Fatshion Friday: New Year, New Perspective

Hello my lovelies! I hope y’all had a safe and happy new year. πŸ™‚

Wednesday, I told y’all about my outfit I’d originally planned for New Year’s Eve.

Sadly, I still haven’t got it (no one was able to sign for it, so it’ll be delivered today, hopefully) but I’d gotten a surprise shipment from Eloquii on Tuesday.

I’d only ordered it the previous Friday, and didn’t think I’d get it in time. I was so happy I did, because I’d managed to ransack my room trying to figure out what to put on and still wasn’t 100% happy with what I’d put together.

But before I get into my fabulous outfit, I want to have a moment to discuss my history with New Years.

I don’t really have one. This was the first year since I moved to the Big Apple that I’d actually gone out to celebrate. Logistics of trying to navigate NYC on NYE aside (OMG Y’ALL. SUCH A PAIN) there’s always something to get into, and I’d never taken the time to experience it.

Most of it had to do with me being socially awkward and introverted. I’ve made some strides over the last year to get out and do things, even if it’s by myself. That hasn’t always been me though. I actually found the club my friends and I attended and coordinated getting folks to come out. Also not something I normally do.

But it was so worth it.

NYE is fraught with anxiety for most people, particularly if you’re single. It’s seen as a night to maybe make a new friend and get a kiss at midnight. I’ve still not had that first year’s kiss experience, but my NYE wasn’t lacking at all. That wasn’t what I was aiming for. I wanted to celebrate surrounded by my friends, and ring in the new year with some of my favorite people in the world.

I got to do that. And for that, I am happy and grateful. πŸ˜€

I also looked fabulous.

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Please don’t mind the blurry club pics. This was a pause in the middle of a happy dance!

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And here’s me and my friend C, all dolled up for the night.

Now, let’s talk outfit details. Yep. That’s my belly. All of it. Stretch marks and all.

And I was so surprised at how many compliments I received. Even though I love to push my personal comfort boundaries, I still get anxiety about wearing clothes that society says fat girls aren’t supposed to wear. Crop top? What? Are people gonna laugh at me?

Maybe they did. I couldn’t hear them over how others told me they loved what I had on. So, this is the African Violet set from Eloquii, and I layered it with their white Longline Vest Β because a) cold, and b) pockets (the skirt has pockets too). I wore a simple pair of sparkly flats (that cut my toe 😦 ) but were relatively comfortable, and I danced the night away with my friends.

Then we had breakfast, and we all went home with smiles on our faces.

If NYE was an indicator of how my 2015 is going to go, then I’m here for all of it. Here’s to new experiences and fabulous fashion in the new year!

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Getting Crafty: The Christmas Edition, Part 2

I have been a busy bee these last couple of days. I’ve been making all types of goodies.

πŸ˜€

Of course, this happy crafting did not come without a bit of legwork.

Ready for a story? πŸ™‚

Alright, so the goal for my staff gifts this year was to make them some shea butter hand cream and soap. My assistant manager is getting a little something extra: vanilla bath salts.

Ok, simple enough, right? I live in NY, the land of the shea butter on every corner. Well, the shea butter wasn’t the issue, it was finding all the oils I wanted in the quantities I needed them in. I have a staff of 5 now, and just a couple of small vials of oil wasn’t going to cut it. I needed a shop.

Google did it’s thing, and finally, after about a day of searching for stores that didn’t want to send me home with 25 pounds (!!!!) of shea butter and a vial of oil small enough to moisturize a mouse, I finally got hold of all of the products. Yay!

Victorious, I grabbed some food and headed home. Right when I was getting ready to mix up the goodies, I realized…

…that I had no jars, containers, anything to put the finished product in. Of course I didn’t.

-_-

Now, it’s important to note here that I’d already taken off my bra, and typically that means I’m in for the day. But the hand cream had to go intoΒ something, right? Doggone it.

So, I reholster everything and get bundled. I head to the city to see if I can find some small jars. I tried the dollar store–nothing. Michael’s? Nothing but a line that stretched TO THE BACK OF THE STORE, OMG. But I kept looking. They had favor jars that held a thimbleful of cream. That wasn’t gonna get it. Then they had Mason jars big enough to sip some good iced tea out of. Nope, that’s too big.

Unlike Goldilocks, I couldn’t find one that was just right.

So, I keep wandering the area, and step into Utrecht. I wanted some supplies to make cards, and I picked that up and tried to pick up the cute cashier too.

What? Don’t judge me! πŸ™‚

Still, no jars.

So, as I’m wandering 6th ave, I see a Blick’s Art Store. Hmm. Maybe it’s in here?

And…

SUCCESS! They had all the jars I needed, and at a pretty good price! So, I scooped up a few two ounce jars and headed on back home to get to work. I was able to take all of this:

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And transform it into this:

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Now, I’m not done with the packaging (the little creams will get tags and glitter on the tops, the soaps will be wrapped in tissue paper, and the bath salt gets some cellophane wrap and ribbon+tag), but I got the bulk of the crafting done.

Want to make your own shea butter hand cream? Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients:

Shea Butter (that’s a pound package up there, I used half the container)

Sweet Almond Oil (2 tbsp, feel free to substitute this oil for jojoba, grapeseed, safflower oils if you have a nut allergy)

Olive Oil (2 tbsp)

Coconut Oil (2 tbsp)

Essential Oils for scent (I used lemongrass and vanilla. It smells like cake!)

Bonus: if you want to use this in your hair, add in some castor oil and vitamin E oil in too.

Place all items except for essential oils in a bowl and whip with an electric mixer until fluffy and creamy. This works best if your shea butter is at room temperature. Fold in essential oil, a few drops at a time, after whipping. Β If you’re giving this as a gift, place your cream into a plastic baggie (ziploc one), cut the corner off, and pipe it into your containers. I had enough to fill five-2 ounce containers, and still had a bit left over for me. πŸ™‚

As for the bath salt, that’s even easier. Combine epsom salt with essential oil or even extract (I did vanilla extract because of the softer smell). Mix, place in container. Done!

Soap? I used a kit I found at Michael’s to make my soap. Pro tip: get yourself some other scents in case you don’t like what comes in the kit( there was a vial of scent in that package that smelled like wet leaves. Old wet leaves. Ew.) When your soap has hardened, wrap it up in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out before you put it in paper.

I want to say I’m done with my crafts, but I still have some jewelry and baking to do. Stay tuned for more!

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Holiday Look Book: Sparkle and Shine

‘Tis the season for being with family and friends, enjoying good food and company.

But you want to look lovely doing it, right? Of course!

And that’s where I come in. I have a round-up of pretty things to wear to your holiday shindigs this year!

Let’s get to it!

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From Monif C.

This is actually a set (you have to get the top and skirt separately) but how cute is this? Sexy, yet understated, it’s perfect for after work cocktails.

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From Qristyl Frazier Designs.

Yes, please. Because all of the sparkle! Maybe you don’t want to wear this to Christmas dinner with Nana, but you’ll be smoking on New Year’s Eve. Shine on!

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From Monif C.

I love this for a company party. Formfitting, but still covered with a little flair. Work appropriate, but you don’t feel so buttoned up.

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From Rebdolls.

Dressy, going out to a restaurant type of party. It’s cold up here in NY, and this gives a little more coverage on the bottom while being bundled up top on the way to the venue. Once inside, let your shoulders show!

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From Eloquii.

Yes please, part 2. I love sequins, I can’t lie. This is an option with cap sleeves instead of a long one. Very dance friendly!

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From Rebdolls.

Can I just say I want this for myself? Cause I really want this for myself. Maybe when I’m done Christmas crafting/shopping/baking. Anyway, I love this for either casual (just change the shoes, add a sweater+belt) or dressy (high heels+clutch). Super versatile, and great if you’re looking for something that can be used more than just for a party.

And that’s it! I hope I gave you some lovely outfit inspiration this year, and hopefully gave you some ideas on how to treat yourself!

Making it a homemade Christmas? Tomorrow I’ll show you what I’m working on, and give you a recipe for my homemade shea butter. See you then!

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Holiday Lookbook: The Beginning

Y’all, we are full swing into the holiday party season. I have a whole post of pretty dresses for y’all to rock out and be as glittery and sparkly as you want to be coming soon!

But first, an appetizer.

The good folks over at Invaluable contacted me to ask if I’d like to do some styling with one of their rings. I thought, why not? It’s totally the time of year for a little extra bling and glamour. So, what I decided to do here was create a really nice holiday party look, full of all the sparkle y’all have come to expect from me.

Let’s get to it!

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How fabulous is that ring, y’all? That beautiful cluster ring (which you can bid on here if you love it too) was the inspiration for this shimmery glam look. Since I tend to wear all black every day for work, I go over the top when I can. This look is no exception.

Now this dress, from Rum+Coke. Listen. That thigh high slit, y’all. I love my legs. In fact, besides my bum, they’re my favorite body parts, and I would throw on those sky-high heels from Just Fab and STRUT, you hear me?

Oh, and the slit is on both sides. Yes, ma’am. If you wore this to a holiday party, and you attended solo, you’d leave with a new friend.

Seriously. πŸ˜‰

Oh, and I know y’all are like, ok, we get the dress and heels and ring. But, Char, where does the penguin figurine come in?

That’s a clutch, y’all. No, really! It’s a clutch!

A friend of mine, S, introduced me to the concept of the conversation piece when one is being social. If you’re a bit awkward, like I am, it’s hard to strike up convo. But, if you have something interesting on, like this clutch, you’re gonna be able to be friendly–everyone will want to know what it is, and then: “OMG, so cute!”

And now you have a friend. πŸ™‚ I have to say, it’s worked well the times I’ve done it!

Still looking for some good picks for parties? I’ve got something good coming for you Wednesday. Stay tuned!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. No compensation from Invaluable was given; all opinions are my own.

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Getting Crafty: The Christmas Edition, Part 1

I’ve already gotten myself a present this year, so I’m looking to find some supplies to make my friends, family, and coworkers some nice things for Christmas.

Normally, I get my staff little things to show my appreciation. This year, the size of both my store and staff has doubled, so I won’t be able to purchase a lot. But I do enjoy making and baking things, so this year, I’m looking to do some crafty things that come from the heart and can keep me under my budget.

One of my favorite crafting sites, hands down, is Darby Smart. Not only can you get kits to work from, they also have a separate craft store section that you can purchase additional odds and ends from. I’m looking to get this:

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You’ll recognize at least one of the pieces here; I did the clear clutch for my birthday earlier this year. I’m also looking to get this:

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Homemade Soap Kit!

Bath and body gifts are my favorite gifts, especially if one took the time to find my favorite scents. While this kit comes with a scent, I’ll probably use some essential oils in it to customize the smell. I’ll also be making a shea butter cream to go with the soaps–(quick recipe: shea butter, carrier oil(s) (can be olive, sweet almond, vitamin e, or all of those plus more), and coconut oil. Mix with mixer until creamy. You can also add essential oils (a few drops will do) if you want it scented. I promise to put up a proper recipe when I get the proportions down!)

I’m also going to bake. Baking always manages to bring me to my happy place, and my brownies seem to bring everyone else to their happy places. So, I’ll be baking up boxes of delicious for the rest of my store staff and my landlords (they’re getting a Cardamom Spice Pound Cake.)

Whoa. I have a lot to get making! But it never feels like labor–I love to create and make people happy with my creations. πŸ˜€

Anyone else out there making it a do-it-yourself holiday? Have any great crafting places I can get supplies from? Leave them in the comments!

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#BlackOutFriday

Happy Thanksgiving, my US loves! I hope it is a day filled with food and fun, or if you’re working like me, a day where customers don’t make you want to break things. πŸ™‚

Now, in the States, one of the biggest family traditions around this time of year, after carving up the turkey, is to go shopping and get all types of gifts and goodies.

I normally try to put together a whole post of places I’m shopping for Black Friday, to help y’all get some great deals. And I still intend on doing that today, but with a bit of a twist.

First, some background:

If you haven’t heard about the Michael Brown case, go here for some good information. Monday, the nation (and world) received word that his murderer, Officer Darren Wilson, would not be brought up on charges. And this started a string of protests, one of which is called Black Out Friday. Essentially, folks of color are not going to shop at the big box retailers (Target, WalMart, etc) and are instead either not shopping at all for Black Friday or are patronizing Black-owned businesses.

I am in the latter camp. I won’t get into the social and political implications of Wilson not being brought up on charges, but I am willing to protest in any way that I can. And since I am in a position to do so with my dollars, I will.

So, this year, I’m spending my dollars Black. It’s a small gesture, but one I do in solidarity with the Brown family.

If you’re participating in #BlackOutFriday as well, Huffington Post has a good list of businesses here, and Afrobella built upon that list here. I found some great sample sales and deals on my Instagram, which I’m going to share with you now.

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Girl With Curves has amazing style, and now an amazing line. If you’ve been wanting to pick up a piece or two, now is the time to do so! I’m eyeing this dress. Gorgeous!

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I love this brand for their quirky, cheeky t-shirts. If you’ve been waiting to get your hands on my I Wear What I Want crop tee, get online tomorrow to score this and some other new designs!

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If you’re looking to do your shopping in person, and you happen to be in NYC for the weekend, TruDiva Designs is having a sample sale on Saturday! I’ve loved just about everything I’ve seen on the runway, and let me tell you, I am looking forward to scoring a piece or two! Go here to see her collections.

So, there you have it! A few places I’ll be shopping for the weekend. I’ll do my best to do an update as I see other deals pop up on my Instagram feed.

Oh, and if you do decide to go shopping on Black Friday (no judgment here, seriously!), please be nice to the employees and to each other. Keep in mind that no item is worth sacrificing being polite.

Happy shopping and Happy Thanksgiving!

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Fatshionista Cooks: Hatchery Tasting Box Review

Hello my lovelies!

I am back with a review of deliciousness.

It’s Thanksgiving week here in the States, otherwise known as “Eat all of the things and Buy all of the things week.”

We’ll discuss the buy all of the things aspect later on this week, but for today? Today is about eating all of the things.

So, I love to cook. I really love to cook. Part of the reason I even have cable is for Food Network and the Cooking Channel. I have a list of food bloggers that I love to visit regularly to get new ideas on what to try next.

And it was from The Kitchenista (the AMAZING chef that runs The Kitchenista Diaries) that I saw that there was a subscription box for cooks called Hatchery. Needless to say, I was quite intrigued.

I finally took the time to order one, and it came today. The best part about foodie subscription boxes is that you don’t have to wait to see if it works, like with beauty things. You can just eat it and know immediately if it’s the best! Here’s what I got:

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All wrapped up in brown paper…

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And all of the goodies!

Each box comes with a tasting guide that gives information about the folks who make the edibles, and even give recipes that showcase each sample sized ingredient. I received Whole Spice Paella Spice Mix (I can smell it through the baggie and OMG, y’all), Bill’s Best BBQ Sauce, Glico’s Pasta Gravy (gravy=sauce), Mustard and Co.Mustard sauce, Other Brother Olive Oil, and Potlicker Kitchen Spiced Wine Jelly. The Paella Spice Mix is going in my black beans. It has a smoky smell (smoked paprika, mmm) that I know will work well with them. Can’t wait to hook it up and report back!

I’ll totally give you the recipe for the black beans if y’all want it, by the way. It involves a slow cooker and not standing over a stove. Always the best recipe, in my book.

Now, I’m off to finish my sweet potato pies. My coworkers heard I bake an amazing one…and so now I’m baking four. πŸ˜€

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