Chapter 27/Happy Birthday to Me!

Sometimes I sit and think about the life that I have created for myself. I look back on the times and experiences that have shaped me to be the person that I am today. I also look at the people around that have given me themselves and people who came into my life, left or were removed. Life is concise, unpredictable, funny, joyful, a mess, exciting, challenging, and forgiving all at once. I am so excited to be embarking on chapter 27 with the people that are currently in my life and with God consistently having my back. In essence, I have no fears entering this year.

When I was younger (let’s say 18-19), I assumed life began at 21. I wanted to be so far in life at 21. I wanted to be done with school, married with a child, and living my perfect life. I got a rude awakening at 24 when I was just barely finishing my bachelor’s degree. Life has a funny way of humbling you. I became slightly depressed and wanted so badly to know if I was ever going to find “the one.” At 25, I figured out that I couldn’t rush life and that I should probably enjoy life more before I decide to make such big decisions. I also realized that this isn’t a test run. You really only have one life to live, and you have to make the most of it. We don’t get a second chance to use all that we have learned to make better decisions the second time around, there isn’t a second time around. I’m going to share with you the life lessons that I have learned thus far.

  • Never take a quiet moment for granted. There were moments when I realized that there was no one around for me to talk to. All the people I usually spoke to were busy, and I had to fend for myself. In those quiet moments, I learned more about me than I ever have. I was able to center myself and learned to be okay with the silence.  
  • Do WHATEVER makes you the happiest, even if that means hurting someone else. Now I’m not saying to go out and harm people or yourself. But sometimes there sacrifice in doing what makes you the happiest will hurt people. Consider feelings and act with care, but in the end, you should be most pleased. 
  • Do not rush ANYTHING, and not everything has to be on social media. Enjoying the moment and slowly moving through those said moments is super important. Enjoying each age and giving each experience the time and attention that it deserves is too important. If you’re at a concert, recording the whole show for social media DON’T! Turn the phones off, put the devices down, and just enjoy it. Don’t rush through life, I promise things will happen when they are supposed to, and that makes it even more special. 
  • Communicate EVERYTHING. I am still learning this life lesson, and I have seen what it can do when done correctly. It is so important to speak about feelings and emotions before they snowball into a more significant issue. Often times, I will avoid an awkward conversation. But after a while, I realized that I was stressing myself out twice. Not worth it, just talk about it when you feel it! 
  • Go after every single one of your dreams. I waited a long time to start my blog. But that was the best decision I have ever made in my entire life. I get to share my story, thoughts, experience, and fashion with all of you. I have many more dreams and goals that I want to accomplish this year, and I am so excited. I have never shied away from living my most extraordinary life, and every dream that I dreamt will 100% come true.

#LetsGetThroughThisTogether

Springtime Happiness

Hey Loves! I know we are not really dressing up to go outside right now, but I wanted to keep the energy light with a few springtime outfits this week. I went through my closet (and some packages that I got recently) and decided to choose the outfits or items that made me feel happy. Spring is upon us, and it is definitely starting to feel like April. It’s always raining, but the wind has been borderline disrespectful. Even though we can’t spend a lot of time outside, there is no reason we can’t pretend.

The best way that I can describe spring fashion is happy. We are done with the dark colors from the winter. We shed our heavy coats, scarves, and gloves for denim jacket (shameless previous blog post plug), lighter fabrics, dresses, and bright colors. Spring is honestly my favorite fashion season, it’s my favorite season in general and not because my birthday is in spring. Spring is starting over and breathing new life into yourself and your wardrobe. I decided to show you guys how I do spring!

Crinkle jumpsuit in color “stone” paired with blue-grey caged sandals. I was told this outfit was a very wine festival, and now I’m ready for outside to open so that I can wear this. It’s perfect for spring, the favorite is loose and light. The color is muted but can be paired with almost any color shoe. Jumpsuits are perfect for spring, especially ones like this or in a spring-type print. The beauty in wearing a jumpsuit is that it is already a complete outfit.

Floral mini dress paired with fuchsia heeled sandals. Perfect spring pattern: a mix between stripes and floral print. Although the length of this dress is a tad bit short, the colors and sleeve length are perfect. This dress has been in my closet for many years now. Which brings me to my next spring tip, wear as many dresses as possible. Maxi/midi dresses are perfect for spring weather. Pair your pretty dresses with some equally gorgeous shoes and some pastel or earth tone jewelry for a stunning spring look.

Pink floral bodysuit with distressed mom jeans and fuchsia heeled sandals. Another excellent spring pattern. Honestly, I am in love with pinks and neutral colors this year. I have a lot of dark colors in my wardrobe, and I believe it is time for a different color palette. You guys have seen these jeans so many times, but they are a staple in my wardrobe for every season. Grab a floral top, your favorite jeans, and jazz it up with a colorful pair of shoes. You can transform items in your wardrobe to whatever season necessary; it’s all about how you wear it.

Before I let you guys go, I just want to say that we are all experiencing some sort of struggle right now. We have moments of weaknesses where our mind is in a state of unrest, or we can’t relax. Normal life has ceased as we know it, and it’s pretty terrifying. Stay strong loves and be prepared for so many changes after this is all over. We all have a duty to ourselves to make sure that we are staying positive in times of adversity. We will have to resume normalcy in a new way, and that is semi-exciting. Remember, I’m here for anyone who needs to talk. You are not alone. You would be surprised at how many people are going through similar things.

#LetsGetThroughThisTogether

Springtime Favorite: Denim Jackets

Loves, my ultimate and favorite outerwear to wear in the Spring, are denim jackets. You can dress them up, dress them down, throw one on over sweats to go run your errands (quickly). I have a whole closet section for denim jackets, I’ve just been dying to wear them! I’ll probably start wearing them to the living room, to be honest. Also, denim jackets do not have to be expensive to look stylish. You can thrift a great denim jacket and style it up or buy one from almost anywhere. I recently gave a denim jacket to one of my closest friends, and she decided to paint her logo onto it, which is extra dope. They aren’t just for women either, men look great in denim jackets! It’s all about how you wear it and expressing yourself.

The easiest and probably most common denim jacket look is; denim jacket, white-t-shirt, black pants, any color shoe. Literally, this is the most natural and most effortless way to style a denim jacket. Anybody can pull it off, and it requires items you probably already have in your closet. The hardest look to pull off, in my humblest of humble opinions, is a denim on denim look. If the colors of denim (SO MANY CHOICES) are off, then the whole look can be one for the books – in the wrong way. But I will say there is no wrong way to wear a denim jacket. You can literally do anything with it even and look great.

Before I get to how I wear my denim jackets, consider this your weekly quarantine check-in. I have been attempting to do everything I can to stay sane. It is quite tricky. It’s almost like living in a nightmare that continuously gets worst. Sometimes I struggle to turn those negative times into positives. I’m living in a lot of regrets at this moment. I am regretting not experiencing more life, not spending more time outside of my home, not being “young” and spontaneous. I had just started to coordinate monthly “frates” with a friend. I spent a lot of time talking myself out things, but it’s different when you don’t have the option to go out. I hope and pray that the day will come where we can all be outside again and have no worries about getting infected or anything else for that matter. I am discovering myself a lot during this time and have ordered a yoga mat to continue the love that I felt the first time I did yoga. I know we are all struggling, but try to find as many positives as you can. Reset your life and rediscover you and what makes you, YOU. If you are quarantined with a significant other, rediscover each other. If you are isolated with family, try to understand each other and communicate. If you are isolated with your kids, spend time with them. When “normal” life resumes, don’t forget these moments. They are important. On to the jackets!

Jacket One: Medium washed denim jacket paired with loose polka dot dress and color block sandals. This is an effortless look; I threw on the shoes for a bit of color and was utterly happy with this look. I usually don’t wear tight clothing, so I felt very comfortable in this dress. Once outside opens, I’ll be glad to wear this dress solo with a more flat pair of sandals.

Jacket Two: Bleach wash denim jacket paired with plaid mini-skirt, white graphic t-shirt, and black booties. I have had this since Black Friday, and I have been waiting to show you guys. When I saw where the jacket fell on my body, I thought this would be the perfect outfit. I feel like this is a kinda casual outfit, I would probably wear it on a casual night out, maybe to a bar. Pairing lights and darks give your outfit a lot of dimensions and create an awesome break-up.

Jacket Three: The piece de resistance. Light washed denim jacket, with raw hem and FRINGE paired with distressed black jeans, black booties, black corset. Listen, honey, I saw this jacket on the Fashion To Figure website and bought it almost immediately, I didn’t want it to go out of stock! Anyone who knows me knows that this jacket screams Shanice. I love it! Instead of going crazy with the pairings, I decided to keep it somewhat muted. The jacket is already a lot. I find myself dressing like that quite often, one statement piece to complete any outfit.

#LetsGetThroughThisTogether

To Mix or Not to Mix

Last week I got really casual and personal with you guys. We discussed how to stay active (mentally and physically) during this time of uncertainty. I even went sans makeup and decided to tone down my choice of clothing to ensure the message was not misconstrued. This week, we need some positivity, and I am bringing it to you in the form of mixed prints.

When I was a kid, my parents made it a big deal that I didn’t mix prints. It would look a certain way and wouldn’t be very fashionable. In more recent times, I have noticed, and appreciated, people, mixing prints and making it look tasteful and stylish. My tips for mixing prints are relatively straightforward. You can match prints by color so that you have a similar color scheme. You can match prints by wearing one super busy print and a more muted print. You can match prints by throwing together whatever you feel like looks good. As long as you feel great in your clothes, then nothing else really matters.

For this blog post, I chose prints with similar color schemes. One because that’s what I feel like looks great on me and two because I’m still testing the mixed prints waters. Which brings me to my point this week! Loves, I know we are stuck in the house, and we really can’t go anywhere right now. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t try things outside of our comfort zone. Try to cook new food, try to do a DIY project, try a new type of workout (i.e., Yoga), try to meditate, try something! Open your mind to a new perspective and try new things. We can drive ourselves crazy at home. For me, I love being inside but only by choice. I have a whole list of things that I would like to accomplish in my home and within myself. It’s easy to get lost in a Netflix show, but when is the last time you purged your closet? I can answer that LAST WEEK! I purged my closet and am oh so happy with the results. Don’t sit around, waiting for things to stay the same. Make a change!

First Mix: plaid pants and various animals in tennis gear top paired with clear heels. I felt super comfortable in this look. The pants have zero stretch, but I made it work! I was looking for a shirt in the same-ish color scheme, and I found it perfect. I didn’t feel like I was walking around on the wacky-tacky day.

Second Mix: floral pants and blue/white pinstripe shirt dress paired with black heels. The shirt pattern is a little hard to see, but I felt like the subtleness made it easy to match the items together. I didn’t want anything crazy on my feet because I’m 5’3 ½” and these types of pants usually drag on the floor.

Third Mix: bigger polka dots with smaller polka dots paired with pink bow mules. Guys, I love this combination! I felt like a cute little thing, I’m not sure what word to use to describe it! I felt dainty, and I loved this. I feel like this is the most natural print to mix because you’re not really mixing anything at all. This is like the prints you mix when you are still afraid to mix prints. Just saying, everyone should try this.

#LetsGetThroughThisTogether

Let's Talk!

Loves, I know this is a tough time for every single person out there. We are in such a time of uncertainty, and for most of us, it’s incredibly unsettling. We are inundated with information about COVID-19, aka the Coronavirus, and most of it is scary. People are terrified about the possibility of getting it, but they are also going stir crazy at home. I didn’t want to share a blog post this week about clothing and fashion or anything materialistic. No matter how small my platform, I still have one, and I’m going to do whatever I can to encourage my followers and readers.

In this stressful time, it is essential to stay current on the news. I used to be afraid of watching the news due to the depressive stories they would report. I have been reading and watching the news slowly since the outbreak started to spread. COVID-19 is a somber subject and should be taken seriously by EVERYONE. Filter through the things you don’t want to hear and make sure you are listening to facts only. A lot of different platforms will report a lot of crap to scare you and cause panic. Listen to the experts who speak and follow the recommendations of your political officials.

Do not panic! Don’t panic-buy, do not buy 20 packs of water bottles or 40 boxes of toilet paper. We are not going to run out of that. Leave some for other people. Regardless of if we are going to be lockdown or not, grocery stores and pharmacies will still be open. Get what you need, not what you want.

Quarantining doesn’t mean you can’t go outside. You should go out and get some fresh air, walk your dogs, go for a neighborhood walk, go out into your back yards, balcony, or rooftop areas if applicable. Staying inside will give you unprecedented anxieties. The object is to stay away from other people, don’t gather, don’t’ go to high traffic places, don’t go around touching stuff, and just be extra cautious. Local parks are still open and are honestly kind of empty right now. Get outside and get some fresh air, especially while we have the chance to do so. I started working from home on Wednesday, and I have been able to walk my dog daily. Just a short walk around the block and he loves it. If you are a regular gym-goer, work out in your home. Move some furniture around and create a space. I saw someone online using household items as weights. Make it work, guys! I’m going to link some articles that I found incredibly useful.

A moment of clarity and speaking from experience. I started working from home on Wednesday. I can honestly say it is the most annoying experience I’ve ever had. I am used to having two screens and a semi-quiet office. My dog is in my face always, and so is my cat. If Chippy isn’t breathing doggy breath on me, then Milo has the zoomies for at least an hour and a half. I am afraid to go out even giving my dog walks; it’s like I’m always thinking about all the horrible things that can happen. I had to stop and appreciate all the things that God has afforded me in the past few weeks. I am still able to work, while so many others have lost their jobs. People who make their living off of customers or clients are experiencing such a crappy time. How can I complain about not having two screens, when people are losing their jobs left and right? I may have to work from home, but my dog (who I sometimes don’t have the energy to give all of my attention to when I have school and work) gets to not feel so lonely for a while. Chippy gets extra love and deserves that. I am waking up daily to food in my pantry and toilet paper! Some people lost their jobs or are experiencing food scarcity in their local food markets. I have to remind myself of the positives continually. Life isn’t as bad and could be far worst.

Thank your healthcare workers, scientist, grocery store workers, delivery people, farmers, factory workers, and all the people that are making it possible for us to continue living life almost without missing a beat. These people are working tirelessly with no breaks so that we can always have our essentials. They are putting themselves in harm’s way to ensure that the people have what they need. Be insurmountably grateful.

Remember, isolating yourself isn’t just for your health. People can carry this virus for a while before showing any symptoms. And although younger people are surviving this virus, it doesn’t give you the right to go out when you’re sick and possibly infect someone who is older or who has underlying health issues. Isolate yourself so that you’re not spreading anything. Wash your hands frequently, disinfect frequently, and keep the faith. It may take a while, but this too shall pass.

#LetsGetThroughThisTogether

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/taking-care-of-your-mental-health-during-covid19-outbreak#Get-a-grasp-on-anxiety

https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/mental-health-considerations.pdf?sfvrsn=6d3578af_2

Fashion To Figure, I Love You

As a plus-sized woman, even a woman in general, I’m always on the hunt for the next best thing in fashion. I like to stay current, so I follow the best bloggers, the most relevant fashion lines, and I have literally downloaded every single app. I am always looking for something to wow me and something that I can easily create outfits in my head for. Side note: I should probably do a blog post where I style things, I couldn’t easily create an outfit. Anyway, I stumbled upon Fashion To Figure quite a few years ago when I was looking for an outfit for my aunt’s wedding. I followed them until they closed all the stores and then was super excited when they reopened them under New York and Company.

FTF is an exclusive plus-size brand. They got from a 0 to a 4 or 5 for specific clothing and up to a 24 in pants. The is an excellent range for apparel. They are always up to date on their trends and release new clothing every week it seems like. They have workwear, swimsuits, beautiful seasonal dresses, lovely tops, the greatest bodysuits, cute sets, lingerie and intimates, and jewelry. I have a few issues with their sizing, which isn’t a big deal. I can really wear anywhere from a 0 to a 2 depending on the material and the make. It makes shopping online (which is pretty much all I do) kinda difficult. Returns are relatively straightforward, though; I usually take it to the store closest to my home. The other issue is that they don’t currently have an app. Other than that, I have NO problems with FTF. Their clothes are of quality, and their prices might be a little high, but the store consistently has sales. Navigating the website is also very easy.

Loves, before we get into these beautiful clothes, I had a few things to say. We are all watching the news and silently freaking out about the COVID-19 virus and the issues surrounding it. I just wanted to remind you all that every moment in life counts. 2020 started off rocky for me, I don’t know about you guys, but I did not expect life to hit me so interestingly. If I’ve learned anything from 2020 so far is that life is full of surprises, and some of them aren’t going to be enjoyable. Kobe Bryant’s death shook everyone to the core and made it so that people started questioning everything in life. COVID-19 is bringing about the worst in people and also causing people to carpe diem. All I’m saying is, if you want something in life, go for it. Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity to fall into your lap before you make a change.

Do the things that make you happiest and waste no time on things that interrupt any part of your peace. Don’t talk about it to anyone, don’t brag about your plans, don’t put on for the ‘Gram, do it! Live more life, laugh more, cry more, smile more, enjoy it. If you love someone, tell them. Shoot your shot with your crush. Go on that vacation that you always wanted (I know I said you don’t wait but wait until it’s safe to travel to some of these countries). Do everything before it’s too late. Alright, I’m hopping off of my soapbox. Let’s get to these clothes.

Olive green, puffy-sleeved jumpsuit with snakeskin booties. This jumpsuit is now a staple in my closet, and I’ll wear it every year for the rest of my life probably. It is so comfortable and cute! There are such lovely details; the sleeves tie at the wrist, and the legs tie at the ankles.

Tie-dye mesh dress with transparent wedges. I am so sorry; this dress was completely sold out online the last time I checked. Do you know what ruching does for a body? Absolutely amazing thing! This dress was very flattering, and I was very comfortable wearing it around town. I can’t wait until they release another color!

Polka dot surplice top with coral slip skirt and transparent heels. This top is very low cut in the front, I had a bit of a hard time BUT super cute. Very comfortable and springy. I’m really into polka dots these days. Don’t judge me. The bottom of the top isn’t tight, but it’s more fitted than the rest of the blouse.

Olive green off-the-shoulder cargo dress with platform Fenty Pumas. Listen, if you love this dress as much as I do, go buy it now! This dress was absolutely one of my favorite items that I have ever purchased from FTF. The details are impeccable, and I love that it’s off-the-shoulder and not a regular collared dress. I decided to wear these sneakers because I wanted to dress it down just a bit. When I do wear it again, I’ll probably wear less chunky shoes.

#letsgetthroughthistogether

I Feel Like a Woman

Happy International Woman’s Day! Woman’s history month is oh so important and something that every gender should recognize. Women are so important and so underestimated, so extremely underappreciated and undervalued in society. The hardest thing to be in society today is a woman, and what’s even harder is being a woman of color. I spent some time last month (Black History Month) speaking about the importance of being proud of where you come from and appreciating what makes me different. This month I’m going to celebrate what makes me similar to all women.

Women get all types of backlash for so many things. We can’t be too tall, or we’ll intimidate men. We can’t be too chubby, or we’ll never get married. We can’t be too smart, or we’ll scare away the potential husband. We can’t be assertive, or we’ll be considered too emotional. We can’t be too independent because men don’t like that. We can’t be too skinny, or someone will try to offer us food or think we have a disorder. There are so many stipulations to being us, and it can get so overwhelming at times. We are expected to be demure, girly creatures, and if you take a look at the spectrum of women, most of us are far from that. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but don’t shove us into a mold that meets “society” standards. Some of us want to be anything but.

From a very young age, most girls are groomed to be motherly and wife-material. As we get older and we don’t acquire the things that make us “valuable” in society, people frown down. Getting married and having children has been on my mind since I was in my late teens. I wanted to be graduated college, married, and have my first child by 21. I wanted to have my perfect life by 24 and be so happy with the person of my dreams. At 24, I had just graduated from college and had no clear sight of where my life was going. At almost 27, I still don’t! I scroll through my Facebook and I see a lot of high school acquaintances getting married and having children and for a while it made me very sad. Until one day I realized I’m rushing through life being envious of what other people have when it’s just not my time yet. I don’t have children and I’m not married. Still, I’m getting my master’s degree, I have a great job, a beautiful and supportive family, my bills are consistently paid on time, and I have a BOMB blog that gains new followers frequently. I’m valuable. I’m kinda awesome, and whenever God sees it fit, I’ll have the most amazing little family of my own, who will be just as impressive as me!

We, as women, also have to deal with body expectations as well. Plus-sized women are constantly being shamed by the public just for loving our bodies. The bodies that we have! If we aren’t a specific size, we’re considered duds. Honestly, I’ve seen so many videos and comments on pages and heard so many horror stories that I almost didn’t start my blog. As sensitive a person as I am, I knew that I couldn’t handle the possible negative comments. The thought of someone shaming my body just was very scary to me. But, I pushed through my fears and put myself out there so that someone else may see me and feel the same courage that I do on a daily/weekly basis. Ladies, it is okay to love your body OUT LOUD. Love your stretch marks, love your rolls, love your thighs, your arms, your face, and love them PROUDLY. Do not be ashamed of the body that God gave you. If you want to make changes, do it in a healthy way and don’t do it to get a man or please anyone else but yourself. Look at yourself on a daily basis and be proud of the woman you are and the woman you are becoming. Let’s show little girls that it is 100% okay to love your body no matter what!

There is always a sense of fear in women. You hear so many stories in the news about women being attacked because they said no to a man. Even more stories about young women who get abducted, sold into sex-trafficking, sold to men for marriage, and just so much more. It is hard to be a woman. No one understands that but another woman. Every time I get in my car, I check my back seats. Every time I’m home alone, I check my doors before going to my room. I got a doorbell-camera system for safety measures. I see a white van that I’ve never seen in my neighborhood before, and I get a little freaked out. I do not go out alone at night for safety reasons. I am always on high-alert, and unfortunately, I don’t think men have to go through that. We have to stay strong, ladies, and it is okay to defend yourselves with anything that makes you feel comfortable. Be constantly aware of your surroundings, if something or someone doesn’t feel right, get up and leave. Develop a system with your friends, tell them where you are going and check-in. If something is wrong use a codeword to notify them. We shouldn’t have to go through these measures, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

I do not hate being a woman. In fact, I love it. We are all so different and beautiful, it is incredible to see. All women, from all walks of life, should be appreciated and celebrated. Women encouraging women is the most fantastic feeling, and I would like to thank every woman that has ever breathed life into me; my mother, especially. That is one strong lady, and I am beyond proud to be her daughter.

#LetsGetThroughThisTogether