Month: April 2015

Top Five Spring Picks from CJ Banks!

white twill jacketToday I am so pleased to welcome Christopher and Banks as the first sponsor of the Rest in the City Retreat! Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Christopher and Banks has a core mission of providing women with high quality apparel to fit their lifestyle. Through its "CJ Banks" line, Christopher and Banks caters to customers who wear sizes 14W to 24W.

Let's take a peak at five of my favorite picks from CJ Banks' spring collection!

colorblock stripe dress
I absolutely *love* this dress. It's super-cute and the stripe of fuschia adds just that extra pop of fun! This dress can easily be worn to work, to church, or even a spring wedding!

flex stretch capri
*NeNe voice* I liiiiive for a capri pant, honey! No really, I do. Even though shorts are back in a major way and even culottes are also having a moment, if you are a thick-thighed lady like myself, capris are your best friend during the summer - they cover up your "wobbly bits" but also give your legs a chance to get a little air. NOTE: One thing to be careful with when it comes to capris - be sure that the length does NOT hit you at the widest part of your calf...otherwise, you're going to look shorter and wider. If that's the look you're going for...well, nevermind. But as for me, I'm always trying to slenderize as much as possible. So capris that taper-in like these do are the way go!

wrinkle resistant animal print top
How many things are great about this shirt? First off, it's more of a tunic, so it gives coverage over your tummy, hips, and backside. Then it's animal print - leopard at that. You all know that I loooove leopard print! It's practically a neutral in my book. Finally, the shirt is WRINKLE-RESISTANT. Hello?!! Can you get any better than that? STYLE TIP: To eliminate any bulk around the midsection, add a belt! Whether skinny or wide, a belt will help break up your torso and define your waist, ensuring you look as long and lean as possible. Also, don't be afraid to go for a more daring color - personally I think a burnt orange belt would look amazing with this top as opposed to the more typical black or brown.

white twill jacket
White jackets are fantastic fashion picks for the warm weather months. This denim-like twill version allows you to rock the look with a more outfit. This would be great for pairing over a simple t-shirt or even a sleeveless maxi.

These are just a few of the great pieces available over at Christopher and Banks. Be sure to stop by soon - they are currently offering $30 off for a $100 purchase or $10 off a $50 purchase! If you see anything you like, let me know in the comments section or on social media!

Monday Morning Memo – This is Why I’m Into “Classic” Styles

NEW monday-morning-memoweekly words of inspiration"Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way to live." - Gianni Versace

When it comes to my personal style, I'm a "classic" girl. While I can indulge in a trend here and there, for the most part I love classic pieces that never go out of style. The little black dress. The dark blazer. Pearls. A wrap dress. This is ALL me.

Reading today's quote from the incomparable Gianni Versace, I feel more secure in the fact that I have NO love for a lot of the trends that will be burning up the streets this spring and summer.

Gingham? No. It reminds me of Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz.

Fringe? What am I, a cowgirl?

Shorts? No. Because cellulite.

Culottes? Really?>

Jumpsuits? I actually like the way this trend looks...but I can't get over having to completely undress to go to the bathroom. (What can I say? I always choose practicality when it comes to fashion.)

What about you? What styles are you loving - or not - this spring? How would you characterize your personal style?

Curvy CEO Asks: “What’s YOUR Take on ‘Plus-Size’?”

plus size fashion model target skinny banplus size fashion model target skinny banSo, an interesting discussion is brewing over at "The Executive Lounge" - the new "secret" Facebook Group for Curvy CEO subscribers. (Not part of "The Executive Lounge"? Shoot me an email and we can make it happen!) We have been discussing all of the recent controversy around the "plus-size" fashion industry.
From slender women being "forced" into plus-size modeling to telling plus-size models that they're not "plus-size" enough to calls to eliminate the term "plus-size" altogether, there has been a ton of buzz in the fashion industry in recent months. In large part, this is due to the overly-congratulatory coverage of this year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition featuring Robyn Lawley and Ashley Graham. Thankfully, social media allowed consumers and advocates to call B.S. on this nonsense.

And when I say "b.s." I'm not at all referring to the models themselves. They are beautiful, healthy, fit women who, I am certain, endure lots of hardships in trying to make it in an industry that has such a skewed view of them and their bodies. (Remember when multiple television networks refused to air that Lane Bryant lingerie ad starring Graham?) This is not a rant about the "players"; it's a rant about the "game" that pits a multi-billion dollar advertising industry against, well, pretty much every female with access to a television, magazine, or the internet.
[caption id="attachment_9120" align="aligncenter" width="851"]Are you part of "The Executive Lounge" - the "secret" Facebook group for Curvy CEO Subscribers?  Shoot me an email and we can make it happen! Are you part of "The Executive Lounge" - the "secret" Facebook group for Curvy CEO Subscribers? Shoot me an email and we can make it happen![/caption]
As for me, I *need* the term plus-size - it is short-hand for me when I'm shopping. There are too many entities that DON'T cater to me and my curves. At the same time, though, we need to really re-evaluate what is considered "plus-size." As beautiful as they are, I glean very little information from looking at 5'11" models who wear a size 8 in determining whether this dress or that blouse will work on my 5'7", size 22 body. I suspect this is true for most of us as one of the most popular posts on my blog is one I wrote almost three years ago entitled, "But How Will That Look on Me?", listing plus-size shops that use models on the larger end of plus. Personally, I was extremely thrilled and even a little proud of Target when it featured bloggers Nicolette Mason, Gabi Gregg, and Chasity Garner in its campaign introducing Ava & Viv. (Yes, the boycott is over :) At least I could get a real sense from them as to how something might look on me.

What's your take on this whole set of issues? Do you love the term "plus-size"? Hate it? Should the modeling industry drop this label altogether? Dish in the comments section!

Plus-Size Fashion Hits the Beach! FashionlinkVI Fashion Weekend 2015

Join Me at FVIFWIf you can't tell from the tone of my recent post, I've been working hard lately. Like, really hard. Sixteen hour days. Business trips on the weekend. My whole life for the last few months has just been a non-stop series of activity. Home has become just someplace I shower and sleep. My friends and family? Well, I'm lucky they're still talking to me after how much I've neglected them. Through it all, though, I've been dreaming of how I can take a moment to catch my breath and get away from it all. (Well, that's not entirely true. I *did* manage to sneak away for a bit of a tropical break this winter. I'll be blogging about that soon!) I was looking for just the right opportunity when I learned about...

fashionlink virgin islands plus-size fashion week
FashionlinkVI Fashion Week - a weekend of plus-size fashion in the U.S. Virgin Islands! And not just any weekend - Memorial Day weekend, so most of us have a built-in break. I mean, what more could you ask for? Three fashion shows, mini-tours of St. Croix, workshops on hair and makeup, a brunch on St. Thomas, and an after-party on a boat! Plus, my girl Chenese Lewis is one of the celebrity hosts! While you can buy individual event tickets, the entire package deal costs only $130! Get your tickets here and...
Join Me at FVIFW
Will I see you there???

Monday Morning Memo – Living Life on Your Own Terms

NEW monday-morning-memo"The goal isn't more money. The goal is living life on your terms." - Chris Brogan, CEO of Owner Magazine

Lately I've been thinking a lot about what it would mean to live life on my own terms. Now, don't get me wrong - I have more choices than most. I live on my own and I am able to support myself. I get to make all of the financial decisions regarding my household. I have paid vacation and sick days, which many people in today's workforce do not. AND I get to do work that I love. These are all blessings that I do not take for granted.

At the same time, though, the intense nature of my work - from the constant grind of Capitol Hill to the frequent travel to meet with clients - can be so all-consuming that it means that I have far less freedom than I would like. Sixteen hour days are not unusual for me. Getting a full night's rest and taking time to attend to my own physical, mental, and emotional health are. Now, I know that I have no one to blame for this but me. Or, perhaps I can blame physics. After all, an object at rest will stay at rest, right? It's much easier to park your butt at your desk and just stay there for hours on end, than to actually turn off the computer, get up, go home, and deal with the rest of your life. [pullquote]It's much easier to park your butt at your desk and just stay there for hours on end, than to actually turn off the computer, get up, go home, and deal with the rest of your life.[/pullquote]But, in thinking about what it would mean to really live life on my own terms, it would definitely include less time at the office (or working, in general) and more time with family and friends and more leisure time. In order to achieve this, I've tried to build more social time to visit family and friends into recent work trips. Also, now that the weather is finally warm, it means leaving the office - even if just for an hour - to go get some fresh air and take in a walk in the afternoon or early evening. These are just starting points to help me feel like I have more control over my life and that I'm not a slave to my job...key elements to living life on my own terms.

What about you, dear readers? What does living life on your own YOUR own terms? Does that mean making changes to the way you work? Perhaps it means finding new work altogether. Share your thoughts!

I WROTE A BOOK!

Ok. So I didn't write an entire book. But I wrote a chapter in a book and I'm super excited and proud! As you can see from the buttons on the blog, I am a member of BLM Girls, a blogging network for women of color. This is an absolutely dynamic group of women who have an amazing wealth of knowledge about writing and about life in general. Over the last several months, we BLM Girls have combined our collective knowledge to produce....

***DRUMROLL***

order today
From Blank Space to Blogging Brilliance: A Step by Step Guide to Grow and Start a Successful Blog. *squeal* This 100+ page digital book is designed for newbies and experienced bloggers alike. Chapters focus on topics like developing content your readers will love, time management, working with brands, moving your blog from a hobby to a revenue-generating business and MY chapter on one of my favorite topics - hosting events! Specifically, my chapter is called "Bring your Blog to Life: A Nuts-and-Bolts Guide to Hosting Live Events." Want a sneak peak? Check out the first page!
INTRO PAGE TO CURVY CEO CHAPTER - BLM BOOK-page-001
Want to read more? For just $9.99 you can get your own copy today!

Even if you don't buy the book, I would SO appreciate it if you would support the book by sharing the social media message below!
[tweetthis]Want to start or grow a blog? Read #BloggerBrilliance by @BLMGirls today! http://bit.ly/1HquDot [/tweetthis]
Thanks so much for your support, y'all! *beams*

#WorkwearWednesday – Florals at Work!

floral dressI am still celebrating the fact that spring is finally here by showcasing more floral looks for work. (Missed my post inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama's amazing look upon arrival in Japan? Click here!) Now, one of the challenges of wearing florals to work is that you risk looking like you're going to church. Or, worse yet, like some sort of flower pot. Not cute.

How can you avoid this fate? Well, the good news is that you DON'T have to avoid florals altogether nor do you have to stick to muted, boring floral patterns. Rather, you want to stick to bold, rich patterns and pair them with clean, sharp pieces of apparel that streamline the entire look.

So, I know that was a whole bunch of adjectives thrown together. The best way to illustrate this point is with a few examples. Shall we?

The first look simply pairs a floral cardigan with a neutral pencil skirt and more conservative accessories.

floral cardigan

(For item details and shopping info, click here.)


The next look, which feature a floral dress runs the greatest risk of bringing your Sunday Best into the Boardroom. However, by pairing the dress with shocking white pieces, you create a sharper image that conveys the message that you is both pretty and professional.
floral dress

(For item details and shopping info, click here.)


This next look is my favorite. It's more flirty than the rest - pairing a pencil skirt with a peplum top - so I would recommend this for a day that you have to go from desk-to-dinner.
floral skirt

(For item details and shopping info, click here.)


These are just a few ideas to get you started. How are you rocking florals at work this spring?

Trent Alert: Springtime Blues (Spring 2015)

aquamarine - pantoneI am overjoyed that not one, but TWO of my favorite colors are trending for Spring 2015. At first, I thought it was just a coincidence that I kept seeing pale, icy blue tones of aquamarine and bright, happy flashes of turquoise everywhere. But, turning to color authority Pantone, I found that it wasn't just my imagination. In fact, both colors are trending for Spring 2015! (Apparently, Pantone refers to turquoise as "scuba blue".) Anyhoo, I was so excited about these trends, I just had to create a few collages celebrating these tones!

AQUAMARINE


aquamarine

(For items details and shopping info, click here.)



SCUBA BLUE


scuba blue

(For items details and shopping info, click here.)


What are your thoughts on these colors? Do you plan on wearing them this spring? I am ALL over it!

Monday Morning Memo – You Are What You Do Consistently

inspirational-quoteweekly words of inspiration"It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently." - Tony Robbins

Whether it's New Year's Resolutions or spur of the moment decisions to finally "lose weight," "get a new job" or meet some other lofty goal, it seems like after only a few days or weeks, we are back to our old, pre-resolution selves. While willpower is great, it's nothing compared to the long-standing behaviors that have become ingrained into your personality and lifestyle. As Tony Robbins says in today's Monday Morning Memo, we are what we consistently do. It becomes critical, then, to examine our habits in order to find out who we are at this moment and to figure out how to transform into the people we want to be.

What habits are challenging you right now? How are you trying to overcome them?

For me, it's my consistent tardiness. I [pullquote]For more reading on this topic, check out fellow BLM Girl Alex in Ink's post, "Habits - 'For What I Want to Do I Do Not Do'".[/pullquote]don't mean to be late. I don't want to be late. In fact, I really hate to be late. Yet, I am ALWAYS late. In looking at my habits, I realize that this characteristic results from the fact that I am a "crammer." I try to "cram" everything into whatever window of time I have available. I want to use every single minute to do every single thing. As an example, right now I'm writing this post when I KNOW I need to go to bed...otherwise I will oversleep (again) and be late for an early morning meeting *sigh*

Because I recognize my tendency to cram, I'm going to wrap up this post right here. Right now. I'm not going to start doing something else. I'm going to get some sleep so I have a better chance of being on time tomorrow morning.

I'll let you know via Facebook and Twitter whether I succeeded or not. *lol*

The Post I’ve Been Waiting to Write

yoga retreat dcToday is a special day....No, not just because I'm posting on a Saturday! But, because I'm finally launching a dream that I've had since creating this blog. The driving force behind everything I've done with Curvy CEO is to create what I thought was missing in the marketplace. In other words, fulfilling my own desires in terms of what I thought was sorely missing in the lives of plus-size professional women. One of those things has been an "urban retreat" - I didn't want to have to fly to the Caribbean or hike into the woods to get some peace and quiet. And the "staycations" just weren't getting it done. (Really, how long can you sit at home before you start to think about all of the laundry that needs to be washed, dishes that need to be clean, bathrooms that need to be scrubbed, etc., etc.?) So, to appease my own desire for a retreat within the city limits, that nourished my mind, body, and spirit, I have created...

*drumroll*

75 - REST IN THE CITY LOGO WITH DATES AND LOCATION
On Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28, Curvy CEO will present "Rest in the City: The Working Women's Retreat" at the Pure NuPhoria Bed and Breakfast in Fort Washington, Maryland! Designed for professional women - plus-size or otherwise - this event will offer women the opportunity to relax, reassess, and return to the world in a peaceful state of mind. Participants will enjoy wellness activities like yoga along with pampering treats like massages and facials. Add in a little vision boarding and roundtables with career and wellness experts, and you've got a recipe for relaxation!!
Here is a rundown of the retreat agenda!
tentative agenda
Even though it looks jam-packed, the retreat is designed to help us ladies take a pause. So, if anything doesn't appeal to you or you simply need to take a break, feel free to sit that activity out. Instead you can enjoy the beautiful event facility - NuPhoria Bed & Breakfast. Located in Fort Washington, Maryland, this cozy venue provides luxurious accommodations, including a sunroom and private bathrooms for each suite!
[caption id="attachment_9085" align="aligncenter" width="640"]source: Pure NuPhoria Bed & Breakfast (http://purebedandbreakfast.com) source: Pure NuPhoria Bed & Breakfast (http://purebedandbreakfast.com)[/caption]
Also, I'm thrilled to be able to bring together some amazing women whom I've had the privilege to meet in my days ripping and running across DC...
your retreat facilitators
Recognizing that everyone has different needs, wants, and bank accounts (lol), I have provided a number of different options to allow participants to customize their retreat experience - ranging from a full retreat with overnight stay to the option to only participate in Saturday's events. However, in order to ensure that this remains an intimate affair, only a limited number of spots are available. Be sure to get your ticket today!