Month: May 2015

DC’s Fox 5 News Anchor, Allison Seymour, Dishes on Career, Love & Life

Y'all remember Real-Life Curvy CEO Safiya Jafari Simmons, dontcha? (If not, click here!) Since we last caught up with Safiya she has launched a new venture - Leap Executive Strategies, which offers career consulting services to help women "get from look to leap!" As part of this enterprise, Safiya hosts the "Leap Luncheon Series," which features notable women in politics, entertainment, and various other industries. Recently, I attended the luncheon featuring Allison Seymour, the morning anchor on DC's Fox 5. She was just as warm and gracious in person as she is on tv. Here is a taste of the wisdom she shared that afternoon:

allison seymour headshot
  • On finding your authentic voice: "Whatever your story is, it has value. Totally trust in who you are."


  • On overcoming setbacks in the workplace: "I don't hold grudges. Everything works as it should. One day you're the statue; another day you're the bird."


  • On balancing work and family: "Admitting to my family that I need help running the household has helped us grow closer."


  • On what makes something newsworthy: "I get a lot of pitches....you have to ask yourself how you can make people who aren't invested in it care about it...and do so in a way that doesn't look like a commercial."


  • On selling yourself: "Each of us has a story that is compelling in its own right."


  • [caption id="attachment_9348" align="aligncenter" width="486"]DC Fox 5 Morning Anchor Allison Seymour offers advice on career, love, and life to the attendees of the Leap Luncheon Series on May 14, 2015 at Johnny's Half Shell, in Washington, DC. DC Fox 5 Morning Anchor Allison Seymour offers advice on career, love, and life to the attendees of the Leap Luncheon Series on May 14, 2015 at Johnny's Half Shell, in Washington, DC.[/caption]

    This is just a small sampling of the wisdom that was shared. (Sorry, I could only type so fast on my iPhone! *lol*) If you are looking for even more help in advancing your career, be sure to check out the LeapPad Conference: Creating Your Professional Narrative, which will take place on Saturday, June 13 in Washington, DC. This one-day, intensive workshop - led by Suezette Yasmin Robotham, Founder and Talent Coach at Go Higher and Hire LLC - will help participants define their personal brand, create an "elevator pitch" and get one-on-one pointers on how to enhance their resumes and cover letters. Click here to register today!
    LeapEvent

    Adventures in Plus-Size Prom Dress Shopping

    prom-memories[caption id="attachment_9336" align="aligncenter" width="800"]prom-memories Clearly I am child of the 80s and 90s. Clockwise from top left, images from "Pretty in Pink," "She's All That," "Ten Things I Hate About You," and "Beverly Hills 90210."[/caption]

    Do you remember your prom? Did you even go to your prom?

    I nearly missed mine. It wasn't because of any grand crisis - I just didn't see the point. As one of only about ten black students in my Catholic high school, I was more or less a loner. Even though I was generally liked, I didn't really have a "crew" that I always hung out with - that would not come until college. Also I didn't have a boyfriend - again that wouldn't come until later. (Waaaay later as it turned out. But that's another post for another day.) Plus, I knew my parents didn't have a few hundred bucks to pay for prom tickets, a limo, a dress and (heh) a hotel room for the after-party. ("As if!") So I was content to let my junior prom pass right by me.

    I was all set to do the same thing my senior year...until about two weeks before the big day. For whatever odd reason, I was gripped by an overwhelming feeling that I *had* to go to my senior prom. It might have had something to do with the fact that I had a new crop of friends, mostly in the class behind me. Even though my school typically separated the juniors from the seniors, we got special permission to do a "mixed" table at the prom - four seniors and six juniors. I asked my friend Jerry, whom I'd known since the third grade, if he would be my date. (He was already dating someone else...a nice young man named Kurt. But, since my school didn't allow you to attend the event without a date, he was willing to do me a solid and play straight for the evening.) Now all I needed was a dress.

    If you think it is tough to find plus-size formalwear now, transport yourself to the mid-nineties. The Internet was still in its infancy and mail-order catalogs were not exactly catering to the chunky teen set. I visited a few bridal shops in the area, but didn't find anything suitable. (What teenage girl wants to go to the prom in a peach-colored, taffeta nightmare?) Thankfully, one of my classmates came to the rescue. Although she was entirely too sweet to be classified as one of "The Plastics", she was quite popular and a veteran of four years worth of fall dances, junior proms, etc. Fortunately for me, she was looking to offload some inventory. (As you can see, I was into thrifting and re-selling even back then.) After trying on a few options, I landed on a simple, cobalt blue cocktail dress with sequin beading on the straps. I loved it! And I especially loved the price - $25! At my prom, I didn't care that other girls were decked out in head-to-toe sequins fit for the semifinals at Miss USA. I felt pretty and, most of all, I had fun!

    image

    Now iCare, Inc., a non-profit that provides programs and services to homeless and disenfranchised veterans, is hoping to bring the same experience to homeless teens in the DC area. The organization has chosen to provide seven local teens with the prom of a lifetime. They are almost to their goal but have three teen girls - size 18, 24, and 26 - that are still in need of prom dresses. If you have a dress to donate, please contact the organization on Facebook or by phone (202.813.9750). You can also make a financial contribution online.

    Has this got you reflecting about your own prom experience? Share some of your memories in the comments section!

    Curvy Reads! “Style 101: How to Maximize Your Wardrobe”

    imageimageToday I am so pleased to write a review of "Style 101: How to Maximize Your Wardrobe" by Chakayla Taylor of Stylishly Decadent.  A mommy and corporate maven during the day, Chakayla chronicles her style, food and fun on her lifestyle blog. (You might have seen her profile recently on The Curvy Fashionista.) 

    [caption id="attachment_9333" align="alignleft" width="239"]Chakayla Taylor of Stylishly Decadent Chakayla Taylor of Stylishly Decadent[/caption]
    In her e-book, Chakayla jumps right in and gives you action steps to help you boost your style game. For instance, she shows you how to mix thrifted and vintage pieces with modern picks. She also offers tips to help you translate your wardrobe collection into your favorite looks from fashion magazines, blogs, and Pinterest. A young mother herself, she even shows you how make "mom jeans" fashionable!
    You definitely finish the book wishing for more! But not to worry, Chakayla promises that there is more to come! This little treasure of a book is available as a free gift for her blog subscribers. Sign up to get your copy today at http://eepurl.com/bjCAYr.

    Curvy CEO’s Essental Summer Travel Tips

    Summer-travel-essentialsSummer-travel-essentials Today's entry was jacked from inspired by this fantastic post by friend of the blog, Stania Romain aka Miss Sassy, as well as my most recent travels to the U.S. Virgin Islands for FashionlinkVI Fashion Week. Building on this trip, which was actually my second solo trip abroad, as well as my extensive travels for work, I am pleased to present my top tips for summer travel.

    *fanfare*

    Now, this list was written under the assumption that you are traveling some place warm - like a caribbean isle or a trip down south for your family reunion. But, even if you're heading to the Southern Hemisphere, these tips will still help you to make the most of your summer vacation.

  • First and foremost, do your research! When you start planning your summer adventures, quite naturally you will hop on the Internet to scope out the different options for lodging, exclusions, etc. EVERY company will boast of the awesomeness of its food, decor, scenery, etc. But do not - I repeat, DO NOT - believe the hype. Before you book any reservations, be sure to check out the reviews from other travelers on sites like TripAdvisor, Hotels.comand so one. Also, ask your friends and acquaintances if they have ever lived or traveled to these sites or know someone who has...these folks will be able to tell you the *real* deal and help you find places that the travel guides will never mention. (And to be honest, you will want to get away from the tourist traps after a few days.)


  • You will sweat...a lot. Accept and embrace the fact that you. will. sweat. You just will. It's the summertime! And if you're traveling to the Caribbean, you can forget about it. Whenever I have traveled to the islands, I have found that it took me 30 minutes every morning just to adjust to the temperature outside my hotel room. Ultimately, though, the fact of sweat is a good thing. If nothing else, it will convince you to get over yourself and wear sleeveless tops and dresses as well as swimwear. In the tropics, comfort trumps self-consciousness every time...at least for me!


  • Do NOT bother with purchasing little trinkets. Skip the souvinirs (unless we are talking about fine jewelry - if you can afford, then by all means)! Unless you find something that is truly one of a kind, nothing you can buy at any of those little shops is really worth it. You would be better served saving your money for experiences as opposed to t-shirts, magnets, and other junk. Your pictures are the best momentos. And speaking of pictures....


  • Be prepared! Always carry an extra cell [caption width="196" align="alignright"]summer-travel-essentials One of my absolute FAVORITE summer travel products is Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard. Not only does it keep bugs away, it protects you from the sun as it has SPF 30. Two products in one? Yes, please![/caption]pack for your phone or camera. You will be taking lots of pictures and don't want to miss out because you ran out of juice! Other emergency items to have on hand include Imodium, feminine products, aspirin, bug spray, sunblock and so on.


  • Leave your most valuable (fashion) treasures at home! I get it. I do. I, like you, have fantasies of preening around paradise outfitted like Beyonce, Kimora, or a Kardashian, complete with killer shades, fur bikinis, and the like. But, this is not the internet or E! Unlike these celebs, you do not have a team of folks tending to your every fashion whim, capturing each moment for Tumblr or Instagram. This is real life...and in real life, things get messy. So, please leave your Gucci shades and Marc Jacobs crossbody bag at home...unless you don't mind them getting covered in sea water and sand. Plus, I don't know about you, but I don't necessarily want to signal to any potential thieves that I am a prime target by rocking hundreds of dollars worth of accessories. Not worth it.


  • Be adventurous! You don't have to travel to the ends of the earth to try something new! Take a tour, try the local specialty dish or drink, do something you would never get to do except for in that part of the world. Go ziplining in the Amazon jungle! Take a helicopter tour around a volcano in Hawaii! Eat an authentic cheesesteak in Philly!


  • Grin and bear it. Inevitably, hiccups will happen along the way. You will get lost. Not every meal will be worthy of the Food Network. You might even get sick. (See the previous tip about preparing for emergencies!) Be ready to roll with the punches because ultimately the amount of enjoyment you experience on your trip is entirely up to you. So you can choose to view the not-so-pleasant parts of a trip as disaster-making OR you can simply laugh it off as part of the experience. Choose the latter and you will always have a good time!

    There you have it! What are some of YOUR top summer travel tips?
  • Monday Morning Memo – Doing That Thing You Do

    inspirational-quoteweekly words of inspiration“In most industries you are taught to blend in in order to survive...but you want to thrive. So, do that thing that you do, that only you do, the way that you do it.” - Mikki Taylor, Editor-at-Large, Essence Magazine

    As today is a federal holiday in the U.S., I'm excited to take a moment to catch my breath to really assess where I am personally and professionally. In taking such an inventory, it is easy for us to focus on what we could be doing better. But, I'm determined to really focus on those things that make me shine in my own unique way. THOSE are the things that will allow me to thrive.

    When is the last time you took a moment to take stock of what makes you special in work and in life? What factors do you evaluate? Share in the comments section!

    #FridayFashionFix – How to Cover Your Arms in Style!

    cover-my-armscover-my-arms

    With the summer fast-approaching, the one question continues to crop up among plus-size and non-plus-size women alike - "HOW DO I COVER MY ARMS?!?!?" (Yes. Just like that. Screaming in all CAPS.) Even though I firmly believe that we all have the right to bare arms, [pullquote]Check out my interview last year with Abbey Post on this very topic![/pullquote]I know firsthand that putting flabby arms on display is just not fun or necessarily cute. In the past I've blogged about styles you can use to cover your arms. For today's #FridayFashionFix I thought I would revisit this topic and feature....*drumroll*...



    MY TOP 10 STYLISH PICKS TO COVER YOUR ARMS



    [caption id="attachment_9219" align="aligncenter" width="219"]One great way to cover your arms is to toss a duster over a tank top (or even a tank dress).  Check out the Lane Bryant Plus Size Printed woven duster as a possible option! One great way to cover your arms is to toss a duster over a tank top (or even a tank dress). Check out the Lane Bryant Plus Size Printed woven duster as a possible option![/caption]

    [caption id="attachment_9223" align="aligncenter" width="196"]Drape this Eileen Fisher Kimono Jacket over your sleeveless shift or sheath dress to add a touch of elegance to your office or evening look! Drape this Eileen Fisher Kimono Jacket over your sleeveless shift or sheath dress to add a touch of elegance to your office or evening look![/caption]

    [caption id="attachment_9233" align="aligncenter" width="222"]Top off your sheath dress with this Jones Studio Plus Size Cascade Open Cardigan. This is a great alternative to a blazer in the office during the summer. Top off your sheath dress with this Jones Studio Plus Size Cascade Open Cardigan. This is a great alternative to a blazer in the office during the summer.[/caption]

    [caption id="attachment_9235" align="aligncenter" width="220"]On the other hand, Why settle for shrugs in neutral colors? This sydney shrug in plum is a fab alternative! Why settle for shrugs in neutral colors? This sydney shrug in plum is a fab alternative![/caption]

    [caption id="attachment_9237" align="aligncenter" width="220"]I just adore the Stacia lace shrug in garnet, also from IGIGI. I just adore the Stacia lace shrug in garnet, also from IGIGI.[/caption]

    [caption id="attachment_9230" align="aligncenter" width="219"]This Ashley Stewart Cold Shoulder Peasant Blouse offers a great pick for the weekend. It's lightweight and fun, yet provides great coverage! This Ashley Stewart Cold Shoulder Peasant Blouse offers a great pick for the weekend. It's lightweight and fun, yet provides great coverage![/caption]

    [caption id="attachment_9231" align="aligncenter" width="204"]Need a pretty, feminine way to cover your arms and show great style? Check out this floral print sheer cape-blouse from Avenue! Need a pretty, feminine way to cover your arms and show great style? Check out this floral print sheer cape-blouse from Avenue![/caption]

    [caption id="attachment_9228" align="aligncenter" width="227"]The AX Paris Frill Detail Midi Dress from Simply Be offers a sexy pick for a night on the town! (Be warned, this dress doesn't have much "give" so be ready to sport tummy-control supports!) The AX Paris Frill Detail Midi Dress from Simply Be offers a sexy pick for a night on the town! (Be warned, this dress doesn't have much "give" so be ready to sport tummy-control supports!)[/caption]

    [caption id="attachment_9222" align="aligncenter" width="196"]A formal dress that offers curve-hugging elegance and delicately conceals your arms? Yes, please! Three cheers for this Adriana Papell chiffon overlay shutter pleat sheath dress. A formal dress that offers curve-hugging elegance and delicately conceals your arms? Yes, please! Three cheers for this Adriana Papell chiffon overlay shutter pleat sheath dress.[/caption]

    [caption id="attachment_9225" align="aligncenter" width="196"]Another fantastic formalwear option from Adrianna Papell - the Kimono Sleeve Lace Sheath Dress. Another fantastic formalwear option from Adrianna Papell - the Kimono Sleeve Lace Sheath Dress.[/caption]

    What's your favorite pick from this list?

    #WorkwearWednesday – What Would Solange Wear to the Office?

    Solange at the Balmain Fashion Show during Paris Fashion Week in March 2015. (Image source: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/solange-knowles-arrives-at-balmain-fashion-show-during-news-photo/465270296)Recently, I was blessed to have my very first styling client. Hooray! My client, "Lisa," is a junior associate at a large corporate law firm here in DC. After focusing solely on perfecting her legal[pullquote]You did know I'm a personal stylist, too, didn't you? No? Check out the Styling Services section of the blog for more info![/pullquote] skills during her first few years at the firm, Lisa recently took a look around and realized that she tended to land more on the "casual" end of the office's "business casual" dress code. In an effort to take her style to the next level, she enlisted my help. *happy dance*

    During our consultation, I asked her if there were any celebrities whose styles she admired. She listed actress/singer/actress/dj/elevator ninja Solange Knowles along with actress and activist Kerry Washington and entrepreneur and crown princess of a hip-hop dynasty, Angela Simmons.

    [gallery type="slideshow" columns="1" size="large" ids="9299,9298,9297" orderby="rand"]

    Typically we see these ladies on the red carpet, at a splashy Hollywood affair, or just living their amazing lives and breaking the internet in the process. (Yes, Solange I'm looking at you.) However, in order to pull together a collection that would be office appropriate, I focused on trying to capture the essence of these ladies and their style.

    Here is what I came up with:

    jump around
    This look, which I call "Jump Around," was inspired equally by Solange and Angela. In addition to building on the jumpsuit trend, it is designed to transition from day to night. (Depending on just how conservative the firm culture is, I might suggest leaving the necklace off until after hours!)

    kimono kutie

    My motivation for this came primarily from Angela Simmons...although I'm not entirely sure why. I don't recall ever seeing her wear a kimono. Just the same, it just made me think of her. Again, a great transitional ensemble as the bodycon dress really lends itself to after-hour affairs. Plus I just love the idea of substituting a trendy kimono for a plain ol' boring blazer.

    oh so pretty

    This last look was inspired by Kerry Washington, who we have seen sport a lot of florals and a lot of pink on the red carpet. I would probably recommend wearing a button down shirt that could be tucked in to the office, but I loved this particular shirt so much, I just had to include it in the collection.

    So, what do you think? How did I do? (Be gentle, y'all. Remember, I'm an artist...and I'm sensitive about my ish.)

    Five Things I’m Loving Right Now

    WEN travel packsWEN by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioner Travel Packette. I don't know if I've ever shared this, but "I'm a WEN Girl!" As a bona fide product junkie, I've tried just about every kind of conditioner and nothing has been as moisturizing for my hair than WEN by Chaz Dean, particularly the Tee Tree formula. Now, one of the challenges with WEN is that it takes several pumps in order to get enough product to really coat all of my hair. So, when I travel, inevitably I always end up running out of product because I can only fit so much into that little plastic bottle you get from the drugstore. Thankfully, though, Chaz Dean has come out with these amazing travel packettes! One packet can actually last for TWO co-washes. These have been an absolute life saver during my recent trips. These packets are available from QVC.com.

    Miss Jessie's Coily Custard PacketAnd speaking of travel-friendly hair care, why did no one tell me that Miss Jessie's sells trial size versions of their products straight from the website?!?!? They even have my new favorite item from their product line - Coily Custard. It's less "crunchy" than the Curly Pudding, but has the same great hold!

    bobbibrown bronzerDespite my concerns about contouring as deceit, I am absolutely, positively, unequivocally IN LOVE with Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder. This is a more recent discovery of mine as I've only jumped on the contouring bandwagon recently. Part of what kept me from climbing aboard sooner was the fact that most bronzers - in fact pretty much every one I had ever seen - included shimmer. While that is great for a night out, it just didn't feel right for the office. Plus, I already maintain a natural "shine" thanks to my oily skin. So finding a bronzer that did NOT have shimmery bits was an absolute gift!

    burts bees pink grapefruitBurt's Bees Pink Grapefruit Facial Cleansing Towelettes. I picked these little gems up at a hotel convenience store when I ran out of my regular brand of towelettes. (Towelettes are my go-to when I travel due to the carry-on liquid restrictions.) Anyways, I was really concerned that they would sting, but actually the pink grapefruit essence is quite refreshing. AND they actually do a great job removing makeup - always iffy when it comes to facial cleansing cloths.



    crocs cap toe whiteCrocs Cap Toe Flats. I never thought I would wear Crocs, let alone ever include them in a list of things I love! But, ladies, I am absolutely, positively IN LOVE with my Crocs Cap Toe Flats. They come in "stucco/black" and "black" and are great "commuting shoes." So instead of sneaking into the office in flip-flops or sneakers, you can wear these comfortable and stylish flats. They offer tons of cushion-y support and are super-cute! Available from Zappos.com.

    Well, that's my list! Have you tried any of these products? If so, what do you think of them?

    Monday Morning Memo – Which Way Are You Going?

    inspirational-quoteweekly words of inspiration"Some people say you are going the wrong way, when it’s simply a way of your own." - Angelina Jolie

    In what ways are you carving your own path? In your choice of career? With your relationships? However you live your life, I hope that you are walking a path that is uniquely YOU!

    Have a great week, everyone!

    Model Call! FestAfrica 2015

    23

    23 22 21



    Remember a few years back when I attended FestAfrica in Silver Spring? (No? Check out my recap here.) One of the things that struck me was that the fashion show did not feature any plus-size models. (No shade, but with the African theme, I expected more than a few of my plus-sized sistas to rock the runway.) Well, recently I had the chance to meet Skye Charlie, who is not only the fashion show producer and event organizer, but also a fellow BLM Girl. Anyhoo, when I asked her about the lack of full-figured fashionistas on the runway, she indicated that they very much wanted to include plus-size models, but NONE OF THEM AUDITIONED! Well, we cannot let this trend continue in 2015! Soooo, all my model chicks, be sure to come out to the FestAfrica model casting calls below:

  • Saturday June 13th, 2015 @ 3:30pm
  • Wednesday June 24th, 2015 @ 6:30pm

  • Both casting calls will take place in Room A-5 of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, located at 901 G. Street NW (right off the Gallery Place/Chinatown metro station).

    Do your sisters proud and show up to strut your stuff at FestAfrica 2015!