Every now and again, a new trend hits the scene that manages to combine style and comfort in the best possible way. The latest of these trends to really tickle my fancy: athleisure.
It’s a little sporty, a little fancy, and a lot perfect. The combination of athletic pieces like baggy sweats & sneakers, with more luxurious fabrics, all topped off with some bling just speaks to my soul in a way that very few styles do.
These joggers from ASOS are probably among the most interesting pieces in my wardrobe right now. I mean, faux sweatshirt arms are both the strangest and best thing I’ve seen in a long time. Like, really though… they’re super weird, but I’m kind of obsessed.
Also, they are the perfect thing for rocking with a dressy, structured crop top as an unapologetic homage to the very apologetic 90s hoodie-around-the-waist style from my teens that I wore very strategically to hide my exposed belly from a society that didn’t approve of it, and that I hadn’t yet learned to just tell to fuck off.
The sweats, this gorgeous crop top, and soft jersey longline vest are the ultimate pieces for a little fall warmth and layered style.
Paired with my beloved gold chain necklace from Ready To Stare, hoop earrings, and these sexy nude sneakers from Aldo, this look is the definition of what athleisure is all about, with the added bonus of challenging societal beauty standards as well.
Athleisure may not be for everyone, but it is definitely one of my fave fall trends! It combines all of the things my fashion loving soul likes best, with the comfort of athletic wear. These days, there are very few things I value more when it comes to how I dress, than comfort that requires no sacrifice, or limitations on style, and athleisure is definitely the business!
Sweatpants, ASOS – here
Vest, Addition Elle – similar
Crop Top, ASOS – here
Necklace, Ready To Stare – here
Sneakers, Aldo – here
A little while ago I took a brief, unplanned blogging hiatus. I had been feeling extremely exhausted, I’d been sick, and I was also dealing with some stressful family stuff as well. I kept meaning to blog, and went to bed each night with the idea that tomorrow’s going to be the day, but no matter how much I tried to convince myself, I always just ended up putting it off because something inside of me just wouldn’t let me be productive.
That’s all I thought it was… Just me procrastinating, but when I look back on those couple of months, the reality was that I was having a bit of an anxiety induced melt down. I was still functioning— going about the motions, putting a brave face on, but inside I was at the point of breaking down.
I did my best to remember to keep up with those little self-care rituals that helped keep me sane. I cooked, cleaned, took care of my kids. I took bubble baths, got my nails done, but my struggle with blogging slowly began to weigh on me… I started resenting it, because I hated the feeling of having an obligation, even if it was self-imposed.
It’s strange because, I love being a blogger. Blogging is at the top of my list of self-care activities because it makes me feel good, from getting made up and dressed in beautiful clothes, right down to the writing process, which I find calming and therapeutic… So why was I running away from it!?
The answer: because I was in denial about what I was really running from. It was much simpler to tell myself that I was taking a nap instead of blogging, rather than taking it to avoid my own thoughts, not to mention that writing would have forced me to confront myself about how I was feeling. In that moment, my only defence mechanism was to flee my own brain altogether.
You may be wondering what all of this has to to with this dusty pink/blush coloured dress I’m wearing… It’s such a silly little thing, yet it’s all I can think of when I look at these photos… My nails don’t match it.
I had purchased it (as well as in another colour) from ASOS as an attempt to rekindle my blogging spirit. I remember being excited because I had gotten my nails done in the exact same pink to match. I never shot any blog pics though. Hell, I never even wore it, and my nails grew out. Still determined, I got my refill and asked for the exact same colour again! Dusty pink nails, take two, but again, I just couldn’t make myself get dressed for a shoot. Slowly, they grew out once more and I forgot about the dress.
At some point in May, I came out of this difficult period. I had blogging obligations and had no choice but to fulfill them. Once I started back at it, the anxiety was lifted. I remembered that this wasn’t some cruel form of punishment, but rather an activity that fills me with joy!
It felt like coming home, and I couldn’t believe that for a while there, I had even debated going ghost on my followers. I had felt unable to keep the blog up, but feared the imagined humiliation of actually formally excusing myself from the community and exposing myself as a failure who just couldn’t cut the mustard.
I’m glad I didn’t, because getting up every morning, getting dressed, and maintaining the dialogue with myself that blogging requires me to uphold was what helped bring me back; and my followers, your kind words upon my return were more uplifting than you can imagine! I have once again been given the gift of being reminded of just how much support I have through blogging, and the amazing body positive community.
So even though my manicure doesn’t match my dress, I wanted to wear it as a very personal symbol of the power we all have to give another person hope, encourage them when they feel hopeless, and raise them up when they’re feeling low, and also as a reminder that anxiety and mental illness are invisible.
Coming from a person who, in the moment, when things get tough, is very guarded, and tends to withdraw into herself, you may think someone looks fine. They may smile, engage in conversation and list all the right reasons for why they’ve been acting a little differently— I’m just tired, I’ve been sick, I’ve been busy, etcetera etcetera… But it can be next to impossible to notice when those reasons begin to spill over into something more debilitating.
I was fortunate that this was just a minor bout with anxiety brought on by temporary stressors, and solvable problems that pale in comparison to those of others, but not everyone is so lucky. Not everyone has an amazing support system, or are able to recognize when it’s time to seek professional help.
So, like this dress and my mismatched mani remind me, let me remind you to be kind, because your words can have more on an impact on a person’s life than you may ever realize. Remember that someone’s struggles may seem trivial to you, but are very real to that person, so be mindful. You can never truly know how someone is feeling inside, unless they are willing and able to express it, which I can tell you honestly, isn’t an easy thing to do.
Dress, ASOS Curve – here
Shoes, Aldo – here
Bag, Louis Vuitton – here
Necklace & Earrings, Walmart – old
When I was away in Haiti last August, I managed to sneak in one one photo shoot. I never published the pictures, but there’s a reason why…
Everything was perfect—my Monif C. fringed swimsuit, my ASOS sandals, and of course, my Ready To Stare body harness…
But the beach was exquisite, as was my beautiful fat bod in that suit, and honestly, even though I wore it wrong, the chain body harness actually looked pretty amazing this way too!
So, I decided to shoot some fab pics back home in Canada, wearing it the right way this time (Duh!) with a fab Kiyonna dress from SexyPlus Clothing, to show everyone that you can definitely have some fun playing around with body chains! We’ll just keep the fact that this was a totally unintentional discovery between us, though… K?
We can also keep the fact that it took me nearly six months to get around to shooting the second half of this post… Because procrastination is also my thing…
But it all actually worked out, because the contrast between my natural, freckled skin under the golden Haitian sun, and my ultra glam look, set against the backdrop of an icy frozen lake, is truly quite amazing!
And the discovery that this body chain is much more versatile than I had ever expected was a definite bonus!
Sure, I wish I was on a beach in Haiti again right now, after sifting through my vacation photos… But at least I know I have my body chain to add some pizazz to my swimsuits on my next trip, and until then, it can look just as awesome in the snow!
Body harness, Ready To Stare – here
Swimsuit, Monif C. – old
Sandals, ASOS – similar
Dress, Kiyonna from SexyPlus – here
Boots, SexyPlus Clothing – here
Mittens, Little Burgundy – here
Bonjour !!! It’s the 16th of the month once more, which by now, you should all know, means it’s time for the French Curves Challenge – an outfit photo challenge with the French touch, created by always lovely, Vanoue, of The Curvy and Curly Closet.
If you don’t speak French, you know I’ve still got you! As always, an English translation will follow, just scroll down!!!
Il est le 16 du mois !!! Temps pour un nouveau French Curves Challenge – la collaboration entre les blogueuses francophones de taille plus, crée par la toujours belle, Vanoue, de The Curvy and Curly Closet.
Ceci marque le deuxième anniversaire du challenge, et malgré que j’ai seulement commencer à participer cette année, je suis très fière d’être ici pour fêter cette joyeuse occasion avec Vanoue et les French Curvettes!
Le thème ce mois-ci: La Dolce Vita
Je n’ai jamais vu le film italien de Fellini, mais la douceur de vivre, ou bien, la belle vie n’est pas difficile à imaginer, car la beauté de notre existance est partout autour de nous, meme si parfois, dans la tristesse et le chagrin, on ne le remarque pas.
Pour payer hommage à cette vie douce, je me suis retrouvé dans un beau petit jardin pas loin de chez moi, que j’ai probablement passé 1000 fois, sans jamais vraiment le remarquer, entouré de fleurs et de feuilles, vêtu en blanc et turquoise.
Robe, Penningtons – ici
Foulard, Penningtons – ancien (mais j’adore celui la)
And now, for my English readers!
The theme this month: La Dolce Vita
I’ve never seen the Italian film by Fellini, but the sweet life, or the good life, aren’t hard to imagine because the beauty of our existence is everywhere around us, even if at times, in sadness and heartbreak, we fail to take notice of it.
To pay homage to this sweet life, I found myself in a pretty little garden not far from my place, that I’ve probably passed a thousand times without ever really paying it any mind, surrounded by flowers and leaves, and dressed in white and turquoise.
Actually, I’ve already worn this look in one of my articles for The Penningtons Blog, but I love it so much that I wanted to recreate it for my own.
Even though the retro film is completely in black & white, I think I succeeded in capturing its essence of glamour and joie de vivre, in Technicolor.
Dress, Penningtons – here
Scarf, Peningtons – old (but I love this)
Shoes, ASOS – here
Be sure to check out all my fellow French Curvettes here!
Has this ever happened to you…? You have an event to attend, you’ve picked out a killer ensemble, and then at the last minute, it looks like it might rain, so your whole outfit game gets thrown off and you’ve gotta come up with something cute, and fast!!!
That’s exactly what happened to me while I was in New York with my husband last weekend, on the day of The CurvyCon, because being drenched in a pink tutu in the middle of Manhattan just didn’t seem like a solid plan for attending an event like this day long convention for bloggers, fashion lovers, and curvy girls alike, created by thee Chastity Garner Valentine, of Garner Style!
I did, however have a fabulous back up plan, which honestly, ended up being one of my favourite, most effortless looks yet — and even though it didn’t actually end up raining, I regret nothing!!!
I paired a great pair of dark wash skinnies with one of my fave new tees, and a fab striped blazer from Penningtons. I love how chic these three pieces looked together — you could hardly even tell that I was completely frazzled about what to wear only moments before!
With the addition of the most adorable printed espadrille flatforms from ASOS, my new Tom Ford specs, some minimalist gold threader earrings from Forever 21, a gorgeous kelly green Kate Spade clutch, and la pièce de la résistance — this freakin’ amazeballs car ring from Ready to Stare, I walked through the revolving doors of my hotel feeling like I owned the city!
Once again, we hit the streets in style with my blogger boo, of Tall Tales by Ramona O, and we grabbed brunch and got in a little photo shoot!
And check out how handsome my photographer — errr… My hubby looked!!!
After that, we hailed a cab and headed off to The CurvyCon! It was awesome to bump dimpled elbows with some of our favourite fellow plus size bloggers, models, business women, celebs like my boo thang, Sabrina Servance of Lifetime’s Big Women Big Love, and the stunning Amber Riley, best known for her role as Mercedes Jones on Glee, as well as check out showcases from some awesome brands like Fashion To Figure, Rebdolls, and the breakout line Eleven60, which, can I just say — go on now, take my money!!!
The day was full of giggles, hugs and selfies! The hubs even snapped this awesome, super awful photo of Ramona and I once we got inside! Haha! I promise you, we are not as unhappy as we look, just feeling that NYC humidity! Hehee! I had to share! 😛
Be sure to check out Ramona’s post about our NYC takeover, here!
Jeans, Penningtons – here
T-shirt, Penningtons – here
Blazer, Penningtons – sold out (wahhh!)
Shoes, ASOS – sold out, but a whole bunch of similar styles here
Clutch, Kate Spade – similar
Car ring, Ready To Stare – several styles here
I’ve been meaning to get this last one of my silver fox hair posts out to you guys, but with my new gig with The Penningtons Blog, the end of my kids’ school year fast approaching, getting ready for FFFW and The CurvyCon in New York City, and season three of OITNB finally released, life has been a bit crazy! I’m not complaining though – quite the opposite actually!
All this hustle & bustle just gives me more excuses to wear rediculously comfy outfits, and that my friends, is reason enough to smile!
Then, take that style/comfort combo and add a fun, striped bandeau from Penningtons, a fancy pair of Ted Baker flip flops, a fab beaded belt from Addition Elle, and some pretty silver jewelry, for a super chic street festival inspired look, perfect for summertime in the city!
Jumpsuit, City Chic – sold out, similar
Bandeau, Penningtons – here
Belt, Addition Elle – here
Flip Flops, Ted Baker (ASOS) – here
I’d like to start off by saying that I garbage picked a park bench last Thursday and it has filled a void I didn’t realize I had, and now my life is complete… Aside from the fact that said bench will be appearing in most of the photos you’re about to see, this information isn’t really relevant to this post… I just felt like I had to tell you. I’m still pretty excited.
Immediately after I found it and hoisted it up into my truck (as a nosey neighbour stared me down – yeah that’s right, I’m taking it!) I called my mum because I couldn’t contain my excitement. It was 7 AM and I woke her from a dead sleep… I knew I would as I dialed too, I just didn’t care. I had to share my life changing news!!!
Me: “Mum!!! I just garbage picked a bench and it’s glorious!!!” My mother (in her telltale, throaty, where-am-I, I-just-woke-up [like this?] whisper): “What time is it?”
Anyone who knows her, knows that when she’s sleeping, you don’t wake the beast… Let’s just say that in that moment she had less interest in my bench than she had the time I called her to come rescue me at 1 o’clock in the morning that time my dog got sprayed by a skunk… But that’s what moms are for – always there for you when you need saving, or feel like bragging about how awesome a scavenger you are in the wee hours of the morning.
But there was much more than just my fantastic new (well, old) bench to celebrate over the weekend!
It was Mother’s Day, a time to celebrate all those times when anyone but your mum would have just hung up in your face… And, for us, that usually means brunch with the entire gang (my mum, grandmother, aunts & uncles, cousins – the works). As any other organized outing often goes in my family, it also usually means at least one of my kids will get mad at something and either threaten to stay home, or have me threaten to leave them there, and it did, but I digress…
All the standard mom/bratty kid stuff aside (they do make it hard for us to love them sometimes, don’t they) I actually had a fabulous Mother’s Day!
I had the most delicious smoked salmon eggs Benedict, spent time with the fam, and I looked hella cute too!!!
My Mother’s Day ensemble consisted of one of my fave new dresses – this completely adorable, floral T-shirt dress from ASOS, which is actually made from a wonderfully silky material, instead of the usual jersey, which was a pleasant and unexpected surprise.
I love it’s casual style and minimalist silhouette, and it paired perfectly with my cute, eye motif, espadrille flatforms (another ASOS find).
I topped my look off with thee freaking coolest gold chain necklace and dice ring from Ready to Stare, and threw some more bling on my fingers for good measure, then I got ready to be showered with gifts for being the badass mom that I am!!!
No seriously, I hit the jackpot! My daughter made me some pretty paper flowers! I got a lovely bouquet from my middle son. My little guy drew me a picture at preschool – and I quote: “Mum, you’re the fat one.” Gahhh, I love it!!! My oldest son gave me the rare gift of shooting my blog photos without complaining even once, when I said just a few more. Like… Not even an eye roll (okay, maybe one)…
And for the cherry on top of my Mother’s Day sundae, the hubby picked me out an amazing perfume (La Vie Est Belle from Lancôme – SOOO nice) aaand, because he was looking so fresh, agreed to pose for so pictures!!! Whaaaaat!? I know right!?
All in all, I can’t complain… I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I’m incredibly thankful for my family. They’re not perfect… My kids fight with each other (and me) like cats & dogs, my mum & grandmother both have a ridiculously well-honed ability to get under my skin, and my husband most definitely has his moments where I’d rather punch his face off instead of kiss it… But I wouldn’t trade any of them for the world, and I can only hope they feel the same way about me… Fingers crossed!!!
Dress, ASOS – here
Shoes, ASOS – here
Necklace, Ready to Stare – here
Dice ring, Ready to Stare – here
Hubby’s outfit, in case anyone’s curious:
Shirt, Forever 21 – similar style
Pants, Zara – similar
Belt, Coach – here
Shoes, ASOS – here