Month: October 2012

My Take on Curated Casual

Hope everyone is doing well in the aftermath of Hurricane/Superstorm/Frankenstorm Sandy. While "sheltering in place" I spent a lot of time reflecting on my experience at Power Up Weekend. In particular, I thought a lot about the words of Monica Barnett of Blueprint for Style. Throughout the conference, she emphasized that "weekends are NO excuse" and that it's important to develop a "curated casual" style. Curated casual. What a phrase! It makes me think of a museum conservator, lovingly placing some historical treasure in a glass encasement with the greatest of care. Isn't that a marvelous image? Who wouldn't want to dress themselves like a priceless bauble? Now, you know from my tenets of style that I firmly believe in the importance of always being comfortable, but cute. (Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that a few weeks back I had a momentarily lapse of judgment and paid for it dearly. Went to the movies in sweats - after all it was "just the movies" and I was "just going with the girls." Why, then, did it turn out that one of the male leads in the film - who is EXTRA foine, by the way - happened to be at the screening and I had to walk right past him to get to my seat? *palm to forehead* Lesson learned!) So yes, I fully agree that you shouldn't stop the clock on your style game on your days off. However, I would not be honest if i didn't admit that I do struggle at times with my weekend/casual looks. Part of this comes from the fact that I have tons of businesswear (suits, blazers, slacks, sensible shoes, tasteful jewelry, etc.), but not as much casual wear. So, I spent some time while cooped up in my apartment thinking about how I can remix my wardrobe to create my own "curated casual" looks. Take a peek at what I came up with:
curated casual - cardigan
Curated Casual - Sweater Dress
curated casual - faux fur sweater
(Full disclosure - I am breaking at least two of Monica's rules in my examples above. She recommends straight leg as opposed to boot cut pants. Also, she recommends against extra long shirts and sweaters as a means to cover your donk. But hey, what can I say - rules are make to be broken, right? :)) This was actually a great exercise. It showed me that this is not nearly as difficult as I thought. If nothing else, I can re-purpose the many cardigan sweaters I wear to the office in place of a suit jacket for a little weekend whimsy. What about you, dear readers? What are some of your favorite pieces to wear for a "curated casual" look?

Monday Morning Memo – You Can’t Buy Self-Esteem

monday morning memo"What we lack in self-esteem we more than make up for at the local boutique." - Sarah Ban Breathnach Recently, I finished reading Peace and Plenty: Finding Your Path to Financial Serenity by Sarah Ban Breathnach. While it's intended to be a book about how to achieve peace despite financial peril, it's actually more of a memoir about her own experience gaining - and then losing! - millions of dollars after her ex-husband spent all of the money she earned as a best-selling author. It's also something of an inquiry into women's attitudes about money and shopping over time, as Ban Breathnach draws from decades old issues of magazines like Ladies Home Journal as primary sources to support her arguments. I read this book because, in the midst of re-ordering my own financial priorities, I found myself feeling overwhelmed by where I am and where I hope to be. In taking a hard look at how I spend my money, it forced me to ask the tough questions: Why do I shop so much? What am I really looking for? As I've discussed before, part of the reason I am so meticulous in my appearance is to overcome preconceived notions about fat, black women. (Because we all know that everything that is wrong in the world is the fault of fat, black women.) But, I cannot allow my quest to defy stereotypes to allow me to trade my financial security for compliments and attention from people I don't know or like...and you shouldn't either. Don't get me wrong. I love to shop. And I'm going to keep shopping. But I do think it is a worthwhile exercise for ALL of us to stop and think about the why of our shopping. Because, at the end of the day, "food and shoes [can't] cure your appetite." Have a great week, ladies!

Don’t Pull a Miranda Priestly…

Hey Everyone - Well, if you're on the East Coast like me, you are probably hunkering down getting ready for Hurricane Sandy. Please be careful and don't pull a Miranda Priestly... [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Retrieved from[/caption] STAY SAFE!! xoxo, Curvy CEO

Grand Opening – Chic and Curvy Boutique!

chic and curvy boutique grand openingExciting news! Melissa of Chic and Curvy - THE BLOG (who is sponsoring the prize for our first ever Curvy CEO Reader Survey) is getting ready to unveil Chic and Curvy - THE BOUTIQUE! The grand opening is happening this weekend in Inglewood, California! Here are the details: Now, just in case you don't live in California, you can also shop the boutique online! Congrats Melissa!!!!

Curvy CEO Reader Survey

chic and curvy navy gold necklaceHey Everyone! I'm very excited to offer my first ever reader survey! I'm really interested in knowing more about what YOU like most about Curvy CEO, what you'd like to see more (or less) of and also gauge your interest in some future events I am cooking up! The survey will only take 10 minutes of your time, but as an extra incentive, Melissa of Chic and Curvy has graciously agreed to raffle off the gorgeous necklace below: [caption id="attachment_5175" align="aligncenter" width="278"] Here is Melissa modeling a black and gold version of this dress at a recent event. Pretty![/caption] The survey will be open until 5:00 pm on November 1. The winner will be announced on shortly thereafter. PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW TO CONFIRM YOUR ENTRY after taking the survey below!

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Thanks so much!!!

A Powerful Weekend

power up weekend 2012 This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending the inaugural Power Up Weekend, hosted by Uneeka Jay of Powermommy Nation, which helps working mothers to be the "CEOs" of their families and households. You might recall that I was a guest on their Powerful U radio show a few months back. This weekend, I had the opportunity to share and learn with women (and a few men) from all over the country at Power Up Weekend -- and powerful it was! Now, if you couldn't already tell from my Monday Morning Memos and my mild obsession with Oprah, I have always been into self-help, postive thoughts and affirmations, etc. Over the years, I've read and heard about a ton of theories about why we do the things we do and how we can go about producing positive changes in our lives. That's why I found Power Up Weekend to be SO very powerful. The dynamic roster of speakers cracked me wide open with the truths they shared. Even if it was something that I had heard before or already knew and believed, they presented it in such a way that it hit me as if I was hearing it for the first time. While much of this will be familiar to those of you who follow me on Twitter, I felt that it was only appropriate to share some of my top takeaways from Power Up Weekend. ON OWNING YOUR POWER AS A WOMAN: "Women especially must introduce themselves with their first and last names." - Helen Jonsen, formerly with Forbes and Working Mother magazines and now with Howdini. (Think about that for a minute. If you are in the office and say, "This is Richard Jackson and this is Shirley," no matter what her title, you just demoted Shirley.) ON WORK/LIFE "BALANCE": "It's not about balance; it's about choices and decisions. [Therefore, you must] make choices that support the life you want to live." - Cheryl Pullins of (Sidebar: Why did this instantly make me think of Jill Scott's "Le BOOM Vent Suite" *lol*) ON GETTING WHAT YOU WANT OUT OF LIFE:
  • "Whatever you allow and tolerate is license for others to do the same." - Cheryl Pullins
  • "If you don't like the terms of your life, re-negotiate!" and "If you don't give yourself credit for what you've accomplished, it's harder to accomplish the next thing." - Shun Strickland
ON FASHION AND STYLE: "Think of your body as real estate. Fifty percent of what yu wear is a Jedi mind-trick... you get to tell people where to look!" and "Weekend doesn't mean frumpy! 'Just' - as in, 'I'm just going to the grocery store - is an excuse. Instead go for a curated casual look." - Monica Barnett of Blueprint for Style And this doesn't even include content from the sessions I missed! (I'm particularly thinking of the vision boarding session with Dr. Nicole Cutts of the Vision Quest Chronicles.) In addition to gaining all this knowledge, it was amazing to reconnect with Chanea Davis of BellaNOR Boutique (which I reviewed here); put faces to the Twitter handles of Ange Anglade, Monica Barnett, and Justice Fergie (who reaffirmed my reasons for blogging in her "Blogging for Balance" workshop); and make the acquaintance of Simply Z (who has her own event planning business), Aleea Slappy (who has her own greeting card company), Vanessa (founder of The Girlfriend Group), Tevyka (aka Miss Pretty as a Peacock), and TravelJonez, whose "WOW" factor is that there's "nothing a tube of red lipstick can't fix!" So, there you have it. My Power Up Weekend. Simply fabulous!

Incorporating Trends into Your Business Attire

Recently, I got into an interesting conversation on Twitter about whether it is appropriate to wear lace stockings to the office. I know that it is a big trend right now, but I just can't get into it . . . at least not for an office environment. (Perhaps if you work in the entertainment, fashion, or music industry you can get away with it. But otherwise, IMHO, the answer is no.) This whole conversation got me thinking, "How can you incorporate trends into your business wardrobe?" Even though I'm not necessarily excited about all of the fashion trends for Fall 2012, I would be lying if I didn't admit that quite a few of them lend themselves to a corporate environment. Reflecting on the trends, as well as the need to maintain a polished image in the workplace, I've come up with these three steps for incorporating trendy apparel into your business attire: [pullquote]BONUS TIP: Don't forget about your hair and makeup! Several of the hottest hair and beauty trends for Fall 2012 would work perfectly well in the workplace. The perfect ponytail and top knot are two of my faves for hair. In terms of makeup, I am loving the red and berry stained lips as well as the winged liner trend. [/pullquote] 1. Start with a basic suit. You want the "bones" of your look to be straightforward - a well-fitted jacket and complimentary trousers or skirt in basic colors. No funky hues or supertrendy cuts. (NOTE: This not to say that you can't wear, say, a tangerine blazer or patterened peplum skirt to the office. You just want to be wary of trying to do much at one time. If you opt for a more daring component in your basics, be sure to play it a little more conservative with the rest of your look. You don't want to be known as "that lady who thinks the conference room is a runway.") 2. Add some statement jewelry. Now you all know that I love my statement jewelry. In particular, the collar necklace trend really lends itself to a corporate look. (Stylish Curves recently published a great post on the collar necklace trend.) Other options might be a bracelet watch, brooch, or other statement jewelry piece. 3. Punch it up with colorful shoes, handbags, etc. This is where you can really go trendy as you polish up your look with shoes, handbags, or other accessories that draw upon the hottest colors of the season - oxblood red, kelly green, cobalt blue, etc. You can also take your cues from the trends in terms of what types of bags and shoes to rock. For instance, oversized handbags are very big right now, as are metal cap toe shoes. These are just two examples. Here's a little visual key for pulling everything together:
How to Incorporate Trends into Your Business Wardrobe
Taken together, these tips translate into a coy, understated way of communicating to your colleagues, "Yeah, I'm on my corporate grind. But I know how to be trendy, too!" What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you like to rock trends in the office? Are there any trends that you think are particularly inappropriate for the workplace? Share in the comments section!

Every Curvy Girl Needs…a Chic Trench Coat!

Yep. That's me. In the bathroom of my office building. *lol*So, as you know, I'm pretty much into all things Oprah. Based off of her (well, Lloyd Benson's) recommendation, I recently acquired some leopard print flats. (Which, by the way, I've been sporting all over the place this fall.) With the cooler temperatures, I've finally mustered up the courage to rock the one must-have item that I've craved forever, but didn't think I had quite enough spunk to pull off: the trench coat. Well, that's not entirely true. I've tried to don a trench coat in the past, but I just never found the right one . . . I know now that I made the mistake of going for ones that were too boxy and bland. Nothing says "schulmpadinka" like a rumbled, wheat-colored, double-breasted, beltless trench. I swear, I looked like I was off to go solve some crimes for Scotland Yard. Not cute. At all. [pullquote]For more tips for keeping cute in the cooler weather, check out my post, Cold Weather is No Excuse![/pullquote] So, last winter, when Curvy CEO affiliate IGIGI was having its end of season clearance sale, I scooped up their Rainy Day Navy trench . . . and promptly stuffed it into the back of my closet. (What can I say? It was winter and freezing.) For some reason, I let the spring pass by without wearing it once. (I think I was too chicken given my previous trench-related wardrobe malfunctions.) But now that fall is upon us, I decided to finally give it a go. And the results were absolutely smashing. Don't believe me? See for yourself! [caption id="attachment_5103" align="aligncenter" width="768"] Yep. That's me. In the bathroom of my office building. *lol*[/caption] I am telling you, walking strutting down the street in this little number, I felt like an absolute BOSS! I mean, my whole demeanor was different. I almost didn't want to take it off once I got to work - that's how awesome I felt/looked. So, it's official - I am a trench girl . . . all the way! What about you? Are you a trench girl? If not, here are some great options at various price points to get you started.

Every Curvy Girl Needs...A Chic Trench!

Now, you will notice that I didn't include the coat I'm wearing in the above picture. Unfortunately, IGIGI no longer sells this particular item. However, they do have a ton of other great coats for sale. One thing I love about IGIGI's coats is that they're designed to really flatter your silhouette - they're almost more like dresses. If you decide to make a purchase, you can actually get 15% off if you sign up for their newsletter...just click the box below!

284001_Take 15%OFF IGIGI by Yuliya Raquel plus-size designs!

Three Beauty Tools You Probably Don’t Use…But Should!

Before...Even though fashion is my passion, anyone who knows me knows that I loooove me some makeup! I have since I was a little girl. And I absolutely love discovering new beauty products. That's why I stalk beauty blogs like Painted Ladies, Scandalous Beauty, and Temptalia. But my affection is not reserved solely for lipsticks and blushes . . . I also love discovering new beauty tools to help me achieve polished beauty looks. There are three products, in particular, that I use daily and consider them pretty essential. Yet, I don't hear much about them. So, without further delay, allow me to present . . .


1. Almay Makeup Eraser Sticks. These things are quite AMAZING! Accidentally get some mascara on your lid? Drew that lip liner a little too high? Whip out one of these bad boys and clean it right up! Super easy, super fast! Check out the demo video below:

This definitely beats having to grab a cotton ball, douse it in makeup remover, and try to fix your mistake without ruining the rest of your look. I always keep a stash of these in my bathroom. 2. Mally Poreless Face Defender. You've completed your look. You want to set your face. So you reach for translucent powder, right? WRONG! Celebrity makeup artist Mally Roncal has created this AWESOME product that basically replaces translucent powder - it's weightless, colorless, and your makeup will not move! Nobody does a better job of advertising this product than Mally herself . . . .

Oh and don't worry that you have to use a special applicator. Any sponge would do. 3. Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets. As I have combination skin, I find that no matter how much mattifier I put on, halfway through the day, my forehead and chin have enough oil to fry up a 10 piece meal from KFC. So, I keep these bad boys on hand at ALL times. In order to demonstrate the awesomeness of these oil blotter sheets, I decided to shame myself and give you the before and after. [gallery] As you can see, I clearly have the need to keep these in my purse 24/7. This is especially helpful when I have one of those looooong days that keep me out until 10 or 11pm. (Curvy CEO Tip: If you're really in a pinch, you can run to the ladies' room and grab a toilet seat cover - no lie! - and it will grab at least some of the oil. But, uh, try to cop some privacy before using one of those on your face. *lol*) Well, there you have it - my essential beauty tools. What beauty tools can YOU not live without?