are self-concious about their arms to still show some skin.)

Now, given that Deb is a store for "juniors" you will likely have to buy sizes larger than what you would ordinarily wear in a regular plus-size department. Just the same, it's totally worth it to be able to wear some of the cuter fashion pieces that are on trend.

Where are some of your favorite places to snag flirty pieces to wear out on the weekends?

Evolution of Curves Hits DC!

Majestic Couture Collection by Sandy JeanPhillippe/One Chance Entertainment
Majestic Couture Collection by Sandy JeanPhillippe/One Chance Entertainment

Last Saturday, the Evolution of Curves tour hit DC and these ladies shut it down!!! The fashions were amazing and the models were fierce!

 Let me say just a few words about Ms. JeanPhillippe. [caption id="attachment_964" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Sandy JeanPhillippe and her mother."][/caption]
Besides being an innovator and creative artist, you can tell that Sandy has a tremendous heart for service and passion for people. At the event she spoke about her desire to fuse fashion with philanthropy to help rebuild Haiti, which is still suffering from the devastating earthquake of 2010. "I may not have money like Beyonce or Oprah," she proclaimed, "but I can do something!" I left the evening overwhelmed and inspired.
"I may not have money like Beyonce or Oprah,but I can do something!" - Sandy JeanPhillippe
Here are more pics from the event.
                         Featured make-up at the event - eco-friendly Lamik Beauty. I picked up some eyeshadow - can't wait to try it! The next tour stop is Miami - ladies, get your tickets now!!!