Wednesday, September 13, 2017

1 Dress, 3 Different Ways Collab w/ The Smiling Sweetheart (Plus Sized)

Do you ever meet someone and just know that they are going to be one of your people?  That's how I felt about Mona from The Smiling Sweetheart.  She is an amazing fashion blogger that lives in my town.  I saw her at an event and I thought to myself "I want to meet that girl!"  Sadly, the event passed by and I didn't get a chance to meet her so I did what any normal person would do and stalked her on Instagram.  After liking and commenting on her photos for a little bit, I asked her if we could meet for coffee and talk about a collaboration.  When I met Mona in person, it's like my heart sang!  She just gets me and she's so genuine and lovely!

For our collaboration, I asked if she would help me style a little black dress.  As a mom, I can't always spend a lot of money on different outfits.  I figured if I could take a staple from my wardrobe and make the most of it, that's the way to go.  Of course, as a plus sized lady my forever favorite staple is the little black dress!  If I'm ever feeling insecure and I don't know what to wear, I throw on a black dress.  It's timeless and can be dressed up or down.  I asked Mona to help me work on modernizing my accessories since a lot of the stuff I have is dated (read: very old from when I used to work outside the home.)

The base for ALL my outfits is my Lularoe Carly dress.  It is a t-shirt style dress and made of a cottony material.  It has a high-low hemline and a small pocket on the chest.  It's one of my favorite pieces as it transitions into all seasons for me.  Please head over to Mona's blog learn why she picked the accessories for each outfit!  (Here is the direct link to Mona's Collab Post.)

Let's start with a family day look!  Here is the collage Mona sent me.

Here is the look we put together.  We decided to add a hat for some sun protection.  I'm OBSESSED with this hat from Pomegranate Designs!  I figure being a food blogger makes it totally ok to wear a knife on my hat.  

Dress: Lularoe | Jacket: Old Navy | Shoes: Rocket Dog | Hat: Pomegranate Designs | Tote: Charming Charlie | Necklace: Borrowed from Mona

The next look is for going out to coffee or meeting up with girlfriends.  I think this look works for both day or night.  

Dress: Lularoe | Jacket: Old Navy | Shoes: Payless Shoes | Bag: Madison West | Necklace & Earring Set: Charming Charlie

The last look is for date night!  Normally I wouldn't wear such a casual dress on a date but I think the look really works!

Dress: Lularoe | Shoes: Simply Be | Clutch and Necklace: Charming Charlie

Huge thank you to The Smiling Sweetheart for styling me for this blog post!  She showed me different brands to shop with for plus sized items and wide width shoes.  That was super exciting! She was also so encouraging when we were taking photos and trying things on.  Everyone needs someone like Mona in their corner!  

A big thank you to Photography by Yasmeen for these AMAZING photos!  I love them all!  

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Friday, September 8, 2017

Southwest Bean Salad Featuring Jacob's Cattle Beans

Last month I was contacted by Slow Food Sacramento an organization that promotes "good, clean, and fair food for all."  They asked me to participate in a Mystery Ingredient promotion that would feature local farms.  If you know me, you know I love my local farms and farmer's markets!  I'm so grateful to live in the Sacramento area where I can buy so much food locally!  I accepted the challenge and waited anxiously for my mystery ingredient to come.

I was so excited to receive some Jacob's Cattle Beans from Elegant Beans.  I learned so much when I opened the package.  Did you know that there are beans that are almost extinct?  I only knew about nearly extinct animals.  I didn't realize that this also effected plants!  I also didn't even know that we had a local bean farm.  Elegant Beans and Beyond been farming in our area for 160 years!  

Onto the recipe!  I struggled a bit coming up with a recipe for beans since I really wanted to make a soup but it was 110 degrees outside so no one wanted to EAT said soup.  I decided to do a spin on a side dish I make that my family loves which is a dressed cucumber dish with lime and chili powder.  I used my Instant Pot (affiliate link here) to cook the beans and it was SO quick!  I was sent a cute sample sized bag of beans and I'm guessing it was a cup or so of beans?  I don't know.  I added 3 cups of water and cooked them for 40 mins and they were perfect!  No soaking, no prep work.  It was amazing!  

Here's the recipe:

3 C Jacob's Cattle Beans, cooked
1/2 a Cucumber, diced
1 Jalapeno, finely diced 
2 Ears of Corn, cooked and cut off the cob
1 cup Grape Tomatoes, halved
1/2 a Lemon
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper, Chili Powder to taste
Cilantro for Garnish 

Combine beans and vegetables in a bowl.  Dress with lemon and olive oil.  Season to taste.  Chill for at least 1 hour for the flavors to marry.  Serve with lemon and cilantro.  If you don't want heat, you could substitute the jalapeƱo for a Serrano pepper or even a bell pepper.

This is a great Meatless Monday meal since there is a ton of protein in the beans.  However, you could also serve it as a garnish to a quesadilla or other Mexican food.  This bean salad would also be great for a potluck since there's no dairy or mayo.  If you make this, please tag me in a photo!  I'd love to see what you think of it!  

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Plus Size Evening Looks with Gwynnie Bee (Mostly City Chic)

Today, I have some awesome plus size evening looks for you using Gwynnie Bee which is a clothing rental service for women who are size 10-32.  Gwynnie Bee is GREAT for evening especially if you have a lot of different events to attend.  I find a lot of evening looks to be very memorable and I tend to see a lot of the same people at the events I attend so it's nice to wear a rental so I look different in the photos.  This is just a personal preference, obviously.  You can easily wear the same dress to your events and change things up with accessories or you can just wear the same thing every time and rock it.  But if you haven't tried the Gwynnie Bee 30 Day Free Trial and you have a lot of events coming up, it's the perfect time to try it!  (I've used affiliate links in this post but as always, the opinions are my own.  Thank you for any support you show to me and my blog!)  

Eliza J Cold Shoulder Fit & Flare Dress - I love a cold shoulder right now!  I feel like it's stylish and a little sexy without showing much skin.  This dress has a great weight to it and would transition really beautifully into the fall and winter.  It has great stretch and the fit & flare cut is works well on my apple shaped body.  (PS is there are term for an Apple with thick legs?  Are Apple shapes supposed to have small legs?  I don't know.)  This dress also has pockets which I love!  It's also a lot later in the evening in this photo so sorry for bad picture.  

City Chic Mono Sheer Panel Dress- I'm OBSESSED with this dress!  In fact, I ended up buying it.  I love the black and white stripes with the flowers!  I love the sheer panel at the top!  I need to go buy some red shoes to wear with this dress and my life would be made!  I like how it pulls in at the waist. Without Gwynnie Bee, I never would have tried this dress and I'm so happy I did!

City Chic Lady Tiffany Dress- I feel like this dress is also perfect for brunch or a tea especially if you put a cardigan over it or a kimono.  The length is really conservative.  I really loved the water color print looking skirt.  Overall, I don't like this length on me since I have short legs and a longer torso.  I feel like tea length dresses and skirts make me look so short even in heels.  It's a really beautiful dress and if you are taller or just have longer legs, I think this would work well.

City Chic Scoop Nick Ponte Peplum Dress- I sent this dress back to Gwynnie Bee and it hurts my heart every time I look at the pictures of it.  I took this dress with me to Vegas and wore it to a concert and out clubbing and it was just perfect!  This peplum was in the perfect spot!  I got so many compliments on this dress!  The length is on the shorter side of what I usually wear but it was not uncomfortable.  The fabric was stretchy and suited my figure really well.  The belt that comes with it is the perfect accessory!  I really wish I had bought this dress.  I have so much regret!

MBLM by Tess Holliday Mesh Tunic and Lucky Brand Emma Crop Jean- This outfit is more a going out with the girls to the club type look which is different for me but I do it.  The model showing off this shirt is wearing a tank top under it and I didn't realize that.  I put this top on with a bra and yes, that is my bra you are seeing in the photo.  I'm not mad at it.  I'm not going to lie.  Of course, you could wear a tank under and be more conservative but this works for a night out or a date night with hubby!  The Lucky Jeans fit me really well but obviously they aren't as cropped on me since I have short legs.  The model is wearing them cuffed but I didn't like the look of the cuff so I wore them unfolded.

What kind of outfits do you wear for evening?  What are your favorite brands?  I think I need to go check out City Chic some more since I'm obviously drawn to their designs.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Back to School Shopping at Kohl's

It is almost school time for my littlest.  It's not actually Back to School for her, it's her very first year in preschool!  My boys have actually already gone back to school but they didn't really need clothes this year.  Avery, on the other hand, was VERY excited to get some new clothes for school!  Lucky for us, we got a complimentary $20 Kohl's gift card from Kohl's and Influenster for the purpose of reviewing!  (As always, the opinions are all my own.)

We live in Northern California and it is still HOT when school starts here.  Like really hot.  Like my face might melt off hot.  The only benefit to this is being able to get an amazing deal on clothes since most stores have their summer clothes on clearance.  Avery should be able to wear the summer clothes until late October.  Even then, we can layer t-shirts under sweaters and leggings under skirts to extend her clothes into fall.

For all of the clothes we got for Avery, we spent $44.36 before tax (I also got a shirt for me for $4.08) and received $10 back in Kohl's cash.  We purchased 3 pairs of shorts, 2 skirts, and 3 shirts.  On a side note, we would have spent a lot less but a certain adorable child NEEDED to have the blue flower skirt with the gold waistband even though I tried to talk her out of it.  I also tried to talk her out of the graphic t-shirts and steer her towards solids but she would not be steered.  My daughter couldn't be swayed.  I know, it's shocking.  She also refused to model any more outfits.

Here are my tips for getting the most out of your money at Kohl's:

~ Shop the clearance.   I look in clearance before anywhere else.  I know that the clearance section is where I'll find the absolute best deals.
~ Look for coupons in the mail and the newspaper and try to remember to bring them with you.  (That last part is key!)
~ Buy off season.  August is a great time to get amazing deals on summer clothes!  The black pair of shorts was only $3.57!  You can also buy bigger sizes and save them for next year.
~ Look for online coupons.  If you're like me, you'll forget your coupons at home.  You can just do a quick Google/Yahoo search for "Kohl's Coupons" and sometimes you'll luck out and find a coupon online.  In this case, I found a 20% off my entire purchase coupon!
~ Shop when there's Kohl's cash.  If you know you're going to be spending $50, shop when there's Kohl's cash so you can get the $10 back.

I'm really happy with our haul!  The colors all coordinate really well so she can mix and match outfits.  I definitely went over the $20 gift card I was given but I was super happy with the deals I got!  These are some of the best deals I've ever found on clothes!

Do you have any tips for saving money on clothes?  Leave me a comment, I'd love to hear them!

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

SuperWy Ice Cream: A Special Flavor for a Spectacular Boy

I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle Young last week.  Our kids go to Light Saber Class together and I ran into her at a filming for a commercial (more on that later.)  She is a super warm person and I really enjoyed talking to her.  After a while, she told me about her sweet son Wyatt who is terminally ill.

Wyatt is a super sweet little boy who was born with down syndrome and Autism.  He spent his first years in an orphanage in Bulgaria dealing with his illnesses and having surgeries all on his own.  Michelle Young saw a picture of Wyatt on Facebook posted by someone advocating for him to be adopted.  It was love at first sight.  The Young Family adopted darling Wyatt and made him part of their family.  Wyatt continued to have health issues and spends a lot of time in Sutter Hospital.

This year, the amazing staff at Sutter made it possible for Wyatt to spend his birthday (Jan 2) at home.  Michelle wanted to do something special for Wyatt so she called our local Leatherby's Family Creamery and asked if they had space where Wyatt could have a little bit of space away from other people to keep him away from germs.  When the family came to Leatherby's, they met the owner Matt and he gave Michelle his card telling her that he would be happy to deliver ice cream to Wyatt any time he was in the hospital.

Michelle formed a relationship with Leatherby's and last week they were able to host a special ice cream social for the patients for the first time ever!  They also surprised The Young Family by releasing a SuperWy ice cream flavor early.  Michelle had been working with Leatherby's to release an ice cream in honor of Wyatt but didn't expect it to come out yet.

SuperWy Banana Cream Pie is the name of the flavor Leatherby's created for Wyatt.  It is a banana ice cream with vanilla wafers and marshmallow cream.  It is absolutely delicious!  It is only available at the Elk Grove location for a limited time.  You can order it by the scoop at the counter or in one of the awesome sundaes that Leatherby's has on the menu.

How can you help Wyatt and The Young Family?  Go to Leatherby's and order the ice cream!  Post it to social media so more people know about the SuperWy ice cream.  Request that they make more of the ice cream and sell it in all the stores.  Michelle just wants people to know about her son.  She wants families to know that even if your situation is dire, if you keep a positive spirit you can make the very best of your days.  She truly believes that staying positive and creating a positive environment for all of her children has helped Wyatt to hold on longer.

Please send SuperWy your thoughts or prayers.  If you get the ice cream, please tag Leatherby's and tag me and I will share them on Facebook.  Let's show this Elk Grove family our love and support!

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