Flaunt Your Shoulders with the Perfect Strapless Bra!

If you have been reading this blog from the jump, you know there are two things I love the most when it comes to fashion - print mixing and off the shoulder pieces. Print mixing is my way of using the creative side of my brain, pairing unconventional patterns and prints together to create out of the box looks. Off the shoulder pieces, on the other hand, are my personal way of celebrating a body part that I was not always comfortable with. As many women do, I have stretch marks that run across my shoulders and down my back, and I spent years trying to hide these under sweaters and denim jackets in the middle of the summer. However, I have come to realize that I love my little tiger stripes - they represent growth and the perseverance of the female form. As a result, I have one too many off shoulder pieces in my closet which i wear with absolutely no regret!

Now, with off shoulder and strappy looks comes great responsibility, and the first step to nailing that shoulder flaunting look is the perfect bra. There is no faster way to ruin that effortless off shoulder look than with a bra strap that requires constant supervision to ensure that it stays in place. Ladies, I know you feel me when I say that finding the perfect strapless bra can be a struggle. Regardless of your size, finding a strapless bra that holds the girls up while providing the proper support can often times feel like an impossible task. But long gone are the days of sacrificing a look due to an ill fitting bra! Here are my 3 tips and tricks to keep in mind when shopping for the perfect strapless bra!

Shop the thirdlove 24/7 strapless bras here! the run up to a size 40 F!

Shop the thirdlove 24/7 strapless bras here! the run up to a size 40 F!

Tip 1: Try them on!

I am often times surprised about the fit of a strapless bra when I first try one on. It is easy to assume that your regular bra size should be the size you go with; however, that is not always the case. Because a strapless bra relies solely on the band as the only form of support, I actually size down in both cup and band when shopping for strapless bras. This is a comfort thing on my part because it ensures that the band is snug enough and won't slip down as I go about my business. as well, the smaller cup helps add that "push-up" look that sometimes lacks in a strapless bra, making sure the girls are good and taken care of!

Tip 2: Quality counts!

I've said this time and time again - invest in your bras! Your bras are the one area of your closet that you do not want to skimp on because splurging on a bra that fits well and is contructed with the best materials will ensure that you get what you paid for. Never sleep on the importance of having great support under any look you put together - putting quality first will ensure that you nail each look every time!

Tip 3: Do your research!

Believe it or not, there are different types of strapless bras and they are each contructed to serve different purposes. Bandeau or tube, under wired push ups, bustier or long lines, silicon and even strapless bras with removable straps are some of the different variations of strapless bras to choose from. Yes, this can be overwhelming for anyone like me, who panics at the thought of menus at the local Boston Pizza; but, if you know exactly what you want from your strapless bra purchase, the experience becomes far easier. Being prepared and researching these different types of strapless bras is an important tip to rememeber at all times!     

Now that you are all set and ready to find that perfect bra, here is a list of my current off-shoulder faves to flaunt those shoulders in!

My Zaful "Denim Bikini"-Inspired Summer Wishlist

Summer is finally in the air and all I can think about is beefing up my bikini and beach wear wardrobe. Zaful is a great place to start when looking for the perfect underwire bikini or a funky option like their amazing denim bikini! I was so inspired by all the summer ready goodies by Zaful that I just had to share my top 5 Zaful pieces that will get you ready to glow this summer!

1. An underwire bikini in a funky print!

Color Block Halter Plus Size Bikini available up to a size 5XL - shop HERE!

2. The perfect boohoo beach dress to slay in!

Three Quarter Sleeve Cold Shoulder Dress in Deep Blue available up to a size 3XL - shop HERE!

3. A cut-out one-piece for those photo-op moments!

Plus Size Cut Out Color Block Swimwear in Black available up to size 4XL - shop HERE!

4. Tropical themed shorts to show off those thick thighs!

Pineapple Embroidery High Waisted Denim Shorts in Light Blue - available up to size XL - shop HERE!

5. The most angelic cover up to elevate your beach game!

White Pocket 3/4 Sleeve Trench Coat in White available up to size 2XL - shop HERE!

Summer is the perfect season to go out and flaunt your curves. With this list alongside the many other plus size beachwear items available at Zaful, you can tackle this coming season with goddess-like confidence!

This is a sponsored post; however, all thoughts and ideas are my own.

1 Jumpsuit Styled 3 Ways

What do you get when you take one perfect Addition Elle Spring piece and give it to three women? You get 3 completely different looks that show diversity in fashion! I love the fact that fashion is so personal and can be interpreted in a variety of ways. I appreciate how this gorgeously minimal jumpsuit from Michel Studio is used to put together three drastically different looks on three different body types, acting as a blank canvas for everyone to play with. This speaks to the fact that everyBODY has the right to wear whatever they want because style is an embodiment of how you utilize pieces, not necessarily the piece itself!

Before I dive into how each of us styled our looks, I have to say that if you do not already own this jumpsuit, you need to stop what you are doing and head to the closest Addition Elle store.. now! This has to be one of the few universally flattering pieces I have come across in a long time. From the lightweight fabric to the fit-and-flare inspired silhouette, this jumpsuit hugs all our curves unapologetically. In my images, I am wearing my true size (size 20 and I am 5’9), however, I could easily have sized down for a more body-con look. This excites me to no end because that means I can choose what fit I want in order to create a different look each time!

I would highly recommend you size down for a more tailored, waist defining, Beyoncé booty inspired look (aka freakum dress vibes); however, I decided to keep this jumpsuit on the more flowy side because it added to the festival look I was going for. My initial inclination when I first saw this jumpsuit was to dress it up with a fitted blazer vest and stiletto heels, but I ultimately decided to take this jumpsuit the other way. I waned to prove that a formal piece like this has the ability to be used in more casual settings. Adding an off the shoulder, ruffle sleeved blouse under the jumpsuit still lets the shape of the jumpsuit shine through while also adding a boho casual touch. I played with the idea of adding a belt, but decided to accentuate my waist by tying a floral embroidered military jacket around my hips instead. Paired with a pair of platform sandals, this look takes me straight to Coachella evenings!

Next up, read about how Lynn and Kimberly, wonderful YYC babes that work at Addition Elle, put their personal style forward in their looks!

"It's not hard to style this amazing Michel Studio jumpsuit in so many ways!" - Kimberly

It's not hard to style this amazing Michel Studio jumpsuit from Addition Elle in so many ways! It's already has such a nautical feel to it, so I played off that by adding red accents. Wide red belt to accentuate the waist, red pumps to show off the cropped leg, and a bangin' red lip. Added a silver choker as I'm obsessed with chokers lately.  The second look with the Love and legend floral white denim jacket would be my more casual, weekend look. (Because the jumper is that comfy!) I would add a white ked or converse shoe to finish it off.

"I'm a strong believer in incorporating beautiful lingerie into fashion, not just covering it up" - Lynn

I chose the white denim and white shoes for the nautical feeling and because I love the contrast against the navy. I picked the Ashley Graham grey lace bra as it gave a really pretty and delicate touch to the neckline. I'm a strong believer in incorporating beautiful lingerie into fashion, not just covering it up, and so many of AG's pieces allow us to do just that. And I chose the scarf as this cropped one piece has a real retro feel to it and the scarf ties into that look for me.

 
So there it is! Three completely different looks styled using one jumpsuit! I would love to see how you style yours so please tag me in your images and use #mycurvesslay! I'd love to share your looks too!
Huge thanks to Kimberly (@kimberlydawn2186) & Lynn (@lynnmariedd) for being a part of this post!

Blush & Sheer with a Side of VBO

Lace Mesh Kimono - Forever 21 Plus | Blush Bodycon Dress - Forever 21 Plus | Single Strap Block Heels - Torrid

I woke up with a profound appreciation of my belly. Weird, right? My belly and I, we have a love-hate relationship. I spent a majority of my life in shape wear and corsets hoping to achieve that flat stomach that was all the rage under those body con dresses. But since starting this blog - which I owe so much of my new found confidence to - I've slowly started falling in love with her. I used to cringe when my belly was touched in any capacity, shrinking away from any aknowegedment of something that was literally a part of me; however, I'm getting better. I love it when my belly is rubbed, told she's beautiful and worthy. So here are a bunch of images of me in a body con, sans shape wear and corsets, proving that my body is deserving enough.  

For all the haters that will inevitably surface as a result of this post, I'll catch you in my comments and DMs 🙃.

My Spring Colours

Spring is finally here! After months of darkness, cold weather and endless supplies of dark tones, the season of rebirth and new life is finally upon us. The warmer weather welcomes brighter colours and playful prints into our day-to-day wardrobes leading us to ask ourselves what our go to Spring hues are. As always, Pantone is always the place to start when looking for your season's palette, so I headed over and pulled together six hues that range from pastels to bold tones to set the stage for my Spring looks!

My Spring colour palette incorporates both warm and cool tones. It is a major misconception that cool hues, such as Lapis Blue and Kale pictured above, are reserved only for cooler seasons; however, these cool and vibrant hues deserve a chance in your closet this Spring. I like to use these cool tones as neutrals during the warmer months, acting as vibrant bases to build colourful and inviting looks. In my opinion, these six colours remind me of the bright colours found within the Santorini coast - vivid blues, playful oranges and a myriad of textures and patterns. I've taken these six colours and created "His & Hers" looks that reflect my Spring colour palette, playfully named "Santorini in the Spring". This was a fun little project that challenged me to think about putting together outfits that not only reflected these colours but complimented each other at the same time. As well, putting together a male-look is way outside my comfort zone, but with inspiration from Bonobos' Spring lookbook, I was able to put together a look that exudes Spring vibes.    

My "His" look is all about the pastels in my colour choice. I have paired a simple button down shirt in a gorgeous Pale Dogwood shade - yes, men can wear pink too! - with a fitted blazer jacket in the neutral navy. Alongside some khaki shorts, understated Vans and a leather strap watch, this look is all about that laid back, European island lifestyle. Being the pattern-loving individual that I am, I knew I had to add some pattern to the look so I opted for two small scale prints. The floral bowtie adds interest while also playing up both the pale pink and navy blue on the top half of this look. The dotted pocket handkerchief plays up the tan hue in the shorts while the bold Flame trim adds vibrancy, tying into the "Hers" look below!

Sidetone - I put together this look with a specific friend of mine in mind. This individual shies away from colour but loves the classic casual-meets-formal aesthetic. My way of sneaking colour and vibrancy into this look without throwing him off was through subtle accents such as the pocket handkerchief trim and the pink within the bowtie!

My "Her" look is influenced by the bold and rich colours found in my Spring palette. Dresses and peep toes are one of my favourite parts of this new season - it is a celebration of finally being able to show a little skin after a winter filled with layers. Victorian inspired pieces are all the fad for Spring 2017, which includes playful ruffles, empire waists and sheer layering. This gorgeous yellow dress exudes all the vibrancy of Spring while keeping the Victorian romanticism that will be prevalent this season. Paired with a floral patchwork structured tote (which I need in real life) and multicoloured chandelier earrings, this look is right out of my colour-filled Spring wardrobe. In order to pull everything together, I utilized the cool blue tone as a neutral in this belted trench and added some peep toe strapped booties in a tan colour, reflective of the "His" palette. As a sucker for watches, I found this beautiful dainty watch in the Pale Dogwood hue, adding softness to the look. I decided to not add a necklace because I wanted the Victorian neckline, ruffled sleeves and high waist details to standout as a focal point in this look!

So here you have it - my take on Spring colours for this 2017 season. I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback so feel free to comment below!!

This is a sponsored post; however, all thoughts and ideas are my own.

Fluffy in YYC

Finessin' Custom & Insulated Windbreaker - Flaws of Couture | Black Fishnet Thigh Highs - Torrid Chain Choker - Aldo Accessories | Zalecien Gold Hoop Earrings - Aldo Accessories | Beatrice Heel - Shoedazzle

Finessin' Custom & Insulated Windbreaker - Flaws of Couture | Black Fishnet Thigh Highs - Torrid Chain Choker - Aldo Accessories | Zalecien Gold Hoop Earrings - Aldo Accessories | Beatrice Heel - Shoedazzle

Inspired by Toronto's Fluffy, Sasha of Flaws of Couture, this photo project is an ode to all the fluffy boss baddies out there on their grind. This is a celebration of my body, not allowing societal body standards to influence the way I conduct myself and finesse the hustle. I will leave the text in this post to a minimal because these images speak for themselves - my strength and ever evolving love of my body shining through. Big ups to the all fluffy individuals around the world - you aren't alone!

Huge thanks and shout outs to Katrina Ramsvik (@ramsvikreativ) the genius behind the lens!

Carmakoma Launches Spring '17 Collection "Diversity is Beautiful"

Hello lovelies! I have some exciting news to share with you all! Carmakoma, a feminine brand that salute women’s beautiful curves in designs with attitude, modernism and functionalism, has launched their Spring 2017 collection and it is all about celebrating the beauty in diversity! Beauty comes in many forms, and Carmakoma believes women should be proud showcasing exactly who they are. With our “Diversity is Beautiful" campaign, Carmakoma wants to widen the stereotypical female beauty ideal and take responsibility in a fashion world where this “ideal” leaves many women out.

The campaign does minimalist plus size styling like only Carmakoma can. I absolutely adore all the clean lines and androgynous silhouettes that are often hard to find in the plus size fashion world. You might also notice a familiar face in this Spring 2017 campaign – the ever bodacious Brazilian plus size model, Fluvia Lacerda, is the campaign’s model and ambassador. Fluvia has already left her mark in the fashion world as the first plus-size model on the cover of the Brazilian Playboy Magazine. She has also been featured in Italian Vogue and is followed by over 360,000 people on social media, including myself! 

The purpose of Carmakoma’s "Diversity is beautiful" campaign is to showcase women's diversity and the beauty in that diversity. Join in on this movement through social media and celebrate all the diverse ways we are beautiful by using the hashtag #diversityisbeautiful! I don’t know about you all, but I cannot wait to get my hands on a few of these new designs! You can shop Carmakoma's Spring 2017 collection here!

I Can be Plus Size & Active at the Same Time

Nola Pop-Art Printed Short-Sleeved T-shirt - Addition Elle | Nola Reversible Pop-Art Cropped Legging - Addition Elle

I’ve always been big. Seriously – I didn’t get chunkier as I grew up nor did puberty hitting make me look the way I do. It is simply who I am – thick and all. This was a reality that I fought tooth and nail for a majority of my life to deny. I would go on insane and unhealthy diets, starve myself and sign up for gym memberships that no teen should ever have done. I worked so hard to distance myself from my own body, believing whole heartedly that the way I looked and how much I weighed played a significant role in how good a person I was. This led to me burying who I was, hiding behind the “outgoing fat girl” facade all through my young life. On the surface, this facade may seem bad, but this is the reason I decided to go out and get active. I found that no matter my size, if I did well in a sport, I was accepted. So, I joined every team, tried out for every intramural group and pushed myself to be the best in order to gain the acceptance I so desperately needed.

Looking back now, as a young adult who is fully comfortable with her body, a part of me is grateful that I tuned to sports to help combat my body image issues. I understand now that the intention behind it was completely wrong, but my experiences made me strong and kept me fit. I could have easily fallen into a dark place and harmed myself like many young girls facing the same issues as I, but with the support of my parents and a home life that was filled with active individuals, I learned pretty early on that my weight was no excuse for leading an unhealthy lifestyle.  

Fast forward to today, to an Inemesit that is sure of herself and loves her body. By all appearances, one would think that these body image issues I had as a young teen are in the past, but that is so not true. I face body image issues everyday as a result of unrealistic body ideals forced upon us by the media and the fashion industry as a whole. The only thing that has changed is my ability to filter out this noise and find mental stability in how I deal with these external pressures. I was doing really great, opening up about my weight and even sharing my fitness journey through social media. I really wanted to put up videos of myself working out to show that size and weight have no effect on how active a lifestyle you can lead. I thought that being so raw and open would help inspire women that looked like me to go out and be active without fear of being judged. This all came to a halt, however, when I started to receive hateful comments and direct messages regarding working out as a plus woman.

The same individuals who were constantly ridiculing me for promoting an "unhealthy lifestyle" were the same ones who condoned me for working out and sharing my fitness journey. I received messages that made fun of me, asked me to stay away from gyms and told me that my body was not the right type of body to be working out. These were messages I had expected from simple minded individuals and, although they hurt, they were bearable. The real issue arose when I was shamed by plus size men and women. I was viciously attacked for not loving my body and wanting to alter it by losing weight. I was told that I could not be body positive while also being open about going to the gym and being active. This ridicule really hurt and drove me to shy away from working out. I stopped training and refused to post any videos of myself working out because I didn't want to be a walking contradiction. I started to slip into unhealthy habits, my sleep suffered and I generally fell into a really dark place at the end of last year because of the hate I was receiving from a community that I had worked so hard to support.

It has taken me a while to come back from that but seeing other plus size influencers like Madeline Jones, Editor-in-Chief of Plus Model Magazine and Chanté from Everything Curvy and Chic openly share their fitness stories helped me gain back my confidence. I've started going back to the gym, eating well and paying more attention to my mental state. I am still not quite at the point where I am comfortable enough to share my fitness journey outwardly via social media as I am still apprehensive of these negative comments; however, it is my goal to reach that point by the end of the year.

Being active as a plus size woman comes with so many barriers and hurdles but I am forever grateful for brands like Addition Elle that help take away some of the stress that comes with finding workout gear in our sizes. I used to work out in dark tones and over-sized t-shirts, hoping to draw attention away from my body, but I have found that working out in gear that has bright colours and fits me properly has actually worked to increase my confidence while in the gym. The bright colours and fun prints give me the motivation I need to roll out of bed and hit the gym every morning and working out is always fun when you feel good doing so.

If there is one take away I hope to share with this post it's that we are only human. Your fitness journey is yours alone and even when negative comments and influences reach you, sticking to your journey is all that you can do. This stigma surrounding plus size women being unable to lead healthy lifestyles is outdated and untrue. In my opinion, being active is a state of mind and has no real reliance on what you look like - it is all about making smart decisions and choosing a routine that works for you. I was shocked to receive backlash from both straight size, fat-shaming individuals as well as plus size, body positive bullies but I have now come to realize that this is simply a reality that we live in. I will try to keep being positive and pushing to break down these stereotypes while always remembering that I may slip and fall at times.

 

Well Dressed | "Young, Black & Well Dressed" - A Photo Series

photos by Ayo O. Balogun (@aobyyc)

"Well Dressed" is a celebration of Black excellence, an outward rebellion against stereotypes. Young, Black individuals have the capability to not only dress well, but be fashion icons and style trail blazers in the communities we occupy. Our influence will no longer be silent and we will effect change in a way only we can - through style.   

Thank you to all the Young, Black and Well Dressed individuals that participated in this shoot - Andel (@andeljoseph), Sadiq (@styledyyc), Anais (@lanaaarose) and JP (@jpchanna_). You are all stylish, bold individuals who are sculpting the landscape of Calgary. And to Ayo (@aobyyc), the photographer who helped bring the ideas and concepts to life, MAJOR thank you! None of this could even be remotely possible without your hard work and undying support.

Well Dressed may be the last in the series, but this is only the beginning. The Young, Black and Well Dressed movement will continue influencing thought, driving discussion and creating a safe space for Calgary's Young, Black and Well Dressed population to thrive creatively.

Addition Elle Launches Their First Bridal Collection!

Ladies, I have some seriously life altering news to share. Addition Elle, one of my all time favourite brands, is launching their first ever bridal collection on February 19th! I was lucky enough to get a little sneak peak of the 5 different bridal styles Addition Elle will be offering, and I must say, they are stunning. Although I still have some time before finding Mr. Right and jumping the broom, I am constantly inundated with questions from you all regarding plus size wedding gowns. Addition Elle not only listened to their customers and provided affordable wedding dresses ranging from size 12-24, the designs are romantic and mirror the latest trends.

One of my biggest qualms I have when it comes to plus wedding gowns is that they often times leave style out of the equation. The dresses by Addition Elle are elegant and classically romantic, two design train of thoughts that are often forgotten when catering to plus size brides. The collection is adorned with delicate lace and classic jewels making each piece timeless and unforgettable. Each dress is designed with standout detailing such as empire waist silhouettes, beautiful lace belts, flirty off the shoulder cuts and flattering midi lengths. 

Addition Elle bridal collection, which starts at $240-380, will be available exclusively online at additionelle.com as of February 19th, 2017!

Black | "Young, Black & Well Dressed" - A Photo Series

I am black, not because it is trendy or because I want to surf on the latest “urban” wave. I am black because that is who I am. I was born black, was raised black and will die black. I do not need to seek out external validation to truly appreciate who I am and to understand the strength of all the black men and women who came before me. My black doesn’t rely on the coke bottle figure, Addidas tear-aways or bamboo earrings. My black could care less about fitting in or conforming to what society thinks black is. My black embraces me in the darkest of moments and replaces the crown I often times forget my heritage has blessed me with.

Black is courageous. Black is powerful. Blackness endures.

I am consciously black and I navigate the world as such. I am proud of my black, but that does not mean I am blind to the adversity that comes as a result of my melanin level. Where I see strength and beauty, most see a statistic. My skin evokes a level of discomfort in those around me, creating an exclusively inclusive world. The tight polite smiles, condemning stares and constant stench of white guilt make up the sound track to my daily life. It would be easy to crumble under the negativity that I receive solely based on the level of a certain pigment my skin produces but I refuse to let those thoughts invade my headspace. I am rooted deep enough in my black to never waiver or fold.    

Being black is far more than a state of mind - it is a state of being. Black girl magic is a reality, allowing me to celebrate my melanin laden queens at every turn. My black is personal to me, a tapestry of the experiences that I have lived. My black cannot compare to your black and your black cannot be compared to another's because by it's very definition, being black is an internal struggle that bears the fruit that is you. When we stop trying to draw parallels between our back and embrace the fact that blackness is a fluid creature, we, together, will become unstoppable.

Black, a five letter word the sends fear and hatred down the spines of those around us - but, isn't it time that this word regains it's truth? Isn't it time to reclaim this word, shouting it out every chance we get? Isn't it time we broke the stereotypes, taking back our culture - the same culture they condemn in one breath but replicate and profit from in another? 

I dedicate this post to all my black King and Queens, those still with us and those taken from us too soon.

Thank you to Andel (@andeljoseph) for helping me tell this personal story of my black struggle and to Ayo (@aobyyc) for capturing my thoughts. 

Statement Stripes with Fashion Nova Curve

What You See Is What You Get Dress in Red/Burgundy - Fashion Nova Curve

I'd like to start this post off by saying this is not sponsored. I purchased this Fashion Nova Curve item with my own money so all opinions are my own and are unsolicited.

I was extremely excited when I first found out that Fashion Nova, a celebrity ladened brand that is a one stop shop for deep Vs and crop tops, launched a curves section. I am a huge believer in the fact that every body type deserves access to sexy, on-trend pieces and Fashion Nova Curve has not shied away from providing this to it's consumers. My personal style tends to fall away from body cons and risqué cut-outs and, instead, leans towards oversized, menswear inspired cuts, making fashion Nova Curve a little outside of my comfort zone. But I decided to take the plunge anyway and see how the new curve pieces measured up! 

I opted to go with this striped dress in anticipation of stripes' major comeback in the S/S 2017 season. On the site, this dress is advertised as a midi dress but, in reality, it is a mini. This may partially be due to the fact that I'm 5'8 and decided to rock this dress with my 3 inch chunky Spice Girls boots but the fact that Fashion Nova Curve's sizing runs small is probably the biggest contributor. I am usually a size 1X/2X depending on the brand but I did some research into the band before ordering and found that ordering a size up would be best. The 3X fit well but I found that the measurements around the arms and the overall length were small and short for me. I would highly recommend sizing 1 or 2 sizes up if possible as the brand is definitely a junior plus fit, similar to Forever 21 Plus.

I was pleasantly surprised in terms of the overall quality of the piece. For the affordable price point, I was expecting a shady, Ali Baba-esque item with poor stitching and no attention to detail; however, this dress was lined and the sweater-like quality of the material made it very wearable. All-in-all, I would give Fashion Nova Curve my stamp of approval and I will be shopping there again in the near future!

Young | "Young, Black & Well Dressed" - A Photo Series

photography by ayo B. (@aobyyc)

“Young, Black and Well Dressed” is a photo series and small project that I have been working on since last month. After posting a style collab image on Instagram with the caption “Yong, Black & Well Dressed” that garnered a lot of positive interest and feedback, I decided to explore these three words more in depth. I realized that the positive outpour over both the caption and the image said a lot more about the social climate we find ourselves in today than the actual image or words themselves. Seeing an image of two young, black individuals in fine attire within a predominantly Caucasian city created enough of a shake in the overly negative images of Black people we are constantly fed to create a disruption – a disruption I was all too happy to continue causing.

“Young, Black and Well Dressed” is my way of showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter, Black Girl Magic and all other pro-Black movements around the globe. It is my way of outwardly expressing the disdain, pain and exasperation I feel on a daily basis when I see my people, the Kings and Queens of history, facing the same prejudices we have been facing since the turn of time. It is clear that I am not alone in this struggle – the countless number of marches, speeches and public upheaval that has flooded nations both near and far speak to humanity’s current state of mind. This photo series is for every black girl who speaks up in her science class and every black boy who decides to learn to play hockey because they are the ones who keep the dream alive. 

Part I of the series, “Young”, is all about perspective. The world can be such a dark place and there is a never-ending stream of negativity blasted at us in various forms. I often find myself retreating within myself, the one place I know I can find solace to make sense of all that is happening. This leaves me feeling isolated without a sense of hope for the future. I age 50 years for every minute I spend watching the news headlines. I walk through life heavily, the weight of the world slowing me down every step of the way.

“Young” is my way of recapturing my youth, finding colour in the darkness and celebrating the fact that we are a pivotal generation. We are the generation that can no longer sit idly by as the injustices of the world happen around us. We are the young bloods who question everything, demand to be heard and fight relentlessly for what we believe in. We have been called entitled and privileged but, to me, that just means we are curious and empathetic, sharing in the collective storm cloud that has rolled through into our world. 

I don’t understand why people fear an individual who is proud of their Black… well maybe I do. It’s because ignorance is no match for resilience and oppression is no match for the human heart. “Young, Black and Well Dressed” is my small way of showing my pride.

Spring 2017 Trends To Look Out For

I know it may seem far away, but the Spring season is right around the corner! This season is an important one because it sets the tone for the rest of the year’s fashion trends. Spring fashion can be interpreted as a celebration, opening the creative doors for all of our inner fashionistas after months of oversized knits and cool colours. Below are my top 8 Spring 2017 fashion trends to keep an eye out for this coming season!

 

1.     Amped Up Athleisure

Athleisure is a trend that really took off during the Fall 2016 season. In 2017, look for a sexier take on this trend, including sporty separates and curve-hugging knits!

2.     Spotlight Bras

Wearing a bra as a top is pretty much a right of passage for most and this coming season, bras are finally getting the time they deserve in the spotlight! Disregard all claims that this trend is only for members of the “itty-bitty-titty-committee – any cup size is welcome to rock this trend!

3.     Garden Tea Party

As if I could ever put together a Spring trend list and not include some florals! This season, fresh florals in delicate prints will bring femininity to your favourite spring pieces, including tiered skirts and ruffled dresses.

4.     Fun Stripes

I’m always here for a bold print and Spring ’17 shall not disappoint. Stripes of all sizes are sticking around in bright hues and funky shapes. Be still my print mixing heart!

5.     Army Chic

Camouflage has quite literally taken over every rack in every clothing store across the board. Spring ’17 will see this trend grow to include oversized cargo pants and boxy silhouettes in the signature utilitarian khaki hue.

6.     Supersize My Bags

Large duffel-like bags will be your accessory of choice this season! Not only are they extremely useful (read: the perfect bag to chuck your life into), these oversized bags will add a level of casual to any look.

7.     Serious Statement Earrings

Over the top, borderline “too much” earrings are a big thing to watch out for this season. These will be the perfect way to add a dramatic punch to any look while providing the perfect selfie accessory.

8.     Grunge Groupie

This trend is all about 70’s rockstar style meets “with the band” aesthetics. Think faux leather and embellished studs with a grunge rocker twist! 

Cold Weather Couture with JORD Wood Watches!

After my last collaboration post with JORD Wood Watches, I couldn’t stay away! This is surprising not only because I am double featuring an accessory (I know.. big deal right?), but because I am usually not a watch person. Before receiving my JORD Koa and Ash Frankie Series watch, watches were not at all where my personal style gravitated towards when it came to accessories. However, I agreed to give this brand a try because the natural wood used in these unique watches appealed to my minimalist side and I thought this would be an amazing opportunity to share a brand with you, my readers, while trying to push my personal style boundaries. 

My last JORD watch blog post was an introduction to the brand, so, this time around, I have decided to style an outfit around my watch! The inspiration behind this look comes from the immense amount of snow that Calgary has gotten over the past couple of weeks. As much as I would love to stay in doors, wrapped in my fur blanket and watching reruns of Grey’s, life does not take a winter break! So, as I try to tackle life in the new year, comfort is at the forefront of my mind, leading to a closet full of cozy knits and cool tone colours.

All images by Ayo B. (@aobyyc)

My Frankie Series watch is the perfect way to pull together this entire look, adding a neutral wood tone that contrasts beautifully with the pastel blue in this Love & Legend Addition Elle Sweater Dress. To further enhance the winter tones, I decided to pair the charcoal face of my watch with silver, minimal accessories. These plain bracelets and wishbone necklace allow the watch to be a central accessory, while adding a touch of sparkle that every look needs! Finally, I decided to go with a pair of fishnet stockings, my go-to chunky Spice Girl platform boots and evil eye purse to add a touch of edge.

The feedback I have received about my watch has been nothing but positive. This praise has come from my family and friends, people I work with, and strangers who have admired the watch in passing.  So, I’ve teamed up with JORD again to bring you another opportunity to have your own watch! These watches are the perfect understated statement pieces and you can now enter to win $100 towards your next JORD purchase! But in this competition, everyone wins – with every entry being granted $25 towards a cool watch as well! The contest closes January 22nd at 11:59PM and the prize codes will expire on February 28th!

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner and the remainder of winter to get through, these artistically crafted wood watches are amazing timepieces for your significant other or as a cheeky treat yourself moment. With the options of being sized before shipment and the ability to custom engrave each timepiece, JORD watches are the perfect gift of time

This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches; however, all thoughts and ideas are my own. 

New Styles at Society+ !

To ring in the New Year, Society+ has decided to launch a Winter Clearance Sale! From January 1st until January 15th, there will be sales starting at 25% off! Don't forget to use #POPTHEBUBBLY to show off your Society+ looks!

Here are some of the New Arrivals which you can shop HERE!

Feelin' Myself

PHOTOGRAPHY BY AYO B. (@AOBYYC)

There is this huge tabu that surrounds self confidence and it baffles me to no end. In today' world where everyone wants to be body positive and proud of who they are, the moment that this becomes an outward manifestation, things turn sour. We see it all the time in the media, with Kanye being my all-time  favourite example of this. He is constantly getting dragged in the media for his unapologetic level of ego but why is that such a bad thing? I love the fact that he is so sure and comfortable in who he is that he doesn't care about being loud and proud about it! So I feel like following in Yeezy's steps (minus the blonde brows, because I don't think I can quite pull those off) and saying yes, I'm the shit. Yes, I've spent hours a day working towards a better me, learning to love myself and not being afraid to show off every curve and stretch mark. Yes I deserve to stand up and be proud of myself in hopes that others will feel empowered enough to do the same. 

This isn't about being an egotistical idiot (**cough.. Trump.. cough**) but rather, it is about being proud of who you are and showing that to the world. I've spent the better half of my young life always looking to others for that sense of confidence, but I feel that I have now reached the point where the opinions of others no longer even phases me. The absolute certainty I have in who I am negates any outside influence, allowing me to be unapologetically me. 2016 was a rough year and I have spent this month wallowing in it. My lack of creativity and drive landed me in a dark place that had me questioning a lot of what I do. I purposefully pulled back from everything, including social media, this month because the sadness, death and tension around the globe started to weigh heavily on me. And just when we all thought that we were done with 2016, my boy G. Michael left us too (RIP sweet angel). But, as with the many lows I've hit lately, surrounding myself with family was the cure. Now recharged and with a renewed sense of purpose, I'm back.

And flyer than ever. 

My 2017 mood can be summed up by one phrase: taking no nonsense and speaking my mind always. This year there will be no holding back. I will dress as I please, continue advocating for young boys and girls and anti-bullying initiatives and focus on building a better me. This should be a fun year and I cannot wait to share this journey with all of you. 

Love & light

SHOP MY LOOK!

 Nadia Aboulhosn Oversized Denim Jacket for L&L - Addition Elle | Tess Holliday - Ribbed Sleeveless Crop Top - Mblm for Penningtons | Tess Holliday - Ribbed Midi Skirt - Mblm for Penningtons | Mesh Socks - Asos | Copa Vulc Men's Skate Shoes - Adidas 

5 Last Minute Gifts to Wow this Christmas

If you are anything like me, you’ve probably left your Christmas shopping until right about now. Less than a week before Christmas is upon us, the stress of finding the perfect gift for your loved ones starts to get to you. As the queen of last minute Christmas shopping, I am here to provide you with some gift ideas to get you through this busy time. I’ve rounded up 5 last minute gifts that will ensure everyone on your nice list receives something stylish and thoughtful without ever knowing they were last minute finds!

So put away that DIY cookie in a jar project, get that extra espresso shot in your venti latte, and get ready to shop! 

JORD WOOD WATCHES

These unique watches are the perfect gift for literally anyone on your list. These beautifully crafted wood watches add a level of style and sophistication to any look, making them a versatile gift this season. With a variety of wood types and clock faces to choose from, you will be able to find the perfect gift for anyone on your list. The best part about this gift idea? You can order it straight from the comfort of your home! JORD is offering free express shipping through December 21st to ensure it gets to your loved one by Christmas! Get yours here!

KATE SPADE NEW YORK SCARF

Do you have a fashionista friend who enjoys staying on top of trends? They are often viewed as the hardest person to shop for. but I have a secret to share with you - accessories are the way to go! Accessories are open to interpretation  and can be a valuable part of any fashionista's closet, making them a great gift! My personal gift choice for the fashionistas in my life are silk scarves, like this pastel beauty from Kate Spade New York. They are a luxurious gift that many will not purchase for themselves but appreciate having! 

SOCIETY6 THROW PILLOWS

I am always one for giving gifts that are needed and useful. These throw pillows from Society6 are perfect for the loved one who just moved and needs a hand with decorating their new place. With a variety of patterns, fun sayings and sizes, you can find the perfect accent pillow for even your pickiest friend! 

MANDUKA EKOLITE MAT 4MM

We all have that one fitness nut in our lives. The one person who drags us out of bed for mile jogs at dawn or insists that we try hot yoga with them. This yoga mat by Manduka is the gift for them! Working under the philosophy that the perfect yoga mat can make a world of difference, Manduka produces high end mats that will last a lifetime - just brace yourself for more early morning yoga sessions!

FUJI INSTAX MINI

A Fuji mini instant camera is a great gift for the wanderlust driven, back pack loving, one-way ticket buying friend. This nifty little camera is the perfect travel companion, allowing your loved one to document their trips around the world. Aside from polaroids making a huge comeback this year, this gift will show that you care about you loved one's travels, helping the create a world of memories. 

This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches; however, all thoughts and ideas are my own. 

photography by Katrina Ramsvik (@k2tharam)

10 Christmas Sweaters Under $50 That'll Have You Winning this Holiday Season

Last week, my floor at work decided to do an Ugly Christmas themed day. I had all intentions of pulling through with the most ridiculous ugly sweater that I could find, but after stumbling on this adorable reindeer inspired sweater from Penningtons, I decided to take another route - the more fashionable one. As soon as I stepped out of the elevator, I realized that my sweater was just way too cute to fit into the ugly sweater theme. I spent the better half of my day being pretty much crucified for this stylish slip-up, leading me to ask myself some serious questions.

I ended up embracing the fact that I just do not do ugly Christmas sweaters! I like to add some style to pretty much every aspect of my life, and an ugly Christmas sweater day at work was no exception! Further to this fact, I came to the conclusion that stifling your personal sense of style or sacrificing the way you do anything in order to make others more comfortable is never the right decision! Embracing yourself and staying true to who you are is the best way to approach any situation - if you want to rock a cute sweater to an ugly sweater event do it! If you want to wear a floor length gown to your bff's birthday dinner, do it! Being authentically you is the best outfit anyone can ever wear! 

So this list is dedicated to all my fashionistas out there who bring style and glam to every event. We can be cute during the Holiday season without once touching an ugly Christmas sweater!

Click each image to shop!

ASOS CURVE Holidays Sweater With Bahh Humbug Sheep

ASOS CURVE Holidays Sweater With Bahh Humbug Sheep

Charlotte Russe Plus Size Singing Penguin Ugly Holiday Sweater

Charlotte Russe Plus Size Singing Penguin Ugly Holiday Sweater

Penningtons Long Sleeve Printed Sweatshirt  


Penningtons Long Sleeve Printed Sweatshirt
 

ASOS CURVE Count Down to Holidays Sweater

ASOS CURVE Count Down to Holidays Sweater

Boohoo Plus Amy Off The Shoulder Christmas Jumper

Boohoo Plus Amy Off The Shoulder Christmas Jumper

Yours Clothing Sienna Couture Black Rudolf Reindeer Christmas Novelty Jumper

Yours Clothing Sienna Couture Black Rudolf Reindeer Christmas Novelty Jumper

ASOS CURVE 'I Only Do Morning's on the 25th of December' Holidays Sweater

ASOS CURVE 'I Only Do Morning's on the 25th of December' Holidays Sweater

Penningtons Long Sleeve Holiday Sweater

Penningtons Long Sleeve Holiday Sweater

Charlotte Russe Plus Size Light Up Ugly Holiday Sweater

Charlotte Russe Plus Size Light Up Ugly Holiday Sweater

ASOS CURVE Sweater with Holidays Snowflake Elbow Patch

ASOS CURVE Sweater with Holidays Snowflake Elbow Patch

Turtlenecks & Satin Slips

satin slip dress - rebdolls | michel studio long sleeve turtleneck - addition elle | platform sock boots - newlook

There is nothing more painful than saying goodbye to your summer dresses when that first leaf falls. It always feels like I am betraying my closest friends, tiny frustrated cries radiate off them as I pack them away in favour of coats and jackets. However, this fall/winter season, a trend has allowed us to keep at least some of those slip dresses. By layering long sleeve items, such as turtle necks or knit sweaters, underneath your favourite slip dresses (satin or otherwise!), you can create a cold weather appropriate look without parting ways with your summer faves. Below is a list of some of my turtleneck and slip dress picks to help you put together your own look!