Month: February 2015

Monday Morning Memo – Some Hard Truth from Mama Oprah

weekly words of inspiration"We can't become what we need to be by remaining who we are." - Oprah Winfrey

In case you cannot tell by the lack of posts, there is A LOT going on in my "real life" right now. Tons. Too much in fact. For years, I've had family members, friends, and even licensed professionals tell me that I was doing too much. But recently, for the first time, I involuntarily thought to myself as I crashed onto the couch after another 16 hour day, "This can't continue."

I'm not sure where the change will come or how, but it will have to come. Because it's the things that I enjoy the most (blogging, reading, connecting with family and friends) and that are the most beneficial for me (going to yoga, eating healthy meals, getting rest) that end up on the cutting-room-floor of the movie of my life. And this is no longer acceptable to me....But it's not just about "work"...it's also about changing up my environment. Who and what I allow into my airspace. While I refuse to be one of those people who "announces" it, a Facebook purge (or at least an adjustment of settings) might be underway very soon.

What are some changes you are considering in order to become the person you "need to be" in the future?

An Open Letter to Brene Brown

Y'all know I love me some Brene Brown. (Don't know who she is? Do yourself a favor and click here!) Well, over the Valentine's Day holiday I really got to thinking. All of a sudden I found myself writing her a LONG letter...so long that it totally did not fit within the character limit on the comment form on her website. So, what's a blogger to do? Yep, you guessed it - publish it online! Who knows if Dr. Brown will ever respond. But in the meantime, I would lurve to hear your thoughts on the issues of dating, authenticity, and vulnerability.

Dear Dr. Brown:

It feels strange to call you "Dr. Brown" because as I've stated in my blog you are, what talk show hostess Wendy Williams would call, a "Friend in My Head." Because I have read all of your books, listened to your lectures and talks, watched your interviews on the OWN Network and so on, I feel very much like you are someone that I know personally. Please rest assured that this is due moreso to the very personal nature in which you address your audience as opposed to any delusions on my part.

The reason that I write to you now is because - just as Princess Leia said to Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars - you really are "my only hope." (Alas, I am not doing much to dissuade you of my delusions am I? *sigh*)

In your work, you discuss the importance of connecting with others. You often relate how your husband Steve helps you in combating irrational fears so that you and your family can live both authentically and wholeheartedly. While having a marital/life partner doesn't seem to be essential to achieving either of these ends, it certainly does seem to be a large factor.

And now we get to the substance of my letter.

Love Clown

I don't know if you have observed this in your work, but as a single, thirty-something who desires marriage I feel like I am part of a generational culture that really discourages both authenticity and wholehearted living, particularly in dating. We are surrounded by dating shows - from "The Bachelor" to "Millionaire Matchmaker" - where single women (and, to be fair, single men) are instructed to assemble the best versions of their exterior selves in order to audition for the chance at true love. To their credit, some programs address interior attributes, but it's usually done in the most abrasive of ways ("Lose the ego!" or "Don't be a bitch!"). The same holds true for social media dating sites in which potential matches post tons of pictures (duck-lip, bikini-top bathroom selfie, meet wife-beater, muscle flexer standing in front of his car) and typically very little personal information (other than the perfunctory information about body proportion and how you want your mate to look). This is usually followed by a series of cryptic text messages, negotiation for more photos ("Can you send me a body pic?") and so on. Overall, the modern dating process is one that seems to preclude authenticity and often preys on any perceived vulnerabilities of either party.

I am trying my absolute best not to be bitter and ranty about this. (No really, I am!) Some people just want to date for fun and there [pullquote]Duck-lip, bikini-top bathroom selfie, meet wife-beater, muscle flexer standing in front of his car[/pullquote]is nothing wrong with that. But, I know lots and lots of smart, funny, wonderful people - both women and men (but honestly, mostly women) who just cannot seem to wade through the people who ONLY want to date for fun. In many ways, it seems like we are a community of people who are all looking for "the next best thing" to come along. But with seven billion people on the planet, I am certain that somehow, someway, the right people will find each other.

Don't worry, Dr. Brown. I am not asking you to play matchmaker for anyone. Rather, I am asking if your research (past, present, or future) provides any guidance to those of us who seek to pursue authenticity, to live wholeheartedly, and yes, even to be vulnerable, in the midst of navigating the dating jungle.

Some might argue that it is no different than being authentic and vulnerable in any other part of your life. But when you are constantly overloaded with messages - from tv, magazines, books, your great-aunt, etc. - to fix this about yourself or just change that, it is hard to believe that authenticity will lead you down the road to true love.

All the best,

Curvy CEO

Monday Morning Memo – Stop Wishing, Start Doing!

inspirational-quoteweekly words of inspiration"Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be." - Elizabeth Gilbert, author

If you are waiting for people to change...for your job to change...for your finances to change...then please wake up, because clearly you are dreaming. Desire without action is merely a dream...a wish. For my saints, I'll put it this way, "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." (James 2:14-15 NKJV)

So here is to taking action today and everyday to move us closer to where we want to be in life...not where we HOPE to be, but where we truly WANT to be. As I'm feeling a bit pastoral today, let's close out with a little inspiration from Mary Mary and their motivating song, "Go Get It." (Can't see the video clip below? CLICK HERE.)


Event Recap – The Curvy Girlz Lingerie Shopping Soiree

Precious Williams, Esq., Founder & CEO of Curvy Girlz Lingerie[caption id="attachment_8883" align="alignleft" width="225"]curvy girlz lingerie The lingerie! Shop online at www.curvygirlzlingerie.com.[/caption]Last Saturday, a group of about 15 women gather at the Melrose Georgetown Hotel for the Curvy Girlz Lingerie Shopping Soiree. This was the second year in a row that I partnered with friend and former classmate Precious Williams to bring Curvy Girlz Lingerie to Washington, DC. While last year was great, I promised that this year would be even bigger and better and, indeed, it was! Thanks to support from our sponsors we were able to treat the guests to tasty nibbles and sips as well as provide them with gift bags chock full of goodies, including nail kits, coupons, tickets to a black arts festival in DC and even earrings from the newly-launched, DC-based company Roni's Jewels.

Besides being an opportunity to purchase tantalizing intimate apparel, the evening also offered an opportunity for empowerment. In the [caption id="attachment_8885" align="alignright" width="168"]Precious Williams, Esq., Founder & CEO of Curvy Girlz Lingerie Precious Williams, Esq., Founder & CEO of Curvy Girlz Lingerie[/caption]midst of sharing the back story of how Curvy Girlz Lingerie came to be, Precious offered a testimony about the power of believing in your dreams and putting in the work - despite the naysayers - to see those dreams turn into reality. This struck a chord as there were several entrepreneurial women in the room. This was evident as sponsors Denise Belnavis of Denise Belnavis Photography and Donna Hudley of Curvy Chix Chariot presented shared their stories during our "commercial break."

Next, intimacy and relationship coach E.B. Davis of Cupid's Planner led a conversation about love in all forms - self-love, eros love, and agape love. (Aaaand, because we're a PG-13 rated blog we will just leave it at that. *lol*)

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[caption id="attachment_8890" align="alignleft" width="225"]Intimacy & Relationship Coach, E.B. Davis of Cupid's Planner leads us in group discussion. Intimacy & Relationship Coach, E.B. Davis of Cupid's Planner leads us in group discussion.[/caption]

All in all, it was a FAB event and I'm so grateful for the support of my sponsors - the aforementioned Denise Belnavis Photography, Curvy Chix Chariot, and Roni's Jewels; Kym Nichole of WellFitCurves.com; and an extra special thanks to Marie Denee of The Curvy Fashionista who showed us love even though she couldn't be there in person!

I'd also like to thank fellow bloggers Nic and Vivi and industry friends Sherra of Ivie Rose Boutique and Marketha and Sharon of Curvy Chicks Consignment & Boutique as well as other frequent supporters of Curvy CEO (Sonya and Kim, I'm looking at you!) for coming to the event. I really hope you had as much time at the event as I had planning it! For those of you who weren't able to make it, check out some of the snaps below and be sure to look for our official hashtag #curvygirlzdc on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

[gallery type="slideshow" size="large" ids="8897,8896,8895,8894,8893,8898"]

Monday Morning Memo – The Never-Ending Journey

inspirational-quoteweekly words of inspiration"To love yourself is a never-ending journey." - Oprah Winfrey

As we prepare to celebrate Valentine's Day this week, there will be hearts, candy, and flowers all over the place. Whether you are coupled or single, make sure you don't neglect the most important love affair of them all - the one you must have with the person in the mirror.

Real-Life Curvy CEO: Tro-Jah Irby-Morgan

Trojah Irby Morgan HeadshotI had the pleasure of meeting today's Real-Life Curvy CEO when she was the guest speaker at the empowerment brunch at Curves Rock Weekend in 2013. (You can check her out in my recap over at The Curvy Fashionista or even revisit this quote from a previous Monday Morning Memo.) Anyhoo, besides her popular book, My FAT is NOT a Flaw, Tro-Jah Irby-Morgan has loads of new projects in the works. So, I thought it would be great to catch up with her as a featured guest in our Real-Life Curvy CEO interview series. Check it out!

Tell me about your business, Elite Plus, Inc. Elite Plus Inc. is not your average small business or entrepreneurial venture. Elite Plus Inc. is a community organization (soon to be non-profit) located in Northern New Jersey servicing the NYC Tri-State area. Elite Plus is a group of full-figured women who all share a passion for the plus community. We aim to educate and celebrate the curvy community through supporting and hosting social, educational, and philanthropic endeavors. We provide resources and offer mentorship to plus size women and overweight teens who struggle with the concepts of self love, size acceptance, and the true meaning of beauty.

Trojah Irby Morgan HeadshotWhat inspired you to start your business? Life is truly my biggest inspiration. So at that time I was young and thirsty to just “fit in”. (Notice I said thirsty…not hungry…there is a difference!) I just wanted to get into the plus industry any way possible. And at that time I was being approached by a number of people inviting me to join their groups. However I noticed that what they were doing and what I wanted to do was completely different. They were more into the “BBW/fantasy modeling” or simply taking pictures but not really doing anything with them in or for our community. So since I couldn’t find an opportunity perfect for me I decided to create one. I was looking for a sisterhood/sorority type of experience since I never got the chance to attend a University where I could actually pledge. But mainly I wanted to focus on the inner beauty of a plus size woman and work our way to the physical beauty aspects. I wanted to create a safe environment and build a platform for women and young girls of size to initiate dialogue, share experiences, and figure out ways to deal with our body confidence issues. And simply have FUN doing it!

What do you think has been the key to your success thus far? I think the key to my success thus far has been changing my “thirst” into “hunger.” I’m hungry for success in this industry. What I do is fueled by my passion, which surpasses the “thirst” that lurks within this community. I’ve been in this industry for five, almost six years now. I am not where I want to be but I’m most certainly not where I use to be. My true success emerged when I stopped trying to “fit in” and started marching to the beat of my own drum. I try to remain teachable and keep people around me who are where I want to be. It’s not about competing with them (or anyone). It’s about unity within this community. This brings me to the other key to success--SUPPORT! My team and those who support us in and outside of this community are amazing and definitely vital to OUR success.

[pullquote]I’m hungry for success in this industry. What I do is fueled by my passion, which surpasses the “thirst” that lurks within this community.[/pullquote] What has been the most surprising thing about having your own business? The most challenging? The most rewarding? The most surprising thing about having your own business for me has been seeing how many people treat you differently once they view you as “competition.” I mean…when I was the little “thirst bucket” in the beginning just going to any- and everything to be seen and “fit in”…everybody loved me. But when I began to really take my brand seriously and became a knowledgeable and resourceful business woman, those very people began to shut me out. I thought it would have been the reverse. I thought they were going to be proud of my growth and encourage me to start my own and admire my passion for this community. But nope. I’ve had prominent people who’ve attended my events that I thought were friends or supporters and I overheard them talking about me…at MY event. It amazes me how people can change that quick.

The most challenging thing has been not taking things like that so personally. Because I am my brand and I am fueled by my passion for this community, I take a lot of things personally. Many people know I have a pretty tough exterior but I’m truly a softie on the inside. [Ed. Note: Me too. *sigh*] And I’m learning to decipher Tro-Jah the Plus Enthusiast from Tro-Jah the “Business Woman within the Plus Community.” I’m such a fan of the industry that I sometimes cheat myself as a business woman. Because I love what I do, I’d do it for free! My friends who are really business minded pick on me all the time about this. And even though I love it and would do it for free it doesn’t mean I should and it doesn’t mean I should allow others who knows this about me to take advantage of me. Because then this wouldn’t really be a business It would just be a really expensive hobby. And Diva got bills and likes to travel! *smile*

The most rewarding thing has been the messages that I receive daily about a past event or a post that may have inspired or encouraged someone. Those are constant reminders and motivation to keep doing what I’m doing.

What advice would you give to other women who hope to start their own businesses? If you are looking to start your own Elite Plus Logobusiness venture, I would first say believe in yourself and your abilities. God didn’t give you this vision for nothing. Next, find out what you are good at and research that industry. Evaluate your product or service. What’s your market? Is it really a money maker? How many other people are doing it? Would you do it for free? What are average price points? Find out the who’s who in that industry and network. And remember support! However don’t just look for others to support you. Remember you have to support others as well.

How can my readers keep in touch with you and your business ventures? You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Also, please visit my website, MyFatIsNotAFlaw.com. You can also keep up with me and my adventures as I cover some of the hottest Plus Events for POSE Magazine. Right now I am looking for new members to join my Elite Plus Inc. team. Please visit our website www.ElitePlusInc.org for more information!

Well, there you have it! I hope you will stop by Tro-Jah's sites and also check out her book, My FAT is NOT a Flaw, today!

And Now a Word From Our Sponsors…

plus-size lingerie shopping party dmvplus-size lingerie shopping party dmv The Curvy Girlz Lingerie Shopping Soiree is just DAYS away and I couldn't be more excited! This Saturday, I will be joined by superstar entrepreneur and "Killer Pitch Master" Precious Williams of Curvy Girlz Lingerie and intimacy and relationship coach E.B. Davis of CupidsPlanner.com for an evening of shopping, chatting, sips and sweets! [pullquote]You saw Precious' exclusive guest post for Curvy CEO where she shared five tips for taking your "pitch" to the next level, right? Right?!?! No? Girl, CLICK HERE NOW![/pullquote]Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, we will also have a host of great goodie bag freebies and raffle giveaways!!! [caption id="attachment_8750" align="alignleft" width="300"]Our First Sponsor! Our First Sponsor![/caption] Certified Wellness Coach, Model, Body Positive Advocate and Blogger Boo, Kym Nichole of WellFitCurves, will be raffling away her "Mindset Reset" program, which includes a workbook and private consultation with the woman herself to help you get you on track with your wellness goals! DB Photography LogoMeanwhile, glamour and portrait photographer Denise Belnavis is offering a 40% discount - and free perfume to complement the new lingerie - to any event guest that signs up for a portrait package at the event. (This is a savings of $200!) ALL guests will receive coupons for 15% of session fees with Denise Belnavis Photography after the event. And speaking of coupons, be on the look out from savings provided by Jord. Curvy Chix ChariotAnd, weather-permitting, don't forget to stop by Curvy Chix Chariot on your way to the event...yes, Curvy Chix Chariot, the DC area's FIRST mobile shopping experience for full-figured ladies just might make an appearance thanks to event sponsor and industry pal Donna Hundley. Ladies who stop by the Chariot will get an extra opportunity to win prizes as Donna will have an extra batch of raffle tickets to give away!!! ?????I am extra excited to announce that each and every guest will receive jewerly (yes, JEWELRY) from up and coming custom design house, Roni's Jewels. This sister travels across the globe to find the most exquisite beads and baubles to use in her hand-crafted, custom jewelry line which will be launching this summer. TCF logoFinally, I want to give an extra special shout out to Marie over at The Curvy Fashionista who is also an event sponsor...not because is promoting a product or giving something away. Just because. Love ya, babe. Mwah! There are more surprises and goodies in store...hope you will come out and join us THIS Saturday at 5pm at the Melrose Georgetown Hotel! Get your tickets at http://curvygirlzdc.eventbrite.com!

Monday Morning Memo – Change, Renew, Rejuvenate

inspirational-quoteNEW monday-morning-memo If you don't follow me on Instagram or Twitter, then you probably think that the title of today's post is just a jumbled mishmash of Whitley Gilbert's mantra for coping with stress... [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="245"]whitley relax relate release Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1DvdoOS[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="245"]whitley relax relate release Retrieved from http://bit.ly/163mMOp[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="245"]whitley relax relate release Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1Ezl5Ho[/caption] However, the title of today's post and the source of today's Monday Morning Memo is a quote from German writer Johann Wolfgang Goethe, who proclaimed, "We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden." [tweetthis]"We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden."[/tweetthis] I know that for me that this has particularly proven to be true over the last few weeks. Despite my best intentions (remember all that talk about establishing a work-work-play routine?) here we are only the second month into the new year and I'm already flipping out over deadlines, not getting enough sleep, skipping workouts, etc., etc. And it IS leaving me bitter, angry, and hardened...to say the least. And it's just not cool. AT ALL. So this week...and for the next several weeks really...I'm going to put some significant thought into how I can automate certain things in my life so that I spend less time "doing" and more time "living." I'm also going to really evaluate how I spend my time and my money because those are key contributors to the emotional and physical drain on me. I gladly welcome your thoughts, ideas and suggestions. Don't be surprised if you see many work/life balanced themed posts in the near future!