Month: August 2015

Monday Morning Memo – What Is Your World Reflecting Back at You?

inspirational-quoteinspirational-quote"A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror." - Ken Keyes Jr.

Recently I've been thinking a lot about the Law of Attraction. I've actually been rolling it around in my head since attending the last Chasing Joy Brunch and Learn sponsored by my girl, Arlett, as it featured Damaris Torres and Yaritza Zayas of The S.H.A.R.E. Center, who spoke at length about the influence of your thoughts and intentions on your life. While I'm not 100% sold on the concept of the Law of Attraction, I do believe that "[a]s a man thinketh in his heart, so is he...." (Proverbs 23:7). And as I look for more positivity and release expectations, I do find the road rising up to meet me more often than not.

What is your mood like these days? How is that being reflected back to you in the world? Do you believe in the Law of Attraction? Why or why not?

An Interview with Belle of Capital Hill Style!

Today I am super-geeked to present an interview with one of my absolute favorite blogs - Capital Hill Style! Authored by "Belle" - a former Hill staffer and lobbyist, now law student out West - Capital Hill Style has proven to be a constant source of inspiration for me. Again and again, the author proves that you can be successful as an anonymous fashion blogger. (Well, okay, she's not anonymous anymore, but get the idea.) This is one of those blogs that puts fashion first and includes options at various price points, for shoppers at various sizes. Let's jump right into the interview shall we?
CapHillStyle Logo
Tell me about your blog, Capitol Hill Style. CHS is a professional style blog for women who care about their careers and how they present themselves. The ethos statement of the blog is to "dress for the job you want, not the job you have."

What inspired you to start the blog Capitol Hill Style? Working as an intern coordinator, I met a lot of young women who didn't know how to dress professionally. Mini-dresses with cardigans, heels that were too high, slits that were too high...all were common place. But it wasn't their fault, so few brands make clothing that caters to women with professional jobs, but they still market their wares as if they're appropriate.

Like me, you are an anonymous blogger. Do you feel that maintaining separate "blog" and "real life" identities has hindered your success in any way? I'm less anonymous than I used to be, but it certainly has hindered the growth of my blog. Almost monthly someone tells me that I need to be my brand and sell an aspirational life. Sometimes I think there must be a happy middle ground, but I'm uncomfortable selling my life like it's a commodity.

[pullquote]Wonder what a lobbyist actually does? Check out my post, A Day in the Life of a Lobbyist.[/pullquote]One thing that distinguishes Capitol Hill Style is the frequency of high-quality content. How in the world do you manage to be so consistent in terms of quality and frequency while also balancing your "real life," first as a Hill staffer and now as a law student? Well, I foolishly set the bar too high when the blog started seven years ago. I had a lot more free time then. Now, I keep it going because it's what I'm used to. There are certainly times (esp. around finals or the holidays) when I hadn't been so ambitious at the start. But it's a good outlet.

What is the future of Capitol Hill Style? Do you think you'll ever re-brand (especially now that you're no longer in DC)? I thought about rebranding last year. I bought a new domain name, came up with a new design, the works. In the end, I decided not to change it. It's a reflection of where I started, and I'm not looking to start over with a new name.

Is there anything else you'd like to share? I'm lucky to be a part of something that women find enjoyable and helpful. That's why I kept blogging when any reasonable person would have quit and started sleeping eight-hours a night. It's true that I make money from my blog, but I don't let money guide the content. The day I start posting items simply because they make me money or allow me to get a free trip or cozy up to a big brand is the day I close the doors. There are a lot of great blogs out there, and we're all trying to find the balance between making money and producing content.

Monday Morning Memo – Old Habits vs. New Habits

inspirational-quoteinspirational-quote"It's much easier to fall into old habits than to take the time to establish new ones. But once they're established, they're established. And then they replace and become as constant as the old ones." - Geneen Roth

I know we've talked a lot about habits here on the blog. How your daily habits constitute the sum of our lives and the process of implementing small changes to achieve lasting change. When I stumbled across the quote for today's Monday Morning Memo, I was particularly inspired because it reminded me that I won't always be "at war" with my old habits. As I continue to implement small changes ... increasing my water intake, reducing the amount of sugary and fatty foods I eat, striving to NOT be late all the time ... soon, these will become second nature. New habits to replace the old.

What habits are you working on?

Don’t Believe Buzzfeed – Curvy Gals CAN Dress Professionally!

Cleavage for DaysBy now you've likely seen the Buzzfeed video Curvy Girl Thoughts When Trying to Dress "Professional". (If you haven't, click the image below!)

Cleavage for Days

I would be lying if I didn't admit to having these thoughts myself at different times when trying to dress for work. But, despite what the video might have you think, there actually IS a solution to each and every problem highlighted in the video! And they don't all involve wearing a bulky scarf (although in the cooler months, that's definitely a GREAT option).

Now, we are going to IGNORE the fact that homegirl is preparing to go to an interview. Because we already know here at Curvy CEO that, when it comes to interviews YOU MUST WEAR A SUIT. (Sorry for yelling. Just had to get that off my chest.) And we are not even going to get into girlfriend's hair. (A sloppy top knot? For the office? Hell nawl.) No, we are just going to deal squarely for the issues highlighted in the video.

[caption id="attachment_9737" align="alignright" width="219"]Find a shirt that "fits" like the Lane Bryant Signature Shirt. Find a shirt that "fits" like the Lane Bryant Signature Shirt.[/caption]

  • Your boobs are playing peek-a-boo with your button-down blouse. The solution here is rather simple: wear a shirt that fits. And, in the case of button-downs (whether shirts or skirts), fit is not just about the size, but the cut of the garment. Look for pieces like the Lane Bryant Signature Shirt, which features contoured seeming and a panel to prevent any slippage.

  • You have cleavage for days. Too much cleavage showing? Another simple fix - don't show it. At all. Just don't do it. Not at the office and definitely not at an interview. You don't want to be THAT girl, constantly pulling and tugging at your top as your male co-workers let their eyes linger a little too long for your comfort. So, what's a busty gal to do? Keep this in mind - a shadow is ok, but a line is too much.
Hi Low Metallic
  • Your pencil skirt is showing ALL of your curves. Ok. This is a tough one for me because y'all know I liiiiiive for a pencil skirt. But when it comes to a more conservative office environment, you want to conceal your curves as much as you can -- you don't want to be a distraction, after all *wink* So, I would recommend wearing a blazer that's a little on the longer side, skimming over the hips. Maybe a boyfriend blazer, maybe something a little more fun like this High/Low Hem Metallic Lace Zip Front Jacket.

Well there you have it! Need more guidance on office dress for young professionals? Click here for inspiration!

Four Reasons Why You MUST Attend the Ubiquitous Hair & Health Trade Show This Weekend!

Event LogoEvent Logo

What are YOU doing this weekend? I will be at the 2015 Ubiquitous Hair and Health Trade Show at the Convention Center in Downtown Washington, DC! I had a ball last year and even scored an interview with "Dr. Hair" about natural hair in the corporate arena! Well, this year the show promises to be even bigger and better. Here are FOUR reasons why you should make plans to attend!

1. It's a product junkie's dream! Last year, I nearly overdosed from happiness as I pored over tons and tons of products from both new and established brands. I stocked up on my staples and tested out new products. With the event now happening an even bigger venue (i.e., the DC Convention Center), I'm absolutely GEEKED about the opportunity to discover a new set of hair goodies!

2. It celebrates ALL hair textures! In contrast to other types of hair events targeting women of color, the Ubiquitous Hair and Health Trade Show embraces every hair type. Whether you rock your natural curls; keep your tresses fried, died, and laid to the side; or live for braids, wigs, or weaves, you WILL find something to suit your style!

3. Celebrities galore! As you can tell from my Instagram feed, there were a ton of celebs at the trade show last year. This year, Kim Kimble and Chante Moore will be back along with one of my favorite artists, Ledisi!


4. Your favorite bloggers will be on the scene! If you live in the DC metro area, you've likely seen the faces of my BLM blogger boos Ty Alexander ofGorgeous in Grey, Nicole Waters of NapturalNicole, and Christine St. Vil of MomsNCharge on buses and flyers all over the city. Well, these ladies will be on the scene to chat it up with their readers and celebs alike. Oh, and I will be there, too!

Now the question is, will I see YOU there???

Buy your tickets here!

Monday Morning Memo – What Are You Thinking About?

inspirational-quote"Life consists of what a person is thinking about all day." — Ralph Waldo Emerson

The other day I was in one of my moods when I said to myself, "If all you're thinking about is what you DONT have, what you MUST change, what is annoying or upsetting you, you are in for a pretty miserable life." Yeah. That helped me straighten up pretty quick. *lol*

What are YOU thinking about these days?

Shop Your Salary – The Leopard Print Maxi

ShopYourSalaryShopYourSalaryY'all know I lurve an animal print. And, as far as I'm concerned, the maxi dress is a girl's best friend - whether she's plus-size or otherwise! So, for today's installation of Shop Your Salary, we're looking at dresses that combine these two fashion favorites!

THE CEO [caption id="attachment_9706" align="aligncenter" width="309"]Vince Camuto 'Tribal Leopard' Print Sleeveless Maxi Dress  - $134Vince Camuto 'Tribal Leopard' Print Sleeveless Maxi Dress - $134[/caption]

MIDDLE MANAGEMEMENT [caption id="attachment_9707" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Vince Camuto Plus Plus Size Sleeveless Leopard Maxi Dress w/ Hardware - $69.99 Vince Camuto Plus Plus Size Sleeveless Leopard Maxi Dress w/ Hardware - $69.99 [/caption]

(Yes, I do love Vince!)

ENTRY LEVEL [caption id="attachment_9708" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Studio One Animal Print Maxi Dress in Neutral/Black - $49.99 Studio One Animal Print Maxi Dress in Neutral/Black - $49.99[/caption]


I Want to Get Away: An Interview with Gabrielle of “Black Girl Fly”

This last year has been one of adventure for me as my personal travels have taken me across the country and even across the globe! In looking for resources to help me in navigating my journeys, I was so delighted to stumble across - a blog dedicated to "women and girls who travel in color!" It is now one of my FAVORITE blogs and can boast of an amazing Facebook community that is more than 1,000 members strong! Recently, I had a chance to interview the blogstress herself, Gabrielle, to share a bit about her journeys around the world and how you can get in on the fun too!
Black Girl Fly Logo
Tell me about your blog, is my heart and soul. I remember being in Costa Rica back in May and looking through all of my photos from my travels and thinking of how much I've changed because of my solo travels. I was sitting in my room, thinking of a way that I could share my journey, my growth. BlackGirlFly was initially a private blog focused on my solo travels abroad as a plus size black woman. It is now focused on telling the stories of black women globetrotting the world together, it's truly a sisterhood that is 1,170 members deep currently.

What inspired you to start traveling internationally? In all honesty, waking up out of an ongoing silent battle with depression. I was bouncing from job to job, going through health issues that include a brain disorder and feeling so alone I could scream if I felt anyone would hear me. In 2012, I almost lost my mother, which made me focus on being healthy and not skinny. The end result was losing 80lbs in 8 months or so. That was my "wake-up" moment. Something about lifting weights made me lose my passiveness about life. I wanted more, I wanted to live, truly live. The day before my 28th birthday, I received my passport and I booked my first solo trip to Barcelona. I found myself in so many ways, the fear of it challenged me but conquering my fears made life at home so much more manageable.

One thing that you've addressed on your blog is the fact that you make NO apologies for "flying while fat." However, many readers of Curvy CEO still let this fear hold them back. What advice would you give them? Sis, let that go. I spent so many years apologizing for my weight and [pullquote]I spent so many years apologizing for my weight and hiding myself. Literally avoiding mirrors. The most beautiful thing about travel is that your time is so short in these amazing locations that you stop giving energy to things that distract you. You begin to open yourself up to conversations with strangers, you laugh loudly and in the midst of all of that you realize that no one is paying attention to you.[/pullquote]hiding myself. Literally avoiding mirrors. The most beautiful thing about travel is that your time is so short in these amazing locations that you stop giving energy to things that distract you. You begin to open yourself up to conversations with strangers, you laugh loudly and in the midst of all of that you realize that no one is paying attention to you. As far as the plane ride there, avoid the middle seat and pick an aisle if you worry about infringing on personal space. When I first began my travels, I cleared the air by asking my seat neighbor if he was okay. I made a quick joke about us being a bit tight (the row was filled) and his laughter cleared the air for me.

Have you ever encountered any negativity based on your race, weight, or gender while traveling abroad? How did you handle and overcome such incident? *knocks on wood* Not yet, none at all. Call me crazy but I believe you attract the energy you manifest or exude. I expect to meet good hearted people, I expect to be safe and enjoy myself. In turn, I've had a cab driver in Spain buy me a cell phone when he found out I was traveling solo. I was given beautiful Venetian masks while in Italy from a shop owner. I've even held conversations at 3am in the red light district in Amsterdam with the girls who work there. I'm not saying that this protects me 100% but I do believe the law of attraction plays a major part in not just travel, but the experiences we have in life.

What tips do you have for people who are interested in traveling more but currently lack the funds to do so? I've abandoned hotels for the moment and I've embraced AirBnB - it's truly my BFF at this point. I live for a good flight deal! Gone are the days of buying a ticket at the first price you see. I set alerts on several websites so that the MOMENT it falls, I get a message and can buy instantly via my phone. I also plan for (most) trips six months out. That allows me to put $200-$250 a check into an account just for spending. By the time the trip comes around, I have about $1,500 to spend and possible return with some to put aside for the next trip. Another thing I suggest is to sacrifice. Take a look at your daily/weekly expenses. Do you need a Vanilla Bean Frapp daily? You've bought 3 pairs of shoes this month, why? It's far more cost effective to cook at home and bring your lunch to work than it is to eat out daily - $5 a day is $140 a month, on coffee. Add another $150, that's a flight right there!

[caption id="attachment_9697" align="alignleft" width="300"]Gabrielle of BlackGirlFly! Gabrielle of BlackGirlFly![/caption]What has been the most meaningful lesson that you've learned through your travels? Everyone isn't out to hurt me. I am the product of homeschooling and losing a parent while in high school. I was an extroverted introvert. I wasn't open to meeting new people, so when old friends left my life I found myself alone and scared to allow new friendships to form. Travel changed ALL OF THAT! I'm not introverted at all anymore, I love to meet new people and to maintain those relationships. Travel taught me how important it is to have those meaningful relationships, that's my ultimate goal for BlackGirlFly actually. I want us to not just be a group you pop your head in once a month but you wake up at 2am just to see what someone just said or to check on a group member who is going through a tough time.

What has been your favorite travel destination? Barcelona! I fell so in love with that city. When I began packing to leave, I remember crying and thinking of a way to extend the trip but I was running out of money lol!

Anything else that you'd like to share? I dare every woman who reads this to create the life she's envisioned for herself. Take a deep breath and worth through it. If you are on Facebook, search for us! It's BlackGirlFly and subscribe to the blog, So many thanks to Curvy CEO for interviewing me - hope to see you on a trip!

Yes, girl, you absolutely will! And, in fact, YOU can travel with BlackGirlFly, too! Gabrielle has already begun organizing group trips for 2016. Check them out here! Thank you SO much for sharing. I know I found this really motivational and inspiring - I hope you did, too!

Curvy CEO Asks: Do You Ever Engage in “Fat Chat”?

plus size fashion model target skinny banplus size fashion model target skinny ban

From reminiscing about times that someone has called you "fat" to debating the term "plus-size", we talk a lot here about social issues relating to weight. What I'm wondering today, though, is if you ever engage in "fat chat." You know, those woeful "me, too!" types of conversations chocked full of statements like, "My thighs are soooo disgusting!" or "I wish I could lose fill-in-the-blank pounds!". Kind of like that scene from Mean Girls where each of The Plastics groans in the mirror about some perceived flaw, forcing Lindsay Lohan's character to chirp, "I have really bad breath in the morning."

While I used to do this - because, hey, who doesn't want to "fit in"....But as I've grown older, I've found it to be far less productive and meaningful. Honestly, most of the time, it's just people fishing for compliments. ("Oh, you're perfect, what are you talking about!") Even if not, I think the world would be a much better place if women (and men, for that matter) stopped focusing on "fixing" themselves and more on fixing social issues - you know, like poverty, crime, broken school systems, yada yada yada. YOU engage in "fat chat"? If so, why? You can be honest - we're all friends here :)