Month: March 2015

Monday Morning Memo – A Little Humor from YSL

inspirational-quoteweekly words of inspiration"The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy." - Yves Saint Laurent Wishing all of you ladies a beautiful week - filled with passion AND pretty makeup *wink*

Monday Morning Memo – When I Was Younger, I Wish I’d Known…

inspirational-quoteweekly words of inspirationRecently, a fellow BLM Girl posted the photo below on Facebook and asked the members how WE would finish the following sentence: "When I was younger I wish I'd known..." (You can find thoughts from other ladies on this topic via the BBC 4 Facebook Photostream.) When I ponder this question, the thing I wish I had known was that you must do things because you WANT to...not because you have to, because you're 'supposed to,' because you feel like you'll earn brownie points (with God, your parents, your teachers, or your "friends"). Otherwise, you will find yourself exhausted and resentful. By listening to your inner voice, your true passions will emerge and you will find yourself doing just the right thing for all the right reasons." How would you answer this question? Please share in the comments section, on Facebook or Twitter! UPDATE! For even more thoughts on this topic, check out the link-up started at For the Love of Curls! annie lenox


Unsolicited Fat Girl Solidarity – Rude or Nah?

plus size fashion model target skinny bancurvyceoasks Recently, I was chatting with a new work acquaintance at a business function. We were both dressed up in our "serious black suits" and rehashing the day's events. "You know," she said, "when I first sat down at the conference table, I felt my pantyhose tear all the way up my leg!" So, of course, we dished about hosiery (cuz y'all know I love me some pantyhose). But then suddenly she said to me, "It's so hard to find pantyhose that know what I'm saying...." At first I stared at her blankly. Then, she repeated herself and nodded in that *knowing* way.

*long slow blink*

I quickly recovered and launched into fashion-blogger-mode - giving her suggestions for good places to find plus-size hosiery. But, after that exchange I just felt...weird. I'm not sure why, but the whole conversation rubbed me in the wrong way. Now, clearly neither of us ladies could win a skinny girl contest. But, I don't know - I just found the assumption that it was ok to make a comment about my body...even an allusion to an obvious statement of fact...a little rude. Perhaps I'm just being overly sensitive. But I don't think commenting on anyone's body - whether to praise them for weight loss or to point out weight gain - is ever appropriate. Maybe she just felt comfortable with me...relieved to find another plus-size professional woman she could relate to. Or maybe I'm convinced somewhere in my subconscious that my size is still a "secret." (Although how you can hide at size 22 is beyond me.)

What do you think, dear readers? Am I just being over the top extra? Or do you also find this sort of unsolicited fat girl solidarity to be rude?

Cheaper Than Therapy

cheaper than therapycheaper than therapy Recently I was researching a quote for my Monday Morning Memo and found myself searching for a quote I once heard or read from Terry McMillan - "Writing is cheaper than therapy." In doing so, however, I found an amazing (and true!) quote from author Jill Shalvis, whose characters declared in Lucky in Love (A Lucky Harbor Novel): “Chocolate is cheaper than therapy, and you don't need an appointment.” Meanwhile, M.P. Zarella, author of A Tangeled Web: Rejecting Technology's Assault on Mother Nature, opined that “Nature is cheaper than therapy.” Again, so very true.

As I continued to search, I found a whole treasure trove of quotations of various authors (known and unknown) declaring THEIR cheap alternative to therapy.

  • "A good friend is cheaper than therapy." (source)

  • "Dance. It's cheaper than therapy." (source)

  • "Group singing is cheaper than therapy, healthier than drinking, and certainly more fun than working out." (source)

  • "Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes." (source)

  • "Writing poetry is the best way I know of untying the knot of obsession. It's cheaper than therapy and better than getting drunk." (source)

  • And then, of course, there's an entire Pinterest page dedicated to this theme!

    That got me thinking - what is therapy for YOU? My therapeutic list includes yoga and blogging. What about you? Share your ideas - maybe you will inspire someone...

    Here's hoping that you're able to engage in a little "therapy" today!

    Monday Morning Memo – Carrying the Weight

    inspirational-quoteweekly words of inspiration "It's not the load that breaks you down. It's the way you carry it." - C.S. Lewis

    While I don't work on Capitol Hill, I work with/at/around the Hill and my life tends to be dictated by the congressional calendar. And with this brand new session of Congress, I've found myself working at a frenetic pace, carrying an extremely heavy load. For the last several weeks (well, I guess MONTHS) I've literally been working 24/7 and have found myself flaking out on everything from social commitments with friends to neglecting my own health and wellness. While this level of intensity at work has paid off in that it has helped me to earn a number of major professional victories, it has definitely taken a toll on my relationships and on my health. (I swear, I now have permanent cankles thanks to the swelling that has resulted from my lack of exercise, increased intake of junk food, and near-constant pounding of the pavement on Capitol Hill in cute-but-not-quite-comfortable dress shoes.)

    burned out corporate fat black woman tiredRecently, though, I sought out a bit of advice about how to cope with everything with some ladies who are more seasoned government relations professionals. During our mentoring lunch, they reminisced about the neck-breaking pace they used to maintain as junior congressional staffers. However, each one of them shared that when it was time for them to "get a life" or "start a family" they made the move off of Capitol Hill. And it was only then that they realized that the problem wasn't their jobs. "It's you!" one of them stated. "Once you leave the Hill and work at some place 'normal,' you realize that it's not your job that's driving you as much as your own habits." Huh. Could it really be that me - and my own perfectionism (which is really just fear) - is what's driving me to maintain such a manic pace? When I add up all the evidence, that appears to be the answer.

    So, what's the solution? Well, first things first, I want to get back on the exercise bandwagon. (I'm so out of shape at this point it's not even funny.) Also, as much as I hate to admit it, my spiritual life is completely out of whack. One of the things that has slipped due to my hectic pace is regular church attendance. (Sidebar - Arlett wrote a great post about missing church on her blog, Chasing Joy, a few weeks back.) I have actually found a new church in the area that I would like to join...I've visited a few services and listen online when I can't make it. Now it's finally time to make that walk down the aisle during alter call to make my membership real. More than that, though, I am re-instituting "quiet time" into my life. Even though it's almost 20 years ago at this point, I've never felt closer to God and more whole and at peace in my life than when I was a senior in high school and made daily prayer a part of my life. To help me start again on this prayer journey, I picked up 3-Minute Devotions for Women: Daily Devotional Journal. This is a great little book because, truth be told, it's hard to imagine doing more than three minutes of quiet time right now. I know. It's horrible, but true. But, I knew I had to make a serious change in my life when, in thinking about adding more spiritual practices into my life, my immediate first thought was "I don't have time for that." Yeah. Shortly thereafter, I stumbled upon the quote below on Pinterest:
    I took this as confirmation that it's time for me to sloooow down and take my life back. So, here is to shifting how I carry the weight (both figuratively and literally) and getting back to ME.
    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

    Curves on Campus: The Miss Bold & Beautiful Pageant

    Next week, something amazing will happen on the campus of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. On Monday, March 16, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. in the University Student Center Ballroom, the sixth annual Miss Bold & Beautiful Pageant will take place. Recently the 2013-2014 queen, Theatre Arts major and graduating senior (whoop, whoop!) Francina Smith took a few moments to share with Curvy CEO about the origins and impact of this awesome event. Check out our interview below!

    What inspired the creation of the Miss Bold & Beautiful pageant? The Bold & Beautiful Pageant was brought to the campus of Morgan State University by the then-Junior Class President, Melissa Longley-Jakes. It was hosted by the then Miss Junior, Queen Arlene Asante. Melissa Longley- Jakes saw the pageant delegate at another university and knew in her heart that Morgan State University needed this revolutionary pageant brought to our campus.

    2013 2014 Royal Court

    The 2013-2014 Bold & Beautiful Royal Court and Miss Morgan State University 2013-2014. From Left to Right: Kyra Harvey, Kechi Amaefule, Francina Smith, Aysha Williams

    What has been the reaction on campus to the contest? Since the establishment of this pageant at Morgan State University, the entire campus has been inspired, challenged, and re-cultivated into a new empowering image of women of a fuller-figure. Over five years this pageant has re-invented the new pageant women that has been ignored by society's standards of beauty. The campus has watched, encouraged, and supported our journey throughout the process.

    How has participation in the contest impacted your life and the lives of other participants? I like to believe that I am a woman who, before my participation in the pageant, had a lot of confidence. This pageant put me, along with other participants, on a completely different path. We were in constant discovery of ourselves as women and in the process of being a queen. This pageant has forced us all to question our own levels of maturity, growth, endurance, and pursuits. The best example of this that I can give is that this pageant has led three women to pursue a modeling career and two women enter into national pageants off-campus. Simply put, the Bold & Beautiful Pageant at Morgan State University has changed our lives!

    [caption id="attachment_8946" align="aligncenter" width="624"]The Official Event Flyer! The Official Event Flyer![/caption]

    How can people support the pageant and its efforts? The best ways to support the pageant is to come out and spread the word that, at Morgan State University, we are revolutionizing pageantry and the plus size community on colleges and universities. We also provide the opportunity to acknowledge your own talents, gifts, and abilities and see where exactly they fit in connection to our new organization and pageant. We are accepting all those who are willing to assist and give wisdom on areas in which we can improve and/or add.

    Well there you have it! It is SO encouraging to see young women embrace their curves in a positive way that promotes high self-esteem, goal setting, academics, and service! If I had had the opportunity to learn such body positive lessons at that age, I can't imagine how much further I would be in my personal journey. Hope you will be to support these ladies next week! In the meantime, check them out on Instagram at @boldbeautymsu.

    Monday Morning Memo – Because You Really Only Can Count on Yourself

    inspirational-quoteweekly words of inspiration "Self-compassion asks me to be my most reliable companion on the spiral staircase of life. I may have other companions along the way, but only my self will be with me 24/7." - Jennifer Matesa, A Thousand Shades of Gray

    Once, in a fit of rage and in the middle of a particularly epic pity party (complete with black balloons and dark-twisted-fantasy-era Kanye in the background), I spat out at my therapist, "I have no one to count on except myself."

    "That's right," she said.

    "Ok," I said, "no quite the answer I was hoping for or expecting...."

    "But that's true for everyone. It doesn't matter if you're single or married. If you have a million friends or if you're a loner. At the end of the day, the only person anyone can count on is him or herself."

    While this can be a somewhat lonely thought, in a way, it's also comforting. Owning the fact that it's up to me to look out for my best interests forces me to do so.

    Here's to each of us practicing self-compassion on this journey of life.

    Romance for Workaholics

    Romance Tips for WorkaholicsRomance Tips for Workaholics If there's one thing I'm an expert in, it's being a workaholic. I'm a reluctant workaholic, but a workaholic just the same. But when I reflect on what I want in life vs. the life I'm actually living, I know that something has to change. One area, in particular, where my workaholism takes a toll is the romance department. So, when Valentine's Day 2013 rolled around (yes, you read that right - 2013 - as in over a year ago!), I sought out advice from some of my favorite bloggers who are also superwomen - many balancing spouses and children and jobs - to seek out THEIR advice on how to cultivate and KEEP romance going! Specifically, I tapped Alison Gary of Wardrobe Oxygen, El Michelle of Tell Me Something El, Cherkita Williams of Love Me the Right Way, and my girl E.B. Davis of Cupid's Planner. I also include a few extra tips from Charanna K. Alexander of My Love Ink.

    Let's see what they had to say!

    First things first - what advice would you offer for someone who has trouble meeting potential dates?
  • E.B.: For people to be successful at anything they most invest time into it. Relationships or even meeting someone can be very difficult when you are working 50 hours weeks, or two or more jobs. So get creative and flirt. Try online dating, join a gym and wear something cute; check a book out of the library and make eye contact with the hottie at the next table; go to a married friend's house party and asked to be introduced to one of their single friends; go to church and join the singles missionary. It is easier to meet people when we know ourselves, so spend more time doing things that add value to you and you will meet like minded people.
  • Alison I find the older I get, the more I need to be specific about my interests. Music is something I love, and it has become a hobby of mine. It's a great hobby to have because others also enjoy it and it's an easy way to start a conversation. It's also a great way to meet people, be it message boards, Facebook fan pages, or a concerts and festivals. Also, being involved with music means you're also aware of other current events and pop culture, and it's not a polarizing topic like sports, politics, or religion.

  • What types of things can you talk about BESIDES WORK when just getting to know someone?
    • El: When JUST getting to know someone I think it's important to be tactful with what you bring up. I feel like a lot of people are a little jaded or scarred by past experiences with people they've dated and it leads them to have false expectations or to act reluctantly without giving the NEW person the opportunity to show and prove themselves. I would say some safe topics are talking about hobbies and experiences. I love someone I can experience and try new things with, so it opens the mind to seeing possible potential without being too presumptuous.
    • Alison: Ask questions! Be it a date or your spouse, ask that person what they like about their job, their home, their church, their neighborhood. Ask what kind of music they like, when they got into music, what was the first album they ever purchased. Ask your husband not just how was his day, but who did he see, what was the best part or the craziest part of it. When we're busy we sometimes get so focused on the fires to put out or the to-do list that we forget to tell the good stories - the house on the corner finally replaced that missing shutter, that crazy guy at work got transferred to the 7th floor, you had the best conversation with a stranger on the Metro, you were congratulated on a job well done for that project that sucked the life out of you last month. Asking questions and sharing the minutia keeps you from being 100% work.
    Any fun, exciting, or different date ideas?
    • E.B.: Traditional dates of dinner and a movie are played out. I suggest that couples do an activity for the first date, a wine and painting, something where the direct focus does not have to be on each but an activity. By doing an activity together there is less pressure of thinking of interesting subjects to discuss. It also hopefully avoids awkward silence moments. My theory is you can learn something from a person by talking with them but you can learn much about a person by playing with them.
    How do you make time for people in your life (without making you feel like it is work to make time for them)?
    • Alison: My husband and I use music to keep us close. Once a month we get an overnight babysitter and have dinner and go to a concert together. This has been the best thing for us, it's something we look forward to, we can dress up, sometimes splurge on an Uber, it really feels like a date and we know our daughter is safe with my mom for the whole evening so we don't have to rush home.
    • Cherkita: You must leave work at work. You must make yourself available. Just give one hour to a phone call, a date, etc. to the person you are interested in. Again it's about making yourself available.
    • E.B.: This is all about perception. If you have a perception that something is an inconvenience then it will be an inconvenience. In life we have to prioritize. If being in a healthy and successful relationship is important to you, then you should make it a priority to spend time with people who you can build a relationship with.
    Once in a relationship any tips to keep the home fires burning?
  • El:It's so important to put away everything. Literally, EVERYTHING, and make time for each other. Nowadays work comes home, people miss dinners with their families, people fall asleep at their computers or with their phones or tablets in their hands. We're overcome by technology in our society. It's crucial to make time for the things that matter, from/including dinner with a spouse, to making time to lay it down in the bedroom, to having regular date nights. Even when money can be an issue, date night doesn't have to mean going out. I love making a joint grocery store run on a chill night, coming home and maybe cooking something yummy together, and cuddling up on the couch with some wine and a new episode of Breaking Bad! On the bedroom side of things, it's so important to keep things spicy and different and fresh, no vanilla sex!
  • Cherkita: Make date nights for just you and that special person. Turn off your phones (work will be there on Monday). Be open to communication, be it text messages, emails, or phone calls at lunch but again it's about making time for you and that person!
  • E.B.:Communicate!!! It is a very basic concept but it is vital. Communicate your needs, desires, fantasies, and fears. Relationships stay hot when you feel safe to be vulnerable and open; free from judgment of your partner.
  • Alison: It's easy when you're in a stressful job with long hours and kids to just feel worn out but it's important to have your significant other know s/he still is the love of your life. I invested in loungewear to change into after work that is still flattering and a bit sexy. Our daughter has an earlier bedtime than many of her friends because it gives us time to be alone together in the evenings to have a glass of wine, watch a sitcom and cuddle together on the couch. We taught Emerson that when our door is closed, she needs to knock to enter and that Mommy and Daddy need quiet time together sometimes, just like she gets quiet time with each of us individually. We take the time to touch each other, be it a hand on the back when walking past, a squeeze of the hand when in an elevator, or a quick kiss at an unexpected moment; those little touches mean a lot and are a silent way to say we're thinking about one another and find one another attractive.
  • Any other advice?
  • C.K.: If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to show your honey some love, try writing a love note. Love notes are a great way to ignite passion and romance back into your relationship. Here are three steps to writing the perfect love note for your someone special. (1) Know your intentions. Are you feeling naughty or nice? What is your desired outcome? Is this note a precursor to a night of passion or do you want your partner to feel loved and appreciated? Your love note should evoke an emotion, feeling or a visual that’s in alignment with your desired outcome. (2) Keep it brief. One to three sentences will do the trick. Surprise your partner and let them know that you appreciate them and their favorite meal will be waiting for them at home; or spice it up and let them know to grab a Red Bull on the way home to prepare. (3) Love note placement and presentation. What you say is almost as important as setting the mood. You can create a mood with the placement and presentation of your love note. Set a romantic mood and seal your love note with a kiss and tuck it in your partner's wallet or purse to create an element of surprise.

  • Well there you have it! Here's to adding a little more romance to our busy schedules!

    Monday Morning Memo – A Bit of Inspiration from Anna Wintour

    inspirational-quoteweekly words of inspiration"It's very important to take risks....[I]n the end you have to work from your instinct and feeling and take those risks and be fearless." - Anna Wintour

    It's a new month, y'all! What risks have you been dreaming of in the quiet corners of your mind? Here's to a bit of fearlessness (and hopefully, warmer weather)!